Nossa Senhora das Virtudes/Our Lady of Virtues, Lisbon, Portugal (15th Century) – 8 March:
The Church of the Monastery of Our Lady of Virtues, or Nossa Senhora das Virtudes, until recently was nothing more than a ruin, located north of Lisbon. A small Church was constructed in 2009 and further work is planned. The site is now protected because of its historical importance but for no other reason, as pilgrimages and devotion to the Blessed Virgin declined from the 19th century until the 21st century, when there remained almost no memory of the glory that once was here. According to tradition, the origin of the Church of Our Lady of Virtues, relates to the appearance of Our Lady to a keeper of cows back in the early fifteenth century. The apparition gave rise to a pilgrimage to the site, as well as the later construction of a primitive Chapel, presumably made of wood and other perishable materials. A short time later, due to the growing importance of the site and the devotion of the faithful, King Duarte commanded that a Franciscan Monastery be built, that would be attached to the Chapel. Following upon the construction of the Monastery, a hospital was also soon built and subsequently inns and other businesses supporting the thriving community that grew up around the Chapel. Pilgrimages to the Shrine became widespread throughout the remainder of the fifteenth century. Of unquestionable importance throughout the Middle Ages, the more recent centuries have seen the abandonment of pilgrimages to the Shrine, as well as the decay of the buildings and the eventual abandonment of the site by the Franciscans. At the beginning of the 1990’s, when excavations were made at the Monastery, all that remained was ruins. Despite the fact that the Monastery was almost completely destroyed, there are still some structural remains located on the north side of the Church and most of these structures are assumed to still be buried beneath the earth. This is believed because the Church of Our Lady of Virtues itself, was partially buried before the archaeological work revealed it.
St Apollonius of Antinoë St Arianus of Alexandria St Beoadh of Ardcarne St Duthus of Ross St Felix of Burgundy St Humphrey of Prüm St Jon Helgi Ogmundarson St Litifredus of Pavia St Philemon of Antinoë St Pontius of Carthage St Provinus of Como St Quintilis of Nicomedia St Rhian St Senan of Scattery St Stephen of Obazine St Theophylact of Nicomedia St Theoticus of Alexandria St Veremundus of Irache Blessed Vincent Kadlubek O.Cist (c 1160-1223) Bishop — Martyrs of North Africa – 9 saints – A bishop and some of his flock who were martyred together in North Africa. The only details that have survived are nine of the names – Beata, Cyril, Felicitas, Felix, Herenia, Mamillus, Rogatus, Silvanus, Urban.
The Third Sunday of Lent +2021 __ Our Lady of the Star, Villa Vicosa, Portugal (1050) – 7 March:
In the year 1050 there were two Benedictine Monks who lived in the convent of Monte Cassino. They decided to go on pilgrimage, teaching and catechising all those they met along the way. One night they found themselves wandering on the coast of Normandy, France, near a place called Grand Champ. Tired and sleepy, they decided to spend the night on the beach under the stars. Father Rogerio slept on the cool sand and the other Monk found himself a place to rest in a small boat nearby. As the night went on, the tide came up and the little boat was gently drawn out onto the sea. Without realising it, the Monk was going on an adventure in which he would not awaken until he was just off the coast of England. In Salisbury, England, everyone was amazed to see the Monk in the little boat, convinced that it was a miracle that he had crossed the French Sea in a small boast and lived to see the shores of England. Soon, the Monk was made Bishop and his period in office was marvellous to the people because he was a humble man of prayer, who sacrificed everything for God. The Monk who had stayed on the beach, Father Rogerio, knew nothing of what had happened to his friend. All he knew was that he and the boat had disappeared and, giving his concerns into the hands of God, he determined to continue on his journey alone. One night not long afterward, Father Rogerio went to sleep and had a dream that would change his life forever. In his dream he saw a great star fall from the sky, burning all the bushes and trees and heard a voice that said: “Our Lady wants a Church built in this place.” When he awoke, Father Rogerio looked about himself. He was not injured but this indeed was the place he had seen in his dream, for everything around him was burned. Father understood that Our Lady really did desire that he should build a Church there in her honour. He also felt in his heart, the desire to give Mary the title of “Our Lady of the Star” because of the star he had seen in his dream. Due to the poverty of those who inhabited that region, Father Rogerio was only able to build a small Altar and a tiny Chapel which would be the seed of the great Abbey of Our Lady of the Star of Monteburgo. One day an immense Chapel would be built, sheltering not only the Church but a very large convent as well. King William, who was the Duke of Normandy and he who had conquered England, learning of the Shrine of Our Lady of the Star, sent his private doctor to visit the little Chapel to find out for himself how it had all come about. Upon arriving there, the doctor discovered that he was the brother of the Monk Rogerio! He listened to his brother’s account of how he had been separated from his friend and then told about his dream. The doctor believed everything at once and to Father Rogerio’s surprise, the doctor knew the Monk who had crossed the channel in a small boat and informed his brother, that his lost friend had become the Bishop of Salisbury! The two brothers excitedly thanked Our Lady for providing this reunion. The Bishop of Salisbury, our former friend of the Monk Rogerio, asked King William to help his brother in the faith, for they were both blessed by Our Lady on their pilgrimage. William the Conqueror, with a glad heart, donated to Father Rogerio the entire region of Monteburg, along with the resources to build a great Church and an Abbey there that became a great seminary. The work was finished by the son of King William, King Henry. He, taking the throne, continued the work until its completion. The Abbey of Our Lady of the Star was, for many centuries, a centre of the Church for the whole region. Dark centuries ensued and the Church and Abbey suffered a decline until in 1842, the Vicar General of Coutances took possession of what was by that time little more than an enclosure of ruins. He turned it over to the Brothers of Mercy, a new order meant to promote Catholic education. The Abbey Church was rebuilt but as time went on, the Brothers of Mercy also left and all is now used as part of an agricultural school. As for Our Lady of the Star, it is a story almost completely forgotten, even to Catholics.
Prayer to Our Lady of the Star
“O, Our Lady of the Star, to you our gaze turns and our childlike hearts. You are the Morning Star, that announces the arrival of the day. You are the Evening Star, that shines in our night. You are the Star of the Sea, who sends us her son Jesus, the eternal Light of the world. Through the darkness and storms of life, in the hour of doubt or of temptation, in the revolt, be our clarity and our peace. Be our hope and our purity, be our sweetness and our strength, O Lady of the Star. May our gaze and our hearts forever rest on you. O Lady of the Star, Pray for us. Amen”
St Ardo of Aniane St Deifer of Bodfari St Drausinus of Soissons St Enodoch St Esterwine of Wearmouth St Eubulus of Caesarea St Gaudiosus of Brescia Bl Henry of Austria Blessed Leonid Feodorov (1879-1935) Martyr His Life and Death: https://anastpaul.com/2019/03/07/saint-of-the-day-7-march-blessed-leonid-feodorov-1879-1935-martyr/ St Paul of Prusa St Paul the Simple St Reinhard of Reinhausen Bl William of Assisi — Martyrs of Carthage – 4 saints: A catechist and three students martyred together for teaching and learning the faith. We know little more than their names – Revocatus, Saturninus, Saturus and Secundulus. Mauled by wild beasts and beheaded 7 March 203 at Carthage, North Africa
Martyrs of Korea St Siméon-François Berneux MEP (1814-1866) Bishop, Martyr St Bernard-Louis Beaulieu St Ioannes Baptista Nam Chong-Sam St Pierre-Henri Dorie St Simon-Marie-Just Ranfer de Bretenières
Martyrs of Laos Bl Luc Sy Bl Maisam Pho Inpèng Martyrs of Tyburn Bl German Gardiner Bl John Ireland Bl John Larke
Nossa Senhora da Nazaré/Our Lady of Nazareth, Pierre Noire, Portugal, (1150) – 6 March:
The Abbot Orsini wrote: “This image was honoured at Nazareth in the time of the Apostles, if we may believe a writing which was found, by a hunter, attached to this image, in the year 1150.”
The Shrine of Our Lady of Nazareth, known in Portugal as Nossa Senhora da Nazare, is found in the village of Nazare on the Atlantic coast in Portugal. Indeed, the village is named after this miraculous statue of the Blessed Mother and the Christ Child, that was brought to the area many centuries ago. According to tradition, this miraculous image was carved by the hands of Saint Joseph, the foster-father of Christ, while in the very presence of the Infant Jesus and the Mother of God. Later, the faces and hands of the images were painted by Saint Luke the Evangelist. This remarkable image is still preserved in a Church where it can be viewed by anyone and the story surrounding it is a fascinating one. It is known that the statue of Our Lady of Nazareth came from the Holy Land where it was one of the oldest images ever venerated by Christians. It was saved from destruction at the hands of the iconoclasts sometime early in the 5th century by a Monk named Ciriaco, who gave the statue to Saint Jerome. Saint Jerome later gave it to Saint Augustine in Africa, to protect the statue by removing it from the Holy Land. Saint Augustine then gave it into the safekeeping of the Monastery of Cauliniana, near Merida, a Monastery on the Iberian Peninsula. When the Arabs invaded the Iberian Peninsula in the year 711, King Roderic met them with his Visigothic army at the battle of Guadalete, where he was soundly defeated. It is a fact of history, that the body of Roderic was never found upon the field of battle, although his horse was found and it is often assumed by historians, that Roderic died that day when he lost his kingdom. According to this legend, however, Roderic was not killed but survived the battle and disguised himself as a beggar as he travelled north. Alone and unknown, he made his way to the Monastery of Cauliniana where he sought shelter for the night. Going to Confession, he, of necessity, revealed his true identity to the friar, Frei Romano. As it turned out, the Monks were preparing to leave the Monastery in advance of the Arabs and so Frei Romano asked the King if he could accompany him in his travels. Roderic agreed and the friar took with him the statue of Our Lady of Nazareth and the relics of Saint Bras and Saint Bartholomew. They travelled together until they arrived at a place later named Monte de Saint Bartolomeu in November of the year 714. They made for themselves a hermitage with the friar living in a small cave at the edge of a cliff that overlooked the sea. He placed the image in a niche among the stones upon a pedestal of simple rocks. Roderic went a little ways off by himself to a hill where he also began to live the life of a hermit. After a year, though, King Roderic left the hermitage and nothing else is said of him in this legend. One wonders if he ever learned of his kinsman Pelayo, who had retreated into the mountains and continued to heroically defy the invaders. Before his death, Frei Romano hid the image in his small cave, where it remained undisturbed for some centuries until it was discovered by shepherds, who came there to venerate the statue. Inside that little, ancient sanctuary they had found the renowned and sacred image of Our Lady of Nazareth. Carved of wood, it was unlike any other statue of the Madonna they had ever seen, for it depicts the Blessed Virgin breastfeeding her Divine Child while seated upon a simple bench. When miracles began to frequently occur, it became a major pilgrimage site. Then, in the early morning of 14 September in the year 1182, the Mayor of Porto de Mos, Dom Fuas Roupinho, was hunting on his land when he observed a deer. Chasing it up a steep slope on horseback that misty morning, the fog became heavier all of a sudden. The deer, later suspected to be the devil in the guise of a deer, jumped off the edge of the hilltop into the empty void. Despite his efforts to stop his horse, the spirited mount was determined to follow after the deer. Helpless to save himself, the rider suddenly recognised that he was near the sacred grotto where he would often come to pray. Fuas Roupinho cried out to the Blessed Virgin, praying aloud: “Our Lady, Help Me!”
The horse stopped immediately, as if he were digging his hooves into the rocky cliff above the void. Suspended in an unnatural manner at the edge of the cliff, Fuas Rouphinho knew the drop to be over 100 meters and surely would mean his death if he had fallen. He was then able to back slowly away from the edge, looking down to see the evidence of the impossible and unimaginable – for there in the hard stone was the imprint of one of his horse’s hooves. One of those marks can still be seen in the native rock. Faus Rouphinho dismounted and went to the grotto to pray and give thanks, subsequently causing a chapel ‘Capela da Memoria,’ or ‘The Chapel of Remembrance,’ to be built very near the spot where his life had been miraculously saved. When the masons he had hired took apart the primitive altar in the cave, they found an ivory box of sorts that contained the relics of Saint Bras and Saint Bartholomew. There was also an ancient scroll that they carefully removed. Opening the scroll, they found that it explained the history of the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary and her Divine Child, now known as Our Lady of Nazareth, as outlined above. The church Santuario de Nossa Senhora da Nazare was later built on the hilltop overlooking Nazare by King Ferdinand I of Portugal in the year 1377. Its construction was necessary due to the large number of pilgrims who continued to come to venerate the image.
Over the years it was often rebuilt, or had additions made, especially in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. The profusely decorated and gilded apse displays the statue of Nossa Senhora da Nazare in a lighted niche above the main altar, flanked by twisted columns. The first King of Portugal, Don Afonso Henriques, as well as the chief nobles of his court, were among the early pilgrims to the shrine. Many notable figures came to visit Our Lady of Nazareth throughout history, including Vasco de Gama, who came as a pilgrim before setting out for India and Pedro Alvares Cabral, who later discovered Brazil. St Francis Xavier, the Apostle of the East, went on pilgrimage to Our Lady of Nazareth before later leaving for Goa.
According to a plaque placed in the Chapel in 1623, the image was carved by Saint Joseph in Galilee when Jesus was a baby. Some decades later St Luke the Evangelist painted the faces and hands of the images. It remained in Nazareth until brought by the Greek Monk Ciriaco to the Iberian Peninsula. It is believed to be one of the oldest images venerated by Christians.
St Cyriacus of Trier St Cyril of Constantinople St Evagrius of Constantinople St Fridolin Vandreren of Säckingen Bl Guillermo Giraldi St Heliodorus the Martyr Bl Jordan of Pisa St Julian of Toledo St Kyneburga of Castor St Kyneswide of Castor St Marcian of Tortona Bl Ollegarius of Tarragona St Patrick of Malaga St Sananus Blessed Sylvester of Assisi OFM (Died 1240) Priest
St Tibba of Castor St Venustus of Milan — Martyrs of Amorium – 42 saints – Also known as Martyrs of Syria and Martyrs of Samarra A group of 42 Christian senior officials in the Byzantine empire who were captured by forces of the Abbasid Caliphate when the Muslim forces overran the city of Amorium, Phrygia in 838 and massacred or enslaved its population. The men were imprisoned in Samarra, the seat of the Caliphate, for seven years. Initially thought to be held for ransom due to their high position in the empire, all attempts to buy their freedom were declined. The Caliph repeatedly ordered them to convert to Islam and sent Islamic scholars to the prison to convince them; they refused until the Muslims finally gave up and killed them. Martyrs. We know the names and a little about seven of them: • Aetios • Bassoes • Constantine • Constantine Baboutzikos • Kallistos • Theodore Krateros • Theophilos but details about the rest have disappeared over time. However, a lack of information did not stop several legendary and increasingly over-blown “Acts” to be written for years afterward. One of the first biographers, a monk name Euodios, presented the entire affair as a judgement by God on the empire for its official policy of Iconoclasm. Deaths: • beheaded on 6 March 845 in Samarra (in modern Iraq) on the banks of the Euphrates river by Ethiopian slaves • the bodies were thrown into the river, but later recovered by local Christians and given proper burial.
Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours/Our Lady of Good Help, Montreal, Canada (1657) – 5 March:
Dedicated to Our Lady of Good Help, Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours, has been for 350 years the Sanctuary for seamen leaving Montreal for the seven seas. A wooden Chapel was built in 1657, replaced in 1675 by a building whose foundations serve the present Church which was erected in 1771.
Over the entrance is an inscribed message: “If the love of Mary is graven in your heart, forget not a prayer in passing.”
Our Lady of Good Help is a beautiful little Church, with fine paintings. On the walls are mosaics of St Marguerite Bourgeoys, who inspired the first Chapel and of Maisonneuve, Founder of Montreal, said to have felled the first oak for the Chapel. A narrow stairway, lined with pilgrims’ acknowledgments, leads to an aerial Chapel set in the roof. Here is a facsimile of the Santa Casa, the house of the Virgin carried by angels from Nazareth to Loreto. Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys was the Founder of the Congregation of Notre Dame. When she returned from France in 1673 she brought back with her a wooden statue of Our Lady of Good Help. It can still be seen in the reliquary on the gospel side of the altar, for when the Church burned in 1754, the statue was saved from the fire. This is not to say that someone took the statue from the Church, for after the fire had ravaged the original Chapel, the statue was found uninjured among the smouldering embers that remained. The mortal remains of Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys were interred in the Sanctuary of the Church in the year 2005, the 350th anniversary of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours. She rests now at the feet of the statue she herself had brought from France. In 1849 the Bishop of Montreal placed a statue of the Blessed Virgin, Star of the Sea, atop the tower facing the harbour. For this reason, the Chapel is also known as the Sailor’s Church. There are votive offerings, carved ships, models of sailing ships suspended from the vault of the Chapel in thanksgiving to the Blessed Virgin for her assistance in their safe return from the sea.
St Adrian of Caesarea St Caron St Carthach the Elder Bl Christopher Macassoli of Vigevano St Clement of Santa Lucia St Colman of Armagh St Conon of Pamphylia Bl Conrad Scheuber St Eusebius of Cremona St Eusebius the Martyr St Gerasimus Bl Giovanna Irrizaldi Bl Ion Costist St John Joseph of the Cross OFM (1654-1734) – Priest Biography: https://anastpaul.com/2019/03/05/saint-of-the-day-5-march-st-john-joseph-of-the-cross-ofm-1654-1734/ St Kieran Bl Lazër Shantoja St Lucius I, Pope St Mark the Ascetic St Oliva of Brescia St Phocas of Antioch St Piran (Died 480) Abbot
Bl Roger Bl Romeo of Limoges St Theophilus of Caesarea St Virgilius of Arles
Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde/Our Lady of the Guard , Marseille, France (1221) – 4 March:
Late one afternoon during the thirteenth century, a solitary French fisherman was fishing off the harbour of Marseille. Before he became aware of it, a terrific storm descended upon him. His boat tossed around like a shell and filled with water faster than he could bail it out. His rudder was lost. his mast snapped. Cutting himself free from the rigging with a knife, he had saved himself temporarily from certain drowning. Still, everything looked hopeless and he felt he could never get back to the harbour. The fisherman thought of the family he would never see again and cast a despairing look at the City, the huge rock standing like a sentinel or guard on the mountain which overlooked the City and harbour. Dimly through the gloom, he suddenly saw a solitary figure of a lady, dressed in white, standing firmly on the very top of the rock. She seemed to be extending her hand as if she would help him to the shelter and safety of the harbour. At once it came to him that the Lady so calmly defying the wind and rain could only be the Blessed Mother, so he prayed to her to help him. Almost immediately his boat ceased its wild tossing, righted itself and pushed by a friendly gust of wind, raced into the calm water of the harbour until it drove onto the shore at the very foot of the mountain. Stepping onto the shore, the fisherman fell to his knees and poured out his thanks to the Blessed Virgin and then hurried home to his worried family. The story of his rescue through the assistance of Our Lady, quickly spread throughout the port. It was remembered that other sailors, on numerous occasions during severe storms, had also seen the figure of the Lady on top of the rock. Always when she had appeared, the angry seas had calmed and their crafts had ridden safely into the shelter.
Soon everyone came to believe that the rock was the spot on which the Blessed Virgin, Our Lady of Guard, would appear whenever her help was desperately required. In thanksgiving to her the sailors of Marseille, in 1213-1218, erected a Chapel on top of the rock . In it they enshrined a lovely Statue of Our Lady. Around 1544, the Chapel was replaced by a large Church and the Statue transferred to it. Sometime during the French Revolution the Statue of Our Lady of Guard was destroyed but during the 1830’s a new Statue was dedicated. That Mary did not confine her help only to sailors was proved in the year 1832, when a severe epidemic of cholera struck Marseille, the people decided to appeal to Mary. Forming a procession, they climbed the mountain, removed the Statue from the Chapel, brought it down and solemnly carried it through the streets of the City. Almost immediately the epidemic waned and in a few days vanished. So they called Mary, Our Lady of Help – the sailors called her Our Lady of Mariners. Some years later, as the fame of the shrine on top of the mountain spread, more and more people made pilgrimages to venerate the Blessed Virgin. The shrine acquired still another name, a name more reflective of who Our Lady truly is for all who call upon her – Notre Dame de la Guarde – Our Lady of Guard, or Guardian.
In Marseilles today, the hill of Notre Dame de la Garde is topped by a beautiful Basilica, built in 1864, at an altitude of 550 feet. This commanding site, however, has been occupied by a Chapel since the year 1214. The interior has a multitude of sailors’ votive offerings and model ships are hung in all parts of it, as signs of thanksgiving for all the mariners who have been assisted by their heavenly mothe, the beautiful Stella Maris.. A golden statue of the Virgin and Child suitably dominates the City from its place on top of the western tower spire.
— St Adrian of May St Adrian of Nicomedia Bl Alexander Blake St Appian of Comacchio St Arcadius of Cyprus St Basinus of Trier Bl Christopher Bales St Felix of Rhuys St Gaius of Nicomedia Bl Humbert III of Savoy St Leonard of Avranches St Nestor the Martyr St Owen Bl Paolo of Brescia St Peter of Pappacarbone Blessed Placida Viel SSC (1815—1877) Virgin, Religious Sister Bl Rupert of Ottobeuren — Martyrs on the Appian Way – 900 saints – Group of 900 martyrs buried in the catacombs of Saint Callistus on the Appian Way, Rome, Italy.c260
Martyrs of Nicomedia – 20 saints – A group of 20 Christians murdered together for their faith. The only details about them to survive are three of their names – Archelaus, Cyrillos and Photius. Nicomedia, Bithynia (in modern Turkey)
Martyrs of the Crimea – 7 saints – A group of 4th century missionary bishops who evangelized in the Crimea and southern Russia, and we martyred for their work. We know little else beyond the names – Aetherius, Agathodorus, Basil, Elpidius, Ephrem, Eugene and Gapito.
Martyred by Communists: Bl Giovanni Fausti, Bl Gjelosh Lulashi, Bl Kolë Shllaku, Bl Zoltán Lajos Meszlényi
Martyred by Elizabeth I: Bl Alexander Blake, Bl Christopher Bales, Bl Nicholas Horner
Our Lady of Angels of Toulouse, France (1212) – 3 March:
In the year 1212, three merchants from Angers were passing through the forest of Bondy in France, when they were set upon by robbers. After being robbed, they were bound to trees and left to their fate. Since it was a wild and lonely place, known to be the haunt of robbers, their chances of rescue were few. They prayed earnestly to God and Our Lady and, after a day and a night, angels came in visible form and released them. The men discovered a spring near the place where they had been bound, which they considered to be miraculous. They determined to set up a Shrine of Our Lady on the spot in thanksgiving for their deliverance. The first statue they put into the Shrine was only intended to be temporary, to be used until something better could be made or purchased. However, almost immediately there began a stream of miraculous cures among those who prayed before the rough little statue. In the years that followed, fervent pilgrims came in droves to the Shrine, as evidenced by the numerous drinking vessels found during archaeological excavations carried out on the site. In 1260 the little Chapel was enlarged to enclose also the spring. In 1663 the Chapel was rebuilt and redecorated and so remained until the French Revolution, when it was completely destroyed. However, after the Terror had passed, the Chapel was rebuilt in 1808. One of the many thank-offerings in the Chapel is a ship suspended above the altar, as an ex-voto from a group of sailors who were saved from shipwreck at the intercession of Our Lady. On Sunday, 9 September 2012, the Diocese of Saint-Denis celebrated the 800th anniversary of the pilgrimage to Notre-Dame-des-Anges in Clichy-sour-Bois, under the leadership of Bishop Pascal Delannoy. The pilgrimage to the small Shrine always takes place on the second Sunday of September, and is thought by some to be the second oldest pilgrimage site in France.
__ St Katharine Drexel SBS (1858-1955) (Optional Memorial) Biography: https://anastpaul.com/2017/03/03/saint-of-the-day-3-march-st-katharine-drexel/ — St Anselm of Nonantola St Arthelais of Benevento Bl Benedetto Sinigardi da Arezzo St Calupan St Camilla St Cele-Christ St Cunegundes St Foila Bl Frederick of Hallum St Gervinus Bl Innocent of Berzo Bl Jacobinus de’ Canepaci St Lamalisse St Non Blessed Pietro de Geremia OP (1381-1452) Priest Bl Pierre-René Rogue St Sacer St Teresa Eustochio Verzeri St Titian of Brescia St Winwallus of Landévennec — 40 Martyrs in North Africa – A group of Christians martyred together in North Africa, date unknown. No details have survived, but we know these names – Antonius, Artilaus, Asclipius, Astexius, Basil, Bosimus, Carissimus, Castus, Celedonius, Claudianus, Cyricus, Donata, Emeritus, Emeterius, Euticus, Felix, Fortunatus, Frunumius, Gajola, Georgius, Gorgonius, Hemeterus, Isicus, Janula, Julius, Luciola, Luciolus, Marcia, Marinus, Meterus, Nicephorus, Papias, Photius, Risinnius, Sabianus, Savinianus and Solus
Martyrs of Pontus – 3+ saints – A large group of Christians martyred together in the persecutions of Emperor Maximian Galerius and governor Ascleopiodato. We have some details on three of them – Basiliscus, Cleonicus and Eutropius. 308 in Pontus (in modern Turkey) Martyrs of Caesarea; Asterius Marinus Martyrs of Calahorra Cheledonius Emeterius
Martyrs of Gondar, Ethiopia: Bl Antonio Francesco Marzorati Bl Johannes Laurentius Weiss Bl Michele Pío Fasol
Our Lady Della Croce, “Holy Mary of the Cross,”Crema, Italy (1490) – 1 March:
There is a Sanctuary of the Madonna on the Bergamo Road, about a mile away from the city of Crema, Italy. The structure is a circular form, with four additions in the shape of a cross, which gave rise to the name: “Holy Mary of the Cross,” or Our Lady Della Croce. The Sanctuary is located in a place where, in years gone by, there stood a dense little wood called “Il Novelletto.”
In the late 15th century, a young woman named Caterina Uberti lived with her brother in the city of Crema. When she arrived at marriageable age, her brother induced her to wed one Bartolomeo Petrobelli; it was an unfortunate arrangement – Caterina was good and pious; Bartolomeo was quite the opposite, tending toward the wicked and corrupt. The marriage was unhappy for Caterina and uncomfortable for Bartolomeo – his rather crude and brutal ways shamed her, while her refined and holy life was a silent reproach to his somewhat scandalous mode of living. So, after a year of turmoil, Bartolomeo decided to kill Caterina. Having made up his mind, he lost no time in carrying out his evil design. He suggested that they journey to Bergamo and visit his parents; she agreed and in the late afternoon of 3 April 1490, they mounted their horses and set forth from the city. When they arrived at the wood about a mile from Crema, Bartolomeo left the highway and rode into the forest; Caterina was puzzled but not knowing what else to do, followed him. When they reached the middle of the wood, Bartolomeo dismounted and made Caterina get down from her horse. Then, without warning, he drew his sword, raised it and fiercely brought it down, intending to split her head with one clean cut. Instinctively she drew up her arm to ward off the savage blow, saved her head but lost her right hand – the poor severed hand hung from the stump of her arm by a strip of skin and Bartolomeo brutally tore it off and flung it to one side. He then slashed at her like a maniac until she fell to the ground in a pool of blood; thinking her dead, he leaped on his horse and fled. Caterina was not dead, nor was she afraid to die, though she felt her time was short. With all her dying heart she wished for the Last Sacraments; so she prayed to the Mother of God, who heard her prayer. A glow of light pushed back the gathering darkness and a beautiful lady approached her. Reaching down, the Lady, Our Lady Della Croce, took her by the arm and helped her rise – the blood stopped flowing and new life coursed through her mutilated body. The Lady bade Caterina follow her but Caterina asked if she might look for her lost hand. The Lady promised it would be returned to her in due time. Taking Caterina to a hut, she told her these people would help her and then vanished. The kind peasants did all they could for Caterina, and the next morning they placed her on a rude stretcher and tenderly carried her back to Crema. As they passed through the wood, one of the men found the severed hand and returned it to Caterina. They took her to the Church of St Benedetto, where the Priest, after hearing the story, anointed Caterina who died there. The story spread rapidly; some believed, others doubted that the Blessed Virgin worked such wonders. An eleven year old boy, living in Crema plagued with an unhealable abscess on a foot, begged to be taken to the wood to put his foot on the spot where the Lady appeared. His mother and a group of relatives carried him there and he was instantly cured, all abscess traces gone. Many other sick and infirm came also and were cured . The people erected a small Chapel on the spot and placed in it a plaster image of Our Lady. More favours followed; many offerings were made by the faithful and by 1500, in a few years a fitting Sanctuary to the Madonna was completed. Later a fine new statue of Mary was enshrined in the Sanctuary and in 1873, Our Lady Della Croce was crowned with a golden crown by order of the Vatican.
St Abdalong of Marseilles St Adrian of Numidia St Agapios of Vatopedi St Agnes Cao Guiying St Albinus of Angers (469-549) Bishop St Albinus of Vercelli St Amandus of Boixe St Antonina of Bithynia Bl Aurelia of Wirberg Bl Bonavita of Lugo St Bono of Cagliari Bl Christopher of Milan Bl Claudius Gabriel Faber St David of Wales (c 542-c 601) Biography: https://anastpaul.com/2017/03/01/saint-of-the-day-1-march-st-david-of-wales/ St Domnina of Syria St Domnina of Syria St Donatus of Carthage St Eudocia of Heliopolis St Felix III, Pope Bl George Biandrate Bl Giovanna Maria Bonomo Bl Gonzalo de Ubeda St Hermes of Numidia St Jared the Patriarch St Leo of Rouen St Leolucas of Corleone St Lupercus St Marnock St Monan Bl Pietro Ernandez Bl Roger Lefort St Rudesind St Seth the Patriarch St Simplicius of Bourges St Siviard St Swithbert St Venerius of Eichstätt
Martyrs of Africa – A group of 13 Christians executed together for their faith in Africa. The only details about them to survive are ten names – Abundantius, Adrastus, Agapius, Charisius, Donatilla, Donatus, Fortunus, Leo, Nicephorus and Polocronius. c290
Martyrs of Antwerp – A group of Christians martyred together, buried together and whose relics were transferred and enshrined together. We know nothing else but their names – Benignus, Donatus, Felician, Fidelis, Filemon, Herculanus, Julius, Justus, Maximus, Pelagius, Pius, Primus, Procopius and Silvius. Died in the 2nd Century in Rome. They are buried in the St Callistus Catacombs and their relics were enshirned in the Jesuit Church in Antwerp on 28 February 1600.
Martyrs of the Salarian Way – A group of 260 Christians who, for their faith, were condemned to road work on the Salarian Way in Rome, Italy during the persecutions of Claudius II. When they were no longer needed for work, they were publicly murdered in the amphitheatre. Martyrs. c269 in Rome.
Martyrs Under Alexander – A large but unspecified number of Christians martyred in the persecutions of Emperor Alexander Severus and the praefect Ulpian who saw any non-state religion to be a dangerous treason. c 219.
Quote/s of the Day – 27 February – The Memorial of St Gregory of Narek (950-1003) Father & Doctor of the Church and St Gabriel Francis Possenti of Our Lady of Sorrows CP (1838-1862)
“In the face of my darkness, You are light. In the face of my mortality, You are life.”
“The soul’s every movement is a reminder of God, the taking of a step, the extension of the right hand, the raising of the arm, with thanks for good works, with shame for bad, for familiar conversation and public addresses, in rational discourse, in works of success, in the fervour of virtue, day and night, we are guided by You in the useful movements for our spirit, asleep or awake … ”
Assist me by the wings of your prayers, O you who are called the Mother of the living, so that on my exit from this valley of tears I may be able to advance without torment, to the dwelling of life that has been prepared for us to lighten the end of a life burdened by my iniquity.
Healer of the sorrows of Eve, change my day of anguish into a feast of gladness. Be my Advocate, ask and supplicate. For as I believe in your inexpressible purity, so do I also believe in the good reception that is given to your word.
O you who are blessed among women, help me with your tears for I am in danger. Bend the knee to obtain my reconciliation, O Mother of God.
Be solicitous for me for I am miserable, O Tabernacle of the Most High. Hold out your hand to me as I fall, O heavenly Temple.
Glorify your Son in you, may He be pleased to operate Divinely in me the miracle of forgiveness and mercy. Handmaid and Mother of God, may your honour be exalted by me and may my salvation be manifested, through you. Amen.
St Gregory of Narek (950-1003) Father & Doctor of the Church
“I will attempt, day by day, to break my will into pieces. I want to do God’s Holy Will, not my own”
“Do not bestow your love on the world!”
“Love Mary!… She is loveable, faithful, constant. She will never let herself be outdone in love but will ever remain supreme. If you are in danger, she will hasten to free you. If you are troubled, she will console you. If you are sick, she will bring you relief. If you are in need, she will help you. She does not look to see what kind of person you have been. She simply comes to a heart that wants to love her. She comes quickly and opens her merciful heart to you, embraces you and consoles and serves you. She will even be at hand, to accompany you on the trip to eternity.”
(From a letter to his brother).
St Gabriel Francis Possenti of Our Lady of Sorrows (1838-1862)
Our Morning Offering – 27 February – Saturday of the First week of Lent, the Memorial of St Gabriel Francis Possenti of Our Lady of Sorrows (1838-1862) and a Marian Saturday
O Mother of Sorrows, Stand by Me in My Last Agony By St Gabriel Francis Possenti of Our Lady of Sorrows (1838-1862)
O Mother of Sorrows, by the anguish and love with which thou did stand at the Cross of Jesus, stand by me in my last agony. To thy maternal heart I commend the last three hours of my life. Offer these hours to the Eternal Father in union with the agony of our dearest Lord, in atonement for my sins. Offer to the Eternal Father the most precious blood of Jesus, mingled with your tears on Calvary, that I may obtain the grace of receiving Holy Communion with the most perfect love and contrition before my death and that I may breathe forth my soul in the adorable presence of Jesus. Dearest Mother, when the moment of my death has at last come, present me as your child to Jesus. Ask Him to forgive me for having offended Him, for I knew not what I did. Beg Him to receive me into His kingdom of glory to be united with Him forever. Amen
Our Lady of Light, Palermo, Italy, (18th Century) – 27 February:
Early in the 18th century, a Jesuit, Father John Genovesi, lived in Palermo, Italy. At the beginning of his missionary career, he placed the souls over which he would have charge, under the protection of the Blessed Mother, deciding to take with him, to each of his missions, an image of Mary. Not knowing which image of Our Lady to use, he consulted a pious visionary telling her to ask Our Lady what she desired. One day as this lady knelt in prayer, she beheld approaching her, the Queen of Heaven, surrounded by pomp, majesty and glory, surpassing anything else she had ever beheld in any of her visions. A torrent of light was shed from the body of the Virgin which was so clear, that in comparison with it, the sun seemed obscure. Yet, these rays were not painful to the sigh; but seemed rather, directed to the heart, which they instantly penetrated and filled with sweetness. A group of Seraphs hovering in the air were suspended over their Empress and held a triple crown. The virginal body was clothed in a flowing robe, whiter than the snow and more brilliant than the sun. A belt inlaid with precious stones encircled Mary’s beautiful form and from her graceful shoulders, hung a mantle of azure hue. Countless angels surrounded their Queen but, what most enchanted the contemplative soul, was the untold sweetness and grace and benignity shown in the motherly face of Mary. She radiated clemency and love. Our Lady told the pious woman, that she wished to be represented as she was now under the title of Most Holy Mother of Light, repeating the words three times. The Jesuit hired labourers to begin the work on the picture of Our Lady of Light, however, neither the pious lady, nor the priest, were able to direct it and the result was that after completion, it did not answer Our Lady’s orders. Our Lady directed the woman to look at the image and seeing the mistake, she again betook herself to prayer and asked Mary to help her. Mary appeared again, commanding the woman to supervise the work, giving directions, while Mary would aid in an invisible manner. Pleased by the finished work, Mary appeared over it and blessed it with the Sign of the Cross. This wonderful treasure is now in the City of Mexico in the Cathedral of Leon, formerly known as the Jesuit Church. The back of the picture bears the authenticity and four signatures, including that of Father Genovesi, SJ. The painting was transferred from Palermo, Sicily in 1702 and placed on the Altar in Leon in 1732. The people of Leon have an innate devotion and great tenderness toward the Mother of God. In 1849 they solemnly promised before the picture to make Our Lady of Light the patroness of Leon. This promise was confirmed by Pope Pius IX; Leo XIII authenticated the crowning of the image of Our Lady of Light in 1902.
St Abundius of Rome St Alexander of Rome St Alnoth St Anne Line St Antigonus of Rome St Baldomerus of Saint Just St Basilios of Constantinople St Comgan St Emmanuel of Cremona St Fortunatus of Rome St Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows/Gabriel Possenti CP (1838-1862) Passionist Religious
St Herefrith of Lindsey St Honorina St John of Gorze Bl Josep Tous Soler St Luke of Messina Bl Maria Caridad Brader Bl Mark Barkworth St Procopius of Decapolis Bl Roger Filcock St Thalilaeus Bl William Richardson — Martyrs of Alexandria: – Besas of Alexandria Cronion Eunus Julian of Alexandria
Our Lady of the Fields, Paris, France, consecrated by St Denis (250) – 26 February:
The title of Our Lady of the Fields, or Notre-Dame des Champ and the devotion to Mary as such, takes us back to the earliest days of Catholic life in France. Our Lady des Champs, at Paris, was dedicated in ancient times to Ceres. Saint Denis, to whom we owe a great deal of our traditional devotion to Mary, was the first Bishop of Paris. According to tradition he drove the demons from the Temple of Ceres, the pagan goddess of agriculture and placed therein, an image of the Madonna modelled after Saint Luke’s famous painting. The Temple was henceforth dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, whom Parisians have honoured for centuries under the title of Our Lady of the Fields. It is said that a picture of the Blessed Virgin is still to be seen there, on a small stone, a foot square, which was made after that which Saint Denis brought to France.
This house, which is a Benedictine priory, was afterwards occupied by the Carmelites, who were received there in the year 604 and founded by Catherine, Princess of Longueville. It was the first occupied by those nuns in France; the mother Ann of Jesus, the companion of Saint Teresa, was its first superior. If the Blessed Virgin were a goddess she would be a very human goddess – simple and approachable, forgetful of her privileges and of her beauty. Her constant humility adds to her charm. Saint Denis knew this well. He found her so gloriously beautiful that he gave to her the place in the temple – and in the hearts of the people – formerly held by the pagan goddess. “I am the Flower of the Fields,” the Holy Ghost has the Blessed Virgin say. A flower of the fields has a simple beauty that charms us even more because it blossoms by itself without care or cultivation. Our Saviour Himself marvelled at such a flower and of it He spoke these words of praise that have been repeated through the centuries: “See how the lilies of the field grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed like one of these.” But lilies soon fade and roses are hardly open, before they begin to shed their petals before the wind. The beauty of Mary is less perishable; it remains ever fresh and unchanged in the valley of our exile.
Our Lady of Great Power, Quebec, Canada, (1673) – 25 February:
Our Lady of Great Power is little known in America, unless among the pupils of the Ursulines in Quebec. Generations of these, however, have dwelt within the walls of the Old Monastery during two centuries and more, since the arrival of the statue in the last years of the 17th century. In the annals of the Ursulines of the Sacred Heart at Perigueux, France, where the statue was solemnly crowned, we find the origin of the devotion. The devotion to Our Lady of Great Power began in the monastery of Issoudun. There a holy Ursuline nun, Mother Saint Peter, was inspired during her prayer to invoke Our Lady under this title. She spoke of her inspiration to her Sisters and her Superiors. The devotion was adopted with enthusiasm and very soon it was decided, that a statue be sculptured and a Chapel built, dedicated to Our Lady of Great Power; she would henceforth be chosen, as first and principal Superior of the Monastery. The feast of the dedication took place 25 February 1673 and was celebrated with great pomp, as the chronicle testifies:
“After High Mass two ecclesiastics carried the statue to the entry of the monastery where the nuns, in solemn procession, received it. It was placed on a richly decorated litter and, to the chanting of hymns, psalms and canticles, it was brought to the prepared Chapel. When the same statue was raised on its pedestal, the Superior laid the keys of the monastery, the seals and constitutions at Our Lady’s feet, begging her, in the name of the community, to accept the gift of all hearts and of the entire monastery and to allow them, to look on her as their Superior forever. Each rendered homage while hymns and canticles of thanksgiving were sung in Mary’s honour.”
Ever after, when a Superior was elected, the ceremony was renewed and is still renewed in each Ursuline community every year on a principal feast of the Blessed Virgin; though homage is rendered only every three years, after the election or nomination of Superiors. The statue of Our Lady of Great Power was carried off and profaned during the dark days of the French Revolution. It was found and returned to the monastery at Perigueux and the devotion continued fervently until 1892, when the Bishop of Perigueux, in the name of the Soverign Pontiff, placed a richly jewelled crown on the head of the Mother and the Child and ratified the numberless and signal favours obtained through Our Lady of Great Power. Through the Ursulines in Quebec, the devotion soon spread through the New World. Before the Altar in Quebec hangs the famous votive light promised to be kept burning as a token of thanks for favours granted to Mother Saint Agatha (Madeleine de Repentigny). Relatives and descendants of this holy nun have kept the lamp burning. One relative, Miss Anthon, had a new lamp made, an artistic gem, the work of the celebrated ecclesiastical goldsmith Calliat of Lyon, France.
St Adelelmo of Engelberg St Aldetrudis St Ananias of Phoenicia Bl Avertano of Lucca St Caesarius of Nanzianzen St Callistus Caravario Bl Ciriaco Maria Sancha Hervas Bl Didacus Yuki Ryosetsu St Domenico Lentini St Donatus the Martyr Saint Felix III, Pope St Gerland the Bishop St Gothard the Hermit St Herena the Martyr St Justus the Martyr St Laurentius Bai Xiaoman St Luigi Versiglia Blessed Maria Adeodata Pisani (1806-1855) Biography: https://anastpaul.com/2018/02/25/saint-of-the-day-25-february-blessed-maria-adeodata-pisani-osb-1806-1855/ St Nestor of Side St Riginos Bl Robert of Arbrissel Blessed Sebastian of Aparicio OFM (1502-1600) Franciscan Lay Brother St Tharasius St Toribio Romo González St Victor of Saint Gall St Walburga — Martyrs of Egypt – A group of Christian men who were exiled to Egypt for their faith and were eventually martyred for their faith in the persecutions of Numerian. We know little more than their names: Claudianus Dioscurus Nicephorus Papias Serapion Victor Victorinus
REFLECTION – “God showed patience in the face of man’s weakness because He saw beforehand, the victory He would eventually give him, through His Word. For, when “power was made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9), the Word caused God’s goodness and tremendous power, to be made manifest. Indeed, it was the same with man, as it was with the prophet Jonah. God permitted Jonah to be swallowed by a sea-monster, not to make him altogether vanish away and die but, so that when he had been vomited out by the monster, he would become more subject to God and would give all the more glory to Him who had given him this unexpected deliverance. It was, too, to lead the Ninevites to firm repentance and to convert them to Him, Who would deliver them from death, amazed as they were by the sign accomplished in Jonah … In the same way, God permitted man to be swallowed by that great monster, the author of disobedience, not so that he should altogether vanish away and die but because God, had prepared beforehand, the salvation fulfilled by His Word by means of the “sign of Jonah.” This salvation has been prepared, for those who have the same feelings for God as Jonah did and, who confess Him in the same words: “I am the servant of the Lord and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land” (Jon 1:9). God desired that man, by receiving an unanticipated salvation from Him, would rise from the dead and worship God, saying with Jonah: “Out of my distress I called to the Lord; from the midst of the nether world he heard my voice” (Jon 2:2). God desired, too, that man would always remain faithful in giving Him worship and unceasing thanks for the salvation he has received from Him.” – St Irenaeus (130-208) Bishop of Lyons, Martyr, Theologian – Against the heresies III, 20, 1
PRAYER – “Dear Lord! It is just when I am in the world that I have most need of You because You know it is full of snares that the devil has set for me. You must hold my hand, dear Lord, if You will not abandon me. A little of the world is not bad for me; it is even good, for it teaches me how small it is and I feel the greater happiness when I come back to You. But that I may surely do so, You must only loose Your hold a little, that it may not try me too far, You must not entirely leave hold. Do You see dear Lord? I wish to clasp Your hand – do not refuse me!”(I Wish to Clasp Your Hand – Do Not Refuse Me! – Prayer of Eugene de Ferronays) Mary, Health of the Sick, pray for us!
Plague in Rome ends after Saint Pope Gregory the Great leads a procession with a painting of Our Lady by Saint Luke (591): – 24 February
The Abbot Orsini wrote: “On this day, in the year 591, St Gregory the Great, having had the picture of Our Lady, which was painted by St Luke, carried in procession, the plague ceased at Rome.”
The miseries that afflicted Rome in the year 591 were substantial. The Gothic War between the Byzantine Empire and the Goths had substantially depopulated Italy, so much so that a Germanic tribe of Lombards had entered the peninsula and established their own kingdom. They were pagans and Arians who did not respect Catholics, burning the famous Benedictine Monastery of Monte Cassino and pillaging the land at will. The instability and warfare caused famine in large regions, though Rome was still able to obtain grain by sea. Then came earthquakes and flooding to further the suffering, and from this plague Rome was not immune. The banks of the Tiber overflowed and when the waters did not recede, all of the low-lying lands became swamps that brought death and the plague. The disease struck with such rapidity that the victim would often die shortly after realising he had contracted the disease, although there were some who sickened but recovered. Our custom of saying, “God Bless you,” to someone who sneezes came about at this time, for sneezing was one of the signs that someone had contracted the disease. Even the Roman Pontiff died of the plague on 7 February 590. His successor, was Pope Saint Gregory the Great, who was both a humble and pious man. It would be an understatement to say he did not want the honour of being the next Pope but once in that position, he did everything in his power to try to save his people. He understood that the plague was a chastisement from God and encouraged the faithful to repent of their sins and pray for deliverance while he and the religious cared for the people of Rome. Finally, Saint Gregory called for a procession to take place at dawn on 24 April. On that day, the faithful first assembled in their groups throughout Rome and then walked through the streets of the City praying and singing as they approached the Church of Saint Mary Major. The plague was so potent at that time, that eighty people collapsed and died as they walked toward the meeting place. Pope Saint Gregory met them upon their arrival, joining them in prayer as he took his place with them holding aloft the miraculous image of Our Lady painted by Saint Luke the Evangelist. This image is the very famous, Salus Populi Romani (the health or salvation, of the Roman People) As the procession neared the Vatican the participants all saw Saint Michael the archangel standing upon the cupola of Hadrian’s mausoleum as he sheathed his flaming sword. It was a sign that the chastisement had come to an end and, at once, the heaviness in the air abated and the air itself seemed to freshen and clear. Indeed, at that moment the plague ended, as the faithful rejoiced and lifted up their voices to thank the Mother of God.
Regina Coeli laetare, Alleluia! (Queen of heaven, rejoice, Alleluia!)
Quia quem meruisti portare, Alleluia! (Son whom you merited to bear, Alleluia!)
Resurrexit sicut dixit, Alleluia! (He has risen as He said, Alleluia!)
Our Lady of the Rock, Pena de Francia, near Salamanca, Spain (1434) – 23 February: The Abbot Orsini wrote: “Our Lady of Roches, near Salamanca, in Spain; an image is there venerated, which was found miraculously, in the year 434, by Simon Vela, who caused a Church to be built there.”
The Simon mentioned above by the Abbot Orsini, was actually born in the year 1401 in Paris, France. The incident that he states had occurred in the year 434 actually occurred in 1434 but that is getting ahead of our story. Simon was born on4 September 1401, in the City of Paris, France, to pious and wealthy parents. Growing up a good Catholic, Simon despised money and luxury, so that when he grew up and inherited his parents’ money and property, he recognised it for the threat to his eternal welfare that it was and gave all that he owned to the Church and to relieve the poor. Once the money was gone, he went to a Franciscan Monastery and took a position as a chamber boy. Simon naturally spent a great deal of time in prayer and was especially devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Sometimes when he prayed he asked the Mother of God if there was anything he might do, that would be especially pleasing to her. On one of these occasions, he fell asleep while praying. He was suddenly awakened when he heard a voice speak to him from the empty Church: “Simon, wake up; be on the watch…From now on, your name will be Simon Vela. Go to Pena de Francia, for there you will find the Shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary.” Simon travelled for five years over fields and mountains, searching through lonely valleys and gloomy caves, in his quest for this place called Pena de Francia but he could not even find anyone who had ever heard of the place. On the verge of giving up in frustration, he had already begun working his way back home from Spain, when the voice spoke to him from the darkness once again: “Simon, do not give up the search, do not give up what you have begun. Persevere and your labours will be recompensed.” Feeling that it was still the will of God, Simon was determined to continue the search. Simon was passing through the market square in Salamanca on his way to the Church of Santiago, when he observed two men who began shouting in a serious disagreement. Weapons flashed and one of the pair fell wounded at Simon’s feet. The other was restrained from finishing the man, by the crowd, who held him back. Unable to reach his adversary, he shouted: “Had I killed my enemy, I would have escaped to Pena de Francia where no-one, not even the king, could find me!” Simon’s heart leapt for joy when he heard this, for it was the first time he had heard the place spoken of, and now he was certain that his search would not be in vain.
It was a short time later when Simon received a second bit of good news. He was on his way to the Church of Saint Martin when he happened upon a travelling merchant. Simon asked the man where he had come from and he answered, Pena de Francia. Thrilled to hear the name, he felt his search was nearly over but when he asked the man to take him there, he refused. He did not want to go back the way he had come, no matter how much Simon begged him. All he would do was point out the general direction. Simon went down the road from which he had seen the merchant approach, hoping he was not too far from his destination. The road led him to a villa named San Martin de Castanar, which he reached on 14 May 1434. He found a Church there and after Mass, he asked if anyone knew of a place called Pena de Francis. One man knew of it and when Simon kindly asked him to show him where it was, the man walked with him a good distance from the Church and then pointed out a hill in the far distance. That, he said, was Pena de Francia. Simon was elated, thanking God and the man for revealing to him the place that meant the end of his quest.
The place was far off but Simon went off at once, thinking the years he had spent in seeking, were nearly at an end. He gave no thought to his provisions and as the journey was long and arduous, he was far from any help when he realised how weakened his fast had made him. Suffering intense pangs of hunger, Simon did not despair, for he felt certain that God would not forsake him. He continued on his way and soon came across an abandoned pack that contained a loaf of bread and a piece of meat. Refreshed, he turned his attention to finding shelter as the night approached. Finding a suitable cave, he went inside and prayed for guidance until he dropped off into welcome slumber. Waking early in the morning, Simon began to search the area for the Shrine and quickly found that there were caves all over the hill where he had slept. He naturally became discouraged when it became apparent that it could take him weeks or even months to find what he sought and so, feeling that it was almost as if his quest had started all over again, he fell to his knees and prayed for the grace of perseverance. His prayer was quickly answered, as the now familiar voice said: “Simon, be awake: do not sleep.” Simon got up at once and continued his search, awakening with renewed enthusiasm the following morning. As he prepared to leave his cave a brilliant light struck his eyes, the source of which was a spot some distance away on a rocky hill. Trembling with joy, Simon approached the source of that light and found the Blessed Virgin Mary sitting on a golden throne with the Child Jesus in her arms. His heart overflowing with inexpressible joy, he knelt and said: “Oh, Lady, dream of my soul and inspiration of men and women! My labours are now ended. Many years have I travelled far and wide to seek you and to drink in the beauty of your eyes! Do not forsake me but be my protection.”
Our Lady answered sympathetically: “Simon, rejoice! Your constancy will be rewarded. Your dream will be realised. Your labours are now ended. Take heed and keep in your heart what I wish you to do. Dig in this spot and take what you can see and place it on the summit of this rocky hill. Build on this hill a beautiful Shrine. You are to begin it and others will come to finish it. This must come to pass as it has been the wish of my Child.” When the vision ended, Simon remained alone for some time, filled with wonder and awe. On the spot where the apparition of the Holy Virgin had appeared, Simon began the work of excavating. He had barely begun digging when he heard the same voice once again saying: “Simon, do not attempt to undertake this large of a task alone. Undertake it in the presence and with the help of two, three, or more persons.” Evidently this demand was made to ward off any suspicion about the veracity of the coming miracle, as well as Simon’s credibility. So Simon went back to San Martin de Castanar and asked five men to help him, and all of them agreed. Even though Simon told them the truth, these men believed that they were digging for hidden treasure. Simon repeated that they were after an objective worthier than merely worldly goods and that it was something their hearts would forever cherish. They dug for some time, until finally, on 19 May 1434, they removing a huge stone that was barring their way. They found beneath it, sheltered among several smaller rocks, the most coveted image of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the Divine Child in her arms, now known as Our Lady of Rocks.
St Alexander Akimetes St Boswell St Dositheus of Egypt St Felix of Brescia St Florentius of Seville St Giovanni Theristi (1049–1129) Monk Bl Giovannina Franchi Bl John of Hungary St Josephine Vannini (1859-1911) Bl Juan Lucas Manzanares Bl Ludwik Mzyk St Martha of Astorga St Medrald St Milburga Bl Nicolas Tabouillot St Ordonius St Polycarp of Rome Bl Rafaela Ybarra de Villalongo St Romana St Serenus the Gardener (Died 307) Martyr His story: https://anastpaul.com/2019/02/23/saint-of-the-day-23-february-st-serenus-the-gardener-died-307-martyr/ Bl Stefan Wincenty Frelichowski St Willigis of Mainz (c 940-1011) Bishop St Zebinus of Syria — Martyrs of Syrmium – 73 Christians who were martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian. We know no details about them, and only six of their names – Antigonus, Libius, Rogatianus, Rutilus, Senerotas and Syncrotas.
Our Lady of Miracles and Virtues, Rennes, France (1357) – 22 February:
Our Lady of Rennes, in Britanny. The English, having made a mine to blow up the town, it is said that the candles in theCchapel were found miraculously lighted; the bells rung of themselves and the image of the Blessed Virgin was seen to stretch out its arms towards the middle of the Church, where the mine was, which, by that means was discovered. The people rushed to the spot and so, the plot was discovered and the entire town saved through the intervention of Our Lady of Rennes. Great was the rejoicing and deep the gratitude of the people. Known today as the Basilica of Saint Sauveur in Rennes, it is located in the heart of historic Rennes, which was once the capital of Brittany. It is situated at the termination of Saint-Sauveur Street on which its façade faces. As the original Gothic Church partially collapsed in the year 1682, the Classical style Church that can currently be seen, was constructed beginning in 1703 and consecrated in August of 1719. In the year 1793, during the French Revolution, the Church was made into a Temple of Reason and the miraculous statue of Our Lady was destroyed. It was not until 1802, after the end of the Terror, that the Church was opened again to worship. The Church was made into a minor Basilica in 1916 by Pope Benedict XV.
According to popular tradition there was a famous miracle attributed to Our Lady at Rennes during the War of Succession at Brittany. As Rennes was being besieged by the invading English army under the Duke of Lancaster, the people of the city expected the English forces to mine their way under the walls into the City. On the night of 8 February 1357, the Church bells began to ring of their own accord and the candles were spontaneously lit. The Statue of Our Lady, known as Our Lady of Miracles and Virtues, pointed out a particular slab in the Church. The inhabitants of the city thus were alerted to the mine and the point of the English attack, and were able to repulse the invasion. The miracle was a popular subject for ballads, especially the troubadour Cavalier. In 1634 the miracle was officially recognised by the Bishop of Rennes, Pierre Cornulier. There are many miracles attributed to Our Lady, including the miraculous healing of Magdalene Morice in the year 1761. She had gangrene in her right foot which was instantly healed on Easter Sunday. The Statue of Our Lady of Miracles and Virtues currently displayed at the Basilica was placed there in February of 1876. In 1684 a boy of eleven left home for the City of Rennes, in hopes of enrolling at the Jesuit College of Thomas a Becket. The young Louis-Marie was an intelligent boy who was taken under the guidance of the Jesuit Priests and it was at Rennes that he began to consider a possible vocation to the Priesthood. It was here, at the Shrine of Our Lady at Rennes, that Saint Louis de Montfort made the final decision to become a Priest. Amen! We thank our Lady for giving us St Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort!
St Maximian of Ravenna St Miguel Facerías Garcés St Mohammed Abdalla St Papias of Heirapolis St Paschasius of Vienne St Raynerius of Beaulieu St Thalassius — Martyrs of Arabia – A memorial for all the unnamed Christians martyred in the desert and mountainous areas south of the Dead Sea during the persecutions of Emperor Valerius Maximianus Galerius.
Our Lady of Bon Port/Good Haven, Paimpol, France (1838) – 21 February:
In 1838, the crew of a vessel which had just arrived at Paimpol, in France, forty-eight in number, accomplished a vow they had made in a most perilous voyage from Newfoundland. A terrific tempest had arisen, their sails were tor, and for three days they were in continual danger of finding a watery grave. The ship began to fill with water and all hope of safety seemed lost, when the crew, by common consent, turned their eyes to Mary, Star of the Sea and asked for good haven. They promised if she saved them, they would visit in the most supplicant manner, the Church at Paimpol, where there is an image of Our Lady much venerated by the people. They had scarcely ended their prayer, when the weather became more calm and the waves began to subside. Profiting by this providential change, they repaired their sails and had a favourable wind, until they reached the coasts of Brittany. They landed in safety at Knod, toward the decline of day and their first act was to prostrate themselves on the ground and give God thanks for their safe return. They then intoned the Litany of the Blessed Virgin and advanced barefooted and bare-headed along the banks and through the streets of Paimpol, to the Church of the Good Haven. The people attracted in crowds by the novelty of the sight, followed them. There were parents who went to give thanks to Our Lady of Good Haven for the return of their sons and wives, to thank Mary for restoring their husbands to them. Tears streamed down from every eye, and the immense multitude knelt down before the Altar of that powerful Virgin, who had received from her Son, the power to command wind and wave. The torches shed a dim light on the recessed of the sanctuary, where stood the image of the Blessed Virgin, Our Lady of Good Haven, whose inclined head and exteneded arms seemed to say to all, “Come to me, I am your Mother.” These pious mariners with the most touching expression of sentiment, chanted the hymn, “Ave Maria Stella” in which they were joined in gratitude by the people.
“Bright Mother of our Maker, hail! Thou Virgin ever blest, The ocean’s star, by which we sail, And gain the port of rest.”
St Avitus II of Clermont Blessed Caterina Dominici/Maria Enrichetta SSA (1829–1894) Nun Bl Claudio di Portaceli St Daniel of Persia Bl Eleanora St Ercongotha St Eustathius of Antioch St Felix of Metz St George of Amastris St Germanus of Granfield St Gundebert of Sens Blessed Noel Pinot (1747-1794) Priest and Martyr His Life and Death: https://anastpaul.com/2020/02/21/saint-of-the-day-21-february-blessed-noel-pinot-1747-1794-priest-and-martyr/ St Paterius of Brescia (Died 606) Bishop St Pepin of Landen St Peter Mavimenus St Randoald of Granfield
St Severian of Scythopolis St Severus of Syrmium Bl Thomas Pormort St Valerius of San Pedro de Montes St Verda of Persia — Martyrs of Sicily – 79 saints – Seventy-nine Christians martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian. They were martyred in c 303 on Sicily.
Martyrs of Hadrumetum – A group of 26 Christians martyred together by Vandals. We know little more than eight of their names – Alexander, Felix, Fortunatus, Saturninus, Secundinus, Servulus, Siricius and Verulus. c 434 at Hadrumetum (modern Sousse, Tunisia)
Martyrs Uchibori – Three Japanese laymen, all brothers, all sons of Paulus Uchibori Sakuemon, one a teenager, one only five years old and all martyred for their faith in the persecutions in Japan. 21 February 1627 in Shimabara, Nagasaki, Japan. Beatified 24 November 2008 by Pope Benedict XVI. Antonius Balthasar Ignatius
Our Lady of Bolougn-sur-Mer, France (633) – 20 February:
In the year 636, a small group of people standing on the seashore witnessed a ship without oars or sails came into the harbour of Boulogne. It finally came to rest in the estuary, seemingly of its own accord. One of the witnesses boarded the boat and confirmed that there was no-one aboard and that the vessel had no rudder, oars or sails. The ship, however, bore a luminous statue of Our Lady. Taking hold of it to bring it to land, a voice was heard saying, “I choose your City as a place of grace.” The citizens welcomed Mary to their city by erecting a Shrine to her, which reached its height of glory in the 12th Century.
King Henry VIII is reported to have stolen the Statue of Our Lady of Boulogne and taken it to England. After many negotiations, the French managed to get it back. The image had been stolen and hidden many other times but always saved and returned. World War II almost completely destroyed the Statue. In modern times, four exact replicas of Our Lady of Boulogne toured France for more than seven years, as a symbol of French devotion to Mary. One of these was taken to Walsingham, England in 1948 and carried in procession by the “Cross-bearing pilgrimate” when many other Statues and images of the Virgin visited England. Bologne was one of the most important Lady shrines of medieval France; among its noted pilgrims have been: Henry III, Edward II, the Black Prince, John of Gaunt. Marian Feast Day, 10 July: The dedication of a new Church built in honour of Our Lady of Boulogne was consecrated in the year 1469 by Bishop Chartier of Paris. The confraternity of Our Lady of Boulogne was so celebrated, that six French kings have chosen to belong to it.
At the French Revolution, the Statue was burnt to ashes and the Church pulled down. A new Shrine and Statue was made in 1803 and pilgrimages began again. The image represents the Mother with the Child in her arms, standing in a boat, with an angel on either side. At the Marian Congress in Bolougne in 1938, a custom began to take replicas of this Statue “in turn” in France and abroad. A branch of the Confraternity of Our Lady of Compassion at Bolougne has been established for the reconciliation of the Church of England. The Sanctuary Church at Bolougne was badly damaged during World War II and Mary’s image smashed but the return, the “Great Return” of one of the copies of the Statue which had been sheltered at Lourdes, took place in 1943 and the occasion will long be remembered by lovers of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Most remarkable about the Grand Return was the unprecedented avalanche of graces, especially of conversions and penance. Thousands upon thousands of atheists, communists, freemasons and fallen-away Catholics converted on the spot when they saw Our Lady enter their village. One bishop described the effect on the faithful:
“The passing of Our Lady in my Diocese is the most extraordinary contemporary religious event of our times and the most significant. Crowds of people rose up, motivated and enthusiastic. In fact, the confessionals and communion rails were besieged during the holy vigils, while the recitation of the mysteries of the Rosary kept the faithful praying in the Churches. In some Parishes, there were tremendous conversions like never seen before on the missions.”
Our Lady of Good Tidings, Notre Dame-de-Bonne Nouvelle, Lempdes, France (1500’s) – 18 February:
The Abbot Orsini wrote: “Our Lady of Good Tidings, near Rouen, where a great number of people are seen, particularly on Saturdays.”
It was on 23 December 1563, when the Bishop of Lucon, Jean-Baptiste Tiercelin, consecrated the Church under the patronage of the Blessed Virgin, Notre-Dame-de-Bonne-Nouvelle. This first Chapel came into the world in the midst of religious convulsions that were then taking place in Switzerland, Germany and England, by the leaders of the ‘Reformation’ and must necessarily be seen, as an action bravely going against the tide. The religious wars that began raging in France ten years after its erection, began to be another reason for some concern for faithful Catholics but the pilgrimages to the Church of Notre-Dame-de-Bonne-Nouvelle continued undisturbed. From time immemorial, there had been venerated at Notre Dame a Statue of the Blessed Virgin, holding in her arm the Infant Jesus. Many went to her in procession, especially children, who came each year to ask Mary for perseverance after their first Communion. The revolutionary turmoil in France, which was to take the throne and the altar, could not leave behind the parish of Our Lady of Good Tidings. In 1790 the National Assembly decreed a new law in which the Church of Our Lady of Good Tidings was dissolved. As the Priest, Fr M Fabre, had the courage to refuse the oath of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, he was thrown into the street. A short time later, on 22 May 1791, the Abbot Fourquet de Damalis, convened in the Church an assembly of the faithful and there were very many who responded. This occurred under the noses of twelve national guardsmen and so the Police Commissioner, a man named Cafin, responded there quickly. He asked the Abbot why there was such a meeting and the Abbot answered him, that he was explaining to the faithful the decrees of the National Assembly for the public good. The Police Commissioner accepted the explanation and the meeting, having been perfectly peaceful, the police commissioner was obliged to agree to the monthly meetings and record it in his minutes. One might think that the worship would be suspended at Notre-Dame-de-Bonne-Nouvelle during the Terror but we have evidence to the contrary. As at Chartres, a great number of the faithful remained active and opposed the removal of the sacred ornaments of the Church and defended their Priests and eager to fulfil their religious duties, they were not to be intimidated by the fear of imprisonment and even death. From the registry of marriages and baptisms, including a few that date back to 1793, we know that there were religious ceremonies such as baptisms and weddings held there secretly, sometimes in an oratory, sometimes in the Church. In the year 1818, a severe epidemic was ravaging the country. The faithful vowed, with the agreement of their Bishop, to go in procession to Our Lady of Good Tidings and celebrate in perpetuity the feast of the Visitation, which was the feast of the Chapel. The procession took place and God quickly put an end to the scourge of the plague. At about that time, a young boy began making regular visits to the Church of Our Lady of Good Tidings, who was the patroness of the village. He was a poor boy materially, for Lempdes was one of the poorer villages in France and he had been born into a peasant family, that was struggling to eke out a living in the wreck of post-revolutionary France. He kept the faith and when he grew up, Jean Baptiste Lamy was Ordained a Priest, eventually becoming the first Archbishop of Sana Fe, New Mexico.
Our Lady of Laon, Rheims, France (500), founded by St Remigius – 18 February:
The Abbot Orsini wrote: “The Shrine or Chapel of Our Lady of Laon was erected into a Cathedral and founded by Saint Remigius, Archbishop of Rheims, about the year 500, where he consecrated as his first Bishop Saint Geneband, his nephew. Miracles were wrought there and, among others, we read that in the year 1395, there was seen on the steeple, the picture of a Crucifix, the wounds of which bled.” The present Cathedral located in Laon, Picardy, France, the Laon Cathedral, or Notre-Dame de Laon, was begun in about 1155 and completed in 1235. It was built on the foundation of an earlier Cathedral that was consecrated in the year 800 but burned to the ground in the year 1111 during an uprising, and was, therefore, not the same Cathedral founded by Saint Remigius. The people of Laon took pride in their Cathedral and tried to make it rival the great shrine of Chartres. They did not succeed but the result is the sum of an emotion, clear and strong as love and much stronger than logic and clearer; the charm of the Laon cathedral lies in its unstable balance; which without doubt Our Lady accepted in love as it was meant by her devoted children. It was one of the first Cathedrals constructed in the new Gothic style.
One other unusual aspect of the Cathedral, is that there are sixteen carved bullocks carved in stone like gargoyles. There is a tradition that once when some of the stone was being hauled up the slope for use in the construction of the Church, at one point, the animals hauling the wagon could go no further under the strain of the load. A huge ox appeared at that moment and assisted them in moving the load up into position but then disappeared as quickly as it had appeared.
Much of the stained-glass is original and, as at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, there is a beautiful rose window dating from the 13th century. It depicts the Blessed Virgin seated on a throne with her Divine Child between Saint John the Baptist and the prophet Isaiah. The interior of the Cathedral was finished with white stone, it is considerably brighter than Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
St Gertrude Caterina Comensoli St Helladius of Toledo St Ioannes Chen Xianheng St Ioannes Zhang Tianshen St Jean-François-Régis Clet St Jean-Pierre Néel Bl Jerzy Kaszyra Bl John Pibush – one of the Martyrs of Douai St Leo of Patera St Martinus Wu Xuesheng Bl Matthew Malaventino St Paregorius of Patara St Sadoth of Seleucia St Simeon St Tarasius of Constantinople St Theotonius (1082-1162) Priest Bl William Harrington — Martyrs of North Africa – 7 saints: Group of Christians who were martyred together, date unknown. We know nothing else but seven of their names – Classicus, Fructulus, Lucius, Maximus, Rutulus, Secundinus and Silvanus. They were born and martyred in North Africa.
Martyrs of Rome – 5 saints: A group of Christians martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian. We know nothing else but their names – Alexander, Claudius, Cutias, Maximus and Praepedigna. They were martyred in 295 in Rome, Italy.
Our Lady of Constantinople, Bari, Turkey (566) – 17 February:
The Abbot Orsini wrote: “Our Lady of Constantinople, formerly the synagogue of the Jews, which was converted into a Church of the Blessed Virgin by the Emperor Justin the Younger, in the year 566.” The remains of the great Byzantine Church of Sainte-Marie-du-Rosaire, called Notre-Dame de Constantinople, which is encumbered by later wild constructions and debris of all kinds, are scarcely representative of what this important sanctuary had once been. In the 1930’s, Paul Schatzmann, a Swiss archaeologist, had made important discoveries here, supplemented by another archaeologist, Stephan Westphalen, a German, in the 1990’s. We do not know much about the Byzantine past of the building, we only know for certain, that the Church was transferred to the Dominicans in 1475 and it took the name of Our Lady of Constantinople and later, that of Saint Mary of the Rosary. In 1640 Our Lady of Constantinople was converted into a mosque in the name of Kemankes, then Odalar camii. Much of the substructure had been rebuilt before the fire of 1919, which led to its eventual abandonment. Despite the painstaking searches conducted by the two archaeologists, it is not easy to have a very clear idea of the scale of the building and its dependencies. However, the proximity of the mosque Kasim Aga, which also has Byzantine structures and the Aetius (Ipek Bodrumu) suggest that the Church belonged to a large monastery, whose name remains unknown. From the point of view of the two archaeologists, the foundations of the Church date from the seventh century but the final form of the Church was given after the fire of 1203. After the reconstruction and expansion of the Church in the thirteenth century, the foundations of the old Church were used as a mausoleum, while two slightly asymmetrical chapels were added in the apse. Part of the old Church was filled to construct the new Church with the Greek cross plan. Nothing suggests that the substructure of the second building was originally a funerary chapel, as its primary function was to provide a basis for a monumental Church. It appears the sub-structure was gradually used for tombs of the faithful. In the upper part, there are paintings of the life of the Blessed Virgin dating from the eleventh and twelfth centuries. Fragments of frescoes have been discovered on several walls. In the small central chamber of the crypt, a crowned Virgin surrounded by angels suggests that a Marian relic may have once been enshrined here.
__ Seven Founders of Servants of Mary (Optional Memorial) • St Alexis Falconieri (c (1200–1310) One of the Seven Founders of the Servites • St Bartholomew degli Amidei • St Benedict dell’Antella • St Buonfiglio Monaldi • St Gherardino Sostegni • St Hugh dei Lippi-Uguccioni • St John Buonagiunta Monetti
St Alexis Falconieri – SEVEN HOLY FOUNDERS (13th century –1310) His Life: https://anastpaul.com/2020/02/17/saint-of-the-day-17-february-saint-alexis-falconieri-13th-century-1310/ St Antoni Leszczewicz St Bartholomew degli Amidei – SEVEN HOLY FOUNDERS St Benedict dell’Antella – SEVEN HOLY FOUNDERS St Benedict of Cagliari St Buonfiglio Monaldi – SEVEN HOLY FOUNDERS St Bonosus of Trier Bl Constabilis of Cava St Donatus the Martyr Bl Elisabetta Sanna St Evermod of Ratzeburg St Faustinus the Martyr St Finan of Iona St Fintan of Clonenagh (c 524 – 603) Abbot, “Father of the Irish Monks” St Flavian of Constantinople St Fortchern of Trim St Gherardino Sostegni – SEVEN HOLY FOUNDERS St Guevrock St Habet-Deus St Hugh dei Lippi-Uguccioni – SEVEN HOLY FOUNDERS St John Buonagiunta Monetti – SEVEN HOLY FOUNDERS St Julian of Caesarea St Loman of Trim Blessed Luke Belludi (c 1200- c 1285) Biography: https://anastpaul.com/2019/02/17/saint-of-the-day-17-february-blessed-luke-belludi-ofm-c-1200-c-1285/ St Lupiano Bl Martí Tarrés Puigpelat St Mesrop the Teacher St Petrus Yu Chong-nyul St Polychronius of Babylon St Romulus the Martyr St Secundian the Martyr St Silvinus of Auchy St Theodulus of Caesarea Bl William Richardson
Our Lady of the Thorn, Chalons-sur-Marne, France (1400) – 16 February:
On the night of the Feast of the Annunciation, 24 March in the year 1400, some shepherds tending their flocks were attracted by a bright light coming from the Chapel of Saint John the Baptist near Chalons, France. As they approached the light, they saw that it was actually a thorn bush fully engulfed in flames and they discovered a statue of the Blessed Virgin standing unharmed in the midst of the flames. In fact, though the fire burned brightly, the branches and leaves of the thorn bush were unaffected by the flames. The miracle continued all that night and into the next day and news of the miracle spread quickly. Mobs of people crowded around the burning bush that was so reminiscent of the one witnessed by Moses on Mount Horeb. The Bishop of Chalons, Charles of Poiters, also witnessed the burning bush and the miraculous statue – both still unaffected by the fire. When the flames finally did die down, the bishop reverently took the statue and carried it in his own hands to the nearby Chapel of Saint John. On the very site of the miracle, construction of a Church was begun for the enshrinement of the miraculous statue. Since the Church was built so rapidly – in a little over 24 years – a charming local legend claims that angels continued the work at night after the labourers had left for home. Our Lady of the Thorn (Notre Dame de l’ Epine) became a place of pilgrimage very rapidly. Today, a minor Basilica, the Shrine proved to be so beautiful that the people considered it a worthy place to venerate the Blessed Virgin. The flamboyant Gothic church boasts majestic great doors, a splendid rosette decorating the principle entrance and two chiselled stone spires, rise high and imposing on the plain in Champagne. During the terrible French Revolution, the statue of Our Lady of Thorns was removed from the main altar and hidden for safekeeping. After it had ended, the statue was brought back out for veneration. Many miracles have also been reported at the Shrine, many verified by physicians. The beautiful Basilica of Our Lady of the Thorn has been recognised by several Popes, including Pope Calixtis III, Pius II and Gregory XV. Pope Leo XIII ordered the solemn coronation of the miraculous statue, saying, “Yes, Our Lady of the Thorn will be crowned in my name. Prepare for her a diadem worthy of the Mother of God and the people whom she protects…”
It is a place of grandeur where Christian souls can expand in adoration of the Son of God and many are the pilgrims of all descriptions, who have visited the Shrine over the years, including Saint Joan of Arc in 1429.
Martyrs of Cilicia – 12 saints: A group of Christians who ministered to other Christians who were condemned to work the mines of Cilicia in the persecutions of Maximus. They were arrested, tortured and martryed by order of the governor Firmilian. • Daniel • Elias • Isaias • Jeremy • Samuel The group also includes the three known have been sentenced to the mines – • Pamphilus • Paul of Jamnia • Valens of Jerusalem and those who were exposed as Christians as a result of these murders – • Julian of Cappadocia • Porphyrius of Caesarea • Seleucius of Caesarea • Theodule the Servant They were martyred in 309 in Cilicia, Asia Minor (in modern Turkey).
There does not seem to be a great deal of information about Our Lady of Paris; it is an ancient title and can be traced well back before the 12th Century, when the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris (Our Lady of Paris) was begun. Some authorities say that veneration of the Blessed Virgin in Paris can be traced to the first apostles of the city. Since Saint Paul was in Gaul (France) during his travels, it may be assumed that this veneration dates to the first century of the Christian era. And, if Mary was venerated in Paris at that early date, it is possible that she was, even then, known as Our Lady of Paris. Briefly, as long as Christian minds can remember, Paris was consecrated to the Virgin Mary, whom the inhabitants always venerated. It is known that Our Lady of Paris was a Church first built by King Childebert in the year 522. About the year 1257, the King, Saint Louis IX assisted in the construction of a larger Church carried on in the same place, on the foundations which King Philip Augustus had laid in the year 1191. The older Church built by King Childebert, which had been dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, had became too ruinous to be repaired, so Maurice, Bishop of Paris, decided to rebuild it and, at the same time, adorn Paris with a Cathedral that would outshine all those which had hitherto been built anywhere.
Plans were drawn up during the reign of King Louis VII and work had actually begun on Notre Dame de Paris, Notre Dame Cathedral, in 1162. The cornerstone was laid in the presence of Pope Alexander III. Notre Dame is a huge Gothic Cathedral on the Ile de la Cite, with beautiful flying buttresses to support the tremendous height of the walls and are adorned with stylish gargoyles. It is home to a reliquary which contains Christ’s Crown of Thorns. By the beginning of the fourteenth century, perhaps 1345, the Cathedral was finished, virtually as it stands today. Sometime during the building of the Cathedral, a statue of Our Lady was fashioned and installed in place. As was typical, the Cathedral was desecrated during the French Revolution and many of the religious artifacts were lost to future generations, although the incredible stained glass windows were not destroyed, including the three spectacular “rose window” that can still be seen today.
A smoke detector first alerted building staff to a fire beneath the roof at 6:18 pm on 15 April 2019, f Notre-Dame de Paris. By the time it was extinguished, the building’s spire collapsed and most of its roof had been destroyed and its upper walls severely damaged. Extensive damage to the interior was prevented by its stone vaulted ceiling, which largely contained the burning roof as it collapsed.
Many works of art and religious relics were moved to safety early in the emergency but others suffered some smoke damage and some exterior art was damaged or destroyed. The Cathedral’s altar, two pipe organs, and its three 13th-century rose windows suffered little to no damage.
Three emergency workers were injured. French President, Emmanuel Macron, said that the Cathedral would be restored by 2024 and launched a fundraising campaign which brought in pledges of over €1 billion as of 22 April 2019. A complete restoration could require twenty years or more. On 25 December 2019, the Cathedral did not host ChristmasMass for the first time since 1803.
Martyrs of Passae: Castulus Lucius Magnus Saturninus
Martyrs of Prague – 14 beati – Franciscan Friars Minor martyred together by a mob led by Lutherans – • Blessed Antonín of Prague • Blessed Bartolomeo Dalmasoni • Blessed Bedrich Bachstein • Blessed Christoffel Zelt • Blessed Didak Jan • Blessed Emmanuel of Prague • Blessed Gaspare Daverio • Blessed Giovanni Bodeo • Blessed Girolamo degli Arese • Blessed Jakob of Prague • Blessed Jan of Prague • Blessed Juan Martínez • Blessed Klemens of Prague • BlessedSimon of Prague They were martyred on • Shrove Tuesday 15 February 1611 at the Church of Our Lady of the Snows in Prague, Czech Republic • body dumped nearby but given Christian burial on 19 February 1611 in the monastery • re-interred in the side chapel of the church in 1616. Beatified 13 October 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI
Martyrs of Sweden: Sigfrid Sunaman Unaman Winaman
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War: Bl Pere Vallmitjana Abarca
Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time +2021 Quinquagesima Sunday (Traditional Calendar) +2021 – From Latin quinquagesimus meaning “fiftieth,” therefore, this is the period of fifty days before Easter. It begins with the Sunday before Ash Wednesday, called Dominica in Quinquagesima or Esto Mihi from the beginning of the Introit of the Mass; it is a Sunday of the second class and the colour the Mass and Office is violet. __ Our Lady of Bourbourg, Flanders (1383) – 14 February:
Jean Froissart, born in the 1330s, was a man devoted to literature. His famous Chronicles was aimed at a knightly and aristocratic audience and was devoted to “the honourable enterprises, noble adventures and deeds of arms, performed in the wars between England and France…to the end that brave men taking example from them may be encouraged in their well-doing.” His history is one of the most important sources for the first half of the Hundred Years’ War, and certain events of the era, such as the battles of Crecy and Poitiers and the English Peasant Revolt of 1381. He was also an eyewitness to the miracles of Our Lady of Bourbourg that occurred in the year 1383. “When the king of France came before Bourbourg there were never seen such fine men at arms nor such numbers as he had with him. The lords and their men were all drawn up, and eager for the attack. Those who had reconnoitred the place, said it could not hold out long. The Bretons, Burgundians, Normans, Germans and others, who knew there was much wealth in the place, which, if taken by storm, would probably fall to their share, began to skirmish with the infantry at the barriers, without waiting for orders from the constable or marshals of the army. This skirmish increased so much that the French set fire to the town by means of fire-arrows and cannons, so that such a flame and smoke came from the houses of Bourbourg as might have been seen forty leagues off. Many gallant deeds were done and the assailants leaped cheerfully into the mud of the ditches above the knees when they engaged with the English at the palisade and barriers. The garrison defended themselves handsomely, indeed, they had need of their exertions, for they knew not on which side to turn themselves. They were attacked on all part and the houses of the town were blazing with fire, which more confounded the English than anything else. This, however, did not throw them off their guard, nor cause them to quit their posts. Sir Matthew Redman and Sir Nicholas Drayton, with their men, in the centre of the town, endeavoured to check the progress of the fire but it was such a dry season, that the smallest spark set the houses in flames. It is certain, that if the attack had begun earlier, or had not the night come on soon, the town must have been taken by storm but the approach of night put an end to it. On the attack ceasing, the French retired to their quarters, to attend the sick and bury the dead. They said that on the morrow they would renew the attac, and it should be irresistible. The English were employed in repairing the palisades which had been broken, in putting all things in a good state and in extinguishing the fires in the town. They were in a most perilous situation, being surrounded on all sides, without means of escaping by flight. The Duke of Brittany, who was on the opposite side of the town to the King, entered into negotiations with the English, aware of the peril they were in. He advised them to surrender the town, on their lives and fortunes being spared. This they were very willing to do and they entreated the Duke, through love of God and in honour of his gentility, to undertake the business. The King of France replied, that, in God’s name, he would willingly agree to a treaty. The English had been much renowned for gallantry and deeds of arms and it was settled that the English should depart from Bourbourg and Gravelines and carry away with them as much of their wealth as they could. Several of the Bretons, French, Normans and Burgundians were much vexed at this treaty, for they thought of partaking of the spoils but the King and his council had ordered it otherwise. The whole of Tuesday they employed in shoeing their horses and in packing up all their wealth, of which they had much and in making preparations for their departure. On the Wednesday morning they loaded their baggage-horses and began their march, passing through the army with passports from the King. The Bretons were much exasperated when they saw them so loaded, waiting at Calais for a favourable wind to return to England. The King of France and all the lords of his army, with their attendants, entered Bourbourg on Thursday morning. The Bretons began to plunder it, without exception, even the Church of St John. In that Church a pillager stood upon an Altar with the intent of forcing out a precious stone that was in the crown of an image of Our Lady. As he reached to steal the stone, the image suddenly turned about and the pillager in his fright, fell from the Altar and was instantly struck dead. This is a certain truth, for many persons were witnesses of it. Shortly afterwards, another pillager came with a similar intent of robbing the image but all the bells began a peal without anyone touching them, for no-one could have rung them, the bell-ropes being drawn up and fastened. On account of these miracles, the Church was visited by large crowds. The King made a handsome present to the Church, as did all the lords, so that the amount of their gifts was upwards of three thousand francs.” __
Martyrs of Terni: Three Christians who gave proper burial to Saint Valentine of Terni. Martyred in the persecutions of Aurelius. 273 in Terni, Italy – Apollonius, Ephebus, Proculus.
Martyrs of Alexandria: A group of Christians murdered in various ways for their faith in Alexandria, Egypt. We know the names and a few details about 16 of them – Agatho, Agatone, Ammonio, Ammonius, Antonius, Bassiano, Bassianus, Cirione, Cyrio, Dionysius, Dionysius, Lucio, Moses, Moses, Proto and Tonione.
Our Morning Offering – 13 February – The Memorial of Blessed Jordan of Saxony OP (1190-1237) and a blessed Marian Saturday
It was Jordan who initiated the custom of singing the Salve Regina in procession each night after Compline, to ask Our Lady’s protection of the brothers against temptations from the devil. This is a custom still practised by Dominicans throughout the world and by our community each night.
Salve Regina Hail Holy Queen By Blessed Herman the Cripple of Reichenau(1013–1054)
Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, Hail our life, our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry, Poor banished children of Eve; To thee do we send up our sighs, Mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, Thine eyes of mercy toward us; And after this our exile, Show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
This line, below, by St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) Doctor of the Church
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
℣ Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, ℟ that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray: Almighty, everlasting God, who by the co-operation of the Holy Spirit didst prepare the body and soul of the glorious Virgin-Mother Mary to become a dwelling-place fit for Thy Son, grant that as we rejoice in her commemoration, so by her fervent intercession, we may be delivered from present evils and from everlasting death. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen
Mother of Mercy, Our Lady of Pellevoisin, France (1876) – 13 February: Pellevoisin is a little village not far from Tours in France. In 1876, a young woman, Estelle Faguette, lay dying from tuberculosis, at the aged of 33 – only five hours to live in the opinion of the doctors. With childlike faith, Estelle composed a letter to the Blessed Virgin Mary in which she asked for a cure. The letter was laid at the feet of a Statue of the Virgin in Montbel, the summer chateau of the Rochefoucaulds, about 3 km from Pellevoisin.
And, on the 13th of February, when all were expecting her death, Our Lady appeared near the sickbed. This occurred on three successive nights and then, as Our Lady had promised, the sick woman was instantly cured on a Saturday. During the visits, Our Lady of Pellevoisin frequently spoke to Estelle, her theme being that which she so often has expressed during the past hundred years:
“I am all-merciful and have great influence over my Son. What distresses me most is the lack of respect for my Son. Publish my glory.”
For some months after her miraculous cure, Estelle continued to live quietly at Pellevoisin. She was at a loss to find the means of fulfilling the mission entrusted to her by Our Lady. Her heavenly visitor, however, was watching over her and Estelle was to see her again and receive more minute instructions as to what was required of her. On the feast of Our Lady’s Visitation in the same year, 1876, as Estelle was praying in her room, she was granted another vision. Our Lady, robed in white and wearing on her breast a white scapular with the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, appeared to her favoured friend. This was the first of a series of wonderful visions enjoyed by Estelle, ten in all. Again and again Mary pointed to the great need for penance and expiation – a return to God. During one of these apparitions, Our Lady of Pellevoisin, taking her white scapular in her hand, held it before Estelle saying,
“I love this devotion.”
Immediately Estelle knew that her life’s work was to propagate devotion to the Sacred Heart by means of a scapular modeled on Mary’s. On her last appearance, December 8th, Our Lady commanded Estelle to approach her Bishop and give him a copy of the new scapular.
“Tell him to help you with all his power and that nothing would be more agreeable to me, than to see this badge on each one of my children, in reparation for the outrages that my Son suffers in the Sacrament of His Love. See, the graces I pour upon those who wear it with confidence and who help to make it known.”
The Prelate in question, the Archbishop of Bourges, Mnsgr de La Tour d’Auvergne, gave Estelle a favourable hearing and immediately set up a commission to investigate the whole matter. The result of all this was the establishment at Pellevoisin in 1894 by Pope Leo XIII of an Archconfraternity under the title of Mother of Mercy, Our Lady of Pellevoisin. The membership of this Confraternity has gone on increasing year after year, while Pellevoisin itself has become a centre of pilgrimages for thousands of Mary’s friends. Estelle lived her quiet and peaceful life at Pellevoisin, neither desiring nor receiving any personal credit. She died in 1929. Her miraculous cure was recognised in 1983 by Monsignor Paul Vignancour. Although no formal approval has been granted acknowledging the authenticity of the events at Pellevoisi, either by the local bishop at Bourges or by the Holy See, numerous acts of secondary level of approval, including recognition of Mary’s scapular request, have been granted. Pope Leo XIII, by a Motu Proprio, granted indulgences to encourage the pilgrimage to Pellevoisin on 20 December 1892, and on 4 April 1900, The Congregation of Rites issued a decree granting approval to the Scapular of the Sacred Heart.
St Julian of Lyon St Lucinus of Angers St Marice St Martinian the Hermit St Maura of Ravenna St Modomnoc St Paulus Lio Hanzuo St Peter I of Vercelli St Phaolô Lê Van Loc St Stephen of Lyons St Stephen of Rieti
Madonna del Pilerio – 12 February: is the patron of the city of Cosenza and of the Archdiocese of Cosenza-Bisignano, Italy. The Madonna del Pilerio is depicted in an icon dating back to the twelfth century that is found since 1607 in the Chapel built specifically within the Cathedral of Cosenza , commissioned by Msgr Giovani Battista Costanzo ( 1591 – 1617 ). On 10 May 1981, the Cathedral of Cosenza was raised to the Shrine of Our Lady of Pilerio by the Archbishop Msgr Dino Trabalzini. The patronal feast of Cosenza is not celebrated on 8 September, the Feast of Our Lady of Pilerio and date to which the Nativity of the Virgin is recognised but 12 February, to remember the devastating earthquake that hit Calabria on that date, in 1854.
Official Prayer to the Madonna del Pilerio
Virgin of Pilerio, Mother of the Church, You are for us Support, Help and Hope. We thank you and bless you but above all we love you. You are our tender Mother, given to us by Christ on the Cross. Listen to your children’s prayer. Do not let us ever turn away from you. Strengthen our faith in us, sustain hope, revive charity. May you praise the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit forever and ever. Amen O Madonna del Pilerio, our glorious Patron, pray for us.
St Modestus of Alexandria St Modestus of Carthage St Modestus the Deacon Bl Nicholas of Hungary St Sedulius Bl Thomas of Foligno — Martyrs of Albitina – 46 saints: During the persecutions of Diocletian, troops were sent to the churches of Abitina, North Africa on a Sunday morning; they rounded up everyone who had arrived for Mass and took them all to Carthage for interrogation by pro-consul Anulinus. The 46 who proclaimed their Christianity were executed. We know some of their names and stories. They were tortured to death in 304 in prison at Albitina, North Africa.
Martyred in England: Bl George Haydock Bl James Fenn Bl John Nutter Bl John Munden Bl Thomas Hemeford
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War: Josep Gassol Montseny
Quo/ste of the Day – 11 February – The Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes
“I am the Immaculate Conception.”
Our Lady of Lourdes to St Bernadette 25 March 1858
“Mary is the great mould of God … He who is cast in this divine mould is soon formed and moulded in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ in him. With little effort and in a short time, he will become divine, since he is cast in the same mould which formed a God.”
St Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort (1673-1716)
O daughter of King David and Mother of God, the universal King. O Divine and living object whose beauty has charmed God the Creator; your whole soul is completely open to God’s action and attentive to God alone. … Your womb will be the abode of the one whom no place can contain. Your milk will provide nourishment for God, in the little Infant Jesus. Your hands will carry God and your knees will serve as a throne for Him that is more noble than the throne of the Cherubim. … You are the temple of the Holy Spirit, the city of the living God, made joyous by abundant flowers, the sacred flowers of Divine grace. You are all-beautiful and very close to God, above the Cherubim and higher than the Seraphim, right near God Himself! Amen
St John Damascene (675-749) Father and Doctor of the Church
One Minute Reflection – 13 February – Readings: Genesis 2:18-25, Psalms 128:1-2, 3,4-5, Mark 7:24-30 and the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes
“Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” … Mark 7:28
REFLECTION – “O woman, your faith is great. Let it be done to you as you wish” (Mt 15:28). Indeed, she had great enough faith, since she knew neither the ancient miracles, commands and promises of the prophets, nor the more recent ones of the Lord Himself. In addition, as often as she was disregarded by the Lord, she persevered in her entreaties and she did not cease knocking by asking Him, though she knew only by popular opinion that He was the Saviour. On account of this, she secured the great object for which she implored. … If one of us has a conscience polluted by the stain of avarice, conceit, vain-glory, indignation, irascibility, or envy and the other vices, he has “a daughter badly troubled by a demon” like the Canaanite woman. He should hasten to the Lord, making supplication for her healing. … Being submissive with due humility, [such a person] must not judge himself to be worthy of the company of the sheep of Israel, (that is, souls that are pure) but instead, he must be of the opinion, that he is unworthy of heavenly favours. Nevertheless, let him not in despair rest from the earnestness of his entreaty but with his mind free of doubt, let him trust in the goodness of the supreme Benefactor, for the One who could make a confessor from a robber (Lk 23:39f.), an Apostle from a persecutor (Acts 9:1-30, an Evangelist from a publican (Mt 9:9-13) and who could make sons for Abraham out of stones, could turn even the most insignificant dog, into an Israelite sheep.” – St Bede the Venerable (673-735) Father and Doctor of the Church – Homilies on the Gospels
PRAYER – Grant us, O merciful God, protection in our weakness, that we, who keep the Memorial of the Immaculate Mother of God, may, with the help of her intercession, rise up from our iniquities. Grant, we pray that our lives may be gifts to all those who cry out in pain. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 11 February – The Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes
Queen on Whose Starry Brow Doth Rest St Venantius Fortunatus (c 530-c 609) Translation by Monsignor Ronald A Knox (1888 – 1957)
Queen, on whose starry brow doth rest The crown of perfect maidenhood, The God who made thee, from thy brest Drew, for our sakes, His earthly food.
The grace that sinful Eve denied, With thy Child-bearing, reppears; Heaven’s lingering door, set open wide, Welcomes the children of her tears.
Fate, for such royal progress meet, Beacon, whose rays such light can give, Look, how the ransomed nations greet The virgin-womb that bade them live!
O Jesus, whom the Vrgin bore, Be praise and glory unto Thee. Praise to the Father evermore And His life-givine Spirit be. Amen!
Saint Venantius Fortunatus (c 530 – c 609) Bishop, Poet, Hymnist, Writer – born c 530 at Rreviso, Italy and died c 609 at Poitiers, modern France of natural causes. St Venantius was unique, first a travelling lay poet, he later became a Priest and then a Bishop. But he always remained a professional author of poetry, a “troubadour” of Christ. He is the author of the Ave Maris Stella, amongst many others.