LEAVES Website for the July-August 2016 Issue

Excerpted from “Leaflets” column:

       During this Year of Mercy Pope Francis has initiated a “Friday of Mercy” program. Each Friday of this special Jubilee Year he performs one of the Corporal or Spiritual Works of Mercy. This is something we all can do, no matter our situation.

As a reminder, the Corporal Works of Mercy are: 1. Feed the hungry; 2. Give drink to the thirsty; 3. Clothe the naked; 4. Visit the imprisoned; 5. Shelter the homeless; 6. Visit the sick; 7. Bury the dead. The Spiritual Works of Mercy are: 1. Admonish the sinner; 2. Instruct the ignorant; 3. Counsel the doubtful; 4. Comfort the sorrowful; 5. Bear wrongs patiently; 6. Forgive all injuries; 7. Pray for the living and the dead.

If we have an elderly friend or relative in a nursing home, he or she would certainly enjoy a visitor, a greeting card. Is there someone we know who is sick? At home or in the hospital? While a visit might not be appropriate because it would be too taxing, a card sent or phone call might be appreciated. Sending a note to a caregiver may give an emotional boost to someone who might be stretched to the limit. If we cannot visit the imprisoned, perhaps we might donate inspirational softcover books to a local jail or halfway house.

One of the Corporal Works of Mercy is to bury the dead. We, of course, do this for our own families, but not everyone has family and friends to take care of this final earthly task. If helping with burial expenses is not possible, we can pray for the repose of the soul of those who are alone at the end of their lives. We also can go through the obituary column of the local newspaper and pray for all those who have died that day and for their grieving families. In doing this, we are praying for the living and the dead, one of the Spiritual Works of Mercy, and also comforting the sorrowful.

To forgive all injuries can be difficult; however, we should recall our Lord’s words from the cross: “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do” (Lk 23:24). In the midst of His final anguish He was able to call upon God’s mercy for those who persecuted Him. Do not those who have wronged us deserve our forgiveness, as well?

Let us all have our own Fridays of Mercy. Go through the list of Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy each Friday and perform some act, large or small, in solidarity with Pope Francis. As we do so, we can also pray for the intentions of our Holy Father.

In a visit to a drug rehabilitation center in February, the Pope “emphasized the need always to trust in the strength of mercy that continues to sustain our pilgrimage and, accompanying us even in our darkest hours, lets us feel the warmth of His presence and clothes man in dignity.”

     Stories are shared in the pages of LEAVES. These stories edify, enlighten and encourage other members of the LEAVES family. We find information about new devotions and old, reliable devotions that have been around for generations.

We do not live our faith in a vacuum, but rather we live it in communion with others. That is why our LEAVES family is so important. This is not just a group of unrelated people. We are all concerned with helping one another become better Christians.

Part of our faith is the belief that we are all connected, those still living and those who have gone before us. The LEAVES magazine highlights the ever-constant aid we receive from our dear saints in heaven and our friends undergoing purification in purgatory. This too is our family, our LEAVES family.

As in any family, the more the merrier, so let us do what we can to expand our LEAVES family. Take a moment to look at your family and friends and think of anyone you think might enjoy reading our little magazine, anyone who might benefit from joining our LEAVES family.

On the back of each issue of LEAVES there is a form that can be filled out, requesting that a sample of the magazine be sent to someone. Keep in mind that there is never a charge for a subscription of LEAVES. In addition, we do not sell our mailing list to other organizations, so our readers’ contact information is kept safe. You need not fear a barrage of junk mail just for being a subscriber to LEAVES.

To all of our dear LEAVES family we offer you our sincere thanks for allowing us to be a small part of your lives. We are grateful to you. You are always in our hearts and in our prayers. May God grant you abundant blessings always - Fr. Thomas Heier, C.M.M.

Fr. Engelmar: Deliverer of God’s Mercy

(On Feb. 2, 2016, at Westminster Cathedral in London, Cardinal Vincent Nichols celebrated the annual Mass for Consecrated Life. Coming at the closing of the Year of Consecrated Life, it was an opportunity to celebrate the role of all consecrated men and women in the context of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. Below is his homily relating to Fr. Engelmar Unzeitig.)

A few years ago, as part of my summer holiday, I went to the Munich airport so that one of my companions could catch a plane home. Leaving the airport, the rest of us caught sight of a signpost for Dachau. So we went, even though it is hardly a holiday thing to do.

On the way I got a bit lost, so I stopped and asked an electrician, working on a shop front, if he could tell me the way. He did so, in excellent English and then said: “Have a nice day!”

Dachau was quite shocking. It really reduced me to silence. And that sense of shock and silence returned just a few days ago when I read that Pope Francis had declared Fr. Unzeitig to be a martyr, killed in hatred of the faith. In 2009, Pope Benedict had declared him Venerable.

I had never heard of him: Fr. Engelmar Unzeitig. He was a young priest with Czech roots serving in Germany and Austria. He was a member of the small Mariannhill Missionary Society, a Religious, and therefore a man we do well to remember on this day.

Fr. Unzeitig was arrested by the Nazis on Apr. 21, 1941. His crime? Preaching against the Third Reich from his pulpit, particularly against their treatment of the Jewish people. He encouraged his congregation to be faithful to God and to resist the lies of the Nazi regime.

I read that as punishment Fr. Unzeitig was sent to the Dachau concentration camp; hence the return of my shock and silence. What I had not known was that Dachau has been called the “largest monastery in the world” because of the large number of ministers and priests imprisoned within its barbed wire perimeter. The camp housed some 2,700 clergy, roughly 95 percent who were Catholic priests from Poland, making it one of the largest residences for priests in the history of the Church, hence the name.

Fr. Unzeitig was just 30 years old and two years ordained when he was sent to Dachau. Born in the Czech Republic in 1911, Fr. Unzeitig joined the seminary at the age of 18 and became a priest for the Mariannhill Mission Society, whose motto is: “If no one else will go: I will go!”

While imprisoned at the camp, Fr. Unzeitig continued his dedicated life of prayer and study, learning  Russian in order to be able to help the influx of prisoners from Eastern Europe. He had a reputation there of being a holy man.

Treatment of the priests and ministers at Dachau was unpredictable: sometimes they were allowed to celebrate Mass (if I remember rightly, there was even an ordination within the camp); at others they were severely treated. On one particular Good Friday, dozens of priests were selected for torture as a perverted way of marking the Holy Day.

For several years Fr. Unzeitig remained in relatively stable health despite the poor treatment he received. However, when a wave of typhoid fever swept through the camp in 1945, he and 19 other priests volunteered to do what no one else wanted to: care for the sick and dying in the typhoid barracks, an almost-certain death sentence in and of itself. He and his companions spent their days bathing and caring for the sick, praying with them and offering Last Rites.

Despite his bleak circumstances, Fr. Unzeitig found his hope and joy in his faith, as evidenced in letters to his sister from the camp.

He wrote: “Whatever we do, whatever we want, is surely simply grace that carries us and guides us. God’s almighty grace helps us overcome obstacles… love doubles our strength, makes us inventive, makes us feel content and inwardly free. If people would only realize what God has in store for those who love Him!”

In another letter he wrote: “Even behind the hardest sacrifices and worst suffering stands God with his Fatherly love, who is satisfied with the good will of his children and gives them and others happiness.”

Eventually, on Mar. 2, 1945, Fr. Unzeitig succumbed to typhoid fever himself, along with all but two of the other priest volunteers. Perhaps he died with the words of today’s Gospel on his lips: “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace” (Lk 22:30). Dachau was liberated by American soldiers just a few weeks later.

I wanted to share this narrative with you today because it speaks so eloquently of the beauty and generosity which lies at the heart of consecrated life. When Fr. Unzeitig writes of the effect of the love of God in his life, I am sure he touches a chord in the heart of each one of us.

Then, too, I wanted to tell his story because it is such a marvelous picture of mercy in action. As we continue to explore the greatness of God’s mercy, we do well to remember that the most eloquent account of mercy is to be found not in words but in actions. We think of the action of God in Jesus, choosing to give his all that we might live. We see Fr. Unzeitig, giving his strength, his effort, his life, willingly and joyfully, for the sake of others. In him we see the spiritual works of mercy: his praying with the sick, offering them consolation and spiritual strength. We see too the corporal works of mercy: bathing the sick and the dying, feeding them and giving them a dignified burial, as best as circumstances permitted. Surely his life, and the lives of so many other consecrated people, such as St. Teresa Benedicta, also witnessed to the spiritual work of forgiving offenses and bearing patiently with all who did them ill. What examples for us today who live in such comfort yet often find cause to complain!

Their outstanding witness helps us to ponder the countless actions of so many people, in our own lives, in the life of our communities, who day by day put other people first. Every time one of us makes that extra effort, summons up fresh energy when we are already tired, in order to respond out of love to the needs of others, then in our actions we paint a portrait of mercy to adorn our world.

I thank God for the mercy filling the lives of you all, of so many religious men and women, who today rededicate their lives to God. I salute in particular all who are celebrating jubilees of special dimensions: silver, golden and diamond. Thank you, thank you for your faithfulness, for the beauty of your souls and for the light of the Lord to whom you have been faithful, through thick and thin, reflecting in your lives. He gives us the mercy of the Father in full measure. Let us, each of us, pass it on to others, being consecrated messengers of mercy, in our world today.

Excerpted from “Our Family Album”:

Prayers Are Needed

I have been sending in requests for prayers and for thanksgivings and haven’t seen any of them in any issue of LEAVES yet. Please pray for all members of our family for good health and safety, especially for our sons, daughter, granddaughter, daughters-in-law and for myself. Prayers are needed for financial security and, most of all, for all those who are not including God in their lives. I pray to the saints, especially Ss. Jude, Rita, Anthony, Christopher, Michael and the Blessed Mother. They must be interceding for me because a lot of my prayers are being answered - A.Y.

[Editor’s Note: Be assured that we try to print as many requests as possible, however, we receive more than we can use. Many staff and members of the LEAVES family include in daily prayer all the intentions of other LEAVES readers, those that are listed in the magazine and those simply in the hearts of LEAVES readers.]

Grace Is Everything

My teen niece was beaten by another older girl. She was bruised all over, but her face looked horrible: black, blue, dark red, more so around her eye, from one ear to her nose. Her vision wasn’t clear. She was my beautiful niece, but with a very bruised face.

I’ve been praying for months for other intentions to the Sacred Heart, Ss. Jude, and Therese (I asked for a pink rose prominently placed for me to see). I’ve stormed heaven, including my three brothers, dad and mom. God rest their souls.

Prayers for my niece went on for six mornings. On the sixth day a letter and my Rose Novena from the Society of the Little Flower arrived in the mail. I said my new Rose Novena that morning and reread the heading “Grace is everything.”

About 11:00 a.m. my niece came over extremely excited. She said she had placed a wet cloth over her bruised face and the darkened skin came off in pieces and fell from her eye too to reveal perfect skin and her vision is normal! At first she thought her face was crumbling, but it was God’s miracle! - Ms. R.W.

Prayers for Loved One

Pope Francis tells us that this is the Year of Mercy, and God has surely shown mercy to our family. Almost 24 years ago my son John was incarcerated. He was having the first parole hearing on Jan. 28. The D.A. wrote a 28-page report stating reasons why he shouldn’t be released and asking for five more years.

I have prayed for him all of these years and he is a completely different person. No more drugs or alcohol, and he has given his life to God. After four hours of questions that same D.A. told him he should no longer be in prison, that he should go home and continue to live a good life. He will be out in about five months. All my prayers have been answered. Maybe my story will give someone else who has a loved one in prison some extra hope.

I have been getting the lovely LEAVES pamphlet for years and enjoy each one so much. May God continue to bless you and your good works for many more years. I always remember the LEAVES family in my prayers - N.L.

Excerpted from Father Engelmar Testimonies:

A Life of
Father Engelmar

There is now available a booklet of the life of Father 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.

I feel I have received more blessings from Fr. Engelmar. I have had many aches and pains in my life and have always prayed to the loving, forgiving heart of Jesus and our Blessed Mother Mary and the Holy Spirit - A Grandfather.

+     +     +

I have been praying to Fr. Engelmar for many years. He has answered my prayers often. He has calmed me many times in times of panic and need. I pray for his canonization. He is a powerful intercessor. Thank you - A.M.S.

+    +    +

Two friends were diagnosed with cancer. One in her early 70s had many other conditions that made surgery a real risk. She returned to her part-time job a few weeks ago and is doing well. No chemo needed. The other friend is in her 50s, but was found to have cancer of the stomach and intestines, as well as in other organs. After chemo she had extensive surgery. I recently learned that she too has returned to work and is able to drive. When I learned how all my friends were last year, I asked Fr. Engelmar to pray for their recovery. I say the novena prayers by myself every day. I promised I would inform LEAVES magazine if my friends could  return to work if they wished. I also prayed to our Blessed Mother, Ss. Anthony, Theresa of the Child Jesus, Jude and Sr. Miriam Teresa, a Sister of Charity. Never doubt the power of prayers. I am so grateful to God for granting these favors and to all those I asked to intercede for my friends. I look forward to each issue of LEAVES - Ruth. B.

Novena in Honor of
Abbot Francis Pfanner

Abbot Francis Pfanner founded Mariannhill Monastery, and 107 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.

Prayer to the Sacred Heart
And to the Holy Spirit

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, I consecrate myself to Your most Sacred Heart. Take possession of my whole being; transform me into Yourself. Make my hands Your hands, my feet Your feet, my heart Your heart. Let me see with Your eyes, listen with Your ears, speak with Your lips, love with Your heart, understand with Your mind, serve with Your will and be dedicated with my whole being. Make me Your other self.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, send me Your Holy Spirit to teach me to love You and to live through You, with You, in You and for You.

Come, Holy Spirit, make my body Your temple. Come and abide with me forever. Give me the deepest love for the Sacred Heart of Jesus in order to serve Him with my whole heart, soul, mind and strength. Take possession of all my faculties of body and soul. Regulate all my passions, feelings and emotions. Take possession of my intellect, understanding and will, my memory and imagination.

O Holy Spirit of love, give me an abundance of Your efficacious graces. Give me the fullness of all the virtues, enrich my faith, strengthen my hope, increase my trust and inflame my love. Give me the fullness of Your sevenfold gifts, fruits and beatitudes.  

Most Holy Trinity, make my soul Your sanctuary. Amen.

St. Teresa of Calcutta’s Prayer

Dear Jesus, help me to spread Your fragrance everywhere I go. Flood my soul with Your spirit and love. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of Yours. Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel Your presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus. Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as you shine, so to shine as to be a light to others. Amen.

St. Teresa of Calcutta’s
Prayer for Daily Service

Make us worthy, Lord, to serve our fellow men and women throughout the world who live and die in poverty and hunger. Give them through our hands this day their daily bread and, by our understanding love, give peace and joy. Amen.

Well Done
By Sr. Marcella Lakoske, OP

Don’t hide your light under a bushel,
But put it where all will see.
Whatever the days, weeks and years will be,
The treasure-trove of things well done
Will pile up high, though you think there’s none.

A whisper of love,
A clasp of your hand,
A living smile,
A greeting of peace,
A flower freshly picked,
A piece of fruit so sweet,
A pat on the back -
You think you lack these tokens of caring,
And yet all your life you’ve been sharing.
And when the days, weeks and years come to an end,
God will smile and say, “Well done, my faithful friend.”

Why Suffer?
By Margaret Peterson

Pain creates a path to God,
It’s paved with stones of need.
Its sharpness causes deeper prayer
That heals unlove and greed.

The more we pray the more we see.
God knows we need to find,
However sweet the world may be,
We need Him on our mind.

You Don’t Have to Sneeze
For God to Bless You
By Rosemary S. Michaels

You don’t have to sneeze for God to bless you;
He always will anyway,
just so long as you do your best to walk
the road of life the right way.

Always do your best to please Him;
that will keep you on the right road.
And should burdens overwhelm you,
He will give you strength for the load.

You don’t have to sneeze for God to bless you;
just join one another in prayer,
for where two or more gather in His name,
He promised us He would be there.

Treat others as you’d be treated;
put anger and hate high up on a shelf.
Feed the hungry, clothe the naked;
for by helping others, you help yourself.

You don’t have to sneeze for God to bless you;
He is always there for you.
You can reach Him anytime, anywhere;
He will never forsake you!

Be honest, be true, and God will bless you!