Marian Devotion since, well, just take a look at how old the blog is.

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February 26, 2015

St. Gregory of Narek, New Doctor of the Church

Filed under: Catholic News,Saints and Blesseds — Fr. John Larson @ 3:35 pm

We are now up to 36 Doctors of the Latin Church, and this doctor is an Armenian monk who lived from about A.D. 950 to 1003. Pope Francis declared him a Doctor on February 23.

His famous book of Lamentations, also called “Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart,” contains 95 prayers. They are really quite impressive. The style is somewhat similar to St. Anselm of Canterbury, who was born 30 years after St. Gregory died.

The prayers are available in English in an online edition. Here’s an example from prayer 5:

You made me in your glorious image,
favoring a weak being like me
with your sublime likeness,
adorning me with speech,
and burnishing me with your breath,
enriching me with thought,
cultivating me with wisdom,
establishing me with ingenuity,
setting me apart from the animals,
endowing my character with a thinking soul,
embellishing me with a sovereign individuality,
giving birth as a father, nurturing as a nurse,
caring for me as a guardian,
You sowed a wayward being in your courtyard,
irrigated me with the water of life,
cleansed me with the dew of the baptismal fount,
nourished me with heavenly bread,
quenched my thirst with your blood,
acquainted me with the impalpable and
unreachable,
emboldened my earthly eyes to seek you,
embraced me in your glorious light,
permitted my unclean earthly hands to
make offerings to you,
honored my base, mortal ashes,
like a flicker of light,
imprinted upon a worthless wretch like me
your father’s image, awesome and blessed,
out of your love for mankind.

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This is a small taste of the profound humility and thought contained in these prayers. It’s good to get a new Doctor once in a while, so we can appreciate writings that we haven’t heard of.

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February 25, 2015

Annunciade Sisters

Filed under: Catholic News,Saints and Blesseds — Fr. John Larson @ 4:12 pm

The Marians of the Immaculate Conception received Pontifical status in 1699, but did not get their own rule at the time. Instead, they were put under The Rule of Ten Virtues (modified for a male community), a rule for a community called The Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and more commonly known as the Annunciade (Annunciation Sisters).

They were founded in 1501 by St. Joan of France (the family name de Valois) with the support and counsel of a Franciscan, Fr. Gilbert Nicolas, also known by the name of Blessed Gabriel Maria.

The first convent of the Annunciades was founded in 1501 at Bourges – the seat of the Duchess of Berry. St. Joan died in 1505, but the evangelical work begun by her grew, producing over fifty convents that existed up until the time of the French Revolution, which destroyed nearly all of them.

Today the Order numbers around eighty nuns living in eight convents in France, Belgium and Costa Rica. A new foundation has begun at the Marian Shrine in Liche?, Poland, which the Marians administer.

For further information (in English, no less!), you can check out this website started by the sisters in Poland: The Annunciade.

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February 18, 2015

10 years ago

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fr. John Larson @ 8:58 pm

What was happening 10 years ago? Students from Franciscan University of Steubenville, as part of the Sonlife California mission trip, participated in an episode of The Price is Right and one got on the show!

Read about it in an old blog entry.

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February 11, 2015

78 RPM

Filed under: Audio and Video,hobbies — Fr. John Larson @ 3:05 pm

That Emile Berliner really started something with his “gramophone.” Recently I got a “Premium Gramophone,” which is a kit from Japan that allows one to play 78 RPM records in a way very similar to the early days of Berliner’s gramophone, an image of which was used on the RCA label for a long time (now owned by Sony).

78 RPM records help one to understand the history of music, at least for a little over 100 years. There have been lots of trends and shifts in style, but sometimes I think they were more clever in the early days with novel uses of language (an old Jazz piece is called “Celery Stalks at Midnight”). Yes, problems like racism show up in these old discs, but also the value of prayer is prominent, even in some pop tunes. They had their pluses and minuses.

We are more advanced technologically, but our new-fangled forms need electricity. The old gramophone just needs lots of needles and energy from the hand to turn a crank. There’s a certain refreshing “newness” to this liberation from the grid, even if sound quality ain’t all that great. There are definitely things to learn from the old discs and the completely mechanical process of sound reproduction. Sometimes things don’t have to be as complicated as you think they do.

The picture below shows the gramophone playing a Columbia Symphony Series 12 inch record–with a great looking label from the 1910s era.

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