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  • I was raised In the RLDS church, and fell away in my teen years. God seemed to be calling me back to church, but which one? I went to a southern Baptist, not for me. Went to Christ Church Unity. Not for me neither. Then in my line of work, I was sent to take care of a client who was a Catholic. Through her actions and how she and her husband of more than 50 years treated each other, I thought that there might be more to the story. I was invited to Ash Wednesday. And when I recieved ashes, I knen then I was to become Catholic. The Lord took all my pent up anger, hostility, and bitterness toward others right out of me. I could feel the Holy Spirit working in me. I have since been confirmed in the church, and my husband will be baptised at Easter. The Lord does work in mysterious ways. I feel in love and I am in love with the Catholic church and faith.
    - Rachael W., Hamilton, MO United States
  • I was baptized Catholic but my raising was not. It wasn't until post-confirmation I had really began to explore the surface of our faith. Before that during a confirmation class God asked me to give my life for his priesthood and I ran from that idea.

    One day a friend showed me the DVD about Conversion and it called to me and told me to change my life and the direction I was taking it and I did. Now I am a postulant in a religious order and next year I will be taking my habit. I have found happiness in the service of God but I can say it was because of the Word on Fire program.

    Keep the program strong and I have seen two episode of CATHOLICISM and I can say that I only wish I had my copy. God bless and I thank you for your service to the world.
    - Jonathan F., San Diego, CA United States
  • Born the 5th of 10 in 1957, I was raised in a very traditional Catholic home. I was an altar boy at first asking abd liked serving Mass. At one time it was a boyhood dream to become a priest. Suddenly my live changed so fast and so terribly wrong in just a few short years and the result was for me to abandon God and the church for 40 long years. My father walked out on our family when I was 12. My dear mother could not control me, so I was sent to live with her sister and their family in Houston at the age of 14. Upon arriving home the following June, I was introduced to alcohol. From there my life spiraled downward, stealing, vandalism, drugs, skipping school, all of it. I barely graduated and went on to live an aimless life. Surely I was alcoholic and sooner or later my drinking would catch up with me, and it did. By 1996 is was in a mental institution for repeated suicide attempts. This started 14 years of being in or out of recovery, mostly out. In April of 2010 the walls was closing in yet again, I was suffering, I wanted to die, I was alone, and God was no where to be found. I got a hold of one man who I hoped might help me, he agreed to come over. I went into an alcoholic blackout shortly after his arrival, the next thing I remember is waking up, back in the same mental intitution I had been 3 previous times. I felt defeated, I was desparate, I knew I needed help, a lot of help. I walked out of that intitution on April 21, 2010 and have not had the need to take a drink since. In the process of sobering up, cleaning away the wreckage from my past I started to have a relationship with God again, just baby steps, but that was ok. I understood that it was God keeping me sober which was all I needed for a beginning. then providence intervened, I started to meet other Catholics in recovery, we had many conversations over coffee about various aspects of Catholicism when suddenly I started to understand that I could back to religion of my childhood. Within a month of these discussions taking place, I was referred to a pastor, called him up and was in his office doing confession, 3 total over 2 weeks.

    Today I go to Mass every sunday, during the week when possible, I go to confession on a monthly basis, I read books all the time, but my most favorite is The Bible. Scripture is very important to me, learning from Jesus Christ has brought me much freedom, joy and forgiviness. I really could go on for hours about my return to Catholicism, but trust me when I say, it has been the most important and most beneficial decision I have made in my entire life.

    God Bless
    - Gary N., Florence, KY United States

    (This true story of our American History is posted in honor of the Bicentennial of Louisiana’s Statehood 2012! God bless America!)

    By Constance F. Anderson*

    In June, 1983, when Poland's Solidarity labor movement seemed crushed beyond hope, Pope John Paul II traveled to his native land to become its great unifier. Bravely consoling his fellow countrymen, he publicly prayed for the patroness of Poland's intercession. "Mother of Jasna Gora, you who have been given to us by Providence for the defense of the Polish nation, accept this call of Polish youth together with the Polish pope, and help us to persevere in hope." As they faced imminent national danger, the Holy Father reminded the Polish people, "It is the saints and the beatified who show us the path to victory that God achieves in human history."

    We know from recent historic events Our Lord answered the Holy Father's and the Polish peoples' prayers, through the motherly help of Our Lady of Czestochowa. Uniting the forces of ordinary people, with Our Lady's heavenly intercession, helped to vanquish the giant specter of Polish Communism. Yet how many of us know that, almost two hundred years ago, similar heroic prayers and actions helped save America?

    In her book, A Century of Pioneering: A History of the Ursuline Nuns 1727-1827 (published by The Ursuline Sisters of New Orleans, 1993), Sr. Jane Frances Heaney, O.S.U. tells the fascinating story of the first women's religious order to settle in the continental United States. One of the book's most compelling chapters tells about the miraculous events surrounding the Battle of New Orleans, which General Andrew Jackson himself recognized "as a signal interposition of heaven."

    Although the War of 1812 had officially ended December 24, 1814, word of the treaty had not reached the British troops advancing to Louisiana. Only five months earlier, the eastern United States was reeling from British attacks, including the burning of Washington, D.C. Our nation was also on the verge of total economic collapse.

    On the night of January 7, 1815, New Orleans faced invasion by a highly trained, vastly superior enemy army. The women of New Orleans joined the Ursuline nuns at their chapel to pray. Crowded into the tiny church, they turned fervently to the Mother of God, under her title "Our Lady of Prompt Succor." This cherished traditional devotion commemorated Our Lady's "quick help" to the Ursulines and their beloved city, particularly during the Great Fire of New Orleans in 1788.

    Rumor had it that General Edward Packenham, commander of the British troops and brother-in-law of the Duke of Wellington, was confident of easy conquest, promising his men free reign to rape and to steal after the battle. General Andrew Jackson, leader of a hastily gathered force of Americans, Creoles and free-men-of-color, vowed to burn New Orleans to the ground, before he let the British take it.

    One need only think of Bosnia-Herzegovina's or Rwanda's destruction to understand the fear which swept New Orleans. Mother Ste. Marie Olivier de Vezin, the Ursuline superior, vowed to have "a Mass of thanksgiving sung every year, if the Americans were victorious."

    Noted early twentieth-century U.S. and Louisiana historian, Henry Chambers, in his colorful three-volume series, A History of Louisiana: Wilderness, Colony, Province, Territory, State, People Vol. 1 (published by The American Historical Society, Inc., 1925), noted that, less than two months before the impending battle, New Orleans' military defense consisted of "four companies of regulars and a half dozen light-draft gunboats." The population, a true melting pot of cultural diversity, was suspected of having "weak-knees, upon whom little or no dependence could be placed."

    The infamous privateer, Jean Lafitte, who refused Packenham's bribes, had his own offer of assistance refused by Louisiana's Governor Claiborne. It was not until General Jackson arrived after the failed British attack on Mobile, that the lackluster American forces finally came together, consisting of, according to Chambers, only 2,325 men.

    President Theodore Roosevelt, in his Great Epochs series on significant events in American History, took a kinder view of the Creole soldiers who, "came of a race whose habit it has ever been to take all phases of life joyously; but that morning their gayety was tempered by a dark undercurrent of fierce anxiety."

    Roosevelt explained, "They had more at stake than any other men on the field. They were fighting for their homes; they were fighting for their wives and their daughters. They well knew the fell destruction and nameless woe that awaited their city should the English take it at the sword's point. They feared not for themselves; but in the hearts of the bravest and most careless there lurked a dull terror of what that day might bring upon those they loved."

    On the night of January 7, while the men began their crucial confrontation with the enemy, the women, the Ursuline nuns and the residents of New Orleans initiated an unceasing flow of prayers and petitions. Initially, American General Morgan and a group of newly arrived, but poorly equipped, Kentuckians were driven back by the British. Commander Jackson and his men were confused and angered by their retreat.

    At 6 o'clock on the morning of January, 8, the British attacked again, while the women were fervently praying at Mass at Ursuline's chapel. In a miraculous turn of events during an even more miraculous time - Holy Communion, a messenger arrived from the battlefront, shouting, "Victory is ours!" Immediately following the Mass, the Te Deum was sung by the grateful congregation, praising God's Lordship and His saving help in their time of distress.

    To emphasize the world-shaking qualities of this very short, final Battle, Chambers placed British casualties at more than seven hundred, and estimated the wounded to be more than double the mortalities. The British lost three Generals during the combat, two of whom were mortally wounded. (While trying to rally his men, their commander-in-chief, Packenham, was struck from his horse, and died in the arms of one of his soldiers.) Chambers also noted that at least five hundred British soldiers were taken prisoner.

    On the other hand, Chambers noted that the Americans lost only eight men, with only thirteen wounded! Other historians have placed the American casualties from as low as seven to as high as "71 men: 13 killed, 39 wounded, and 19 missing." Roosevelt estimated the Americans lost only seventy men, "of whom but thirteen fell in the main attack." Accurate dead and wounded tolls were difficult to take at the turn of the nineteenth century. However, the significance of the extraordinary events was and still remains unmistakable.

    Chambers recognized, "The all but invincible regulars of England had been met and disastrously defeated by a nondescript force of Westerners, Creoles, a small contingent of United States regulars, some militia, a few merchants and professional men, a group of ex-pirate cannoneers and a battalion of 'free-men-color' - all fused into a terrible fighting unit by the iron will of Jackson." He added that, although the Peace Treaty of Ghent had already been signed, a fact unknown to the combatants, the Battle of New Orleans was not fought in vain.

    "America needed the victory as a heartener for the future. The Creole needed the battle to give him a baptism of patriotism by which he was born again, that he might enter the portals of American citizenship in full realization of its privileges and its meaning."

    What Chamber's history leaves out, along with most other U.S. and Louisiana historians, is that Jackson would not claim sole credit for this amazing triumph. Jackson was quick to recognize the presence of a much greater saving power than his.

    Sr. Jane Frances describes Andrew Jackson as "not a particularly pious person." Nevertheless, Jackson asked Father Louis William Duborg, the diocesan administrator, to order, "a service of public thanksgiving to be performed in the Cathedral in token ... of the great assistance we have received from the Ruler of all Events, and of our humble sense of it."

    Sr. Jane Frances then tells how Father DuBourg "received General Jackson at the door of the Cathedral and commended him for his suggestion of public thanks to God for the victory. The Ursulines also shared in the celebration, when General Jackson and his staff came to the convent to thank the nuns for their prayers." The Ursulines were delighted to receive the triumphant general, and donated funds for a banquet given in his honor. Since that time, a thanksgiving Mass has been offered annually in the Ursulines' chapel in New Orleans.

    An interesting footnote is that the Ursuline Chapel, now dedicated as the National Shrine of Our Lady of Prompt Succor, was originally dedicated to Our Lady of Victory (also known as Our Lady of the Rosary). Our Lady of Victory's intercession on October 7, 1571 at the Battle of Lepanto was credited for saving Europe from the Turkish invasion.

    Over 200 years later at the Battle of New Orleans, Our Lady, under her title of Prompt Succor, lent extraordinary assistance to the humble efforts of Jackson's soldiers, and helped America to repel its enemies. When viewed from the deeper, unitive perspective of faith, what is revealed is the "path to victory that God achieves in human history."

    Our Lady's "quick help" at the Battle of New Orleans came in response to both the heroic men and the brave women, who had "persevered in hope." While it was the men who fought the earthly confrontation, achieving a their "baptism in patriotism," it was the women who waged the spiritual warfare, receiving their confirmation in a role for which all New Orleans had been prepared by the Marian devotion of the Ursuline nuns.

    Many people across the United States, including Secretary of the Treasury, Albert Gallatin (1801-1813), believed the conflict helped reestablish our country's national feeling and character. It is highly significant that, in one of our young country's most decisive battles, Our Lady of Prompt Succor, now revered as patroness of New Orleans and Louisiana, turned consoling prayer into victory.

    For those keenly aware of the cultural and spiritual battles being waged today, it may be helpful to ponder the genuinely sacramental character of the Battle of New Orleans. Perhaps we, as present-day American Catholics, need to deepen and to broaden the gratitude shown to Our Lady, who gave her love to such a broad spectrum of our fellow citizens at a time of national purification and rebirth?

    Following recently beatified Pope John Paul's example, not only in Poland but also throughout the world, it is historically appropriate for Americans, and especially Louisianians, to turn to Our Lady of Prompt Succor. Joined with our fellow countrymen and women, we can pray, "Watch over the Church and the Pope as they uphold with total fidelity the purity of faith and morals against unremitting opposition. Be to us truly Our Lady of Prompt Succor now and at the hour of our death ... Our Lady of Prompt Succor, hasten to help us!"


    *With help from Sr. Joan Marie Aycock, O.S.U., Archivist, Ursuline Academy (New Orleans)

    (copyright 2011 QuickHelp Productions/registered with WGAE)


    Bernstein, Carl and Marco Politi. His Holiness: John Paul II and the Hidden History of Our Time. Doubleday, 1996, pp. 379-380.


    Heaney, Sr. Jane Frances O.S.U., Ph.D. A Century of Pioneering: A History of the Ursuline Nuns in New Orleans 1727-1827. Ursuline Sisters of New Orleans, Louisiana, 1993, p. 239.

    Ibid., p. 238.

    Chambers, Henry E. A History of Louisiana: Wilderness, Colony, Province, Territory, State, People, Vol. 1. The American Historical Society, Inc., 1925. p. 530.


    Roosevelt, Theodore, "The Battle of New Orleans," Great Epochs, Vol. 5, p. 107, The American Freedom Library CD-Rom, The Western Standard Publishing Company, 1997.


    Internet Cabildo Lesson Plans, Louisiana State Museum Web Site:

    http://www.crt.state.la.us/crt/museum/lsmnet3.htm, Louisiana History at the Cabildo, "Chapter 7 Test of Loyalty: The Battle of New Orleans," p. 10.

    Ibid., p. 111.

    Chambers, p. 537.


    Heaney, p. 239.



    Bernstein and Politi, p. 380.

    Ibid., p. 224.

    Ibid., p. 239.

    Prayer to Our Lady of Prompt Succor, Patroness of Louisiana. National Shrine of Our Lady of Prompt Succor, 2635 State Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70118.
    - Constance A., Baton Rouge, LA United States
  • My mother was paralise on sevnteen(17) years ago. now she was very older women.
    But she prays daily gospel and holyhour.
    So i think its a wonderful gift of the lord jesus.
    - Iven P., Dankotuwa, Sri Lanka
    - Hernando b., quezon city, Philippines
  • Raised Catholic. Went to Catholic school and knew it in my head.

    When I was 18, during my senior year, at a retreat, I Found out Jesus loved me. I didn't just learn it, I experienced it. I dropped my friends, started to pray, and got involved with youth group. I started to realize that God wanted total surrender.

    Later events led to great suffering, and I didn't understand it for a long time. I realized that God loved me so much that He wanted to draw me closer to Himself, and the suffering was there so that I could learn to rely on Him. Though I was confused, I lived a life of the Sacraments and prayer and really did try to follow God.

    During the later college years, I came to struggle with scruples and depression. So I basically gave up, and lived to fulfill my selfish pleasures. On the inside, I was a total wreck, and was always thinking about coming back.

    One late night, I got inspired by a movie that really highlighted the beauty of forgiveness, and decided I was going to go to confession. The priest was compassionate and welcoming.

    However, the scruples are still here, and I'm still struggling. I know it's time to let God in and put the pieces where they go. Say some prayers for me.

    - Paul M., Dallas, TX United States
  • Being born and raised catholic was a wonderful thing, but my journey now is even deeper in both love and meaning. I was diagnosed w/cancer in Jan 2011, and now facing death, I am so very blessed having this faith instilled within me.
    - Bill K., Cabot, AR United States
  • When I was in primary school, we were shown the crucifixion scene from the epic film 'Jesus of Nazareth'. From then on, I had a phobia of depictions of the Crucified Christ.

    During university study, I became seriously ill and approached a welfare tutor: a Presbyterian named Elisabeth. Her specialism is female medieval mystics and medieval drama. She put on a set of Nativity and Passion plays. I was determined to get involved despite being so ill and had a religious experience during the Nativity plays, whilst holding Elisabeth in my arms during a scene in which I played the virtue Pax.

    I wanted to do the Passion plays too but fear of the Crucified Christ taunted me. Yet I heard God speak to me and ask me to look after Elisabeth for Him, within the context of the plays.

    Through this experience God healed me and brought me back to Him. When I asked the Blessed Virgin Mary what had happened during the religious experience in December, She showed me how She had petitioned God to give me the mother figure I so longed for.

    God is good and gracious indeed. I love the Church :)
    - Shanika R., London, United Kingdom
  • I'm half way through the book, and I think it should have come with a seat belt, airbag and crash helmet. Seriously world-rocking, and I've been a Catholic all my life!
    - Tina B., Skokie, IL United States
  • I was raised catholic, 1of 7. We went to church dutifully every week (There wasn't a choice in this). Sometime around the age of 14, I realized that the Gospel I had heard made sense. What else made sense? I'm still learning this. I am now 48. Tonight I will begin with our team, our parishes RCIA program for Easter 2012. For me it's been since '97. I will be telling the Inquirer's my story, and we will be telling them our story, and I will tell them that this story is going to become theirs and that it doesn't have an ending
    - Stan S., Ajax, Ontario, Canada
  • I belong to the Congregation of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, Philippines or OP-Siena, Philippines. I'm so grateful to you!
    - Sr. Fedelyn N. B., Naga City, Philippines
  • I am a cradle Catholic with a degree in Theology. 17 years ago a friend invited me to her protestant church. I stayed there for 14 years absorbing and loving their teachings on the Word of God. I also continued my involvement with my parish church, but on a limited basis. Three years ago the Holy Spirit "air lifted" me back to my parish based on John 6:53-57. Being back with the Eucharist on a regular basis has brought the complete joy to my heart and soul that I have been searching for all my life. Nothing could ever take me away again.

    Thank you so much for your dedication to our church. I pray that the Lord will bring many more back home and that all Catholics will come to understand that communion is truly the Body and Blood of Jesus.

    - Mary S., Cincinnati, OH United States
  • I was raised SDA (Seventh-Day Adventist). The most 180 degrees you can get from being Catholic I think. Why? Because Adventists believe the pope is the anti-christ. How in the world did I become Catholic? Through God's intercession in my life. Went to SDA schools all my life. In high school, I basically told God, I don't know how to get closer to you. I've asked for your help and nothing... I decided to not go to church anymore and do whatever I desired. Few years later I join the military, still going through this phase and I meet my now husband. He enjoyed debating, so he liked discussing religion with me. One day he asked me a very simple question but one that God used to totally open up my mind. I mean open it up to the possiblity of accepting something else as true. I will never forget that feeling. It was like a door opened... I'm glad I'm Catholic, and I praise God he led me to His church!
    - Jennifer G., Patrick AFB, FL United States
  • Great atricle, thank you again for writing.
    - Bobs B., beOdssFES, Algeria
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  • Dave Brenner responds to William J. Bennett's article on the CNN website about "Why Men are in Trouble," offering some valuable suggestions on how to reverse the trend.
    Fr. Robert Barron's Word On Fire - Culture: Let’s get our act together, fellas
    Today, on the Word on Fire blog, contributor Dave Brenner responds to a recent article about women outpacing men in education and the workplace, and urges his male contemporaries to "think different" when it comes to responsibilities to family, work and spirituality.
  • Excellent Documentary.
  • Is there a way to get the Catholicism Series available for mobile devices like Ipads etc...
  • Bobby Mixa gives some philosophical food-for-thought on today's blog post. Read it to learn more about "personalism" and Emmanuel Mounier...
    Fr. Robert Barron's Word On Fire - Philosophy: Personalism and Emmanuel Mounier
    Word on Fire's resident philosopher, Robert Mixa, shares his thoughts on the philosophical theory of personalism and how it relates to Christianity, most notably in the influential works of Emmanuel Mounier, in today's Word on Fire blog.
  • We attended a viewing of the first episode at Saint Anthony of Padua Catholic Church yesterday. Catholicism is a triumph! Can't wait for the next episode...


  • Tune in October 2...http://t.co/UCJ7FkIs
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