As Catholic men of Croatian descent we have a special connection with Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin, Mother Mary. She is affectionately known and reverentially acclaimed by the Croats as “Rajsko Djevo Kraljice Hrvata” (Queen of Heaven and Queen of the Croats).
In August 1715, in a Croatian town called Sinj, seven hundred Catholic warriors miraculously repelled and ultimately defeated tens of thousands of invading Ottoman Turks (led by Mehmed Pasa). It was reported that during the 1715 siege Our Lady appeared in white walking on the fortress walls of Sinj. The defeat of the invading Ottomans was directly attributed to the supernatural intercession of Our Lady. The townsfolk of Sinj as a vow of their eternal gratitude and as an act of veneration, donated gold to the local parish to form a crown for the coronation of Our Lady who was duly crowned as the Queen monarch of the Croats. This event has been celebrated and commemorated annually since 1716.
Providentially, the battle took place on 15 August 1715 on the very day of solemnity of the Assumption of Mother Mary (Velika Gospa), this date is a national holiday in Croatia on which day numerous pilgrimages occur in honour of Our Lady. Pilgrims out of devotion to their Queen from all over Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina, arrive in their hundreds of thousands into the town of Sinj to celebrate and venerate the solemnity of the Assumption “Velika Gospa”.
Some of the other prominent Marian shrines of pilgrimage in Croatia are; Marija Bistrica, Trsat, Aljmas and Medjugorje in Bosna-Hercegovina.
In 1687 the Croatian parliament (Sabor) officially declared St Joseph as the patron saint of Croatia. That this consecration also applies to the entire Croatian people was confirmed by the Croatian bishops in 1972 at a session in Split.
The Church of St. Joseph located in Dubovac a district of the city of Karlovac, was by decree of the Croatian Bishops proclaimed on April 15, 1987 the feast day of St Joseph as “the national shrine of St. Joseph of the Croatian church”
The shrine was opened for veneration by the late Cardinal Franjo Kuharic in 1987 and concluded on St. Joseph’s feast day in 1988 which fell on of the 300th anniversary of the proclamation of St. Joseph as the patron Saint of Croatia.
St. Joseph is also known and referred to as the patron saint of the Universal Church and workers.
St. Joseph’s feast day is March 19th. Link to the National Shrine of St. Joseph in Croatia: http://www.svetijosip.com/index.php
St. Michael the Archangel
(Michael in Hebrew “who is like God”)
St. Michael is one of the principal angels; his name was the war-cry of the holy & good angels in the battle fought in heaven against the enemy and his followers. His name is recorded four times in Scripture.
Daniel 10:13, Daniel 12, Jude 1:9, Apocalypse 12:7
Following these Scriptural passages, Christian tradition gives to St. Michael four offices:
- To fight against Satan.
- To rescue the souls of the faithful from the power of the enemy, especially at the hour of death.
- To be the champion of God’s people, the Jews in the Old Law, the Christians in the New Testament; therefore, he was the patron of the Church, and of the orders of knights during the Middle Ages.
- To call away from earth and bring men’s souls to judgment (Source: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10275b.htm)
To protect the Church against Satan Pope Leo XIII in 1886 ordered the prayer to St Michael to be said after every low Mass in all the Catholic churches throughout world.
The feast day of St. Michael is celebrated on 29th September. Traditionally known as “Michaelmas,” during the middle ages the Church considered the feast so important that it was a holy day of obligation, but since the eighteenth century the feast day of St Michael ceased to be venerated as such.
Historically in the Liturgy of the Church prior to the year 1960, there were two feasts in honour of St. Michael, the other being celebrated May 8th. These feasts link back to the apparitions of St. Michael Archangel at Monte Gargano Italy, traditionally dated around AD 490-494.
Below is a link to a good explanation from the blog “Carmelite spirituality and the practice of mental prayer. http://floscarmelivitisflorigera.blogspot.com/
The first apparitions of the archangel Michael in Western Europe were granted to the Bishop of Sipontum in Apulia. Three times the Archangel appeared, nightly, the last time on September 29, 493. The Archangel indicated the transformation into a Christian church of a grotto sacred to Mithras, on Monte Tumba. Miraculously, when the bishop and companions arrived, they found that a primitive altar had already been erected, covered with a vermilion altar cloth and surmounted by a Cross; moreover, according to the legend, they found the footprint of Saint Michael in the rock. With immense joy the holy bishop offered the first divine Sacrifice. It was 29th September.
The grotto itself is the only place of worship not consecrated by human hand and over the centuries has received the title of “Celestial Basilica”
At the entry to the Basilica and shrine-built centuries ago we can read the inscription: “This is the House of God, the Gate of Heaven, St Michael himself consecrated.”
Pope Gelasius I (reigned 492-496) directed that a basilica be erected enclosing the space. The Basilica di San Giovanni in Tumba is the final resting-place of the Lombard king Rothari (d. 652).
The Lombard’s of Sipontum attributed their victory (May 8, 663) over the Greeks loyal to the Byzantine emperor to the dramatic intercession of St Michael who appeared with a flaming sword atop the mountain, in the midst of a storm on the eve of the battle, In commemoration of this victory, the church of Sipontum instituted a special feast honouring the Archangel, on May 8, which then spread throughout the Catholic Church all over the world. Since the time of Pius V it has been formalized as Apparition S. Michaelis.
Sanctuary of St. Michael: http://www.santuariosanmichele.it/?lang=en
St. Maximillian Kolbe
St. Maximilian lived in dark times and died in a very dark place, yet wherever he went he radiated the light of God’s love and mercy. His life teaches us to entrust ourselves to our loving Mother, Mary Immaculate, and through her, to bring both our souls and the souls of others to the happiness of union with God. May we like him illumine the darkness of this world by the same fire of love.
Some facts about the saint;
- As a child he had a vision of Our Lady where she showed him two crowns: one red, the other white. When asked to choose which he preferred, he chose both: to remain pure and undivided in his love for God and the Blessed Virgin, and to be a martyr.
- At age of thirteen he as inspired by Franciscan ideals
preached by two Conventual Franciscans who conducted a parish mission at his church in Pabianice in 1907. Begins novitiate 4th Sept 1910 OFM Conventual.
- He founded the “Knights of the Immaculate” in Rome on eve of October 16, 1917, year before his ordination. He was inspired “after St. Maximilian witnessed the Freemasons of Rome, as part of their 1917 bicentennial celebration, parading with signs championing the victory of Satan over the Church! In their hatred for the Church, the Freemasons actually marched right up to the doors of St. Peter’s, where the pope was a voluntary prisoner. Boldly, they displayed their banners: “Satan must reign in the Vatican. The pope will be his slave.” Kolbe: Saint of the Immaculate, edited by Bro. Francis M. Kalvelage, FI, (New Bedford: Academy of the Immaculate, 2001) p. 31.
- Established the City of the Immaculate (Niepokalanów), 1927, where the monthly magazine “Rycerz Niepokalanej” (“Knight of the Immaculate”) which he started and published 600,000 copies per issue amazing for the time.
- Established the Garden of the Immaculata, Nagasaki japan 1931
- 1941 arrested for second time by the Germans occupying Poland and sent to Auschwitz and branded prisoner #16670. There he would go on to become a martyr giving his life in exchange for another prisoner who was condemned to death by starvation.
- August 14, 1941 Fr. Maximillian’s two-week ordeal in the starvation bunker was brought to an end by a poisonous carbolic acid injection.
- June 1979, during his visit to St. Maximilian’s death chamber in Auschwitz, Pope John Paul II proclaimed him “Patron Saint of our Difficult Age.”
- October 10, 1982 Pope John Paul II proclaimed Fr. Maximillian Kolbe Saint, declaring him a “martyr of charity”.
- He is the patron Saint of drug addicts, prisoners, families, and the pro-life movement.
- His feast day is celebrated on August 14.
St. Maximilian Kolbe quotes:
“The most deadly poison of our times is indifference. And this happens, although the praise of God should know no limits. Let us strive, therefore, to praise Him to the greatest extent of our powers.”
“Modern times are dominated by Satan and will be more so in the future. The conflict with hell cannot be engaged by men, even the most clever. The Immaculata alone has from God the promise of victory over Satan. However, assumed into Heaven, the Mother of God now requires our cooperation. She seeks souls who will consecrate themselves entirely to her, who will become in her hands effective instruments for the defeat of Satan and the spreading of God’s kingdom upon earth.”
For more information ref: https://saintmaximiliankolbe.com