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Dark the way and dreary, 
Our feet have trod, 
Sad are we and weary, 
Mother of God! 
So at thy mercy seat, 
Bow we the knee; 
Safe are they, Mary sweet, 
Who trust in thee.


-Cecelia McHenry

ST. JEROME EMILIANI was a member of one of the patrician families of Venice and, like many other Saints, in early life a soldier.  He was appointed governor of a fortress among the mountains of Treviso and, while bravely defending his post, was made prisoner by the enemy.  In the misery of his dungeon he invoked the great Mother of God, and promised, if she would set him free, to lead a new and better life.  Our Blessed Lady appeared, broke his fetters, and led him forth through the midst of his enemies.  At Treviso he hung up his chains at her altar, dedicated himself to her service and, on reaching his home at Venice, devoted himself to a life of active charity.  His special love was for the deserted orphan children whom, in the times of the plague and famine, he found wandering in the streets.  He took them home, clothed and fed them, and taught them the Christian truths.  From Venice he passed to Padua and Verona, and in a few years had founded orphanages through Northern Italy.  Some pious clerics and laymen, who had been his fellow-workers, fixed their abode in one of these establishments, and devoted themselves to the cause of education.  The Saint drew up for them a rule of life, and thus was founded the Congregation, which still exists, of the Clerks Regular of Somascha. 

St. Jerome died February 3, 1537, of an illness which he had caught in visiting the sick.


Let us learn from St. Jerome to exert ourselves in behalf of the many hundred children whose souls are perishing around us for want of someone to tell them the way to Heaven.

"We are bound to plead for children, since they cannot speak for themselves, and to labor that they be not deprived of the grace of Christ, which they cannot by their own efforts obtain."

-S. Augustine

St. Jerome’s orphans assembled each morning for Mass and twice daily for catechism.  The work-hours, in which they were trained for some special trade were relieved by litanies, hymns, rosaries, and reading aloud.  While washing their hands before meals they recited the Miserere for the Holy Souls.  They confessed monthly, and on great feasts went in procession, clothed in white, singing litanies, to some principal church.  The sight of their innocence and piety effected numerous conversions, and the Saint used to say that whenever he wanted any special grace from God he would make four of his orphans under eight years of age pray for it, and that he had never yet been refused what they had thus asked for.


"The ear that heard me blessed me, and the eye that saw me gave witness to me, because I had delivered the poor man that cried out, and the fatherless that had no helper." Job xxix, 11-12.


A sword of silver cuts the fields asunder -
  A silver sword to-night, a lake in June -
And plains of snow reflect, the maples under, 
  The silver arrows of a wintry moon, 


The trees are white with moonlight, and ice-pearls; 
  The trees are white, like ghosts we see in dreams; 
The air is still: there are no moaning wind-whirls; 
  And one sees silence in the quivering beams. 

December night, December night, how warming 
  Is all thy coldness to the Christian soul: 
Thy very peace at each true heart is storming 
  In potent waves of love that surging roll. 

December night, December night, how glowing 
  Thy frozen rains upon our warm hearts lie: 
Our God, upon this vigil is bestowing 
  A thousand graces from the silver sky. 

O moon, O symbol of Our Lady's whiteness; 
  O Snow, O symbol of Our Lady's heart; 
O night, chaste night, bejeweled with argent brightness, 
  How sweet, how bright, how loving kind thou art. 

O miracle: to-morrow and to-morrow, 
  In tender reverence shall no praise abate; 
For from all seasons, shall we new jewels borrow 
  To deck the Mother born Immaculate.



-Maurice F. Egan


A Carmelite nun appeared after her death to the sisters in her convent and said she had gained Heaven by saying the following prayers every day: 

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Sacred Heart of Jesus, with His love, His sufferings and His merits; first, in reparation for all the sins I have committed during this day, and during all my life.  Second, to purify the good I have done badly this day and during all my life. Third, to supply for the good which I ought to have done this day and during all my life, and which I have neglected.

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