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Called the “Madre Moretta” (the Black Mother), Josephina Bakhita was a former slave who became a Canossian Sister (Institute of St. Magdalene of Canossa) in Italy. She was born in the Sudan, in northeastern Africa, about 1870, and at the age of nine was stolen by slavers. The slave traders gave her the name Bakhita, ...read more
Two hundred and thirty-three martyrs – priests, religious and lay people – died for their faith in the religious persecution surrounding the Spanish Civil War, from 1936 to 1939. They all forgave their executioners. One of these people was 22-year-old Francisco Castello i Aleu, a chemist and a member of Catholic Action. In full awareness ...read more
There’s something about the music of WYD2002 that really transports me back to that week. Events such as the Welcoming Ceremony, the Way of the Cross, the Vigil and the Closing Mass, would not have been the same, I believe, had it not been for the music. Not that the music is solely responsible for ...read more
The martyrs of the era of World War II were remarkable men and women of valor. Some endured years of horror and pain, and others were killed in sudden violence. Blessed Marcel Callo endured several forms of martyrdom before dying, but he entered the arena of suffering with a willing heart, as he explained it, ...read more
A young Filipino catechist martyred on Guam. He traveled to Guam with Blessed Father Diego Luis San Vitores (beatified in 1985) and there encountered hostile natives. Both he and Blessed Diego were murdered and hurled into the sea. Their bodies were never recovered. Pedro was beatified on March 5, 2000. From the homily of Pope ...read more
Days before World Youth Day 2002’s Way of the Cross, the event’s director, Father Robert Gendreau, was concerned that there was not a lot of media interest in this grand-scale Stations of the Cross. Stretching along one of Toronto’s busiest avenues with hundreds of people involved, and six months in the making, this was no ...read more
Therese Martin was born on January 2, 1873, in France. After their mother died, her two older sisters, Pauline and Marie, entered the Carmelite convent of Lisieux. These losses plunged young Therese into an emotional illness from which she was miraculously cured by the “Smiling Virgin” Mary. Early on, Therese dreamed of becoming a Carmelite ...read more
Andrew, from Phu Yen (1624–1644), became a martyr for his faith. Born to a poor mother in the province of Phu Yen, he went on to study with the Jesuits and was baptized when he was sixteen years old. He became a catechist and evangelized with zeal, filled with the love of God and wanting ...read more
Retrospect. Hindsight. Looking back. We’re often asked how we might redo history, knowing what we know now. What would I change about the summer of 2002? Nothing. World Youth Day 2002 provided me with one my first jobs… I was working in the Program Department helping to organize the volunteers and logistics of festival stages ...read more
Pier Giorgio Frassati was born in Turin (Italy) on April 6, 1901. His mother was a painter. His father, a notorious agnostic, was an impressive man: founder of the liberal newspaper La Stampa and influential in politics, he was named Senator and Ambassador of Italy in Germany. Pier Giorgio grew up with a younger sister, ...read more