Denver, Colo., Apr 7, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) -
On April 11, the Catholic Church honors the memory of the 11th-century bishop and martyr St. Stanislaus of Krakow, who died for the faith at the hands of King Boleslaus II.
Canonized in 1253, St. Stanislaus is a beloved patron of the Polish nation and people. In his own country he is commemorated May 8, the date of his death in 1079.
Blessed John Paul II – who was Krakow’s archbishop in the “See of St. Stanislaus” before becoming Pope – paid tribute to him often during his pontificate. In a 2003 letter to the Polish Church, he recalled how St. Stanislaus “proclaimed faith in God to our ancestors and started in them...the saving power of the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
“He taught the moral order in the family based on sacramental marriage. He taught the moral order within the State, reminding even the king that in his actions he should keep in mind the unchanging Law of God.” Through St. Stanislaus, God taught the Polish Pope's homeland to respect “the Law of God and the just rights of every person.”
Born near Krakow in July of 1030, Stanislaus Szczepanowski was the son of Belislaus and Bogna. His parents, members of the nobility, showed great zeal and charity in their practice of the Catholic faith. Their son studied for a time in his own country, and went on to learn theology and canon law in Paris. The death of his parents left him with a large inheritance, which he gave away to the poor.
After his ordination to the priesthood, Stanislaus served Church of Krakow in different pastoral and administrative posts. Following the death of the diocese’s leader, Bishop Lambert Zula, Stanislaus was chosen as his successor in 1071. He did not want the position, but obeyed Pope Alexander II’s order to accept it. Having done so, he proved to be a bold preacher of the Gospel.
This boldness brought him into conflict with Poland’s ruler, King Boleslaus II, who was becoming notorious for his violent and depraved lifestyle. After a series of disputes over his scandalous behavior and other matters, Stanislaus found no success in his efforts to reform the king.
He excommunicated the sovereign – who responded with furious anger, sending henchmen to kill the bishop. When they proved unwilling or unable to do so, Boleslaus took matters into his own hands. He ambushed Stanislaus and struck him down with a sword during his celebration of Mass.
St. Stanislaus was soon acclaimed as a martyr, while Boleslaus II lost his grip on power and left Poland. In later years the fallen monarch is said to have lived in a monastery, repenting of the murder.
Denver, Colo., Apr 7, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) -
Women in Denver, Colo., may soon be able to receive health care from a women's clinic that offers a Catholic approach to natural, comprehensive care.
“We want to care for the whole person,” said Abby Sinnett, a nurse practitioner in Denver.
She explained to CNA that this means applying the latest science and technology to provide excellent care for patients’ mind, body and soul in a way that “promotes their utmost dignity.”
Sinnett is currently working to establish a women’s health care center with her mother, Dede Chism, who is also a nurse practitioner. They are hoping to have the center running by 2014.
The goal, according to Chism, is to “provide a comprehensive health care setting for women of all ages” in a way that is “fully Catholic” and demonstrates “love and dignity for human life.”
Chism said that the idea for a Catholic women’s clinic “has been a long time coming.” The idea initially sprouted when she was leading a women’s retreat two years ago.
During a lunchtime conversation, the women began talking about how all of their needs – body, mind and soul – were not being met. In addition, they wished that they had a better understanding of Church teaching, and they found themselves struggling to cope with their continuously changing bodies.
Chism and Sinnett had wanted to care for patients together for years. They knew that they worked well together from the medical mission trips to Peru that they had led.
Sinnett described these trips as “freeing,” observing that “we were able to care how we’re supposed to care” without worrying about legal requirements aimed at promoting contraception or abortion.
The women were drawn to the idea of creating a women’s health clinic to address needs that were not being met. They were motivated by their own experiences of receiving both good and bad health care, and as they witnessed changes in health care administration, they saw many women around them looking for something different.
The two noted that they have seen how life is not always valued in the medical profession.
Last fall, they felt called in prayer to move forward with the project. With the unpredictable economy and instability surrounding the implementation of the health care reform law, it seemed like “an absolutely crazy time in medicine to open a practice, especially in women’s health,” Chism said.
Still, they felt that God was calling them, telling them to move forward and trust him. The women did, and things began unfolding, even though there are still uncertainties about how reimbursement and providers will work.
“We just keep saying yes,” Sinnett said with a smile. “He’s slowing been molding us for this.”
The process has been a learning experience for the two nurse practitioners, who will be the first to admit that they are not businesswomen. They have worked to incorporate as a non-profit and conduct a legal analysis of how to protect themselves so that they are not forced to perform or refer for objectionable procedures.
The mother-daughter team is currently working to recruit a doctor. The task has proven difficult, as Catholic doctors who are truly committed to practicing their faith can be hard to find.
“You will be persecuted. You will be way different than all of your colleagues,” Chism observed.
The women also grappled with choosing a name for the clinic, which Sinnett joked was as hard as naming a child. Eventually, they settled on Bella Natural Women’s Care.
“For us, Bella emerged as we were looking at the beauty of women” and of the Blessed Mother’s beauty, Sinnett said.
While the word “Bella” means “beautiful” in Spanish and Italian, she continued, it also means “war” in Latin, fitting for the “beautiful war” that is being waged for a natural, uplifting approach in women’s health care.
Chism added that “care” is being used as both a noun and a verb, and it was chosen over “clinic” or “service.”
Bella Natural Women’s Care will be centrally located in Denver with a fully comprehensive staff, trained to deal with a range of women’s health issues from infertility to weight loss.
Sinnett said the plan to start Bella has received “overwhelming support” so far. People are excited and eager to know when it will be up and running, she explained.
The goal is not only to reach Catholics, however. Non-Catholics may be drawn to the natural approach, seeing the beauty and truth that it contains, Sinnett said, explaining that the younger generation in Denver is “embracing natural.”
“We are a culture of Whole Foods,” she said, adding that this natural approach can carry over into the realm of health care. “Our bodies were made and they were made well.”
Chism agreed that the clinic will be able to serve all people, regardless of faith, and will not need to proselytize.
“Even if somebody doesn’t know God, God knows them because he made them,” she observed, and so even without a doctor preaching, patients “are going to leave us desiring to know their Creator.”
Women’s health care is “so intimate” and “so personal,” she continued, that it “deserves a different level of care and respect.” She voiced hope that the new clinic will help attest to women’s natural dignity and beauty of women.
Chism acknowledged that the journey so far has not always been easy, and the future contains many uncertainties.
“It’s super scary,” she confessed. “It is a tricky time.”
However, the mother-daughter team is motivated to risk the unknown in order to offer excellent women’s health care in a way that fully respects their patients’ dignity.
“This isn’t a political decision,” Chism explained. “It’s about meeting the need. This is basic medicine and basic nursing.”
Ultimately, she said, they are moving forward with Bella Natural Women’s Clinic because they trust that the Lord will guide them through uncertainty.
“It’s God’s venture, not ours,” she said.
Vatican City, Apr 7, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - On the Feast of Divine Mercy, Pope Francis emphasized that when Jesus said “blessed are those who do not see and yet believe,” he also referred to those who believed the testimony of the Apostles and everyone today who hears the witness of Christians and believes.
“And who were they who believed without seeing? Other disciples, men and women of Jerusalem that, while they did not meet the resurrected Jesus, believed in the testimony of the Apostles and the women,” Pope Francis said April 7 before a crowd of around 100,000 people.
The Pope made his remarks before praying the Regina Caeli from the window of the papal apartment that overlooks St. Peter’s Square.
He focused on the Gospel reading for today, which recalls the encounter between St. Thomas and Jesus after the resurrection.
When he first heard the news of the resurrection, the Pope noted that Thomas responded, “If I do not see and do not touch, I will not believe.”
But eight days later, Jesus appeared to the Apostles in the upper room and invited Thomas to look at his wounds, to touch them, and he exclaimed: “My Lord my God.”
“Jesus replied, ‘because you have seen me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed.’”
“This is a very important word on faith,” Pope Francis stated, adding that “we can call it the beatitude of faith.”
“At all times and in all places are blessed are those who, through the Word of God proclaimed in Church and witnessed by Christians, believe that Jesus Christ is the love of God incarnate, Mercy incarnate.
“And this is true for each of us!” he exclaimed.
The Pope then focused on the Christ’s mission for the Church of passing on to men “the remission of sins, and so grow the Kingdom of love, sowing peace in hearts.”
And this mission also extends to “relationships, societies and institutions,” he added.
Pope Francis concluded his reflections before the Regina Caeli by urging all Christians not to “be afraid of being a Christian and living as a Christian!”
After the Easter-time Marian prayer, Pope Francis offered a special greeting to parishioners from the nearby church of Santo Spirito in Sassia, which is a center of devotion to the Divine Mercy in Rome.
“Dear brothers and sisters, be witnesses and messengers of the mercy of God!” he encouraged them.
Finally, he welcomed the numerous ecclesial movements that were present, mentioning the Neocatechumenal Way members who will be engaged in evangelizing in the streets of Rome in the coming days.
Rome, Italy, Apr 7, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Francis took possession of his cathedral as Bishop of Rome and spoke about how God’s mercy and patience should challenge everyone to find the courage to accept his love.
“Dear brothers and sisters,” he began his homily, “let us be enveloped by the mercy of God; let us trust in his patience, which always gives us more time. Let us find the courage to return to his house, to dwell in his loving wounds, allowing ourselves be loved by him and to encounter his mercy in the sacraments.”
The Pope’s installation in the “cathedra” or seat in St. John Lateran Basilica at around 5:30 p.m. on April 7 signaled that he is now officially taking up his duties as the Bishop of Rome.
When he arrived at the basilica, Pope Francis first participated in the renaming of a small section of the square outside of the church, which went from being St. John Lateran to Blessed John Paul II Square.
He then entered the basilica and greeted everyone as he walked down the aisles. He also individually greeted disabled people in what has become a trademark of his encounters with crowds.
In his homily, Pope Francis focused on the theme of God’s mercy, a fitting motif for today’s Feast of Divine Mercy.
“What a beautiful truth of faith this is for our lives: the mercy of God! God’s love for us is so great, so deep; it is an unfailing love, one which always takes us by the hand and supports us, lifts us up and leads us on,” he said.
Noting that the Gospel reading for today is about St. Thomas seeing Jesus after his resurrection and how when he first heard the news of his rising from the dead he did not believe it.
“And how does Jesus react? With patience: Jesus does not abandon Thomas in his stubborn unbelief; he gives him a week’s time, he does not close the door, he waits.
“And Thomas acknowledges his own poverty, his little faith. ‘My Lord and my God!’: with this simple yet faith-filled invocation, he responds to Jesus’ patience,” the Pope observed.
“He lets himself be enveloped by divine mercy; he sees it before his eyes, in the wounds of Christ’s hands and feet and in his open side, and he discovers trust: he is a new man, no longer an unbeliever, but a believer.”
“Brothers and sisters,” Pope Francis urged, “let us never lose trust in the patience and mercy of God!”
He also pointed to the disciples on the road to Emmaus as a good example of “God’s way of doing things.”
God “is not impatient like us, who often want everything all at once, even in our dealings with other people,” the Pope said after recalling how Jesus walked with the despairing disciples, patiently explained the Scriptures and gave them the Eucharist.
“God is patient with us because he loves us, and those who love are able to understand, to hope, to inspire confidence; they do not give up, they do not burn bridges, they are able to forgive,” he added.
Pope Francis stressed one final point in his homily: “God’s patience has to call forth in us the courage to return to him, however many mistakes and sins there may be in our life.”
“Jesus tells Thomas to put his hand in the wounds of his hands and his feet, and in his side. We too can enter into the wounds of Jesus, we can actually touch him. This happens every time that we receive the sacraments with faith,” he underscored.
The Pope recalled how he has heard many people say, “‘Father, I have many sins;’ and I have always pleaded: ‘Don’t be afraid, go to him, he is waiting for you, he will take care of everything.’”
“We hear many offers from the world around us,” Pope Francis said, “but let us take up God’s offer instead: his is a caress of love. … even if we are sinners, we are what is closest to his heart.”
As he came to the end of his homily, the Pope said that in his own life he has “so often seen God’s merciful countenance, his patience; I have also seen so many people find the courage to enter the wounds of Jesus by saying to him: Lord, I am here, accept my poverty, hide my sin in your wounds, wash it away with your blood.”
“And I have always seen that God did just this – he accepted them, consoled them, cleansed them, and loved them.”