Author Archives: willturnstone

21 May, Pauline Jaricot, Novena Day VIII: ‘My only treasure is the Cross’.

Day Eight: ‘My only treasure is the cross’

Being a missionary disciple requires humility and courage. At the end of her life, defrauded of all material possessions, Pauline abandoned herself to God's will with extreme confidence, similar to Jesus on the cross. She wrote: 
           'My only treasure is the Cross'. 
Let us pray to discover this treasure, and to find humility and courage in mission. Like Jesus shared: 
          'Whoever wants to be a disciple, let him take up his cross and follow me'. 

Our Father. 
Hail Mary. 
Glory be… 
Blessed Pauline Jaricot, pray for us!

To find out more about Pauline Jaricot, visit: missio.org.uk/Pauline

Icon by  Constantina Wood

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20 May, Pauline Jaricot Novena, Day VII: ‘The poor are God’s favourites’.

Saint Oscar Romero, 20th century missionary to the poor – and martyr.
We continue our reflections on the vocation of all Christians to be missionary disciples and close to the poor, like the soon to be beatified Pauline Jaricot. To find out more about Pauline Jaricot, visit: missio.org.uk/Pauline

As missionary disciples we are to follow Jesus and his example of closeness to the
poor. Pauline wrote: 
          'Following our Lord Jesus Christ, the poor are God's true courtiers, his favourites'. 
Pauline's closeness to the poor led her to develop a keen awareness of social injustices, and to  fight the roots of these evils. 
Let us pray to grow in our closeness to those who are poor, and in our commitment to God’s Kingdom of justice, mercy, and peace. 
Our Father. 
Hail Mary. 
Glory be… 
Blessed Pauline Jaricot, pray for us!

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19 May: Saint Dunstan

Dunstan’s self-portrait, kneeling before the risen Lord.

Here is Canon Anthony Charlton’s reflection on Saint Dunstan; Canon Anthony is parish priest of Saint Thomas’, Canterbury. The artist, Mother Concordia, was Abbess at Minster Abbey, home of Sister Johanna.

The small Catholic Church at Hersden a few miles from Canterbury is dedicated to St Dunstan whose feast day we keep today. On the left of the altar is a fine relief of St Dunstan created by Mother Concordia, a Benedictine nun from Minster Abbey on the Isle of Thanet. What strikes you immediately is that he is holding a harp. Geoffrey Handley in his history of Anglo Saxons says that Dunstan “was renowned as a singer and musician and seemed to have exploited the effect of the aeolian harp ( the sounds caused by the wind blowing through the strings of a free-standing instrument). He was a scholar and gifted artist as well.

Dunstan was born in 909 and was made Abbot at Glastonbury by King Edmund. “It was from this moment, probably 940 may be dated the rebirth of Medieval English monasticism which was to last undisturbed until the reformation.”

He reformed Glastonbury Abbey and was made Bishop of Worcester and then London before becoming Archbishop of Canterbury in 960. He reorganised the church by promoting monastic bishops, and took a large part in the creation of a united England

Until Thomas Becket’s fame overshadowed Dunstan’s, he was the favourite saint of the English people. Dunstan had been buried in his cathedral at Canterbury; and when that building was destroyed by a fire in 1174, his relics were translated by Archbishop Lanfranc to a tomb on the south side of the high altar in the rebuilt Canterbury Cathedral.

He was a true shepherd to his people and his interests and skills tended to the crafts of the ordinary as well as the cultured. “The appreciation of these arts shows Dunstan’s passion for the creators work and for the talents he gives to us. Contemplation of the beauty of scared art and music allows us to glimpse and, perhaps, understand a little of God’s creative power.”

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19 May, Pauline Jaricot Novena VI: ‘I am sending you too’.

A further reflection on the working out of Blessed Pauline Jaricot’s vocation. To find out more about Pauline Jaricot, visit: missio.org.uk/Pauline

Every missionary disciple walks in the footsteps of Jesus. Pauline Jaricot developed the spirituality of the laity; not in founding a Religious community, but a Marian association of women at the service of the poor. Pauline invites us to value the vocation of each baptised person. God’s plan for Pauline was to follow Christ step- by-step: ‘As the Father sent me, so I am sending you too!’ Let us pray that we, baptised and sent, fulfill our calling as missionary disciples.

Our Father. 
Hail Mary. 
Glory be… 
Blessed Pauline Jaricot, pray for us!

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18 May, Pauline Jaricot Novena, V: ‘Let us pray with confidence’.

My late father’s well-worn rosary.

Pauline Jaricot understood that through prayer the humanly impossible becomes possible with God. She founded the Living Rosary, convinced that only prayer helps us to keep the faith, and she spread it throughout the world. Pauline tells us again today, in the face of the challenges of universal mission:

‘Let us always pray, let us pray with confidence, let us pray without getting tired… Let us pray and seek the Kingdom first’.

Our Father. 
Hail Mary. 
Glory be… 
Blessed Pauline Jaricot, pray for us!

To find out more about Pauline Jaricot, visit: missio.org.uk/Pauline

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17 May, Pauline Jaricot Novena IV: ‘Prayer is the kingdom of God within us’.

What is it about prayer that we find so hard to grasp? ‘The raising of the heart and mind to God’ is one definition, easy to remember, but insufficient. What about the image coming to me, unbidden, of someone dear? It certainly wasn’t my conscious mind that brought her there, perhaps it was seeing a head of hair like my friend’s … Or what about the walk down town to Mass, neither mind nor heart actively involved; do I only begin to pray after entering the church or is my body praying as it transports the rest of me to Mass, or to work, or to visit somebody? Pauline Jaricot’s body failed her through illness; what did that do for her prayer life?


For many years, Pauline was passionate about many successful charitable ventures. But serious illness at the age of 35 curtailed her ability to work. Such an impact affected her mental health but through prayer and the Eucharist, Pauline discovered a new spiritual fruitfulness. She would build God’s kingdom with prayer and encourage others to join her in this mission.

Let us pray… 
Our Father. 
Hail Mary. 
Glory be… 
Blessed Pauline Jaricot, pray for us!

To find out more about Pauline Jaricot, visit: missio.org.uk/Pauline

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16 May, Pauline Jaricot Novena III: My struggles transformed.

Farming maize is just one aspect of the church’s work in mission countries.

Pauline Jaricot showed deep concern for the needs within her local community, and wanted to help poor communities in mission countries. In 19th Century France, this was not easy for a single woman, but eventually, she was able to say, ‘My struggles transformed into ardent charity’ – in her heart and in her followers and co-workers.

She established a work with inspiration from heaven: the Propagation of the Faith. Every missionary disciple cares about the needs of their loved ones and of the whole human family. This is the love that God places in our hearts, a fraternal and universal charity. Let us pray to develop such charity.

Our Father.  
Hail Mary.  
Glory be…  
Blessed Pauline Jaricot, pray for us!

 To find out more about Pauline Jaricot, visit: missio.org.uk/Pauline

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15 May, Novena for Blessed Pauline Jaricot II: Stay with me!

Stay with me, brother!
Carrying out her mission during a turbulent era was difficult, so Jesus revealed this truth to Pauline Jaricot: 
           'Stay with me in the depths of your heart'. 
True contemplative prayer urges us to meet our sisters and brothers with divine love in our hearts. Our mission as disciples can present great challenges, but we find encouragement in the words of Pauline: 
          'What could a soul constantly united to Jesus not be able to do!' 
Our Father. 
Hail Mary. 
Glory be… 
Blessed Pauline Jaricot, pray for us!

 To find out more about Pauline Jaricot, visit: missio.org.uk/Pauline

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14 May, Novena for Blessed Pauline Jaricot, Day I: ‘Love without measure’.

Today sees the start of a Novena of prayer with Blessed Pauline Jaricot, the founder of the Catholic Church’s Association for the Propagation of the Faith, which unites the whole Church in its mission of bringing the Good News through prayer and material support. She will be beatified in her home city of Lyon on 22 May, when this Novena ends. Pauline Jaricot was born in 1799, during the French Revolution. Her life was to become a testament to the power of lay people in our Church. She believed that if we all dedicate ourselves to praying a little and giving a little, we can help share God’s love throughout the world.
To find out more about Pauline Jaricot, visit: missio.org.uk/Pauline

Day One: ‘Love without measure’
To respect ourselves is to respect our profound nature of being made to love. At a very young age, Pauline Jaricot discovered that her heart was made to love. She listened to this source in her and heard: ‘Come to the Father!’ In these nine days of prayer, let us return to the Father and
rediscover our purpose and our life as missionary disciples made to love. Let us be challenged by Pauline and her words:
‘To be able to love without measure, without remorse, without interruption, without fear; this is what I was looking for’.

Our Father. 
Hail Mary. 
Glory be… 
Blessed Pauline Jaricot, pray for us!

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13 May: Young Saints.

somers.town. pentecost.jpg

Some readers will remember that I like St Aloysius’ Church near Saint Pancras station in London. This window, with Mary at the centre of the Apostles on Pentecost morning arouses mixed emotions though. It is good to see a clear theology of Mary’s place in the Church, receiving the Holy Spirit with – I wish I could say ‘with everyone else’ – but it is with the Apostles only, not the 120 people who were gathered together. Perhaps the artist felt that the picture was crowded enough already, but where is Mary Magdalene, Johanna, the other women and where is John Mark, Paul’s future assistant that he would call his ‘son’ (Colossians 4:10)? He is usually identified with the boy who ran away naked from the garden on Maundy Thursday night, as well as with Mark the evangelist. It was to his mother’s house that Peter went after the angel sprung him from prison. (Acts 12.12) She was another Mary.

The window is not diverse enough to represent the first Church, though a few minutes looking through the clear glass out into the street would assure any visitor that St Aloysius’ is in the midst of diversity today. But there should be more women and more young people in that window!

Saint Aloysius was a Jesuit novice when he died in Rome aged 23, after catching plague from nursing the victims of an epidemic. Not an inappropriate neighbour for Saint Pancras, who was martyred for his Christian faith at Rome on 14 May 304, at the age of fourteen. John Mark, Aloysius and Pancras, young men who were saints. Worth remembering them, and young women saints like Agnes, Lucy and Therese, as we approach the great Synod of Pope Francis. Today’s young Christians are as capable of witnessing to the Gospel message as their parents, grandparents, distant ancestors, and the clergy. Let’s hear their voices.

Keep them in your prayers!

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