Thought for the Day – 31 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Seeing God in All Things
“Sometimes we fail to see God in all the events of life because we lack faith and absolute confidence in the Lord. We must try to increase this faith and live always in the presence of God and, we must regard the honour and glory of this world as worth absolutely nothing without God. “What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world but suffer the loss of his own soul?” (Mt 16:26).
We often attach too much importance to the things of this world, which, viewed in the light of eternity are worth very little. When we find ourselves at the point of death and think back over the events of life, how small these things will seem to us! Then, we shall marvel at our folly and regret that we worried so much about them, while we allowed ourselves to forget the only being really necessary to us, God Himself! St Francis de Sales said, that when we arrive at the end of life, the affairs with which we have been preoccupied, will seem about as important, as the sand-castles we built as children, castles which cost us a lot of trouble to build and a great deal of sorrow afterwards, when they had been destroyed!”
Quote/s of the Day – 31 January – The Memorial of St John Bosco (1815-1888)
“Whatever you do, think of the Glory of God as your main goal.”
“Health is God’s great gift and we must spend it, entirely for Him. Our eyes should see only for God, our feet walk only for Him, our hands labour for Him alone; in short, our entire body should serve God while we still have the time. Then, when He shall take our health and we shall near our last day, our conscience will not reproach us for having misused it.”
“Be good! This will make your angel happy. When sorrows and misfortunes, physical or spiritual, afflict you, turn to your Guardian Angel, with strong trust and he will help you.”
“The power of evil men, lives, on the cowardice of the good!”
One Minute Reflection – 31 January – The Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Readings: Deuteronomy 18:15-20, Psalms 95:1-2, 6-7, 7-9, 1 Corinthians 7:32-35, Mark 1:21-28 and the Feast of the Translation of the Relics of the St Mark the Evangelist to Venice
“What is this? A new teaching with authority!” – Mark 1:27
REFLECTION – “Only one is your teacher, the Messiah.” (Mt 23:10). … For Christ is “the reflection of the Father’s glory, the exact representation of the Father’s being and he sustains all things by his powerful word.” (Heb 1:3) He is the origin of all wisdom. The Word of God in the heights, is the source of wisdom. Christ is the source of all true knowledge, for He is “the way, the truth, and the life.” (Jn 14:6). … As way, Christ is the teacher and origin of knowledge according to faith. … That is why Peter teaches in his second letter: “We possess the prophetic message as something altogether reliable. Keep your attention closely fixed on it, as you would on a lamp shining in a dark place.” (1:19). … For through His coming in the spirit, Christ is the origin of all revelation and through His coming in the flesh, He is the strengthening of all authority.
He comes first in the spirit as the revealing light of every prophetic vision. According to Daniel: “He reveals deep and hidden things and knows what is in the darkness, for the light dwells with him.” (2:22) This is the light of divine wisdom, which is in Christ. According to John, Christ said: “I am the light of the world. No follower of mine shall ever walk in darkness” (8:12) and “While you have the light, keep faith in the light, thus you will become children of light.” (12:36). … Without this light which is Christ, no-one can penetrate the secrets of faith. And that is why we read in the Book of Wisdom: “O God, send forth that Wisdom from your holy heavens and from your glorious throne, dispatch her that she may be with me and work with me, that I may know what is your pleasure … For what man knows God’s counsel, or who can conceive what the Lord intends?” (9:10-13) No-one can come to the certainty of revealed faith, except through Christ’s coming in the spirit and the flesh.” – St Bonaventure (1221-1274) Doctor of the Church – Sermon ‘Christus unus omnium magister’
PRAYER – King of heaven and earth, Lord God, rule over our hearts and bodies this day. Sanctify us and guide our every thought, word and deed, according to the commandments of Your law, so that now and forever, Your grace may free and save us. Sanctify our hearts, minds and actions with Your power, that all we are may speak of Your Light. May the prayers of our Mother, Queen of Heaven and Earth and glorious St Mark the Evangelist, who so diligently followed You in the darkness around him, bring us to peace and confidence. We make our prayer through Your Son, our Lord Jesus, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God for all eternity, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 31 January – Septuagesima Sunday or The Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Bless’d Be the Lord Our God! By Fr James Quinn SJ (1919-2010)
Bless’d be the Lord our God! With joy let heaven ring; Before His presence let all earth Its songs of homage bring! His mighty deeds be told; His majesty be praised; To God, enthrouned in heav’nly light, Let every voice be raised!
All that has life and breath, Give thanks with heartfelt songs! To Him let all creation sing To Whom all praise belongs! Acclaim the Father’s love, Who gave us God, His Son; Praise too the Spirit, giv’n by both, With both for ever one!
In the Divine Office (1974) it is sung with Sunday Evening Prayer I (Week 2)
The Translation of the Relics of Saint Mark, the Evangelist – 31 December
The story of how Saint Mark’s relics eventually came to Venice is a remarkable one and it has been the subject of various works of art throughout the centuries. Tintoretto’s Translation of the Body of Saint Mark, a stark, dramatic painting that has the eerie feel of a photo negative, may be one of the most recognisable. Painted between 1562 and 1566 for the Scuola Grande di San Marco, the work is part of the permanent collection of the Accademia Galleries in Venice. Tintoretto himself is portrayed within the work, as the bearded man beside the camel.
A companion painting, Discovery of the Body of Saint Mark, is located at the Brera Gallery in Milan.
The glittering mosaics that adorn the exterior of Saint Mark’s Basilica also tell the story, in tessellated form, of the translation of Saint Mark’s relics. For example, the mosaic located above the left doorway (the Door of Saint Alypius) of the west facade depicts Saint Mark’s body being carried into the basilica. The mosaic, known as the Deposition mosaic, is the oldest exterior mosaic on the Basilica and dates to 1260-1270.
According to legend, Saint Mark’s body was taken from Alexandria, Egypt, in 828. Two Venetian merchants travelling in Alexandria, obtained the relics of Saint Mark from Priests at the church of Saint Mark, where the saint’s body was interred. The Priests feared Saint Mark’s relics might be damaged or destroyed by the Saracens during the persecution of the Catholic community in Alexandria. Promising to safeguard the Saint’s relics, the merchants convinced the Priests to allow them to return to Venice with the body of Saint Mark. “The body of Saint Mark was taken out of the sarcophagus and unwrapped from its silk shroud, the relic being substituted by another and less eminent Saint. It was then placed in a chest and taken on board the Venetian ship, the merchants first ensuring, that the Saint’s remains were covered by a layer of pork and cabbage. When the Muslim officials asked to inspect the chest, they cried out ‘Kanzir, kanzir’ (Oh horror) at the sight and smell of the pork. . . . Thus the Evangelist was safely conveyed to Venice but not before a number of miracles eased his passage across the Mediterranean.”
Saint Mark’s body was initially kept in a Chapel at the Doge’s palace, a Chapel originally dedicated to Saint Theodore, until a more suitable Church could be built. Begun in 829, the year after the translation of Saint Mark’s relics, the first Church of Saint Mark was completed in 832. This Church was destroyed in 976 during a rebellion against Doge Pietro Candiano IV. And so St Mark’s Basilica was built to house the remains. Unfortunately, two hundred years later, the unthinkable happened, the authorities forgot where they had put them. Various excuses have emerged, all rather contradictory; there had been a fire, there was building work at the Basilica, the people who knew the location died suddenly without passing on the secret. All of Venice despaired but St Mark himself came to the rescue – his arm suddenly appeared from a pillar, no doubt accompanied by a shout of ‘I’m over here!’ The Basilica was completed in 1063 but was only Consecrated in 1094 now that St Mark was found.
In 1835, Giacomo Monico, Patriarch of Venice, exhumed the body of Saint Mark from the Crypt beneath the Basilica and placed it in the high Altar. Before then, the Saint’s body had apparently last been seen in the 12th century, dressed in ecclesiastical robes, when it was placed on display for five months for public veneration.
In 1075, the Doge passed a law requiring all returning ships to bring back something precious to decorate the Basilica, accounting for the more than 500 columns of rare marble, porphyry, alabaster and jasper brought back from the East. The interior is clad with 4,240 square meters of gold mosaics, mostly from the 12th and 13th centuries.
Between 1500 and 1750, some of the old sections were replaced by “modern” mosaics designed by artists including Titian and Tintoretto. The presence of St Mark, the mosaics, golden altar, beautiful chapels and treasury make St Mark’s one of Italy’s best-loved Churches.
Saint Mark’s simple, marble Sarcophagus can only be viewed from behind the high Altar. The exterior of the Sarcophagus is well lit and a short inscription applied to the stone in metallic letters read: “SALUTAT VOS . . . MARCUS FILIUS MEUS.” This inscription was followed by a citation in much smaller letters below the word “MEUS.” The citation read “1 Petri 5.13,” the source of the abbreviated quote on the tomb. The front of the Sarcophagus proclaims “CORPUS DIVI MARCI EVANGELISTAE” (Body of the Divine Mark, Evangelist). Red roses are often placed on top of the Sarcophagus.
Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time +2020 Septuagesima Sunday (Traditional Calendar): The word Septuagesima is Latin for “seventieth.” It is both the name of the liturgical season and the name of the Sunday. Septuagesima Sunday marks the beginning of the shortest liturgical season. This season is seventeen (17) days long and includes the three Sundays before Ash Wednesday. The length of the season never changes but the start date is dependent on the movable date of Easter, which can fall between 22 March-25 April. Septuagesima Sunday can be as early as 18 January. The Septuagesima season helps the faithful ease into Lent. It is a gradual preparation for the serious time of penance and sorrow; to remind the sinner of the grievousness of his errors and to exhort him to penance. Liturgically it looks very much like Lent. The Gloria and Alleluia are omitted, the tone becomes penitential with the Priest wearing purple vestments. The main difference is that there are no fasting requirements.
Apparition of Our Lady to Saint Angela de Foligno (1285) – 31 January: Angela of Foligno was born in 1248 of a prominent family in Foligno, three leagues from Assisi. As a young woman and also as a wife and mother, she lived only for the world and its vain pleasures. But the grace of God intended to make of her, a vessel of election, for the comfort and salvation of many. A ray of the divine mercy touched her soul and so strongly affected her, as to bring about a conversion. At the command of her confessor, Angela of Foligno committed to writing the manner of her conversion in eighteen spiritual steps. “Enlightened by grace,” Blessed Angela of Foligno wrote in this account. “I realised my sinfulness; I was seized with a great fear of being damned and I shed a flood of tears. I went to confession to be relieved of my sins but through shame I concealed the most grievous ones but still I went to Communion. Now my conscience tortured me day and night. I called upon St Francis for help and, moved by an inner impulse, I went into a church where a Franciscan Father was then preaching.” (It is reported that in the year 1285 she had a vision of both the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Francis of Assisi, who called her to penance.) “I gathered courage to confess all my sins to him and I did this immediately after the sermon. With zeal and perseverance, I performed the penance he imposed but my heart continued to be full of bitterness and shame. I recognised that the divine mercy has saved me from hell, hence I resolved to do rigorous penance; nothing seemed too difficult for me because I felt I belonged in hell. I called upon the saints and especially upon the Blessed Virgin, to intercede with God for me.
It appeared to me now as if they had compassion on me and I felt the fire of divine love enkindled within me, so that I could pray as I never prayed before. I had also received a special grace to contemplate the Cross in which Christ had suffered so much for my sins. Sorrow, love and the desire to sacrifice everything for Him filled my soul.”
About this time God harkened to the earnest desire of the penitent – her mother died, then her husband and soon afterwards, all her children. These tragic events were very painful to her but she made the sacrifice with resignation to the will of God. Being freed from these ties, she dispossessed herself of all her temporal goods with the consent of her confessor, a Franciscan friar named Arnoldo, so that being poor herself, she might walk in the footsteps of her poor Saviour. It was to Arnoldo that she dictated her account of her conversion, now known as the ‘Memoriale,’ or the ‘Book of Visions and Instructions.’ She also entered the Third Order of St Francis and presently found herself the superior and guide of other,s who followed in her path. Many women joined her, even to the point of taking the three vows. She encouraged them in works of charity, in nursing the sick and in going personally from door to door to beg for the needs of the poor. Meanwhile, Angela became still more immersed in the contemplation of the Passion of Christ and she chose the Sorrowful Mother and the faithful disciple John as her patrons. The sight of the wounds which her Lord suffered for her sins, urged her to the practice of still greater austerities. Once Our Lord showed her that His Heart is a safe refuge in all the storms of life. She was soon to be in need of such a refuge. God permitted her to be afflicted with severe temptations. The most horrible and loathsome representations distressed her soul. The fire of concupiscence raged so furiously that she said: “I would rather have beheld myself surrounded with flames and permitted myself to be continually roasted, than to endure such things.” Still, she called out to God, “Glory be to Thee, O Lord! Thy cross is my resting place.” These painful trials lasted over two years but then, the purified and tried servant of the Lord, was filled with great consolation. She obtained a marvellous insight into divine things and was very frequently found in ecstasy. For a time she had the stigmata and for many years Holy Communion was her only food, until at last, completely purified, she entered into the eternal joy of the Supreme Good on 4 January 1310. Pope Innocent XII approved the continual devotion paid to her at her tomb in Foligno, where many miracles were attributed to her. He Beatified her in 1693. Her Canonisation was an equipollent Canonisation in 2013. Blessed Angela of Foligno said, “To know oneself and to know God, that is the perfection of man; without this knowledge, visions and the greatest gifts are of no account.” St Angela’s Biography here: https://anastpaul.com/2020/01/04/saint-of-the-day-4-january-saint-angela-of-foligno-tosf-1248-1309/
The Translation of the Relics of Saint Mark, the Evangelist
St Abraham of Abela Bl Adamnan of Coldingham St Aedan of Ferns St Aiden St Athanasius of Modon St Bobinus of Troyes St Eusebius of Saint Gall St Francesco Saverio Maria Bianchi/Francis Xavier Bianchi CRSP (1743-1815) “Apostle of Naples” About St Francesco: https://anastpaul.com/2020/01/31/saint-of-the-day-31-january-saint-francis-xavier-bianchi-crsp-1743-1815-apostle-of-naples/ St Geminian of Modena Bl John Angelus St Julius of Novara Bl Louise degli Albertoni Bl Luigi Talamoni St Madoes St Marcella Bl Maria Cristina di Savoia St Martin Manuel St Nicetas of Novgorod St Tryphaena of Cyzicus St Tysul St Ulphia of Amiens St Waldo of Evreux St Wilgils —
Martyrs of Corinth – 14 saints: A group of Christians tortured and martyred together in Corinth, Greece in the persecutions of Decius. We know nothing about them except some names – Anectus, Claudius, Codratus, Crescens, Cyprian, Diodorus, Dionysius, Nicephorus, Papias, Paul, Serapion, Theodora, Victor and Victorinus.
Martyrs of Canope: Athanasia Cyrus the Physician Eudoxia John the Physician Theoctista Theodotia Martyred in Alexandria, Egypt Cyriacus Metranus Saturninus Tarskius Thyrsus Victor Zoticus
Martyred in Alexandria, Egypt: Cyriacus Metranus Saturninus Tarskius Thyrsus Victor Zoticus
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War: José Acosta Alemán Juan José Martínez Romero Pedro José Rodríguez Cabrera
Martyrs of Korea: Thousands of people were murdered in the anti-Catholic persecutions in Korea. • Saint Agatha Kwon Chin-i • Saint Agatha Yi Kyong-I • Saint Augustinus Park Chong-Won • Saint Magdalena Son So-Byok • Saint Maria Yi In-Dok • Saint Petrus Hong Pyong-Ju
Thought for the Day – 30 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Depending Always on Jesus
“We must continue to trust in Jesus even when we have been guilty of imperfection or of sin. Sin, according to St Thomas Aquinas, is the denial of love and, therefore, of God, Who is charity. It places a distance between God and the soul. Precisely because of this, whenever we fall into sin or imperfection, we should return immediately to Jesus and ask Him to support us once more, in our weakness. There is no need to be afraid. It was for this purpose that He became man and suffered and died for love of us. We can be sure, that whenever we return to Him, in a spirit of repentance, He will receive us lovingly and will grant us forgiveness, He will support us with His omnipotent power, so that we may not fall again.
We must, as St Francis de Sales writes, lean on the arm of Jesus, as the child leans securely on the arm of it’s mother. “It matters little,” he adds, “where she walks, on a grassy plain or on a steep path surrounded by precipices.” She, is his mother and she carries him; that is enough to make him happy and content. We must trust Jesus in this way, relying always on His support in joy and in sorrow, in moments of trial and in moments of satisfaction, in life and in death. Let us not be afraid; Jesus is better and stronger than our earthly mother. If He guides and supports us, we can be sure of Heaven, no matter what happens!”
And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”
“Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.”
“Come along then, every human family, full of sin as you are and receive the forgiveness of your sins. For I Myself, am your Forgiveness, I am the Passover of salvation, the Lamb slain for your sakes, your redemption, life and resurrection; I am your Light, your Salvation and your King. It is I, who lead you to the heights of heaven, I, who will raise you up; it is I, who will bring you to see the Father who is from all eternity; it is I, who will raise you up by My all-powerful Hand.”
St Melito of Sardis (Died c 180) Bishop, Apologist
“Christ first of all, Christ in the centre of the heart, in the centre of history and of the cosmos. Humanity needs Christ intensely because, He is our “measure.” There is no realm, that cannot be touched by His strength; there is no evil, that cannot find remedy in Him, there is no problem, that cannot be solved in Him. Either Christ or nothing!”
St John Leonardi (1541-1609)
“Look upon the face of the Crucified, who invites you to follow Him. He will be a Father, Mother–everything to you.”
St Paul of the Cross (1604-1775)
“Keep Jesus Christ as your dial, at all times, His Cross for mast, on which to hoist your resolutions, as a sail. Let your anchor be, profound trust in Him and set out early!”
St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of the Church
One Minute Reflection – 30 January – Saturday of the Third week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19, Luke 1:69-70, 71-72,73-75, Mark 4:35-41 and the Memorial of Saint Bathilde (c 626–680) Queen
“And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.” – Mark 4:39
REFLECTION – “Your heart is imperilled, your heart is taking a battering. On hearing yourself insulted, you long to retaliate but, the joy of revenge, brings with it another kind of misfortune – shipwreck. Why is this? Because Christ is asleep in you. What do I mean? I mean you have forgotten His presence. Rouse Him, then; remember Him, let Him keep watch within you, pay heed to Him. … You have forgotten that when Christ was being crucified He said: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Lk 23:34). Christ, the sleeper in your heart, had no desire for vengeance in His.
Rouse Him, then, call Him to mind. (To remember Him, is to recall His words; to remember Him, is to recall His commands.) Then, when He is awake within you, you will ask yourself, “Whatever kind of wretch am I to be thirsting for revenge? … He who said, ‘Give and it shall be given you; forgive and you will be forgiven,’ would indeed decline to acknowledge me. So I will curb my anger and restore peace to my heart.” Now all is calm again. Christ has rebuked the sea. … This is the moment to awaken Christ and let Him remind you of those words: “Who can this be? Even the winds and the sea obey him” Who is this whom the sea obeys? “It is he to whom the sea belongs, for he made it” (Ps 95:5); “all things were made through him” (Jn 1:3).
Try, then, to be more like the wind and the sea – obey the God who made you. The sea obeys Christ’s command and are you going to turn a deaf ear to it? … Words, actions, schemes, what are all these but a constant huffing and puffing, a refusal to be still at Christ’s command? When your heart is in a troubled state, do not let the waves overwhelm you.
If, since we are only human, the driving wind should stir up in us a tumult of emotions, let us not despair but awaken Christ, so that we may sail in quiet waters and reach at last our heavenly homeland.” – St Augustine (354-430), Bishop of Hippo, Father and Doctor of Grace – Sermon 63
PRAYER – Waken us holy Lord, to Your presence in us, with us, now and forever. Open our eyes to see Your presence and our ears to hear Your voice. Teach us that You are always with us and Your presence is all we need to survive the storms and the winds of this world. For You, just You, are our rock and our foundation, our ship and our harbour. Grant that the prayers of St Bathilde and all Your saints may serve to remind us of Your love and power. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 30 January – Mary’s Saturday, as always
Into the Arms of Your Mercy By St Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort (1673-1716)
Into the Arms of Your Mercy, O Mary, my Queen, I cast myself, into the arms of your mercy. I place my soul and body, in your blessed care and under your special protection from this world. I entrust to you, all my hopes and consolations, all my anguish and misery, my life and the end of my life. Through your most holy intercession and through your merits, grant that all my works may be directed and carried out, in accordance with your will and the will of your Divine Son. Amen
Saint of the Day – 30 January – Saint Bathilde (c 626–680) Queen, Regent, Widow and Mother, Religious, Apostle of the poor and of slaves, Social Reformer, pioneer in the abolition of Slavery, founder of Monasteries. Born in c 630 in England and died on 30 January 680 of natural causes. Other forms of her name are Bathilidis, Bathild, Batilda, Bathchilde and Bauteur.Patronage – children, the sick, all bodily illness, widows
An Anglo-Saxon by birth, Bathilde was captured in 641 by Danish raiders and sold to Erchinoald, the Chief Officer of the Palace of Clovis II, King of the Franks. She quickly gained favour, for she had charm, beauty and a graceful and gentle nature. She also won the affection of her fellow-servants, for she would do them many kindnesses such as cleaning their shoes and mending their clothes and her bright and attractive disposition endeared her to them all.
The Officer, impressed by her fine qualities, wished to make her his wife but Bathilde, alarmed at the prospect, both by reason of her modesty and of her humble status, disguised herself in old and ragged clothes and hid herself away among the lower servants of the palace and he, not finding her in her usual place and thinking she had fled, married another woman.
Her next suitor, however, was none other than the King himself, for when she had discarded her old clothes and appeared again in her place, he noticed her grace and beauty and declared his love for her. Thus in 649, the 19-year-old slave girl Bathilde became Queen of France, amidst the applause of the Court and the Kingdom. She bore Clovis three sons – Clotaire III, Childeric II and Theodoric III–all of whom became Kings. On the death of Clovis (c 655-657), she was appointed Regent in the name of her eldest son, who was only five and ruled capably for eight years with Saint Eligius (feast day 1 December) as her Advisor.
She made a wonderful Queen and ruled wisely. Unlike many who rise suddenly to high place and fortune, she never forgot that she had been a slave and did all within her power to relieve those in captivity. We are told that “Queen Bathilde was the holiest and most devout of women; her pious munificence knew no bounds; remembering her own bondage, she set apart vast sums for the redemption of captives.” She helped promote Christianity by supporting the zeal of Saint Owen (feast day, 24 August), Saint Leodegar (feast day 2 October 2) and many other Bishops.
At that time, the poorer inhabitants of France, were often obliged to sell their children as slaves, to meet the crushing taxes imposed upon them. Bathilde reduced this taxation, forbade the purchase of Christian slaves and the sale of French subjects and declared, that any slave who set foot in France, would from that moment be free. Thus, this enlightened women earned the love of her people and was a pioneer in the abolition of slavery.
She also founded many Abbeys, such as Corbie, Saint-Denis and Chelles, which became civilised settlements in wild and remote areas, inhabited only by prowling wolves and other wild beasts. Under her guidance forests and waste land were reclaimed, cornland and pasture took their place and agriculture flourished. She built hospitals and sold her jewellery to supply the needy.
After her children were well established in their respective territories, Childeric IV in Austrasia and Thierry in Burgundy, she returned to her wish for a secluded life and retired to her own Royal Abbey of Chelles, near Paris, where she served the other nuns with humility and obeyed the Abbess like the least of the sisters. On entering the Abbey she laid down the insignia of royalty and desired to be the lowest in rank among the sisters. It was her pleasure to take her position after the novices and to serve the poor and infirm with her own hands. Prayer and manual toil occupied her time, nor did she wish any allusion made to the grandeur of her past position. In this manner she passed fifteen years of retirement. At the beginning of the year 680 she had a presentiment of the approach of death and made religious preparation for it.
She died at the Abbey of Chelles, near Paris, before she had reached her 50th birthday. Death touched her with a gentle hand; as she died, she said she saw a ladder reaching from the Altar to heaven and up this she climbed, in the company of angels.
Bathilde was buried in the Abbey of Chelles and was Canonised by Pope Nicholas I (820-867) Papacy 858-867.
Nostra Signora della Rosa / Our Lady of the Rose (Lucca, Italy) – 30 January:
History shows, that the rose is the favourite flower of Our Lady herself, the Madonna of the Rose. In her apparition at Guadeloupe, she made use of roses as a sign of her presence and even arranged them, with her own beautiful hands, in the tilma of Juan Diego. At La Salette she wore a profusion of roses in three garlands and had tiny roses around the rim of her slippers. She brought beautiful roses with her at Lourdes, Pontmain, Pellevoisin, Beauraing and Banneaux. To Sister Josefa Menendez she showed her immaculate heart encircled with little white roses. Truly, she could be called the Madonna of the Rose. In the City of Damascus, very familiar to Mary, hundreds of men and women earn their living by working with roses, from which they distil rosewater and extract attar and syrup of rose. These people carry the scent of roses with them, wherever they go. This is a lesson for us – let us become so saturated with the virtues of Mary, the Madonna of the Rose, that we carry their fragrance and attract other souls to our Divine Lord, through His Mother, the Mystical Rose, the Madonna of the Rose. Among the many feasts of Our Lady we find mentioned in an old Latin chronicle: “30 January, Our Lady of the Rose, at Lucca in Italy. Three roses were found in January in the arms of the Statue of Our Lady there.” Cardinal Newman says “Mary is the most beautiful flower ever seen in the spiritual world. It is by the power of God’s grace that from this barren and desolate earth there ever sprung up at all flowers of holiness and glory and Mary is the Queen of them all. She is the Queen of spiritual flowers and, therefore, is called the Rose, for the rose is called, of all flower, the most beautiful. But, moreover, she is the Mystical or Hidden Rose, for mystical means hidden.” In the stately college of King’s Chapel, in Cambridge, England, one of the most renowned universities, built by Henry VIII in memory of his father, there can be discerned, hidden in one of the Tudor rose-bosses on the walls, a small head of Our Lady which somehow escaped observation, at the despoliation of images at the Protestant Deformation. Brother John, a clever carver, was hired to carve all of the roses; knowing of the King’s quarrel with the Pope, he secretly carved a tiny head of Mary, half-hidden within the rose petals in the upper tier of decorations, saying, “There you remain, Our Lady of the Rose, even if wicked men try to drive you and your Son from this Church.” His words came true, when the place was stripped of every trace of Faith, the diminutive head of the Mother of God still remained. But a rose has thorns and so had the Mystical Rose – the sharpest for herself alone; so she could have compassion on our infirmities. Never did the breathE of evil spoil the splendour of this Mystical Rose; never did God’s lovely flower, the Madonna of the Rose, cease to give forth the sweet perfume of love and praise. “Mystical Rose, thou hast been hailed to shed they fragrance sweet, to flood our desert with thy perfume rare. We beg thee, daily kneeling at thy feet, let fall thy petals for our repose, shower upon us thy aroma, O thou Mystical Rose.”
Thought for the Day – 29 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Christ’s Work in Us
“What kind of life has Jesus in my soul? If I am in the state of grace, He lives in my soul but, how does He live? In some, those of us who are tepid, worldly and dissipated, Jesus is hidden and languid. In those who are lazy, mediocre and indifferent, He seems to sleep, as He slept in the boat during the storm on the lake of Galilee. In those souls which have given in to temptation and surrendered themselves to sin, He is crucified and dying.
Finally, there are souls in which He reigns supreme and which are resplendent with the magnificent of His gifts and graces. If we find ourselves in the last category, let us humbly thank God. But, if we are forced to count ourselves among the tepid or the lazy or the sinful, let us rouse ourselves at once and pray fervently to God, to help us to save our souls!”
Quote/s of the Day – 29 January – The Mustard Seed – Lord, May Your kingdom Come Into My Heart
“To what shall we compare the kingdom of God, … It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, yet when it is sown, it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”
“He Himself will help us and lead us to what He has promised.”
St Pope Leo the Great (400-461) Father and Doctor of the Church
“You first loved us so that we might love You— not because You needed our love but because, we could not be what You created us to be, except by loving You.”
William of Saint Thierry (c 1075-1148)
“For God, … does not work in those who refuse to place all their confidence and hope in Him alone. But He does impart the fullness of His love upon those who possess a deep faith and hope; for them He does great things.”
St Jerome Emiliani (1486-1537)
“As for me, my God, I am so convinced, that You watch over those who hope in You and, that one cannot lack for anything, when one expects everything from You, that I have resolved, to live in future, without any anxiety and to unload all my worries onto You …”
St Claude de la Colombiere (1641-1682)
Lord, May Your kingdom Come Into My Heart By Fr Jean Pierre de Caussade (1675-1751)
Lord, may Your kingdom come into my heart to sanctify me, nourish me and purify me. How insignificant is the passing moment, to the eye without faith! But how important each moment is, to the eye enlightened by faith! How can we deem insignificant anything which has been caused by You? Every moment and every event is guided by You and so contains Your infinite greatness. So, Lord, I glorify You in everything that happens to me. In whatever manner You make me live and die, I am content. Events please me for their own sake, regardless of their consequences because Your action lies behind them. Everything is heaven to me because all my moments, manifest Your love. Amen
“To what shall we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed…” … Mark 4:30-31
REFLECTION – “The Word of God is like a grain of mustard seed, before cultivation it looks extremely small. But when it is cultivated in the right way, it grows so large, that the highest principles of both sensible and intelligible creation, come like birds to revive themselves in it. For the principles – or inner essences of all things, are embraced by the Word but the Word is not embraced by anything. Hence, the Lord has said, that whoever has faith like a grain of mustard seed, can move a mountain by a word of command (cf. Mt 17:20), that is, he can destroy the devil’s dominion over us and remove it from it’s foundation.
The grain of mustard seed is the Lord, who by faith is sown spiritually in the hearts of those who accept Him. Whoever diligently cultivates the seed, by practising the virtues, moves the mountain of earthbound pride and, through the power thus gained, expels the obdurate habit of sin. In this way, the activity of the principles and qualities, or divine powers, present in the commandments, is revived as though they were birds. … Those who seek the Lord should not look for Him outside themselves. On the contrary, they must seek Him, within themselves, through faith made manifest in action.
For it is written, “The word is very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart” (Rm 10:8), that is, the word of faith, Christ, being Himself, the word that is sought.” … St Maximus the Confessor (c 580-662) Monk and Theologian – Second Century on Theology, nos. 10-11, 35
PRAYER – Almighty Father, we bless You Lord of life, through whom all living things tend. You are the source of all, our first beginning and our end! Grant holy Father, that we may allow the Word to enter our hearts and grow by Your grace, so that we may always live for Your glory. May the intercession of the Blessed Virgi Mary, all Your Angels and Saints, grant us strength and zeal. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
St Sulpicius was raised to the See of Bourges in 584.
He was, says St Gregory of Tours, a man of high birth, one of the first senators of Gaul, of great oratorical talent and expert in the art of poetical rhythms.
The See of Bourges having become vacant with the death of Bishop St Remigius, several candidates offered gifts to King Gontran to secure the assistance of his favour. But the latter rejected all these simoniacal gifts, to favour the election of Sulpitius.
He was elected, given Holy orders and consecrated Bishop. Shortly afterwards, he held a Council in Auvergne, to adjust the dispute which had arisen between two of his suffragans, Innocentius, Bishop of Rodez and Ursicinus, Bishop of Cahors, with regard to Parishes for which they contended. The Council decided that the Bishop of Cahors should retain the contested Parishes, which the Bishop of Rodez had not proved that he or his predecessors had long possessed.
Sulpitius assisted at a Council of Mâcon in 585.
He died in 591, his feast being inserted in the Roman Martyrology on 29 January.
Notre-Dame-de-Chatillion / Our Lady of Chatillion-sur- Seine, France (1130) – 29 January:
St Bernard is said, to have had a great devotion to Our Lady of Chatillion-sur-Seine because of a miracle which was wrought by the Blessed Virgin Mary in his favour. Bernard, the third of a family of seven children, was educated with particular care as while yet unborn, a devout man had foretold his great destiny. At the age of nine he was sent to a famous school in France at Chatillion-sur-Seine, kept by the secular priests of Saint Vorles. He was an intelligent student, greatly devoted to the Blessed Virgin. He later wrote several books about the Holy Mother of God and, it is thought by many, that no-one speaks as sublimely of the Queen of Heaven, as he does. Mary appeared to Bernard as he wrote and inspired him with heavenly words and wisdom. The most hardened sinners, heretics and agnostics, Mary brought to him and she proved a bulwark to his efforts to lead men to her and to Christ, her Divine Son.
Early in his adult life Saint Bernard became very ill, so ill, that he was preparing himself for death. Feeling useless and barren, his infirmity and the attendant pains he experienced, increased to such a degree, that Bernard asked two of his brethren to go to the Church and beg for heavenly relief from God. The Blessed Virgin Mary herself soon appeared to St Bernard, entering his cell attended by St Lawrence and St Benedict. All three approached Saint Bernard and touched the parts of his body where the pain was the most severe, bringing immediate relief. St Bernard had also been troubled with an intense flow of saliva, which would not cease and that trouble was also immediately ended.
The Saint was not completely cured, however and, although he did not die, it was yet some time before his health was completely restored to him. St Bernard used the time well, producing his first treatise on humility and pride and “his light began to shine as the morning sun.” The former Abbey of Notre-Dame de Châtillon (Sancta Maria de Castellione) was an Abbey located in Châtillon-sur-Seine, in the north of Burgundy, in the Côte-d’or department. This Abbey of regular canons of Saint Augustine, was founded in 1136 under the inspiration of Bernard of Clairvaux. The Abbey survived until the year 1793 (yes, once again a victim of the enlightenment of the French Revolution). Now, only the conventual buildings and the Abbey Church remain.
Thought for the Day – 28 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Blessed Eucharist
“By means of this wonderful gift, we can live the life of Jesus Himself.
It is Our Lord Himself, Who says to us: “As the living Father has sent me and as I live because of the Father, so he who eats me, he also shall live because of me” (Jn 6:58). In other words, as He draws His divine and human life from the Father and lives by means of Him, to Whom as God, He is substantially united and equal, so anyone who partakes of the Eucharist, is united closely to Jesus, lives His life and is transformed by His supernatural grace. When Holy Communion is received, therefore, as it ought to be and as the Saints received it, it leads to the mysterious union of which St Paul speaks: “To me to live is Christ” (Phil 1:21). “It is now no longer I that live but Christ, lives in me” (Gal 2:20).
The effect of Holy Communion on us, should be similar to that of a graft upon a tree, whose life is thereby transformed and which begins to produce the fruit of the new shoot instead of the old trunk. We should no longer live the life of the old man but, that of the new, which is Jesus. We ought, therefore, to produce His divine fruits. Our actions will have a supernatural value because they are performed in Jesus and through Jesus. We should be very grateful to the Sacred Heart of Jesus for this gift of His infinite love and goodness. We should approach Holy Communion with humility, love and complete self-surrender. Our hearts should be fused in the Heart of Jesus and our love should be fused in His infinite love.”
Quote/s of the Day – 28 January – The Memorial of St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Doctor of the Church
St Thomas speaks on the Holy Eucharist
“O precious and wonderful banquet that brings us salvation and contains all sweetness!”
“O how unspeakable is this Sacrament which sets our affections ablaze with charity. … It is the fulfillment of Christ’s Mystical Body.”
“The Eucharist is the Sacrament of Love. It signifies Love, It produces love. The Eucharist is the consummation of the whole spiritual life.”
“The proper effect of the Eucharist is the transformation of man into God.”
“As Christ’s Passion does not produce it’s effect on those who do not hold Him as they should, so also, those do not attain heaven through this Sacrament, who receive Him unworthily. Accordingly, Augustine writes: “The Sacrament is one thing, it’s virtue another. Many receive from the altar and, receiving it, are dead. Eat, therefore, heavenly bread, carry innocence to the altar.” So it is not surprising, that those who do not keep a pure heart, fail to gain the effect of the Sacrament.”
Adoro te Devote Trans. Fr Gerard Manley Hopkins SJ (1844-1889)
Godhead here in hiding, whom I do adore, Masked by these bare shadows, shape and nothing more, See, Lord, at Thy service low lies here a heart Lost, all lost in wonder at the God Thou art.
Seeing, touching, tasting are in Thee deceived – How says trusty hearing? that shall be believed, What God’s Son has told me, take for truth I do, Truth Himself speaks truly or there’s nothing true.
On the cross Thy godhead made no sign to men, Here Thy very manhood steals from human ken – Both are my confession, both are my belief, And I pray the prayer of the dying thief.
I am not like Thomas, wounds I cannot see, But can plainly call Thee Lord and God as he, Let me to a deeper faith daily nearer move, Daily make me harder hope and dearer love.
O Thou our reminder of Christ crucified, Living Bread, the life of us for whom He died, Lend this life to me then – feed and feast my mind, There be Thou the sweetness man was meant to find.
Bring the tender tale true of the Pelican, Bathe me, Jesu Lord, in what Thy bosom ran— Blood whereof a single drop has power to win All the world forgiveness of its world of sin.
Jesu, whom I look at shrouded here below, I beseech Thee send me what I thirst for so, Some day to gaze on Thee face to face in light And be blest forever with Thy glory’s sight. Amen
One Minute Reflection – 28 January – Thursday of the Third week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Hebrews 10:19-25, Psalms 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, Mark 4:21-25 and the Memorial of St Thomas Aquinas OP (1225-1274) and Blessed Julian Maunoir SJ (1606-1683)
“For to the one who has, more will be given and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” – Mark 4:25
REFLECTION – “Blessed is the servant who attributes every good to the Lord God, for he who holds back something for himself, hides within himself, the money of his Lord God (Mt 25:18) and that which he thought he had, shall be taken away from him (Mt 25:18.28; Lk 8:18).
Blessed is the servant who esteems himself, no better when he is praised and exalted by people, than when he is considered worthless, simple and despicable; for what a man is before God, that he is and nothing more. …
Blessed is that religious, who takes no pleasure and joy except in the most holy words and deeds of the Lord and with these, leads people to the love of God in joy and gladness … Blessed is the servant who, when he speaks, does not reveal everything about himself in the hope of receiving a reward and, who is not quick to speak but wisely weighs what he should say and how he should reply. Woe to that religious, who does not keep in his heart, the good things the Lord reveals to him and who does not manifest them to others, by his actions but, rather seeks to make such good things known by his words. He, thereby, receives his reward while those who listen to him, carry away but little fruit. …
Blessed is that servant who stores up in heaven (Mt 6,20) the good things which the Lord has revealed to him and does not desire to reveal them to others, in the hope of profiting thereby. For the Most High will manifest his deeds to whomever he wishes. Blessed is the servant who keeps the secrets of the Lord in his heart.” – St Francis of Assisi (c 1181–1226) Founder of the Friars Minor – Admonitions, 19-22.28
PRAYER – Lord, our God, since it was by Your gift that St Thomas became so great a Saint and theologian, give us grace to understand his teaching and follow his way of life. May his great love for Jesus Crucified and His pure adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, be our guide to follow in Your Son’s footsteps and take up our cross and follow Him. Grant that by the prayers of St Thomas, we may grow in love and sanctity, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 28 January – The Memorial of St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Doctor of the Church
O Merciful God By St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Doctor Angelicus Doctor Communis
O merciful God, grant that I may ever perfectly do Your Will in all things. Let it be my ambition to work only for Your honour and glory. Let me rejoice in nothing but that leads to You, nor grieve for anything, that leads away from You. May all passing things be as nothing in my eyes and may all that is Yours be dear to me and You, my God, dear above them all. May all joy be meaningless without You and may I desire nothing apart from You. May all labour and toil delight me when it is for You. Make me, O Lord, obedient without complaint, poor without regret, patient without murmur, humble without pretense, joyous without frivolity, and truthful without disguise. Amen
Saint of the Day – 28 January – Blessed Julian Maunoir SJ (1606-1683) Priest “The Apostle of Brittany,” “The Good Father of Brittany,” Missionary, Founder of the “Breton Missionaries” Apostolate. Born on 1 October 1606 at Saint-Georges-de-Reitembault, France and died on 8pm on 28 January 1683 at Plévin, France of natural causes. Also known as Julien. Additional Memorial – 2 July (Jesuits). Patronage – Brittany, France.
Julian was born in the tiny hamlet of Saint-George-de-Reintembault in 1606 and then studied at the Jesuit college in Rennes, where his teachers spoke often about the Jesuit Missionaries in China, Japan and Canada.
After he entered the Jesuits in 1625, he had several classmates who did become Missionaries and Saints and Martyrs, to foreign lands — including Saints Isaac Jogues and Gabriel Lalemant. But Maunoir’s path veered toward the people of Brittany after he learned to preach in the difficult Breton language during his period of formation. He is considered a noted orthographer of the Breton language, having completed a Breton grammar. He continued to preach in the hamlets of Brittany until he went to Tours to begin his theological studies, prior to Ordination.
The decision not to go to the foreign missions became clear, after he almost died when an infection in his arm became gangrenous. Maunoir was at the point of death, when he made a vow to devote his life to preaching to the Bretons if his health was restored. His rapid recovery showed God’s will and he was Ordained in 1637.
After finishing his studies, he returned to Quimper where he met Fr Michael Le Nobletz, an itinerant Missionary of Lower Brittany, who had retired because of ill health. The young Jesuit decided to follow the methods that Le Nobletz had used among the poor hardworking peasants and fisherman, the forgotten people of the peninsula and he was found to be uniquely suited for the difficult task of evangelising these impoverished people of Brittany in Northern France.
Accompanied by Father Pierre Bernard, Fr Julian visited cities and towns of the mainland as well as many offshore islands, some of which had not been visited by a Priest in many years. The two men gave missions that usually lasted four to five weeks and attempted to establish a good foundation in Christian doctrine. They used charts as visual aids showing the life of Christ, the seven deadly sins and key points of theology. They also used hymns that they had learned from Fr Nobletz but Maunoir also composed many new ones which the people learned during the missions. His methods managed to instil a deep spiritual meaning to what had sometimes become pious customs.
These missions were very successful. During the 43 years that Fr Maunoir travelled around Brittany, he gave approximately 400 missions. Often several Parishes came together for one mission, with up from 10,000 to 30,000 people taking part. The Parish Priests helped hear Confessions and teach Catechism and some of them asked permission of their Bishops to continue in the work with their Jesuit mentor. By 1683 there were almost 1,000 “Breton Missionaries” who carried on the work.
As he got older, Father Julian had to reduce the number of missions he gave. He was on his way to start a mission when he sensed that death was near. His Jesuit companions helped him to Plévin where he took to bed and contracted pneumonia. When he died several weeks later, the people demanded that he be buried in the Parish church there despite the Bishop’s desire that he be buried in the Quimper Cathedral. There is however a window in the Cathedral entitled “The Presentation of Fr Julian Maunoir to Monseigneur du Louët by Fr Michel Le Nobletz.”
On 20 May 1951 the Good Father Julian, Apostle of Brittany, was Beatified by Pope Pius XII.
St Aemilian of Trebi St Agatha Lin Bl Amadeus of Lausanne St Antimus of Brantôme St Archebran Bl Bartolomé Aiutamicristo St Brigid of Picardy St Callinicus St Cannera of Inis Cathaig Bl Charlemagne (a decree of Canonisation was issued by the anti-pope Paschal III but this was never ratified by valid authority.) St Constantly St Flavian of Civita Vecchia St Glastian of Kinglassie Bl James the Almsgiver St James the Hermit St Jerome Lu St John of Reomay St Joseph Freinademetz SVD (1852-1908) St Joseph’s Life: https://anastpaul.com/2020/01/28/saint-of-the-day-28-january-saint-joseph-freinademetz-svd-1852-1908-fu-shenfu-lucky-priest/
Blessed Julian Maunoir SJ (1606-1683) Priest “The Apostle of Brittany” St Julian of Cuenca St Lawrence Wang St Leucius of Apollonia Bl María Luisa Montesinos Orduña St Maura of Picardy Bl Mosè Tovini Bl Odo of Beauvais Bl Olympia Bida St Palladius of Antioch St Paulinus of Aquileia Bl Peter Won Si-jang St Richard of Vaucelles St Thyrsus of Apollonia — Martyrs of Alexandria: A group of 4th-century parishioners in Alexandria, Egypt. During the celebration of Mass one day an Arian officer named Syrianus led a troop of soldiers into their church and proceded to murder all the orthodox Christians in the place. 356 in Alexandria, Egypt.
Thought for the Day – 27 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“God speaks readily when our souls are silent. He cannot be heard in the noise of the world. But we do not have to abandon our normal way of life in order to find a little interior recollection. It is enough to pause for a moment and remember God’s presence. Once we have formed the habit of doing this, it becomes quite easy, at anytime and in any place. We may be walking along the street, or in the middle of our work. We may be in a room full of people chatting together. Wherever we are, we shall be able to pause and raise our minds to God. If we acquire this habit, we can lead peaceful lives, on a completely supernatural level.“
“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” – Mark 4:9
REFLECTION – “Truly it is “a trustworthy word and deserving of every welcome” (1 Tm 1:15), Your almighty Word, Lord, which in such deep silence made its way down from the Father’s royal throne (Wis 18:14f.) into the mangers of animals and meanwhile, speaks to us better by it’s silence. “Let him who has ears to hear, hear” what this loving and mysterious silence of the eternal Word speaks to us… For what recommends the discipline of silence with such weight and such authority, what checks the evil of restless tongues and the storms of words, as the Word of God, silent in the midst of men. “There is no word on my tongue” (Ps 139:4), the almighty Word seems to confess while he is subject to His mother. What madness then will prompt us to say: “With our tongues we can do great things, our lips are good friends to us, we own no master” (Ps 11:5). If I were allowed, I would gladly be dumb and be brought low and be silent even from good things, that I might be able, the more attentively and diligently to apply my ear to the secret utterances and sacred meaning of this divine silence, learning in silence in the school of the Word, if only for as long as the Word Himself was silent under the instruction of His mother … “The Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us” (Jn 1:14). With complete devotion, then, let us think of Christ in the swaddling clothes with which His mother wrapped Him, so that with eternal happiness we may see the glory and beauty with which His Father has clothed Him.” – Blessed Guerric of Igny (c.1080-1157) Cistercian Abbot – 5th sermon for Christmas
PRAYER – Lord God, in Your wisdom You created us, by Your providence You rule us, You have planted us, penetrate our inmost being with Your holy Light, so that our way of life may always be one of faithful service to You. May we never hesitate to run to Your all-forgiving arms of mercy, when we allow the rocks and thorns of this life to prevent our growth and our steps as we return home to You. May the prayers of the Blessed Virgin, our Mother, all the angels and saints, be unfailing assistance to us. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, with You and the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Grant Us This Day, O Lord By St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Doctor Angelicus Doctor Communis
Grant us this day, O Lord a vigilant heart, that no alien thought can lure away from Thee, a pure heart. that no unworthy love can soil, an upright heart, that no crooked intentions can lead astray. And give us Lord, understanding to know Thee, zeal to seek Thee, wisdom to find Thee and a hope, that will one day take hold of Thee. Amen
Saint of the Day – 27 January – Blessed Manfredo Settala (12th Century-1217) Priest and Hermit, known as “The Hermit of Monte San Giorgio,” miracle-worker – born in the latter 12th century in Milan, Italy and died on 27 January 1217 in Riva San Vitale, Lombardy, Italy of natural causes. Patronage – Riva San Vitale. His body is incorrupt.
Manfredo belonged to the ancient Milanese Settala family and was born at the end of the 12th century.
He was Ordained and became the Parish Priest of Cuasso in the Diocese of Milan near the south-western branch of Lake Lugano.
Manfredo felt a deep call to the hermit life and after gaining permission, he left pastoral care and withdrew to the heights of San Giorgio, the solitary mountain wedged between the southern arms of the Ceresio, where he led a life of solitude, prayer and contemplation of the Divine Mysteries.
Attracted by the fame of his holiness, many faithful of the surrounding regions, flocked to him, begging for advice and intercession for their illnesses both spiritual and bodily. The holy hermit exhorted them to make pilgrimages to the tomb of St Gerardo, who had recently died in Monza (6 June 1207). Once the pious pilgrimage was done devoutly, the disease suddenly disappeared and the people of Olgiate, with unanimous decision raised in the village, in honour of St Gerardo a beautiful Church, which later became a destination for devotion and pilgrimages and which, in 1938 was restored and embellished. The people of Olgiate, every year, process to the tomb of the saint, in memory of the miracles.
Manfredo’s historiography, based on ancient traditions and respectable documents, is full of wonders attributed to the intercession of the holy hermit. It is certain, that the blessed died on 27 January 1217. It is reported the miraculous sound of the bells of the neighbouring villages at the hour of his death and the choice of the place of burial, claimed by many of the area’s Churches – left to the whim of the oxen yoked to the hearse.
Settala’s body was buried in the Church of Riva San Vitale, at the foot of Mount San Giorgio. In 1387, by order of the Bishop of Como, Beltramo da Brossano, the body of the Blessed was placed in a marble tomb at the foot of the Altar, so that in the future, all the faithful Christians may be given greater devotion and reverence to the memory of Blessed Manfredo.
In 1633, the body was placed in a precious urn and given the place of honour under high altar, where it is currently venerated and where various Parishes in the region, on separate Sundays, meet on a annual pilgrimages.
On the walls of the Baptistry, there are two beautiful paintings by Giovanni Battista Bagutti (1774-1823) of Rovio, depicting the passage of the blessed into mountain of solitude and his transport from San Giorgio to the Church of Riva. The liturgical feast is celebrated on 27 January, which in Riva, is considered a public holiday; while on the following Sunday, a procession and Holy Mass, is celebrated, with large numbers of pilgrims attending. The streets are decorated for devotion to the blessed, is still very much alive in the region.
One of Bl Manfredo’s most famous miracles was the transformation of stones into bread during a period of famine. On the eve of his feast, it is still customary, to distribute blessed bread to all families.
Notre-Dame-de-Vie / Our Lady of Life, Provence, France – 27 January:
The town of Mougins is really an ancient village located in the south of France. Only a short drive from Cannes, it is completely surrounded by dense forests and there are a variety of tall pines and other trees growing amidst the town’s buildings. Like so many other places in Europe, the village was once also surrounded by a stone wall set with strong towers, though most of those walls have long since fallen down. Many of the charming older residences, however, are still in use, opposite newer dwellings. It was sometime during the 11th century, when a local nobleman gave the hill, which overlooks the village, to the Monks to Saint Honorat, who cared for the local populace until the time of the French Revolution. The Monks built a Chapel on the hill known as Saint Marie, though very little of that original structure still remains. The Chapel of Our Lady of Life, or Notre Dame de Vie in French, was built in 1646 and stands upon the former site of that much earlier Church.
If one were to visit the hermitage of Notre Dame de Vie, Our Lady of Life, they would find it situated on a beautiful site still overlooking the village, set in a long meadow bordered by two rows of giant cypresses. There is a natural peace and quietude, that seems to invade the soul at this place, which was once a site of many miracles. The name of the first Chapel was changed from Saint Mary to Notre Dame de Vie, Our Lady of Life, when it was discovered that one could find a heavenly respite there. Notre Dame de Vie soon became famous throughout the area as a special sanctuary of grace, for if still-born babies were brought there, they would be miraculously brought back to life long enough to be Baptised during the Mass. “At the present day, the chapel has fallen to ruin and a stone cross broken in half, rises alone amid the ruins but underneath these ruins there are subterraneous vaults and a stone altar, still tells where they still come to lay those little children whom death had smitten on the threshold of life and, who have been unable to receive the sacred sign which would have made them like unto the angels.” “No sooner are they laid upon this stone, says the mountaineer who serves as a guide to the traveller in this dark crypt, than their eyes open again, a slight breathing escapes from their little lips closed by death, the water of Baptism flows upon their foreheads and then, they fall asleep again, to ascend to heaven.” “By digging a little into the ground, the remains of these poor little flowers of humanity, which withered at the icy breath of death in the first hour of their morning, are found round about the altar dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, who raises up the little children to life, that they may go to Jesus Christ; that ignorant, but exalted tenderness of feeling which came to beg the miracle of Mary, interred them beneath her wing, that she might not forget them!“ “Let incredulity be indignant at this superstition of the heart; tender and pious souls will find in it, only a motive for gentle commiseration. No doubt, more than one mother has been deceived in thinking that she saw the cold lips of her child become reanimated with her kisses to receive the sacred water but. whoever should dare to advance that Mary cannot perform miracles as great when she pleases, would be, to say the truth, a bold mortal.” (*from Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with the History of Devotion to Her, by Mathieu Orsini, translated from the French.) The Chapel is home to an ancient statue in polychrome wood of the Virgin and Child. It is piously believed, that through this image, the Blessed Virgin has often restored to life children who had died without Baptism. In 1730 the practice was prohibited for unknown reasons. There is a tomb in an adjacent enclosure that contains the remains of the tiny bodies of those who were Baptised and have passed to paradise.
St Gilduin Bl Gonzalo Diaz di Amarante St Henry de Osso y Cervello St John Maria Muzeyi Bl John of Warneton St Julian of Le Mans St Julian of Sora St Lupus of Châlons Blessed Manfredo Settala (12 Century-1217) Priest and Hermit “The Hermit of Monte San Giorgio” St Marius of Bodon Bl Michael Pini St Natalis of Ulster St Paul Josef Nardini Bl Rosalie du Verdier de la Sorinière St Theodoric of Orléans St Pope Vitalian — Martyrs of North Africa – 30 saints: A group of 30 Christians martyred together by Arian Vandals. The only details to have survived are four of their names – Datius, Julian, Reatrus and Vincent. c 500 in North Africa.