In the last General Audience, held by St Pope John in the Vatican Basilica (15 May 1963) before his death. He exhorted us to:
Look to Mary
Moments with Saint Pope John XXIII (1881-1963)
“Is it possible for a Christian not to love the holy Mother of Jesus, whom He has regarded with affection since His childhood, to whom He prayed with the first words He ever uttered and to whom He has trustfully turned for help in the difficult moments of His life?
All find in her and for her, a tender expression of confidence and gentleness – this is a great comfort to us, a great comfort at all times.
In this month of May, good Christians, increase a hundredfold, their tributes of profound veneration for Mary ….
We must cherish in our hearts, a fervour that will strengthen us and enable us, to look to Jesus and to Our Lady with great confidence, so that we may not only await but, hasten the triumph of the Lord’s charity and grace, by our enthusiasm and virtuous living and through our apostolate.
This fervour, must promote brotherly love and induce us to reject all motives for division among us.
We must be impelled, in short, to love all that unites us, because the Lord came to redeem the whole world and He is always continuing His work of salvation, mercy and peace.”
Thought for the Day – 31 May – “Mary’s Month” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Pray for Us … at the Hour of Our Death
“We have come to the end of this month, which we have dedicated to Mary. Let us remember, however, that apart from this month of May we should dedicate our whole lives to her, up to final moment of death. We are always in need of Mary’s patronage and intercession with God. Let us always have recourse to her, therefore, especially in danger and in suffering but, most especially, at the decisive moment of death, for this is the moment on which eternity depends. This day will arrive sooner or later but, it will certainly come, “at an hour that you do not expect” (Lk 12:40).
In the second part of the Hail Mary, the Church places on our lips, these words of supplication: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen.” How many times we have recited this prayer! But do we ever think of death? Let us remember that a mediation on death is the most valuable lesson in life. One day, we shall find ourselves face-to-face with God, drawing our last breath on earth. It may be on a sick bed, it may be in the middle of a street – we do not know. It may be after a long illness at the end of which we are comforted by the Holy Sacraments and blessed by a priest, or it may be quite unexpected. But, it is certain that death will come. Let us aim, therefore, at being always prepared, so that it may not come when we have no good works to offer and when our hearts are full of ourselves and of worldly interests. Like Mary, let us lead lives of holiness and we shall be sure to die holy deaths. Let us beseech our heavenly Mother to be by our side at that final moment to sustain us in the conflict and to consign our souls to her divine Son, Jesus. Amen.”
Quote/s of the Day – 31 May – The Solemnity of Pentecost
“But it is God, who establishes us, with you in Christ and has anointed us, by putting his seal on us and giving us his Spirit in our heart, as a first instalment.”
2 Corinthians 1:21
“Accordingly, in the Church, one God is preached, one God who is above all things and through all things and in all things. God is above all things as Father, for He is principle and source, He is through all things through the Word and He is in all things in the Holy Spirit.”
St Athanasius (c 295-373)
Father and Doctor of the Church
“Remember, then, that you received a spiritual seal, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of knowledge and reverence, the spirit of holy fear. Keep safe what you received. God the Father sealed you, Christ the Lord strengthened you and sent the Spirit into your hearts as the pledge of what is to come.”
St Ambrose (340-397)
Father & Doctor of the Church
“O Holy Spirit, descend plentifully into my heart. Enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling and scatter there Your cheerful beams.”
St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of Grace
“As the soul is the life of the body, so the Holy Spirit is the life of our souls.”
St Peter Damian (1007-1072)
Doctor of the Church
“Enrich your soul in the great goodness of God – The Father is your table, the Son is your food and the Holy Spirit waits on you and then makes His dwelling in you.”
St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380)
Doctor of the Church
“The Holy Spirit leads us like a mother. He leads His child by the hand… as a sighted person leads a blind person.”
St John Vianney (1786-1859)
“We ought to pray and invoke the Holy Spirit, for each one of us greatly needs His protection and His help. The more we are lacking in wisdom, weak in strength, burdened with trouble, prone to sin, the more we should turn to Him, Who is the never-ceasing fount of light, strength, consolation and holiness.”
Sunday Reflection – 31 May – The Solemnity of Pentecost
Wishing Holy Mother Church
and you all a Blessed and Holy Birthday!
“…We have only to say “yes” to let Him take us there.“
St John Vianney (1786-1859)
“If the damned were asked – Why are you in Hell? they would answer:
‘For having resisted the Holy Spirit.’
And if the saints were asked – Why are you in Heaven? they would answer: ‘For having listened to the Holy Spirit.’
When good thoughts come into our minds,
it is the Holy Spirit who is visiting us.
The Holy Spirit is a power.
The Holy Spirit …. sustained the martyrs. Without the Holy Spirit, the martyrs would have fallen like the leaves from the trees. When the fires were lighted under them, the Holy Spirit extinguished the heat of the fire by the heat of divine love.
The good God, in sending us the Holy Spirit, has treated us like a great king who should send his minister to guide one of his subjects, saying, “You will accompany this man everywhere and you will bring him back to me safe and sound.”
How beautiful it is, my children, to be accompanied by the Holy Spirit!
He is indeed a good Guide and to think that there are some who will not follow Him!
The Holy Spirit is like a man with a carriage and horse, who should want to take us to Pans. We should only have to say “yes,” and to get into it. It is indeed an easy matter to say “yes”!…
Well, the Holy Spirit wants to take us to Heaven,
we have only to say “yes” and to let Him take us there.“
“O Divine Spirit, draw us to the highest heaven where Jesus lives forever, interceding for us. Come, fill our hearts with Your fire, show us the way to the Lord, that we may find Him shining with beauty and love. Amen”
One Minute Reflection – 31 May – The Solemnity of Pentecost, Readings: Acts 2:1-11, Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-31, 34, 1 Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13, John 20:19-23
“When you send forth your spirit … you renew the face of the earth.” … Psalm 104:30
REFLECTION – “In the beginning, according to God’s plan, God’s Spirit filled the world, “reaching mightily from one end of the earth to the other and governing all things sweetly.” (Wis 8:1) But where the Spirit’s work of sanctification is concerned, it was on the day of Pentecost that “the Spirit of the Lord filled the world.” (Wis 1:7) For it is today, that this Spirit of sweetness is sent by the Father and the Son, to sanctify every creature according to a new plan, in a new way, a new manifestation of the Spirit’s power and strength.
Before this, “the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus had not yet been glorified.” (Jn 7:39) … Today, the Spirit, coming from His heavenly abode, is given with all His richness, all His fruitfulness to the souls of mortals. Thus this divine dew, with its diversity and its spiritual gifts, is spread out over all the earth. And it is true, that the fullness of the Spirit’s richness flowed down for us from the highest heaven, since a few days previously, through our earth’s generosity, heaven had received a marvellously sweet fruit… Christ’s humanity is all of earth’s grace; Christ’s Spirit is all of heaven’s sweetness. Thus, a very salvific exchange was brought about – Christ’s humanity went up from earth to heaven and today, the Spirit of Christ descended from heaven to us…
The Holy Spirit is active everywhere;,the Spirit speaks everywhere. Of course, before the Ascension, the Lord’s Spirit was given to the disciples when the Lord said to them: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them, if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (Jn 20:23) But before Pentecost, the voice of the Holy Spirit was not heard, His shining power was not seen. And knowledge of Him had not been given to Christ’s disciples, who had not been confirmed in courage, since fear still made them hide in a locked room. But starting on that day, “the voice of the Lord is over the waters …it lashes forth flames of fire … and all say, ‘Glory!’ (Ps 29:3-9)” … St Aelred of Rielvaux (1110-1167) Cistercian Monk
PRAYER – Lord God, pour out the gifts of the Holy Spirit on all mankind and fulfil now, in the hearts of Your faithful, what You accomplished at the beginning of the world, every second of everyday and when the Gospel was first preached on earth. Come, O Holy Spirit, come! We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 31 May – Pentecost Sunday, Alleluia!
Veni Sancte Spiritus – The Golden Sequence
Come, Holy Spirit and bring from above
The splendour of Thy light.
Come, father of the poor, come, giver of graces,
Come, light of our hearts.
Best of Consolers, sweet guest of the soul,
And comfort of the weary.
Thou rest in labour, relief in burning toil,
Consoling us in sorrow.
O blessed light, fill the innermost hearts
Of those who trust in Thee.
Without Thy indwelling there is nothing in man,
And nothing free of sin.
Cleanse what is sordid, give water in dryness,
And heal the bleeding wounds.
Bend what is proud, make warm what is cold,
Bring back the wayward soul.
Give to the faithful who trustingly beg Thee
Thy seven holy gifts.
Grant virtue’s reward, salvation in death,
And everlasting joy.
“Veni Sancte Spiritus,” the “Golden Sequence”, is a sequence prescribed in the Roman Liturgy for the Masses of Pentecost and its octave, exclusive of the following Trinity Sunday. It is usually attributed to either the thirteenth-century Pope Innocent III (c 1160 – 1216) or to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Cardinal Stephen Langton (c 1150 – 1228).
Saint of the Day – 31 May – Saint Camilla Battista da Varano OSC (1458-1524) Italian Princess, Virgin, Poor Clare Nun and Abbess, Mystic, Spiritual Writer, Stigmatist – born on 9 April 1458 in Camerino, Macerata, Italy and died on 31 May 1524 in Camerino, Macerata, Italy of natural causes.
Camilla Battista was born into nobility in Camerino, Italy on 9 April 1458. As a Princess in the home of her father Duke Giulio Cesare da Varano she grew up in the court and received a good education.
Around the age of 9 she listened to a sermon on Good Friday preached by Domenico of Leonessa, a Franciscan friar who later became one of her confessors. He ended his sermon by encouraging his listeners to shed one teardrop for the Passion of Christ. She resolved to show her love for Jesus by shedding a tear each Friday. Though not initially drawn to the spiritual life, she persevered in her vow and would squeeze out a tear before running off to play. She found a booklet that contained a meditation on the Passion of Christ divided into 15 parts to be prayed like a rosary. She began to pray this devotion each Friday while on her knees before a Crucifix. Other spiritual practices like fasting and night vigils began to attract her even though she continued to spend time in the youthful pursuits of court life.
During Lent of 1479 a sermon she heard touched her deeply, inspiring her to take a private vow of chastity. Her father initially opposed her desire to enter religious life as he wanted her to marry. She wanted to enter the Poor Clare Monastery in Urbino. Her spiritual life deepened during the few years before she actually entered the Monastery. She wrote Lauda (Praises) during this time – a work in which she expressed the joy she felt in knowing that Jesus loved her.
On 24 November 1481 she entered the Poor Clare Monastery in Urbino and made her profession in 1483. Early in 1484, she transferred to the new Monastery of Santa Maria Nuova at Camerino which was close to her father’s castle. Her father had made arrangements with the Pope and the Vicar General of the Friars to have her moved there. She was reluctant to do so and went only under obedience.
While living in the Monastery in Urbino, she experienced visions and composed several other spiritual works. She was elected Abbess in 1500. The following year, due to political disagreements, her father and her brothers were killed and she was forced to flee to the Abruzzo region until 1503 when she felt safe to return to Camerino. She founded a Monastery in Fermo and trained a group of nuns in San Severino Marche who adopted the Rule of St Clare.
She died in her Monastery in Camerino during a plague on 31 March 1524, on the Feast of Corpus Christi, at the age of 66. Her remains were placed to rest in the crypt of the Monastery of the Poor Clares of Camerino.
St Camilla wrote with equal facility in Latin and Italian and who was accounted one of the most accomplished scholars of her day. The Major Works of St Camilla Battista da Varano are: Praises of the Visions of Christ, 1479 – 1481 Remembrances of Jesus, 1483 Treatise on the Mental Sufferings of Jesus Christ our Lord, 1488 The Spiritual Life, 1491 (Autobiography)
Her Autobiography from 1466-1491 which is considered a “jewel of art” and of the spiritual life. In this work, she describes how two Seraphim with wings of gold, appeared to her because they were assigned to help her understand the mysterious working of unitive love.
“Two angels came to me, dressed in resplendent white garments which I have seen only worn by Jesus. They had wings of gold. One of them took my soul from the right side, the other from the left side and they elevated it in the air, laying it down near the crucified feet of the Son of God made Man. This state lasted about two months almost continually, I seem to walk, to speak and do what I wished, deprived however of my soul. It remained there where the two Angels had placed it but they never abandoned it.
…They (the celestial spirits) declared to me, that they were so intimate with God that God is not ever separated from them. They also explained to me, that the Seraphim were likewise united to the Cherubim, in that none of them could ever go without the other to a soul.” – Camilla Varano, The Spiritual Life
Both Saint Philip Neri and St Alphonsus Liguori recorded their admiration for her.
On 8 April 1821 Pope Leo XIII approved the acts of the process for her Canonisation. She was Beatified by Pope Gregory XVI on 7 April 1843, following recognition of her long-standing public cult. On 4 February 1893 her writings were also approved. On 17 October 2010 Pope Benedict XVI Canonised her, along with five others.
Prayer for the Intercession of St Camilla Battista da Varano
Holy and Blessed Trinity,
You granted Camilla Battista the ability
to live as a true daughter of the Father,
to adhere to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and to allow herself to be moulded
by the fire of the Holy Spirit.
Grant me the grace to imitate her example
and to make, of my life,
a reflection of her beauty
and of her sanctity.
Grant me, I pray,
through the intercession of Saint Camilla Battista,
this grace that I ask
………………………………………….. (here state the favour you are requesting) Amen
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be…
St Alexander of Auvergne St Camilla Battista da Varano OSC (1458-1524)
St Crescentian of Sassari
St Donatian of Cirta
St Felice of Nicosia
St Galla of Auvergne
St Hermias of Comana
Bl Jacob Chu Mun-mo
Bl James Salomone
St Juan Moya Collado
Bl Kasper Gerarz
St Lupicinus of Verona
St Mancus of Cornwall
Bl Mariano of Roccacasale
St Mechtildis of Edelstetten
St Myrbad of Cornwall
Bl Nicolas Barré
Bl Nicholaus of Vangadizza
Bl Nicholaus of Vaucelles
St Nowa Mawaggali
St Paschasius of Rome
St Petronilla of Rome
Bl Robert Thorpe
St Silvio of Toulouse
Bl Thomas Watkinson
Bl Vitalis of Assisi
St Winnow of Cornwall
Martyrs of Aquileia – 3 saints: Three young members of the imperial Roman nobility and who were raised in a palace and had Saint Protus of Aquileia as tutor and catechist. To escape the persecutions of Diocletian, the family sold their property and moved to Aquileia, Italy. However, the authorities there quickly ordered them to sacrifice to idols; they refused. Martyrs all – Cantianilla, Cantian and Cantius. They were beheaded in 304 at Aquae-Gradatae (modern San-Cantiano) just outside Aquileia, Italy.
Martyrs of Gerona – 29 saints: A group of Christians martyred together in Gerona, Catalonia, Spain, date unknown. No details about them have survived but the names – • Agapia• Amelia• Castula• Cicilia• Donatus• Firmus• Fortunata• Gaullenus• Germanus• Honorius• Istialus• Justus• Lautica• Lupus
• Maxima• Paulica• Rogate• Rogatus• Silvanus• Tecla• Teleforus• Tertula• Tertus• Victoria• Victurinus• Victurus
Martyrs of the Via Aurelia – 4 saints: Four Christians martyred together. No information about them has survived except their names – Justa, Lupus, Tertulla and Thecla. The martyrdom occurred in 69 on the Via Aurelia near Rome, Italy.
The Bible of the Poor
Moments with Saint Pope John XXIII (1881-1963)
“When our forefathers built their churches, they adorned them with sacred imagery, paintings or stained glass illustrating the mysteries of the life of Jesus and Mary.
It was like having a Gospel open for everyone to read, easily understood by all and rightly called, “the Bible of the Poor.”
This is just what the Rosary of Mary has been to us for seven hundred years, a joy to our eyes and hearts in the contemplation, in so many images, of the chief episodes in the life and mission of Jesus and of Mary – of Jesus, the Son of God, our Redeemer, of Mary, the Mother of Jesus and our Mother too.
It is a prayer that rises from our lips and our innermost hearts, begging for the divine gifts that may satisfy the needs of individuals and of the whole Church.
What a great and mysterious thing is human life too, Christian life! a sequence and interwoven pattern of it’s own joys, sorrows and triumphs.
Is this not so, my brothers?
And so, in the Rosary, we combine the little bibles of our lives with the Great and True Mysteries of the bible of the lives of our souls! Amen.”
Thought for the Day – 30 May – “Mary’s Month” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Ascension of Jesus
“When we meditate on the Ascension, we should humbly ask God, to give us the grace, to strip ourselves of our sins and defects. Then we shall be able to fly towards Him with love and hope in this life and, when our soul has been set free from the body which imprisons it on earth, we shall be able to set out on our last joyful flight into His presence. These are the reflections which should be in our minds around the feast of the Ascension. These are the desires which we should foster and the resolutions which we should form. Let us ask Our Lord, to bless them.
O Mary, my most holy Mother, implore your divine Son Jesus, now ascended into Heaven, that I may be more detached from the useless and passing goods of this earth. Ask Him to purify my soul from every stain of sin and to strengthen my will, in it’s good resolutions. Ask Him that my heart may rise nearer to God and to you, through it’s desire for perfection. Amen.”
One Minute Reflection – 30 May – “Mary’s Month” – Saturday of the Seventh Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 28:16-20, 30-31, Psalm 11:4-5, 7, John 21:20-25 and the Memorial of St Ferdinand III King (1199-1252)
Peter turned and saw the disciple following whom Jesus loved, the one who had also reclined upon his chest during the supper” … John 21:20
REFLECTION – “The love of Jesus for His faithful disciple is shown by the words: “Peter turned and saw the disciple following whom Jesus loved, the one who had also reclined upon his chest during the supper” (Jn 21:20).
Someone who truly follows the Lord wants everyone to follow Him, which is why He turns to his neighbour with kind attentions, prayers and proclamation of the Gospel. Peter’s turning around, signifies all those things. In the book of Revelation we find the same idea: “The bridegroom and the bride – Christ and the Church – say: ‘Come!’ Let him who hears say: ‘Come!'” (Rv 22:17). Christ, through interior inspiration and the Church, by preaching, say: “Come!” And whoever hears these words says to his neighbour: “Come!” which is to say: “Follow Jesus!” Then Peter, turning round, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following after. Jesus loves the one who follows Him.
Although his name is not mentioned, John stands out from the others, not because Jesus only loved him but because He loved him more than the others. He loved all the others but this man was closer to Him. … It was he who “reclined upon His chest during the supper” (Jn 21:20). This was a great sign of love, the fact that he alone could have leaned on the chest of Jesus, “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col 2:3). …
And so, during the Supper in heaven, we shall be satisfied for eternity, we shall take our rest together with John on the chest of Jesus. The heart is in the chest; love is in the heart. We shall rest in His love because, we shall love Him with all our heart and all our soul and shall discover in Him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. … So to Him be the praise and the glory for endless ages. Amen. … St Anthony of Padua (1195-1231) Evangelical Doctor
PRAYER – Almighty God and Father, Your ways are not our ways, teach us to willingly agree to them, for You know which way we should go. Help us to say “yes” always to Your plan and to render ourselves, as a sacrament of Your divine love to all we meet. Fill us with the grace to be your tools, to bring glory to Your kingdom. Our Father, who art in heaven, may Your Will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Mary Mother of God, pray for us! St Ferdinand, you who with the earthly power which rested on you, showed forth only the Love, Power and Will of God, Pray for Us! Through our Our Lord Jesus Christ with You, in the union of the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 30 May – “Mary’s Month” – Saturday of the Seventh Week of Easter
O Lady, I Call upon You By St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) Mellifluous Doctor
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.
Saint of the Day – 30 May – St Ferdinand III of Castile (1199-1252) King of Castile and Toledo, Knight, a man of great virtue and goodness who sought sanctity in all things, a man of great justice who sought to elevate even those he conquered, a man who was a great father, bringing his children up in the fear and love of God alone, a diplomatic genius because of his great goodness, a unifier of all, he had a great devotion to Our Lady – born in 1198 near Salamanca, Spain and died on 30 May 1252 at Seville, Spain of natural causes. Patronages – authorities, governors, rulers, engineers, large families, magistrates, parenthood, paupers, poor people, prisoners, Spanish monarchy, tertiaries, Seville, Spain, Ilagan, Philippines, diocese of, Lucena, Philippines, diocese of, San Fernando, Philippines, diocese of, Aranjuez, Maspalomas, Pivijay, and of several other localities, Spanish Army’s Corps of Engineers. The body of St Ferdinand is incorrupt.
Saint Ferdinand’s father was King Alfonso IX of Leon and his mother the saintly Lady Bereguera. As his parent’s marriage was annulled by Pope Innocent III, St Fernando was actually raised by his grandfather, King Alfonso VIII of Castile and his mother. King Alfonso VIII was a great warrior and knight, to whom Christian chivalry was more than just a code of conduct or a set of rules to which he adhere, it was a pursuit of virtue meant to guide him in all of his thoughts and actions. In striving for the ideal of knighthood, he attained a true nobility of character. Living a life of honour, King Alfonso was a magnificent warrior who courageously defended the Church and his kingdom of Castile. He was also an excellent role model for young Fernando, who wanted nothing more than to be a knight of Christ.
Saint Ferdinand was still a young man when he became King of Castile. His kingdom was in tatters, as there had been numerous raids by both Christian and Moor into Castile, as well as internal rebellions. Saint Ferdinand worked tirelessly to restore his realm to prosperity and administer justice throughout his land, though he continued always to train as a warrior.
On the day Saint Ferdinand became a King and Knight, he prayed:
“Christ, my Lord, I am in Thy hands, the same way this sword is in mine. Show me, my King, what Thou wantest of this Thy knight.”
In the silence and stillness of the night, St Ferdinand heard Christ answer him:
“I want to make your whole life like a representation and marvellous parable so that the coming centuries may contemplate the war that I, Eternal King and Universal Lord, wage against the powers of darkness, to conquer the entire earth for my Father. Fernando, you will be the noble and considerate king who leads his vassals in this great enterprise, the courageous and mortified King who, above all others, charges ahead in the midst of danger and endures the strain of hard work and the fatigue of battle. You will be the generous and magnanimous King who in victory does not worry about his treasure, but distributes the spoils among his faithful knights.”
God granted to Saint Ferdinand to see the stark outline of the life that was to be his, a life full of struggles and hardships and warfare. Yet his soul did not quake at the prospect, for he knew that he would be doing God’s will and that God would be with him as long as he remained true. He was prepared to do whatever was required of him now and all the days of his life.
King Saint Ferdinand became one of history’s most gifted and formidable warriors, while being at the same time one of the greatest monarchs who ever ruled. He, like so many men of his time, did not seek to enjoy a long life so much as he sought to live a good life. Thus, he spent his entire life in the service of God, rather than wasting his time in service to himself.
King St Ferdinand was a man of clear and deep faith, who realised that everything depends on God and that it is He Who grants the victory. He knew, nonetheless, that the Lord never wants to help those who are lazy but to assist with grace those who do everything that is in their power. This effort becomes a prayer of action, when combined with trust in Him.
As a consequence of his holy intentions, all of Saint Ferdinand’s ventures met with success. He was absolutely invincible, personally as well as while directing his armies, conquering hearts and minds as completely as he did cities and strongholds. He knew that there is no holier enterprise than to do one’s duty before God and that his first obligation was to rescue his own country.
This great Catholic monarch truly lived his faith and by his chivalry, loyalty and generosity of character was worthy of the high regard and friendship of those who had once fought against him. By the kindness and gratitude he showed toward those who rendered service to him and by his great generosity, he captured the affection and won the willing obedience of his nobility. He always and everywhere applied himself whole heartedly to his duties as king, zealously seeking after justice and prosperity for his people. He was a model of righteousness and proper conduct for his sons and by his example earned the respect and love of all his children. He was to them the most tender and caring of fathers, leaving them an incomparable heritage the like of which few Christian monarchs could boast.
The legacy of King Saint Ferdinand III is far-reaching and eternal. It was he who had permanently combined the Kingdoms of Leon and Castile and with that might he conquered more Islamic territory than any other Christian, expelled the Muslims from most of Andalusia and turned their remaining kings into his obedient vassals. King Ferdinand ’s achievements clearly outstrip those of King Sancho II and King Jaime I, not to mention those of king’s Saint Louis IX, Frederick II and Edward I. At a time, when the crusading efforts of all the rest of Christendom, hardly sufficed to maintain a foothold on the coast of the Holy Land, Ferdinand inflicted on medieval Islam its greatest defeat up until that time.
King Saint Ferdinand had been known as “the Saint” during his lifetime, so it should come as no surprise, that immediately after his death, his subjects unanimously awarded him a place in celestial glory. St Ferdinand soon became the object of public veneration and many miracles were recorded and that same year Pope Innocent IV declared that King Saint Fernando of Castile enjoyed the reputation of “having always followed the path of obedience to the Divine precepts, and that he greatly contributed to the spreading of the worship of the Holy Name of Jesus.”
By the time of his death in 1252, Ferdinand III had delivered to his son and heir, Alfonso X, a massively expanded kingdom. The boundaries of the new Castilian state established by Ferdinand III would remain nearly unchanged until the late 15th century. His biographer, Sister María del Carmen Fernández de Castro Cabeza, A.C.J., asserts that, on his death bed, Ferdinand said to his son “you will be rich in land and in many good vassals, more than any other king in Christendom.” Ferdinand was buried in the Cathedral of Seville by his son, Alfonso X. His tomb is inscribed in four languages: Arabic, Hebrew, Latin and an early version of Castilian.
The body of St Ferdinand is incorrupt and he can still be seen in the Cathedral of Seville, for he rests now enclosed in a marvellous gold and crystal casket worthy of the Castilian king. King Saint Ferdinand is the only king whose earthly crown has never been taken away, for his golden crown still encircles his head as he reclines beneath the statue of the Virgin of the Kings, awaiting the day of resurrection.
St Ferdinand was Beatified on 31 May 1655 by Pope Alexander VII and Canonised in 1671 by Pope Clement X.
St Joseph Marello
Bl Lawrence Richardson
St Luke Kirby
Bl Marie-Céline of the Presentation
Bl Otto Neururer
St Reinhildis of Riesenbeck
St Restitutus of Cagliari
Bl Richard Newport
Bl Thomas Cottam
St Venantius of Lérins
St Walstan of Bawburgh
Bl William Filby
Bl Willilam Scott
Martyrs of Aquileia – 3 saints: Three Christians martyr together. We have no other details than their names – Cantianus, Euthymius and Eutychius. Aquileia, Italy.
Mary’s Visit to Her Cousin, Elizabeth
Moments with Saint Pope John XXIII (1881-1963)
“What gentleness and charm in this three months’ visit made by Mary to her beloved cousin!
Each of them is about to bear a child but, for the Virgin Mother, this is the most sacred maternity that it is possible to imagine on earth.
Their two souls mingle and respond in a sweet harmony: “Blessed are you among women” (Lk 1:42), on the one hand and, on the other, “God, my Saviour, has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden, for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed” (Lk 1:48).
What takes place here, at Ain-Karim on the hill of Hebron, sheds a light, both very human and divine, on the relations that bind Christian families, brought up in the ancient tradition of the Holy Rosary – the Rosary recited every evening at home, in the family circle, the Rosary recited not just in or or a hundred or a thousand families but by every family, by everyone, everywhere in the world, wherever the is one of us “Suffering, fighting and praying” (A Manzoni, La Pentecost v 6) someone who has answered a call to the Priesthood or to Missionary service or to a dream which will turn out to be an apostolate, or wherever men are constrained by those legitimate, if obligatory demands of labour or trade, military service, study, teaching or any other occupation.
There is a beautiful reunion, during the ten Hail Marys of the Mystery, of so many countless souls, linked together by blood or by domestic ties, in a relationship which hallows and, thereby strengthens, the love that binds our dearest ones together – parents and children, brothers and relations, people from the same locality, people of the same race.
All this, with the purpose and intention of sustaining, increasing and irradiating that universal charity, the exercise of which, is the most profound joy and supreme honour, of our lives.”
Thought for the Day – 29 May – “Mary’s Month” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Great Exile
“Let us turn away from this spectacle of a corrupt and corrupting world and raise our fearful gaze towards Mary. What a contrast! She was wholly pure and beautiful. Her mind was always in contact with God. Her heart was full of the love of God and of her neighbour, whose redemption from the slavery of sin, she ardently desired to achieve by co-operating with her divine Son. All her desires and actions were in harmony with the will of God, so that she lived completely in God. Let us think about ourselves. What place has Jesus in our approach to life? Let us try and think of Him more often. Let us meditate on the eternal truths, on the commandments of God and on the precepts of the Church which He has founded. Let us endeavour to make all our actions conform with these commandments. Above all, let us seek to love God more and more and, let us pray constantly, for those countless souls who ignore and reject Him. Then we shall be content in the midst of the trials of this world, for we shall have God in our hearts.”
Quote/s of the Day – 29 May – the Memorial of St Pope Paul VI (1897-1978) and Bl Rolando Maria Rivi (1931-1945) “I belong to Jesus,” Seminarian, Martyr
“Jesus Christ You have heard Him spoken of, indeed the greater part of you are already His – you are Christians. So, to you Christians I repeat His name, to everyone I proclaim Him – Jesus Christ is the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega. He is the king of the new world. He is the secret of history. He is the key to our destiny.”
“Here lies the test of truth, the touchstone of evangelisation – it is unthinkable, that a person, should accept the Word and give himself to the kingdom, without becoming a person who bears witness to it and proclaims it in his turn.”
“Do you really believe what you are proclaiming? Do you live what you believe? Do you really preach what you live?”
Evangelii Nuntiandi, 1975
St Pope Paul VI (1897-1978)
“I belong to Jesus”
Bl Rolando Maria Rivi (1931-1945)
One Minute Reflection – 29 May – “Mary’s Month” – Friday of the Seventh Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 25:13-21, Psalm 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20, John 21:15-19 and the Memorial of St Pope Paul VI (1897-1978) and Bl Rolando Maria Rivi (1931-1945) “I belong to Jesus,” Seminarian, Martyr
“Do you love me?” … John 21:17
REFLECTION – “Here I find all good shepherds in the one shepherd (Jn 10:14). Good shepherds are not lacking but they are in the one. To speak of many. implies division … If the Lord entrusted them at the time we speak of, it was because He found Peter – indeed, in Peter himself, He recommended unity. There were many apostles but to one is said: “Feed my sheep” … When He entrusted His sheep to Peter, as one to another, He wished to make him one with Himself and, so to entrust the sheep to him, as to be Himself the Head, while Peter assumed the figure of the body (Col 1:18) … What, then, does He first say to Peter, in order to entrust the sheep to him yet avoid entrusting them as if to another? “Peter, do you love me?” And he answered: “I do love you.” And again: “Do you love me?” And he answered: “I do love you.” And a third time: “Do you love me?” And he answered a third time: “I do love you” He makes sure of love so as firmly to establish unity.
Jesus, the one shepherd, feeds His sheep in these shepherds and they in the Him … It was not because of a scarcity of shepherds (as though the prophet were foretelling bad times to come) that He said: “I will feed my sheep myself” as though He had no-one to whom to entrust them. Even when Peter himself was alive and the apostles were still alive in the flesh, He, the one in whom all the shepherds are one reality, said: “I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; them also must I bring, that there may be one flock and one shepherd” (Jn 10:16). So let them all be in the one Shepherd and speak with the one Shepherd’s voice… All should Him speak with the one voice and not with different voices. “I beseech you, brethren, that you all say the same thing and there be no divisions among you” (1Cor 1:10). Let the sheep hear this voice, cleared of all division and cleansed of all heresy and let them follow their shepherd as He says: “Those who are my sheep hear my voice and follow me” (Jn 10:27).” … St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace – Sermon 46, On the Shepherds, #30
PRAYER – Heavenly Father, help us to accept the tasks you have given us to do in life. Let us be faithful all our days and be able to attain Your eternal reward in heaven. May our Blessed Mother, St Paul VI and the Blessed little Rolando Rivi, who so diligently showed their love for Your Son, pray for us that we may always praise Your glory and be faithful at all times and in all circumstances, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 29 May – “Mary’s Month” – Friday of the Seventh Week of Easter and the Memorial of St Pope Paul VI (1897-1978)
Look Down Most Blessed Virgin Mother By St Pope Paul VI (1897-1978)
Look down with maternal clemency,
most Blessed Virgin, upon all your children.
Consider the anxiety of Bishops
who fear that their flocks
will be tormented by a terrible storm of evils.
Heed the anguish of so many people,
fathers and mothers of families
who are uncertain about their future
and beset by hardships and cares.
Soothe the minds of those at war
and inspire them with “thoughts of peace.”
Through your intercession,
may God, the avenger of injuries, turn to mercy.
May He give back to nations
the tranquillity they seek
and bring them to a lasting age of genuine peace and joy.
Saint of the Day – 29 May – Blessed Rolando Maria Rivi (1931-1945) “I belong to Jesus,” Seminarian, Martyr, – born on 7 January 1931 in San Valentin di Castellarano, Reggio Emilia, Italy and died on 13 April 1945- aged 14.
Blessed Rolando was noted for his studious and pious nature with an intense love for Jesus Christ which was evident through frequent Confession and the reception of the Holy Eucharist. He was amiable to all and wore his cassock with great pride to the point where he affirmed that he belonged to Christ and His Church. The Communist partisans murdered him “in odium fidei” (in hatred of the faith) towards the end of World War II in Modena, because he would become a Priest.
Born in San Valentino, a hamlet of the town of Castellarano, he was the second of three children of Roberto and Albertina Rivi. On the day after he was born, his parents brought him to be Baptised in the village church, after which they dedicated him to Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
Rivi grew up, educated in the faith by his mother and father and in the strong religious atmosphere, was a fixture in his Parish. Before going to work in the fields each morning, he attended the celebration of the Mass and received the Eucharist, after he made his First Communion. In this home filled with faith, he grew along with his older brother Guido and little sister Rosanna. His exuberance and liveliness often proved a test to his parents but his grandmother, Anna sensed his good character and said once that “Rolando will become either a rascal or a saint! He can not walk the middle ground.”
In 1937 he began attending the local school where his teachers cultivated his love for life and for Jesus Christ, while noting his desire to know and love Jesus. He was admitted to receive his First Communion almost at once, because he was among the better prepared children and eager to do so. His First Communion was made on 16 June 1938 on the Feast of Corpus Christi. Rolando changed after that event – while remaining amiable and energetic, he became more mature and responsible, which was a profound change and which was accentuated after receiving his Confirmation on 24 June 1940 from the Bishop of Reggio.
In the meantime, his Parish Priest Father Marzocchini Olinto, became his teacher and a spiritual father. Rivi availed himself of the Sacrament of Penance each week and each morning he got up to serve Mass and receive the Eucharist. He was almost 11 when he was no longer able to ignore the beginnings of his vocation to the Priesthood and he said to his parents and grandparents: “I want to be a Priest to save many souls. I will go as a Missionary to make Jesus known, far far away.” His pious parents did not oppose the decision and after he completed his schooling, he commenced his Ecclesial studies in Marola in Carpineti on 1 October 1942. As was the custom, he wore the cassock from the moment he entered as a Seminarian and was proud of the garment, viewing it as a sign of his belonging to Christ and to the Church.
Rolando was forced to leave his studies and return home in June 1944 after the Nazi forces occupied the Italian nation but he still wore his cassock with pride, against the wishes of his parents. His parents were worried about rising anti-religious sentiment and even violence against Ecclesial figures but he refused to desist and continued to wear it. He said to them: “I study to be a priest and these vestments are the sign that I belong to Jesus.”Rivi wore his cassock during vacation periods and even during the hot summer months. He liked music and could use a harmonium. People in his village admired him for his holiness and even his father admired him and said once: “My son is so good and studious.”
On 10 April 1945, Rolando was taken by a group of Communist insurgents, who forced him to go with them into the woods. His father, Roberto, wrote of that day as follows:
“It was the morning of 10 April 1945. After returning from Mass with my son, I left to work in the fields. When I returned around midday I did not find Rolando in the house. My sister-in-law told me that he had gone to study in his usual place, a grove nearby the house. I called him, there was no response. Together with his mother I went to the place thinking that he might be asleep but a sad surprise awaited us. His books were scattered on the ground and, on a piece of paper taken from one of his notebooks, these words were written: “Do not search for him, he has come with us for a moment. The Insurgents.” My wife began to cry.”
On Friday, 13 April 1945, after three days of torture and humiliation, the insurgents brought him to a forest in the village of Piane di Monchio, where there was already a grave dug. It was about 3:00 in the afternoon. They hurled him to the ground and then forced him to kneel on the edge of the grave. Before they killed him, Rolando asked for – and was granted – a moment to pray for his parents. Even then, he reaffirmed his belonging to Christ. The Communist insurgents then murdered him with two shots of the pistol.
On the evening of 14 April following the directions of some insurgents (including the very assassin!), Roberto Rivi and Father Alberto Camellini, the pastor of San Valentino, recovered Rolando’s body. His face was black and blue, his body tormented and there were two mortal wounds – one at the left temple and the other at the heart. The following day they brought him to the town of Monchio, where the funeral and Christian burial were held.
On the Sunday after Easter, Don Camellini and Roberto Rivi exhumed the Martyr’s body, which was temporarily buried in the neighbouring cemetery. On 25 May 25, 1945, the mortal remains were brought back to San Valentino, surrounded by a crowd of hundreds of young Catholics who had known the young saint. On his tomb, his father had these words engraved:
“Rest in light and peace, you who were extinguished by hatred and darkness.”
His figure became more well known in 2001 after news broke that the English child James Blacknall (born 1998) was cured of leukemia on 4 April 2001 after a hair and blood relic of Rivi was placed under his pillow with a novena said. Rolando Rivi’s cause for Canonisation was opened by the Archdiocese of Modena on 7 January 2006. In May of 2012, the competent Vatican commission of theologian “censors” approved the validity of Rolando’s Martyrdom in odium fidei – in hatred of the faith. Then, on 28 March 2013, Pope Francis authorised the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate a decree recognizing the Martyrdom. The ceremony of Beatification was celebrated on 5 October 2013, by Angelo Cardinal Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, in the city of Modena. Almost 20 000 people attended the Beatification.
“If we could believe in Jesus Christ with the swiftness, the spontaneity, the simplicity and the docility with which Rolando Rivi believed, our faith would become strong like his, and our Church would become strong like the Church that he had in his heart and for which he did not hesitate to die” (Bishop Negri, Bishop of Montefeltre). We may ask, through the intercession of Blessed Rolando Rivi, for the grace to belong to Jesus totally and without compromise—then, will we enjoy true freedom and reign with Christ forever. Amen.
St Restitutus of Rome
Bl Richard Thirkeld Blessed Rolando Maria Rivi (1931-1945) Seminarian, Martyr Died aged 14
St Theodosia of Caesarea and Companions St Ursula Ledochowska (1865-1939) Her lifestory: https://anastpaul.com/2017/05/29/saint-of-the-day-29-may-st-ursula-ledochowska-mother-maria-ursula-of-jesus/
St Votus of Atares
St William of Cellone
Martyrs of Toulouse: A group of eleven Dominicans, Franciscans, Benedictines, clergy and lay brothers who worked with the Inquisition in southern France to oppose the Albigensian heresy. Basing their operations in a farmhouse outside Avignonet, France, he and his brother missioners worked against heresy. Murdered by Albigensian heretics while singing the Te Deum on the eve of Ascension. They werebeaten to death on the night of 28 to 29 May 1242 in the church of Avignonet, Toulouse, France and Beatified on 1 September 1866 by Pope Pius IX (cultus confirmation).
• Bernard of Roquefort
• Bernard of Toulouse
• Garcia d’Aure
• Pietro d’Arnaud
• Raymond Carbonius
• Raymond di Cortisan
• Stephen Saint-Thibery
• William Arnaud
• the prior of Avignonet whose name unfortunately has not come down to us.
The church in which they died was placed under interdict as punishment to the locals for the offense. Shortly after the interdict was finally lifted, a large statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary was found on the door step of church. Neither the sculptor nor the patron was ever discovered, nor who delivered it or how. The people took it as a sign that they were forgiven, but that they should never forget, and should renew their devotion to Our Lady. They referred to the image as “Our Lady of Miracles.”
Until recently there was a ceremony in the church on the night of the 28th to 29th of May, the anniversary of the martyrdom. Called “The Ceremony of the Vow”, parishioners would gather in the church, kneel with lit candles, and process across the church on their knees, all the while praying for the souls of the heretics who had murdered the martyrs.
Martyrs of Trentino: Three missionaries to the Tyrol region of Austria, sent by Saint Ambrose of Milan and welcomed by Saint Vigilius of Trent. All were martyred – Alexander, Martyrius and Sisinius. They were born in Cappadocia and died in 397 in Austria.
The Assumption of Mary into Heaven
Moments with Saint Pope John XXIII (1881-1963)
“The queenly figure of Mary is illuminated and glorified in the highest dignity which a creature may attain.
What grace, sweetness and solemnity in the scene of Mary’s “falling asleep,” as the Christians of the East imagine it!
She is lying in the serene sleep of death, Jesus stands beside her and clasps her soul, as if it were a tiny child, to His Heart, to indicate the miracle of her immediate resurrection and glorification.
The Christians of the West, raising their eyes and hearts to heaven, choose to portray Mary borne body and soul to the eternal Kingdom.
The greatest artist saw her thus, incomparable in her divine beauty.
Oh let us too go with her, borne aloft by her escort of angels!
This is the source of consolation and faith, in days of grief or pain, for those privileged souls – such as we can all become, if only we respond to grace – whom God is silently preparing for the most beautiful victory of all, the attainment of holiness.
The mystery of the Assumption, brings home to us the thought of death, of our own death and gives us a sense of serene confidence; it makes us understand and welcome the thought, that the Lord will be, as we wish Him to be, near us in our last agony, to gather into His own Hands, our immortal soul.
“May your grace be always with us, Immaculate Virgin.”
Thought for the Day – 28 May – “Mary’s Month” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Living the Gospel
“The doctrine of the Gospel is so sublime that no generation has yet been able to practice it fully.
Only the Blessed Virgin and the Saints have approached the peak of perfection indicated by Christ. “You are to be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48).
How far have we advanced?
We are not expected, obviously, to achieve the absolute perfection of our heavenly Father.
But, we are obliged to strive towards it with the help of the grace of God.
It maybe that our particular circumstances excuse us from fulfilling the evangelical counsels but, we have no option but to obey the precepts of the Gospel.
We are under no obligation to sell all our possessions and give the money to the poor but, it is too bad for us if our hearts are not detached from earthly things and in contact with God.
We must be prepared to face the consequences, if we do not observe the precepts of justice and charity towards God and our neighbour.
We are especially obliged to help those who are in need of any kind, with whatever we have to spare in the way of material assistance or advice.
It is our own misfortune, too, if we do not mortify ourselves, accept the will of God, even in suffering and, empty our hearts of worldly attachments, in order to fill them with spiritual preoccupations.
Let us remember, that we belong to God!
All our thoughts and desires should, therefore, be directed towards God alone!
Most Holy Mary, you sought always to reflect in your own soul, the beauty and sanctity of your divine Son, by obeying His teaching in a heroic manner.
Obtain for me, the grace, to be detached from worldly affairs, especially from sin.”
One Minute Reflection – 28 May – “Mary’s Month” – Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 22:30; 23:6-11, Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-11, John 17:20-26 and The Memorial of Blessed Lanfranc of Canterbury (c 1005-1089)
“And I have given them the glory you gave me …” … John 17:22
REFLECTION – “… Through our unremitting zeal for you, Lord, set upon us the sign of Your day that is not measured by the sun. … In Your sacrament we daily embrace You and receive You into our bodies; make us worthy to experience the resurrection for which we hope. We have had Your treasure hidden within us, ever since we received baptismal grace, it grows ever richer at Your sacramental table. Teach us to find our joy in Your favour! Lord, we have within us Your memorial, received at Your spiritual table; let us possess it in its full reality when all things shall be made new.
We glimpse the beauty that is laid up for us, when we gaze upon the spiritual beauty Your immortal will, now creates within our mortal selves. Saviour, Your Crucifixion marked the end of Your mortal life; teach us to crucify ourselves and make way for our life in the Spirit. May Your Resurrection, Jesus, bring true greatness to our spiritual self and may Your sacraments be the mirror, wherein we may know that self. Saviour, Your divine plan for the world is a mirror for the spiritual world – teach us to walk in that world as spiritual men.
Lord, do not deprive our souls, of the spiritual vision of You, nor our bodies of Your warmth and sweetness. The mortality lurking in our bodies spreads corruption through us; may the spiritual waters of Your love cleanse the effects of mortality from our hearts. Grant, Lord, that we may hasten to our true city and, like Moses on the mountaintop, possess it now in vision.” … St Ephrem (306-373) Father and Doctor of the Church – (Sermo 3, De fine et admonitione 2. 4-5)
PRAYER – God of mercy, You have filled us with the hope of resurrection by restoring man to his original dignity. May we who relive this mystery each year come to share it in perpetual love. May the Mother of Our Lord stand with us as we gaze upward to her Son and may the prayer of Bl Lanfranc, be a support in our troubles. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.
Our Morning Offering – 28 May – “Mary’s Month” – Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter and The Memorial of St Germanus (c 490-576)
Most Holy Virgin, My Consolation By St Germanus (c 490-576)
Most Holy Virgin!
Who are the greatest consolation
that I receive from God,
you who art the heavenly dew
which assuages all my pains,
you who are the light of my soul
when it is enveloped in darkness,
you who are my guide in unknown paths,
the support of my weakness,
my treasure in poverty,
my remedy in sickness,
my consolation in trouble,
my refuge in misery,
and the hope of my salvation,
hear my supplications,
have pity on me,
as becomes the Mother of so good a God
and obtain for me a favourable reception
of all my petitions at the throne of mercy.
Saint of the Day – 28 May 2020 – Blessed Lanfranc of Canterbury OSB (c 1005-1089) Archbishop of Canterbury, Benedictine Abbot, celebrated Jurist, Scholar, Professor, spiritual writer, Reformer, negotiator – born in c 1005 in Pavia, Italy and died on 24 May 1089 in Canterbury, England of natural causes. He is also variously known as Lanfranc of Pavia,Lanfranc of Bec and Lanfranc of Canterbury. He renounced his career as a very well-known and celebrated jurist, to become a Benedictine monk at Bec in Normandy. He served successively as prior of Bec Abbey and abbot of St Stephen in Normandy and then as Archbishop of Canterbury in England, following its Conquest by William the Conqueror.
Lanfranc was born in the early years of the 11th century at Pavia, where later tradition held that his father, Hanbald, held a rank broadly equivalent to magistrate. He was orphaned at an early age.
He was trained in the liberal arts, at that time a field in which northern Italy was famous. For unknown reasons at an uncertain date, he crossed the Alps, soon taking up the role of teacher in France and eventually in Normandy. About 1039 he became the Master of the Cathedral school at Avranches, where he taught for three years with conspicuous success. But in 1042 he embraced the Monastic life in the newly founded Bec Abbey. Until 1045 he lived at Bec in absolute seclusion.
Lanfranc was then persuaded by Abbot Herluin to open a school at Bec to relieve the Monastery’s poverty. From the first he was celebrated. His pupils were drawn, not only from France and Normandy but also from Gascony, Flanders, Germany and Italy. Many of them afterwards attained high positions in the Church, one student, Anselm of Badagio, became Pope under the title of Alexander II, another, St Anselm of Canterbury (Doctor of the Church) succeeded Lanfranc as the Archbishop of Canterbury.
As a result of his growing reputation, Lanfranc was invited to defend the Doctrine of Transubstantiation against the attacks of Berengar of Tours. He took up the task with the greatest zeal, although Berengar had been his personal friend. He was the protagonist of orthodoxy at the Church Councils of Vercelli (1050), Tours (1054) and Rome (1059). Our knowledge of Lanfranc’s polemics is chiefly derived from the tract De corpore et sanguine Domini, probably written c 1060-63. His work was regarded as conclusive and became for a while a text-book in the schools. It is often said to be the place where the Aristotelian distinction between substance and accident was first applied, to explain Eucharistic change. It is the most important of his surviving works.
When the see of Rouen next fell vacant (1067), the thoughts of the electors turned to Lanfranc. But he declined the honour and he was nominated to the English Primacy as Archbishop of Canterbury. He was speedily Consecrated on 29 August 1070. The new Archbishop at once began a policy of reorganisation and reform.
By long tradition the primate was entitled to a leading position in the king’s councils and the interests of the Church demanded, that Lanfranc should use his power in a manner not displeasing to the king. On several occasions when William I was absent from England Lanfranc acted as his vicegerent.
On the death of the Conqueror in 1087, Lanfranc secured the succession for William Rufus, in spite of the discontent of the Anglo-Norman baronage and, in 1088, his exhortations induced the English militia to fight on the side of the new sovereign against Odo of Bayeux and the other partisans of Duke Robert. He exacted promises of just government from Rufus and was not afraid to remonstrate, when the promises were disregarded. So long as he lived he was a check upon the worst propensities of the king’s administration. But his restraining hand was too soon removed. In 1089 he was stricken with fever and he died on 24 May amidst universal lamentations.
The efforts of Christ Church Canterbury to secure him the status of saint seem to have had only spasmodic and limited effect beyond English Benedictine circles. However, in the period after the Council of Trent, Lanfranc’s name was included in the Roman Martyrology and in the current edition, maintains the rank of beatus, the feast day being celebrated on 28 May. His tomb rests in Canterbury Cathedral.
Bl Heliconis of Thessalonica
St Helladius of Rome
St Herculaneum of Piegaro
Bl John Shert
St Justus of Urgell Blessed Lanfranc OSB (c 1005-1089)
St Luciano of Cagliari
Bl Margaret Plantagenet Pole Blessed Maria Bartolomea Bagnesi OP (1514-1577) Her lifestory: https://anastpaul.com/2017/05/28/saint-of-the-day-28-may-blessed-maria-bartholomew-bagnesi-t-o-s-d/
Bl Mary of the Nativity
St Moel-Odhran of Iona
St Paulus of Rome
St Phaolô Hanh
St Podius of Florence
Bl Robert Johnson
St Senator of Milan
Bl Thomas Ford
St Ubaldesca Taccini
St William of Gellone
Bl Wladyslaw Demski
Martyrs of Palestine: A group of early 5th century monks in Palestine who were martyred by invading Arabs.
Martyrs of Sardinia – 6 saints: A group of early Christians for whom a church on Sardinia is dedicated; they were probably martyrs, but no information about them has survived except the names Aemilian, Aemilius, Emilius, Felix, Lucian and Priamus. Patrons of the diocese of Alghero-Bosa, Italy.
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War: Blessed Luís Berenguer Moratona
Moments with Saint Pope John XXIII (1881-1963)
“This is the first shining point of union between heaven and earth – the first of those events which were to be the greatest of all time.
The Son of God, Word of the Father, “without whom was not anything made that was made” (John 1:3), in the order of creation, in this mystery takes on human nature and becomes a man, in order to save and redeem all men, all mankind.
When Mary Immaculate, the finest and most fragrant flower of all creation, said in answer to the angel’s greeting: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord” (Luke 1:38), she accepted the honour of divine motherhood, which was, in that moment, realised within her.
And we, born once in our father Adam, formerly the adopted sons of God but fallen from that high estate, are now once more brothers, adopted sons of the Father, restored to His adoption by the redemption which was already begun.
At the foot of the Cross, we shall all be children of Mary, with that same Jesus, whom she has conceived on that day.
From that day onwards, she will be Mother of God (Mater Dei) and our Mother (Mater Nostra) too.
What sublimity, what tender love is this first mystery!
When we reflect on this, we see that our chief and constant duty is, to thank the Lord who deigned to come to save us and for this purpose, made Himself man, our brother man; He has joined us by becoming the Son of a woman and by making us, at the foot of the Cross, the adopted sons of this woman. He wanted us, who were the adopted sons of His Heavenly Father, to be the sons of His own Mother.
Let the intention of our prayer, as we contemplate this first picture offered to our thoughts, be, besides a constant feeling of gratitude, a real and sincere effort to acquire humility, purity and ardent love for the Blessed Virgin, who provides the most precious example of all these virtues.”
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