Posted in PATRONAGE - Against DEMONIC POSSESSION, PATRONAGE - Against SNAKE BITES / POISON, PATRONAGE - EARTHQUAKES, FIRES, DROUGHT / NATURAL DISASTERS, PATRONAGE - MENTAL ILLNESS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 18 October – St Amabilis of Auvergne (c 397- c 475)

Saint of the Day – 18 October – St Amabilis of Auvergne (c 397- c 475) Priest, Confessor, Miracle-worker. Tradition tells that snakes and demons fled from his voice, often the images and medals depicting him bear the words “The demons flee as well as snakes and fire.” Born probably in Rimo, France in c 397 and died in Auvergne in c 475 of natural causes. Patronages – against demonic possession, against fire, against mental illness, against poison, against snake bite, against wild beasts, of Auvergne, France, of Riom, France. Also known as – Amabilis of Riom, Amabilis the Cantor. Additional Memorial – 1 November.

In the sixth century, St Gregory of Tours in his ‘De gloria confessorum,’ described the popular belief in this Saint’s power over demons and serpents as well as the veneration at his tomb. Gregory reports that he, himself witnessed two miracles there.

Notice the snake at his feet

Amabilis served as a Cantor in the Church of Saint Mary at Clermont and then as the Precentor at Clermont Cathedral . Later as Parish Priest at Riom, where, in 1120, a Church was dedicated to him. He acquired a reputation for holiness in his lifetime.

In the seventh century his relics were transferred to Riom from Clermont. Riom grew up around the collegiate Church of Saint Amable, which was the object of pilgrimages. In the eighteenth century a dispute occurred over these relics between neighbouring Clermont and Riom, where Amabilis is Patron.

Chapel of St Amabilis in the Church dedicated to him at Riom
Relics
St Amabilis Church

Public processions in his honour have been traditional in Riom for more than 1500 years, where he is invoked against fire and snakes. Father Antoine Déat, a Missionary in Canada , introduced his cult to North America, where he is also still venerated today. A chapel is dedicated to him in the Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal.

Posted in MARTYRS, PATRONAGE - A HOLY DEATH & AGAINST A SUDDEN DEATH, PATRONAGE - BREWERS, PATRONAGE - EARTHQUAKES, FIRES, DROUGHT / NATURAL DISASTERS, PATRONAGE - SAILORS, MARINERS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 4 December – Saint Barbara (3rd Century) Martyr

Saint of the Day – 4 December – Saint Barbara (3rd Century) Martyr – died by being beheaded by her father c 235 at Nicomedia during the persecution of Maximinus of Thrace.   Patronages – against death by artillery, against explosions, against fire,  against impenitence, against lightning, against storms ,against vermin, ammunition workers, architects, armourers, artillerymen, boatmen, bomb technicians. brass workers, brewers, builders, carpenters, construction workers, dying people, fire prevention, firefighters, fireworks manufacturers, fortifications, foundry workers, geologists, gravediggers, gunners, hatmakers, mariners, martyrs, masons, mathematicians, miners, ordnance workers, prisoners, saltpetre workers, smelters, stonecutters, Syria, tilers, warehouses, 8 Cities.   Saint Barbara is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. Her association with the lightning, which killed her father has caused her to be invoked against lightning and fire.   By association with explosions, she is also the patron of artillery and mining.

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St Barbara with her attributes – three-windowed tower, central panel of St Barbara Altarpiece (1447), National Museum in Warsaw

Because of doubts about the historicity of her legend, she was removed from the General Roman Calendar in the 1969 revision, though not from the Catholic Church’s list of saints.

Saint Barbara is often portrayed with miniature chains and a tower.   As one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, Barbara continues to be a popular saint in modern times.   A 15th-century French version of her story credits her with thirteen miracles, many rest upon the security she offered, that her devotees would not die before getting to make confession and receiving extreme unction.st barbara art.jpg

According to the hagiographies, Barbara, the daughter of a rich pagan named Dioscorus, was carefully guarded by her father who kept her locked up in a tower in order to preserve her from the outside world.   Having secretly become a Christian, she rejected an offer of marriage that she received through her father.

Before going on a journey, her father commanded that a private bath-house be erected for her use near her dwelling and during his absence, Barbara had three windows put in it, as a symbol of the Holy Trinity, instead of the two originally intended.   When her father returned, she acknowledged herself to be a Christian, whereupon he drew his sword to kill her but her prayers created an opening in the tower wall and she was miraculously transported to a mountain gorge, where two shepherds watched their flocks.   Dioscorus, in pursuit of his daughter, was rebuffed by the first shepherd but the second betrayed her.   For doing this, he was turned to stone and his flock was changed to locusts.GHIRLANDAIO_Domenico_St_Barbara.jpg

Dragged before the prefect of the province, Martinianus, who had her cruelly tortured, Barbara remained faithful to her Christian faith.   During the night, the dark prison was bathed in light and new miracles occurred.   Every morning, her wounds were healed. Torches that would be used to burn her, were extinquished as they approached her.  Finally, she was condemned to death by beheading.   Her father himself carried out the death-sentence.   However, as punishment, he was struck by lightning on the way home and his body was consumed by flame.   Barbara was buried by a Christian, Valentinus and her tomb became the site of miracles.   This summary omits picturesque details, supplemented from Old French accounts.Master_of_the_Embroidered_Foliage_-_Saint_Barbara.jpg

According to the Golden Legend, her martyrdom took place on 4 December “in the reign of emperor Maximianus and Prefect Marcien” (r. 286–305);  the year was given as 267 in the French version.

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Posted in ADVENT, MORNING Prayers, ON the SAINTS, PATRONAGE - ALTAR SERVERS and/or DEACONS, PATRONAGE - BACHELORS, PATRONAGE - BANKERS, PATRONAGE - BEGGARS, the POOR, against POVERTY, PATRONAGE - BREWERS, PATRONAGE - BRIDES and GROOMS, PATRONAGE - CHEFS and/or BAKERS, CONFECTIONERS, PATRONAGE - EARTHQUAKES, FIRES, DROUGHT / NATURAL DISASTERS, PATRONAGE - FISHERMEN, FISHMONGERS, PATRONAGE - GARDENERS, FARMERS, PATRONAGE - HAPPY MARRIAGES, of MARRIED COUPLES, PATRONAGE - LAWYERS / NOTARIES, PATRONAGE - ORPHANS,ABANDONED CHILDREN, PATRONAGE - PENITENTS, PATRONAGE - PHARMACISTS / CHEMISTS, PATRONAGE - PRISONERS, PATRONAGE - SAILORS, MARINERS, PATRONAGE - SCHOOLS, COLLEGES etc AND STUDENTS, PATRONAGE - SINGLE LAYWOMEN, PATRONAGE - TRAVELLERS / MOTORISTS, PATRONAGE - VINTNERS, WINE-FARMERS, PATRONAGE-INFERTILITY & SAFE CHILDBIRTH, SAINT of the DAY

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.

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For St Nicholas traditional biscuits see here:  https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2016/12/06/st-nicholas-6-december/

Posted in JESUIT SJ, PATRONAGE - EARTHQUAKES, FIRES, DROUGHT / NATURAL DISASTERS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 10 October – St Francis Borgia S.J. (1510-1572)

Saint of the Day – 10 October – St Francis Borgia S.J. (1510-1572) Priest, Advisor, Missionary, Evangelist, Administrator par excelleance.   Born – Francisco de Borja y Aragon was the 4th Duke of Gandía, was a Grandee of Spain, a Spanish Jesuit and third Superior General of the Society of Jesus –  (28 October 1510 at Gandia, Valencia, Spain – 30 September 1572 at Ferrara, Italy).   His relics were translated to the Jesuit church in Madrid, Spain in 1901.  He was Beatified on 23 November 1624 at Madrid by Pope Urban VIII and Canonised on 20 June 1670 by Pope Clement X in Rome, Italy.  Patronages – against earthquakes, Portugal, Rota, Marianas.   Attributes – Skull crowned with an emperor’s diadem.

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St Francis was born in Duchy of Gandía, Valencia, on 28 October 1510.   His father was Juan Borgia, 3rd Duke of Gandía, the son of Giovanni Borgia, the son of Pope Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia).   His mother was Juana, daughter of Alonso de Aragón, Archbishop of Zaragoza, who, in turn, was the illegitimate son of King Ferdinand II of Aragon.   His brother, Tomás de Borja y Castro, also became a clergyman, becoming the Bishop of Málaga and later the Archbishop of Zaragoza.

As a relative of Pope Alexander VI, King Ferdinand of Aragon and Emperor Charles V, joined Spain’s imperial court at age eighteen,  although as a child he was very pious and wished to become a monk, his family sent him instead to court.  He distinguished himself there, accompanying the Emperor on several campaigns.  The next year he married Eleanor de Castro, who bore him eight children.   In 1539, shortly after experiencing a religious conversion, Francis left the court but continued in public life as viceroy of Catalonia.   At this time under the influence of St Peter of Alcántara O.F.M. and St Peter Favre S.J, he progressed in prayer and the spiritual life.

In 1543, Francis succeeded his father as duke of Gandia.   He was much opposed to gaming and did not allow his servants to indulge in it.   He used to say: “Gaming is accompanied by great losses; loss of money, loss of time, loss of devotion and loss of conscience.”   The same aversion he had for the reading of frivolous books, even if they were not immoral.   He found his greatest delight in reading devout books and said:  “The reading of devout books is the first step towards a better life.”   At the period in which he lived the principal enjoyments of the higher classes were music and hawking;  and, as he could not abstain from them entirely, he took care, at such times, to raise his thoughts to the Almighty and to mortify himself.   Thus, when he went hawking, he closed his eyes at the very moment when the hawk swooped; the sight of which, they say, was the chief pleasure of this kind of hunting.

The Almighty, to draw His servant entirely away from the world, sent him several severe maladies, which made him recognise the instability of all that is earthly.   He became more fully aware of this after the death of the Empress, whose wondrous beauty was everywhere extolled.   By the order of the Emperor, it became the duty of Francis to escort the remains to the royal vault at Granada.   There the coffin was opened before the burial took place, and the sight that greeted the beholders was most awful.   Nothing was left of the beautiful Empress but a corpse, so disfigured, that all averted their eyes, whilst the odour it exhaled was so offensive that most of the spectators were driven away.   St. Francis Borgia 01

St Francis was most deeply touched, and when, after the burial, he went into his room, prostrated himself before the crucifix and having given vent to his feelings, he exclaimed: “No, no, my God! in future I will have no master whom death can take from me.”   He then made a vow that he would enter a religious order, should he survive his consort.   He often used to say afterwards:  “The death of the Empress awakened me to life.”   When Francis returned from Granada the Emperor created him Viceroy of Catalonia and in this new dignity the holy Duke continued to lead rather a religious than a worldly life.   He had a fatherly care for his subjects and every one had at all hours admittance to him.   Towards the poor he manifested great kindness.   He daily gave four or five hours to prayer.   He fasted almost daily and scourged himself to blood.   He assisted at Mass and received Holy Communion every day.   When he heard that disputes had arisen among the theologians at the universities, in regard to the frequent use of Holy Communion, he wrote to St. Ignatius, at Rome and asked his opinion on the subject. St. Ignatius wrote back to him, approving of the frequent use of Holy Communion and strengthening him in his thoughts about it.

Meanwhile, the death of his father brought upon him the administration of his vast estates, without, however, in the least changing his pious manner of living.   Soon after his pious consort, who was his equal in virtue, became sick.   Francis prayed most fervently to God for her recovery.   One day, while he was thus praying, he heard an interior voice, which said these words: “If thou desirest that thy consort should recover, thy wish shall be fulfilled but it will not benefit thee.”   Frightened at these words, he immediately conformed his own will in all things to the Divine will.   From that moment the condition of the Duchess grew worse and she died, as she had lived, piously and peacefully.   St Francis, remembering his vow, determined to execute it without delay. Taking counsel of God and of his confessor, he chose the Society of Jesus, which had recently been instituted.   Writing to St. Ignatius, he asked for admittance, which was cheerfully granted.   But, to settle his affairs satisfactorily, he was obliged to remain four years longer in his offices.  Having at length, by the permission of the Emperor, resigned his possessions to his eldest son, he took the religious habit and proceeded to Rome. Scarcely four months had elapsed since his arrival, when he was informed that the Pope wished to make him a cardinal;  and, to avoid this dignity, he returned to Spain.   Being ordained priest, he said his first Mass in the chapel of the Castle of Loyola, where St Ignatius had been born;  and then spent a few years in preaching and instructing the people.   It would take more space than is allowed to us to relate how many sinners he converted, and how much he laboured for the honour of God and the salvation of souls.Carlos V receives a visit from Saint Francis Borgia in Yuste

St. Francis Borgia saying goodbye to his family, GOYA
Saying goodbye to his family

While he preferred a quiet life of solitude, the Jesuits felt differently and promoted him so that he could use his great administrative talents for the church.   In 1554, St Ignatius appointed Francis commissary for Spain, where he founded twelve colleges and a novitiate.   The Jesuits chose Francis as their general in 1565.   His consolidation of the society and expansion of its ministry has caused him to be recognised as the second founder of the order.   He established disciplined novitiates in every Jesuit province, writing regulations and books of spiritual instruction for them.

Francis created a new Jesuit base in Poland and strengthened the community’s work in Germany and France.   Between 1566 and 1572 he launched the Jesuit mission to Spanish colonies in Florida, Mexico and Peru.   He maintained contact with the missioners by letter, advising them about their own spiritual lives and counseling them on strategy. Following is an excerpt from his correspondence:

“We must perform all our works in God and refer them to His glory so that they will be permanent and stable.   Everyone—whether kings, nobles, tradesmen or peasants—must do all things for the glory of God and under the inspiration of Christ’s example. . . . When you pray, hear Mass, sit at table, engage in business and when at bedtime you remove your clothes—at all times crave that by the pain which He felt when He was stripped just before His crucifixion, He may strip us of our evil habits of mind.   Thus, naked of earthly things, we may also embrace the cross.

Wherever our brethren may be, let their first care be for those already converted.   Their first aim must be to strengthen these in the faith and to help them save their souls.   After this they may convert others not yet baptised.   But let them proceed prudently and not undertake more than they can carry through.   It is not desirable for them to hurry here and there to convert heathen with whom they cannot afterwards keep in touch.   It is better to advance step by step and consolidate conquests already made. . . . They are not to risk their lives unnecessarily in excursions among unconquered people.   The swift loss of life in God’s service may be advantageous for them.   However, it is not for the greater good of the many for there are only a few labourers for the vineyard and it is difficult to replace them.”

His successes during the period 1565-1572 have caused historians to describe Francis as the greatest General after Saint Ignatius.   He founded the Collegium Romanum, which was to become the Gregorian University in Rome, advised kings and popes and closely supervised all the affairs of the rapidly expanding order.   Yet, despite the great power of his office, Francis led a humble life and was widely regarded in his own lifetime as a saint.

In 1571 the pope sent Francis to Spain and Portugal to help build an alliance against the Turks.   He grew increasingly ill on this ambassadorial trip and died after returning to Rome in 1572.

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ST FRANCIS BORGIA - GOYA

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