Category Archives: Holy Places
The holiest places on earth are our own sanctuaries in our Catholic Churches and chapels where the Blessed Sacrament is preserved. There are highly indulgenced shrines as well, which are often the destination of pilgrimages, such as Chartres in France, Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico, Lourdes, Fatima, and so many others. Some shrines, such as that of the North American martyrs in Auriesville, New York, give honor to an event, as this one does for the eight Jesuit martyrs, three of whom shed their blood near this site. The shrine may commemorate a sacred event, apparition, or miracle; or it may house a relic directly related to Our Lord or Our Lady. Some shrines were built to honor a saint, such as Compostella in Spain, which honors St. James the Greater; and Saint Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal, which honors the protector of the Holy Family, the Spouse of Our Lady and Patron of the Universal Church.
A place becomes holy when it is specially linked to God. There can be no greater “link” to God than the place that houses God Himself. That is why the tabernacle is the holiest of all places, the Holy of Holies. Since Our Lady, preeminently, and the saints participate more intimately in the divine life, wherever they have walked on this earth is holy ground. The most highly indulgenced of all shrines is the place where the Holy Family lived, the Holy House of Nazareth. Transported by the angels to Loreto in Italy about seven hundred years ago, the original walls of this modest domicile still stand, and within them, as the inscription reads at the door, Hic Verbum Caro Factum Est (Here the Word Was Made Flesh).
The fact that there are physical miracles still being granted to the ill at these holy places is a wonderful testimony of God’s continued mercy. However what really makes these sanctae loca (holy places) even more holy are the miracles of conversion that take place there. Saint Augustine explains why: “the conversion of a sinner,” he says, “is a greater act of divine omnipotence than the creation of the world.”
While recently on the ocean-seacoast island of my boyhood home, I decided to read again amidst the inspiring cool sea breezes my own fragile first edition of Hilaire Belloc’s 1908 collection of essays, entitled On Nothing and Kindred Subjects, which was dedicated to his friend Maurice Baring who was not yet, but almost, a Catholic. In this Anthology, I have especially wanted to consider our … More →
Review of 1917: Red Banners, White Mantle by Warren H. Carroll (1981) Christendom Press. Every once in awhile a book will come into one’s hands that is impossible to put down, ends too soon, and begs to be read again and again. This little book, at 131 pages (although the print is rather small) is such a one. It is well footnoted and a riveting … More →
In 1905, just before he entered the House of Commons for four discouraging years (1906-1910), Hilaire Belloc published a variegated and copious book, entitled The Old Road, about his eight-day journey afoot from Winchester to Canterbury, the latter also being the place where, on the 29th of December in 1170, Saint Thomas à Becket was martyred. Click here to VIEW full size, DOWNLOAD as PDF … More →
Spain, sad to say, is an enigma for most Americans. A country of heat and passions, of Gypsy music and castanets, and lately of a teetering economy on the verge of collapse, as is much of the rest of Europe, Spain is probably the most mysterious and least understood of western European countries. Isolated and shunned by other western nations for much of the twentieth … More →
[Part I] Given all the years that have passed, and despite all of this history, one might well wonder why we should care about the French Monarchy and its claimants. It has been gone, after all, for a long time. For that matter, why should its claimants and their partisans struggle so strenuously for it? The answer is several-fold. For Frenchmen, of course, the shadow … More →
The American in Paris of Traditionalist bent will, in addition to the usual sights, doubtless seek out the Traditional Mass at such churches as the SSPX’s Saint Nicolas-du-Chardonnet or else Versailles’ Notre Dame des Armees. After Mass, he will then notice a number of vendors of newspapers and magazines, mostly young. Some may — much to the Yankee visitor’s surprise — be sympathetic to the … More →
Medieval romances generally fell into four categories: the Matter of Rome, which dealt with such classical heroes as Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar; the Matter of France, whose tales were inhabited by Charlemagne and such heroes as his nephew Roland; the Matter of Britain, which encompasses the Arthurian legends; and the Crusade Cycle, which dealt with the doings of Godefroi de Bouillon and his … More →
The 2012 annual Pilgrimage for Restoration is scheduled for Friday-Sunday, September 28-30. This will mark the seventeenth time that a merry band of Catholic pilgrims cuts a path from Lake George to Auriesville, New York, doing penance all the way. This year’s theme, in honor of the soon-to-be-canonized Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, is “Restoration of True Devotion to Mary, in the footsteps of Saint Kateri.” Rising very … More →
You will be surprised by the answer. I certainly was. And I agree with the scholar’s choice. CNA reports: Do we know when the first church building was constructed and where it was located? If not, what is the oldest known church building that has survived — if not intact, then at least in ruins? You ask a question about Christian Archeology, a very important … More →
My recent trip to New Orleans and its environs was superlative. The talk I gave was graciously received. It was a real joy to see some old friends and meet new ones besides, like the traditional priests and religious in whose company I was privileged to spend a few days. Father Wilfredo Comellas is an old school friend, and now offers the Traditional Mass for … More →
A convert to the faith recently wrote us an appreciative email. A native Kansan, he learned about things Catholic in his home state through our web site, which he reads regularly. Immediately below is a brief excerpt from his email, and further down is a gallery of photos that he took on the spot of Fray Juan Padilla’s martyrdom. I especially recommend reading historical marker … More →
In his Letter to the Church in China, May 27, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI established May 24, the feast day of Our Lady Help of Christians, as a Universal Day of Prayer for the Church in China. A year later he composed the following prayer and asked that it be recited every year on May 24.