George F Dillon.

War of antichrist with the Church and Christian civilization : lectures delivered in Edinburgh in October 1884 online

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Cardinal Simeoni ; and even the Pope himself has sent to the Eight Eev.
autlior, with his blessing, a letter of praise and thanks.

If we may venture to make a suggestion to the Eight Eev. author, we
would say to him to complete his splendid service in spreading devoting to our
Virgin Mother of Good Counsel by publishing in due course a small popular
Manual, embodying in a concise form the history of this venerable and famous
shrine, with prayers and suitable devotions. Thus he Avill establish a very
sfrong claim to the reward he speaks of so earnestly and lovingly, "Qui
elucidant me, vitam aeternam habebunt."

From "The Dublin Review," Odohcr, 1884.

In a very handsome vohnne of over 600 pages, printed with extreme clearness
and wonderful correctness at the Propaganda Press in Eome, Monsignor
Dillon, of Sydney, sets forth with great detail and with j)ious warmth the
history of the miraculous image of Our Lady at Genezzano. Many of our
readers will liuow that this widely venerated effigy is said to have appeared
suddenly on the wall of an luifinished church at Genezzano, now more than
four centuries ago, A short time afterwards there came to the sanctuary two


strangers from Albania, who declared that tlio imago was no other than ono
which had been venerated from time immouiorial in Scutari (not Scutari on
the Bosphorus, but 1 ho Albanian town), and which had disappeared precisely
at the time they left their native land. This double tradition ^Nlonsignor
Dillon undertakes to substantiate. That there is a celebrated Madonna at
Genezzano, and that many graces and nuraculous favours have been received
there, no Catholic would think of disputing. And whoever goes carefidly
through this elaborate work, will easily convince himself that there was a
miraculous apparition in 1467 ... As to the sacred image itself, as now
venerated, it is a fresco, i)aintod (if it be painted) on thin hard mortar, as if it
had been detached from the surface of the wall. It is stated by those who
have seen it to be still altogether detached from any wall or backing. Its
existence in this state for upwards of 400 years is by itself a wonderful fact.
Representations of the sacred image are not uncommon, and there are probably
few who have not looked on the most characteristic face of Mar}', and on the
Divine Infant, lovingly leaning His cheek against hers, with one little arm
round her neck and the hand of the other grasjiing her robe at the throat.
.... Genezzano is not far from Rome, in a land rich with Cliristian
shrines and memories of the jiast. "NVe cannot doubt that this charming book,
wi-itten with the leisure of an antiquarian and the piety of a true Catholic, will
not only send many pilgrims to Our Lady of Good Counsel, but will increase
her glory and promote devotion to her in all English-speaking lauds.


Catholics are already aware that by the laws of Italy the whole
property, real and personal, of all religious orders, both of men and women,
was confiscated in that country. A very small pension, heavily taxed
and not always satisfactorily paid, was allowed to the older members —
the younger ones getting nothing, or next to nothing — perhaps two-pence
a day to live upon. For this the Grovernment took their lands, tlieir funds,
their house property, their Convent buildings, their very churches, ceme-
teries and all the furniture, sacred and secular, they possessed. They
were disbanded, prevented from receiving novices, or, as religious orders,
even educating children. Sometimes public feeling forced their persecutors
to give them a few rooms in their old homes, or to huddle several com-
munities into one large barrack. In cases where a part of their Convent
only was allowed them, the rest was used as Grovernment offices, or very
o-enerally for soldiers' barracks. It thus became a kind of living death
for these poor religious. They mostly, however, held together with wonder-
ful tenacity, and as the old inmates died out tlie j^ounger ones, with but
a few half-pence a day to live on, grew on in years and weakness and
want. Many of these — indeed all the choir sisters — brought fortunes,
which were placed in the common funds of their several institutions, and
so found and taken by the mean-spirited Freemasons now in power in Italy.
The consequence is that these poor nuns, long absent from the thoughts
of relatives, die in great numbers and in much want. The present work
and that on Our Lady of Good Counsel have been given over by the author
for their relief. He has just received the following letter from Monsignor
Kirby, who lays out, with every care and judguient, all he can get
together for the benefit of these suffering spouses of Christ.

"I received the alms you kindly forwarded from tlieir Lordships the
Bishop of Leeds and the Bishops of Aberdeen and Dunkeld, in aid of the poor
nuns in the Papal States. May God reward them for theii' charity.

*' But what shall Isay, my dear Monsignore, for your own generous offerings
for these suffering Spouses of Jesus Christ 'i Through your assistance I have
been able to j-elieve many holy suffering communities in Frascati, Yiterbo,


Foligno, Assissi, Monte Falco, and other localities, not forgetting the nuns
jon specially mentioned for relief in Rome. They suffer terrible privations,
bnt their charity and patience would do honour to the early Christians. They
pray constantly and earnestly for those who assist them in their bitter
need. . . ."

Still more touching descriptions of the destitution of these j^oor servants of
God may be obtained from the iJirin Salrafore of Rome, which devotes many
of its columns to the service of the collection made in favour of the despoiled

The followiug items, taken from a current number of that journal,

will give an idea of the need existing. The Editor says : —

" On the 7th of March we received the following letter from a venerable
religious, who has the care of a parish and of a monastery : — ' The letters you
sent me have arrived, as so many angels of comfort, with your charity. The
Mother Abbess did not know what to do in the future. 8he had to withdraw
the one plate of nourishment hitherto given daily to the religious. My heart is
afflicted, because I know that if they have not food the choir cannot be sustained,
and already some of them are prostrated, from weakness of the stomach, in
need of ordinary food." The day after the Prioress of a Dominican Convent
writes : — ' Our misfortunes are at their height, and it seems that everything
conspires against iis. The very old and helpless sisters must be deprived of
the lay sisters' help, whom we took into the religious life, but Avho must now
leave us for want of food. The aged will have to die for mere want of neces-
saries. We do not ask the Government for anything to maintain laj sisters,
but these are now not even permitted to us. For charity pray to God tliat
some may be moved to pity us.' Four days ago a Benedictine Superioress thus
commenced her letter to us :— ' The day before yesterday, having shed many
tears before the Image of Most Holy Mary, beseeching Her to send me some
help, because I had at last arrived at extreme necessity, your letter arrived with
alms. Ah, so groat was my joy, that before opening it I carried it before the
sacred Image to thank Our Lady, and have called the nuns, who did the same.
My Father, believe me, that in order to exist together, we suffer much want
indeed.' Five days after another Superioress writes to us: — 'The moment I
received your most valued letter, I exclaimed, Oh, my dear St. Joseph, how
much I thank you wbo hast given to that good Father the inspiration to hel)i
me in my preseut agony. I cannot describe to you the sorrowful condition in
which I find myself. As many farthings as you have sent me, I pray that they
may become so many pi-ecious graces, which may fill Avith benediction tlie
families who give such blessed help to us i)oor abandoned religious.' "

Not long after another Superioress wrote : —

" Do you then discharge our duty to the kind and pious benefactors v/ho do
not forget the suffering spouses of Our Lord in times when so many hate and
illtreat them, and seek new means to render them, if that were possible,
unhappy. But that can never happen, because it is our greatest felicity to be
liated liy the enemies of Jesus Christ. At prest^nt we are prohibited to i-eceive
young-fady boarders, who, by their payments for education, might help us not
a little in our misery. But we confide in the good, generous hearts who come
to our assistance.''

On the 1 7th of May, from the ends of Italy, the following letter came
to us: —

" On Tuesday I received, as a consoling angel, your letter with the bounti-
ful alms it contained. What my joy was on that day I cannot tell you. I
seemed like one confounded to such an extent that my nuns tmderstood that
some extraordinary grace had been given me by our gi'eat Patriarch St. Joseph.
When I told them what had been given they Avere in jubilee at it, and I can-
not tell you how many prayers and fervent communions will be offered, and
luvve indeed been offered already to God for those who have been so kind to


US. oil, 111}'' FalLev, if you but know wlial luy sorrow liail been tliaf day. An
iinpliicable creditor pressed me, and T liad not on lliat day one loaf of biead to
take the hnnger away from my poor community. My Father, I cannot tell
you -what terrible houi's I passed. During certain days I felt as if a knife had
])ierced my heart. I wept scalding- tears, and almost lost confidence. Ali,
Father, do not forget us, foi- charity sake, I beseech you, witli idl my heart."'

A few days after this (for we take the letters at haphazard as they
come to our hand) wo received anothei-, wliich thus commeuces : —

" Oh, my Father, how much am I obliged to you. You have called me to
life again. I went to ask the Archangel Raphael to bo mindful of us, poor
deserted sisters, and the holy Archangel heard me I Wherefore may God be
l)lessed, and thanks without end for your charity and that of our benefactors.
8ee how Avanting in discretion I am, my Father, the more you ai-e mindful of
us, the most distressed of all. I do not wish to be importunate. Thai would not
be well. But our misery surpasses perhaps the juisery of other convents. All
my poor lay sisters are h^ng barefooted, and I cannot get them shoes, for I
have no means to buy leather. "We, the choir sisters, wear clogs of wood,
which, when once made, last very long ; but our poor lay sisters work vei-y
hard, and wear away their clothing very much.''

Another letter comes from a Benedictine Abbess in Tuscany. She
says :—

" Reflecting on our sad circumstances, and knowing by experience your
charitable he.xrt, I have at last determined to ask you for some charity, for the
love of Jesus. We are twenty-five in community, without a morsel of bread
in our house, and deprived absolutely of the means to obtain it ; the Lord
having permitted that we should be abandoned by all, because we are all in
great "distress and tribulation. Your Reverence by these words may mider-
stand my internal affliction and the nature of the sword that pierces my

Hei'e is a letter from a holy Prioress of Augustinian nuns, driven out
of their convent and obliged to rent a house : —

'• I reply, with deep gratitude, to your precious letter, and thank yon
infinitely for the alms sent in it. I thank the Giver of evciy good, and after
Him all'those who havC' concurred to aid us, and you Avho are the head of the
o-ood Avork, so full of charity, as is that of assisting us poor creatures reduced
to extreme necessity. For as this necessity is all the more increased as Ave, most
unfortunate, have been driven out of our convent, and Avith sorrow and fright,
have been olaliged to rent this poor house at a sum beyond the possibility of
our being able to pay. May Jesus, our Spouse, be blessed for all these mis-
fortunes. There remains to us one only consolation. It is that daily Ave have
the holy Mass in a little chapel, and we can remain with Jesus in the Eucharist.
Where Jesus is there is nothing that Ave can desire. They have at length taken
our convent from us, but of Jesus no one can depriA'C us.''

Another Superioress writes : —

" I am ahvays more and moi-e confirmed in the belief that your reverence
is inspired by God. Three days jiassed and I had not a farthing to buy
bi-ead for my poor conuuunity. But 1 had recourse to our sAveet Mother
Mary Avith loving confidence, that she Avould give nu; the means of keeping
life in my poor daughters. I Avept Avith emotion and exclaimed, '• l>lessed
is he Avho confides in the Lord."

Another letter, dated 24th of last October, is as foUoAVS : —

" My Father, how grateful I am. I found inyself at the height di
misery," but seeing your gift my heart bounded with joy. Oh, I can at
least give a little to my dearest daughters Avho, poor children, for the most
part, are infirm and Avcak in ston'.ach because of ]^)^\<x abstinence from

nourishing food oi' drink of any kind ! But how can I help them ? I
cannot get boarders, and benefactors there are none, because our relatives
have to think of their own families. My only resource is your charity.
You dry my tears, You console my heart in so many and such great

A Superioress of Tuscanj-, after Laving recommended a sick sister
whom she called, "an angel of innocence and of goodness, and on
the point of taking wing for paradise," and having received some
assistance, writes: —

"Jesus watches over His spouses. This moi'ning I received your
oflPering for the sick sister, which the great charity of your reverence sent
me. I am confused in seeing myself so benefited without any merit. The
sick sister reu^ains alive, always the victim of her beloved Spouse Jesus.
She wastes away as wax before the fire. She suffers with heroic virtue, and
wishes that your reverence would bless her in order to have greater strength
to suffer more and more in union with Jesus crucified, whom she has always
before her eyes, and continually kisses. I do not know how to describe her
satisfaction at tlie charity shown her, nor to tell you her gratitude. I will
tell you only that with all her heart she says to you, ' May Jesus reward him
together with the benefactors.' She is young, only twenty-four years of age,
and is in the monastery three years and three months. The Lord has placed
this beautiful flower (she is called Rose) in His garden, and He will take it
at His pleasure. It seems that we are not worthy to possess it."

The number of the Divin Salvaiore, from which the above extracts are
taken, has been selected almost at random from a file of that excellent
journal. The editor very feelingly ends the record as follows : —

"We repeat that these few extracts from letters are given solely as a
sample of numberless other letters of the same class, which might form
many volumes. Ah, how many pages, besides, would be necessary if we
should have to narrate the sufierings and the secret martyrdoms endured,
during, now more than twenty years, by so many thousands of Italian
religious ladies for the sublime love of that Crucified Grod, to whom they
were and are consecrated. But such pages are written in characters of
gold only in the book of eternal life, and from this book it is not given to
us to cop3\ Let it suffice to know that these admirable creatures so
intensely hated by the world of the sectaries (Freemasons, etc.,) because
guilty of being models of virtue, flowers of purity, doves of innocence,
beings more of heaven than of earth, have won, and still win by their
undaunted perseverance, a most glorious victory over this world, enemy
as it is, of the Name and the Cross of Christ."


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Online LibraryGeorge F DillonWar of antichrist with the Church and Christian civilization : lectures delivered in Edinburgh in October 1884 → online text (page 26 of 26)