Saint of the Day – 12 July – Saint John Jones OFM (c 1574 – 1598) Priest and Martyr, Franciscan Friar, Missionary – Born as Griffith Jones c 1574 in Clynog-Fawr, Carnarvonshire, Wales and died by being hanged, drawn and quartered in the early morning of 12 July 1598 at London, England. He is one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales who are celebrated on 25 October.
His real name was Griffith Jones but he was variously known as John Jones, John Buckley, John Griffith or Godfrey Maurice Jones. He was born in the ancient parish of Clynnog into a staunch and recusant Welsh Catholic family who stayed true to their faith after the Protestant Reformation.
He entered the Observant Franciscan Convent at Greenwich as a youth. On the accession of Queen Elizabeth in 1558, Catholicism was banned so he went to the Continent and was Ordained at the Franciscan Monastery at Pontoise, France. He studied at the English College at Douai. After his Ordination at Rheims in 1585 he returned to the English mission but was captured and imprisoned in Wisbech Castle. He either escaped or was released and about 1592 made his profession as a Franciscan at the Convent of Ara Coeli in Rome, taking the name Godfrey.
His ‘Mission to England’ was approved by Pope Clement VIII and he returned in 1592, fully aware of the gruesome punishments inflicted on Catholic priests.
After two years he was arrested in Staffordshire. In 1596 the priest-catcher Topcliffe had been informed by a spy that John Jones had visited two Catholics and said Mass in their house but it was afterwards shown that these people were in prison when the alleged offence took place. However, he was promptly arrested and severely tortured. He was also cruelly scourged and Topcliffe took him to his house and practised unspeakable barbarities upon him, all of which he endured with great fortitude. He was then imprisoned for nearly two years in the Marshalsea Prison and on 3 July 1598, was tried on the charge of “going over the seas in the first year of Her Majesty’s reign (1558) and there being made a priest by the authority from Rome and then returning to England contrary to statute” (27 Eliz. c. 2) and sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered.
He was executed on 12 July 1598, some two miles outside of London. By this time, the people had grown tired of these hateful spectacles and as the authorities were keen to avoid a riot, the execution was arranged for the early morning. Despite this, a large crowd gathered. The executioner, called untimely from his bed, forgot his ropes. During the delay while he went for them, the condemned man preached to the crowd and explained he was being martyred for his faith, not for disloyalty to his country. The place was St Thomas’s Watering, in what is now the Old Kent Road, at the site of the junction of the old Roman road to London with the main line of Watling Street.
The usual atrocities were carried out; his dismembered remains were fixed on the poles on the roads to Newington and Lambeth (now represented by Tabard Street and Lambeth Road respectively); some were removed by young Catholics, one of whom suffered long imprisonment for this. One of these relics eventually reached the Monastery of Pontoise, where the Martyr had been ordained.
He was declared Venerable by Pope Leo XIII, Beatified in 1929 by Pope Pius XI and Canonised on 25 October 1970 by Pope Paul VI.
Sunday Reflection – 5 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Saint Francis of Assisi (c 1181-1226) First Admonition
The Body of the Lord
“The Lord Jesus says to His disciples: “I am the way, the truth and the life; no-one comes to the Father but through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also and from now on, you shall know him and have seen him.” Philip says to him: “Lord, show us the Father and it is enough for us.” Jesus says to him: “Am I with you so long a time and still you do not know me? Philip, he who sees me sees my Father also” (Jn 14:6-9). The Father dwells in unapproachable light (1 Tim 6:16) and God is spirit (Jo 4:24) and no-one has ever seen God (Jo 1,18). Hence only in spirit can He be seen, for it is the spirit that gives life; the flesh has nothing to offer (Jo 6:63). Yet, neither is the Son, inasmuch as He is equal to the Father, seen by anyone other than by the Father, other than by the Holy Spirit.
Wherefore, all those who saw the Lord Jesus according to humanity and did not see and believe, according to the spirit and the divinity, that He is the true Son of God, were condemned. So also now, all those who behold the Sacrament which is sanctified by the words of the Lord upon the altar, at the hand of the priest, in the form of bread and wine and do not see and believe according to the spirit and divinity, that it is truly the most Holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, are condemned. This the Most High Himself attests, who says: “This is my body and the blood of my New Testament” (Mk 14:22-24) and: “who feeds on my Flesh and drinks my Blood will have everlasting life” (Jn 6:55). Wherefore, the Spirit of the Lord, who dwells in His faithful ones, He it is who receives the most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord. All others who do not share of that Spirit and presume to receive Him eat and drink judgement to themselves (1Cor 11:29).
Wherefore, O you sons of men, how long will you be dull of heart? (Ps 4:3). Why do you not recognise the truth and believe in the Son of God (Jo 9,35)? Behold – daily He humbles Himself (Phil 2:8) as when from heaven’s royal throne (Wisd 18:15) He came down into the womb of the Virgin. Daily He Himself comes to us with like humility; daily He descends from the bosom of the Father ( Jo 1:18; 6,38) upon the altar, in the hands of the priest. And, as He appeared to the Apostles in true flesh, so now also he shows himself to us in the Sacred Bread. And, as they by their bodily sight saw only His flesh, yet contemplating Him with the eyes of the spirit, believed Him to be very God, so we also, as we see our bodily eyes the bread and wine, are to see and firmly believe, that it is His most holy body and blood living and true. And in this way the Lord is always with His faithful, as He Himself says: “Behold I am with you always until the end of the world” (Mt 28:20).”
Saint of the Day – 1 July – Blessed Ignatius “Nazju” Falzon OFS (1813-1865) Catechist, Confessor, Evangelist, Apostle of seamen, the poor and the marginalised, Apostle of the Passion of Our Lord and of the Blessed Virgi Mary, Doctor of Civil and Canon Law, Writer. He spread devotion to both the Stations of the Cross and the Holy Rosary in all his works – born on 1 July 1813 at Valletta, Malta and died on 1 July 1865, Valletta, Malta, aged 52. Nazju was baptised on 2 July in the Church of Porto Salvo with the names of “Rocco Angelo Sebastiano Vincenzo Naju Rosario Falzon.” Patronage – Catechists.
Blessed Nazju Falzon was born at 49, Strait Street, Valletta, the capital city of Malta. His parents were Giuseppe Francesco Falzon, a doctor of laws and Maria Teresa Debono, the daughter of a Judge.
Nazju had three brothers – all four boys became lawyers and two of the brothers entered the Priesthood. His brother Anthony became a lawyer and married, while his two brothers Kalcidon and Francis, became Priests.
Nazju was instituted a cleric when he was only 15, receiving three years later the Minor Orders from Bishop Publius M Sant OFM. Cap, at the Jesuit church in Valletta but he did not wish to be Ordained as a Priest, as he felt a deep sense of unworthiness, despite the local Bishop’s fervent encouragement. At the age of 20, Nazju graduated as a Doctor of Civil and Canon Law from the University of Malta. He became a lawyer to obey his father and to be able to help the poor who needed his advice, free of charge.
At the time of Nazju, poverty in Malta was rampant after being plagued several times by cholera. Nazju’s love for the poor knew no bounds. He collected the rentals of the many fields his family owned, in different parts of Malta, to be able to help the poor. His love towards the poor knew no limits. His charity was so great, that on one occasion his brothers chided him, saying that his prodigality was ruining the family. However, he took great pains to conceal all his good deeds from the eyes of the people, because he was careful not to yield to the temptation of pride. And although he came from a well-to-do family and of a high social standing, he always manifested poverty. Nazju Falzon led a rather secluded life, shunned all vanities and performed acts of mortification. He blushed whenever he was shown appreciation or was praised by others. He affirmed he was a poor sinner and he attributed to God all his good qualities.
His apostleship consisted in teaching the Christian Catechism to boys and girls in Valletta. Nazju was in fact a pioneer in the teaching of Catechism to the poor children of Valletta. His love for the teaching of Catechism was demonstrated by the fact, that when his family went to Birkirkara. to their summer residence at 284, St Julian’s Road, he went to but primarily to teach Catechism to children at St Helen’s Basilica.
Another branch of his apostolate was the teaching of religion to British servicemen. At the time of the Crimean War, their number amounted to about 20,000. Those who were interested were brought to his own home for lessons and prayer. More grew interested in this and it forced him to move and he soon found a new home for his work, at a Jesuit church in the capital of Valletta. The soldiers would leave their valuables with him if they had to go to the battlefield, in the knowledge, that he would pass them on to their loved ones if killed or missing. Nazju converted 656 Protestants, 4 Arabs and 2 Jews to the Catholic Faith.
Nazju derived his energy for his apostolate from his love for the Eucharist. He received Holy Communion daily and spent quite a long time giving thanks. Nazju used to help Marianna Agius, the family servant in her work to enable her to go to Church to hear Mass and receive Holy Communion daily.
He was a great devotee of the Passion of Our Lord and prayed the way of the cross daily. More than once he was seen elevated from the ground lost in ecstasy.
He had an immense devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary too and recited the little office of Our Lady daily, together with more than fifteen decades of the Holy Rosary.
Nazju had also a great love for St Joseph. He helped, financially, towards the building of the Parish Church of Mesida which was to be the first Church in Malta, to be dedicated to St Joseph. He died embracing a picture of St Joseph. His love for St Raphael, the Angel guide inspired his guidance of the children, the seaman and the poor and St Joseph Benedict Labre, was his inspiration for poverty of life.
A long time sufferer of heart spasms, he died on the 1 July 1865, as he had foretold, the day of his 52nd birthday. The Funeral Service was held the following day in Ta’ Ġieżu Church in Valletta, where he was also buried in the family vault in the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception in the Church of the Franciscan Minors, Mary of Jesus in Valletta.
The Beatification miracle involved the 1981 cure of a man stricken with cancer, who was totally cured. He was Beatified by St Pope John Paul II on 9 May 2001, in Malta, when he said:
“The Servant of God Ignatius Falzon also had a great passion for preaching the Gospel and teaching the Catholic faith. He too, put his many talents and his intellectual training at the service of Catechetical work. The Apostle Paul wrote that “each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor 9:7). Blessed Nazju was one who gave abundantly and cheerfully and people saw in him, not only boundless energy but also deep peace and joy.
He renounced the worldly success for which his background had prepared him, in order to serve the spiritual good of others, including the many British soldiers and sailors stationed in Malta at the time. In his approach to them, few of whom were Catholic, he anticipated the ecumenical spirit of respect and dialogue, which is familiar to us today but which was not always prevalent at that time.
Ignatius Falzon drew his strength and inspiration from the Eucharist, prayer before the Tabernacle, devotion to Mary and the Rosary and imitation of Saint Joseph. These are fountains of grace from which all Christians may drink. Holiness and zeal for God’s Kingdom flourish especially where parishes and communities encourage prayer and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. I urge you, therefore, to cherish your Maltese traditions of piety, purifying them where necessary and strengthening them with sound instruction and Catechesis. There would be no better way of honouring the memory of Blessed Nazju Falzon. Amen.”
Thought for the Day – 13 June – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“St Anthony of Padua was not born a saint but he became one as the result of prayer, self-denial and penance, which attracted to him, God’s many graces.
On a summer evening in the year 1219, five mendicant friars arrived at the gate of the ancient Abbey of Coimbra, asking for hospitality from the Canons Regular of St Augustine.
They received a whole-hearted welcome.
When they had refreshed themselves, they revealed that they belonged to the new Religious Family founded by St Francis of Assisi.
They said that they hoped to reach Morocco, in order to convert the Saracens and, if it was God’s pleasure, to receive the palm of Martyrdom.
Amongst the Canons Regular, who were listening to them, was the youthful Anthony, who had already consecrated his life to God.
Not long afterwards, this little band of Franciscan Missionaries, was cut down by the scimitars of the infidels and became a glorious band of Martyrs.
Their bodies were brought back in triumph to the Abbey which they had visited and there they were buried with great honour.
When they were going away, Anthony had listened enthusiastically to all that they had said and felt a noble envy.
Now that he was in the presence of their hallowed remains, he experienced an urge to follow in their footsteps.
St Anthony joined the Franciscan Order and joyfully set off for the coast of Morocco in search of Missionary labour and of Martyrdom.
But, when he landed on African soil, he was struck down by a serious attack of malaria, which compelled him to return to his native land.
There is no foreseeing the designs of Divine Providence.
The boat in which Anthony was travelling was battered by a tempest and had to go ashore in Italy.
Henceforward, Italy was Anthony’s second fatherland.
It was here, that he conducted his remarkable and fruitful apostolate and slowly accomplished his Martyrdom, by the daily struggle for perfection.
This, is a headline for us!
We may not have been called to go and spread the faith amongst the infidels, at the risk of Martyrdom.
But, we have all been called to a state of holiness.
Perfection, moreover, is a gradual Martyrdom.
The heroic daily effort which is required to abstain from sin and to overcome the wayward tendencies of our nature, can fairly be said, to be, no less difficult, than a bloody Martyrdom.
This is the kind of Martyrdom which we must all endure.
St Anthony of Padua, will obtain for us the grace, to undergo it with the same generosity and constancy, which he displayed.”
Bl Achilleo of Alexandria
Bl Alfonso Gomez de Encinas
Bl Anthony of Ilbenstadt
St Aquilina of Syria
St Augustine Phan Viet Huy
St Aventino of Arbusto
St Diodorus of Emesa
St Eulogius of Alexandria
St Fandilas of Penamelaria
St Felicula of Rome
St Fortunatus of North Africa
Bl Gerard of Clairvaux – was the brother of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux. He was a Soldier. When he was wounded in combat at the siege of Grancy, Gerard resolved to become a monk. He became a Benedictine Cistercian monk at Citeaux. He worked with Saint Bernard at Clairvaux and became his closest confidant. He died in 1138 of natural causes.
St Lucian of North Africa
St Mac Nissi of Clonmacno
Blessed Marianna Biernacka (1888-1943) Martyr of the Nazi Regime
Below is a video I believe features Anna herself. I, of course, do not know Polish, but another website had a picture of Anna and it was the same woman, so I believe I am correct in this supposition. It’s in Polish and throughout much of the video she is singing a song. It’s quite beautiful. If any of you know Polish I’d be grateful for information about what’s she’s saying and singing or if it is in fact Anna.
St Maximus of Cravagliana
St Nicolas Bùi Ðuc The
St Peregrinus of Amiterno
Bl Servatius Scharff
St Tryphillius of Leucosia
St Victorinus of Assisi
St Wilicarius of Vienne
Saint of the Day – 6 June – Blessed Innocenty Józef Wojciech Guz OFM (1890-1940) Priest of the Franciscan Conventual and Martyr of the Nazi Regime – born as Józef Adalbert Guz on 8 March 1890 in n Lemberg, Austria (present-day Poland) and died from trauma resulting from having a charged fire hose stuffed down his throat on 6 June 1940 in the prison camp at Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg, Oberhavel, Germany. He was 50 years old. Additional Memorial – 12 June as one of the 108 Polish Martyrs of World War II.
After high school Jozef tried to join the Jesuits but was turned down. On 25 August 1908 be joined the Franciscans, taking the name Innocenty. He studied philosophy and theology in Krakow, Poland and was ordained on 2 June 1914. He served as a Parish Priest in a number of cities and worked with Saint Maximilian Kolbe.
He was a confessor to a Franciscan monastery at Niepokalanów, Poland from 1933 to 1936, vice-master of clerics and singing teacher in the minor seminary and Parish Priest in Grodno, Poland.
He was imprisoned by invading Russia troops on 21 March 1940 for the crime of being a Polish Priest but he managed to escape and went to the German zone, where he was arrested by the Gestapo. He was sent to several prisons before finally ending at the concentration camp at Sachsenhausen where he was severely beaten and put to forced labour. When he could not work, owing to a broken leg, he was nearly drowned and finally murdered.
He was Beatified on 13 June 1999 by St Pope John Paul II at Warsaw, Poland. Below are the Franciscan Martyrs of the World War II.
Saint of the Day – 31 May – Saint Camilla Battista da Varano OSC (1458-1524) Italian Princess, Virgin, Poor Clare Nun and Abbess, Mystic, Spiritual Writer, Stigmatist – born on 9 April 1458 in Camerino, Macerata, Italy and died on 31 May 1524 in Camerino, Macerata, Italy of natural causes.
Camilla Battista was born into nobility in Camerino, Italy on 9 April 1458. As a Princess in the home of her father Duke Giulio Cesare da Varano she grew up in the court and received a good education.
Around the age of 9 she listened to a sermon on Good Friday preached by Domenico of Leonessa, a Franciscan friar who later became one of her confessors. He ended his sermon by encouraging his listeners to shed one teardrop for the Passion of Christ. She resolved to show her love for Jesus by shedding a tear each Friday. Though not initially drawn to the spiritual life, she persevered in her vow and would squeeze out a tear before running off to play. She found a booklet that contained a meditation on the Passion of Christ divided into 15 parts to be prayed like a rosary. She began to pray this devotion each Friday while on her knees before a Crucifix. Other spiritual practices like fasting and night vigils began to attract her even though she continued to spend time in the youthful pursuits of court life.
During Lent of 1479 a sermon she heard touched her deeply, inspiring her to take a private vow of chastity. Her father initially opposed her desire to enter religious life as he wanted her to marry. She wanted to enter the Poor Clare Monastery in Urbino. Her spiritual life deepened during the few years before she actually entered the Monastery. She wrote Lauda (Praises) during this time – a work in which she expressed the joy she felt in knowing that Jesus loved her.
On 24 November 1481 she entered the Poor Clare Monastery in Urbino and made her profession in 1483. Early in 1484, she transferred to the new Monastery of Santa Maria Nuova at Camerino which was close to her father’s castle. Her father had made arrangements with the Pope and the Vicar General of the Friars to have her moved there. She was reluctant to do so and went only under obedience.
While living in the Monastery in Urbino, she experienced visions and composed several other spiritual works. She was elected Abbess in 1500. The following year, due to political disagreements, her father and her brothers were killed and she was forced to flee to the Abruzzo region until 1503 when she felt safe to return to Camerino. She founded a Monastery in Fermo and trained a group of nuns in San Severino Marche who adopted the Rule of St Clare.
She died in her Monastery in Camerino during a plague on 31 March 1524, on the Feast of Corpus Christi, at the age of 66. Her remains were placed to rest in the crypt of the Monastery of the Poor Clares of Camerino.
St Camilla wrote with equal facility in Latin and Italian and who was accounted one of the most accomplished scholars of her day. The Major Works of St Camilla Battista da Varano are: Praises of the Visions of Christ, 1479 – 1481 Remembrances of Jesus, 1483 Treatise on the Mental Sufferings of Jesus Christ our Lord, 1488 The Spiritual Life, 1491 (Autobiography)
Her Autobiography from 1466-1491 which is considered a “jewel of art” and of the spiritual life. In this work, she describes how two Seraphim with wings of gold, appeared to her because they were assigned to help her understand the mysterious working of unitive love.
“Two angels came to me, dressed in resplendent white garments which I have seen only worn by Jesus. They had wings of gold. One of them took my soul from the right side, the other from the left side and they elevated it in the air, laying it down near the crucified feet of the Son of God made Man. This state lasted about two months almost continually, I seem to walk, to speak and do what I wished, deprived however of my soul. It remained there where the two Angels had placed it but they never abandoned it.
…They (the celestial spirits) declared to me, that they were so intimate with God that God is not ever separated from them. They also explained to me, that the Seraphim were likewise united to the Cherubim, in that none of them could ever go without the other to a soul.” – Camilla Varano, The Spiritual Life
Both Saint Philip Neri and St Alphonsus Liguori recorded their admiration for her.
On 8 April 1821 Pope Leo XIII approved the acts of the process for her Canonisation. She was Beatified by Pope Gregory XVI on 7 April 1843, following recognition of her long-standing public cult. On 4 February 1893 her writings were also approved. On 17 October 2010 Pope Benedict XVI Canonised her, along with five others.
Prayer for the Intercession of St Camilla Battista da Varano
Holy and Blessed Trinity,
You granted Camilla Battista the ability
to live as a true daughter of the Father,
to adhere to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and to allow herself to be moulded
by the fire of the Holy Spirit.
Grant me the grace to imitate her example
and to make, of my life,
a reflection of her beauty
and of her sanctity.
Grant me, I pray,
through the intercession of Saint Camilla Battista,
this grace that I ask
………………………………………….. (here state the favour you are requesting) Amen
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be…
One Minute Reflection – 30 May – “Mary’s Month” – Saturday of the Seventh Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 28:16-20, 30-31, Psalm 11:4-5, 7, John 21:20-25 and the Memorial of St Ferdinand III King (1199-1252)
Peter turned and saw the disciple following whom Jesus loved, the one who had also reclined upon his chest during the supper” … John 21:20
REFLECTION – “The love of Jesus for His faithful disciple is shown by the words: “Peter turned and saw the disciple following whom Jesus loved, the one who had also reclined upon his chest during the supper” (Jn 21:20).
Someone who truly follows the Lord wants everyone to follow Him, which is why He turns to his neighbour with kind attentions, prayers and proclamation of the Gospel. Peter’s turning around, signifies all those things. In the book of Revelation we find the same idea: “The bridegroom and the bride – Christ and the Church – say: ‘Come!’ Let him who hears say: ‘Come!'” (Rv 22:17). Christ, through interior inspiration and the Church, by preaching, say: “Come!” And whoever hears these words says to his neighbour: “Come!” which is to say: “Follow Jesus!” Then Peter, turning round, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following after. Jesus loves the one who follows Him.
Although his name is not mentioned, John stands out from the others, not because Jesus only loved him but because He loved him more than the others. He loved all the others but this man was closer to Him. … It was he who “reclined upon His chest during the supper” (Jn 21:20). This was a great sign of love, the fact that he alone could have leaned on the chest of Jesus, “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col 2:3). …
And so, during the Supper in heaven, we shall be satisfied for eternity, we shall take our rest together with John on the chest of Jesus. The heart is in the chest; love is in the heart. We shall rest in His love because, we shall love Him with all our heart and all our soul and shall discover in Him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. … So to Him be the praise and the glory for endless ages. Amen. … St Anthony of Padua (1195-1231) Evangelical Doctor
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 grace to be 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 Ferdinand, you who with the earthly power which rested on you, showed forth only the Love, Power and Will 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 – 26 May – Saint Mariana de Jesus de Paredes OFS (1618-1645) “The Lily of Quito,”Third Order Franciscan, Hermit, Penitent, Mystic, Ecstatic, miracle-worker and she was endowed with the charism of prophecy – born as María Ana de Jesús de Paredes y Flores on 31 October 1618 at Quito, Ecuador and died on 26 May 1645 at Quito, Ecuador, aged 26. St Mariana is first Canonised Saint of Ecuador and she has been declared a National Herione. Patronages – Ecuador, Americas, bodily ills, loss of parents, people rejected by religious orders, sick people, sickness. Her Incorrupt body is enshrined in the Cathedral of La Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús.
Mariana de Jesus de Paredes was born in the city of Quito, in the New Kingdom of Granada (modern-day Ecuador). She was born of aristocratic parents on both sides of her family, her father was Don Girolamo Flores Zenel de Paredes, a nobleman of Toledo, Spain and her mother was Doña Mariana Cranobles de Xaramilo, a descendant of one of the best Spanish families. Mariana was the youngest of eight children and it is claimed her birth was accompanied by most unusual phenomena in the heavens, clearly connected with the child and juridically attested at the time of the process of her Beatification.
She was orphaned at a very young age and, thereafter, she was raised by her older sister, Jerónima de Paredes and the latter’s husband, Cosme de Caso. Mariana was drawn to a spiritual life, her sister and brother-in-law allowed her to live in seclusion in their house, living “the life of an uncloistered beata,” similar to Rose of Lima to whom she is often compared. She was refused entry into a convent, despite supplication by her brother-in-law and surrogate father, Cosme de Caso. She subjected herself to bodily mortification, with the aid of her Indian servant. She did not live in total seclusion but rather focused her spiritual life on the nearby Jesuit church, where she participated in a number of apostolates.
Her spiritual life was closely connected to the Jesuits and her religious name “de Jesús” was no doubt intentional. Following her death in 1645, her funeral and burial were in the Jesuit church. The funeral sermon that the priest Fr Alonso de Rojas preached emphasised her bodily mortification and renunciation of the flesh and put her forward as a model for females in Quito to emulate. “Learn girls of Quito, from your fellow countrywoman, [to prefer] holiness over beauty, virtues over ostentation.” The sermon became a key document in the long process to establish her saintliness, Beatification (1853) and final Canonisation (1950).
The Franciscans claimed de Paredes as a holy person. She did wear the Franciscan scapulary and sash but her seventeenth-century Jesuit hagiographer, Jacinto Morán de Butrón, confirmed that the Jesuits nurtured her spiritual life. Soon after Mariana’s 1645 death, the Franciscan province of Peru, based in Lima, included a biography of Mariana in the history of the province citing the Jesuit funeral sermon as a source. She received the habit of the Third Order from the Franciscans in her native town of Quito. ccording to her Jesuit hagiographer, Mariana did not go to the Franciscan church to receive the garments but sent someone else.
It is reported that the fast which she kept was so strict that she took scarcely an ounce of dry bread every eight or ten days. The food which miraculously sustained her life, as in the case of Catherine of Siena and Rose of Lima, was, according to the sworn testimony of many witnesses, the Eucharist alone, which she received every morning in Holy Communion.
Mariana possessed an ecstatic gift of prayer and is said to have been able to predict the future, see distant events as if they were passing before her, read the secrets of hearts, cure diseases by a mere sign of the Cross or by sprinkling the sufferer with holy water and at least once restored a dead person to life. During the 1645 earthquakes and subsequent epidemics in Quito, she publicly offered herself as a victim for the city and died shortly thereafter.
It is also reported that, on the day she died, her sanctity was revealed in a wonderful manner – immediately after her death, a pure white lily sprang up from her blood, blossomed and bloomed, a miracle which has given her the title of “The Lily of Quito.” The Republic of Ecuador has declared her a national heroine.
St Mariana was Beatified on 10 November 1853, Rome by Pope Pius IX and
was Canonised on 9 July 1950 Rome, by Pope Pius XII.
St Mariana’s incorrupt body is exposed and venerated at her shrine at the Cathedral of La Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús, known colloquially as La Compañía, is a Jesuit Cathedral in Quito, Ecuador.
Quote/s of the Day – 21 May – Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter and the Memorial of Blessed Franz Jägerstätter OFS (1907-1943) Layman Martyr “The Man Who Would Not Bow His Head to Hitler.”
“If the Church stays silent in the face of what is happening, what difference would it make, if no church were ever opened again?”
His sacrifice was uniformly regarded as foolish by his neighbours and his story almost forgotten but for a book written by an American, Gordon Zahn, who heard of Jagerstatter when researching the subject of German Catholics’ response to Hitler. This book, In Solitary Witness, influenced Daniel Ellsberg’s decision to stand against the Vietnam War by bringing the Pentagon Papers to public attention. The following quote, taken from one of Jagerstatter’s last letters while in prison.
“Just as the man who thinks only of this world, does everything possible to make life here easier and better, so must we, too, who believe in the eternal Kingdom, risk everything in order to receive a great reward there. Just as those who believe in National Socialism tell themselves that their struggle is for survival, so must we, too, convince ourselves that our struggle is for the eternal Kingdom. But with this difference – we need no rifles or pistols for our battle but instead, spiritual weapons – and the foremost among these is prayer…. Through prayer, we continually implore new grace from God, since without God’s help and grace it would be impossible for us to preserve the Faith and be true to His commandments….”
“Let us love our enemies, bless those who curse us, pray for Those who persecute us. For love will conquer and will endure for all eternity. And happy are they who live and die in God’s love.”
“I can say from my own experience how painful life often is, when one lives as a halfway Christian- it is more like vegetating than living.”
“We are not dealing with a small matter but the great (apocalyptic) life and death struggle has already begun. Yet in the midst of it, there are many, who still go on living their lives as though nothing had changed … “
“I am convinced that it is still best that I speak the truth, even though it costs me my life. For you will not find it written in any of the commandments of God or of the Church, that a man is obliged under pain of sin, to take an oath committing him to obey whatever might be commanded him by his secular ruler. “
“Since the death of Christ, almost every century has seen the persecution of Christians, there have always been heroes and martyrs who gave their lives – often in horrible ways – for Christ and their faith. If we hope to reach our goal some day, then we, too, must become heroes of the faith.”
“I cannot believe that, just because one has a wife and children, a man is free to offend God.”
“I believe it is better to sacrifice one’s life right away, than to place oneself in the grave danger of committing sin and then dying.”
Blessed Franz Jägerstätter (1907-1943)
“Called-up to a Higher Order”
Martyr of Conscientious Objection
Bl Albert of Bologna
St Alexander of Edessa
St Anastasius of Brescia
St Aquila of Egypt
Bl Arnaldo Serra and Companions
St Asterius of Edessa
St Austregisilus of Bourges
St Basilla of Rome
St Baudelius of Nîmes
Bl Columba of Rieti St Ethelbert of East Anglia (Died 794) Martyr His Life: https://anastpaul.com/2019/05/20/saint-of-the-day-20-may-saint-ethelbert-died-794-martyr/
Bl Guy de Gherardesca
St Hilary of Toulouse
St José Pérez Fernández
St Lucifer of Caglieri
St Marcello Blessed Maria Crescencia / Angelica Perez FMH (1897-1932)
St Plautilla of Rome
St Protasius Chong Kuk-bo
St Rafaél García Torres
St Talaleo of Egea
St Thalalaeus of Edessa
St Theodore of Pavia
St Tomás Valera González
One Minute Reflection – 16 May – “Mary’s Month” – Saturday of the Fifth Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 16:1-10, Psalm 100:1-3, 5, John 15:18-21 and the Memorial of St Margaret of Cortona TOSF (1247-1297)
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me first. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own but because you are not of the world but I chose you out of the world, therefore, the world hates you.” … John 15:18-19
REFLECTION – “Our Lord’s will is that we should rejoice and leap for joy when we are persecuted (Mt 5:12) because, when persecutions come, it is then, that crowns are given for faith (cf. Jas 1:12), it is then, that Christ’s soldiers prove themselves, then that the heavens open to their witness.
We aren’t employed in God’s force only to think of quiet, running away from service when the Teacher of humility, patience and suffering has Himself provided the same service before us. What He taught, He first of all, carried out and, if He exhorts us to stand firm, it is because He Himself suffered before us and on our behalf.
If we are to take part in competitions in the stadium, we exercise and train ourselves and think ourselves highly honoured if, before the eyes of the crowd, we have the happiness of receiving the prize.
But here is a trial that is both noble and outstanding in another way, in which God watches us – we, His children – take part in the combat and Himself gives us a heavenly crown ( 1Cor 9:25). The angels watch us too and Christ comes to our aid.
So let us arm ourselves with all our might, let us fight the good fight, with brave hearts and solid faith.” … St Cyprian of Carthage (c 200- c 258) Bishop and Martyr, Father of the Church
PRAYER – Almighty God, grant that Your faithful, who rejoice in the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, may be delivered from every evil here on earth, put on the armour of Your Son and fight the good faith bearing His standard. Through her prayer and the prayers of Your Saints and St Margaret of Cortona, may we come to the enduring joys of heaven. We make our prayer through her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, one God with You, in the union of the Holy Spirit, forever amen.
Saint of the Day – 16 May – Saint Margaret of Cortona TOSF (1247-1297) “The Mary Magdalene of the Franciscan Order,” Third Order Franciscan, Penitent, Mystic, Founder of a Third Order Francisca Apostalate the “Le Poverelle” (Italian for “The Little Poor Ones”) who worked in the Hospital for the homeless, the sick and the poor that St Margaret had founded – born in 1247 at Laviano, near Perugia, Italy and died on 22 February 1297 (aged 49–50) at Cortona, Italy. Patronages -against temptations, falsely accused people, homeless people, insanity, loss of parents, mental illness, mentally ill people, midwives, penitent women, single mothers, people ridiculed for their piety, reformed prostitutes, sexual temptation, single laywomen, third children. Her body is incorrupt.
Margaret was born of farming parents, in Laviano, a little town in the diocese of Chiusi. At the age of seven, Margaret’s mother died and her father remarried. Sadly, the Stepmother and stepdaughter did not like each other. As she grew older, Margaret became more wilful and reckless and her reputation in the town suffered. At the age of 17 she met a young man, according to some accounts, the son of Gugliemo di Pecora, lord of Valiano and she ran away with him. Soon Margaret found herself installed in the castle, not as her master’s wife, for convention would never allow that but, as his mistress, which was more easily condoned. For ten years, she lived with him near Montepulciano and bore him a son.
When her lover failed to return home from a journey one day, Margaret became concerned. The unaccompanied return of his favourite hound alarmed Margaret. The hound led her into the forest to his murdered body. That crime shocked Margaret deeply, she began to be burdened with a great sorrow for the life of sin which she had accompanied him into and for the final destination of his soul. She resolved to enter into a life of prayer and penance. Margaret returned to his family all the gifts he had given her and left his home. With her child, she returned to her father’s house but her stepmother would not have her. Margaret and her son then went to the Franciscan Friars at Cortona, where her son eventually became a friar. She fasted, avoided meat, and subsisted on bread and vegetables.
In 1277, after three years of probation, Margaret joined the Third Order of Saint Francis and chose to live in poverty. Following the example of St Francis of Assisi, she begged for sustenance and bread. She pursued a life of prayer and penance at Cortona and there established a hospital for the sick, homeless and impoverished. To secure nurses for the hospital, she instituted a congregation of Tertiary Sisters, known as “Le Poverelle” (Italian for “The Little Poor Ones”).
While in prayer, Margaret recounted hearing the words, “What is your wish, poverella?” (“little poor one?”), and she replied, “I neither seek nor wish for anything but You, my Lord Jesus.” She also established an order devoted to Our Lady of Mercy and the members bound themselves to support the hospital and to help the needy.
On several occasions, Margaret participated in public affairs. Twice, claiming divine command, she challenged the Bishop of Arezzo, Guglielmo Ubertini Pazzi, in whose diocese Cortona lay, because he lived and warred like a prince. She moved to the ruined church of Basil of Caesarea, now Santa Margherita and spent her remaining years there; she died on 22 February 1297.
After her death, the Church of Santa Margherita in Cortona was rebuilt in her honour. Her incorrupt body is preserved in a silver casket inside the church. Hundreds of reports of miracles, both physical and spiritual, are still reported by those who come here to venerate her. Margaret was Canonised by Pope Benedict XIII on 16 May 1728.
St Diocletian of Osimo
St Felix of Uzalis
St Fidolus of Aumont
St Fiorenzo of Osimo
St Fort of Bordeaux
St Gennadius of Uzalis
St Germerius of Toulouse
St Hilary of Pavia
St Honorius of Amiens
Bl Louis of Mercy St Margaret of Cortona TOSF (1247-1297) (This is a very good homily – listen if you can).
St Ubaldus Baldassini
St Victorian of Isauria
Bl Valdimir Ghika
Martyrs of Saint Sabas: A group of monks, whose names have not come down to us, who were massacred by Moors at the monastery of Saint Sabas in Palestine.
Saint of the Day – 6 May – Blessed Maria Catalina of Saint Rose Troiani (1813-1997) Virgin, Nun, Missionary, Founder of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Third Order Franciscan, Apostle of the poor, especially children, teacher – born on 19 January 1813 in Giuliano di Roma, Italy and died on 6 May 1887 in Cairo, Egypt of natural causes. Patronage – the Franciscan Missionaries of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Maria Caterina Troiani was born in Giuliano di Roma in 1813 as the third of four children. She was born in the Napoleonic period.
She approached the Bishop of Ferentino and asked him if she could be received into a convent as a nun. She lived and learned the Franciscan path with Saint Francis of Assisi as a guide and dedicated herself – with her fellow noviates – to education and the care of girls.
On 8 December 1829 she took the religious habit of the institute and changed her name to “Maria Teresa of Saint Rose” in honour of Saint Rose of Viterbo.
Sr Maria had a great desire for Missionary work, especially in Africa. In 1852 the Apostolic Vicar of Egypt requested that a Franciscan institute be opened in Cairo with the aim of providing education and vocational training to poor girls.
She and four others left on 25 August 1859, first to Rome, where they met with Pope Pius IX 4 September who blessed them before their departure. The five embarked at Civitavecchia and Father Giuseppe Modena accompanied them. The group arrived in Malta to learn that the Apostolic Vicar of Egypt had suddenly died. On 14 September the group entered Cairo.
In 1868 various agreements between the Order of Friars Minor and the Congregation of Propaganda Fide ensured that the institution she established in Cairo was named as the Third Order Franciscan Sisters of Cairo. It was later renamed the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Egypt, only to be changed in 1950 to its current name. She was it’s Mother Superior until her death.
She died in 1887 and was buried in Cairo. Her remains were exhumed and moved to Rome on 3 November 1967. Pope Leo XIII had held her in high esteem and wished her to be reinterred in her home country.
St Pope John Paul II Beatified her on 14 April 1985 at St Peter’s. The cause of Canonisation continues, with a second miracle under investigation at present.
Saint of the Day – 4 May – Blessed Tommaso da Olera OFM Cap (1563-1631) Lay Brother of the the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, Spiritual Advisor, Confessor, Apostle of Charity, Writer, Mystic, Penitent and Ascetic. He was born Tommaso Acerbis in 1563 in Olera, Bergamo, Milan and died on 3 May 1631 in Innsbruck, Austria. Blessed Tommaso lived as a Franciscan porter and alms-seeker and as a religious who provided Spiritual advice and consolation to many nobility that included Leopold V and his wife.
Of the time of his birth at the end 1563 in Olera, a small village at the mouth of the Serio river and of his childhood, we do not know much. The child of peasants and shepherds, until age seventeen he was a peasant and shepherd himself, helping his parents in their work. Illiterate because the small village lacked schools, he wanted to become a Capuchin Friar and was received on 12 September 1580 at the friary of Santa Croce di Cittadella in Verona, becoming a lay friar of the Province of Venice. There he sought and obtained, although a lay friar, to learn to read and write. Living in the school and the choir with great intensity, his remarkable qualities and above all his virtues came to light during the three years of formation.
Tommaso flourished in his vocation and advanced quickly in the spiritual life. He made his religious profession on 5 July 1584 and was charged with the delicate and essential service of alms-seeking in Verona. He carried this out until 1605 when he was transferred to Vicenza with the same assignment. There he remained until 1612 before being in Rovereto from 1613 to 1617. The humble friar’s daily tasks included washing pots, collecting alms and visiting the sick but he also joyfully shared the Gospel with everyone he met. His reputation for holiness spread quickly and in 1619 Archduke Leopold V of Austria requested Tommaso’s assistance in confronting the spread of Lutheranism. Barely literate, Tommaso avoided disputation. Instead, with great success, he simply witnessed to Christ’s impassioned love for His Church. At the time Austria was the ‘bridgehead’ for the Catholic reform and above all the ‘Catholic reconquest’ of the German lands.
Obedience and humility made him the ‘begging brother’ for almost fifty years, love for souls made him a ‘tireless apostle’ in proclaiming the Gospel. With everyone, believer or not, he spoke of the love of God revealed in Jesus Christ. He taught the faith to all, the little and the great. He asked everyone, the great and the humble, to commit themselves to love. A true apostle, many “were astounded and it seemed humanly impossible that a simple lay friar should speak, as he spoke, in such an elevated way about God.” His commitment was a fire of love. “Everywhere he spoke of the things of God with such spirit and devotion that everyone was put in awe and wonder.” At the same time, he invited and urged peacemaking and forgiveness, he visited and comforted the sick, he listened to and encouraged the poor; reading consciences, he denounced evil and facilitated conversions. In order to obtain from God what he envisaged for those he met, he stayed awake at night in prayer, scourging his body, imposing fasts and austerities on himself for the salvation of others.
Br Thomas was also a promoter of vocations to consecrated life. In Vicenza he sponsored the erection of the Monastery of the Capuchin Poor Clares, built at Porta Nuova in 1612-13. At Rovereto he sought from the commissioners of the city a Poor Clare monastery, which was then built in 1642. There he met and guided the thirteen-year old Bernardina Floriani, who would become the mystic Venerable Giovanna Maria della Croce.
In Tyrol he was the spiritual guide of the poor of the Inn Valley, catechist and promoter and defender of the Tridentine decrees for a true Catholic reform.
From 1617 he was friend and spiritual director to the scientist Ippolito Guarinoni of Hall,
Court Physician in Innsbruck. There are also many letters written to the Archduchesses Maria Cristina of Habsburg and Eleonora, sister of Leopold V, as there were also many personal encounters with them. Br Thomas was Spiritual Guide to Leopold and to his wife Claudia de’ Medici, with frequent meetings at the palace and many letters.
To all he taught that “high wisdom of love” that “one learns from the precious wounds of Christ,” urging them to take refuge in “happiness in suffering.” He also counselled Archbishop Paris von Lodron, Prince of Salzburg and Spiritual Director of Emperor Ferdinand II, staying at his side during the Thirty Years’ War (1618-48). During his stay in Vienna (1620-1621), Br Thomas assisted the conversion to the Catholic faith of Eva Maria Rettinger, widow of George Fleicher, count of Lerchenberg, who then entered Nonnberg Abbey as a Benedictine nun and became Abbess. Still at Vienna, in 1620, he drafted the “moral concepts against the heretics,” published posthumously in Fire of Love.Here the source from which his writing was drawn is revealed: “I have never read a syllable of books but I strive to read the suffering Christ.”
Despite the studies completed with fervour and diligence during the years of the novitiate in Verona, his Italian remained elementary and ungrammatical. And yet, his writings reveal a surprising spiritual profundity and doctrinal exactness. A fellow friar, Ilarione from Mantova, noted in this regard: “I saw him many times after communion retire to his cell and write meditational pieces on the life and passion of the Lord and, having sometimes read me these spiritual works of his after having written them, he confidently affirmed [….] that he could not himself understand how he could have put those things on paper.” This book was among St Pope John XXIII’s favourite spiritual works, speaking of Bl Tommaso as“a saint and a true master of the spirit” and the Pontiff had portions of it read to him on his death bed. St Pope Paul VI also spoke of him with high esteem.
Love for Our Lady in his writings recognises, among other things, her Immaculate Conception (Dogma 1854) and Assumption (Dogma 1950), hundreds of years before these Dogmas were promulgated. He made pilgrimage to the Holy House of Loreto three times (1623, 1625, 1629), recalling that “arriving at the that Holy House, I seemed to be in paradise.”
To his friend Ippolito Guarinoni, he pointed out a location near Hall, at the Volders bridge on the Inn river, such that a church dedicated to the Immaculate Conception should be built there. In 1620 the foundations were laid and, many criticisms and difficulties having been overcome, the church was completed in 1654. It was the first church on German-speaking land dedicated to the Immaculate Conception and St Charles Borromeo. Even today it is considered an Austrian national monument.
Many who were present at his death, which came on 3 May 1631, considered it a ‘death of love.’ He was buried on Sunday, 5 May in the crypt of the chapel of Our Lady in the Capuchin church in Innsbruck.
It took another 356 years before St Pope John Paul II proclaimed the friar Venerable in 1987. Pope Benedict XVI authorised Tommaso’s Beatification in 2012 and the Beatification Mass was finally celebrated by Cardinal Angelo Amato on behalf of Pope Francis in 2013.
Saint of the Day – 29 April – Blessed Mary Magdalene of the Incarnation FSPA (1770-1824) Religious Sister and Founder of the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, Mystic – born as Caterina Soderini on 16 April 1770 in Porto Santo Stefano, Grosseto, Italy and died on 29 November 1824 in Rome, aged 54. She is also known as Blessed Caterina Soderini. Patronage – the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. The Order falls under the Franciscans as the St Francis Sisters of Perpetual Adoration – FSPA.
Caterina Sordini was born on 16 April 1770 at Grosseto, Italy, the fourth of nine children born into a deeply Catholic family. When she was 17 her father arranged for her to marry a maritime merchant. At first she was against it but later complied with her father’s wishes. The young man gave her a casket of jewels and, having adorned herself, turned to admire her reflection in the mirror but saw the image of the Crucified Christ who asked: “Do you want to leave me for another?”.
She took the question seriously and in February 1788 visited the Franciscan Tertiary Monastery in Ischia di Castro. Caterina entered then and there, thus shocking her father who had thought it was merely a visit. She was clothed six months later, taking the name of Sr Mary Magdalene of the Incarnation.
On 19 February 1789, she fell into ecstasy and saw a vision of “Jesus seated on a throne of grace in the Blessed Sacrament, surrounded by virgins adoring him” and heard Him telling her: “I have chosen you to establish the work of perpetual adorers who, day and night, will offer me their humble adoration…” Thus, she was called to become a foundress and to spend her life adoring Jesus in the Eucharist. In that turbulent period for the Church, she set an example to all.
She was elected Abbess on 20 April 1802. The period of her governance was accompanied by extraordinary phenomena and an increasingly fervent spiritual life, and the abbey thrived. With the consent of her spiritual director and the local Bishop she drafted the rules of the new Institute and set out for Rome on 31 May 1807.
On 8 July that year, she and a few Sisters moved into Sts Joachim and Anne convent, near the Trevi Fountain. Under the French occupation it was confiscated and the Napoleonic laws suppressed her Order. She was exiled to Tuscany.
There she formed a new group of Adorers. On 19 March 1814, when they could return to Rome they settled at Sant’Anna al Quirinale. On 13 February 1818, Pope Pius VII approved the Institute dedicated to perpetual, solemn, public exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
In 1824, Mother Mary Magdalene predicted she would die in the autumn, despite the fact, that she was not taken at her word. She died at 11:00 pm on 29 November 1824. She was buried at Sant’Anna al Quirinale and in 1839 her remains were translated to the Church of Santa Maria Magdalena, the new generalate of the Perpetual Adorers in Rome. St Pope John Paul II decreed her heroic virtues in 2001 and in 2007, Benedict XVI recognised a miracle attributed to her intercession. … Vatican.va
She was Beatified on 3 May 2008, Basilica of Saint John Lateran, Rome, Italy by Cardinal José Saraiva Martins on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI.
The order now operates across Europe, the Americas, as well as in Africa and has more than ninety monasteries scattered around the world. The Order locates its Monasteries in cities, in order to provide people access to the Blessed Sacrament for veneration. So, the Monastery’s Chapel is usually open to the public every day, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., for Eucharistic Adoration. Visitors kneel adoring Christ in the consecrated host, exposed in a large, golden monstrance, while in another section of the chapel, the nuns take turns in Adoration from behind the cloister grille.
But even while performing daily chores or praying elsewhere in the Monastery the nuns strive to continually focus on the Blessed Sacrament.
Saint of the Day – 25 April – Saint Pedro de San Jose de Betancur OFB (1626-1667) called “St Francis of Assisi of the Americas” and “Apostle of Guatemala,” Religious Tertiary of the Franciscan Order and Founder of the Order of Our Lady of Bethlehem “the Bethlemites” – which belongs to the Franciscan community,” Missionary, Apostle of Mercy, of the sick, of the poor, prisoners, Catechist – born as Pedro de Betancur y Gonzáles, on 16 May 1619 at Villaflores, Tenerife Island, Canary Islands, Spain and died on 25 April 1667 at Guatemala City, Guatemala of natural causes, just before his 48th birthday. Patronages – Canary Islands, Guatemala, Central America, Catechists of Guatemala, Honorary Mayor of Municipalities in the south of Tenerife and Honorary Mayor of Antigua Guatemala, of the homeless. Although his Feast is today, it is sometimes moved to the 24 April to accommodate the Feast of St Mark on the 25th. In Tenerife his memory is celebrated on 29 June. He is also known under the names of Santo Hermano Pedro ( Saint Brother Peter ) and San Pedro de Vilaflor ( Saint Peter of Vilaflor ) Peter de Betancurt.
St Pedro de Betancur was born on 19 March 1626 at Chasna de Vilaflor on Tenerife in the Canary Islands. He died on 25 April 1667 in Guatemala City, Guatemala. His life, marked by a heroic holiness, is a shining testimony of faithfulness to the Gospel. Pedro was a descendant of Juan de Betancurt, one of the Norman conquerors of the Canary Islands. His immediate family, he was one of the five children, however, was very poor and he started work as the shepherd of the small family flock. His parents raised him soundly in the faith and his contact with nature nurtured his deeply contemplative soul. As a young boy, Pedro learned to see God in everything around him.
When Pedro heard about the miserable living conditions of the people of the “West Indies” (present-day America), he felt called to take the Christian message to this land. In 1650 when he was 23 years old, he left for Guatemala where a relative had already gone to become secretary of the Governor General. His funds ran out in Havana so Pedro had to pay for his passage from that point, by working on a ship which docked at Honduras from where he walked to Guatemala City.
Pedro was now so poor that he had to stand in line for his daily bread at the Franciscan friary and it was here, that he met Friar Fernando Espino, a famous missionary, who befriended him and remained his lifelong counsellor. He found Pedro a job in a local textile factory. In 1653 Pedro realised his ambition to enter the local Jesuit college in the hope of becoming a priest. He showed little aptitude for study, however, which led him to withdraw. Here Providence once again helped him as he met Fr Manuel Lobo, SJ, who became his confessor. After holding the position of Sacristan for a while in a church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, he rented a house in a suburb of the city called Calvary and there taught reading and Catechism to poor children.
Friar Fernando invited Pedro to join the Franciscan Order as a lay brother but Pedro felt that God wanted him to remain in the world and in 1655, he joined the Third Order of St Francis. From then on, Pedro dedicated his time to alleviating the sufferings of the less fortunate in the midst of inexpressible toil and difficulty. He became the Apostle to African-American slaves, the Indios subjected to inhuman labour, the emigrants and abandoned children, with ever-expanding generosity and deep humility, in total abandonment to God’s will. Inspired by the charity of Christ, he became everything to everyone . In 1658 Pedro was given a hut which he converted into a hospital for the poor who had been discharged from the city hospital but still needed to convalesce.
It was called “Our Lady of Bethlehem.” He also founded a hostel for the homeless, a school for poor and abandoned children and an oratory. Pedro received help for these foundations from both the civil and religious authorities. He begged for alms to endow the Masses celebrated by poor priests and also endowed Masses, to be celebrated in the early hours, so that the poor might not miss Mass.
He had small chapels erected in the poor sectors, where instruction was also given to children. Prisoners also excited Pedro’s compassion. Every Thursday he begged for them through the city and visited them in their cells. Every year, on 18 August, he would gather the children and sing the Seven Joys of the Franciscan Rosary in honour of the Blessed Mother, a custom still continued today in Guatemala. The neglected souls in purgatory were also the objects of his solicitude. He would travel the streets at night, ringing a bell and recommending these souls to be prayed for.
He was joined by men and women, who became the Bethlemite Brothers and the Bethlemite Sisters and formulated a Rule that included the active apostolate of working with the poor, the sick and the less fortunate, based on a life rich in prayer, fasting and penance. The Bethlemite Congregation was thus established.
Pedro died on 25 April 1667, at 47 years of age exhausted by labour and penance. At the request of the Capuchin Friars he was buried in their church in Antigua, Guatemala, where, ever since, his remains are held in veneration.
Throughout his life, the Child of Bethlehem was the focus of Pedro’s spiritual meditation. He was always able to see in the poor the face of “the Child Jesus,” and to serve them devoutly. He is known as the “St Francis of the Americas.” … Vatican.va
Pedro is considered the great evangelist of the Guatemala. His dedication to the social problems of his time are comparable to that effected, centuries later, by St Mother Teresa in Calcutta, serving the most vulnerable and needy.
He is credited with introducing to the Americas, the Christmas Eve Novena ‘posadas’ procession, in which people representing Mary and Joseph, seek a night’s lodging from their neighbours. The custom soon spread to Mexico and other Central American countries.
Pedro was known to work miracles also, including healing the sick. Among other facets of his life, his defence of the Immaculate Conception stands out – two centuries before the declaration of the Dogma. His great devotion to prayer for the Souls in Purgatory and the penance he practised, for the sins of the world.
St Pedro de Betancur was distinguished by the humble spirit and austere life with which he practised mercy. He was Beatified on 22 June 1980, at St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City by St Pope John Paul II and Canonised on 30 July 2002, in Guatemala City, Guatemala by St Pope John Paul II.
During his homily at the Canonisation St John Paul called Pedro the “first Tenerifean and Guatemalan saint” and he “… personifies “a heritage which must not be lost; we should always be thankful for it and we should renew our resolve to imitate it”
Saint of the Day – 22 April – Blessed Francis of Fabriano OFM (1251-1322) Priest of the Order of the Friars Minor, Theologian, Spiritual Writer, renowned Preacher – born as Francesco Venimbeni on 2 September 1251 in Fabriano, Ancona, Italy and died on 22 April 1322 of natural causes, aged 70. Patronage – of Fabriano.
Francis was born in the year 1251 in the city of Fabriano. His father was a physician in that city and highly esteemed, not only because of his medical ability but still more, because of his love for the poor and afflicted and his sincere piety. Daily, little Francis recited the Divine Office and he was proficient in Latin before he was ten. To the great joy of his parents, Francis gave evidence of the finest talents, an alert understanding, and a meek and devout temperament.
As a boy Blessed Francis of Fabriano had a very serious illness which brought him to death’s door. Then the pious mother vowed to make a pilgrimage to the grave of St Francis of Assisi and at once, the illness took a turn for the better.
In Assisi the venerable Brother Angelo, one of the first associates of St Francis, saw the lovely boy and foretold to the mother, that he would later be his companion in the order. In consequence, Francis won the commitment and love of his parents more and more.
The boy’s desire for learning and his great progress were especially pleasing to his father. When he had reached his seventeenth year, he experienced a strong impulse to consecrate himself to God in the Order of St Francis and his pious parents gave their consent.
In 1267, he completed his humanities and philosophical studies before Francis entered the Franciscan convent at Fabriano and there, under the excellent direction of Father Gratian, later minister general of the entire order, Blessed Francis of Fabriano was instructed in all the conventual virtues. He applied himself to theological studies and purchased – with his father’s own funds – a handsome scale of books and other publications for the convent. He loved to call it the “best workshop in the convent” and its catalogue contains works of the Church Fathers as well as mathematicians and preachers. There was also works of theological and biblical commentators. Mark of Lisbon OFM (died 1622) Franciscan Historian and the Bishop of Porto in Portugal, dubbed the friar as a “most learned man and renowned preacher.”
In order to gain the Portiuncula indulgence he went to Assisi and there, he heard from the trusted companion of St Francis, Brother Leo, who was still living, how this popular indulgence had been given and also how the Stigmata had been bestowed. Concerning both these facts Francis later wrote a book, which still serves as evidence.
Blessed Francis died on 22 April 1322 and had predicted the date of his own death. He is buried in Fabriano.
The Beatification for the late friar was celebrated on 1 April 1755 after Pope Pius VI approved the late friar’s “cultus.”
One Minute Reflection – 15 April – Easter Wednesday, Readings: Acts 3:1-10, Psalm 105:1-4, 6-9, Luke 24:13-35
“Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” … Luke 24:32
REFLECTION – “Brethren, let us turn to the account of Christ’s appearances to His disciples after the Resurrection, which are most important, first, as showing that such an unconscious communion with Him is possible; next, that it is likely to be the sort of communion now granted to us, from the circumstance that in that period of forty days after the Resurrection, He began to be, in that relation towards His Church, in which He is still and probably intended, to intimate to us thereby, what His presence with us is now.
Now observe what was the nature of His presence in the Church after His Resurrection. It was this, that He came and went as He pleased, that material substances, such as the fastened doors, were no impediments to His coming and that, when He was present His disciples did not, as a matter of course, know Him. … The two disciples on the way to Emmaus do not seem to have been conscious of this at the time but on looking back, they recollected that, as having been, which did not strike them while it was. “Did not,” they say, “did not our heart burn within us?” …
Let us observe, too, when it was that their eyes were opened… when He consecrated and broke the Bread. There is evidently a stress laid on this in the gospel… for so it was ordained, that Christ should not be both seen and known at once, first He was seen, then He was known. Only by faith is He known to be present… He removed His visible presence and left but a memorial of Himself. He vanished from sight that He might be present in a Sacrament and in order to connect His visible presence with His presence invisible, He for one instant, manifest Himself to their open eyes; manifested Himself, if I may so speak, while He passed from His hiding-place of sight without knowledge, to that of knowledge without sight.” … St John Henry Newman (1801-1890) – Cardinal, Founder of the Oratory in England, Theologian, Poet, Writer, Hymnest – PPS 6, 10
PRAYER – Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have You present so that I do not forget You. You know how easily I abandon You.
Stay with me Lord, because I am weak and I need Your strength, so that I may not fall so often.
Stay with me Lord, for You are my life and without You, I am without fervour.
Stay with me Lord, for You are my light and without you, I am in darkness.
Stay with me Lord, to show me Your will.
Stay with me Lord, so that I may hear Your voice and follow You…. St Padre Pio of Pietrelcina (1887-1968) (Stay with Me, Lord – Excerpt)
And grant holy Father, that the prayers of Our Lord’s Mother and ours, the Blessed Virgin, may assist us on our way. Through Christ, our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, one God with You, forever, amen.
Saint of the Day – 24 March – Blessed Didacus Joseph of Cadiz OFM Cap (1743–1801) Spanish Capuchin Priest Friar, renowned Preacher, Missionary – Known as the “Apostle of Our Lady, the Mother of the Good Shepherd” and the “Apostle of the Blessed Trinity,” Miracle-worker – born as José Francisco López-Caamaño y García Pérez on 30 March 1747 in Cádiz, Seville, Spain and died on 24 March 1801 in Ronda, Malaga, Spain of natural causes.
José Francisco López-Caamaño y García Pérez was born in Cádiz in 1743. His lineage dated from the Visigoth kings. His mother died when he was 9 years old. Later, his father moved the family to the city of Grazalema, where he entered the local school run by the Dominican Order. Though of noble ancestry, as a youth, Joseph could make no progress at school, receiving the nickname of the “dunce of Cadiz”. A classmate, a Dominican friar named Antonio Querero, testified how difficult study had been for him.
Initially rejected by the Observant Franciscan friars due to this perceived limitation of intellect, López-Caamaño was later accepted by the Capuchin friars and, at the age of 15, entered their novitiate in Seville, at which time he was given the name Didacus Joseph. He was professed as a member of the Order on 31 March 1759. He was Ordained to the Priesthood in Carmona in 1766, for which he prepared himself by an extremely ascetic life.
In 1771, after further training in homiletics, he was assigned to one of the teams of friars who would preach Parish Missions to residents of isolated, rural villages, which was a major focus of the Capuchins of that era. His biographers stated that the congregations marvelled at the tender love he displayed to the Crucifix he would hold while preaching and the singular power of his words, which swayed his audiences and left an impression on their lives. He wandered throughout the entire peninsula on foot, preaching in this way to the various communities he encountered on the road.
Spain was undergoing changes in its intellectual climate, as the influence of the Enlightenment began to spread in the upper classes of the country. Didacus became a major force in promoting the traditional devotions and beliefs of Catholicism as part of the identity of the nation and is seen, as an early integrist in the development of Spanish culture, opposing Liberal Catholicism. He also was a strong critic of the policy of consumerism, being promoted in the universities and some government circles. For this teaching, he was denounced to the Spanish Inquisition for attacking royal prerogatives . In turn, he accused the proponents of new economic policies and the secularisation of Spanish society of heresy. He preached at the Royal Court in 1783 but found that he had no effect on the nobility. Leaving Madrid in disappointment, he later wrote: “I do not want the royal couple to remember me”.
Didacus was appointed an official of the Inquisition, the synodal examiner for almost all Spanish dioceses and an honourary canon. The University of Granada conferred upon him the honourary degrees of Master of Arts and Doctorates in Theology and Canon Law. A collection of his sermons numbers 3,000.
Didacus died in 1801, apparently as a result of yellow fever, at the age of 58, in Ronda, Málaga. His remains are kept for veneration in an urn in the small, simple chapel of Our Lady of Peace in Ronda where he died, on the square now named in the friar’s honor.
He was Beatified by Pope Leo XIII on 22 April 1894.
This unlearned man became a celebrated preacher in Spain and an honourary Doctor of Theology and Canon law! During his sermon one day, a child shouted aloud in the church: “Mother, mother, see the dove resting on the shoulder of Father Didacus! I could preach like that too if a dove told me all that I should say!” Didacus prayed devotedly before his sermons, even scourging himself to the point of blood, in order to draw down God’s mercy upon the people.
Once when his superior chided him because of the austerity of his life, Didacus Joseph replied: “Ah, Father, my sins and the sins of the people compel me to do it. Those who have been charged with the conversion of sinners must remember that the Lord has imposed upon them the sins of all their clients. By means of our penances we should atone for the sins of our fellowmen and thus preserve ourselves and them from eternal death. It would hardly be too much if we shed the last drop of our blood for their conversion.”
Many miraculous events are recorded of his life, these three all took place in the main square of Cadiz. In one, he was able to save the life of a builder who had fallen off a roof, stopping his fall with one hand. On another occasion, a priest passed him while en route to administer the Last Sacraments to a dying person. When the acolyte accompanying the priest pointed out to the friar, that he had not removed his hood (the customary form of reverence to the Blessed Sacrament which the Priest would be carrying), Didacus told him, “Tell the priest that the ciborium is empty.” This turned out to be the case. On yet another occasion, a heavy rainstorm hit the city. The square, where Didacus happened to preaching at the time, was the only spot on which no rain fell.
The 28th Day of Missionary Martyrs + 2020 “In Love and Alive”
A day of prayer and fasting in memory of the missionary Martyrs of the Faith.
The day in which Msgr Oscar Arnulfo Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador was assassinated in 1980, was chosen 28 years ago by the then Missionary Youth Movement of the Pontifical Mission Societies of Italy, to celebrate annually the “Day of Prayer and Fasting in memory of the Missionary Martyrs.”
The Archbishop, assassinated while celebrating Mass, was Beatified on 23 May 2015 and Canonised by Pope Francis on 14 October 2018, together with St Paul VI and 5 others.
The Bishops’ Conference of El Salvador, on the occasion of the 40 years since his Martyrdom, had announced a “Jubilee Year of the Martyrs,” to celebrate the National Martyrs – Fr Rutilio Grande, Msgr. Oscar Arnulfo Romero, Fr Cosme Spessotto.
However, this year, the coronavirus emergency has forced the Bishops to suspend all celebrations and gatherings, so this Day in 2020 will not see public initiatives.
The slogan of the 2020 Day is “In Love and Alive” informs Giovanni Rocca, national secretary of Missio Giovani. “A message that holds two meanings within itself. The first, in the qualifying meaning, fully describes those who ardent of love for God the Father and His creatures invested all their time to take care of them. The second is a real imperative, the legacy that the Martyrs received from our Lord by transmitting it to us today. Only those who fall in love are willing to abandon the superfluous, in order to grasp the essence of life. This promise is not only hope for the future but above all a guarantee for the present.” Then an invitation: “Convinced that each of us is a worker in the vineyard of the Lord, on 24 March we join in prayer and fasting in memory of the sisters and brothers who by giving their lives continue to be ‘In love and alive.'”
Various aids are available on the Missio Italia website that were prepared to deepen the theme of the day and proposals for concrete initiatives of prayer and solidarity. Following the directives of the Italian government, Missio Giovani has suspended the scheduled events and offers through its social channels – Facebook and Instagram – contents and moments of confrontation to live this time together. (SL) (The Vatican Missionary Agency – Agenzia Fides, 23/3/2020)
St Pigmenius of Rome
St Romulus of North Africa
St Secundus of North Africa
St Seleucus of Syria
St Severo of Catania
St Timothy of Rome
Martyrs of Africa – 9 saints: A group of Christians murdered for their faith in Africa, date unknown. The only details about their that survive are the names – Aprilis, Autus, Catula, Coliondola, Joseph, Rogatus, Salitor, Saturninus and Victorinus. .
Martyrs of Caesarea – 6 saints: A group of Christians martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian. We know little else but six of their names – Agapius, Alexander, Dionysius, Pausis, Romulus and Timolaus. They were martyred by beheading in 303 at Caesarea, Palestine.
One Minute Reflection – 19 March – The Solemnity of the Feast of St Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Patron of the Universal Church, Readings: 2 Samuel 7:4-5, 12-14, 16, Psalm 89:2-5, 27, 29, Romans 4:13, 16-18, 22, Matthew 1:16, 18-21, 24
When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home … Matthew 1:24
REFLECTION – “When the divine goodness chooses someone to receive a special grace, it gives him all the charisms he needs, which greatly increases his spiritual beauty. This is wholly confirmed in the case of Saint Joseph, legal father of our Lord Jesus Christ and rightful husband of she, who is Queen of the world and Sovereign of angels. The eternal Father chose him to be provider and faithful guardian to his chiefest treasures, namely His Son and His bride – a function he faithfully fulfilled . That is why the Lord said: “Good and faithful servant, come, share your master’s joy” (Mt 25,21).
If you compare Joseph with all the rest of Christ’s Church, is he not the one who has been specially chosen, through whom Christ came into the world in regular and respectable fashion? So, if the whole of holy Church is indebted to the Virgin Mary, because it was she who enabled it to welcome Christ, after her it is to Saint Joseph that it owes a recognition and honour without compare.
Indeed, it is he who brings the Old Testament to an end, it is in him that the dignity of patriarchs and prophets receives its promised fruit. He alone possessed in reality what divine goodness had promised to them. Nor indeed should we doubt that the closeness and respect Christ showed to Joseph during His earthly life, as a son to His father, were ever denied in heaven, rather, He enriched and completed them. So, with reason, the Lord adds: “Enter into your master’s joy”. PRAYER – Blessed Joseph, remember us, intercede with the help of your prayers to your adopted Son and may you likewise make the blessed Virgin, your spouse, to be favourable towards us, for she is the mother of Him, who, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns world without end.” … St Bernadine of Siena (1380-1444) – Sermon on Saint Joseph
Quote/s of the Day – 19 February – The Memorial of St Conrad of Piacenza TOSF (c 1290-1351), Today’s Gospel: Mark 8:22-26
Then again he laid his hands upon his eyes and he looked intently and was restored and saw everything clearly.
Mark 8: 25
“Keep a clear eye toward life’s end. Do not forget your purpose and destiny as God’s creature. What you are in His sight, is what you are and nothing more. Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take nothing that you have received… but only what you have given – a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage.”
Saint of the Day – 19 February – St Conrad of Piacenza TOSF (c 1290-1351) Hermit, Pilgrim and Penitent, Member of the Third Order of St Francis, born Corrado Confalonieri in c 1290 at Piacenza, Italy and died on 19 February 1351 at Noto, Sicily of natural causes while kneeling before a crucifix. Patronages – cure of hernias, Calendasco and Noto. His body is incorrupt.
He was a member of one of the noblest families of Piacenza, in the town of Calendasco, a fiefdom of his family. The date of his birth is uncertain. He married an aristocratic young woman named Ephrosyne when he was quite young. Though pious, he led the normal way of life for a man of his station.
One day, as he was engaged in his usual pastime of hunting within his family’s domain, he ordered his attendants to set fire to some brushwood in which game had taken refuge. The prevailing wind caused the flames to spread rapidly to the surrounding fields and forest. A peasant who happened to be found near where the fire began was accused of starting the blaze and was imprisoned, tortured to confess and condemned to death. As the man was being led to execution, a remorseful Conrad publicly admitted his guilt to the Signoria of the city. As punishment and reparation for the damages he had caused, the city seized all his assets, only sparing his life due to his noble status
Thus reduced to poverty and seeking penance for his act of cowardice, Conrad and his wife saw the hand of God in this event. As a result, in 1315 they agreed to separate and Conrad retired to a hermitage near the town of Calendasco, joining a community of hermits, who were Franciscan tertiaries, while his wife became a nun of the Order of Poor Clares at their monastery in the city.
Conrad soon developed a reputation for holiness and the flow of visitors left him unable to keep the solitude he sought. He then embarked on the life of a pilgrim, going to Rome and from there to the Holy Land and Malta and, about 1340, to Palermo in Sicily, where he was directed to an isolated site in the Val di Noto. After many years of an itinerant life, he settled there in a grotto now named for him and for the rest of his life spent a most austere and penitential life of solitude, working numerous miracles and gifted with prophecy.
In 1343 Conrad felt called by God to serve the local people more directly and in 1343 went to the city of Netum, where he cared for the sick at the Hospital of St Martin there for the next two years. He lived in a hermitage attached to the Church of the Crucified Christ occupied by the Blessed William Buccheri, a former equerry to King Frederick III of Sicily, who had also taken up a life of solitude and prayer. Conrad would regularly return to his grotto for silent prayer. His fame was such that in 1348 the Bishop of Syracuse, Giacomo Guidone de Franchis, went to his hermitage to beg his prayers for the relief of a famine afflicting the island.
Conrad died while in prayer, kneeling before a crucifix, on 19 February 1351, the day he had predicted. At his request, his body was buried at the Church of St Nicholas, the principal one of the city. After the city was destroyed in an earthquake in the 1690s, it was transferred to the new church of the same name, built in the relocated city, now called Noto, which has since been elevated to the statues of the Cathedral of the region.
Numerous miracles have been attributed to him while he lived and subsequently at his tomb in Noto, Italy. Holy legend records, for example, that when the Bishop of Syracuse visited him, the he asked Saint Conrad if he had anything to offer guests. Conrad said he would check in his cell and returned moments later carrying newly baked bread and cakes, which the bishop accepted as a miracle. Saint Conrad was also reported to have travelled surrounded by a cloud of fluttering birds, keeping him company.
Conrad is especially invoked for the cure of hernia. This comes from miracles attributed to him. He was visited at his hermitage by a former friend and companion in arms, Antonio da Stessa, from Daverio. His friend was suffering from the pain of a hernia he had developed. Seeing the pain his old comrade was suffering, Conrad was moved to pity and prayed for him. Stessa was immediately cured of the hernia. The same outcome was accomplished for a local tailor, who suffered severely from several hernias.
The miracle for which Conrad is best known is the “Miracle of the Bread”. This developed during the aforementioned famine which afflicted Sicily as a result of a severe outbreak of the bubonic plague on the island during 1348-49. During that catastrophe, anyone who approached the hermit for help was given a loaf of bread, still warm, which, it was said, he had received from the angels.
Pope Leo X Beatified Conrad on 12 July 1515 and permitted the town of Noto to celebrate his feast day. On 30 October 1544, Pope Paul III extended permission to the whole island. On 2 June 1625, he was Canonised by Cardinal Odoardo Farnese, who was the Duke of Parma and Piacenza in a solemn ceremony at the cathedral of Piacenza, where it was declared an obligatory feast. On 12 September of that same year, permission was granted to the Franciscan Order by Pope Urban VIII for a distinct text for the Divine Office and Mass to be used for his feast, today, it is celebrated solely by the Third Order of St Francis to which he belonged. In Vietnam there is a popular devotion to Conrad.
On his feast day, the Parish Church of San Corrado in Noto commemorates him by the distribution of blessed bread.
Our Morning Offering – 18 February – Tuesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time, Year A
Jesus, Pierce My Soul with Your Love By St Bonaventure OFM (1221-1274) The Seraphic Doctor
Jesus, pierce my soul with Your love
so that I may always long for You alone,
the fulfilment of the soul’s deepest desires.
May my heart always hunger and feed on You,
my soul thirst for You,
the source of life,
wisdom, knowledge, light
and all the riches of God.
May I always seek and find You,
think about You,
speak about You
and do everything for Your honour and glory.
Be always my hope,
my peace, my refuge and my help,
in whom my heart is rooted,
so that I may never
be separated from You.
One Minute Reflection – 17 February – Monday of the Sixth week in Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: James 1:1-11, Psalm 119:67-68, 71-72,75-76, Mark 8:11-13 and the Memorial of St Alexis Falconieri (13th century –1310) Priest, One of Seven Founders of the Servites
“Why does this generation seek a sign?” … Mark 8:12
REFLECTION – “Believing even in darkness – The Holy Spirit tells us: Do not let your mind succumb to temptation and sorrow, for joy of the heart is life for the soul. Sorrow is no good for anything and causes our spiritual death.
It happens sometimes that the darkness of trial overwhelms your soul’s heaven but this darkness is light!
Thanks to it, you believe even in darkness, the mind feels lost, it fears no longer being able to see, no longer understanding anything. But this is the moment when the Lord speaks and makes Himself present to the soul and the soul listens, understands and loves in the fear of God. So don’t wait for Tabor to “see” God when you are already contemplating Him on Sinai.
Progress in the joy of a sincere heart, that is wide open. And if it is impossible for you to keep that happiness, at least don’t lose courage and keep all your trust in God.” … Saint Pius of Pietralcina “Padre Pio” (1887-1968)
PRAYER – Almighty Lord and God, protect us by Your power throughout the course of this day, even as You have enabled us to begin it. Your grace is all that we need to see the loving kindness of Your Son, our Lord Jesus in all we meet. Do not let us turn aside from His path but by the faith You have granted us, let us find meaning in all, which is the sign of Your glory. Do not let us turn aside to sin and may the intercession of St Alexis Falconieri and the Seven Holy Founders of the Servites, grant us courage and peace. Through Jesus Christ, our Saviour, with the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.
One Minute Reflection – 6 February – Thursday of the Fourth Week of Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: 1 Kings 2:1-4, 10-12, Responsorial psalm 1 Chronicles 29:10-12, Mark 6:7-13 and the Memorial of St Francesco Spinelli (1853-1913)
He charged them to take nothing for their journey...Mark 6:8
REFLECTION – The Lord commands us in the Gospel: “Watch, be on your guard against all malice and greed” (cf. Lk 12:15). “Guard yourselves against the preoccupations of this world and the cares of this life” (cf. Mt 6:25; Lk 21:34). Therefore, none of the brothers, wherever he may be, or wherever he goes, should in any way carry, receive, or have received either money or coins, whether for clothing or books or payment for any work-indeed, for no reason-unless it is for the evident need of the sick brothers, for we must not suppose that money or coins have any greater value than stones. And the devil would like to blind those who desire it or consider it better than stones. Therefore, let us who have left all things behind, take care, that we do not lose the kingdom of heaven for so little (cf. Mt 19:27; Mk 10:24.28). And if we were to find coins in any place, let us give them no more thought than the dust which we crush with our feet, for all this is “vanity of vanities and all is vanity” (Eccl 1:2).
All the brothers should strive to follow the humility and the poverty of our Lord Jesus Christ (…). And they must rejoice when they live among people who are considered to be of little worth and who are looked down upon, among the poor and the powerless, the sick and the lepers and the beggars by the wayside. And when it may be necessary, let them go for alms. And they should not be ashamed but rather, recall that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the living and all-powerful God (…) was a poor man and a transient and lived on alms, He and the Blessed Virgin and His disciples.” … St Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) – Founder of the Friars Minor – Earlier Rule, §8-9
PRAYER – Grant us Lord, a true knowledge of salvation so that, freed from fear and from the power of our foes, we may serve You, unhampered by any worldly ties, trusting only in Your loving and guiding hand. Help us to give our hearts, minds, bodies, our all to You, serving faithfully all the days of our life. May the prayers of St Francesco Spinelli, Your faithful servant, give us strength. We make our prayer, through our Lord Jesus with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.