Thought for the Day – 19 March – The Solemnity of the Feast of St Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Patron of the Universal Church – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Joseph is described in the Gospel as “a just man” (Mt 1:19). Perfect justice, such as St Joseph possessed, is directed towards God, ourselves and our neighbours and embraces, in itself, all the other virtues. A pious tradition claims, that he was born wealthy, as well as being from a royal stock but,he distributed his goods amog the poor and for the greater part of his life, worked as a humble carpenter.
He loved silence and obscurity. His only aim in life was to please Jesus and His Blessed Mother.
It is believed, that he was confirmed in grace from the moment of his birth and that when he reached the use of reason, he consecrated himself to God by a vow of perpetual virginity.
He was always peaceful and hardworking and never complained about his position in life. Even when grave misfortunes overtook him, he endeavoured to do God’s will from the simple motive, that ths was what God wanted.
We have a great deal to learn from this temendous Saint. Let us love him, pray to him and imitate him.”
“When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him” – Matthew 1:24
REFLECTION – “How faithful in humility was the great Saint we are celebrating! That can’t be said in all its perfection for, in spite of what he was, in what poverty and lowliness he lived all the days of his life, a poverty and lowliness beneath which he kept hidden and concealed his great virtues and dignity!… Truly, I have no doubt at all, that the angels came, beside themselves with admiration, rank upon rank, to behold and wonder at his humility, while he sheltered that dearest Child, in the poor workshop where he worked at his employment, so as to feed the little Boy and the mother entrusted to him.
There is no doubt at all, that Saint Joseph was braver than David and wiser that Solomon, [who were his ancestors]. Nevertheless, seeing him reduced to the exercise of carpentry, who could have discerned this, unless they were enlightened by a heavenly light, so hidden did he keep the remarkable gifts, with which God had favoured him?
And what wisdom did he not have? For God gave him, His most glorious Son to care for… the universal Prince of heaven and earth… Nevertheless, you can see how low and humbled he was brought, more than can be said or imagined… he went to his own country and town of Bethlehem and none but he, was turned away from all those inns…
Notice how the angel turns him about with both hands. He tells him he has to go to Egypt and he goes, he orders him to return and he returns. God wants him to be always poor… and he submits to it with love and not only for a while, for he was poor his whole life long.”- St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Bishop of Geneva and Doctor of the Church – Conferences, no. 19
PRAYER – Almighty God, at the beginnings of our salvation, when Mary conceived your Son and brought Him forth into the world, you placed them under Joseph’s watchful care. May his prayer still help Your Church to be an equally faithful guardian of Your mysteriest and a sign of Christ to mankind. We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus, with the Holy Spirit, God, forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 19 March – The Solemnity of St Joseph
Blessed Joseph, Remember Us By St Bernadine of Siena (1380-1444)
Blessed Joseph, remember us, intercede with the help of your prayers to your adopted Son and may you likewise, make the blessed Virgin, your Spouse, to be favourable towards us, for she is the Mother of Him, who, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns world without end. Amen
Saint of the Day – 19 March – Blessed Isnard de Chiampo OP (Died 1244) Priest of the Order of Preachers, known as the “Apostle of Pavia,” Confessor, miracle-worker, Founder of Convents. Isnard had a profound devotion to the Mother of God. He perpetually preached her protection over the faithful. In every way he propagated love and veneration for her.Born at Chiampo, Diocese of Vicenza, Italy and died on 19 March 1244 of natural causes. Patronage – Chiampo, City and Diocese. Additional Memorial – 22 March in Chiampo. He is also known as Isnardo, Isnard of Vicenza, the “Apostle of Pavia.”
Blessed Isnard is another very distinguished and saintly first disciple of Saint Dominic. Of Isnard’s life up to the time he entered the Order, practically nothing is known with certainty. Chiampo, a small town not far from Vicenza, Italy, was most likely the place of his birth; yet there are those who give the latter city this honor. Some think he was born of poor parents and spent his youth in poverty. Others suggest that he belonged to a wealthy family by the name of Isnardi, which has been long extinct.
It is beyond doubt that the future wonder-worker received the habit in Bologna, from Saint Dominic himself, in 1219; for this is a point on which nearly all the early authors are in accord. This truth seems certainly to prove that he was a student at the university there and far advanced in his studies, At that time only such applicants were accepted; and this fact is a strong proof that his parents were well-to-do, for only the sons of this kind were given a higher education. Without exception, the writers tell us of his singular purity of heart and religious disposition. His mind had been carefully guarded against the evils of the day and in Bologna, he proved faithful to the lessons of his earlier youth. Association with the holy man from Caleruega, St Domiic, quickened his efforts for holiness of life and the salvation of souls.
For ten years after he entered the Order of Saint Dominic, we have no positive knowledge of where Isnard made his home. Yet the indications are that he spent this time between Bologna and Milan. In which case, of course, he labored energetically in those parts of Italy. Although a quite corpulent man, we are told, he was endowed with extraordinary energy and was very gracious in action, as well as, in word. St Eustorgio, Milan, was most likely his Convent for the greater part of this decade.
In more than one of our sketches but especially in that of Saint Peter of Verona, we have seen how the Albigenses and kindred sects overran northern Italy at that date. Milan was one of the centres of Dominican activity against them and it was from Milan that the Convent of the Order in Pavia was founded. The City was also a stronghold of Frederic II, whose Ghibellines, always opposed to the Holy See, constantly persecuted those who favoured the authority of the Church. When, in 1230, zealous Rodobald Cipolla became Bishop of Pavia, he found religion in a sad plight in his Diocese and began at once to seek means for a reformation.
Blessed Isnard’s reputation for holiness of life, zeal, eloquence, power over the souls of others and fearlessness, was broadcast. Most likely he had already preached in the Diocese of Pavia — perhaps many times; for the Friars Preacher of Milan, carried their work in every direction. Possibly, too, he and Bishop Cipolla, himself an energetic character, had become friends at a prior date. Anyway, one of the new Prelate’s first steps for the spiritual betterment of his flock was to invite Isnard from Milan, that he might establish a house of the Order at Pavia. This was in 1231 and before the close of the year, we find the Fathers actively engaged in their apostolate under the leadership of the man of God, Isnard.
The Convent, which the Bishop generously helped to erect, stood in the little village of Ticino, a short distance outside the walls of Pavia and was given the name of Saint Mary of Nazareth. Throughout Italy the Friars Preacher were known as an effective aid to the hierarchy against the evils of the day. Thus Bishop Cipolla felt that, at least under Isnard, they would be an immense help to him in putting an end to the inroads of the enemy and ,in freeing his Diocese from the many ills in which it was enmeshed. He had not long to wait before he saw that his choice of assistants, was no mistake.
However, the task proved difficult, trying and full of danger. On the one hand, the faithful, through long bad associations, had become so cold, careless and wayward in the practice of their religious duties, that it was difficult to arouse them to a sense of their obligations.
Isnard’ssuccess began with the poor and the labouring classes. For these, he had a special love. He gathered them around him at the conventual Church, instructed them in their religion and inspired them with a love of its practice. Although he met with much opposition at first, it was not long before he had completely changed their lives. Reports of the good thus effected, soon spread near and far. Meanwhile, he and his confrères preached throughout the City of Pavia and its environments — in Churches, public squares, market places, or wherever they could find a space large enough for an audience. Gradually the wealthier Guelfs and even not a few of the Ghibellines, began to harken to the call of grace and to receive the Sacraments.
Among the little band of missioners, Isnard shone with special brilliance for his saintliness, zeal and eloquence. The influence which he soon began to wield over the people, caused the leaders of the heretics to single him out for their hatred. They mocked and ridiculed him, publicly spurned him, laughed at his corpulent figure, defamed him, threatened him, did everything in their power either to bring him into disrepute or to make him desist from his tireless apostolate. All was in vain. His sermons were incessant. He challenged his enemies wherever he met them. If they undertook to answer him, his inexorable logic put them to shame, or reduced them to silence. Never was he known to be ill natured, or to lose his patience, yet he showed the fire of divine love that glowed within his breast.
No doubt as much to demonstrate the holiness of His faithful servant as for the benefit of those to whom he preached, God blessed Isnard with the gift of miracles. The early writers mention many wrought by him both before and after his death. These, quite naturally, quickened and strengthened the faith of the Catholics. They also gradually undermined the influence and broke the spirit of the heretics, many of whom were brought into the Church. By the time of the holy man’s death, the Diocese of Pavia was free from attacks by Albigenses, Catharists, and similar sects. They bad gone to other parts, been converted, or held their peace. No-one could be found who would profess their principles. It was a glorious apostolate brought to a successful termination.
Despite the turbulence and the anti-ecclesiastical spirit of the day, the holy Friar Preacher from Chiampo, effected untold good even among this class of citizens. Documents which have escaped the ravages of time show that some, who deferred conversion until on their deathbeds, made him the instrument of their restitution. Others entrusted him with their charity and benefactions. Historians call him an “Apostle of Pavia,” and largely attribute the preservation of the faith in the City, to his zeal.
Another proof of the respect and confidence which Isnard enjoyed among all classes, as well as of his reputation abroad, is found in the incident which we have now to tell. From early times the Diocese of Tours, France, possessed landed estates in and around Pavia. Because of the political disturbances and the Ghibelline spirit, the Canons of the Tours Cathedral, found it impossible to collect their rents. In this dilemma, they appointed our saint their agent; for they felt that he was the only man in northern Italy, who either could obtain their dues for them, or would dare undertake the task. This was in 1240, the year after the historic excommunication of Frederic 11 by Gregory IX. The affair shows bow wisely Isnard steered his course, how all venerated him at home and how well his courage and prudence, were known even in France.
Like a number of the early disciples of Saint Dominic whose lives we have outlined, the apostle and reformer of Pavia did not feel that he had done his all for the benefit of religion until he established a community of Dominican Sisters. These he placed in the immediate vicinity of his own Convent, that he might the better look after their spiritual welfare. Their house bore the same name as that of the fathers — Saint Mary of Nazareth.The dowries of many of these sisters indicate that he founded them, in part, so that wealthy worldly dames, whom he had converted, might have a place in which they could more completely give themselves to the service of God.When, some years after our blessed’s death, the fathers moved into the city proper, the original Saint Mary of Nazareth was turned over to the sisters.
Isnard laboured zealously on, almost to the very last breathe. At least the Lives of the Brethren (Vitae Fratrum) say his final sickness was a matter of only a few days. The manuscript annals, or chronicles, of the old Friar-Preacher convent at Pavia, tell us that he surrendered his pure soul to God on 19 March 1244. He knew that the end was near, prepared for it and died as holily as he had lived.
We have no account of the funeral of the man of God. Yet the great love and admiration in which he was held justify one, in the belief, that the Pavians attended it in immense numbers. Perhaps the sad event plunged the City in no less grief, than his own community. He was buried in the Church of Saint Mary of Nazareth, where his tomb became, at once, a place of pilgrimage for the City and Province of Pavia. Not a few miracles were wrought in answer to prayers to him. The name, Isnard, was often given to children at their Baptism.
In 1850 portions of his relies were given to Chiampo and Vicenza. Old paintings of him here and there, which represented him as a saint, also helped the cause. In 1907 the Diocesan authorities of Pavia, approved of his cult and requested the Holy See to accept their decision. Pope Benedict XV, after a thorough investigation, Beatufied Isnard on 12 March 1919 and granted his Office and Mass to the Friars Preacher and the Diocese of Pavia with 22 March appointed as his feast day in Pavia.
Isnard, is the last of the original disciples of Dominic to be accorded the honours of the altar.
Solemnity of St Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary – 19 March:
“All the unmarried men gathered in the temple and prayed to the Lord conjointly with the Priests, in order to be governed by the Holy Spirit in what they were about to do. The Most High spoke to the heart of the High Priest, inspiring him to place into the hands of each one of the young men, a dry stick, with the command that each ask his Majesty with a lively faith, to single out the one, whom He had chosen as the spouse of Mary. And as the sweet odour of her virtue and nobility, the fame of her beauty, her possessions and her modesty and her position as being the firstborn in her family, was known to all of them, each one coveted the happiness of meriting her as a spouse. Among them all, only the humble and most upright Joseph, thought himself unworthy of such a great blessing and remembering the vow of chastity, which he had made and resolving anew its perpetual observance, he resigned himself to God’s will, leaving it all to His disposal and being filled at the same time, with a veneration and esteem greater than that of any of the others, for the most noble maiden Mary. While they were thus engaged in prayer, the staff which Joseph held was seen to blossom and at the same time, a dove of purest white and resplendent with admirable light, was seen to descend and rest upon the head of the saint, while, in the interior of his heart, God spoke:
“Joseph, my servant, Mary shall be thy Spouse; accept Her with attentive reverence, for She is acceptable in my eyes, just and most pure in soul and body and thou, shalt do all that She shall say to Thee.”
At this manifestation and token from heaven, the Priests declared Saint Joseph as the Spouse selected by God Himself for the maiden Mary. Calling Her forth for her espousal, the chosen one issued forth like the sun, more resplendent than the moon, and She entered into the presence of all, with a countenance more beautiful than that of an angel, incomparable in the charm of her beauty, nobility and grace and the Priests espoused Her to the most chaste and holy of man, Saint Joseph.”
*From The City of God by Ven. Mary of Jesus of Agreda OIC (1602-1665) (a Franciscan abbess and spiritual writer, known especially for her extensive correspondence with King Philip IV of Spain and reports of her bilocation between Spain and its colonies in New Spain. She was a noted mystic of her era. A member of the Order of the Immaculate Conception, also known as Conceptionists, Mary of Jesus wrote 14 books, including a series of revelations about the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Ven Mary of Jesus’ body is incorrupt. Less than ten years after her death, Mary of Jesus was declared Venerable by Pope Clement X, in honour of her “heroic life of virtue.” Although the process of beatification was opened in 1673, it has not as yet been completed.)
St Adrian of Maastricht St Alkmund of Northumbria St Amantius of Wintershoven Bl Andrea Gallerani St Apollonius of Braga St Auxilius of Ireland Bl Clement of Dunblane St Colocer of Saint-Brieuc St Corbasius of Quimperlé St Cuthbert of Brittany St Gemus Blessed Isnard de Chiampo OP (Died 1244) Priest, known as the “Apostle of Pavia” Bl Jan Turchan St John the Syrian of Pinna St Lactali of Freshford St Landoald of Maastricht St Leontinus of Braga St Leontinus of Saintes Blessed Marcel Callo (1921-1945) Martyr Biography: https://anastpaul.com/2019/03/19/saint-of-the-day-19-march-blessed-marcel-callo-1921-1945-aged-23-martyr/