Hundreds of pilgrims have descended on a Benedictine monastery for religious sisters in rural Missouri in recent days after news began to spread on social media last week that the recently exhumed remains of the contemplative order’s African American foundress appear to be incorrupt, four years after her death and burial in a simple wooden coffin.

Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster, OSB, founded the Benedictine Sisters of Mary, Queen of the Apostles – best known for their chart-topping Gregorian chant and classic Catholic hymn albums – in 1995 at the age of 70, leaving the Oblate Sisters of Providence, her community of over 50 years, to do so.

Known for her devotion to the Traditional Latin Mass and her faithfulness to Benedictine contemplation and the Liturgy of the Hours, she died at age 95 on May 29, 2019, on the vigil of the solemnity of the Ascension.

Roughly four years later, on the solemnity of the Ascension in the Latin rite, the abbess and sisters decided to move her body to a final resting place inside their monastery chapel, a long-standing custom for founders and foundresses.

FOR FULL STORY: A miracle in Missouri? Body of Benedictine Sisters’ foundress thought to be incorrupt | Catholic News Agency


The Vatican’s Fratelli tutti Foundation announced today that the International Meeting on Human Fraternity entitled “Not alone” (#notalone), will be held in St. Peter’s Square on June 10 at 4pm as well as simultaneously in eight other squares around the world, in the presence of Pope Francis.

According to the press release, 30 Nobel Prize winners and thousands of youths from across the world will be at this event, organized by the Vatican Foundation Fratelli tutti, in collaboration with St. Peter’s Basilica, the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development and the Dicastery for Communication. Attendees will also include “representatives of ecclesial and lay commitment, families, associations, as well as all those who today are forced to live on the margins of society: from the poorest and homeless to migrants and victims of violence and human trafficking.”

The statement notes that “this initiative, inspired by the Encyclical Fratelli tutti, will involve people from all over the world to promote all together the culture of fraternity and peace and encourage personal commitment in choices and practices of reparation, dialogue, and forgiveness overcoming loneliness and marginalization that deny human dignity.”

The meeting will have two moments, a morning event and an afternoon one, starting at 4 pm that will be open to all, without registration. Admission to the square will begin at 2:00 p.m. Further information on the programme will be available online at: http://www.fondazionefratellitutti.org/notalone .


If you read only one thing today (other than Joan’s Rome!), it should be this: Cardinal Pell Has One Question for Cardinal Becciu: ‘Will He Just Tell Us What the Money Was Sent for?’| National Catholic Register (ncregister.com)

And if you read only one of the follow stories, make sure it is the one about Michael Haddad and a papal book going to the North Pole!


POPE RECEIVES ITALIAN PRESIDENT MATTARELLA: The President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, was received by Pope Francis in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace, as his mandate draws to a close. According to the Italian Constitution, the President is the Head of State and represents national unity. It is his responsibility to make sure that Italian politics comply with the Constitution. His role is incompatible with any other office, and his term lasts seven years. Pope receives outgoing President Mattarella of Italy – Vatican News

POPE FRANCIS ESTABLISHES FRATELLI TUTTI FOUNDATION: “To support and design pathways of art and faith… to invest in cultural and spiritual formation through events, experiences, pathways and spiritual exercises… to promote dialogue with cultures and other religions on the themes of the Pontiff’s latest encyclicals, in order to build a ‘social alliance.’”: These are the aims of the new Fratelli tutti  Foundation, established by Pope Francis with a chirograph (a papal decree) signed on 8 December 2021. Pope Francis establishes Fratelli tutti Foundation – Vatican News

SAN GENNARO’S BLOOD FAILS TO LIQUEFY: (CNA) – The blood of St. Januarius, patron of the Italian city of Naples, remained solid on Thursday morning, so far failing to liquefy in December for the second consecutive year. The liquefaction traditionally happens at least three times a year: Sept. 19, the saint’s feast day, the first Saturday of May, and Dec. 16, the anniversary of the 1631 eruption of Mount Vesuvius. San Gennaro’s blood fails to liquefy at start of December anniversary | Catholic News Agency


Michael Haddad to receive book blessed by Pope ahead of journey to North Pole

An upcoming event at the Italian Embassy to the Holy See will present Michael Haddad, set to travel to the Arctic Circle with the help of an exoskeleton and a book blessed by Pope Francis to accompany him on his journey across the globe.

By Vatican News staff writer

Pope Francis’ message of hope reaches the North Pole in an unprecedented journey. This is how the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication introduces the upcoming journey of Michael Haddad from Lebanon, who is setting out to reach the Arctic Circle.

“Hope is bold, it knows how to look beyond personal comfort, the small securities and compensations that narrow the horizon, to open up to great ideals that make life more beautiful and dignified,” says the Pope in Fratelli tutti.


Seventy-five percent of Michael’s body was left paralyzed after a jet-ski accident when he was only 6 years old. Since then he has lost 75% of his motor functions and moves with the help of an exoskeleton.

Athlete and ambassador

Michael is a professional athlete and UN goodwill ambassador for environmental issues.

He has climbed mountains and crossed deserts, and has also participated in two marathons: one in Cairo, the other in Beirut, in his native Lebanon, to raise funds for the reconstruction of the hospital devastated by the explosion at the port in August 2020.

The adventure

A statement released by the dicastery on Thursday explains that Michael Haddad is setting out to walk 100km (62 miles) in the North Pole, carrying with him a copy of the book “Why Are You Afraid, Have You No Faith?”, produced in a special edition by the Holy See’s Dicastery for Communication.

This book will be slightly different from all the other copies as it will have been blessed by Pope Francis, enabling Michael to carry the Holy Father’s message with him across the world.

“At the end of the walk Haddad will leave the small six-by-eight centimetre (2.4 by 3 inches) book in the Svalbard seed bunker, the largest and safest in the world, located in Norway, 1300 kilometres beyond the Arctic Circle,” reads the statement.

Receiving the message

Haddad, who is a symbol of hope and faith and whose message focuses on the need for urgent action on climate change, care for our common home and inclusion in the face of inequality, “will show his commitment by receiving the message at a meeting at the Italian Embassy to the Holy See” on Friday.

In this way, says the statement, for the first time, “a message from Pope Francis will reach the North Pole hand in hand with an ambassador of goodwill and, like a seed of hope, will remain for posterity in the world’s largest and safest refuge dedicated to safeguarding the planet’s biodiversity.”

Friday’s meeting is co-organized by UNDP (United Nations Development Program), the Italian Embassy to the Holy See, the Institute for Global Dialogue and Culture of Encounter, with the participation of the Holy See Dicastery for Communication. It will take place on Friday, December 17, at 11.00 am at the Italian Embassy in Rome.