Monthly Archives: January 2015

Happy 259th Birthday, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart!

27 January 2015

AVE VERUM CORPUS


In April of 1791, Leopold Hofmann, who was Kapellmeister at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, fell gravely ill. Mozart, who had never been an avid composer of sacred music, nonetheless saw an opportunity to enhance his income, and maneuvered to succeed Hofmann. Towards this end, he turned his attentions again to sacred music, culminating ultimately with his Requiem. (As it happens, Hofmann survived Mozart, and died in 1793.)

Mozart set the Eucharistic hymn Ave Verum Corpus in June 1791. This setting was dedicated to his friend, Anton Stoll, who was chorus master of the parish church in Baden, and it was first performed in Baden at the Feast of Corpus Christi.

It is possible that Mozart set this hymn, mindful of the Imperial ban on elaborate concerted music, or it is possible that he was working with the limitations of Stoll’s choir. One way or another, his setting is remarkable for its compact simplicity. There are a mere forty-six bars of music, with orchestral writing that serves to provide introduction, transition, and ending, and double the choral parts. The choral setting is simplicity itself, with the choir mostly singing the same text at the same time. This direct approach would suited a reform-minded Austria where textual clarity and brevity were all-important in church music.

Mozart’s setting is far from pedestrian or undistinguished. (It actually isn’t even complete; the text below includes the last two verses, which Mozart omitted from his setting.) There is an unusual modulation from D major to F major at the text, “whose side was pierced, whence flowed water and blood,”, and the simplicity is the sort that Artur Schnabel famously described as too simple for children and too difficult for adults (after all, simple music like this exposes any lapses of rhythm, intonation, or ensemble). And the music seems to encompass a universe of feeling in forty-six short bars.
Source:James C.S. Liu, M.D.

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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Born on January 27, 1756 in Salzburg, Austria, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a multi-instrumentalist who started playing in public at the age of 6. Over the years, Mozart aligned himself with a variety of variety of European venues and patrons, composing hundreds of works that included sonatas, symphonies, Masses, concertos and operas, marked by vivid emotion and sophisticated textures.


Early Life

Central Europe in the mid-18th century was going through a period of transition. The remnants of the Holy Roman Empire had divided into small semi-self-governing principalities. The result was competing rivalries between these municipalities for identity and recognition. Political leadership of small city-states like Salzburg, Vienna, and Prague was in the hands of the aristocracy and their wealth would commission artists and musicians to amuse, inspire, and entertain. The music of the Renaissance and Baroque periods was transitioning toward more full-bodied compositions with complex instrumentation. The small city-state of Salzburg would be the birthplace of one of the most talented and prodigious musical composers of all time.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s was the sole-surviving son of Leopold and Maria Pertl Mozart. Leopold was a successful composer, violinist, and assistant concert master at the Salzburg court. Wolfgang’s mother, Anna Maria Pertl, was born to a middle class family of local community leaders. His only sister was Maria Anna (knick-named “Nannerl”). With their father’s encouragement and guidance, they both were introduced to music at an early age. Leopold started Nannerl on keyboard when she was seven, as three-year old Wolfgang looked on. Mimicking her playing, Wolfgang quickly began to show a strong understanding of chords, tonality, and tempo. Soon, he too was being tutored by his father.

Leopold was a devoted and task-oriented teacher to both his children. He made the lessons fun, but also insisted on a strong work ethic and perfection. Fortunately, both children excelled well in these areas. Recognizing their special talents, Leopold devoted much of his time to their education in music as well as other subjects. Wolfgang soon showed signs of excelling beyond his father’s teachings with an early composition at age five and demonstrating outstanding ability on the clavinet and the violin.

In 1762, Wolfgang’s father took Nannerl, now age eleven, and Wolfgang, age six to the court of Bavaria in Munich in what was to become the first of several European “tours.” The siblings traveled to the courts of Paris, London, The Hague, and Zurich performing as child prodigies. Wolfgang met a number of accomplished musicians and became familiar with their works. Particularity important was his meeting with Johann Christian Bach (Johann Sebastian Bach’s youngest son) in London who had a strong influence on Wolfgang. The trips were long and often arduous, traveling in primitive conditions and waiting for invitations and reimbursements from the nobility. Frequently, Wolfgang and other members of his family fell seriously ill and had to limit their performance schedule.

 

Budding Young Composer

In December, 1769, Wolfgang, then age 13, and his father departed from Salzburg for Italy, leaving his mother and sister at home. It seems that by this time Nannerl’s professional music career was over. She was nearing marriageable age and according to the custom of the time, she was no longer permitted to show her artistic talent in public. The Italian outing was longer than the others (1769-1771) as Leopold wanted to display his son’s abilities as a performer and composer to as many new audiences as possible. While in Rome, Wolfgang heard Gregorio Allegri’s Miserere performed once in the Sistine Chapel. He wrote out the entire score from memory, returning only to correct a few minor errors. During this time Wolfgang also wrote a new opera, Mitridate, re di Ponto for the court of Milan. Other commissions followed and in subsequent trips to Italy, Wolfgang wrote two other operas, Ascanio in Alba (1771) and Lucio Silla (1772).

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his father returned from their last stay in Italy in March, 1773. His father’s benefactor, Archbishop von Schrattenbach had died and was succeeded by Hieronymus von Colleredo. Upon their return, the new archbishop appointed young Mozart as assistant concertmaster with a small salary. During this time, young Mozart had the opportunity to work in several different musical genres composing symphonies, string quartets, sonatas and serenades and a few operas. He developed a passion for violin concertos producing what came to be the only five he wrote. In 1776, he turned his efforts toward piano concertos, culminating in the Piano Concerto Number 9 in E flat major in early 1777. Wolfgang had just turned 21.

Despite his success with the compositions, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was growing discontent with his position as assistant concert master and the confining environment of Salzburg. He was ambitious and believed he could do more somewhere else. Archbishop von Colloredo was becoming inpatient with the young genius’s complaining and immature attitude. In August 1777, Mozart set out on a trip to find more prosperous employment. The archbishop wouldn’t give Leopold permission to travel, so Anna Maria accompanied Wolfgang on his quest to the cities of Mannheim, Paris and Munich. There were several employment positions that initially proved promising, but all eventually fell through. He began to run out of funds and had to pawn several valuable personal items to pay traveling and living expenses. The lowest point of the trip was when his mother fell ill and died on July 3, 1778. After hearing the news of his wife’s death, Leopold negotiated a better post for his son as court organist in Salzburg and Wolfgang returned soon after.

Making it in Vienna

Back in Salzburg in 1779, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart produced a series of church works, including the Coronation Mass. He also composed another opera for Munich, Ideomeneo in 1781. In March of that year, Mozart was summoned to Vienna by Archbishop von Colloredo, who was attending the accession of Joseph II to the Austrian throne.

The Archbishop’s cool reception toward Mozart offended him. He was treated as a mere servant, quartered with the help, and forbidden from performing before the Emperor for a fee equal to half his yearly salary in Salzburg. A quarrel ensued and Mozart offered to resign his post. The Archbishop refused at first, but then relented with an abrupt dismissal and physical removal from the Archbishop’s presence. Mozart decided to settle in Vienna as a freelance performer and composer and for a time lived with friends at the home of Fridolin Weber.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart quickly found work in Vienna, taking on pupils, writing music for publication, and playing in several concerts. He also began writing an opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio). In the summer of 1781, it was rumored that Mozart was contemplating marriage to Fridolin Weber’s daughter, Constanze. Knowing his father would disapprove of the marriage and the interruption in his career, young Mozart quickly wrote his father denying any idea of marriage. But by December, he was asking for his father’s blessings. While it’s known that Leopold disapproved, what is not known is the discussion between father and son as Leopold’s letters were said to be destroyed by Constanze. However, later correspondence from Wolfgang indicated that he and his father disagreed considerably on this matter. He was in love with Constanze and the marriage was being strongly encouraged by her mother, so in some sense, he felt committed. The couple was finally married on August 4, 1782. In the meantime, Leopold did finally consent to the marriage. Constanze and Wolfgang had six children, though only two survived infancy, Karl Thomas and Franz Xaver.

As 1782 turned to 1783, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart became enthralled with the work of Johannes Sebastian Bach and George Frederic Handel and this, in turn, resulted in several compositions in the Baroque style and influenced much of his later compositions, such as passages in Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute) and the finale of Symphony Number 41. During this time, Mozart met Joseph Haydn and the two composers became admiring friends. When Haydn visited Vienna, they sometimes performed impromptu concerts with string quartets. Between 1782 and 1785 Mozart wrote six quartets dedicated to Haydn.

European Fame

The opera Die Entführung enjoyed immediate and continuing success and bolstered Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s name and talent throughout Europe. With the substantial returns from concerts and publishing, he and Constanze enjoyed a lavish lifestyle. They lived in one of the more exclusive apartment buildings of Vienna, sent their son, Karl Thomas, to an expensive boarding school, kept servants, and maintained a busy social life. In 1783, Mozart and Constanze traveled Salzburg, to visit his father and sister. The visit was somewhat cool, as Leopold was still a reluctant father-in-law and Nannerl was a dutiful daughter. But the stay promoted Mozart to begin writing a mass in C Minor, of which only the first two sections, “Kyrie” and “Gloria,” were completed.

From 1782-1785, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart divided his time between self-produced concerts as soloist, presenting three to four new piano concertos in each season. Theater space for rent in Vienna was sometimes hard to come by, so Mozart booked himself in unconventional venues such as large rooms in apartment buildings and ballrooms of expensive restaurants. The year 1784, proved the most prolific in Mozart’s performance life. During one five-week period, he appeared in 22 concerts, including five he produced and performed as the soloist. In a typical concert, he would play a selection of existing and improvisational pieces and his various piano concertos. Other times he would conduct performances of his symphonies. The concerts were very well attended as Mozart enjoyed a unique connection with his audiences who were, in the words of Mozart biographer Maynard Solomon, “given the opportunity of witnessing the transformation and perfection of a major musical genre.” During this time, Mozart also began to keep a catalog of his own music, perhaps indicating an awareness of his place in musical history.

By the mid 1780s, Wolfgang and Constanze Mozart’s extravagant lifestyle was beginning to take its toll. Despite his success as a pianist and composer, Mozart was falling into serious financial difficulties. Mozart associated himself with aristocratic Europeans and felt he should live like one. He figured that the best way to attain a more stable and lucrative income would be through court appointment. However, this wouldn’t be easy with the court’s musical preference bent toward Italian composers and the influence of Kapellmeister Antonio Salieri. Mozart’s relationship with Salieri has been the subject of speculation and legend. Letters written between Mozart and his father, Leonardo, indicate that the two felt a rivalry for and mistrust of the Italian musicians in general and Salieri in particular. Decades after Mozart’s death, rumors spread that Salieri had poisoned him. This rumor was made famous in 20th century playwright Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus and in the 1984 film of the same name by director Milos Foreman. But in truth there is no basis for this speculation. Though both composers were often in contention for the same job and public attention, there is little evidence that their relationship was anything beyond a typical professional rivalry. Both admired each other’s work and at one point even collaborated on a cantata for voice and piano called Per la recuperate salute di Ophelia.

Toward the end of 1785, Mozart met the librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte, a Venetian composer and poet and together they collaborated on the opera The Marriage of Figaro. It received a successful premier in Vienna in 1786 and was even more warmly received in Prague later that year. This triumph led to a second collaboration with Da Ponte on the opera Don Giovanni which premiered in 1787 to high acclaim in Prague. Noted for their musical complexity, the two operas are among Mozart’s most important works and are mainstays in operatic repertoire today. Both compositions feature the wicked nobleman, though Figaro is presented more in comedy and portrays strong social tension. Perhaps the central achievement of both operas lies in their ensembles with their close link between music and dramatic meaning.

Later Years

In December, 1787, Emperor Joseph II appointed Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as his “chamber composer,” a post that had opened up with the death of Gluck. The gesture was as much an honor bestowed on Mozart as it was incentive to keep the esteemed composer from leaving Vienna for greener pastures. It was a part-time appointment with low pay, but it required Mozart only to compose dances for the annual balls. The modest income was a welcome windfall for Mozart, who was struggling with debt, and provided him the freedom to explore more of his personal musical ambitions.

Toward the end of the 1780s, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s fortunes began to grow worse. He was performing less and his income shrank. Austria was at war and both the affluence of the nation and the ability of the aristocracy to support the arts had declined. By mid-1788, Mozart moved his family from central Vienna to the suburb of Alsergrund, for what would seem to be a way of reducing living costs. But in reality, his family expenses remained high and the new dwelling only provided more room. Mozart began to borrow money from friends, though he was almost always able to promptly repay when a commission or concert came his way. During this time he wrote his last three symphonies and the last of the three Da Ponte operas, Cosi fan tutte, which premiered in 1790. During this time, Mozart ventured long distances from Vienna to Leipzig, Berlin, and Frankfurt, and other German cities hoping to revive his once great success and the family’s financial situation, but did neither. The two-year period of 1788-1789 was a low point for Mozart, experiencing in his own words “black thoughts” and deep depression. Historians believe he may have had a cyclothymiacs personality with manic-depressive tendencies, which might explain the periods of hysteria coupled with spells of hectic creativity.

Between 1790 and 1791, now in his mid-thirties, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart went through a period of great music productivity and personal healing. Some of his most admired works—the opera The Magic Flute, the final piano concerto in B-flat, the Clarinet Concerto in A minor, and the unfinished Requiem to name a few—were written during this time. Mozart was able to revive much of his public notoriety with repeated performances of his works. His financial situation began to improve as wealthy patrons in Hungary and Amsterdam pledged annuities in return for occasional compositions.

From this turn of fortune, he was able to pay off many of his debts.

However, during this time both Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s mental and physical health was deteriorating. In September, 1791, he was in Prague for the premier of the opera La clemenza di Tito, which he was commissioned to produce for the coronation of Leopold II as King of Bohemia. Mozart recovered briefly to conduct the Prague premier of The Magic Flute, but fell deeper into illness in November and was confined to bed. Constanze and her sister Sophie came to his side to help nurse him back to health, but Mozart was mentally preoccupied with finishing Requiem, and their efforts were in vain.


Death and Legacy

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died on December 5, 1791 at age 35. The cause of death is uncertain, due to the limits of postmortem diagnosis. Officially, the record lists the cause as severe miliary fever, referring to a skin rash that looks like millet seeds. The most widely accepted hypothesis, however was that Mozart died of acute rheumatic fever, a disease he suffered from repeatedly throughout his life. It was reported that his funeral drew few mourners and he was buried in a common grave. Both actions were the Viennese custom at the time, for only aristocrats and nobility enjoyed public mourning and were allowed to be buried in marked graves. However, his memorial services and concerts in Vienna and Prague were well attended. After his death, Constanze sold many of his unpublished manuscripts to undoubtedly pay off the family’s large debts. She was able to obtain a pension from the Emperor and organized several profitable memorial concerts in Mozart’s honor. From these efforts, Constanze was able to gain some financial security for herself and allowing her to send her children to private schools.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s death came at a young age, even for the time period. Yet his meteoric rise to fame and accomplishment at a very early age is reminiscent of more contemporary musical artists whose star had burned out way too soon. At the time of his death, Mozart was considered one of the greatest composers of all time. His music presented a bold expression, often times complex and dissonant, and required high technical mastery from the musicians who performed it. His works remained secure and popular throughout the 19th century, as biographies were written and his music enjoyed constant performances and renditions by other musicians. His work influenced many composers that followed—most notably Beethoven—in its complexity and depth. Along with his friend Joseph Haydn, Mozart conceived and perfected the grand forms of symphony, opera, string ensemble, and concerto that marked the classical period. In particular, his operas display an uncanny psychological insight, unique to music at the time, and continue to exert a particular fascination for musicians and music lovers today.

Source: Biography.com A+E Networks.


The Self-Help Saint for Today’s Less Than Selfless World

24 January 2015

“Have patience with all things, But, first of all with yourself.” Saint Francis de Sales

24 January 2015 A.D.
Posted by Sofia Guerra

Saint Francis de Sales

The Patron Saint of Writers and Journalists

414px-Saint_francois_de_salesBishop of Geneva, Doctor of the Universal Church; born at Thorens, in the Duchy of Savoy, 21 August, 1567; died at Lyons, 28 December, 1622.

His father, François de Sales de Boisy, and his mother, Françoise de Sionnaz, belonged to old Savoyard aristocratic families.

The future saint was the eldest of six brothers. His father intended him for the magistracy and sent him at an early age to the colleges of La Roche and Annecy. From 1583 till 1588 he studied rhetoric and humanities at the college of Clermont, Paris, under the care of the Jesuits. While there he began a course of theology. After a terrible and prolonged temptation to despair, caused by the discussions of the theologians of the day on the question of predestination, from which he was suddenly freed as he knelt before a miraculous image of Our Lady at St. Etienne-des-Grès, he made a vow of chastity and consecrated himself to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

In 1588 he studied law at Padua, where the Jesuit Father Possevin was his spiritual director. He received his diploma of doctorate from the famous Pancirola in 1592. Having been admitted as a lawyer before the senate of Chambéry, he was about to be appointed senator. His father had selected one of the noblest heiresses of Savoy to be the partner of his future life, but Francis declared his intention of embracing the ecclesiastical life. A sharp struggle ensued. His father would not consent to see his expectations thwarted. Then Claude de Granier, Bishop of Geneva, obtained for Francis, on his own initiative, the position of Provost of the Chapter of Geneva, a post in the patronage of the pope. It was the highest office in the diocese, M. de Boisy yielded and Francis received Holy Orders (1593).

From the time of the Reformation the seat of the Bishopric of Geneva had been fixed at Annecy. There with apostolic zeal, the new provost devoted himself to preaching, hearing confessions, and the other work of his ministry. In the following year (1594) he volunteered to evangelize Le Chablais, where the Genevans had imposed the Reformed Faith, and which had just been restored to the Duchy of Savoy. He made his headquarters in the fortress of Allinges. Risking his life, he journeyed through the entire district, preaching constantly; by dint of zeal, learning, kindness and holiness he at last obtained a hearing. He then settled in Thonon, the chief town. He confuted the preachers sent by Geneva to oppose him; he converted the syndic and several prominent Calvinists. At the request of the pope, Clement VIII, he went to Geneva to interview Theodore Beza, who was called the Patriarch of the Reformation. The latter received him kindly and seemed for a while shaken, but had not the courage to take the final steps. A large part of the inhabitants of Le Chablais returned to the true fold (1597 and 1598). Claude de Granier then chose Francis as his coadjutor, in spite of his refusal, and sent him to Rome (1599).

Pope Clement VIII ratified the choice; but he wished to examine the candidate personally, in presence of the Sacred College. The improvised examination was a triumph for Francis. “Drink, my son”, said the Pope to him. “from your cistern, and from your living wellspring; may your waters issue forth, and may they become public fountains where the world may quench its thirst.” The prophesy was to be realized. On his return from Rome the religious affairs of the territory of Gex, a dependency of France, necessitated his going to Paris. There the coadjutor formed an intimate friendship with Cardinal de Bérulle, Antoine Deshayes, secretary of Henry IV, and Henry IV himself, who wished “to make a third in this fair friendship” (être de tiers dans cette belle amitié). The king made him preach the Lent at Court, and wished to keep him in France. He urged him to continue, by his sermons and writings, to teach those souls that had to live in the world how to have confidence in God, and how to be genuinely and truly pious – graces of which he saw the great necessity.

495px-Franz_von_Sales_Bischofswappen

On the death of Claude de Granier, Francis was consecrated Bishop of Geneva (1602). His first step was to institute catechetical instructions for the faithful, both young and old. He made prudent regulations for the guidance of his clergy. He carefully visited the parishes scattered through the rugged mountains of his diocese. He reformed the religious communities. His goodness, patience and mildness became proverbial. He had an intense love for the poor, especially those who were of respectable family. His food was plain, his dress and his household simple. He completely dispensed with superfluities and lived with the greatest economy, in order to be able to provide more abundantly for the wants of the needy. He heard confessions, gave advice, and preached incessantly. He wrote innumerable letters (mainly letters of direction) and found time to publish the numerous works mentioned below.

Together with St. Jane Frances de Chantal, he founded (1607) the Institute of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin, for young girls and widows who, feeling themselves called to the religious life, have not sufficient strength, or lack inclination, for the corporal austerities of the great orders. His zeal extended beyond the limits of his own diocese. He delivered the Lent and Advent discourses which are still famous – those at Dijon (1604), where he first met the Baroness de Chantal; at Chambéry (1606); at Grenoble (1616, 1617, 1618), where he converted the Maréchal de Lesdiguières. During his last stay in Paris (November, 1618, to September, 1619) he had to go into the pulpit each day to satisfy the pious wishes of those who thronged to hear him. “Never”, said they, “have such holy, such apostolic sermons been preached.” He came into contact here with all the distinguished ecclesiastics of the day, and in particular with St. Vincent de Paul. His friends tried energetically to induce him to remain in France, offering him first the wealthy Abbey of Ste. Geneviève and then the coadjutor-bishopric of Paris, but he refused all to return to Annecy.

In 1622 he had to accompany the Court of Savoy into France. At Lyons he insisted on occupying a small, poorly furnished room in a house belonging to the gardener of the Visitation Convent. There, on 27 December, he was seized with apoplexy. He received the last sacraments and made his profession of faith, repeating constantly the words: “God’s will be done! Jesus, my God and my all!” He died next day, in the fifty-sixth year of his age. Immense crowds flocked to visit his remains, which the people of Lyons were anxious to keep in their city. With much difficulty his body was brought back to Annecy, but his heart was left at Lyons. A great number of wonderful favours have been obtained at his tomb in the Visitation Convent of Annecy. His heart, at the time of the French Revolution, was carried by the Visitation nuns from Lyons to Venice, where it is venerated to-day. St. Francis de Sales was beatified in 1661, and canonized by Alexander VII in 1665; he was proclaimed Doctor of the Universal Church by Pope Pius IX, in 1877.

 

The following is a list of the principal works of the holy Doctor:

(1) “Controversies”, leaflets which the zealous missioner scattered among the inhabitants of Le Chablais in the beginning, when t hese people did not venture to come and hear him preach. They form a complete proof of the Catholic Faith. In the first part, the author defends the authority of the Church, and in the second and third parts, the rules of faith, which were not observed by the heretical ministers. The primacy of St. Peter is amply vindicated.

(2) “Defense of the Standard of the Cross”, a demonstration of the virtue

  • of the True Cross;
  • of the Crucifix;
  • of the Sign of the Cross;
  • an explanation of the Veneration of the Cross.

(3) “An Introduction to the Devout Life“, a work intended to lead “Philothea”, the soul living in the world, into the paths of devotion, that is to say, of true and solid piety. Every one should strive to become pious, and “it is an error, it is even a heresy”, to hold that piety is incompatible with any state of life. In the first part the author helps the soul to free itself from all inclination to, or affection for, sin; in the second, he teaches it how to be united to God by prayer and the sacraments; in the third, he exercises it in the practice of virtue; in the fourth, he strengthens it against temptation; in the fifth, he teaches it how to form its resolutions and to persevere. The “Introduction”, which is a masterpiece of psychology, practical morality, and common sense, was translated into nearly every language even in the lifetime of the author, and it has since gone through innumerable editions.

(4) “Treatise on the Love of God”, an authoritative work which reflects perfectly the mind and heart of Francis de Sales as a great genius and a great saint. It contains twelve books. The first four give us a history, or rather explain the theory, of Divine love, its birth in the soul, its growth, its perfection, and its decay and annihilation; the fifth book shows that this love is twofold – the love of complacency and the love of benevolence; the sixth and seventh treat of affective love, which is practised in prayer; the eight and ninth deal with effective love, that is, conformity to the will of God, and submission to His good pleasure. The last three resume what has preceded and teach how to apply practically the lessons taught therein.

(5) “Spiritual Conferences”; familiar conversations on religious virtues addressed to the sisters of the Visitation and collected by them. We find in them that practical common sense, keenness of perception and delicacy of feeling which were characteristic of the kind-hearted and energetic Saint.

(6) “Sermons”. – These are divided into two classes: those composed previously to his consecration as a bishop, and which he himself wrote out in full; and the discourses he delivered when a bishop, of which, as a rule, only outlines and synopses have been preserved. Some of the latter, however, were taken down in extenso by his hearers. Pius IX, in his Bull proclaiming him Doctor of the Church calls the Saint “The Master and Restorer of Sacred Eloquence”. He is one of those who at the beginning of the seventeenth century formed the beautiful French language; he foreshadows and prepares the way for the great sacred orators about to appear. He speaks simply, naturally, and from his heart. To speak well we need only love well, was his maxim. His mind was imbued with the Holy Writings, which he comments, and explains, and applies practically with no less accuracy than grace.

(7) “Letters”, mostly letters of direction, in which the minister of God effaces himself and teaches the soul to listen to God, the only true director. The advice given is suited to all the circumstances and necessities of life and to all persons of good will. While trying to efface his own personality in these letters, the saint makes himself known to us and unconsciously discovers to us the treasures of his soul.

(8) A large number of very precious treatises or opuscula.

Migne (5 vols., quarto) and Vivès (12 vols., octavo, Paris) have edited the works of St. Francis de Sales. But the    edition which we may call definitive was published at Annecy in 1892, by the English Benedictine, Dom Mackey: a work remarkable for its typographical execution, the brilliant criticism that settles the text, the large quantity of hitherto unedited matter, and the interesting study accompanying each volume. Dom Mackey published twelve volumes. Father Navatel, S.J., is continuing the work. We may give here a brief résumé of the spiritual teaching contained in these works, of which the Church has said: “The writings of Francis de Sales, filled with celestial doctrine are a bright light in the Church, pointing out to souls an easy and safe way to arrive at the perfection of a Christian life.” (Breviarium Romanum, 29 January, lect. VI.)

There are two elements in the spiritual life: first, a struggle against our lower nature; secondly, union of our wills with God, in other words, penance and love. St. Francis de Sales looks chiefly to love. Not that he neglects penance, which is absolutely necessary, but he wishes it to be practised from a motive of love. He requires mortification of the senses, but he relies first on mortification of the mind, the will, and the heart. This interior mortification he requires to be unceasing and always accompanied by love. The end to be realized is a life of loving, simple, generous, and constant fidelity to the will of God, which is nothing else than our present duty. The model proposed is Christ, whom we must ever keep before our eyes. “You will study His countenance, and perform your actions as He did” (Introd., 2nd part, ch. i). The practical means of arriving at this perfection are: remembrance of the presence of God, filial prayer, a right intention in all our actions, and frequent recourse to God by pious and confiding ejaculations and interior aspirations.

Besides the Institute of the Visitation, which he founded, the nineteenth century has seen associations of the secular clergy and pious laymen, and several religious congregations, formed under the patronage of the holy Doctor. Among them we may mention the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales, of Annecy; the Salesians, founded at Turin by the Venerable Don Bosco, specially devoted to the Christian and technical education of the children of the poorer classes; the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, established at Troyes (France) by Father Brisson, who try to realize in the religious and priestly life the spirit of the holy Doctor, such as we have described it, and such as he bequeathed it to the nuns of the Visitation.

St. Francois de Sales giving the Rule of the Visitation to St. Jeanne de Chantal. Painting by Noël Hallé

St. Francois de Sales giving the Rule of the Visitation to St. Jeanne de Chantal. Painting by Noël Hallé

MACKEY, OEuvres de St François de Sales (Annecy, 1892-); CHARLES-AUGUSTE DE SALES, Histoire du Bienheureux François de Sales (2nd ed., Paris, 1885); CAMUS, Esprit de S. François de Sales (2d ed., Paris, 1833); and in Collection S. Honore d’Eylau (Paris, 1904); Vie de S. François de Sales by HAMON (Paris); PÉRENNÈS (Paris); DE MARGERIE (Paris); STROWSKI, St. François de Sales (Paris); Annales Salesiennes in Revu Mensuelle (Paris, 1906, etc.). MACKEY has given an English translation of the Letters to Persons in the World, and of the Letters to Persons in Religion (London); he has also published noteworthy articles on St. Francis de Sales as an Orator (London) and St. Francis de Sales as a Director in Am. Eccl. Rev. (1898).

RAPHAEL PERNIN (Catholic Encyclopedia)

Source Material: Nobility.org


Lizzie B on Not Surviving Roe v. Wade

22 January 2015

Elizabeth Westhoff’s short but insightful take on “surviving” Roe v. Wade:

survived roeToday is the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade. Nearly one million people will be marching in Washington, D.C. today to show their disagreement with the decision. There will be thousands of signs protesting the murder of the victims of this law, posters of cherubic babies asking that their brothers and sisters in the womb be spared, tiny gold and silver feet pinned to lapels, and banners stating “I survived Roe v. Wade.”

I don’t like that last one. I was born in 1974, so I am part of the group that supposedly “survived Roe v. Wade.” It seems to me, by stating you survived Roe v. Wade, there was a chance you wouldn’t have survived, that your mother considered aborting you. My mother did not consider aborting me.

Read more at Elizabeth’s blog, Pop Culture Catholic, on the blog of the Archdiocese of St. Louis’, Virtual Vestibule.


Elizabeth Westhoff is the Director of Marketing and Mission Awareness for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter

 

LizzieB

Jersey Girl reflects on becoming a Packers Fan – Yes, the Catholic Faith is the reason!

18 January 2015

 

After many a senseless debacle for the Packers at the hands of referees, (who are neither experienced enough for the NFL or are rooting personally for a team) I decided that the pain I was feeling is the true pain of a Packer fan. My newly acquired (at that time) Green and Gold blood needed to remember why I love football so much.

This post is special to me and I hope you will read it for the first time or AGAIN and let me know if indeed I am just a silly Jersey Girl or I have grown up now since I made the big move to Wisconsin. Enjoy and please comment (yes, you can vent in the combox about the ridiculous scenario the NFL has gotten itself into with this officiating nonsense.)


Having been born and bred on the Jersey Shore there was never a question which football team one would root for. The NY Football Giants (as they are affectionately known by locals; not to be confused with the long-defunct NY Baseball Giants now residing in San Fran) were the first kids on the block with the Jets coming along later for the younger set.

My Dad took me to Yankee Stadium to see my first Giant game (nope, not telling the year!) and I was hooked by Big Blue.

Now, I must say there were many lean years of being a long-suffering Giant fan, but we were finally rewarded with Lawrence Taylor, Phil Sims and a Super Bowl. Four years ago, defeating the hated Patriots and Tom “I’m too good for myself” Brady in one of the most exciting Super Bowl game’s ever made me proud to have hung in there for so many years.

I do have a confession to make though… I have been a secret Green Bay Packers fan the whole time. Whenever the Giants played the Pack I would root unethusiastically for the Giants. My Dad, even though he was a de facto Giants fan always talked about the great Vince Lombardi and Lambeau Field. He loved the Packers so much that the one and only time he came with us to the beach (thank goodness it was only once!) he built us a sand castle rendition of Lambeau Field! Some Giants fan.

One fall day when we were raking leaves before kickoff time I asked my Dad why he loved the Packers if he was a Giant fan. He told me about Vince Lombardi, how humble the Packer organization is and in particular how great the people of Wisconsin are.

He told me he heard Lombardi interviewed once years ago when he was the Defensive Coach of the NY Giants (before becoming the Packer coach) and that Lombardi had said when he asked where he got his philosophy and strength. Lombardi said, “I derived my strength from daily Mass and Communion.”

That was it for my Dad and for me. He knew this was the guy and he would love the team that this guy worked for. So, Lombardi started out with the Giants (ahem) and then went to Green Bay and the rest is history. Please read a bio of Vince Lombardi and some of his inspiring quotes here: This is a webpage sponsored by the family of Vince Lombardi.

Interesting thing: Half of my family is buried in a Catholic cemetery in Middletown, NJ. Lombardi is buried there with his wife and other family even though he was from Brooklyn. When my Dad went to the cemetery to make his visits, he said he always had to stop and see his friend Vince. Until I wrote this post I never knew the “Vince” he spoke about was the great Lombardi. Now, I really get it.

Last year when the Packers marched to the Super Bowl I was truly happy. My Dad was still talking about the great Lombardi and Aaron Rodgers was a quarterback all of football found classy. I still rooted for the Giants but I was relieved when it was evident they weren’t going anywhere. I was free to root for the Pack! So this Jersey girl was a cheesehead in her last days living on the Jersey Shore.

Then, Divine Providence opened a door for me and I was moving to Wisconsin!!! Long story, saving that for another post! Anyway, here I was going to the land of the Packers, great cheese and cold! Well, it’s really a terrific place, everybody in America should visit WI…the people, well…here’s the post I’m reprinting and it will tell why the Packers are so beloved and why the Wisconsin people are so special…
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“Maybe the Only Truly Romantic Thing Left in American Sports: The Green Bay Packers”

(This article was in The Desert News, the Salt Lake City newspaper.)

Seriously, America, what’s not to like about the Green Bay Packers? What’s not to like about a small-town team that is not only surviving, but thriving in the billion-dollar business of professional football?

There is nothing like them in professional sports. Think about what an oddity they are. Teams have come and gone in the NFL in a continuous game of musical chairs–the Baltimore Colts moved to Indianapolis, the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore, the Oakland Raiders to L.A. and back to Oakland, the Cardinals from Chicago to St. Louis to Phoenix, the Los Angeles Rams to St. Louis …

But the Packers have stayed in tiny Green Bay, Wisconsin, since their birth in 1919. America ‘s second biggest city, Los Angeles, with a population of 4 million, doesn’t even have a franchise, but Green Bay , with a population of 101,000, does. It’s like plunking down a team in the middle of Sandy , Utah . They are the smallest market in pro sports. Green Bay ‘s metro area–if you stretch the definition of “metro”–is 283,000. Buffalo, the next smallest in sports, has 1.1 million. New York City has 8.5 million in the city limits alone, 19 million in the metro area.

What’s not to like about a team that was dreamed up during a street-corner conversation one day? Curly Lambeau, a former Green Bay prep star and Notre Dame football player, hatched the idea and convinced his employer, the Indian Packing Company, to buy uniforms and provide a practice field. In turn, the team called itself the Packers. Lambeau was the team’s first star player (for 11 years) and its first coach (for 30 years) and–you’ve got to like this–he pioneered the forward pass in the NFL.

What’s not to like about the last small-town survivor of the National Football League? In the early ’20s, the fledgling NFL consisted almost entirely of small-town teams like Green Bay–the Decatur Staleys, Akron Pros, Canton Bulldogs, Muncie Flyers, Rochester Jeffersons, Rock Island Independents. But as the league turned fully to professionalism, those teams either folded or moved to big cities for bigger profits. Green Bay found a way to keep the Packers–the community bought them.

What’s not to like about a team that is owned by its fans? The Packers are the only publicly owned team in professional sports… There’s no Jerry Jones, George Steinbrenner, or Daniel Snyder in Green Bay . The other teams have one very rich, often reviled, owner; the Packers have 112,000 shareholders–or 112,000 Monday-morning quarterbacks who are legally entitled to kibbutz. They’ve rescued the team from financial hardship four times–in 1923, ’35, ’50 and ’97. Without them, the team simply would not exist.

What’s not to like about this team? Apparently, not much. Despite their small-town roots–or perhaps because of it–they have courted a world-wide following. According to a 2010 Harris poll, the Packers are still the third most popular team in the country, 40 years after their glory years. Someone once asked the late, former, NFL commissioner, Pete Rozelle, to name the best football city in America … “Green Bay,” he replied. “A small town. People owning their own football team. Rabid supporters.”

The Packers have one of the longest waiting lists for season tickets in pro sports, some 80,000 deep (Lambeau Field seats only 78,000). The average wait for season tickets is estimated to be 30 years, but if you added your name to the list now you probably wouldn’t get tickets in your lifetime. Packer fans are known to leave season tickets in their wills or to place newborn babies on the waiting list. Packer games have been sold out since 1960

“I’m a ‘green and gold’ season ticket holder and have some voting stock in the team,” explains Walt Mehr, a Utah resident who grew up in Eagle River, WI, just north of Green Bay. “It took me 23 years to get season tickets. We have a big shareholders meeting in July and vote. We were involved with remodeling of the stadium. As season-ticket holders, we had to put up money for that – $5,000. My tickets are in my will.”

It’s every fan’s dream–they get to help run the team… You’ve got to like that.

The rest of the post is at Kate the Right’s blog, “From the Right of Center”. Please click HERE


A Call to Conversion: “I’m a woman of HUGE FAITH”

15 January 2015

By Crystal Rodriguez
Posted at Always Catholic Prayer Request Page
12 January 2015 A.D.

Hello everyone.

I was a little hesitant to post this thread because reading others about the same subject, the advice revived is “Break up with him & date a Catholic.” If I was born and raised Catholic I would probably take that advice. But I wasn’t.

ConversionI was raised non-denomination which is what my boyfriend and his family are. (His parents are church planners for the religion, his grandfather a preacher.) The reason I have so much faith in both him and his parents conversion is due to the fact that I, someone who has disliked the religion most all my life, had a radical conversion experience.

Long story short, I was going to move away across the country to become a pastor (non- denomination). I ended up becoming friends with a woman who is an amazing Catholic woman. Within that year I met Scott Hahn & had dinner with the Archbishop of Los Angeles Jose Gomez.

Against my mothers will, my boyfriend’s will & his parents will I converted last Easter Vigil. We actually broke up that week because my mother and his mother convinced him maybe it would change my mind. It was a very rough week, he apologized and we got back together shortly after.

I’ve loved this man and have been crazy about his family for going on five years. We wanted to get married within the next few years. The trouble is the religion thing. The more I am learning about the Catholic faith the more I realize the importance of being married in a Catholic Church.

I know I was stubborn for many years about being Catholic. But one day while studying early Church history it dawned on me that I AM TOO SMART TO NOT GET IT! I feel that same way about my boyfriend and his parents. His mom and dad are amazing parents and some of the very best Christians I have ever met. As of now, they are church hopping around because they feel most churches are straying from the Word. That’s true and its how I felt when I started to question things.

So I’m asking, actually I am begging you to pray for my boyfriend and his family. I don’t just want his conversion, I want all of theirs. I’m a woman of HUGE FAITH. Thank you for reading my book of a story.

God bless everyone!


All Christine Westhoff, All the Time: A Review & Interview via CatholicChatter.com

13 January 2015

Tino Tarango from CatholicChatter.com lends us this great post.

Album Reviews and an Interview with Lyric Soprano, Christine Westhoff

Christine Westhoff, a classically trained lyric operatic soprano, specializes in Oratorio and Sacred music. She is quickly capturing the hearts of music enthusiasts, from all over the world. She has performed in countries, on both the North American and European Continents.

As some of you may remember, the Always Catholic blog held a Christmas and Sacred music CD giveaway last November, of which I was the winner. I am very grateful to Sofia Guerra of Always Catholic, Elizabeth and Christine Westhoff, for having been selected as the winner at random. Ms. Guerra, asked if I would be so kind as to write reviews for both albums. It was my pleasure to oblige.

If I may, I would like to begin with Ora Pro Nobis, a repertoire of sacred hymns. The album also features Christine’s husband, Organist Timothy Allen. One of the musical numbers (which is also my favorite on the album), is a very beautiful rendition of Schubert’s Ave Maria. Christine’s voice, permeates the melody, almost sending the listener into another world.

Her latest release, a Christmas album entitled Hark!, includes well-beloved Christmas hymns and songs. Among them, is my personal favorite, “Once in a Royal David’s City”. It is a song, that I had never heard of before listening to the album. However, upon hearing the song, I fell in love with it instantly! Another fan favorite, is Christine’s rendition of “O Holy Night”. Christine’s sweeping voice and the beautiful melody, cause the listener to pause and meditate on the mystery, which took place on that o so holy night. The album also features Christine’s husband Timothy on the Organ, once again.

On January, 7th 2015, Christine agreed to do an interview with CatholicChatter, via email. The interview, took place on January 8th, 2015, In the interview, we also discuss her latest project, Te Deum.

christine westhoff

Now if you would like to read the interview with Christine and Tino you can click HERE to go to Tino’s site, CatholicChatter.com
Thank YOU!


LizzieB Skools Us Again On Charlie Hebdo: Read it and Don’t Weep

8 January 2015

Charlie’s Angels

by ES Westhoff

Yesterday morning I awoke to a deluge of Twitter alerts regarding the terror attack in Paris on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Twelve people were killed in the attack,including 10 members of the paper’s staff.

ZlPfYfOY-300x300After the horror of the morning’s updates, I searched Charlie Hebdo on Twitter. The first thing I saw was the paper’s avatar.

Now, as a Catholic, still celebrating Christmas—one of the holiest days on the Christian calendar—this image of my Lord and Savior and His spotless, ever-virgin Mother is disgusting and disrespectful. However, I am not moved to kill anyone over it.

See, that’s what separates peaceful people of God from those who take religious extremism to violence.

Liberty has no boundaries, neither does hatred. But then, neither does the love of Jesus Christ.

Ste. Joan of Arc, pray for France!

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LizzieBElizabeth Westhoff is the Director of Marketing & Mission Awareness Archdiocese of St. Louis. A new media Catholic. Writes the Pop Culture Catholic Blog for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Daughter of St. Francis de Sales.
You can find Elizabeth on Twitter @ESWesthoff and on FB HERE


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