Saint of the Day – 20 January – Saint Euthymius (c 377–473) Abbot, Hermit, Ascetic, founder of Monasteries, spiritual teacher. Born in c 377 at Melitine, Armenia (modern Malatya, Turkey) and died on 20 January 473 of natural causes. Also known as Euthymius the Great.
Euthymius was educated by Bishop Otreius of Melitene, who afterwards Ordained him Priest and placed him in charge of all the Monasteries in the Diocese of Melitene.
At the age of twenty-nine he secretly set out on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and remained for some time with a settlement of Monks, about six miles east of Jerusalem. In 411 he withdrew, with St Theoctistus, a fellow-hermit, into the wilderness and lived for a while in a rough cavern on the banks of a torrent. When many disciples gathered around them, they turned the cavern into a Church and built a Monastery which was placed under the Abbacy of St Theoctistus.
A miraculous cure which Euthymius effected for Terebon, the son of the Saracen chief Aspebetus, spread the fame of the holy hermit far beyond the confines of Palestine. Aspebetus was afterwards Ordained Priest and became Bishop over his area and people, in which capacity, he attended the Council of Ephesus in 431.
When the report of this miracle had made the name of Euthymius famous throughout Palestine and large crowds came to visit him in his solitude, he retreated with his disciple Domitian, to the wilderness of Ruba, near the Dead Sea. Here he lived for some time on a remote mountain called Marda whence he afterwards withdrew to the desert of Zipho. When large crowds also followed him to this place, he returned to the neighbourhood of the Monastery of Theoctistus, where he took up his abode in a cavern.
Every Sunday he came to the Monastery to take part in the Divine services. At length, because numerous disciples desired him as their spiritual guide, he founded, in 420, on the right side of the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, a Monastery made up of separate cells or huts where the hermits met in a communal area for meals, similar to that of Pharan. The Church connected with this Monastery was dedicated in 428 by Juvenal, the first Patriarch of Jerusalem.
When the Council of Chalcedon (451) condemned the errors of Eutyches, it was greatly due to the authority of Euthymius that most of the Eastern recluses accepted its decrees. The Empress Eudoxia was converted to Catholic unity through his efforts.
The Church celebrates his feastday on 20 January, the day of his death.
Our Lady of the Tables, Montpellier, France “Arms of the City of Montpellier” – 20 January: The Basilica of Our Lady of the Tables is intimately linked to the history of the city of Montpellier. It is located on the outskirts of town at Montpellier, France. The Shrine is said to have taken its name from the many tables of merchants and money changers who stood about the Church in the Middle Ages, for the Church was a stopping point for pilgrims to pray while on their way to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.
There once stood, at this site, a very ancient, renowned Church containing a shrine of Mary – the Blessed Virgin Mary holding her Son in her arms, extended over the city, so to say. She stood upon a byzantine pedestal or table and was fondly called the “Arms of the City of Montpellier.” In 1198, there were a series of miracles connected to devotion to the statue and attributed to Our Lady. The feast dates from the ninth century and is annually celebrated on 20 January. The final destruction of the ancient Church of Our Lady of the Tables, built in 1230 and known as Arms of the City of Montpelier, occurred during the French Revolution, and now only the wreck of the Crypt and burial vaults remain.
This statue housed at the Shrine was a famous statue of black wood – Notre-Dame-des-Tables. In an attempt to preserve it during the Protestant uprisings the icon was hidden for a long time within a silver statue of the Blessed Virgin, life-size and screened from the public view. It was stolen by the Calvinists and has since disappeared from history. The original Church was destroyed by the revolutionaries but the current Basilica was begun, after the French Revolution had ended and the cult transferred to a Jesuit chapel. The Jesuit Church of Montpellier, Notre Dame des Tables, was begun in 1707. Although the statue has disappeared, the people of Montpellier believe Mary still extends her arms over the children of the city, as mentioned above. Her arms of love wield miraculous power, for she is the Mother of God.
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 Euthymius (c 377–473) Abbot, Hermit St Eustochia Smeraldo Calafato OSC (1434-1485) Her Life: https://anastpaul.com/2020/01/20/saint-of-the-day-20-january-st-eustochia-smeraldo-calafato-osc-1434-1485/ St Eutyches the Senator St Fechin of Fobhar Bl Francesco Paoli 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
Quote/s of the Day – 19 January – the Memorial of St Wulfstan (c 1008–1095) Bishop of Worcester
This is true love of Christ and His Church. O Lord, send us such men in our day, where have they gone!? Today, those we have, are hiding behind closed doors and locking the Churches from the faithful, withholding the Sacraments or reporting souls for not complying with satanic rules. They are co-operating in evil schemes to subject all peoples to a totalitarian rule, turning the sheep of the Good Shepherd, into goats, who will be cast into the flames!
“Let the man truly possessed by the love of Christ keep His commandments. Who can express the binding power of divine love? Who can find words for the splendour of its beauty? Beyond all description are the heights to which it lifts us. Love unites us to God; it cancels innumerable sins, has no limits to its endurance, bears everything patiently. Love is neither servile nor arrogant. It does not provoke schisms or form cliques but always acts, in harmony with others. By it, all God’s chosen ones, have been sanctified; without it, it is impossible to please Him. Out of love, the Lord took us to Himself because He loved us and it was God’s will, our Lord Jesus Christ gave His life’s blood for us— He gave His body for our body, His soul for our soul.”
St Clement I of Rome (c 35-99) Martyr for Christ, Bishop of Rome, Apostolic Father
“We unfortunates, are destroying the works of Saints, in order to win praise for ourselves. In that happy age, men were incapable of building for display; their way, was to sacrifice themselves to God, under any sort of roof and to encourage their subjects, to follow their example. But we strive to pile up stones while neglecting souls.”
St Wulfstan (c 1008–1095) Bishop of Worcester
“He who is not ANGRY when there is just cause for anger is IMMORAL. Why? Because anger looks to the good of justice. And if you can live amid INJUSTICE WITHOUT ANGER, you are IMMORAL, as well as, UNJUST.”
St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Doctor Angelicus Doctor Communis
“Better that only a few Catholics should be left, staunch and sincere in their religion, than that they should, remaining many, desire as it were, to be in collusion with the Church’s enemies and in conformity with the open foes of our faith.”
St Peter Canisius (1521-1397) Doctor of the Church
“The declared enemies of God and His Church, heretics and schismatics, must be criticised as much as possible …. It is a work of charity to shout: ‘Here is the wolf!’ when it enters the flock or anywhere else.”
St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of Charity
“The sole reason why society is perishing is because, it has refused to hear the word of the Church, which is the word of God. All plans for salvation will be sterile, if the great word of the Catholic Church, is not restored in all it’s fullness!”
“Woe to me if I do not preach and warn [sinners], for I would be held responsible for their condemnation.”
St Anthony Mary Claret (1807-1870)
“A day will come when the civilised world will deny its God, when the Church will doubt as Peter doubted. She will be tempted to believe that man has become God. In our churches, Christians will search in vain for the red lamp where God awaits them. Like Mary Magdalene, weeping before the empty tomb, they will ask, ‘Where have they taken Him?’”
One Minute Reflection – 19 January – Tuesday of the Second week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Hebrews 6:10-20, Psalms 111:1-2, 4-5,9 and 10, Mark 2:23-28 and the Memorial of St Wulfstan (c 1008–1095) Bishop of Worcester
Then he said to them, “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.” – Mark 2:27
REFLECTION – “‘When God rested on the seventh day from all His works and sanctified that day’, this is not to be understood in any childish way, as if God had toiled at His work, seeing that ‘he spoke and they were made’ by a Word, which was intelligible and eternal, not vocal and temporal. No, the ‘rest of god’ means the rest of those who find their rest in Him, just as the ‘joy of a house’ means the joy of those who rejoice in that house, even if it is not the house itself but, something else which is responsible for the joy. … And so, it is most appropriate that when God is said, on the authority of the prophetic narrative, to have ‘rested,’ what is meant, is the rest of those who find their rest in Him and to whom He gives rest. The prophecy promises this to men also, for it speaks to men and was in fact written for men’s benefit. It promises them, that they also, after the good works which God performs in them and through them, will have eternal rest in Him, if they have already, in some measure, drawn near to Him already in this life, through faith.” – St Augustine (354-430) Bishop of Hippo, Father and Doctor of Grace – City of God – Book XI, Chapter VIII
PRAYER – Almighty Lord and God, shed Your clear light on our hearts so that we may praise You Lord with voice and mind and deed and, since life itself is Your gift, may all we have and are be Yours. Listen dear Lord, we pray, to the intercession of St Wulfstan, whose example to us, is one of total oblation. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God for all time and for all eternity, amen.
Saint of the Day – 19 January – Saint Wulfstan (c 1008–1095) Bishop of Worcester from 1062 to 1095, Monk, Prior, a man of extreme holiness and penitence who was admired by all, he was a he was a man of iron will, immense charm and unworldly humility and piety. and suffered no luxury, preferring always the poor to himself. Born in c 1008 at Long Itchington, Warwickshire and died in January 1095 at He was the last surviving pre-Norman Conquest Bishop and the only English-born Bishop after 1075. Patronages – Vegetarians and dieters.
Saint Wulfstan was an impressive character. As Bishop, he fought against the continuing of married Priests in his Diocese – announcing that they should either give up their women or their Priesthood! This was in accordance with the reform of the Church as promoted by the Papacy from the mid 11th century in which clerical marriage was censured. Wulfstan expected his Monks and congregation to adhere to Christianity in the strictest sense; it is recorded that he recited Psalms repeatedly when travelling on horseback anywhere as a sign of his unwavering faith and conviction, inviting all to follow his example.
Wulfstan was born at Itchington in Warwickshire on the eve of the Danish Conquest (c 1008 or a little later), into a well-connected family. His mother may have been the sister of Wulfstan, Archbishop of York, the prominent homilist and law-maker who was an influential adviser first to King Æthelred and then to the Danish conqueror Cnut. (So the elder Wulfstan was also a bishop adept at making himself acceptable to conquerors – clearly it ran in the family.) The younger Wulfstan was probably named for his famous uncle but Coleman’s life says, that Wulfstan’s parents named him from a combination of their own names: his father was called Æthelstan (‘noble stone’) and his mother was called Wulfgifu (‘wolf gift’), so they named their son ‘Wulfstan’, joining elements from the two names
Wulfstan was educated in the Monastery of Peterborough, where he was taught by a Monk named Earnwig, an expert scribe and illustrator. Coleman’s Vita of our Saint, tells how Earnwig gave young Wulfstan some books to look after – a Sacramentary and a Psalter, with letters illuminated in gold. The boy fell in love with these beautiful books, captivated by the rich decorations but his teacher, with an eye to winning royal favour, presented the books to Cnut and his queen, Emma. The child was heartbroken at the loss but the story has a happy ending for Wulfstan had a dream, in which an angel promised the books would be returned to him and much later in lif,e they were! Cnut sent the books to Cologne as a diplomatic gift to the Holy Roman Emperor and, in the reign of St King Edward the Confessor, they happened to be brought back to England and were given to Wulfstan as a gift by someone who did not know of his dream! The Lord indeed, works in strange and wondrous ways to the eyes of men!
Wulfstan became a Priest and then a Monk at Worcester. One night he was praying in the Church, when an old peasant came in and scolded him for being there so late and challenged him to a fight. Wulfstan – knowing, of course, that it was the Devil in disguise, wrestled with the peasant until he vanished in a puff of smoke.
“But so that [the Devil] should not seem to have failed altogether, he trod on the good man’s foot with all the force wickedness could muster and pierced it, as though with a red-hot iron. The damage penetrated to the bone, so Godric, a Monk of that house, bore witness; according to Coleman, he said he had often seen it, he said “I do not know whether to call it wound or ulcer.’ The same Coleman avows, that he knew the rustic whose shape the Devil took on, a man well suited from his superhuman strength, wicked character and grim ugliness, to be the one into whom that wicked bandit transformed himself. (SL, 29)”
Wulfstan was Consecrated Bishop of Worcester in 1062, late in the reign of St King Edward the Confessor. The tone of his time as Bishop was set, according to William of Malmesbury, by the Bible verse chosen at his Consecration (at random, as was customary, as a prognostication): ‘Behold an Israelite indeed in whom there is no guile’. The stories about Wulfstan’s career as Bisho, illustrate this idea of his guilelessness, his remarkable simplicity and humility, even when he was mixing with the most powerful people in the land. Wulfstan had been closely associated with Harold Godwineson but he nonetheless, managed, to retain his position after the Norman Conquest when many English Abbots and Bishops were deposed. Later legend said ,that when he was ordered to surrender his Episcopal Staff, he stuck it into the tomb of St King Edward, declaring that as Edward had appointed him, only Edward could take it from him. No-one could pull the staff out of the tomb except Wulfstan himself – his own sword-in-the-stone miracle. So he kept his position.
Typical of the stories about Wulfstan’s simplicity of life, is this witty exchange with a Norman Bishop who teased Wulfstan for dressing in humble lamb-skin, rather than grander clothes: “When he was on one occasion told off for this by Geoffrey Bishop of Coutances, he retorted with some witty remarks. Geoffrey had asked why he had lamb-skins when he could and should wear sable, beaver or wolf. He replied neatly, that Geoffrey and other men well versed in the way of the world, should wear the skins of crafty animals but he, was conscious of no shiftiness in himself and was happy with lambskin. Geoffrey pressed the point and suggested he could at least wear cat. But ‘Believe me,’ answered Wulfstan, ‘the Agnus Dei is more often chanted than the Cattus Dei.’ That made Geoffrey laugh – he was pleased that he could be made fun of and that Wulfstan could not be moved (SL, 107-9).”
Many post-Conquest Bishops embarked on ambitious building projects at their Cathedrals, replacing the Anglo-Saxon Churches with larger, more impressive buildings in the new style. Wulfstan did the same at Worcester but he mourned the loss of the old cathedral:
“When the bigger church, which he had himself started from the foundations, had grown large enough for the Monks to move across to it, the word was given for the old church, the work of St Oswald, to be stripped of its roof and demolished. Wulfstan stood there in the open air to watch and could not keep back his tears. His friends mildly reproved him, saying that he should rather rejoice that in his lifetime, so much honour had accrued to the Church that the increased number of Monks made larger dwellings necessary. He replied: “My view is quite different. We unfortunates are destroying the works of Saints, in order to win praise for ourselves. In that happy age men were incapable of building for display; their way was to sacrifice themselves to God under any sort of roof and to encourage their subjects to follow their example. But we strive to pile up stones while neglecting souls.” He said more along these lines, undermining opposed views with his own assertions (GP, 429-31).”
Wulfstan can be regarded as a modern man through his efforts to decry and abolish the slave trade. The Diocese of Worcester extended as far down as Gloucestershire, which included the city of Bristol. Wulfstan made regular journeys to Bristol and would reside there for 2 to 3 months at a timEe, in order that his residence there, would make an impression upon the community. Bristol was one of the capitals of the slave trade in Britain and traded slaves native to England, Scotland and Wales. People resorted to slavery when they were severely impoverished, often families would sell their children into the trade. When a person was enslaved in Bristol, the process had to be undertaken in a public place with witnesses so that the slave could not deny their slavery at a later date. Thus, this measure reveals, that it would have been nigh impossible to work a way out of the slave trade as, during the public process, you had relinquished all personal rights to your master. Wulfstan succeeded in abolishing the slave trade in Bristol by converting the traders, this accomplishment initiated a reform of the slave trade elsewhere in Britain.
Wulfstan’s unworldliness was fondly remembered: “If he was ever forced to go to the Shire Court, he started by pronouncing a curse on evil judges and a blessing on upright ones. Then he would sit down and if some religious matter was under consideration, he would concentrate hard but if it was secular, as more often happened, he would grow bored and go to sleep. But if anyone thought fit to speak against him, he soon found out that Wulfstan was no dullard when it came to replying (GP, 429).”
St Wulfstan died on 20 January 1095 after a protracted illness, the last surviving pre-Norman Conquest Bishop. After his death, an Altar was dedicated to him in Great Malvern Priory, next to those of St Thomas Cantilupe and St King Edward the Confessor.
At Easter of 1158, Henry II and his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, visited Worcester Cathedral and placed their Crowns on the Shrine of Wulfstan, vowing not to wear them again. Their son King John is buried at Worcester Cathedral.
Soon after Wulfstan’s death, a hagiography, or saint’s life, was written about him in English by his former Chancellor Coleman. It was translated into Latin by the medieval chronicler and historian William of Malmesbury. One of the many miracles, which were granted through the intercession of St Wulfstan was the curing of King Harold’s daughter.
Wulfstan was Canonised on 14 May 1203 by Pope Innocent III and he was much venerated by later English Kings, including Henry II and John, who chose to be buried in Worcester Cathedral next to St Wulfstan’s tomb. John is still there, in pride of place, although Wulfstan’s tomb is gone, probably desecrated by the minions of Henry VIII.
St Maris of Persia St Messalina of Foligno St Ponziano of Spoleto St Remigius of Rouen St Wulstan (c 1008–1095) Bishop — Martyrs of Numidia – 9 saints: A group of Christians martryred together for their faith. The only details to survive are nine of their names – Catus, Germana, Gerontius, Januarius, Julius, Paul, Pia, Saturninus and Successus. 2nd century Numidia in North Africa.
Saint of the Day – 18 January – Blessed Andrés Grego de PeschieraOP (1400-1485) Priest and Friar of the Order of Preachers, Confessor, Missionary, miracle-worker, known as “the Apostle of the Valtelline,”“Father of the poor.” Born in 1400 in Peschiera del Garda, Italy and died on 18 January 1485 in the Dominican convent at Morbegno, Sondrio, Lombardy, Italy of natural causes. Roman Martyrology – In the convent of Morbegno near the Italian Alps, Blessed Andrew Grego of Peschiera, a priest of the Order of Preachers, who for a long time walked all over the region, where he lived austerely with the poor and tried to reconcile everyone fraternally (1485). Also known as – Andrés Gregho, Andrés of Peschiera, Andrew… Patronages – Peschiera and Valtelline, Italy.
Born early 15th Century in Peschiera, Italy. As a child, Andrés lived on the southern shore of Lake Garda, in northern Italy. His training for a life of heroic sanctity began early, with voluntary penances and unquestioning obedience to his father. Andrés’ first desire was to be a hermit, an ambition that was met with ridicule from his brothers. Failing to realise this hope, he made for himself a severe schedule of prayer and penance and, in his own house, lived the life of one wholly given to God. He was remarkable for his prayer, abstinence, charity for the poor and obedience to his father. Blessed Andrés, as a child, always fasted on only bread and water during the whole of Lent.
After the death of his father, it became increasingly difficult to carry out his plan, so he resolved to enter the cloister. Although his brothers had persecuted him without mercy, he knelt and humbly begged their prayers and forgiveness for having annoyed them. Then he gave them the only possession he had, a walking stick. This stick, thrown carelessly in a corner by the brothers, was forgotten until, long afterwards, it bloomed with flowers, like the legendary rod of Saint Joseph in token of Andrés’ holiness.
The 15-year old received the Dominican habit at Brescia and then was sent to San Marco in Florence. This convent was then at its peak of glory, stamped with the saintly personalities of Saint Antoninus and the Blessed Lawrence of Riprafratta, Constantius and Antony della Chiesa. Andrés soul caught the fire of their apostolic zeal and set forth on his mission in the mountains of northern Italy.
Heresy and poverty had combined to draw almost this entire region from the Church. It was a country of great physical difficulties and, in his travels in the Alps, he risked death from snowstorms and avalanches as often as from the daggers of the heretics. Nevertheless, he travelled tirelessly, preaching, teaching and building–for his entire lifetime (45 years). He worked tirelessly and without fear in the area preaching against heresy and founding many orphanages and refuges for the poor. He caused several churches and monasteries to be erected and was so loved by the poor that he was given the popular title, “Father of the poor.”
He would retire from time to time to these convents for periods of prayer and spiritual refreshment, so that he could return with renewed courage and zeal to the difficult apostolate. He was known as “the Apostle of the Valtelline” because of the district he evangelised.
Andrés performed many miracles. Probably his greatest miracle was his preaching, which produced such fruits in the face of great obstacles. At one time, when he was preaching to the people, the heretics presented him with a book in which they had written down their beliefs. He told them to open the book and see for themselves what their teachings amounted to. They did so and a large viper emerged from the book.
Andrés had a tender devotion to the Passion of Our Lord and in the ancient pictures of him (none of which appear to be electronically available today) Blessed Andrés is usually pictured with a Crucifix. There is also historical accounts that Blessed Andrew is pictured, at the Chapel in Peschiera dedicated to him, near a Crucifix, from which issues a light that is directed at Andrés’ heart. This is said to refer to some miraculous favour that was granted to Blessed Andrés while he was contemplating Our Lord’s passion. Tradition also tells that on Fridays, Andrés wore a crown of sharp thorns which he concealed under the hood of his habit.
Blessed Andrés died on 18 January 1485 among his Dominican brethren at the priory of Morbegno, Valtellina, Italy. So many miracles were reported to have occurred at his tomb, that Blessed Andrew’s mortal remains were moved twice to allow better access for pilgrims. Blessed Andrés was Beatified (cultus confirmed) by Pope Pius VII in on 26 September 1820.
O Lord Jesus Christ, who didst adorn Blessed Andrés, Thy Confessor, with the apostolic spirit, grant us, in imitation of him, so to benefit others, both by word and example, as to reap abundant fruit. Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen
Our Lady of Dijon – 18 January: In the fifth century, the Abbey of St Etienne of Dijon had a regular chapter which observed the Rule of St Augustine; it was given over to the secular canons and later, Pope Clement XI made the Church the cathedral of Dijon. The image of Our Lady of Dijon in Burgundy was formerly named the “Black Virgin” and “Our Lady of Good Hope.” In the year 1513, Mary miraculously delivered the city of Dijon, the ancient city of the Dukes of Burgundy, from the hands of the Swiss. The German and Swiss forces coming against them totalled 45,000 men and although Dijon was well stocked for a siege, they only had perhaps 6,000 defenders. There were plenty of arrows but little gunpowder and most of the French cannon needed repairs. The invading force was so sure of success, that they there were columns of empty wagons pulled behind the army to bring back the loot they expected to take from the French towns and monasteries. The Monastery at Beze was not spared, as even dead Monks were dug up in search of treasure. The army arrived on 8 September the solemnity of Our Lady’s Nativity. There were so many men, that the defenders saw nothing but a vast sea of shining armour, wherever they gazed. The Swiss opened up with heavy cannon fire the next day, yet there were surprisingly few fatalities. When breeches were made in the walls and the enemy attacked, they were repulsed with heavy loss of life. On Sunday, 11 September, a procession was organised after Mass. The “Black Virgin” was carried through the streets as the French prayed to the Mother of God, to spare them from their deadly enemies. The following day a treaty was signed and the conflict ended unexpectedly. In thanksgiving for this favour, she was titled Our Lady of Dijon, and general procession to her shrine is made every year.
During the French Revolution the Church suffered the outrage of being transformed into a forage storage house. Afterward, in atonement to Our Lady for this insult, the faithful of France rebuilt the Shrine and pleaded, that the Holy See grant numerous relics and valuable keepsakes to be placed there. Our Blessed Mother responded to the generosity and love of the people by granting favours and cures and extending her God-given miraculous power over the people. In 1944 the German army occupied the city of Dijon. The people turned to Mary, praying: “Holy Virgin, Compassionate Mother, you who protected our knights of old and who delivered our city from enemy attack, you maintained our ancestors in their times of trouble…Our Lady of Good Hope, pray for us.” On 11 September, the Nazi army unexpectedly left Dijon.
Saint of the Day – 17 January – Saint Sulpicius of Bourges (Died c 647) Bishop, miracle-worker, apostle of the poor – born in the 7th century as Sulpicius le Debonnaire in France and died in c 647 of natural causes. Also known as – St Sulpicius the Pious, Pius of Bourges, Sulpice of Bourges.
According to his Vita, Sulpitius was born at a place in Vatan in the Diocese of Bourges, of noble parents, before the end of the sixth century. From his youth he devoted himself to good works and to the study of Scripture and donated his large patrimony to the Church and the poor.
Austregisilus, Bishop of Bourges, ordained him cleric of his Church, then Deacon, Priest and finally made him director of his Episcopal school. Clotaire II (King of the Franks from 613 to 629), who had heard of his merits, summoned him and made him almoner and Chaplain of his armies. Upon the death of Bishop Austregisilus (. 624) Sulpicious was recalled to Bourges to succeed him. Thenceforth he laboured with much zeal and success to re-establish ecclesiastical discipline, for the relief of the poor.
In 626 Sulpitius attended the Council of Clichy and held several others with the Bishops of his See. St Desiderius of Cahors, treasurer to King Clothar II and later Bishop of Cahors, was his personal friend – three letters survive which St Sulpicius addressed to him. In the settings of Vita Sulpicii Episcopi Biturgi, Sulpicius’miracles show him receiving “Theudogisilus,, a noble from the palatium of the king with entertainments and a “great heaped fire” (in a fireplace in the centre of the great hall, the smoke issuing through a vent in the roof). Sulpitius allegedly extinguished this fire, when it threatened to get out of control, with an outstretched hand. The Vita asserts with approval that “he, the holy man gave leave for no-one, neither heretic, gentile or Jew, to live in the city of Bourges without the grace of Baptism” – with many consequent conversions from the Jews of Bourges.
The Vita tells that Dagobert I sent his representative the merciless general Lollo (Lollonius) to reside at Bourges and to bring the city more closely under the King’s command. Sulpitius intervened with King Dagobert on behalf of his flock, of whom a too heavy tax was exacted. When the people came complaining of their treatment to Sulpicius, he decreed a three-day fast for clergy and laity but also sent one of his clergy, Ebargisilus by name, to the King.
Towards the end of his life, Sulpitius took a co-adjutor, Vulfolnde and retired to a Monastery which he had founded near Bourges. There he died on 17 January 647, which day several manuscripts of the Hieronymian Martyrology indicate as his feast. The reports of miracles at his tomb in the Basilica he had ordered built, began soon after his death and the place became a place of pilgrimage.
That place, where Sulpicius had the Basilica built and where the memorable man of God is buried, is called Navis, because the port of ships is seen to be there. It is a most lovely place between two rivers with pastures and woods and vineyards in great number, with fields and rivers flowing between huge plains so that there, the inhabitants may be seen to possess the image of paradise.
In his honour the Church of Saint-Sulpice was built in Paris, from which the Society of Saint-Sulpice ( is a society of apostolic life of Pontifical Right for Priests) derives its name.
Our Lady of Hope, Our Lady of Pontmain – 17 January: During the Franco-Prussian War, German troops approached the town of Pontmain, France and the villagers there prayed for protection. On the evening of 17 January 1871, Mary appeared in the sky for several minutes over the town. She wore a dark blue dress covered in stars, carried a crucifix and below her were the words – “Pray, my children, God will answer your prayers very soon. He will not allow you to be touched.” That night the German army was ordered to withdraw and an armistice ending the war was signed eleven days later on 28 January. In May 1872, Bishop Wicart authorized the construction of a Sanctuary, which was consecrated in October 1900. In 1905 Pope Pius X elevated the Sanctuary to the status of a Basilica – The Basilica of Our Lady of Hope of Pontmain. Pope Pius XI gave a final decision regarding the mass and office in honour of Our Lady of Hope of Pontmain. A final papal honour was given to Our Lady of Hope on 16 July 1932 by Cardinal Pacelli, who later became Pope Pius XII, by passing a decree from the Chapter of St Peter’s Basilica, that the Statue of the Blessed Lady, Mother of Hope, be solemnly honoured with the crown of gold. The Lady then was crowned in the presence of Archbishop, Bishops, Priests and the laity by Cardinal Verdier, Archbishop of Paris. The coronation took place on 24 July 1934. At Pontmain, it was a matter of a message of prayer, very simple in the dramatic circumstances of war and invasion. At Pontmain, Mary is a sign of hope in the midst of war. A place of pilgrimage, it attracts annually around 200,000 drawn from among the people of the region, with some international pilgrimages, especially from Germany.
It was in the winter of 1871 in the village of Pontmain, France, Eugene Barbedette was busy in his father’s barn helping prepare the animal feed. He stood briefly in the open doorway, admiring the beautiful evening. Suddenly the gaze of the 12 year old was held there, for opposite the barn and in a framework of stars, stood a beautiful lady – motionless – smiling at him. “Do you see anything?” he shouted to the others, “Look, over there!” “Yes,” cried his brother Joseph, “a beautiful lady dressed in a blue robe with golden stars, yes and blue shoes with golden buckles…and, she has a golden crown which is getting bigger and a black veil.” Since the father did not see her, he told the boys to get on with their work; then curiously, he asked, “Eugene, do you still see anything?” “Yes, she’s still there,” the boy answered and ran to fetch his mother; she saw nothing but with a woman’s intuition, she thought it might be the Blessed Virgin and assembling the family gently, all prayed five Paters and Aves in honour of the Mother of God. She called for a nun at the convent next door, who brought her two little charges with her, the latter, Francoise and Jean Marie, reaching the door of the barn, called out, “Oh, look at that lovely lady with the golden stars!” and clapped their hands with delight. The news spread quickly, people gathered, with them the Cure, M Guerin. The Magnificat was intoned and Eugene shouted, “Look what she is doing!” Slowly a great white streamer unfolded and in large letters they read: “Pray, my children, God will answer your prayers very soon. He will not allow you to be touched.”
The Cure then intoned the hymn: “My Sweet Jesus…” At that a red cross with the wounded body of Christ appeared before the Virgin, who held it. At the top in large red letters was written, “Jesus Christ.” The crowd burst into tears, while the Cure ordered night prayers to be said; a white veil hid the vision, while our Lady smiled at the children, a smile which haunted them all through life with its beauty. Something of the sorrow of farewell was depicted on the faces of Eugene and Joseph, for the cure said quickly, “Can you still see anything?” “No, it is quite finished,” they answered.
At the moment the message was being written in the sky, a messenger passing in front of the crowd had shouted, “You may well pray, the Russians are at Laval.” But they never entered it. On the 17th of January, at six o’clock at night, the very hour the Virgin appeared to the children of Pontmain, the division of soldiers, without apparent reason, received the order to retire. On the 28th of January, the armistice was signed at Versailles. After long and searching inquiry, Mgr. Wicart, the Bishop of Laval, proclaimed the authenticity of the vision and at the very spot where Our Lady had appeared, a cHURCH was erected in honour of Our Lady of Hope of Pontmain. There the Queen of Heaven receives her countless children and gives them fresh hope in their trials, as she gave France peace in her hour of need. The Basilica is a magnificent structure in the 13th century style and one may still see the barn where Eugene and Joseph worked when Mary appeared.
St Achillas of Sketis St Amoes of Sketis St Antony of Rome Bl Euphemia Domitilla Bl Gamelbert of Michaelsbuch St Genitus St Genulfus St Jenaro Sánchez Delgadillo St John of Rome Bl Joseph of Freising St Julian Sabas the Elder St Marcellus of Die St Merulus of Rome St Mildgytha St Nennius St Neosnadia St Pior St Richimir
One Minute Reflection – 16 January – Saturday of the First week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Hebrews 4:12-16, Psalms 19:8, 9, 10,15, Mark 2:13-17 and the Feast Our Lady, Refuge of Sinners and Memorial of St Fursey (Died c 648)
“Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” – Mark 16-17
REFLECTION – “He came in humility – He, the Creator, was created amongst us, He made us but He was made for us. God before time began, man in time, He delivered man from time. This great physician has come to heal our cancer… by His example, He has come to heal pride itself.
This is what we must give our attention to, in the Lord – let us consider His humility, drink the cup of His humility, clasp Him, contemplate Him. How easy it is to have elevated thoughts, easy to take pleasure in honours, easy to give one’s ear to flatterers and people who praise us. But to bear with insult, patiently undergo humiliation, pray for those who persecute us (Mt 5,39.44) – that is the Lord’s cup, that is the Lord’s feast.“… St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Church – Sermon for the ordination of a bishop, Guelferbytanus no.32
PRAYER – Almighty, ever-living God, You offer the covenant of reconciliation to mankind through Your Son Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh. Lord God, grant Your people constant joy, in the renewed vigour of their souls. They rejoice because You have restored them to the glory of Your adopted children, through Him who saves them. Grant that by the assistance of Mary, His mother and theirs, they may look forward gladly to the certain hope of resurrection. Through Christ, the Lord, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God for all eternity, amen.
Saint of the Day – 16 January – Saint Fursey (Died c 650) Irish Missionary Monk, Abbot who did much to establish Christianity in the British Isles and in France, Mystic, whose visions played a pivotal role in the Church’s developing understanding of life after death. St Fursey is one of the Four Comely Saints – a collective name for Saints Fursey, Brendan of Birr, Conall and Berchán, at their burial place on Inishmore a Church was built in the fifteenth-century and dedicated to them. Born in c567 at Munster, Ireland and died in c 648 at Mezerolles, France. Also known as Fursey of peronne, Fursey of Lagny, Fursa, Furseo, Furse, Fursae, Fursu, Fulsey, Furseus. Patronage – Peronne, France.
Fursey was born in Ireland in the closing years of the 6th century. as the son of an Irish Prince and was baptised by St Brendan the Traveller, his father’s uncle. He early showed desire and aptitude to study the Sacred Scriptures and his growth in the faith was matched only by a monastic discipline of life. In his early twenties he received visions that focussed his life on the urgency of preaching the Good News of Christ. His visions were also to play a pivotal role in the Church’s developing understanding of life after death and God’s continuing desire to show love and forgiveness. Fursey’s visions are among the first major accounts of a journey of a soul in the other world to be composed in the early medieval period.
For the next decade Fursey went around Ireland and his preaching was powerful. But his growing popularity disturbed him for he wished people to focus on Christ. Already a Monk, he went with some monastic companions on retreat to a small Irish island to seek guidance. The desire to become ‘a pilgrim for the love of God’ grew stronge, and the group left Ireland, never to return.
Fursey and his companions journeyed to England, where Sigebert – the new and Christian King of East Anglia – had returned from exile in 630 with a desire to share his new faith with his new subjects. Sigebert welcomed Fursey and his group and allowed them to base themselves at Cnobheresburgh (which has been traditionally identified as the Roman Fort at Burgh Castle near Great Yarmouth). Becoming ill, Fursey fell into a trance and, according to St Bede, left his body from evening till cock-crow and was found worthy to behold the chorus of angels in Heaven. Fursey’s visions of Heaven and Hell, experienced throughout his life and widely recounted, are thought to have inspired Dante’s Divine Comedy. After almost a decade in East Anglia Fursey felt called to continue his missionary pilgrimage.
Going to France, he was received by King Clovis II and his leading official Earconwald. With their blessing he founded a Monastery at Lagny-sur-Marne (east of Paris). His journeys continued and many Churches in Picardy are dedicated to him.
He died at Mézerolles c 648. His body lay unburied and unsullied by decay and emitting a sweet odour for thirty days pending the Dedication of the Church and was during that time, visited by pilgrims from all parts. Finally, he was buried in a Church (built specially by Earconwald) in Peronne which has claimed him as Patron ever since. Four years later his still incorrupt body was moved to a new shrine east of the altar. At nearby Mont St Quentin, an Abbey was founded in his honour, which became such a great centre for pilgrims that Peronne was known as ‘Peronne Scottorum’ (Peronne of the Irish). In its scriptorium one of the Monks wrote the Vita of Fursey, which tells us so much about him. The Vita has the vitality and insights that come from an eyewitness account, making it of especial value.
It was this almost contemporary Life, that the Venerable St Bede drew on, in his “History of the English Church and People” (iii,19). St Bede obviously admired Fursey deeply. “He was renowned” wrote St Bede “for his words and doing, and was outstanding in virtue.”“Inspired by the example of his goodness and the effectiveness of his teaching,” St Bede went on, “many unbelievers were converted to Christ and those who already believed, were drawn to greater love and faith in him.” St Bede wrote, as he himself said, so that his readers would understand “how great a man Fursey was.” It is a view echoed by writers of our own day who place Fursey as the most influential Irish Missionary in Europe, after his predecessor Columbanus . Fursey’s Visions were to play a pivotal role in the Western Church’s developing understanding of the world to come.
The worst evil that can befall us is unquestionably SIN, which makes us an object of abhorrence in the sight of God. God’s infinite mercy has not only prepared for us a potent remedy against sin, in the merits of Jesus Christ, our Saviour but, He has also given us poor sinners, a secure refuge in the assistance of Mary, Our Lady Refuge of Sinners. In the Old Law there were cities of refuge to which the guilty could flee for safety; in the New Law, Mary’s mantle is, for us, that citadel of refuge for sinful souls. How can the Divine Wrath strike us, if we are covered by the mantle of Mary, the chosen daughter and the honoured Mother of God? Our Lady Refuge of Sinners is thus not merely a pledge of our safety but, by her unrivaled sanctity, she is as earnest of pardon for all sinners who have recourse to her intercession. She not only disarms the just anger of God roused by our sins but also, obtains for her true clients, sincere and heartfelt conversion. All we need do is turn toward her with Faith, to obtain Divine Clemency and the means to rise from the mire of sin.
St Berard and Companions (Peter, Adjute, Accurs, Odo and Vitalis) St Dana of Leuca St Dunchaid O’Braoin St Fulgentius of Ecija St Fursey (Died c 648) Missionary Monk
St Juana Maria Condesa Lluch Bl Konrad II of Mondsee St Leobazio St Liberata of Pavia St Pope Marcellus I St Melas of Rhinocolura St Priscilla of Rome St Sigeberht of East Anglia St Titian of Oderzo St Triverius St Valerius of Sorrento
One Minute Reflection – 15 January – Friday of the First week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Hebrews 4:1-5, 11, Psalms 78: 3 and 4, 6-7, 8, Mark 2:1-12and the Feast of Our Lady of Banneux/Our Lady of the Poor (1933) and St Maurus OSB (c 512-584)
And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”– Mark 2:5-6
REFLECTION – “O God, fullness of goodness, You do not forsake any, except those who forsake you. You never take away Your gifts, except when we take away our hearts. We rob the goodness of God, if we claim the glory of our salvation for ourselves. We dishonour His mercy, if we say He has failed us. We offend His generosity, if we do not acknowledge His blessings. We blaspheme His goodness, if we deny that He has helped and assisted us. In short, O God, cry loud and clear into our ears: “your destruction comes from you, O Israel. In me alone is found your help” (Hos 13:9). – St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor Caritatis – Treatise on the Love of God, Ch 9
PRAYER – Lord God, You hold out the light of Your Word to those who do not know You. Strengthen in our hearts, the faith You have given us, so that no trials may quench the fire Your Spirit has kindled within us. Grant us the grace of approaching You in sorrow and repentance, so that we may hear Your Word, “your sins are forgiven you, go and sin no more.” May the prayers of Our Blessed Lady of Banneux and St Marus, grant us eyes to see and ears to hear and strength to hear and obey You. Through Christ, our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.
Saint of the Day – 15 January – Saint Maurus OSB (c 512-584) Benedictine 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. Born in c 512 in Rome, Italy and died on 15 January 584 of natural causes. Patronages – Benedictine Novices and Oblates (c0-patron with St Placidus), cripples, invoked against rheumatism, epilepsy, gout, hoarseness, cold, charcoal burners, cobblers, coppersmiths, shoemakers, porters, tinkers, tailors, latern and candle makers, of the Azores, Badajoz, Spain, Casoria, Italy, Saint-Bonnet-de-Vieille-Vigne, France.
Four stories involving Maurus recounted by St Gregory formed a pattern for the ideal formation of a Benedictine Monk. The most famous of these involved Saint Maurus’s rescue of Saint Placidus, a younger boy offered to Saint Benedict at the same time as Saint Maurus. The incident has been reproduced in many medieval and Renaissance paintings.
“Saint Maurus—one of the greatest masters of the Cenobitical Life and the most illustrious of the Disciples of St Benedict, the Patriarch of the Monks of the West—shares with the First Hermit, St Paul, the honours of this fifteenth day of January.” (From the Benedictine Liturgy). The Benedictines today, liturgically honour the first companions of Saint Benedict, Saint Maurus and Saint Placidus. They are the Patron saints of Benedictine Novices and Oblates.
St Maurus, Abbot and Deacon, son of Equitius, a nobleman of Rome, was born about the year 510 and died in 584. When he was about twelve years old, his father placed him under the care of St Benedict at Subiaco, to be educated in piety and learning. When he had grown up, St Benedict chose him as his co-adjutor in the government of the Monastery. He was a model of perfection to all his brethren but especially in the virtue of obedience.
St Placidus, one of his fellow disciples, the son of the Senator Tertullus, going one day to draw water, fell into the lake and was at once carried away by the current. St Benedict saw this in spirit in his cell and bade Maurus run and draw him out. Having asked and received the holy Father’s blessing, Maurus hastened down to the lake, walked upon the waters, thinking he was on dry land and dragged Placid out by the hair, without sinking in the least himself. He attributed the miracle to the command and prayers of St Benedict but the holy Abbot, to the obedience of the disciple.
St Maurus was sent to France in 543 to propagate the order of St Benedict in that country. He founded the famous Abbey of Glanfeuil, over which he ruled as Abbot for thirty-eight years. In 581 he resigned the Abbacy, built for himself a small cell near the Church of St Martin, so that, in solitude and prayer, he might prepare himself for his passage into eternity. After two years he fell sick of a fever, he received the Sacraments of the Church, lying on sackcloth before the Altar of St Martin and in that posture expired on 15 January 584.
Maurus was originally buried in the Abbey Church at Glanfeuil. When, in 868, Odo and the monks of Glanfeuil were obliged to flee to Paris in the face of Vikings marauding along the Loire, the remains of St Maurus were translated to the Abbey of Saint-Pierre-des-Fossés, later renamed Saint-Maur-des-Fossés. In 1750 the relics were relocated to Saint-Germain-des-Prés, where they remained until dispersed by a Parisian mob during the French Revolution. Saint Maurus is still venerated by Benedictine congregations today, many Monks adopting his name and dedicating Monasteries to his patronage.
The cult of Saint Maurus slowly spread to Monasteries throughout France and by the 11th century had been adopted by Monte Cassino in Italy, along with a revived cult of Saint Placidus. By the late Middle Ages, the cult of Saint Maurus, often associated with that of Saint Placidus, had spread to all Benedictine Monasteries. Saint Maurus is venerated even as far as in India, where he is highly honoured in certain areas of the southern state of Kerala.
St Maurus was favoured by God with the gift of miracles. To show in what high degree the Saint possessed the gift of miracles, it will be sufficient to cite a few examples of how he miraculously cured the sick and restored to health those who were stricken with a grievous affliction. It has already been stated, according to the testimony of St Pope Gregory the Great, in the Second Book of his Dialogues, how when a youth, St Maurus rescued St Placidus from drowning.
A few more examples of miracles wrought by the Saint, as related by the Monk St Faustus (Bollandists, Vol. 2), who accompanied St Maurus to France and later wrote his life, will be given here. They were invariably wrought by means of the Sign of the Cross and the relic of the true Cross, which he had taken along to France.
When St Maurus, at that time Prior of the Abbey of Monte Cassino, was returning with the brethren from gathering the harvest in the fields, he met a boy who was mute and crippled, accompanied by his parents. When the father and mother of the boy cast themselves at the feet of the Saint and implored him to cure their child of his maladies, St Maurus, having for some time given himself to prayer, imposed upon the head of the boy his levitical stole, for he was a Deacon and made the sign of the Cross over him, saying to him: “In the name of the most holy and undivided Trinity and supported by the merits of the-most holy Father Benedict, I bid you to rise, stand upon your feet and be cured.” And forthwith the boy arose, walked about and with a loud voice praised and glorified God.
A certain Vicar, Ardenard, had been sent by Innocent, the Bishop of Mans, to Monte Cassino, in order to petition St Benedict to send some Monks to France. Arriving at a place called Vercella, the Vicar fell down headlong from a high stairway in the place where he was lodging. His body was so crushed by the fall that his life was despaired of. His right shoulder, arm and hand had so swelled with inflammation, that amputation of the arm was deemed necessary. Recourse was then had to their companion, St Maurus, who was engaged in prayer in the oratory. Moved by the earnest supplications of his brethren and the misery of the sick man, the Saint cast himself prostrate at the foot of the Altar, pouring forth his soul in fervent prayer. Having finished praying, he took from the Altar the case of relics which had been sent him by his master, St Benedict and went to the bedside of the sick man. Having exposed the relic of the Cross, he made the Sign of the Cross over every part of the arm from the shoulder to the fingers, saying:
“O God, the Creator of all things, You ordained that Your only Son should take flesh of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit, for the restoration of your people and You deigned to heal the wounds and infirmities of our souls, by the redemption accomplished upon the sacred and glorious wood of the life-giving Cross, do You also vouchsafe through this powerful Sign, to restore health to Your servant.”
His prayer being ended, all the poisoned blood, by which the Vicar’s arm had beer inflamed, began to flow off from three different places in his arm and his arm was cured.
While continuing their journey and reaching the Alps, one of the servants, Sergius, riding on horseback, fell from his horse and struck his leg against a huge rock and so crushed it, that it was but one bruised mass. Whereupon St Maurus went up to the unfortunate man, seized his crushed leg with his left hand and with his right made the sign of the Cross over it, saying: “In the name of almighty God, arise and be cured” and immediately, to the joy of all, his crushed leg became whole and sound.
When St Maurus and his little band came to the Church of the Holy Martyrs Sts Maurice and his companions, they entered it to pray. At the entrance of the Church sat a certain man who was born blind, begging alms from those who entered and left the holy building. He had learned that Maurus, the disciple of the holy man Benedict, had arrived, the fame of his sanctity having already preceded him. When Maurus and his companions had finished their prayers and left the Church, they found the blind man lying prostrate on the ground, begging and imploring the Saint to obtain for him by his prayers the light of his eyes. Maurus commanded him to rise and pressing the fingers of his right hand upon his eyes, he imprinted on them the sign of our redemption. Thereupon, the blind man instantly obtained his eyesight.
Blessing of St Maurus Since St Maurus miraculously freed many persons from their bodily afflictions through the Sign of the Cross and the relic of the true Cross of Christ, in many Monasteries of the Order of St Benedict from time immemorial, after the example of this miracle-worker, the custom of blessing the sick with the relic of the true Cross, has prevailed, in order to restore their health. But until recent years, there was no uniform and approved formula of blessing of the Church. There existed a number of old and new formulas, which were essentially the same but differed from each other in many details. Some formulas were exceedingly lengthy. In the face of these facts, Dom Maurus Wolter OSB, President of the Beuronese Congregation, petitioned Rome for an approved and authentic formula. A carefully prepared and much abbreviated formula was therefore presented to the Sacred Congregation of Rites for its approval.
The formula and prayer of St Maurus, was approved by the Sacred Congregation for all Priests and Deacons, secular as well as regular clerics, to impart the blessing, provided the formula approved by the Sacred Congregation is used.
In art, St Maurus is depicted as a young man in the garb of a monk, usually holding an Abbot’s cross or sometimes with a spade (an allusion to the monastery of Saint-Maur-des-Fossés, literally “Saint Maurus of the Ditches”). Another of Saint Maurus’ attributes, is a crutch, in reference to his patronage of cripples. He was invoked especially against fever, and also against rheumatism, epilepsy and gout. He is also sometimes depicted with a scale, a reference to the implement used to measure a Monk’s daily ration of bread, given to him by Benedict when he left Monte Cassino, for France. The Monks of Fossés near Paris (whence the community of Glanfeuil had fled from the Vikings in 868) exhibited this implement throughout the Middle Ages.
Our Lady of Banneux, Belgium (under 2 Titles – Our Lady of the Poor and Queen of Nations) 15 January: Our Lady of Banneux, or Our Lady of the Poor, is the sobriquet given to the apparition of the Virgin Mary to Mariette Beco, an adolescent girl living in Banneux, province of Liège (Belgium). Between 15 January and 2 March 1933, Beco told her family and parish priest of seeing a Lady in white who declared herself to be the “Virgin of the Poor,” saying I come to relieve suffering and believe in me and I will believe in you.
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 Venerated on 30 September 2015 by Pope Francis (decree of heroic virtues) and Beatified on 23 April 2016 by Pope Francis. The beatification was celebrated in Burgos, Spain, presided by Cardinal Angelo Amato.
Saint of the Day – 14 January – Blessed Odo of Novara O.Cart. (c 1105-1200) Priest, Carthusian, Prior – born in c 1105 at Novara, Italy and died in 1200 at Tagliacozzo, Italy of natural causes, aged around 94. Patronages – Tagliacozzo.
Of the period of his life prior to his settling in Tagliacozzo, that is around 1190, there is uncertain information, so much so, that various attempts have been made with specialised publications to restore order to the most contrasting points of his ‘Life.’
He was born in Novara in c 1105, was professed Carthusian at Casotto or at the Grande Chartreuse, was sent to the Charterhouse of Seitz (in Yugoslavia) in the period of its foundation (1160) where he remained until 1189 writing the Sermons, then in 1189 he arrived at the Charterhouse di Gyrio (now Jurklo_ter near La_ko in Yugoslavia) founded in 1169, with the office of Prior, it is assumed, however, that he arrived some time earlier, sent by the Pope from the Carthusian monastery of Casotto.
His priory did not last long. In the same year, at the latest in 1190, due to administrative differences that arose among the Monks, he left for Rome to ask Pope Clement III for justice; the local Bishop took advantage of these differences and expelled the Monks in a period that lasted nine years.
From Rome, he moved to Tagliacozzo and from here on, his life is all documented. The Abbess of the Benedictines of the Monastery of Sts Cosmas and Damian, a relative of the Pope, asked the Pontiff for a real approval of the work of Blessed Odo. Documents describe the blessed as a Monk wearing a robe of coarse wool, wearing a sackcloth, small in stature, pale and gaunt. He spent almost ten years in Tagliacozzo in a small cell built near the Monastery, engaging in prayer, reading, work, running the Convent Church and effective Preaching.
Many miracles accompanied his activity in Tagliacozzo and continued after his death which occurred on 14 January 1200. Blessed Pius IX approved the cult and the title of Blessed on 31 May 1859. He was very honoured in the past centuries, especially by Tagliacozzo which was the only town of the region to escape the terrible earthquake of 14 January 1784, the day of his feast.
Our Lady of the Word, Montserrat, Spain (1514) – 14 January: In the year 1514, Our Lady was venerated at a Shrine near Montserrat, Spain. Her aid was invoked on behalf of a dumb man who went on pilgrimage there and the Blessed Virgin miraculously restored his speech. From that time on, she was given the title Our Lady of Speech. Here again the words of the “Memorare” were verified: “Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection,implored thy help or sought thy intercession,was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence,I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions but in thy mercy hear and answer me.” When God was made man, it was she who gave voice to the Word. In the Magnificat, God the Holy Ghost, her mystical spouse, spoke though her. When Christ was a child, she was His voice. When Our Lord was a man, He spoke for himself, while his mother remained silent. After the Ascension, she again became His voice as she guided the infant Church through those perilous times. Over and over again, the words of God came through her, for she is His Mediatrix of grace, the link between us and Him.
Vested with the almighty power of her Divine Son, Mary, imitating Him, visits the earth, going about doing good, granting petitions, supplying the needs of those who invoke her and giving solace, comfort and aid to her children. She is indeed Our Lady of the Word; Mother of the Word Incarnate; “And the Word was made Flesh and dwelt among us,” through her “Fiat.”
As a consequence, even while on earth, His Mother’s word had great influence upon Christ. “They have no wine,” uttered in behalf of the embarrassed newlyweds at Cana, was all that was necessary to bring forth her Sons’ first miracle.
And so, down the ages, Mary hearkens to the words of her Calvary-born children and speaks in their behalf to Jesus. Her intercession, her word, her speech, is never in vain. Let us never cease to invoke this powerful protectress, who wants nothing more than to intercede for us, her children, before the throne of God.
St Potitus Bl Rainer of Arnsberg St Sabas of Sinai St Sava of Serbia St Successus of Africa St Theodolus of Sinai Bl William de Sanjulia — Martyrs of Mount Sinai: A group of monks on Mount Sinai who were martyred by desert Bedouins. Their names and exact number have not come down to us. Martyred by Bedouins.
Martyrs of Raithu – 43 saints: A group of 43 monks in the Raithu Desert near Mount Sinai, Palestine, near the Red Sea. They were martyred for their faith by desert Bedouins. Their names have not come down to us. Martyred by Bedouins.
Quote/s of the Day – 13 January – The Memorial of St Hilary of Poitiers (315-368) Father & Doctor of the Church
“He conquered death, broke the gates of hell, won for Himself a people to be His co-heirs, lifted flesh from corruption up to the glory of eternity.”
“There is no space where God is not; space does not exist apart from Him. He is in heaven, in hell, beyond the seas; dwelling in all things and enveloping all. Thus He embraces and is embraced by, the universe, confined to no part of it but pervading all.”
“The utter folly of our time is lamentable, that men should think. to assist God with human help and to protect the Church of Christ by worldly ambition.”
“The Son of God is nailed to the Cross but on the Cross, God conquers human death. Christ, the Son of God, dies but all flesh is made alive in Christ. The Son of God is in hell but man is carried back to heaven.”
St Hilary of Poitiers (315-368) Father & Doctor of the Church
One Minute Reflection – 13 January – Readings: Hebrews 2:14-18, Psalms 105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9, Mark 1:29-39 and the Memorial of St Hilary of Poitiers (315-368) Father & Doctor of the Church and Blessed
That evening at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick, or oppressed by demons. – Mark 1:32
REFLECTION – “Let us set before our interior consideration someone gravely wounded who is about to breathe his last. … Now, the soul’s wound is sin, of which Scripture speaks in these terms: “Wound and welt and gaping gash, not drained or bandaged or eased with salve” (Is 1:6). Oh you who are wounded, recognise your physician within you and show Him the wounds of your sins. May He understand your heart’s groaning Who already knows its secret thoughts. May your tears move Him. Go as far as a little shamelessness in your beseeching (cf. Lk 11:8). Ceaselessly bring forth deep sighs to Him from the depth of your heart.
May your grief reach Him so that He may say to you also : “The Lord has pardoned your sin” (2 Sam 12:13). Cry out with David, who said: “Have mercy on me, O God, in (…) the greatness of your compassion” (Ps 50:3). It is as though one were to say: “I am in great danger because of an enormous wound, that no doctor can cure, unless the all-powerful Physician comes to help me.” For this all-powerful Physician, nothing is incurable. He heals without charge! With one word He restores to health! I would have despaired of my wound were it not, that I placed my trust in the Almighty.” – St Gregory the Great (540-604) Pope, Father, Doctor of the Church – Commentary on Psalm 50
PRAYER – God our Saviour, through the grace of Baptism, You made us children of light. You lead us by the hand and guide and protect us by Your commandments. Fill us with joy at Your nearness and the light of Your Son, by whose beam we see You and follow. St Hilary and Bl Veronica were shining examples to us all, grant, we pray, that their prayers may aid us. Through Jesus our Lord and Christ, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 13 January – The Octave of Epiphany and the Memorial of St Hilary of Poitiers (315-368) Father & Doctor of the Church
I Owe You a Most Particular Duty By St Hilary of Poitiers (315-368)
I am well aware, Almighty God and Father, that in my life I owe You a most particular duty. It is to make my every thought and word speak of You. In fact, You have conferred on me, this gift of speech and it can yield no greater return than to be at Your service. It is for making You known as Father, the Father of the only-begotten God and preaching this to the world, that knows You not and to the heretics, who refuse to believe in You. … Grant that I may express what I believe. Amen
Excerpt from a Sermon On the Trinity (Lib 1, 37-38: PL 10, 48-49) by Saint Hilary of Poitiers. It is used in the Roman Office of Readings for the feast of St Hilary, today.
Saint of the Day – 13 January – Blessed Veronica of Binasco OSA (c 1445-1497) Virgin Nun of the Order of St Augustine, Mystic, endowed with the gifts of prophecy and discernment- born as Giovanna Negroni in c 1445 at Binasco, Italy, a small village near Milan and died on 13 January 1497 in Milan, Italy of natural causes. Veronica of Binasco was known as a great contemplative who also gave loving care to sick sisters in her community and ministered to the people of Milan. Additional Memorial – 28 January (Augustinian calendar).
Veronica grew up in the small town of Binasco, Italy, not far from Milan. She and her family were poor and she worked with her mother and father, doing chores and in the fields. Her parents set their daughter on the path to Christian virtues, as it was said that her father was a scrupulously honest man, never selling a horse without first disclosing its faults or imperfections to the buyer. As she developed a desire for saintliness and perfection, she became tired of the joking and songs of her companions, even hiding her head and weeping as she worked.
Having no formal education, she attempted, unsuccessfully, to teach herself to read. While making this effort one night, the Virgin Mary appeared to Veronica, telling her that while some of her pursuits were necessary, her reading was not. Instead, the Virgin taught her in the form of three mystical letters:
The first signified purity of intention; the second, abhorrence of murmuring or criticism; the third, daily meditation on the Passion. By the first she learned to begin her daily duties for no human motive but for God alone; by the second, to carry out what she had thus begun by attending to her own affairs, never judging her neighbour but praying for those who manifestly erred; by the third she was enabled to forget her own pains and sorrows in those of her Lord and to weep hourly but silently, over the memory of His wrongs. – Alban Butler, Lives of the Saints.
Veronica became accustomed to nearly constant apparitions and religious ecstasies. She saw scenes from the life of Christ, yet these never interrupted her work. She joined an Augustinian lay order at the convent of Saint Martha in Milan at the age of 22. She took the religious name Veronica, reflecting her devotion to the Passion of Christ.This community was very poor; Veronica’s job was to beg in the streets of the city for food.
She was known and respected by the secular and ecclesiastical leaders of her day. Several times Christ gave to her in prayer important messages which she carried to influential persons, such as the Duke of Milan and Pope Alexander VI.
Her spiritual life was intense. She was particularly devoted to the Eucharist and to the Suffering and Death of Jesus. She experienced physical mistreatment from the devil but found strength in prayer, remaining at peace and overcoming difficulties through the power of Christ. She cheerfully helped others when help was needed. In spite of her growing reputation for holiness and wisdom, Veronica remained humble.
After a six-month illness, Veronica died on the date she had predicted, 13 January 1497. So numerous were her admirers who came to pay their respects, her burial was delayed for nearly a week. Many sick persons who touched her body were restored to health. Her remains are preserved at the parish Church in Binasco.
She was Beatified in 1517 by Pope Leo X (cultus confirmed). In 1672, Pope Clement X extended the devotion to the entire Augustinian Order and in 1749 Pope Benedict XIV added Blessed Vernoica to the Roman Martyrology.
Our Lady of Victory, Prague, Czech Republic (1620), home of the Infant of Prague: 13 January: Among shrines dedicated to Our Lady of Victory, that at Prague has become world-famous because it is also the home of the statue of the Infant of Prague. The story of the Shrine is an unusual one. In 1620 the Austrian Emperor, Ferdinand II and Prince Maxmilian of Bavaria gained a major victory over a coalition of Protestant armies in the battle of the White Mountains near Prague. The previous day, Fr Dominic of Jesus-Maria, a Discalced Carmelite, had found, in the castle of Strakowicz, a picture representing the nativity of Christ. It showed the Blessed Virgin kneeling before her Divine Son, while St Joseph stood behind her holding a lantern. In the background were two shepherds. The Calvanists had shown their fanaticism, by piercing the eyes of Mary and her spouse, St Joseph. Carrying the picture to the camp, the Monk held it up and urged the soldiers to restore Mary’s honour. His words decided the hesitation of the generals and gave courage to the men. They adopted Mary’s name as their battle cry and Mary blessed their efforts. In the moment of success, they hailed the painting as Our Lady of Victory and carried it in triumph into Prague, where their leaders adorned it with rich jewels. In gratitude to God for his great success and in recognition of the help given by Father Dominic, Ferdinand II founded several Carmelite Monasteries, including one at Prague which was solemnly blessed under invocation of Our Lady of Victory. Before this time, however, Father Dominic had taken the picture of Our Lady of Victory to Rome where it was first venerated in the Basilica of St Mary Major, then carried – in the presence of Pope Gregory XV – to the Church of St Paul near the Carmelite convent, on 8 May 1622. Pope Paul V subsequently changed the name of the Church to Our Lady of Victory and the feast was officially inaugurated. The original painting was destroyed in a fire in 1833 and has been replaced by a copy. Another copy hangs in the church of Our Lady of Victory in Prague, in a building erected in 1706 replacing the earlier church. From the Shrine of Our Lady of Victory in Prague, came to the entire world the devotion to the Infant of Prague. Our need for Mary’s help continues as long as we live and so long, too, we need her guidance. The struggle between the forces of evil and the forces of good, will continue until the end of time. The devil, whose intelligence and power exceed those we can command in our own right, has an acute appreciation of the value of our souls bought with a great price. Our sure way to defeat him, is to range ourselves under Mary’s banner, to call on her to bring us victory and to acknowledge her, as Our Lady of Victory when she protects us from dangers and brings us triumphant through temptation.
St Agrecius of Trier St Andrew of Trier St Berno of Cluny St Ðaminh Pham Trong Kham St Designatus of Maastricht St Elian of Brittany St Emil Szramek St Enogatus of Aleth St Erbin of Cornwall Blessed Francesco Maria Greco (1857-1931) Blessed Francesco’s Life: https://anastpaul.com/2019/01/13/saint-of-the-day-13-january-blessed-francesco-maria-greco-1857-1931/ Bl Francisca Inés Valverde González St Giuse Pham Trong Ta St Glaphyra St Gumesindus of Córdoba St Hermylus Bl Hildemar of Arrouaise Bl Ida of Argensolles Bl Ivetta of Huy St Kentigern “Mungo” of Glasgow (c 518-614) About St Mungo: https://anastpaul.com/2020/01/13/saint-of-the-day-13-january-saint-kentigern-mungo-of-glasgow-518-614/ St Leontius of Caesarea St Luca Pham Trong Thìn Bl María Francisca Espejo y Martos Bl Matteo de Lana St Peter of Capitolíade St Servusdei of Córdoba St Stephen of Liège St Stratonicus Blessed Veronica of Binasco OSA (c 1445-1497) Virgin Mystic St Viventius St Vivenzio of Blera — Forty Martyred Soldiers at Rome: Forty soldiers martyred in the persecutions of Gallienus. They were martyred in 262 on the Via Lavicana, Rome, Italy.
Second Thought for the Day – 12 January – The Memorial of St Benedict Biscop OSB (c 628-690)
“How Venerable Benedict Did Prophesy to His Monks the Time of His own Death.”
(St Gregory’s Dialogues, Book 2, Chapter 37)
In the year that was to be his last, the man of God foretold the day of his holy death to a number of his disciples. In mentioning it to some who were with him in the Monastery, he bound them to strict secrecy. Some others, however, who were stationed elsewhere, he only informed of the special sign they would receive at the time of his death.
Six days before he died, he gave orders for his tomb to be opened. Almost immediately, he was seized with a violent fever that rapidly wasted his remaining energy. Each day his condition grew worse until finally, on the sixth day, he had his disciples carry him into the chapel where he received the Body and Blood of our Lord, to gain strength for his approaching end. Then, supporting his weakend body on the arms of his brethren, he stood with his hands raised to heaven and, as he prayed, breathed his last.
That day, two monks, one of them at the monastery, the other some distance away, received the very same revelation. They both saw a magnificent road covered with rich carpeting and glittering with thousands of lights. From his monastery, it stretched eastward in a straight line until it reached up into heaven. And there in the brightness stood a man of majestic appearance, who asked them, “Do you know who passed this way?”
“No,” they replied.
“This,”he told them, “is the road taken by blessed Benedict, the Lord’s beloved, when he went to heaven.”
Thus, while the brethren, who were with Benedict witnessed his death, those who were absent knew about it, through the sign he had promised them. His body was laid to rest in the Chapel of St John the Baptist, which he had built to replace the altar of Apollo.
Quote/s of the Day – 12 January – The Memorial of St Aelred of Rievaulx (1110-1167) “St Bernard of the North”
“We should consider how much good our Lord did us, by His first coming and how much more He will do for us, by His second. This thought will help us, to have a great love for that first coming of His and a great longing for His return.”
“Let us then learn from the Cross of Jesus our proper way of living. Should I say ‘living’ or, instead, ‘dying’? Rather, both living and dying. Dying to the world, living for God. Dying to vices and living by the virtues. Dying to the flesh but living in the spirit. Thus in the Cross of Christ, there is death and in the Cross of Christ, there is life. The death of death is there and the life of life. The death of sins is there and the life of the virtues. The death of the flesh is there and the life of the spirit. … It was fitting, that we, who had fallen because of a tree, might rise up because of a tree.”
“Faith is not even a virtue, unless it is expressed by love, nor is hope, unless it loves, what it hopes for.”
“When insults have no effect on us, when persecutions and penalties, have no terror for us, when prosperity or adversity, has no influence on us, when friend and foe, are viewed in the same light… do we not come close, to sharing, the serenity of God?”
“If I see him [my neighbour] in distress, whether it be on account of the austerity of the food. or because of work or the vigils – if, I say, I see that he is tormented in body and tempted in spirit, if I see him in such affliction, and…do not on occasion accommodate myself to the infirmities of the weak I am not running in the fragrance of Christ’s ointments but with the harshness of the pharisees.”
St Aelred of Rievaulx (1110-1167) “St Bernard of the North”
One Minute Reflection – 12 January – Seventh day in the Octave of Epiphany, Readings: Hebrews 2:5-12, Psalms 8:2 and 5, 6-7, 8-9, Mark 1:21-28 and the Memorial of St Benedict Biscop OSB (c 628-690)
But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent and come out of him!” – Mark 1:25
REFLECTION – “Jesus rebuked the devil and said, ‘Be silent! Come out of him!’” Truth has no need of the Deceiver’s testimony. “I did not come to get the confirmation of your testimony but to cast you out of what I have created…, I have no need of the recognition of one whom I have vowed to destroy. Shut your mouth! Let your silence be My praise. I want no praise from your mouth, My praise is your torture, your punishment … Silence! and come out of this man!” It is as though He said: “Come out …, what are you doing in My house? It is I who want to enter in, so be silent and get out of the man, he being endowed with reason. Get out of the man! Leave the home prepared for Me! The Lord wants His house – vacate this man” …
See just how precious man’s soul is. This contradicts those who think that we human beings and animals have an identical soul and are animated by a same spirit. In another incident the devil is cast out of a single man and sent into two thousand pigs (Mt 8:32) – what is precious is saved, what is unclean is lost. “Come out of the man and get into the pigs…, go where you want, get along with you into the abyss. Leave the man, My private property, alone … I won’t allow you to possess the man, it would be an insult to Me if you were to make your home in him in My place. I took on a human body and dwell in man – the flesh you are possessing, is part of my own flesh – get out of this man!” – St Jerome (347-420) Father and Doctor of the Church – Homilies on Saint Mark’s Gospel, no. 2
PRAYER – King of heaven and earth, Lord God, rule over our hearts and bodies this day. Sanctify us and guide our every thought, word and deed, according to the commandments of Your law, so that now and forever, Your grace may free and save us. Sanctify our hearts, minds and actions with Your power, that all we are, may speak of Your Light. May the prayers of the Blessed Virgin our Mother and the ever-zealous St Benedict Biscop, bring us to peace and confidence. We make our prayer through Your Son, our Lord Jesus, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God for all eternity, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 12 January – Seventh day in the Octave of Epiphany and the Memorial of St Aelred of Rievaulx (1110-1167) “St Bernard of the North”
Behold Me, O Sweet Lord, Behold Me! By St Aelred of Rievaulx (1110-1167)
Behold me, O sweet Lord, behold me! For I hope. that in Your loving kindness, O Most Merciful One, You will behold me, either as a loving physician to heal, a kind teacher to correct, or an indulgent father to pardon… confident in Your sweet powerful mercy and most merciful power, I ask in virtue of Your sweet Name and of the mystery of Your sacred humanity that, mindful of Your kindness and unmindful of my ingratitude, You forgive me my sins and heal the languors of my soul. Amen
Saint of the Day – 12 January – St Benedict Biscop OSB (c 628-690) (pronounced “bishop”) – Bishop and Abbot of Wearmouth, who introduced Stained Glass windows to England and raised the Venerable Saint Bede, Founder of Monkwearmouth-Jarrow Priory (where he also founded the famous library) – he was known as a Bibliophile, Confessor, a man of great piety and learning. Born in c 628 in Northumbria, England as Benet Biscop and died on 12 January 690 of natural causes at Wearmouth, England. Patronages – English Benedictines, musicians, painters, Church libraries and librarians, Sunderland, England, St Benet Biscop Catholic Academy in Northumberland, England.
Benedict’s idea was to build a model Monastery for England, sharing his knowledge of the experience of the Church in Europe. It was the first Ecclesiastical building in Britain to be built in stone and the use of glass was a novelty for many in 7th-century England. It eventually possessed, what was a very large library for the time – several hundred volumes – and it was here, that Benedict’s student St Bede wrote his famous works. The library became world-famous and manuscripts that had been copied there became prized possessions throughout Europe, including especially the Codex Amiatinus, the earliest surviving manuscript of the complete Bible in the Latin Vulgate version.
Benet was born of the highest Anglo-Saxon nobility. He held office in the household of King Oswy (Oswiu) of Northumbria. But, after a journey to Rome, the first of his five such trips, when his was 25 (653) in the company of Saint Wilfrid, the saint renounced his inheritance and dedicated himself to God. He then spent his time in studying the Scriptures and prayer. Following a second visit to Rome with Oswy’s son Aldfrith in 666, he became a Monk in the Monastery of Saint-Honorat in Lerins near Cannes, France, taking the name Benedict. He remained there for two years strictly observing the rule.
His third pilgrimage to Rome in 669, coincided with the visit of Archbishop-elect Wighard of Canterbury, who died there, prior to his consecration. Saint Theodore was finally selected to replace Wighard as Archbishop of Canterbury and Pope Saint Vitalian, ordered Benedict to accompany Theodore and Saint Adrian to England, as a Missionary, which he did in obedience. Theodore appointed Benedict Abbot of Sts Peter and Paul (now St Augustine’s) Monastery in Canterbury, where he remained for two years before returning to Northumbria. (He was succeeded as Abbot by Saint Adrian, whose feast day was yesterday and who held this position for 39 years.)
Thereafter, Saint Benedict travelled to and fro between Britain and Rome (beginning in 671), returning always with books and relics and bringing back with him craftsmen to build and enrich the Churches of Britain. This fourth journey was made, with the view of perfecting himself in the rules and practice of a monastic life, so he stayed a while in Rome and visited other Monasteries.
In 674, he was granted 70 hides of land by Oswy’s son, Egfrid, at the mouth of the river Wear (Wearmouth), where he built a great stone Church and Monastery dedicated to Saint Peter. He was the first to introduce glass into England, which he brought from France along with stone and other materials. His foreign masons, glaziers and carpenters taught their skill to the Anglo-Saxons. He spared no trouble or effort in seeking far and wide for all that would richly embellish his Romanesque church.
From his trip to Rome in 679, Benedict brought back Abbot John of Saint Martin’s, the precentor (Archcantor) from Saint Peter’s. This was a result of Benedict persuading Pope Saint Agatho that Abbot John would be able to instruct the English monks, so that the music and ceremonies at Wearmouth might follow exactly the Roman pattern. Upon his return to England, he held training classes in the use and practice of church music, liturgy and chants. (John also taught the English monks uncial script and wrote instructions on the Roman liturgy for them.)
But, chiefly, he brought books, for he was a passionate collector. His ambition was to establish a great library in his Wearmouth Monastery. He also imported pictures from Rome and Vienne, beautiful paintings and musical scores. Among these treasures imported from Rome were a series of paintings of Gospels scenes, of Our Lady and the Apostles and of incidents described in the Book of Revelation, to be set up in the church.
Benedict also devised his rule based on that of Saint Benedict and those of the 17 Monasteries he had visited. He doubtlessly organised the scriptorium in which was written the manuscript of the Bible which, his successor as Prior at Wearmouth, Saint Ceolfrid, took with him in 716 as a present to Pope Saint Gregory II – the very book was identified in the Biblioteca Laurentiana at Florence in 1887, the famous Codex Amiatinus. All this immeasurably enriched the early English Church.
Because his Monastery and Church at Wearmouth was so edifying, in 682 Egfrid gave him a further gift of forty hides of land, this time at Jarrow on the Tyne River. Here he established a second Monastery, six miles from St. Peter’s and dedicated it to Saint Paul (now called Jarrow) in 685, which became famous as a great centre of learning in the West and the home of Saint Bede. our Saint’s charge and spiritual son. Among its inmates were many Saxon thanes turned Monks, who ploughed and winnowed and worked at the forge, like the rest and at night, slept in the common dormitory, for rank and class had no place among them.
And because Benedict was busier than ever with all his enterprises and still governed both Abbeys, he handed over some of his authority. Benedict first took to help him at Wearmouth, his nephew, Saint Eosterwin, a noble like himself and then Saint Sigfrid. In Jarrow, he placed Saint Ceolfrid in charge. While Benedict still ruled the Abbeys as their Founder, he made these men the Abbots under his direction of the two foundations, so that the Monasteries would not be without leadership during his absences.
Benedict made his last voyage to Rome in 685, returning with even more books and sacred images and some fine silk cloaks of exceptional workmanship, which he exchanged with the King for three hides of land.
It was due to Benedict Biscop that so much material lay to hand for Bede and other scholars and that, a solid foundation was laid for the later glories of the English Church. After his death, the school at Jarrow alone, comprised 600 scholars, apart from the flow of constant visitors. It was also in large part due to him, that the Church of Northumbria turned from the old Celtic forms, to those of Rome. Out of his labours and travels came a rich and abundant harvest.
At the end of his life, Benedict suffered from a painful paralysis in his lower limbs. (It is interesting to note that Sigfrid was afflicted with the same paralysis about the same time.) Throughout his three-year confinement, he asked the Monks to come into his room to sing Psalms and he joined them when he could. His last exhortations to his Monks, before he died at age 62, were to continue his work, to preserve his great library, to follow the monastic Rule of Saint Benedict and, to elect an Abbot, based on his holiness and ability rather than his lineage. He said, he would rather the Monasteries be turned into wildernesses than to have his brother succeed him as Abbot.
Benedict’s biography was written by Saint Bede, who had been entrusted to his care at age seven and whose learning was made possible by the library Benedict collected at Jarrow. Bede, the historian, says that the civilisation and learning of the 8th century rested in the Monastery founded by Benedict.
Proof of a very early public cultus of Benedict Biscop comes from a sermon of Bede on him (Homily 17) for his feast but the cultus became more widespread only after the translation of his relics under Saint Ethelwold about 980. Saint Benedict’s relics are thought to rest at Thorney Abbey, although Glastonbury also claims some of them.
Our Lady of Conquest, Santa Fe, New Mexico – 12 January: In the North Chapel of the beautiful Cathedral of Santa Fe stands a little statue (scarcely three feet tall) of Our Lady holding the Child Jesus. It was skilfully carved by loving hands in Spain. Mary is clad in a richly embroidered dress, topped by a jewelled crown. Her regal countenance wears a serene, detached expression that is strangely impressive. This is Our Lady of Conquest, or La Conquistadora. The statue of Our Lady of Conquest came to the new world in the care of the Franciscan missionary Fray Alonso da Venevides. She was installed with great ceremony in a Church in Santa Fe. Over the ensuing decades, as often happens, the men living in the region did not practice their religion as they should. Mary appeared in a vision to a young girl, warning her that the colony would be overrun due to the loss of reverence for Priests and the Faith. In the year 1680 the local Indians rose up and attacked the Spanish. Twenty-one Priests were killed and the colonists completely driven out of the region. The statue was rescued from the burning Church and taken back to Mexico with the colonists who escaped the wrath of the Indians.
It was not until the year 1691 that Don Diego de Vargas was sent by the King of Spain to attempt the re-settlement of the city of Santa Fe. Like so many Spanish heroes who had accomplished seemingly impossible deeds during their lifetimes, he was as fervent a Catholic as he was a capable knight. Don Diego de Vargas carried with him the statue of Our Lady as he re-entered New Mexico. Although he had only a small force, he was able to peacefully negotiate a peace with the various Indian nations. He attributed his success to “the Sovereign Queen, Most Blessed Mary.” He is said to have vowed to build a chapel for her and hold a yearly procession if she would grant him a speedy and bloodless victory over the Indian, which she did. Upon reaching his goal, however, the Indians refused to allow the Spanish colonists to return to Santa Fe. The Spanish under Don Diego were few in number and they were forced to fight a numerically superior force. The colonists prayed the Rosary before the statue of the Blessed Virgin, as the men engaged the Indians in battle. The fighting lasted all day and it was not until evening when they reclaimed the city. Once again, Mary was credited for the victory and to show her sovereignty, Don Diego placed an officer’s baton in her hand. The Shrine symbolises a spirit of deep-rooted Faith and devotion, which characterised the “Conquistadores” of this land. There is still a great deal of devotion shown to Mary at the Cathedral of St Francis, which includes processions, fiestas and other celebrations. The statue was formally crowned by Cardinal Francis Spellman and in 1960 received a Papal Coronation.
St Martinian of Belozersk St Martin of León Bl Nicholas Bunkerd Kitbamrung St Peter of Abessala Blessed Pierre-François Jamet (1762-1845) About Blessed Pierre-François: https://anastpaul.com/2020/01/12/saint-of-the-day-12-january-blessed-pierre-francois-jamet-1762-1845/ 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.
Saint of the Day – 11 January – Saint Salvius of Amiens (Died c 625) Bishop, Monk, miracle-worker. St Salvius was the fifth Bishop of the French city of Amiens . He lived in the 6th century and 7th century. He is often confused with Salvius of Albi and Salvius of Valencijn. Patronages – against speech impediments, of Montreui, the Frisian town of Dronrijp and of the town of Saint-Sauflieu, in France. He is also known as – Sauve or Saulve (also of Montreuil).
Salvius came from a wealthy Amiens family. He chose an ascetic lifestyle as a hermit but a group of followers gathered around him. One of these followers was St Ingoald (died around 600, memorial on 29 October). The Montreuil Monastery was created from this group of followers. Salvius himself was the first Abbot.He lived a frugal life and was very kind to his fellow man.
According to legend, Salvius was miraculously elected Bishop of Amiens . The miracle is that Salvius had died after a holy life and his fellow monks had entombed his corpse and then watched around the Coffin that night as is the custom, in the “Wake.” In the morning, the coffin opened with a big bang and Salvius opened his eyes from his sleep. He told the monks that he was indeed on his way to the heavenly world but God had sent him back to continue to serve on earth. As a result of this amazing experience, he was elected Bishop to succeed Bishop Ado.
As the Bishop, Salvius was gracious and lived a life of great care and mercy to the poor. By the grace of God, Salvius was able to perform many miracles, curing the blind, the deaf and those with other ailments. On one of his journeys as a Bishop, he healed a deaf and dumb child. He is, therefore, named as patron, for those suffering from speech impediments.
He built a church dedicated to the apostle Peter at Montreuil and also discovered the place where the body of St Firmin of Amiens was buried. St Firmin, who died in c 303 as a Martyr, was the first Bishop of Amiens. Salvius came to the right place with the help of the Holy Spirit. Here he glanced up into the sky, in prayer and a ray of sunshine brought about a shaking of the earth precisely at the site of Firminius’ tomb. Salvius commissioned the remains of Firminius to be taken to Notre-Dame of Amiens. The image below shows our Saint as the 3rd from the left in the St Firmin (in the middle) portal of the Notre-Dame of Amiens.
Miraculous cures continued at his grave. His relics rest at Montreuil, in Picardy, in the Benedictine Abbey which bears his name, whither they were translated from the Cathedral of Amiens, several years after his death, as is related in his anonymous life. A relic of this saint was formerly kept with great veneration in the Cathedral of Canterbury, mentioned in the history of that church.