Saint of the Day – 26 October – Blessed Damian dei Fulcheri OP (Died 1484) Dominican Priest and Friar, renowned Preacher – born at Fulcheri, Liguria, Italy and died in 1484 at Modena, Reggio d’Emilia, Italy of natural causes.
One of the bright lights of the fifteenth century was Damian dei Furcheri. Unfortunately we know very little about him, expect that he lived at a time and place not noted for sanctity and he was known as a holy man.
Damian was born in Furcheri, near Genoa, at the end of the fourteenth century. His people were rich and noble and also pious. We know nothing of his youth, except the not-too-revealing fact, that when he was a baby, he was kidnapped by a lunatic. His parents prayed to Our Lady and the baby was returned unharmed.
Damian entered the Order of Preachers at Genoa and became a diligent student and a model Dominican. He was to be known especially for his preaching. The field of his endeavours was Italy. He seems never to have left the country.
By the force of his preaching, he inspired many hundreds of sinners to repentance and, since the fifteenth century produced many sinners who needed such preaching, he was kept supplied with works for a long lifetime.
Damian died in a little village near Modena, in 1884 and immediately became the object of much pious speculation, because of the miracles worked at his tomb. He was not, however, Beatified until 1848, though his relics were by that time widely distributed and his cult well known.
Blessed Damian was Beatified on 4 August 1848 by Blessed Pope Pius IX.
Prayer God of truth, for the salvation of the faithful You endowed Blessed Damian with wondrous virtues and powers of speech. Through his prayers, may we hear Your word with an open heart and hold fast to it with patience. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen
Saint of the Day – 21 October – Blessed Peter Capucci OP (1390-1445) Priest, Domincan Friar, Confessor, Penitent, Wonderworker, he was called“the Preacher of Death,”– born as Pedro Capucci in 1390 at Città di Castello, Tiferno, Italy and died on 21 October 1445 of natural causes. He is also known as Pedro de Tiferno, Peter of Tiferno and of Città di Castello. Patronage – Città di Castello.
After an uneventful childhood, Peter Capucci applied for admission to the Dominicans. He and the frail, youthful Saint Antoninus (1389–1459) were both received into the order on the Vigil of the Feast of the Assumption 1405. Their novice master was Blessed Lawrence of Ripafratta. Peter counted the artist-brothers, Blessed Fra Angelico and Fra Benedetto as his friends. Peter spent his novitiate at Cortona, remained there when some of his community moved to Fiesole, was Ordained and began his apostolate all in Cortona.
Not much about Peter is truly remarkable when he is viewed in the light of his neighboring luminaries but he glittered enough to have gained the attention of the Church. He was noted for regularity, patience and humility–virtues not terribly common in any age. He took upon himself the job of begging for alms as a means of atoning for his noble birth. Of course, just as we might treat the homeless, some treated Peter rudely but that did not disturb him. He quietly persisted in his humble work to ensure that his brothers had food and that there were alms for the poor. We are told that one rich wine merchant refused Peter, saying that the barrels in the cellar were all empty. A little later he found to his horror that they were indeed all empty. He immediately sent for the friar, apologised and begged him to bless the barrels and restore the wine–which Peter did without hesitation.
Other miracles were attributed to Peter, too. A woman’s withered hand was restored. Two unjustly condemned men were miraculously preserved from execution. Once, walking through the cloister, Peter came upon a disreputable man. Peter prophesied that the man would die within a day. The man laughed but died in the middle of the night after having sent for Peter to give him the sacraments. Peter Capucci became known as “the Preacher of Death,” because he used to preach with a skull in his hands. He apparently had the ability to read hearts and could expertly point out uncomfortable truths to unwilling listeners.
When Peter died, he was buried in a humble grave. Miracles began to occur there; thus, his fame grew. A prominent man who had been paralysed for three years, received the use of his limbs at the grave, after he had promised to pay the expenses for an annual celebration in Peter’s honour. In 1597, Peter’s relics were moved to a more suitable place (Benedictines, Dorcy).
Blessed Peter’s cultus was confirmed by Pope Pius VII with an official Beatification on 11 May 1816.
O God, who hast declared that Thy faithful, by continually remembering their latter end, shall never sin, grant, through the prayers and example of Blessed Peter, Thy Confessor, that we may so bear in mind our temporal death, that, by continually weeping over the sins we have committed, we may avoid eternal death. Through Christ our Lord. Amen
Saint of the Day – 13 October – Blessed Maddalena Panattieri OP (1443–1503) member of the Sisters of Penance of Saint Dominic, Stigmatist, she was blessed with many Mystical gifts – prophecy, visions, Eucharistic Adorer, Catechist – born in 1443 at Turino, Diocese of Vercelli, Piedmont, Italy and died on 13 October 1503 at Turino, Italy of natural causes. Patronages – Trino, Catechists.
Maddalena Pannatieri was born at Trino, near Vercelli, in 1443, of deeply religious parents. She was a devout child, who made a vow of virginity while she was quite young. Before she was twenty years old, she took her vows as a Dominican Tertiary, an exceptional circumstance, showing that she was held in high esteem. The Tertiary chapter was made up principally of widows and older woman who centred their Apostolate of active charities around the Dominican Church. Maddalena fitted into this work with ease and she brought to the chapter a spirit of penance that few of her companions could match. The delightful part of it all wa,s that her penances never rendered her dreary; she was a cheerful, resourceful person to have around. People drew as much good from her spirit of joy as from any other feature of her spirituality.
Maddalena had a special fondness for little children and, what we now call baby-sitting, and used her influence with the children to bring their parents to a better way of life. Childless women won her sympathy and several times her prayers brought the blessing of motherhood to such people. She taught Catechism to children and gradually the older folk of her acquaintance began to sit in on her classes. She was quite unaware that she had great powers of description and could make the truths of religion clear to simple people. The Dominican fathers allowed her to use a large room attached to the Church for a class room and the class grew. Not only the parents of the children and the simple folk of the neighbourhood but also a number of Priests and religious were attending regularly.
When the reform movement started by Blessed Raymond of Capua got underway, Maddalena Parnatieri promoted it in Trino. Through her influence, Blessed Sebastian Maggio was invited to preach there and he accomplished great good.
Maddalena was considered the protectress of the city of Trino. Whatever disaster threatened it, the citizens expected her to look out for their interests and she usually did. In her life there is no mention of a “dark night of the soul” or of grim detachment from all things of earth. Her love of God kept her from attaching herself to any illegitimate pleasures but she thoroughly enjoyed the lawful ones – she loved her family and her townspeople and was happy in their company. Her favourite brother was a good-for-nothing- he was always in trouble. When his conduct had gone beyond the patience of everyone but Magdalene, she threw herself on her knees in front of her Crucifix and she stayed there until our Lord assured her that He would take a hand with the black sheep: ” I cannot refuse you anything,” He said.
The Dominican fathers received her solitude when they were persecuted by a wealthy man of the town. This person carried his hatred so far, that he was finally excommunicated for persecuting the Church. There was of course, a good deal of blood shed before the affair was over and one of the reprobate’s followers made the mistake of hitting Maddalena and calling her names. Before the irate townspeople could deal out justice to him, God did; the man died a violent death.
God revealed to Maddalena the coming political troubles of Italy – the French invasion of the country. She did not live to see this prophecy accomplished but she persistently asked God’s mercy for her people. During the violent quarrels and bloodshed of the time, Trino was always spared, though the villages all around were in a shambles. The townsfolk unhesitatingly gave credit to Maddalena!
Maddalena died on 13 October 1503 in Trino. On her deathbed she said: “I could not be happy in Heaven, if you were not there too” to those assembled near her bedside. She sang “Jesus our Redeemer” and the “Ave Maria” prior to her death. Her remains were found in 1964 and transferred in 1970.
Maddalena received formal Beatification from Pope Leo XII on 26 September 1827 once the Pontiff confirmed that a ‘cultus’ (or popular devotion) to Maddalena existed and had endured since her death.
Quote/s of the Day – 9 October – The Memorial ofSt Louis Bertrand OP (1526-1581) “Apostle of South America”, St John Leonardi OMD (1541-1609), Founder of the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God and St John Henry Newman C.Orat (1801-1890)
“If, because of your preaching, men lay aside enmities, forgive injuries, avoid occasions of sin and scandals and reform their conduct, you may say that the seed has fallen on good ground. But to God alone give all the glory and acknowledge yourselves ever unprofitable servants.”
St Louis Bertrand (1526-1581)
“The medicine of God, is Jesus Christ, Crucified and Risen, the measure of all things.”
“Christ first of all, Christ in the centre of the heart, in the centre of history and of the cosmos. Humanity needs Christ intensely because, He is our “measure.” There is no realm, that cannot be touched by His strength; there is no evil, that cannot find remedy in Him, there is no problem, that cannot be solved in Him. Either Christ or nothing!”
Our Lady of Good Help (1859) USA – 9 October: “I am the Queen of Heaven who prays for the conversion of sinners.” Such is the way the Mother of God introduced herself to a twenty-eight-year-old Belgian immigrant, Adele Brise, on 9 October 1859. The pious young woman was on her eleven mile walk home to Robinsonville (now Champion), Wisconsin, after attending Mass in Bay Settlement. Adele was travelling at the time with two companions, her sister and another woman, as well as a male guardian who was working for the Holy Cross Fathers at the Settlement. Our Lady had appeared earlier to Adele the day before and, again, that same morning at the same spot but she had not spoken. Her companions did not see or hear anything. The young woman was told by Heaven’s Queen that she must pray for the conversion of sinners and warn them, for if they do not convert, her Son was going to punish them. She was told to gather together the children in this remote area and teach them the truths they must know for their salvation; teach them the catechism; teach them how to bless themselves with the Sign of the Cross; and teach them how to approach the sacraments. Our Lady ended by telling Adele, whose faith was strong but simple, to fear nothing and be confident in her help. For the next thirty-seven years of her life, until her death in 1896, Sister Adele Brise was faithful to this mission.
Bl Aaron of Cracow St Abraham the Patriarch St Alfanus of Salerno St Andronicus of Antioch St Athanasia of Antioch Bl Bernard of Rodez St Demetrius of Alexandria St Deusdedit of Montecassino St Domninus St Dorotheus of Alexandria St Donnino of Città di Castello St Eleutherius St Geminus St Gislenus St Goswin Bl Gunther
St Lambert St Louis Bertrand OP (1526-1581) Biography: https://anastpaul.com/2018/10/09/saint-of-the-day-9-october-st-louis-bertrand-o-p-1526-1581-apostle-of-south-america/ St Publia St Rusticus St Sabinus of the Lavedan St Valerius — Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War – Martyrs of Astoria – (9 saints): Also known as Martyrs of Turon: A group of Brothers of the Christian Schools and a Passionist priest martyred in the persecutions during the Spanish Civil War. They are – • Aniceto Adolfo • Augusto Andrés • Benito de Jesús • Benjamín Julián • Cirilo Bertrán • Inocencio de la Immaculada • Julián Alfredo • Marciano José • Victoriano Pío They were martyred on 9 October 1934 in Turón, Spain and Canonised on 21 November 1999 by St Pope John Paul II. — Martyrs of Laodicea – (3 saints): Three Christians martyred together in Laodicea, but no other information about them has survived but their names – Didymus, Diodorus and Diomedes. They were martyred in Laodicea, Syria.
Saint of the Day – 5 October – Blessed Raymond of Capua OP (c 1330-1399) Priest, “The Second Founder” of the Dominican Order of Preachers, Reformer, Spiritual Director, he worked with St Agnes of Montepulciano and St Catherine of Siena, hagiographer, teacher – born in c 1330 in Capua, Naples as Raymondo delle Vigne and died on 5 October 199, aged 69, in Nuremberg, Germany of natural causes. Also known as – Raymond delle Vigne, Raymund, Raimondo. Raymond was a leading member of the Dominican Order and served as it’s Master General from 1380 until his death. First as Prior Provincial of Lombardy and then as Master General of the Order, Raymond undertook the restoration of Dominican religious life. For his success in this endeavour, he is referred to as the Order’s “Second Founder.” Raymond also worked for the return of the papacy to Rome and for a solution to the Western schism. The important Mystic, Reformer, Doctor of the Church, St Catherine of Siena, accepted him as her spiritual director because of his burning passion for the Church and for the revival of religious life, most especially in their own Order.
He was born “Raymondo della Vigna” a member of a prominent family of that city, and was a descendant of Pietro della Vigna (a figure mentioned in Dante’s Divine Comedy). In 1350, while a student of law at the University of Bologna, he entered the Dominican Order. For the next twenty-five years he worked as a spiritual director or as a teacher in various communities of the Order.
Raymond was first assigned to Montepulciano, where he served as a chaplain to a monastery of nuns of the Dominican Second Order. He was the first biographer of their venerated former prioress, St Agnes of Montepulciano, who had died about fifty years earlier. He was then stationed in Rome, to serve as the Prior of the Friars at Santa Maria sopra Minerva. Later he was sent to Siena, where he was assigned by the Master General to be the spiritual director and confessor to the noted Dominican tertiary, Catherine of Siena.
Raymond spent the next six years advising her and hearing her confidences. While there, Raymond gradually learned to trust her holiness and her judgement. This was sealed, when they both became involved in nursing victims of the plague in 1374. When he contracted the disease himself and lay near death, Catherine came and sat at his bedside until he recovered. Knowing how close he was to death, Raymond credited his recovery to her prayers.
By 1374 Raymond had come to the attention of Pope Gregory XI, then living in Avignon, as a result of his connection to Catherine and also for his novel ways of confronting issues like the Crusades in the Holy Land, the return of the papacy to Rome, and the general reform of the Church. He was well known for his ability to pass seamlessly from dealing with spiritual and supernatural considerations to the more mundane matters of practical politics. For four years Raymond accompanied Catherine in her journeys and went to Avignon to act as an intermediary between her and the Pope.
This experience of trying to reconcile the Church proved to be incredibly important for Raymond who, only weeks after St Catherine’s death, was elected Master of the Order. Not only had the Church been suffering through a schism but the Order too, was undergoing is own divisive period. Raymond strove to unite the two factions in the Order and with the help of holy friars, such as Bl John Dominici, he was able to re-establish the regular observance in the Order and restore peace and concord. For this, he was referred to as the “Second Founder” of the Order. Thanks to Raymond, the Dominican Order never split. During this time, Raymond also wrote The Life of St Catherine of Siena.
In 1379 by command of Pope Urban VI Raymond was examined by Fra. Giacomo Altoviti who promoted him to the grade of Master of Theology.
Raymond was buried first in Nuremberg (now Germany) where he died but his body was later moved to Naples, to the Church of San Domenico Maggiore. In 1899 Pope Leo XIII Beatified him, on the 500th anniversary of his death.
O God, You called Blessed Raymond to seek Your kingdom by following the way of perfect charity. Strengthened by his prayers, may we progress in the same way of love with joyful hearts. We ask this, through our Lord, Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen
Our Morning Offering – 7 September – Monday of the Twenty Third week in Ordinary Time
Our Lord, King of all! By St Albert the Great (1200-1280) Doctor of the Church
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. Amen
Our Morning Offering – 6 September – Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
The hymn Tantum Ergo pays homage to our Lord both in the Eucharist and in His glory in the Trinity. It comprises the last two stanzas of Pange Lingua, a hymn written by Saint Thomas Aquinas for the Feast of Corpus Christi when it was first instituted by the Church in 1264. This text has been set to music by composers as diverse as Palestrina, Mozart, Bruckner and Faure.
This wonderful miracle, when our Lord comes to give us His grace and support, occurs countless times everyday in Masses all over the world! And everyday, our Lord, like His faithful servant Saint Thomas Aquinas, invites us to see and worship Him in the Blessed Sacrament through the eyes of faith!
Tantum ergo Sacramentum By St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Doctor Angelicus/Doctor Communis
Tantum ergo Sacramentum Veneremur cernui: Et antiquum documentum Novo cedat ritui: Praestet fides supplementum Sensuum defectui.
Genitori, Genitoque Laus et jubilatio, Salus, honor, virtus quoque Sit et benedictio: Procedenti ab utroque Compar sit laudatio. Ame.
Down in adoration falling, Lo! the sacred Host we hail, Lo! o’er ancient forms departing Newer rites of grace prevail; Faith for all defects supplying, Where the feeble senses fail.
To the everlasting Father, And the Son Who reigns on high With the Holy Spirit proceeding Forth from each eternally, Be salvation, honour blessing, Might and endless majesty. Amen
St Jacobo Kyushei Gorobioye Tomonaga
St James the Deacon St Jeanne of the Cross Delanoue (1666-1736) About St Jeanne: https://anastpaul.com/2018/08/17/saint-of-the-day-17-august-st-jeanne-delanoue-1666-1736/
St Jeroen of Noordwijk
St Juliana of Ptolemais
St Leopoldina Naudet
Bl Marie-Élisabeth Turgeon
St Michaël Kurobyoie
St Myron of Cyzicus St Nicolò Politi (1117-1167) Basilian Monk and Hermit
Bl Noël-Hilaire Le Conte
St Paul of Ptolemais
St Theodore of Grammont
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War: Bl Antoni Carmaniú Mercarder, Bl Facundo Escanciano Tejerina, Bl Eugenio Sanz-Orozco Mortera, Bl Enric Canadell Quintana, Florencio López Egea and see below –
Martyrs of Malaga – 8 beati: A priest and seven brothers, all members of the Hospitallers of Saint John of God, all martyred together in the Spanish Civil War:
• Antonio del Charco Horques
• Eusebio Ballesteros Rodríguez
• Florentino Alonso Antonio
• Isidro Valentín Peña Ojea
• Juan Antonio García Moreno
• Manuel Sanz y Sanz
• Pedro Pastor García
• Silvestre Perez Laguna
17 August 1936 in Málaga, Spain – they were Beatified on 13 October 2013 by Pope Francis.
Martyrs of Maspujols – 3 beati: Three priests in the archdiocese of Tarragona, Spain.
Martyred together in the Spanish Civil War:
• Josep Mañé March
• Magí Civit Roca
• Miquel Rué Gené
17 August 1936 in Maspujols, Tarragona, Spain. They were Beatified on 13 October 2013 by Pope Francis. The beatification ceremony was celebrated in Tarragona, Spain.
Saint of the Day – 9 August – Blessed John of Salerno OP (c 1190-1242) Dominican Friar and Priest, Confessor, Defender of the Faith, Superior with outstanding administrative and fatherly skills, miracle-worker, Pope Gregory IX commissioned him to deal with the heretical sect known as the Patarines – born in c 1190 at Salerno, Italy and died in 1242 of natural causes.
Although Father Touron failed to give a sketch of this distinguished Friar Preacher in his First Disciples of Saint Dominic, it is certain that he belonged to them and that he was an outstanding character in the noble galaxy. Some authors say that John was a scion of the noted Guana family and connected with the Norman princes who long reigned over the former kingdoms of Naples and Sicily. Whilst they do not give the date of his birth, practically all hold that he first saw the light of day at Salerno, some thirty miles south of Naples; that he studied at the University of Bologna and that he entered the Order in that educational centre. With one or two exceptions who give this honour to Blessed Reginald of Orleans, the writers maintain he received the habit from Saint Dominic himself. The year 1219 is the date assigned for the ceremony.
Evidently John was then a mature man, for he was soon placed at the head of twelve other confrères sent to establish the Order in Florence. A few date this commission in 1219 but 1220 is the time ordinarily given. The choice of him for superior, in so important a city, confirms the statement that his rare virtue, which he had practiced from early youth, made a strong impression on Saint Dominic. Although very small of stature, the future blessed, possessed a mighty mind and a courage that nothing could awe. Doubtless these qualities also appealed to the holy father, who seemed to judge of the characters ‘ of men almost by intuition, for an able, fearless leader was needed in Florence. Dominic and John are said to have been intimate, trustful friends-no doubt, a relationship born of grace. That the Saint formed a correct estimate of his young disciple, is shown by the fact that, our blessed soon became one of the most influential Friar Preacher in Italy.
A curious story is told about the first house of the fathers at Florence. It was built, so it would seem, by one Deodate del Dado (possibly a merchant) who wished to make restitution for his dishonesty by devoting it to religious purposes. Situated in the “plain of Ripoli”, two or three miles from the city limits, on the way to Arezzo, it was better suited for a contemplative order than for one of the apostolic character of Saint Dominic’s. Mamachi thinks another community had occupied it. Be that as it may, it was free when the builder beard of the wonderful preaching of the holy man from Caleruega, in Bologna. So he hurried to that city, attended one of the Saint’s sermons and then offered the place to him. Some writers say that the offer was accepted at once and the delighted donor accompanied the first missionaries back to Florence.
When the fathers arrived at the hermitage of Ripoli and saw its lonely, remote location, some of them likely wondered if their prayerful, mortified superior might intend to sacrifice the active side of their institute, which they had seen brought so prominently to the fore in Bologna, to the retired and cloistered side. They did not have long to wait before learning his views. Although the house was small, John of Salerno felt that it would suffice for a start. The first few days he spent in setting the place in order. Then he called the community together, and made known his plan of action. The life of a Friar Preacher, he said, is that of an energetic apostolate. They had come to humble Hipoli, not for their own sakes but for the spiritual welfare of the faithful in the Province of Tuscany. The work would commence on the morrow and every man would be expected to do his duty.
Day by day, the little handful of soul harvesters left their hermitage at an early hour, in bands of two, that they might preach the word of God in Florence or elsewhere. In all thing,s the diminutive superior, with a great mind and magnanimous soul, set the example, as well as led the way, which he would have the others follow. They assembled the people in churches, public squares, market places, open plains — wherever they could procure an audience. In the evening, unless too far away, they returned to their quiet abode for prayer and meditation.
Proud, cultivated Florence was stirred to the very core by the eloquence and zeal of the new religious, in whose lives there seemed to be naught of the worldly. The effect of their sermons was enhanced by the patience with which they trudged afoot back and forth between Ripoli and the city. They were on every tongue-in every mind. Their preaching was discussed in public, no less than in private. Repentant Deodate seems to have taken care of their secluded home while they were absent, as well as to have contributed towards their maintenance. No doubt he was happy in the realisation that his work of reparation bore such rich fruit.
Among the band of missioners, men of God though they all were, John of Salerno shone especially for his oratory, virtue and quest for souls. None of them appeared quite so heroic as he. Whilst his example, fatherly government and kindly admonition ever urged his confrères on in their exertions, his fine judgement and tact won the confidence of the faithful. All this combined with his superb scholarship and rare devotion to bring him the affection of the Archbishop, John di Velletri, together with that of the vast majority of the Diocesan clergy. Indeed, our Friar Preacher had every qualification for a perfect superior and a successful fisherman of men. Thus, it is no matter for wonder, that he was retained at the helm of his Order in one of Italy’s most beautiful cities, yet ever a maelstrom of political intrigue.
Saint Dominic is said to have been so impressed with the reports of the good’ effected by his brethren in Florence, that he paid them at least one visit and was delighted with their fervour and zeal. Their benefactor, Deodate, seems to have lived less than a year after they settled in his hermitage. His death deprived them of their principal source of support. This misfortune, together with the fatigue of walking back and forth each day between the city and the “plain of Ripoli,” caused the Florentines to obtain permission for them to use the hospice of Saint Pancratius, which stood at the side of the Church of the same name within the municipal limits, until a more suitable place could be obtained for them. John of Salerno gladly acceded to the proposal and moved his community thither at once, for this more convenient location would be of great aid to his friars in their work.
From the Saint Pancratius’ house, the fathers were soon transferred to Saint Paul’s. There, however, as was but natural, objections against their presence were raised by the clergy stationed at that church. John and his companions, while continuing their labours, bore all difficulties with admirable patience. Fortunately, no doubt in answer to their prayers, providence came to their aid. A Father Foresio, rector of Santa Maria Novella, touched by their virtue, zeal and forbearance, offered them his Church, together with the buildings attached to it, on condition that they would pay a moderate allowance each year for his support. Our blessed, in his capacity as superior, gratefully accepted the generous offer. Cardinal Ugolino, the Papal legate whom we have so often seen in the role of a friend of the Order and Archbishop di Velletri warmly approved of the project.
Santa Maria Novella passed into the hands of the Friars Preacher, on 8 November 1221. Thus John of Salerno became the founder of the great convent at Florence, which was destined to become one of the most historic and beautiful, in a religious institute, renowned for it’s learning and deeds, as well as for its cultivation of the artistic. Many noted clergymen were trained and educated there. Not a few of Italy’s most famed painters, sculptors and architects were employed there. It is still an object of delightful study for artists from every part of the world. Because of it’s exquisite decorations, Michaelangelo was wont to call it “The Bride.”
Florence had become one of the strongholds of the new Manicheans in Italy, whence their evil influence spread throughout Tuscany. They hesitated at nothing for the propagation of their destructive principles. In the subject of our sketch they met with a relentless foe. Day and night he opposed them, whether by deed or word. Never was he known to quail before their threats or attacks. His fearless action and preaching not only produced the most salutary effects but even won for him, the name of “hammer of heretics.” He must ever rank high amongst those brave Friars Preachers who helped to free the Italian Peninsula from the dangers of Manicheanism and Albigensianism.
The persuasive eloquence of the man of God, combined with the odour of his sanctity and the fire of his zeal, drew many and brilliant subjects into his Order. They came from numerous places but especially from Florence, Prato and Pistoia. Among them was the noted Hugh of Sesto, a Canon at Saint Paul’s who had led the opposition to the friars at that church. Others who should not be omitted were – Roderic, a Canon at Saint Peter’s, James Rabacante, who later succeeded John of Salerno as Prior of Santa Maria Novella, Ottavente di Nerli, Roger Calcagni, who became the first Papal inquisitor at Florence and Bishop of Castro; Father Buoninsegna, a Martyr at Antioch, who is commonly called blessed, Ambrose of Rimini, a celebrated preacher who became Bishop of his native city, Thomas Morandi, honoured with the mitre of Fano and Aldobrandini Cavalcanti, entrusted with the charge of the Diocese of Orvieto. We might mention more but those given above suffice to show the character of those whom the early disciple brought into his institute.
Blessed John had a special gift for governing others. He seemed to read dispositions almost as he would read a book. In all things he showed himself a father, brother, friend and servant to those under his charge. He dominated their wills by kindness, quickened their zeal by his own, directed them along the path of perfection by his example and gentle words. The love which he bore them merited the affection which they gave him.
Whatever he did, the man of God was doubtless guided by the lessons which he had received from Saint Dominic. He had lived under the our blessed Dominic at Bologna, had met him in Florence and, of course, had come in contact with him at the general chapter of 1221. Some writers say he was the Saint’s travelling companion on several apostolic journeys. However, such was his love for the Order’s Founder that he no sooner received word of his serious illness, than he started in all haste for Bologna, where he arrived just in time to receive the dying man’s last blessing and the assurance that he would be more helpful to the infant institute in heaven than he could be on earth. Such is the importance which one saint attaches to the word of another, that we are justified in believing those of Dominic must have acted as an inspiration for Blessed John of Salerno the rest of his life.
God enriched the soul of this early disciple with many choice graces. One of the things which greatly aided him in the spiritual direction of others, whether in his Order or without it, was the faculty often accorded him of reading their consciences. Many a time did he make known to his penitents, sins which they had forgotten. This gift, quite naturally, increased his influence and he was careful to use it only for the spiritual betterment of those who sought his aid. Not a few miracles were also attributed to him but these he did all in his power to conceal.
There is an adage which tells us that the ways of God are not the ways of man. Rare is it, that providence does not permit even the most faithful servants of Christ to be tried in the crucible of temptation but, as Saint Paul assures us, the temptation is always accompanied with the grace necessary to overcome it. So it was with John of Salerno. There were those who sought to lead him from the path of virtue. Yet his resistance not merely saved him from sin, it issued unto his greater glory before God and man. It made him “the good odour of Christ” even unto the conversion of those who thirsted for his ruin.
Among our Friar Preacher’s notable works for the benefit of religion in Tuscany must be placed the establishment of the first community of Dominican Sisters in the province. These he started in the hermitage of Ripoli, built by Deodate del Dado, sometime after the fathers had left it. He had great faith in the prayers of these holy women and trusted to their intercession as an aid to the success of his work and that of his friars. In later years, because the neighbourhood of Florence became infested with brigands, these sisters moved into the city. There, they divided into two communities. One of them retained the old title of Ripoli, while the other took the name of Saint Dominic. Both long continued to edify the Florentines by their saintly lives and to bring blessings on the Church of the municipality by their perpetual prayers
So laboured on Blessed John of Salerno until the end of his useful life. Father John Caroli and other earlier writers speak of his toil and his heroic virtue in terms of the highest praise. They tell how he was loved and venerated, how his fellow friars mourned his death and how the people of Florence turned out in a body for his funeral but, they give us no further indication of it’s date, than to say that it happened after many years of faithful labour.
Our blessed was buried with great honour in the Church of Santa Maria Novella, where his tomb immediately became a place of pilgrimage for the faithful. A number of miracles were attributed to him. It would seem that there were several translations of his relies, one of which doubtless took place when his body was removed from the old church to the new. On these occasions the faithful of the city and neighbouring places came in immense crowds to pay honour to one, whom they held in deep veneration. The last and possibly the most notable, ceremony of the kind took place on 18 February 1571. At this date his relics were placed in a tomb and chapel specially dedicated to his memory. Pope Pius VI, who reigned from 1775 to 1799, officially ratified the cult to John, permitted his Order to say Mass and the Divine Office in his honour and appointed 9 August as his feast day.
One Minute Reflection – 8 August – Saturday of the Eighteenth week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Habakkuk 112-2, 4, Psalm 9:8-13, Matthew 17:14-20 and the Memorial of St Cyriacus the Martyr, Deacon (Died c 303) One of the Fourteen Holy Helpers and of St Dominic (1170-1221)
He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.”… Matthew 17:20
REFLECTION – “The word “faith” has one syllable but two meanings. First of all it is concerned with doctrine and it denotes the assent of the soul to some truth. Faith in this sense brings blessing and salvation to the soul, as the Lord said: “He who hears my word and believes in him who sent me, has eternal life.” (Jn 5:24)…
The word “faith” has a second meaning – it is a particular gift and grace of Christ. “To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing” (1Cor 12:8-9). Faith in the sense of a particular divine grace conferred by the Spirit is not, then, primarily concerned with doctrine but with giving a person powers, quite beyond their natural capability. Whoever has this faith will say to a mountain: “Move from here to there” and it will move and anyone who can in fact say these words through faith and “believes without hesitation that they will come to pass,” (Mk 11:23) receives this particular grace. It is to this kind of faith that the Lord’s words refer – “If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed.” Now, a mustard seed is small in size but its energy thrusts it upwards with the force of fire. Small are its roots, great the spread of its boughs and once it is fully grown the birds of the air find shelter in its branches (Mt 13:32). So too, in a flash, faith can produce the most wonderful effects in the soul.
Enlightened by faith the soul gazes at the glory of God so far as human nature allows and, even before the consummation of all things, ranging beyond the boundaries of the universe, it has a vision of the judgement and of God making good the rewards he promised. As far as it depends on you then, cherish this gift of faith that leads you to God and you will then receive the higher gift which no effort of yours can reach, no power of yours attain.”…St Cyril of Jerusalem (313-350) Bishop of Jerusalem, Father & Doctor of the Church (Baptismal Catechesis 5)
PRAYER – Holy God, grant we pray, Your Holy Spirit of love and divine grace to grow ever more in faith. By our prayers and love for You and our neighbour, may we merit Your divine assistance. Lord Jesus, help us to dwell often on the manner in which we are following You. Let us strive each day to become more and more like You in all things and, to become beacons of Your Light, to all the world. St Cyriacus Martyr for Christ, you who were and are a light to all, pray for us and may the prayers of St Dominic assist us in our day and may his zeal be our inspiration to always fight the good fight,amen.
St Mummolus of Fleury
St Myron the Wonder Worker
St Paulus Ge Tingzhu
St Rathard of Diessen
St Severus of Vienne
St Ternatius of Besançon
St Ultan of Crayke
Bl William of Castellammare di Stabia
Bl Wlodzimierz Laskowski
Martyrs of Albano – 4 saints: Four Christians who were martyred together, and about we today know little more than their names – Carpóforo, Secondo, Severiano and Vittorino. They were martyred in Albano, Italy – their remains are interred in the San Senator cemetery, on the Appian Way, 15 miles from Rome, Italy.
Martyrs of Rome – 5 saints: Five Christians martyred together; we know nothing else about them but the names – Ciriaco, Crescenziano, Giuliana, Memmia and Smaragdus. They were martyred at the 7 mile marker, on the Via Ostia, Rome, Italy.
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War – Martyrs of El Saler – 5 beati: Five nuns, all members of the Sisters of the Pious Schools, all teachers, and all martyred together in the Spanish Civil War.
• Antonia Riba Mestres
• Maria Baldillou Bullit
• María Luisa Girón Romera
• Nazaria Gómez Lezaun
• Pascuala Gallén Martí
They were martyred on 8 August 1936 in El Saler, Valencia, Spain and Beatified on 11 March 2001 by Pope John Paul II.
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
Bl Cruz Laplana Laguna
Bl Fernando Español Berdie
Bl Leoncio López Ramos
Bl Manuel Aranda Espejo
Bl Mariano Pina Turón
Bl Pedro Álvarez Pérez
One Minute Reflection – 16 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Thursday of the Fifteenth week in Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: Isaiah 26:7-9, 12, 16-19, Psalm 102:13-21, Matthew 11:28-30 and the Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and of Blessed Ceslaus Odrowaz OP (c 1184– 1242) (Brother of St Hyacinth)
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart and you will find rest for yourselves…” … Matthew 11:29
REFLECTION – “Dearest sister in Jesus. I, Catherine, servant of the servants of Jesus, write to you in His Precious Blood, wishing only that you feed yourself with God’s love and nourish yourself with it, as at a mother’s breast. Nobody, in fact, can live without this milk!
Who possesses God’s love, finds so much joy that every bitterness transforms itself into sweetness and that every great weight becomes light. One must not be astonished because living in charity you live in God – “God is love and he who abides in love, abides in God and God abides in him”(1 John 4:16)
Thus, living in God, you can have no bitterness because God is delight, gentleness and never-ending joy!
This is why God’s friends are always happy! Even if we are sick, poor, grieved, troubled, persecuted, we are always joyful.
… We do not seek joy elsewhere than in Jesus and we avoid any glory which is not that of the Cross.
Embrace, then, Jesus crucified, raising to Him the eyes of your desire! Consider His burning love for you, which made Jesus pour out His blood from every part of His body!
Embrace Jesus crucified, loving and beloved and in Him you will find true life because He is God made man. Let your heart and your soul burn with the fire of love drawn from Jesus on the Cross!
You must, then, become love, looking at God’s love who loved you so much not because He had any obligation towards you but out of pure gift, urged only by His ineffable love.
You will have no other desire than to follow Jesus! As if you were drunken with Love, it will no longer matter whether you are alone or in company – do not think about many things but only about finding Jesus and following Him!
Run, Bartolomea, do not stay asleep, because time flies and does not wait one moment!
Dwell in God’s sweet love.
Sweet Jesus, Jesus love.” … St Catherine of Sienna (1347-1380) – Doctor of the Church – From the “Letters” (letter no. 165 to Bartolomea, wife of Salviato of Lucca).
PRAYER – “Holy God, our Father, we turn to You in confidence as children and pray, give us meekness of heart, make us “poor in spirit” that we may recognise that we are not self-sufficient, that we are unable to build our lives on our own but need You, we need to encounter You, to listen to You, to speak to You. Help us to understand that we need Your gift, Your wisdom, which is Jesus Himself, in order to do the Your will in our lives and thus to find rest in the hardships of our journey.” Hear the prayers we request of the Mother of our Jesus Crucified and our Mother, Our Lady of Carmel, dear Lord and holy God, which we pray through Christ, our Light, in the Holy Spirit, one God for all eternity, amen. … Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, 7 December 2011
Saint of the Day – 16 July – Blessed Ceslaus Odrowaz OP (c 1184– 1242) (Brother of St Hyacinth – Polish – Jacek) Priest and Friar of the Order of Preachers/Dominicans, Confessor, Spiritual Advisor, miracle-worker – born as Czesław Odrowaz in Kamień Śląski in Silesia, Poland and died in 1242 in Wroclaw, Poland of natural causes. Patronage – Wroclaw.
Born of the noble family of Odrowąż in the town of Kamień Śląski in Silesia, Poland, he is believed to have been Saint Hyacinth Odrowąż’s brother.
Having completed his philosophical studies in Prague, he went onto study theology and jurisprudence at the University of Bologna and possibly that of Paris. After being Ordained a Priest, in about 1218 he accompanied his uncle Ivo, Bishop of Cracow, to Rome. Hearing of the great sanctity of Saint Dominic, who had recently been attributed the miracle of resuscitating the nephew of Cardinal Stefano di Fossa Nova who had been killed in a fall from his horse, Ceslaus, together with St Hyacinth, sought admission into the Order of Friars Preachers.
In 1222, accompanied by a group of his fellow friars, he arrived in Cracow whence he soon set off for Prague. It was there that he set up the first Dominican Monastery. A few years later, Ceslaus was appointed Abbot of a Priory in the Polish city of Wrocław.
At the feet of the Statue of Blessed Ceslaus above, you will see a dog carrying a torch. The dog is the symbol of the Dominicans. It comes from a play on words in Latin: “Dominicanus” sounds like “Domini canis” – “dog of the Lord.” A traditional story is that when St Dominic’s mother was pregnant with him, she dreamed of a dog running around the whole world with a torch in its mouth. When her son became the Founder of an Order of Preachers – spreading the light of the Gospel throughout the world – this dream was looked on as prophetic. And so the symbol of a dog carrying a torch has become a symbol of the Dominican order.
A pious and generous man, Ceslaus became spiritual advisor to St Hedwig of Silesia. In those days, Poland was plagued by numerous attacks by the Tartars. In 1240 they laid siege to the city of Wrocław and the townspeople naturally turned to Ceslaus, who had made a name for himself as a holy man, for spiritual comfort and help. Ceslaus’ ardent prayers and outstanding moral courage miraculously averted the fall of the city.
Ceslaus remained in Wroclaw until his death in 1242.
He was raised to the altars by Pope Clement XI in 1713. In 1963, Pope Paul VI recognised Bl Ceslaus – next to St John the Baptist – as the main Patron Saint of City of Wrocław. In iconography, Bl Ceslaus is portrayed with a ball (or column) of fire above his head, which appeared during the siege of Wroclaw. The miracle horrified the invaders and made them run away and subsequently retreat.
Bl André de Soveral
St Andrew the Hermit
St Antiochus of Sebaste
Bl Arnold of Clairvaux
Bl Arnold of Hildesheim
St Athenogenes of Sebaste St Bartholomew of Braga OP – ArchBishop of Braga also known as Bl Bartholomew of the Martyrs (Bartolomeu Fernandez dei Martiri Fernandes) (1514-1590) St Bartholomew: https://anastpaul.com/2018/07/16/saint-of-the-day-16-july-blessed-bartholomew-of-the-martyrs-1514-1590/
On 8 July 2019, Pope Francis approved the favourable votes cast by the Eminent and Excellent members of the Congregation and extended to the Universal Church the liturgical worship in honour of Blessed Bartholomew of the Martyrs (born Bartolomeu Fernandes), of the Order of Preachers, Archbishop of Braga, born in Lisbon, Portugal on 3 May 1514 and died in Viana do Castelo, Portugal, on 16 July 1590, inscribing him in the book of Saints (Equipollent Canonisation).
Alleluia! Saint Bartholomew of the Martyrs, Pray for Us!
St Benedict the Hermit Blessed Ceslaus Odrowaz OP (c 1184– 1242) (Brother of St Hyacinth)
Bl Claude Beguignot
Bl Domingos Carvalho
St Domnio of Bergamo
Bl Dorothée-Madeleine-Julie de Justamond
St Elvira of Ohren
St Eugenius of Noli
St Faustus of Rome and Milan
St Fulrad of Saint Denis
St Generosus of Poitou
St Gobbán Beg
St Gondolf of Saintes
St Grimoald of Saintes
St Helier of Jersey
Bl John Sugar
St Landericus of Séez
Bl Madeleine-Françoise de Justamond
Bl Marguerite-Rose de Gordon
Bl Marguerite-Thérèse Charensol
Bl Marie-Anne Béguin-Royal
Bl Marie-Anne Doux St Marie-Madeline Postel (1756-1846)
Her Life: https://anastpaul.com/2019/07/16/saint-of-the-day-16-july-st-marie-madeline-postel-
Bl Marie-Rose Laye
Bl Milon of Thérouanne
Bl Nicolas Savouret
Bl Ornandus of Vicogne
St Paulus Lang Fu
St Reinildis of Saintes
Bl Robert Grissold
Bl Simão da Costa
St Sisenando of Cordoba
St Tenenan of Léon
St Teresia Zhang Heshi
St Valentine of Trier
St Vitalian of Capua
St Vitaliano of Osimo
St Yangzhi Lang
Martyrs of Antioch – 5 saints: Five Christians who were martyred together. No details about them have survived by the names – Dionysius, Eustasius, Maximus, Theodosius and Theodulus. They were Martyred in Antioch, Syria, date unknown.
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.