Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth has said that schools should have regular periods of Eucharistic Adoration, contemplative prayer and lectio divina in order to help pupils from Year 5 upwards to “build up a personal relationship with Jesus.”
In a pastoral letter read out in churches last weekend, Bishop Egan said every Catholic school should be “a centre of prayer, ideally with a chapel and a chaplain”. It comes after the bishop visited all 76 Catholic schools in his diocese.
The bishop said that whether the school was “independent, voluntary aided, free or academy”, the “entire curriculum should be so centred on Christ that all teaching and learning and all subject areas, especially the sciences and humanities, become interrelated and unified in him.”
The bishop also highlighted the need for practical action, acknowledging a current shortage of places in Catholic schools, and the need to attract talented people to the teaching profession.
Bishop Egan said: “We need to be innovative, to find new ways of attracting staff, encouraging our young to become teachers.”
He said: “St Paul sees teaching as a God-given vocation, something we see in the inspiring teachers we have today. So today after Mass, or when you next visit the Blessed Sacrament, please remember to pray for more vocations.”
Publicly funded Catholic schools in the Portsmouth area are currently being converted into four multi-academy trusts. The trusts will be under the patronage of four contemporary saints of mission: St Edith Stein, St Teresa of Calcutta, Blessed John Henry Newman and Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati.
Vatican to open Cause of Tyburn foundress
A London nun who saw the Eucharist turn blood-red in the hands of a priest is to be put on the road to canonisation by Pope Francis.
The Vatican has agreed to open the Cause for Mother Marie Adele Garnier, the foundress of the Tyburn Nuns.
Mother Garnier, who died in Tyburn Convent, near Marble Arch, in 1924, has been given the title Servant of God after the Congregation for the Cause of Saints concluded that there were “no obstacles” to her candidacy. The development is likely to be formally announced later this year.
The Vatican had been petitioned to open the Cause by Bishop Joseph de Metz-Noblat of Langres, France, close to where Mother Garnier grew up.
Cardinal Angelo Amato, the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, wrote to the bishop in the summer to inform him that investigations could proceed. He instructed him to establish a tribunal within his diocese to examine Mother Garnier’s life and writings.
The conclusions of the local tribunal will eventually be sent to the Vatican and scrutinised by theologians and historians ahead of the miracle needed for Mother Garnier’s beatification – when she will be given the title Blessed – and another for her canonisation, when she would be recognised as a saint.
Mother Xavier McMonagle, assistant Mother General of the Tyburn Nuns, said the nuns had sought the opening of the Cause for 20 years. “It has been a long time, but that’s not such a bad thing,” she said. “It has given us time to research her writings.”
Mother Garnier was born near Dijon in 1838. She worked as a governess and turned down a marriage proposal so that she could establish her religious order in Montmartre, Paris.
She gathered together a community of women dedicated to the perpetual – that is, non-stop – adoration of the Holy Eucharist.
The fledgling community, founded in 1898, seemed to be persecuted by the Devil: there were cases of diabolical obsession and possession, while objects were overturned, picked up and thrown around.
But it was the anti-clerical Law of Associations which caused the nuns to flee to London in 1901.
They came first to Notting Hill. Then in 1903, with the help of a cash gift, they purchased a house on the north side of Hyde Park, just yards from the site of the Tyburn gallows, on which 105 Catholic martyrs perished during the Reformation.
Today Mother Garnier’s tomb has become a place of pilgrimage for people from across the globe. Her order of contemplative Benedictine nuns – properly called the Adorers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Montmartre – has spread rapidly around the world and has opened convents in South America, Africa, France and New Zealand.
St John Paul II invited the nuns to open a convent close to the Vatican, and asked them to pray for him and his successors.
In 2012, Fr Gianmario Piga, an Italian priest, wrote a spiritual biography of the nun, in which he analysed her letters and other writings in great detail.
In his book The Path of Mother Adele Garnier, Fr Piga described her mystical experiences, which he compared to those of such contemplatives as St Teresa of Ávila and St John of the Cross.
He showed how in one letter to Abbé Charles Sauvé, a priest friend, she described how she saw the Blessed Sacrament turn to bloody flesh.
“At the moment in which the priest took a particle of the Holy Host and put it into the chalice, I raised my eyes to adore and to contemplate the holy particle,” she wrote.
“Oh, if you could know what I saw and how I am still moved and impressed by this vision,” she continued. “The fingers of the priest held not a white particle but a particle of striking red, the colour of blood and luminous at the same time … The fingers of the priest were red on the right of the particle, as from a blood stain that seemed still wet.”
Gove to give Longford lecture
The former Justice Secretary Michael Gove will deliver this year’s lecture for the Longford Trust.
Gove’s lecture, entitled “What is Really Criminal about our Justice System?”, will take place on November 16 at Church House in Westminster. It will be chaired by the Channel 4 journalist Jon Snow.
The Longford Trust was founded by supporters, friends and family of Catholic convert Lord Longford, who supported ex-prisoners.
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