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Bl. Maria Helena Stollenwerk

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See Also: Mass and Liturgy of the Hours - Proper of the Society of the Divine Word

November 28

BLESSED MARIA HELENA STOLLENWERK
Religious and Co-foundress
Optional Memorial

Blessed Maria (Helena) Stollenwerk was born on November 28, 1852, in Rollesbroich, in the Diocese of Aachen, Germany. From the time of her childhood she was attracted to the missionary ideal. In 1882, she went to serve at the Mission House of Steyl, in Holland. In 1889, when Saint Arnold Janssen founded the Missionary Congregation of the Servants of the Holy Spirit, she became a co-foundress together with Blessed Josepha Hendrina Stenmanns. Her missionary spirituality was nourished by a profound love for the Holy Spirit whom she glorified through prayer, sacrifice, and daily work. From 1898, until her pious death on February 3, 1900, she belonged to the cloistered branch of her community.

(From the Common of Virgins)

MASS

COLLECT

O God, salvation of all peoples,
Your love inspired Blessed Maria Helena (Stollenwerk)
to offer herself as a victim to You for the propagation of the faith.
Through her intercession and by her example,
enkindle within Your faithful an ardent charity,
that they may be witnesses of the Gospel
among all by their words and actions.
Through Christ Our Lord.

PRAYER OVER THE GIFTS

Almighty God, in these gifts which we offer You,
accept us also and fill us with Your Holy Spirit
whom Blessed Maria Helena served and glorified,
and for whom she gave her life.
Through Christ Our Lord.

PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION

Lord, Our God,
we have been nourished
by the body and blood of Your Son.
Fortify us with that Spirit of light and strength
which helped Blessed Maria Helena
to overcome darkness and all difficulties
to follow Your call.
Through Christ Our Lord.


INVITATORY

Invitatory Antiphon: Virgins follow the Lamb wherever he goes; come, let us adore him.

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 94(95)

Come, ring out our joy to the Lord;
hail the God who saves us.
† Let us come before him, giving thanks,
with songs let us hail the Lord. (Antiphon)

A mighty God is the Lord,
a great king above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his.
To him belongs the sea, for he made it,
and the dry land shaped by his hands. (Antiphon)

Come in; let us bow and bend low;
let us kneel before the God who made us
for he is our God and we
the people who belong to his pasture,
the flock that is led by his hand. (Antiphon)

O that today you would listen to his voice !
‘Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as on that day at Massah in the desert
when your fathers put me to the test;
when they tried me, though they saw my work. (Antiphon)

For forty years I was wearied of these people
and I said: “Their hearts are astray,
these people do not know my ways.”
Then I took an oath in my anger:
“Never shall they enter my rest.” (Antiphon)

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. (Antiphon)

Invitatory Antiphon: Virgins follow the Lamb wherever he goes; come, let us adore him.

OFFICE OF READINGS

HYMN

God’s blessed Spirit moved his virgin saint
To wield strong weapons in a life-long fight,
To make a lonely journey from the flesh,
That she might live unfettered in his sight.

She turned her face towards the cross of Christ,
And he himself prepared her as his bride;
She bore the Holy Spirit’s timeless fruits
By which God’s pledge of love is ratified.

Her life showed forth the kingdom of the Lord,
When humbly, for his sake, she dwelt apart,
To wait on him in silence with the poor!
The chaste of body and the clean of heart.

O blessed Trinity, the virgins’ crown.
They sing your praises with unending song,
Rejoicing in the hope you have fulfilled,
Lord God, unfailing strength of all the strong.

PSALMODY

Ant. 1: Pure virgin, prudent and wise; the Word himself will be the immaculate spouse of your soul.

Psalm 18(19)A 2-7

The heavens proclaim the glory of God *
and the firmament shows forth
the work of his hands.
Day unto day takes up the story  *
and night unto night makes known the message.

No speech, no word, no voice is heard †
yet their span extends through all the earth, *
their words to the utmost bounds of the world.

There he has placed a tent for the sun; †
it comes forth like a bridegroom
coming from his tent, *
rejoices like a champion to run its course.

At the end of the sky is the rising of the sun; †
to the furthest end of the sky is its course. *
There is nothing concealed from its burning heat.

Ant. 1: Pure virgin, prudent and wise; the Word himself will be the immaculate spouse of your soul.

Ant. 2: I counted as nothing the kingdoms of the earth and all the world, for love of my Lord, Jesus Christ.

Psalm 44(45)

I

My heart overflows with noble words. †
To the king I must speak the song I have made; *
my tongue as nimble as the pen of a scribe.

You are the fairest of the children of men †
and graciousness is poured upon your lips: *
because God has blessed you for evermore.

O mighty one, gird your sword upon your thigh; †
in splendour and state, ride on in triumph *
for the cause of truth and goodness and right.

Take aim with your bow in your dread right hand, †
Your arrows are sharp; peoples fall beneath you. *
The foes of the king fall down and lose heart.

Your throne, O God, shall endure for ever. †
A sceptre of justice is the sceptre of your kingdom. *
Your love is for justice; your hatred for evil.

Therefore God, your God, has anointed you †
with the oil of gladness above other kings: *
your robes are fragrant with aloes and myrrh.

From the ivory palace you are greeted with music. †
The daughters of kings
are among your loved ones. *
On your right stands the queen in gold of Ophir.

Ant. 2: I counted as nothing the kingdoms of the earth and all the world, for love of my Lord, Jesus Christ.

Ant. 3: The king has desired your beauty; he is the Lord, your God.

II

Listen, O daughter, give ear to my words: *
forget your own people and your father’s house.
So will the king desire your beauty: *
He is your lord, pay homage to him.

And the people of Tyre shall come with gifts, *
the richest of the people shall seek your favour.
The daughter of the king
is clothed with splendour, *
her robes embroidered with pearls set in gold.

She is led to the king
with her maiden companions. †
They are escorted amid gladness and joy; *
they pass within the palace of the king.

Sons shall be yours in place of your fathers: *
you will make them princes over all the earth.
May this song make your name
for ever remembered. *
May the peoples praise you from age to age.

Ant. 3: The king has desired your beauty; he is the Lord, your God.

You have shown me the path of life.

The fulness of joy in your presence.

FIRST READING I Cor 7:25-40

A reading from the first letter of St Paul to the Corinthians

Christian virginity

About remaining celibate, I have no directions from the Lord but give my own opinion as one who, by the Lord’s mercy, has stayed faithful. Well then, I believe that in these present times of stress this is right: that it is good for a man to stay as he is. If you are tied to a wife, do not look for freedom; if you are free of a wife, then do not look for one. But if you marry, it is no sin, and it is not a sin for a young girl to get married. They will have their troubles, though, in their married life, and I should like to spare you that.

Brothers, this is what I mean: our time is growing short. Those who have wives should live as though they had none, and those who mourn should live as though they had nothing to mourn for; those who are enjoying life should live as though there were nothing to laugh about; those whose life is buying things should live as though they had nothing of their own; and those who have to deal with the world should not become engrossed in it. I say this because the world as we know it is passing away.

I would like to see you free from all worry. An unmarried man can devote himself to the Lord’s affairs, all he need worry about is pleasing the Lord; but a married man has to bother about the world’s affairs and devote himself to pleasing his wife; he is torn two ways. In the same way an unmarried woman, like a young girl, can devote herself to the Lord’s affairs; all she need worry about is being holy in body and spirit. The married woman, on the other hand, has to worry about the world’s affairs and devote herself to pleasing her husband. I say this only to help you, not to put a halter round your necks, but simply to make sure that everything is as it should be, and that you give your undivided attention to the Lord.

Still, if there is anyone who feels that it would not be fair to his daughter to let her grow too old for marriage, and that he should do something about it, he is free to do as he likes: he is not sinning if there is a marriage. On the other hand, if someone has firmly made his mind up, without any compulsion and in complete freedom of choice, to keep his daughter as she is, he will be doing a good thing. In other words, the man who sees that his daughter is married has done a good thing but the man who keeps his daughter un-married has done something even better.

A wife is tied as long as her husband is alive. But if the husband dies, she is free to marry anybody she likes, only it must be in the Lord. She would be happier, in my opinion, if she stayed as she is - and I too have the Spirit of God, I think.

RESPONSORY

The king has desired that beauty of yours which he himself has made; he is your God, he is your king:

Your king is himself your husband.

You are wedded to your king and your God, who has endowed and adorned you, redeemed you and made you holy.

Your king is himself your husband.

SECOND READING

From a letter of Blessed Maria Helena Stollenwerk to her Sisters

(May 3, 1896)

During the last three years of His life, Jesus Christ revealed to us the significance of our missionary vocation. Through His actions, He made us understand how much each human being means to Him. We walk in His footsteps.

We have the privilege of being able to work for the salvation of our brothers. It would be such a joy for the Redeemer if we succeed in bringing closer to Him, children who still did not know Him or who are indifferent to His love.

The missionary vocation requires sacrifices, hard work and preoccupation, and often one can have the impression that it is all useless. That would be the time to look to Jesus Christ: out of love, He took upon Himself sacrifices and hard work and even suffering and death, and yet, He had to experience that to which many remained indifferent.

Courage and faith: God will compensate for that which we lack. Let us frequently, with faithful abandon, throw ourselves into the arms of Divine Providence, and entrust to God the children for whose education we are responsible, that He may guide their hearts as he guides the course of the streams.

We must not let one day go by without thanking God wholeheartedly for our vocation. Being aware of the gift which He has given to us should cause us to exalt with joy each time we think of it. Yes, we can do a great deal for the glory of God and for the salvation of the world.

In thanksgiving, we want to use great care to become Servants of the Holy Spirit in the true sense of the word, thinking more of others than of ourselves. Let us entrust ourselves to Mary Most Holy, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, that She may help us to remain faithful to our vocation and live it wholeheartedly. Let us pray that the Holy Spirit fill all of our being and that He make us real and ardent missionaries, and that the Lord abundantly bless our hard work.

RESPONSORY Ps. 108:4-5, 7

I will praise you among the peoples, Lord; I will chant your praise among the nations, For your kindness towers to the heavens, your faithfulness, to the skies.

Help with your right hand and answer us, that your loved ones may escape.

For your kindness towers to the heavens, and your faithfulness, to the skies.

Help with your right hand and answer us, that your loved ones may escape.

PRAYER

O God, salvation of all peoples,
Your love inspired Blessed Maria Helena (Stollenwerk)
to offer herself as a victim to you for the propagation of the faith.
Through her intercession and by her example,
enkindle within your faithful an ardent charity,
that they may be witnesses of the Gospel
among all by their words and actions.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ,
your Son, who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.


MORNING PRAYER

HYMN

For all thy saints, O Lord,
Who strove in thee to live,
Who followed thee, obeyed, adored,
Our grateful hymn receive.

They all in life and death,
With thee their Lord in view,
Learned from thy Holy Spirit’s breath
To suffer and to do.

For this thy name we bless,
And humbly beg that we
May follow them in holiness,
And live and die in thee.

PSALMODY (Morning Prayer, SUNDAY I)

Ant. 1: I will bear witness to Christ; it is Christ that I seek; with Christ I desire to be united.

Psalm 62(63): 2-9

O God, you are my God, for you I long; *
for you my soul is thirsting.
My body pines for you *
like a dry, weary land without water.
So I gaze on you in the sanctuary *
to see your strength and your glory.

For your love is better than life, *
my lips will speak your praise.
So I will bless you all my life, *
in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul shall be filled as with a banquet, *
my mouth shall praise you with joy.

On my bed I remember you. *
On you I muse through the night
for you have been my help; *
in the shadow of your wings I rejoice.
My soul clings to you ; *
your right hand holds me fast.

Ant. 1: I will bear witness to Christ; it is Christ that I seek; with Christ I desire to be united.

Ant. 2: Virgins, bless the Lord; he who planted his wisdom in you now crowns the fruit that you have borne.

The Canticle of Daniel: Dan 3:57-88, 56

O all you works of the Lord, O bless the Lord. *
To him be highest glory and praise for ever.
And you, angels of the Lord, O bless the Lord. *
To him be highest glory and praise for ever.

And you, the heavens of the Lord, O bless the Lord. *
And you, clouds of the sky, O bless the Lord.
And you, all armies of the Lord, O bless the Lord. *
To him be highest glory and praise for ever.

And you, sun and moon, O bless the Lord. *
And you, the stars of the heav’ns, O bless the Lord.
And you, showers and rain, O bless the Lord. *
To him be highest glory and praise for ever.

And you, all you breezes and winds,
O bless the Lord. *
And you, fire and heat, O bless the Lord.
And you, cold and heat, O bless the Lord. *
To him be highest glory and praise for ever.

And you, showers and dew, O bless the Lord. *
And you, frosts and cold, O bless the Lord.
And you, frost and snow, O bless the Lord. *
To him be highest glory and praise for ever.

And you, night-time and day, O bless the Lord. *
And you, darkness and light, O bless the Lord.
And you, lightning and clouds, O bless the Lord. *
To him be highest glory and praise for ever.

O let the earth bless the Lord. *
To him be highest glory and praise for ever.

And you, mountains and hills, O bless the Lord. *
And you, all plants of the earth, O bless the Lord.
And you, fountains and springs, O bless the Lord. *
To him be highest glory and praise for ever.

And you, rivers and seas, O bless the Lord. *
And you, creatures of the sea, O bless the Lord.
And you, every bird in the sky, O bless the Lord. †
And you, wild beasts and tame, O bless the Lord. *
To him be highest glory and praise for ever.

And you, children of men, O bless the Lord. *
To him be highest glory and praise for ever.

O Israel, bless the Lord. O bless the Lord. *
And you, priests of the Lord, O bless the Lord.
And you, servants of the Lord, O bless the Lord. *
To him be highest glory and praise for ever.

And you, spirits and souls of the just,
O bless the Lord. *
And you, holy and humble of heart,
O bless the Lord.
Ananias, Azarias, Mizael, O bless the Lord. *
To him be highest glory and praise for ever.

Let us praise the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit; *
To you be highest glory and praise for ever.
May you be blessed, O Lord, in the heavens. *
To you be highest glory and praise for ever.

Ant. 2: Virgins, bless the Lord; he who planted his wisdom in you now crowns the fruit that you have borne.

Ant. 3: The saints will rejoice in glory; their victory shines forth in their bodies.

Psalm 149

Sing a new song to the Lord, *
his praise in the assembly of the faithful.
Let Israel rejoice in its Maker, *
let Sion’s sons exult in their king.
Let them praise his name with dancing *
and make music with timbrel and harp.

For the Lord takes delight in his people. *
He crowns the poor with salvation.
Let the faithful rejoice in their glory, *
shout for joy and take their rest.
Let the praise of God be on their lips *
and a two-edged sword in their hand,

to deal out vengeance to the nations *
and punishment on all the peoples;
to bind their kings in chains *
and their nobles in fetters of iron;
to carry out the sentence pre-ordained: *
this honour is for all his faithful.

Ant. 3: The saints will rejoice in glory; their victory shines forth in their bodies.

SCRIPTURE READING Song 8:7

Love is a fire no waters avail to quench, no floods to drown; for love, a man will give up all that he has in the world, and think nothing of his loss.

RESPONSORY

My heart has said of you: I have sought your presence, Lord.

My heart has said of you: I have sought your presence, Lord.

It is your face that I will continue to seek:

I have sought your presence, Lord.

Glory be.

My heart has said of you: I have sought your presence, Lord.

Benedictus

Ant.: See, the wise virgin has gone to Christ: she shines among the choirs of virgins like the sun in the heavens.

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel! *
He has visited his people and redeemed them.

He has raised up for us a mighty saviour *
in the house of David his servant,
as he promised by the lips of holy men, *
those who were his prophets from of old.

A saviour who would free us from our foes, *
from the hands of all who hate us.
So his love for our fathers is fulfilled *
and his holy covenant remembered.

He swore to Abraham our father to grant us, *
that free from fear,
and saved from the hands of our foes,
we might serve him in holiness and justice *
all the days of our life in his presence.

As for you, little child, *
you shall be called a prophet of God,
the Most High.
You shall go ahead of the Lord *
to prepare his ways before him,

To make known to his people their salvation *
through forgiveness of all their sins,
the loving kindness of the heart of our God *
who visits us like the dawn from on high.

He will give light to those in darkness,
those who dwell in the shadow of death, *
and guide us into the way of peace.

Ant.: See, the wise virgin has gone to Christ: she shines among the choirs of virgins like the sun in the heavens.

INTERCESSIONS

With great joy let us praise Christ, the bridegroom of all virgins.

Jesus, crown of virgins, hear us.

Lord Jesus, the holy virgins loved you as their only spouse; - may we never be separated from you.

You crowned your mother Mary as queen of all virgins; - by her prayers grant that we may serve you in purity of life.

The holy virgins followed you with undivided hearts; - do not allow us to be fascinated by this passing world and drawn away from you.

Lord Jesus, you are the bridegroom that the wise virgins were ready to meet; - let us watch for your coming with longing and hope.

May Blessed Maria Helena, who reigns in your kingdom, intercede for us; - through her prayers grant us wisdom and innocence of life.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

PRAYER

O God, salvation of all peoples,
Your love inspired Blessed Maria Helena (Stollenwerk)
to offer herself as a victim to you for the propagation of the faith.
Through her intercession and by her example,
enkindle within your faithful an ardent charity,
that they may be witnesses of the Gospel
among all by their words and actions.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ,
your Son, who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.


EVENING PRAYER

HYMN

O Jesu, thou the virgins’ crown,
Thy gracious ear to us bow down,
Born of that Virgin whom alone
The Mother and the Maid we own.

In thee, their Bridegroom and their Lord,
The virgins find their bright reward,
And wheresoe’r thy footsteps wend
With hymns and praises thee attend.

O gracious Lord, we thee implore
Thy grace into our minds to pour;
From all defilement keep us free,
And make us pure in heart for thee.

All praise to God the Father be,
All praise, eternal Son, to thee,
Whom with the Spirit we adore,
For ever and for evermore.

PSALMODY

Ant. 1: I will keep myself chaste for you. I will meet you, the bridegroom, carrying a brightly shining lamp.

Psalm 121 (122)

I rejoiced when I heard them say: *
‘Let us go to God’s house.’
And now our feet are standing *
within your gates, O Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is built as a city *
strongly compact.
It is there that the tribes go up, *
the tribes of the Lord.

For Israel’s law it is, *
there to praise the Lord’s name.
There were set the thrones of judgment *
of the house of David.

For the peace of Jerusalem pray: *
‘Peace be to your homes!
May peace reign in your walls, *
in your palaces, peace!’

For love of my brethren and friends *
I say: ‘Peace upon you!’
For love of the house of the Lord *
I will ask for your good.

Ant. 1: I will keep myself chaste for you. I will meet you, the bridegroom, carrying a brightly shining lamp.

Ant. 2: Blessed are the pure in heart: they shall see God.

Psalm 126(127)

If the Lord does not build the house, *
in vain do its builders labour;
if the Lord does not watch over the city, *
in vain does the watchman keep vigil.

In vain is your earlier rising, *
your going later to rest,
you who toil for the bread you eat: *
when he pours gifts on his beloved
while they slumber.

Truly sons are a gift from the Lord, *
a blessing, the fruit of the womb.
Indeed the sons of youth *
are like arrows in the hand of a warrior.

O the happiness of the man *
who has filled his quiver with these arrows!
He will have no cause for shame *
when he disputes with his foes in the gateways.

Ant. 2: Blessed are the pure in heart: they shall see God.

Ant. 3: My firm hope will not be moved; it is based on Christ like a house on a rock.

Canticle: Eph 1:3-10

Blessed be the God and Father *
of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in Christ *
with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.

He chose us in him *
before the foundation of the world,
that we should be holy *
and blameless before him.

He destined us in love *
to be his sons through Jesus Christ,
according to the purpose of his will,
to the praise of his glorious grace *
which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

In him we have redemption through his blood, *
the forgiveness of our trespasses,
according to the riches of his grace *
which he lavished upon us.

He has made known to us†
in all wisdom and insight *
the mystery of his will,
according to his purpose *
which he set forth in Christ.

His purpose he set forth in Christ, *
as a plan for the fulness of time,
to unite all things in him, *
things in heaven and things on earth.

Ant. 3: My firm hope will not be moved; it is based on Christ like a house on a rock.

SCRIPTURE READING 1 Cor 7:32-34

He who is unmarried is concerned with God’s claim, asking how he is to please God; a woman who is free of wedlock, or a virgin, is concerned with the Lord’s claim, intent on holiness, bodily and spiritual.

RESPONSORY

The virgins come before the king. They sing for joy.

The virgins come before the king. They sing for joy.

They enter the temple of the king.

They sing for joy.

Glory be.

The virgins come before the king. They sing for joy.

Magnificat

Ant.: Come, bride of Christ, and receive the crown which the Lord has prepared for you.

My soul glorifies the Lord, *
my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour.
He looks on his servant in her lowliness; *
henceforth all ages will call me blessed.

The Almighty works marvels for me. *
Holy his name!
His mercy is from age to age, *
on those who fear him.

He puts forth his arm in strength *
and scatters the proud-hearted.
He casts the mighty from their thrones *
and raises the lowly.

He fills the starving with good things, *
sends the rich away empty.

He protects Israel, his servant, *
remembering his mercy,
the mercy promised to our fathers, *
to Abraham and his sons for ever.

Ant.: Come, bride of Christ, and receive the crown which the Lord has prepared for you.

INTERCESSIONS

Christ the Lord praised those who follow the way of virginity for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let us proclaim his love and pray:

Jesus, king of virgins, hear us.

Christ our Lord, you presented the Church to yourself, as a chaste virgin to her only husband; - make her pure, holy and faultless.

Christ Jesus, the holy virgins went to meet you with lamps burning bright; - keep alive the flame of fidelity in the hearts of religious women.

Lord, you have always preserved your Church in purity and soundness of faith; - grant to all Christians a faith that is true and complete.

You bring joy to the lives of your faithful as they celebrate the feast of your holy virgin Blessed Maria Helena; - may they also rejoice in her constant intercession.

You have welcomed your holy virgins to the wedding feast of heaven; - invite all the dead to the feast of eternal life.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

PRAYER

O God, salvation of all peoples,
Your love inspired Blessed Maria Helena (Stollenwerk)
to offer herself as a victim to you for the propagation of the faith.
Through her intercession and by her example,
enkindle within your faithful an ardent charity,
that they may be witnesses of the Gospel
among all by their words and actions.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ,
your Son, who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Text of the Psalms and Canticles is taken from the Divine Office approved by the Episcopal Conference of Australia, England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Also approved for use in Gambia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Liberia, Malaysia and Singapore, New Zealand, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe.

The texts of the Prayers and Readings for the Mass are those approved by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, or taken from the Roman Missal.

The texts of the Liturgy of the Hours proper of the SVD are those approved by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

This publication was approved by the SVD General Council on February 13, 2008 for internal use by the members of the Society.