Saint of the Day – 10 August – St Lawrence (Died 258) Martyr “Keeper of the Treasures of he Church.”

Saint of the Day – 10 August – St Lawrence (Died 258) Martyr “Keeper of the Treasures of he Church.”

St Lawrence, Martyr
By Fr Francis Xavier Weninger SJ (1805-1888)

The many and high encomiums [praises] which were paid to St Lawrence by the most ancient and illustrious of the holy Fathers of the Church, St Augustine, St Ambrose, St Leo I, St Maximus and St Peter Chrysologus, are the surest sign that this Saint has always been considered one of the most famous Martyrs, who gave their blood for Christ.

He was born of Christian parents, in the middle of the Third Century, at Osca, a City in Aragon. His father’s name was Orentius, his mother’s, Patientia, both are honoured as Saints. Such parents gave a holy education to their son. He early evinced, on all occasions, an especial love for God, a fearless constancy in the true faith and a watchful care over the preservation of his purity. While yet young in years, he went to Rome and won, by his blameless life, the highest regard of all who came in contact with him. Pope Xystus or Sixtus Ordained him Deacon. His functions were to serve the Pope at the Altar, to take charge of the treasures of the church and to distribute the revenues which were destined for the maintenance of the sextons and the poor.

A terrible persecution of the Christians took place at the period of which we speak. Pope Sixtus was seized and thrown into the Mamertine prison. Lawrence seeing him, from a distance, dragged along, ran towards him and bitterly weeping, said: “Father, where are you going without your son? Holy Pontiff, where are you hastening without your deacon? You have never been wont to offer the Holy Sacrifice without me, your servant. In what have I displeased you, O my Father? Have you found me unworthy of you and of your sacred service? Prove me now and see if you have chosen a fit servant in trusting me with the dispensing of the Blood of Christ!” This and more said the Saint, desiring to suffer with St Sixtus for the Lord’s sake. The holy Pope replied: “I do not leave you, my son but you will have to suffer a great trial. We being old, have not much to endure but you, strong in your youth, must gain a more glorious victory over the tyrant. Do not weep. In three days, you will follow me. Go now and take care of the Treasures of the Church that are in your keeping.

Lawrence, comforted by the prophecy of the holy Pope, went immediately and secured the sacred vessels of the Altar and the vestments of the Priests, distributed among the poor the money which had been collected for them, visited the Christians assembled in different houses and subterranean vaults, exhorted all to constancy and employed the whole night in deeds of charity and humility. The following day, when the Pope was being led away to execution, the holy Levite approached him again, saying: “Holy Father, do not leave me; for, the treasures which you committed to my care, are all distributed.” The Pope comforted the Saint as he had done the day before and was led away and ended his life by the sword.

Meanwhile, some of the soldiers, having heard Lawrence speak of treasures, informed the Emperor Valerian of the fact, and that tyrant, as avaricious as he was cruel, had Lawrenc apprehended and gave him, in charge of Hippolytus, an officer, who placed him in a prison where several malefactors were kept. One of these, Lucilius, had wept so much during his imprisonment, that he had become blind. St Lawrence, pitying him, advised him to embrace the Christian faith and be baptised, as by that, his sight would be restored. Lucilius followed his advice and soon after Baptism, his sight returned. Hippolytus, touched by the grace of God at this miracle, was converted with his whole household. The next day, the Emperor commanded that Lawrence should be brought to him.

The valiant Confessor of Christ rejoiced at this message and said to Hippolytus: “Let us go, for two glorious crowns are prepared for you and me.” The Emperor asked him who he was, whence he came and where he had concealed the Treasures of the Church. The first and second questions Lawrence fearlessly answered, saying: “I am a Christian, born in Spain.” To the third, he made answer, that if the Emperor would allow him a little time, he would gather the Treasures and show them to him. Delighted at this, the Emperor willingly granted him the desired time but ordered Hippolytus, not to leave his side for a moment, lest he should escape.

The Saint assembled all the poor he could find and leading them to the tyrant, said: “Behold, these are the Treasures of our Church.” The Emperor, regarding this as an insult, was greatly enraged and swore by the gods to be revenged. He gave Lawrence over to the prefect with the command to torture him in the most painful manner, if he refused to worship the idols.
The prefect, who was as cruel as the Emperor himself, ordered his brutes to tear off the Saint’s clothes and to lash him, like a vile slave, till his whole body was a mass of blood and wounds. After this, he displayed a great many instruments of torture, with the menace that they would be used upon him, if he longer refused to worship the gods. Lawrence looked unconcernedly upon them and said: “They cannot frighten me. I have long desired to suffer for the sake of Christ. Your idols are not worthy to be worshipped, they are no gods and I will never sacrifice to them.

Hardly had these words passed his lips, when the holy man was stretched upon the rack, then raised high in the air and his whole body whipped with scourges on the ends of which were fastened iron stars or spurs. After this, they applied lighted torches to his mangled body. The Martyr’s constancy could not be shaken. Turning his eyes heavenward, he only asked for strength to endure.

… Early on the next day, the prefect ordered the executioners to make an iron bed in the form of a gridiron, put live coals under it, stretch and bind the Saint upon it and slowly roast him. The command was fulfilled to the great horror of all present. The Saint, however, lay as quietly on the red hot gridiron as if it had been a bed of roses, only saying at intervals: “Receive, O Lord, this burnt-offering as an agreeable fragrance.” His countenance beamed with heavenly joy and the Christians, who were present, said that a divine light had surrounded him and his body exuded a sweet fragrance.

After having been burned thus a long time, he turned his eyes towards the prefect and said: “I am sufficiently roasted on one side, turn me over and eat my flesh.” How the tyrant received these words can easily be imagined. The Saint, however, continued to be cheerful and filled with divine consolation. He praised God and thanked Him for the grace vouchsafed him to die for his faith.

At last, with his eyes raised to Heaven, he gave his heroic soul into the hands of his Redeemer, on the 10th of August, 258. Many of the heathens, who were present, were converted by this glorious Martyrdom to the Faith of Christ.


Saint of the Day – 8 February – St Paul of Verdun (c 576-c 648)

Saint of the Day – 8 February – St Paul of Verdun (c 576-c 648) Bishop of Verdun, in the Lorraine region of France from 630 until his death., Abbot. Patronage – Verdun, bakers and pastry chefs. Also known as St Paulus of Verdun.

The Roman Martyrology states: “At Verdun in France, St Paulus, Bishop renowned for miracles.”

Paul was the son of a wealthy family – his name suggests that he was part of the old Gallo-Roman aristocracy. According to St Augustine Abbey’s Book of Saints, Paulus was the brother of Saint Germanus of Paris, although in St Germanus’s Vita we find no reference to a brother, not that this is decisive, considering the little information we have of our ancient Saints.

Paul became a hermit and spent time in the mountains of Paulsberg (named for him in modern France), near Trier in modern Germany. Later he became a Monk at the Monastery at Tholey, Germany, where he was firstly appointed as the Master of the School and then the second Abbot.

In around 630, Paul was named the Bishop of Verdun, by King Dagobert I. According to his Vita he was made Bishop against his will and due to the influence of one of his students, Adalgisel Grimo. Reportedly he found the Diocese in a very poor financial state and was aided by grants from said Adalgisel and the Frankish King of Austrasia.

One of his numerous miracles relates, that as Paul was working in the bakery in the Abbey of Tholey when the oven became clogged with ash and malfunctioned. He feared that the bread would not be ready in time for the meal, so he climbed into the burning oven in full habit, cleaned it with his hood, arranged the loaves to be baked and later emerged from the oven with the fully baked loaves. Because of this miracle, Paulus became the Patron Saint of bakers and pastry chefs. On his feast day the “bread of Saint Paul” is distributed annually on the streets of Verdun.

Paul died in c 648 and was buried in the Church of St Saturninus in Verdun, which he had built and which was later renamed St Paul’s after him.

The Abbey of Saint-Paul de Verdun, founded by Bishop Viefrid from 970 to 973 was dedicated to him.

The Abbey of Verdun

In addition, the “Paul-Cross” was erected in stone a few kilometers from Verdun, at a place called “Le Rozelier”. The Bishop Saint represented there was recognisable as Saint Paulus from the bread that he is holding. The Plague beneath this Cross states:

In the late Ninth Century, the Monks of Tholey translated to their Abbey in Saarland the relics of Saint Paul, Bishop of Verdun, a former Monk of Tholey Abbey, in order to evade the Norman invasion. Here they were stopped by a mysterious and miraculous force. A cross was erected in this place, commemorating the miraculous event and is called the Paul Cross. The Abbey of Saint-Vanne de Verdun established a Priory there in the 12th century. The current Cross and the Altar, which contains a relic of St Paul, were blessed by Monseigneur Petit, Bishop of Verdun, on 14 August 1963.”

St Paul distributing bread from the “St Paul Cross” near Verdun

Added to the ramparts of the City of Verdun in the Nineteenth Century is a gate called “St Paul’s Gate.” iI is composed of two arched passages (entry and exit), each one protected by a drawbridge. The Gate allowed the Army conscripts arriving at the Station to enter the City centre and reach the Jeanne d’Arc Barracks. In the 1920s the ramparts around the lower City, weakened by the bombardments of 1916, were pulled down. The only surviving remnants are the Saint-Paul Gate along with the Tour Chaussée. The former has been decorated with commemorative plaques dedicated to victory in the Battle of Verdun and to the reconstruction of the City., believed, of course, to be due to the prayers of their people for the Intercession of the Blessed Virgin of Verdun and the beloved St Paul.


Saint of the Day – 2 January – Saint Macarius the Younger of Alexandria (Died c 401)

Saint of the Day – 2 January – Saint Macarius the Younger of Alexandria (Died c 401) Priest, Monk, desert Hermit, Abbot, Ascetic, Poet, miracle-worker. Born in the early 4th century at Alexandria, Egypt and died in c 401 in Alexandria, Egypt of natural causes. Also known as – Macarius of Alexandria, Macarius the Alexandrian. Additional Memorials – 1 May on the Coptic Catholic calendar. Patronages – confectioners, cooks, pastry chefs.

Macarius was a Successful merchant in fruits, sweetmeats and pastries in Alexandria, Egypt. In 335, when he converted to Christianity, he gave up his business to become a Monk and Hermit in the Thebaid dara, in Upper Egypt. For a while he lived near to and was a friend of Saint Anthony the Abbot. He was exiled by heretic Arians with Saint Macarius the Elder and other Monks to an island in the Nile because of his orthodoxy but he was later allowed to return. In later life he travelled to Lower Egypt, and was Ordained and lived in a desert cell with other Monks. He wrote a constitution for the Monastery at Nitria named after him and some of its rules were adopted by Saint Jerome for his Monastery.

Amazing accounts were told of his practice of severe austerities, some of which reached the proportion of legend. For seven years he lived on raw vegetables dipped in water with a few crumbs of bread, moistened with drops of oil on feast days. He once spent 20 days and 20 nights without sleep, burnt by the sun in the day, frozen by bitter desert cold at night. “My mind dried up because of lack of sleep and I had a kind of delirium,” he admitted. “So I gave in to nature and returned to my cell.”

In 373, to obtain greater solitude and longing to attain unity with God, Macarius moved to the desert of Nitria in Lower Egypt. The journey was through a harsh land, and when Macarius was at the end of his strength, the devil appeared and asked, “Why not ask God for the food and strength to continue your journey?” Macarius answered, “The Lord is my strength and glory. Do not tempt a servant of God.” The devil then gave him a vision of a camel laden with food. Macarius was about to eat but suspecting a trap he instead prayed very fervently and the camel vanished.

He spent six months nearly naked in the marshes, beset constantly by vicious blood-sucking flies and mosquitoes, in the hope of destroying his last bit of sexual desire. The terrible conditions and attacking insects left him so deformed that when he returned to the Monks, they could recognise him only by his voice.

A young brother once offered Macarius some very fine grapes. The old fruit dealer was about to eat when he decided to send them to a brother who was ill. This brother passed them to one he considered more in need; that one did the same and on and on, until the grapes made the rounds of all the cells and finally returned to Macarius, who we imagine then ate them?

Macarius returned to Skete and began to work on his worst worldly excess – his love of travel. The devil appeared and suggested Macarius go to Rome and chase out the demons there. Torn between travelling for such a good cause but wishing to fight his vice, Macarius filled a large basket with sand, put it on his back and set out. When someone offered to help him, he said, “Leave me alone! I am punishing my tormenter. He wishes to lead me, old and weak as I am, on a distant and vain voyage.” He then returned to his cell, body broken with fatigue but cured of his temptation.

In old age Macarius journeyed to a Monastery where 1,400 Hermits lived under the rigid rule of Saint Pachomius. Macarius was refused admittance. “You are too old to survive the great rigour we impose here,” Pachomius told him. “One should be trained in it from childhood, or else one cannot stand it. Your health would fail and you would curse us for harming you.” Macarius then stood at the Abbey gate for seven days and nights – without sleep, without food, without saying a word. Finally, the Monks relented and he let him in. Macarius stood in a corner of the Monastery in complete silence, for all of Lent, living on a few cabbage leaves each Sundaymore to avoid ostentation, than from any real need.” The Monks became so jealous of this new brother that they took their complaint to Pachomius, who asked God for illumination. When he learned that the old man was Macarius, he went to him and said, “My brother, I thank you for the lesson you have given myself and my sons. It will prevent us boasting about our modest mortifications. You have edified us sufficiently. Return to your own Monastery and pray for us each day.

St Macarius, Pray for us each day too, we beg you!


Saint of the Day – 19 March – The Solemnity of St Joseph, Spouse of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and Patron of the Universal Church

Saint of the Day – 19 March – The Solemnity of St Joseph, Spouse of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and Patron of the Universal Church.   The name ‘Joseph’ means “whom the Lord adds”.   Patronages • against doubt and hesitation • accountants • all the legal professions • bursars • cabinetmakers • carpenters • cemetery workers • children • civil engineers • confectioners • craftsmen • the dying • teachers • emigrants • exiles • expectant mothers • families • fathers • furniture makers • grave diggers • happy death • holy death • house hunters • immigrants • joiners • labourers • married couples • orphans • against Communism • pioneers • pregnant women • social justice • teachers • travellers • the unborn • wheelwrights • workers • workers • Catholic Church • Oblates of Saint Joseph • for protection of the Church • Universal Church • Vatican II • Americas • Austria • Belgium • Bohemia • Canada • China • Croatian people • Korea • Mexico • New France • New World • Peru • Philippines • Vatican City • VietNam • Canadian Armed Forces • Papal States • 46 dioceses • 26 cities • states and regions.

St Joseph is invoked as patron for many causes.   He is the patron of the Universal Church. He is the patron of the dying because Jesus and Mary were at his death-bed.   He is also the patron of fathers, of carpenters and of social justice.   Many religious orders and communities are placed under his patronage.

St Joseph, the spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the foster-father of Jesus, was probably born in Bethlehem and probably died in Nazareth.   His important mission in God’s plan of salvation was “to legally insert Jesus Christ into the line of David from whom, according to the prophets, the Messiah would be born, and to act as his father and guardian” (Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy).   Most of our information about St. Joseph comes from the opening two chapters of St Matthew’s Gospel.   No words of his are recorded in the Gospels;  he was the “silent” man.   We find no devotion to St Joseph in the early Church.   It was the will of God that the Virgin Birth of Our Lord be first firmly impressed upon the minds of the faithful.   He was later venerated by the great saints of the Middle Ages.   Pius IX (1870) declared him patron and protector of the universal family of the Church.

Unknown artist, 19th century, Italian

St Joseph was an ordinary manual labourer although descended from the royal house of David.   In the designs of Providence he was destined to become the spouse of the Mother of God.   His high privilege is expressed in a single phrase, “Foster-father of Jesus.”   About him Sacred Scripture has little more to say than that he was a just man-an expression which indicates how faithfully he fulfilled his high trust of protecting and guarding God’s greatest treasures upon earth, Jesus and Mary.

The darkest hours of his life may well have been those when he first learned of Mary’s pregnancy;  but precisely in this time of trial Joseph showed himself great.   His suffering, which likewise formed a part of the work of the redemption, was not without great providential import:  Joseph was to be, for all times, the trustworthy witness of the Messiah’s virgin birth.   After this, he modestly retires into the background of holy Scripture.

dream of st joseph

Of St Joseph’s death the Bible tells us nothing.   There are indications, however, that he died before the beginning of Christ’s public life.   His was the most beautiful death that one could have, in the arms of Jesus and Mary.   Humbly and unknown, he passed his years at Nazareth, silent and almost forgotten he remained in the background through centuries of Church history.   Only in more recent times has he been accorded greater honour.   Liturgical veneration of St Joseph began in the fifteenth century, fostered by Sts Brigid of Sweden and Bernadine of Siena.   St Teresa of Avila, too, did much to further his cult.

At present there are two major feasts in his honour.   Today 19 our veneration is directed to him personally and to his part in the work of redemption and is his main Feast and a Solemnity in the Universal Church, while on 1 May we honour him as the patron of workmen throughout the world and as our guide in the difficult matter of establishing equitable norms regarding obligations and rights in the social order….Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parschj m and joseph


Grant, we pray, almighty God, that by Saint Joseph’s intercession Your Church may constantly watch over the unfolding of the mysteries of human salvation, whose beginnings You entrusted to his faithful care.   Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


Saint of the Day – 6 December – St Nicholas (270-343)

Saint of the Day – 6 December – St Nicholas (270-343)  Confessor, Bishop, Miracle-Worker, Apostle of Charity.   Also known as – • Nicholas of Bari• Nicholas of Lpnenskij • Nicholas of Lipno • Nicholas of Sarajskij • Nicholas the Miracle Worker • Klaus, Mikulas, Nikolai, Nicolaas, Nicolas, Niklaas, Niklas. Nikolaus, Santa Claus.   st nicholas header

Patronages -• against fire • against imprisonment • against robberies • against robbers • against storms at sea • against sterility • against thefts • altar servers • archers • boys • brides • captives • children • choir boys • happy marriages • lawsuits lost unjustly • lovers • maidens • penitent murderers • newlyweds • paupers • pilgrims • poor people • prisoners • scholars • schoolchildren, students • penitent thieves • travellers • unmarried girls • apothecaries • bakers • bankers • barrel makers • boatmen • boot blacks • brewers • butchers • button makers • candle makers • chair makers • cloth shearers • coopers • dock workers • educators • farm workers, farmers • firefighters • fish mongers • fishermen • grain merchants • grocers • grooms • hoteliers • innkeepers • judges • lace merchants • lawyers • linen merchants • longshoremen • mariners • merchants • millers • notaries • parish clerks • pawnbrokers • perfumeries • perfumers • poets • ribbon weavers • sailors • ship owners • shoe shiners • soldiers • spice merchants • spinners • stone masons • tape weavers  • toy makers • vintners • watermen • weavers • Greek Catholic Church in America • Greek Catholic Union • Varangian Guard • Germany • Greece • Russia • 3 Diocese • 78 Cities.

Attributes – • anchor • bishop calming a storm • bishop holding three bags of gold • bishop holding three balls • bishop with three children • bishop with three children in a tub at his feet • purse • ship • three bags of gold • three balls • three golden balls on a book • boy in a boat.   Saint Nicholas’ reputation evolved among the faithful, as was common for early Christian saints and his legendary habit of secret gift-giving gave rise to the traditional model of Santa Claus through Sinterklaas.   St Nicholas was generous to the poor and special protector of the innocent and wronged.   Many stories grew up around him prior to his becoming associated with Santa Claus.

Some examples of the Miracles of St Nicholas and the reasons for various Patronages:

• Upon hearing that a local man had fallen on such hard times that he was planning to sell his daughters into prostitution, Nicholas went by night to the house and threw three bags of gold in through the window, saving the girls from an evil life.   These three bags, gold generously given in time of trouble, became the three golden balls that indicate a pawn broker’s shop.

• He raised to life three young boys who had been murdered and pickled in a barrel of brine to hide the crime.   These stories led to his patronage of children in general and of barrel-makers besides.

• Induced some thieves to return their plunder.   This explains his protection against theft and robbery and his patronage of them – he’s not helping them steal but to repent and change.   In the past, thieves have been known as Saint Nicholas’ clerks or Knights of Saint Nicholas.

• During a voyage to the Holy Lands, a fierce storm blew up, threatening the ship.   He prayed about it and the storm calmed – hence the patronage of sailors and those like dockworkers who work on the sea.

St Nicholas died in 346 at Myra, Lycia (in modern Turkey) of natural causes and his  relics are believed to be at Bari, Italy.bari-shrine3-detail

Here is the story of St Nicholas by Prosper Dom Gueranger:

Nicholas was born in the celebrated city of Patara, in the province of Lycia.   His birth was the fruit of his parents’ prayers.  Evidences of his great future holiness were given from his very cradle.   For when he was an infant, he would only take his food once on Wednesdays and Fridays and then not till evening but on all other days he frequently took the breast:  he kept up this custom of fasting during the rest of his life.

Having lost his parents when he was a boy, he gave all his goods to the poor.   Of his Christian kindheartedness there is the following noble example.   One of his fellow-citizens had three daughters but being too poor to obtain them an honourable marriage, he was minded to abandon them to a life of prostitution.   Nicholas having learned of the case, went to the house during the night and threw in by the window a sum of money sufficient for the dower of one of the daughters;  he did the same a second and a third time and thus the three were married to respectable men.

Having given himself wholly to the service of God, he set out for Palestine, that he might visit and venerate the holy places.   During this pilgrimage, which he made by sea, he foretold to the mariners, on embarking, though the heavens were then serene and the sea tranquil, that they would be overtaken by a frightful storm.   In a very short time, the storm arose.   All were in the most imminent danger, when he quelled it by his prayers.

His pilgrimage ended, he returned home, giving to all men example of the greatest sanctity.   He went, by an inspiration from God, to Myra, the Metropolis of Lycia,which had just lost its Bishop by death and the Bishops of the province had come together for the purpose of electing a successor.   Whilst they were holding council for the election, they were told by a revelation from heaven, that they should choose him who, on the morrow, should be the first to enter the church, his name being Nicholas.   Accordingly, the requisite observations were made, when they found Nicholas to be waiting at the church door:  they took him and, to the incredible delight of all, made him the Bishop of Myra.

During his episcopate, he never flagged in the virtues looked for in a bishop;  chastity, which indeed he had always preserved, gravity, assiduity in prayer, watchings, abstinence, generosity and hospitality, meekness in exhortation, severity in reproving. He befriended widows and orphans by money, by advice and by every service in his power.   So zealous a defender was he of all who suffered oppression, that, on one occasion, three Tribunes having been condemned by the Emperor Constantine, who had been deceived by calumny and having heard of the miracles wrought by Nicholas, they recommended themselves to his prayers, though he was living at a very great distance from that place:   the saint appeared to Constantine and angrily looking upon him, obtained from the terrified Emperor their deliverance.

Having, contrary to the edict of Dioclesian and Maximian, preached in Myra the truth of the Christian faith, he was taken up by the servants of the two Emperors.  He was taken off to a great distance and thrown into prison, where he remained until Constantine, having become Emperor, ordered his rescue and the Saint returned to Myra.   Shortly afterwards, he repaired to the Council which was being held at Nicaea:  there he took part with the three hundred and eighteen Fathers in condemning the Arian heresy (Tradition has it that he became so angry with the heretic Arius during the Council that he struck him in the face).St Nicholas of Myra slapping Arius at the Council of Nicaea.

Scarcely had he returned to his See than he was taken with the sickness of which he soon died.   Looking up to heaven and seeing Angels coming to meet him, he began the Psalm, In thee, O Lord, have I hoped and having come to those words, Into your hands I commend my spirit, his soul took its flight to the heavenly country.   His body, having been translated to Bari in Apulia, is the object of universal veneration.

st nicholas beautifulst nicholas.2

For St Nicholas traditional biscuits see here:


Saint of the Day – 17 November – St Elizabeth of Hungary (1207-1231)

Saint of the Day – 17 November – St Elizabeth of Hungary TOSF (1207-1231) Princess, Widow member of the Third Order of the Franciscans, Mother, Apostle of the poor, the sick, the needy..  Also known as St Elizabeth of Thuringia.   Born in 1207 at Presburg, Hungary – 1231 at Marburg, Germany of natural causes.   Her relics, including her skull wearing a gold crown she had worn in life, are preserved at the convent of Saint Elizabeth in Vienna, Austria.   Patronages – hospitals, nurses, bakers, brides, countesses, dying children, exiles, homeless people, lace-makers, widows. all Catholic charities and the Third Order of Saint Francis.   She was Canonised on 27 May 1235 by Pope Gregory IX at Perugia, Italy. HEADER - Marcos da Cruz - st elizabeth

Elizabeth was born in 1207.   Her father was Alexander II, the King of Hungary.   Her marriage was arranged when she was just a child and at age four, she was sent to Thuringia for education and eventual marriage.   When she was 14, she married Louis of Thuringia.   They loved each other deeply.elizabeth-of-hungary-spinning-for-poor-marianne-stokes_1895

Elizabeth went out with loaves of bread to feed those who were poor.   Her husband saw her and took hold of her cape to see what she was carrying. What he saw was roses rather than bread!   Because of this, she is also known as the patroness of bakers.   Louis supported her in all she did to relieve the sufferings of those who were poor or sick.   But Louis’s mother, Sophia, his brother and other members of court resented Elizabeth’s generosity.   She was taunted and mocked by the royal family but deeply loved by the common people.   Louis loved her and defended her.   They had three children.

In 1227, after six years of marriage, Louis went to fight in the Crusades.   He died on the way.   Elizabeth was grief stricken.   Her in-laws accused her of mismanaging the finances of the kingdom, forcing her and her children out of the palace.   For a while, they found refuge only in barns.   Finally, they were taken in by her uncle, the bishop of Bamberg.   When her husband’s friends returned from the Crusades, they helped restore her to her rightful place in the palace.   Elizabeth increased her service to others.   She was 24 when she died.

She was canonised only four years later.   Elizabeth is symbolized by a triple crown—for roles as a member of royalty, as a mother, and as a saint, crowned in heaven. Canonization of St Elisabeth of Hungary in 1235

Elisabeth-Kirche Marburg
Elisabeth-Kirche Marburg


Saint of the Day – 10 August – St Lawrence of Rome (Died 258) – Martyr

Saint of the Day – 10 August – St Lawrence of Rome (Died 258) – Martyr and Deacon (Archdeacon – distributor of alms and “Keeper of the Treasures of the Church”) Born at Huesca, Spain –  cooked to death on a gridiron on 10 August 258). St Lawrence was one of the seven Deacons of the City of Rome, under Saint Pope Sixtus II who were martyred in the persecution of the Christians by decree of the Roman Emperor Valerian ordered in 258.    His remains were  buried in the cemetery of Saint Cyriaca on the road to Tivoli, Italy.   His tomb was opened by Pelagius to inter the body of Saint Stephen the Martyr and his mummified head removed to the Quirinal Chapel.   The gridiron believed to have been his deathbed is in San Lorenzo in Lucina and his garments in Our Lady’s Chapel in the Lateran Palace.   Patronages – against fire, against lumbago, of archives, archivists, armories, armourers, brewers, butchers, chefs, cooks, comedians, comediennes, cutlers, deacons, glaziers, laundry workers, librarians, libraries, paupers, the poor, restauranteurs, schoolchildren, students, seminarians, stained glass workers, tanners, vine growers, vintners, wine makers, Ceylon, Sri Lanka, 38 cities and dioceses.


Saint Lawrence was chief of the seven Roman deacons of Pope Sixtus II who had been his mentor in Spain and taken him to Rome and ordained him as Deacon there, after he had been called to the Holy Office.   In 258, Emperor Valerian increased his persecutions of the Christians.   One day when Pope Sixtus II was in the cemetery of Saint Calistus celebrating Mass accompanied by some members of his clergy, he was arrested.   Along with him, the other six Roman deacons were arrested.   As the soldiers took the Pontiff to be put to death, Lawrence followed him in anguish crying out:  “Where are you going, my father, without your son? Where are you going, Holy Pontiff, without your deacon?   Isn’t it the custom to offer the sacrifice with an assistant?   Let me prove I am worthy of the choice you made when you entrusted me with the distribution of the Blood of Our Lord.” 

St Pope Sixtus II with the St Lawrence

The Pope replied to Saint Lawrence:  “I am not leaving you, my son.  They are lenient on old men, not the youth. A greater combat is reserved for you.  You will follow me in three days.” With the Pontiff’s execution, Lawrence was the highest ranking church authority left in Rome.

Saint Lawrence was brought before Cornelius Secularis, prefect of Rome under the Emperor Valerian, who, according to Dom Prosper Guéranger in his Liturgical Year:  “aimed at ruining the Christians by prohibiting their assemblies, putting their chief men to death, and confiscating their property.”   Saint Lawrence asked for a short delay, so he could gather these riches for the prefect and true to the promise of Pope Sixtus, returned three days after the pontiff’s death to hand them over.   However, heeding Pope Sixtus II’s final words, Lawrence used his three days to distribute the material wealth of the Church to the poor, before the Roman authorities could lay their hands on it.

When the archdeacon returned, instead of bringing vessels of gold and silver, he brought the poor of the city, saying, “Behold, these choice pearls, these sparkling gems that adorn the temple, these sacred virgins, I mean, and these widows who refuse second marriage…. Behold then, all our riches.”   In response to his boldness, Cornelius ordered the scourging and torture of Saint Lawrence upon the rack.

st lawrence arrested

From the Liturgical Year:
“…Lawrence was taken down from the rack about midday.   In his prison, however, he took no rest but wounded and bleeding as he was, he baptised the converts won to Christ by the sight of his courageous suffering.   He confirmed their faith and fired their souls with a martyr’s intrepidity.   When the evening hour summoned Rome to its pleasures, the prefect recalled the executioners to their work, for a few hours’ rest had sufficiently restored their energy to enable them to satisfy his cruelty.” 

Surrounded by this ill-favoured company, the prefect thus addressed the valiant deacon:  ‘Sacrifice to the gods, or else the whole night long shall be witness of your torments.’ ‘My night has no darkness,’answered Laurence, ‘and all things are full of light to me.’   They struck him on the mouth with stone, but he smiled and said, ‘I give Thee thanks, O Christ.’

Then an iron bed or gridiron with three bars was brought in and the saint was stripped of his garments and extended upon it while burning coals were placed beneath it.   As they were holding him down with iron fork, Lawrence said ‘I offer myself as a sacrifice to God for an odour of sweetness.’   The executioners continually stirred up the fire and brought fresh coals, while they still held him down with their forks.   Then the saint said:  ‘Learn, unhappy man, how great is the power of my God; for your burning coals give me refreshment but they will be your eternal punishment. I call Thee, O Lord, to witness:  when I was accused, I did not deny Thee;  when I was questioned, I confessed Thee, O Christ; on the red-hot coals I gave Thee thanks.’   And with his countenance radiant with heavenly beauty, he continued:  ‘Yea, I give Thee thanks, O Lord Jesus Christ, for that Thou hast deigned to strengthen me.’ He then raised his eyes to his judge and said:  ‘See, this side is well roasted; turn me on the other and eat.’ Then, continuing his canticle of praise to God [he said]:  ‘I give Thee thanks, O Lord, that I have merited to enter into Thy dwelling place.’

As he was on the point of death, he remembered the Church.  The thought of the eternal Rome gave him fresh strength and he breathed forth this ecstatic prayer:  ‘O Christ, only God, O Splendour, O Power of the Father, O Maker of heaven and earth and builder of this city’s walls!   Thou has placed Rome’s sceptre high over all;  Thou hast willed to subject the world to it, in order to unite under one law the nations which differ in manners, customs, language, genius, and sacrifice.   Behold the whole human race has submitted to its empire and all discord and dissensions disappear in its unity.   Remember thy purpose:  Thou didst will to bind the immense universe together into one Christian Kingdom.   O Christ, for the sake of Thy Romans, make this city Christian;  for to it Thou gavest the charge of leading all the rest to sacred unity.  All its members in every place are united – a very type of Thy Kingdom;  the conquered universe has bowed before it.  Oh! may its royal head bowed in turn! Send Thy Gabriel and bid him heal the blindness of the sons of Iulus, that they may know the true God.   I see a prince who is to come – an Emperor who is a servant of God.   He will not suffer Rome to remain a slave; he will close the temples and fasten them with bolts forever.’

Martyrdom of St Lawrence - Titian
Jusepe de Ribera Spanish 1591–1652

Thus he prayed and with these last words, he breathed forth his soul.   Some noble Romans who had been conquered to Christ by the martyr’s admirable boldness, removed his body:  the love of the most high God had suddenly filled their hearts and dispelled their former errors.   From that day, the worship of the infamous gods grew cold;  few people went now to the temples but hastened to the altars of Christ.   Thus Lawrence, going unarmed to the battle, had wounded the enemy with his own sword.”

The burned body of Saint Lawrence was carried away by converted Roman Senators who buried him in a grotto in the Verano field, near Tivoli.   On this day, the reliquary containing his burnt head is displayed in the Vatican for veneration.   His feast spread throughout Italy and northern Africa after his martyrdom—and even Saint Augustine of Hippo wrote a beautiful sermon on St Lawrence’s life, connecting his “treasures of the Church” to martyrdom and the Holy Eucharist.   Emperor Constantine built a beautiful basilica in Lawrence’s honour.   Saint Lawrence is especially honoured in the city of Rome, where he is one of the city’s patrons.   There are several churches in Rome dedicated to him, including San Lorenzo in Panisperna, traditionally identified as the place of his execution.  The gridiron on which he was grilled is venerated there today.

... Relic of St Lawrence of Rome by Lawrence OP
Grill of St. Lawrence
High altar
San Lorenzo 2

Since the Perseid Meteor Shower typically occurs every year in mid-August, on or near Saint Lawrence’s feast day, some refer to the shower as the “Burning Tears of Saint Lawrence.”   Saint Lawrence, for his care and love of the poor, is considered their patron.   For having saved the treasures of the Church—including its documents, he is recognized as the patron saint of librarians.   For his courage in being grilled to death, he is also the patron saint of cooks and kitchen workers.

St Lawrence pray for us all!