Our Morning Offering – 13 January – Prayer to do the Will of God

Our Morning Offering – 13 January – The Octave Day of the Epiphany

Prayer to do the Will of God
By St Francis of Assisi (c 1181-1226)

Almighty, eternal, just and merciful God,
grant us in our misery,
the grace to do for You alone
what we know You want us to do
and always to desire, what pleases You.
Thus, inwardly cleansed,
interiorly enlightened
and inflamed by the fire of the Holy Spirit,
may we be able to follow in the footprints of
Your beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
And, by Your grace alone,
may we make our way to You,
Most High, Who live and rule in perfect Trinity
and simple Unity
and are glorified God
all-powerful, forever and ever.


Notre-Dame de Bessiere / Our Lady of Bessiere, Limousin, France, Madonna della Vetrana / Our Lady of the Vetrana (Castellana Grotte, Bari, Puglia, Italy (1691) and Memorials of the Saints – 11 January

Sixth Day within the Octave of Epiphany

Notre-Dame de Bessiere / Our Lady of Bessiere, Limousin, France – 11 January:

Madonna della Vetrana / Our Lady of the Vetrana (Castellana Grotte, Bari, Puglia, Italy (1691) – 11 January:

In Castellana from time immemorial, there was a small Chapel dedicated to the Mother of God which contained a miraculous Fresco which was greatly revered ,after the Madonna had rid the region of the plague in the seventeenth century. Since then, the Shrine became a destination for faithful pilgrims reaping countless miracles, which the Virgin Mother obtained from her Divine Son.

In late 1690 the Church was almost ruined when a serious incident came to disturb the Castellana and the surrounding area. A serious disease spread, carrying death and mourning. Casimiro wrote in 1726. “This evil that made a great slaughter among the people, once attacked, all six children of Hadrian (Count of Conversano) and his wife Isabel Caracciolo. He who loved his wife and children, seeing this danger, resorted to the intercession of the Virgin … All his family was spared from evil.
Two good priests’ recourse to the intercession of Saint Mary of the Vetrana and on 11 January 1691 one of them heard a voice that ordering the scourge to cease. “The Lady also expressed her desire to expand the Church.
So – continues Casimiro – “the Castellana people in recognition of the benefits received from the Virgin, immediately agreed to rebuild and expand the Church of St Maria della Vetrana.” The work lasted only a year and all the citizens of the Castellana took part.

Castellana, began to be known around the world after 23 January 1938, when Prof. Franco Anelli, a Caver, discovered a karst cave system. In 1959 because of this fascinating underground world, Castellana changed its name to ‘Castellana Grotte.

The festivities and celebrations on 11 January

St Alexander of Fermo
St Anastasius of Suppentonia

Blessed Ana Maria Janer Anglarill (1800-1885) Founder of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Urgell, of which order she is the Patron, Nurse, Teacher.
Her Story:

St Boadin of Ireland
St Breandan of Ireland (the name is not an error)
St Eithne
St Fedelemia
Bl Francis Rogaczewski
St Francisca Salesia Aviat
St Honorata of Pavia
St Pope Hyginus (Died 142) Papal Ascension c 138
St Leucius of Alexandria
St Leucius of Brindisi
St Liberata of Pavia
St Lucius the Soldier
St Luminosa of Pavia
St Mark the Soldier
St Michael of Klopsk
St Palaemon
St Paldo
St Peter Balsam
St Peter of Alexandria
St Peter of Anea
St Peter the Soldier

St Salvius of Amiens (Died c 625) The 5th Bishop of Amiens, France, Monk, miracle-worker.
About St Salvius:

St Severus of Alexandria
St Speciosa of Pavia
St Taso
St Theodosius the Soldier
St Theodosius of Antioch

St Theodosius the Cenobiarch (423-529) Hermit/ AbboT/Founder of the Cenobitical Communities.
His Life:

St Tipasio of Tigava

St Tommaso da Cori OFM (1655-1729) Friar and Priest, of the Friars Minor of St Francis, Preacher, Spiritual advisor, Evangeliser, Apostle of the Holy Eucharist, Prayer and Charity – known as the “Apostle of the Sublacense.”
About St Tommaso:

St Vitalis of Gaza (Died c 625) Monk, Hermit. At Gaza, Vitalis was a monk for many years and earned considerable controversy for his methods in reforming the local prostitutes and scandalous women.” (Roman Martyrology).


Saint of the Day – 10 January – Blessed Pope Gregory X (1210-1276)

Saint of the Day – 10 January – Blessed Pope Gregory X TOSF (1210-1276) Bishop of Rome 1272 and Ruler of the Papal States until his death. He was elected on 1 September 1271 following the longest election in the history of the Church and ascended the throne on 27 March. He was a Third Order Franciscan. Born Teobaldo Visconti, in 1210 in Piacenza, Italy and died on 10 January 1276 at Arezzo, Italy of a fever. He was Beatified on 8 July 1713 by Pope Clement XI.

Teobaldo Visconti, a member of the illustrious Visconti family of Piacenza, was born in the City in 1210. In his youth, he was distinguished for his extraordinary virtue and his progress in his studies, especially of the Canon Law, which he began in Italy and pursued at Paris and lastly, at Liege. He was Archdeacon of this last Church, when he received an order from the Pope to preach the Crusade for the recovery of the Holy Land. Incredible were the pains which he took in executing this commission and in reconciling the Christian Princes, who were at variance.

When the Crusade faltered, a tender compassion for the distressed situation of the servants of Christ in those parts, moved the holy Archdeacon of Liege to undertake a dangerous pilgrimage to Palestine, in order to comfort them, and at the same time to satisfy his devotion by visiting the holy places.

In the interim, the See of Rome had been vacant for almost three years, from the death of Clement IV, in November 1268, the Cardinals, who were assembled at Viterbo, could not reach an agreement in the choice of a Pope. By common consent, they referred the election to six amongst them, who, on 1 September in 1271, nominated Teobald, the Archdeacon of Liege. Upon the news of his election, he prepared himself to return to Italy. Nothing could be more tender and moving than his last farewell to the disconsolate Christians of Palestine, whom he promised, in a most solemn manner, never to forget.

He arrived at Rome in March 1272 and was first Ordained Priest, then Consecrated Bishop and Crowned. He took the name of Gregory X and, to procure the most effectual succour to the Holy Land, called a General Council to meet at Lyons, where Pope Innocent IV had held the last in 1245. The fourteenth General Council, the second of Lyons, was opened in that City in May, 1274, in which were assembled five hundred Bishops and seventy Abbots.

The Council was closed by the fifth and last session, on 17 July. The more our holy Pope was overwhelmed with public affairs, the more watchful he was over his own soul and the more earnest in the interior duties of self-examination, contemplation and prayer. He spoke little, conversing assiduously in his heart with God; he was very abstemious in his diet and most rigorous to himself in all things. By this crucified life, his soul was prepared to taste the hidden manna which is concealed in the divine word, with which he continually nourished it, in holy meditation.

After the Council, he was taken up in measures for carrying out its decrees, particularly those relating to the Crusade in the East. By his unwearied application to business and the fatigues of his journey, in passing the Alps on his return to Rome, he contracted a distemper, of which he died at Arezzo, on 10 January, in 1276, three years and nine months after his Consecration and four years, four months, and ten days after his election. His name was inserted in the Roman Martyrology, published by Benedict XIV and he was Beatified on 8 July 1713, by Pope Clement XI.


Saint of the Day – 7 January – Blessed Matthew of Agrigento OFM (c 1377-1450) “Apostle of the Holy Name of Jesus”

Saint of the Day – 7 January – Blessed Matthew of Agrigento OFM (c 1377-1450) “Apostle of the Holy Name of Jesus” Bishop, Priest and Friar of the Friars Minor, Missionary Preacher often with St Bernardine of Siena, Provincial Vicar and General Commissioner of the Order, founder of many Convents. The Etymology of the name Matthew is “man of God,” from Hebrew. Born in 1377 as Matteo Guimerà on the Via Arco di San Francesco di Paola in Rabbato, Agrigento, Italy and died on 7 January 1450 in the Franciscan Monastery (which he had founded) of Santa Maria di Gesù, Palermo, Sicily, Italy of natural causes. Also known as – Matteo/Matthew Guimerà.

The Roman Martyrology states: “In Palermo, transit of Blessed Matteo Guimerá, Bishop of Agrigento, of the Order of Minors, lover and advocate of the Most Holy Name of Jesus

Matthew was born on the southern coast of Sicily in c 1377. His parents were pious Catholics and they educated and instilled in him, a fervent love of the Faith.

He entered the Seraphic Order in 1391-92 at the Convent of St Frances of Assisi in Agrigento where he made his religious profession in 1394. He studied theology in Bologna, Italy and Barcelona, Spain, where he earned his doctorate and was Ordained a Priest in 1400.

Matthew became a travelling missionary preacher in the region of Tarragona, Spain from 1400 to 1405 and was then appointed Novie Master. In 1417, Matthew returned to Italy, desiring to work with St Bernardine of Siena, who was leading the observant reform movement of the Franciscan Order which gave rise to the Observant Franciscans. They met in 1418, perhaps at the General Chapter of the Order held at Mantua and Matthew, soon afterwards, asked his superiors for permission, to transfer to the Observing branch of the Order.

Matthew’s friendship with St Bernardine had a profound effect on his life. The two were fellow preachers and shared a desire for reform. Both preached tirelessly and led an austere life, in keeping with the spirit of Franciscan rule. Likewise, both encouraged devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus – in the case of Matthew, joined to the name of Mary, the Mother of God – for this reason, many of the Convents he founded in Italy and Spanish lands bear the name of Santa Maria de Jesús.

Matthew had the support of King Alfonso the Magnanimous and Pope Eugene IV, for the expansion of the reform movement. . In 1425, Pope Martin V granted him the power to found observant convents, in addition to those he had already reformed: Messina , Palermo , Agrigento, Syracuse , Barcelona , Valencia , etc. In addition, he was Provincial Vicar of the Order in Sicily between 1425 and 1430 and General Commissioner from 1432 to 1440.

Invited by the King of Spain, in 1427-1428, he preached in Valencia , Barcelona, Vic and other places. Invited again, he returned in 1430 to preach and perform peacekeeping missions, spreading devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus and founding new observant convents. He was chosen Bishop of his native City, Agrigento which he wanted to refuse but at the insistence of King Alfonso, he was appointed Bishop on 17 September 1442 and Consecrated the following year.

Cathedral of Agrigento, where Blessed Matthew was Bishop.

He was a reformist and a zealous Bishop of the ecclesiastical discipline of the clergy, which pitted him against a section of the clergy and the nobility, who slandered him (accused him of squandering Church property by exercising charity to the poor) and having illicit relations with a woman) and asked the Holy See to investigate. Prosecuted by the Papal Curia, he was found innocent and acquitted, regaining the Pope’s confidence. Again, however, his enemies provoked new conflicts and Matthew, realising that he was unable to maintain order, presented his resignation from the Bishopric.

When this was accepted in 1445, he retired to the Convent of Palermo, where he lived as a Friar until his death on 7 January 1450. He was buried in the same Convent.

Convent of St Mary of Jesus of Palermo, founded by the Blessed and where he died and was buried.

The people soon considered him a saint and began to venerate him. In 1759 the Diocesan process of Beatification began , which led to the confirmation of the immemorial cult, equivalent to the Beatification by Pope Clement XIII on 22 February 1767.

Around a hundred of Blessed Matthew’s sermons are preserved, which were found during the twentieth century and only from 1960 began to be published by Agostino Amore. Written in Latin and the vernacular, they comment on biblical texts with great theological depth.


Our Lady of Egypt, Madonna delle Grazie / Our Lady of Grace, Costa Folgaria, Italy (1588) and Memorials of the Saints – 7 January

Second Day of the Epiphany Octavv

Our Lady of Egypt and the Return of the Child Jesus from Egypt — 7 January:

Madonna delle Grazie / Our Lady of Grace, Costa Folgaria, Italy (1588) – 7 January, 8 September:

Brother Pietro Dal Dosso di Folgaria – a young Hermit Friar of the Order, Saint Jerome of Vicenza – was inspired directly by the Virgin Mary into building a small Church in her honour on the Echen Peak during the second half of the 16th century. Obediently, the Friar began his work and built a small Chapel, occupying what is now the Apse of the Sanctuary of the Madonna delle Grazie. In the 17th Century, the Magnifica Comunità di Folgaria expanded the small building and endowed it with a Bell Tower (1662). The Sanctuary currently hosts the miraculous Madonna, which was declared Holy Patron of Skiers by Papal Decree.
The Terracotta statue of the Virgin Mary dates to the second half of the 16th century and is venerated by thousands of believers, who hold an ancient feast – as well as a solemn procession – on the 8th of September every year, when the Statue is carried by ski instructors. All along its age-old history, the Sanctuary of Echen has always been a pilgrimage destination and numerous faithful have put up their own votive offers for graces received in the small Church. The Sanctuary is approximately 2 km away from Folgaria, near the hamlet of Costa and can be easily reached on foot after an easy walk. I am not sure why this Title is listed for today, 7 January but there must be a good reason.

St Raymond of Peñafort OP (1175-1275) “Father of Canon Law” Master of the Order of Preachers, Archbishop, Confessor, Evangelist, Missionary, (Memorial)
His Feast Day is 23 January although he died on 7 January

St Aldric of Le Mans
Bl Ambrose Fernandez
St Anastasius of Sens
St Brannock of Braunton
St Candida of Greece
St Canute Lavard
St Cedd
St Clerus of Antioch
St Crispin I of Pavia
St Cronan Beg
St Emilian of Saujon
St Felix of Heraclea
Bl Franciscus Bae Gwan-gyeom
St Januarius of Heraclea
St Julian of Cagliari
St Kentigerna

Blessed Lindalva Justo de Oliveira DC (1953-1993) Virgin Martyr, Religious Sister of the Vincentian Sisters.
Her Life and Death:

St Lucian of Antioch
Bl Marie-Thérèse Haze
Blessed Matthew of Agrigento OFM (1377-1450) “Apostle of the Holy Name of Jesus,” Franciscan Priest and Friar, Bishop, Missdionary Preacher often with St Bernardine of Siena.
St Pallada of Greece
St Polyeuctus of Melitene
St Reinhold of Cologne
St Spolicostus of Greece
St Theodore of Egypt
St Tillo of Solignac
St Valentine of Passau
St Virginia of Ste-Verge
Bl Wittikund of Westphalia


Saint of the Day – 30 December – Blessed Margherita Colonna (c 1255-1284)

Saint of the Day – 30 December – Blessed Margherita Colonna (c 1255-1284) Virgin, Nun, Mystic, Apostle of the poor. Born in c 1255 at Palestrina, Rome, Italy and died on 30 December 1284 at Castel San Pietro, Rome, Italy of natural causes. Also known as – Margaret, Margherita, Marguerite.

The Roman Martyrology states: “At Palestrina in Lazio, Blessed Margherita Colonna, Virgin, who preferred poverty for Christ to the riches and pleasures of the world, which she served by professing the Rule of St Clare.

Margherita was a member of the Italian Colonna family, which was notable in Italian history for centuries. She was born in Palestrina in 1255, daughter of Oddone Colonna and Mabilia Orsini who had two other children – Giovanni and Giacomo. In 1212, Giacomo became Cardinal of St Prassede and Legate of the Pontiff during the Fifth Crusade. It was he who brought the Column to Rome from the East, which, according to tradition, was used for the flagellation of Christ and which, even today, is preserved in the Roman Basilica which was his seat.

The years in which Margherita lived, were complicated and tumultuous for the Church: from 1268 to 1271, the Papal seat remained vacant, for the longest period in history. The Pope had not resided in Rome for twenty years. Long conclaves were followed by short Pontificates – the power of the Pontiff was fundamental eroded in the balance of the antagonism between France (Charles of Anjou occupied many regions of Italy) and the German Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.

Margherita and the two brothers were soon orphaned. Destined for a prestigious wedding, important for noble alliances in her day, Margherita, in her heart, however, only wanted to be the virginal bride of Jesus. On 6 March 1273, with two pious housewives, she retired to Castel San Pietro, on the mountain overlooking Palestrina, at the Church of St Maria della Costa, to follow her vocation. In the wake of the Franciscan movement, their ideal of life fascinated a multitude of people from all walks of life. Margherita put on the rough habit, under which she put a sackcloth. She began fasting and penance, praying that her wish would come true: – to become a Poor Clare Nun.

She lived there for a few years in retreat. Her life as an anchorite was a scandal for the powerful Colonna family. However, the comfort came from her brother Giacomo, who, although very young, was already a Cardinal (from 1278) at the behest of Pope Nicholas III, while Giovanni was a Senator of Rome. Giacomo sincerely loved Christ as did his sister, so he took Margherita to Rome and together they prayed at the Tomb of the Apostles Peter and Paul. Then a new life began for Margherita. The substantial inheritance no longer belonged to her, it belonged to the poor who are never lacking on the path of the Saints. Her shining example aroused interest, especially from other women eager to spend their lives like her in the service of Jesus.

Margherita asked the General of the Friars Minor Girolamo Masci (future Pope Nicholas IV) for permission to enter the Monastery of Assisi. However, an illness prevented her from doing so. The Lord’s plans were different. She then thought of the Convent of Mentola (between Palestrina and Tivoli) where an image of the Holy Virgin, to which she was very devoted, a place also visited by St Francis. However, it was a fiefdom of the Count of Poli who did not want a Colonna in his territories. Margherita returned home and, with the help of her brother, the Cardinal, founded a Monastery on the nearby mountain, where the Lord was praised night and day.

Margherita took care of the formation of her companions but her charity went further, to the sick and the poor of the neighbouring region. Tradition says ,that once Jesus and the St John the Baptist came to her table, when she fed the poor but then disappeared when Margaret recognised them.

Having exhausted her substantial personal patrimony, she, who was born very rich, reached out to ask for alms and thus be able to continue her works of mercy for the suffering and hungry. She is also remembered for assisting the Friars Minor of the nearby Zagarolo Convent.

Margherita’s union with Christ became more and more intense: she was visibly comforted by Jesus, the Madonna and the Holy Father Francis. She fell into ecstasy several times and for seven years, she patiently endured an ulcerative wound on her side, carried like a stigmata of the Passion of Jesus.

Not even thirty years old, Margherita’s death was precious in the eyes of the Lord. She died, due to violent fevers, on 30 December 1284. Immediately her Tomb became a pilgrimage destination and the devotees, through her intercession, obtained many graces. In 1285, the community of Poor Clares moved to Rome, by the authorisation of Pope Honorius, taking with them, the venerated body of the Blessed (it remained there until 1871).

Margherita’s first biographer was her brother, the Cardinal and the second was the first Abbess of the St Sylvester Monastery in Rome, where her sisters had moved.

On 17 September1847, the Blessed Pope Pius IX confirmed the “ab immemorabili” cult and the liturgical memorial. Today the relics of Blessed Margherita are venerated in the Church of Castel San Pietro, not far from Palestrina. Here the seed she sowed over seven centuries ago, is still alive today through the Poor Clares of the Monastery of Santa Maria degli Angeli.

O God, You have made
the Blessed Virgin Margaret
admirable in the contempt of earthly goods,
ardent with love for You,
grant us, through her intercession,
that we may be continuously united to You,
as we carry our cross.
Pour upon us, O Lord,
the spirit of holiness
that You have given
to Blessed Margherita Colonna,
so that we can know the love of Christ,
which surpasses all knowledge
and enjoy the fullness of eternal life.
With Christ our Lord
and the Holy Ghost.


Saint of the Day – 14 December – Saint Berthold of Regensburg OFM (c 1220-1272)

Saint of the Day – 14 December – Saint Berthold of Regensburg OFM (c 1220-1272) Friar of the Order of the Friars Minor, Renowned Preacher for which reason he was known as “Sweet Brother Berthold,” “The Beloved of God and man,” “A Second Elias,” “The Teacher of the Nations,” Missionary Evangelist covering large areas of Germany. It is recorded that he would preach to up to 100,000 people at one time. Born as Berthold Sachs, at Ratisbon, which is now Regensburg, Germany in c 1220 and died there on 14 December 1272 of natural causes. Also known as – Berthold of Ratisbon. Berthold was a Franciscan Friar in the Monastery of Regensburg and the most powerful preacher of repentance in the Thirteenth Century. Patronage – of Preachers.

Berthold was probably a member of a well-to-do middle-class family of Ratisbon named Sachs. The excellence of his literary training is proved by his sermons ,which show more than common acquaintance with the ancient classics. From his knowledge of the usages of secular life, it may be inferred that he was of mature age before he entered the Franciscans. The first fixed date in Berthold’s life is 1246, when the Papal Legate appointed him and David of Augsburg (another Franciscan Friar) as Inspectors of the Convent of Niedermünster. One of his contemporaries, the Abbot of Niederaltaich, a reliable Historian, speaks in 1250 of the great reputation that Berthold had in Bavaria as a preacher.

Four years later, the missionary journeys of this preacher extended as far as the Valley of the Rhine, Alsace and Switzerland. During the next ten years Berthold’s apostolic labours led him eastward into Austria, Moravia, Bohemia and Silesia. In 1263 Pope Urban IV appointed him to preach the Crusade and Saint Albert the Great was designated as his assistant. When speaking to Slavonic audiences, Berthold naturally employed an interpreter, just as St Bernard, in his day, made use of an interpreter in Germany. Notwithstanding any difficulties that might arise as to understanding, wherever he went Berthold exerted an extraordinary power of attraction over his hearers so that the Churches were not able to hold the great crowds of the faithful who came from all quarters to his Masses, and he was often obliged to preach in the open air. When this was the case, a Pulpit was generally arranged under the spreading branches of a linden tree. Long after his day “Berthold’s Linden” was to be seen at Glatz.

About 1270 he seems to have returned to Regensburg where he remained until his death on 14 December 1272. He had fallen down the stairs a few days prior to his death. His remains form the most precious relic among the treasures of the Cathedral of Regensburg.

Regensburg Cathedral

The poets and chroniclers of Bertold’s time made frequent reference to him. He was called “Sweet Brother Berthold,” “The Beloved of God and man,” “A Second Elias,” “The Teacher of the Nations.” All of these expressions are proofs of the high esteem in which his preaching and missionary zeal were held. The secret of the Preacher’s success, lay partly in the saintliness of his life and partly in his power to make use of the language of humble life. He became the great master, it may be said, the classic of homely speech and this rank has been maintained by his sermons to the present day. One of his two popular discourses on the Last Judgment became a favourite book of the people under the title “The Valley of Josaphat“. There is no doubt, that Brother Berthold preached in German., and used translators when necessary, as said above

The Interior of Regensburg Cathedral

For a long time scholars disagreed as to how his sermons had been preserved. It is now generally accepted, that the sermons were often written down afterwards in Latin, frequently with marginal comments in German – these reports of the sermons, as they may be called, partly German, partly Latin, or at times in the language in which they were delivered (recorded by the translators, we presume), are what have been handed down to posterity.

The discourses thus preserved, are of the greatest importance for the history of the development of the literature of homiletics; -they are of equal value as rich sources for determining the condition of education and culture in the thirteenth century. It is difficult, therefore, to understand, how this greatest of Catholic Preachers to the poor, could have been forgotten for centuries! It was not until some of Brother Berthold’s sermons were published in 1824 that attention was called to the eloquent Franciscan and his holy and zealous life of a true disciple of Christ! Since this date, the enthusiasm for Berthold grew steadily, so that he has become a favourite, both of Germanic scholars and of the historians of the development of German civilization and of the Faith. He is also regarded as the great pattern of homely Pulpit eloquence.

Seventy-two of his sermons have been preserved for our edification, some of which are available online.


Madonna del Patrocinio / Our Lady of Defence (Faenza, Ravenna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy) (1685) and Memorials of the Saints – 14 December

Madonna del Patrocinio / Our Lady of Defence – also known as Santa Maria del Calcare (Faenza, Ravenna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy) (1685) – 14 December:

In Forlì, in eastern Italy, the Baldi family owned a painting of the Madonna nursing the Christ Child. A woman of the family joined the Camaldolese Benedictine Convent there under the name of Sister Frances and at her death, the Bishop requested that the sacred image be moved to the Convent Church.
In 1614, such great crowds attended the Madonna’s transfer ceremony that the Sisters decided to build a special Chapel for the Blessed Virgin of Defence. On the last Sunday of September, 1650, the painting was installed in its new marble Shrine. An annual festa on that day commemorated the beginning of public veneration of the Virgin of Defence.
During the night of 20 November 1685, a fire spread from the Convent laundry to the parlour and Sacristy and had almost entered the Chapel of the holy image when the flames stopped unexpectedly. Only in morning did the nuns realise what happened.
This miracle rekindled public devotion to the Blessed Virgin of Defence, which the Vatican approved officially in 1721. During the Risorgimento, the government closed many religious communities and seized their goods. When their Convent was suppressed in 1862, the Camaldolese Nuns of Forlì moved with their Madonna to Faenza, about 15 miles away. The small Sanctuary of the Madonna del Patrocinio, is located along the old mule track that led from Bieno and Santino to the sunny pastures of Ompio. The Sanctuary, built at the beginning of the 18th century, was the destination of endless penitential processions of peasants, shepherds and woodcutters. The place is surrounded by dense chestnut and oak woods; almost a border between the lakes (Maggiore and Mergozzo) and the infinite forest of the Val Grande.
On 14 December 1954, at the close of the Marian Year, the sacred image was solemnly crowned by the Bishop of Faenza, Msgr Giuseppe Battaglia. At the nuns’ request, the Virgin’s crown was made of the gold rings they had received at their solemn profession, together with pilgrims’ votive offerings. St Catherine’s Convent was demolished in 2008 for construction of a Catholic rest home. I believe the miraculous image now resides in the local Parish Church.

St John of the Cross OCD (Memorial) (1542-1591) Doctor of the Church
St John’s Feast Day is 24 November (General Roman Calendar, 1738–1969)
Full Biography:

St Abundius of Spain
St Agnellus of Naples
St Berthold of Regensburg OFM (c 1220-1272) Friar of the Order of the Friars Minor, Renowned Preacher for which reason he was known as “Sweet Brother Berthold,” “The Beloved of God and man,” “A Second Elias,”,”The Teacher of the Nations.”
Bl Buenaventura Bonaccorsi

St Folcuino of Therouanne
Bl Joan Lambertini
St John Pan y Agua (Bread-and-Water)
Bl John Discalceat
St Justus of Spain
St Matronianus of Milan
St Pompeius of Pavia
Bl Protasi Cubells Minguell

St Venantius Fortunatus (c 530 – c 609) Bishop, Poet, Hymnist, Writer.
Another “Golden Words”:

St Viator of Bergamo
St Yusuf Jurj Kassab al-Hardini
Bl William de Rovira

Martyrs of Alexandria – 4 saints: A group of Egyptian Christians martyred together in the persecutions of Decius – Arsenius, Dioscurus, Heron and Isidore. They were burned to death in 250 at Alexandria, Egypt.

Martyrs of Apollonia – 7 saints: Martyred in the persecutions of Decius. The only surviving details are three names – Callinicus, Leucio and Tirso. Apollonia, Bithynia (in modern Turkey).

Martyrs of Ashkelon – 3 saints: Several pilgrims from Egypt to Cilicia (in modern Turkey) who planned to minister to fellow Christians suffering in the persecutions of emperor Maximinus. They were arrested, torture, mutilated and then imprisoned in Ashkelon. Some were ordered to forced labour in the mines, but we have the names of three who were martyred by order of governor Firmilian – Ares, Elijah and Promo. They were burned at the stake or beheaded at the gates of Ashkelon c 308.

Martyrs of Hayle – 2+ saints: Several Christians, including a brother and sister, who were martyred together by pagans. The only other information to survive are the names of the two siblings – Fingar and Phiala. 5th century at Hayle, Cornwall, England.

Martyrs of Syria – 3 saints: Three Christians who were martyred together. Known to Saint John Chrysostom who preached on their feast day and left us the only details we have – their names – Drusus, Theodore and Zosimus. The date and precise location of their martyrdom is unknown, but it was in Syria, possibly in Antioch.


Saint of the Day – 4 December – Blessed Pietro Tecelano TOSF (c 1200 – 1289)

Saint of the Day – 4 December – Blessed Pietro Tecelano TOSF (c 1200 – 1289) Layman, Widower, Franciscan Tertiary, Apostle of the sick and the poor, spiritual and secular adviser, miracle-worker. Born in c 1200 at Campi, Tuscany, Italy and died in early December 1289 in Siena, Italy of natural causes. Patronages – Siena, Italy and Comb-makers. Also known as – Pietro Pettinaio, Peter…. Pier…. Additional Memorials – 16 March, 4 and 11 November, 10 December – Memorials on different Calendars.

The Roman Martyrology states: “In Siena, Blessed Pietro Pettinario, religious of the Third Order of St Francis, distinguished for his particular charity towards the needy and the sick and for his life of humility and silence.”

Pietro was born around 1200 in Campi, a village of Castelnuovo Berardenga near Siena and moved with his parents to Siena at some point during his childhood.

He married but the couple remained childless. In order to provide for his new wife he worked as a comb-maker, that is a merchant of bone and mother-of-pearl combs used in spinning. .. He purchased a house in which vines flourished so as to make wine. Sadly his wife died and Pietro then lived alone and devoted his time to his business and soon became rich and famous.

Perhaps converted thanks to the newly born Franciscan Order, he became famous once more but now for his generosity towards his competitors – on market days he arrived late to sell, so as not to damage them too much. In addition to carrying out his working activity, he also dedicated himself to assisting the sick at the hospital of Santa Maria della Scala where he bound wounds and sores and helps the most needy. In this work he was assisted by eight friends – merchants and lawmen, who he had encouraged to join him in his apostolate.

He lived a simple life, giving excess wealth to the Franciscans and he spent his evenings in meditation and devoting such nights to God in prayer.

Pietro left no writings and is remembered for his silences, we often see him depicted with a finger on his lips. The few things he said and the many he did, were very effective, to the point that some traffickers, after having defrauded the City, returned the money to him, he then returned it to the relevant section of the City administration. The governors, in turn, often called upon him for help and advice – in 1282 , for example, he was asked to choose the five inmates to be amnestied.

When the Franciscans of Siena had doubts about the authentic vocation of their novices , they had them examined by him. His life was inspired by the most rigorous followers of St Francis of Assisi, the spirituals.

The Dominican preacher, Blessed Ambrogio Sansedoni, who went to Pietro for spirtual guidance, renounced his election as a Bishop on Pietro’s advice.

Seeking solitude, he sold his home and business, donating the proceeds to the poor and spent the last few years of his life, as a guest of the Franciscans. There, considered himself far too talkative, Pietro aimed at living amongst them in silence.He undertook several pilgrimages to religious sites including Assisi, where Saint Francis of Assisi worked and lived.

During his lifetime he was hailed as a miracle-worker and was considered a great saint. He became a sought after adviser to Priests as well as to the people of Siena and was considered charismatic.

Pietro died in early December 1289 (possilby the 4th) at an advanced age and was buried at the Franciscan Church in Siena. His grave soon became a pilgrimage site and the scene of miracles. A Shrine was built over his grave in 1326 and an annual local feast in his honour was established in 1329. The Shrine was lost to fire in 1655 and remaining relics were preserved when the Poor Clare nuns took them into their care

The people of Siena adored Pietro and called for his Canonisation. Official recognition of Pietro’s holiness led to Pope Pius VII confirming his “cultus” acting as formal Beatification on 18 August 1802.

Dante Alighieri included Pietro in his work (Divina Comedia) in “Canto XIII” through the character of Pier the Comb-Seller.


Saint of the Day – 27 November – Blessed Bernardine of Fossa OFM (1420-1503)

Saint of the Day – 27 November – Blessed Bernardine of Fossa OFM (1420-1503) Priest and Friar of the Observant Friars Minor of St Francis, Missionary in Italy and a renowned Preacher, noted Historian, Lawyer, Ascetical Writer, rising within the Order to important positions. Born in 1420 in Fossa, Aquila, Italy as Giovanni Amici and died on 27 November 1503 in the Franciscan Convent in L’Aquila, Italy of natural causes, aged 83. Also known as – Bernardine d’Amici, Bernardine of Aquila, Bernardine of Aquilanus, Fra Bernardino of Fossa, Giovanni Amici. Additional Memorial – 7 November (Franciscans). Patronages – the City and Diocese of L’Aquila.

The Roman Martyrology states: “At L’Aquila, blessed Bernardino da Fossa (Giovanni) Amici, Priest of the Order of Minors, who preached the Catholic Faith in many Provinces of Italy.

Giovanni belonged to the ancient and noble family of the Amici and sometimes bears the name of Aquilanus on account of his long residence and death in the Town of Aquila.

He was of very lively intelligence and excelled in his studies. He graduated in Canon and Civil Law in Perugia and in 1445, at 21, he entered the Friars Minor of the Observance and completed his novitiate at Gubbio. On 13 March 1446 he made his solemn profession in the Convent of Stroncone taking the name of Bernardine and receiving the Habit from St James of the Marches who was then preaching a course of Lenten sermons at Perugiato. As was the custom of many religious Orders at the time, the place of birth was added, so Giovanni became Fra ‘Bernardino da Fossa.

Bernardine was endowed with outstanding organisational, spiritual and guiding skills and was, therefore, entrusted with various positions in the Franciscan Convents of Gubbio, Stroncone and others, also in Umbria. From there he passed into the Abruzzi, residing especially in his own City of L’Aquila.

He was a zealous Priest and talented Preacher in numerous Umbrian Towns. He was elected Provincial Father of the Friars Minor Observants for the Abruzzi four times , holding the office from 1454 to 1460 and then from 1472 to 1475 : between 1464 and 1467 he was instead Superior of Bosnia and Dalmatia, a Province just established by Pope Pius II and in 1468 he was elected Procurator of the Order at the Holy See .

He was twice elected bishop of Aquila (first in 1472 , on the death of Cardinal Amico Agnifili and then in 1491 , as the successor of Giovanbattista Gaglioffi) but he declined the election both times, from a spirit of humility.

In 1475 he abandoned all office and retired to the Convent of San Giuliano dell’Aquila. On 16 January 1495 , he managed to stop the troops of Charles VIII and persuaded them not to cross the L’ Aquila territory, sparing the population the serious consequences of a military occupation.

Bernardine was also a prolific writer – his writings include several sermons and short ascetical works and focus on themes of history and theology. His nephew, Antonio Amici, who was also his Biographer, published some of Bernardine’s works in 1572 , today of great value due to the extreme rarity of the preserved copies. Bernardine was the Author of the first life of his Patron, St Bernardino of Siena.

Bernardine died in the Convent of L’Aquila on 27 November 1503 and was always given a cult of blessed, both in Italy and throughout the Franciscan Order.
The cult was later confirmed by the Beatification of Pope Leo XII on 26 March 1828.

Apparition of Christ to the Blessed Bernardino of Fossa by Francesco da Montereale,

Quote/s of the Day – 26 November – St Leonard of Port Maurice

Quote/s of the Day – 26 November – The Memorial of St Leonard of Port Maurice OFM (1676-1751)

I believe, that were it not for the Holy Mass,
at this moment, the world would be in the abyss,
unable to bear up,
under the mighty load of its iniquities.
Mass is the potent prop
that hold the world on its base

What graces, gifts and virtues
the Holy Mass calls down!

Oh Most Sacred Name,
Name of peace,
Balsam of life,
which is the centre of all the sighs,
of the most fervent lovers of Jesus.
The Sign of those who truly love Jesus
is to bear Jesus imprinted in the heart
and to name often and with devotion,
the Most Holy Name of Jesus.

St Leonard of Port Maurice (1676-1751)


Our Morning Offering – 26 November – Forgive Me, Good Jesus

Our Morning Offering – 26 November – The Memorial of St Leonard of Port Maurice OFM (1676-1751)

Forgive Me, Good Jesus
By St Leonard of Port Maurice (1676-1751)

I confess that up until now
I have not lived as a Christian.
I am not worthy
to be numbered among Your elect.
I recognise that I deserve to be damned
but Your mercy is great
and, full of confidence in Your grace,
I say to You that I wish to save my soul,
even if I have to sacrifice my fortune,
my honour, my very life,
as long as I am saved.
If I have been unfaithful up to now,
I repent, I deplore,
I detest my infidelity,
I ask You humbly to forgive me.
Forgive me, good Jesus
and strengthen me,
that I may be saved.
I ask You not for wealth,
honour or prosperity,
I ask You for one thing only,
to save my soul.


Onze-Lieve-Vrouw van Westrozebeke / Our Lady of Westrozebeke, Staden, West Flanders, Belgium (1482) and Memorials of the Saints – 26 November

Onze-Lieve-Vrouw van Westrozebeke / Our Lady of Westrozebeke, Staden, West Flanders, Belgium (1482) – 26 November, Third Sunday of June:

On 26 November 1382, opposing armies camped around the Village of Westrozebeke: rebels recently victorious in Ghent vs. Louis II, King of Flanders and French troops brought in to help him. The residents congregated at a forest Chapel to beg the Virgin’s help. At the battle the next day, the rebels fled after their leader was killed. Afterward, a red silk thread encircling the area the King’s forces had occupied, with seven knots equally spaced along it and crosses where the ends met, was discovered – this was interpreted as a sign of the Virgin’s protection. The silk thread was soon distributed for relics and in its place, eight Chapels were built – seven to honour each of Mary’s Sorrows, where the knots had lain and a larger one to honour the Holy Cross. In 1384, Louis II’s son-in-law Philip II of Burgundy, instituted an annual procession and Mass in thanksgiving for the victory.
Many pilgrims sought out the circuit of eight Chapels and the help of Our Lady of Roosebeke (“rosy stream“), especially sufferers from the streptococcal skin infection erysipelas, known as St Anthony’s fire in English but as wondroos (“rosy wound“) in Dutch. And they continued to frequent the old forest Chapel of Our Lady of the Fountain, near a spring with waters believed to cure eye diseases.
The annual pilgrimage continued for centuries. The faithful from the Provincial Capital of Bruges, brought new clothes for Our Lady’s Statue, while those from Menen, to the south, came in thanksgiving for their deliverance from an epidemic in the early 1500s.
In 1566, iconoclasts destroyed the Statue. Believers installed a new one in 1584.
During World War I, another miracle came to light. In 1916, when Germans torpedoed the ferry “Sussex” as it crossed the English Channel toward France, sailors from Westrozebeke prayed to Our Lady and were spared. But their Village was not so fortunate: it was destroyed during the war. Our Lady’s beloved Statue, which had been moved away for safekeeping, returned afterwards and was installed in the new Church of St Bavo on 13 June1924.

St Bavo’s Church

Now part of the Municipality of Staden, Westrozebeke holds a 10-day festival in July, starting on the third Sunday, when firemen throw roses from the Church tower. The religious portion culminates in Our Lady’s Pageant on the following Saturday, with a procession and Mass in St Bavo’s Church, where roses encircle the Statue of Our Lady.

Bl Albert of Haigerloch
St Alypius Stylites
St Amator of Autun
St Basolus of Verzy
St Bellinus of Padua
St Bertger of Herzfeld
St Conrad of Constance
St Ðaminh Nguyen Van Xuyên
Bl Delphine of Glandèves
St Egelwine of Athelney

Blessed Gaetana Sterni (1827-1889) Widow, Religious, Founder of the Sisters of Divine Will.

Bl Giacomo Alberione
Bl Hugh Taylor
St Humilis of Bisignano
St Ida of Cologne
St James the Hermit

St Leonard of Port Maurice OFM (1676-1751) Priest and Friar of the Friars Minor, Confessor, Preacher – in particular Parish Mission Preacher, Ascetic Writer, Spiritual Director.
About St Leonard:

St Peter of Alexandria (Died 311) Martyr, “The Seal of the Martyrs” Bishop of Alexandria. Tradition attests that the Egyptian Bishop, St Peter, was the last believer to suffer death at the hands of Roman imperial authorities for his faith in Christ. Hence the title “The Seal of the Martyrs.”
His Life and Death:

St Magnance of Ste-Magnance
St Marcellus of Nicomedia
Bl Marmaduke Bowes
St Martin of Arades
St Nicon of Sparta
Bl Pontius of Faucigny
St Sabaudus of Trier
St Siricius, Pope
St Stylianus
St Sylvester Gozzolini OSB Silv. (1177– 1267) Priest, Abbot, Founder
St Tôma Ðinh Viet Du
St Vacz

Martyrs of Alexandria – 7+ saints: A group of approximately 650 Christian priests, bishops and laity martyred together in the persecution of Maximian Galerius. We have the names and a few details only seven of them – Ammonius, Didius, Faustus, Hesychius, Pachomius, Phileas and Theodore. The were born in Egypt and were martyred there in c 311 in Alexandria, Egypt.

Martyrs of Capua – 7 saints: A group of seven Christians martyred together. The only details about them to survive are the names – Ammonius, Cassianus, Felicissimus, Nicander, Romana, Saturnin and Serenus. They were martyred in Capua, Campania, Italy, date unknown.

Martyrs of Nicomedia – 6 saints: A group of six orthodox Christians martyred by Arians. Few details have survived except their names – Marcellus, Melisus, Numerius, Peter, Serenusa and Victorinus. Martyred in 349 in Nicomedia, Bithynia, Asia Minor (modern Izmit, Turkey).


Saint of the Day – 16 November – Saint Agnes of Assisi OSC (1197-1253)

Saint of the Day – 16 November – Saint Agnes of Assisi OSC (1197-1253) Virgin, Nun,Abbess, younger sister of Clare of Assisi and one of the first Abbesses of the Order of Poor Ladies (now the Poor Clares). Born Caterina Offreducia in 1197 at Assisi, Italy and died on 16 November 1253 at the Monastery of San Damiano of natural causes. Patronage – the Poor Clares, siblings, children of Mary, engaged couples, chastity.

Agnes was the younger daughter of Count Favorino Scifi. Her saintly mother, Blessed Hortulana, belonged to the noble family of the Fiumi and her cousin, Rufino, was one of the celebrated “Three Companions” of St Francis.

Agnes’s childhood was passed between her father’s Palace in the City and his Castle of Sasso Rosso on Mount Subasio.

On 18 March, 1212, her eldest sister Clare, moved by the preaching and example of St Francis, had left her father’s home to follow the way of life taught by the Saint. Sixteen days later, Agnes repaired to the Monastery of St Angelo in Panso, where the Benedictine Nuns had afforded Clare temporary shelter and resolved to share her sister’s life of poverty and penance. Agnes was just Fifteen years of age.

At this ocurrence, the fury of Count Favorino knew no bounds. He sent his brother Monaldo, with several relatives and some armed followers, to St Angelo’s Monastery, to force Agnes, if persuasion failed, to return home. The conflict which followed is related in detail in the “Chronicles of the Twent Four Generals.” Monaldo, (Agnes’ uncle) beside himself with rage, drew his sword to strike the young girl but his arm dropped, withered and useless, by his side; others dragged Agnes out of the Monastery by the hair, striking her and even kicking her repeatedly. Presently St.Clare came to the rescue and suddenly, Agnes’s body became so heavy that the soldiers having tried in vain to carry her off, dropped her, half dead, in a field near the Monastery.

Overcome by a spiritual power against which physical force availed not, Agnes’s relatives were obliged to withdraw and to allow her to remain with St Clare.

St Francis, who was overjoyed at Agnes’s heroic resistance to the entreaties and threats of her pursuers, presently cut off her hair and gave her the habit of Poverty. Soon after, he established the two sisters at St Damiano’s, in a small rude dwelling adjoining the humble Sanctuary, which he had helped to rebuild with his own hands. There several other noble ladies of Assisi joined Clare and Agnes, and thus began the Order of the Poor Ladies of St Damian’s, or Poor Clares, as these Franciscan nuns afterwards came to be called.

From the outset of her religious life, Agnes was distinguished by such an eminent degree of virtue, that her companions declared that she seemed to have discovered a new road to perfection, known only to herself.

As Abbess, she ruled with loving kindness and knew how to make the practice of virtue bright and attractive to her subjects. In 1219, Agnes, despite her youth, was chosen by St Francis to found and govern a community of the Poor Ladies at Monticelli, near Florence, which in course of time, became almost as famous as St Damiano’s. A letter written by St Agnes to St Clare, after this separation, is still extant, touchingly beautiful in its simplicity and affection. Nothing perhaps in Agnes’s character, is more striking and attractive, than her loving fidelity to Clare’s ideals and her undying loyalty in upholding the latter, in her lifelong and arduous struggle for Seraphic Poverty.

Full of zeal for the spread of the Order, Agnes established, from Monticelli, several Monasteries of the Poor Ladies in the north of Italy, including those of Mantua, Venice and Padua, all of which observed the same fidelity to the teaching of St Francis and St Clare.

In 1253 Agnes was summoned to St Damiano’s during the last illness of her beloved sister and assisted at the latter’s triumphant death and funeral.

On 16 November of the same year,she followed St Clare to her eternal reward. Her mother Hortulana and her younger sister Beatrice, both of whom had followed Clare and Agnes into the Order, had already passed away.

The precious remains of St Agnes repose near the body of her mother and sisters, in the Church of St Clare at Assisi. God, Who had favoured Agnes with many heavenly manifestations during life, glorified her Tomb after death, by numerous miracles. In 1753 Pope Benedict XIV recognised her holiness and recognised her cultus by and permitted the Order of St Francis to celebrate her Feast. It is kept on 16 November, as a double of the second class.


Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn / Our Lady of Ostra, Brama, Vilnius, Lithuania (1363) and Memorials of the Saints – 16 November

Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn / Our Lady of Ostra, Brama, Vilnius, Lithuania (1363) – 16 November:

This Marian Title is the prominent Catholic painting of the Blessed Virgin Mary venerated by the faithful in the Chapel of the Gate of Dawn in Vilnius, Lithuania. The painting was historically displayed above the Vilnius City Gate; city gates of the time often contained religious artefacts intended to ward off attacks and bless passing travellers.
The painting is in the Northern Renaissance style and was completed most likely around 1630. The Virgin Mary is depicted without the infant Jesus. The artwork soon became known as miraculous and inspired a following. A dedicated Chapel was built in 1671 by the Discalced Carmelites. At the same time, the painting was covered in expensive and elaborate silver and gold clothes leaving only the face and hands visible.

In 1702, when Vilnius was captured by the Swedish army during the Great Northern War, Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn came to her people’s rescue. At dawn, the heavy iron of the Gate collapsed, crushing and killing four Swedish soldiers. After this, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth Army successfully counter-attacked near the gate.
In the following centuries, the cult grew and Our Lady became an important part of religious life in Vilnius. This inspired many copies in Lithuania, Poland and diaspora communities worldwide. On 5 July 1927, the image was canonically crowned as Mother of Mercy. It is a major site of pilgrimage in Vilnius and attracts many visitors, especially from Poland.

Patronage of Our Lady: Feast permitted by a 1679 Decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites for all Provinces of Spain, in memory of the victories obtained there over infidels.
Pope Benedict XIII granted it to the Papal States and it may now be celebrated with due permission by Churches throughout the world.

St Gertrude the Great (1256-1302) (Virgin, Benedictine Religious, Mystic, Theologian, Writer. Optional Memorial)
About St Gertrude:

St Margaret of Scotland (1045-1093) Queen Consort of Scotland Saint Margaret’s name signifies “pearl” “a fitting name,” says Bishop Turgot, her Confessor and her first Biographer, “for one such as she.” Her soul was like a precious pearl. (Optional Memorial)
About St Margaret:

St Afan of Wales
St Africus of Comminges
St Agnes of Assisi OSC (1197-1253) Virgin, Nun, Prioress

St Agostino of Capua
St Alfric of Canterbury
St Anianus of Asti
St Céronne

St Edmund Rich of Abingdon (1175-1240) Archbishop of Canterbury, Confessor, Apostle of Prayer and Charity, Mystic, Doctor of Theology, eloquent Preacher, Ascetic, highly regarded Professor lecturer, Reformer, Writer, peacemaker, social activist and negotiator.

Bl Edward Osbaldeston
St Elpidius the Martyr
St Eucherius of Lyon
St Eustochius the Martyr
St Felicita of Capua
St Fidentius of Padua
St Gobrain of Vannes
St Ludre
St Marcellus the Martyr
St Othmar of Saint Gal
Bl Simeon of Cava

Martyrs of Africa – (11 saints)

Martyrs of Almeria – (9 saints): Soon after the start of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, the Communist-oriented Popular Front had all clergy and religious arrested and abused as they considered staunch Christians to be enemies of the revolution. Many of these prisoners were executed for having promoted the faith and this memorial remembers several of them killed in the province of Almeria.
• Adrián Saiz y Saiz
• Bienvenido Villalón Acebrón
• Bonifacio Rodríguez González
• Diego Ventaja Milán
• Eusebio Alonso Uyarra
• Isidoro Primo Rodríguez
• Justo Zariquiegui Mendoza
• Manuel Medina Olmos
• Marciano Herrero Martínez


Saint of the Day – 13 November – Saint Didacus OFM (c 1400-1463)

Saint of the Day – 13 November – Saint Didacus (de Alcalá de Henares) OFM (c 1400-1463) Lay Brother of the Order of Friars Minor, Hermit, Mystic, Confessor, Born in c 1400 at Seville, Spain and died on 12 November 1463 at Alcala, Castile, Spain of natural causes. Also known as – St Didacus of St Nicholas, Diego, Diaz, Didacus de Alcalá de Henares, Didacus of Alcala. Patronages – Franciscan laity, Franciscan lay brothers, Diocese of San Diego, California.

The Roman Martyrology states of him today: “At Alcala in Spain, St Didacus, Confessor of the Order of Minorites, who was renowned for his humility. Incribed on the catalogue of the Saints by Pope Sixtus V, with a Feast Day of 13 November.

Didacus was born about 1400 at San Nicolas in Andalusia, of poor and God-fearing parents. He entered the Third Order of St Francis when he had scarcely reached young manhood and under the direction of a devout Tertiary Priest, he served God for a long time as a Hermit. Consumed with the desire for still greater perfection, he later entered the Franciscan Convent at Arizafa in Castile and was there admitted to solemn vows as a lay brother.

His rapid progress in virtue made him a model to all his companions. His soul was continually occupied with God in prayer and meditation. From this source, he gathered such supernatural insight concerning God and the Mysteries of Faith, that learned theologians listened with astonishment to the inspiring conversations of this uneducated lay brother. Since Brother Didacus manifested great zeal for souls and willingness for sacrifice, his superiors sent him with other brethren to the Canary Islands, which at that time, were still inhabited by wild infidels. Didacus was eager for martyrdom and in this spirit, bore with dauntless patience, the many hardships that came his way. Both by word and example, he helped in converting many infidels.

In 1445, he was appointed Guardian of the chief Friary on the islands at Fortaventura. Recalled to Spain, he went to Rome in 1450 at the command of the Observant Vicar General, St John Capistrano, to attend the great Jubilee and the Canonisation ceremonies of St Bernardine of Siena. On this occasion, an epidemic broke out among the many Friars assembled in the large Convent of Aracoeli. Didacus attended the sick with great charity and trust in God. And God did not fail him. Despite the lack of supplies in the City at the time, Didacus always had ample provisions for his patients. He miraculously restored many of them to health by merely making the Sign of the Cross over them.

Leaving Rome, he returned to Spain, where, as in the former days, he was a source of great edification to the Friars of every Convent in which he lived.

When he felt that the end of his life was drawing near, he asked for an old and worn-out habit, so that he might die in it as a true son of the poor St Francis. He died on 12 November 1463, at the Franciscan Monastery in Alcalá, pressing a Crucifix to his heart and repeating the words of the Good Friday chant: “Dulce lignum, dulce ferrum, dulce pondus sustinet” – Precious the wood, precious the nails, precious the weight they bear.

Months passed before it was possible to bury Brother Didacus, so great was the number of people who came to venerate his remains. Not only did his body remain incorrupt but it diffused a pleasant odour. After it was laid to rest in the Franciscan Church at Alcalá de Henares, astounding miracles continued to occur at his tomb. Pope Sixtus V, himself a Franciscan, Canonised Brother Didacus in 1588.

The Church pays to Didacus today, the very same honours as we have seen her pay to Bernardine and John Capistrano. What is this but asserting, that before God, heroic acts of hidden virtue, are not inferior to the noble deeds that dazzle the world, if, proceeding from the same ardent love, they produce in the soul, the same increase of divine charity.


Saint of the Day – 9 November – Blessed Gabriel Ferretti OFM (1385-1456)

Saint of the Day – 9 November – Blessed Gabriel Ferretti OFM (1385-1456) Priest, Friar of the Order of Friars Minor,, Provincial Superior, Mystic. renowned missionary Preacher. He was zealous in the restoration and establishment of new Convents. Born in 1385 at Ancona, Italy and died on 12 November 1456 in Ancona, Piceno, Italy of natural causes. He was an ancestor to both Cardinal Gabriele Ferretti and Blessed Pope Pius IX, having been descended from a long noble lineage. Patronage – Ancona. His body is incorrupt.

Gabriel was born in 1385 and belonged to the ancient ducal family of the Ferretti. His devout parents raised him in the fear of God and in his eighteenth year he entered the Franciscan Order. His efforts at acquiring virtue won for him so great a degree of the respect and confidence of his brethren that, shortly after his Ordination to the Priesthood, when he was only twenty-five years old, he was appointed to preach missions in the March of Ancona. For fifteen years he devoted himself to this important task with blessed success.

He was then assigned to the office of Guardian of the Convent of Ancona and later he was elected Provincial of the Province of the March. In both offices he was careful to guide his subjects well. He shirked no labour and he could be very severe if it was necessary to correct an evil. He achieved the greatest results, however, by his own bright example of virtue, which induced weak and lax characters to exert themselves manfully in observing the rule.

His reputation for preaching to the masses was noted to the point, where Giacomo della Marca – who was preaching in Bosnia – asked for his help in that task. But the Ancona council in their deliberations on 22 February 1438 passed a resolution asking Pope Eugene IV to ensure the Friar remained in Ancona, due to all his good works. The Pope accepted this request, which meant that Gabriel could not go to Bosnia to aid his friend.

The following incident is proof of his great humility and piety. Once while he was journeying to Assisi, he went into the Franciscan Church at Foligno to pray. The Sacristan, who took him for a Brother, bade him serve the Mass of a Priest who had just gone to the Altar. The humble Provincial obeyed but when the guardian of the Convent recognised the venerable Superior of the Province of the March, in the server, he severely reproached the Sacristan. Father Gabriel defended the Sacristan, saying:

To serve Mass is a great privilege. The Angels would consider themselves honoured. So do not blame the Brother for conferring that honour on me!

Gabriel’s zeal to promote the interests of the Order was as great as his humility. At San Severino he restored a Convent that had fallen into ruin. At Osimo he built a new Convent. The Convent at Ancona he enlarged, in order to accommodate the great number of novices attracted to it by the fame of his sanctity.

Blessed Gabriel Ferretti possessed an ardent love of God and the Blessed Virgin Mary and he unwittingly gave expression to it, in all his sermons. Frequently he was favoured with visions of Our Lord and of the Blessed Virgin.

Rich in virtue and merits, Blessed Gabriel Ferretti died on 12 November 1456, in the Convent at Ancona, assisted in his last hour by the servant of God Gregory of Alba, and St James of the March. The latter delivered his funeral oration. To this day his body is incorrupt and the many miracles wrought through his intercession have increased the devotion of the faithful to him. On 19 September 1753 Pope Benedict XIV solemnly confirmed his veneration.


Feast of the Dedication of The Archbasilica of the Most Holy Saviour and of Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist in the Lateran, Santa Maria la Real de la Almudena / Our Lady of Almudena, Madrid, Spain (712) and Memorials of the Saints – 9 November

Dedication of The Archbasilica of the Most Holy Saviour and of Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist in the Lateran (Feast):

The oldest and first in rank of the four Basilicas of Rome. The name is derived from the Laterani family, on the site of whose Palace the Basilica stands. King Constantine presented this Palace to the Church. Its annual celebration throughout the Latin Church is a sign of love and unity with the Papacy and Pope.
The original Church building, probably adapted from the hall of the palace, was dedicated to the Saviour and from its splendour was known as the Basilica Aurea. Though several times destroyed and rebuilt, the Basilica retained its ancient form, being divided by rows of columns into aisles and having an atrium with colonnades. The restoration of the 17th century changed its appearance. A Monastery was formerly between the Basilica and the City wall of which the cloister still remains. The original apse survived until 1878, when it was destroyed and a deeper apse built. The ancient mosaics have been preserved The high Altar, which is of wood and is believed to have been used by Saint Peter, is now encased in marble. In the upper part of the baldachinum are the heads of the Apostles, Peter and Paul. The Baptistery is an octagonal edifice with porphyry columns. The font is of green basalt. This Basilica has been the Cathedral of Rome since the 4th century.

The High Altar

More here:

Santa Maria la Real de la Almudena / Our Lady of Almudena, Madrid, Spain (712) – 9 Novemnber:

The Virgin of Almudena is a medieval icon of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God. The image is the advocation of the Virgin that serves as a Patroness of Madrid, Spain.
Intriguingly, however, its name derives from the Arabic term of Al Mudayna, or the citadel. There are various legends regarding the Statue. One of the historical legends is that in 712, prior to the capture of the Town by the advancing Muslim forces, the inhabitants of the Town secreted the image of the Virgin, for its own protection, inside the walls surrounding the town. In the 11th century, when Madrid was reconquered by the King Alfonso VI of Castile, the Christian soldiers endeavoured to find the Statue. After days of prayer, the spot on the wall hiding the icon crumbled, revealing the Statue. Another legend is that as Christian soldiers approached the Town, they had a vision of Mary imploring them to allow her to lead them into the City. Again the miraculous crumbling of the wall occurred, with the Statue showing an entry route through the walls.
The Cathedral of Madrid is dedicated to this advocation of the Virgin and her feast day, 9 November, is a major holiday in Madrid. Below is this beautiful Cathedral.

St Agrippinus of Naples
St Alexander of Salonica
St Aurelius of Riditio
St Benignus of Armagh
St Eustolia
St Francisco José Marín López de Arroyave
Blessed Gabriel Ferretti OFM (1385-1456) Priest
Bl George Napper
Bl Gratia of Cattaro
Bl Helen of Hungary
Bl Henryk Hlebowicz
St Jane of Segna

Blessed Ludovico Morbioli (1433-1485) Penitent, Preacher, Ascetic.
His Life:

St Justo Juanes Santos
St Luigi Beltrame Quattrocchi
St Luis Morbioli
St María de la Salud Baldoví Trull
Bl María del Carmen of the Child Jesus
St Pabo
St Sopatra
St Theodore Stratelates
St Ursinus of Bourges
St Valentín Gil Arribas
St Vitonus of Verdun

Martyrs of Constantinople – 3 saints: A group of ten Catholic Christians who tried to defend an image of Jesus over the Brazen Gate of Constantinople from an attack by Iconoclasts during the persecutions of emperor Leo the Isaurian. The group of was seized by soldiers, condemned by judges for opposing the emperor, and martyred. The only details that have survived are three of their names – Julian, Marcian and Maria. They were martyred in 730 at Constantinople (modern Istanbul, Turkey).

Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• Blessed Anastasio Garzón González
• Blessed Francisco José Marín López de Arroyave
• Blessed Justo Juanes Santos
• Blessed María de la Salud Baldoví Trull
• Blessed Valentín Gil Arribas


Saint of the Day – 1 November – Blessed Ranieri Rasini OFM (c 1250-1304)

Saint of the Day – 1 November – Blessed Ranieri Rasini OFM (c 1250-1304) Lay Friar of the Order of Friars Minor, Porter and beggar. He assisted all who came to Frairy in whatever way possible. The poor were his special friends, sharing what little was available with them. Born in c 1250 in Sansepolcro, Umbria, Italy and died on 1 November 1304 in Sansepolcro, Umbria of natural causes. Patronage – women in labour. Also known as – Ranieri of Aretino, Ranieri of Arezzo, Ranieri of Borgo, Ranieri of Sansepolcro, Raniero, Ranie.

Ranieri spent his life in the fulfillment of the humble duties of porter and beggar, thus entering, truly poor among the poor, in contact with the humble and simple people and with all those in need, who found some food at the door of the Convent.

Sister Death caught him in the cellar, where he was performing his service for the table of the brother Friars.

Ranieri was immediately venerated as a saint by the people of the City. Thus, a few days after his death, the City governors, which had taken steps to have the body embalmed and to collect the testimonies of the miracles attributed to the blessed, had a monumental Altar erected in honour of Ranieri. On the Altar, still existing in the Church of St Francis, we read: “In the year of the Lord 1304, on the Feast of All Saints, the saint Ranieri migrated to the Lord. In that year ,the City had this Altar made for the honour of God and for the magnificence of this saint. Amen” (original in Latin).

Among the miracles attributed to Ranieri after his death there is also the resurrection of two children, for which the Blessed is now invoked by women in labour.

The devotion paid to Blessed Ranieri was recognised by Pope Pius VII in 1802. The celebrations in honour of Blessed Ranieri occurs on 31 October due to his feast day occuring on the solemnity of All Saints. The body of the blessed is kept in the crypt of the Church of St Frances in Sansepolcro.


Quote/s of the Day – 19 October – St Peter of Alcantara

Quote/s of the Day – 19 October – The Memorial of St Peter of Alcantara OFM (1499-1562),

He does much
in the sight of God
who does his best,
be it ever so little.

If you would suffer patiently
the adversities and miseries of this life,
be a man of prayer. …

No tongue can express
the greatness of the love
which Jesus Christ
bears to our souls.
He did not wish,
that between Him
and His servants,
there should be any other pledge
than Himself…

St Peter of Alcantara (1499-1562)


Saint of the Day – 17 October – Blessed Contardo Ferrini TOSF (1859-1902)

Saint of the Day – 17 October – Blessed Contardo Ferrini TOSF (1859-1902) Layman, Third Order Franciscan, Profesor, Civil and Canon Lawyer, Apostle of the poor, writer, A recognised specialist in Roman and Byzantine law, Contardo Ferrini was a Professor at several Universities but his name is mainly linked to the University of Pavia , where he studied in 1880 and later became a Professor. He was also a fervent Roman Catholic, who lived a devout life of prayer and service to the poor. Born on 4 April 1859 at Milan, Italy and died on 17 October 1902 at Suna, Verbano-Cusio-Ossola, Italy of typhus, aged 43. Patronages – acedemics, colleges, schools, universities.

The Roman Martyrology mentions him today: “In Suna near Lake Maggiore, Blessed Contardo Ferrini, who, in educating young people, with his example of faith and Christian life, went far beyond human science.

Contardo Ferrini was born on 5 April 1859 in Milan to Rinaldo Ferrini and Luigia Buccellati. He was Baptised at the font where Blessed Frédéric Ozanam, also a native of Milan, had been Baptised 46 years before. After receiving his First Holy Communion at age 12, he joined a Blessed Sacrament Confraternity.

Contardo’s father, a Professor of mathematics and science, taught his son at an early age. By the time he was a young man, he spoke several languages. His apparent love for his faith caused friends to call him by the nickname St. Aloysius (St. Aloysius Gonzaga). He entered University of Pavia at age 17 and, two years later, was appointed Dean of Students. At age 21 he became a Doctor of the law at the University. His doctoral thesis, which related penal law to Homeric poetry, was the basis of his being awarded a scholarship to the University in Berlin, where he specialised in Roman-Byzantine law, a field in which he became internationally acclaimed as expert.

Blessed Bartholomew Longo and Contardo Ferrini

During Contardo’s stay in Berlin, he wrote of his excitement at receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time in a foreign country. The experience brought home to him, he wrote, the universality of the Church.

Upon his return to Italy, he was a Lecturer in Universities at Messina, Modena and Pavia. He received his first Professorship at age 26. Contardo, atthis time, attempted to discern a vocation as a secular priest, a religious, or as a married person. Ultimately, he remained an unmarried layperson. He vowed himself to God, became a member of the Third Order of St. Francis in 1886 and was a member of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society, to which he had been introduced by his father, a member of a St Vincent de Paul Conference himself.

As a faculty member at the University of Pavia, he was considered an expert in Roman Law. Over the course of his career he published books, articles and reviews. He taught for a time at the University of Paris. He became a Canon Lawyer in addition to being a Civil Lawyer. Mountaineering was an favourite hobby.

An anecdote, unsourced, about Contardo is that he was asked to attend a dinner party and, once there, found it tedious. His resort was to invite all the guests to join him in praying the Rosary.

In 1900, Contardo developed a heart lesion. In Autumn 1902, he went to his country home in Suna in order to rest. There he became ill with typhus. He died at age 43 on 17 October 1902. Residents of Suna immediately declared him a saint. His fellow faculty members at the University of Pavia wrote letters in which he was described as a saint. In 1909 Pope Pius X appointed Cardinal Ferrari to open a cause. Contardo was declared Venerable by Pope Pius XI and he was Beatified by Pope Pius XII on 13 April 1947. His body is venerated in a Chapel of Milan’s Catholic University. He is a patron of universities, colleges and academics. Yesterday we read some of the history of Milan Duomo and the 3159 Saint Statues there. One of the 2245 Spire Saints, on one the lofty Spires of this breathtaking Cathedral, resides our Blessed Contardo.

Shrine at Chapel of Milan’s Catholic University

Quote/s of the Day – 12 October – St Serafino of Montegranaro

Quote/s of the Day – 12 October – “Month of the Holy Rosary” and the Memorial of St Serafino of Montegranaro OFM Cap (1540-1604)

Be constant in secret prayers
which God, Who indeed sees in secret,
rewards in the open.
Hold fast to this exercise
of a most excellent way of life.
that you may find hidden treasure
in the day of need.”

St Basil the Great (329-379)
Father and Doctor of the Church

I have nothing,
just a Crucifix and a Rosary
but with these,
I hope to benefit the Friars

and become a Saint.

Said by St Serafino upon entering the Novitiate

… [I] resolved to recite a Rosary
for anyone who caused me trouble.
Then I heard the voice
from the Tabernacle say,
‘Your prayers for those
who mortify you,
are very pleasing to Me.
In exchange, I am ready
to grant you many graces.‘”

Saint Serafino prayed each day:

Holy Mother, pierce me through,
In my heart each wound renew
Of my Saviour Crucified.

St Serafino of Montegranaro (1540-1604)


Saint of the Day – 12 October – St Serafino of Montegranaro OFM Cap (1540-1604)

Saint of the Day – 12 October – St Serafino of Montegranaro OFM Cap (1540-1604) Franciscan Capuchin Lay Friar, Confessor, gifted with the charism of prophecy, mystic, Apostle of the poor, spiritual advisor, devoted to the Blessed Sacrament, the Holy Rosary and to the Blessed Virgin Mary, wonder-worker . Born as Felice Rapagnano in1540 at Montegranaro, Italy and died on 12 October 1604 at Ascoli Piceno, Italy of natural causes. Also known as – Serafino of Ascoli Piceno, Serafinus, Seraphim, Seraphin. Felix, Felice.

The Roman Martyrology states: “At Ascoli, St Seraphinus, Confessor, of the Order of Minorite Capuchins, distinguished by holiness of life and humility. Hre was enrolled among the Saints by the Sovereign Pontiff Clement XIII.”

Born Felice (Felix) Rapagnano at Montegranaro, then in the March of Fermo, he was the second of four children of poor but pious parents, Gerolamo Rapagnano and Teodora Giovannuzzi. His father was a mason. Because of their poverty, the family depended on the productivity of all of its members. The eldest son, Silenzio, followed in his father’s footsteps as a mason. The slighter and less manually adept Felix, was hired out to a local farmer as a shepherd. Felix enjoyed shepherding since it afforded him time for prayer. Even at an early age, he had an inclination toward silence, seclusion and prayer. When their father died, however, he was summoned home. His brother understood that Felix lacked the skills of a mason but hoped to use him as an unskilled laborer. All attempts proved futile. Felix could not even learn how to slake lime. He did learn, however, to put up with the physical and emotional abuse heaped upon him by his irascible brother.

Felix kept in mind stories he had heard about the desert ascetics and of their fasting and penances and dreamed of becoming like them. He confided in a friend, Luisa Vannucci from Loro Piceno, who encouraged him to enter religious life. She specifically mentioned the Capuchins because she was familiar with these Friars and with their reputation for virtue. Immediately, he left for Tolentino and presented himself to the Capuchin Provincial, expecting to be admitted that very day. But such was not the Capuchin custom. Instead, he was sent home, in all likelihood because of his age, he was just eighteen and fragile condition. In 1556, he repeated his request to the Prior Provincial, who this time accepted him and sent him to the Novitiate of the Province at Jesi.

After he completed a year of probation, Felix received the religious name of Serafino (meaning “seraph” or “celestial being or the burning one”). Upon entering the Order, he remarked, “I have nothing, just a Crucifix and a Rosary but with these, I hope to benefit the Friars and become a Saint.” Serafino was distinguished from the first, by his unaffected simplicity, mortification and obedience, as well as a great charity towards the poor. He had a special devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and to the Blessed Virgin. He was assigned to serve variously as a porter or questor at various Friaries throughout the March but most of his religious life was spent at Ascoli Piceno.

Serafino’s physical appearance was described as that of a peasant – hair always rumpled, clumsy at manual tasks and mainly illiterate. But his holiness was recognised by many. At times, he was discouraged by the ridicule of his Capuchin brothers. He would regain his composure through prayer. He explained, “When I entered religious life I was a poor, unskilled labourer, lacking both talent and potential. I remained as I was and this caused so many humiliations and rebukes, which the devil used as opportunities to tempt me to leave religious life and retreat to some desert, withdrawing into myself. I entrusted myself to the Lord and, one night I heard a voice coming from the Tabernacle say, ‘To serve God you must die to yourself and accept adversity, of whatever type.’ So I accepted them and resolved to recite a Rosary for anyone who caused me trouble. Then I heard the voice from the Tabernacle say, ‘Your prayers for those who mortify you are very pleasing to me. In exchange, I am ready to grant you many graces.‘”

A Capuchin custom was to keep rooms near the Porter’s Office available for the use of travelLers and pilgrims. At whatever hour of the night, Serafino would answer the door. Many recounted that, after the City gates had been closed for the night, they had sought refuge at the Capuchin Friary, which were usually located outside the City walls and that they had been welcomed warmly by Serafino. He spent entire nights in Church. Friars testified that, after everyone else had gone to bed, they would often hear him walking toward the Church to spend the night in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. There he was heard praying, “Peace, Lord, I ask peace for so-and-so.” He once confided that the reason he spent so much of the night before the Tabernacle was because, in his room, he was greatly tempted against chastity, even in his old age.

Memories agree, that Serafino was endowed with the gift of reading the secrets of hearts and with that of miracles and prophecy. Although unlettered, Serafino’s advice was sought by secular and ecclesiastical dignitaries. His reputation reached as far as the Dukes of Bavaria and Parma, the nobles of Bologna and Cardinal Ottavio Bandini. The Bishop of Ascoli, the eminent theologian Cardinal Girolamo Bernerio, also sought out his advice.

Serafino was austere in his person. Only once in his life did he accept a new religious habit and then, only out of obedience. For forty continuous years, he ate only soup or salad. In keeping with the spirituality prevalent at the time, Serafino had a personal devotion of serving as many Masses as possible. To avoid having people kiss his hand or tunic to show their respect, he would carry a Crucifix with him, offering it for them to kiss instead.

However, Serafino was also endowed with a great sense of humour. Once, a woman asked him if she would give birth to a boy or a girl. He attempted to avoid answering. But the woman insisted, saying, “How shall I know what name to choose?” Chuckling, Serafino responded, “As far as that goes, choose Ursula and Companions,” indicating that throughout her life the woman would give birth to a succession of girls.

Even before Serafino’s burial in 1604, his first biographer put pen to paper. He was Canonised by Pope Clement XIII on 16 July 1767. Pope Clement Canonised Serafino together with John Cantius, Joseph Calasanz, Joseph of Cupertino, Jerome Emiliani and Jane Frances de Chantal. In the Papal Bull of Canonisation, the illiterate and physically clumsy Capuchin was acclaimed as a person who “knew how to read and understand the great book of life which is our Saviour, Jesus Christ. For that reason, he deserves to be listed among Christ’s principal disciples.”

Serafino’s tomb is in the Capuchin friary at Ascoli Piceno. A Church at San Lorenzo Nuovo is dedicated to him.

Serafino was in love with the mystery of Christ and of Our Lady.  He was enthralled to meditate on them and would go into ecstasy.  He would have liked to be in the fraternity at Loreto or in Rome to be able to serve as many Masses as possible each day. This was the source of his zeal – to work with Christ to save souls. He was remembered and venerated – for his brief and penetrating spiritual exhortations; for his extremely fruitful vocational apostolate; for his veneration for priests; for his compassion for the sick, the troubled and the poor; for his courageous commitment to make peace in society and in families; for his missionary enthusiasm and his desire for martyrdom. Although he was almost illiterate he could speak about the things of God with extraordinary ability and unction. When he was obliged, by obedience, to give a sermon in the refectory, his words in commenting on the psalm Qui habitat in adiutorio Altissimi, or the sequence Stabat Mater dolorosa were so full of feeling that he used to reduce everyone to tears. Dear holy Saint Serafino, pray for us all!


Quote/s of the Day – 4 October – St Francis

Quote/s of the Day – 4 October – The Memorial of St Francis of Assisi (c 1181–1226)

Alms are an inheritance
and a justice
which is due to the poor
and which Jesus
has levied upon us.

Start by doing what is necessary,
then what is possible
and suddenly, you are doing the impossible!

He who works with his hands,
is a labourer.
He who works with his hands and his head,
is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands
and his head and his heart,
is an artist.

“For it is in giving that we receive.”

St Francis of Assisi (c 1181–1226)



One Minute Reflection – 4 October – ‘ … The weight by which Your Goodness, overcomes Your Justice. …’

One Minute Reflection – 4 October – “Month of the Holy Rosary” – Readings: Jonah 1: 1 – 2: 1-2, 11; Psalm Jonah 2: 3, 4, 5, 8; Luke 10: 25-37 The Memorial of St Francis of Assisi (c 1181–1226)

But a certain Samaritan being on his journey, came near him and seeing him, was moved with compassion. And going up to him, bound up his wounds …” – Luke 10:33-34

REFLECTION –How good You are, O Divine Samaritan, to gather up this wounded world so sadly fallen along the way, trapped in such mire and so unworthy of Your Goodness!

The more wicked the world, the more Your Mercy shines forth: to be infinitely good to the good, is a thousand times less admirable, than to be infinitely good to souls, who, even though lavished with graces, are simply ungrateful, unfaithful, perverse. The more wicked we are, the more the marvel of Your infinite Mercy gleams and shines. This in itself, suffices to explain, the great good that sin produces on the earth and explains, why You permit it. It makes way for an incomparable greater good – the exercise and manifestation of Your divine Mercy. This divine attribute could not be put into practice without it; goodness could be exercised and shown without sin but failure is needed, if mercy is to be manifested. Ah! My Lord and God, how Good you are! How Merciful! Mercy is, so to speak, the overflow of Your Goodness and what is most passionate in Your Goodness, the weight by which Your Goodness overcomes Your Justice. How divinely good You are! (…)

Be kind to sinners, since God is so kind to us – pray for them, love them. … “Be merciful as our Father is merciful” (cf. Lk 6:36). God “prefers mercy to sacrifice” (cf. Mt 12:7).” – Bl Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916) Hermit and Missionary in the Sahara – (Meditations on the psalms 103, psalm 52)

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. – St Francis of Assisi


Our Morning Offering – 4 October – Prayer to do the Will of God

Our Morning Offering – 4 October – The Memorial of St Francis of Assisi OFM (c 1181–1226)

Prayer to do the Will of God
By St Francis of Assisi (c 1181-1226)

Almighty, eternal, just and merciful God,
grant us in our misery,
the grace to do for You alone
what we know You want us to do
and always to desire, what pleases You.
Thus, inwardly cleansed,
interiorly enlightened
and inflamed by the fire of the Holy Spirit,
may we be able to follow in the footprints of
Your beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
And, by Your grace alone,
may we make our way to You,
Most High, Who live and rule in perfect Trinity
and simple Unity
and are glorified God
all-powerful, forever and ever.


Feast of the Stigmata of St Francis of Assisi and Memorials of the Saints – 17 September

St Robert Bellarmine SJ (1542-1621) Doctor of the Church, Bishop, Confessor, Theologian, Professor, Writer, Preacher, Mediator. (Optional Memorial) Feast day – 13 May (General Roman Calendar, 1932–1969)
St Robert’s life here:

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 Agathoclia
St Brogan of Ross Tuirc
St Columba of Cordova
St Crescentio of Rome
St Emmanuel Nguyen Van Trieu
St Flocellus

St Hildegard von Bingen OSB (1098-1179) Doctor of the Church, German Benedictine Abbess, Theologian, Writer, Composer, Philosopher, Poet, Mystic, Visionary, Founder, Scientist, Artist and Polymath. She is considered to be the founder of scientific natural history in Germany.

St Justin of Rome

St Lambert (c 635-c 700) Bishop & Martyr, Bishop of Maastricht, Confessor, Missionary.
His Life and Death:

St Narcissus of Rome
St Peter Arbues OSA (1442-1485) Priest Martyr
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) Archbishop of Warsaw and founder of the Franciscan Sisters of the Family of Mary, Apostle of poor, Confessor, Professor, Writer, Reformer.
His Life:

Martyred in the Spanish Civil War
• Blessed Álvaro Santos Cejudo Moreno Chocano
• Blessed Juan Ventura Solsona
• Blessed Timoteo Valero Pérez


Saint of the Day – 17 August – Saint Beatrice da Silva Meneses OIC (1424-1492)

Saint of the Day – 17 August – Saint Beatrice da Silva Meneses OIC (1424-1492) Virgin, Founder of The Order of the Immaculate Conception known as the Conceptionists, a contemplative Order of Nuns. Born in 1424 as Beatriz de Menezes da Silva, in Campo Maior, Portalegre, Portugal and died on 17 August 1492 in Toledo, Spain of natural causes. Also known as – Brites, Beatrix da Silva, Beatriz da Silva Meneses. Patronage – prisoners. Additional Memorial – 1 September in the Franciscan Order.

Beatrice da Silva was a Portuguese noble woman, one of eleven children born to Rui Gomes da Silva – first Governor of Campo Major, Portugal, after it was reconquered from Arab rule – and of Isabel de Menezes, the Countess of Portalegre. One of her brothers was the Blessed Amadeus of Portugal, OFM, a noted Confessor and Reformer of the Order of Friars Minor. (His life here:

She was raised in the Castle of Infante John, Lord Reguengos de Monsaraz. In 1447 Beatrice accompanied his daughter, Princess Isabel of Portugal, as her Lady in Waiting when Isabel went to marry King John II of Castile and Leon. She became a close friend of the Queen but unfortunately her beauty made Isabel jealous. It is said that a suitor, whom Beatrice had rejected, insinuated to the Queen that Beatrice was a rival for the King’s affections and she imprisoned Beatrice in a tiny cell. There is a story that she shut her in a chest. After a few days a relative, concerned about Beatrice’s welfare, persisted in questioning Isabel – the Queen showed him the chest where, expecting to find a body, he found Beatrice in perfect health. While imprisoned, Beatrice had a vision of Our Lady, who told her to found a new Order in her name.

Beatrice escaped and went to Toledo. On the journey she met two Franciscan Friars who told her she would be the mother of many children. She protested that she had taken a vow of purity to the Queen of Heaven. “What we have said will come to be,” they told her and then they vanished. Beatrice believed that Mary had sent St Francis and St Anthony to give her consolation.

In Toledo she took refuge with the Dominican nuns and for 37 years led a life of holiness without becoming a member of the Order. In 1484 Beatrice and a few companions took possession of a Palace in Toledo set apart for them by the new Queen Isabella (who married Ferdinand of Aragon). Isabella of Castile was a devout woman and took a great interest in Beatrice’s work. The Monastery was named Santa Fe, which was dedicated to honouring the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

In 1489, with the permission of Pope Innocent VIII, the Nuns adopted the Cistercian rule, bound themselves to daily recitation of the Divine Office of the Immaculate Conception and were placed under obedience to the ordinary of the Diocese. Beatrice chose the habit, which is white with a white scapular and blue mantle with a medallion of Mary under her title of the Immaculate Conception.

Beatrice died in 1492 in the Monastery which she had founded. Her remains are still venerated in the Chapel of that Monastery.

In 1501 Pope Alexander VI united the Nuns of Sante Fe, which Beatrice had founded, with the neighbouring Benedictine Monastery of San Pedro de las Duenas and put them all under the Rule of St Clare. Through this, the Order became connected with the Franciscans. Pope Julius II gave the Order a rule of life of its own in 1511 and special constitutions were drawn up by the Franciscan Cardinal Francisco de Quinones, establishing the community as the Monastery of the Immaculate Conception. The Order spread in Europe and South America. At its height, there were some 2,000 Monasteries of the Order throughout the world.

Beatrice was Beatified on 28 July 1926 by Pope Pius XI and Canonised on 21 January 1974 by Pope Paul VI (decree on heroic virtues). Recorded miracles involved the instantaneous and perfect healing of Sister Mary of Saint Anne, 22, from a hemorrhage subretinica, retinicis and a secondary lesions of the eye on 25 March 1923 in Mexico City;and Elizabeth Orozco Estrada, 63, from the small intestine and colon malignant neoplasia in September 1945 in Mexico City.


Quote/s of the Day – 12 August – St Clare and St Jane Frances de Chantal

Quote/s of the Day – 12 August – “Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary” – Memorial of St Clare of Assisi (1194-1253) and St Jane Frances de Chantal (1572-1641

“Go forth in peace,
for you have followed the good road.
Go forth without fear,
for He who created you has made you holy,
has always protected you
and loves you as a mother.
Blessed be you, my God, for having created me.”

“Love[ing] one another
with the charity of Christ,
let the love you have in your hearts,
be shown outwardly in your deeds …”

St Clare of Assisi (1194-1253)

MORE St Clare:
St Jane Frances:


Our Morning Offering – 12 August – I Come, O Lord

Our Morning Offering – 12 August – “Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary” Memorial of St Clare of Assisi (1194-1253)

I Come, O Lord
By St Clare of Assisi (1194-1253)

I come, O Lord,
unto Thy sanctuary
to see the life and food of my soul.
As I hope in Thee, O Lord,
inspire me with that confidence
which brings me to Thy holy mountain.
Permit me, Divine Jesus,
to come closer to Thee,
that my whole soul may do homage
to the greatness of Thy majesty,
that my heart,
with its tenderest affections,
may acknowledge Thy infinite love,
that my memory may dwell
on the admirable mysteries,
here renewed everyday
and that the sacrifice,
of my whole being,
may accompany Thine.