LEAVES Website for November-December 2019 Issue

Excerpted from “Leaflets” column:

      In the Church calendar, Nov. 1 is All Saints’ Day and Nov. 2 is All Souls’ Day. Traditionally the Church remembers her deceased on these days and throughout the entire month of November. Let us all remember to do this.

It is easy to honor our loved ones who have gone to their eternal reward. We love them. We miss them and want to express that in any way we are able. Still, we need to do much more.

We must recall from Scripture that the Lord has told us to pray for our enemies, so this year as we pray for those we have loved and lost, let us also pray for those who have wronged us or been unkind to us.

Extending kindness towards those who have harmed us is difficult, but Jesus did not say to do only what is easy. Recall - He did what was most difficult. He gave up His very life for us, whether we were worthy or not.

In our prayers for the dead, we may want to include those we do not know personally who have died this year. This could be someone in our community or someone who has been in the news. We might pray for those around the world who are suffering from famine or war, particularly those who are innocent, such as the children who have died because they lived in life-threatening conditions.

It appears that many people have been investigating their “roots,” their ancestry. Going back many generations and finding out tidbits of information on great- and great-great-grandparents can be fascinating. If you know the names of your ancestors, use them to pray for them specifically. Of course, you can pray even without the actual names. God certainly knows who you mean.

Pope Leo XIII in 1902 explained our connection with those who have gone before us:
“For faith teaches us that, although the venerable Sacrifice [of the Mass] may be lawfully offered to God alone, yet it may be celebrated in honor of the saints reigning in heaven with God who has crowned them in order that we may gain for ourselves their patronage. And it may also be offered - in accordance with an apostolic tradition - for the purpose of expiating the sins of those of the brethren who, having died in the Lord, have not yet fully paid the penalty of their transgressions” (Mirae caritatis, No. 12).

So let us remember those who have gone before us by dedicating our celebration of Mass for them. When we do this for those who already have entered into heaven, we are able to ask for their assistance with our needs. They will certainly respond with their loving intercession. When we offer Masses for those in purgatory we are able to assist them in their advancement towards the presence of the Lord.


Advent begins Dec. 1 this year. We must not let the commercial takeover of Christmas push out our celebration of Advent. Anything worthwhile requires careful planning and preparation. That is why we need Advent in order to celebrate Christmas fully.

If the hustle and bustle of preparing for Christmas becomes too burdensome, we should disengage a bit. Even a short walk can quiet an anxious mind. Match the cadence of your feet with a short prayer, something as simple as “Glory to God in the highest” or “Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I love you; save souls.”

It can be challenging not getting caught up in the commercialism of Christmas. Most television programming includes multiple advertisements for things to buy or places to go. Instead of listening intently during these breaks, we might try praying our way through those 30- to 60-second intrusions.

Take a look at the feast days listed for December on page 2. These provide a beautiful roadmap of rich occasions for prayer. Pray to the saints in Advent. Investigate their patronage and call upon them to help those in need of their intercession.

At Thanksgiving, throughout Advent and at Christmas we here at LEAVES magazine will be keeping our dear LEAVES family in our thoughts and our prayers. Our hearts overflow with gratitude for your beautiful and continuous love and support. We are humbled and consider you among our greatest blessings.

May your Christmas be filled with exquisite joy and may the New Year bring to you and your dear ones blessings in great abundance! - Fr. Thomas Heier, C.M.M.

To the LEAVES Family at Christmas 2019

    Dear Friends of Mariannhill,

If we celebrate Christmas, the birth of Jesus, it is because God the Father had a dream that is revealed throughout the pages of the Bible and is fulfilled in Jesus. In order to fulfill His dream, He spoke through Isaiah, inviting us to prepare the way. We hear this call during Advent: “Prepare the way of the Lord!” (Is 40:3).

God dreams of peace among His children: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. One nation shall not raise the sword against another” (Is 2: 4-5); “The new king from the royal line of David will be a sign for the nations” (Is 11:10); “On him will rest the Spirit of the Lord…” (Is 11:2).

A woman, “most blessed are you among women” (Lk 1:42), accepted to become the instrument of God. And Jesus, her Son, embraced His mission and “healed many people … and gave sight to the blind.” But so that the dream continues, Jesus called: “Come after me and I will make you fishers of men” (Mt 4:19); “Make this proclamation: the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt 10:7). The call is made to each one of us.

In Matthew, Jesus tells us that the kingdom is near when we live together as brothers and sisters. And this is food for reflection if we take seriously our New Year resolutions, always with the purpose of realizing God’s dream. Mutual forgiveness, compassion, helping one another, understanding the situation of the other person, these are points to consider. Therefore in the words of the Psalmist, “May God be gracious and bless us” (Ps 67:1), we beseech His blessing on all our endeavors.

And for my Christmas and New Year wishes to you, I borrow the words of St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians: “I urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace … Each one of you has received a special gift from God the Father” (Eph 4:1-4,7).

And this is the occasion for me to express our gratitude to you, in the name of all my confreres, Missionaries of Mariannhill, for your faithful support throughout the years. The number of our benefactors is diminishing because of their advancing age. On our side, we are not getting younger either, but together we still keep alive the Mariannhill family. 

This year, 2019, has marked the 110th anniversary of the death of our Founder, Abbot Francis Pfanner. He worked hard to bring the Good News of the kingdom of heaven to what was then seen as the “end of the earth,” that is, South Africa. May he intercede for each one of us so that we may continue fulfilling God’s dream in 2020. Gratefully,

Fr. Robert Deshaies, C.M.M.
Provincial Superior, American-Canadian Province
     The Mariannhill Mission Society

Excerpted from “Our Family Album”:

God as Your Best Friend

I am 90 years old and doing well for my age. I have diabetes, but am controlling it well. My husband Mark and I celebrated being married for 66 years. Our 11 children gave us a party. It was a great day. We also celebrated my birthday. Seven of my siblings were in attendance, coming from different parts of the country.

There was a Mass for us with three priests who were con-celebrating, including our grandson. We are very blessed. We still live in our home on a farm. Two of our sons farm the land. They are here every day. It couldn’t be any better. I don’t think so.

We have known hardships and cancer in the family, but through God’s grace we made it through. I tell my grandchildren, keep God in your life and you will always have the best friend to take care of you - Barbara.

Purse Returned Safely

This donation was promised to St. Anthony for misplaced items that were found, including a purse. The purse was left in a shopping cart, and we did not have much hope of its being returned. The more items my daughter told me she had in the purse (cellphone with phone numbers, bank account numbers, social security card, some cash and keys, etc.), the more concerned I became. Some of the keys were the only ones my daughter had. So I promised to send a donation in honor of St. Anthony for the purse’s safe return. We returned to the store and some honest soul had taken it to the office and everything was intact.

Thank you, St. Anthony, so very much! - Norma.

Recognizing the True
Christmas Gift

I read Fr. Deshaies’ article on Christmas last year. I am reminded of our family Christmas greeting that my mother taught us in the 1930s, which we continue to spread even now.

The object is to be the first one to say, “Christmas gift,” to each family member. The receiver of the greeting responds, “Jesus Christ, the Lord,”

Our family has expanded and continues this tradition. At times the reply has been forgotten, especially among the youngsters into their teens. Therefore I made it a point to be “beaten” so that I give the reply.

Thank you for LEAVES. It is uplifting and inspiring in the various articles, and especially in our brothers and sisters who ask for prayers.

Be assured that I pray daily for the LEAVES family, the Mariannhill Missionaries and the missions worldwide. I am in my 90s. In Jesus and St. Francis - Annabelle.

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 have been praying to Bl. Engelmar for favors: that my son would be healed from cancer, that all my children would return to the Church and that my grandson would be healed from epilepsy. I need the prayers from everyone and I will pray for them too - Name Withheld.

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In thanksgiving to the Sacred Heart, Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, St. Therese the Little Flower, St. Jude, Ss. Anne, Joseph and Cajetan and Fr. Engelmar Unzeitig for answered prayers, especially for a job for our daughter - G.S.D.

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I have been receiving LEAVES magazine for 40 years or more. I don’t know who sent in my name, but I thank God they did! I say the Bl. Engelmar novena all the time. The words in the prayers are so meaningful and beautiful. I need an honest and fair decision from our lawyer about our taxes. I hope Bl. Engelmar will help us. My family and I have some medical problems. Thank God for all He has done for us. Love - Helen.

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My donation is for a novena I made to Bl. Engelmar. I thank all the angels and saints for my health - T.E.B.

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This donation is in thanksgiving to Bl. Engelmar for my husband’s two little toes on his left foot that are healing after stent surgery. It took a long time, but all is well now. Please pray for his conversion and for us to be able to go to a place in Arizona. And please ask St. Anthony to help me find my cellphone charger. God bless you all - Mary G.

Novena in Honor of
Abbot Francis Pfanner

Abbot Francis Pfanner founded Mariannhill Monastery, and 110 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.

St. Gertrude’s Prayer
For the Holy Souls

Eternal Father,
I offer You the most precious blood
of thy Divine Son, Jesus,
in union with the Masses said
throughout the world today
for all the holy souls in purgatory,
for sinners everywhere,
for sinners in the universal Church,
for those in my own home,
and in my family.

(St. Gertrude was a 13th-century German nun, writer and mystic.)

Christmas Novena

My mother, Marie Theresa, taught me the Christmas novena in 1942, during WWII. The first novena was for my very young husband’s life to be spared, for the end of WWII and for us to be blessed with children. My husband Melvin’s life was spared, the war was over in 1945 and we now have nine children, 15 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

I was in church praying when I heard the bells ringing. I went outside and saw many people there saying, “The war is over! The war is over!” So I went back into church and thanked God. I lit a candle and cried for joy! Yes, God does answer prayers - Rita Ann Prell.

Christmas Novena

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of our Savior Jesus Christ and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

(It is piously believed that whoever recites the above prayer 15 times a day from the Feast of St. Andrew [Oct. 30] until Christmas day will obtain what is asked.)

Joy in Giving
By George D’Lima

Did I perform just one small act of kindness today?
Did I wave to my neighbor
As I passed by his way?
Did I smile a wee smile
At someone through the day?
As I entered my workplace,
“Hello!” did I say?
As I walked through the crowd,
So blocked was my way
Did it occur to me -
“Please excuse me!” - to say?
So many people do favors for me,
And even today …
I don’t need reminding
Just “Thank you” to say.
Many a guy groans under a load,
“If someone would help me,” he’d say.
And just when he thinks - “there’s a friend to me” -
I look in the opposite way.
Life is worth living
Only if you find joy in giving.

Shepherds and Kings
By Rose Marie MacPhee

Shepherds and Kings
Come to the cave,
Each one called
By the signs that He gave.

They heard His voice,
They saw His hand,
Gathered their sheep,
Departed their lands;
To angels, to stars
Committing their way,
Directing their steps
Towards Him born today.

Rich ones and poor
He’s calling us too,
“Stand up, let go;
I do something new.”

November Thursday
By Isabel Uselton

Between the turkey and
the wonderful trimmings
There is Peace on a Thursday afternoon …

Amidst the smiles and hugs
of family kin,
My thanks and praise
to Jesus is to begin.

It is our hope that
all year through we give
heart-felt thanks and, of course,
We do!

Mary’s Lullaby
By Doris T. Cameron

Softly a son
on the midnight air
caresses the Child
of a maiden pure and fair.
Adoringly she shows
a mother’s loving care.
May the nativity
at Christmas please us.
Born on this day,
the Savior called Jesus -
The Promised One -
He redeems and frees us.

Alleluia, Alleluia.

By Margaret Peterson

Eons passed before Christ’s Birth.
All the world had waited
Till He had come to free man from sin,
A triumph still celebrated!

We have a spiritual type of B.C. -
Each one awaits the day
When Christ the King comes into our heart
And never will go away.

Words of Wisdom
From Pope Francis

“None of us shines with our own light; the light that we have is a reflection of the grace of God, of the light of God” (4-13-10).