5th Day: For Salesian Brothers, Sisters and Priests
O Saint John Bosco,
you founded the Salesian Society
and the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians
for the continuation and extension of the work on behalf of young people.
Pray for all your sons and daughters,
the members of these two religious families that,
inspired by your example and imbued with your spirit
they may be faithful to their religious consecration
and steadfast in the Salesian mission.
Through your intercession
may God grant me the following grace
(mention your request)
so that together with the sons and daughters
of your religious families
I may assist and help all especially young people.
Thought for the Day – 26 January – The Memorial of Sts Timothy and Titus, Disciples and Companions of the Apostle Paul and Bishops of the Catholic Church
Timothy was comparatively young for the work he was doing. Several references seem to indicate that he was timid. And one of Paul’s most frequently quoted lines was addressed to him: “Stop drinking only water but have a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent illnesses” (1 Timothy 5:23).
Titus has the distinction of being a close friend and disciple of Paul as well as a fellow missionary. He was Greek, apparently from Antioch. Even though Titus was a Gentile, Paul would not let him be forced to undergo circumcision at Jerusalem. Titus is seen as a peacemaker, administrator, great friend. Paul’s second letter to Corinth affords an insight into the depth of his friendship with Titus and the great fellowship they had in preaching the gospel.
In Timothy and Titus, we get another glimpse of life in the early Church – great zeal in the apostolate, great communion in Christ, great friendship. Yet always there is the problem of human nature and the unglamorous details of daily life, the need for charity and patience in “quarrels with others, fears within myself,” as Paul says. Through it all, the love of Christ sustained them.
After his experience with Jesus Christ, Paul realised that he was not alone on the road to salvation. Jesus Christ has already accomplished salvation for us. In faith and Baptism, Christians receive the grace of the Holy Spirit, who is our constant guide. The Holy Spirit helps us to live in relationship with God and others.
And so, we too, are always sustained by the love of Christ!
One Minute Reflection – 26 January – The Memorial of Sts Timothy and Titus, Disciples and Companions of the Apostle Paul and Bishops of the Catholic Church
“And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few, pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest. Go your way, behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.”...Luke 10:2-3
REFLECTION – 1562 “Christ, whom the Father hallowed and sent into the world, has, through His apostles, made their successors, the bishops namely, sharers in His consecration and mission and these, in their turn, duly entrusted in varying degrees various members of the Church with the office of their ministry.” 43 “The function of the bishops’ ministry was handed over in a subordinate degree to priests so that they might be appointed in the order of the priesthood and be co-workers of the episcopal order for the proper fulfilment of the apostolic mission that had been entrusted to it by Christ.”...CCC 1562 The ordination of priests – co-workers of the bishops
Another observation concerns the willingness of these collaborators. The sources concerning Timothy and Titus highlight their readiness to take on various offices that also often consisted in representing Paul in circumstances far from easy. In a word, they teach us to serve the Gospel with generosity, realising that this also entails a service to the Church herself.”…Pope Benedict XVI 13 December 2006
PRAYER – Almighty God, You endowed Saints Timothy and Titus with power to preach Your Word. Grant that, living a life of integrity and holiness in this world, reaching out to teach the Gospel both by our lives and our words, we may, through their prayers, come to our true home in heaven. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 26 January – The Memorial of the 3 Founders of the Cistercian Order
Run, Hasten, O Lady By St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) Doctor of the Church
Run, hasten, O Lady
and in your mercy,
help your sinful servant,
who calls upon you
and deliver him
from the hands of the enemy.
Who will not sigh to you?
We sigh with love and grief,
for we are oppressed on every side.
How can we do otherwise than sigh to you,
O solace of the miserable,
refuge of outcasts,
ransom of captives?
We are certain that when you see our miseries,
your compassion will hasten to relieve us.
O our sovereign Lady and our Advocate,
commend us to your Son.
Grant, O blessed one,
by the grace which you have merited,
that He Who through you
was graciously pleased to become
a partaker of our infirmity and misery,
may also through your intercession,
make us partakers
of His happiness and glory.
Saints of the Day – 26 January – St Alberic of Citeaux O.Cist (Died 1109) Monk and Abbot , St Robert of Molesme O.Cist (1028-1111) Abbot and St Stephen Harding O.Cist (c 1060-1134) Monk, Priest and the three are Co-Founders of the Cistercian Order.
Robert was born about 1029, a nobleman from Champagne, a younger son, who entered the Benedictine abbey of Montier-la-Celle near Troyes at age fifteen and rose to the office of prior. He was made the abbot of Saint Michel-de-Tonnerre around the year 1070 but he soon discovered that the monks were quarrelsome and disobedient, so he returned to Montier-la-Celle.
Meanwhile, two hermits from a group of monks that had settled at Collan went to Rome and asked Pope Gregory VII to give them Robert as their superior. The pope granted their request and as of 1074 Robert served as their leader. Soon after, Robert moved the small community to Molesme in the valley of Langres in Burgundy. Initially, the establishment consisted of only huts made of branches surrounding a chapel in the forest, dedicated to the Holy Trinity. Molesme Abbey quickly became known for its piety and sanctity and Robert’s reputation as a saintly man grew. It is because of this reputation that in 1082 St Bruno of Cologne (c 1030 -1101) came to Robert seeking advice. He lived with Robert’s community for a time before going on to found the Grande Chartreuse, the first Carthusian monastery.
In 1098 there were 35 dependent priories of Molesme and other annexes and some priories of nuns. Donors from the surrounding area vied with one another in helping the monks; soon they had more than they needed, slackened their way of life and became tepid. Benefactors sent their children to the abbey for education and other non-monastic activities began to dominate daily life. The vast land holdings they had acquired required a large number of employees. As the community grew increasingly wealthy, it began to attract men seeking entry for the wrong reasons. They caused a division among the brothers, challenging Robert’s severity. Robert twice tried to leave Molesme but was ordered back by the Pope.
In 1098, Robert and twenty-one of his monks left Molesme with the intention of never returning. Renaud, the viscount of Beaune, gave this group a desolate valley in a deep forest, there they founded Cîteaux Abbey. Saints Stephen Harding and Alberic – two of Robert’s monks from Molesme – were pivotal in founding the new house. The archbishop of Lyons, being persuaded that they could not subsist there without the endorsement of an influential churchman, wrote in their favour to Eudo, duke of Burgundy. Eudo paid for the construction they had begun, helped the monks finance their operating expenses and gave them much land and cattle. The bishop of Challons elevated the new monastery to the canonical status of an abbey.
In 1099, the monks of Molesme asked Robert to return and agreed to submit entirely to his interpretation of the Rule of St Benedict, the local bishop also pressured Robert to return. He agreed and Molesme became a major centre for the Benedictines under his tutelage. Albéric was made successor abbot at Cîteaux, with Stephen Harding as prior.
Robert died on 17 April 1111. Pope Honorius III Canonised him in 1222. His feast day in the Roman Catholic Church was at first observed on 17 April, later transferred to April 29 and finally combined with the feast of Alberic and Stephen Harding and is observed in our day on 26 January.
The Life of Saint Robert de Molesme was written by Guy, his immediate successor as abbot of Molesme.
Alberic was a hermit in the forest of Collan in France who, along with five other hermits, invited Abbot Robert of Molesme to begin a new monastery with them that would operate under the Rule of St Benedict.
Alberic is credited with attaining the Cistercian Order’s legal foundation. Pope Pascal II granted this legitimacy with his Bull Desiderium quod (around 1100). Albéric also decided to move the monastery’s buildings a kilometer to the north and initiated construction on the first abbey church. The Church was consecrated less than six years later. Alberic also introduced the use of the white Cistercian cowl. It was given to him for the monks, according to legend, by the Virgin Mary as they were at choir praying vigils. Accordingly, the white cowl is one of Alberic’s attributes in hagiographical paintings.
Alberic’s feast day, together with that of Robert of Molesme and Stephen Harding, is celebrated on 26 January.
Harding was born in Sherborne, Dorset, in the Kingdom of England and spoke English, Norman, French and Latin. He was placed in Sherborne Abbey at a young age but eventually left the monastery and became a travelling scholar, journeying with one devout companion into Scotland and afterwards to Paris and then to Rome. He eventually moved to Molesme Abbey in Burgundy, under the Abbot Robert of Molesme (c. 1027-1111). During his time at Molesme abbey he seemed to have assumed the name Stephen.
When Robert left Molesme to avoid what he perceived to be the abbey’s increasing wealth and overly strong connections to the aristocracy, Harding and Alberic of Cîteaux went with him. Seeing no hope of a sufficient reformation in Molesme, Robert appointed another abbot for the abbey and then, with Alberic, Harding and twenty-one other monks, received permission from Hugh, the Archbishop of Lyons and legate of the Holy See, to found a new monastery in Citeaux, a marshy wilderness five leagues from Dijon. There, they formed a new, more austere monastery. Eudes, afterwards Duke of Burgundy, built them a little church which was placed under the patronage of the Blessed Virgin, as all the churches of the Cistercians from that time have been.
Stephen became the third abbot of Cîteaux. However, very few were joining the community and the monks were suffering from hunger and sickness. In 1112, Bernard of Clairvaux entered the community, bringing with him thirty companions. Between 1112 and 1119, a dozen new Cistercian houses were founded to accommodate those joining the young order. Harding’s organisational skills were exceptional, he instituted the system of general chapters and regular visitations. In 1119, he received official approbation for the Carta Caritatis (Charter of Charity), an important document for the Cistercian Order, establishing its unifying principles.
Stephen Harding served Cîteaux Abbey as abbot for twenty-five years. While no single person is considered the founder of the Cistercian Order, the shape of Cistercian thought and its rapid growth in the 12th century were arguably due to Harding’s leadership. Insisting on simplicity in all aspects of monastic life, he was largely responsible for the severity of Cistercian architecture and the simple beauty of the Order’s liturgy and music. He was an accomplished scribe for the monastery’s scriptorium, his highest achievement is considered to be the Harding Bible, famous among medieval manuscripts. In 1133, he resigned as head of the order because of age and infirmity. He died on 28 March 1134 and was buried in the tomb of Alberic, his predecessor, in the cloisters at Cîteaux. Stephen was largely responsible for the severity of Cistercian architecture because he was an adherer of simplicity in all aspects of monastic life.
In a joint commemoration with Robert of Molesme and Alberic, the first two abbots of Cîteaux, the Roman Catholic Church celebrates Stephen Harding’s feast day on 26 January. There is a Catholic Baroque Church established by 1785, the patron saint of which is Stephen Harding, it is located in Hungary, in the village Apátistvánfalva.
The north aisle of the Church of St Sepulchre-without-Newgate in London was formerly a chapel dedicated to him (it became the Musicians’ Chapel in the 20th century).
St Alberic of Citreaux O.Cist (Died 1109)
St Alphonsus of Astorga
St Ansurius of Orense
St Athanasius of Sorrento
St Conan of Iona
Bl Eystein Erlandsön
Bl José Gabriel del Rosario Brochero
Bl Marie de la Dive veuve du Verdier de la Sorinière
Bl Michaël Kozal
St Paula of Rome St Robert of Molesme O.Cist (1028-1111)
St Stephen Harding O.Cist (c 1060-1134)
St Theofrid of Corbie
St Theogenes of Hippo
St Tortgith of Barking
Martyred Family of Constantinople: Saint Mary and Saint Xenophon were married and the parents of Saint John and Saint Arcadius. Theirs was a wealthy family of Senatorial rank in 5th century imperial Constantinople, but were known as a Christians who lived simple lives. To give their sons a good education, Xenophon and Mary sent them to university in Beirut, Phoenicia. However, their ship wrecked, there was no communication from them, and the couple assumed, naturally, that the young men had died at sea. In reality, John and Arcadius had survived and decided that instead of continuing to Beirut, they were going to follow a calling to religious life and became monks, eventually living in a monastery in Jerusalem. Years later, Mary and Xenophon made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem – where they encountered their sons. Grateful to have their family re-united and taking it as a sign, Xenophon and Mary gave up their positions in society in Constantinople, and lived the rest of their lives as a monk and anchoress in Jerusalem. A few years later, the entire family was martyred together.
They were martyred in 5th century Jerusalem.