St Abundantia the Martyr St Aphraates St Aquilinus of Milan St Barbea of Edessa St Blath of Kildare Bl Boleslawa Maria Lament St Caesarius of Angoulême Bl Charles of Sayn St Constantius of Perugia (Died c 170) Martyr Bishop
Our Morning Offering – 28 January – Memorial of St Peter Nolasco (c 1182–c 1256) Confessor
Before Jesus Crucified (Sweet Jesus, Please Abide with Me!) By Blessed Titus Brandsma (1881-1942) Martyr
Dear Lord, when looking up at Thee, I see Thy loving eyes on me, Love overflows my humble heart, Knowing what a faithful friend Thou are. A cup of sorrow I foresee, Which I accept for love of Thee, Thy painful way I wish to go, The only way to God I know. My soul is full of peace and light, Although in pain, this light shines bright. For here, Thou keepest to Thy breast. My longing heart to find there rest. Leave me here freely all alone, In cell where never sunlight shone. Should no-one ever speak to me, This golden silence makes me free! For though alone, I have no fear, Never were Thou, O Lord, so near. Sweet Jesus, please, abide with me! My deepest peace I find in Thee. Amen
The Second Feast of St Agnes: 28 January is traditionally the day of the “Second Feast of St Agnes,” although this very ancient observance was reduced to a commemoration in 1931 and abolished in the post-Conciliar reform (1969). It is still kept in some Churches dedicated to St Agnes, most prominent among them, the Basilica built over the site of her burial, less than a mile and a half from the gates of Rome. In liturgical books, the formal name of the feast is “Sanctae Agnetis secundo,” which literally means “the feast of St Agnes for the second time.” This title is found on the calendar of the Tridentine Missal and Breviary, as also seven centuries earlier in the Gregorian Sacramentary. The single Matins lesson in the Breviary of St Pius V tells us, that after her death, Agnes appeared first to her parents to console them and then to the Emperor Constantine’s daughter Constantia, who suffered from an incurable sore, while she was praying at her grave, exhorting Constantia to trust in Christ and receive Baptism. Having done this and been healed, Constantia later built a Basilica in the Saint’s honour.
St Peter Nolasco OdeM (c 1182–c 1256) Founder of the Congregation of the Royal and Military Order of Our Lady of Mercy of the Redemption of the Captives (Mercadarians).
St Aemilian of Trebi St Agatha Lin Bl Amadeus of Lausanne St Antimus of Brantôme St Archebran Bl Bartolomé Aiutamicristo St Brigid of Picardy St Callinicus St Cannera of Inis Cathaig Bl Charlemagne (a decree of Canonisation was issued by the anti-pope Paschal III but this was never ratified by valid authority.) St Constantly St Flavian of Civita Vecchia St Glastian of Kinglassie Bl James the Almsgiver St James the Hermit St Jerome Lu St John of Reomay
St Julian of Cuenca St Lawrence Wang St Leucius of Apollonia Bl María Luisa Montesinos Orduña St Maura of Picardy Bl Mosè Tovini Bl Odo of Beauvais Bl Olympia Bida St Palladius of Antioch St Paulinus of Aquileia Bl Peter Won Si-jang St Richard of Vaucelles St Thyrsus of Apollonia
Martyrs of Alexandria: A group of 4th-century parishioners in Alexandria, Egypt. During the celebration of Mass one day an Arian officer named Syrianus led a troop of soldiers into their church and proceded to murder all the orthodox Christians in the place. 356 in Alexandria, Egypt.
Saint of the Day – 27 January – St Devota (Died c 303) Virgin Martyr,. Born at Mariana, Corsica, France and died by being tortured to death on the rack in c 303. Patronages – Monica, Corsica, House of Grimaldi, Mariana, Corsica; mariners. Also known as – Dévote, … of Corsica, … of Monaco.
Devota was a Corsican woman born at Mariana, Corsica. A young virgin, she had decided to devote herself fully to the service of God. Devota was part the household of Senator Eutychius of the imperial Roman administration.. During the Diocletian persecution, the Prefect Barbarus, arrived in Corsica with a fleet and when he learned that the Senator was harbouring a Christian in his house, demanded that she be given up and compelled to perform the requisite sacrifice to the imperial cult. Senator Eutychius refused, and not wishing to confront him directly, Barbarus arranged to have him poisoned. Devota was imprisoned and tortured for her faith. Her mouth was crushed, and her body was dragged through rocks and brambles. She was Martyred at Mariana by being racked to death.
After her death, the Governor of the Province ordered her body to be burnt to prevent its veneration. However, it was saved from the flames by Christians. Her body was placed on a boat bound for Africa. Gratianus the boat’s pilot; Benenato, a Priest and Apollinaris, his Deacon believed it would receive proper Christian burial there. However, a storm overtook the boat. A dove appeared and guided the boat to present-day Les Gaumates, part of the Principality of Monaco, where a Chapel dedicated to Saint George stood.
In her honour, a new Chapel was built, which stands in Monaco still where flowers bloom, on her Feast Day today, which is still in the throes of winter in Monaco and therefore, before their season. Reports of numerous miracles soon occurred at St Devota’s tomb. During incursions by Moors, Devota’s relics were translated to safety at the Monastery of Cimiez and were returned to Monaco, to her Church restored much later, by Antonio I, Prince of Monaco.
The Sainte-Dévote Chapel is first mentioned about 1070, belonging to the Abbey of Saint Pons. The Chapel was rebuilt and expanded several times. It became a Priory in the 13th century and in 1536 was acquired by Honoré I, Lord of Monaco. The Chapel became the Parish Church in 1887.
The “Legend of Saint Devota” is one of the Principality of Monaco’s oldest traditions – it has influenced national culture engendering a deep devotion to the Faith and to St Devota as well as influencing many areas of national life. in fields as diverse as history, literature, the arts, painting, music, coins and stamps. This legend, passed on through a medieval document, holds a special place in the heart of the Monégasque and over the centuries, has been awarded a permanent place in the Country’s history.
In 1070, Antinope, the Captain of a Florentine ship, attempted to steal the reliquary containing Devota’s relics. The legend states that a violent wind impeded him from escaping with the relics. Arrested, Ugo Grimaldi ordered his ears and nose to be cut off. Antinope’s boat was then burnt on the beach of Monaco.
In the 16th century, Devota was invoked for protection against the Genoese and the Pisans. Their ultimate failure to take away the independence of Monaco was attributed to the divine protection of Devota. In 1631, the cessation of an outbreak of the Plague was also due to St Devota’s intercession, as well as, the expulsion of the Spanish on the night of 17 November 1641 – a galley taken from the Spanish was renamed “Devota.” Monégasque coins bearing the effigy of Devota were issued in the 16th century, beginning in the reign of Honoré II, Prince of Monaco. During his reign, Devota became the Patroness of Monaco.
A series of postage stamps bearing Devota’s likeness were issued in 1944 and again in 1992.
St Devota has her very own corner on the famous Circuit de Monaco, where the most famous motor race in the world is held. Situated at the very first turn of the Grand Prix track is none other than the location of the Patron Saint’s Chapel. The celebrated Sanctuary is sadly often missed during the races, as the beautiful creme structure is usually covered by crash barriers and signage.
Joseph Méry put the legend of Saint Devota into verse. The first book written in Monegasque language by the Monegasque Poet, Louis Notari, is entitled A legenda de Santa Devota. It was composed in 1927 and is important because, until then, the Monégasque language, had been utilized only in speech.
Her cult became important to Monaco and the Grimaldis. Since 1874 it has been the custom that on the evening before her feast day a symbolic fishing boat is brought in procession into Port-Hercule and set alight outside the Église Sainte Dévote. This is followed by a fireworks display that lights up Port-Hercule.
On 27 January Mass is celebrated in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception attended by Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene and their children. It is followed by a Solemn Procession of the Relics, to request protection for the Royal Family and the Principality. A Reception in the Monte Carlo Opera House also take place. Albert II, Prince of Monaco, together with Princess Charlene, participate in this ceremony.
In 2014 the Monegasque Rugby Federation, in association with the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation, organised the Saint Devota Rugby Challenge. Including teams from Spain and Italy, the free program includes educational workshops and circuits for disabled children, to introduce them to the game.
Most of you know that I am a South African and we, here at home, are all very proud of the South African Princess of Monaco, Charlene!
Quote/s of the Day – 26 January – The Memorial of St Polycarp (c 69 – c 155) Martyr and Apostolic Father of the Church,
“We are treated as deceivers and yet, are truthful, as unrecognised and yet, acknowledged, as dying and behold we live, as chastised and yet, not put to death, as sorrowful yet, always rejoicing, as poor yet, enriching many, as having nothing and yet, possessing all things.”
2 Corinthians 8-10
“Chosen soul, how will you bring this about? What steps will you take to reach the high level to which God is calling you? The means of holiness and salvation, are known to everybody, since they are found in the Gospel, the masters of the spiritual life have explained them, the Saints have practised them… These means are – sincere Humility, unceasing Prayer, complete Self-denial, abandonment to Divine Providence and obedience to the Will of God.”
St Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort (1673-1716)
“If the Church stays silent in the face of what is happening, what difference would it make, if no church were ever opened again?”
“We are not dealing with a small matter but the great (apocalyptic) life and death struggle has already begun. Yet in the midst of it, there are many, who still go on living their lives as though nothing had changed … “
One Minute Reflection – 26 January – The Memorial of St Polycarp (c 69 – c 155) Martyr and Apostolic Father of the Church, 1 John 3:10-16; Matthew 10:26-32
“And fear you not them who kill the body and are not able to kill the soul …” – Matthew 10:28
REFLECTION – “They did not nail Polycarp but only tied him up. And so, he was bound, putting his arms behind his back, like a noble ram taken from a large flock for sacrifice, a burnt offering acceptable to and made ready for God. Then he gazed up to Heaven and said: “O Lord God Almighty, Father of Your beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, through Whom we have received knowledge of You, God of the angels and the powers and of all creation, God of the whole race of the righteous who live in Your sight: I bless You, for You have thought me worthy of this day and hour, to share the cup of Your Christ, as one of Your Martyrs, to rise again to eternal life in body and soul in the immortality of the Holy Ghost. May I be taken up today into Your Presence among Your Martyrs, as a rich and acceptable sacrifice, in the manner You have prepared and have revealed and have now brought to fulfillment, for You are the God of truth… And so also I praise You for all things; I bless and glorify you through our Eternal High Priest in Heaven (Heb 4,14), in Your beloved Child, Jesus Christ, through Whom be glory to You and to Him and to the Holy Ghost, now and for the ages to come. Amen.” – Letter of the Church of Smyrna concerning the Martyrdom of Saint Polycarp (69-155)
PRAYER – Lord of all creation, You gave St Polycarp, a place in the company of the Martyrs. Grant that, through his intercession, we may, like him, drink from that cup which Christ drank and so rise to eternal life. Through Christ our Lord, in unity with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Saint of the Day – 26 January – Saint Polycarp (69-155) Bishop of Smyrna (Asia Minor), Martyr, Apostolic Church Father. Polycarp was a disciple of Saint John the Apostle Consecrated by St John, as the Bishop of Smyrna. Polycarp is regarded as one of three chief Apostolic Fathers, along with Saint Clement of Rome and Saint Ignatius of Antioch.
The Roman Martyrology reads today: “At Smyrna, the birthday of St Polycarp, a disciple of the Apostle, the beloved St John, who Consecrated him Bishop of that City and Primate of all Asia. Afterwards under Marcus Antoninus and Lucius Aurelius Commodus, whilst the Proconsul was sitting in judgement and all the people in the amphitheatre were clamouring against him, he was condemned to the flames. But, as he received no injury from them, he was transpierced with a sword and thus received the Crown of Martyrdom.”
Amidst the sweetness he is enjoying from the contemplation of the Word made Flesh, St John, the Beloved Disciple beholds, coming towards him his dear Polycarp, the Angel of the Church of Smyrna (Apoc. 2: 8), all resplendent with the glory of Martyrdom (he is the only bishop mentioned in the Apocalypse without any reproach). This venerable Saint was a disciple of St John the Evangelist, whom he imitated by zealously opposing the heretics, who were then striving to corrupt the Faith. In obedience to the command of his holy Master (2 John, 1: 10), he refused to have anything to do with Marcion, the heresiarch, whom he called the first-born of Satan. This energetic adversary of the proud sect that denied the mystery of the Incarnation, wrote an admirable Epistle to the Philippians, in which we find these words: “Whosoever confesses not, that Jesus Christ came in the flesh, is an Antichrist.” St Polycarp, then, had a right to the honour of standing near the Crib, in which the Son of God shows Himself to us in all His loveliness and clothed in flesh like unto our own. Let us honour this disciple of St John, this friend of St Ignatius of Antioch, this Bishop of the Apostolic Age, whose praise was pronounced by Jesus Christ Himself in the Revelations of Patmos. Our Saviour said to him by the mouth of St John: “Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee the crown of life” (Apoc. 2: 10). St Polycarp was faithful unto death, and has received his crown.
In the sixth year of Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, Statius Quadratus being proconsul of Asia, a violent persecution broke out in that country, in which the faithful gave heroic proofs of their courage and love of God, to the astonishment of the infidels. When they were torn to pieces with scourges till their very bowels were laid bare, amidst the moans and tears of the spectators, who were moved with pity at the sight of their torments, not one of them gave so much as a single groan: so little regard had they for their own flesh in the cause of God. No kind of torture, no inventions of cruelty, were forborne to force them to a conformity to the pagan worship of the times. The authors of these Acts observe, that the Martyrs, by their patience and constancy, demonstrated to all men, that, while their bodies were tormented, they were in spirit estranged from the flesh and already in Heaven; or rather, that Our Lord was present with them and assisted them; for the fire of the barbarous executioners seems, as if it had been a cooling refreshment to them.
On one occasion, seeing the courage of one Germanicus and his companions and being fond of their impious bloody diversions, the spectators cried out: “Away with the impious; let Polycarp be sought for.” The holy man, though fearless, had been prevailed upon by his friends to withdraw and conceal himself in a neighbouring village during the persecution, spending most of his time in prayer. Three days before his Martyrdom, he, in a vision, saw his pillow on fire – from which he understood by revelation and foretold to his companions, that he should be burned alive. When the persecutors were in quest of him, he changed his hiding-place but was betrayed by a boy, who was threatened with the rack unless he disclosed him. Herod the Irenarch, or keeper of the peace, whose office it was to prevent misdemeanours and apprehend malefactors, sent horsemen by night to beset his lodgings. The Saint was upstairs in bed but refused to make his escape, saying, “God’s will be done.” He went down, met them at the door, ordered them a good supper and desired only some time for prayer before he went with them. This granted, he began his prayer standing, which he continued in that posture for two hours, recommending to God his own flock and the whole Church with so much earnestness and devotion, that several of those who were come to seize him, repented they had undertaken the commission.
They set him on an ass,and were conducting him towards the City, when he was met on the road by Herod and his father Nicetes, who took him into their chariot and endeavoured to persuade him to a little compliance, saying: “What harm is there in saying ‘Lord Caesar,’ or even in sacrificing, to escape death?” By the word ‘Lord’ was meant nothing less than a kind of deity or godhead. The Bishop at first was silent, in imitation of our Saviour but being pressed, he gave them this resolute answer: “ I shall never do what you desire of me.” At these words, taking off the mask of friendship and compassion, they treated him with scorn and reproaches and thrust him out of the chariot with such violence, that his leg was bruised by the fall.
The holy man went cheerfully to the place where the people were assembled. Upon his entering it, a voice from Heaven was heard by many, saying: “Polycarp, be courageous and act manfully.” He was led directly to the tribunal of the proconsul, who exhorted him to respect his own age (probably more than 100 years), to swear by the genius of Caesar and to say: “Take away the impious” meaning the Christians. The Saint, turning towards the people, said with a stern countenance: “Exterminate the wicked,” meaning by this expression either a wish that they might cease to be wicked by their conversion to the Faith of Christ; or this was a prediction of the calamity which befell their City in 177, when Smyrna was overturned by an earthquake. The proconsul repeated: “Swear by the genius of Caesar and I will discharge you“ blaspheme Christ! Polycarp replied: “I have served Him these 86 years (probably the time since his Baptism) and He never did me any harm but much good and how can I blaspheme my King and my Saviour? If you require of me to swear by the genius of Caesar, as you call it, hear my free confession – I am a Christian but if you desire to learn the Christian religion, appoint a time and hear me.” The proconsul said: “Persuade the people.” The Martyr replied: “I address my discourse to you; for we are taught to give due honour to princes, as far as is consistent with religion. But the populace is an incompetent judge to justify myself before.” Indeed rage rendered them incapable of hearing him.
The proconsul then assuming a tone of severity, said: “I have wild beasts!” “Call for them, replied the Saint, for we are unalterably resolved not to change from good to evil. It is only good to pass from evil to good.” The proconsul said: “If you contempt the beasts, I will cause you to be burnt to ashes.” Polycarp answered: “You threaten me with a fire, which burns for a short time and then goes out but are yourself ignorant of the judgement to come and of the fire of everlasting torments, which is prepared for the wicked. Why do you delay? Bring against me what you please.” While he said this and many other things, he appeared in a transport of joy and confidence and his countenance shone with a certain heavenly grace and pleasant cheerfulness, insomuch, that the Proconsul himself, was struck with admiration.
However, he ordered a crier to make public proclamation, three times in the middle of the Stadium (as was the Roman custom in capital cases) – Polycarp has confessed himself a Christian! At this proclamation, the whole multitude of Jews and Gentiles gave a great shout, the latter crying out: “This is the great teacher of Asia; the father of the Christians; the destroyer of our gods, who preaches to men not to sacrifice to or adore them.” They applied to Philip the Asiarch (president of the public games) to let loose a lion upon Polycarp. He told them that it was not in his power because those games had been closed. Then they unanimously demanded that he should be burned alive. Their request was no sooner granted but everyone ran with all speed to fetch wood from the baths and shops.
The pile being prepared, Polycarp put off his garments, untied his girdle and began to take off his shoes; an office he had not been accustomed to, the Christians having always striven who should do these things for him, regarding it as a happiness to be permitted even to touch him. The wood and other combustibles were heaped all round him. The executioners would have nailed him to the stake but he said to them: “Suffer me to be as I am. He who gives me grace to undergo this fire, will enable me to stand still without that precaution.” They, therefore, contented themselves with tying his hands behind his back and in this posture, looking up towards Heaven, he prayed: “O Almighty Lord God, Father of Thy beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, by Whom we have received the knowledge of Thee, God of Angels, powers and every creature and of all the race of the just that live in Thy presence! I bless Thee for having been pleased in Thy goodness to bring me to this hour, that I may receive my portion in the number of Thy Martyrs and partake of the chalice of Thy Christ, for the resurrection to eternal life, in the incorruptibleness of the Holy Ghost. Amongst whom grant me to be received this day as a pleasing sacrifice, such as one as Thou Thyself hast prepared, that so Thou mayest accomplish what Thou, O true and faithful God, hast foreshown. Wherefore, for all things I praise, bless and glorify Thee, through the eternal High Priest, Jesus Christ Thy beloved Son, with Whom, to Thee and the Holy Ghost be glory now and forever. Amen.”
He had scarcely finished when fire was set to the pile, which increased to a mighty flame. But behold a wonder, say the authors of these Acts, seen by us reserved to attest it to others, the flames forming themselves into an arch, like the sails of a ship swelled with the wind, gently encircled the body of the Martyr, which stood in the middle, resembling not roasted flesh but purified gold or silver, appearing bright through the flames and his body sending forth such a fragrance, that we seemed to smell precious spices. The blind infidels were only exasperated to see, that his body could not be consumed and ordered a spearman to pierce him through, which he did, and such a quantity of blood issued out of his left side as to quench the fire!
The malice of the devil ended not here: he endeavoured to obstruct the relics of the Martyr being carried off by the Christians, for many desired to do it, to show their respect to his body. Therefore, by the suggestion of Satan, Nicetes advised the proconsul not to bestow it on the Christians, lest, said he, abandoning the Crucified Man, they should adore Polycarp. The Jews suggested this, Not knowing, say the authors of the Acts, that we can never forsake Christ, nor adore any other, though we love the Martyrs, as His disciples and imitators, for the great love they bore their King and Master. The centurion, seeing a contest raised by the Jews, placed the body in the middle and burned it to ashes. We afterwards took up the bones, say they, more precious than the richest jewels or gold, and deposited them decently in a place at which may God grant us to assemble with joy, to celebrate the natal day of the Martyr. Thus said these disciples and eye-witnesses. It was at two in the afternoon, which the authors of the Acts call the eighth hour, in the year 155, that St Polycarp received his crown. His tomb is still shown with great veneration at Smyrna in a small Chapel.
The Church gives us a passage from St Jerome’s book, On Ecclesiastical Writers, in which there is contained a short notice of our Holy Martyr:
“Polycarp, a disciple of the Apostle John, who ordained him Bishop of Smyrna, was looked up to by all the Churches of Asia, inasmuch as he had not only known some of the Apostles, and those who had seen Our Lord, but had been trained by them. He went to Rome, during the reign of the Emperor Antoninus Pius, and under the Pontificate of Anicetus, in order to have an answer to certain questions regarding Easter day. Whilst there, he brought back to the Faith several Christians who had been misled by the teaching of Marcion and Valentine. Having on a certain occasion casually met Marcion, who said to him: Dost thou know us? Polycarp replied: Yes, I know thee as the first-born of Satan. Some time after, under the reign of Marcus Antoninus and Lucius Aurelius Commodus, in the fourth persecution after that under Nero, he was cited before the Proconsul of Smyrna, who condemned him to be burnt alive; which sentence was carried into effect in the amphitheater, amidst the clamors of the whole people. He wrote an important Letter to the Philippians, which is still read in the Churches of Asia.
How well didst thou bear out the full meaning of the name, O Polycarp! For thou didst produce many fruits for thy Saviour, during the eighty-six years spent in His service. The numerous souls won over to Christ, the virtues which adorned thy life, and thy life itself, which thou didst present to thy Lord in its full maturity—these were thy fruits. And what happiness was thine to have received instruction from the Disciple that leaned upon Jesus’ Breast! After being separated from him for more than sixty years, thou art united with him on this day of thy Martyrdom and thy venerable master receives thee in a transport of joy. Thou dost adore with him that Divine Babe, Whose simplicity thou hadst imitated during life and Who was the single object of thy love. Ask of Him for us, that we too may be faithful unto death.
By thy prayers, now that thou art enthroned in Heaven, make fruitful the vineyard of the Church, which when on earth thou didst cultivate by thy labours and water with the blood of thy glorious Martyrdom. Re-establish faith and unity in the Churches of Asia, which were founded by thy venerable hand. Hasten, by thy prayers, the destruction of that degrading slavery of Islam, which has kept the East in bondage so long because her once faithful children severed themselves from Rome, by the great schism of Byzantium. Pray for the Church of Lyons, which regards thee as its founder, through the ministry of thy disciple Pothinus and took itself so glorious a share in the apostolate of the Gentiles, by the Work of the Propagation of the Faith.
Watch over the purity of our holy Faith and preserve us from being deceived by false teachers. The error which thou didst combat and which teaches, that all the mysteries of the Incarnation are but empty symbols, has risen up again in these our days. There are Marcions, even now, who would reduce all religion to myths and they find followers. May thy powerful prayers rid the world of this remnant of so impious a doctrine. Thou didst pay homage to the Apostolic Chair, for thou, too, wanted to see Peter and didst journey to Rome, in order to consult its Pontiff on questions regarding the interests of thy Church in Smyrna. Pray for the restoration of this august See, whence are derived the jurisdiction of our Pastors and the authoritative teachings of the Faith. Pray for us, that we may spend the remaining days of this holy Christmas Season in the contemplation and the love of our new-born King. May this love, accompanied with purity of heart, draw down upon us, the merciful blessings of God and at length,, after our course is run, obtain for us the Crown of Life. Amen!” (The Passio of St Polycarp).
St Alphonsus of Astorga St Ansurius of Orense St Athanasius of Sorrento St Conan of Iona Bl Eystein Erlandsön Bl José Gabriel del Rosario Brochero Bl Marie de la Dive veuve du Verdier de la Sorinière Bl Michaël Kozal
St Theofrid of Corbie St Theogenes of Hippo St Tortgith of Barking
Martyred Family of Constantinople: Saint Mary and Saint Xenophon were married and the parents of Saint John and Saint Arcadius. Theirs was a wealthy family of Senatorial rank in 5th century imperial Constantinople, but were known as a Christians who lived simple lives. To give their sons a good education, Xenophon and Mary sent them to university in Beirut, Phoenicia. However, their ship wrecked, there was no communication from them, and the couple assumed, naturally, that the young men had died at sea. In reality, John and Arcadius had survived and decided that instead of continuing to Beirut, they were going to follow a calling to religious life and became monks, eventually living in a monastery in Jerusalem. Years later, Mary and Xenophon made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem – where they encountered their sons. Grateful to have their family re-united and taking it as a sign, Xenophon and Mary gave up their positions in society in Constantinople, and lived the rest of their lives as a monk and anchoress in Jerusalem. A few years later, the entire family was martyred together. They were martyred in 5th century Jerusalem.
Saint of the Day – 25 January – Saint Praejectus (625–676) Bishop of Clermont, Martyr. Although he was considered a Martyr immediately after his death his murder does not seem to have been related to the hatred of the Faith. Born in 625 in Auvergne, France and died by being stabbed to death on 25 January 676 at Volvic, France. Patronage – Randazzo, Sicily. Also known as – Preietto, Preils, Prejectus, Prest, Prie, Priest, Prix, Proietto, Projectus, Pry.
The Roman Martyrology reads: “In Clermont-Ferrand in the Aquitaine region, in France, Saints Preietto, Bishop and Amarino, man of God, both killed by the notables of the City.”
Praejectus was born in the Auvergne to the nobility. He studied under St Genesius of Clermont and was Ordained a Priest and, with the approval of King Childeric II, became the Bishop of Clermont in 666.
As Bishop, Prajejectus in his 10 years as the shepherd, worked zealously founding Monasteries, hospitals and Churches. He worked with Saint Reol of Rheims, Saint Agilbert of Paris, Saint Amarinus of Clermon and Saint Ouen of Rouen to reform and calm the sometimes violent political situation in their Sees.
During the political struggles of the time, Hector, Lord of Marseilles, had been accused of various crimes and at the order of Childeric, had been arrested and executed. Agritius, the man who killed Praejectus, believed that the Bishop had been responsible for Hector’s death. At Volvic, the assassin thus stabbed Praejectus and Amarinus, the Abbot of a Monastery in the area.
An account of Praejectus’ life was written shortly after his death and he was immediately venerated as a Martyr. The author may have been a nun from the Monastery of Chamalières, which had been founded through Praejectus’ efforts and it was presided over by an Abbess who was probably a member of Praejectus’ family.
Most of St Praejectus’ relics are enshrined in Flavigny Abbey, Flavigny-sur-Ozerain, France., where there is also a miraculous fountain at which cures are granted through the intercession of St Praejectus. In 760 his cultus spread to English monastic calendars. The Church at Volvic, where Praejectus was killed, is dedicated to “St Priest” (Projectus) and where some relics reside.
Bl Antoni Swiadek St Apollo of Heliopolis St Artemas of Pozzuoli St Auxentius of Epirus St Bretannion of Tomi St Donatus the Martyr St Dwynwen (Died c 460) Virgin Princess, Nun. St Emilia Fernández Rodríguez de Cortés St Eochod of Galloway St Joel of Pulsano St Juventinus of Antioch Bl Manuel Domingo y Sol St Maximinus of Antioch St Palaemon
Our Morning Offering – 24 January – Feast of Saint Timothy, Bishop and Martyr
O Fathers of Our Ancient Faith
O Fathers of our ancient faith, With all the heav’n, we sing your fame Whose sound went forth in all the earth To tell of Christ and bless His Name.
You took the Gospel to the poor, The Word of God alight in you, Which in our day is told again, That timeless Word, forever new.
You told of God, Who died for us And out of death triumphant rose, Who gave the Truth which made us free and changeless through the ages goes.
Praise Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Whose gift is faith that never dies, A light in darkness now, until The Day-Star in our hearts arise.
O Fathers of Our Ancient Faith is written by the Benedictine Nuns of Stanbrook Abbey. In the Divine Office it is sung at Morning Prayer in the Common of Apostles. It is set to the anonymous tune associated with the 7th century Latin hymn, Creator Alme Siderum.
St Filip Geryluk Bl Francesc de Paula Colomer Prísas St Guasacht St Ignacy Franczuk Bl John Grove St Julian Sabas the Elder St Luigj Prendushi St Macedonius Kritophagos Blessed Marcolino Amanni of Forli OP (1317-1397) Bl Marie Poussepin
St Projectus St Sabinian of Troyes St Suranus of Sora St Thyrsus Bl William Ireland
Martyrs of Asia Minor – 4 Saints: A group of Christians martyred together for their faith. The only details to survive are four of their names – Eugene, Mardonius, Metellus and Musonius. They were burned at the stake in Asia Minor.
Martyrs of Podlasie – 13 Beati: Podlasie is an area in modern eastern Poland that, in the 18th-century, was governed by the Russian Empire. Russian sovereigns sought to bring all Eastern-rite Catholics into the Orthodox Church. Catherine II suppressed the Greek Catholic Church in Ukraine in 1784. Nicholas I did the same in Belarus and Lithuania in 1839. Alexander II did the same in the Byzantine-rite Eparchy of Chelm in 1874 and officially suppressed the Eparchy in 1875. The Bishop and the Priests who refused to join the Orthodox Church were deported to Siberia or imprisoned. The laity, left on their own, had to defend their Church, their liturgy and their union with Rome. On 24 January 1874 soldiers entered the village of Pratulin to transfer the parish to Orthodox control. Many of the faithful gathered to defend their parish and Church. The soldiers tried to disperse the people but failed. Their commander tried to bribe the parishioners to abandon Rome but failed. He threatened them with assorted punishments but this failed to move them. Deciding that a show of force was needed, the commander ordered his troops to fire on the unarmed, hymn-singing laymen. Thirteen of the faithful died, most married men with families, ordinary men with great faith. We know almost nothing about their lives outside of this incident. Their families were not allowed to honour them or participate in the funerals and the authorities hoped they would be forgotten. Their names are: • Anicet Hryciuk • Bartlomiej Osypiuk • Daniel Karmasz • Filip Geryluk • Ignacy Franczuk • Jan Andrzejuk • Konstanty Bojko • Konstanty Lukaszuk • Lukasz Bojko • Maksym Hawryluk • Michal Wawryszuk • Onufry Wasyluk • Wincenty Lewoniuk Martyrdom: • shot on 14 January 1874 by Russian soldiers in Podlasie, Poland • buried nearby without rites by those soldiers Beatified – 6 October 1996.
Martyrs of Antioch: Babylas Epolonius Prilidian Urban
Saint of the Day – 23 January – St Emerentiana (Died c 301) Virgin, Martyr, Foster Sister pf St Agnes, Catechumen Also known as – Emerentia. Died by being stoned to death in c 304 at Rome, Italy. Patronages – against abdominal pains, against colic.
The Roman Martyrology states: “At Rome, the holy Virgin and Martyr, Emerentiana. Being only a Catechumen, she was stoned to death by the pagans, whilst praying t the tomb of St Agnes, her Foster Sister.”
An unknown author of the 5th century. added to the Latin Passio of St Agnes, a third chapter that dwells on the funeral of the Saint, on her appearance to her parents, eight days after her death and on the foundation of the Basilica built in her honour by St Costanza, daughter of Constantine.
Among the faithful who flocked to St Agnes’ funeral is also remembered “Emerentiana.”
A sudden attack by fanatical pagans scattered the Christians. Emerenziana, instead of fleeing, courageously addressed the assailants but ended up being stoned to death. The parents of St Agnes buried her body nearby on the limits of their property. There is no doubt, the author concludes, enunciating the doctrine on the Baptism of blood, that Emerenziana was Baptised in her blood, having died for the defence of justice, confessing the Lord.
Emerentiana is represented as a young girl who either has stones in her lap and lilies in her hand, or as being stoned to death by a mob. Her tomb is inow n the Church of St Agnes outside the walls, in Rome. An Altar dedicated to her with a marble relief by Ercole Ferrata depicting her Martyrdom is in St Agnes in Agone.
There is another Chapel dedicated to St Emerentiana at the Marian Shrine of Notre Dame de Vie. Venasque, France, as a special Patron of the Secular Institute of Our Lady of Life. The Statue below resides in this Chapel.
St Raymond of Peñafort OP (1175-1275) “Father of Canon Law” Dominican Priest, Doctor of Canon Law, the Third Master of the Order of Preachers, Founder of the Mercedarian friars, Writer, Teacher, Miracle-Worker. St Raymond of Peñafort’s Feast day was inserted in the General Roman Calendar in 1671 for celebration on 23 January. In 1969 it was moved to 7 January, the day after that of his death. He is the Patron Saint of canon lawyers, specifically and lawyers, in general. Biography: https://anastpaul.com/?s=st+raymond+penafort
St Anastasius the Persian St Antonio della Chiesa St Blaesilla of Rome St Brithwald of Ramsbury St Caterina Volpicelli St Dominic of Sora Bl Esteve Santacana Armengol St Francis Gil de Frederich de Sans
Blessed Giuseppe Giaccardo SSP (1896-1948) Bl Giuseppe Nascimbeni St Guadentius of Novara Bl Ladislao Batthyany-Strattmann Bl Laura Vicuna Blessed Maria Mancini of Pisa OP (1356-1431) Widow, Thjrd Order Sister of the Order of Preachers St Mateo Alonso de Leciñana
Quote/s of the Day – 21 January – The Memorial of St Agnes (c 291- c 304) Virgin and Martyr – Ecclus 51:1-8, 12; Matthew 25:1-13
“Our lamps are going out.”
“I have not become as wise as those five wise Virgins. … But I have become the most wretched of the foolish ones by failing to keep some oil for my lamp, namely, mercy together with virginity or, still more, the anointing from Baptism’s Sacred fount…
Therefore, the doors of the wedding hall are closed to me too, in my negligence. But, O my Bridegroom, while I am still in my body here below, listen to my soul, Your Bride… From now on, I will cry aloud piteously, “Oh, open to me Your Heavenly Door, bring me into Your Wedding Chamber on high, make me worthy of Your Holy Kiss, Your pure and spotless Embrace. Oh let me not hear the Voice saying it does not know me! I am blind; set alight with Your own Light my spirit’s extinguished flame!”
St Nerses Chnorhali (1102-1173) Armenian Bishop
(Jesus, the Father’s beloved Son 688-693, SC 203)
“Give me grace, to amend my life and to have an eye to mine end, without grudge of death, which, to them, who die in You, good Lord, is the gate of a wealthy life.”
St Thomas More (1478-1535) Martyr
My Lord Jesus Christ, You have made this journey to die for me, with love unutterable and I have so many times unworthily abandoned You but now I love You with my whole heart and because I love You, I repent sincerely for having ever offended You. Pardon me, my God and permit me to accompany You on this journey. You go to die for love of me, I wish also, my beloved Redeemer, to die for love of Thee. My Jesus, I will live and die always united to You.” Amen
St Alphonsus Mary Liguori (1696-1787) Most Zealous Doctor of the Church
Saint of the Day – 20 January – Saint Henry of Uppsala (Died c 1156) Martyr, Bishop of Uppsala, (then in eastern Sweden), Missionary. Born in England and died struck with an axe in c 1156 at Nousis, Finland. Patronages – against storms, of Finland. Also known as – Henry of Finland. Henry of Sweden, Heikki, Henrik. Additional Memorial – 18 June (translation of his relics).
According to his Vita (the legend of his life), which was written nearly one hundred years after his death, Henry was born in the early twelfth century and reigned in the See of Uppsala during the time when King Saint Eric of Sweden (also a Martyr) ruled the country. Apparently, Bishop, Henry and the Monarch were good friends and brothers in the Faith and Henry’s biographer blissfully describes this period in Sweden, as Christendom at its finest.
Turning his attention eastward, King Eric, decided to do battle with the pagan Finns, who were separated from Uppsala by the Gulf of Bothnia. Some legends attribute Eric’s campaign against the Finns as retaliatory measures for their plundering activities in Sweden. Other sources say that Eric and Henry worked in tandem and their motivations were largely evangelical. By conquering the Finns, the Bishop and the King hoped to win them over the Christianity.
Whatever their true motivations, King Eric and Bishop Henry conquered Finland and subsequently baptiSed the locals and built Churches. The Catholic Cathedral in Helsinki, Finland’s Capital City, is named in Henry’s honour, to recognise the credit that Finnish Christians give to this saintly Bishop for giving them their faith.
King Eric returned to his home in Swede, but Henry stayed in Finland, as he loved serving as a Missionary in Finland, evangelising and converting numerous numbers.
Henry was murdered by a soldier named Lalli. Lalli was a Baptised Christian who had murdered another soldier. After examining the case, Henry excommunicated Lalli, who flew into a rage and struck Henry with an axe. The murder of Henry is believed to have occurred in the year 1156. Immediately after Henry’s death, his legend records, many miracles began to occur around his tomb and in the surrounding towns – children were raised from the dead, a blind woman’s eyesight was restored, fishermen survived terrible storms at sea.
St Henry is an important figure in the medieval history of Finland and there are a plethora of colourful poems and legends written about his life.
Devotion to St Henry, which spread throughout Finland over subsequent centuries, is a beautiful testament to the pride that countries throughout the globe have taken in their origin stories of the brave men and women who have brought the Good News of Christ to their homeland.
Henry was buried at buried at Nousis in Finland and on 18 June 1300 his relics were translated to Totku but they were stolen by the Russian troops in 1720.
He was Canonised and declared Patron of Finland in 1158 by Pope Adrian IV, who had also been a Missionary in the area.
St Ascla of Antinoe Bl Basil Anthony Marie Moreau St Basilides the Senator St Bassus the Senator Bl Benedict Ricasoli Bl Bernardo of Poncelli Bl Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi St Daniel of Cambron Bl Didier of Thérouanne St Eusebius the Senator St Eustochia Calafato
St Eutyches the Senator St Fechin of Fobhar Bl Francesco Paoli Saint Henry of Uppsala (Died c 1156) Bishop, Martyr Bl Jeroni Fábregas Camí St Maria Cristina dell’Immacolata Concezione St Molagga of Fermoy St Neophytus of Nicaea St Stephen Min Kuk-ka St Wulfsin
Saint of the Day – 18 January – Saint Prisca (1st Century) Child Virgin Martyr. Born to the imperial Roman hristian nobility and died by being stabbed with a sword in 275 in Rome, Italy. Also known as – Priscilla, Prisque.
The Roman Martyrology reads: “In the City of Rome, the holy Virgin and Martyr Prisca; after many tortures she gained the Crown of Martyrdom under Emperor Claudius II (about 270).”
Born to Christian parents of a noble family, Prisca was raised during the reign of the Roman Emperor Claudius II. While Claudius did not persecute Christians with the same fervour as other Roman Emperors, Christians still did not practice their faith openly. In fact, Prisca’s parents went to great lengths to conceal their faith and thus they were not suspected of being Christians.
Prisca, however, did not feel the need to take precaution. The young girl openly professed her dedication to Christ and eventually, she was reported to the Emperor. Claudius had her arrested and commanded her to make a sacrifice to Apollo, the pagan god of the sun.
According to the legend, Prisca refused and was tortured for disobeying. Then, suddenly, a bright, yellow light shone about her and she appeared to be a little star.
Claudius ordered that Prisca be taken away to prison, in the hopes that she would abandon Christ. When all efforts to change her mind were unsuccessful, she was taken to an amphitheatre and thrown in with a lion.
As the crowd watched, Prisca stood fearless. According to legend, the lion walked toward the barefoot girl and then gently licked her feet. Disgusted by his thwarted efforts to dissuade Prisca, Claudius had her stabbed to death with a sword.
Seventh-century accounts of the grave sites of Roman Martyrs refer to the discovery of an epitaph of a Roman Christian named Priscilla in a large catacomb and identifies her place of interment on the Via Salaria as the Catacomb of Priscilla.
Saint of the Day – 16 January – Saint Pope Marcellus I (Died 309) Papal Ascension May-June 308. Also known as – Marcel, Marcelo. Patronage – Stablemen.
Nothing of Marcellus’ life before his papacy has survived the centuries. He became Pope at the end of the persecutions of Diocletian in aound 3089. The persecutions had disrupted the Church so much, that there had been a gap of over a year without a Pope.
Once he was elected, he faced several challenges, including reconsituting the clergy, which had been decimated and whose remnant had practiced their vocation only covertly and with the expectation of martyrdom. He worked hard to recover and welcome back all who had denied the faith in order to keep from being murdered.
When a group of the apostatised, known as the Lapsi, refused to do penance, Marcellus refused to allow their return to the Church. Some of these caused such civil disruption that Emperor Maxentius exiled the Pope in order to settle the matter.
Legend says that Marcellus was forced to work as a stable slave as punishment, however we do know that he died of the terrible conditions he suffered in exile and is considered a Martyr because of that.
The account in the Liber Pontificalis continues: “But although he served many days in the stable, he did not cease his service to the Lord with prayers and fastings. Moreover, in the ninth month, all his clergy came by night and removed him by night from the stable. A certain matron and widow whose name was Lucina, who had lived with her husband Marcus for 15 years and had been 19 years a widow, received the blessed man. And she dedicated her house as a Church in the name of the blessed Marcellus and there day and night the Lord Jesus Christ was confessed with hymns and prayers.”
This is the Church known in modern times as San Lorenzo in Lucina where a Basilica was subsequently built in the mid-4th century, restored and embellished numerous times throughout the centuries. Traces of the original Roman structure may be seen amidst the foundations even to this day.
The Liber Pontificalis continues: “But Maxentius heard of it and sent and seized the blessed Marcellus a second time and gave orders that in that very Church, boards should be laid down and the animals of the stable should be collected and kept there and the blessed Marcellus should tend them. And he died in the service of the animals, clad only in a hair shirt.
And the blessed Lucina took is body and he was buried in the cemetery of Priscilla on the Via Salaria, 16 January.
And the Bishopric was empty 20 days.
Lucina herself was condemned by proscription.”
The remains of the Martyred Pope were later transferred to the Basilica of San Marcello al Corso in Rome. An epitaph of Pope Saint Marcellus, written by Pope Damasus about 80 years after Marcellus’s Martyrdom, was found in the cemetery of Priscilla.
St Juana Maria Condesa Lluch Bl Konrad II of Mondsee St Leobazio St Liberata of Pavia St Pope Marcellus I (Died 309) Martyr, Papal Ascension May-June 308 St Melas of Rhinocolura St Priscilla of Rome St Sigeberht of East Anglia St Titian of Oderzo St Triverius St Valerius of Sorrento
St Blaithmaic of Iona St Bonitus of Clermont St Britta St Ceolwulf of Northumbria St Emebert of Cambrai St Ephysius of Sardinia St Eugyppius St Francis Ferdinand de Capillas Bl Geoffrey of Peronne Bl Giacomo Villa St Gwrnerth St Habakkuk the Prophet St Isidore of Scété St Isidore the Egyptian St Ita of Killeedy St John Calabytes St Liewellyn St Lleudadd of Bardsey St Macarius of Egypt St Malard of Chartres
St Maurus OSB (c 512-584) Benedictine Monk, Abbot and Deacon, miracle-worker. Maurus was the first disciple of Saint Benedict of Nursia (512–584). He is mentioned in Saint Gregory the Great’s biography of the latter as the first oblate, offered to the Monastery by his noble Roman parents as a young boy, to be brought up in the monastic life. The formula and blessing of St Maurus were universally adopted and approved for use in the Blessing of the Sick. His Life and Miracles: https://anastpaul.com/2021/01/15/saint-of-the-day-15-january-saint-maurus-osb-c-512-584/
Bl Peter of Castelnau St Placid St Probus of Rieti St Romedio of Nonsberg St Sawl St Secondina of Anagni St Secundina of Rome St Tarsicia of Rodez St Teath
Martyrs of Suances – 5 Beati: A Priest and four laymen in the Archdiocese of Burgos, Spain who were Martyred together in the Spanish Civil War. • Blessed Donato Rodríguez García • Blessed Emilio Huidobro Corrales • Blessed Germán García y García • Blessed Valentín Palencia Marquina • Blessed Zacarías Cuesta Campo They were martyred on 15 January 1937 near Suances, Cantabria, Spain The Beatification was celebrated in Burgos, Spain, presided by Cardinal Angelo Amato.
Saint of the Day – 12 January – Saint Arcadius of Mauretania (Died c 302) Martyr, Hermit. Died by being slowly hacked to death one joint, appendage and limb at a time in c302 at Caesarea, Mauritania (near modern Algiers).
Tradition states that he was a prominent citizen of Caesarea in Mauretania Caesariensis (present-day Cherchell),. He was also a devout Christian and desiring to avoid the forced veneration of the pagan gods, retired to the countryside as a Hermit.
But his absence at the public sacrifices being noted, soldiers were dispatched to find and arrest him. But, instead of Arcadius, they found a relative and there, despite his protests, that he did not know where Arcadius was, they arrested him in place of Arcadius.
Hearing of his relative’s arrest, Arcadius returned to the City and immediately presented himself before the Governor.
He was arrested and suffered a grisly death. His limbs were cut off, joint by joint, until all that remained were his trunk and head. According to his legend, as Arcadius looked around at all the pieces of himself, hacked off and lying on the ground, he could still speak and cried out, “You are happy, my members. Now you truly belong to God. You have all been sacrificed to Him.”
St Probus of Verona St Quinctus the Soldier St Satyrus St Tatiana of Rome St Tigrius St Victorian of Asana Bl Vincent da Cunha
Martyrs of Africa – 44 Saints: A group of 44 Christian soldiers murdered together for their faith in Africa. The only details that survive are four of their names – Castulus, Modestus, Rogatus and Zoticus.
Martyrs of Ephesus – 42 Saints: Forty-two monks martyred at a monastery in Ephesus (modern Turkey) during the persecutions of the Iconoclast Byzantine Emperor Constantine V. Their names have not come down to us. Martyred c 762.
Martyrs of Iona – 38 Saints: Thirty-eight monks martyred in Iona, Ireland. Their names have not come down to us. They were Martyred in 750 at Iona, Ireland.
St Philip Berruyer St Polyeucte St Teresa Kim St Waningus of Fécamp (Died c 688) Monk, Abbot
Martyrs of Africa – 21 Saints: A group of 21 Christians murdered together for their faith in the persecutions of Decius. The only details to survive are 14 of their names – Artaxes, Epictetus, Felicitas, Felix, Fortunatus, Jucundus, Pictus, Quietus, Quinctus, Rusticus, Secundus, Sillus, Vincent and Vitalis. They were Martyred in c 250. Martyrs of Antioch – 6 saints: A group of Christians Martyred together during the persecutions of Diocletian – Anastasius, Anthony, Basilissa, Celsus, Julian and Marcionilla.
St Abo of Tblisi St Albert of Cashel St Apollinaris the Apologist (Died 2nd Century) Bishop, Apologist St Athelm of Canterbury St Atticus of Constantinople St Carterius of Caesarea Bl Edward Waterson St Ergnad of Ulster St Erhard of Regensburg St Eugenian of Autun
St Garibaldus of Regensburg St Gudule of Brussels St Helladius St Julian of Beauvais St Lawrence Giustiniani St Lucian of Beauvais St Maximian of Beauvais St Maximus of Pavia Bl Nathalan of Aberdeen St Patiens of Metz St Pega of Peakirk
The above film was the winner of the International “Festival dobrých správ” (of Good News) honoured a short film about the life of Blessed Titus Zeman SDB. The video entitled “Titus Zeman – a Martyr for Spiritual Freedom to Follow Oneʹs Vocation” was first place in the category of short films under 15 minutes and takes a closer look at the heroic sacrifice of the Salesian. The author of the winning film is Salesian past pupil Roman Maturkanič from Slovakia who currently works as a film director. “Probably the biggest challenge was to narrate the very eventful life of Titus in such a short time. We won the first place prize but we could say that this is Titusʹ victory,” said the director of the film’s achievement in the competition.
St Wulsin of Sherborne
Martyrs of Greece – 9 saints: A group of Christians honored in Greece as martyrs, but we have no details about their lives or deaths – Euctus, Felix, Januarius, Lucius, Palladius, Piscus, Rusticus, Secundus and Timotheus
Martyrs of Terni – 4 saints: A group of Christian soldiers in the imperial Roman army. Executed during the persecutions of emperor Claudius. Martyrs. – Carbonanus, Claudius, Planus and Tibudianus. They were martyred in 270 in Terni, Italy.
Madonna delle Grazie / Our Lady of Grace, Costa Folgaria, Italy (1588) – 7 January, 8 September:
Brother Pietro Dal Dosso di Folgaria – a young Hermit Friar of the Order, Saint Jerome of Vicenza – was inspired directly by the Virgin Mary into building a small Church in her honour on the Echen Peak during the second half of the 16th century. Obediently, the Friar began his work and built a small Chapel, occupying what is now the Apse of the Sanctuary of the Madonna delle Grazie. In the 17th Century, the Magnifica Comunità di Folgaria expanded the small building and endowed it with a Bell Tower (1662). The Sanctuary currently hosts the miraculous Madonna, which was declared Holy Patron of Skiers by Papal Decree. The Terracotta statue of the Virgin Mary dates to the second half of the 16th century and is venerated by thousands of believers, who hold an ancient feast – as well as a solemn procession – on the 8th of September every year, when the Statue is carried by ski instructors. All along its age-old history, the Sanctuary of Echen has always been a pilgrimage destination and numerous faithful have put up their own votive offers for graces received in the small Church. The Sanctuary is approximately 2 km away from Folgaria, near the hamlet of Costa and can be easily reached on foot after an easy walk. I am not sure why this Title is listed for today, 7 January but there must be a good reason.
St Aldric of Le Mans Bl Ambrose Fernandez St Anastasius of Sens St Brannock of Braunton St Candida of Greece St Canute Lavard St Cedd St Clerus of Antioch St Crispin I of Pavia St Cronan Beg St Emilian of Saujon St Felix of Heraclea Bl Franciscus Bae Gwan-gyeom St Januarius of Heraclea St Julian of Cagliari St Kentigerna
St Lucian of Antioch Bl Marie-Thérèse Haze Blessed Matthew of Agrigento OFM (1377-1450) “Apostle of the Holy Name of Jesus,” Franciscan Priest and Friar, Bishop, Missdionary Preacher often with St Bernardine of Siena. St Pallada of Greece St Polyeuctus of Melitene St Reinhold of Cologne St Spolicostus of Greece St Theodore of Egypt St Tillo of Solignac St Valentine of Passau St Virginia of Ste-Verge Bl Wittikund of Westphalia
Madonna delle Rose / Our Lady of the Rose s(Albano Sant’Alessandro, Italy) (1417) – 4 January:
A few kilometers from Bergamo, on the way to Trescore Balneario , in a pleasant plain, lies Albano St. Alexander , a Town famous for its Roman origin and for many historical events and bloody battles between the Guelphs and Ghibellines. Today it is famous for the beautiful Shrine of Our Lady of the Roses.
Until 1855, anyone travelling along this road came upon a small, rustic Chapel that appeared to manifest nothing special, neither painted nor written, which makes the unique devotion it attracted even more amazing. The Parish Priest of Albano, zealous and pious , devoted himself to research among the ancient documents the history of this powerful devotion. From this story , printed in Bergamo in 1880 , we are able to establish the origin of the Shrine of Our Lady of the Roses in Albano St. Alexander.
The events of the night between 3 and 4 January 1417, are as follows: – two Roman merchants travelling from Bergamo to Brescia, got lost and found themselves in a thicket near the Village called Albano. Bergamo is only eight miles away but for them, in the dark, between bushes and marshes covered by snow, they felt as if they would never find their way and would die of cold and fear . They turned so fervently to the Madonna with invocations and a vow to build a Chapel, if they would be rescued. Suddenly rays of bright light penetrated the darkness and a strip of luminous light shows them the way. With hearts relieved and grateful, they followed the light to the path and heard “This is the way, walk in it,” until its junction with the main road. Accompanied by a friendly glow they very quickly reached the City of Bergamo .
Desiring to thank the Blessed Virgin , they went to the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore but given the hour of the night, it was closed. They found shelter in the nearby ruined tower, ruined by war. There, a great light stopped them and they saw the Immaculate Virgin sitting on a wreath of roses, which surrounded her completely, quite high up from the ground. The Blessed Virgin held the Divine Child close to her breast and the Child Jesus held, in one hand, a small bouquet of white roses, in the act of offering them to His Mother. The eyes of the Blessed Virgin and of the Divine Child, were turned compassionately towards the two merchants, who prostrated themselves at this heavenly vision.
Since that night, the site of the apparition was called “the Hill of Roses.” When day came, the merchants spread the news and attended at the Bishop’s house. After much investigation and many miracles at the Hill of Roses, the Bishop confirmed the miraculous event, judging it as a heavenly sign of mercy and protection for the City of Bergamo beset by many problems, for Italy plagued by discord and enmity, for the Church, torn by division and schism.
St Bernardine of Siena, who at this time was in Bergamo, was appointed as the final arbiter of the Blessing of Our Lady of the Night and of the Hill of Roses. The same Saint also had a vision of the Madonna in the same year, in Siena . The Holy Virgin appeared with great splendour to him, promising to help him in his mission to convert sinners.
All were eager to erect a Church in gratitude for so many graces from the Virgin Mary, The new Pope, Martin V also appointed in 1417, authorised the construction of a new Church. The two blessed visionaries returned to Albano to the site where they had been lost and seen the immense light. ,They bought the land at the place where the path of light guided them to Bergamo and there built the Chapel that would, for 438 years, in future generation,s attract the devotion of countless numbers of the faithful , until 1855. Then a terrible cholera epidemic ravaged the area and by unanimous vote of the population , they erected a new Sanctuary to the Blessed Virgin in thanksgiving and veneration. The epidemic subsided and on 20 September 1855 the construction of the Sanctuary began. The apse and dome of the Church are decorated with frescoes by Luigi Tagliaferri, the walls are adorned with paintings of the Nativity of Mary and the Descent of Jesus from the Cross by Vittorio Manini, the central painting above the High Altar depicting the Apparition to the two merchants and the medallions of the vault, are by Arturo Compagnoni. The Madonna of the Roses was canonically crowned in 1917. The terrible war that plagues the whole world prevented the solemn ceremony, which only occurred on 14 September 1920 celebrated by Don Mario Morra SDB.
St Celsus of Trier Bl Chiara de Ugarte St Chroman St Dafrosa of Acquapendente St Ferreolus of Uzès St Gaius of Moesia St Gregory of Langres St Hermes of Moesia St Libentius of Hamburg Bl Louis de Halles
St Mavilus of Adrumetum St Neophytos St Neopista of Rome St St St Oringa of the Cross Bl Palumbus of Subiaco St Pharaildis of Ghent (c 650-c 740) Virgin St Rigobert of Rheims Bl Roger of Ellant St Stephen du Bourg St Theoctistus
Martyrs of Africa – 7 saints: A group of Christians martyred together in the persecutions of the Arian Vandal king Hunneric. Saint Bede wrote about them. – Aquilinus, Eugene, Geminus, Marcian, Quintus, Theodotus and Tryphon. In 484 in North Africa.
Martyrs of Rome – 3 saints: Three Christians martyred together in the persecutions of Julian the Apostate for refusing to renounce Christianity as ordered. – Benedicta, Priscillianus and Priscus. In 362 in Rome, Italy.
Nuestra Señora del Pilar / Our Lady of the Pillar (Zaragoza, Spain) (40) – 2 January, 12 October (originally 4 October), 15 August – (This Apparition it is considered the first Marian Apparition, and is unique because it happened while Mary was still living on Earth):
According to ancient Spanish history, on 2 January in the year 40, in the early days of Christianity, James the Greater, one of the original Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ, was preaching the Gospel in what was then the pagan land of Caesaraugusta (now Zaragoza), in the Roman Province of Hispania.
St James was disheartened with his mission, having made only a few converts. While he was praying by the banks of the Ebro River with some of his disciples, the Blessed Virgin Mary miraculously appeared before him atop a pillar accompanied by Angels. Mary assured James that the people would eventually be converted, becoming a stronghold of the Faith due to his efforts and their faith would be as strong as the pillar she was standing on. She gave him the pillar as a symbol and a wooden image of herself. James was also instructed to build a Chapel on the spot where she left the pillar which he did, making it the first Church in Spain.
It is generally believed, that Mary appeared to James through bilocation, as she was still living, either in Ephesus or Jerusalem, at the time of this event, as she is believed to have died three to fifteen years after Jesus ascended into Heaven. After establishing the church, James returned to Jerusalem with some of his disciples where he became a Martyr, beheaded in 44 under Herod Agrippa. His disciples returned his body to Spain. The pillar left by the Virgin Mary is presently enshrined in the same but larger Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar. It is believed to be the same pillar given and promised by Mary, in spite of numerous disasters that beset the Church. A fire in 1434 razed the Church that preceded the present Basilica Cathedral, see below.
The image of the Blessed Virgin Mary may or may not be the original. Some reports state that the original wooden image was destroyed when the Church burned down in 1434, contradicting other reports, that it is still the original Statue. The Statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary is made of wood and stands 39 centimetres tall while the 1.8 m pillar is made of jasper.quartz. The Statue depicts Mother Mary with the Child Jesus on her left arm, Who has a dove sitting on His left palm. Since the 16th century, the pillar is usually draped in a skirt-like cover called manto (in English: mantle). As a whole, it is protected by a bronze case and then another case of silver. The image was canonically crowned in 1905 during the reign of Pope Pius X. The crown was designed by the Marquis of Griñi, valued at 450,000 pesetas (£18,750, in1910). During the three Marian festivities of today, 15 August and 12 October, the faithful adorn the base of the Pillar and Statue with flowers – see below (both our Blessed Mother and St James would be thrilled by this display of such immense faith and piety!)
The apparition of Our Lady of the Pillar is a widely accepted sacred tradition. Popes from earliest times issued Papal Bulls attesting to the authenticity of the Shrine and the appearance of the Virgin Mary. Pope Calixtus III issued a Bull in 1456 encouraging pilgrimage to the Lady of the Pillar. It acknowledged the miracle of its foundation and the miracles that had taken place at the Spanish Shrine. It was also through this Bull that the name “Our Lady of the Pillar” was confirmed. So many contradictions had arisen concerning the miraculous origin of the Church that during the reign of Pope Innocent XIII , the Bishops of Spain appealed to the Holy See to settle the controversy. After careful investigation, the twelve Cardinals, in whose hands the affair rested, adopted the following account, which was approved by the Sacred Congregation of Rites on 2 August 1723 and has since been inserted in the lessons of the Office of the Feast of Our Lady of the Pillar, celebrated on 12 October.
“Of all the places that Spain offers for the veneration of the devout, the most illustrious is doubtless the Sanctuary consecrated to God under the invocation of the Blessed Virgin, under the title of Our Lady of the Pillar, at Saragossa. According to ancient and pious tradition, St James the Greater, led by Providence into Spain, spent some time at Saragossa. He there received a signal favour from the Blessed Virgin. As he was praying with his disciples one night, upon the banks of the Ebro, as the same tradition informs us, the Mother of God, who still lived, appeared to him and commanded him to erect an oratory in that place. The Apostle delayed not to obey this injunction,and with the assistance of his disciples, soon constructed a small Chapel. In the course of time, a larger Church was built and dedicated, which, with the dedication of Saint Saviour’s, is kept as a festival in the City and Diocese of Saragossa on the 4th of October.“
In 1730, Pope Clement XII allowed the celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of the Pillar all over the Spanish Empire. As the date coincides with the discovery of the Americas, the Lady was later named as Patroness of the Hispanic World although her Patronages include all of the following: Zaragoza, Spain, Melo, Uruguay, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Diocese of Imus, Cavite, Zamboanga City, Santa Cruz, Manila, Alaminos, Laguna, San Simon, Pampanga, Libmanan, Camarines Sur, Pilar and Morong in Bataan, Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro, Sibonga, Cebu, Baleno, Masbate, Cauayan, Isabela.
Prayer: Hail, Mary, Our Lady of the Pillar, conceived without sin, I come to venerate and honour you. above all the Angels and Saints in Heaven, as my Queen, my Lady and my dearest Mother. I firmly resolve to serve you always and to do whatever I am able, that all may render faithful service to you. Most Holy Mary, through your kind intercession and by your own merits, obtain for me from your Divine Son Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, all the graces I need for the eternal salvation of my soul. Therefore, most devoted Mother of mothers, through the Precious Blood which your Son shed for us, I humbly beseech thee to receive me among your devotees and to accept me as your servant forever. Help me in my every thought, action word and deed, never to be displeasing in your sight and in the sight of your Son, our Lord and Redeemer. Think of me always, my dear Lady of the Pillar and do not forsake me in the hour of my death. Amen.
Saint Macarius the Younger of Alexandria (Died c 401) Priest, Monk, Desert Hermit.
St Maximus of Vienne Bl Odino of Rot St Paracodius of Vienne St Seiriol Blessed Sylvester of Troina St Telesphorus, Pope St Theodota St Theopistus St Vincentian of Tulle
Many Martyrs Who Suffered in Rome: There were many Martyrs who suffered in the persecutions of Diocletian for refusing to surrender the holy books. Though we know these atrocities occurred, we do not know the names of the Saints and we honour them as a group. c 303 in Rome, Italy.
Martyrs of Antioch – 5 saints: A group of Christian soldiers Martyred together for their faith. We know the names of five – Albanus, Macarius, Possessor, Starus and Stratonicus. They were born in Greece and were Martyred in Antioch (modern Antakya, Turkey).
Many Martyrs of Britain: The Christians of Britain appear to have escaped unharmed in the earlier persecutions which afflicted the Church but the cruel edicts of Diocletian were enforced in every corner of the Roman Empire and the faithful inhabitants of this land, whether native Britons or Roman colonists, were called upon to furnish their full number of holy Martyrs and Confessors. The names of few are on record but the British historian, Saint Gildas, after relating the Martyrdom of Saint Alban, tells us, that many others were seized, some put to the most unheard-of tortures and others immediately executed, while not a few hid themselves in forests and the caves of the earth, where they endured a prolonged death until God called them to their reward. The same writer attributes it to the subsequent invasion of the English, then a pagan people, that the recollection of the places, sanctified by these Martyrdoms, has been lost and so little honour paid to their memory. It may be added, that, according to one tradition, a thousand of these Christians were overtaken in their flight near Lichfield and cruelly massacred and that the name of Lichfield, or Field of the Dead, is derived from them.
Martyrs of Ethiopia – 3 saints: A group of Christians Martyred together for their faith. We know the names of three – Auriga, Claudia and Rutile.
Martyrs of Jerusalem – 2 saints: A group of Christians Martyred together for their faith. We know the names of two – Stephen and Vitalis.
Martyrs of Lichfield: Many Christians suffered at Lichfield (aka Lyke-field, meaning field of dead bodies), England in the persecutions of Diocletian. Though we know these atrocities occurred, we do not know the names of theSsaints and we honour them as a group. Their Martyrdom occurred in 304 at Lichfield, England.
Martyrs of Piacenza: A group of Christians who died together for their faith in the persecutions of Diocletian. No details about them have survived. They were Martyred on the site of Church of Madonna di Campagna, Piacenza, Italy.
Martyrs of Puy – 4 saints: Missionaries, sent by Saint Fronto of Périgueux to the area of Puy, France. Tortured and Martyred by local pagans. We know the names – Frontasius, Severinus, Severian and Silanus. They were beheaded in Puy (modern Puy-en-Velay), France and buried together in the Church of Notre Dame, Puy-en-Velay by Saint Fronto, their bodies laid out to form a cross.
Martyrs of Syrmium – 7 saints: Group of Christians Martyred together, date unknown. We know the names of seven – Acutus, Artaxus, Eugenda, Maximianus, Timothy, Tobias and Vitus – but very little else. This occurred in the 3rd or 4th century at Syrmium, Pannonia (modern Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia).
Martyrs of Tomi – 3 saints: Three brothers, all Christian soldiers, in the Imperial Roman army and all three Martyred in the persecutions of Emperor Licinius Licinianus. We know their names – Argeus, Marcellinus and Narcissus – but little else. They were Martyred in 320 at Tomi, Exinius Pontus, Moesia (modern Constanta, Romania).
Saint of the Day – 31 December – Saint Columba of Sens (c 256-273) Virgin Martyr Born as Eporita in c257 in Spain and died by beheading in 273 at Sens, France near a fountain named d’Azon. Patronages – for rain, of bears. St Columba is a Colonnade Saint at St Peter’s – you can find her as Saint Number 40 on the North Colonnade.
Columba was a virgin and martyr at Sens. Though little historical information is known, popular devotion made her one of the most famous and revered Martyrs in the Middle Ages.
The Roman Martyrology states: “At Sens in Lugdunense Gaul, now in France, Saint Colomba, Virgin and Martyr.”
Colomba is presented as belonging to a noble but pagan family of Spain and lived in the third century. To escape the cult of the gods, she left her family and went to Gaul (France) first to Vienne, where she received Baptism, then to Sens. It appears that her real name was Eporita and that she would later be called the Dove (the meaning of Columba) due to her innocence.
In Sens, she was arrested as a Christian in the ongoing persecution throughout the Roman Empire. The Emperor Aureliano Lucio Domizio (270-275), being present in Sens at that time, had Columba and others, brought before him,. In an attempt to make her renounce her Christian virginity, he proposed marriage to her. But then irritated by her refusal, he condemned her to be locked up in the amphitheater in a prostitution cell. When a young soldier arrived there to abuse her, a she-bear who had been kept in the amphitheater, intervened to protect her, putting the man to flight.
Since none of the soldiers, fearful of their lives, now wanted to take his place,Aureliano furiously ordered, that both the Virgin and the Bear be burned but a cloud coming from Africa, procured a providential rain, which extinguished the fire already prepared, while the bear ran away into the forests. The stubborn Emperor then sentenced Colomba to be beheaded, after one last attempt to make her change her faith.
The young woman, just sixteen years old, suffered Martyrdom not far from Sens and was buried by a Christian who, immediately invoking her intercession, recovered his sight. This happened in the second half of the third Century, in the years between 270 and 275, referring to the Emperor Aurelian, who found himself in Sens for his wars in Gaul.
Highly venerated in France at the time, in 620 King Lothair III founded the famous Royal Abbey of Sainte-Colombe-les-Sens on the Tomb of the Saint. In 623 the Bishop of Sens, St Wolf († 623) wanted to be buried at the Martyr’s feet; in 853 the Bishop Wessilone in Consecrating the new Church, found the relics of the two Saints united and had them wrapped in a precious shroud in oriental fabric. Pieces of this shroud were found in the nineteenth Century and are kept in the Treasury of the Cathedral.
The Abbey Church was built a third time and Consecrated in 1164 by Pope Alexander III, then destroyed in 1792 at the time of the French Revolution. The remains of the Abbey and Church complex were purchased in 1842 by the Nuns of the Holy Childhood of Jesus and Mary, who built their Mother House there, safeguarding the remains of the ancient crypt. The relics of St Columba had ,however ,in a803, been transferred to the Cathedral of Sens.
There are numerous Churches dedicated to the holy Martyr in France, Spain, Flanders, Germany and Italy, where her cult spread, most especially in Rimini. According to local traditions, some merchants who sailed in the Adriatic had, with them, a relic of the head of St Columba but were forced to land in Rimini, where the relic was welcomed by Bishop Stennio and placed in the Cathedral.
In 1581 Msgr. Castelli, Bishop of Rimini, being Apostolic Nuncio to France, obtained, from the Monks of the Abbey of Sens, the relics of a rib and two teeth of the Martyr, which since the 18th Century, are preserved in a Reliquary bust now placed in the Malatesta TChurch the new Cathedral , which replaced the other, which was demolished in 1815 AND dedicated to the St Trinità and St Columba. There was talk of a translation of the body of Columba to Bari in the 17th Century but without any serious foundation.
Starting from the Geronymian Martyrology, up to the Roman one, the feast of St Columba is reported to be celebrated on 31 December. The popularity of the cult in France then slowly waned and an attempt to bring it back into widespread circulation in the 14th Century failed. In Sens, however, due to a local festival, concomitant with New Year’s Eve, St Columba’s feast was postponed to 27 July and is still honoured on this day as well as further devotions and celebrations, on the anniversary of the transfer of her relics and the dedication of her Church. All of these memorials are still observed with great devotion in Sens and the neighbouring area.