“For the measure you give, will be the measure you get back.”… Luke 6:38
REFLECTION – “Let us give alms because these cleanse our souls from the stains of sin. Men lose all the material things – they leave behind them in this world but they carry with them the reward of their charity and the alms they give. For these they will receive from the Lord the reward and recompense they deserve.” – St Francis of Assisi (c 1181–1226)
PRAYER – We beseech Your mercy Lord, let Your Spirit come upon us in power and fill us with His gifts, to render our minds and hearts pleasing to You and make us docile and merciful as Your Son has taught us. May our Lord Jesus, Your Son, guide us and may the prayers of St Albinus of Angers assist us to engrave Your precepts in our hearts and actions. Through Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 28 February – The Second Sunday of Lent
My Lord, I am Unworthy! Prayer before Holy Communion By St Bonaventure (1217-1274) Doctor of the Church
My Lord, Who are You and who am I, that I should dare to take You into my body and soul? A thousand years of penance and tears would not be sufficient to make me worthy to receive so royal a Sacrament even once! How much more am I unworthy of it, who fall into sin daily, I, the incorrigible, who approach You so often without due preparation! Nevertheless, Your mercy infinitely surpasses my unworthiness. Therefore, I make bold to receive this Sacrament, trusting in Your love. Amen
Saint of the Day – 25 February – Blessed Sebastian of Aparicio OFM (1502-1600) “The Angel of Mexico,” Franciscan Lay brother, Confessor, Ascetic, apostle of the poor, builder of roads and bridges in Mexico and thus is honoured as the founder of the transport and road system in Mexico. Born as Sebastiano de Aparicio y del Pardo on 20 January 1502 in La Gudiña, Orense, Spain and died on 25 February 1600 of natural causes, aged 98. Sebastian was a Spanish colonist in Mexico shortly after its conquest by Spain, who after a lifetime as a rancher and road builder, entered the Order of Friars Minor as a lay brother. He spent the next 26 years of his long life, as a beggar for the Order and died with a great reputation for holiness. Patronages – drivers, travellers, road builders and the Transport industry in Mexico. His body is incorrupt.
Sebastian was born in Spain into a peasant family in 1502,. He was a good looking young man with a reserved personality that attracted the interest of quite a few women. He was deeply religious and changed employment several times, before the age of 30, to avoid the temptations opened to him. He worked as a household servant and as a hired field hand.
Despite his illiteracy, he had absorbed the discourse on how to lead a pious and holy life that he could emulate models in hagiographic texts. According to his own account, his life was saved in a miraculous way during an outbreak of the bubonic plague in his town in 1514. Forced to isolate him from the community, his parents built a hidden shelter for him in the woods, where they left him. While lying there helpless, due to his illness, a she-wolf found the hiding spot and, poking her head into his hiding spot, sniffed and then bit and licked an infected site on his body, before running off. He began to heal from that moment.
At the age of 31, Sebastian left Spain for Mexico. He settled in the town of Puebla de los Angeles where he took employment as a field hand. However, he soon noticed a business opportunity for Puebla was an important crossroads and he noted, that the goods transported, were carried on the backs of pack animals or on the backs of the native people.
At first, Sebastian made and sold wheeled carts for the transport of goods. He then expanded into the improvement and building of roads and bridges to improve transport for goods and people. He was responsible for the building of a 460 mile road from Mexico City to Zacatecas, which took 10 years to build and was of enormous benefit to the local economy.
By the age of 50, Sebastian was a wealthy man. He lived very simply and gave his earnings to others, he bought food for the poor, made loans that he never reclaimed to poor farmers too proud to accept charity, he paid the dowries for poor brides and gave free training to Indians in skills that would assist them in earning a living. In addition, people brought him their problems and he had a reputation for his wisdom.
Sebastian became known as “The Angel of Mexico.” He retired at the age of 50 to a hacienda to raise cattle. He married at age 60 at the request of his bride’s parents. His bride was a poor girl and he agreed to the match, on condition that the couple lived as brother and sister, which they did. His wife died and he married again on the same condition. When he was 70, Sebastian’s second wife died and he himself contracted a serious illness.
Upon recovering, he decided to give everything he had to the poor and became a lay Franciscan brother. He undertook many responsibilities, including cook, sacristan, gardener and porter. He was then assigned to the large community of friars in the city of Puebla, at that time consisting of about 100 friars, most of whom, were doing their studies or were retired or recovering from illness. He was appointed to be the quaestor of the community, the one assigned to travel throughout the local community, seeking food and alms for the upkeep of the friars and those who came to them for help. The builder of Mexico’s highway system had become a beggar on it. Despite his advanced age, he felt the vigour needed for the task. This formerly rich man, loved his job and was loved by his fellow Franciscans, the townspeople and the poor that the Brothers helped. He also loved–and was loved–by animals, even the most stubborn mules and oxen would obey the Blessed, much like Saint Francis.
Though he had long suffered from a hernia, Aparicio marked his 98th birthday on the road, apparently in good health. On the following 20 February, he developed what was to be his final illness, as the hernia became entangled. He began to feel pain and nausea and, upon arrival at the friary, was immediately sent to the infirmary. It was the first time he had slept in a bed in 25 years. As his condition worsened, he became unable to swallow. His only regret was that, due to this, he was unable to receive Holy Communion. As he lay dying, he was consoled by the friars’ fulfilling his request that they bring the Blessed Sacrament to his cell.
On the evening of 25 February, Aparicio asked to be laid on the ground to meet his death, in imitation of St. Francis. He soon died in the arms of a fellow Galician, Friar Juan de San Buenaventura, with his last word being “Jesus.” When his body lay in state, the crowds that gathered were large and the miracles wrought were so numerous, that he could not be buried for several days. His habit had to be replaced repeatedly, as mourners would snip a piece of it off to keep as the relic of a saint.
The Blessed’s remains were never buried but at the request of the local people, exposed in a prominent place for veneration. His body, although darkened, has remained incorrupt and can be viewed in the Church of Saint Francis in Puebla.
Nearly 1,000 miracles were reported at his intercession, even before his death and such claims continue to this day. Pope Pius VI Beatified him on 17 May 1789.
Our Lady of Great Power, Quebec, Canada, (1673) – 25 February:
Our Lady of Great Power is little known in America, unless among the pupils of the Ursulines in Quebec. Generations of these, however, have dwelt within the walls of the Old Monastery during two centuries and more, since the arrival of the statue in the last years of the 17th century. In the annals of the Ursulines of the Sacred Heart at Perigueux, France, where the statue was solemnly crowned, we find the origin of the devotion. The devotion to Our Lady of Great Power began in the monastery of Issoudun. There a holy Ursuline nun, Mother Saint Peter, was inspired during her prayer to invoke Our Lady under this title. She spoke of her inspiration to her Sisters and her Superiors. The devotion was adopted with enthusiasm and very soon it was decided, that a statue be sculptured and a Chapel built, dedicated to Our Lady of Great Power; she would henceforth be chosen, as first and principal Superior of the Monastery. The feast of the dedication took place 25 February 1673 and was celebrated with great pomp, as the chronicle testifies:
“After High Mass two ecclesiastics carried the statue to the entry of the monastery where the nuns, in solemn procession, received it. It was placed on a richly decorated litter and, to the chanting of hymns, psalms and canticles, it was brought to the prepared Chapel. When the same statue was raised on its pedestal, the Superior laid the keys of the monastery, the seals and constitutions at Our Lady’s feet, begging her, in the name of the community, to accept the gift of all hearts and of the entire monastery and to allow them, to look on her as their Superior forever. Each rendered homage while hymns and canticles of thanksgiving were sung in Mary’s honour.”
Ever after, when a Superior was elected, the ceremony was renewed and is still renewed in each Ursuline community every year on a principal feast of the Blessed Virgin; though homage is rendered only every three years, after the election or nomination of Superiors. The statue of Our Lady of Great Power was carried off and profaned during the dark days of the French Revolution. It was found and returned to the monastery at Perigueux and the devotion continued fervently until 1892, when the Bishop of Perigueux, in the name of the Soverign Pontiff, placed a richly jewelled crown on the head of the Mother and the Child and ratified the numberless and signal favours obtained through Our Lady of Great Power. Through the Ursulines in Quebec, the devotion soon spread through the New World. Before the Altar in Quebec hangs the famous votive light promised to be kept burning as a token of thanks for favours granted to Mother Saint Agatha (Madeleine de Repentigny). Relatives and descendants of this holy nun have kept the lamp burning. One relative, Miss Anthon, had a new lamp made, an artistic gem, the work of the celebrated ecclesiastical goldsmith Calliat of Lyon, France.
St Adelelmo of Engelberg St Aldetrudis St Ananias of Phoenicia Bl Avertano of Lucca St Caesarius of Nanzianzen St Callistus Caravario Bl Ciriaco Maria Sancha Hervas Bl Didacus Yuki Ryosetsu St Domenico Lentini St Donatus the Martyr Saint Felix III, Pope St Gerland the Bishop St Gothard the Hermit St Herena the Martyr St Justus the Martyr St Laurentius Bai Xiaoman St Luigi Versiglia Blessed Maria Adeodata Pisani (1806-1855) Biography: https://anastpaul.com/2018/02/25/saint-of-the-day-25-february-blessed-maria-adeodata-pisani-osb-1806-1855/ St Nestor of Side St Riginos Bl Robert of Arbrissel Blessed Sebastian of Aparicio OFM (1502-1600) Franciscan Lay Brother St Tharasius St Toribio Romo González St Victor of Saint Gall St Walburga — Martyrs of Egypt – A group of Christian men who were exiled to Egypt for their faith and were eventually martyred for their faith in the persecutions of Numerian. We know little more than their names: Claudianus Dioscurus Nicephorus Papias Serapion Victor Victorinus
Our Lady of Good Tidings, Notre Dame-de-Bonne Nouvelle, Lempdes, France (1500’s) – 18 February:
The Abbot Orsini wrote: “Our Lady of Good Tidings, near Rouen, where a great number of people are seen, particularly on Saturdays.”
It was on 23 December 1563, when the Bishop of Lucon, Jean-Baptiste Tiercelin, consecrated the Church under the patronage of the Blessed Virgin, Notre-Dame-de-Bonne-Nouvelle. This first Chapel came into the world in the midst of religious convulsions that were then taking place in Switzerland, Germany and England, by the leaders of the ‘Reformation’ and must necessarily be seen, as an action bravely going against the tide. The religious wars that began raging in France ten years after its erection, began to be another reason for some concern for faithful Catholics but the pilgrimages to the Church of Notre-Dame-de-Bonne-Nouvelle continued undisturbed. From time immemorial, there had been venerated at Notre Dame a Statue of the Blessed Virgin, holding in her arm the Infant Jesus. Many went to her in procession, especially children, who came each year to ask Mary for perseverance after their first Communion. The revolutionary turmoil in France, which was to take the throne and the altar, could not leave behind the parish of Our Lady of Good Tidings. In 1790 the National Assembly decreed a new law in which the Church of Our Lady of Good Tidings was dissolved. As the Priest, Fr M Fabre, had the courage to refuse the oath of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, he was thrown into the street. A short time later, on 22 May 1791, the Abbot Fourquet de Damalis, convened in the Church an assembly of the faithful and there were very many who responded. This occurred under the noses of twelve national guardsmen and so the Police Commissioner, a man named Cafin, responded there quickly. He asked the Abbot why there was such a meeting and the Abbot answered him, that he was explaining to the faithful the decrees of the National Assembly for the public good. The Police Commissioner accepted the explanation and the meeting, having been perfectly peaceful, the police commissioner was obliged to agree to the monthly meetings and record it in his minutes. One might think that the worship would be suspended at Notre-Dame-de-Bonne-Nouvelle during the Terror but we have evidence to the contrary. As at Chartres, a great number of the faithful remained active and opposed the removal of the sacred ornaments of the Church and defended their Priests and eager to fulfil their religious duties, they were not to be intimidated by the fear of imprisonment and even death. From the registry of marriages and baptisms, including a few that date back to 1793, we know that there were religious ceremonies such as baptisms and weddings held there secretly, sometimes in an oratory, sometimes in the Church. In the year 1818, a severe epidemic was ravaging the country. The faithful vowed, with the agreement of their Bishop, to go in procession to Our Lady of Good Tidings and celebrate in perpetuity the feast of the Visitation, which was the feast of the Chapel. The procession took place and God quickly put an end to the scourge of the plague. At about that time, a young boy began making regular visits to the Church of Our Lady of Good Tidings, who was the patroness of the village. He was a poor boy materially, for Lempdes was one of the poorer villages in France and he had been born into a peasant family, that was struggling to eke out a living in the wreck of post-revolutionary France. He kept the faith and when he grew up, Jean Baptiste Lamy was Ordained a Priest, eventually becoming the first Archbishop of Sana Fe, New Mexico.
Our Morning Offering – 18 February – Thursday after Ash Wednesday
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. Amen
“Even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your hearts, not your garments and return to the LORD, your God. For gracious and merciful is he, slow to anger, rich in kindness and relenting in punishment.”
“He need not fear anything, nor be ashamed of anything, who bears the Sign of the Cross on his brow.”
St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Church
“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.”
St Francis of Assisi (c 1181-1226)
“Fasting, when rightly practised, lifts the mind to God and mortifies the flesh. It makes virtue easy to attain and increases our merits.”
St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of the Church
Saint of the Day – 16 February – Blessed Philippa Mareri OSC (c 1195-1236) Religious Nun of the Poor Clares, foundress of the monastery of Franciscan Sisters of Saint Philippa Mareri of the Poor Clares, Penitent and disciple of the teachings of St Francis of Assisi. Born in c 1195 in Mareri, Rieti, Italy and died on 16 February 1236 in Borgo San Pietro, Rieti, Italy of natural causes aged 41. Also known as Filippa Mareria. Patronage – Sulmona, Italy. Her heart is incorrupt.
Blessed Philippa Mareri, who belonged to the illustrious family of the Mareri, saw the light of day at the castle of her parents near Rieti in Italy, toward the close of the twelfth century. At a very early age she was the favourite of all who knew her, not only because of her natural gifts but principally because of her steady advancement in perfection. As a young woman she lived quietly at home, devoted to prayer and the cultivation of her high mental endowments. She took particular pleasure in reading the Holy Scriptures and studying the Latin language, in which she became very proficient.
About this time, St Francis often visited the valley of Rieti, where he established several convents and sometimes called at the home of the devout Mareri. His forceful admonitions, filled with holy simplicity and unction and his severe life of penance, made a deep impression on Philippa.
It was not long before Blessed Philippa Mareri resolved to imitate our holy Father, foregoing wealth and consecrating herself entirely to God. She rejected a proposal to marry with the words:
“I already have a spouse, the noblest and the greatest, Our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Neither the remonstrances of her parents, nor the ridicule of her brother Thomas, had any effect in changing her mind. She cut off her hair, donned a very coarse garmen, and with several companions withdrew to a cave in the rocks of a nearby mountain.
Her austere life of penance and intimate union with God changed the resentment and mockery of her family into admiration. Thomas visited the mountain recess to ask Philippa’s forgiveness and placed at her disposal, the Church of St Peter and an adjacent convent once occupied by the Benedictines, over which he was the patron. Full of joy, the young community took up its abode there, accepting the place as a gift from heaven. They lived according to the rule of St Clare under the direction of Blessed Roger of Todi, to whom St Francis had entrusted the care of their souls.
The new foundation flourished remarkably and many of the noblest young women joined their ranks. Philippa’s excellent example and loving manner were particularly instrumental in bringing about these results. Although she filled the capacity of Superior, she was the humblest member of the community. She had no equal in zeal for prayer and mortification, and, like St Francis and Blessed Roger, she held poverty in the highest esteem. Blessed Philippa Mareri exhorted her sisters to have no care for the morrow and more than once, in times of need, her trust in God was signally rewarded with miraculous assistance.
Blessed Philippa Mareri had lived and laboured and made sacrifices for God for many a year, when it was revealed to her that the time of her death was at hand. She was seized with a fatal illness. Gathering her sisters around her deathbed, she bade them farewell and exhorted them to persevere in their efforts toward perfection and to remain united in sisterly love. Having received the last sacraments at the hands of Blessed Roger, she addressed to her sisters the words of the Apostle:
“The peace of God which surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
She then expired quietly and went home, on 16 February 1236.
Striking miracles occurred on the very day of her burial and many more have occurred since then throughout the years. Shortly after her death Pope Innocent IV approved the veneration paid to her and on 30 April 1806 by Pope Pius VII (cultus confirmation; decree of heroic virtues) -renewed the approbation. Blessed Philippa’s incorrupt heart is preserved today in a silver reliquary, while her other remains are preserved in the Monastery of Borgo San Pietro in the Valle del Salto. Today, nearly eight centuries after her death, the devotion to the Saint and the Pilgrimage Site has kept on growing, not only in her homeland but also in many other countries and other continents.
The Grotta di Santa Philippa is the place where the noble woman, belonging to the important Mareri family, took refuge, when she abandoned luxury and comfort to follow her faith. Located near Petrella Salto, it is immersed in the green nature of the Valley. Here Philippa Mareri took refuge in the thirteenth century with some companions, to escape the pressures of family members who opposed her choice of religious life. Today the cave has been transformed into a graceful and simple rock church, the destination of many faithful and reachable via the pilgrim’s path. Inside there is a statue of the saint and a marble altar covered by a wooden canopy.
Our Lady of Fire, Forli, Italy (1428) – 4 February:
The best-known print in early times was certainly the miraculous woodcut of Forli in north-eastern Italy, which became famous as Our Lady of Fire, or Our Lady of the Fire. It is the subject of the earliest monograph on a printed picture, which also fixes the earliest date that can be attached to a surviving Italian print. This book is Giuliano Bezzi’s “Il Fuoco Trionfante,” printed in 1637 at Forli, between Florence and Ravenna and he speaks of the miracle remembered as Our Lady of Fire. “Around the year of our Lord 1420, in a pleasant house by the Cathedral at Forli, the devout and learned Lombardino Brussi of Ripetrosa imitated Christ among the disciples at Emmaus by breaking the bread of the fear of the Lord and of humane letters with school boys. Their household devotion turned to the Virgin. They ever began and ended their literary exercises by praising and praying to this great sovereign of the universe. They said their prayers before an image of Our Lady rudely printed from a woodblock on a paper about a foot square. Printing was then new and who knows if this may not have been the first print by the first printmaker? The simplicity of the image certainly matched the well-mannered scholar’s simplicity of heart. It showed and still shows, the most Blessed Virgin holding her Holy Infant and surrounded by saints like King Solomon by his guard. Above to the right and left shine the sun and the moon, luminously forecasting that the Virgin was to consecrate this paper with a power like the moon’s over water and the sun’s over fair weather.
The devotion to the Virgin had advanced these happy boys from easy letters to graver studies when, on 4 February 1428, fire broke out in the downstairs classroom. Whether it started by accident or by design, is not known but certain it is, that the outcome so glorified God and His Blessed Mother that fires nowadays cause joy where they burn! When this fire had feasted on the benches and cupboards of the school, it followed its nature to ascend and sprang at the sacred paper. In awe at the sight of the most holy image, the flames stopped and – wonder of wonders – like the blameless fingers of a loving hand, they detached it from the wall to which it was tacked. The fire thought the wall too base a support for so sublime a portrait and longed to uphold the heaven of that likeness, like the other heaven, on a blazing sphere. Above the flames raging in the closed room the unscorched image floated as on a throne. When the fire had consumed the ceiling beams it wafted out the revered leaf, not to burn but to exalt it. With this leaf on its back it flew to the second floor, to the third, to the roof, then through the roof and behold, the Virgin’s image burst above the wondrous pyre like a phoenix, triumphant and unconsumed! The miracle drew the eyes of all the populace and came to the ears of Monsignor Domenico Capranica, the Papal Legate, who carried the paper in a procession, accompanied by all the people, to the Cathedral of Santa Croce, where it was placed in a holy but simple chapel.”
The building burned to the ground but the image of Our Lady of Fire was not forgotten. Copies were made of the image and they could be found in every Christian home in the region. The original print itself, was the focus and centre of religious life in the town of Forli, which had been blessed to witness such a great miracle.
Martyrs of Perga – 4 saints: A group of shepherds martyred in the persecutions of Decius. The only details we have about them are the names – Claudian, Conon, Diodorus and Papias. They were martyred in c 250 in Perga, Asia Minor (in modern Turkey).
Saint of the Day – 1 February – Blessed Andrew of Segni OFM (1240-1302) Priest, Friar of the the Order of Friars Minor, Hermit, spiritual teacher, mystic, miracle-worker and exorcist. Andrew is best known for his humble life of solitude in which he was subjected to demonic visions and attacks, though his faith in God saw him emerge time and time again, as the victor. He lived his life in a small grotto in the Apennines. Born as Andrea De Comitibus dei Conti in 1240 in Anagni, Italy and died on 1 February 1302 at his Mount Scalambra Hermitage near Piglio, Italy of natural causes, aged 62. Additional Memorial – 3 February in the Diocese of Anagni and by the Franciscans. Patronage – against demons, Diocese of Anagni.
Andrea De Comitibus of the Counts of Segni, was born in Anagni around 1240. He was a close relative of popes Innocent III, Gregory IX, Alexander IV and Boniface VIII, of the last two he was respectively Nephew and Uncle.
The road to high honour had opened its portals to him too but even as a young man, he recognised the vanity of the world and renounced it entirely. He left his father’s castle, worldly honour and riches and sought another home in the newly founded Franciscan convent of St Lawrence in the Apennines. There, he found a solitary grotto, where, with the permission of the superiors, he made his abode. The cavern was so narrow and low that, because of his tall stature, Andrew was obliged either to kneel or to bend over considerably when he was inside. But here he remained for the rest of his life and he became the perfect model of Franciscan humility and mortification, of modesty and piety. The cave in which he spent most of his day in prayer and in the most severe poverty and penance is still visible today.
In spite of this inconvenience he spent almost his entire life there in the contemplation of heavenly things, practicing great austerities and struggling almost continually against the evil spirits, over which, with the grace of God, he always emerged the victor. He was diligent also in pursuing the study of the sacred sciences and was the author of a treatise on the veneration of the Blessed Virgin, which was treasured by his contemporaries but which has, unfortunately, not survived to our day.
In the year 1295 his uncle, Pope Alexander IV, visited Blessed Andrew Segni with the purpose of presenting him with the Cardinal’s hat. But neither Alexander, nor later Boniface VIII, succeeded in inducing the saint to accept the dignity. This humility made such an impression on Boniface VIII, that he expressed the wish to outlive Andrew so that he might have the privilege of Canonising him. In 1295, his nephew, Pope Boniface VIII wanted again to appoint him Cardinal but he refused this dignity, preferring to serve the Church in his solitude.
In the last years of his life Andrew was favoured with the gift of miracles and of prophecy. On one occasion he was far too ill to eat and so a friend bought him a plate of roasted birds to assuage his illness. Andrew was too distressed to see the slain birds that he made the Sign of the Cross over them and – it has been said – bought them back to life.
On 1 February 1302, the humble servant of God went forth to receive heavenly honours. His body reposes with the Friars Minor Conventual at St Lawrence and he is still signally honoured by the people and invoked by them, as special protector against the attacks of evil spirits. His cult was recognised and approved by Pope Innocent XIII, a scion of the same noble family, on 11 December 1724. During the last World War, his tomb received damage from the allied bombing of 12 May 1944 and to repair it, a survey of the relics was carried out on 8 February 1945.
An ancient image of the Blessed dated to the 14th century can be seen in a fresco by Taddeo Gaddi in the Basilica of St Croce in Florence.
Blessed Andrew’s liturgical celebration is on 1 February in Piglio (Frosinone) and in the Diocese of Anagni, and in Franciscan Churches, on 3 February.
Baptism of St Louis de Montfort /Eve of the Purification of Our Lady, Paris: 1 February Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort was born on 31 January 1673. He was a Missionary Priest but it was his devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and his ‘Total Consecration’ for which he is now most famous. Baptism is recalled as part of the vow of consecration: “I…renew in all sincerity the promises I solemnly made at the time of my holy Baptism.”
The saints see things very differently than most men. In his Consecration to Mary, St Louis states, “You are truly blessed if the world persecutes you, opposing your plans though they are good, thinking evil of your intentions, calumniating your conduct and taking away unjustly your reputation or your possessions.” “My son, beware of complaining to others, rather than to Me, of the bad treatment you receive, and do not seek ways of justifying yourself, particularly when you are the only one to suffer from it. On the contrary, pray for those who procure for you the blessings of persecution. Thank Me for treating you as I Myself was treated on earth, a sign of contradiction. Never be discouraged in your plans because you meet with opposition, it is a pledge of future victory. A good work which is not opposed, which is not marked by the sign of the cross, has no great value before Me and will soon be destroyed. Regard as your best friends those who persecute you because they procure for you, great merit on earth and great glory in heaven. Regard as unfortunate those who live in luxury, who feast sumptuously, who frequent the world of fashion, who make their way in the world, who succeed in business and who spend their lives in pleasures and amusements. Never do anything, either good or evil, out of human respect to avoid any blame, insult, mockery, or praise. When through your own fault some loss or disgrace befalls you, do not be disturbed by it but rather humble yourself before God and accept it from His hands as punishment for your fault.” Saint Louis de Montfort had a difficult life in which he was often unjustly persecuted and where he faced unexpected challenges in his desire to promote love and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. In some ways and by worldly standards, he often appeared a failure and his motives were misunderstood. Nothing was wasted, for all his work was truly for the glory of God and for the honour of the Mother of God and his devotion to her has borne great fruit! Amen!
St Brigid of Fiesole St Brigid of Ireland/Kildare (c 453-523) St Brigid’ Story: https://anastpaul.com/2019/02/01/saint-of-the-day-st-brigid-of-ireland-kildare-c-453-523/ St Cecilius of Granada St Cinnia of Ulster St Clarus of Seligenstadt Bl Conor O’Devany St Crewenna St Darlaugdach of Kildare St Henry Morse St Ioannes Yi Mun-u St Jarlath Bl John of the Grating St Kinnia Blessed Luigi Variara SDB (1875-1923) Biography: https://anastpaul.com/2020/02/01/saint-of-the-day-blessed-blessed-luigi-variara-sdb-1875-1923/ Bl Patrick O’Lougham St Paul of Trois-Châteaux St Paulus Hong Yong-ju St Raymond of Fitero St Sabinus St Severus of Avranches St Severus of Ravenna St Sigebert III of Austrasia St Tryphon of Lampsacus St Ursus of Aosta St Veridiana — Martyrs of Avrillé – 47 beati: Forty-seven Christians executed together for their faith in the anti-Catholic persecution of the French Revolution. • Anne-François de Villeneuve• Anne Hamard• Catherine Cottenceau• Charlotte Davy• François Bellanger• François Bonneau• François Michau• François Pagis epouse Railleau• Gabrielle Androuin• Jacquine Monnier• Jeanne Bourigault • Jeanne Fouchard épouse Chalonneau• Jeanne Gruget veuve Doly• Jeanne-Marie Sailland d’Epinatz• Louise-Aimée Dean de Luigné• Louise-Olympe Rallier de la Tertinière veuve Déan de Luigné• Madeleine Blond• Madeleine Perrotin veuve Rousseau• Madeleine Sailland d’Epinatz• Marguerite Rivière epouse Huau• Marie Anne Pichery épouse Delahaye• Marie-Anne Vaillot• Marie Cassin épouse Moreau• Marie Fausseuse épouse Banchereau• Marie Gallard épouse Quesson• Marie Gasnier épouse Mercier• Marie Grillard• Marie-Jeanne Chauvigné épouse Rorteau• Marie Lenée épouse Lepage de Varancé• Marie Leroy• Marie Leroy épouse Brevet• Marie Roualt épouse Bouju• Odilia Baumgarten• Perrine Androuin• Perrine Besson• Perrine-Charlotte Phelippeaux épouse Sailland d’Epinatz• Perrine Grille• Perrine Ledoyen• Perrine Sailland d’Epinatz• Renée Cailleau épouse Girault• Renée Grillard• Renée Martin épouse Martin• Renée Valin• Rose Quenion• Simone Chauvigné veuve Charbonneau • Suzanne Androuin• Victoire Bauduceau epouse Réveillère. They were martyred on 1 February 1794 in Avrillé, Maine-et-Loire, France and Beatified on 19 February 1984 by St Pope John Paul II at Rome, Italy.
Martyrs of Korea: Thousands of people were murdered in the anti-Catholic persecutions in Korea. Today we celebrate and honour: • Saint Barbara Ch’oe Yong-i • Saint Ioannes Yi Mun-u • Saint Paulus Hong Yong-ju
One Minute Reflection – 31 January – The Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Readings: Deuteronomy 18:15-20, Psalms 95:1-2, 6-7, 7-9, 1 Corinthians 7:32-35, Mark 1:21-28 and the Feast of the Translation of the Relics of the St Mark the Evangelist to Venice
“What is this? A new teaching with authority!” – Mark 1:27
REFLECTION – “Only one is your teacher, the Messiah.” (Mt 23:10). … For Christ is “the reflection of the Father’s glory, the exact representation of the Father’s being and he sustains all things by his powerful word.” (Heb 1:3) He is the origin of all wisdom. The Word of God in the heights, is the source of wisdom. Christ is the source of all true knowledge, for He is “the way, the truth, and the life.” (Jn 14:6). … As way, Christ is the teacher and origin of knowledge according to faith. … That is why Peter teaches in his second letter: “We possess the prophetic message as something altogether reliable. Keep your attention closely fixed on it, as you would on a lamp shining in a dark place.” (1:19). … For through His coming in the spirit, Christ is the origin of all revelation and through His coming in the flesh, He is the strengthening of all authority.
He comes first in the spirit as the revealing light of every prophetic vision. According to Daniel: “He reveals deep and hidden things and knows what is in the darkness, for the light dwells with him.” (2:22) This is the light of divine wisdom, which is in Christ. According to John, Christ said: “I am the light of the world. No follower of mine shall ever walk in darkness” (8:12) and “While you have the light, keep faith in the light, thus you will become children of light.” (12:36). … Without this light which is Christ, no-one can penetrate the secrets of faith. And that is why we read in the Book of Wisdom: “O God, send forth that Wisdom from your holy heavens and from your glorious throne, dispatch her that she may be with me and work with me, that I may know what is your pleasure … For what man knows God’s counsel, or who can conceive what the Lord intends?” (9:10-13) No-one can come to the certainty of revealed faith, except through Christ’s coming in the spirit and the flesh.” – St Bonaventure (1221-1274) Doctor of the Church – Sermon ‘Christus unus omnium magister’
PRAYER – King of heaven and earth, Lord God, rule over our hearts and bodies this day. Sanctify us and guide our every thought, word and deed, according to the commandments of Your law, so that now and forever, Your grace may free and save us. Sanctify our hearts, minds and actions with Your power, that all we are may speak of Your Light. May the prayers of our Mother, Queen of Heaven and Earth and glorious St Mark the Evangelist, who so diligently followed You in the darkness around him, bring us to peace and confidence. We make our prayer through Your Son, our Lord Jesus, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God for all eternity, amen.
One Minute Reflection – 28 January – Thursday of the Third week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Hebrews 10:19-25, Psalms 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, Mark 4:21-25 and the Memorial of St Thomas Aquinas OP (1225-1274) and Blessed Julian Maunoir SJ (1606-1683)
“For to the one who has, more will be given and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” – Mark 4:25
REFLECTION – “Blessed is the servant who attributes every good to the Lord God, for he who holds back something for himself, hides within himself, the money of his Lord God (Mt 25:18) and that which he thought he had, shall be taken away from him (Mt 25:18.28; Lk 8:18).
Blessed is the servant who esteems himself, no better when he is praised and exalted by people, than when he is considered worthless, simple and despicable; for what a man is before God, that he is and nothing more. …
Blessed is that religious, who takes no pleasure and joy except in the most holy words and deeds of the Lord and with these, leads people to the love of God in joy and gladness … Blessed is the servant who, when he speaks, does not reveal everything about himself in the hope of receiving a reward and, who is not quick to speak but wisely weighs what he should say and how he should reply. Woe to that religious, who does not keep in his heart, the good things the Lord reveals to him and who does not manifest them to others, by his actions but, rather seeks to make such good things known by his words. He, thereby, receives his reward while those who listen to him, carry away but little fruit. …
Blessed is that servant who stores up in heaven (Mt 6,20) the good things which the Lord has revealed to him and does not desire to reveal them to others, in the hope of profiting thereby. For the Most High will manifest his deeds to whomever he wishes. Blessed is the servant who keeps the secrets of the Lord in his heart.” – St Francis of Assisi (c 1181–1226) Founder of the Friars Minor – Admonitions, 19-22.28
PRAYER – Lord, our God, since it was by Your gift that St Thomas became so great a Saint and theologian, give us grace to understand his teaching and follow his way of life. May his great love for Jesus Crucified and His pure adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, be our guide to follow in Your Son’s footsteps and take up our cross and follow Him. Grant that by the prayers of St Thomas, we may grow in love and sanctity, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 25 January – Feast of the Conversion of St Paul
Great and Glorious God By St Francis of Assisi (c 1181-1226)
Great and glorious God, my Lord Jesus Christ! I implore Thee to enlighten me and to disperse the darkness of my soul. Give me true faith, firm hope and perfect charity. Grant me, O Lord, to know Thee so well that in all things I may act by Thy light and in accordance with Thy holy will. Amen
One Minute Reflection – 24 January – Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Readins: Jonah 3: 1-5, 10, Psalms 25:4-5, 6-7,8-9, 1 Corinthians 7:29-31, Mark 1: 14-20 and the Memorial of St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of the Church: Doctor caritatis (Doctor of Charity)
And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him…Mark 1:17-18
REFLECTION – “Follow me!” Jesus says these words … to every Christian. Follow me, naked as I am naked, free from every hindrance as I myself am. Jeremiah said: “You will call me ‘My Father’ and never turn away from me” (Jer 3:19). So follow Me and put down the burdens you are bearing. For, laden as you are, you cannot follow Me who am running ahead. “I ran in thirst” says the psalmist about me (Ps 61:5 LXX), the thirst to save humanity. And where is He running? To the Cross. You too, run after Him. As He bore His Cross for you, take up your own for your good. From whence these words of Saint Luke’s gospel: “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself” by renouncing his own will, “take up his cross” by mortifying his passions, “daily,” that is all the time, “and follow me.” (Lk 9:23) …
Jesus speaks to us like a mother who, wanting to teach her child to walk, shows him apiece of bread or an apple and says to him: “Come with me and I’ll give it to you.” And when the child is so close that he can almost catch hold of it, she draws away a little, showing the thing to him and repeating: “Follow me if you want it.” Some kinds of birds lead their little ones out of their nest and, by flying, teach them to fly and to follow them. Jesus does the same. He shows Himself as an example and promises us His reward in the kingdom so that we might follow Him.
So “follow me” for I know the right way and will guide you. We read in the book of Proverbs: “I will show you the way of wisdom; I will lead you by the ways of equity. When you have entered, your steps will not be constrained and when you run you shall not meet a stumbling block” (cf. Prv 4:11-12 LXX). … Therefore, “follow me”.” … St Anthony of Padua (1195-1231) Franciscan, Doctor of the Church – Sermon for the feast of Saint John the Evangelist
PRAYER – Grant Lord, that in the service of our fellowmen, we may always reflect Your own gentleness and love and so imitate St Francis de Sales, whom You made all things to all men, for the saving of souls. Grant that his prayers on our behalf may assist us in our daily struggles in traversing our pilgrim way. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever, amen.
Espousal of the Blessed Virgin Mary – 23 January: Feast in honour of the Blessed Virgin’s espousal to Saint Joseph. It is certain that a real matrimony was contracted by Joseph and Mary. Still Mary is called “espoused” to Joseph (“his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph”, Matthew 1:18) because the matrimony was never consummated. The term spouse is applied to married people until their marriage is consummated. This feast dates from 1517 when it was granted to the nuns of the Annunciation by Pope Leo X with nine other Masses in honour of Our Lady. Adopted by many religious orders and dioceses, it was observed for a time by nearly the whole Church but is no longer in the Calendar.
Bl Joan Font Taulat St John the Almoner (Died c 620) Bishop of Alexandria Bl Juan Infante St Jurmin St Lufthild St Maimbod Bl Margaret of Ravenna Martyrius of Valeria St Messalina of Foligno St Ormond of Mairé St Parmenas the Deacon St Severian the Martyr
The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord – Epiphany celebrates the visit of the three kings or wise men to the Christ Child, signifying the extension of salvation to the Gentiles. The date of Epiphany, one of the oldest Christian feasts, is 6 January the 12th day after Christmas. However, in most countries, the celebration of Epiphany is transferred to the Sunday that falls between 2 January and 8 January (inclusive). Greece, Ireland, Italy and Poland continue to observe Epiphany on 6 January as do some dioceses in Germany. Because Epiphany is one of the most important Christian feasts, it is a Holy Day of Obligation in most countries.
St Demetrius of Philadelphia St Diman Dubh of Connor St Edeyrn St Eigrad St Erminold of Prüfening St Felix of Nantes Bl Frederick of Saint-Vanne Bl Gertrud of Traunkirchen Bl Gertrude van Oosten St Guarinus of Sion St Guy of Auxerre St Honorius St Hywyn of Aberdaron St Juan de Ribera (1532-1611) Bishop St Julian of Antinoë St Julius Bl Luc of Roucy Bl Macarius the Scot St Macra of Rheims St Merinus St Nilammon of Geris St St Petran of Landévennec St Peter of Canterbury St Pia of Quedlinburg St Pompejanus St Rafaela Porras y Ayllón Bl Raymond de Blanes Bl Rita Amada de Jesus St Schotin St Wiltrudis of Bergen — Martyrs in Africa: Unknown number of Christian men and women who were martyred in the persecutions of Septimus Severus. They were burned to death c 210.
Martyrs of Sirmium – 8 saints: A group of Christians martyred together for their faith. The only surviving details are the names of eight of them – Anastasius VIII, Florianus, Florus, Jucundus, Peter, Ratites, Tatia and Tilis. They were martyred in the 4th century at Syrmium, Pannonia (modern Sremska Mitrovica, Vojvodina, Serbia).
Twelve Apostles – Saints of Ireland: Twelve 6th century Irish monks who studied under Saint Finian at Clonard Abbey and then spread the faith throughout Ireland. Each has his own commemoration but on this day they and their good work are considered and celebrated together. Though Saint Finian is sometimes included, most ancient writers list them as – • Brendan of Birr • Brendan the Navigator • Columba of Iona • Columba of Terryglass • Keiran of Saighir • Kieran of Clonmacnois • Canice of Aghaboe • Lasserian of Leighlin • Mobhí of Glasnevin • Ninnidh the Saintly of Loch Erne • Ruadh´n of Lorrha • Senan of Iniscathay
Saint of the Day – 25 December – Blessed Jacopone da Todi OFM (1230-1306) Franciscan Friar, Confessor, Hymnist, Poet, Mystic, Lawyer, – an Italian from Umbria in the 13th century. He wrote several laude (songs in praise of the Lord) in the local vernacular. He was an early pioneer in Italian theatre, being one of the earliest scholars who dramatised Gospel subjects. Born in c 1230 at Todi, Italy as Jacopo Benedetti and died on 25 December 1306 at Collazzone, Italy of natural causes, as the Priest intoned the Gloria from midnight Mass. He is also known as Jacomo da Todi, Jacopo Benedetti, Jacopo Benedicti, Jacopone Benedetti da Todi, Jacopone of Todi, James da Todi.
Jacomo, was born a noble member of the Benedetti family in the northern Italian city of Todi. He became a successful lawyer and married a pious, generous lady named Vanna.
His young wife took it upon herself to do penance for the worldly excesses of her husband. One day Vanna, at the insistence of Jacomo, attended a public tournament. She was sitting in the stands with the other noble ladies when the stands collapsed. Vanna was killed. Her shaken husband was even more disturbed when he realised that the penitential girdle she wore was for his sinfulness. On the spot, he vowed to radically change his life.
Jacomo divided his possessions among the poor and entered the Secular Franciscan Order. Often dressed in penitential rags, he was mocked as a fool and called Jacopone, or “Crazy Jim,” by his former associates. The name became dear to him.
After 10 years of such humiliation, Jacopone asked to be received into the Order of Friars Minor. Because of his reputation, his request was initially refused. He composed a beautiful poem on the vanities of the world, an act that eventually led to his admission into the Order in 1278. He continued to lead a life of strict penance, declining to be ordained a priest. Meanwhile, he was writing popular hymns in the vernacular.
Jacopone suddenly found himself a leader in a disturbing religious movement among the Franciscans. The Spirituals, as they were called, wanted a return to the strict poverty of Francis. They had on their side two cardinals of the Church and Pope Celestine V. These two cardinals though, opposed Celestine’s successor, Boniface VIII. At the age of 68, Jacopone was excommunicated and imprisoned. Although he acknowledged his mistake, Jacopone was not absolved and released until Benedict XI became Pope five years later. He had accepted his imprisonment as penance. He spent the final three years of his life more spiritual than ever, weeping “because Love is not loved.”During this time he wrote the famous Latin hymn, Stabat Mater.
On Christmas Eve in 1306 Jacopone felt that his end was near. He was in a convent of the Poor Clares with his friend, Blessed John of La Verna. Like Francis, Jacopone welcomed “Sister Death” with one of his favorite songs. It is said that he finished the song and died as the Priest intoned the “Gloria” from the midnight Mass at Christmas. From the time of his death, Brother Jacopone has been venerated as a saint, both within and outside of the Franciscan Order, although never formally Canonised.
Here lie the bones of Blessed Jacopone dei Benedetti da Todi, Friar Minor, who, having gone mad with love of Christ, by a new artifice deceived the world and took Heaven by violence. – from the tomb of Blessed Jacopone
Stabat Mater Dolorosa is a fine example of religious lyric in the Franciscan tradition. It was inserted into the Roman Missal and Breviary in 1727 for the Feast of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary, celebrated on the Friday before Good Friday. Following changes by Pope Pius XII, it now appears on the Feast of Our Lady’s Sorrows celebrated on 15 September. Many composers have set it to music
His contemporaries called Jacopone, “Crazy Jim.” We might well echo their taunt, for what else can you say about a man who broke into song in the midst of all his troubles? We still sing Jacopone’s saddest song, the Stabat Mater, but we Christians claim another song as our own, even when the daily headlines resound with discordant notes. Jacopone’s whole life rang out our song: “Alleluia!” May he inspire us to keep singing.
The Nativity of the Lord, Jesus Christ (Solemnity) Celebration of the anniversary of the birth of Our Lord. In the earliest days of the Church there was no such feast, the Saviour’s birth was commemorated with the Epiphany by the Greek and other Eastern Churches. First mention of the feast, then kept on 20 May, was made by Clement of Alexandria c 200. The Latin Church began c 300 to observe it on 25 December, though there is no certainty that Our Lord was born on that day. Priests have the privilege of saying three Masses, at midnight, daybreak and morning. This was originally reserved to the Holy Father alone – beginning about the 4th century he celebrated a midnight Mass in the Lateran Basilica (in which according to tradition, the manger of Bethlehem is preserved), a second in the church of Saint Anastasia, whose feast comes on 25 December and a third at the Vatican Basilica. Many peculiar customs of the day are the outcome of the pagan celebrations of the January calender. The Christmas tree, of which the first known mention was made in 1605 at Strasbourg, was introduced into France and England in 1840. The feast is a holy day of obligation, preceded by the preparatory season of Advent and by a special vigil – should it fall on a Friday it abrogates the law of abstinence. Today’s Gospel is the prologue of John.
St Adalsindis of Hamay St Alburga of Wilton St Anastasia of Sirmium Bl Artale St Basilée of the Via Latina Bl Bentivoglio de Bonis Bl Diego de Aro St Eugenia of Rome St Fulk of Toulouse Blessed Jacopone da Todi OFM (1230-1306) Franciscan Friar, Author of the “Stabat Mater” St Jovin of the Via Latina Bl Maria Therese von Wüllenweber Bl Matthew of Albano Bl Michael Nakashima Saburoemon Bl Nera St Romulus of Berry — Martyrs of Nicomedia: 20,000 Christians martyred by order of Diocletian. They were reported to have all been in the single basilica to celebrate Christmas. While there unquestionably was an endless series of martyrs under Diocletian, it’s likely the ancient sources exaggerated the numbers of this incident. And as the Christmas holy day was not celebrated in the East in 303, they were probably gathered for another feast. They were burned alive in 303 in the basilica of Nicomedia.
Saint of the Day – 31 October – Blessed Thomas Bellacci TOSF (1370-1447) Lay Friar of the Third Order of St Francis, Penitent, Confessor, renowned Missionary Preacher, Papal legate – born as Tommaso in 1370 at Florence, Italy and died on 31 October 1447 in Rieti, Italy of natural causes. Patronages – butchers, penitents, missionaries. He is also known as Thomas of Florence, Tommaso Bellacci. Blessed Thomas is venerated by the Franciscans on 25 October.
Bellacci was a butcher and became a religious after turning his life around from one of sin to one of penance and servitude to God. He travelled across the Middle East and the Italian peninsula to preach the Gospel and against heresies. He drew many young men to follow in his path of penitence.
Tommaso Bellacci was born in Florence in 1370 in the neighbourhood of the Ponte alle Grazie. His parents came from Castello di Linari in Val d’Elsa. His father was a butcher. He got into a good deal of trouble on various occasions during his youth and led such a wild and dissolute life as an adolescent, that parents warned their sons to keep their distance from him. Persuaded by a friend to change his ways, he tried to enter some religious order but found strong resistance to being accepted. He became a butcher like his father.
Bellacci was accused of having committed a serious crime in 1400, which, in fact he had not committed and so, he wandered the streets of Florence in great turmoil and fear, until he met a Priest who listened to his story, took him in and helped clear his name. The incident shocked him so much – coupled with his great gratitude to the Priest – that he shed his life of sin and decided to live a life of total penance and service to God. He joined the Third Order of Saint Francis in Fiesole under the spiritual guidance of Friar Giovanni da Stronconio. He entered as a lay brother Friar and became noted for keeping vigils and fasting. He was known for his diet of water and vegetables.
So great was Thomas’ adherence to the literal interpretation and implementation of the Franciscan Rule, that he was made the Novice Master, despite the fact that he was not a Priest. In this role, he led by example. He became part of the Observant reform and in 1414 accompanied another Friar to Naples to introduce the Observant practice in the Franciscan houses there. He remained in Naples for six years, preaching and helping to spread the reform.
After his sojourn and work in Naples, Thomas founded Monasteries in Corscia. Pope Martin V called him to preach in the northern cities against the “Fraticelli” who were a group of heretical Franciscans and was also made Vicar General at the Pope’s behest. In 1438, he and Albert Berdini of Sarteano were sent to the Middle East to cities such as Damascus and Cairo in order to promote the reunification of the Eastern and Western Churches when he was over 70. Alberto had to return home due to his ill health which left Bellacci to continue the mission alone.
He attempted to travel to Ethiopia but the Turks captured him three times. The Florentine merchants helped to secure his release twice. The third time he was again captured and suffered enslavement and persecution for several years, by now, he was perhaps in his eighties. Pope Eugene IV helped secure his release. He returned home in 1444 and spent his time in a Convent in Abruzzo until he died in 1446.
Nevertheless, Thomas still wished to return to the Orient but he died in Rieti while on a visit to Rome to request the Pope’s permission to return there.
Saint of the Day – 17 October – Blessed Balthassar of Chiavari OFM (1420–1492) Religious Priest of the Order of Friars Minor of the strict observance, Confessor, renowned Preacher, Professor of Theology, Superior General. Born in 1420 in Chiavari, Genoa, Italy as Baldassare Ravaschieri and died on 17 October 1492 in Binasco, Milan, Italy of natural causes. Patronages – Chiavari, against gout.
After his Ordination and his work in the Seminary as a Lecturer of Theology, he was appointed as the Guardian (Superior) of the Monastery of Chiavari and Provincial General of the province of Genoa. Unfortunately, his work was interrupted by his ever-deteriorating health after he developed gout but this did not stop his pastoral activities completely. When he was too ill to walk, he made sure that he was carried into the Church so that he could assist at Mass and the Office and he developed a special service in the confessional. Large crowds flocked to the city to confess to him and to receive spiritual guidance.
To gain some time and peace for his own spiritual needs, he used to be carried out into the nearby forests, where he stayed for periods of meditation and reading. During one of these periods, he was granted a vision of the Virgin Mary and it was said that he was miraculously sheltered from a dangerous snowfall, the spot he was sitting in, remained free of snow.
He distinguished himself in all the virtues of a good religious, practiced the greatest personal severities, fasted much and considered it a real pleasure to be accounted the last among his brethren.
After he had completed his term in office, Blessed Balthassar of Chiavari withdrew to the Convent at Binasco. There he devoted himself entirely to the contemplation of heavenly things and to the salvation of immortal souls.
We can also labour for souls by our good example. While Balthassar was a Superior in the Order, he set a good example to his brother friars. Words stir people but example carries them away, says a Latin proverb. Hence, St Paul says to Timothy: “Be an example to the faithful in word, in conversation.” (I Tim 4,12).
He died on 17 October 1492, aged 73, in Binasco between Milan and Pavia in northern Italy. His mortal remains were moved from there to Pavia in 1805. A local cult developed very quickly and it has continued ever since. He was Beatified on 8 January 1930 by his cult being confirmed by Pope Pius XI. Blessed Balthassar is honoured in the Diocese of Pavia on 25 October.
Quote/s of the Day – 4 October – The Memorial of St Francis of Assisi (c 1181–1226)
“Sanctify yourself and you will sanctify society.”
“Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you, nothing that you have received— only what you have given – a full heart, enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage.”
“Let us give alms because these cleanse our souls from the stains of sin. Men lose all the material things they leave behind them in this world but they carry with them the reward of their charity and the alms they give. For these they will receive from the Lord the reward and recompense they deserve.”
“Your God is of your flesh, He lives in your nearest neighbour, in every man.”
“O you sons of men, how long will you be dull of heart? … Behold – daily He humbles Himself as when from heaven’s royal throne 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, upon the altar, in the hands of the priest.”
“By the Lord has this been done; it is wonderful in our eyes” … Matthew 21:42
REFLECTION – “Christ has given us the ministry of reconciliation.” (2 Cor 5:18) Saint Paul thus brings out the greatness of the apostles, by showing us the ministry that was entrusted to them and at the same time, he shows us the love with which God loved us. After people refused to listen to Him who had been sent to them, God did not let His anger burst forth, He did not reject them. He persisted in calling them to Himself through the apostles. Who would not marvel at so much solicitude?
They killed the Son who had come to reconcile them, who was the only Son and of the same nature as the Father. The Father did not turn away from the murderers, He did not say: “I sent them my Son, and they, not satisfied with not having listened to Him, put Him to death and crucified Him. So now, it is only just that I abandon them.” He did the opposite. And after Christ had left earth, it is we, His ministers, who have the responsibility to replace Him. “He has given us the ministry of reconciliation. I mean that God, in Christ, was reconciling the world to himself, not counting men’s transgressions against them.”
What love! going beyond all words and intelligence! Who was it had been insulted? God Himself! And who takes the first step towards reconciliation? He Himself (…) If God had wanted to make us give an account, we would truly be lost since “all died” (2 Cor 5:14). But in spite of our many sins, He did not strike with His vengeance but He even reconciled us to Himself. Not satisfied with taking away our debt, He even considered it to be nothing. In the same way, we have to forgive our enemies if we ourselves want to obtain this generous forgiveness: “He has given us the ministry of reconciliation.” … St John Chrysostom (345-407) Father and Doctor – Homily 11 on the Second Letter to the Corinthians, 4-5
PRAYER – All highest, glorious God, cast Your light into the darkness of our hearts, give us true faith, firm hope, perfect charity and profound humility, so that with wisdom, courage and perception, O Lord, we may do what is truly Your holy will. Amen. By St Francis of Assisi
Saint of the Day – 4 October – St Francis of Assisi OFM (c 1181–1226)- Founder of the Franciscan Order, Confessor of the Faith, Stigmatist. Francis set out to imitate Christ and literally carry out His work. This is vital in understanding Francis’ character, his affinity for the Eucharist and respect for the priests who carried out the sacrament. He preached: “Your God is of your flesh, He lives in your nearest neighbour, in every man.”
He and his followers celebrated and even venerated poverty, which was so central to his character that in his last written work, the Testament, he said, that absolute personal and corporate poverty was the essential lifestyle for the members of his order.
St Francis of Assisi was the living embodiment of Jesus Christ. He left home, riches and family to be with the poor and the destitute. In all creation he saw the image of God. In imitating Jesus Christ, his self-denial led to the foundation of orders and movements of evangelical poverty. Not to mention, his love was so total that – when he had nothing left to give – but gave more, he received the stigmata.
St Francis was the son of a cloth merchant. His worldly successes culminated in a career as a soldier. While preparing for a second campaign, St Francis received a vision. The moment was life-changing in that he realised he had been called apart. Climbing to the “Mount Tabor” of prayer to discern the will of God, he received another prompting; whereupon the once affluent man began to imitate the poor so that he might preach to them. When, at last, he took his father’s cloth to sell for alms that the Church of San Damiano may be restored, his father took him to court for relieving him of his possessions. In that moment, in the presence of the Bishop, St Francis went all in; doubling down on his mission by stripping off his garments and declaring that now he had no possessions.
Fully committed to imitating Jesus by administering to them exactly as He had done, St Francis preached to the poor – going barefoot and quite literally “(taking) no gold, nor silver, nor money in your belts, no bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor a staff…” Submitting to papal authority since Tradition was handed to the Apostles by Jesus, St Francis encountered an obstruction in Pope Innocent III but the latter gave consent for St Francis’ Order after seeing, in a dream, St Francis holding up the Church of San Giovanni in Laterano. The rule of poverty and preaching Friars raised up altars where churches once lay abandoned. The order of the Poor Clares and Franciscan lay movements, also stemmed from St Francis’ apostolate. He refined his rule to include complete poverty and self-denial to live and be with Christ.
St Francis’ missions even brought him to Egypt, where an audience with the Sultan during the Crusades resulted in the Franciscan order gaining privileged access to Jerusalem. St Francis was a tireless worker; practicing prayer, penance, mortification and works to the extreme that Christ would go. Jesus fell asleep in the stern of a boat while the storm was raging – so exhausted was He. Then in 1224, while preparing for the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, St Francis asked in prayer how to best please God. In that moment, as recorded by St Francis’ biographers and those he was with, he saw a vision of a man coming down from heaven, with 2 wings above his head, 2 outstretched in fligh, and 2 covering his body; whose face was beautiful beyond earthly description and who smiled gently upon St Francis; making him see, that not in bodily martyrdom but in mind and heart he should conform to Christ. The brilliance of that vision never left St. Francis. Brimming with life, he received the stigmata.
At the time St Francis received the stigmata, he was feeble and blind. He sought to give more when he had absolutely nothing. Honouring him by not creating needs for ourselves, being humbled by others and bearing it for Christ, rejecting hedonism and conforming our will and intellect to that of the Divine, is how we can celebrate this mystic who forever rejoices by the side of and in-step with Jesus Christ.
On 18 June 1939, Pope Pius XII named Francis a joint Patron Saint of Italy along with Saint Catherine of Siena with the apostolic letter “Licet Commissa.”
St Francis is the patron of animals, merchants and ecology. He is also considered the patron saint against dying alone; patron saint against fire; patron saint of the Franciscan Order and Catholic Action; patron saint of families, peace, and needleworkers. He is the patron saint of many dioceses and other locations around the world, including – Italy; San Pawl il-Bahar, Malta; Freising, Germany; Lancaster, England; Kottapuram, India; San Francisco de Malabon, Philippines (General Trias City); San Francisco, California; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Colorado; Salina, Kansas; Metuchen, New Jersey and Quibdó, Colombia.
St Adauctus of Ephesus Bl Alfonso Tabela St Aurea St Berenice St Caius of Corinth St Callisthene of Ephesus St Crispus of Corinth St Damaris of Athens St Diogenes of Milan St Domnina St Hierotheus Bl Julian Majali St Lucius of Alexandria St Peter of Damascus St Petronius (Died c 450) About St Petronius: https://anastpaul.com/2019/10/04/saint-of-the-day-4-october-saint-petronius-died-c-450/ St Prosdoce St Quintius of Tours — Martyrs of Alexandria – 2+ saints: A group of Christians, men and women, young and old, murdered together for their faith. The only names that have come down to us are the brothers Mark and Marcian.
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War: • Blessed Alfredo Pellicer Muñoz • Blessed Avelí Martínez de Arenzana Candela • Blessed Dionisio Ibáñez López • Blessed Francisco Martínez Granero • Blessed Fulgencio Martínez García • Blessed José Aloy Doménech • Blessed José Gafo Muñiz • Blessed José Miguel Peñarroya Dolz • Blessed Juan de Francisco Pío • Blessed Juan José Orayen Aizcorbe • Blessed Martina Vázquez Gordo • Blessed Publio Fernández González • Blessed Tomás Barrios Pérez
Saint of the Day – 28 September – Blessed Bernardine of Feltre OFM (1439-1494) Priest, Franciscan Friar, Missionary Preacher, Poet, peace-maker, Civil protestor against the practice of usury, defender of the poor. He was a true ‘child prodigy’ – by the time he was 12 he was fluent in Latin and at the age of 15 he composed a poem and read it in the Town Square to celebrate a local peace treaty. He is remembered most especially, in connection with the “Monti di Pietà” “Mount of Piety” of which he was the reorganiser and, in a certain sense, the Founder, together with the Blessed Michele Carcano. Born as Martin Tomitani in 1439 at Feltre, Italy and died on 28 September 1494 of natural causes. Patronages – bankers, pawnbrokers. He is also sometimes known as Bernardino of Feltre or Martin Tomitani.
A “Mount of Piety” is an institutional pawnbroker run as a charity in Europe from Renaissance times until today. Similar institutions were established in the colonies of Catholic countries; the Mexican Nacional Monte de Piedad is still in operation. It gave poor people access to loans with reasonable interest rates. It used funds from charitable donors as capital and made loans to the poor so they could avoid going to exploitative lenders. Borrowers offered valuables as collateral, making the Mount of Piety more like a pawn shop than a bank. The Monte di Pietà was developed on the principle of charity. It was designed to aid less fortunate people by providing an alternative to the socially unaccepted Jewish money lending system.
Martin Tomitani was born to the noble family of Tomitano and was the eldest of nine children. He achieved acclaim in his studies and to please his father he proceeded to study law. In 1456, while a law student in Padua, he heard St James of the Marches preach the Lenten course and was inspired to enter the Franciscan order. St James of the Marches himself, gave him the name Bernardine, after St Bernardine of Siena.
In May that year he joined the “Observantine” Franciscans, an austere branch of the Franciscan friars. He completed successfully his studies at Mantua and was Ordained Priest in 1463. He was small, shy and stammered but his superiors assigned him to preach home-missions. Cured of an impediment in his speech, Bernardine began his apostolate up and down the Italian peninsula. Every city of note and every province from Lombardy in the north to Sardinia and the provinces of the south became successively the scene of his missionary labours.
He was an extremely popular preacher because he spoke simply and powerfully against the vanity, ambition and greed rife at the time. The crowds that flocked to hear him were too large for the local churches, so he addressed them in the city squares and the fields. Like many other missionaries of his century, he had made a vast outdoor bonfire called “burning the Devil’s stronghold.” The crowds were asked to throw into the fire all objects of vanity and sin such as playing cards, dice, pornographic books and pictures, jewelry, wigs, superstitious charms, cosmetics and so forth.
Bernardine was able to reconcile warring communities. He also sought civic legislation to correct public injustices such as usury, the charging of excessive interest for loans, which was especially onerous on the poor.
In 1484, Bernardine established the charitable credit organisation, “Monti di Pietà” “Mount of Piety,” run by a joint committee of clergy and laymen. The institution was founded as an alternative to the high interest loans of the money lenders and Lombard travelling bankers of the Middle Ages.
His fund raising drives were generally preceded with a procession featuring an image of either the Man of Sorrows or Pietà to encourage charitable donations. His insistence on charging a low interest to protect the institution’s permanency raised a controversy among the theologians who thought it promoted the continuance of usury. (In 1515, Pope Leo X declared the institution meritorious and it spread rapidly throughout France, Italy and Spain.)
In 1491, Bernardine was expelled from Milan by Ludovico Sforza for contesting with the Duke’s astrologer.
Bernardine is generally represented in iconography as carrying in his hand a Monti di Pietà, that is, a little green hill composed of three mounds and on the top either a cross or a standard with the inscription Curam illius habe‘Take care of’ (a snippet from the Vulgate translation of the Gospel of Luke’s Parable of the Good Samaritan).
The authorship of the well-known Anima Christi has as often as not been ascribed to Bernardine of Feltre. The fact, however, that the Anima Christi was composed sometime before 1439 disproves any claim that he might have of being its author, though much like St Ignatius of Loyola, Bernardine made frequent use of it and recommended it to his brethren.
On 13 April 1654, Pope Innocent X confirmed the culktus of Blessed Bernardine and he was formally Beatified in 1728 by Pope Benedict XIII.
Saint of the Day – 18 September – Blessed Ambrosio María de Torrent (Salvador Chuliá Ferrandis) TC (1866-1936) Priest and Martyr of the Spanish civil War. Blessed Ambrosio was a religious Friar and Priest of The Amigonian Friars. He was a man of deep piety, a devotee of the Eucharist, a great apostle of the confessional and a competent director of souls. Born on 16 April 1866 in Torrent, Valencia, Spain and died by being shot at dawn on 18 September 1936 in Torrent, Valencia, Spain.
The Amigonian Friars and Sisters, are a religious institute of religious founded in Spain during the 19th century which specialises in working with young boys facing issues of juvenile delinquency and drug addiction. They follow the Rule of the Third Order Regular of St Francis. The Friars follow a spirituality based on the vision of St Francis of Assisi, given to them by their founder, a Capuchin Friar Minor. They also model themselves on the role of Our Lady of Sorrows, who stood at the foot of the Cross, sharing her Son’s agony and love for the world. She is a model to the Friars, of the generosity, mercy, strength and tenderness needed in the mission of serving their charges.
Salvador Chuliá Ferrandis , which was his civil name, was born in Torrent (Valencia) on 16 April 1866. He studied ecclesiastical studies at the Conciliar Seminary of Valencia but, once he received the diaconate, he entered the Capuchin Tertiary. On 4 April 1892, he was Ordained a Priest, making his perpetual religious vows on 5 July 1898, taking the name Ambrosio María de Torrent.
A man of broad culture but rather gentle in character and of little authority, he was always more inclined to exercise obedience than to command. In his pastoral ministry, he manifested himself as a man of council and spiritual director of the fraternity, confessor of religious and students.
Captured in his father’s house on 21 August 1936, he was taken to La Torre prison, in his hometown. In that prison, Father Ambrosio and nine other Capuchin Tertiaries practically led community life. From the street, you could hear them sing the Sorrows of the Virgin and the wounds of Saint Francis.
In the early hours of 18 September 1936, he was executed in the area of La Mantellina, Torrent, along with seven other Priests and Friars. Father Ambrosio, despite his shyness, was the one who bravely faced Martyrdom and encouraged his companions by raising, at the final moment, his hands to bless and forgive the executioners.
When trying to delineate his spiritual silhouette, the various biographers agree that Father Ambrosio was a little Franciscan flower – simple, humble, conciliatory, poor, obedient, silent, sparing in words, that he did not speak ill of anyone and that he always looked to find the good in all. Likewise, they define him as a man of deep piety, a devotee of the Eucharist, a great apostle of the confessional and a competent director of souls.
His mortal remains rest in the Chapel of Los Mártires, in the parish of Nuestra Señora de Monte Sión de Torrent (Valencia), where they are frequently visited.
Blessed Ambrosio was Beatified by Pope John Paul II togther with 232 others who were Martyred during the Spanish Civil War. The Image below shows the Martyrs of the Amigonian Orders.
Stigmata of St Francis of Assisi: Two years before the great Saint Francis of Assisi died and when he was forty-two years old — one year after he had built the first crib in honour of Our Lord — he went off to a lonely mountain called Mount Alvernia, to prepare himself by forty days of fasting and prayer for the feast of Saint Michael, the greatest of God’s angels, whose feast day is 29 September. On the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on 14 September, Saint Francis received in his hands, feet and side the Sacred Wounds from Our Lord’s own body.
Never was a saint more beautifully loved by Jesus than Saint Francis of Assisi. The wounds Jesus gave him stayed in his hands, feet and side and continually bled for two more years, until he died in 1226. The day on which Saint Francis received the Five Wounds of Our Lord was 14 September but so, that this beautiful event might have a feast day for itself, the Stigmata of Saint Francis is commemorated today, on 17 September. The simple liturgy of this holy saint’s life might be put this way – the crib in 1223 and the Cross in 1224.
St Justin of Rome St Lambert (c 635-c 700) Bishop & Martyr St Narcissus of Rome St Peter Arbues St Rodingus St Satyrus of Milan St Socrates Bl Stanislaus of Jesus and Mary St Stephen St Theodora St Uni of Bremen St Zygmunt Sajna St Zygmunt Szcesny Felinski TOSF (1822-1895) His Life: https://anastpaul.com/2019/09/17/saint-of-the-day-17-september-saint-zygmunt-szcesny-felinski-1822-1895/ — Martyred in the Spanish Civil War • Blessed Álvaro Santos Cejudo Moreno Chocano • Blessed Juan Ventura Solsona • Blessed Timoteo Valero Pérez
Our Morning Offering – 13 September – Twenty Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
My Lord, I am Unworthy! Prayer before Holy Communion By St Bonaventure (1217-1274) Doctor of the Church
My Lord, Who are You and who am I, that I should dare to take You into my body and soul? A thousand years of penance and tears would not be sufficient to make me worthy to receive so royal a Sacrament even once! How much more am I unworthy of it, who fall into sin daily, I, the incorrigible, who approach You so often without due preparation! Nevertheless, Your mercy infinitely surpasses my unworthiness. Therefore, I make bold to receive this Sacrament, trusting in Your love. Amen
Our Morning Offering – 5 September – “Month of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary”and a Marian Saturday – Saturday of the Twenty Second week in Ordinary Time
Prayer to our Lady of Sorrows By St Bonaventure (1217-1274) Doctor of the Church
O most holy Virgin, Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, by the overwhelming grief you experienced when you witnessed the martyrdom, the crucifixion and the death, of your divine Son, look upon me with eyes of compassion and awaken in my heart a tender commiseration for those sufferings, as well as a sincere detestation of my sins, in order that, being disengaged from all undue affection for the passing joys of this earth, I may sigh after the eternal Jerusalem and that henceforward all my thoughts and all my actions may be directed towards this one most desirable object, the honour, glory and love to our divine Lord Jesus, and to you, the Holy and Immaculate Mother of God. Amen