LEAVES Website for January-February 2020 Issue

Excerpted from “Leaflets” column:

       A new year is a time of retrospect of the past and planning for the future. Many pick the new year to make resolutions. This is all well and good; however, our focus should not be just to lose weight or to spend less money on frivolous items.
Take a good look at your life last year, particularly as regards your Faith. Has it been a year of growth, stagnation or perhaps even a few slips backwards on occasion? Be honest in your assessment. You do not need to share this information with anyone else. It is for you to use as a starting point for what to do next.

If you are diligent in your attendance at Sunday Mass, consider attending one or more daily Masses. Better preparation adds a deeper dimension to our celebration of Mass. Look up the readings of the Mass beforehand. Read them. Meditate upon them. Then when you hear them at Mass, you will better understand them.

Time is on our minds at the dawn of a new year. Let us put that time to the best use possible. One habit that is worthwhile to establish is to count your blessings at the top of every hour. You need not say anything out loud, but merely acknowledge at least one blessing in your life. You might be surprised how uplifting this little exercise can be, even in the midst of challenging circumstances.

On a monthly basis we might consider choosing a saint for each month. We can read about their life and petition their intercession, either using one of their own prayers or a prayer directed to them. We might emulate their charisms. For St. Francis we might practice being more humble or we might be more ecologically conscious. For St. Therese the Little Flower we could do small things with great patience.

We have patron saints that we have been named after or saints we have chosen at our Confirmations. We should remember them and call upon them. Also there are many who choose a patron saint for the year. You could simply put a number of names of saints in a hat and let family members pull out one that will be their special intercessor for the year.

Grand gestures are not required of us, just small things done with a loving heart. Let us make the year 2020 a special year of grace, making room for the Lord in all that we do.

      Lent begins on Feb. 27. On Ash Wednesday take to heart the words from the priest when applying ashes: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Our earthly pilgrimage is merely a short stop on our way to eternity. We know this and must live accordingly.

The Lenten Season affords us a special opportunity to gain graces. This penitential time in the Church Year calls us to prayer, fasting and almsgiving. In addition, we should perform other works of charity, penance and devotion.

Take some time before Lent begins to determine how you will celebrate the 40 days of Lent. Think and pray about this upcoming time of penance and mercy. The greater your observance of Lent, the greater your joy at Easter.

       February is Catholic Press Month. Those who receive LEAVES magazine are not merely subscribers. They are part of a family of Faith. Those in the LEAVES family care about one another.

When we read the personal stories in LEAVES, we rejoice together and we cry together. Most importantly, we pray for one another! What a comfort to know that, no matter our circumstances, we matter and we are loved. We need never feel alone on our journey through life.

As in any family, there is always room for more plates at the table. That being the case, we would like to ask you, our dear LEAVES family, to consider inviting friends and family to join us. Be assured that we do not sell our mailing list, and our readers will never receive junk mail from third parties by subscribing to LEAVES, and we operate solely on donations.

During Catholic Press Month please send us the names and addresses of anyone you think might benefit from becoming a member of the LEAVES family. All are welcome! May God grant you abundant blessings always - Fr. Thomas Heier, C.M.M.

Excerpted from “Our Family Album”:

Child Offers Flowers
From St. Therese

My story begins on the Feast of the Ascension 1989. Back then I was a young mother with many children. While standing at the back of our church during Mass, I saw a prayer card to St. Therese. I thought that she wanted me to say the novena prayers to her and ask for the gift of another child - and that that child would become a priest for the Church. 

After I finished the prayers on the first day of the novena, our three-year-old son handed me a bunch of impatiens. His words to me were, “Mommy, here’s your rose.” I nearly fell over! 

A year later we welcomed our eighth child, a boy! And on Mother’s Day, May 11, 2019, our son, who gave me the “rose,” said his first Mass - an ordained Roman Catholic priest, Fr. John Rocco Calabro! Thank you, St. Therese! - Mrs. Judith Calabro.

Coincidence or Providence?

For my health my sister insisted that I move out of my moldy apartment. I let my landlady know I didn’t want to move because of the many advantages I enjoyed living there. Still, I began looking for apartments in a nearby town, even though I preferred to live in the town I was already living in. 
There was one opening in a new apartment building in my own town. I made an appointment for the manager to show it to me. I could not get into that building, so I went home to get her business card to call her.

While home, I noticed a blank space in my own building tenant listing. I met with the manager, discussed everything and filled out the paperwork. I was just about to sign the agreement when she asked if I had talked to my landlady.

I didn’t sign the papers, talked to the landlady and found out there actually was an opening right above where I currently rented, which I feel is the perfect location.

These many coincidences led me to the nicest place I’ve ever lived. Enclosed is my gift of a year’s extra rent saved in thanksgiving to God for what I call the miracle move - Name Withheld.

Excerpted from Blessed Engelmar Testimonies:

A Life of
Blessed Engelmar

There is now available a booklet of the life of Blessed Engelmar Unzeitig, C.M.M. You may receive a free copy of it by sending a stamped (postage for one ounce), self-addressed envelope to us at: LEAVES, P.O. Box 87, Dearborn, MI 48121-0087.

Last night I had severe abdominal pain that lasted for hours. I was very afraid of a “fourth life-threatening surgery” (20 intestinal and one heart valve). I sat at my desk with a cup of hot tea and happened to notice my prayer card with the beautiful icon of Bl. Fr. Engelmar. I picked it up and prayed the prayer on the back. I also asked St. Anne to pray with him for me. I finished my tea and lay down on the sofa. After a while the terrible pain began to subside and I was able to rest. This morning the pain was gone. I believe this was indeed a miracle. Thank you, Bl. Engelmar, St. Anne, many other dear saints and angels and holy souls. My husband and I are in our 80s and, thanks to my mother, I have loved and been inspired by LEAVES for more years than I can count. The LEAVES family is in my daily prayers, those who write in and those who cannot write in - Name Withheld. 

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Please pray for my two grandsons: for Dylan to listen to his mom and for Jake for better luck in his sports. The coaches bully the kids. Please pray for my family. Fr. Engelmar, please help! - Pat.

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I am sending a donation in thanksgiving to Bl. Engelmar and the Blessed Mother and Ss. Joseph, Anthony and countless saints for answering my prayers. Our son who is an alcoholic decided to turn his life around and get help. He is in his sixth month of sobriety and doing fine. He is a happy person again, thanks to Fr. Engelmar’s novena that I had been praying for many months - Elaine.

Novena in Honor of
Abbot Francis Pfanner

Abbot Francis Pfanner founded Mariannhill Monastery, and 111 years ago its monks became the Congregation of Missionaries of Mariannhill. He was not only a great missionary, but also a holy man. The cause for his beatification has begun. We have available a novena in his honor and will send you a free copy of it when you send a stamped (postage for one ounce), self-addressed envelope to us at: LEAVES, P.O. Box 87, Dearborn, MI 48121-0087.

By Margaret Peterson

I asked the Lord to make me strong / For I fall at the slightest touch. / He said, “I can’t, my dear, because / You wouldn’t need Me so much.”

I asked the Lord to fill me with wisdom - / I feel so dumb, I cried!
He said, “It wouldn’t be good for you. / It’s better if I guide.”

I asked the Lord for untold wealth / To help the needy I found. / He said, “It’s better to give of yourself / So love and joy could abound.”

I asked the Lord how I could please Him. / Could I heal the sick and lame? / He said, “It’s not the great things you do / But all things in My name.”

Gone Before
By Bernice Laux

On life’s journey we all must go;
what lies ahead no one does know.
If your life counts many years,
you’ve known both joys and also tears.

Now many you have known they are no more,
for one by one they have gone before.
You count them all upon your fingers;
fond memory persistently lingers.

In heaven I think they hold a place
for us who long to see God’s holy face.
And soon there will come a day
when He calls us home to stay.

A Dilemma
By Sr. Marcella LaKoske, OP

The children built a snowman / and hoped that he would last. / They remembered how / he melted in the past.

How great was their excitement / when God sent another layer of snow, / A pure white mantle covered snowman. / At first they didn’t know

that ice was firmly mixed, / which made the snowman glisten. / They went outside again to pat him. / I peeked out the window to listen.

“Do you think our souls are / as white as snow?” / said one to the other. / “Let’s go back in the house
and ask our mother.”

I was ready when they came / and told them their souls were very pure. / “Both of you are good boys / and Jesus lives in you, to be sure.

“Just have fun in the snow today / and pretend Jesus is with you. / You know how good He was when growing up. / Let Him see how good you can be too.”

Prayer to
Our Lady of Lourdes

O ever immaculate Virgin, Mother of Mercy, Health of the Sick, Refuge of Sinners, Comfortress of the Afflicted, you know my wants, my troubles, my sufferings. Look upon me with mercy. When you appeared in the grotto of Lourdes, you made it a privileged sanctuary where you dispense your favors, and where many sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal. I come, therefore, with unbounded confidence to implore your maternal intercession. My loving Mother, obtain my request. I will try to imitate your virtues so that I may one day share your company and bless you in eternity. Amen.
[The feast day for Our Lady of Lourdes is Feb. 11.]

Words of Wisdom
From Pope Francis

“O Lord, pour out your mercy upon humanity; renew your Church, protect persecuted Christians, grant peace to the whole world soon.”