Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Pope in London - Visit of Archduke Rudolf of Austria, Friends and Supporters of the Canonization of the Empress Zita


On the third day of the visit, Pope Benedict will celebrate Mass in Westminster Cathedral where he will also greet the people of Wales.

Later in the day he will visit a home for older people and then be present at an open-air Vigil of prayer in London's Hyde Park.

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Yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI and the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams exchange a fraternal embrace

In a world marked by growing interdependence and solidarity, we are challenged to proclaim with renewed conviction the reality of our reconciliation and liberation in Christ, and to propose the truth of the Gospel as the key to an authentic and integral human development. In a society which has become increasingly indifferent or even hostile to the Christian message, we are all the more compelled to give a joyful and convincing account of the hope that is within us (cf. 1 Pet 3:15), and to present the Risen Lord as the response to the deepest questions and spiritual aspirations of the men and women of our time.--Pope Benedict XVI in Westminster Abbey, September 17, 20101

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This week, I was visited by family and devotees seeking the beatifiction of Zita, Empress of Austria, Apostolic Queen of Hungary, Wife and Mother. It is a fascinating story of heroic virtue available in many languages on the web site of the association (, which has a Canadian chapter based in Boucherville, QC.

The shortened c.v. omits that the Empress lived in Ottawa at Rideau Hall at the outbreak of World War II:

Princess Zita of Bourbon-Parma was born on May 9, 1892, near Lucca, Italy. On October 21, 1911, she married Archduke Karl of Austria, a great-nephew of Franz-Josef, who became Emperor Karl I of Austria and King Karl IV of Hungary in 1916.

As Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary, Zita assisted her husband during their two year reign through her efforts for peace and social justice. This united couple, brought closer together by their deep Christian faith, had eight children.

Exiled to Switzerland at the end of the First World War, the imperial family was later exiled to Madeira, where Karl died on April 1, 1922. Widowed, without any resources, devoting herself to her family and others, Empress Zita first lived in Spain and Belgium, then in Quebec and the United States during World War II, and finally returning to Europe after the war.

She returned her soul to God on March 14, 1989, and was buried in Vienna on the following April 1. Karl of Austria was beatified by John Paul II in 2004. In 2008, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints authorized the opening of the cause of beatification in the Diocese of Le Mans for the Servant of God Zita of Bourbon-Parma.

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Le 14 septembre 2010, ja'i eu la visite de certains membres de l'Association pour la béatification et canonisation de Zita, impératrice d'Autriche et reine de Hongrie.

De g. à d. : Archiduc Michaël d'Autriche, Gilles Larose, Benoît Bleau, Marie-Rose Bleau [Monseigneur Terrence Prendergast], Son Altesse Impériale et Royale l'Archiduc Rudolf d'Autriche, Denise Bleau, Jean-Claude Bleau, Président, Guy Trad

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