Tag Archives: Paul Wattson

Father Paul Wattson’s sainthood cause moves ahead

TheFr Wattson causes of US saints is a key part of this blog. Not long ago, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints granted the Archdiocese of New York the nihil obstat regarding the Cause of the Servant of God, Father Paul of Graymoor.

Receiving the nihil obstat means that there’s nothing in the Vatican archives to prevent the Cause from moving ahead. Next is for Timothy Cardinal Dolan to officially open the diocesan investigation into the life, virtue and work of Father Paul. This phase is expected to happen later in the year. In June 2014, Wattson was given the title of Servant of God and in November 2014 the US Bishops voted to advance the cause.

The Friars have known Father Paul as the Apostle of Christian unity and charity.

The Friars are in the process of developing Guild to support the Canonization of Father Paul Wattson. The address: PO Box 300, Garrison NY 10524.

At the conclusion of the lengthy diocesan study of the life and holiness of Father Paul will produce the positio, a formal argument for a Servant of God’s canonization. The positio includes a systematic biography of the Servant of God, a summary of testimony and an essay on Father Paul’s spirituality.

Becoming a saint is not a quick and easy process.

Our Lady of the Atonement

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Today, is the feast of Our Lady of the Atonement. Under her patronage do the Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Atonement live their vocation. I was happy to celebrate with a favorite Atonement Sister today!

The Founder of the Franciscans of the Atonement, the Servant of God Father Paul, said of Mary’s part in the Atonement:

“She is necessarily “of the Atonement” since it was the will of God that she play a necessary part in the atonement or redemption. This is not to say that without her man would have remained unredeemed but that God’s plan gave her a large share in the redemptive work…Mary, although her part is in no way similar in nature to that of her divine Son’s, cooperated with Jesus Christ, as no other creature did, in his work of reconciling man with God. Her claim to this high title rests most solidly on the fact that she consented to become, and became the mother of the Redeemer; that she suffered with Jesus during the passion; and that all graces merited for mankind by Christ have come to us through Mary.

When we, therefore, give to our Blessed Mother the title of Our Lady of the Atonement we mean: Our Lady of Unity. As she sits enthroned, as the great wonder of heaven, wearing a crown of twelve stars, clothed with the sun, the moon her footstool, she presents to the universe the highest possible approach of a creature to intimate and exalted union with God.

More on Fr Paul Wattson and the devotion to Atonement.

Blessed Maria Gabriella Sagheddu: Apostle for Spiritual Ecumenism

Thumbnail image for Bl Maria Gabriella Sagheddu.jpgLord God, eternal Shepherd, You inspired the blessed virgin, Maria Gabriella, generously to offer up her life for the sake of Christian unity. At her intercession, hasten, we pray, the coming of the day when, gathered around the table of Your word and of Your Bread from heaven, all who believe in Christ may sing Your praises with a single heart, a single voice.

Blessed Maria Gabriella, Sardinian by birth in 1914, she died a Trappistine nun in 1939 at Grottaferrata, having entered the monastery four years earlier. Taking up the invitation to work for spiritual ecumenism among Christians from Father Paul Couturier who stressed that all Christians must learn to pray together for unity in union with Jesus’ own prayer for the same (Jn 17). Couturier advocated a spiritual unity founded on common prayer, charity, friendship, mutual forgiveness and humility which precedes doctrinal and hierarchical unity.

Father Couturier’s work found a natural habitat in the monastic life which then became fruitful among the wider church (he called the latter the invisible monastery). As a side note, Couturier was greatly influenced by the his work in Lyon, France and by Dom Lambert Beaudoin and the monks of the Belgian abbey of Amay-sur-Meuse (now at Chevetogne).

Blessed Maria Gabriella’s offering of self in 1938 for the spiritual ecumenism made known by Father Paul Couturier was a renewal of the same offering made on the day of her monastic profession of vows: not only to give her early life for Christian unity also to die for unity. This self-gift was closely connected to the notion that the profession of monastic vows is not isolated from the Church universal but deeply at the center of it because of the desire to totally give oneself to God. It is THE reversal of the sin of disunity that is based on ego and not on personal conversion.

Pope John Paul II beatified her on January 25, 1983. Blessed Maria Gabriella is buried at the Trappistine abbey of Our Lady of Saint Joseph at Vitorchiano (near to Viterbo) where her original community moved. She is known as the Apostle for Spiritual Ecumenism.

I recommend to you Sister Martha Driscoll, OCSO’s A Silent Herald of Unity: The Life of Blessed Maria Gabriella Sagheddu (Cistercian Publications, 1990).

Paul Wattson: RIP 70 years

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Today is Father Paul Wattson’s 70th anniversary of death– the great Catholic ecumenist and convert. I pray that he lives with the Lord: May his memory be eternal.
O God, Who did raise Thy servant to the dignity of priest in the apostolic priesthood, grant, we beseech Thee, that he may be joined in fellowship with Thine Apostles forevermore.
This essay on Father Paul Wattson, “Father Paul of Graymoor: Founder of the Society of the Atonement and Father of the Church Unity Octave” written by Eleanore Villarrubia, is a great overview of Father Paul’s life. 

Some words by Father Paul Wattson

Now that which fosters this love and causes it to burn
up and kindle within us, is the gift of our Lord himself to us in the Blessed
Sacrament. That is the very heart and center of the religious life. It is our
exceedingly  great privilege to
have come out of the world and assemble ourselves in the religious houses,
where we practically live under the same roof with our heavenly bridegroom. 

a most intimate manner we receive Him every morning in Holy Communion. When we
receive our Lord in Holy Communion, we receive God’s body, blood, soul and divinity,
the whole Christ, entering our lips and penetrating the inmost recesses of our heart
even as he said, “He that eats my flesh and drinks my blood, abides in me
and I in him.” [John 6:56] Consequently our life is a life of most intimate
union. Our divine Savior would not only have us live under the same roof with
him and dwell in our chapels, which are for the time being a part of the court
of Heaven, but he enters into our interior and penetrates our whole being and
lives in us in this wonderful union. And all this is the fruit and the result
of the Blessed Sacrament. Therefore, we should have a most wonderful devotion
to the Holy Eucharist. (Father Paul Wattson, SA, Retreat Conference August 19, 1926)

A brief
remembrance of Father Paul Wattson from a 2009 Communio
blog entry

Our Lady of the Atonement

Father Paul Wattson, the founder with Mother Lurana White, of the Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Atonement, gave hundreds of sermons, conducted numerous retreats, delivered many radio addresses and wrote extensively in four magazines: The Pulpit of the Cross, The Lamp, The Candle and The Antidote.

The following piece is Father Wattson’s commentary on the feast of Our Lady of the Atonement. This Marian feast was approved by the Holy See in 1946 but it was first observed in July 1901.

The theological datum on atonement and therefore mercy, is near-and-dear to the heart of the Church and indeed to all Christians, so today’s feast is apt. Let us pray for each other!

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I am writing this letter on the day which we are accustomed to observe at Graymoor in special honor of Our Lady of the Atonement. This particular name of Our Blessed Mother is very dear to us and we believe it is dear to Our Lady herself. We hold it as among the most treasured and sacred traditions of our Institute that it was the Blessed Virgin who first taught us to call her by that name and there are cogent reasons why she should give this title a favorite place among the many by which she is invoked.

First among these reasons must be her own devotion to the mystery of the Atonement, for it was by the death of her son on the Cross, which cost him the last drop of his blood and made her preeminently the mother of sorrows, that the wall of division between God and man was broken down and both were made one (Ephesians 2:14), through Christ’s atoning sacrifice.

As the Blessed Virgin is inseparably associated with our divine redeemer in the mystery of his incarnation, so is she closely associated with him in the great act of the atonement. Thus, is she always represented in the Gospel and in the liturgy and thought of the Catholic Church as standing by the cross, when Christ was crucified there.

There is a second reason, hardly less weighty than the first, why the title, Our Lady of the Atonement, should powerfully appeal to the mother of God. It was through the Incarnation she become the mother of Christ, but through the atonement she became the new Eve and the mother of all the regenerate, who being redeemed by the precious blood are predestined to eternal life as the adopted sons of God and heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven. The third time Our Lord spoke upon the cross it was to emphasize this phase of the Atonement, when he said to his mother: “Woman, behold your son,” and to St. John, “Son, behold your mother.” [John 19:26-27] Thus by virtue of the atonement Mary is the mother of all who live through Christ. Can anyone therefore possibly conceive the depth of significance this title “Our Lady of the Atonement” must possess for Our Blessed Mother herself?

But someone will ask, if so highly esteemed, why should it be kept hidden for nineteen hundred years, to be made known to the faithful in the twentieth century? Is it not the custom even of earthly mothers to preserve the choicest
fruits in the summer time and hide them away under lock and key, to bring them forth to their children’s delight in the depth of winter and did not the master of the wedding feast say to the bridegroom at Cana,

Every man at first brings forth good wine and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse. But you have kept the good wine until now. [John 2:10]

“My ways are not your ways,” [Isaiah 55:8] says the Lord of Hosts.

(The Lamp, August 1919, pp.503-4)

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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