Two Hearts That Faced Death Without Fear

Today’s Word:

Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. (John 14:27)

On This Date…

On April 29, 1380, Saint Catherine of Siena died in Rome at age 33. Born in 1347 with a twin sister, she had 23 older siblings. Catherine inherited piety and concern for others from her father, and from her mother, drive and determination.

Catherine was canonized in 1461. In 1970, she was the first lay person to be made a Doctor of the Church.


Ruins of Abbaye de Beauport
Brittany, France

On April 29, 2012, Norbertine Father Peter Adrian Toulorge, O.Praem., was beatified in France. Born in Normandy, France in 1757, he was ordained a priest in 1782. He joined the Norbertine Order in 1787.

During the French Revolution, Father Peter’s abbey was suppressed in 1790. He was arrested for being a priest and guillotined on October 13, 1793 at age 36.

Just before his execution, Father Peter exclaimed, “My God, I place my life in your hands! Forgive my enemies.”

In today’s Gospel, Jesus says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” Both Saint Catherine and Blessed Peter took Jesus’ words to heart.

– Father McLaughlin

Earth Day 2013

On This Date in Norbertine History…

On April 22, 1834, Abbot John Baptist L’Ecuy, O.Praem., died in Paris at age 94. He entered the Abbey of Prémontré at age 20. He served as Abbot from 1780 until 1791 when the abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution. He was the last abbot of Prémontré.

Abbot L’Ecuy’s heart is kept next to the tomb of Saint Norbert in Strahov Abbey in Prague, Czech Republic. His remains are in the Norbertine Abbey of Mondaye in Normandy, France.

On April 22, 1945, Father Bernard David, O.Praem., died in the prison camp at Terezin at age 29. He had entered the Norbertine Abbey of Zeliv in the Czech Republic at age 21 and was ordained a priest at age 26. He was arrested by the Gestapo on February 20, 1945.

His fellow prisoners spoke about his extraordinary love of neighbor and his great patience. He is listed among the group of martyrs of the 20th century, compiled at the request of Pope John Paul II.

Today’s Word:

I came that they might have life and have it more abundantly.
(John 10:10)

On April 22, 1970, Earth Day was first held in San Francisco, California. In 1979, Pope John Paul II named Saint Francis of Assisi as patron of ecology, calling him “an example of genuine and deep respect for the integrity of creation.”

In today’s Gospel, Jesus says, “I came that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” May we care for the abundant life on God’s good earth, and one day experience eternal life with Abbot John Baptist L’Ecuy and Father Bernard David, O.Praem.

– Father McLaughlin

Founding of the Catholic Diocese of Philadelphia & Feast of Saint Julie Billiart

Archidioecesis Philadelphiensis

Archidioecesis Philadelphiensis

On This Date…

On April 8, 1808, Pope Pius VII established the Catholic Diocese of Philadelphia, which included all of Pennsylvania, Delaware, and the southern half of New Jersey. Eleven diocese now serve this area. Eight of them are in Pennsylvania.

Today’s Word:

I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word. (Luke 1:38)

On this date in 1816, Sister Juliet Billiart died at age 65. She was canonized in 1969. Her postulator, or guide, through the canonization process was former Norbertine Abbot General Hubert Noots.

Founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur

Sister Julie Billiart

Sister Julie Billiart was born into a peasant family in Picardy, France in the late 18th century. At age 7, she began teaching catechism to small children in her town. At age 14, she devoted herself to works of mercy and teaching her poor neighbors.

After the French Revolution, Sister Billiart founded a congregation of Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. Despite her failing health, she established 15 new convents before her death.

Notre Dame nuns established both the Academy of Notre Dame in Villanova, PA, and Notre Dame High School in Moylan, PA.

In today’s Gospel, Mary of Nazareth says to the Angel Gabriel, “I am the haidmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”

Let us take these words to heart, as Saint Julie Billiart did.

– Father McLaughlin