Quote/s of the Day – 19 May – “Mary’s Month” – Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Easter and the Memorial of St Francisco Coll y Guitart OP (1812-1875) “The Apostle of Modern Times”
Praise of the Rosary From a sermon of St Francisco Coll
… Oh Rosary! You are a book, brief yes but that teaches the holiest and most sacred of our Religion. You are an ark, that conceals a very rich treasure worthy of all men seeking it with great eagerness. You are a gift from Heaven, that you reveal to us the elements of religion, the principles, the motives and the practice of all the virtues, you light us in charity and love towards that God Who so deigned to do and suffer for us. You wake up the drowsy, enflame the lukewarm, you push the lazy, you embrace the righteous, you convert sinners, you reduce or confuse heretics, you frighten the devil, you tremble to hell or, to put it better, you are a devotion that includes and contains all the devotions.”
“Is this not a work of God and admirable in our eyes? Yes, yes, it is the work of God and given to the world, by the merits of my Father Saint Dominic.”
St Francisco Coll (1812-1875)
“The Apostle of Modern Times”
One Minute Reflection – 19 May – “Mary’s Month” – Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Easter,Readings: Acts 16: 22-34, Psalms 138: 1-2, 2-3, 7-8, John 16: 5-11 and the Memorial of St Francisco Coll y Guitart OP (1812-1875) “The Apostle of Modern Times”
“It is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” … John 16:7
REFLECTION – St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross [Edith Stein] OCD (1891-1942) Martyr, Co-Patron of Europe
“Who are You, sweet light, that fills me
and illumines the darkness of my heart? (…)
Are You the master who builds the eternal cathedral,
Which towers from the earth through the heavens?
Animated by You, the columns are raised high
And stand immovably firm.
Marked with the eternal name of God,
They stretch up to the light,
Bearing the dome
That crowns the holy cathedral,
Your work that encircles the world:
Holy Spirit, God’s moulding hand! (…)
Are You the sweet song of love
And of holy awe
That eternally resounds around the triune throne,
That weds in itself, the clear chimes of each and every being?
That joins together, the members to the Head,
In which each one
Finds the mysterious meaning of being blessed
And joyously surges forth,
Freely dissolved in Your surging,
Holy Spirit, eternal jubilation!”
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 Your grace and Your Spirit, to make us 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 Francisco Coll, you who constantly sought to be a light of the beauty of God, pray for us! Through our Our Lord Jesus Christ with You, in the union of the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Saint of the Day – 19 May – St Francisco Coll y Guitart OP (1812-1875) Spanish Priest of the Order of Preachers, (the Dominicans), Founder of the Dominican Sisters of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin, Confessor, Evangeliser, Missionary Preacher, Apostle of Charity especially to needy children, his Order focusing on young girls especially, who were ignored at that time. He was appointed by the Holy See Apostolic Missionary and was known as “The Apostle of Modern Times.”St Francisco is commonly called St Francisco Coll. Born on 18 May 1812 in Gombrèny, Catalonia, Spain and died on 2 April 1875 (aged 62) at Vic, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. His Feast day today, is celebrated on the date of his Baptism, not on the day of his entry into eternal life, as is usual. Patronage – Congregation of the Dominican Sisters of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. St John Paul II Beatified him on 29 April 1979. In his Homily for Fr Coll’s Beatification, the Pope described him as “a transmitter of faith, a sower of hope, a preacher of love, peace and reconciliation among those whom passions, war and hatred keep divided”, and “a real man of God”, a “man of prayer”,who made his Priestly and Religious identity a source of inspiration, with the words, “I am a religious” constantly on his lips.
St Francisco Coll y Guitart was born on 18 May 1812 in the small village of Gombreny, in the Diocese of Vic, Catalonia. He was the 10th and last child of a wool carder.
At the age of 10 he was sent to the Minor Seminary in Vic in 1823. He completed his studies in 1830 and that same year entered the Convent of the Order of Preachers in Gerona, founded only about 35 years after St Dominic de Guzman’s death. He made his solemn profession and received the Diaconate in 1831.
Contemporaries of Fr Coll testify that he always behaved as a man of God and led an exemplary life. In 1835 religious orders in Spain were forcibly suppressed and Friar Francisco Coll, was obliged to abandon his convent and become a secularised Dominican. He was, nevertheless, Ordained a Priest on 28 May 1836 despite the risks involved.
Indeed, in spite of being unable, because of the new anti-clerical laws, to live in his convent or to wear his habit, he remained a Dominican all his life in all that he was and all that he did. Soon after his Ordination Francisco offered his services to his Bishop and for 40 years exercised his ministry as an itinerant Missionary in the Parishes of northeast Spain.
Impelled by an irresistible force, he started to preach as a new apostle, “the Apostle of Modern Times.” Like the Founder of his Order, he received no stipend nor would he accept donations, he was a preacher of popular missions. He prayed for long hours, studied and dedicated a great deal of time to preparing sermons for preaching the missions.
For more than thirty years he exercised his Missionary apostolate, first in the Parish of Artés and Moyá and later as a Missionary in various Dioceses of Catalonia. His fame as a preacher grew rapidly and his word mobilised crowds. His main concern was to carry the Word of God in a cordial, simple and understandable way to the people, to achieve a true interior conversion. To carry out the ministry of preaching, he preferred teamwork as it was capable of creating the most abundant fruit. Hence, his belief in the efficacy of collaboration and thus began with giving spiritual exercises to the Priests in the region. Thereafter, he collaborated with these same Diocesan Priests and with Jesuits, Claretians, Augustinians and fellow Dominicans. With his friend, St Anthony Mary Claret, he assisted in the founding of the “Apostolic Fellowship” for Evangelisation in 1846.
He preached to cloistered nuns and prisoners, visited the sick and imparted Catechesis to children, always encouraging devotion to the Virgin Mary. His evangelising activity included a great dedication to the Sacrament of Penance, a prominent emphasis on the Eucharist and a constant insistence on prayer.
His complete trust in God and his apostolic zeal motivated him to gather a group of young women who had already chosen to follow Jesus’ call. In 1850 he was appointed Director of the Secular Order of Dominican Tertiaries, which enabled him to found the Congregation of the Dominican Sisters of the Anunciata in 1856 to solve the problem of the Christian formation of girls, then considered inferior to boys.
Although the beginnings of Fr Coll’s Order were difficult because of the lack of financial means, to the point that the Bishop suggested to Father Coll to close the institute and dismiss the ladies. But thanks to the perseverance of the Founder and also to the help of some religious (like his friend St Anthony María Claret) they were able to make progress. Soon he had the invaluable collaboration of a young teacher, Rosa Santaeugenia (1831-1889), who was the first Prioress General of the Congregation. Despite the difficult beginnings, the Congregation had an extraordinary growth, reaching 50 communities the year of the death of its Founder. From the beginning, Father Coll inserted the new Institute in the Order of Preachers, of Saint Dominic de Guzmán. The first communities of the Dominican Sisters of the Anunciata were located in the rural areas of Catalonia, often obtaining religious places in the public schools. However, as a result of the socio-political situation – the September 1868 revolution – some sisters were forced to leave these schools and the foundation of small private schools was expanded, many of them in the vicinity of textile factories.
When Fr Coll died, according to the Congregation he founded, there were already 300 sisters and 50 communities dedicated to the Christian education of children, mainly girls. Today the Congregation has about 1,039 members in Europe, America, Africa and Asia.
The mission of the Congregation, since its foundation in 1856, is oriented especially towards education and evangelisation, being present in the integral formation of children and youth, parish activity, missionary activity and also in the world of health.
Its objective is to “Announce the message of salvation to all, especially to children and youth,” in large and small towns and form a definitive option for the most needy.
Fr Coll lost his sight and was cared for by the nuns of his Congregation. He died in Vic on 2 April 1875 at the age of 62. His body was exposed in the Chapel of his religious and they buried him in the local cemetery. His mortal remains were later translated to the Chapel of the Mother House. … Vatican.va
Blessed Coll was Canonised on 11 October 2009, Saint Peter’s Square, Vatican City by Pope Benedict XVI. His words during the Canonisation homily:
“… Francisco Coll reached the hearts of others because he transmitted what he himself lived with passion within, what burned in his heart – the love of Christ , his surrender to Him. So that the seed of the Word of God found good land, Francisco founded the congregation of the Dominican Sisters of the Annunciation, in order to give a comprehensive education to children and young people, so that they could discover the unfathomable wealth that is Christ, that faithful friend who never abandons us or who tires of being by our side, encouraging our hope with His Word of life …”
Saint of the Day – 14 May – Blessed Giles of Santarem OP (1185-1265) Dominican Friar, Confessor, Penitent – born Gil Rodrigues de Valadares in 1185 at Vaozela, Portugal and died on 14 May 1265 in Santarem, Portugal of natural causes.
Blessed Giles was born at Vouzella, near Coimbra, Portugal, about in 1185. His father was the governor of Coimbra and a Counsellor of Sancho I, the king of Portugal. Although his father wanted Giles to enter the ecclesiastical state and the King was lavish in bestowing ecclesiastical benefices on Giles, while still a child, Giles, however, wanted to study medicine. After some time studying philosophy in Coimbra, Giles left to study medicine in Paris.
Blessed Giles was intercepted by a kindly stranger on his trip to Paris, who promised to teach him magic if he would sign his soul over to the devil in blood. Blessed Giles, the legend continues, signed away his soul and studied magic for seven years before going to Paris where he excelled in his medical studies and was noted for many fantastic cures. However, we know that at some point Blessed Giles reformed his life and repented.
He returned to Portugal and took the Dominican habit in at a newly erected convent in Palencia in about 1224. Shortly after arriving in Palencia, his Dominican superiors sent Blessed Giles to the Dominican convent at Scallabis, present day Santarem, Portugal. There he led a life of prayer and penance and for seven years was tormented about the compact he had entered into with the devil. However, according to Blessed Giles’ biographer, finally Satan was compelled to surrender Giles’ soul and placed the compact he had signed before the Altar of the Blessed Virgin.
After this experience, Giles returned to Paris to study theology. On his second return to Portugal, he became famous for his piety and learning. He was twice elected provincial of the Dominican Order in Spain.
Noted for his humble service to his brethren, he died at Santarem on 14 May 1265. Blessed Giles was Beatified by Pope Benedict XIV (cultus confirmed) on 9 May 1748.
Saint of the Day – 7 May – Blessed Alberto of Bergamo OP (1214-1279) Layman, Widow, Apostle of Charity, Pilgrim, Third Order Dominican – born at Villa d’Ogna, Italy and died on 7 May 1279 in Cremona, Italy of natural causes. Patronages – Villa d’Ogna, Compagnia dell’Arte dei Brentatori, Farmers, Labourers, Bakers.
Albert “the Farmer” was a peasant farmer who followed his pious and industrious father’s example. His father taught him many practices of penance and piety that later fructified in a saintly life. At seven, Albert was fasting three days a week, giving the foregone food to the poor. Working at the heavy labour of the fields, Albert learned to see God in all things and to listen for His voice in all nature. The beauty of the earth was to him a voice that spoke only of heaven. He grew up pure of heart, discreet and humble–to the edification of the entire village.
Albert married while still quite young. At first his wife made no objection to the generosity and self-denial for which he was known. When his father died, however, she made haste to criticise his every act and word and made his home almost unbearable with her shrewish scolding. “You give too much time to prayer and to the poor!” she charged; Albert only replied that God will return all gifts made to the poor.
In testimony to this, God miraculously restored the meal Albert had given away over his wife’s objections. Finally, softened by Albert’s prayers, she ceased her nagging and became his rival in piety and charity. She died soon after her conversion and Albert, being childless, he left his father’s farm to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and Rome.
Stopping at Cremona, Italy, at harvest time, Albert went to work in the fields. He soon earned the name of “the diligent worker.” His guardian angel worked beside him in the fields and, therefore, twice the work was accomplished that might be expected of one man. Weighing in his grain at the end of the day, Albert always received twice as much in wages as the other workers did. Though he gave this to the poor and kept nothing for himself, jealous companions determined to annoy him. Planting pieces of iron in the field where Albert would be working the next day, they watched to see him break or dull his scythe. Miraculously, the scythe cut through iron as it did through the grain, never suffering any harm. In Cremona, Albert’s poverty was also a witness to a group of heretics there who boasted of their own poverty.
In all, Albert visited Rome nine times, Santiago de Compostela eight times and Jerusalem once. He worked his way, giving to the poor every penny he could spare. His pilgrimages were almost unbroken prayer, he walked along singing hymns and chanting Psalms, or conversing on things of God with the people he met along the way.
Appalled at the suffering of pilgrims who fell ill far from home and the penniless, Albert determined to build a hospital for their use. This he actually accomplished by his prayers and diligent work.
In 1256, he met the Dominicans. Attracted by the life of Saint Dominic, Albert joined the Brothers of Penance, which later became the Order of Penance of Saint Dominic and continued his works of charity in his new state. As a lay brother he was closely associated with the religious but lived in the world so that he was able to continue his pilgrimages. At home, he assisted the Dominican fathers in Cremona, working happily in their garden, cultivating the medicinal herbs so necessary at the time and doing cheerfully all the work he could find that was both heavy and humble.
Falling very ill, Albert sent a neighbour for the priest but there was a long delay and a dove came bringing him Holy Viaticum. When he died, the bells of Cremona rang of themselves and people of all classes hurried to view the precious remains. It was planned to bury him in the common cemetery, outside the cloister, as he was a secular tertiary but no spade could be found to break the ground. An unused tomb was discovered in the church of Saint Matthias, where he had so often prayed and he was buried there. Many miracles were attributed to him after his death and the farmer- saint became legendary for his generosity to the poor.
Blessed Alberto was Beatified in 1748 after Pope Benedict XIV confirmed that there existed a longstanding local ‘cultus’ – or popular devotion – to the late farmer.
St Joseph Luu
Bl Juan de Verdegallo
St Longinus of Africa
St Neachtain of Cill-Uinche
St Theodulus of Pamphylia
St Ultan of Péronne
St Vindemialis of Africa
St Waldebert of Luxeuil St Wiborada of Saint Gallen OSB (Died 926) Martyr
Bl William Tirry
St Zoe of Pamphylia
Martyrs of Alexandria – 4 saints: A group of Christians marytred together in the persecutions of Diocletian. We know little more than their names – Celestine, Germanus, Neopolus and Saturninus. 304 in Alexandria, Egypt
Our Morning Offering – 29 April – Wednesday of the Third Week of Easter and the Memorial of St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) Doctor of the Church
O God of Truth and Love A Prayer of Penitence By St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380)
O omnipotent Father,
God of truth,
God of love
permit me to enter into
the cell of self-knowledge.
I admit, that of myself,
I am nothing
but that all being
and goodness in me
comes solely from You.
Show me my faults,
that I may detest them,
and thus I shall flee from self-love
and find myself clothed again
in the nuptial robe of divine charity,
which I must have,
in order to be admitted
to the nuptials of life eternal.
One Minute Reflection – 28 May – Tuesday of the Third Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 7:51–8:1, Psalm 31:3-4, 6-8, 17, 21, John 6:30-35 and the Memorial of Blessed María Felicia of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament OCD (1925-1959)
“I am the bread of life, whoever comes to me shall not hunger and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” … John 6:35
REFLECTION – St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) – Sequence for the feast of Corpus Christi “ Lauda Sion ”
Laud, O Sion, thy salvation
Laud with hymns of exultation
Christ, thy King and Shepherd true,
Spend thyself, his honour raising,
Who surpasseth all thy praising,
Never canst thou reach His due.
Sing today, the mystery showing
Of the living, life-bestowing
Bread from heaven before thee set,
E’en the same of old provideth,
Where the Twelve, divinely guided,
At the holy table met.
Full and clear ring out thy chanting,
Joy nor sweetest grace be wanting
To thy heart and soul today …
Lo, the new King’s table gracing,
This new Passover of blessing
Hath fulfilled the elder rite,
Now the new the old effaceth,
Truth revealed, the shadow chaseth,
Day is breaking on the night.
What He did, at Supper seated,
Christ ordained to be repeated,
His memorial ne’er to cease
And His word for guidance taking,
Bread and wine we hallow, making
Thus our sacrifice of peace.
This the truth to Christians given,
Bread becomes His flesh from heaven,
Wine becomes His holy Blood (Jn 6:55). …
Whoso of this food partaketh,
Christ divideth not nor breaketh,
He is whole to all that taste.
Whether one this bread receiveth
Or a thousand, still He giveth
One same Food that cannot waste. …
Lo! the Angel’s Food is given (Ps 78:25)
To the pilgrim who hath striven,
See the children’s Bread from heaven
Which to dogs may not be cast (Mt 15:26).
Truth the ancient types fulfilling,
Isaac bound, a victim willing (Gn 22),
Paschal lamb, its life-blood spilling,
Manna sent in ages past.
O true Bread, good Shepherd, tend us,
Jesu, of Thy love befriend us,
Thou refresh us, Thou defend us,
Thine eternal goodness send us
In the land of life to see (Ps 27:13)
Thou who all things canst and knowest,
Who on earth such Food bestowest,
Grant us with the saints, though lowest,
Where the heavenly Feast Thou showest,
Fellow-heirs and guests to be.
PRAYER – Almighty Father, to whom this world, with all it’s goodness and beauty belongs, give us grace joyfully to begin this day in Your name and to fill it with the active love for You and our neighbour. By the food You give us, to sustain us on this journey, we are brought to holiness in Your Son, our Lord Jesus the Christ, whom You gave to us as our food. May the Mother of Your Son and our mother, lead us to You and may the prayers of Bl Maria Felicia of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, be a succour on our way. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 23 April – Thursday of the Second Week of Easter
You are the King of All By St Albert the Great (1200-1280) Universal Doctor
We pray to You, O Lord,
who are the supreme Truth,
and all truth is from You.
We beseech You, O Lord,
who are the highest Wisdom,
and all the wise depend on You
for their wisdom.
You are the supreme Joy,
and all who are happy owe it to You.
You are the Light of minds,
and all receive their understanding from You.
We love, we love You above all.
We seek You, we follow You,
and we are ready to serve You.
We desire to dwell under Your power
for You are the King of all.
Saint of the Day – 19 March – Blessed Sibyllina Biscossi (1287-1367) OP Blind Dominican Virgin and Recluse, Penitent, Miracle-worker – also known as Sibyllina of Pavia, Sybil – Additional Memorials – 20 March (Pavia, Italy) and 23 March (Order of Preachers). Patronages – Children whose parents are not married, illegitimacy, loss of parents. Her body is incorrupt.
The Roman Martyrology says of her – In Pavia, in Lombardy, Blessed Sibyllina Biscossi, Virgin, who became blind at the age of twelve, spent sixty-five years imprisoned alongside the Church of the Order of Preachers, shining with its interior light many who flocked to it.
“All things work for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). How many of us would have the faith to trust in God’s providence as did this holy woman? As Mother Angelica has witnessed, true faith is knowing that when the Lord asks you to walk into the void, He will place a rock beneath your feet. True faith is to be able to praise God in all things, to say with Job, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).
Sybillina’s parents died when she was tiny and as soon as she was old enough to be of use to anyone, the neighbours, who had taken her in at the time she was orphaned, put her out to work. She must have been very young when she started to work, because at the age of 12, when she became blind and could not work any more, she already had several years of work behind her.
The cause of her blindness is unknown but the child was left doubly destitute with the loss of her sight. The local chapter of the Dominican tertiary sisters took compassion on the child and brought her home to live with them. After a little while of experiencing their kind help, she wanted to join them. They accepted her, young though she was, more out of pity than in any hope of her being able to carry on their busy and varied apostolate.
They were soon agreeably surprised to find out how much she could do. She learned to chant the Office quickly and sweetly and to absorb their teaching about mental prayer as though she had been born for it. She imposed great obligations of prayer on herself, since she could not help them in other ways. Her greatest devotion was to Saint Dominic and it was to him she addressed herself when she finally became convinced that she simply must have her sight back so that she could help the sisters with their work.
Praying earnestly for this intention, Sybillina waited for his feast day. Then, she was certain, he would cure her. Matins came and went with no miracle, little hours, Vespers– and she was still blind. With a sinking heart, Sybillina knelt before Saint Dominic’s statue and begged him to help her. Kneeling there, she was rapt in ecstasy and she saw him come out of the darkness and take her by the hand.
He took her to a dark tunnel entrance and she went into the blackness at his word. Terrified but still clinging to his hand, she advanced past invisible horrors, still guided and protected by his presence. Dawn came gradually and then light, then a blaze of glory. “In eternity, dear child,” he said. “Here, you must suffer darkness so that you may one day behold eternal light.”
Sybillina, the eager child, was replaced by a mature and thoughtful Sybillina who knew that there would be no cure for her, that she must work her way to heaven through the darkness. She decided to become a anchorite and obtained the necessary permission. In 1302, at the age of 15, she was sealed into a tiny cell next to the Dominican church at Pavia. At first she had a companion but her fellow recluse soon gave up the life. Sybillina remained, now alone, as well as blind.
The first seven years were the worst, she later admitted. The cold was intense and she never permitted herself a fire. The church, of course, was not heated and she wore the same clothes winter and summer. In the winter there was only one way to keep from freezing–keep moving–so she genuflected and gave herself the discipline. She slept on a board and ate practically nothing. To the tiny window, that was her only communication with the outside world, came the troubled and the sinful and the sick, all begging for her help. She prayed for all of them and worked many miracles in the lives of the people of Pavia.
One of the more amusing requests came from a woman who was terrified of the dark. Sybillina was praying for her when she saw her in a vision and observed that the woman–who thought she was hearing things–put on a fur hood to shut out the noise. The next day the woman came to see her and Sybillina laughed gaily. “You were really scared last night, weren’t you?” she asked. “I laughed when I saw you pull that hood over your ears.” The legend reports that the woman was never frightened again.
Sybillina had a lively sense of the Real Presence and a deep devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. One day a priest was going past her window with Viaticum for the sick, she knew that the host was not consecrated and told him so. He investigated and found he had indeed taken a host from the wrong container.
Sybillina lived as a recluse for 65 years. She followed all the Masses and Offices in the church, spending what few spare minutes she had working with her hands to earn a few alms for the poor.
She is buried in the Dominican church in Pavia
Her cultus was confirmed in 1853 by Pope Pius IX and she was Beatified by him on 17 August 1854.
From the General Calendar of the Order of Preachers on her Feast Day:
Let us Pray: O God, who wast pleased to enlighten the soul of Blessed Sibyllina, Thy Virgin , with admirable splendour, though she was deprived of bodily sight, grant, through her intercession, that, enlightened with light from above, we may despise earthly things and earnestly strive after those that are eternal. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
O Lord, enkindle our hearts with the fire of the Spirit, who wonderfully renewed Blessed Sibyllina. Filled with that heavenly light may we come to know Jesus Christ crucified and always grow in Your love. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Ghost, one God, forever and ever.
Saint of the Day – 24 February – Blessed Ascensión of the Heart of Jesus OP (1868-1940)
a Spanish Religious sister of the Order of St Dominic, Teacher, Missionary. She co-founded and was the first Prioress General of the Congregation of Dominican Missionary Sisters of the Rosary, which she helped to found in Peru. Born as Florentina Nicol y Goni on 14 March 1868 in Tafalla, Navarre, Spain and died on 24 February 1940 in Peru of natural causes. Also known as Maria Ascension Nicol y Goñi, Mother Ascension del Corazon de Jesus, Mother Ascensión Nicol Goñi, Florentina Nicol Goni. Patronage- Dominican Missionary Sisters of the Rosary.
Florentina was the youngest of four children. She was educated at Saint Rose of Lima Dominican boarding school in Huesca, where she was first introduced to the religious life, which raised questions in her mind about her future. Returning home for a year to reflect on her choices, she later returned to the monastery and became a nun of the Dominican Second Order in 1885, taking the name “Maria Ascension of the Heart of Jesus”. She became a teacher at that school in 1886 and served in that capacity for the next 27 years. Under the anti-clerical laws promulgated in the early 20th century, however, in 1913 the Spanish government took over the school and expelled the Sisters.
Bl. Ascensión of the Heart of Jesus is one of the great missionaries of the last century. From her youth, she viewed life as a gift for the Lord and for her neighbour and she wanted to marry no-one except God, to whom she consecrated herself as a Dominican Missionary Sister at the monastery of St Rose in Huesca, Spain. She lived unreservedly the dynamism of charity which the Holy Spirit generates in those who are open to Him in their hearts.
The first part of her apostolate consisted of being a teacher in the school connected to the monastery. Testimonials recall her as an excellent educator, amiable and strong, understanding and exacting.
But the Lord had different plans in store for her. At age 45, he called her to become a missionary in Peru. With youthful enthusiasm and total trust in Providence, she left her Country and dedicated herself to the evangelisation of the world, beginning on the American Continent. Her work was so generous, vast and efficacious that it left a profound mark on the missionary history of the Church.
She collaborated with the Dominican Bishop, Ramon Zubieta, in founding the Dominican Missionary Sisters of the Rosary, of which she was the first Superior General. Her missionary life was rich in sacrifices, hardships and apostolic fruits. She made many apostolic trips to Peru, to Europe and she even went to China. She had the temperament of an intrepid and tireless fighter, together with a maternal tenderness that was capable of conquering hearts. Driven by charity for Christ, she showed to all, the charisms of spiritual motherhood.
Sustained by a living faith and by a fervent devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to Our Lady of the Rosary, she dedicated herself to the salvation of souls, even to the sacrifice of her very self. And she frequently urged her Daughters to do the same, saying that souls are not saved without sacrificing themselves. She inspired an ever more pure and intense charity and for this, she offered herself as a victim to the Merciful Love of God.
She also established her congregation in Spain where they were able to recruit and form many missionary vocations. The General Motherhouse of the congregation was established in Pamplona, Navarre, Spain, and became her base.
By 1938 Mother Ascension felt increasingly frail and wanted to retire to prepare herself for her final days. Nevertheless, she accepted her unanimous re-election for a third term as Prioress General at the congregation’s General Chapter of 1939. She died on 24 February 1940.
Today the congregation has 785 Sisters serving in 21 nations on five continents. It’s General Motherhouse is now in Madrid, Spain. Among its members, the congregation counts four Sisters who are considered to be martyrs for the faith, having been tortured and murdered in the former Republic of the Congo on 25 November 1964, in the course of the Simba Rebellion, after they refused to leave the patients in their hospital.
She was Beatified on 14 May 2005 by Pope Benedict XVI. The Recognition Celebration was celebrated by Cardinal Saraiva Martins in Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City.
St Adela of Blois
Bl Antonio Taglia
Bl Arnold of Carcassonne
St Betto of Auxerre
Bl Berta of Busano Bl Constantius of Fabriano OP (1401-1481) Biography: https://anastpaul.com/2019/02/24/saint-of-the-day-24-february-blessed-constantius-of-fabriano-op-1401-1481/
St Cummian Albus of Iona
St Ethelbert of Kent
Evetius of Nicomedia Blessed Ascensión of the Heart of Jesus/Florentina Nicol y Goñi OP (1868-1940)
Bl Ida of Hohenfels
Bl Josefa Naval Girbes
Bl Lotario Arnari
Bl Marco De’ Marconi
St Modestus of Trier
St Peter the Librarian
St Praetextatus of Rouen
St Sergius of Caesarea
Bl Simon of Saint Bertin Blessed Tommaso Maria Fusco (1831-1891)
St Gertrude Caterina Comensoli
St Helladius of Toledo
St Ioannes Chen Xianheng
St Ioannes Zhang Tianshen
St Jean-François-Régis Clet
St Jean-Pierre Néel
Bl Jerzy Kaszyra
Bl John Pibush – one of the Martyrs of Douai
St Leo of Patera
St Martinus Wu Xuesheng
Bl Matthew Malaventino
St Paregorius of Patara
St Sadoth of Seleucia
St Tarasius of Constantinople
Bl William Harrington
Martyrs of North Africa – 7 saints: Group of Christians who were martyred together, date unknown. We know nothing else but seven of their names – Classicus, Fructulus, Lucius, Maximus, Rutulus, Secundinus and Silvanus.
They were born and martyred in North Africa.
Martyrs of Rome – 5 saints: A group of Christians martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian. We know nothing else but their names – Alexander, Claudius, Cutias, Maximus and Praepedigna. They were martyred in 295 in Rome, Italy.
Saint of the Day – 16 February – Blessed Nicola Paglia OP (1197-1256) Priest of the Order of Preachers – Dominicans – born in 1197 in Giovanazzo, Bari, Italy and died aged 58 on 16 February 1256 at Perugia, Italy. From his hometown Giovinazzo went to Bologna to study. Here he was drawn to the Order by the vibrant preaching of St Dominic and became his most faithful companion in apostolic wanderings. Twice he was voted as the Provincial of the Roman province and founded the convents of Perugia and Trani. A cultured and far-sighted man, he promoted the study of Sacred Scripture and the compilation of biblical Concordances. He died in Perugia where he is buried in the church of St Dominic.
Nicola was born in Giovinazzo, in the province of Bari in 1197 of noble parents. His parents, raised him with great care. When he was still a child, an angel appeared to him who ordered him to abstain forever from the flesh because one day he would enter an Order where abstinence was perpetual law. As he was the son of Judge Lupone, Nicola was sent to study in Bologna. Here in 1218 met St Dominic. It was then that the young man decided to enter the Order of the great preacher.
He was received into the Dominican Order and was donned with the habit by the hands of Father St Dominic himself, who later made him his faithful companion in his apostolic journeys. He preached in many cities of Italy with immense results and his ardent words were often confirmed by great miracles.
He was the third Provincial of the Roman Province, which then extended from Tuscany to Sicily, which he exercised with strength and gentleness for two terms. One day, exhorting his religious to mutual charity, he confided to them that a recently died religious had appeared to him for forgiveness, who had been the cause of a serious dispute. Having urged him to ask for forgiveness from God and not himself, the culprit replied that the Lord demanded this satisfaction from him: “See Father Nicola, how serious and dangerous it is to offend your neighbour and how important it is to appease him after having him offended.”
Pope Gregory IX commissioned him to visit monasteries and to preach the Crusade against the Saracens.
After long years of apostolic labours he retired to the convent of Perugia. Here he had a vision. Father Raone Romano, a dear friend of his most fruitful days of religious life, appeared and announced to him, in a message from the Madonna, his near death, which occurred in 1256.
Pope Leo XII confirmed his cultus and named him Blessed on 26 March 1828.
St Faustinus of Brescia
St Gilbert of Sempringham
St Honestus of Nimes
St John III of Constantinople Bl Joseph Allamano (1851–1926) Biography: https://anastpaul.com/2019/02/16/saint-of-the-day-16-february-blessed-joseph-allamano-1851-1926/
St Julian of Egypt
St Juliana of Campania
St Juliana of Nicomedia Blessed Nicola Paglia OP (1197-1256)
St Onesimus of Ephesus
Bl Philippa Mareria
Martyrs of Cilicia – 12 saints: A group of Christians who ministered to other Christians who were condemned to work the mines of Cilicia in the persecutions of Maximus. They were arrested, tortured and martryed by order of the governor Firmilian.
The group also includes the three known have been sentenced to the mines –
• Paul of Jamnia
• Valens of Jerusalem
and those who were exposed as Christians as a result of these murders –
• Julian of Cappadocia
• Porphyrius of Caesarea
• Seleucius of Caesarea
• Theodule the Servant
They were martyred in 309 in Cilicia, Asia Minor (in modern Turkey).
Quote/s of the Day – 13 February – the Memorial of Blessed Jordan of Saxony OP (1190-1237)
“Happiness is secured through virtue, it is a good attained by man’s own will.”
St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)
Meeting a vagabond upon the road who feigned sickness and poverty, Blessed Jordan gave him one of his tunics, which the fellow at once carried straight to a tavern for drink. The brethren, seeing this done, taunted him with his simplicity:
‘There now, Master, see how wisely you have bestowed your tunic.’
‘I did so,’ said he, ‘because I believed him to be in want, through sickness and poverty and it seemed, at the moment, to be a charity to help him. Still, I reckon it better, to have parted with my tunic than with charity.’
Blessed Jordan of Saxony (1190-1237)
The Heart of Christ
This Heart lives on service. It does not seek to glorify itself but the Father alone. It does not speak of its love. It performs it’s service so unobtrusively, that it is almost forgotten, as we forget our heart under the stress of our affairs. We think that life lives of itself. No-one listens to his own heart, not even for a second — his heart, that bestows life, hour after hour on him. We have grown used to the slight tremor in our being, to the eternal beating of the waves that from within us, dash on the shore of consciousness. We accept it as we do our destiny, or nature, or the course of things. We have grown used to love. And we no longer hear the tapping finger, that knocks day and night at the gate of our soul, we no longer hear this question, this request to enter.
St Julian of Lyon
St Lucinus of Angers
St Martinian the Hermit
St Maura of Ravenna
St Paulus Lio Hanzuo
St Peter I of Vercelli
St Phaolô Lê Van Loc
St Stephen of Lyons
St Stephen of Rieti
Espousal of the Blessed Virgin Mary – 23 January: Feast in honour of the Blessed Virgin’s espousal to Saint Joseph. It is certain that a real matrimony was contracted by Joseph and Mary. Still Mary is called “espoused” to Joseph (“his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph”, Matthew 1:18) because the matrimony was never consummated. The term spouse is applied to married people until their marriage is consummated. This feast dates from 1517 when it was granted to the nuns of the Annunciation by Pope Leo X with nine other Masses in honour of Our Lady. Adopted by many religious orders and dioceses, it was observed for a time by nearly the whole Church but is no longer in the Calendar.
Bl Joan Font Taulat
St John the Almoner/the Merciful (Died c 620)
Bl Juan Infante
Bl Margaret of Ravenna
Martyrius of Valeria
St Messalina of Foligno
St Ormond of Mairé
St Parmenas the Deacon
St Severian the Martyr
St Agathius the Martyr
St Ammonius of Astas
St Archelais the Martyr
Bl Beatrix of Este the Younger
Bl Charlotte Lucas
St Catus Blessed Cristina Ciccarelli OSA (1481–1543)
St Deicola of Lure
Bl Fazzio of Verona
Bl Félicité Pricet
St Leobard of Tours Blessed Maria Teresa Fasce OSA (1881-1947) Blessed Maria Teresa’s Life: https://anastpaul.com/2019/01/18/saint-of-the-day-18-january-blessed-maria-teresa-fasce-osa-1881-1947/
Bl Monique Pichery
St Moseus of Astas
St Prisca of Rome
St Susanna the Martyr
St Thecla the Martyr
St Ulfrid of Sverige
Bl Victoire Gusteau
St Volusian of Tours
Martyrs of Carthage – 3 saints
Martyrs of Egypt -37 saints
Martyrs of Nicaea – 3 saints
Saint of the Day – 16 January – Blessed Gonzalo de Amarante OP (1187-1259), Dominican Priest, Hermit, Marian Devotee – born as Gonçalo de Amarante in 1187 at Vizella, diocese of Braga, Portugal and died on 10 January 1259 of natural causes. His memorial is celebrated on 10 January by the Dominicans. Patronages – Amarante, Itapissuma, Cajari, Matinha, Viana. He became a Dominican friar and hermit after his return from a long pilgrimage that took him to both Rome and to Jerusalem. He was noted as a wonderworker through whom miracles occurred and he was known for his solitude and silence in reflection, in order to better achieve communication with God.
Gonzalo de Amarante was a true son of the Middle Ages, a man right out of the pages of the ‘Golden Legend.’ His whole life reads like a mural from the wall of a church–full of marvellous things and done up in brilliant colours.
In his boyhood Gonzalo gave wonderful indications of his holiness. As he was being carried to the baptismal font as an infant, he fixed his eyes on the church’s crucifix with a look of extraordinary love. While still young, he was consecrated to study for the Church and received his training in the household of the Archbishop of Braga. After his Ordination he was given charge of a wealthy parish, an assignment that should have made him very happy. Gonzalo was not as interested in choice parishes as some of his companion – he went to his favourite Madonna shrine and begged Our Lady to help him administer this office fairly.
There was no complaint with Gonzalo’s governance of the parish of Saint Pelagius. He was penitential himself but indulgent with everyone else. Revenues that he might have used for himself were used for the poor and the sick. The parish, in fact, was doing very well when he turned it over to his nephew, whom he had carefully tutored, before making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
Gonzalo would have remained his entire life in the Holy Land but after 14 years his Archbishop commanded him to return to Portugal. Upon his arrival, he was horrified to see that his nephew had not been the good shepherd that he had promised to be, the money left for the poor had gone to purchase a fine stable of thoroughbred horses and a pack of fine hounds. The nephew had told everyone that his old uncle was dead and he had been appointed pastor in his place by an unsuspecting Archbishop. When the uncle appeared on the scene, a bit ragged and, of course, older but very much alive, the nephew was not happy to see him. Gonzalo seems to have been surprised as well as pained.
The ungrateful nephew settled the matter by turning the dogs on his inconvenient uncle. They would have torn him to pieces but the servants called them off and allowed the ragged pilgrim to escape. Gonzalo decided then, that he had withstood enough parish life and went out into the hills to a place called Amarante. Here he found a cave and other necessities for an eremitical life and lived in peace for several years, spending his time building a little chapel to the Blessed Virgin. He preached to those who came to him and soon there was a steady stream of pilgrims seeking out his retreat.
Happy as he was, Gonzalo felt that this was not his sole mission in life and he prayed to Our Lady to help him to discern his real vocation. She appeared to him one night as he prayed and told him to enter the order that had the custom of beginning the office with “Ave Maria gratia plena.” She told him that this order was very dear to her and under her special protection. Gonzalo set out to learn what order she meant and eventually came to the convent of the Dominicans. Here was the end of the quest and he asked for the habit.
Blessed Peter Gonzales was the Prior and he gave the habit to the new aspirant. After Gonsalvo had gone through his novitiate, he was sent back to Amarante, with a companion, to begin a regular house of the order. The people of the neighbourhood quickly spread the news that the hermit was back. They flocked to hear him preach and begged him to heal their sick.
One of the miracles of Blessed Gonzalo concerns the building of a bridge across a swift river that barred many people from reaching the hermitage in wintertime. It was not a good place to build a bridge but Gonsalvo set about it and followed the heavenly directions he had received. Once, during the building of the bridge, he went out collecting and a man, who wanted to brush him off painlessly, sent him away with a note for his wife.
Gonzalo took the note to the man’s wife and she laughed when she read it . “Give him as much gold as will balance with the note I send you,” said the message. Gonzalo told her he thought she ought to obey her husband, so she got out the scales and put the paper in one balance. Then she put a tiny coin in the other balance and another and another–the paper still outweighed her gold–and she kept adding. There was a sizeable pile of coins before the balance with the paper in it swung upwards.
When workers who helped briefly with his bridge building ran out of wine, Gonzalo prayed, smacked a rock with a stick, it split open and wine poured out. When the workers ran out of food, Gonzalo went to the water, called out and fish jumped onto the river bank to feed them.
Gonzalo died on 10 January 1259, after prophesying the day of his death and promising his friends that he would still be able to help them after death. Pilgrimages began soon and a series of miracles indicated that this holy man was indeed the saint he was believed to be. Forty years after his death he appeared to several people who were apprehensively watching a flood on the river. The water had arisen to a dangerous level, just below the bridge, when they saw a tree floating towards the bridge and Gonzalo was balancing capably on its rolling balk. The friar carefully guided the tree under the bridge, preserving the bridge from damage and then disappeared (Benedictines, Dorcy).
Dominicans are noted for their ability to preach. Sermons are their speciality. Yet even among them, Gonzalo must have stood out. During a homily, in which he wanted to show the horror of exclusion from the Church, he ‘excommunicated’ a basket of bread, the loaves immediately became black, rotted and inedible. When he removed the ‘excommunication’ a few minutes later, the bread became fresh and wholesome again.
He was Beatified on 16 September 1561, Saint Peter’s Basilica, Papal States by Pope Pius IV. But Pope Julius III had on 24 April 1551 allowed for public worship in his honour in Portugal though did not allow his Beatification at that time. Pope Clement X – after the Beatification – extended his public worship with a Mass and Divine Office to Portugal and the entire Dominican order.
St Juana Maria Condesa Lluch
Bl Konrad II of Mondsee
St Liberata of Pavia
St Pope Marcellus I
St Melas of Rhinocolura
St Priscilla of Rome
St Sigeberht of East Anglia
St Titian of Oderzo
St Valerius of Sorrento
Saint of the Day – 7 January – St Raymond of Peñafort OP (1175-1275) known as the “Father of Canon Law” – Master of the Order of Preachers, Archbishop, Dominican Priest, Confessor, Evangelist, Missionary, Theologian,Teacher, Philosopher, Lawyer of both Canon and Civil Law, Writer, Spiritual Director and Adviser, Preacher, miracle worker. Born as Raimundo de Peñafort in 1175 at Peñafort, Catalonia, Spain and died on 6 January 1275, aged 100 years old, at Barcelona, Spain of natural causes . Patronages – attorneys, barristers, lawyers, canon lawyers, medical record librarians, Barcelona, Spain, Navarre, Spain.
As a lawyer, priest and preacher, St Raymond of Penyafort made a significant mark on the history of Spain and the church. His preaching helped re-Christianise Spain after the Moors were overthrown. And his compilation of papal and conciliar decrees, it was the main source of canon law for seven centuries.
Raymond of Peñafort was born in Vilafranca del Penedès, a small town near Barcelona, Catalonia, around 1175 . Descended from a noble family with ties to the royal house of Aragon, he was educated in Barcelona and at the University of Bologna, where he received doctorates in both civil and canon law.
An accomplished lawyer and scholar, Raymond joined the Dominicans at Barcelona in 1222. The 47-year-old novice was assigned to develop a book of case studies for confessors that helped to shape the medieval church’s penitential system. Also a gifted preacher, Raymond had remarkable success evangelising Moors and Jews. And he travelled throughout Spain rejuvenating the spiritual life of Christians that the Moors had enslaved. Among his main themes were spiritual combat and standing firm in trials. Listen to his voice in this letter:
“The preacher of God’s truth has told us that all who want to live righteously in Christ will suffer persecution. . . . the only exception to this general statement is, I think, the person who either neglects, or does not know how, to live temperately, justly and righteously in this world.
May you never be numbered among those whose house is peaceful, quiet and free from care, those on whom the Lord’s chastisement does not descend, those who live out their days in prosperity and in the twinkling of an eye will go down to hell.
Your purity of life, your devotion, deserve and call for a reward, because you are acceptable and pleasing to God, your purity of life must be made purer still, by frequent buffetings, until you attain perfect sincerity of heart. If from time to time you feel the sword falling on you with double or treble force, this also should be seen as sheer joy and the mark of love. The two-edged sword consists in conflict without, fears within. It falls with double or treble force within, when the cunning spirit troubles the depths of your heart with guile and enticements. . . . The sword falls with double and treble force externally when, without cause, persecution breaks out from within the church, where wounds are more serious, especially when inflicted by friends.
This is that enviable and blessed cross of Christ . . . the cross in which alone we must make our boast, as Paul, God’s chosen instrument, has told us.”
In 1230, Pope Gregory IX brought Raymond to Rome as his confessor. The reputation of the saint for juridical science decided the pope to employ Raymond of Peñafort’s talents in re-arranging and codifying the canons of the Church. He had to rewrite and condense decrees that had been multiplying for centuries and which were contained in some twelve or fourteen collections already existing. We learn from a Bull of Gregory IX to the Universities of Paris and Bologna, that many of the decrees in the collections were but repetitions of ones issued before, many contradicted what had been determined in previous decrees and many, on account of their great length, led to endless confusion, while others had never been embodied in any collection and were of uncertain authority.
The pope announced the new publication in a Bull directed to the doctors and students of Paris and Bologna in 1231 and commanded that the work of St Raymond alone, should be considered authoritative and should alone, be used in the schools. Because they were so well arranged, canonists relied on Raymond’s Decretals until the new codification of 1917.
When Raymond completed his work, the pope appointed him Archbishop of Tarragona but the saint declined the honour. After declining the appointment of Archbishop, he could not avoid his election as the third general of the Dominicans in 1238. But when he reformed the Dominican rule, he slipped in a clause allowing early retirement of office holders. And he used it to retire in 1240.
But he continued to work 35 more years, focusing on bringing Jews and Moors to Christ. To equip Catholics for this work, he introduced the study of Hebrew and Arabic among Dominicans and persuaded Thomas Aquinas to write his Summa Contra Gentes as an evangelistic tool. Raymond told his general that ten thousand Moors had been baptised through the efforts of the Dominicans. He died at 100 years of age in 1275.
St Raymond was Canonised by Pope Clement VIII in 1601. He was buried in the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia in Barcelona.
Most Famous Miracle
Raymond of Penyafort served as the confessor for King James I of Aragon, who was a loyal son of the Church but allowed his lustful desires to shackle him. While on the island of Majorca to initiate a campaign to help convert the Moors living there, the king brought his mistress with him. Raymond reproved the king and asked him repeatedly to dismiss his concubine. This the king refused to do. Finally, the saint told the king that he could remain with him no longer and made plans to leave for Barcelona. But the king forbade Raymond to leave the island and threatened punishment to any ship captain who dared to take him.
Saint Raymond then said to his Dominican companion, “Soon you will see how the King of heaven will confound the wicked deeds of this earthly king and provide me with a ship!” They then went down to the seashore where Raymond took off his cappa (the long black cloak the Dominicans wear over the white tunic and scapular) and spread one end of it on the water while rigging the other end to his walking staff. Having thus formed a miniature mast, Raymond bid the other Dominican to hop on but his companion, lacking the saint’s faith, refused to do so. Then Raymond bid him farewell and with the Sign of the Cross he pushed away from the shore and miraculously sailed away on his cloak. Skirting around the very boats that had forbidden him passage, the saint was seen by scores of sailors who shouted in astonishment and urged him on.
Raymond sailed the ~160 miles to Barcelona in the space of 6 hours, where his landing was witnessed by a crowd of amazed spectators.
Touched by this miracle, King James I renounced his evil ways and thereafter, led a good life.
St Raymond of Peñafort OP (1175-1275) (“Father of Canon Law”) (Optional Memorial)
St Aldric of Le Mans
Bl Ambrose Fernandez
St Anastasius of Sens
St Brannock of Braunton
St Candida of Greece
St Canute Lavard
St Clerus of Antioch
St Crispin I of Pavia
St Cronan Beg
St Emilian of Saujon
St Felix of Heraclea
Bl Franciscus Bae Gwan-gyeom
St Januarius of Heraclea
St Julian of Cagliari
St Lucian of Antioch
Bl Marie-Thérèse Haze
St Pallada of Greece
St Polyeuctus of Melitene
St Reinhold of Cologne
St Spolicostus of Greece
St Theodore of Egypt
St Tillo of Solignac
St Valentine of Passau
St Virginia of Ste-Verge
Bl Wittikund of Westphalia
Saint of the Day – 21 December – Blessed Dominic Spadafora OP (1450-1521) Dominican Priest, renowned Preacher and Evangelist. He was a noted evangelist and attracted countless to the Dominican fold while also converting the hearts of others who led dissolute lives. His body is incorrupt.
Dominic was born in Sicily, of an old and noble family. His father was Baron of Miletto, and members of the family were connected with the nobility of Venice and Palermo. As a child, Dominic attended school in the Convent of St Rita in Palerno, which had been founded some years before by Blessed Peter Geremia. He studied in Perugia after moving there in 1477 and was later sent to Padua where he earned his Bachelor’s degree on 23 June 1479 and shortly thereafter, was ordained to the Priesthood. In Venice on 7 June 1487 he was granted his Master’s degree in theological studies after a public dissertation alongside eleven other candidates. He joined the Order of Preachers at the convent of Santa Zita in Palermo after returning there, where, for some time he lived quietly conducting classes for the brethren and the secular clergy.
He participated at the General Chapter of the order in Venice in 1487. He was supposed to be assigned to a convent in Messina in 1487 but the Father General of the order, Gioacchino Torriani, decided to have him as his collaborator in Rome. Also in 1487 he participated in the General Chapter in Le Mans in the Kingdom of France.
Blessed Dominic became a noted preacher and evangelist and won the hearts of converts that had led dissolute lives – such an example of holiness also prompted countless others to join the Dominican fold as religious themselves. He was known for his intense devotion to the passion of Jesus Christ. Amidst this activity he also taught theological studies in the Sicilian area.
He founded the convent of Madonna delle Grazie – that housed a miraculous image of the Madonna – in 1491 in Monte Cerignone and served for the remainder of his life as its first superior. This came about when the faithful of the area wanted to enhance the small chapel and thus the Master General of the Dominicans sent for Spadaforo to oversee its renovation. The priest arrived there in the town on 15 September 1491 and set off on foot to Rome in 1492 to receive papal approval for this work. At this point Pope Innocent VII died and Pope Alexander VI was elected in a chain of events that postponed their meeting until 22 February 1493 when papal permission was granted. He returned with the decree of approval in 1493 and began construction of the church in 1494. The work concluded in 1498. The Bishop Marco Vigerio della Rovere consecrated the new church on 16 July 1498.
What we have considered to be the usual virtues of a Dominican friar were practised faithfully by Dominic Spadafora. He spent most of his Dominican life in the Convent of Our Lady of Grace, directing societies and confraternities, zealous for regular observance and scrupulously exact in his own behaviour.
Dominic Spadafora died in 1521 aged 71, after the celebration of Mass. He had revealed earlier to the community that he knew he was about to die. He attended all religious exercises up to the hour of his death and he died as every Dominican hopes he will – the community was around him, singing the “Salve Regina.”
Blessed Dominic’s remains were exhumed in 1545 and were deemed to be incorrupt. His remains were relocated on 3 October 1677. His remains were relocated once more on 4 April 2005 to the Chiesa della Santissima Trinità. He was Beatified by Pope Benedict XV in 1921 after the pontiff confirmed the late priest’s ‘cultus’.
Bl Adrian of Dalmatia
St Anastasius II of Antioch
St Anrê Tran An Dung
St Baudacarius of Bobbio
St Beornwald of Bampton
Bl Bezela of Göda
Bl Daniel of the Annunciation
St Dioscorus Bl Dominic Spadafora OP (1450-1521)
St Festus of Tuscany
St Glycerius of Nicomedia
St James of Valencia
St John of Tuscany
St John Vincent
St Micah the Prophet
St Phêrô Truong Van Thi
St Severinus of Trèves
Bl Sibrand of Marigård
St Themistocles of Lycia
Saint of the Day – 1 December – Blessed John of Vercelli OP (c 1205-1283) – Dominican Priest and Friar, Sixth Master General of the Order of Preachers, Founder of the The Society of the Holy Name, Canon lawyer, Professor – born in c 1205 at Mosso Santa Maria, Italy as Giovanni Garbella and died in September 1283 at Montpelier, France of natural causes.
John Garbella was born early in the 13th century, somewhere near Vercelli. He studied at Paris and was ordained priest before 1229. He taught canon law at the University of Paris. While he was professor there, Blessed Jordan of Saxony (who was a friend of Saint Albert the Great) came to Paris and John saw one after another of his best pupils desert their careers to join the Dominicans. He seems to have considered them quite objectively, without reference to himself, until one day he had an interior voice that spoke to him that it was God’s will for him to join the Dominicans. No one can say that John did not respond with alacrity – he dropped everything and ran down the street. “Let me go; I am on my way to God!” Jordan received him happily and gave him the habit.
In 1232, John was sent to Vercelli to establish a convent there. He built this and several other convents in Lombardy as houses of regular observance. While provincial of Lombardy, he also became inquisitor. It was a particularly difficult moment. His brother in religion, St Peter of Verona, had just been killed by the heretics in Como. The entire countryside was in a state of war, with roving bands of heretics and robbers. It was the task of the new inquisitor to try to bring order out of this chaos and what John did was remarkable, considering the situation. In spite of his heavy labours, which included the supervision of 600 friars in 28 different cities (he reached them only by walking), John of Vercelli established the ideals of study and regular observance in all of his houses.
But it was also, the good fortune of John of Vercelli to live in an age that was well peopled by saints. He formed a close friendship with Saint Louis, the king of France. Several of his tasks in the order, particularly the Commission on the Program of Studies, he shared with Saint Albert the Great, Saint Thomas Aquinas and Peter of Tarentaise (the future Pope Innocent V). In such company one would need to have a superior set of talents – John did.
In 1264 the chapter of the order met at Paris. Blessed Humbert had resigned as master general of the order. John went to the chapter hoping that he could resign as provincial of Lombardy. Instead of escaping one office, he fell heir to a still more difficult one. He was elected master general in 1264 and served in that capacity until 1283. John was then a man in his sixties and was, moreover, handicapped by a crippled leg. However, he accepted the office which would require him to walk, not only all over Lombardy but all over Europe. It took a brand of courage and obedience that was little short of heroic.
During the generalate of John of Vercelli, the relics of Saint Dominic were transferred to the new tomb that had been prepared for it by Nicholas of Pisa. When the transfer was made, John of Vercelli fixed his seal on the tomb, the seals were still intact on their examination in 1946. During the translation of the relics, according to the account in the Vitae Fratrum, when the body of Saint Dominic was exposed to view, the head was seen to turn towards John of Vercelli. John, embarrassed, moved to another part of the church and gave his place to a cardinal. Whereupon, the head of Saint Dominic was seen by all to turn again in John’s direction!
On the death of Clement IV, John of Vercelli was very nearly elected pope. Being warned of the possibility, he fled in fright. However, his good friend Cardinal Visconti, was elected and took the name Gregory X. He appointed John as legate on several different missions.
He was commissioned by the pope to draw up the Schema for the second ecumenical council of Lyons in 1274–that council to which Saint Thomas Aquinas was hurrying when death found him on the road. At the council John distinguished himself for his assistance by offering to the council the talents of his best men. At the council, he accepted for the Dominican Order the special commission of promoting reverence for the Holy Name of Jesus and fighting blasphemy, which was, in that day as in ours, a prevalent vice. He can thus be considered the founder of the Holy Name Society, even though the Confraternity was not formed until 1432.
Several precious relics were suitably enshrined by John of Vercelli. These included several thorns from the Crown of Our Lord, which had been given him by Saint Louis of France. The cord of Saint Thomas, with which he had been guided by the angels and which he had worn until death, was given into the care of the master general, who gave it to the convent of Vercelli for safe keeping.
John’s career was rapidly reaching its end. In 1279, he presided over the famous chapter of Paris at which the order made the doctrine of Saint Thomas officially its own. The following year, he laid the foundations of the Church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. One of his last official acts was to provide for a work on the instruction of novices (Benedictines, Dorcy).
He was buried at the Dominican convent at Montpelier but his tomb was desecrated by Calvinists in 1562 and his body disappeared. He was Beatified in 1903 by Pope Pius X (cultus confirmed), 1909 elevated him to the honours of the altar.
St Evasius of Asti
St Filatus of Rome
St Florence of Poitiers
St Jabinus of Rome and Companions
Bl John Beche Blessed John of Vercelli OP (c 1205-1283)
Bl Kazimierz Tomasz Sykulski
St Latinus of Rome
St Leontius of Fréjus
Bl Liduina Meneguzzi
St Lucius of Rome
Bl Maria Clara of the Child Jesus
St Marina of Rome
St Nahum the Prophet
St Natalia of Nicomedia
St Proculus of Narni
St Ralph Sherwin
St Resignatus of Maastricht
Bl Richard Langley
St Rogatus of Rome
St Simon of Cyrene
St Superatus of Rome
St Ursicinus of Brescia
Martyrs of Oxford University: A joint commemoration of all the men who studied at one of the colleges of Oxford University, and who were later martyred for their loyalty to the Catholic Church during the official persecutions in the Protestant Reformation. They are:
• Blessed Edward James • Blessed Edward Powell • Blessed Edward Stransham • Blessed George Napper • Blessed George Nichols • Blessed Hugh More • Blessed Humphrey Pritchard • Blessed James Bell • Blessed James Fenn • Blessed John Bodey • Blessed John Cornelius • Blessed John Forest • Blessed John Ingram • Blessed John Mason • Blessed John Munden • Blessed John Shert • Blessed John Slade • Blessed John Storey • Blessed Lawrence Richardson • Blessed Mark Barkworth • Blessed Richard Bere • Blessed Richard Rolle de Hampole • Blessed Richard Sergeant • Blessed Richard Thirkeld • Blessed Richard Yaxley • Blessed Robert Anderton • Blessed Robert Nutter • Blessed Robert Widmerpool • Blessed Stephen Rowsham • Blessed Thomas Belson • Blessed Thomas Cottam • Blessed Thomas Pilcher • Blessed Thomas Plumtree • Blessed Thomas Reynolds • Blessed William Filby • Blessed William Hart • Blessed William Hartley • Saint Alexander Briant • Saint Cuthbert Mayne • Saint Edmund Campion • Saint John Boste • Saint John of Bridlington • Saint John Roberts • Saint Ralph Sherwin • Saint Thomas Garnet • Saint Thomas More
Thought for the Day – 15 November – The Memorial of St Albert the Great OP (1200-1280), Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Do This in Remembrance of Me
Saint Albert the Great
Bishop and Doctor of the Church
An excerpt from Commentary on the Gospel of Luke
Do this in remembrance of Me. Two things should be noted here. The firs,t is the command that we should use this Sacrament, which is indicated when He says: Do this. The second, is that this Sacrament commemorates the Lord’s going to death for our sake.
Do this. Certainly He would demand nothing more profitable, nothing more pleasant, nothing more beneficial, nothing more desirable, nothing more similar to eternal life. We will look at each of these qualities separately.
This Sacrament is profitable because it grants remission of sins; it is most useful because it bestows the fullness of grace on us in this life. The Father of spirits instructs us in what is useful for our sanctification. And his sanctification is in Christ’s sacrifice, that is, when He offers Himself in this Sacrament to the Father for our redemption, to us for our use. I consecrate Myself for their sakes. Christ, who through the Holy Spirit offered Himself up without blemish to God, will cleanse our consciences from dead works to worship the living God.
Nor can we do anything more pleasant. For what is better than God manifesting His whole sweetness to us. You gave them bread from heaven, not the fruit of human labour but a bread endowed with all delight and pleasant, to every sense of taste. For this substance of Yours revealed Your kindness toward Your children and serving the desire of each recipient, it changed to suit each one’s taste.
He could not have commanded anything more beneficial, for thisSsacrament is the fruit of the tree of life. Anyone who receives this Sacrament with the devotion of sincere faith will never taste death. It is a tree of life for those who grasp it and blessed is he who holds it fast. The man who feeds on Me shall live on account of Me.
Nor could He have commanded anything more lovable, for this Sacrament produces love and union. It is characteristic of the greatest love to give itself as food. Had not the men of my tent exclaimed: Who will feed us with his flesh to satisfy our hunger? as if to say: I have loved them and they have loved Me so much, that I desire to be within them and they wish to receive Me so that they may become My members. There is no more intimate or more natural means for them to be united to Me and I to them.
Nor could He have commanded anything, which is more like eternal life. Eternal life flows from this Sacrament, because God, with all sweetness, pours Himself out upon the blessed.
St Albert the Great, Pray for Us that we may receive the Body of Christ with total faith, conviction and love!
“…By ourselves, we never could have accomplished our vocation. It is for this reason, that the exposed Holy Eucharist, has become our weapon, our banner and our sovereign strength to fight the Lord’s battles.”
“…Let us continue Immaculate Mary’s mission. All is included in it. May [we].. follow her example and be the handmaid of the Lord in everything, everywhere and always.”