Nuestra Senora de Valvanera / Our Lady of Valvanera, La Rioja, Spain (9th Century) – 23 September:
This image is a replica of the original which appears to have dated from the ninth century and is preserved in the Royal Abbey Shrine of Our Lady of Valvanera, or Valvanere, in Rioja, jealously guarded by Benedictine Monks. The oldest documents preserved, dates from the thirteenth century and tells how, according to tradition, the original image was found by a thief who later converted and became a hermit.
There was a thief named Nuno Onez, who was a hardened criminal and a “man of licentious life and dedicated to looting.” One day, however, upon hearing the prayer of a man who was to be his next victim, he was touched by Divine grace and repented of his many crimes, turning to the Blessed Virgin Mary to help him change his life. One day while he was praying, an Angel appeared to him to tell him to go to Valvanera and search for an oak that stood out from the rest, with a fountain that gushed at its feet and surrounded by swarms of bees. There, in the branches of a strong and noble oak, in the presence of a fountain of pure and clear water, the trunk of which was overflowing with the sweetness of honey, he found an image of the Mother of God, the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Nuno went to the place with a Priest on the following Sunday and found the image, just as the Angel had said. The Statue had probably been hidden there when the Moslems invaded the Iberian Peninsula in the 8th century. In that place, in the last third of the ninth century, he began to build a place of worship that became known as the Chapel of Santo Cristo. Soon there was a small group of hermits who met to pray around this image, men who eventually adopted a regular life inspired by the Rule of Saint Benedict. Thus, this small Shrine is believed to have given rise to the Monastery of Valvanera, where the Virgin is currently venerated.
Valvanera Monastery is surrounded by a forest near the Town of Anguiano in the valley of the Sierra Demand La Rioja. Its name derives from the Latin “Vallis Venaria,” which literally means: “Valley water veins.” The first Abbot was a man named Don Sancho in the year 990.
Our Lady apparently has a preference for oak trees, since this is one of several Statues found in or on an oak tree. On that very spot today is seen the magnificent Church which Alphonsus IV, King of Castile, built in honour of the Mother of God in 1073 and which houses the image.
She, the valiant woman of Scripture, desired her children, her clients and her devotees to share in a spiritual manner, in the strength and the power of this mighty tree, which is certainly a symbol of her.
St Padre Pio/ Pius of Pietrelcina OFM Cap (1887-1968) (Memorial) Priest, Franciscan Capuchin Friar, Stigmatist, Mystic, Confessor.
St Alfonso Burgos
St Adamnan of Iona/Eunan of Iona (c 628-704) Monk, Abbot
Bl Antonio of Tlaxcala
Bl Bernardina Maria Jablonska
St Cissa of Northumbria
St Constantius of Ancona
Bl Cristobal of Tlaxcala
Bl Emilie Tavernier Gamelin
Bl Francisco de Paula Victor
Bl Guy of Durnes
Bl Helen Duglioli
Bl Juan of Tlaxcala
St Pope Linus (c 10 – c 76) Successor to St Peter. Papacy lasted from c 67 to his death. Among those to have held the position of pope, Peter, Linus and Clement are specifically mentioned in the New Testament. Linus is mentioned in the closing greeting of the Second Epistle to Timothy as being with Paul in Rome near the end of Paul’s life.
About St Pope Linus:
St Peter Acontanto
St Thecla (1st century) Virgin Martyr, Disciple of St Paul.
Her Life and Death:
Bl William Way
Martyrs of Syracuse – (4 saints): Group of Christians deported from Syracuse, Sicily by invading Saracens and sent to North Africa where they were tortured and executed for their faith. Martyrs. The names that have survived are Andrew, Antony, John and Peter. c900
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• Blessed Crispulo Moyano Linares
• Blessed María Josefa del Río Messa
• Blessed Norberto Cembranos de la Verdura
• Blessed Purificación Ximénez y Ximénez
• Blessed Sofía Ximénez y Ximénez del Río
• Blessed Vicente Ballester Far