12/9 Feast of Saint Juan Diego Cauhtlatoatzin

The Miraculous Tilma of Guadalupe
Feast Day:  December 12th

 The Tilma of Guadalupe Story 

Saint Juan Diego was born in 1474 as Cuauhtlatoatzin, a native to Mexico. He became the first Roman Catholic indigenous saint from the Americas.

Following the early death of his father, Juan Diego was taken to live with his uncle. From the age of three, he was raised in line with the Aztec pagan religion, but always showed signs of having a mystical sense of life.

He was recognized for his religious fervor, his respectful and gracious attitude toward the Virgin Mary and his Bishop Juan de Zumarraga, and his undying love for his ill uncle.

When a group of 12 Franciscan missionaries arrived in Mexico in 1524, he and his wife, Maria Lucia, converted to Catholicism and were among the first to be baptized in the region. Juan Diego was very committed to his new life and would walk long distances to receive religious instruction at the Franciscan mission station at Tlatelolco.

On December 9, 1531, Juan Diego was in a hurry to make it to Mass and celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. However, he was stopped by the beautiful sight of a radiant woman who introduced herself, in his native tongue, as the “ever-perfect holy Mary, who has the honor to be the mother of the true God.”

Mary told Juan Diego she was the mother of all those who lived in his land and asked him to make a request to the local bishop. She wanted them to build a chapel in her honor there on Tepeyac Hill, which was the site of a former pagan temple.

When Juan Diego approached Bishop Juan de Zumarraga telling of what happened, he was presented with doubts and was told to give the Bishop time to reflect on the news.

Later, the same day, Juan Diego encountered the Virgin Mary a second time and told her he failed in granting her request. He tried to explain to her he was not an important person, and therefore not the one for the task, but she instead he was the man she wanted.

Juan Diego returned to the Bishop the next day and repeated his request, but now the Bishop asked for proof or a sign the apparition was real and truly of heaven.

Juan Diego went straight to Tepeyac and, once again, encountered the Virgin Mary. After explaining to her what the Bishop asked, she agreed and told him she’d provide him with proof on the next day, December 11.

However, on the next day, Juan Diego’s uncle became very sick and he was obligated to stay and care for him. Juan Diego set out the next to find a priest for his uncle. He was determined to get there quickly and didn’t want to face the Virgin Mary with shame for missing the previous day’s meeting.

But the Virgin Mary intercepted him and asked what was wrong. He explained his situation and promised to return after he found his uncle a priest.

She looked at him and asked “No estoy yo aqui que soy tu madre?” (Am I not here, I who am your mother?) She promised him his uncle would be cured and asked him to climb to the hill and collect the flowers growing there. He obeyed and found many flowers blooming in December on the rocky land. He filled his tilma (cloak) with flowers and returned to Mary.

The Virgin Mary arranged the flowers within his cloak and told him this would be the sign he is to present to the bishop. Once Juan Diego found the bishop, he opened his cloak and the bishop was presented with a miraculous imprinted image of the Virgin Mary on the flower-filled cloak.

The next day, Juan Diego found his uncle fully healed from his illness. His uncle explained he, too, saw the Virgin Mary. She also instructed him on her desires to have a church built on Tepeyac Hill, but she also told him she wanted to be known with the title of Guadalupe.

News of Juan Diego’s miracle quickly spread, and he became very well-known. However, Juan Diego always remained a humble man.

The bishop first kept Juan Diego’s imprinted cloak in his private chapel, but then placed it on public display in the church built on Tepeyac Hill the next year.

The first miracle surrounding the cloak occurred during the procession to Tepeyac Hill when a participant was shot in the throat by an arrow shot in celebration. After being placed in front of the miraculous image of Mary, the man was healed.

Juan Diego moved into a little hermitage on Tepeyac Hill, and lived a solidarity life of prayer and work. He remained there until his death on December 9, 1548, 17 years after the first apparition.

News of Our Lady’s apparitions caused a wave of nearly 3,000 Indians a day to convert to the Christian faith. Details of Juan Diego’s experience and Mary’s words moved them deeply.

During the revolutions in Mexico, at the beginning of the 20th century, nonbelievers attempted to destroy the Image with an explosion. The altar?s marble steps, the flower-holders, and the basilica windows were all very damaged, but the pane of glass protecting the Image was not even cracked.

Juan Diego’s imprinted cloak has remained perfectly preserved from 1531 to present time. The “Basilica of Guadalupe” on Tepeyac Hill has become one of the world’s most-visited Catholic shrines.

St. Juan Diego was beatified on May 6, 1990 by Pope John Paul II and canonized on July 31, 2002. His feast day is celebrated on December 9 and he is the patron saint of Indigenous people.

12/8 Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Patroness of the USA – Rosa Mystica Hour of Grace from 12 Noon to 1 PM – Holy Day of Obligation

REQUEST OF BLESSED MOTHER FOR THE HOUR OF GRACE

1. Day and time of Hour of Grace – December 8th Feast of the Immaculate Conception – to be started at 12 noon and will continue until 1 PM (one full hour of prayer)

 

2. During this hour the person making the ‘Hour of Grace’ either at home or in the Church must put away all distractions (do not answer the telephone or answer any doors or do anything but totally concentrate on your union with God during this Special Hour of Grace)

 

3. Begin the Hour of Grace by praying three times the 51st Psalm with outstretched arms. Psalm 51 can be found below.

 

4. The rest of the Hour of Grace may be spent in silent communication with God meditating upon the Passion of Jesus saying the Holy Rosary, praising God in your own way or by using favorite prayers, singing hymns, meditating upon other Psalms, etc.

Psalms
Chapter 51

1
For the leader. A psalm of David,
2
when Nathan the prophet came to him after his affair with Bathsheba.
3
Have mercy on me, God, in your goodness; in your abundant compassion blot out my offense.
4
Wash away all my guilt; from my sin cleanse me.
5
For I know my offense; my sin is always before me.
6
Against you alone have I sinned; I have done such evil in your sight that you are just in your sentence, blameless when you condemn.
7
True, I was born guilty, a sinner, even as my mother conceived me.
8
Still, you insist on sincerity of heart; in my inmost being teach me wisdom.
9
Cleanse me with hyssop, that I may be pure; wash me, make me whiter than snow.
10
Let me hear sounds of joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
11
Turn away your face from my sins; blot out all my guilt.
12
A clean heart create for me, God; renew in me a steadfast spirit.
13
Do not drive me from your presence, nor take from me your holy spirit.
14
Restore my joy in your salvation; sustain in me a willing spirit.
15
I will teach the wicked your ways, that sinners may return to you.
16
Rescue me from death, God, my saving God, that my tongue may praise your healing power.
17
Lord, open my lips; my mouth will proclaim your praise.
18
For you do not desire sacrifice; a burnt offering you would not accept.
19
My sacrifice, God, is a broken spirit; God, do not spurn a broken, humbled heart.
20
Make Zion prosper in your good pleasure; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
21
Then you will be pleased with proper sacrifice, burnt offerings and holocausts; then bullocks will be offered on your altar.

Reminders about the Hour of Grace abounded in the days before December 8th.

Below, some of Our Lady’s words embedded in this particular sharing of the message.

While it focuses on the Hour of Grace, it doesn’’t mention that Our Lady came in these apparitions appealing especially to the consecrated souls of clergy and religious, promising to protect them and deepen their vocations if they but honor Her in this devotion as Rosa Mystica. Consecrated souls today have been under great attack and they need our prayers.

 Click here for more information

May no soul be lost! Maria Rosa Mystica, pray for us!

 During the period of November 24, 1946 to December 8, 1947, the Blessed Mother appeared to Sister Pierrina in a little church in Montichiari, Italy, eleven times.

 On the first appearance the Blessed Mother told Sister Pierrina that She wanted to be known as the ‘Mystical Rose’ and that an hour of grace should be kept at noon, December 8th in all the Catholic Churches of the world. The Blessed Mother wanted this to be known through all of Italy and the entire world.

 It was November 16, 1947 when Sister Pierrina was finishing her thanksgiving after Holy Communion when she saw a great light. She then saw a vision of the Blessed Mother as the ‘Mystical Rose’.

 Sister was so deeply moved by the stunning beauty of Our Lady that she began talking to Her. All of a sudden a gentle force made her kneel down in front of Our Lady. The Blessed Mother spoke these words. “My Son is greatly offended by the sins of impurity. He is already planning to send the deluge upon the people, for their destruction, but I have asked him to show mercy and not send the destruction. So that is why I have appeared to ask for penance and atonement for the sins of impurity.”

 Then the Blessed Mother asked for an Act of Humility by Sister Pierrina. She asked her to make the sign of the cross with her tongue on each of the stones in the Sanctuary. “This shall be a reminder to the people that I have appeared here and do not have the people step on those stones.”

 The Blessed Mother then stepped on each of the stones so that Her gown touched all four stones.

 On the 22nd of November, Sister Pierrina felt the overwhelming urge to go to Church at 4:00. The Mother Superior, four Sisters and a group of friends accompanied her. They were all saying the Rosary when the Blessed Mother appeared as before.

 She instructed Sister Pierrina to make the sign of the cross on the stones and fence them off so that no one would step on them.

 Again Our Lady asked for penance. She said, “Penance is nothing more than accepting all our crosses daily willingly. No matter how small, accept them with love. “At this time, she told sister Pierrina to come again on December 8th at noon.” This will be My Hour of Grace.” The Sister asked how she was to prepare for this Hour of Grace. To which the Blessed Mother said, “With Prayers and Penance. Pray the 51st Psalm with outstretched arms three times. During the Hour of Grace, many spiritual graces would be granted. The most hard-hearted sinners will be touched by the grace of God.”

 The Blessed Virgin promised that whatever a person asked Her for during this Hour of Grace (even in impossible cases) would be granted to them, if it was in accordance with the will of the Eternal Father.

 It was December 7th when Sister Pierrina felt the urge to go to Church. This time she was accompanied by the Priest and the Mother Superior.

 The Blessed Mother appeared with a young boy and girl dressed in beautiful white clothing. Sister Pierrina was sure these little ones were angels because they were so beautiful.

 The Blessed Mother said, “Tomorrow I will show you My Immaculate Heart which is so little known among the people.” She asked people to pray for Russia.” There are so many people being held prisoners which their families know nothing of because they have been gone for so many years. Pray for the conversion of Russia, the suffering of the soldiers and their sacrifices and martyrdom will bring peace to Italy.

 The little children are Francisco and Jacinta. I am giving them to you as your companions. You will have much to suffer for My sake. I want simplicity and goodness from you as of these little children.” TheBlessed Mother then blessed Sister Pierrina, the Priest and all those who were gathered there.

 On the morning of December 8th people began arriving at the little Church at 8:00 in the morning from neighboring towns. By noon, some 10,000 people had gathered to see the Blessed Mother, many of whom had to stand outside because the Church did not have enough room for the large crowd.

 Sister Pierrina was accompanied to Church by her Mother and Brothers, the Mother Superior and the Chief of Police from Montichiari. Sister was reciting the Rosary with the crowd in the middle of the Church. Suddenly a brilliant white light appeared from the ceiling. Stairs were coming from the light down to the floor of the Church about fifteen feet in length.

 The staircase was beautifully decorated with red, white and yellow roses. The Blessed Virgin appeared so radiant, dressed in white, with Her Hands folded. She was standing on a splendid carpet at the top of the stairs made of the red, white and yellow roses.

 In the most gentle and loving voice, Our Lady smiled and began to speak. “I am the Immaculate Conception, the Mother of all graces and the Mother of my Beloved Son, Jesus. I want to be known as the Mystical Rose. My wish is that every year on the 8th of December at noon an ‘Hour of Grace’ will be installed. Many spiritual graces and physical blessings will be received by those who pray undisturbed during this hour.” Then slowly she began to ascend the staircase gracefully scattering roses as She went along until She reached midway of the staircase. Here again the Blessed Mother spoke, “I am very happy to see this great demonstration of Faith.”

 Sister Pierrina asked for many of the sinners to be forgiven. The Blessed Mother replied. “My Divine Son will show his Greatest Mercy as much as the people will pray for them. I want this to be known and told to Pope Pius XII. Tell him I want him to install the ‘Hour of Grace’ throughout the whole world and even for those who are not able to go to Church during this time, can obtain this grace in their homes at noon time.”

 She also asked that a Statue be made and placed on the spot where she stood. This should be called the ‘Rosa Mystica’ and carried in procession through the town at which time many graces will be given and cures will take place. Then the Statue is to be returned to the Church.

 Our Lady prayed for the sick, some will be cured others not. Many men, women and children were cured at that very instant.

 A twenty-six year old woman who could not say a word for nine months, suddenly began shouting, “I see Her. I see the Blessed Virgin.” An eighteen year old girl with ulcers was instantly cured. A five year old boy who had been paralyzed was told by the Blessed Mother, “Come to Me, you will be walking now.” He was placed on the Blessed Stones and was able to walk.

 There were three others who were very sick and were immediately cured. But of course, the greatest miracles taking place were those of the spiritual blessings being shed upon the people gathered in the Church.

 The Blessed Mother said, “This is the last time I will appear here. Pray, weep and do penance on these Stones and you will receive the care of My Motherly Heart.” She then left the little Church, but because of the Unending Love of Our Heavenly Mother, She has given us the ‘Hour of Grace’ to be spread through the entire world. She had given all the opportunity to demonstrate our love and trust to Her and to help make reparation for the grievous sins offending Her Beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

***

Please distribute this message to as many people as you can. Remember to pray for your country during this hour. The Blessed Mother has requested that Her message be sent throughout the entire world. Please help the Blessed Virgin Mary to fulfill Her Mission well … that all souls be drawn to God and that Jesus will be loved in every heart. This is the Perpetual song of her Heart. Let it also be ours.

12/7 Eve of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception: In conceiving, the Virgin conceived the Kingdom of the Fiat; in being born, She gave back to us the rights to possess It.

Book of Heaven
Volume 24; September 16, 1928

My abandonment in the Fiat is continuous; and while I was following Its acts, my poor mind paused to think about the Conception of the Celestial Queen and Her great fortune of being exempted from original sin.

And my Beloved Jesus, moving in my interior, told me:  “My daughter, the seed with which the Celestial Sovereign was conceived was taken from the human stock, because She too had Her human life as all other creatures, as I too had.  However, there is this great difference, not conceded to any other creature:  before Her beautiful soul was conceived, My Fiat, with Its omnipotence, concentrated Its rays in this seed, and with Its light and heat It annihilated the evil that was in it, and made it die, purifying the seed completely, and rendering it pure and holy, and exempt from original sin; and then, the Immaculate Baby Girl was conceived in this seed.

“So, the whole portent of the Immaculate Conception was operated by My Divine Will.  It did not make another human seed, nor did It destroy it, but It purified it; and with Its heat and light It removed from it all the humors that this seed had contracted from the sin of Adam, and It restored in Her the human seed, just as it had come out of Our creative hands.  Therefore, as the little Virgin Queen was conceived, the Kingdom of My Divine Will was conceived in Her and in the human generations, because in forming and giving surprising graces to one creature, in her We look at the whole humanity of the human family, as if it were one alone.  See, then, as the Virgin was conceived in this seed exempt from every stain—which was all work of the Divine Fiat—Its Divine Kingdom was conceived again within humanity; and as the Immaculate little Virgin was born, the right to be able to possess It was given back. 

“Now, when I came upon earth to take on human flesh, I made use of the seed of the Sovereign of Heaven, and it can be said that We worked together to form again this Kingdom of Ours in the human generations.  So, there is nothing left but to know It in order to possess It, and this is why I am manifesting what belongs to My Kingdom and to My Divine Will, so that the creature may cover Its ways, follow Our steps, and take possession of It.  And My Divine Will, with Its light and heat, will repeat the prodigy of removing the bad humors that the human seed possesses; and in order to be sure, It will place the seed of Its light and heat, and will constitute Itself life of that seed.  And so they will exchange possession:  My Divine Will will take possession of the seed in order to form in it Its life of light, of heat and sanctity; and the creature will return to take new possession of the Kingdom of My Divine Fiat.

“See then, My daughter, everything is ready—nothing else is needed but to make It known.  And this is why I so much yearn that what regards My Divine Will become known—to cast into creatures the desire to possess a good so great, so that My Will, drawn by their desires, may concentrate Its luminous rays and, with Its heat, perform the prodigy of giving back the right to possess Its Kingdom of peace, of happiness and of sanctity.” . . .

12/6 Pray and Fast for Conversion – starts today, the Feast of St. Nicholas!

From the Signs & Wonders Website

This is the only way we can give of what we have received to help others!

But we need your help today if we are going to be able to continue this important mission for Our Lady.

There are very few organizations out there like Signs & Wonders dedicated to collecting, spreading, and living the Messages that Our Lady has shared globally for the past century.

And, very few are providing you with all the resources necessary to contemplate and live the spiritual life according to the Messages of Our Lady.

After one week, we are still a LONG way from reaching our $30,000 goal by Christmas.

Don’t forget, every donation you make between now and Christmas will be doubled, up to $30,000! What better way than to invest in the Kingdom of God! Your return on your investment will be multiplied into so many graces for the conversion of souls

12/6 Today is the Feast Day of St. Nicholas

Preparation for Holy Christmas
The Nine Excesses of Love in the Incarnation of the Word

 

The Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem
The silver star in the Grotto of the Nativity marks the spot of Jesus’ Birth

Today is the Feast Day of St. Nicholas

St. Nicholas of Bari
(also known as St. Nicholas of Myra) 

When the Saracens invaded Myra (part of modern day Turkey) the relics of St. Nicholas were moved to Bari in Italy. The Archbishop for Corato has jurisdiction over the provinces of Trani, Bari, and Bisceglie. The Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta, the Little Daughter of the Divine Will, was born and lived her whole life in Corato, the province of Bari.

The Archbishop of Trani also has  the title of Bishop of Nazareth, because when Palestine was lost in 1190 the title of that see was transferred to Barletta (the ancient Barduli), a seaport on the Adriatic, a little south of Trani, to which diocese it then belonged.

Book of Heaven
The Call of the Creature to the Order, the Place and the Purpose
for which He was Created by God
Volume 6 – December 6, 1904

The beginning of Eternal Beatitude is to lose every taste of one’s own.

The Servant of God, Luisa Piccarreta the Little Daughter of the Divine Will:

As I continued struggling, blessed Jesus came for just a little, and I saw myself as naked, stripped of everything – perhaps a soul more miserable than I am cannot be found, so extreme is my misery.  What a dismal change!  If the Lord does not make a new miracle of His omnipotence to make me rise again from this state, I will certainly die of misery.

Then blessed Jesus told me:  “My daughter, courage, the beginning of Eternal Beatitude is to lose every taste of one’s own.  In fact, as the soul keeps losing her own tastes, the Divine Tastes take possession of her, and the soul, having undone and lost herself, no longer recognizes herself; she finds nothing else of her own – not even spiritual things.  Seeing that the soul has nothing else of her own, God fills her with all of Himself and replenishes her with all the Divine HappinessesOnly then can the soul truly be called blessed, because as long as she had something of her own, she could not be exempt from bitternesses and fears, nor could God communicate His Happiness to her.  No soul that enters the port of Eternal Beatitude can be exempted from this point – painful, yes, but necessary; nor can she do without it.  Generally they do it at the point of death, and Purgatory does the last job; this is why, if creatures are asked what God’s taste is, what Divine Beatitude means, these are things unknown to them and they are unable to articulate a word.  But with the souls who are My beloved, since they have given themselves completely to Me, I do not want their Beatitude to have beginning up there in Heaven, but to have beginning down here on earth. I (Jesus) want to fill them (souls who have given themselves completely to Our Lord Jesus Christ) not only with the Happiness, with the Glory of Heaven, but I want to fill them with the goods, with the sufferings, with the virtues that My Humanity had upon earth; therefore I strip them, not only of material tastes, which the soul considers as dung, but also of spiritual tastes, in order to fill them completely with My Goods and give them the beginning of True Beatitude.”

 

12/5 Eve of the Feast of St. Nicholas, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia

Saint Nicholas

Archbishop of Myra in Lycia
(† 342)

(Click here for website)

Saint Nicholas, the patron Saint of Russia, has won the warmest of praises from other Saints such as Saint John Chrysostom and Saint Peter Damian, who called him the glory of young men, the honor of the elderly, the splendor of priests and the light of Pontiffs. All the world was filled with his praises, Saint Peter added. The universal Church, in the Collect of his office, claims that God made known his nobility by an infinite number of miracles.

He was born during the third century, nephew of the Archbishop of Myra. He had lost his parents while still very young, and he desired not to conserve his rich heritage. Gradually he gave away everything of which he could dispose, establishing dowries for poor maidens and seeking out the needy wherever they could be found. The Archbishop, his uncle, already aware of his vocation to sanctity, ordained Saint Nicholas priest and appointed him Abbot of the monastery of Holy Sion near Myra. He undertook a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, resurrecting a sailor who fell from a mast during the voyage; he prayed for the frightened passengers in a near-fatal tempest and calmed it. He visited Saint Anthony of the Desert and healed many sick persons in Alexandria during a stopover in Egypt.

On the death of the Archbishop of Myra, he was elected to the vacant see. Immediately after the pontifical Mass, he resurrected an infant who had fallen into a fire.

A persecution broke out under the emperor Licinius; Saint Nicholas was banished and kept in chains. He suffered from severe mistreatment but returned to his church when Constantine the Great defeated Licinius, and in 313 then put a definitive end to the persecutions. Saint Nicholas labored in his domains to stop the worship of false gods, still practiced there as elsewhere. With his own hands he cut down a huge tree, site of a sacrilegious cult of the goddess Diana. During a famine his prayers multiplied the provisions of wheat which he had ordered for the port of Myra, to such an extent that what would have sufficed for his people for only a few days, was found to be sufficient for more than two years. He rescued from death, just before they were hanged, three innocents condemned by a judge who had been corrupted by money, reprehended the latter for his crime and sent these liberated ones home, entirely exonerated.

Throughout his life he retained the bright and simple manners of his early years; no one could converse with him without finding himself spiritually renewed. Saint Nicholas was the special protector of the innocent and the wronged. He is usually represented at the side of a container in which a cruel butcher had concealed the bodies of three young persons, whom he had killed and was intending to use in his commerce, but who were restored to life by the Saint. This miracle was reported by Saint Bonaventure in a sermon.

Saint Nicholas rejoiced when God made known to him that the end of his pilgrimage was near. He retired to his Monastery of Holy Sion, and after a short but intense episode of fever, died in the year 342. He is the patron of schoolchildren, sailors, travelers and pilgrims, prisoners and many others. His relics were translated in 1087 to Bari, Italy, where a church was built in their honor. And there, after fifteen centuries, the manna of Saint Nicholasstill flows from his bones and heals all kinds of illnesses.

Reflection: Those who would enter heaven must become like little children, whose greatest glory is their innocence. Two duties impose themselves on Christians: first, either to preserve our innocence by sage precautions or regain it by penance; secondly, to love and shield it in others.

12/4 How did the Bishop of Myra become ‘Saint in Bari’?

It’s a long way from Lycia to the eastern coast of Italy.

S_St. Nicholas Church, Myra_Demre, Turkey
St. Nicholas Church, Myra, Demre, Turkey
St. Nicholas’ Feast Day is December 6th

St. Nicholas’ tomb in Myra was a popular place of pilgrimage. As Myra was a seaport, sailors heard the stories of the saint’s shrine and carried them to many distant places. If a town were fortunate enough to host such a significant religious site, it enjoyed considerable commercial benefit because pilgrims needed to be housed, fed, and otherwise provided for. After Myra fell under the control of the Seljuks, who were not sympathetic to Christian faith, Italian merchants in both Venice and Bari, saw an opportunity to bring such advantage to their cities. Their motives were opportunistic, but also spiritual, as there was real fear that pilgrimage could become difficult and dangerous or that the shrine might even be desecrated.

Early in 1087, three ships with sailors and merchants from Bari stopped in Myra on their way home from Antioch. When they visited Nicholas’ tomb, the monks showed them where the manna was extracted. The sailors then asked where the saint’s body lay. The monks, perhaps naively, showed them. But the monks became suspicious and questioned the visitors about their intentions, “Surely you do not intend to take the saint’s remains to your own region? If so, we won’t allow it.” However, in the end the Barians prevailed and broke open the tomb with an iron bar. The sailors spirited the bones away to the ship, escaping just ahead of the townspeople coming in hot pursuit.

The men of Bari sailed away on the long voyage back to the southeast coast of Italy. Before getting there, they stopped at a nearby port to make a beautiful box (casket) to hold the saint’s relics. When they arrived in Bari, May 9, 1087, the townspeople thronged to the harbor to welcome the saint’s remains. The returning men made a solemn vow to build a magnificent church to honor St. Nicholas. The crypt was completed by October 1089 and Pope Urban II laid the relics of St. Nicholas beneath the crypt’s altar, consecrating a shrine that became one of medieval Europe’s great pilgrimage centers. The main church was built in ten years, but it wasn’t until the middle of the 12th century that the imposing and majestic Basilica di San Nicola was complete.

From the earliest time St. Nicholas devotees have asked for protection and health in mind and body through the use of the manna. It was diluted and made available in bottles decorated with images of the saint. Over the centuries a unique art of painting these glass bottles developed in Apulia. Every year the translation of the Nicholas relics to Bari is celebrated with a great festival which culminates in the extraction of the manna by the rector of the Basilica.

The “manna of Saint Nicholas”, which was once commonly called ‘oil’, is actually transparent pure water that is formed in the tomb of the Saint in the crypt of the Basilica in Bari. This phenomenon is not easily explainable. It is absolutely excluded that there is some kind of infiltration of water from the outside for it has been proven that the casket containing the bones of the Saint is impermeable. Notwithstanding the various solutions that are arrived at from numerous hypothesis forwarded, whether supernatural or natural explanations of the phenomenon, the manna is an authentic relic, because it is a liquid that remained in contact with the bones of the Saint, and therefore explains the very reason why there is such a great devotion springing up from this relic. The manna also exuded in the tomb of the Basilica of Myra immediately after the death of Saint Nicholas, as attested to by numerous biographies and eulogies, all are in accord of the exemplary virtue of the miracle worker.

The Legends of the translation likewise affirm that the urn containing the remains of Saint Nicholas of Myra was full of “manna”. After the translation to Bari the phenomenon continued uninterruptedly. It is also fully proven that the pilgrims coming to Bari, are attracted to the tomb of the Saint in view of the fact that the “manna” is famous because of the miracles St. Nicholas accomplishes through it. Between 1954 and 1957, the authenticity that this liquid truly came from the bones of the Saint, as was commonly held, was put into question. In 1954, because of the renovation being done in the crypt, the tomb was opened and the bones were exhumed. Then they were placed inside an urn, where it remained exposed to the public to see and venerate for three years in the hall of the treasures (of the Saint in the Basilica). Sometimes it was observed that the bones “perspired” a certain kind of fluid; one time the linen sheet which held the relics was found to be soaking wet when the mortal remains of St. Nicholas were re-interred in the tomb. This linen cloth has been preserved up to this day.

Translated from the Italian by Fr. Winston Fernandez-Cabading, OP
—from the Centro Studi Nicolaiani di Bari