Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Demonologist Ralph Sarchie and Two Cases of Demonic Investigation - The Halloween Horror and The Mirror

A photomontage of images and symbols representative of these two cases

If you have been following my blog for some time, you may recall a post on demonic investigations by former New York City Police Sergeant Ralph Sarchie. That post was about one man's quest to help deliver people from the clutches of the demonic and based on the book he co-wrote, Beware The Night, a very candid recounting of his demonic investigations. I published it in November'2014 to coincide with the release of the movie version, Deliver Us From Evil, on my local cable provider's "on demand" movie listing. Today's post continues with two cases of demonic investigation; one from Beware The Night and the other, a recent case from Sarchie's new television series, The Demon Files.

The first case, The Halloween Horror, is also the first case in Beware The Night and it revealed how the demonic deceived a young teenage girl into "playing" with the ouija board at a party. As a consequence, several demons were unleashed upon her and her family terrorizing everyone in the process. It was a scenario where the initial diabolic activity of infestation was completely bypassed and the demons moved into the second stage, oppression. There was also an attempted possession on one member of the family.

The second case, The Mirror, is the first case from The Demon Files. In this case the demonic entered into a family's life as a direct result from the daughter's Satanic worship; the making of a pact with the devil. Add to this her involvement with witchcraft and others aspects of the occult and it secured her and her family as targets for the demonic. 

The cases in Beware The Night and The Demon Files are a first hand look into how the demonic entices and deceives many into their dark world, horrifying their victims in the process and making life so unbearable that it eventually prompts many reach out to Sarchie and his team. Both the book and the television series are key learning resources for anyone seeking to understand this subject matter and how to prevent such influences from coming into your life. At the core of both cases in today's post, as in all cases where the demonic were expelled and peace was restored, is God's love and mercy given not only to Sarchie and his team, to those innocent family members, but also to those who intentionally rebelled against Him with their involvement in the occult.

Beware The Night - The Halloween Horror

This case was about the investigation of a haunted house, the Villanova residence in Westchester County, New York. Sarchie described it as one of the most "harrowing supernatural investigations" that began on October 31, 1991, at the request of Father Hayes, an exorcist from another diocese. Sarchie and his partner in "the work" Joe Forrester, arrived at the residence, a modest two-family house in Yonkers, a couple of days later on All Souls Day

Sarchie noticed a few things right from the very beginning. The first was that the Villanova residence was not far from a Catholic chapel. The significance being that the devil likes to operate in the shadows of the Church. If any type of satanic ritual was performed in the area, drawing the demonic to it as a result, the demonic's hatred and fury would be heightened by the presence of a holy place so near by.

The second thing that caught Sarchie's attention was the first meeting at the front door with Dominick Villanova and his young son, Dominick Jr. The shellshocked demeanour of Dominick coupled with the look of bewilderment from Dominick Jr., was a key indication that this family had been living in horror for quite some time.

The initial investigation's purpose was to obtain a video interview for Father Hayes. Unaware of the danger they were about to enter into, Ralph and Joe arrived with a minimal amount of holy water, sacramentals and without their usual investigative team. Sarchie later described the situation as synonymous to "...[P]atrolling a high crime area with a gun loaded with only one bullet." (5) In the spirit of brotherly love and with a desire to help this family, Ralph and Joe proceeded with the investigation.

After they were led into the living room, both Ralph and Joe realized there was something terribly wrong with this family. The living room resembled a refugee camp; amongst the sad and exhausted faces were piles of clothing and rolled-up bedding. This was the result of the demons' torment, which had so unnerved the Villanovas that they were unable to sleep alone.

After establishing a rapport with Dominick, his wife Gabby and their four children, Ralph and Joe began their inquiry. It was during this time that Joe's background in law enforcement as a polygraph examiner was particularly useful. He had the gift of knowing when to interject, end any unnecessary rambling and get to the pertinent facts of the matter; the truthful details needed to ascertain what had happened to this family.

It was during this initial discussion that the most powerful demon (amongst the other demons in the home) made its presence known. The incident occurred after everyone had been given a Saint Benedict medal to wear around their neck. Immediately after Dominick Jr. placed the medal around his neck, the demon had flung it off. It was an incident that served to identify what they were dealing with. As Sarchie noted, most demons flee from holy water, religious medals and relics; only the most powerful demons can manipulate objects.

It did not take long in the investigation for Sarchie and Forrester to discover the demonic strategy and accelerated efforts for possession. Initially the demon (the most powerful one) appeared in stealth mode in Gabby and Dominick's bedroom in a "hellishly inspired Halloween disguise," deceiving Gabby as a woman named Virginia Taylor. Dominick was not fooled and understood it to be a demonic presence in the home. As the investigation progressed, it was clear to Ralph and Joe that this family was deceived by a demon mimicking a human spirit. 

The purpose of these initial stealth appearances was part of a typical demonic strategy of divide and conquer. It took effect by sowing seeds of panic, confusion and self doubt. As Sarchie noted, victims in such circumstances often wonder, "Is this really happening---or am I just imagining it?" (8) From such doubts, victims are reluctant to tell others, fearing that they will be regarded as someone who has lost their mind. What typically results is a withdrawal into self and a feeling of being more alone in dealing with the ongoing "bizarre" incidents. This is exactly the goal of the demonic as it weakens the will and paves the way for possession.

Sarchie noted that up to that point of the investigation, it was all standard operating procedure for the demonic, but he and Joe soon discovered that instead of rattling Gabby's nerves with infestation (midnight knockings, peculiar phone calls or tormenting animal cries), the first stage of diabolic activity, this demon plunged right into full blow oppression (terrifying mental and physical attacks) from the very beginning.

Under the disguise of Virginia Taylor and the use of a basement mirror, the demon had developed a relationship with Gabby, where it appeared in the mirror, and had lengthy conversations with her. The more Gabby spoke with Virginia, the more intrigued she became by the details of the conversation. After hearing all this, Ralph and Joe quickly understood the ploy of the demon, trying to create an intricate tale, "...[L]ike a spider spinning a web to catch unwary prey." (9)

After further investigating the matter, Ralph and Joe had to "clue these people in" as to what was happening. They identified VIrginia for what she truly was, a demonic spirit. Joe explained the nature of demonic spirits and debunked the entire tale told to Gabby about Virginia's supposed life on earth.

One of the most interesting aspects of the investigation was Sarchie's walk through the home. This is standard procedure for Sarchie and he does this to form an impression of the people that live there, what religious articles are present, how the home is kept and discover any signs or reasons for the demonic presence, such as occult items. Here in Sarchie's own words is what he discovered during his walk through:
With my tour of the house, I can sometimes pick up vibrations about the situation. I'm not psychic, so I can't rely on my intuitions 100 percent, but every human being is born with some degree of a sixth sense, as a gift from God. My big mistake, in this case, was walking through the house alone. I started with the upstairs, where there was a recently vacated apartment the family had been renting out. As I walked into the apartment, a doorknob in one of the rooms started rattling. I've run across this kind of low-level bullshit from the demonic in other homes, so I noted the location for further investigation. 
The rooms inside were unusually dark. When I found the light switch, I saw why: Everything was painted a deep, vivid black. Even the windows were so thickly coated that no light from the outside could penetrate. I searched the place, but the former occupant had left absolutely nothing behind. I would have loved to get a look at his possessions, because I was ready to bet my next paycheck that this guy, whoever he was, sure as hell didn't spend his spare time praying the rosary! I made a mental note to ask the family about their ex-tenant. (17)
Sarchie eventually made his way to the basement where he had an encounter with the demon, one that further revealed just how powerful this demon was:
...I resumed checking the house. The remaining rooms were normal enough, though the kitchen was rather messy and the sink was piled with dirty dishes, I headed downstairs. I didn't have any sense of evil when I first entered the basement, but when I got to a storage room with double doors, I could feel menace from eight feet away. The feeling was so powerful that I stopped dead in my tracks, so afraid that I couldn't move. I've been a cop for a long time and have been scared plenty of times before, but I always have acted aggressively---that's how I trained myself. This was different: I couldn't take my eyes off those doors, my heart started racing one hundred miles a minute, and I couldn't catch my breath. Then the pain started in my head---it wasn't like a headache, but a piercing pain in my right temple that I've sometimes experienced on other cases or during exorcisms. 
As the pain in my head got stronger, my stomach churned and I felt like I was going to vomit. There was no outward sign of anything I could see---just a felling of hellish terror and absolute evil. I was too frozen to move my lips or speak, so in my mind I commanded the demon to leave in the name of Jesus Christ. It released its hold on me just enough so I could reach the bottle of holy water in my pocket. I threw holy water at at the doors and was able to back away to the stairs---not daring to take my eyes off those dreadful doors. 
Once I reached the living room, where the family was waiting, the pain and sick feeling disappeared. I took Joe aside and told him what had happened...(18)
To make matters worse, Ralph was informed by Joe that on the previous night that the same demon had dictated a message to Gabby, "Harm will come to those below. Beware the night!" (19)

Sarchie dedicated a second chapter to this case, Nightmare's End, where he not only detailed the increased suffering this family had to endure, but the successful expulsion of all demonic spirits from the Villanova residence. Here is just some of the horrific experiences the Villanovas endured: increased agitation especially at night; Gabby's daughter, Luciana, experiencing the scratching of images on her stomach such as a pentagram and the word "Beast 666" written on her arm in huge red welts; an unsuccessful incubus attack (the raping of a woman by a demon); items were thrown around; books flying off bookshelves; heavy furniture moving on its own, sometimes shaking up and down and at other times levitating off the floor; entire beds smashed against walls; the blaring of the television or stereo in the middle of the night; horrible moans and growls coming from the basement; and messages in the bathroom mirror.

At times, family members experienced a temporary reprieve that came to a quick end with the sudden drop in temperature (cold spots), alerting them to the demons' presence amongst them. So terrified was this family in the end that they did not even go to the bathroom alone. Sleep was virtually non-existent. Add to this the discord amongst the family, which piqued when one of the two teenage daughters admitted to using the ouija board. It was "played" at a party and upon hearing this, Luciana who was targeted for many of the attacks, flew into a rage, blaming her younger sister in the process for all the horror they experienced.

After gathering all the facts and assessing the information from the interview, both Ralph and Joe felt that the family was not totally to blame for the demonic nightmare they experienced. The former tenant in that black painted apartment was rumoured to be into a lot of strange stuff including the occult. This together with what Sarchie described as a "brazen attack," a red gash down one of Luciana's cheeks, right in front of him and Joe, prompted them to begin the ritual to expel the demons.

The ritual began with the recitation of Pope Leo XIII Minor Exorcism Prayer. Immediately upon its recitation, sounds of howling and barking occurred, so deafening that the family was asked if this had ever happened before; the answer was no. Upon hearing the answer, both Ralph and Joe realized that this was the sound of demons fleeing the house; there were several demons terrorizing the family, but the most powerful demon would not go.

This most powerful demon was close to fully possessing Gabby and so, it decided to stay and fight, while the lesser demons ran from the presence of holy water and relics. The dramatic attempt to possess Gabby occurred right in front of Ralph and Joe, even with the holy water present and the recitation of the Minor Exorcism Prayer. Sarchie remarked that they knew they "...[W]ere in the presence of one of Hell's more dangerous devils." (34) Ralph and Joe held up relics of the True Cross, touched Gabby's head and commanded the demon, in the name of Jesus Christ, to depart and leave Gaby in peace. As powerful as the demon was, it could not withstand this ultimate torment and released its grasp on Gabby.

Although Ralph and Joe had halted Gabby's possession, weakening the demon in the process, their efforts were not enough to completely rid it from the Villanova residence. In order to accomplish this, they needed either a trained exorcist or their investigative team.

Reluctant to leave the family, Ralph and Joe remained with them until Fr. Williams, the parish priest arrived. After a briefing of the case, he took the family under his care until Fr. Hayes performed the exorcism. Ralph and Joe eventually left, but it would not be the last time they would be placed at the service of the Villanova family.

Several months later, the Villanovas contact Ralph for his help once again; they were still besieged by the demon. It was not due to any lack of care from the parish priest or any neglect from the exorcist whose health did not permit him to perform the exorcism. To get this family the immediate help they so desperately needed, Ralph, Joe and their investigative team returned to the Villanova residence to expel the demon. This time they came fully prepared for a major battle. Here is how Sarchie described it, "Joe and I had learned a lesson or two from our first visit, and after intense spiritual preparations, we returned on a Saturday afternoon with three investigators and enough supplies to exorcise an entire city block." (35)

Before beginning the exorcism, the women and children were placed in a church nearby for their safety. Below is Sarchie recounting the climax of this case; the successful expulsion of the last demon:
We worked in pairs, so one person could focus on the conducting the ritual, while the other was alert for any sign of demonic activity. And more important still, the backup investigator kept a close watch on his partner---to make sure that the person doing the exorcism wasn't being attacked himself. External phenomena don't need to be taking place: The attack also can be psychological, like the stark terror that seized me in the basement of this house on our previous visit. If an investigator has any psychic abilities, he or she could be assailed through those powers. Since an attack could come at any time, to either partner, everyone must be constantly on guard. 
We began by opening every closet, cabinet, and drawer in the room we were exorcising, leaving no dark, enclosed space for the demonic to hide. Because they are spirit and have no physical bodies, malignant beings can conceal themselves anywhere. Next, we lit blessed incense, which helps dispel negative vibrations and repel evil spirits, since they are tormented by anything holy or blessed. As always, we started the ritual with the St. Michael prayer...Pope Leo XIII's second prayer, 'Exorcism Against Satan and the Rebellious Angels," extremely powerful against the demonic. The Holy Father [Pope Leo XIII] exhorted priests to say this prayer as often as possible to curb the Devil's power and prevent him from doing harm. He gave the faithful permission to say it in their own name, as they would any approved prayer, 'whenever action of the Devil is suspected, causing malice in men, violent temptations, and even storms and various calamities.' That is exactly what we did in the Villanovas' home, moving from room to room as we prayed. We sprinkled all four corners of each room and the interior of every closet with holy water to consecrate the area, then repeated the process with blessed salt, which has the same effect, except that it has the virtue of lasting longer. 
As we performed the ritual, we burned so much blessed incense that the place looked like it was on fire...sweet-smelling fumes of holy incense and the sound of fervent prayers, which made the house so hostile to the demonic that 'the lady' [Virginia Taylor] was forced to disappear, this time for good. A feeling of peace pervaded the home, signalling that we'd succeeded in evicting the spirit. (39)

After having completed the ritual, the women and children returned to their home and all rejoiced that the nightmare was over. Sarchie noted that the family's gratitude was a humbling experience because he and his team knew that it was not them, but God who granted them the authority over the demon in His name. To honour God, all gathered together in prayer to praise and thank God who is, "above all."

The Demon Files - The Mirror

This case was about a family from Fayette City, Pennsylvania, who experienced "darkness" for reasons unbeknownst to them. After the teenager daughter made a pact with the devil, their lives spiralled out of control. Demonic infestation began this family's horrific experiences that quickly intensified with the second stage of diabolic activity, oppression. The family was so terrified that by the time they contacted Ralph Sarchie, they were all at their wits end. The video below details the actual investigation, part of which I have summarized in the remainder of this post.

The Demon Files - Season 1 Episode 1 - The... by tvshowlatest

Sarchie's investigations always begin by attempting to establish a rapport with victims, that has the dual purpose of getting to know them better and putting them at ease with the investigative process. As the team "invades" the home and sets up their monitoring equipment (camera and audio recorders and sensors), Sarchie walks around the home to get his impressions, and tries to discover what may have brought the demonic into victims' lives, such as contact objects (objects that the demonic are connected to), occult items or something blatantly Satanic.

During Sarchie's "walk through" of this family's home, he became intrigued by the Halloween decor, which as Bonnie (the mother) explained, existed as an accommodation to Leigh-Ann's fondness for Halloween. It was ironic that the family had so many Halloween decorations and trinkets because as Sarchie soon discovered, this family's troubles became more severe close to Halloween and it was at this same time of the year, that Leigh-Ann tried to take her life.

One of the many things that really stands out about Sarchie and his team, is their thoroughness and professionalism as they go about their investigations; equally matched by their compassion and desire to help people who are victimized by the demonic. The "work" as it is referred to, not only involves identifying the problem, but providing the solution. It is another aspect of Sarchie and his team's work that really impresses me; what is the point of identifying a problem if you don't provide a solution. Sarchie and his team take care of both!

In many cases, the solution is the expulsion of the demonic from someone's home; at other times the matter is of the worst case scenario, possession, where an official Catholic exorcist is called in to perform the exorcism ritual on a person. This differs from what Sarchie and his team do, in that they also perform an exorcism ritual, but it is an "exorcism of place." In simpler terms, if demonic spirits have taken residence in someone's home, Sarchie and his team drive them out. This is always accomplished in the name of Jesus Christ and through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Add to this their arsenal of spiritual weapons: holy water, blessed incense, relics, blessed salt and St. Benedict medals, and the demons don't stand a chance. Some stay and fight, but in the end they lose the battle and are expelled.

Part of the compassionate help that Sarchie provides involves educating the victims as to why the demonic had enter into their lives. It is a process that brings new awareness and understanding as to the causes of the horrific circumstances that many have endured for several months. This coupled with the team's presence and overall encouragement, provides the necessary support for victims to endure the final hours of their ordeal with the demonic.

At the center of this case is the twenty six year old daughter, Leigh-Ann whose facial expression clearly indicated that she was living in a state of terror. Referring to the demon as "the entity," here is what Leigh-Ann revealed to Sarchie about some of the horrifying experiences she had to endure: shadowy figures making themselves known to her, scratching noises, big bangs that rattled the wall or the floor; all of which left her constantly fearful wondering what would happen next. Add to this the discord that occurred amongst the family, a typical strategy of the demonic, and it eventually drove Leigh-Ann to an attempted suicide.

Prior to this family's move into the home, a teenage boy had committed suicide. Was it just a coincidence that Leigh-Ann attempted to do the same thing. For Sarchie, this was definitely a sign of demonic influence. To be certain, he and his team set out to determine if the problem stemmed from the spirit of a teenage boy or a demonic spirit.
Part of the investigation revealed that a mirror left in the house from the previous family, used to hang in the second storey bathroom and it was suspected of having something to do with the phenomena that occurred in the house. After the tech set up by the mirror, the team attempted to contact the deceased teenage boy.

Successful communications with the teenage boy's spirit occurred, convincing Sarchie that the mirror was in fact a "contact object" which the demon used to influence Leigh-Ann to commit suicide. The teenage boy's spirit could have been a demon mimicking a human spirit, which is similar to what happened in the previous case (Virginia Taylor at the Villanova residence), but audio recordings seemed to suggest that it was in fact a human spirit. This wasn't Sarchie's main concern because he suspected the problem in the home was due to a demonic spirit.

Before proceeding with the exorcism ritual," Sarchie questioned the family further to find out what they may have done to invite the demon into their lives. The session quickly focussed on Leigh-Ann as Sarchie began probing for any involvement in witchcraft or any form of the occult. Sarchie soon discovered that Leigh-Ann had made a pact with the Devil, deceived into thinking that by doing so, life would be "easier" under the Devi's rules, which as Sarchie quickly pointed out, there are no rules for the Devil. 

Part of the problem also stemmed from the fact that Leigh-Ann had drawn an Anarchy A "anti-government" symbol (see image published with this post) on a wall in her room, which Sarchie quickly pointed out again, that this was a symbol used by Satanists, much to the astonishment of Leigh-Ann.

It didn't end there. Leigh-Ann had been involved in the occult for a few months where she admitted to Sarchie of drawing blood from her finger with a girlfriend who did likewise and dripping it upon a pentagram (another Satanic symbol). Some in her close circle of friends also happened to be Wiccans (people involved in witchcraft) and Leigh-Ann in the past had verbalized rebellious expressions against God, something to the effect of, "I hate you, I don't believe in you." 

Sarchie then inquired about the old mirror in the house, left by the previous residents. Leigh-Ann revealed that she spent a lot of time in front of that mirror, looking at it while thoughts of hatred about her life streamed through her mind. It was during one of those "mirror sessions," that Leigh-Ann attempted to take her own life by swallowing a bunch of painkillers, which is exactly what happened to the teenage boy that previously lived there.

After acquiring the information that revealed why the demonic entered into this family's life, Sarchie and his team immediately proceeded with the ritual to expel the demon. What continued to impress me about Sarchie was his consistent compassionate approach amongst the discovery of all the ugly details that caused this demonic influence. It was abundantly clear just by watching Sarchie that he understood Leigh-Ann had struggled and coupled with her vulnerability led him to conclude that she was probably confused and had made mistakes, unaware of the consequences.

By the end of the inquiry Leigh-Ann understood her mistakes and accepted Sarchie's offer to "take her words back," an opportunity to renounce Satan and reestablish her relationship with God. Fundamental to this was for Leigh-Ann to have the intention of no longer belonging to the devil and to consciously decide for God. The video captures this moment that together with the successful expulsion of the demon, finally put closure to this nightmare.

The ritual was captured in dramatic fashion with the lighting of two candles; the kissing of a crucifix; the recitation of exorcism ritual; and the burning of blessed incense at all levels of the home. Sarchie made it clear that the ritual would send the demon back to hell, but he didn't know if this would happen quietly or if it would put up a fight. Sarchie made it known that during the ritual everyone is in danger: physically, psychologically and spiritually, because the demon will try to destroy everyone. Thankfully, no harm came to Sarchie, his team, or the family.

Afterward, Sarchie recommended that the family should praise and thank God on their knees. He also gently admonished them to never get involved in witchcraft or any aspect of the occult or Satanism. He then expressed the long awaited for words of comfort, letting the family clearly know "...[Y]ou own this house, walk around this house like you own it, and you are children of God."

Perhaps a most fitting end to this case; the video captures Leigh-Ann's mom walking around the house gathering all the Halloween decor items for their permanent removal.

May God's blessings and mercy be granted in abundance to Ralph Sarchie, his team and to all victims of the demonic.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Laetitiae Sanctae - Pope Leo XIII's Encyclical Commending Devotion To The Rosary

Pope Leo XIII

With October being the Month of the Rosary, I thought it fitting to close out the month with a second post on devotion to the Most Holy Rosary and in the process, share one of the documents that I read in an effort to further my own understanding. That document is Pope Leo XIII's encyclical Laetitiae Sanctae, issued on September 8, 1893.

Although written over a century ago it remains relevant for the Church today as a much needed reminder of the importance of the Rosary Devotion. This encyclical focusses on the many advantages obtained from its devout recitation, its healing power and remedy for societal evils. Laetitiae Sanctae was the result of inspiration from the Blessed Virgin Mary, that prompted Pope Leo XIII to write and issue this document commending devotion the Rosary.

Arising from this inspiration was a joy that Pope Leo XIII expressed in the form of his gratitude to the Blessed Virgin Mary, acknowledging Her intercession at work in the life of the Church"At the same time We love to offer Our thanks for this signal benefit to the august Mother of God, whose powerful intercession We feel to have been exercised in Our behalf...For us it is once more a joy as well as a duty to respond to her inspirations." (2) What ensued from Pope Leo XIII's exhortations was, an "awakening" that made itself felt in the increased number of confraternities instituted for the purpose of the Rosary Devotion, voluminous literature written on the subject and artistic tributes.

The thrust of this encyclical was not to add further recommendations to a method of prayer so praiseworthy in itself, nor to press upon the faithful the necessity of practising it more fervently, but rather to point out how  "...[W]e may draw from this devotion certain advantages which are essentially valuable and needful in this present day." (2) The remainder of Laetitiae Sanctae and my post today, elaborates on these advantages.

Pope Leo XIII identified the three main influences (evils) of his time that had caused a "downgrade movement" in society: first, the distaste for a simple and laborious life; second, the repugnance to suffering of any kind; and third, the forgetfulness of the future life. The answer to these influences was the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries respectively. Pope Leo XIII dedicated three sections addressing each influence: Dislike of Poverty - The Joyful Mysteries, Repugnance to Suffering - The Sorrowful Mysteries, Forgetfulness of The Future - The Glorious Mysteries. 

Dislike of Poverty - The Joyful Mysteries

Beginning at the fourth paragraph, Pope Leo XIII elaborated on what he meant by the "distaste for a simple and laborious life." He noted how there was a growing contempt for homely duties and virtues, which are considered to be the beauty of a humble life. The contempt manifested itself in the form of children withdrawing themselves from the natural obligation to the parents; workmen deserting their trade to shrink from toil, discontented with their lot, fixing their gaze upon things well above them; and the eagerness of those in rural areas to exchange their lives for pleasures of life in towns. The result was the destruction of society's equilibrium amongst the classes of the community, whereby, "...[M]en's minds become a prey to jealousy and heart-burnings, rights are openly trampled under foot, and, finally, the people, betrayed in their expectations, attack public order, and place themselves in conflict with those who are charged to maintain it." (5)

The Joyful Mysteries, when prayed devoutly, are a meditation on life of Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary; the remedy for the "distaste for a simple and laborious life." Pope Leo XIII wrote that the Joyful Mysteries serve as lessons of the virtuous life to be drawn from the House of Nazareth. From the Holy Family's example we can learn how sweetly attractive and abundant are the lessons from an honest life. Referring to House of Nazareth as the "perfect model of domestic society," Pope Leo XIII wrote:
Here we behold simplicity and purity of conduct, perfect agreement and unbroken harmony, mutual respect and love - not of the false and fleeting kind - but that which finds both its life and its charm in devotedness of service. Here is the patient industry which provides what is required for food and raiment; which does so "in the sweat of the brow," which is contented with little, and which seeks rather to diminish the number of its wants than to multiply the sources of its wealth. Better than all, we find there that supreme peace of mind and gladness of soul which never fail to accompany the possession of a tranquil conscience. These are precious examples of goodness, of modesty, of humility, of hard-working endurance, of kindness to others, of diligence in the small duties of daily life, and of other virtues, and once they have made their influence felt they gradually take root in the soul, and in course of time fail not to bring about a happy change of mind and conduct. (6)
What should follow from the example of the Holy Family is a transformation of attitude and conduct that will no longer consider work as lowly and irksome, but grateful and lightsome. As a direct result of this transformation, prevailing in society will be gentler manners; home-life will be loved and esteemed; relations between man and a woman will be esteemed; and amongst gentlemen there will be a larger infusion of respect and charity. Pope Leo XIII concluded this section by stating that if this betterment would go forth from individuals to families to communities, then society at large would be lifted up to this standard.

Repugnance to Suffering - The Sorrowful Mysteries

The remedy for the "repugnance to suffering," is the Sorrowful Mysteries. Pope Leo XII referred to this evil as especially pernicious, "...[O]wing to the increasing mischief which it works among souls." (7) The repugnance of suffering is an eagerness to escape whatever is hard or painful to endure, which robbed many of the peace and freedom of mind. This was made worse by the dream for a chimeric civilization; that is, a civilization that is hoped or wished for, but in fact, is impossible or illusory to achieve. What resulted was an increased desire for the removal of all things unpleasant and for all things pleasant to be supplied. Pope Leo XIII noted, "By this passionate and unbridled desire of living a life of pleasure, the minds of men are weakened, and if they do not entirely succumb, they become demoralized and miserably cower and sink under the hardships of the battle of life." (7)

Recitation of the Sorrowful Mysteries is a powerful means of renewing courage. It is during the meditations of these mysteries that we learn from Christ's example, how to bear our burden of labour and sorrow. In addition to Christ's sufferings, we also contemplate the sorrow of the Blessed Virgin Mary and learn from Her witness as well. Pope Leo XIII noted, "Witnessing these examples of fortitude, not with sight but by faith, who is there who will not feel his heart grow warm with the desire of imitating them?" (8)

Pope Leo XIII also pointed out that there is no earthly scenario that can fall upon an individual or community, over which we shall not triumph by the patience of suffering. Putting a fine point on this, he stated, "For this reason it has been truly said that 'it belongs to the Christian to do and to endure great things,' for he who deserves to be called a Christian must not shrink from following in the footsteps of Christ." (9) 

Forgetfulness of The Future - The Glorious Mysteries

The remedy for the "forgetfulness of the future," is the Glorious Mysteries. Pope Leo XIII referred to this third evil as, "chiefly characteristic of the times." He noted that men of his day, although they had the advantage of Christian instruction, pursued false goods of this world and in the process discarded the thought of eternal salvation to the point that it had been banished from their memory.

Pope Leo XIII noted that those who devoutly pray the Glorious Mysteries are happily rescued from such forgetfulness. For the meditation of the Glorious Mysteries brings to the forefront of man's conscience, by the light of faith, that death is not "...[A]n annihilation which ends all things, but merely a migration and passage from life to life." (14)

As to the causes of forgetfulness, he first identified the false notion that any thought and attention placed on eternal salvation would somehow diminish the love of country and potentially negatively impact the prosperity of the commonwealth. He referred to such thinking as illusory and foolish.

In response to this illusion, Pope Leo XIII stressed that striving for eternal salvation does not demand a dismissal of the interests and needs of our earthly pilgrimage:
Christ commands us, it is true, to seek the Kingdom of God, and in the first place, but not in such a manner as to neglect all things else. For, the use of the goods of the present life, and the righteous enjoyment which they furnish, may serve both to strengthen virtue and to reward it. The splendour and beauty of our earthly habitation, by which human society is ennobled, may mirror the splendour and beauty of our dwelling which is above. Therein we see nothing that is not worthy of the reason of man and of the wisdom of God. For the same God who is the Author of Nature is the Author of Grace, and He willed not that one should collide or conflict with the other, but that they should act in friendly alliance, so that under the leadership of both we may the more easily arrive at that immortal happiness for which we mortal men were created. (12)
Emphasizing the seriousness of the forgetfulness of the future life, Pope Leo XIII gave the following admonition, "We may doubt if God could inflict upon man a more terrible punishment than to allow him to waste his whole life in the pursuit of earthly pleasures, and in forgetfulness of the happiness which alone lasts for ever." (13)

Confraternity Of The Rosary

In an effort to further spotlight the importance of the Rosary Devotion and how to better obtain the many advantages from its devout recitation, Pope Leo XIII dedicated a section on the Confraternity of the Rosary. In it, he affirmed the confraternity's efficacy when he stated how the many advantages of reciting the Rosary are "...[S]ecured in a higher and fuller measure by those who band themselves together in the sacred Confraternity of the Rosary, and who are thus more than others united by a special and brotherly bond of devotion to the Most Holy Virgin." (16) Members of the confraternity are, so to speak, "...[T]he battalions who fight the battle of Christ, armed with His Sacred Mysteries, and under the banner and guidance of the Heavenly queen." (16) So efficacious is the confraternity that Pope Leo XIII attributed the victory at the Battle of Lepanto, to their prayers for securing the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, granting Christians forces a complete victory over the Ottoman Turks.

Pope Leo XIII made an appeal to both the clergy and laity, for a renewed zeal to continue the growth of the confraternities:
It is, therefore, to be desired that renewed zeal should be called forth in the founding, enlarging, and directing of these confraternities, and that not only by the sons of St. Dominic, to whom by virtue of their Order a leading part in this Apostolate belongs, but by all who are charged with the care of souls, and notable in those places in which the Confraternity has not yet been canonically established. We have it especially at heart that those who are engaged in the sacred field of the missions, whether in carrying the Gospel to barbarous nations abroad, or in spreading it amongst the Christian nations at home, should look upon this work as especially their own. If they will make it the subject of their preaching, We cannot doubt that there will be large numbers of the faithful of Christ who will readily enrol themselves in the Confraternity, and who will earnestly endeavour to avail themselves of those spiritual advantages of which We have spoken, and in which consist the very meaning and motive of the Rosary. From the Confraternities, the rest of the faithful will receive the example of greater esteem and reverence for the practice of the Rosary, and they will be thus encouraged to reap from it, as We heartily desire that they may, the same abundant fruits for their souls' salvation. (17)
The Rosary Devotion and its growth, in particular through the Confraternity of The Holy Rosary, was the hope Pope Leo XIII; the answer to the evils of society. It was at the Conclusion of this encyclical that he invoked the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the authoress and teacher of the Rosary, for the fulfilment of this hope. 
Pope Leo XIII wrote several documents on the Rosary, available at the Vatican's web site. For those who are not familiar with Pope Leo XIII, you may know of the prayer attributed to him, a prayer that he received in a vision during Mass at the Vatican, the Prayer To Saint Michael The Archangel. He is also known for the composition of the Minor Exorcism Prayer.

If you are new to the Rosary Devotion, I would like to recommend a previously publish post, The Rosary - An Introduction that will help you to discover the beauty of this devotion given to us by Our Lady through the life of Saint Dominic.

For those who are just discovering the Rosary, there is one thing that I would like to spotlight regarding Laetitiae Sanctae's publication; the fact that it does not include the Luminous Mysteries. At the time of its publication, there were only three sets of Rosary mysteries: the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries. The Luminous Mysteries were added to the Rosary in 2002, when Saint Pope John Paul II wrote and published an Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae. Although Pope Leo's encyclical predates the Luminous Mysteries, there is no reason why you should not recite them as well, in your effort to help remedy the evils of society.

May the Blessed Virgin Mary guide you to a daily and devout recitation of the entire Rosary, helping you to complete the Marathon of Grace.

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Confraternity Of The Most Holy Rosary

St. Dominic receiving the Rosary
St. Dominic receiving the Rosary from Our Lady

If you are Catholic and pray the Rosary, you no doubt have made some effort to improve upon your Rosary Devotion during this month of October being the Month of The Rosary. This may have resulted in the reading of books or documents on the Rosary; the setting of new goals to pray the Rosary with greater frequency and renewed zeal; or striving to pray all four mysteries everyday and complete the Marathon of Grace. One of the things you may have not considered is joining the Confraternity of The Most Holy Rosary, an international association of faithful Catholics committed to reciting the entire Rosary, who pray for themselves and the needs and intentions of each member.

The many fruitful advantages derived by those who practice the Rosary Devotion is, as Pope Leo XIII stated in his encyclical Laetitiae Sanctae, "...[S]ecured in a higher and fuller measure by those who band themselves together in the sacred Confraternity of the Rosary, and who are thus more than others united by a special and brotherly bond of devotion to the Most Holy Virgin." (16) Pope Leo XIII went on to further state that members of the confraternity are, "...[S]o to speak, the battalions who fight the battle of Christ, armed with His Sacred Mysteries, and under the banner and guidance of the Heavenly queen." (16)

If Pope Leo XIII's statements were not enough, perhaps you will be further encouraged by considering the following benefits that each member receives:

  1. The special protection of the mother of God.
  2. A share in the prayer of countless thousands of members the world over, and this even after death. (Each member includes deceased fellow members as well; and thus he/she knows that in turn he/she will be included in the prayers of hundreds of thousands both now and hereafter)
  3. A share in the prayers, Masses and apostolic works of the entire Dominican Order.
  4. The intercession of the entire heavenly court.
  5. Various plenary and partial indulgences.
  6. Six times a year Novenas of Masses are offered at the Rosary Center for members of the confraternity. A notice of these Novenas is sent to members, along with the publication The Rosary, Light and Life to those members who have requested it. Its purpose is to provide sound doctrine and spiritual guidance for readers everywhere.
If you are a Catholic and do not pray the Rosary, nor understand its significance, I would like to share a previously published post, The Rosary - Its Importance For Your Salvation. Consider the Fifteen Promises given by the Blessed Virgin Mary to those who faithfully pray the Rosary. In particular, the Thirteenth Promise that is specific to today's post, "I have obtained from my Son that all the members of the Rosary Confraternity (and all advocates of the Rosary) shall have as their intercessors, in life and in death, the entire celestial court."

Certificate of Membership
As for the obligations once becoming a member, it really is an extension of what you are hopefully already doing; praying the Rosary consistently. Here are the specific obligations: each member strives to pray fifteen mysteries (if prior to joining the confraternity, you already pray the required fifteen mysteries, that is, the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries, you do not have to add another fifteen after you become a member) of the Rosary at least once a week (this does not bind under sin), and must have his/her name inscribed in the register of the confraternity. There are no meetings, no dues. It couldn't be more easier to join!

There is one aspect of the obligations that does require some clarification. In 2002, Saint Pope John Paul II wrote and published an Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae that served the dual purpose of ushering into the Church, the Year of The Rosary (October'2002 to October'2003) and introducing a fourth set of mysteries, the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary. Although the confraternity has yet to receive an official notification regarding the recitation of the Luminous Mysteries as part of the fulfillment for the reception of member benefits, this should in no way deter anyone from including them, simply as a matter of personal devotion to Our Lady. 

A few additional points to consider regarding the Luminous Mysteries. The fact that these mysteries were introduced by Saint Pope John Paul II,
should alone suffice for inclusion in your Rosary Devotion. As a general encouragement, here is what Saint Pope John Paul II stated in Rosarium Virginis Mariae, that in praying the Rosary, "...[T]he faithful receive an abundance of grace, as though from the very hands of the Mother of the Redeemer." (1) He also noted that when we endeavour to pray the Rosary each day more effectively, we as Christians sit at the "School of Mary" allowing Our Lady to lead us to contemplate the face of Christ and to experience the depths of his love. He emphasized the importance of the Rosary when he stated the Rosary is "...[A] prayer of great significance, destined to bring forth a harvest of holiness." (1) Keeping all this in mind, it would not be wise to omit the Luminous Mysteries simply because an official notification has yet to be given to the confraternity.

Further encouragement to join the confraternity comes to us from another great advocate of the Rosary Devotion, Pope Leo XIII, who wrote an encyclical, 
Augustissimae Virginis Mariaeon the Confraternity of The Holy Rosary. It was issued on September 12, 1897, the twentieth year of his pontificate and continues to be relevant and necessary in furthering one's understanding of the spiritual warfare we are all engaged in while on our earthly pilgrimage. The document is five pages printed and is certain to instil in the reader the importance and significance of the Rosary Devotion and membership in the confraternity. With today's post, I am going to focus on two paragraphs in particular: paragraph seven, The Rosary Sodality: Its Excellence and paragraph eight, Special Efficacy of Public Prayer.

The encyclical begins with a beautiful praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary, "Whoever considers the height of dignity and glory to which God has raised the Most August Virgin Mary, will easily perceive how important it is, both for public and for private benefit, that devotion to her should be assiduously practised, and daily promoted more and more." (1)

Paragraph seven, The Rosary Sodality: Its Excellence, is one that is sure to impress upon the reader the significance of the confraternity, also referred to in his encyclical as the Rosary Sodality. Pope Leo XIII first begins by properly attributing its origin to St. Dominic, who founded the confraternity and described it as "distinguished by its antiquity." Taking it to a higher level, he described the association as one whose very soul is the "Rosary of Our Lady." Further to this he stated, "...[T]he virtue and efficacy of the Rosary appear all the greater when considered as the special office of the Sodality which bears its name." He explained that, "[P]rayers acquire their greatest efficacy in obtaining God's assistance when offered publicly, by large numbers, constantly, and unanimously, so as to form as it were a single chorus of supplication." He went on to state that the Rosary Sodality pray in such a manner and by doing so, "...[N]ever fail to obtain certain fruit." To further spotlight the efficacy of the confraternity, Pope Leo XIII made an excellent comparison between the recitation of the Divine Office and the Rosary, "Just as by the recitation of the Divine Office, priests offer a public, constant, and most efficacious supplication; so the supplication offered by the members of this Sodality in the recitation of the Rosary, or "Psalter of Our Lady," as it has been styled by some of the Popes, is also in a way public, constant, and universal."

Paragraph eight, Special Efficacy of Public Prayer, continues from the previous paragraph by not only further elaborating on the efficacy of the confraternity's prayer, but provides real life examples from the history of the Catholic Church. Pope Leo XIII began by stating that public prayers are much more excellent and more efficacious that private ones, describing the Rosary Sodality as, "...[T]he army of prayer, enrolled by St. Dominic, under the banner of the Mother of God, of her, whom sacred literature and the history of the Church salute as the conqueror of the Evil One and of all errors." Further on he noted that the "...[R]osary unites together all who join the Sodality in a common bond of paternal or military comradeship, so that a mighty host is thereby formed, duly marshalled and arrayed, to repel the assaults of the enemy, both from within and without." Pope Leo XIII quoted St. Cyprian to emphasize the efficacy of group and public recitation of the Rosary, "Our prayer is public and in common; and when we pray, we pray not for one, but for the whole people, for we, the entire people, are one." Citing examples from history, he noted how the victories at the naval Battle of Lepanto, at Temesvar in Hungary and the island of Corfu, bear testimony to the power and efficacy of this form of prayer.

Pope Leo XIII's Concluding Exhortation (paragraph twelve) is an especially important inclusion in today's post because he encouraged both the laity and the clergy, to promote membership to the confraternity, serving to unite everyone in the Church, and to better empower them with a most efficacious weapon against mankind's enemy:
We also, Venerable Brethren, moved by the example of Our predecessors, earnestly exhort and conjure you, as We have so often done, to devote special care to this sacred warfare, so that by your efforts fresh forces may be daily enrolled on every side. Through you and those of your clergy who have care of souls, let the people know and duly appreciate the efficacy of this Sodality and its usefulness for man's salvation...We have gladly blessed this devotion, and We earnestly desire that you would sedulously and strenuously encourage its growth. (12)
I hope that today's post has encouraged you to join the Confraternity Of The Most Holy Rosary. In the words of St. Jean Marie Vianney, "If anyone has the happiness of being in the Confraternity of the Rosary, he has in all corners of the world brothers and sisters who pray for him." 

If after reading this post, you are seriously considering joining the confraternity, you can do so on line at the followings links:

Our Lady of The Rosary, pray for us.

Monday, September 28, 2015

RU-486 Canada's New Abortion Drug - Another Reason To Join Life Chain

A young mom and her newborn baby, a beautiful relationship that RU-486 would destroy just barely after it would begin

In case you missed the headline from this summer, Health Canada on July 29, approved of the abortion drug, Mifegymiso, commonly known as RU-486. As a Catholic I am deeply disturbed that a governmental organization which is supposed to be at the forefront of protecting the health of Canadians, has done the exact opposite with this approval. There is nothing healthy about RU-486, for women who take it and certainly not for developing human beings in the womb, who are killed because of it.

In today's post, I intend to not only spot light the deplorable approval of RU-486 and its contribution to the moral disorder in Canada, but identify and denounce the evil of abortion based on resources from the Catholic Church. I also hope to encourage Catholic laity, Christians alike and all people of good will, to take action; and to alert women to the very real dangers of using this drug, citing from a real life case of a young Portuguese woman who died from septic shock.

In addition to this blog post, one of the ways in which I am going to express my concern over this abortion drug's approval is to participate at this Fall's Life Chain pro-life effort. If you are new to Life Chainit is a public witness against the killing of unborn children. Participants stand in silent prayer holding a sign that reads, "Abortion Kills Children" or something very similar. I will be holding an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Protectress Of The Unborn.

Life Chain is a North American effort and if you live in Canada or the United States, Life Chain will take place in your local community or in close proximity; you can find out about a location near you by visiting the web site, www.lifechain.netHere in Vaughan, Ontario, I will be attending the Life Chain effort to be held on October 4th from 2:00pm-3:00pm at Hwy. 7 and Islington Avenue.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Protectress
of The Unborn
You might be asking yourself, "Why should I participate in the Life Chain effort?" There are several reasons, all of which I have included in a previous post, Life Chain - Faith Put Into Action. I have also included some recommendations that takes your participation to the next level and extends it beyond the one hour witness. The thrust of why you should participate in Life Chain is contained in the blog title itself, "putting faith into action." What good is faith that does nothing in practice, it is thoroughly lifeless. (James 2:17) 

Participation at Life Chain should form part of your effort to Labour In The Vineyard For The Unborn and Nonbelievers. The necessity to "labour in the vineyard" was presented to the Church in Saint Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici (Christ's Faithful People). It is a document that explained the vocation and mission of the laity in the Church and in the world. In it, Saint Pope John Paul II sought to instil in the laity the urgency with which we need to "labour," considering the social, economic, political and cultural state of affairs in world and in the Church. He stated that due to this, "...It is not permissible for anyone to remain idle." (3)

In identifying and denouncing the evil of abortion, I have drawn from the teaching of the Catholic Church, which is very specific about the killing of a human being, be it developing in the womb or at any other stage of life, "You Shall Not Kill" (Fifth Commandment). As a commandment, it is not negotiable or open to interpretation; it is God's holy law. There are no circumstances in which abortion is considered acceptable and any action against God's holy law, no matter what the rationale and justification, is always immoral and evil. Our Heavenly Father's teaching on the respect for human life was reiterated by Jesus at the Sermon of The Mount, "You shall not kill." (Mt 5:21)

Respect for human life has waned in many countries and it stems, in part, from a lack of understanding about a fundamental aspect of human life, that is, human life is sacred. Why is human life sacred you may ask? The Catechism Of The Catholic Church provides the answer, "Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being." (2258)

A further understanding of the abortion issue in Canada can be gained by reading the well known pro-life encyclical, Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life) written by Saint Pope John Paul II in 1995. It is a detailed and thorough document that clearly explains the value and inviolability of human life and all threats to it. He specifically dealt with the threat of abortion in Chapter III - You Shall Not Kill. Saint Pope John II noted that when man is deceived by Satan, who is a murderer from the beginning, the father of lies, the deception shows itself by the projects of sin and death that men are led to, disguised as goals and fruits of life.(53) The application by LinePharma, the pharmaceutical company that produces RU-486, based in London, England, is one such "project."

If we look to Health Canada's "regulatory decision summary" it is not difficult to identify Satan's signature. In addition to the use of euphemistic and at times ambiguous language, the information contained in this summary demonstrates a great deal of disrespect for and indifference to human life. Reading this information with the filter of truth, one can not help but feel a sense of repulsion and disappointment that such a drug was approved. Judge for yourself, here are a few excerpts:
The decision to authorize Mifegymiso for the Canadian market was made further to a thorough review of the data package provided by the sponsor that supported the safety, efficacy and quality of the product...Product labelling was revised in order to reflect and communicate the benefits, risks and was concluded that the evidence provided supports the use of Mifegymiso for the medical termination of a developing intrauterine pregnancy with a gestational age up to 49 days as measured from the first day of the Last Menstrual Period based on a standard 28-day cycle...A small number of patients who took Mifegymiso presented more serious complications, such as pelvic infections (endometritis, salpingitis) and vaginal haemorrhages. Rare cases of fatalities were reported, therefore access to emergency care which can provide gynaecological surgical procedures, antibiotic intravenous therapy and blood transfusion in the rare cases where complications occur, is recommended in the labelling to ensure patient’s safety...The data provided to support this indication included data for women less than 18 years of age. The efficacy of Mifegymiso in these patients was similar to that seen in adults, however nausea and pain were reported more frequently in these patients. There were insufficient data to comment on the safety and efficacy in patients less than 15 years of age...
The existence of abortion in society is, as Saint Pope John Paul II noted in Evangelium Vitae, "...[A] telling sign of an extremely dangerous crisis of the moral sense." (3) In Canada, the moral crisis was ushered in a very identifiable way in 1969 when the Omnibus Bill under the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Liberal government was passed, followed by the infamous Dr. Henry Morgantaler's 1988 constitutional challenge that made abortion available on demand. For all those responsible for making abortion, euthanasia, contraception and all other threats to human life available in Canada, the reproach of the Prophet can be applied, "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness" (Is 5:20).

Reading between the lines of Health Canada's approval would suffice to sound the alarm the bell that RU-486 is dangerous to the health of women. If you do a little research on this drug and the potential negative physical ramifications, you might be surprised to find that many women (one is enough) have died in the most unpleasant manner. Case in point, death by septic shock in 2011 of a sixteen year old Portuguese woman.

So what exactly is septic shock. The web site, defines septic shock as follows, "Septic shock is what happens as a complication of an infection where toxins can initiate a full-body inflammatory response..." Sound pretty serious. Here is more information from elaborating on just how serious it is, "It is thought that the inflammation resulting from sepsis causes tiny blood clots to form, which can block oxygen and nutrients from reaching vital organs. As a result, the organs fail, causing a profound septic shock. This may cause a drop in blood pressure and may result in death." The web site goes on to identify three stages: 
  1. sepsis, when an infection reaches the bloodstream and causes inflammation throughout the body
  2. severe sepsis, which occurs when infection disrupts blood flow to the brain or kidneys, leading to organ failure. Blood clots cause gangrene (tissue death) in the arms, legs, fingers, and toes.
  3. septic shock, when blood pressure drops significantly. This can lead to respiratory, heart, or organ failure and death. further notes that sepsis, the initial stage, can be caused by any type of infection: bacterial, fungal, or viral. As to where sepsis commonly originates from, here is the list they provide, with the last item on the list being most relevant to today's post:
  • abdominal or digestive system infections
  • lung infections like pneumonia, bronchitis, or lower respiratory tract infections, which are responsible for around 25 percent of cases (NHS)
  • urinary tract infection
  • reproductive system infection

Those who are at a greater risk for developing septic shock includes: newborns, older people, pregnant women, and those with suppressed immune systems because of HIV or cancer treatments.

As for the details of the young Portuguese woman who died in 2011 from septic shock, (A Clostridium sordellii fatal toxic shock syndrome post-medical-abortion in Portugalhere is the information submitted to the the 21st European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID), 27th International Congress of Chemotherapy (ICC):
Background: Clostridum sordellii (C. sordellii) is a gram-positive anaerobic bacillus that has been reported as a rare cause of fatal toxic syndrome after medical abortion. Portugal’s legal therapeutic abortion, before 10 weeks of gestation, was approved in 2007. We report a case of a young patient who underwent a medical induced abortion and died of a C. sordellii toxic shock syndrome. 
Case summary: A 16-year-old women who underwent a medically induced abortion by means of 200 mg of oral mifepristone followed by 800 µg of vaginal misoprostol, presented to the maternity hospital’s emergency five days after receiving mifepristone, complaining of lipothimia in the night before and abdominal cramping. On admission, she was conscient, afebrile and hypotense (76/35mmHg). A few hours later she developed a rapid onset-sepsis with marked leukocitosis (83,400 white-cells/µL with 88% of neutrophils), hemoconcentration (hematocrit of 63.4%; hemoglobin of 21.2) and severe metabolic acidosis. The patient underwent a hysterectomy and uterus biopsy cultures and anatomopathological analysis were requested. Patient was transferred to intensive care unit and died 18h after presenting to emergency. At the microbiology laboratory a direct examination by gram-stain smear of the uterine biopsy showed large, gram positive rods. The biopsy was inoculated in appropriated agar plates mediums and incubated aerobically and anaerobically. 48 h later only the anaerobic culture was positive and colonies were smeared by gram stain (showing gram positive rods) and a C. sordellii was identified by the semi-automated system, Vitek 2 (bioMerieux®) with an ANC card (Anaerobes and Corynebacterium card). 
Discussion: This was a fatal case of pos-abortion C. sordellii sepsis. The distinctive clinical features developed are the same reported in other studies. Gram staining of a uterine biopsy is a good and rapid mean of having a presumptive result and help to diagnose. C.sordellii was identified through uterine biopsy cultures with a semi-automated system which is different from other studies that used anti-clostridium species immunochemical assay and PCR assays performed on formalin fixed uterine tissue pos-autopsy. 
Conclusion: To improve diagnosis gram staining and cultures of an endometrial biopsy specimen are a good approach to an earlier recognition of the disease’s etiology.
Although I don't possess the medical competence to discuss the above details, there is something that I would like to spotlight in the "case summary," the death of this young woman only eighteen hours after being submitted to the Intensive Care Unit. The fact that such a quick and horrible death could be the reality for any woman that takes RU-486, is in itself be a powerful deterrent to completely avoid this drug. Regardless of what statistical data is presented by Health Canada or pharmaceutical companies, the reality is that this drug not only kills the developing human being in the womb, but may also kill the "mother," and it may happen in a very unpleasant manner.

In 2016, all that Canadian women will need to do in order to get this drug is obtain a prescription from their family physician. I hope that this sad reality and the reading of this post will help Canadian women and families become more aware of the dangers of RU-486, help save the lives of the unborn and women and convert those who are "anti-life." 

As Saint Pope John Paul II noted in Evangelium Vitae, "...Only God is the master of life!" (55) Whether a pregnancy is planned or unplanned, it is a gift from God and should be received and respected as such. May God grant every man and woman the grace to accept and live this truth.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Protectress of The Unborn, pray for us.