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Blessed John’s devotion to the Blessed Sacrament was very great.  He used to serve all the early Masses, kneeling in adoration as he heard the sound of the Elevation bell.  It was his great delight to decorate the altar for the great festivals, and especially to adorn the line of procession along which the Most Holy was to be borne on Corpus Christi.  In spite of his continual occupations, he daily recited three entire Rosaries on his knees.  For fourteen years he was cruelly tormented by devils as soon as he began to pray, but he persevered faithfully and fervently in this holy exercise, in spite of all their efforts to drive him from it.  He had a special love for the crucifix which hung in the porter’s room. 

His deathbed was a holy and happy scene. The Divine Master whom he had served so lovingly, Our Lady of the Rosary, the beloved Disciple, and many other Saints appeared to him and consoled him; and, with the words: "Into Thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit/ he tranquilly expired on the 16th of September, 1645. His miracles, both in life and after death, were very numerous and remarkable.  He was beatified by Gregory XVI. 

The sanctity of blessed John caused him to be held in very great esteem, so that persons of the highest rank used to come to see him, and commend themselves to his prayers.  This was a severe trial to his humility and, on such occasions, he generally managed to hide from his illustrious visitors.  He sincerely regarded himself as the worst of sinners.  When his terrific austerities had caused a malady which necessitated his undergoing an extremely painful surgical operation, he bore the long and agonizing incisions without a groan, and when asked how he could remain so motionless beneath the knife, he humbly replied: "I thought I was before the judgment seat of God, and that these torments were inflicted for my sins; and they seemed little in comparison with what I deserved." 



At morn, at noon, at twilight dim 

Maria! thou has heard my hymn! 

In joy and woe in good and ill 

Mother of God, be with me still? 


When the hours flew brightly by 

And not a cloud obscured the sky, 

My soul lest it should truant be, 

Thy grace did guide to thine and thee. 


Now, when storm of Fate o’ercast 

Darkly my Present and my Past, 

Let my future radiant shine, 

With sweet hopes of thee and thine! 


Edgar Allen Poe. 

Edgar Allen Poe.jpg





John Massias (Macias),

Lay Brother

Lima, Peru



Unfolding in life’s dew and sun 


Thou wert, oh fair Judean Flower, 

Serenely sweet, enfraught with more 


Than charms of girlhood’s gentle dower. 

For thou wert maiden, mother, too, 


And strength co-mingled with thy grace, 

The mystery of thy Motherhood 


Lent wondrous beauty to thy face. 


Mary F. Nixon.

BLESSED JOHN MASSIAS was a Spaniard of noble descent, and was born at Rivera, in Castile, A.D. 1585.  His parents were very poor in this world’s goods, but rich in virtue, and brought the child up very piously.  When four years old, little John’s mind seemed already to have attained the maturity of manhood, he cared nothing for childish sports and pastimes, but consecrated himself wholly to our Blessed Lady, resolved to recite her Rosary thrice every day, a practice in which he persevered even until death, to the great profit of his soul.  He loved to 

gather children of his own age around him and to instruct them in holy things.  He lost his parents while still very young and had to earn his bread as a shepherd.  While tending his flock he devoted himself to prayer and holy meditation, and received many wonderful supernatural favors.  God entrusted him in a special manner to the keeping of St. John the Evangelist, who used often to appear to him under the form of a beautiful child.  Our Blessed Lady also frequently visited him, and these two celestial friends would sometimes carry him away with them to a glorious country, which, they told him, was the home in which they dwelt, and which he was one day to inhabit with them.  When, after these mysterious journeys, he returned to the hills where he had left his flock, he found it safely tended, having been guarded all the time by a 

beautiful lady, doubtless no other than the Blessed Virgin herself.  St. John also often rendered him this charitable service during his ecstasies, collected his sheep for him, and helped him to bring them back to the fold at night.  In obedience to the Holy Evangelist, he crossed over to South America, not, like so many of his countrymen, for the sake of gain, but because he had been told that somewhere in that distant land was the place where God willed that he should serve Him. 

On reaching the New World, John entered the service of a wealthy man, and was employed for two and a half years tending cattle in the vast solitudes of those unexplored regions.  At length his vocation was made manifest, and he became a lay brother in the Dominican Monastery of St. Mary Magdalen, at Lima, a house of strict observance, where he made his profession on January 22, 1623.  He treated his body with such extreme severity that his superiors were compelled to moderate his penitential practices.  He allowed himself only one hour of sleep, and this he took kneeling in his cell before a picture of Our Blessed Lady, with his head leaning on the bed, or at the foot of the high altar or Rosary altar, or on the bare ground in the cloister.  His food was very scanty; and he used to collect all that was left from the meals of the Community and distribute it on his knees to the poor with the most tender charity and devotion.  His office of porter afforded him many opportunities of serving these suffering members of his Divine Master.  He often begged for them in the city.  Daily, he fed two hundred poor persons, and the wooden spoon is 

still preserved with which he distributed the food at the gate of the monastery, and with which, when his provisions were exhausted, he used to make the sign of the Cross over the empty bowl, whereupon it would immediately be once more filled.  He took special care of the bashful poor, arid his miracles in the exercise of his charity were very numerous. 

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