Mark Twain believed in the supernatural, apparitions, and loved a Catholic Saint

image By Stephen K. Ryan 

Mark Twain believed in the supernatural, apparitions,  and loved a Catholic Saint.

Mark Twain, to the surprise of almost everyone,  wrote a book, a biography no less,  about the life and times  of Joan of Arc.  The book is call the  “Personal Recollections of Joan of Ark” and astonishingly he called this virtually unknown volume his “best and favorite work”.

Best Selling author Randall Sullivan told me recently in an e-mail:
“Thanks for your letter regarding my book, The Miracle Detective. I was simultaneously stirred and chagrined by what you wrote about Mark Twain and his Joan of Arc book. I have to admit that I was among those who did not know that Twain had authored such a book, let alone that he considered it his most important work.”

There are many  intriguing reasons why most folks are unaware of  the beliefs of  Mark Twain, but first here are the remarkable words from Mark Twain about a book he wrote  about a Catholic Saint.

“I like Joan of Arc best of all my books; and it is the best; I know it perfectly well. And besides, it furnished me seven times the pleasure afforded me by any of the others; twelve years of preparation, and two years of writing. The others needed no preparation and got none.”

 

Mark Twain admired, maybe even venerated  “Joan of Arc”   and he was transfixed by the amazing spiritual events experienced by the young French virgin who called herself “Joan the Maid”

Mark Twain spent twelve years researching and writing his book.

Twain went to the National Archives of France and read through the transcripts of the trial that ended in Joan’s martrydom, as well as the inquisition — held 25 years after her death — that cleared her name. He studied both English and French accounts of the French heroine, and concluded, in an essay(read the entire essay here)  he wrote in 1904 that Joan was the “Wonder of the Ages,” an individual “stainlessly pure, in mind and heart, in speech and deed and spirit.”

Mark Twain said:

“Taking into account, as I have suggested before, all the circumstances — her origin, youth, sex, illiteracy, early environment, and the obstructing conditions under which she exploited her high gifts and made her conquests in the field and before the courts that tried her for her life, — she is easily and by far the most extraordinary person the human race has ever produced”.

“The most extrodinary person the human race has ever produced”, certainly high praise for a Catholic Saint from Mr. Twain.

Edward Wagenknecht in his biography , “Mark Twain: The Man and His Work” said of Mark Twain’s labor:

“It is an extraordinary (and baffling) literary phenomenon that Mark Twain, who was not disposed to see God at work in the melancholy affairs of men, should have been so galvanized by the life and achievement of this young woman that he devoted years of his life to this book about her.”

Thomas Howard, Author, “”Chance or the Dance? weighed in with:

“Mark Twain comes furtively like Nicodemus at night with this tribute to one of God’s saints. In doing so he tells a secret about himself. It is as though the man in a white suit and a cloud of cigar smoke thought there just might be a place where people in white robes stand in clouds of incense.”

But it is in Mark Twain’s remarkable essay where we see in his own words his special relationship and love for  Joan of Arc:

“There is no blemish in that rounded and beautiful character.

She was deeply religious, and believed that she had daily speech with angels; that she saw them face to face, and that they counselled her, comforted and heartened her, and brought commands to her direct from God. She had a childlike faith in the heavenly origin of her apparitions and her Voices, and not any threat of any form of death was able to frighten it out of her loyal heart. She was a beautiful and simple and lovable character. 

Her history has still another feature which sets her apart and leaves her without fellow or competitor: there have been many uninspired prophets, but she was the only one who ever ventured the daring detail of naming, along with a foretold event, the event’s precise nature, the special time-limit within which it would occur, and the place — and scored fulfilment.

At Vaucouleurs she said she must go to the King and be made his general, and break the English power, and crown her sovereign — “at Rheims.” It all happened. It was all to happen “next year” — and it did. She foretold her first wound and its character and date a month in advance, and the prophecy was recorded in a public record-book three weeks in advance. She repeated it the morning of the date named, and it was fulfilled before night.

At Tours she foretold the limit of her military career — saying it would end in one year from the time of its utterance — and she was right. She foretold her martyrdom — using that word, and naming a time three months away — and again she was right.

At a time when France seemed hopelessly and permanently in the hands of the English she twice asserted in her prison before her judges that within seven years the English would meet with a mightier disaster than had been the fall of Orleans: it happened within five — the fall of Paris. Other prophecies of hers came true, both as to the event named and the time-limit prescribed.”

Finally one of our favorite passages from Twains’ essay:

“asked at her trial why it was her standard (The standard depicts the Virgin Mary and two angels)  had a place at the crowning of the King in the Cathedral of Rheims rather than the standards of the other captains, she uttered that touching speech, “It had borne the burden, it had earned the honor” — a phrase which fell from her lips without premeditation, yet whose moving beauty and simple grace it would bankrupt the arts of language to surpass.”

“Bankrupt the arts of language to surpass”  Again high praise from one of America’s finest writers.

But of course the main stream media will have none of Mark Twain’s journey  into the supernatural. The media, book critics , and academia  have kept Mark Twain’s views of this Catholic Saint a virtual secret for years.  Most reviews of the book dismiss the work as insignificant.

Atheists, agnostics and “intellectuals” have employed Mark Twain’s wit to ridicule organized religion for decades , they are beholden to this notion and so they are not about to sully the waters with a spiritual view of Mark Twain.   The atheists  love  to quote Mark Twain’s famous quip “It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.”

We have no doubt Mark Twain was quite scornful of many aspects of organized religion in his day. Who is not from time to time. The Ted Haggards, the Mark Stanfords, the Jimmy Swaggerts and all the hypocrits deserve to be pilloried.

But the Atheists, the purveyors of logic and reason,  refuse to have a balanced view of Twain.  They reverentially  genuflect at Twain’s derision of people of faith, but they quickly label him a fool when he finds beauty and virtue in a religious figure.

The Atheists can not accept Mark Twain’s  book about a Saint, as worthy of his talents,  particularly a book about a Catholic religious figure that claims to have been guided by apparitions, angels and Saints.

Mark Twain was fully aware that  Joan of Arc was exceptionally pious.  She required  her soldiers to take the Sacraments of Confession and Communion regularly and she would have her men of her army gather around for daily prayer and devotion. Mark Twain  knew all this.  He also understood  that she believed  all that she  accomplished was possible only through God’s intervention and to the dismay of the Atheists, Mark Twain does not quibble with any of her testimony.

She is the Wonder of Ages.

  Below is a fascinating story of Mark Twain and “Joan of Arc” from the New York Times from 1905mark

 

 Left to Right: Andrew Carnegie, Mark Twain, Dan Beard, Sir C. Purdon Clarke, Rollo Ogden, Miss Angersten
This photo of the event appeared in the December 31, 1905 edition of The New York Times, Pictorial Section.

Mark Twain was the guest of honor at a dinner given last night at the Aldine Association by the Society of Illustrators. All the well-known magazine and newspaper artists were present, while other distinguished guests included Andrew Carnegie, Sir. C. Purdon Clarke, Caspar Whitney, Robert Collier, Jr., Norman Hapgood, Alphonse Mucha, Arthur Scribner, and Thomas A. Janvier, Frederick Remington, Henry S. Fleming, and Daniel Beard were on the Reception Committee.

It had been arranged that when the humorist arose to speak Miss Angersten, a well-known model, was to appear in the garb and with the simple dignity of Jean d’Arc, his favorite character in all history. He was on his feet as Jean d’Arc entered the room. She wore the armor of the French heroine and her hair and face made a strangely appealing picture.

The face of the humorist, which had been wearing its “company” smile all night, suddenly changed. He had every appearance of a man who had seen a ghost. His eyes fairly started out of his head, and his hand gripped the edge of the table.

Jean d’Arc presented him with a wreath of bay. He merely bowed, with his eyes fixed on the girl’s face. They followed her as in reverent silence she passed out, followed by a little boy in suitable costume, bearing a banner over her head. Then Mark Twain spoke. His voice was broken, and his word came slowly.

There’s an illustration, gentlemen – a real illustration,” he said. “I studied that girl, Joan of Arc, for twelve years, and it never seemed to me that the artists and the writers gave us a true picture of her. They drew a picture of a peasant. Her dress was that of a peasant. But they always missed the face – the divine soul, the pure character, the supreme woman, the wonderful girl. She was only 18 years old, but put into a breast like hers a heart like hers and I think, gentlemen, you would have a girl – like that.”

The humorist looked toward the door, and there was absolute silence – puzzled silence – for many did not know whether it was time to laugh, disrespectful to giggle, or discourteous to keep solemn. The humorist realized the situation. Turning to his audience he came out of the clouds and said solemnly:

“But the artists always paint her with a face – like a ham.”

Medjugorje, Chastisements, Secrets, and End Times

By Stephen Ryan

Medjugorje, chastisements, secrets, and end timesThere is much speculation and interpretations regarding what is meant by end times as described in the Catholic Catechism. And there is much speculation attached to Fatima’s famous claim that “In the end my heart will triumph”,  and how this haunting “end times” promise  connects to the yet  unreavled  Medjugorje secrets. The secrets of Medjugorje are said to contain end time elements and speak of world wide chastisements.

But beyond speculations are there things we  know about Fatima and Medjugorje that speak directly about “end times”?
First of all, what we do know is that specific revelations about Fatima have come true. The Church has said so much.  But what about Medjugorje?  What do we know about Medjugorje’s prophetic nature beyond the talk of secrets?  Well, what we know is that according to the visionaries the Blessed Mother herself has told them that:  ”Medjugorje is the continuation and fulfillment of Fatima”  If you accept Medjugorje (we wait for the final word from the Church) then this statement must be regarded as an  indisputable revelation by Our Lady which was confirmed by the visionaries.Our Lady connects Medjugorje to Fatima.  So what are we to make of this connection; how can we connect Fatima with  Medjugorje ?  Is there any evidence to support the prophesy and what does have to say about the future of the world?

Experts and theologians who studied Fatima have always been puzzled by Russia’s unique status in the messages and secrets. Why was Russia, that tragic nation with such a rich tradition of venerating the Blessed Mother, specifically mentioned? Famous author and Vatican insider, Fr. Malachi Martin, who claimed to have read the “Third Secret” in the 1960’s, hinted that Russia was the key to the ‘Third Secret of Fatima’. He wrote:Sister Lucia’s single-page letter of the “Third Secret” covers three topics—
1. A Physical chastisement of nations
2. A spiritual chastisement
3. The central function of Russia in the two which in fact, the physical and spiritual chastisements are to be gridded on a fateful timetable in which Russia is the ratchet.

Malachi Martin said that, “Russia, according to the text of the ‘Third Secret’, was the regulator of the Fatima timetable. Russia’s role in the ‘Vision of Fatima’ is very important because, if we’re to believe the Vision of Fatima, salvation for the world, the cure for the world ills, will start in Russia, and that was why the Virgin Mary, in the Fatima vision of 1917, was supposed to have spoken actively about Russia.”

Russia, according to Malachi Martin, first of all, has to be cured of her errors. And then, Russia will help the entire world to get better and to cure itself of its sins. Martin wrote:
“It’s a very bizarre message in that sense because one would have said that salvation was going to come from the West as we always think because we are Westerners, but no, according to the message of Fatima, salvation will come from the East, and particularly, from the State of Russia itself, which is extraordinary.”

Pope John Paul II had obliquely referenced Russia as part of the third secret. The Pope once said, when asked about the Fatima secret:

“Because of the seriousness of its contents, in order not to encourage the world wide power of Communism (Russia) to carry out certain coups, my Predecessors in the Chair of Peter have diplomatically preferred to withhold its publication.”

It has been said often that Medjugorje is the continuation and fulfillment of Fatima. Fatima is viewed by Catholic intellectuals and Vatican experts as the most prophetic event in Catholic Church history since the days of Jesus Christ. So with this in mind it is important to examine how Medjugorje connects to Fatima from a prophetic perspective and it should be understood that the Virgin Mary at Medjugorje, by singling out Russia, has already issued words that are prophetic in nature and clearly tie Medjugorje to Fatima.

Medjugorje’s prophecy (and yes some can wish this away but it is a fact and it is a “prophesy”) occurred on November 1, 1981, six months after Bulgarian assassin Mehmet Ali Ağca’s failed attempt to kill Pope John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square. Historians have concluded that Agca was assisted by the Soviet Union’s secret police.

In 1981, the Soviet Union was still very much an atheist state – at war with faith and Christianity – the Pope was a real threat to the totalitarian regime – and so with this in mind, it is amazing to think that the Virgin Mary, on November 1, 1981, told the six young Medjugorje visionaries that“Russia will come to glorify God the most, the West has made civilization progress, but without God, and act as if they are their own creator”.

It is very critical to understand this precise vocabulary, particularly as we fast forward a few decades to 2014. Today we see Russian leader, Vladimir Putin and his deputy Dimity Medvedev, attending church regularly; both men are considered devout Russian Orthodox Christians. They are often seen in public venerating the Virgin Mary and kissing blessed Icons of the Madonna. Last year, Vladimir Putin waited in a long line in freezing cold temperatures to view a relic – the belt of the Virgin Mary. As he knelt before the relic he prayed for the fertility of the Russian people. Ominously, the startling spiritual revival in Russia is taking place at a time when a crisis of faith, precipitated by the clerical sex abuse catastrophe, is enveloping the Catholic Church and much of Christianity, both in Europe and the in the United States. The west today is pushing faith out of the public square. Two days ago in Houston, pastor’ sermons were subpoenaed by legal authorities

“Russia will come to glorify God the most”. Some foreign policy experts are now reporting that intrusions into Russian government affairs by the Orthodox Church are emerging as the defining political concern for the Russian state and its citizens. These emerging religious events in Russian and the West would have been nearly impossible to predict in 1981, yet Russia’s return back towards religion is precisely what the Virgin Mary at Medjugorje told the world that this would happen. The Queen of Peace is alone in predicting the current state of Russia. Despite the spiritual awaking occurring in Russia, this important development is virtually unknown in the United States.

USA continues to demonize Russia …Why? Because spiritual forces are at work.

Today’s headline “Russia to bolster military presence in former Soviet states
Air force chief announces plans for new air base in Belarus, as well as expansion of existing facilities in Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. The Moscow Times reports http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/o … iet-states

Padre Pio – “Russia will teach the United States a lesson in conversion.”

By Stephen Ryan - Author of “The Madonna Files”
Padre Pio – Russia and Medjugorje – A Remarkable Connection


  Padre Pio also said “Yes, Russia will be converted, as the Blessed Virgin said she would. However, Russia will teach the United States a lesson in conversion.

 

Daniel Kilmek writes “Saint Pio walked the earth and greeted pilgrims in his friary, in San Giovanni Rotondo, he made what is believed to be a prophecy about the coming of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Medjugorje. In her book A Spark from Heaven, the BBC journalist Mary Craig reports that a few years before the apparitions in Medjugorje began, Padre Pio had told a group of pilgrims who were visiting him from the diocese of Mostar: “The Blessed Virgin Mary will soon be visiting your homeland.”Medjugorje, as many people who follow the events there, exists within the Mostar diocese, making Saint Pio’s prophecy that much more remarkable.

But, as we explore further, the tie between Padre Pio and Medjugorje, we see that the prophetic friar made remarkable predictions about the future of Russia that connect Padre Pio and Medjugorje even closer. From the revised edition of “Padre Pio, the True Story” by C. Bernard Ruffin: p. 264. Padre Pio said “The Russian people will be converted. Their conversion will happen very fast. The conversion of the United States will be slow, but sure”.  Padre Pio also said “Yes, Russia will be converted, as the Blessed Virgin said she would. However, Russia will teach the United States a lesson in conversion.”

It is interesting to note Padre Pio’s statement that  Russia will “teach America a lesson about conversion” because at Medjugorje, in 1981, the Virgin Mary is said to have told the six visionaries that “Russia would come to glorify God the most” and evidence seems to be pouring in, almost daily, of Russia’s surging religious revival. New laws regulating homosexual propaganda and laws restricting abortion and been passed in the just last few months.  See here an extensive article on this development: “New Russian Laws – A Sign of End Times?”

PLEASE LIKE US ON FACEBOOK! 

But the key point is that RUSSIA would teach America a lesson, because also at Medjugore the Virgin Mary warned that the West would turn from God  and “act as if they are their own creator.”

Last year Ministry Values wrote an article about the connection between Padre Pio and Medjugorje.

Padre Pio, Prophecies and Medjugorje
by Daniel Klimek

It is a known fact that two eminent blesseds (and future saints) of the twentieth-century, Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa of Calcutta, had a devotion to the apparitions in Medjugorje, reporting to unite themselves in prayer each day with the Madonna of Medjugorje. It is, however, a lesser known fact that Padre Pio, the great Italian mystic, stigmatic, and saint, also had a connection to the events in Medjugorje. Even though he died years before the apparitions began, Padre Pio made two magnificent prophecies regarding two separate mystical events that would come from Medjugorje: one regarded the apparitions, while the other regarded the weeping statue of the Madonna from Medjugorje that would gain international fame in Civitivecchia, Italy.

In 1994, Don Pablo Martin was the parish priest of Saint Agostino’s Church in the Pantano district of Civitivecchia in Italy, the area where the statue from Medjugorje—later dubbed “the Virgin of Civitivecchia”—would gain international attention. It was Don Pablo who, making a pilgrimage to Medjugorje in September of that year, bought a sixteen-inch, white plaster statue of the Virgin as a souvenir from Medjugorje.

It is interesting to note that, in his spiritual life, Don Pablo had a strong devotion to Padre Pio – even before Saint Pio was officially canonized by John Paul II in 2002. This devotion is noteworthy because Don Pablo credits Padre Pio’s intercession with helping him select that statue from Medjugorje that would weep tears of blood on 14 different occasions. It was Padre Pio who assured him, according to Don Pablo, that “the most beautiful event of his life” would result for selecting and buying that statue. Randall Sullivan reported this connection, between Padre Pio and the weeping statue from Medjugorje, in this book The Miracle Detective. The fact that Padre Pio had been dead since 1968 made this message—seemingly a spiritual communication—that much more interesting.

Yet, it deserves mention that even when Saint Pio walked the earth and greeted pilgrims in his friary, in San Giovanni Rotondo, he made what is believed to be a prophecy about the coming of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Medjugorje. In her book A Spark from Heaven, the BBC journalist Mary Craig reports that a few years before the apparitions in Medjugorje began, Padre Pio had told a group of pilgrims who were visiting him from the diocese of Mostar: “The Blessed Virgin Mary will soon be visiting your homeland.”

Medjugorje exists within the Mostar diocese, making Saint Pio’s prophecy that much more remarkable.

Of course, Padre Pio was a saint who was famous for his various spiritual gifts. God had given him incredible graces. He had, among other things, the ability to heal, the ability to read souls in the confessional, the ability to bilocate, the ability to experience visions of Jesus and Mary and his guardian angel, and – apparently – the ability to prophesy. It should, therefore, come as no surprise that the great saint’s connection to Medjugorje, in both prophesying the coming of the Madonna’s apparitions and interceding in Don Pablo’s selection of the Marian statue that would shed tears, is a very plausible reality.

The bishop of Civitavecchia Gerolmo Grillo reported that in 1995, the same year that the statue from Medjugorje began crying tears of blood, Pope John Paul II asked to have the statue brought to the Vatican. When the statue was brought to the Holy See, John Paul II venerated the Madonna with great reverence, praying before the statue and, after his humble prayer, placing a crown on the head of the Virgin – a crown which the pope himself brought for the occasion.

Russia Watch: Russia has built or restored about 25,000 churches in the past quarter-century

How The Russian Orthodox Church Answers Putin’s Prayers In Ukraine

Posted: Updated: 
RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH

MOSCOW/DONETSK, Ukraine, Oct 6 (Reuters) – After weeks of defying international pleas to free eight European officials they had captured in May, pro-Russian rebels in east Ukraine released them unexpectedly in June following a public appeal by the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill.



The role Kirill’s resurgent church played in the release of the monitors, who were from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), sheds light on how a close cooperation between the state and the church in Russia is now playing out in Ukraine.



What the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) presents as its humanitarian mission in east Ukraine, Western diplomats see as a pattern of cooperation in which the church is acting as a “soft power” ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.



During the OSCE monitors’ captivity, Moscow gave no public indication that it was heeding calls to help their release by using its influence with the rebels fighting to split east Ukraine from Kiev.



But what looked like a solo venture by Kirill was the culmination of a flurry of diplomatic contacts that, behind closed doors, involved the OSCE, Russian and church officials, separatist leaders and a rebel Cossack unit, according to interviews with parties to the talks.



With questions lingering over Moscow’s role in the turmoil in east Ukraine that has killed more than 3,500 people, European diplomats say the ROC was used to strike a deal and conceal Moscow’s influence with the rebels.



The ROC, which claims jurisdiction in most of the former Soviet world, used its leverage beyond Russia’s borders merely to mediate, it said.



“(The church) was asked to take part. Why shouldn’t it help?” Metropolitan Merkury, Kirill’s contact man for the OSCE release, told Reuters.



The crisis in east Ukraine, which followed Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in March, threw ties between the Kremlin and the West deep into disarray. The West responded with sanctions to what it says is Moscow arming the rebels and reinforcing them with Russian troops. Moscow denies taking part in the armed conflict in spite of growing evidence to the contrary.



“Russia does not fully control the rebels but it does exercise influence over them,” said a Western diplomat in Moscow closely following the crisis. “The Church is put in between the two to blur that link and avoid having any direct lines between them.”



A European diplomat in eastern Ukraine said the ROC had acted as Moscow’s “front organization” in the release of the OSCE captives, allowing the Russian state to continue denying it had any direct involvement.



The OSCE said it was a mix of interventions that made the release possible. A spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the OSCE case. The person said the ministry does not favor the ROC over other creeds it works with. The Kremlin was not available for comment.





THE RUSSIAN WORLD



The ROC says it is not the state church of Russia. But it has cooperated closely with the Kremlin under Putin, who helped it make a striking comeback from heavy oppression in the Soviet era.



The ROC and Kirill, who once famously likened Putin’s long rule to “a miracle of God,” are active in promoting Russia’s culture abroad and strengthening ties with compatriots around the world, helping the Kremlin boost its leverage on the global stage.



Putin and Kirill share a vision of “the Russian world” based on common ideological values, a belief driving their mutually-beneficial cooperation and crusade against a common threat they see in the West.



The ROC has built or restored about 25,000 churches in the past quarter-century, most of them in its traditional territory of the former Soviet Union. But it has also reclaimed churches in countries from France and Italy to Cuba and North Korea. With about 200 million members worldwide, the ROC is now the second-largest single church in Christianity after Roman Catholicism.



The ROC’s Department of External Church Relations has a working group with Russia’s Foreign Ministry that meets regularly for what Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called “active and constructive” cooperation.



Senior officials in the ROC, still dogged by rumors of Soviet-era collaboration with the KGB secret police, are used to being asked whether they are too close to Putin.



“To people who, in a certain manner, ask me if our relationship with the state is good today, I say: ‘Do you want it to be bad?’,” said a senior ROC spokesman, Vladimir Legoyda.



“Do I think that the state may try to use the Church for its own purposes? Probably. Do I think we should be afraid of that? No.”



Read  More

OLIGARCH CONNECTIONS

The Five Prophecies of The Madonna Files

 

  1. A Vatican Divided – Traditionalists vs “Progressives”  Cardinal vs Cardinal

    Madonna COVER FINAL

    The Madonna Files

  2. The Rise of the Russian Orthodox faith inside the Russian Government.
  3. Vladimir Putin emerging onto the world stage as the  West turns away from God.
  4. Rising tensions between the USA, the West and Russia leads to great conflict.
  5. The dangers of protestant Christian Zionism.

    ____________________________________________________________

Buy on Amazon 

Editorial Reviews for Best Selling Novel The Madonna Files

“I found it to be a great book; a fascinating, fast-paced thriller, written in a strong voice, filled with rich dialogue, complex and colorful characters, a story-line that tackles the most meaningful, religious and political subjects in the world. It is an impressive work…Move over Dan Brown, I was blown away!”  -  DANIEL KLIMEK -Scholar, seminarian and Marian expert featured in the full length motion picture –  ”Queen of Peace”


“A Powerful book of adventure and faith” - FRANK SCHAEFFER is a New York Times best selling author of fiction and nonfiction. Frank’s highly acclaimed books include Why I am an Atheist Who Believes in God, Zermatt and Saving Grandma and have been translated into nine languages. His nonfiction includes Crazy For God and Keeping Faith. Frank is a frequent commentator on MSNBC and a blogger on the Huffington Post

“A fast-paced, tightly-plotted religious mystery with genuine spirituality at its core.”
RANDALL SULLIVAN – ROLLING STONE Contributing Editor, Host on Oprah Winfrey Network and author of “Miracle Detectives” – one of the best books on the phenomenon of miraculous apparitions ever to be written.

5.0 out of 5 stars THIS BOOK IS AWESOME! 
Amazon Verified Purchase
If you are a Da Vinci Code fan, YOU MUST READ THIS — Vatican intrique set in the Washington, DC area. I could see the map, streets, rivers, etc. — WHAT FUN! The complexity of the history, story development, character relationships, twists and turns are astounding. The history was so believable that I kept thinking — “wow, I didn’t know that!” The worst news is it ended. I WANT MORE IMMEDIATELY!!! 

Watch Video

 

 

 

 

THE MIRACULEOUS IMAGE OF OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE

 

   THE IMAGE OF OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE

Icon of the Church in theAmericas

Brother John M. Samaha, S.M.

          With her head tilted to the right, her hazel eyes are cast downward in an expression of gentleness and concern.  The mantle covering her head and shoulders is turquoise, studded with gold stars and bordered in gold.  Her hair is jet black and her complexion is olive.  She stands alone, her hands clasped in prayer, an angel at her feet.

 

We have all seen her image.  She is Our Lady of Guadalupe, a life-sized portrayal of the Virgin Mary as she appeared in 1531 on the cactus-cloth tilma, or cape, of St. Juan Diego, an Aztec peasant and devout convert.  This happened merely a dozen years after Hernan Cortes had conquered the land that is nowMexico for the monarchy of Spain.  Almost five centuries later the colors of that portrait have remained as vibrant as if painted this year.  The coarse, woven, cactus cloth shows no signs of fading or deterioration, although that type of material seldom lasts 20 years.

 

Today the image is preserved behind an impenetrable glass screen in the basilica at Mexico City.  Pilgrims can view it from a distance of 25 feet. Each year more than 10 million persons venerate the mysterious image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, making this shrine the most popular in the Catholic world after St. Peter’s Basilica at Vatican City.  The Mexican faithful refer to her lovingly as La Morenita.

 

In 1979 when Pope John Paul II visited the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, he acknowledged the enduring appeal of this unique portrait, addressing the Virgin directly: “When the first missionaries who reached America . . . taught the rudiments of the Christian faith, they also taught love for you, the Mother of Jesus and of all people.  And ever since the time that the Indian Juan Diego spoke of the sweet Lady of Tepeyac, you, Mother of Guadalupe, have entered decisively into the Christian life of the people of Mexico.”

 

Accounts abound of the miraculous events attributed to the Virgin of Guadalupe.  In the early 17th century when floods almost destroyed Mexico City, her image escaped unharmed.  In 1921 during the Mexican Revolution, a bomb was planted in flowers placed before the altar behind which the image hung.  When the bomb exploded, no one was hurt, but the altar was badly damaged.  Yet not even the glass covering the picture was broken.

 

This venerable icon has come to be regarded widely as the national symbol of Mexico.  Her image is found everywhere, even in unlikely places.

 

Forty years after La Morenita appeared to St. Juan Diego, she may have been responsible for a significant turning point in the history of Western civilization.  Throughout Europe copies of the holy image had been circulated.  One of the first copies was given to Admiral Giovanni Andrea Doria, grandnephew of the renowned Admiral Andrea Doria.  The young admiral took the picture aboard his flagship when he assumed command of a flotilla of ships sailing from Genoa to the Gulf of Lepanto.

Some 300 Turkish Muslim ships stood in battle array blocking entrance to the Gulf.  A Christian massed navy of almost the same number of ships attempted to meet the Turks head on, but were outmaneuvered by the Turkish force.

 

Doria’s squadron was cut off from the rest of the Christian fleet.  At this crucial hour Doria went to his cabin and knelt in prayer before the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  He implored her to save his men and his ships.  Miraculously by nightfall the tide of battle turned.  One Turkish squadron was captured, and others were thrown into panic and disarray. Much of the Turkish fleet was destroyed.  That day 15,000 Christians enslaved in the Turks’ galleys were freed.  The Christian victory in the Battle of Lepanto was the last great naval battle fought under oars.

 

To this day Our Lady of Guadalupe continues to work wonders large and small, noticed and unnoticed.

 

Why hasn’t the holy image deteriorated after almost five centuries?  Why do the colors remain bright?  Why hasn’t the crude fabric shown signs of disintegration?  The search for answers to these questions, regularly pursued by experts, persists from generation to generation.  What they have learned is fascinating.  However, the scientific investigations defy natural explanations.

 

Although the picture has been touched up from time to time, there is proof that the original image is made in a manner no artist has been able to imitate or to explain.  Of particular interest is the fact that the eyes of the Virgin are done in a way never seen before in any painting.

 

Yet the greater, ongoing miracle is how the lives of millions are touched by Our Mother of Guadalupe.

Obama’s Appalling Legacy

By Stephen Ryan

“That Obama has allowed racial tensions to grow and metastasize during his presidency will be his shameful legacy.”

I voted for Barack Obama twice. I will never forget Obama’s first election night, the next morning, and inauguration day. I was proud to be an American. I felt our country had moved forward on race and our country was marching rapidly towards a more equal, respectful future. I know for a fact the average African  American – my friends and people I saw in the streets were incredibly  proud of the historic moment. White America had voted in a black man.  The moment in history was tangible; we could all feel it in the air.

But now almost six years later it is all gone. CNN’s obsession with the narrative of a racially divided country is disgraceful.  But the network “suits”, armed with their ratings spread sheets understand all too well that broadcasting the racial divide in America sells. They are lying if they tell you otherwise.  Obama remains silent. Listening to Al Sharpton one would think that racism in America is as bad today as it was in Alabama in the 1960’s.  This is AFTER Barack Obama was elected TWICE.  It is all about money and his brand with Al Sharpton. Sharpton does not care about America or the truth; he cares about his paycheck and his relevance.  Maintaining the narrative that America is racially separated is all about power, politics, and votes with the Democratic Party – they are lying if they tell you otherwise.

That Obama has allowed racial tensions to grow and metastasize during his presidency will be his shameful legacy. He had greatness in his hands but put it down to pick up the money, the power and the votes that come with empowering the Democratic Party through the big lie that white people don’t trust black people.

The Harbinger vs Fatima – No Contest

By Stephen K Ryan  
Author of “The Madonna Files” 


The Harbinger vs Fatima.

The end time’s book called “The Harbinger”written by Jonathan Cahn has recently catapulted onto many best seller’s lists. The premise of the book is that an obscure chapter in the Bible, Isaiah   9:10-11, warned about the 9/11 attacks against America. The book also goes into detail about an impending doom if America does not turn back to God.   The piece of scripture that drives the book says:

“The bricks have fallen down,
But we will are build with smooth stones;
The sycamores have been cut down,
But we will replace them with cedars.”   

Therefore the LORD raises against them adversaries from a Rezin

And spurs their enemies on

Somehow, we are supposed to understand from this reading that it foretells of an attack against America by nineteen relatively well-off Saudi Arabians who slammed planes into the World Trade center and the Pentagon.  The genius of the book, as far as I can tell, is the author’s cleverness in hijacking a biblical chapter with the numbers 9/11and spinning the whole thing into a blockbuster money making juggernaut.

The fascinating aspect to the success of “The Harbinger” is that it clearly reveals a great thirst for proof that future events are foretold in the Bible. It gives Christians hope that, indeed, revelations and prophesies found in the bible do sometimes come true.

Christians need some confirmation from time to time about the infallibility of the Bible.

But the confounding piece to the success of “The Harbinger” is that an extraordinary religious prophesy, a prophesy containing vivid details, is completely ignored by the evangelical and protestant community and many Catholics. The prophesy is ignored despite the fact that it unfolded with spectacular accuracy. I am talking about Fatima.

It is nearly impossible to overestimate Fatima’s unique status inside the Vatican.

The apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Fatima are considered the most extraordinary intervention of God since Jesus Christ walked on earth. No biblical prophecy, including Isaiah 9 10 11or Jewish harbinger, comes close to the incomparable supernatural phenomenon and accurate predictions that took place in Portugal at Fatima over the course of six months in 1917.

The Mormon Church, its angel, and gold tablets, Moses and the parting of the sea offered no proof of miracles – all hearsay – legend, myth, folklore.

But the Blessed Mother in 1917 changed everything.  She prophesied and warned in a set of secrets that Satan would attack God and Christianity and astonishingly,  it all came true. She told three peasant children a great miracle would occur – it did. 70,000 people, including skeptics, journalists, atheists and Masons, witnessed the unprecedented supernatural event known as the “Miracle of the Sun”.  The Virgin Mary also predicted that Her heart would triumph.

The warning was fulfilled when World War II broke out and Russian styled communism and state sponsored atheism ruled half the world. Russia had been specifically singled out by the Virgin Mary in the apparitions at Fatima.  After the dire warnings of Fatima,  atheist leaders in Germany, Russia and China oversaw the greatest slaughter of humans in the history of the world. Only at Fatima do we see a revelation – specific words of warnings that are followed by their clear and indisputable fulfillment. Protestant and biblical prophesies are mythology in comparison.

The Bible says that a women with a crown of Twelve Stars will appear as a sign in the book of Revelations Chapter 12.1  –  “A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.”

The Blessed Virgin Mary has appeared for generations with a “Crown of Twelve Stars” and today some claim  this same woman is appearing with a “Crown of Twelve Stars” and offering messages of hope  for the world. Perhaps it is time for our Protestant brothers and sisters to heed Her call.

Stephen Ryan is the author of  ”The Madonna Files” 

Like “The Harbinger”, Mr. Ryan’s  book is a novel written in a fast paced narrative style that explores the revelations and prophesies of the Virgin Mary, including Kibeho, Rwanda, Guadalupe, Fatima, and Medjugorje. 

Buy on Amazon   Page Click here

AN INTERVIEW WITH CATHOLIC NOVELIST STEPHEN RYAN

AN INTERVIEW WITH CATHOLIC NOVELIST STEPHEN RYAN by Catholic Fiction.net

Most Recent Book: The Madonna Files

Employment: Branch Manager, Potomac Wealth Management in Alexandria, Virginia

Profile:  A passion for life, people, and faith.

Author Website  www.themadonnafiles.com
Author blog www.mysticpost.com and www.ministryvalues.com

Favorite Quote:  “Do not be afraid to be the Saints of the new millennium; if you become what you are you will set the whole world on fire.” Saint John Paul II

Favorite Novel: Power and the Glory by Graham Greene

Favorite Movie: Apocalypse Now    (1979)

Favorite Painting:  The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci

Favorite Piece of Music:  “The 1812 Overture” by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Favorite Song: “American Pie” by Don McLean.

Favorite Meal: Linguine  with a red clam sauce,

Last Book Read:  A Free State by V.S. Naipaul

Last Movie Seen: The Transporter (2002)

Last Trip Taken: Sail boat race, Chicago to Mackinac Island.

Last Non-literary Feat: Attending my beautiful daughter’s college graduation.

 

CatholicFiction.net: Why do you write?

Stephen Ryan:  I have given a few talks about my book and writing and that question comes up every time. In the case of The Madonna Files, it was not a case of “Why?” I felt I had to write this book. It was inside of me and I had to get it out of me. I felt at times I had no choice.

 

CF: What inspired you to become a writer?

SR:  Probably my travels. I took time off from college and “bummed” around Europe, really lived the ex-pat  life. I made my way to Europe on a sailboat then bought a motorcycle in Spain. Basically followed Hemingway’s footsteps even though I had given little thought to writing – I had some of his books in my bag, I do remember that. I started jotting things down. I like the way it captured my memories better than photographs. I also have to credit my college English teacher who pulled my short story out of a pile of papers and started reading my story to the class. That little moment stayed with me for years. I was an economics major in college and sometimes I wish I had spent more time with the English professor but I was focused on a business career.  I think she may have talked me into a different career path.

 

CF: If you were a critic writing about your own books, how would you describe the defining characteristic of your writing style?

SR: My favorite writers are V.S. Naipaul, Ernest Hemingway, Hunter Thompson, and Graham Greene. These guys were kind of my road map. Naipaul for his writing style.  Hemingway  is the kind of writer you want to imagine is looking over your shoulder when you write.  He makes sure each word counts. Hunter S. Thompson, certainly a man with a dead soul, but his prose, his turn of a phrase, for me, displayed a jaw dropping  talent. Tom Wolfe called him the greatest comedic writer of the 20th century and I could not agree more. Graham Greene because of his great book Power and the Glory. It is a masterpiece, and I would encourage any writer to pull that book out and randomly pick a page and just read some sentences. It is how you do it.

 

CF: Is there a favorite place you have to write?

SR: Two places. In my den during the day/weekends.  At night  with my lap top in bed. This is not ideal but I found I would have the lap top on my bedside table and as I was getting ready to go to sleep I would work out plot in my head and when I got something I liked  I would grab my laptop and go to work.  There were many times I would wake up in the middle of the night with lots of ideas running in my head. I found this time very productive.

 

CF: What is your cure for writer’s block?

SR: I prayed a lot, but what I found helpful was to go driving. Just get in my car, turn the music up loud. Sometimes words from songs would help me with my own creative needs.

 

CF: What is your cure for procrastination?

SR: I was pretty obsessed with my book. I wrote an essay for International Thriller Writers titled: “Is Your Lawn Yelling at You? And Other Horrors of Writing Your First Novel.”   Saturday afternoon yard chores were the real victims of my procrastination, not my writing.

 

CF: Describe in your own words what the “Catholic imagination” is – or alternatively, what it means to be a “Catholic writer.”

SR: I think the Catholic imagination is the greatest asset for creative writing. I don’t want to be polemical here, well maybe I do, but so called “Christian” writing seems to have a need to hit the reader over the head with the Christian message. Catholic writers like Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Graham Greene tell great stories yet maintain their deeply spiritual Christian core.

 

CF: What three writers – alive or dead – would you like to invite to dinner?

SR:  Pope Francis, Graham Greene, and Ernest Hemingway. I think that would be a good time. By the way Hemingway named his boat after a Marian apparition that took place in Zaragoza, Spain . The apparition is known as Our lady Of Pillar. Pillar was the name of his boat. Hemingway would go to Zaragoza  for the bull fights.  He references his Catholic faith often in his writing.

 

CF: What would you serve them – appetizer, main course, dessert and drink?

SR:  Oysters on the half shell and calamari, Clams linguini, and ice cream sundaes with lots of whip cream and chocolate sauce.

 

CF: What is the “best thing” about being a writer?

AC: This is a tough question. I guess we all have inside of us something to say. Writing fiction allows me to express things that are important and interesting to me. It is gratifying when I feel somebody gets my message. I have been particularly moved by people who have told me they have begun to explore their faith again because of my book.  Saint John Paul II said often ‘To Christ through Mary”. His words are the heart and soul of my book.

 

CF: What is your latest book about?

SR: The Madonna Files is a contemporary religious thriller. What drives the narrative is the mysterious world of Marian apparitions. Appearances of the Blessed Mother at Fatima, Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico  and Our Lady of Kibeho in Rwanda  all play  big roles.  The hero, a priest known as the “Miracle Detective” – he is the Vatican’s chief investigator into alleged supernatural events –  finds himself in the middle of a Vatican power struggle.  Additionally, our  hero priest had been tasked into looking into the alleged events taking place at Me?ugorje.  Me?ugorjeis controversial but, say what you want, it remains a fascinating unexplained event. Thankfully the Catholic Church has taken decisive action by investigating Medjugorje – a final ruling is imminent.

 

CF: What inspired you to write this story in the first place?

SR: In some ways the story was inspired by my conversion or return to the Catholic Church.  I encountered the incredible world of Marian apparitions and the supernatural which ultimately led me back to the Church – I had been away for a long time.  I became intrigued by this mysterious world both spiritually and intellectually.  I found I had no answers to explain Fatima or the miraculous events of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  I just felt this mysterious world of Marian apparitions – events that are hugely important to many Catholics – could make a good story.  There are many books about the Blessed Mother but I felt a need to tell Her story in a completely different way.

 

CF: Did you hold onto the idea for a long time before giving it shape, or did it come together in a flash?

SR: I blogged often at ministryvalues.com. My website attracted a lot of traffic and eventually talented writers began to contribute to my website. This gave me confidence in my writing ability. I also had a lot of content that led me to start thinking how to take all the material and put it into a book.  I had a lot of moving parts and I thought fiction might be an interesting way to put all the pieces together.

 

CF: All fiction comes from a mix of past influences and impressions – things we’ve lived, seen, imagined, or read. Can you talk about some of the elements that came together to shape this particular fiction?

SR:  I have spent a lot of time racing sailboats on the ocean and so I thought it would be fun to have one of the heroes living on a boat.  Also most of my novel tales place in Washington, D.C., Annapolis, Md. and my hometown Alexandria, Va.  It was fun to move the characters around Washington D.C., and to put them on boats.

 

CF: What did you learn about yourself in writing this book?

SR:  I learned that writing is hard. To get each sentence to sound write, to capture the mood effectively, is really time consuming.  Maybe for some writers it comes easy. I tell people that writing is like real estate but instead of “Location, location, location” it is “Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite.”  What I learned about myself is that deep in my heart I now know that the Catholic faith is beautiful, peaceful and eternal, and priests are the greatest people on earth.  God bless them.

 

CF: What was the most challenging aspect – a character, a plot point, etc. – of writing this book?

SR: As I said, the story has a lot of moving parts with a number of settings: Russia, the Vatican, Rwanda, Washington, D.C. – all within the framework of a love story. To bring things together was challenging.  Boy meeting girl in a plausible way took forever. At one point I almost gave up. I felt I could never get everything to fall into place and so I put my book down for over a month.

 

CF: Which characters in this book did you find most challenging to work with, and what was it like to write with them? Conversely, do you have any characters that came particularly easily to you?

SR: The most challenging character was the bad guy. What made it difficult was he believed he was a good Catholic. He was a Sedavantist who in his mind loved the Church, but felt Vatican II was leading the Church to ruin. He thought he was doing God’s work. The easiest character was one of the heroes. He was an avid sailor, and so that was fun to get some sailing jargon into my book.

 

CF: Creating a work of fiction is a spiritual journey in itself. Can you talk about your own spiritual life – realizations, doubts, crises, etc. – that came during the writing of this work?

SR:  I think I touched on this earlier. My story, in a very subtle way, is my spiritual journey and that is how the Blessed Mother led me to her Son. I am grateful for our wonderful popes who throughout the ages have had special devotions to the Blessed Mother. To find Christ though Mary is a very natural path as it turns out.

 

CF: Name one good habit you do have as a writer and would like to continue to cultivate.

SR: I grind. I will rewrite a paragraph until it sounds right to me.

 

CF: Name one bad habit you have as a writer that you would like to break.

SR: I am copy edit challenged. When in doubt about something I need to stop and spend some time researching my concerns.

 

CF: Name one good habit you would like to have as a writer and do not have at the moment.

SR: Discipline. I write when intriguing ideas take hold of me. Most great writers work on the “craft” of writing.  I wish I had that discipline.

 

 

 


Subscribe to the weekly e-newsletter Catholic, Ink. - click here - receive book reviews and the column “The Catholic Imagination and You” 

Be part of the Catholic Literary Revival. – See more at: http://www.catholicfiction.net/blog/i-had-to-write-an-interview-with-catholic-novelist-stephen-ryan.php#sthash.XxcJSYXV.dpuf

US Air Force Dumps “So help me God”, Russian Air Force Gives Jet Fighter to Head of Orthodox Church as “Gift”

In the category of   “You can’t make this up” something quite bizarre happened this week.

Washington Times reported that “Members of the U.S. Air Force will no longer be required to say “so help me God” during their enlistment oath. A legal review of rules that required the phrase occurred after the American Humanist Association threatened to sue on behalf of an atheist airman. ”
Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/sep/17/air-force-removes-so-help-me-god-requirement-from-/#ixzz3DlVTgjev

Please like us on facebook

Earlier this week Rueters reported : “MOSCOW (Reuters) – Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, was presented with an unlikely gift for a religious leader this week as he toured a factory in Russia’s far-east – a single-seater fighter jet SU-35.

Kirill was presented with the jet after giving workers at the civilian and military aircraft plant icons blessed by himself, the church said in a statement on its official website on Tuesday.

The patriarch, with whom President Vladimir Putin has fostered increasingly close ties in recent years, addressed the workers on the importance of protecting Russia.

“Russia cannot be a vassal. Because Russia is not only a country, it is a whole civilization, it is a thousand-year story, a cultural melting-pot, of enormous power,” RIA news agency quoted him as saying.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/17/patriarch-kirill-fighter-jet_n_5830970.html

Also read “Putin wants churches and Monasteries built INSIDE the Kremlin

 

 

Malachi Martin:

Russia’s role in the Vision of Fatima is very important because if we’re to believe the Vision of Fatima, salvation for the world, the cure for the world ills, will start in the Ukraine and in Russia, and that was why the Virgin in the Fatima vision of 1917 was supposed to have spoken actively about Russia and that Russia first of all has to be cured of her errors and then she will help the entire world to get better and to cure itself of its sins. It’s a very bizarre message in that sense because one would have said that salvation was going to come from the West as we always think because we are Westerners, but no, according to the message of Fatima, salvation will come from the East, and particularly, from Ukraine and from the State of Russia itself, which is extraordinary.