Saint of the Day – 18 April – Blessed Idesbald of Our Lady of the Dunes O.Cist (c 1095-1167) Cistercian Priest and Abbot of Ten Duinen Abbey, Our Lady of the Dunes from 1155 until his death, Widower. Born in c 1095 in Flanders, Belgium and died in 1167 of natural causes. Patronages – against fever, against rheumatism, against gout, sailors, shrimp fishers, polder farmers, Flemnish nobility, Sint-Idesbald, Belgium.
The Roman Martyrology states: “In Bruges in Flanders, in today’s Belgium, Blessed Idesbaldo, Abbot, who, soon became a widower and exercised for another thirty years, duties in the palace of the Counts, entered the Monastery of Dune at a mature age, which he held holy, as the third Abbot for twelve years.”
As a youth Idesbald was a Courtier and Page to the Count of Flanders. It is believed that he proceeded from the noble family of Van der Gracht, lords of Moorsel.
He had married but was widowed shortly thereafter. In 1135 he was Ordained a Priest and Canon at Veurne, Belgium. In 1150, after 15 years of pastoral service, Idesbald became a Cistercian Monk at the Abbey of Our Lady of the Dunes serving as Abbot with a great reputation for holinessm from 1155 to his death in 1167.
Idesbald was buried in the Abbey in a lead coffin. In 1577, a confederacy of Dutch protestants, plundered the Abbey, and the Monks transported Idesbald’s relics to an outlying Monastic property at Bogaerde.On 13 November 1623, his coffin was opened in the presence of several witnesses so that the relics could be inspected and authenticated – Idesbald’s body was found to be incorrupt. For many days, his body was exposed for the veneration of the faithful, who came en masse, including well known Spanish ecclesiatics as well as the Papal Nuncio many miracles took place on that occasion and his cult was extended more and more.
Again, in 1796, Idesbald’s body was transported to safety from Bruges where he was, to save him from the French Revolutionary troops and finally, in 1830 he was placed in the Chapel associated with the Abbey of Our Lady of the Potteries at the Abbey, where he still is today.
His cult was approved in 1894 by decree of the Diocese of Bruges. On 23 June 1894, Pope Leo XIII confirmed his cultus by an official Beatification.
Basilica della Santa Casa / The Basilica of Our Lady of Loreto erected (1586) – 18 April:
The Basilica of Loreto, one of the finest in Italy, has been adorned, according to their taste, by the Popes, who have often come there on a pilgrimage like the faithful. Three gates of chased bronze give entrance into the holy temple, in the centre of which, arises the Santa Casa in its clothing of white marble, adorned with magnificent bas-reliefs, designed by Bramante and executed by Sansovino, Sangallo and Bandinelli.
La Sala Del Tesoro no longer displays enough riches to pay the ransom of all Italy but it has still received, in our days, very magnificent gifts of princes and Popes. Among these pious gifts we observe a gold Monstrance, enriched with diamonds, a Chalice and a Thurible, offered by the Emperor Napoleon to the Madonna; an enameled Chalice, set with rubies and aqua marinas, offered, in 1819, by Prince Eugene Beauharnais; another Chalice, adorned with brilliants, by the Princess of Bavaria, his spouse; a large Crucifix of gold and diamonds and a Crown of amethysts, rubies and diamonds, offered in 1816, by the King and Queen of Spain, at the time of their pilgrimage to Loreto; a nosegay of diamonds, offered, in 1815, by Maria Louisa, sister of the King of Spain, Queen of Etruria and Duchess of Lucca; an immense heart of very fine gold, with a precious stone in the centre, suspended from a chain of emeralds and amethysts, the gift of the Emperor of Austria to the Madonna. It would be impossible to enumerate the precious stones and rich offerings of all kinds given by Princes and Kings, under the simple title of dono de una pia persona, in the register containing the names of benefactors to the Santa Casa. Cathedral of Loreto. The miraculous statue of the Madonna is nearly 85 centimetres high; it is carved in cedar wood, covered with magnificent drapery and placed on an Altar glittering with precious stones. We are assured that the niche which it occupies is covered with plates of gold. A number of lamps, of massive silver, burn before it.
The beautiful litany of Our Lady of Loreto was the votive offering with which a celebrated Florentine composer, of the early years of the eighteenth century, repaid a miracle of the Blessed Virgin. This composer, whose name was Barroni, all at once lost his hearing, like Beethoven; after having exhausted the succour of art without success, he invoked that of Mary and set out on a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Loreto. There, he was cured, after praying with faith and, in his gratitude to the Holy Madonna, he composed, by inspiration, in her praise, a chorus, which, under the title of Litanie della Santa Casa, was performed for the first time on 15 August 1737. This litany was repeated every year afterwards for the Feast of the Madonna; Rossini, happening to pass by Our Lady of Loreto, was struck with the charm of this composition and is said to have introduced it into his Tancredi (Gazette Musicale). The front area of the Church was constructed during the pontificate of Pope Sixtus V in 1586 and it was he, who founded the Order of Knights of Loreto, who were a company of Knights especially devoted to defend the shores of the Italian Mediterranean against the incursions of barbarians. The Popes have delighted to testify their respect for Mary, by making her miraculous Sanctuary of Loreto the object of their devout solicitude. Pope Pius V offered to the Santa Casa, two silver Statues of Saints Peter and Paul; he did still better, by diverting from its natural channel, a river, the waters of which, sluggish and in great measure stagnant, sent up the most unwholesome exhalations to the top of the hill, where a small Town has been formed, under the shadow of the magnificent Church of Mary. Pope Benedict XIV, embellished this Sanctuary with truly persevering generosity, where Pius VII, having recovered his liberty, came to kneel, before his entrance into Rome and where he left, as a memorial of his visit, a superb gold Chalice, with this inscription: “Pius VII, Sovereign Pontiff, restored to liberty on the day of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and coming from France to Rome, left at Loretto, this monument of his devotion and gratitude.” His holiness Gregory XVI also made a pilgrimage to Loreto.
One Minute Reflection – 17 April – “Saturday of the Second Week of Easter, Readings: First: Acts 6: 1-7, Psalm: Psalms 33: 1-2, 4-5, 18-19, Gospel: John 6: 16-21 and the meorial of St Pope Anicetus I (Died 168)
“It is I, be not afraid.”…John 6:20
REFLECTION – “Enlighten me, good Jesus, with the brightness of internal light and take away all darkness from the habitation of my heart. Restrain my wandering thoughts and suppress the temptations which attack me so violently. Fight strongly for me, and vanquish these evil beasts — the alluring desires of the flesh — so that peace may come through Your power and the fullness of Your praise resound in the holy courts, which is a pure conscience. Command the winds and the tempests, say to the sea: “Be still” and to the north wind, “Do not blow” and there will be a great calm.
Send forth Your light and Your truth to shine on the earth, for I am as earth, empty and formless until You illumine me. Pour out Your grace from above. Shower my heart with heavenly dew. Open the springs of devotion to water the earth, that it may produce the best of good fruits. Lift up my heart pressed down by the weight of sins and direct all my desires to heavenly things, that having tasted the sweetness of supernal happiness, I may find no pleasure in thinking of earthly things.
Snatch me up and deliver me from all the passing comfort of creatures, for no created thing can fully quiet and satisfy my desires. Join me to Yourself in an inseparable bond of love because You alone can satisfy him who loves You and without You, all things are worthless.” – Thomas à Kempis CRSA (1380-1471) – The Imitation of Christ – Book 3 Ch 23
PRAYER – Let us praise You Lord, with voice and mind and deed and since life itself is Your gift, may all we have and are, be Yours! May our Mother be with us and pray for us and listen, we pray, to the prayers of St Pope Anicetus as we ask his intercession. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, in union with You, one God for all eternity, amen.
Acts 6: 1-7 1 And in those days, the number of the disciples increasing, there arose a murmuring of the Greeks against the Hebrews, for that their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. 2 Then the twelve calling together the multitude of the disciples, said: It is not reason that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. 3 Wherefore, brethren, look out among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. 4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word. 5 And the saying was liked by all the multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost and Philip and Prochorus and Nicanor and Timon, and Parmenas and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch. 6 These they set before the apostles; and they praying, imposed hands upon them. 7 And the word of the Lord increased; and the number of the disciples was multiplied in Jerusalem exceedingly, a great multitude also of the priests obeyed the faith.
Gospel: John 6: 16-21 16 And when evening was come, his disciples went down to the sea. 17 And when they had gone up into a ship, they went over the sea to Capharnaum; and it was now dark and Jesus was not come unto them. 18 And the sea arose, by reason of a great wind that blew. 19 When they had rowed, therefore ,about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they saw Jesus, walking upon the sea and drawing nigh to the ship and they were afraid. 20 But he saith to them: It is I; be not afraid. 21 They were willing, therefore, to take him into the ship and presently the ship was at the land to which they were going.
Saint of the Day – 17 April – Saint Pope Anicetus I (Died 168) the 12th Pope and Martyr Papacy 157-168. Anicetus actively opposed Gnosticism and Marcionism. (Some sources record St Anicetus as the 11th and others as the 12th Pope?). He welcomed St Polycarp of Smyrna to Rome to discuss the Easter controversy.
The Roman Martyrology states for today: “At Rome, St Anicetus, Pope and Martyr, who obtained the palm of martyrdom in the persecution of Marcus.”
St Anicetus, the twelfth Pope after St Peter, first saw the light of day in Syria, toward the end of the first century. He was carefully educated by his parents, and was gifted by God with great natural abilities, especially with a clear, penetrating mind. He made, by his untiring perseverance, such progress in all sciences that he was counted among the best scholars of his time. In addition to this, the life he led was so blameless, that he was a model of Christian perfection, to everyone.
The most shining of all his virtues, was his truly apostolic zeal in protecting and disseminating the true faith. Therefore, when Pius I. had ended his life by a glorious martyrdom, Anicetus was unanimously elected his successor amid great rejoicing. And in truth, the Church needed, at that period, a Pope as learned, zealous and holy as himself, as she was assailed and persecuted in all possible ways by divers heretics.
Valentinus and Marcion, two Heresiarchs, had already commenced to sow the poison of their corruption in Rome and even a wicked woman named Marcellina, who had adopted the teachings of Carpocrates, had already many followers. The saddest fact of all, however, was that the Catholics, themselves, became very indolent in the practice of their faith, and their conduct was not such as their religion required. This inspired the heretics with hope of being able to instill their spurious doctrines into their minds, as we know by experience that the surest road to apostasy from the true faith, is indifference and debased morals. (My note – this all sounds very familiar!)
St Anicetus, although he perceived all this with great pain, did not become disheartened. Calling on God for aid, he began earnestly to work. By daily sermons, by teaching and exhortation, he endeavoured to move the Catholics to more fervency in their religion, as well as to a reformation of their lives. The example of his own holy life gave the greatest force to his words. He lived like a Saint, and all his thoughts were directed to lead his flock to salvation. He was an enemy to even the most innocent amusement and found his only pleasure in prayer and in working for the honour of God and the salvation of souls. He employed the greater part of the night in devotional exercises and during the day, he was only found in Church, in the dwellings of the sick, or poor, or at home, occupied in study or prayer. He chastised his body by fasting and other penances. To his enemies he was kind and charitable; to the poor, liberal; while in danger and persecution he was fearless and strong.
This beautiful example of their Shepherd, was soon followed by the Catholics residing in Rome with such zeal, that, according to the testimony of Hegesippus, the historian, the whole City became a habitation of sanctity. This change in the morals of the people was the most efficacious means of preserving them in the true faith, as the best safeguard of faith is a pious and blameless life. As far as the heretics were concerned, who endeavoured to implant in the hearts of the Romans, the seeds of their false doctrines, the Holy Father had the greatest compassion on them on account of their lost souls. He left nothing untried to bring them to the knowledge of their error but he thought it prudent ,to banish those who remained inflexible from the City. st Polycarp, a disciple of St John, came to Rome at the time of Anicetus, to discuss several points with him, which were to be settled for the welfare of the faithful. All was happily concluded and Polycarp paid the greatest honours to the holy Pope, everywhere praising his saintly conduct.
For eight years had Anicetus governed the Church with wonderful wisdom and power, when during the persecution of Marcus Aurelius he was seized, and being inflexible in the confession of his faith, he was decapitated.
During his time as Pope, St Anicetus had to combat, in particular, the dangerous errors of gnosticism, Christ’s ancient enemy, already rampant in the days when Saint John the Apostle wrote his letters to the Churches of Asia. Saint Anicetus was visited in Rome by Saint Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, who desired to consult with him and, whom he in turn asked ,to celebrate the feast of Easter in the Church of Rome, as Saint Ireneus, Polycarp’s disciple, relates. They had not been able to find a solution to the question of a difference in the date of Easter in the Orient and the Occident, which Pope Saint Victor would later settle but remained close friends. Saint Anicetus’ vigilance protected his flock from the wiles of the false preachers Valentine and Marcion, who were attempting to corrupt the faith in the capital of the empire. – By Fr Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876.
The Liber Pontificalis states that St Anicetus was buried in the cemetery of Callistus.
Nossa Senhora da Arrábida / Our Lady of Arrábida, Portugal (16th Century) – 17 April:
The Shrine of Our Lady of Arrábida is popular with sailors and with all those who travel by water. It owes its beginnings to a miraculous occurrence during the 16th century. At some time during this century, an English merchant named Hildebrand, was standing off the entrance to the Tague River when a great storm caught his ship and immediately plunged him into the dangerous waters at the mouth of the river. The ship was in great danger and the merchant, being a pious Catholic, knelt before a picture of Our Lady which he always kept on board his ship. Soon after, he began praying a bright light was seen shining through the darkness and the ship came to rest in calm waters. When daylight came, it could be seen, that the vessel was safely anchored at the foot of a very steep wooded mountain. Hildebrand went back below decks to kneel before the illustration of Our Lady in thanksgiving, when he found that the picture was no longer there. Since it had been from that direction of the mountain that he had seen the light, the night before, Hildebrand went on land and climbed the steep trail to the top. There, on the very top of the mountain, amid the dense woods, was his picture of Our Lady, before which he had prayed in his hour of need. Greatly moved, Hildebrand finished his business as soon as possible, in England and returned to Portugal. He gave away his goods to the poor and settled down in a small hermitage at the top of the mountain, where the picture had indicated that Our Lady wished a Shrine to be. The Shrine is there today and still popular with the local peoples and all sailors, fisherman and those who travel by water. Numerous votive tablets surround the picture, testifying to miracles worked by Our Lady of Arrábida for those who come to her in need. Sailors going on a long voyage usually go for a farewell visit on departure and return to give thanks when they come home.
The Ancient Statue of Nossa Senhora da Arrábida is in the Chapel of the Convent.
It is a replica that is taken in procession and like the original, has a natural head of hair and a silver crown, a blue mantle over an embroidered dress bedecked with silver sequins. In one hand the Blessed Virgin carries the Baby Jesus who wears a similar crown to that of His Mother. In the other hand, Our Lady holds a silver scepter. Only half a meter tall, she has a profound physical and spiritual presence. The procession winds through several City streets, accompanied by a band, banners, and flags. A great crowd processes each year to pay homage to Senhora da Arrábida, or in thanksgiving for answered prayers and many climb the mountain barefoot.
There are fishermen who are going to fulfil vows made in moments when they feared that their vessels were sinking and women, accompanied by their children, who go in thanksgiving for their husbands and fathers, who came back safely through heavy storms. Still others speak of cures from serious illnesses or severe accidents and several miracles which are attributed to Our Lady of Arabida. Ave Maria!
Saint of the Day – 16 April – Blessed Joachim Piccolomini of Siena OSM (1258–1305) Lay brother Friar of the Tertiaries of the Order of the Servants of Mary (the Servites), Apostle of charity of the sick, devotee of the Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin. Born in 1258 at Siena, Italy and died on Good Friday, 16 April 1306 at Siena, Italy of natural causes. Patronage – against epilepsy. Additional Memorial – 4 February (Servites). Also known as – Gioacchino Piccolomini, Joachim of Siena.
Joachim Piccolomini was born into a ancient and noble family of Siena, Italy. A pious youth, he was especially noted for his devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. His greatest childhood pleasure was to pray the Ave Maria before an image of the Blessed Lady of Sorrows. He was also known from an early age to exhibit extreme sensitivity to the plight of the poor. He gave them his own clothes and spent his pocket money on almsgiving. One day when Joachim urged his father to increase his aid to the distressed, his father argued that prudence ought to moderate his liberality. Otherwise, he would reduce his whole family to poverty. Joachim is said to have replied, “You have taught me that an alms is given to Jesus Christ, in the persons of the poor. Can we refuse Him anything? And what is the advantage of riches but that they be employed in purchasing treasures in heaven?” Hearing these sentiments, his father wept for joy.
Joachim joined the Servites as a lay-brother at the age of fourteen, becoming a spiritual student of Saint Philip Benizi, one of the seven Holy Founders. By all reports, he was a perfect model of virtue; it was not unusual to find him at midnight, praying, while the rest of the house slept and on Saturdays, Joachim abstained from all food in honour of the Seven Dolours of the Virgin. His fervour grew, yet instilled in him an extraordinary humility. Joachim was urged by his brothers to study and be ordained a Priest but he felt he was unworthy, and wanted nothing grander than to be an Altar Server. It would appear that his whole life was an attempt to hide himself from the eyes of others and live in obscurity. In fact, he had become so well-respected and widely known for his sanctity that he requested that he be transferred to Arezzo. The move aroused such a stir of complaints in Siena that he was ordered to return.
According to the legend Joachim reportedly died when he was unable to console an epileptic with words, so he begged God that he might take the illness upon himself. He died of epilepsy in 1305.
One account of Joachim’s hagiography has the Blessed Virgin appearing to him at important times in his life, such as in his adolescence, when she urged him to join the Servites. The second time, she appeared with two crowns in her hands; one of rubies to reward him for his compassion in her sorrows and the other of pearls, in recompense for his virginity, which he had vowed in her honour.
Shortly before his death, the account continues, she once more appeared. Joachim begged her that he would die on the same day on which Jesus Christ had died. The Virgin immediately gratified him, saying, “It is well, prepare thyself; for tomorrow, Good Friday, thou shalt die suddenly as thou desirest—tomorrow thou shalt be with me in heaven.” So, during the singing of the Passion according to Saint John, at the words “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, His Mother” (John 19:25), Joachim fell into his last struggles of death and at the words “He bowed down his head and expired” (John 19:30), Joachim died. The whole Church was filled with an extraordinary light and a sweet-smelling perfume.
Blessed Joachim Piccolomini was Beatified by Pope Paul V on 21 March 1609. He is commonly depicted as a Servite holding a book and a flower and is venerated especially in Arezzo and Siena.
A little note of interest concerning the family of our saint – the Church has elected 2 Piccolomini Popes Pius II and Pius III and another relative of Siena, is also a Blessed – Ascanio Piccolomini (1628-1671).
Nostra Signora delle Vittorie / Our Lady of Victories in the Church of St Mark, Vienna (1683) – 16 April:
In the year 1683 a formidable army of well over 100,000 Turks invaded Austria and laid siege to Vienna for the second time. The City was strategically located in Europe and the Ottoman Turks had been pressing further and further into Christendom over the preceding centuries. If they could take Vienna, it would open up all of Europe to them. Unfortunately, all of Europe was not united against the invader. The differing Protestant sects hated their Catholic neighbours more than they feared the Turk, and stood by, doing nothing as the Catholics fought alone to save Europe. In fact, the Ottoman Empire had been supporting the Protestants, and encouraged them to revolt and rebel against their lawful government, which weakened Christendom and obviously played into the hands of the Turks. It went so far that they actually promised their Protestant dupes that they would be given the “Kingdom of Vienna” if they should help defeat them. Suffering under an intense siege, Vienna was on the point of surrendering to the enemy. The people were filled with fear and anxiety, for had this happened, the Turks would easily have invaded the rest of Europe,and filled it with blood and strife. From all parts of the Catholic world prayers were offered to the Queen of Heaven, that she intercede and avert this disaster. Our Lady, Consoler of the Afflicted, did not fail her people. The pious and valiant Catholic King of Poland, John Sobieski, with an army seemingly inadequate to the need, bravely marched against the enemy anyway. Even though his army was tiny in comparison to the multitudes that awaited him, there was no-one else who could come to the aid of Vienna. When John Sobieski came in sight of the Turkish camp, before beginning battle, he ordered Holy Mass to be celebrated, at which he himself served, then he begged the celebrant to bless the whole army.
Full of confidence in the help of Mary Most Holy, Our Lady of Victories, King John Sobieski manfully threw his forces into the conflict. Initiating what would be the largest cavalry charge in history, King John led his now legendary Winged Hussars into the face of the enemy like a host of avenging angels, disrupting the enemy formations and breaking their lines. The enemy, though far more numerous, turned and fled, while the King’s army were masters of the field. The rejoicing of Christians was great at this news and from all Christendom ,fervent prayers were offered to the Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Victories, in thanksgiving for her protection.
Pope Innocent XI, reigning at the time, placed all his trust in the Blessed Virgin Mary. He had vowed to institute a feast in her honour, if she would liberate the Church from this terrible danger. In fulfilment of this vow, he extended to the whole Catholic world, the Solemnity of the Holy Name of Mary, which had up to that time, only been observed in particular countries. The famous image of Our Lady of Victories is the one which Emperor John Zimiarnes and John Commenus, carried in a triumphal procession after having besieged the enemy. The image is now borne in procession at Vienna to beg Our Lady’s intercession for various needs.
St Herveus of Tours Blessed Joachim Piccolomini of Siena OSM (1258–1305)Tertiary Servite Lay Friar St Lambert of Saragossa St Lambert of Saragossa St Magnus of Orkney St Turibius of Astorga St Vaise St William Gnoffi — Martyrs of Avrillé – 26 beati: – A group of lay people who were executed together for their faith during the anti-Christian persecutions of the French Revolution. They were martyred on 16 April 1794 at Avrillé, Maine-et-Loire, France. • Blessed Anne Maugrain • Blessed François Micheneau veuve Gillot • Blessed François Suhard veuve Ménard • Blessed Jean Ménard • Blessed Jeanne Gourdon veuve Moreau • Blessed Jeanne Leduc épouse Paquier • Blessed Jeanne Onillon veuve Onillon • Blessed Jeanne Thomas veuve Delaunay • Blessed Madeleine Cady épouse Desvignes • Blessed Madeleine Sallé épouse Havard • Blessed Marguerite Robin • Blessed Marie Forestier • Blessed Marie Gingueneau veuve Coiffard • Blessed Marie Lardeux • Blessed Marie Piou épouse Supiot • Blessed Marie Rechard • Blessed Marie Roger veuve Chartier • Blessed Marie-Genevieve Poulain de la Forestrie • Blessed Marthe Poulain de la Forestrie • Blessed Perrine Bourigault • Blessed Perrine Laurent • Blessed Perrine Pottier épouse Turpault • Blessed Pierre Delépine • Blessed Renée Bourgeais veuve Juret • Blessed Renée Rigault épouse Papin • Blessed Renée Sechet veuve Davy 16 April 1794 at Avrillé, Maine-et-Loire, France – Beatified: 19 February 1984 by Pope John Paul II at Rome, Italy
Martyrs of Corinth – 9 saints: A group of nine Christians who were tortured and martyred together in the persecutions of Decius. We know little more than three of their names – Callistus, Charisius and Leonide. They were thrown into the sea at Corinth, Greece c250.
Martyrs of Saragossa: Group of eighteen martyrs murdered in 304 in Saragossa, Spain in the persecutions of Diocletian and the prefect Dacean. We know little more than the names – Apodemus, Caecilian, Caius, Crementius, Engratia, Eventius, Felix, Fronto, Gaius, Julia, Lambert, Lupercus, Martial, Optatus, Primitivus, Publius, Quintilian, Saturnius (4 men of this name), Succesus and Urban. Their graves re-discovered in 1389 in the crypt under the church of San Encrazia in Saragossa.
Saint of the Day – 15 April – Saint Abbondio of Como (Died c 564) the Fourth Bishop of Como, Italy, Confessor, Theologian, Papal Legate. Patronage – The City ad the Diocese of Como. He is also known as – Abundius, Acoitius, Agontius, Habundius. Additional memorial – the Diocese of Como celebrates it on 31 August. Abbondio is one of those to whom the authorship of the Te Deum is attributed.
The Roman Martyrology states: “In Como, Saint Abbondio, Bishop, who was sent to Constantinople by Pope Saint Leo the Great and zealously defended the right faith.”
Abbondio, Bishop of Como, a City that still preserves his remains in the Basilica dedicated to him and honours him as their Patron.
A tradition says that Abbondio was Greek, from Thessalonica (now Thessaloniki) but his name is so frankly Latin, which makes it doubtful. Instead, it appears that Abbondio knew the Greek language well, a rare case in the Western Church at the time. The time and place of his birth are, therefore, uncertain and the first certain date of his biography is 17 November 440 – on that day, Abbondio, former assistant of Bishop St Amanzio in Como, received Episcopal Consecration, as his successor.
But he could not immediately dedicate himself to the Diocese, for St Pope Leo I the Great (the one of the meeting with Attila) needed him for a task that was anything but peaceful. St Leo wanted him to go to Constantinople, as Papal Legate, to the Emperor Theodosius II.
There Abbondio’s mission was to re-establish unity in the faith in a lasting way, after the long doctrinal conflict aroused by the Bishop Nestorius and the Superior General Eutiche. These were two eminent figures of Eastern Christianity, both however, in opposition to the Doctrines of the Church of Rome and of the Councils, on the theme of the two natures – human and divine – in the person of Christ.
Emperor Theodosius II also died in 440 and Abbondio found his successor, Marcian in Constantinople. To him, as to the Bishops, clergy, Monks and faithful, Abbondio, forcefully reaffirms the Catholic Doctrine on the two natures in Christ, as it was explained by Pope Leo in a letter which Abbondio carried and which was addressed to the Emperor.
He completed the mission by having the Papal document accepted by all the Bishops of the East. Abbondio was happifully welcomed home in Rome by Pope Leo in 451, after the peaceful and complete success of his mission.
After a similar mission at the Council of Milan in 452, he was finally able to occupy his See and be the full-time Bishop of Como. For Appondio, this meant becoming a missionary, proclaiming the Gospel in the mountain regions, in the Lugano area and in other country areas not yet fully Christianised. The Diplomat and theologian became an itinerant preacher in his great pastoral zeal to reach all the people of his Diocese.
Appondio died on an Easter Sunday, says a text of the time, immediately after having offered Holy Mass and preached. But the year of death is not known with certainty, indicated by some in 469, by others in 488 or 499.
The Romanesque Basilica of Sant’Abbondio at Como, consecrated in 1095 by Pope Urban II, is dedicated to him and his relics are conserved beneath its principal Altar, see below.
The Sant’Abbondio Basilica is found outside Como’s ancient City walls near via Regina, the ancient road along the hillside that traces Lake Como’s western shore. Built between 1050 and 1085, on the site where a paleo-Christian dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul had stood. The Basilica was consecrated in 1095 by Pope Urban II, travelling through Como on his way to the Council of Clermond Ferrand, where he announced the beginning of the First Crusade.
The Sant’Abbondio Basilica unwinds across five naves, which are spaced out by grand pilasters and granite columns. In the central aisle there are gravestones of the Bishops of Como. Next to the main Altar we find a Statue of Sant’Abbondio, attributed to Tommaso Rodari at the end of the 15th century – see the first image above. The pictorial cycle in the basilica’s choir loft is noteworthy and the frescoes of the Birth and the Passion of Jesus were realised in the 14th century by an unknown Lombardy painter. To the sides of the entrance portal, we can admire two splendid 17th century canvases one which is Giovan Battista Recchi’s St. Abbondio with a Child, see below.
Kieff on the banks of the Dneiper River was the first resting place of this famous image of Mary. Here, according to legend, the Apostle Saint Andrew had once stopped on his way from Constantinople to Rome. Waking in the morning to the sights of the heights of Kieff, he was moved to prophecy:
“See those hills? On those hills shall shine hereafter, the grace of God.”
However, it was nearly 1,000 years, 1010, to be exact, before the Russian Prince Vladimir was baptised at Kieff with all his people and the teachings of the Gospel began to go out from the heights, which had so impressed the Apostle. The Prince sent to Kherson for a picture of Our Lady which was, according to legend, painted by Constantine and according to another, commissioned by him, which seems more likely. The Prince endowed the Monastery in Petchersk to house the famous painting and here it remained until the fifteenth century. In 1467 Ivan III, Grand Duke of Moscow, built the Church of the Assumption in the Kremlin as a memorial of his marriage. As a crowning jewel of his new Church, he asked for the famous image of Kieff. This aged City was both grieved and frightened at the demand. The people rose in protest; they did not want to lose their dearest treasure. Then the Blessed Virgin appeared in sleep to the Prince and told him to give up the painting because, she would personally ensure, that it was replaced. He gave it to the agents of the Duke of Moscow on the following morning and returned to his Church to find that another painting, exactly like it, had mysteriously appeared in the place of the one he had returned. Kieff and Moscow were still disputing vigorously up to fifty years ago, the 400-year old customary disagreement over which City had the original picture of Our Lady of Kieff and which City had the one placed there by the Blessed Mother. There are thousands of copies now spread all over the world.
Mercedarian Martyrs of Africa: A group of Mercedarian monks sailing to Africa as on a mission to redeem capture Christians. Captured by Moors, they were tortured and executed for their faith. Martyrs. 1393
Saint of the Day – 14 April – Saint John of Montemarano OSB (Died 1095) First Bishop of Montenarano, Italy in 1074, Benedictine Monk, thaumaturge. Died on 14 April 1095 of natural causes. Patronage – Montemarano, Italy. Additional Memorial – 21 August in Motemarano.
Montemarano, Italy may be a sleepy little vineyard Town now but from 1059 to 1818, it was the seat of a Diocese. The Town’s first Bishop is appropriately its Patron Saint.
I can find no information online about his early life and path to the Priesthood. His career begins with Pope Gregory VII, who had been exiled by Emperor Henry IV; during that exile, he agreed with the good folks of Montemarano that they should have their own Bishop. John was appointed and duly consecrated.
When John took over his seat, the building was in a state of decay. John then led the congregation in prayer for the means to restore the building. As they prayed, it was revealed to John, that the local Priest had been living a sinful life and actually using the Church as a rendezvous for evil friends. Once this Priest had repented and performed suitable penance, the Church was miraculously restored to its former glory.
Another miracle involved, wine. Some workers were clearing land so that more vineyards could be planted. One source suggests that John was the inspiration for this land-clearing project and he was involved in the labour as well. The work was hard and they demanded more wine before they continued. But there wasn’t enough wine, so they needed more vineyards. They couldn’t expand the vineyards until they gave the workers more wine. Bishop John, drew a quantity of water from the nearby river and blessed it. The Lord, recalling the second chapter of the Gospel of John, changed the water into wine!
Santa Maria de Camarino / Our Lady of Guam, Mariana Islands (1825), Patron of Guam – 14 April:
Our Lady of Guam, the miraculous Statue to which the natives have such deep devotion, is three feet high, all ivory from the delicate classical face of Our Lady to the hem of her exquisite gown. She has a head of long brown hair, adorned with a beautiful crown and golden rings hang from her tiny ears. According to the Jesuit history of the island, Our Lady’s coming was miraculous. A Spanish soldier, in the year 1825, was fishing a distance from the shore between the villages of Mirizo and Umatac, when he saw a strange object floating upon the waves. He moved closer and saw that it was a Statue, supported by giant golden crabs, holding lighted candles in their claws. The soldiers claiming the Statue as their own, installed it as Patroness in their barracks. They made a Shrine for her, a wall recess with doors like a cupboard or camarino, from which Our Lady of the Cupboard takes her name. She is called Santa Maria de Camarino.
She made her home for many years in the barracks but the atmosphere did not always please her. She would be found missing, only to return with the edge of her mantle full of burs. When the soldiers were drunk with coconut brew, she would slam the doors of her cupboard shut against them. No-one remembers how she came to leave the barracks for the Cathedral of Agana but on 14 April, a great earthquake occurred, terrorising the natives and destroying their homes. It is believed that on that day, she deserted the uncouth soldiers and showed herself to be the Patroness of the people and of Guam in particular. Many miracles of protection are attributed to Our Lady of Guam on this day.
On the eve of this day, the people place a lighted candle outside their tight-closed shutters, they do this in memory of their Fathers who made the promise to Santa Maria de Camarino. In 1825 and again in 1834, they vowed to celebrate yearly a special feast for her protection from Linao, the earthquake and Pagyo, the typhoon.
On its part the miraculous Statue has seen to it ,that no devout life has since that time been lost. Earthquakes and typhoons have come and left destruction, yet they have never taken one life or harmed the children of Santa Maria de Camarino, Our Lady of Guam. Such is the story of Our Lady of the Cupboard, the miraculous Virgin of Guam; to the eyes of fact simply a beautiful Statue, some three feet height, executed with all the refinement of eighteenth century art, yet to the eye of faith, she is power incarnate. She is all ivory, but where that ivory came from, or what artist fashioned those exquisite hands, she alone can tell, just as she is the only one who knows the truth of her coming to Guam. The Statue has real human hair and two crowns are used to dress the Statue. One of the crowns is made from gold pieces given to the Church by the late Ana Martinez Underwood, who donated the gold pieces (given to her by her husband as a wedding gift) in thanksgiving for the safe return of her husband from prison camp following World War II.
One of the more famous miraclesis that of a great earthquake in 1902, when the Dulce Nombre de Maria Church was severely damaged. Many of the Statues were broken but not that of Our Lady of Camarin, which the Priest, Father José Palomo, found standing intact on the ground.
The Statue also survived fire, when on 8 December 1945, it was rescued from a burning float by Jose D Leon Guerrero.
Because the Statue has suffered discolourations, nicks and other minor defects in the course of time, minor repairs have been made. According to one story, during one occasion when repairs were being made, the scraping of her face was too rough and the face began to bleed.
Other miracles attributed to her include, belief in her powers of intercession, cures of dreadful diseases and safe removal from great danger. She has long been considered, the protectress of the island and its people. Flags of various nations have flown over the royal coconut trees of Agana, admirals and governors have come and gone and each, in his proper time, has departed. Spanish architecture has had its day and the Seabee buildings mushroomed all over the island. Yet, Santa Maria de Camarino abides through all changes to cherish her strangely chosen people. She reigns affectionately in the hearts of the people, the natives, as their Queen and Patroness.
When American Marines and Soldiers during the latter part of July, 1944, captured the island of Guam, the native population was, for the most part, Catholic. The Faith was brought there, no doubt, by Spanish Priests who accompanied Magellan when he sailed around the world. And Mary, Our Lady of Guam, Our Lady of the Cupboard, loves them and protects them.
Saint of the Day – 13 April – Saint Caradoc of Wales (Died 1124) Priest, Monk, Hermit , miracle-worker, Harpist. Born in the 11th century in Brycheiniog, Wales and died on 13 April 1124, which was Low Sunday that year, at Saint Isells, Wales of natural causes. His body is incorrupt. Also known as Caradog, Caractacus, Caradocus, Caradoco.
Caradoc was a Welsh nobleman, native of Brecknockshire, who after he had received a liberal education, enjoyed the confidence of Rees, or Resus, Prince of South-Wales and held an honourable place in his Court, as a harp player.
The Prince one day, on account of two greyhounds ,which were lost, fell into such a fury against Caradoc as to threaten his life. Caradoc, from this disgrace learned the inconstancy and uncertainty, of worldly honours and the best founded hopes and resolved to dedicate himself altogether to the service of the King of kings, whose promises can never fail and whose rewards are eternal.
Upon the spot he broke the tip of his spear to turn it into a walking stick and he made the sacrifice of himself to God, by a vow of perpetual chastity and of embracing a religious life. Repairing to Landaff to become a Monk, he received from the Bishop the clerical tonsure and for some time served God in the Church of St Theliau.
Being desirous of finding a closer union with God in solitude, he spent some years in a little hut, which he built himself, near the abandoned Church of St Kined.
The reputation of his sanctity filled the whole country and the Archbishop of Menevia, or St David’s, calling him to that town, promoted him to the Priestly orders. The saint hence retired, with certain devout companions, to the isle of Ary.
Certain pirates from Norway, who often infested these coasts, carried them off as prisoners,but, fearing the judgements of God, safely set them on shore again the next day. However, the Archbishop of Menevia assigned the saint another habitation in the Monastery of St Hismael, commonly called Ysam, in the country of Ross, or Pembroke-shire.
Henry I., King of England, having subdued the southern Welsh, sent a colony of Flemings into the country of Ross, who drove the old Britons out of their possessions. The saint and his Monastery suffered much from the oppressions of these new inhabitants, especially of Richard Tankard, a powerful Englishman among them. This nobleman was, after some time, struck by God with a dangerous illness and having recourse to St Caradoc, was, by his prayers, restored to his health. From this time the saint and his Monastery found a benefactor and protector.
St Caradoc died on Low-Sunday, the 13th of April, in the year 1124 and was buried with great honour in the Church of St David. We are assured that his tomb was illustrated by miracles and his body was found whole and incorrupt several years after, when it was translated with great solemnity. The historian, William of Malmesbury, tried to cut off a finger to take as a relic but St Caradoc’s hand jerked away!
A letter from Pope Innocent III ordering an enquiry into his life and miracles still survives. The Church at Lawrenny in Wales, is dedicated to him.
Santa Maria dei Voti / Our Lady of Mantua, Italy (1640) – 13 April:
This present Shrine to Our Lady of Mantua was built by the Gonzaga family in the year 1460. There is seen a miraculous painting of the Blessed Virgin Mary holding the Baby Jesus, that is known to have been venerated since about the year 1000. Originally known as Saint Mary of the Vows, the painting is crowned today.
According to tradition, the history of the site dates back to Saint Anselm. At that time, the Blessed Virgin had promised her protection to the City. Starting in 1477, word spread that before the image numerous miracles had occurred, so that by then substantial offerings began to pour into the Church (hence the name of Santa Maria dei Voti). After the plague of 1630, which had overwhelmed the City and its territory, the Princess Maria Gonzaga, regent of the duchy, wanted to entrust herself, her dynasty and the region, to the protection of the Blessed Virgin. The Princess was determined to place herself, her son Charles II and the City of Mantua and of Monferrato, under the special protection of Mary. She ordered that the image of Mary should be carried in procession through the streets and desired that the image be solemnly crowned in the Basilica of Saint Andrea, as the Queen of Mantua. The solemn crowning of Our Lady commonly called Santa Maria dei Voti, was strongly urged by the pious Princess Maria Gonzaga in the year 1640, when the dam of the Po River in Italy broke. The coronation took place with great solemnity on 28 November 1640. Since then, the Church and the picture painted of Santa Maria dei Voti were named dell’Incoronata, or ‘Saint Mary the Crowned,’ and the annual festival was fixed on the first Sunday after the Feast of Saint Martin, 11 November. On this occasion but also during the month of May, which is traditionally dedicated to Marian devotion, the dell’Incoronata is exposed in the Cathedral, covered in sumptuous dresses dating from the seventeenth century. The three following centenary years, in particular, saw an unanimous and grateful expression of love on the part of the Mantuans, who still venerate the Madonna “Incoronata,” the Madonna who said, “Mantua is mine and as mine I will always defend it.”
St Ursus of Ravenna — Martyrs of Dorostorum – 3 saints: A lector and two students martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian – Dadas, Maximus and Quinctillianus. Beheaded c303 in Dorostorum, Lower Mysia (modern Sillistria, Bulgaria.
One Minute Reflection – 12 April – Monday of the Second week of Easter, Readings: First: Acts 4: 23-31, Psalm: Psalms 2: 1-3, 4-7a, 7b-9, Gospel: John 3: 1-8 * readings below and the Memorial of St Alferius of La Cava (930–1050) Priest, Abbot, Founder
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” – John 3:3
REFLECTION – “We read in Saint John – No-one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. To be reborn in the Holy Spirit during this life, is to become most like God in purity, without any mixture of imperfection. Accordingly, pure transformation can be effected – although not essentially – through the participation of union.
Here is an example that will provide a better understanding of this explanation. A ray of sunlight shining on a smudgy window, is unable to illumine that window completely and transform it into its own light. It could do this, if the window were cleaned and polished… The extent of illumination is not dependent on the ray of sunlight but, on the window. If the window is totally clean and pure, the sunlight will so transform and illumine it, that to all appearances, the window will be identical with the ray of sunlight and shine just as the sun’s ray. Although, obviously, the nature of the window is distinct from that of the sun’s ray, even if the two seem identical, we can assert, that the window is the ray or light of the sun by participation.
The soul on which the divine light of God’s being is ever shining, or better, in which it is ever dwelling by nature, is like this window. A soul makes room for God by wiping away all the smudges and smears of creatures, by uniting its will perfectly to God’s, for to love is to labour, to divest and deprive oneself for God, of all that is not God . When this is done, the soul will be illumined by and transformed in God.” – St John of the Cross (1542-1591) – Mystical Doctor of the Church
PRAYER – Almighty God and Father, grant that Your faithful people who were buried with Your Son in baptism, may by His Resurrection and intercession, at Your right hand, obtain for us eternal life. Send Your Spirit upon Your adopted children and lead us in Your way. Grant that by the intercession of Your Angels and Saints and holding on always, to our Blessed Virgin Mother, our path may be straightened and glow with Your light. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Acts 4: 23-31 23 And being let go, they came to their own company and related all that the chief priests and ancients had said to them. 24 Who having heard it, with one accord lifted up their voice to God and said: Lord, thou art he that didst make heaven and earth, the sea,and all things that are in them. 25 Who, by the Holy Ghost, by the mouth of our father David, thy servant, hast said: Why did the Gentiles rage and the people meditate vain things? 26 The kings of the earth stood up and the princes assembled together against the Lord and his Christ. 27 For of a truth, there assembled together in this city against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, 28 To do what thy hand and thy counsel decreed to be done. 29 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings and grant unto thy servants, that with all confidence they may speak thy word, 30 by stretching forth thy hand to cures,and signs and wonders to be done, by the name of thy holy Son Jesus. 31 And when they had prayed, the place was moved wherein they were assembled and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and they spoke the word of God with confidence.
Gospel: John 3: 1-8 1 And there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night,and said to him: Rabbi, we know that thou art come, a teacher from God, for no man can do these signs which thou dost, unless God be with him. 3 Jesus answered, and said to him: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith to him: How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born again? 5 Jesus answered: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh, is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit, is spirit. 7 Wonder not, that I said to thee, you must be born again. 8 The Spirit breatheth where he will and thou hearest his voice but thou knowest not ,whence he cometh and whither he goeth, so is everyone that is born of the Spirit.
Saint of the Day – 12 April – Saint Alferius of La Cava (930–1050) Cluniac Priest, Founder and Abbot of Arsicia (La Trinità della Cava) which follows the Benedictine Rule, nobleman, Diplomat to Prince Waimar III of Salerno, Cluniac reformer, cave Hermit, Founder, Mystic and Ecstatic, miracle-worker. Born in 930 in Salerno, Italy and died on Holy Thursday 1050, of natural causes. Also known as – Alferius Abbate, Alferius the Abbot, Adalfere, Adalfericus, Adalferius, Alfere, Alferio, Allerius, Alpherius.
The Roman Martyrology states: “In the Monastery of Cava de ‘Tirreni in Campania, Saint Alferius, Founder and first Abbot, who, after having been adviser to Guaimario, Duke of Salerno, who became a disciple of Saint Odilone in Cluny, learned in an excellent way, the discipline of monastic life.”
Alferius was born into a noble Lombard family in the second half of the 10th century. It is uncertain whether he actually did belong to the noble Lombard Pappacarbone family, related to the Princes of Salerno. From his youth, he had placed himself at the service of the Princes of his City. who had dominated the region since the seventh century.
In the year 1002 , Alferius, was sent as Ambassador of his Prince to the Emperor Henry II, to solicit military aid against the Byzantines who threatened the borders of the Principality of Salerno . On reaching the Alps he fell seriously ill and asked for hospitality in the Monastery of Chiusa di San Michele. There, he vowed ,that if he recovered, he would give up his Diplomatic career and become a Benedictine Monk. He did recover and fulfilled his vow by wearing the habit of St Benedict of Nursia , in the great Abbey of Cluny in France .
Alferius, having obtained the cure, had asked the Abbot of Cluny Sant’Odilone , who was passing through San Michele, to welcome him among his Monks. There he studied and grew in piety and was eventually Ordained to the Priesthood.
After a few years, however, Prince Guaimario III of Salerno, called him back to Salerno to reform the many Monasteries of that City. Alferius began the work but after a while, feeling attracted by a life of solitude, he secretly abandoned Salerno and took refuge in the Arsicia cave, at the foot of Monte Finestra, today in the Municipality of Cava de ‘Tirreni . Here, with two companions, he devoted himself totally to prayer, penance and manual work.
Soon the fame of his holiness spread to the surrounding countries and disciples eager to follow his example wished to join his community. People from all walks of life, sought hisspiritual assistance and began to flock to hs Cave.
It was then necessary to build a Monastery sufficient for a dozen religious. Following the famous vision of the three rays, handed down by oral tradition, the construction of the Monastery and the Church began in the narrow space between the Selano river and the Arsicia cave. Thus was born the Abbey of Cava, which Alferius dedicated to the Holy Trinity, La Trinità della Cava. It was aound the year 1011.
However, in the Cavense Archive, the Princes of Salerno, Guaimario III and Guaimario IV, granted full ownership to the Monastery, all the land sorrounding it, including the Arsicia Cave and the large area above, on which the current Church of Cava was built.
Among his disciples we remember, in particular, St Leo, who would succeed him in the government of the Monastery and Desiderio di Benevento who later became Abbot of the Monastery of Montecassino and then the 158th Pope with the name of Victor III. His successor, Pope Urban II, endowed this Monastery with many privileges, making it immediately subject to the Holy See, with jurisdiction over the surrounding territory.
Alferius died on Holy Thursday, 12 April 1050 at the age of 120 after having celebrated Holy Mass, comforted by a vision of the Redeemer , Who summoned his home.
He was buried in the same cave, see below, which since then, has become the heart of the Abbey.
The first four Abbots were Canonised on 21 December 1893, by Pope Leo XIII. Pope Pius XI, in 1927, Beatified the next 8 Abbots, being the Blesseds: Simeone, Falcone, Marino, Benincasa, Pietro II, Balsamo, Leonardo and Leo II.
Nuestra Senora de la Caridad / Our Lady of Charity, Cobre, CubaOR Our Lady of Cobre – 12 Apri;:
In the mountains outside Santiago in Cuba, is an old pilgrimage Church, “Nuestra Senora de la Caridad,” which means, “Our Lady of Charity,” also known as “Our Lady of Cobre.” It is the National Shrine of Cuba. Early in the 17th century, three sailors left the Bay of Nipe to collect salt. Their vessel was small, so that when a storm arose, they were drifting and rocked violently on the roaring ocean. One of the men wore a medal stamped with an image of the Blessed Virgin, and the three began to pray for her protection. The storm suddenly cleared and the men saw something they could not immediately identify, coming toward them across the water. We still have the testimony of one of the men, Juan Moreno, regarding this incident. It was taken in 1687: “Having camped in the French Key, which is in the middle of the Bay of Nipe, waiting for a good time to leave for the salt mines, being a morning of calm seas, they left the French Keys, before daybreak. The aforementioned Juan y Rodrigo de Hoyos and myself, embarked in a canoe, headed for the salt mines and far from the French Key, we saw something white above the foam of the water, which we couldn’t distinguish. As we got closer, birds and dry branches appeared. The aforementioned Indians said, “It looks like a girl.” While they were discussing this among themselves, they saw an image of Our Lady, the Holy Virgin, on top of a small wooden plank, holding the baby Jesus in her arms. On this small tablet, was written in large letters, which read, “I am the Virgin of Charity.” Looking at her clothes, they realised that they were not wet.”
Upon returning home, the men revealed what they had seen and told the story of what had happened to them. A government official, Don Francisco Sanchez de Moya, had a small Chapel built in her honor. The Village of Cobre, where the Shrine is, is surrounded by high hills that roll back to the Sierra Maestra Mountains. The village is named Cobre because of the rich deposit of copper. A lamp of copper is kept burning before the Statue of Our Lady. Twice the Statue mysteriously disappeared from the locked Church and then returned, just as unaccountably. In each case ,Our Lady indicated where richer deposits f copper could be found. In 1936 after the completion of a beautiful Church, now a minor Basilica, in honour of Our Lady of Charity, the Statue was solemnly crowned amid great rejoicing and religious festivity.
The Shrine has much of old-time charm and literally hundreds of lights burn before the Shrine’s Statue. Our Lady is dressed richly in silken garments; she is dark like a Cuban girl with a sun-tanned Infant on her arm, smiling down on her Cuban children, who come to her in great numbers and with great confidence. The prayers of centuries seem to hang down from the walls in heavy folds. It is a place where prayer comes easily and its answer, seems to be a matter of course.
Saint of the Day – 11 April – St Antipas of Pergamon (Died c 92) Bishop of Pergamon during the persecutions of Emperor Domitian and Martyr, spiritual student of Saint John the Apostle and Evangelist. Unknown place of birth but died in c 92 by being roasted to death in a bronze bull at Pergamum, Greece (an area in modern Turkey). Patronage – against toothaches and tooth problems.
“I know where thou dwellest, where the seat of Satan is and thou holdest fast my name and hast not denied my faith. Even in those days when Antipas was my faithful witness, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.”
The Apocalypse of St John (Revelation) Chapter 2:13
When St John the Apostle, wrote the Book of the Apocalypse, he made an interesting reference to a person named Antipas, calling the man a “faithful witness” and one “who was slain.” This reference can be found fairly early on in the Apocalypse, within the section containing special messages to the seven Christian communities in Asia Minor (present-day Turkey). Antipas’s name is found in the third of the seven letters―the letter to the Church in the City of Pergamum.
Pergamum was a City not far from the Aegean Sea. It was considered to be a beautiful and cultural City. Impressively, parchment was invented in Pergamum about 150 years before the birth of Christ.
The modern City of Bergama, Turkey, overlaps some of the ruins of ancient Pergamum. Interestingly, St John, the author of the Apocalypse referred to Pergamum as the location of Satan’s throne! It has been suggested that this distressing label could be due to the multitude of pagan practices that abounded in the City, including, the worshipping of the Roman Emperor as a God.
St Antipas’ tomb became a site of miracles with a miraculous oil being secreted from his relics.
The Roman Martyrology states of St Antipas: “St Antipas, a faith witness, of whom St John speaks in the Apocalypse, under the Emperor Domitian, he was shut up n a red-hot brazen ox and thus, consummated his martyrdom.”
Low Sunday +2021The Octave Day of Easter, also known as the Sunday in White
Notre-Dames de Fourviere / Our Lady of Fourviere
According to the traditions of Lyons, supported by a Bull of Pope Innocent IV, Saint Pothinus erected the first Oratory where Mary was invoked in Gaul. It is asserted that he brought, from the interior of Asia, a small Statue of the Blessed Virgin, which he deposited in a solitary and shaded crypt on the banks of the Saone, in front of the hill of Fourviere. He set up in this wild and secluded spot an Altar to the true God and placed there, the image, which was transferred later to a Church built on the hill itself, whence it took the name of Our Lady of Fourviere. The veneration of the people, in the middle ages, surrounded this Church and it was a pilgrimage of great renown throughout the Lyonnais but the Calvinists, who destroyed and pillaged so many rich Sanctuaries, showed no favour to that of Lyons, the Church of Fourviere, where, from the birth of Christianity, each generation had marked its passage by gifts to Our Lady of Fourviere. After the desecration, the Church retained nothing but its four bare walls, which could not be melted down in the crucible, where so many master productions disappeared, which had the misfortune to be made of gold or silver. The chapter of Saint John could not attend to the renovation of the Church of Fourviere, until long after the ravages of the Protestants. They worked at it after they had restored the Cathedral and the cloister. The Altar of Mary, Our Lady of Fourviere, was at last consecrated on 21 August 1586. From that moment, the confidence of the inhabitants turned towards that beacon of salvation. “The source of prodigies seemed dried up there,” says an ancient historian; “they began again at the end of the sixteenth century and all Lyons felt great joy on the occasion.”
During the revolution of 1793, the Church of Fourviere was sold but when calm was restored, the zealous prelate who governed the ancient Church of Pothinus and Irenaeus, procured the Sanctuary of Mary, to be restored to the veneration of her as Our Lady of Fourviere. The inauguration of the Sanctuary was performed on 19 April 1805, by the Sovereign Pontiff Pius VII. In 1832 and 1835, Lyons being threatened with cholera, lifted up her eyes to the holy mountain and the Blessed Virgin said to the scourge, “Thou shalt go no farther.” The capital of the Lyonnese, changed its cries of alarm into canticles of joy and the prayers of thanksgiving were solemnly and justly offered to Mary. Ever since the happy period when that Sanctuary was restored to religious worship, piety seems to have redoubled its ardour for Our Blessed Lady and, it is at Fourviere, that it is sharpened and revived. The inhabitants of Lyons and those of the county adjacent, throng the paths of the hill of Mary; at whatever hour you repair there, you will always find yourself in the midst of a crowd of pious persons ,of all ranks, ages and conditions.
One day, in the year 1815, a pilgrim of an unusual kind, who had begun by observing Lyons from the summit of the hill, like a man who wanted to study both its strength and its weakness, presented himself in the Church of Notre Dame and the faithful, lifting up for a moment their eyes, which had been cast down in prayer, said to themselves, “Marshal Suchet!” It was indeed he – the Marshal of the empire, the child of Lyons, to whom was confided the defence of his native city – who passed along the nave of the Church of Mary with a slow step, with a respectful countenance, in which was mingled something mild and softened, something like a distant remembrance of joy, which awakens and soothes the soul with an invisible music. He went into the Sacristy and directed one of the Chaplains to come to him there;. The vice-president hastened to him: “Monsieur l’Abbe,” said the marshal, stepping forward towards the ecclesiastic, “when I was quite a child, my pious and good mother often brought me here, to the feet of Our Lady and this I still remember…I will say more, this recollection is dear to me and I have never lost it. Be pleased to have some Masses said for my intentions.” And putting down three Napoleons on the table where the offerings are registered, the brilliant hero of the gigantic epoch went to kneel, before the Altar of Mary, where he prayed for some time with edifying devotion. Moreover, Marshal Suchet terminated his noble and loyal career by a Christian end, for which he was praised upon his tomb.
Bl George Gervase St Godeberta of Noyon St Guthlac of Crowland (674–715) Biography: https://anastpaul.com/2019/04/11/saint-of-the-day-11-april-st-guthlac-674-715/ St Hildebrand of Saint-Gilles St Isaac of Monteluco Bl James of Africa Bl John of Cupramontana Bl Lanunio St Machai St Maedhog of Clonmore Bl Mechthild of Lappion Bl Paul of Africa St Philip of Gortyna St Raynerius Inclusus St Sancha of Portugal St Stephen of Saint-Gilles Bl Symforian Ducki
Saint of the Day – 10 April – Saint Macarius of Ghent (Died 1012) Archbishop of Constantinople, Pilgrim and Hermit (without a cell), apostle of the sick and the needy, miracle-worker. Born in Antioch, Pisidia and died in 1012 at Monastery of Saint Bavo, Ghent, Belgium. of the plague. Patronages – against plague, Andorra, Ghent, Belgium. Also known as Macarius of Antioch, Macarius of Armenia, Macaire, Macario. The Roman Martyrology states: “St Macarius, Bishop of Antioch, celebrated for his great virtues and miracles.”
Macarius was born in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey), where all indications show, that he received a healthy and normal education. He seems to have discovered his vocation to the Priesthood early on. He was then Consecrated as a Bishop and eventually succeeded to the Archbishop of Antioch, the most important and honoured episcopal see in the Byzantine Empire (this was still a few decades before the schism between the Catholic and Orthodox churches). Imagine how gratifying it must have been to achieve such a level of influence and to have such a great opportunity to assist in the pastoral care of the Church of Christ.
After serving his flock for a time and doing so effectively, it seems, he stepped down from the Archbishop’s throne. He simply retired. He became a pilgrim and spent the rest of his life travelling prayerfully from Shrine to Shrine and Monastery to Monastery, cring for the needs of the poor and sick and working miracles as he went. At one point he was captured by the Saracens but escaped and continued his pilgrimage.
He went west, from Byzantium into Europe. Wherever he stopped, he edified the people greatly but only because of his humility and charity. Finally, having been welcomed into a Benedictine community in Ghent, Belgium, he spent his last years in assisting the needy and sick. During a time of great suffering when the plague descended upon the area, St Macarius went out into the streets, assisting the sick and the dying and administering the Sacraments. He caught the plague and died. He was buried there, and venerated almost immediately as a saint.
Admittedly, we don’t really know too much about St Macarius but we do know that he was a holy, humble and gentle man of great charity and virtues., He had the courage to decline the honours of his position in order to give his heart more fully to what it was truly made for – God.
Easter Saturday – The Seventh Day in the Easter Octave +2021
Nuestra Señora de la Naval / Our Lady of Naval, Manila (1646) – 10 April:
The Statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, that is so dearly loved by the Filipino people, is known as Our Lady of Naval. A large statue, she stands 1,5 metres high and is carved of hardwood, although the faces and hands of the Madonna and Child, are of ivory. Our Lady holds a scepter and a golden Rosary and both Mother and Child, are clothed in exquisite gold, a dress and mantle that are heavily embroidered with golden thread. The lovely Statue was sculpted by a man who was neither Filipino nor a Catholic, and was commissioned in 1593 by the Spanish Governor of the Philippines. The Chinese artist who gave the Virgin somewhat Asian features, was well compensated for his efforts, including being converted to the True Faith through the intercession of the Blessed Mother.
“Fair and comely art thou, terrible as an army set in battle array,” Holy Mother Church chants in her Office and truly, Mary proved herself such, in the battle of “La Naval,” (or Laval), in 1646. It was while the Spanish still governed the islands that they learned that a fleet of five Dutch war ships were sailing for Manila. The Dutch, bent on foraging and possible conquest, sailed their warships dangerously close to the shores of the Philippine Islands. To both the Filipinos, recently converted to the Catholic faith and the Spanish Conquistadores, devoid of sufficient arms and without warships, an invasion for the purpose of pillage or conquest, was a serious threat. The Dutch were Protestants, hating Catholics and there were no Spanish galleons in the area to defend the islands. There were only two cargo ships, large enough to carry cannon and poorly equipped with a few cannons, they were certainly nothing like the famous Spanish galleons with several banks of big guns. Still, they were all that was available to preserve their faith and their homeland, so they were made ready for battle as best as possible. The cargo ships were rechristened “La Rosario,” (The Rosary), and “La Encarnacion,” (The Incarnation), and placed under the special patronage of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary. On the Altars built on deck, the sailors carried the image of their beloved Queen and there, on their knees, officers and crew prayed the Rosary daily and dedicated themselves to La Naval, Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. The five Dutch warships were well-equipped with cannons, firearms and mariners but when they encountered the two Spanish cargo ships sailing directly for them, they all inexplicably fled from the area in haste. The Spanish and Filipino defenders sailed home in glory, praising Our Lady for her protection. For the next several months, the two cargo ships patrolled the waters to protect their islands. On one day in July, they were alarmed to discover they had been trapped in a narrow strait by seven Dutch warships. The Dutch did not close the distance to attack, so the men on the cargo ships waited and vowed, that if they were victorious in the coming battle, they would all go on pilgrimage barefoot to the Church of Santo Domingo to thank Our Lady of the Rosary. Through the intercession of Our Lady of La Naval, the Dutch ships left the area and turned toward Manila without even so much as having fired on them. The two cargo ships gave chase, and once again, the Dutch retreated in disgrace. As soon as the victors arrived home, they gratefully fulfilled their vows and went on pilgrimage. After the third encounter with the Dutch fleet, the people of Manila began to call the cargo ships “the galleons of the miracle” and a fourth confrontation and victory seemed to confirm the name. Yet it was not to be so easy, for the Dutch had prepared a fleet of fifteen warships. This time, with overwhelming numbers, they were determined to attack and restore their honour and pride. Resolved to fight and defeat their enemy at any cost, they were lucky enough to come upon the two cargo ships while they lay at anchor. With the wind against them, they would be unable to move. The crews of the cargo ships were casting off and still preparing for battle as the Dutch sailed down upon them, having every advantage. Standing their ground, the Spanish and Filipino sailors fearlessly answered the enemy fire as cannonballs landed at their feet shattering the deck or slammed into the great beams that held their bulky ships together. The smoke from their return fire caused their eyes to water and clouded their vision. Hail Mary’s mingled with the roar of battle; the Rosary beads dangling from the necks of the men as they whole-heartedly launched into the fray. Firing and praying incessantly as the day wore on, they bore the repeated volleys of the enemy and answered back with accurate fire that repelled the closest warships, while others retreated afire and heavily trailing smoke. When the battle finally ended, the Dutch were once again put to flight and only fifteen of the Filipino-Spanish forces were killed. The two meager cargo ships, unable to move, had fought and defeated the enemy, so badly, that they limped away, never to return.
This naval victory at Manila is similar in many respects to the great naval victory at Lepanto, which was also credited to the intervention of Our Lady and the power of her Holy Rosary. In both instances, Our Lady miraculously defended and granted victory to the seamen who placed their trust in her. Grateful to their heavenly protectress, Our Lady of Naval, the men fulfilled their vows after the battle, which consisted in going to the Church of Santo Domingo at Manila barefoot and instituting a public and perpetual feast in honour of the Mother of God. Even to this day that promise has been fulfilled by the Filipinos, who since that memorable time, have taken as their own, that pledge made by their heroic ancestors.
On 9 April 1662, the Cathedral chapter of the Archdiocese of Manila, declared the naval victory a miraculous event owed to the intercession of the Virgin Mary, declaring:
Granted by the Sovereign Lord through the intercession of the Most Holy Virgin and devotion to her Rosary, that the miracles be celebrated, preached and held in festivities and to be recounted amongst the miracles wrought by the Lady of the Rosary, for the greater devotion of the faithful to Our Most Blessed Virgin Mary and Her Holy Rosary.
Saint Pope Pius X granted the Statue a Canonical Coronation in 1907 and the Philippine government has designated, Our Lady of Naval as a National Treasure.
The Church of Santo Domingo was damaged several times by fire and earthquakes and was finally destroyed by bombs in 1941, yet, the Statue has never been damaged! Our Lady of La Naval is presently treasured by the Filipino people, in the new Santo Domingo Church in Quezon City, a few miles from Manila.
St Malchus of Waterford Bl Marco Mattia Bl Mark Fantucci St Miguel de Sanctis O.SS.T (1591-1625) About St Miguel: https://anastpaul.com/2020/04/10/saint-of-the-day-10-april-st-miguel-de-sanctis-o-ss-t-1591-1625/ St Palladius of Auxerre St Paternus the Scot — Martyrs of Carthage – 50 saints: A group of 50 Christians who were imprisoned in a pen of snakes and scorpions, and then martyred, all during the persecutions of Decius. Only six of their names have come down to us – Africanus, Alessandro, Massimo, Pompeius, Terence and Teodoro. Beheaded in 250 at Carthage.
Martyrs of Georgia: Approximately 6,000 Christian monks and lay people martyred in Georgia in 1616 for their faith by a Muslim army led by Shah Abbas I of Persia.
Martyrs of Ostia: A group of criminals who were brought to the faith by Pope Saint Alexander I while he was in prison with them. Drowned by being taken off shore from Ostia, Italy, in a boat which was then scuttled, c 115.
Saint of the Day – 9 April – Blessed Ubaldo Adimari OSM (c 1245-1315) Priest and Servite Friar, Soldier, Politician, Penitent, miracle-worker, spiritul student and later assistant of St Philip Benezi (1233-1285) (one of the Seven Holy Founders of the Order of the Servants of Mary – the Servites). Ubaldo is, therefore, of the second generation of the Servites. Born in c 1245 in Florence, Italy and died on 9 April 1315 on Mount Senario, Tuscany, Italy of natural causes. He is also known as Ubaldo da Borgo San Sepolcro. The Order of the Servants of Mary celebrates his feast day on 4 July
Ubaldo of the noble Florentine Adimari family, was born around 1245 in Florence and spent his youth amidst the turmoil of that time, which saw the Guelphs in favour of the Papacy and the Ghibellines, in favour of the Emperor of Germany, opposing each other.
He was first a supporter and then head of the Ghibelline faction in Florence, operating abuses and disorders of all kinds; until the Prior General sent St Philip Benezi, who had come to restore peace, accompanied by Blessed Bonaventura of Pistoia and the retinue of the Papal Legate, Latino Orsini.
It was in the early months of 1280, when Ubaldo Adimari met St Philip Benizi, who succeeded in converting him. Ubaldo took on the habit of the Servants of Mary and with the grace of God regained, he retired to a very harsh penance and prayer on Monte Senario (Florence), cradle since 1240, of the Foundation of the Order, located in about 18 km from Florence.
With the wise spiritual guidance of his holy Prior, Ubaldo became a meek and humble soul, so as to work wonders, such as carrying water from the well to the Convent, within his mantel having broken the jug on the way.
He was Ordained a Priest and from 1282 to 1285, assisted St Philip in his duties and travels around the various Houses of the Order and on 22 April 1285, he witnessed the passing away of his General, in the Convent of Todi, giving him comfort by his presence.
Returning to the Convent of Monte Senario, he continued his edifying life as a penitent and religious, gladdened by so many miracles, until he died on 9 April 1315. He was buried in the Church of the same Convent, next to the tombs of the Saints , the Seven Founders.
From a survey of the relics in 1717, his remains turned out to be those of a person of great stature. His cult as Blessed was confirmed by Pope Pius VII on 3 April 1821.
Easter Friday – Day Six in the Easter Octave +2021
Notre-Dames de Myans, Savoie / Our Lady of Myans, Savoy, France (1249) – 9 April:
The Abbot Orsini wrote: “It is believed that this image, in the year 1249, prevented the thunder, which had already consumed the Town of Saint Andre with sixteen villages, from going farther and was the cause of its stopping at Myans.”
Our Lady of Myans in Savoy, is located on a little hill between Modane and Chambery near the Mont Cenis tunnel. It can be easily recognised, as there is a huge statue of the Blessed Virgin standing atop the Shrine’s belfry. The Shrine has been a pilgrimage site since at least the thirteenth century, and its small ‘Black Virgin’ was an object of the devotion of Saint Francis de Sales. The foundation of the Shrine is no longer remembered but the Church became famous for a miracle that occurred there in 1248.
On the evening of 24 November of that year, a tremendous earthquake shook the region causing Mont Granier, the tallest mountain of the Chartreuse Massif, to disintegrate into huge boulders, which came crashing down into the valley. Some of these boulders, were the size of a house, and 16 villages were crushed and 5,000 lives lost. The Shurch of Myans, however, was spared, though gigantic boulders were stopped abruptly at the very door of the Church. Some of these boulders can still be seen around the church grounds.
A marvellous answer to prayer occurred in 1534, in favour of Jean Grandis of Savoy, who was on a vessel bound from Genoa to Leghorn. When the ship was threatened during a tempest and seemed likely to sink, Jean Grandis called upon Our Lady of Myans, Queen of Savoy. Battered by the waves, the ship foundered and sank. Jean Grandis was the only survivor. As a gesture of thanksgiving, he travelled barefoot to the Shrine and there placed his ex-voto. It is said to be one of the oldest to survive.
Another miracle attributed to Our Lady of Myans was in favour of the brother of Saint Francis de Sales, Count Louis de Sales, who in 1603 was travelling to the Chateau of Cusy to marry Claudine Philiberte de Pingon. Since there was no bridge in sight, the Count attempted to cross the River Cheran at a place that he thought was shallow and safe. However, the Count was swept away by flood water. Invoking the name of Our Lady of Myans and promising to make a pilgrimage, he was suddenly thrust onto an obstruction that saved his life. The wedding ceremony was conducted on 2 April. The next day, Saint Francis de Sales offered a Mass of thanksgiving in the little Crypt Chapel before the miraculous image of Our Lady of Myans.
The Black Madonna of Myans, venerated in the Crypt (lower church), is a 70cm high wooden statue, representing the seated Virgin. It dates to around the 12 th century . With her left arm, she presents the Child Jesus seated on her knees. Under the stiff folds of the mantle, the detail of the attitudes fades and the Virgin appears to be standing. She is a virgin of majesty . The mantle of the Statue is in fine moiré gold cloth, revealing a dress in silver cloth. The whole forms a royal adornment. The Virgin was crowned on 17 August 1905 by decision of Pope Pius X who delegated, for this purpose, Cardinal Couillé, Prelate of Gauls, Archbishop of Lyon, surrounded by 5 Bishops and more than 20,000 faithful.
The Church was half destroyed during the French Revolution but the Statue was saved and later enshrined again in the restored building, where it was crowned in 1905. The Sanctuary is particularly resorted to by pilgrimages of men and the image was taken to Rome by a Savoyard pilgrimage for the definition of the Dogma of the Assumption in the year 1950. At the entrance to the choir is evoked the disaster of the landslide of Granier. In the vault of the nave of the lower Church are painted ten unforgettable figures of the Saints and blessed of Savoy and Dauphiné, including St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) and St Louis of Savoy (1462-1508).
In 1855, the steeple, half demolished during the revolution, was raised in its current form to serve as a pedestal for a monumental Statue which crowns its summit. This Statue, executed in Paris by the sculptor Louis Rochet, was inaugurated on 17 October 1855. It is in gilded bronze, measures 5.25m and weighs 3 tons . The Virgin holds the Child Jesus on her left arm, her right arm is extended as if to bless. She wears the ducal crown, emblem of her sovereignty over Savoy. It is draped in the costume of the 13th century, the time of the Granier disaster.
Martyrs of Masyla: Massylitan Martyrs Group of Christians martyred in Masyla in northwest Africa.
Martyrs of Pannonia: Seven virgin-martyrs in Sirmium, Pannonia (modern Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia).
Martyrs of Thorney Abbey – 3+ saints: A group of Hermits, hermitesses and monks who lived in or around Thorney Abbey who were martyred together during raids by pagan Danes. We know little more than the names of three – Tancred, Torthred and Tova. 869 by raiders at Thorney Abbey, Cambridgeshire, England.
Saint of the Day – 8 April – Saint Dionysius of Alexandria “The Great” (c 190-265) Archbishop of Alexandria from 248 until his death in 265, Confessor, outstanding Administrator, Writer, Theologian. Born on c 190 in Alexandria, Egypt and died in 265 of natural causes. Called “the Great” by St Eusebius, St.Basil and others, was undoubtedly, after St Cyprian, the most eminent Bishop of the third century. Like St Cyprian, he was less a great theologian, than a great administrator. Like St Cyprian, his writings usually took the form of letters. Both saints were converts from paganism, both were engaged in the controversies as to the restoration of those who had lapsed in the Decian persecution, about Novatian and with regard to the iteration of heretical baptism, both corresponded with the Popes of their day. Yet, it is curious, that neither mentions the name of the other. A single letter of Dionysius has been preserved in Greek Canon law. For the rest, we are dependent on the many citations by Eusebius and, to the works of his great successor St Athanasius.
He is said to have been of distinguished parentage. He became a Christian when still young and discussed his conversion experience with Philemon, a Priest of Pope Sixtus II. Dionysius converted to Christianity when he received a vision sent from God; in it he was commanded to vigorously study the heresies facing the Christian Church, so that he could refute them through doctrinal study. After his conversion, he joined the Catechetical School of Alexandria and was a student of Origen and St Heraclas. He eventually became leader of the School and a Priest. He became Archbishop of Alexandria in 248, succeeding st Heraclas.
Dionysius favoured readmitting penitent apostates to the Church in opposition to those, who wanted to exclude them permanently. Engaged in the bitter controversy over baptism performed by heretics, Dionysius did not insist on rebaptising converts who had received heretical baptism but he recognised the right ,of communities, to rebaptise if they preferred.
Dionysius was especially noted for his attacks on the Sabellians, who accused him of separating the persons of the Trinity (tritheism) and other heresies.
He also wrote a treatise on nature against the atomism of the Greek philosopher, Epicurus. Though highly esteemed and often cited by the leading Byzantine theologians, his works are known only from quotations, many of them extensive, preserved mainly by Bishop St Eusebius of Caesarea.
In 252 an outbreak of plague ravaged Alexandria and Dionysius, along with other Priests and Deacons, took it upon themselves, to assist the sick and dying.
Dionysius was imprisoned and then exiled. during the persecutions but when Gallienus, took over the empire he released all the believers who were in prison and brought back those in exile. Gallienus wrote to Dionysius and the Bishops, a letter to assure their safety in opening the Churches.
Dionysius died in 265 and his relics were buried in the Church of the Cave, Alexandria.
Easter Thursday – The Fifth Day in the Easter Octave +2021
Our Lady of Valverde / Our Lady of the Green Valley, Sicily (1040) – 8 April:
The Sicilian Shrine to Our Lady of the Green Valley (Our Lady of Valverde) is said to have originated about the year 1040.
According to tradition, a soldier named Dionysius remained behind on the island of Sicily to engage in banditry, having been enticed by the wealth on the island and his greed for the money he felt he could easily steal from others. Assault, theft and murder meant nothing to him. Dionysius found a cave in which to hide and then lurked in the shadows of the thick woods, along the path that led from Catania to Aci. Dionysius was so active that this region near Mount Etna, soon became infamous as the scene of robberies, violence and even murder. At that time, there was a certain man named Giles who lived in the City of Catania. In the course of business, it became necessary for him to make the dangerous trip to Aci. Now, while Giles was aware of the danger, he was a pious man who was greatly devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary and he was absolutely convinced that she would watch over him on his journey. As Giles passed through the wood beneath the dormant but still volcanic Mount Etna, a bandit barred his way and threatened his life with a dagger. Suddenly the earth shook violently and a globe of blinding light appeared nearby. From within the light a woman’s voice could be heard:
“Dionysisus, Dionysius, do not touch my devotee.”
The assassin’s arm was frozen by the command. He turned and looked around at the light.
“Lay down that weapon – and cease this life of banditry.”
At these words ,Dionysius saw the monstrosity of what had been his life passing before his eyes. Throwing away his knife, he humbly acknowledged the errors of his life and prostrated himself at the feet of his intended victim, begging his forgiveness. Dionysus retreated alone to his cave to weep over his sins. Knowing his sincerity, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to him to comfort him. She urged him to trust in the goodness and mercy of God and go at once to Confession. She also requested that a Church be built on the hill of Valverde with the wealth Dionysius had obtained through his life of crime. Within a few days word got out about what had happened and the faithful from Aci processed to the hill of Valverde. Once on the hill, they observed a noisy flock of cranes hovering in the sky before landing on a particular clearing nearby. Taking it as a sign, the bandit turned hermit, began the work of constructing the Chapel on that very spot. Although he began working immediately and with impressive fervour, progress soon came to a halt due to the lack of a water supply. Dionysius turned in prayer to the Virgin Mary, who once again appeared to order, that a pickaxe be used, to strike at the base of the rock forming the entrance to the bandit’s cave. The result of the blow was a trickle of water that formed a pool sufficient, not only for the continuation of the work but also proved to be miraculous, as it soon became a source of cures for many of the sick who came and drank there. So many people came to assist the building work, that the work that had begun in the year 1038 was finished only two years later.
Dionysius kept the faith and continued to live on Valverde as a hermit. One night, he was rapt in prayer, when he was struck by an intense beam of light and saw a cloud in which the Madonna appeared surrounded by heavenly angels. The light dispersed as the cloud rose toward heaven, revealing a magnificent image of the Blessed Virgin and her Divine Son imprinted on the rough wall of a pillar of the Church.
The image, now known as Our Lady of the Green Valley, depicts the Virgin Mary seated and wearing a robe with gold accents. Her head is covered with a veil, although Mary’s hair can be seen framing her face. With her right hand she holds the Divine Child, who is seated upon a red and gold cushion. He has curly hair and is dressed in a white tunic. His right hand is raised in blessing, while the other rests upon a small crane that seems to hide behind the Virgin’s left hand.
In the year 1565 a group of Christian soldiers stopped here to invoke the aid of Our Lady of the Green Valley while on their way to the island of Malta. Suleiman the Magnificent was about to lay siege to the island fortress with countless thousands of his finest warriors, while only 600 Knights of St. John ,would stand against them, to defend the stronghold. These Christian soldiers were the same who would later operate the cannon, which fired the round that mortally wounded the infamous pirate commander Dragut Rais. A votive offering of two iron cannon balls now hang to the left of the Altar, as testimony and thanksgiving for the assistance of the Mother of God during that siege.
The feast of Our Lady of the Green Valley is kept, with great devotion, throughout three Dioceses of Sicily.
Bl Julian of Saint Augustine Bl Libania of Busano St Phlegon of Hyrcania St Redemptus of Ferentini — Martyrs of Africa – 3 saints: A group of African martyrs whose name appears on ancient lists, but about whom nothing is known but their names – Januarius, Macaria and Maxima.
Martyrs of Antioch – 4 saints: A group of Christians martyred together for their faith. We know little more than their names – Diogene, Macario, Massimo and Timothy. They died in Antioch, Syria.
Martyrs of Seoul – 5 saints: A group laymen who were martyred together in the apostolic vicariate of Korea. • Augustinus Jeong Yak-jong • Franciscus Xaverius Hong Gyo-man • Ioannes Choe Chang-hyeon • Lucas Hong Nak-min • Thomas Choe Pil-gong They died on 8 April 1801 at the Small West Gate, Seoul, South Korea Beatified on 15 August 2014 by Pope Francis
Our Morning Offering – Easter Wednesday and the Memorial of St John Baptiste de La Salle (1651-1719)
The Saving Word By St John Baptiste de La Salle (1651-1719)
No father on earth loves his children as much as You love the beings You created. Lord. Not content with just giving them existence, You inspire them with the means for happiness in this life and someday, having a place in Your House. First through the prophets and then through Your holy Apostles. You have given us the Word of Life. But it was through Jesus. Your beloved Son. that You gave the definitive Word to the world: the “Good News’ that saves us. Strengthen us. Lord, against our weakness; guide our steps along the road You have pointed out – Christ our brother, Who is the Way, He, the Truth and He, the Life. Amen
Saint of the Day – 7 April – Blessed Edward Oldcorne SJ (1561-1607) Priest Martyr. Born in 1561 at York, North Yorkshire, England and died by being hanged, drawn and quartered on 7 April 1607 at Worcester, Worcestershire, England.
Edward Oldcorne (1561-1606) had a long and fruitful pastoral apostolate in England operating out of the same residence for 16 years. Ralph Ashley (birthday unknown, 1606) entered the Jesuits in Valladolid, Spain, as a brother and was urged to return to his native England to recover his good health, a prescription that worked well until he was arrested with Father Oldcorne whom he assisted for eight years.
Oldcorne was born in York of a non-Catholic father and a Catholic mother, whose courage when she was imprisoned for her faith ,set an example for her son who dropped medical studies to travel to Rheims, France in August 1581 in order to study for the priesthood. In 1583 he moved on to Rome where he finished his studies and was Ordained a Priest. Soon afterwards, he asked to enter the Society of Jesus, was accepted and was allowed to complete his novitiate in a very short time because of the difficult conditions he would face, upon his return to England. He landed on a remote beach near Norfolk in November 1588 and joined a group of sailors travelling to London where he stayed with Father Henry Garnet, the Superior of the Jesuits in England. After a few months there, he was assigned to Hinlip Hall just outside Worcester ,where he would enjoy one of the longest periods of any Jesuit ministering in England during the many years of the persecution of the heretical Elizabeth.
The master of Hinlip Hall, was an ardent Catholic who was in prison and had left the property in the care of his sister, Dorothy, a Protestant, who had been at Elizabeth’s court and merely tolerated the presence of the Priest guests in her brother’s residence. Several Priests had tried, unsuccessfully, to convert her back to her family’s Catholicism but she resisted all efforts. Finally Oldcorne began fasting for her conversion; when she learned of his fast, she yielded to God’s grace and became an encouragement for many others in the shire to return to the Catholic religion. The Hall became the Jesuit’s base of operations where many people came to seek the Sacraments and hear Fr Edward’s preaching. His success was accompanied by poor health ever since he returned to England. He had a throat cancer that left him with a hoarse and painful voice but this did not keep him from preaching. He made a pilgrimage around 1591 to St. Winifred’s Shrine seeking a cure. He returned with the cancer healed.
Catholics looked forward to the end of persecution when Queen Elizabeth died and James I became King on 24 March 1603. He had promised he would be more tolerant but ,in fact, the persecution increased. Some angry Catholic laymen plotted to blow up the Houses of Parliament during the King’s visit there on 5 November 1605. Discovery of the plot intensified hatred of Catholics; the government was determined to implicate Jesuits in the so-called “Gunpowder Plot,” despite the fact, that the men behind it had already been captured. The Jesuit Superior, Father Garnet, decided to leave London and seek shelter at Hinlip Hall, which had more hiding places than any other mansion in England. Brother Nicholas Owen, (Saint), who had constructed those places, accompanied him. The two Jesuits joined Oldcorne and Ashley.
On 20 January 1606, the Sheriff of Worcestershire and over 100 men, arrived at the Hall and spent several days fruitlessly searching for the Priests. A man arrested for being involved in the plot against Parliament, tried to curry favour by telling authorities he could lead them to Father Oldcorne. Finally, on the fourth day, hunger forced Brother Ashley and his companion, St Owen, to leave their hiding place. Four more days later, the two Priests emerged weak and ill, from their hiding place. All four were imprisoned in the Tower of London.
When efforts to spy on the conversation between the prisoners failed to yield any damning evidence, Fr Edward was tortured on the rack five hours a day for five consecutive days. He refused to say anything. When he and Ashley were put on trial, the Jesuit Priest denied the charge of being involved in the Gunpowder Plot so well, that the charge against him was changed to simply being a Jesuit Priest. He was found guilty of high treason and ordered to be executed. Just before he was hung, his betrayer asked for pardon, which Fr Edward readily granted. Fr Edward also prayed for the King and royal family, for his accusers, the judge and the jury who had condemned him. He was pushed from the ladder but was cut down before he was dead; he was then beheaded and quartered. Brother Ashley followed him to the gallows as did St Owen.
It is said, that, as Oldcorne waited on the ladder to die, Ashley kissed his feet and said, “What a happy man am I to follow in the steps of my sweet father”. Oldcorne died with the name of St Winifred on his lips. When Ashley came to die, he prayed and asked for forgiveness and noted that like Edward, he was dying for his faith and not as a traitor.
Blessed Edward’s portrait was painted after his death for the Church of the Gesù. A number of his relics survived including one of his eyes which he lost, when the executioner decapitated him:. The force of the blow was so great, that his eye flew out of its socket. A secondary school, Blessed Edward Oldcorne Catholic College, named in his honour, is in Worcester. His right eye and the rope that bound him ,are kept as relics at Stonyhurst College. They believe, that the eye was taken by a Catholic sympathiser while his body was being parboiled after he was quartered.
Edward Oldcorne was Beatified on 15 December 1929 by Pope Pius XI.
Easter Wednesday – The Fourth Day in the Easter Octave +2021
Our Lady of Puig, Valencia, Spain, Patron of Valencia and the Spanish Army – 7 April:
The fortress and the Church of Our Lady of Puig are a short distance out of Valencia, both date from Roman times, when a temple of Venus stood on the hill overlooking the pleasant valley. At the coming of Christians, it was turned into a Monastery. Early in history they acquired the image of Our Lady of Puig, in bas-relief, carved on a slab of marble, which was said to have formed part of the tomb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. How it got to Spain is not known with certainty, though the pious insist, that it was brought there by angels. It was the principal object of devotion at the Shrine, which thrived and grew beautiful until the ancient kingdom of the Visigoths fell to the Muslim invaders in the 8th Century. In the year 712 the Monks sadly buried their treasure to hide it from desecration, along with the Church bell, under the floor of the Monastery, and fled for their lives. After five centuries the Moors were expelled from Valencia and the Plaque of Our Lady of Puig played a part in its liberation.
King James I of Aragon, victorious in other parts of Spain, moved on Valencia with his armies. The Moors, in an effort to trick the Christians into sending their troops to the wrong place, moved to attack the ancient fortress of Puig. This was done with great secrecy but Our Lady warned the Christians and helped them, to win the desperate battle. Saint Peter Nolasco, who helped to found the Society for the Redemption of Captives under Our Lady’s guidance, was in Puig when the battle took place. One of the soldiers came to him and reported that when he had been on night guard, he had seen strange lights over the old ruined Church of Our Lady of Puig; sometimes the stars seemed to come down from the sky and circle around the building. Especially on Saturday nights there were bright lights around the mount of the Church.
Saint Peter suggested to the King, that all the soldiers should receive the Sacraments and pray, to know what God was trying to tell them. After this had been done, he led them to the top of the hill and directed them to dig under the floor of the old Monastery. Here they found the Plaque and the bell, buried for 500 years, but unharmed. The Plaque was first carried to the Chapel of the castle fortress. As soon as possible, a new Church was built on the mountain and given into the charge of the Mercedarians under Saint Peter Nolasco. The ancient bell which was dated as being cast in 660 and was placed in the tower of the Church. This bell was said to be powerful against storms and always rung of its own accord in time of trouble. In 1550 the bell broke and a new one was cast from the fragments of the old one.
The Church built by Saint Peter Nolasco was called “the angelic chamber” because angels were often heard singing there in the night, especially on Saturdays. Our Lady of Puig has been the Patroness of Valencia for hundreds of years and not longer ago than 1935, was honoured by the Spanish Armies who have carried her image in so many successful battles. She was at this time named as a General in the Army and invoked as Patroness in the Christian War against Communism.
St Albert of Tournai Bl Alexander Rawlins St Brenach of Carn-Engyle St Calliopus of Pompeiopolis Bl Cristoforo Amerio St Cyriaca of Nicomedia St Donatus of North Africa Blessed Edward Oldcorne SJ (1561-1607) Priest Martyr St Epiphanius the Martyr St Finian of Kinnitty St George the Younger St Gibardus of Luxeuil St Goran St Guainerth St Hegesippus of Jerusalem St Henry Walpole Blessed Maria Assunta Pallotta (1878-1905) About Bl Maria Assunta: https://anastpaul.com/2019/04/07/saint-of-the-day-7-april-blessed-maria-assunta-pallotta-1878-1905/ St Peleusius of Alexandria St Peter Nguyen Van Luu Bl Ralph Ashley St Rufinus the Martyr St Saturninus of Verona Bl Ursuline of Parma — Martyrs of Pentapolis – 4 saints: A bishop, deacon and two lectors at Pentapolis, Lybia who for their faith were tortured, had their tongues cut out, and were left for dead. They survived and each died years later of natural causes; however, because they were willing to die and because there were attempts to kill them, they are considered martyrs. We know little else except their names – Ammonius, Irenaeus, Serapion and Theodore c 310 at Pentapolis, Lybia.
Martyrs of Sinope – 200 saints: 200 Christian soldiers martyred together for their faith. We don’t even have their names. They were martyred in Sinope, Pontus, Asia Minor (in modern Turkey).
Saint of the Day – 6 April – Saint Juliana of Cornillon (c 1192-1258) Nun, Mystic “Apostle of the Blessed Sacrament.” Born in c 1192 or 1103 at Retinnes, Flanders, Belgium and died on 5 April 1258 of natural causes. Patronage– Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. St Juliana is little known but the Church is deeply indebted to her, not only because of the holiness of her life but also because, with her great fervour, she contributed to the institution of one of the most important solemn Liturgies of the year, namely the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. She is also known as Juliana of Mount Cornillon, Julliana, Juliana of Liège.
We know several facts about her life, mainly from a Biography that was probably written by a contemporary cleric; it is a collection of various testimonies of people who were directly acquainted with the Saint.
Juliana was born near Liège, Belgium between 1191 and 1192. It is important to emphasise this place because at that time, the Diocese of Liège was, so to speak, a true “Eucharistic Upper Room.” Before Juliana, eminent theologians had illustrated the supreme value of the Sacrament of the Eucharist and, again in Liège, there were groups of women generously dedicated to Eucharistic worship and to fervent communion. Guided by exemplary Priests, they lived together, devoting themselves to prayer and to charitable works.
Orphaned at the age of five, Juliana, together with her sister Agnes, was entrusted to the care of the Augustinian nuns at the Convent and leprosarium of Mont-Cornillon. She was taught mainly by a Sister called “Sapienza” [wisdom], who was in charge of her spiritual development to the time Juliana received the religious habit and thus became an Augustinian Nun.
She became so learned that she could read the words of the Church Fathers, of St Augustine and St Bernard in particular, in Latin. In addition to a keen intelligence, Juliana showed a special propensity for contemplation from the outset. She had a profound sense of Christ’s presence, which she experienced by living the Sacrament of the Eucharist especially intensely and by pausing frequently to meditate upon Jesus’ words: “And lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:20).
When Juliana was 16 she had her first vision, which recurred subsequently several times during her Eucharistic adoration. Her vision presented the moon in its full splendour, crossed diametrically by a dark stripe. The Lord made her understand the meaning of what had appeared to her. The moon symbolized the life of the Church on earth, the opaque line, on the other hand, represented the absence of a liturgical feast for whose institution Juliana was asked to plead effectively, namely, a feast in which believers would be able to adore the Eucharist so as to increase in faith, to advance in the practice of the virtues and to make reparation for offences, to the Most Holy Sacrament.
Juliana, who in the meantime had become Prioress of the convent, kept this revelation that had filled her heart with joy a secret for about 20 years. She then confided it to two other fervent adorers of the Eucharist, Blessed Eva, who lived as a hermit, and Isabella, who had joined her at the Monastery of Mont-Cornillon. The three women established a sort of “spiritual alliance” for the purpose of glorifying the Most Holy Sacrament. They also chose to involve a highly regarded Priest, John of Lausanne, who was a Canon of the Church of St Martin in Liège. They asked him to consult theologians and clerics on what was important to them. Their affirmative response was encouraging.
What happened to Juliana of Cornillon occurs frequently in the lives of Saints. To have confirmation that an inspiration comes from God, it is always necessary to be immersed in prayer to wait patiently, to seek friendship and exchanges with other good souls and to submit all things to the judgement of the Shepherds of the Church. It was in fact Bishop Robert Torote, Liège who, after initial hesitation, accepted the proposal of Juliana and her companions and first introduced the Solemnity of Corpus Christi in his Diocese. Later other Bishops following his example and instituted this Feast in the territories entrusted to their pastoral care.
However, to increase their faith the Lord often asks Saints to sustain trials. This also happened to Juliana who had to bear the harsh opposition of certain members of the clergy and even of the Superior on whom her Monastery depended. Of her own free will, therefore, Juliana left the Convent of Mont-Cornillon with several companions. For 10 years — from 1248 to 1258 — she stayed as a guest at various Monasteries of Cistercian sisters. She edified all with her humility, she had no words of criticism or reproach for her adversaries and continued zealously to spread Eucharistic worship.
She died at Fosses-La-Ville, Belgium, in 1258. In the cell where she lay, the Blessed Sacrament was exposed and, according to her biographer’s account, Juliana died contemplating with a last effusion of love Jesus in the Eucharist, Whom she had always loved, honoured and adored.
Jacques Pantaléon of Troyes was also won over to the good cause of the Feast of Corpus Christi during his ministry as Archdeacon in Lièges. It was he, who, having become Pope with the name of Urban IV in 1264, instituted the Solemnity of Corpus Christi on the Thursday after Pentecost as a Feast of precept for the universal Church.
In the Bull of its institution, entitled Transiturus de hoc mundo, (11 Aug. 1264), Pope Urban even referred discreetly to Juliana’s mystical experiences, corroborating their authenticity. He wrote: “Although the Eucharist is celebrated solemnly everyday, we deem it fitting, that at least once a year. it be celebrated with greater honour and a solemn commemoration.
Indeed we grasp the other things we commemorate with our spirit and our mind but this does not mean, that we obtain their real presence. On the contrary, in this sacramental commemoration of Christ, even though in a different form, Jesus Christ is present with us in His own substance. While He was about to ascend into Heaven, He said ‘And lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age’ (Matthew 28:20)”.
The Pontiff made a point of setting an example by celebrating the solemnity of Corpus Christi in Orvieto, the town where he was then residing. Indeed, he ordered that the famous Corporal with the traces of the Eucharistic miracle which had occurred in Bolsena the previous year, 1263, be kept in Orvieto Cathedral — where it still is today.
While a Priest was consecrating the bread and the wine, he was overcome by strong doubts about the Real Presence of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. A few drops of blood began miraculously to ooze from the consecrated Host, thereby confirming what our faith professes.
Urban iv asked one of the greatest theologians of history, St Thomas Aquinas — who at that time was accompanying the Pope and was in Orvieto — to compose the texts of the Liturgical Office for this great Feast. They are masterpieces, still in use in the Church today, in which theology and poetry are fused into glorious prayers. These texts pluck at the heartstrings in an expression of praise and gratitude to the Most Holy Sacrament, while the mind, penetrating the mystery with wonder, recogniSes in the Eucharist, the Living and Real Presence of Jesus, of His Sacrifice of Love, that reconciles us with the Father and gives us salvation.
Although, after the death of Urban iv the celebration of the Feast of Corpus Christi was limited to certain regions of France, Germany, Hungary and Northern Italy, it was another Pontiff, John XXII who in 1317, re-established it for the universal Church. Since then, the Feast experienced a wonderful development and is still deeply appreciated by the Catholic faithful.
In remembering St Juliana of Cornillon, let us also renew our faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. As we are taught “Jesus Christ is present in the Eucharist in a unique and incomparable way. He is present in a true, real and substantial way, with His Body and His Blood, with His Soul and His Divinity. In the Eucharist, therefore, there is present in a sacramental way, that is, under the Eucharistic Species of bread and wine, Christ whole and entire, God and Man” (n. 282). (Excerpt – Pope Benedict XVI)
St Juliana was Canonised in 1869 by Blessed Pope Pius IX.
The Saints never failed to find strength, consolation and joy in the Eucharistic encounter. Let us repeat before the Lord present in the Most Blessed Sacrament ,the words of the Eucharistic hymn “Adoro te devote”: [Devoutly I adore Thee]: Make me believe ever more in you, “Draw me deeply into faith, / Into Your hope, into Your love.”
Easter Tuesday – The Third Day in the Easter Octave
Our Lady of the Conception, Flanders (1553) – 6 April:
The Abbot Orsini wrote: “Our Lady of the Conception, at the Capuchin Convent of Donay, in Flanders, where is seen a picture of the Immaculate Conception, which was miraculously preserved from fire, in the year 1553.”
Donay, now known as Douai in France, was once considered a thriving and populous region of Flanders during the Middle Ages, markedly famous, for its textile market. It is now a commune in northern France located on the Scarpe River 25 kilometers from Arras. The town of Douai is also known as Douay or Doway in the English language. The County of Flanders became part of the domain of the Duke of Burgundy in the year 1384 and then in 1477, became a possession of the Habsburg’s. The Town was taken by the French army and became a permanent part of France in the year 1668. During successive sieges in 1710 and 1712, the City was almost completely razed to the ground by the British Army. The University of Douai was founded in 1562. There was a Benedictine Priory founded at Douai in 1605. In the year 1609, a translation of the Old Te,stament was published there and combined with the recently published New Testament from Rheims, to create the famous Douay-Rheims Bible that is still considered to be the standard for the complete Catholic Bible. It is certain that the French Revolution played a great deal of havoc in the region and the Town was heavily damaged during both World Wars. In Butler’s lives of the Saints, there is a reference to a John Woodcock OFM, born in 1603. According to this history, he joined the English Franciscans at Douai and was clothed there in 1631. For some time he lived as a Chaplain and confessor and became a zealous worker on the English mission for many years but suffered from continual sickness and eventually retired to the Convent at Douai. This is the only reference I could find to the existence of a Capuchin Convent at Donay at the time. There is also mention of a Capuchin Monastery in the list of historical monuments of Douai but other than the above, I can find no other information about this feast.
__ St Agrarius the Martyr St Amand of Grisalba St Berthanc of Kirkwall St Brychan of Brycheiniog Bl Catherine of Pallanza St Diogenes of Philippi St Elstan of Abingdon St Galla of Rome St Gennard St Irenaeus of Sirmium Bl Jan Franciszek Czartoryski St Juliana of Cornillon (c 1192-1258) Nun, Mystic “Apostle of the Blessed Sacrament”
St Phaolô Lê Bao Tinh St Philaret of Calabria Bl Pierina Morosini St Platonides of Ashkelon St Prudentius of Troyes St Pope Sixtus I St Timothy of Philippi St Ulched St Urban of Peñalba St William of Eskilsoe St Winebald Blessed Zefirino Agostini (1813-1896) His Life: https://anastpaul.com/2019/04/06/saint-of-the-day-6-april-blessed-zefirino-agostini-1813-1896/ — Martyrs of Sirmium : 7 saints – A group of fourth century martyrs at Sirmium, Pannonia (modern Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia). We know little more than seven of their names – Florentius, Geminianus, Moderata, Romana, Rufina, Saturus and Secundus.
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War: Bl Enric Gispert Domenech Bl Josep Gomis Martorell