MI News with Friar Jobe

Sr. Régine Canetti, NDS and Fr. Jobe Abbass, OFM Conv. at the graveside of Fr. Marie-Alphonse Ratisbonne

During my study here at Tantur Ecumenical Institute, Jerusalem, I took advantage of a free day to make a pilgrimage to the tomb of Fr. Marie-Alphonse Ratisbonne. Born to a Jewish family of bankers in 1814, Ratisbonne was highly critical of the Catholic faith and Marian apparitions. However, on January 20, 1842, when Ratisbonne visited the Basilica of Sant’Andrea delle Fratte in Rome, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to him and he was immediately converted. St. Maximilian M. Kolbe, OFM Conv. always marveled at Ratisbonne’s conversion and he celebrated his first Mass (April 29, 1918) at the “Altar of the Miracle” where Mary had appeared to Ratisbonne. Because the City of Jerusalem figured prominently in the apparition, Ratisbonne, who became a priest and missionary, headed to the Holy Land where he founded the Congrégation Notre Dame de Sion (the Sisters of Our Lady of Zion).Fr. Ratisbonne remained in the Holy Land until his death in 1884 and is buried in the cemetery of the sisters’ convent in Ein Karem. On the day I made my pilgrimage, I was met by one of the sisters, Sr. Régine Canetti, NDS. Born in Bulgaria (May 16, 1921) of Jewish parents, the family subsequently escaped the Shoah and, although Sr. Régine lost her mother and brother when their ship sank, she eventually made it to Israel, became Catholic and entered the Sisters of Zion. A remarkable woman, Sr. Régine’s inspiring life’s story made my pilgrimage to Fr. Ratisbonne’s tomb and Ein Karem truly unforgettable.

~ Fr. Jobe Abbass, OFM Conv. (M.I. Assistant for Our Lady of the Angels Province)

Posted in MI

Consecration to the Immaculate

The Militia of the Immaculata (MI) was established on October 16, 1917, by Saint Maximilian Maria Kolbe, OFM Conv., along with six confreres, during a particularly tumultuous time for the Church in the world. Over the last 100+ years, members of MI live out their baptismal consecration in the light of the Blessed Mother (the Immaculata), with the conscious decision to consecrate to the Immaculata as a dynamic commitment to follow Christ, in her example.

Prayer of Consecration to the Immaculata
…composed by Saint Maximillian M. Kolbe, OFM Conv.
O Immaculata,
Queen of Heaven and earth,
refuge of sinners and our most loving Mother,
God has willed to entrust the entire order of mercy to you.

Although established in 1917, the Militia of the Immaculata was granted the first verbal blessing by Pope Benedict XV, on March 28, 1919. The official recognition of the Church occurred on January 2, 1922, granted by Cardinal Basilio Pompilj, Vicar of the Diocese of Rome: “With fervent desire that devotion to the Blessed Virgin may extend everywhere, with our authority we establish canonically the pious association commonly called ‘the Pious Union of the Militia of Mary Immaculate’ in the chapel of the Seraphic College of the Friars Minor Conventual in Rome and approve what was established.” On the 80th Anniversary of the founding of MI, the Pontifical Council for the Laity recognized the MI as a Public Association of the Faithful, universal and international, in accordance with the Code of Canon Law, and approved, at the same time, its General Statutes.

Militia of the Immaculata & Our Lady of the Angels Province

With a view to promoting consecration to the Immaculate among the faithful served through the ministries of our friars of Our Lady of the Angels Province, Fr. Jobe Abbass, OFM Conv., who serves as our Province MI Assistant, plans to visit all of our pastoral ministries, over the next four years. In working with our Director of Mission Advancement, new prayer cards and MI enrollment forms are being created. In the coming months, Friar Jobe will be in contact with each of our pastors to map out a schedule to preach at the Masses to promote the consecration and enrollment in the Militia of the Immaculata. Consistent with our Franciscan charism and tradition of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Order’s Constitutions remind our friars that in St. Maximilian’s unconditional consecration to the Immaculate, we have found “a concrete form of openness to the new challenges of mission.” Our province plans to more fully tap into this devotion from our Kolbean heritage.

Posted in MI