Madonna del Patrocinio / Our Lady of Defence – also known as Santa Maria del Calcare (Faenza, Ravenna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy) (1685) – 14 December:
In Forlì, in eastern Italy, the Baldi family owned a painting of the Madonna nursing the Christ Child. A woman of the family joined the Camaldolese Benedictine Convent there under the name of Sister Frances and at her death, the Bishop requested that the sacred image be moved to the Convent Church.
In 1614, such great crowds attended the Madonna’s transfer ceremony that the Sisters decided to build a special Chapel for the Blessed Virgin of Defence. On the last Sunday of September, 1650, the painting was installed in its new marble Shrine. An annual festa on that day commemorated the beginning of public veneration of the Virgin of Defence.
During the night of 20 November 1685, a fire spread from the Convent laundry to the parlour and Sacristy and had almost entered the Chapel of the holy image when the flames stopped unexpectedly. Only in morning did the nuns realise what happened.
This miracle rekindled public devotion to the Blessed Virgin of Defence, which the Vatican approved officially in 1721. During the Risorgimento, the government closed many religious communities and seized their goods. When their Convent was suppressed in 1862, the Camaldolese Nuns of Forlì moved with their Madonna to Faenza, about 15 miles away. The small Sanctuary of the Madonna del Patrocinio, is located along the old mule track that led from Bieno and Santino to the sunny pastures of Ompio. The Sanctuary, built at the beginning of the 18th century, was the destination of endless penitential processions of peasants, shepherds and woodcutters. The place is surrounded by dense chestnut and oak woods; almost a border between the lakes (Maggiore and Mergozzo) and the infinite forest of the Val Grande.
On 14 December 1954, at the close of the Marian Year, the sacred image was solemnly crowned by the Bishop of Faenza, Msgr Giuseppe Battaglia. At the nuns’ request, the Virgin’s crown was made of the gold rings they had received at their solemn profession, together with pilgrims’ votive offerings. St Catherine’s Convent was demolished in 2008 for construction of a Catholic rest home. I believe the miraculous image now resides in the local Parish Church.
St John of the Cross OCD (Memorial) (1542-1591) Doctor of the Church
St John’s Feast Day is 24 November (General Roman Calendar, 1738–1969)
St Abundius of Spain
St Agnellus of Naples
St Berthold of Regensburg OFM (c 1220-1272) Friar of the Order of the Friars Minor, Renowned Preacher for which reason he was known as “Sweet Brother Berthold,” “The Beloved of God and man,” “A Second Elias,”,”The Teacher of the Nations.”
Bl Buenaventura Bonaccorsi
St Folcuino of Therouanne
Bl Joan Lambertini
St John Pan y Agua (Bread-and-Water)
Bl John Discalceat
St Justus of Spain
St Matronianus of Milan
St Pompeius of Pavia
Bl Protasi Cubells Minguell
St Venantius Fortunatus (c 530 – c 609) Bishop, Poet, Hymnist, Writer.
Another “Golden Words”:
St Viator of Bergamo
St Yusuf Jurj Kassab al-Hardini
Bl William de Rovira
Martyrs of Alexandria – 4 saints: A group of Egyptian Christians martyred together in the persecutions of Decius – Arsenius, Dioscurus, Heron and Isidore. They were burned to death in 250 at Alexandria, Egypt.
Martyrs of Apollonia – 7 saints: Martyred in the persecutions of Decius. The only surviving details are three names – Callinicus, Leucio and Tirso. Apollonia, Bithynia (in modern Turkey).
Martyrs of Ashkelon – 3 saints: Several pilgrims from Egypt to Cilicia (in modern Turkey) who planned to minister to fellow Christians suffering in the persecutions of emperor Maximinus. They were arrested, torture, mutilated and then imprisoned in Ashkelon. Some were ordered to forced labour in the mines, but we have the names of three who were martyred by order of governor Firmilian – Ares, Elijah and Promo. They were burned at the stake or beheaded at the gates of Ashkelon c 308.
Martyrs of Hayle – 2+ saints: Several Christians, including a brother and sister, who were martyred together by pagans. The only other information to survive are the names of the two siblings – Fingar and Phiala. 5th century at Hayle, Cornwall, England.
Martyrs of Syria – 3 saints: Three Christians who were martyred together. Known to Saint John Chrysostom who preached on their feast day and left us the only details we have – their names – Drusus, Theodore and Zosimus. The date and precise location of their martyrdom is unknown, but it was in Syria, possibly in Antioch.