According to a new book, ‘The Mother of the Pope’, her doctor advised her to abort the future pope when she was pregnant with him. Evidently, she suffered from the after-affects of rheumatic fever, which often include damage to the heart valves.
In the days before antibiotics, rheumatic fever was fairly common. Damage to the heart valves was treated mostly by bed rest and efforts not to strain the heart. Pregnancy, as anyone knows, puts a strain on the entire body. I would guess that this is what led the doctor to advise abortion to the pope’s mother.
Emilia Kaczorowska refused the doctor’s advice and gave birth to a baby boy that she and her husband named Karol. She survived the pregnancy, but died nine years later, leaving the little boy without a mother.
Blessed John Paul II was a great pope. Among other things, his fearless stand for the sanctity of human life ennobled and empowered a worldwide resistance to the evils of abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, and the many ways in which humanity attacks the dignity and value of those who can’t fight back.
Judging by his mother’s courageous determination to give him life, the apple did not fall far from the tree.
A Day to Shed Tears of Compassion.
A moving ‘Thought for the Day’ on BBC Radio 4 by Cardinal Vincent Nichols on this Good Friday. His reflected on human trafficking, and the recent conference organised by the Bishops’ Conference in England and Wales, looked at how law enforcement agencies and the Church could work together to eradicate trafficking:
‘..Women described in moving testimony their cruel treatment and the fear with which they lived.
‘Pope Francis spoke of the crime of human trafficking, slavery in modern dress, as a terrible ‘wound in the body of Christ.’…
Reflecting on Pope Francis’s call for us all, Cardinal Vincent reflected on the meaning of Good Friday as ‘the day on which Christians learn again to shed tears of compassion’ and so, this day, should strive to address injustice and suffering throughout the world
From "Know Your Mass" - the well-known classic, a beautiful book of cartoons by Fr. Demetrius Manousos, bearing a 1954 imprimatur by Cardinal Spellman. It was designed for children, but is recommended for all Catholics, especially at a time when authentic catechesis is at an all-time low.
Do you know St. Julie Billiart? Today we celebrate the feast day of this fascinating nun.
Born in France in 1751, she knew the catechism by heart by age seven. A freak accident paralyzed her from the waist down at age 22, but she never lost hope. Julie received Holy Communion daily and spent four or five hours each day in contemplation. She also welcomed village children to gather around her bed, where she catechized them and offered spiritual advice.
On June 1, 1804, the feast of the Sacred Heart, after 31 years of being paralyzed, Julie prayed a novena and was miraculously healed. She got out of bed, walked out the door, and went on to found a religious order (the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur), establish fifteen convents, and make over one hundred missionary journeys around the world.
St. Julie reminds us today that God uses us wherever we are and despite whatever limitations we bear.