Tag Archives: Europe



Wild hues paints the skies
as the sun bows to the stars

Orange teasings with red
purple playing with blue

A canvas bursting with
colors full of life!

strange and innocent
wild and indomitable

for He saved the best for last!
as if teasing the City of Lights

Will you ever see me again?


Copenhagen (Edited Version)

Copenhagen Walkboard 3 copy

Seafarer, when are you coming home?

For you sailed before dawn could
light up the skies

and anxious are the lips
waiting for you.

Time fades as the waves
caresses the shores under her feet.

Careless and oblivious
with reckless abandonment

the sun takes aim at the sea
ignoring her plead…

A hope is whisper under her lips
for the Basilica bells still ring

calling you home.


Beneath Thy Protection

Beneath your compassion,
We take refuge, O Mother of God:
do not despise our petitions in time of trouble:
but rescue us from dangers,
only pure, only blessed one.

Beneath Thy Protection is one of the earliest Christian prayers of our Blessed Virgin Mary. It dates to approximately the year ~250 AD a century before the Church established for the first time the canon of scripture in the Synod of Hippo in 393 AD. It was part of the Christmas liturgy celebration and it is still used in the liturgies of the Coptic, Byzantine, Armenian and Roman rites of the Church.


This very early Christian devotion to our Lady embraces the words of Christ when He said to John at the foot of the Cross:

“When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”

Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home”.

John 19:26-27

John his beloved disciple stands right there for all of us: “Behold, your mother”, Christ gave us his mother to us; the Blessed Virgin Mary is our mama! Christians throughout the centuries have understood it clearly. That is why Beneath Thy Protection is such a beautiful intercessory prayer to our Lady.


Battle of Lepanto


Centuries later Christians in Europe fled to the Blessed Virgin for protection against the invasion of the Muslim forces of the Ottoman Empire. The Battle of Lepanto, October 7, 1571 stand as one of those defining days in Western history. Many historians argue that a defeat of the Christian forces opposing the Muslim invasion would have been a catastrophe for Christendom in Europe, allowing the Turks to overrun most if not all of Europe.

As the Holy League, a coalition of Catholic states, including Genoa, Spain and Papal States fought the invading forces many cities throughout Europe prayed the Holy Rosary asking for the intersection of the Blessed Virgin Mary to her Son. It is easy to imagine people gather in Churches chanting in Latin:

Sub tuum praesidium
Sancta Dei Genetrix.
Nostras deprecationes ne despicias
in necessitatibus nostris,
sed a periculis cunctis
libera nos semper,
Virgo gloriosa et benedicta.

We fly to thy protection,
O Holy Mother of God;
despise not our petitions
in our necessities,
but deliver us always
from all dangers,
O glorious and blessed Virgin.

At the end of the five hour battle only about 210 Ottoman ships were destroyed compared to about 60 from the Christian fleet. The battle signified the last great maritime battle fought with galleys and a major victory against Islamic invading forces. As the result, Pope Pius V instituted October 7 as the feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary.

GK Chesterton brilliant Poem Lepanto:


(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
Sudden and still–hurrah!
Bolt from Iberia!
Don John of Austria
Is gone by Alcalar.

Crying with the trumpet, with the trumpet of his lips,
Trumpet that sayeth ha!
Domino gloria!
Don John of Austria
Is shouting to the ships…

Viva Hispania!
Domino Gloria!
Don John of Austria
Has set his people free!

Excerpts taken from Lepanto by GK Chesterton

Blessed Virgin Mary intercede for us!

For GK Chesterton complete Poem click here.

For my thoughts on Islamic persecution of  Christians persecution in the Middle East click here.

Laborare est orate (Five Contributions of the Benedictine Monks to Western Civilization)


Today July 11,  is the feast day of the St. Benedict, patron saint of Europe. Here is a list of five hastily collected contributions of the Benedictine monks to Western Civilization.

The motto of the Benedictine monk is “laborare est orare” which translates “to work is to pray” and they worked…

1. Agriculture

Many of the Europe farmlands once were marshes or swamps that were very difficult to cultivate. However, when a monastery was established in the area the monks took it upon themselves to turn barren lands into productive farmlands.

2. Education

Benedictine monks not only pioneered many forms of agriculture, but also instructed the rest of the population in the newly developed agricultural techniques during the middle and late Middle Ages. Dr. Woods noted in his book, How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization:

“…every Benedictine monastery was an agricultural college for the whole region in which it was located.”

This provided an incalculable benefit for the populations surrounding the monasteries.

Monastery were not only center for agriculture, but for education and development of the arts. Thanks to Benedictine monks the Carolingian minuscule was established as the new standard for writing. This is perhaps one of the most important advancement of the early Middle Ages because it provided a universal standard way to write manuscripts that more people could understand. For example, it introduced spaces between words, lower case letters and punctuation. This allows easier writing and reading, which in turn served as a catalyst for education.

3. Industries

They fomented Ireland’s Salmon fisheries, corn commerce in Sweden and cheese making in Italy. They also improved cattle breeding and production of wine.

4. Architecture

They contributed to the medieval church architecture. Directed spring waters to Paris and expanded the use of waterpower devises throughout Europe.

5. Inventions

First modern clock (996 AD), Glider (1200 AD), advanced furnaces for the production of metals among many other inventions.

There are many other contributions of the Benedictine monks to Western Civilization. They provided healthcare, food, education and support to the arts to the surrounding population. Preserved cultural identity against Barbarian invasions. It is a understatment that Europe owes progress and survival to the humble Benedicine monks…it is such a pitty that they ignored, nay abandoned  such contributions at the foundation of the European Union Constitution, more on that in future muses…

St. Benedict, pray for us!

Reference: I hastily composed this post thanks to the great post by Oblates Spring, upon which I drow most of the information presented here.