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Daily Catholic Question

What is the stigmata and who has had it?

The stigmata are the marks of the wounds of Christ that appear on the bodies of believers.

Ian Wilson, in his book Stigmata: An Investigation Into the Mysterious Appearances of Christ's Wounds in Hundreds of People from Medieval Italy to Modern America, says that there have been more than 300 stigmatics since St. Francis of Assisi. Besides St. Francis, the list ranges from such well-known people as Blessed Angela of Foligno, St. Catherine of Siena and Padre Pio to Johann Jetzer, a poor farmer, and Cloretta Robinson, a Baptist girl from West Oakland, California.

Wilson concludes that the presence of the stigmata is not a guarantee of sanctity or the miraculous. He sees the phenomenon as surrounded by mystery but also sees a relationship with the phenomena of multiple personalities and hypnosis and the power of mind over matter.

Click here for the rest of today's answer

Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Daily Catholic Question for 3/19/2013 Daily Catholic Question for 3/21/2013


Philip Neri: Philip Neri was a sign of contradiction, combining popularity with piety against the background of a corrupt Rome and a disinterested clergy, the whole post-Renaissance malaise. 
<p>At an early age, he abandoned the chance to become a businessman, moved to Rome from Florence and devoted his life and individuality to God. After three years of philosophy and theology studies, he gave up any thought of ordination. The next 13 years were spent in a vocation unusual at the time—that of a layperson actively engaged in prayer and the apostolate. </p><p>As the Council of Trent (1545-63) was reforming the Church on a doctrinal level, Philip’s appealing personality was winning him friends from all levels of society, from beggars to cardinals. He rapidly gathered around himself a group of laypersons won over by his audacious spirituality. Initially they met as an informal prayer and discussion group, and also served poor people in Rome. </p><p>At the urging of his confessor, he was ordained a priest and soon became an outstanding confessor, gifted with the knack of piercing the pretenses and illusions of others, though always in a charitable manner and often with a joke. He arranged talks, discussions and prayers for his penitents in a room above the church. He sometimes led “excursions” to other churches, often with music and a picnic on the way. </p><p>Some of his followers became priests and lived together in community. This was the beginning of the Oratory, the religious institute he founded. A feature of their life was a daily afternoon service of four informal talks, with vernacular hymns and prayers. Giovanni Palestrina was one of Philip’s followers, and composed music for the services. </p><p>The Oratory was finally approved after suffering through a period of accusations of being an assembly of heretics, where laypersons preached and sang vernacular hymns! (Cardinal Newman founded the first English-speaking house of the Oratory three centuries later.) </p><p>Philip’s advice was sought by many of the prominent figures of his day. He is one of the influential figures of the Counter-Reformation, mainly for converting to personal holiness many of the influential people within the Church itself. His characteristic virtues were humility and gaiety.</p> American Catholic Blog We need do no more than we are doing at present; that is, to love divine Providence and abandon ourselves in his arms and heart.<br />—St. Padre Pio

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