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Daily Catholic Question

What is the Black Madonna?

The Black Madonna is a painting, or icon, that depicts the Blessed Virgin holding the child Jesus. Enshrined at Czestochowa, Poland, it draws pilgrims from all over the country. It is held in tremendous reverence by the people of Poland and is an important national symbol.

It is called the Black Madonna because the colors of the painting have been darkened by age and by smoke damage from a fire in 1690.

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Monday, February 25, 2013
Daily Catholic Question for 2/24/2013 Daily Catholic Question for 2/26/2013


Jacopone da Todi: Jacomo, or James, was born a noble member of the Benedetti family in the northern Italian city of Todi. He became a successful lawyer and married a pious, generous lady named Vanna. 
<p>His young wife took it upon herself to do penance for the worldly excesses of her husband. One day Vanna, at the insistence of Jacomo, attended a public tournament. She was sitting in the stands with the other noble ladies when the stands collapsed. Vanna was killed. Her shaken husband was even more disturbed when he realized that the penitential girdle she wore was for his sinfulness. On the spot, he vowed to radically change his life. </p><p>He divided his possessions among the poor and entered the Secular Franciscan Order (once known as the Third Order). Often dressed in penitential rags, he was mocked as a fool and called Jacopone, or "Crazy Jim," by his former associates. The name became dear to him. </p><p>After 10 years of such humiliation, Jacopone asked to be a member of the Order of Friars Minor(First Order). Because of his reputation, his request was initially refused. He composed a beautiful poem on the vanities of the world, an act that eventually led to his admission into the Order in 1278. He continued to lead a life of strict penance, declining to be ordained a priest. Meanwhile he was writing popular hymns in the vernacular. </p><p>Jacopone suddenly found himself a leader in a disturbing religious movement among the Franciscans. The Spirituals, as they were called, wanted a return to the strict poverty of Francis. They had on their side two cardinals of the Church and Pope Celestine V. These two cardinals, though, opposed Celestine’s successor, Boniface VIII. At the age of 68, Jacopone was excommunicated and imprisoned. Although he acknowledged his mistake, Jacopone was not absolved and released until Benedict XI became pope five years later. He had accepted his imprisonment as penance. He spent the final three years of his life more spiritual than ever, weeping "because Love is not loved." During this time he wrote the famous Latin hymn, <i>Stabat Mater</i>. </p><p>On Christmas Eve in 1306 Jacopone felt that his end was near. He was in a convent of the Poor Clares with his friend, Blessed John of La Verna. Like Francis, Jacopone welcomed "Sister Death" with one of his favorite songs. It is said that he finished the song and died as the priest intoned the Gloria from the midnight Mass at Christmas. From the time of his death, Brother Jacopone has been venerated as a saint.</p> American Catholic Blog By immersing our lives in the rhythm of the season, charity can flood our souls and fill us with the happiness for which we were created. We awake Christmas morning prepared to celebrate the birth of our Savior not as a memory but as a profound experience of God’s redemptive love.

 
PICKS OF THE WEEK
New book
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New book from Mark Hart
Faith and humor from the Bible Geek in 140 characters or less. #Youwillbeblessed
New from Dr. Ray Guarendi
Dr. Ray coaches parents to make discipline less frequent, less frustrating, and more consistent!
The Pope Who Quit
Learn about Pope Celestine V and why he gave up the chair of St. Peter.
New for Lent!
Take a fresh look at Lent with St. Francis as your guide.

 
CATHOLIC GREETINGS
Birthday
May God grant you good health, good cheer and all good things today and all the days of the coming year.
Second Sunday in Lent
Lent invites us to open our hearts, minds and bodies to the grace of rebirth.
St. Margaret of Cortona
Celebrate the struggles and triumphs of single parents with an e-card of their patron saint.
Chair of St. Peter
We also honor our current pope by acknowledging that Christ chose Peter to sit in his place as the servant-authority for the people of God.
Sympathy
Grace gives us the courage to accept what we cannot change.



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