LEAVES Website for the November-December 2016 Issue

Excerpted from “Leaflets” column:

      The month of November is a time for Catholics to remember our deceased family and friends. We are all one Church. As Pope Paul VI reminded us: “We believe in the communion of all the faithful of Christ, those who are pilgrims on earth, the dead who are being purified, and the blessed in heaven, all together forming one Church, and we believe that in this communion, the merciful love of God and his saints is always attentive to our prayers.”

Death does not end our relationships; it merely changes our methods of communication. Where once we might call or visit, we now pray for our loved ones or put flowers on their graves. If we cannot share a meal with them,, we might now offer up a day of fasting from meat or treats for them.

No one but God knows the disposition of a person’s soul upon death. All too often people are immediately canonized by their family and friends when they die. The truth is that we do not know. The perfection of heaven requires perfection of the soul, so chances are that our loved one will require the healing purification of purgatory.

The greatest agony of purgatory is the soul’s longing to be with the Lord. Still, there is abundant hope in purgatory because the souls who are there know that eventually they will merit the presence of God. It is during this time of being purified that we here who are “pilgrims on earth” can benefit those who have gone before us.

During the month of November let us offer a daily prayer, sacrifice or, even better, Mass for family and friends who have finished their earthly journeys. Let us help bring them to their Lord and to eternal happiness.

      Nov. 20 is the closing of the Year of Mercy. On this day, the Solemnity of Christ the King, the Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica will be closed, which is how it will remain until the next Jubilee Year is called by the pope. This still gives us time to celebrate the Jubilee Year.

As Pope Francis advised us:
In this Jubilee Year, may the Church echo the word of God that resounds strong and clear as a message and a sign of pardon, strength, aid and love. May she never tire of extending mercy, and be ever patient in offering compassion and comfort. May the Church become the voice of every man and woman, and repeat confidently without end: Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old.

Let love and tenderness be the garments we wear as we go out and serve others in world. Nov. 20 ought not to be an end, but rather a springboard to living the lessons of the Year of Mercy. How can we continue to offer compassion and comfort? How can we continue to be the voices and hands of mercy?

Ponder and pray about living a life that focusses on mercy. Let the closing of the Holy Door be a time of opening our hearts and lives in ever more extraordinary ways that we will become concrete signs of “pardon, strength, aid and love.”

Our hearts and prayers are with all of our dear LEAVES family during this special time of year. May the Newborn Babe bring you and your loved ones great joy. At Christmas and throughout the New Year, may God grant you abundant blessings! - Fr. Thomas Heier, C.M.M.

To the LEAVES Family at Christmas

Dear Friends of Mariannhill,

As I write this Christmas word, I am in the middle of my annual retreat, a great time for reflection, which leads quite naturally to giving thanks. Christmas being near, my first thanks are for God, our merciful Father who, seeing his children in need of salvation and mercy, sent His only Son, Jesus, as our Savior. This is what we celebrate with gratitude at Christmas.

At the same time I ask myself whether we are always aware of this great gift of His presence in our life, in the midst of our daily busyness. And it brings to mind this little Christmas story that I heard or read somewhere. You may know it yourselves.

Two very busy parents, both working hard to offer a brilliant future to their only son, were asking themselves which gift to offer their 11-year-old son. After much thinking, they decided to simply ask him to make a list. When they received the list, they were surprised to see that, instead of “What I would like to have,” the son had written “What I would like to be.” The text read: “Daddy, Mommy, I would like to be Felix, our little cat, as I would also like to be taken into your arms in the evening. I would like to be a newspaper, so that you would take some news from me before leaving in the morning. I would like to be an I-pod, so that you may hear in your ear how sad I am at times. And I would like to be a TV screen, so that you would not go to sleep without looking at me with some interest.” And the list continued in the same way. 

The parents were shocked, realizing how they were forgetting to pay attention to their son so important to them. It tells us that we might also be forgetting the One who is most precious to us and that the better gift we can offer Him at Christmas to thank Him is the gift of ourselves.

On our part, as Missionaries of Mariannhill, we must not, and we do not, forget how precious you are to us. That is why we have this special Christmas novena for all who are good to us in one way or another. We are aware that we may be at the forefront of evangelization and, if we are still able to proclaim the Good News, it is because you are there, just behind us, generously helping us. In spite of our age, we are still “on fire” for the Kingdom, and your support gives us strength and courage to go on, never giving up, as Abbot Francis kept reminding his monks. And our young priests and brothers, especially in Africa, still need our good examples, as they are slowly taking up the leadership positions. By supporting us, you support them. 

Therefore it is with a great sense of gratitude that I ask our Almighty Father to be merciful to each and every one of you and to fulfill your deepest desire. May your Christmas be merry and the New Year most wonderful! May LOVE be at the center of this marvelous time of Christmas! You are precious in the eyes of God.

Yours in our loving Jesus Christ,
Fr. Robert Deshaies, C.M.M.
Provincial Superior, Mariannhill Mission Society

Excerpted from “Our Family Album”:

Jesus Miraculously
Cures Husband

This is a thank you to Jesus for His miraculous cure - and it was a miracle. My husband, upon getting undressed for bed one night, happened to turn the wrong way and twisted his back. Suddenly he was in excruciating pain and could not stand up straight.

My husband suffered for several days and finally went to the doctor who proceeded to give him cortisone pills. He took the medication and nothing was happening, except his pain was nearly unbearable and he could not stand up straight. Walking had become a nightmare and, since we live in a two-story house, the stairs were not possible for him.

I prayed to Jesus to help my husband, to send His healing powers to cure him and to perform a miracle. I told Jesus that I knew He could do it, if He just would.

Days passed and nothing changed until one night we were sitting in my husband’s little den and he got up to go to the bathroom. It was a struggle for him to rise out of a sitting position. Suddenly he walked out of the bathroom and said to me, “Look! It’s a miracle.” He was standing straight and tall and was experiencing no pain at all. Just that fast he was cured.

I know it was Jesus who answered my prayers for healing and a miracle. I thank Him every day in my prayers, but I wanted to write out the whole story of the miracle cure. Never stop asking Jesus and God for help when you need it. There is always an answer - Bobbi.

The Trinity and Our Lady
Assist During Surgery

Please bear with me as I give testimony of how good God, through our Lady, has been to me. I hope my story will be an inspiration to others.

The spring of 2016 I had successful surgery to remove my prostate. The year before my surgery I was disturbed with certain personnel in my physician’s office. Subsequently I failed to schedule a routine doctor’s appointment for seven months. Finally I felt compelled to make an appointment, however, with a different doctor.

My new doctor found irregularities with blood work concerning my prostate. I was diagnosed with having prostate cancer. It was early stage and slow in progress. After hearing about other options, I decided to have robotic surgery for prostate removal at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, a three-hour drive from my home.

Among the hospital’s many surgeons in this field, I chose Dr. “Trinity,” as he asked to be called. It happens that I belong to Holy Trinity Church where parishioners devoutly pray the Rosary each morning before Mass. To me he seemed a perfect choice in surgeons.

“Trinity” is from New Orleans. It happened that a friend sent me a picture/relic of Bl. Seelos whose shrine is also in New Orleans. I prayed to him during my medical ordeal. Visiting with “Trinity,” I showed him my relic and he surprisingly answered that his own mother works at that shrine!

It was evident that the prayers of family, friends and those from my parish were very effective. The day of surgery an admissions employee asked me if he could privately say a prayer for me. He blessed himself as he must have been Catholic. At another point before surgery, I was given permission to wear my Our Lady of Mt. Carmel scapular.

Then Dr. “Trinity” was on one side of me and his assistant Carmelita, named for a Carmelite nun, on the other side. So I saw it as the Trinity on one side and our Lady on the other! As a friend put it, “You struck oil!” Ha! Another nurse was a practicing Catholic whose family attended Franciscan U. at Steubenville, OH.

As you know, following surgery is no fun no matter how prestigious the hospital. However, I was in contact with Deacon Michael Drevitch, who at the time attended St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore only 15 minutes from Johns Hopkins. Michael is from my home city of Wilkes-Barre, from the very street where my mom was raised. (I cared for Mom who died four years ago at the age of 91.) Michael visited and brought me Holy Communion the day after my surgery. Happily three months later I attended his Ordination to the Holy Priesthood in Scranton, PA.

When at home only one week after surgery, I slowly ventured in my car to attend Mass. I also went to nearby St. Anthony Maronite Church where, beautifully on display, was a traveling first-class relic of St. Sharbel. I prayed to him that, when the catheter was removed, I would have no problems. I believe he answered my prayer! I have done better than expected.

Shortly after surgery I received words of encouragement from “Trinity” that cancer was not found in the lymph nodes. “Congratulations, you are cured,” he wrote. I have no future treatments or medications, just a few visits with him and a local urologist.

I’ve been back to work, light duty for the next six weeks. Praise God and His Blessed Mother! - Christopher C.

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.

I promised a donation to Bl. Engelmar for a favor received. Keep up the good work with the magazine! I pray for the LEAVES family every day! God bless! - Bernadette K.

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Thank you so much for the article about Bl. Engelmar in LEAVES. We non-Catholics need to always be helped along with the saints and those who are blessed. I must say that the article was very inspiring and shows just how God continually helps those here on earth through His holy people who are in heaven with Him. Prayers to Bl. Engelmar have had a wonderful effect on Dave. Not only is he in remission, but he feels so good and has throughout all the cycles of chemo. The oncology department is so amazed. They have never known anyone else who was given such heavy doses of chemo do so well. He did better this time than he did six years ago. Prayers are working wonders for Dave! Continued prayers are requested - Sr. Anne.

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A donation for Bl. Engelmar for prayers answered. I will continue to pray for a job for my son. Many thanks to Bl. Engelmar, Ss. Anthony, Anne and Therese - J.S.

Intercessory Prayer of
Blessed Engelmar

Jesus, with the help of Your Mother Mary, Blessed Engelmar Unzeitig’s faith grew stronger, his hope more sure and his love more ardent in the concentration camp of Dachau. He became an intercessor for his own country and for the entire world.

Hear our prayers and grant what we ask through Blessed Engelmar’s intercession, so that You may be glorified in Your martyrs and saints. We ask this in Your name and in the name of all the martyrs of the twentieth century.

Blessed Engelmar DVD

We have available a DVD of the life of Bl. Engelmar in English and Spanish. The 48-minute-long DVD is entitled, “Stronger than Death: Father Engelmar Unzeitig.” It is a fine exposition of his holy life, the life of a modern-day martyr. It is a program you may want to share with others, for instance, your prayer group, Bible study group, RCIA group, parish men’s club or ladies’ altar society, or even your garden club!

We will be glad to send a DVD to you. Please specify how many copies you would like in your preferred language and your name and shipping address. The suggested donation for the DVD is $3.00, including shipping and handling. Please send your request to us at LEAVES, P.O. Box 87, Dearborn, MI 48121-0087. Those who wish to make a donation through our website using Pay Pal may contact us at www.mariannhill.us/leaves.html with the previously mentioned information. Find the section entitled DVD available on the life of Fr. Engelmar Unzeitig, and follow the instructions given there.

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 St. Joseph

O St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in you all my interest and desires.

O St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your divine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ our Lord. So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers.

O St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath.

St. Joseph, Patron of departed souls, pray for me.

(This prayer was found in the 50th year of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In 1505 it was sent from the Pope to Emperor Charles, when he was going into battle.)

Advent Wreath

The Virgin’s courage to accept the gift,
The carpenter’s resolve to obey the angel,
The Child’s love unbounded in His submission,
The shepherd’s peace in that upheaving moment,
The Magi’s faith in traveling from realm to realm:

Eternal tapers, lights for our paths,
Censers for our Bethlehems,
An unbroken circle of grace.
By John Dreyer

Christmas Day

Christmas day will
Soon be here.
We spend the day
With loved ones dear.

Let’s not forget
That on that day
Christ was born.
In a crib He lay.

At midnight sharp
He came to earth.
Let’s celebrate
His blessed birth.

A gift of love
To us He gave.
Oh, let’s adore
This precious Babe!
By Bernice Laux

The Miracle of Christmas

Soft as rustling angel wings,
Christmas comes each year.
Hearts that once were cold as ice
Melt when Christ draws near.

For Christmas is a miracle!
Christ was born so we
Could know Him as our Savior
And obtain eternity.
By Margaret Peterson