Novena to St Joseph the Worker- Day Three – 24 April
“It is only by confronting the daily demans of work that we deepen our interior dynamism….Work itself is meant to become a spiritual act and this happens when it is experienced as being at the service of the quest for the Infinite.”
Msgr Lorenzo Albacete
Let us Pray: DAY THREE
Glorious St. Joseph,
model of all those who are devoted to labour,
obtain for me the grace to work conscientiously,
putting the call of duty above my many sins;
to work with thankfulness and joy,
considering it an honour to employ and develop,
by means of labour,
the gifts received from God;
to work with order,
peace, prudence and patience,
never surrendering to weariness or difficulties;
to work, above all,
with purity of intention,
and with detachment from self,
having always death before my eyes
and the account which I must render of time lost,
of talents wasted,
of good omitted,
of vain complacency in success
so fatal to the work of God.
I offer to you today my special intention for this novena
(mention your intention)
knowing that by your powerful intercession
you will assist me and all workers,
especially those seeking employment.
All for Jesus,
all for Mary,
all after thy example,
O Patriarch Joseph.
Such shall be my motto in life and death.
Many saints, like St Fidelis of Sigmaringen, realise that they are wasting their time in the midst of greed and foolish ambition and decide on another course. Their gifts were turned to doing good and to this they devote the whole of their lives. Sometimes, it is often easily apparent, that a change is demanded in our lives – feeling miserable, unsatisfied, uneasy, worried by the greed of the world, it’s lukewarmness or apathy and more! Courage now is needed and that courage comes from he grace of God in prayer. ‘You become what you love’ – what is it that you love?
And so I say to you, you are Peter
and upon this rock I will build my church
and the gates of the netherworld
shall not prevail against it……….Matthew 16:18
REFLECTION – “O Catholic faith, how solid, how strong you are! How deeply rooted, how firmly founded on a solid rock! Heaven and earth will pass away but you can never pass away. From the beginning the world opposed you but you mightily triumphed over everything. This is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith. It has subjected powerful kings to the rule of Christ; it has bound nations to His service. What made the holy apostles and martyrs endure fierce agony and bitter torments, except faith and especially faith in the resurrection? What is it that today makes true followers of Christ cast luxuries aside, leave pleasures behind and endure difficulties and pain? It is living faith that expresses itself through love. It is this that makes us put aside the goods of the present in the hope of future goods. It is because of faith that we exchange the present for the future.”…………………St Fidelis of Sigmaringen
PRAYER – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we praise You and give You glory: we bless You for calling us to be Your holy people. Remain in our hearts and guide us in our love and service. Help us to let our light shine before others and lead them to the way of faith.
Holy Trinity of love, we praise You now and for ever. St Fidelis man of courage and true faith, pray for us, amen!
Prayer in front of the Crucifix of San Damiano
Francis used to recite this prayer already in 1205-1206, during the period of his vocational discernment, when he would visit the small abandoned church of San Damiano, where there was a Byzantine Crucifix which is nowadays venerated in the Basilica of Santa Chiara in Assisi.
Most High, glorious God,
enlighten the darkness of my heart
and give me true faith,
and perfect charity,
sense and knowledge, Lord,
that I may carry out
Your holy and true command. Amen
Saint of the Day – 24 April – St Fidelis of Sigmaringen OFM Cap (1577-1622) Religious Priest and MARTYR, lawyer/advocate, philosopher, teacher, apostle of Eucharistic Adoration and charity – Attributes – sword; palm of martyrdom; heretics; the Morning Star; trampling on the word “heresy”; with a club set with spikes; with a whirlbat; with an angel carrying a palm of martyrdom; with Saint Joseph of Leonessa. Major Shrine at the Capuchin Friary of Weltkirchen (Feldkirch), Austria.
St Fidelis was born Mark Roy or Rey in 1577 in Sigmaringen, a town in modern-day Germany, then under the Principality of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. His father’s name was John Rey. He studied law and philosophy at the University of Freiburg. Roy subsequently taught philosophy at this university, ultimately earning the degree of Doctor of Law. During his time as a student he did not drink wine and wore a hair-shirt. He was known for his modesty, meekness and chastity.
In 1604, Roy accompanied, as preceptor (teacher-mentor), three young Swabian gentlemen on their travels through the principal parts of Europe. During six years of travel, he attended Mass very frequently. In every town they came to, he visited the hospitals and churches, passed several hours on his knees in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament and was generous to the poor, sometimes giving them the very clothes off his back.
Upon his return, he practiced law as a counselor or advocate, at Colmar, in Alsace where he came to be known as the ‘poor man’s lawyer’. He scrupulously forbore all invectives, detractions and whatever might affect the reputation of any adversary. Disenchanted with the evils associated with his profession, he was determined to enter the religious life as a member of the Capuchin friars.
As soon as Fidelis finished his course of theology, he was immediately employed in preaching and in hearing confessions. After becoming guardian of the Capuchin friary in Weltkirchen, Feldkirch (in present-day Austria), many residents of the town and neighbouring places were reformed by his zealous labours and several Calvinists were converted. The Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith commissioned Fidelis to preach in the Graubünden region of eastern Switzerland. Eight other Capuchin friars were to be his assistants and they laboured in this mission under his direction.
The Calvinists of that territory, being incensed at his success in converting their brethren, loudly threatened Fidelis’ life and he prepared himself for martyrdom. Fidelis and his companions entered into Prättigau, a small district of Graubünden, in 1622, on the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6. The effects of his ardent zeal, where the Bishop of Coire sent a lengthy and full account to the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, enraged the Calvinists in that province.
On April 24, 1622, Fidelis made his confession, celebrated Mass and then preached at Grüsch. At the end of his sermon, which he had delivered with more than ordinary zeal, he stood silent all of a sudden, with his eyes fixed upon Heaven, in ecstasy. He foretold his death to several persons in the clearest terms and began signing his letters, “P. Fidelis, prope diem esca vermium” (“Father Fidelis, in days ahead to become food for worms”). After the service at Grüsch he and several companions traveled to Seewis. His companions noted that he was particularly cheerful.
On April 24, in a campaign organised by the Habsburgs, Fidelis was preaching under protection of some Austrian imperial soldiers in the Church at Seewis with the aim to reconvert the people of Seewis to Catholicism. During the sermon, his listeners were called “to arms” by the Calvinist agitators outside. Some of the people went to face the Austrian troops outside the church. Fidelis had been persuaded by the remaining Catholics to immediately flee with the Austrian troops out of Seewis, which he did but then returned alone to Grüsch. On his way back he was confronted by 20 Calvinist soldiers who demanded unsuccessfully that he renounce the Catholic faith and when he refused, they subsequently murdered him.
A local account:
From Grüsch he went to preach at Seewis, where, with great energy, he exhorted the Catholics to constancy in the faith. After a Calvinist had discharged his musket at him in the Church, the Catholics entreated him to leave the place. He answered that death was his gain and his joy, and that he was ready to lay down his life in God’s cause. On his road back to Grüsch, he met twenty Calvinist soldiers with a minister at their head. They called him a false prophet and urged him to embrace their sect. He answered: “I am sent to you to confute, not to embrace your heresy. The Catholic religion is the faith of all ages, I fear not death.”One of them beat him down to the ground by a stroke on the head with his backsword. Fidelis rose again on his knees and stretching forth his arms in the form of a cross, said with a feeble voice “Pardon my enemies, O Lord: blinded by passion they know not what they do. Lord Jesus, have mercy on me. Mary, Mother of God, succour me!.” Another sword stroke clove his skull and he fell to the ground and lay in a pool of his own blood. The soldiers, not content with this, added many stab wounds to his body with their long knives and hacked-off his left leg, as they said, to punish him for his many journeys into those parts to preach to them.
It is said that a Catholic woman lay concealed near the place of Fidelis’ martyrdom as the saint was slain. After the soldiers had left, she came out to assess the incident and found the martyr’s eyes open, fixed on the heavens. He was buried by Catholics the next day.
The rebels were soon after defeated by the imperial troops, an event which the martyr had foretold them. The Protestant minister who had participated in Fidelis’ martyrdom, was converted by this circumstance, made a public abjuration of Calvinism and was received into the Catholic Church.
After six months, the martyr’s body was found to be incorrupt but his head and left arm were separated from his body. The body parts were then placed into two reliquaries, one sent to the Cathedral of Coire, at the behest of the bishop and laid under the High Altar; the other was placed in the Capuchin church at Weltkirchen, Feldkirch, Austria.
St Fidelis was beatified on 24 March 1729 by Pope Benedict XIII and canonised on 29 June 1746, Rome by Pope Benedict XIV
St Fidelis of Sigmaringen (Optional Memorial)
Our Lady of Bonaria: Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary in the form of a statue of Mary and the Christ Child that was washed up at a Mercedarian monastery near Cagliari, Italy on 25 April 1370, apparently from a shipwreck the night before. Legend says that the locals tried to open the crate it was in, but only one of the Mercedarian monks could get the it open. Patron of Sardinia, Italy
Our Lady of Buenos Aires
St Alexander of Lyon
St Anthimos of Nicomedia
St Authairius of La Ferté
St Benedetto Menni
St Bova of Rheims
St Deodatus of Blois
St Diarmaid of Armagh
St Doda of Rheims
St Dyfnan of Anglesey
St Egbert of Rathemigisi
St Eusebius of Lydda
St Gregory of Elvira
St Honorius of Brescia
St Ivo of Huntingdonshire
St Leontius of Lydda
St Longinus of Lydda
St Mary Euphrasia Pelletier
St Mary of Cleophas
St Mary Salome
St Mellitus of Canterbury
St Neon of Lydda
St Sabas the Goth of Rome
St Tiberio of Pinerolo
St William Firmatus
Mercedarian Martyrs of Paris