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.
Saint of the Day – 5 April – Saint Catherine of Palma OSA (1533–1574) Nun of the Order of the Canonesses of St Augustine, Mystic, gifted with the charism of prophecy, visions and ecstasy. Born on 1 May 1533 at Valldemossa, Mallorca, Spain and died on 5 April 1574 at Saint Mary Magdalen convent, Palma, Mallorca, Spain of natural causes, at the aged of 41. She is also known as Catalina Thomás, Caterina Tomàs i Gallard, and Catherine or Catalina Thomas or Tomas. Patronage – Mallorca. Her Body is incorrupt.
Catherine was born 1 May 1533 at Valldemossa, Mallorca, Spain, in a peasant family. Catherine was the youngest of 7 children. Her parents died when she was 7, leaving her without an inheritance or a dowry. She spent her remaining formative years in the home of her paternal uncle. Even though she was very young, she was made to do the worst tasks. The servants were even encouraged to overwork and ignore her. Even so, she remained ever sweet and patient.
At age 15, she began having visions of St Anthony and St Catherine, her patroness. It was then that she began to feel a calling to the Religious life. She confided these desires to a holy hermit Priest, Father Antony Castagneda. Believing that Catherine needed time to discern if this was really her vocation, he told her that she would receive a reply in time, if she continued to pray about it, as he would also do. She agreed without question or argument.
She had to wait a long time. The wait was made even more frustrating by the treatment she endured at the hands of her relations, who increased their mistreatment of her, because they feared losing her services. Father Antony hadn’t forgotten her though. He was finding it very hard to find a Convent that could afford to take a girl with no dowry. As a preliminary step to entering a Convent, he sent Catherine to serve a family in Palma, where nothing could stand in the way of her spiritual life. One of the daughters in the household taught her reading and writing. This girl soon became Catherine’s disciple in religious matters, since Catherine had already come very far on the road to holiness.
Soon, several Convents offered to take her. She decided to enter the Canonesses of St Augustine, at their Convent of St Mary Magdalen in Palma, Mallorca. She was 20 years old at that time. From the moment she was admitted, she was admired by the other sisters, because of her sanctity and loved because of her humility and her willingness to serve others.
The life of Catherine, in the Convent, was ordinary at first and there was nothing to distinguish her. Then, strange things began to happen to her. Every year, between 13 and 15 days before the Feast of St Catherine of Alexandria, she would lie in a profound trance. Also, after communion, she would always remain in ecstasy, which would last most of the day, or sometimes a whole week. There were times when she appeared to be in a coma, with no signs of life, for days but at other times, she would move around the Convent with her feet together and her eyes closed, sometimes conversing with Angels and other heavenly beings and oblivious to everything and everyone around her.
At other times she would intelligently answer questions, while in one of these “Comas.” She also had the gift of prophesy. In between these events, she would be severely attacked and tempted by demons. she not only suffered evil suggestions and hallucinations, and physical manifestations of demons but, she also suffered physical assaults at their hands. When this happened, frightening screams and sounds could be heard coming from Catherine’s cell. The other nuns could never see what was attacking her but they could see what the attacks left in their wake and they would try to relieve her suffering. She tried very hard not to let these experiences get in the way of the timely discharge of her work. She foretold her own death, and died at age 41 on 5 April 1574.
Saint of the Day – 1 April – Saint Mary of Egypt (c 344-c 421) Desert Mother, Penitent, Recluse, Born in c 344 in Egypt am died in c 421 in the desert near the River Jordan of natural causes. Also known as Maria Aegyptica, Maria Egiziaca. Patronages – Penitents, Chastity (warfare against the flesh; deliverance from carnal passions), demons (deliverance from), fever, skin diseases, reformed fallen women.
The primary source of information on Saint Mary of Egypt is the Vita written of her, around 100 years after her death, by St Sophronius, the Bishop of Jerusalem (634–638). Most of the information in this section is taken from this source. The complete Vita is available to read here (from an Orthodox Church source): https://stmaryofegypt.org/files/library/life.htm
Saint Mary, was born somewhere in the Province of Egypt. At the age of twelve she ran away from her parents to the City of Alexandria. Here she lived an extremely dissolute life. In her Vita, it states that she often refused the money offered for her sexual favours, as she was driven “by an insatiable and an irrepressible passion” and that she mainly lived by begging, supplemented by spinning flax.
After seventeen years of this lifestyle, she travelled to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. She undertook the journey as a sort of “anti-pilgrimage,” stating, that she hoped to find, in the pilgrim crowds at Jerusalem, even more partners in her lust. She paid for her passage by offering sexual favours to other pilgrims and she continued her habitual lifestyle for a short time in Jerusalem.
Her Vita relates that when she tried to enter the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for the celebration, she was barred from doing so by an unseen force. Realising that this was because of her impurity, she was struck with remorse and upon seeing an icon of the Mother of God Blessed Virgin. outside the Church, she prayed for forgiveness and promised to give up the world. Then, she attempted again to enter the Church and this time, was permitted in.
After venerating the relic of the True Cross, she returned to the Icon to give thanks and heard a voice telling her, “If you cross the Jordan, you will find glorious rest.” She immediately went to the Monastery of Saint John the Baptist on the bank of the River Jordan, where she received absolution and afterwards, Holy Communion. The next morning, she crossed the Jordan and retired to the desert to live the rest of her life as a hermit in penitence. She took with her only three loaves of bread and once they were gone, lived only on what she could find in the wilderness.
Approximately one year before her death, she recounted her life to Saint Zosimas of Palestine (c 460-c 560), who encountered her in the desert. When he unexpectedly met her in the desert, she was completely naked and almost unrecognisable as human. She asked St Zosimas to give her his mantle to cover her nakedness and then she narrated her life’s story to him.
She then asked him to meet her at the banks of the Jordan, on Holy Thursday of the following year and bring her Holy Communion. When he fulfilled her wish, she crossed the river to get to him by walking on the surface of the water and received Holy Communion, asking him to meet her again in the desert the following Lent.
The next year, St Zosimas travelled to the same spot where he first met her, some twenty days’ journey from his Monastery and found her lying there dead. According to an inscription written in the sand next to her head, she had died on the very night he had given her the Blessed Sacrament and had been somehow miraculously transported to the place he found her. Her body was preserved incorrupt.
He buried her body with the assistance of a passing lion. On returning to the Monastery, he related her life story to the brethren and it was preserved among them, as oral tradition, until it was written down by St Sophronius.
There is disagreement among various sources regarding the dates of Saint Mary’s life. The dates given above correspond to those in the Catholic Encyclopedia. The Bollandists place her death in 421, or 530. The only clue given in her Vita, is the fact that the day of her repose was 1 April which was stated to be Holy Thursday, meaning ,that Easter fell on 4 April that year, 421.
St Mary’s relics lie in various Cathlic Churhes, the Italian Churches are named below- Rome, Naples, and Cremona in Italy and in Antwerp, Belgium. In Italy, Mary became associated with the Patronage of fallen women much like Mary Magdalene, to whom similar traits were associated. There are a number of Churches or Chapels dedicated to Saint Mary of Egypt, among which are:
Temple of Portunus (Santa Maria Egiziaca, Rome) Church of Santa Maria Egiziaca a Forcella, Naples Church of Santa Maria Egiziaca a Pizzofalcone, Naples Chapel in Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, commemorating the site of her conversion
Many literary works commemorate her within various formats, both fictional, stage and music.
Saint of the Day – 28 March – Blessed Antonio Patrizi OSA (c 1280-1311) Priest, Friar of the Order of St Augustine, Prior, Hermit. Born in c 1280 in Siena, Italy and died in c 1311 in Monticiano, Italy. His body is incorrupt.
Anthonio Patrizi was born in Siena sometime in the thirteenth century, although the exact date and year are not known. He was the son of Pietro and Ginerva Patrizi of the prominent house of Patrizi with its origins from Rome.
In 1287 he was entrusted to the Order of Preachers for his studies. On one particular Christmas Eve night, in the Basilica di San Domenico, he was inspired to visit the hospital of Santa Maria della Scala on Christmas day, where he met Pietro de’ Piccolomini who suggested that the two both go to enroll in the Order of Saint Augustine at Leccet. They accordingly proceeded to Leccet, leaving the following day, 26 December and were immediately admitted into the novitiate.
Antonio joined the Order of St Augustine in Lecceto and lived as a Hermit in the Monastery of Lecceto, renowned for its emphasis on contemplative life and the holiness of many of its members. It was here that other well known Friars such as Clement of Osimo, Agostino Novello and William Flete also lived at various times. He was appointed at one point as the Prior of his Lecceto Convent.
Anonio died sometime just after midnight on 23 April 1311 at the Convent of Monticiano, where he was spending the night, while on a visit to his Florentine friend Pietro da Collegonzi.
In the book A Brief Life of Some Hermit Friars by the Anonymous Florentine, the story of Anthonio’s death is recounted. It tells of how, on the night on which he died, assistants of an elderly and gravely ill couple who lived nearby, were looking out a window of the sick couple’s house, which faced the Monastery. They saw coming from the Monastery a brilliant light that appeared to touch the sky. At first they thought that the Monastery was burning but as they watched, they saw that it was not a fire but that there must be, in the Monastery, someone whose holiness touched the heavens. The sick couple also came to the window, saw the light and began to pray, asking that this unknown holy person would heal them of their illness. Immediately they were restored to health. They went to the Monastery, told the Friars what had happened and asked to see the holy man. The Friars went to the room of their guest and discovered that Anthonio had died.
Antonio’s remains were interred in a grave where it was said to have caused lilies to grow during the wintertime. His incorrupt remains were later transferred to the local church of Santi Pietro e Paolo – later renamed in his honour – and were transferred on two more occasions in 1616 and 1700.
Antonio received formal Beatification from Pope Pius VII on 1 March 1804 after the latter ratified the Antonio’s local ‘cultus’ – or popular devotion – that had endured from his death.
Saint of the Day – 25 February – Blessed Sebastian of Aparicio OFM (1502-1600) “The Angel of Mexico,” Franciscan Lay brother, Confessor, Ascetic, apostle of the poor, builder of roads and bridges in Mexico and thus is honoured as the founder of the transport and road system in Mexico. Born as Sebastiano de Aparicio y del Pardo on 20 January 1502 in La Gudiña, Orense, Spain and died on 25 February 1600 of natural causes, aged 98. Sebastian was a Spanish colonist in Mexico shortly after its conquest by Spain, who after a lifetime as a rancher and road builder, entered the Order of Friars Minor as a lay brother. He spent the next 26 years of his long life, as a beggar for the Order and died with a great reputation for holiness. Patronages – drivers, travellers, road builders and the Transport industry in Mexico. His body is incorrupt.
Sebastian was born in Spain into a peasant family in 1502,. He was a good looking young man with a reserved personality that attracted the interest of quite a few women. He was deeply religious and changed employment several times, before the age of 30, to avoid the temptations opened to him. He worked as a household servant and as a hired field hand.
Despite his illiteracy, he had absorbed the discourse on how to lead a pious and holy life that he could emulate models in hagiographic texts. According to his own account, his life was saved in a miraculous way during an outbreak of the bubonic plague in his town in 1514. Forced to isolate him from the community, his parents built a hidden shelter for him in the woods, where they left him. While lying there helpless, due to his illness, a she-wolf found the hiding spot and, poking her head into his hiding spot, sniffed and then bit and licked an infected site on his body, before running off. He began to heal from that moment.
At the age of 31, Sebastian left Spain for Mexico. He settled in the town of Puebla de los Angeles where he took employment as a field hand. However, he soon noticed a business opportunity for Puebla was an important crossroads and he noted, that the goods transported, were carried on the backs of pack animals or on the backs of the native people.
At first, Sebastian made and sold wheeled carts for the transport of goods. He then expanded into the improvement and building of roads and bridges to improve transport for goods and people. He was responsible for the building of a 460 mile road from Mexico City to Zacatecas, which took 10 years to build and was of enormous benefit to the local economy.
By the age of 50, Sebastian was a wealthy man. He lived very simply and gave his earnings to others, he bought food for the poor, made loans that he never reclaimed to poor farmers too proud to accept charity, he paid the dowries for poor brides and gave free training to Indians in skills that would assist them in earning a living. In addition, people brought him their problems and he had a reputation for his wisdom.
Sebastian became known as “The Angel of Mexico.” He retired at the age of 50 to a hacienda to raise cattle. He married at age 60 at the request of his bride’s parents. His bride was a poor girl and he agreed to the match, on condition that the couple lived as brother and sister, which they did. His wife died and he married again on the same condition. When he was 70, Sebastian’s second wife died and he himself contracted a serious illness.
Upon recovering, he decided to give everything he had to the poor and became a lay Franciscan brother. He undertook many responsibilities, including cook, sacristan, gardener and porter. He was then assigned to the large community of friars in the city of Puebla, at that time consisting of about 100 friars, most of whom, were doing their studies or were retired or recovering from illness. He was appointed to be the quaestor of the community, the one assigned to travel throughout the local community, seeking food and alms for the upkeep of the friars and those who came to them for help. The builder of Mexico’s highway system had become a beggar on it. Despite his advanced age, he felt the vigour needed for the task. This formerly rich man, loved his job and was loved by his fellow Franciscans, the townspeople and the poor that the Brothers helped. He also loved–and was loved–by animals, even the most stubborn mules and oxen would obey the Blessed, much like Saint Francis.
Though he had long suffered from a hernia, Aparicio marked his 98th birthday on the road, apparently in good health. On the following 20 February, he developed what was to be his final illness, as the hernia became entangled. He began to feel pain and nausea and, upon arrival at the friary, was immediately sent to the infirmary. It was the first time he had slept in a bed in 25 years. As his condition worsened, he became unable to swallow. His only regret was that, due to this, he was unable to receive Holy Communion. As he lay dying, he was consoled by the friars’ fulfilling his request that they bring the Blessed Sacrament to his cell.
On the evening of 25 February, Aparicio asked to be laid on the ground to meet his death, in imitation of St. Francis. He soon died in the arms of a fellow Galician, Friar Juan de San Buenaventura, with his last word being “Jesus.” When his body lay in state, the crowds that gathered were large and the miracles wrought were so numerous, that he could not be buried for several days. His habit had to be replaced repeatedly, as mourners would snip a piece of it off to keep as the relic of a saint.
The Blessed’s remains were never buried but at the request of the local people, exposed in a prominent place for veneration. His body, although darkened, has remained incorrupt and can be viewed in the Church of Saint Francis in Puebla.
Nearly 1,000 miracles were reported at his intercession, even before his death and such claims continue to this day. Pope Pius VI Beatified him on 17 May 1789.
Our Lady of Great Power, Quebec, Canada, (1673) – 25 February:
Our Lady of Great Power is little known in America, unless among the pupils of the Ursulines in Quebec. Generations of these, however, have dwelt within the walls of the Old Monastery during two centuries and more, since the arrival of the statue in the last years of the 17th century. In the annals of the Ursulines of the Sacred Heart at Perigueux, France, where the statue was solemnly crowned, we find the origin of the devotion. The devotion to Our Lady of Great Power began in the monastery of Issoudun. There a holy Ursuline nun, Mother Saint Peter, was inspired during her prayer to invoke Our Lady under this title. She spoke of her inspiration to her Sisters and her Superiors. The devotion was adopted with enthusiasm and very soon it was decided, that a statue be sculptured and a Chapel built, dedicated to Our Lady of Great Power; she would henceforth be chosen, as first and principal Superior of the Monastery. The feast of the dedication took place 25 February 1673 and was celebrated with great pomp, as the chronicle testifies:
“After High Mass two ecclesiastics carried the statue to the entry of the monastery where the nuns, in solemn procession, received it. It was placed on a richly decorated litter and, to the chanting of hymns, psalms and canticles, it was brought to the prepared Chapel. When the same statue was raised on its pedestal, the Superior laid the keys of the monastery, the seals and constitutions at Our Lady’s feet, begging her, in the name of the community, to accept the gift of all hearts and of the entire monastery and to allow them, to look on her as their Superior forever. Each rendered homage while hymns and canticles of thanksgiving were sung in Mary’s honour.”
Ever after, when a Superior was elected, the ceremony was renewed and is still renewed in each Ursuline community every year on a principal feast of the Blessed Virgin; though homage is rendered only every three years, after the election or nomination of Superiors. The statue of Our Lady of Great Power was carried off and profaned during the dark days of the French Revolution. It was found and returned to the monastery at Perigueux and the devotion continued fervently until 1892, when the Bishop of Perigueux, in the name of the Soverign Pontiff, placed a richly jewelled crown on the head of the Mother and the Child and ratified the numberless and signal favours obtained through Our Lady of Great Power. Through the Ursulines in Quebec, the devotion soon spread through the New World. Before the Altar in Quebec hangs the famous votive light promised to be kept burning as a token of thanks for favours granted to Mother Saint Agatha (Madeleine de Repentigny). Relatives and descendants of this holy nun have kept the lamp burning. One relative, Miss Anthon, had a new lamp made, an artistic gem, the work of the celebrated ecclesiastical goldsmith Calliat of Lyon, France.
St Adelelmo of Engelberg St Aldetrudis St Ananias of Phoenicia Bl Avertano of Lucca St Caesarius of Nanzianzen St Callistus Caravario Bl Ciriaco Maria Sancha Hervas Bl Didacus Yuki Ryosetsu St Domenico Lentini St Donatus the Martyr Saint Felix III, Pope St Gerland the Bishop St Gothard the Hermit St Herena the Martyr St Justus the Martyr St Laurentius Bai Xiaoman St Luigi Versiglia Blessed Maria Adeodata Pisani (1806-1855) Biography: https://anastpaul.com/2018/02/25/saint-of-the-day-25-february-blessed-maria-adeodata-pisani-osb-1806-1855/ St Nestor of Side St Riginos Bl Robert of Arbrissel Blessed Sebastian of Aparicio OFM (1502-1600) Franciscan Lay Brother St Tharasius St Toribio Romo González St Victor of Saint Gall St Walburga — Martyrs of Egypt – A group of Christian men who were exiled to Egypt for their faith and were eventually martyred for their faith in the persecutions of Numerian. We know little more than their names: Claudianus Dioscurus Nicephorus Papias Serapion Victor Victorinus
Saint of the Day – 16 February – Blessed Philippa Mareri OSC (c 1195-1236) Religious Nun of the Poor Clares, foundress of the monastery of Franciscan Sisters of Saint Philippa Mareri of the Poor Clares, Penitent and disciple of the teachings of St Francis of Assisi. Born in c 1195 in Mareri, Rieti, Italy and died on 16 February 1236 in Borgo San Pietro, Rieti, Italy of natural causes aged 41. Also known as Filippa Mareria. Patronage – Sulmona, Italy. Her heart is incorrupt.
Blessed Philippa Mareri, who belonged to the illustrious family of the Mareri, saw the light of day at the castle of her parents near Rieti in Italy, toward the close of the twelfth century. At a very early age she was the favourite of all who knew her, not only because of her natural gifts but principally because of her steady advancement in perfection. As a young woman she lived quietly at home, devoted to prayer and the cultivation of her high mental endowments. She took particular pleasure in reading the Holy Scriptures and studying the Latin language, in which she became very proficient.
About this time, St Francis often visited the valley of Rieti, where he established several convents and sometimes called at the home of the devout Mareri. His forceful admonitions, filled with holy simplicity and unction and his severe life of penance, made a deep impression on Philippa.
It was not long before Blessed Philippa Mareri resolved to imitate our holy Father, foregoing wealth and consecrating herself entirely to God. She rejected a proposal to marry with the words:
“I already have a spouse, the noblest and the greatest, Our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Neither the remonstrances of her parents, nor the ridicule of her brother Thomas, had any effect in changing her mind. She cut off her hair, donned a very coarse garmen, and with several companions withdrew to a cave in the rocks of a nearby mountain.
Her austere life of penance and intimate union with God changed the resentment and mockery of her family into admiration. Thomas visited the mountain recess to ask Philippa’s forgiveness and placed at her disposal, the Church of St Peter and an adjacent convent once occupied by the Benedictines, over which he was the patron. Full of joy, the young community took up its abode there, accepting the place as a gift from heaven. They lived according to the rule of St Clare under the direction of Blessed Roger of Todi, to whom St Francis had entrusted the care of their souls.
The new foundation flourished remarkably and many of the noblest young women joined their ranks. Philippa’s excellent example and loving manner were particularly instrumental in bringing about these results. Although she filled the capacity of Superior, she was the humblest member of the community. She had no equal in zeal for prayer and mortification, and, like St Francis and Blessed Roger, she held poverty in the highest esteem. Blessed Philippa Mareri exhorted her sisters to have no care for the morrow and more than once, in times of need, her trust in God was signally rewarded with miraculous assistance.
Blessed Philippa Mareri had lived and laboured and made sacrifices for God for many a year, when it was revealed to her that the time of her death was at hand. She was seized with a fatal illness. Gathering her sisters around her deathbed, she bade them farewell and exhorted them to persevere in their efforts toward perfection and to remain united in sisterly love. Having received the last sacraments at the hands of Blessed Roger, she addressed to her sisters the words of the Apostle:
“The peace of God which surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
She then expired quietly and went home, on 16 February 1236.
Striking miracles occurred on the very day of her burial and many more have occurred since then throughout the years. Shortly after her death Pope Innocent IV approved the veneration paid to her and on 30 April 1806 by Pope Pius VII (cultus confirmation; decree of heroic virtues) -renewed the approbation. Blessed Philippa’s incorrupt heart is preserved today in a silver reliquary, while her other remains are preserved in the Monastery of Borgo San Pietro in the Valle del Salto. Today, nearly eight centuries after her death, the devotion to the Saint and the Pilgrimage Site has kept on growing, not only in her homeland but also in many other countries and other continents.
The Grotta di Santa Philippa is the place where the noble woman, belonging to the important Mareri family, took refuge, when she abandoned luxury and comfort to follow her faith. Located near Petrella Salto, it is immersed in the green nature of the Valley. Here Philippa Mareri took refuge in the thirteenth century with some companions, to escape the pressures of family members who opposed her choice of religious life. Today the cave has been transformed into a graceful and simple rock church, the destination of many faithful and reachable via the pilgrim’s path. Inside there is a statue of the saint and a marble altar covered by a wooden canopy.
Saint of the Day – 4 February – Saint Andrew Corsini O.Carm (1302-1373) Bishop of Fiesole from 1349 until his death, known as the “Apostle of Florence,” Carmelite Friar, Penitent, apostle of the poor, peacemaker, Papal Legate. Born as Andrea Corsini on 30 November 1302 in Florence, (Republic of Florence) current Italy and died on 6 January 1373 (aged 70) in Fiesole, Italy. Additional Memorial – 9 February (Carmelites). Patronages – Florence,Fiesole,Diplomats, against civil disorder, against riots. His body is incorrupt.
Andrew Corsini was born in Florence on 30 November 1302 into the noble and illustrious Corsini family, one of twelve children born to Nicholas Corsini and Peregrina degli Stracciabende. He was named in honour of Saint Andrew whose Feastday it was. Before his birth, his parents dedicated him to God, under the protection of the Blessed Virgin.
He was wild in his youth, extravagance and vice were normal to him and it pained his devout mother. His parents severely rebuked him for his behaviour and he resolved to amend his ways and try to live up to their expectations. He went to the Carmelite Monastery at the Santa Maria del Carmine Church to consider what course to take and despite the entreaties of his dissolute friends, decided to become a Carmelite friar.
He joined the Carmelites in Florence in 1318 for his novitiate and began a life of great mortification. He was Ordained to the Priesthood in 1328 and said his first Mass in a hermitage so as to avoid the customary family celebrations. Corsini began preaching in Florence and was then sent for his studies to the University of Paris and later to Avignon, where he resided with his cousin, Cardinal Pietro Corsini. He returned to Florence in 1332 and was chosen as Prior of his convent. He became known as the “Apostle of Florence.” In 1348 he was appointed as the order’s Tuscan Provincial during the General Chapter meeting in Metz.
On 13 October 1349, Pope Clement VI appointed him Bishop of Fiesole. Upon learning of this appointment, the reluctant Corsini went into hiding. An inscription on his tomb states that “he was snatched from the Carmel to the Church and the mitre of Fiesole.” A child discovered him at the charterhouse at Enna and he later accepted the nomination as Bishop as the result of a vision.
He redoubled his austerities as Bishop, wearing a hair shirt and sleeping on a bed of vine-branches. At Fiesole, just northeast of Florence, he gained a reputation as a peacemaker between rival political factions and for his care of the poor. Pope Urban V sent him to Bologna as a Papal Legate to heal the breach between the nobles and the people. “His family connections made him acceptable to the nobility and his life of poverty, endeared him to the poor and he did succeed in bringing peace.”
Corsini appointed two vicars to aid him in governing his Diocese and enforced discipline amongst the Diocesan Priests. A number of miraculous cures were attributed to his prayers.
It was reported that in 1372 or 1373, as he celebrated Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, that the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him he would leave this world on the Three Kings’ feast. It came to pass, that he fell ill on Christmas night and died as foretold, on 6 January 1373 or 1374 (the discrepancy in the dates is due to a different date in the Florentine calendar). His remains were moved to Florence in the evening of 2 February 1374 and were later found to be incorrupt upon exhumation in 1385. The location of his burial was damaged in 1771 but his remains were left undisturbed.
Miracles so multiplied at his death, that Pope Eugene IV permitted a public devotion to him, although it was not confirmed until later. Pope Eugene IV Beatified Andrew Corsini on 21 April 1440. Among the miracles attributed to Corsini’s intervention was the Florentine victory over the Milanese at the Battle of Anghiari on 29 June 1440. Petitions were lodged in 1465 and 1466 to Pope Paul II, requesting his Canonisation and the pope appointed a commission to investigate the matter. Pope Urban VIII Canonised St Andrew Corsini, on 22 April 1629.
In 1675 after his Canonisation, the members of the Corsini family had the Corsini Chapel built in the Carmelite church of Santa Maria del Carmine as a more suitable resting place for his remains. Pope Clement XII – born Lorenzo Corsini – erected in the Roman Basilica of Saint John Lateran a magnificent Chapel dedicated to his kinsman.
In 1702 or 1703 a Statue in his honour was commissioned and placed along the colonnade in Saint Peter’s Square.
Prayer God our Father, You reveal that those who work for peace will be called Your children. Through the prayers of St Andrew Corsini, who excelled as a peacemaker, help us to work without ceasing for that justice, which brings truth and lasting peace. We ask this through Christ, Our Lord. Amen
Saint of the Day – 24 January – Blessed Antonio Migliorati OSA (1355-1450) Priest and Friar of the Order of St Augustine, missionary Preacher, Confessor, Mystc, Sacristan of the Augustinian Church in Tolentino, Italy, the Church that housed the tomb of Saint Nicholas, noted for his zeal for the faith, his devotion to the poor. Also known as Antonio of Amandola. Born on 17 January 1355 in Amandola, Ascoli Piceno, Italy and died on 25 January 1450 in the Saint Augustine Monastery of Amandola, Ascoli Piceno, Italy of natural causes, aged 95. Additional Memorial – 29 January (Augustinians). Patronage – Amandola. His body is incorrupt.
Antonio was born on 17 January, 1355 the son of Simpliciano and Giovanna Migliorati, a farmer, whose family had little wealth but great faith. Antonia was Baptised on the day of birth. The various biographers are in agreement, in describing the first influence of the parents on the child. The names of Jesus and Mary were the first placed on the lips and heart of the child and he cultivated them with tender devotion throughout his life. The learning of the first prayers and the love of prayer, the acceptance of sacrifice and the hardness of life, the devotion to the Passion of Jesus and the sufferings of his Mother, the appreciation of the values of the spirit, were things that the little Antonio began to learn very early.
Antonio soon began to frequent the nearby Church of Sts Vincenzo and Anastasio and to spend time there in prayer. He had discovered contact with God and this was one of the determining factors of his life. He attended school at the Benedictine Monastery in his town, where he became a favoured and much-loved student. In fact, he had been adopted by the entire town, he was everyone’s son, everyone’s assistant, everyone’s favourite child, eveyone’s comfort.
Inspired by the life and work of St Nicola of Tolentino (1254-1305), Antonio, wishing to imitate St Nicholas’ virtues, joined the Augustinians of his native town, where he was Ordained a Priest. He lived about twelve years in the convent of Tolentino, after which he was for some time in Bari.
In 1400 he returned to his hometown of Amandola. His return was meant to be humble and hidden but, as he approached, a festive and spontaneous ringing from the various towers enveloped the city. He had left about fifteen years earlier, the joy and affection with which he was received home was well imaginable. He didn’t get upset. He was already accustomed to supporting the enthusiasm of his admirers with modesty and humility. Antonio once again became everyone’s comfort and defence. He spent many hours in the confessional, which was increasingly in demand, as his fame spread from land to land; real conversions came out, real comfort, real joy. There is no doubt that many also went there, for more practical and more material reasons but many too went with the hope that Antonio would cure their ills. Antonio blessed, prayed and cured but he knew how to take advantage of everything, to lift hearts to a more spiritual level.
Antonio rushed from the confessional to the homes of the needy and from these, with a hurried step, to the Convent, when the bell called the Monks to prayer and other community commitments. Wherever he was, in fact, when he heard the bell, he rushed to the call of that life he had chosen and sincerely loved. This love for the community was a constant feature, even after his death. In fact, it is said that several times the Friars heard his voice in the choir when the body was now buried under the door of the sacristy and that, if the person in charge forgot or delayed to ring the choir bell, it rang by itself, almost touched by the hands of Antonio.
He also worked to rebuild the old Augustinian Monastery and to build a new Church which was originally named for Saint Augustine of Hippo, but after his death was renamed in honour of Blessed Antonio himself, who led it, for many of his remaining 50 years there.
The death of Blessed Antonio has been handed down to us with an abundance of details. There is no mention of disease. He went out like a candle, of mere old age. He was 95 years old and had just begun the year 1450. Three years earlier he had had the great joy of the Canonisation of his dear St Nicholas, which had aroused so much joy in the world. He had received from the Celestial Mother, the revelation that his death was approaching and he communicated this to his confreres to help him with prayer.
A few days passed thus. When he felt that the end was imminent, he called all the Friars to his cell and, with humility and sincerity, asked that, if he had given some bad example or some sorrow, for the love of God and His Most Holy Mother, they would grant him their pardon. Then he confessed and received Communion with supreme devotion as Viaticum for eternity and Extreme Unction.
Finally, with full clarity of mind, always surrounded by his confreres, he turned to Fr Prior, who was Fr Giambattista Stazzi and asked to express his last wish. The Prior agreed, pledging to satisfy him whatever he asked. Then the dying man asked that his body be buried in the bare earth in front of the choir door; the religious, going to pray, would have passed over it and would have always remember him to the mercy of the Lord.
It was 25 January 1450.
The veneration that he had aroused in life, through humility, a spirit of obedience and mortification and a singular apostolic zeal, did not diminish with death. Already during his life, Antonio was considered a saint but the cult exploded immediately after his death and expanded in the lands near Amandola and throughout the Piceno area and then, through his Augustinian brothers, throughout the world. Antonio was invoked in every need. More and more frequent and numerous groups began to flock to his tomb. Among them there were often the miraculous ones who came to give thanks.
And so a very interesting custom began immediately – a book was created that was called the “Book of Miracles,” in which the most notable miracles were gradually recorded by dictation of the miraculous ones and written most often by the public notary. The book goes back to 1756 and records sudden healings of the crippled, paralysed, blind, epileptic, plagued, deliveries from grave misfortunes and even resurrections of the dead. The manuscript book was kept under the urn. It is from this book above all, that the 155 miracles examined for the Beatification of Anthony were deduced.
In 1453 his body, was discovered to be incorrupt when it was removed from the common sepulcher of the friars, was placed in a wooden ark on an Altar which was named after him, while the wonders (even the resurrection of the dead) multiplied. By 1460, his memorial was a civic holiday in Amandola, Italy
In 1641 it was placed in a wooden sarcophagus, worked by Domenico Malpiedi, which in 1897 was replaced by the marble one, which can now be seen in the recently built Chapel. In 1798 the revolutionary soldiers extracted from the sarcophagus and vilified the body of Antonio. A gold crown was placed on his head in 1899. His incorrupt body is still on display in the same church.
Since his death, the people of Amandola have venerated him and celebrated his “dies natalis.” On 11 July 1759 Pope Clement XIII ascribed Antonio in the number of blessed, recognising his cult “ab immemorabili,” and on 20 April 1890 Pope Leo XIII granted a plenary indulgence to visitors to his sanctuary.
PRAYER TO BLESSED ANTONIO (composed by Archbishop Norberto Perini of Fermo)
We come to You, O Lord, full of gratitude and filial confidence because You are rich in graces and ready to forgive. In the name of Blessed Anthony, Your faithful servant and our protector, we ask You to bless our country; to make families prosper by preserving prayer, peace, mutual love; to make young people docile, job-loving, honest; to give bread to the poor who suffer so much; to instill serenity and patience in the sick so that their pain becomes a means of purification for all; to comfort our elders; to assist the dying with Your grace so that, having overcome the last trials, they come to enjoy You in Your paradise. O Blessed Anthony, we all honour you and invoke your intercession with the Lord, so that He may allow us to always live your faith and to imitate your example made up of few words and many good works. Amen
Saint of the day – 28 December – Blessed Matthia de Nazzarei OSC (1253-1319) Virgin, Nun of the Poor Clares, Abbess, gifted with the charism of miracles and prophecy – born on 1 March 1253 in Matelica, Macerata, Italy and died on 28 December 1319 in Matelica, Macerata, Italy of natural causes. Also known as Mattia, Matthias Nazarei. Her body is incorrupt. Patronage – Matelica, Italy.
Matthia’s life mirrored that of St Clare in many respects besides simply sharing the same life and charism. She ran away to a Monastery at a tender age, immediately sheared her tresses and donned the habit, resisted the drastic attempts of her relatives to remove her and served as Abbess for 46 years.
Blessed Matthia, whose name is derived from the Hebrew meaning “given by God,” was born to aristocratic Italian parents in 1253. Perhaps the significance of this year escaped her parents at the time but every Poor Clare remembers, this was the year St Clare died. Little did anyone know that this little baby would grow up to emulate that great but simple Abbess.
An only child, Matthia grew up, according to one account, “humble and intelligent,” a rare and attractive combination. She preferred a simple life and rejected all pomp of court life that demonstrated what she felt was excessive wealth. Naturally, her parents hoped to arrange a successful marriage in the world for her. But she spent long hours in the Chapel of the local Benedictine Monastery and eventually decided this life of penance was her calling.
At the age of eighteen a marriage was arranged for her. When she heard this, she left her home and fled to the Benedictine Convent of Santa Maddalena at Matalica. It was there that she became a Benedictine nun and served as its Abbess for four decades from 1279.
She feared her father’s retribution for her fleeing and remained hidden until he found her. But her father was so impressed with her that he allowed her to remain and the two reconciled. She took her solemn profession on 10 August 1271. The Convent later adopted the rule of the Poor Clares.
Considerable work was done during her term – the Convent and Chapel were both rebuilt – but the interior work she did for souls by her charitable service far surpassed any earthly accomplishment, however monumental. She also possessed the charisms of healing, prophecy and even turning spoiled wine into the best vintage.
When her end drew near, she told her sisters, “It is time to go to the Father.” Then after exhorting her community to faithfulness to their chosen way of life, she said, “God is love!” and commended her soul to God. She died on 28 December 1319 in Matelica. The Convent was renamed “Beata Matthias” in her honour in 1758. She was reinterred near the high altar of her Convent Chapel and was exhumed in 1536. It was found incorrupt and also was seen sweating. The remains were again exhumed in 1756 and still found to be incorrupt and is on display for veneration in the Chapel.
She was Beatified on 27 July 1765 after developing a pious following. Napoleon’s troops stole her incorrupt body in 1811 but it was returned a few months later to Matelica, where it rests to this day. In 1972, a sample from the red liquid that periodically comes forth from her body underwent a hematological study. It was found to be human blood.
Many miracles have been worked through this blood over the centuries. Today a case has been ratified locally, on 14 November 2014 and has now been sent to the Congregation of the Causes of Saints and is being examined.
BL Claudia Weinhardt St Conindrus St Domitian the Deacon St Domnio of Rome St Eutychius St Gowan of Wales Bl Gregory of Cahors Bl Hryhorii Khomyshyn St Iolande of Rome Bl Johannes Riedgasser Blessed Matthia de Nazzarei OSC (1253-1319) Virgin, Nun Bl Nicolas Mello Bl Otto of Heidelberg St Romulus St Simon the Myroblite St Theonas of Alexandria St Theodore of Tabenna St Troadius of Pontus — 20,000 Martyrs of Nicomedia: 20,000 Christians who were murdered during in 303 in Nicomedia, Bithynia (modern Izmit, Turkey) during the persecutions of Diocletian. Many of them were killed en masse when they were ordered, during Christmas Mass, to sacrifice to idols; when they refused, they were locked in the churches and the buildings burned around them. We know some details of a few of them, but most are known only to God. The names we have are – Agape, Anthimos, Domna, Domna, Dorotheus, Esmaragdus, Eugene, Euthymius, Glykerios, Gorgonius, Hilary, Indes, Mardonius, Mardonius, Maximus, Migdonius, Migdonus, Peter, Peter, Theophila, Theophilus and Zeno. 303 in Nicomedia, Bithynia (modern Izmit, Turkey).
Martyrs of Africa – (3 saints): Three Christians murdered together in Africa for their faith. The only details to survive are their names – Castor, Rogatian and Victor.
“You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?”… Luke 12:56
REFLECTION – “The gospel tells us that some people were rebuked by the Lord because, clever as they were at reading the face of the sky, they could not recognise the time for faith when the kingdom of heaven was at hand. It was the Jews who received this reprimand but it has also come down to us. The Lord Jesus began His preaching of the gospel with the admonition: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt 4:17). His forerunner, John the Baptist, began his in the same way: “Repent,” he said, “for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt 3:2). Today, for those who will not repent at the approach of the kingdom of heaven, the reproof of the Lord Jesus is the same… As for when the end of the world will be, that is God’s concern… Even so, the time is very near for each of us, for we are mortal. There are hazards all around us. We should be in less danger from them were we made of glass. What more fragile than a vessel of glass? And yet it can be kept safe and last indefinitely. Of course it is exposed to accidents but it is not liable to old age and the suffering it brings. We, therefore, are the more frail and infirm. In our weakness we are haunted by fears of all the calamities that regularly befall the human race and if no such calamity overtakes us, still, time marches on. We may evade the blows of fortune but shall we evade death? We may escape perils from without but shall we escape what comes from within us? Now, suddenly, we may be attacked by any malady. And if we are spared? Even so, old age comes at last and nothing will delay it.”… St Augustine (354-430) – Father & Doctor of the Church – Sermon 109
PRAYER – Lord God, You fill us with Your grace and teach us true faith. Strengthen in our hearts that faith that no trials may quench the fire, that we may seek Your face in every moment and accept AND LIVE all of Your will. Send us Your Spirit to keep the fire blazing. By the inspiration and prayers of Blessed John Angelo Porro, may we grow in sanctity and may the humble love and intercession of Mary Mother of our faith, be our succour. Through Jesus Your Son our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Saint of the Day – 23 October – Blessed John Angelo Porro OSM (1451-1505) Priest, Religious of the Order of Servants of Mary, Penitent, Catechist, Hermit – born in 1451 in Seveso, Duchy of Milan and died on 23 October 1505 (aged 54) Milan, Italy. Patronage – Sick children. Blessed John’s tomb became a place of pilgrimage where miracles were said to have occurred. One mother bought her ill son, Charles Borromeo, for a cure to his illness and he was cured. Borromeo removed a small bone from Porro’s foot – he was incorrupt – and St Charles always carried it as a reminder of that miracle.
John Angelo was born in 1451 in the Duchy of Milan of Protasio Porro and Franceschina de Guanzate, good Christians from Barlassina near Seveso. In 1468 he received the habit of the Servants and lived for five years in the Priory of Saint Mary in Milan. According to some of the Order’ s writers, he then retired to the solitude of Cavacurta on the right bank of the River Adda to lead a life of contemplation and penance.
In 1474 John Angelo was sent to the Annunziata in Florence where he was noted for his regular observance. During this period he completed his studies and was Ordained to the Priesthood. He continued to consider the possibility of a hermit’s life and eventually went to Monte Senario which had been restored at the beginning of the fifteenth century by a group of friars who had desired the solitary life.
Blessed John Angelo’s stay on Monte Senario was of such particular importance in his life and spiritual development, he even came to be known as “John of the Mountain.” Whenever he had to leave Senario for reasons of health or obedience he would always return to its solitude with great personal joy.
In 1484 Antonio Alabanti, the Prior of the Annunziata, called John Angelo to Florence to instruct the novices for whom he seems to have written some “useful instructions.” Three years later, Alabanti, who was now Prior General, named John Angelo Rector of the hermitage of Monte Senario, a position which he filled with responsibility, competence and holy wisdom. The Prior General greatly esteemed his prudence and religious spirit and often sought his help in directing the hermitage in Chianti as well.
After Alabanti’s death, John Angelo returned to Milan about 1495 and it seems that he was elected Prior. Even in the centre of that famous city, he managed to preserve something of the solitary life which he so loved. His biographer Fra Filippo Ferrari tells us that “he lived in a room a little removed from the others.”
It was during this period that another important aspect of John Angelo’s apostolate developed – the education of children in Christian doctrine. Ippolito Porro writes that “even though he was Prior, every feast day he would stand at the church doors or wander through the streets attracting the children to himself that he might teach them Christian doctrine.”
Corroboration for this comes from the marble bas-relief of the mid-sixteenth century which shows the Blessed in church teaching children.
John Angelo died on 23 October 1505, in the priory of Milan and was mourned by both friars and laity.
In Blessed John Angelo we see the image and model of a life centred on contemplation and the knowledge of God, which has found a way to express itself throughout the Order’s history. John Angelo had a special love for prayer and silence. He sought an ever deepening intimacy with God in prayer and was, therefore, drawn to solitude and away from associations which “wasted time.”
Not infrequently, though, his fraternal charity won out over his love for solitude. He loved the Order and was always concerned for it’s individual members. Though somewhat frail physically, he gained control over his body through constant renunciation. Poverty and simplicity of life were especially important for him. He had great reverence for Our Lady and composed a prayer in her honour, which he recited daily.
On 15 July 1737 Pope Clement XII proc1aimed John Angelo blessed. His incorrupt body is venerated in Milan in the Church of San Carlo, formerly known as the Church of Saint Mary of the Servants. Following a very old custom, sick children are still brought to his tomb to ask his intercession for their cure.
Prayer O Lord, John Angelo was faithful in his religious life and zealous in teaching Christian doctrine. May he pray for us, that we may always be close to You, observe the counsels of the gospel and be fervent in apostolic work. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen
St Benedict of Sebaste St Clether St Domitius St Elfleda St Ethelfleda St Gratien of Amiens St Henry of Cologne St Ignatius of Constantinople Blessed John Angelo Porro OSM (1451-1505) Bl John Buoni St John of Syracuse St Oda of Aquitaine St Phaolô Tong Viet Buong St Romanus of Rouen Bl Severinus Boethius St Severinus of Cologne Syra of Faremoutiers St Theodoret of Antioch Bl Thomas Thwing St Verus of Salerno — Martyrs of Cadiz – 2 saints Germanus Servandus Martyrs of Hadrianopolis – 2 saints Dorotheus Severus Martyrs of Nicaea – 3 saints Euerotas Socrates Theodota
Martyrs of Valenciennes – 6 beati: A group of Urusuline and Briggittine nuns murdered together in the anti-Christian excesses of the French Revolution. They were guillotined on 23 October 1794 in Valenciennes, Nord, France and Beatified on 13 June 1920 by Pope Benedict XV. • Anne-Joseph Leroux • Clotilde-Joseph Paillot • Jeanne-Louise Barré • Marie-Augustine Erraux • Marie-Liévine Lacroix • Marie-Marguerite-Joseph Leroux
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War including Martyrs of Manzanares (7 beati): • Agapit Gorgues Manresa • Agustín Nogal Tobar • Andrés Navarro Sierra • César Elexgaray Otazua • Cristóbal González Carcedo • Dorinda Sotelo Rodríguez • Eduardo Valverde Rodríguez • Felipe Basauri Altube • José María Fernández Sánchez • Juan Nuñez Orcajo • Leonardo Olivera Buera • Manuel Navarro Martínez • Roque Guillén Garcés • Toribia Marticorena Sola
“Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks.” – Luke 12:35-36
REFLECTION – “God, the Word, stirs up the lazy and arouses the sleeper. For indeed, someone who comes knocking at the door is always wanting to come in. But it depends on us if He does not always enter or always remain. May your door be open to Him who comes; open your soul, enlarge your spiritual capacities, that you may discover the riches of simplicity, the treasures of peace and sweetness of grace. Expand your heart; run to meet the Sun of that Eternal Light that “enlightens everyone” (Jn 1,9). It is certain that this true Light shines for all but, if anyone shuts their windows, then they themselves shut themselves off from this Eternal Light.
So even Christ remains outside, if you shut the door of your soul. It is true that He could enter but He doesn’t want to use force, He doesn’t put those who refuse under pressure. Descended from the Virgin, born from her womb, He shines throughout the universe to give light to all. Those who long to receive the light, that shines with an everlasting brightness, open up to Him. No night comes to intervene. Indeed, the sun we see each day gives way to night’s darkness but the Sun of justice (Mal 3,20) knows no setting for Wisdom is not overcome by evil.” – St Ambrose (340-397) Bishop of Milan and Father and Doctor of the Church – 12th Sermon on Psalm 118
PRAYER – All-powerful, eternal God and Father, grant us the grace of Your Spirit and fill us with the light of understanding and love. May we learn to truly pray and by our prayers to entreat You to bless us in Your goodness and lead us to true faith in Your eternal light and Word sent to redeem us. May we always be waiting and prepared to open the door of our hearts to Jesus Christ our Lord, who comes in light, love and peace. Grant that by the prayers of Blessed James Strepar we may be strengthened. Holy Mother, be our protection and our guide. We make our prayer through Jesus Christ, our Lord with the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.
Saint of the Day – 20 October – Blessed James Strepar OFM (c 1340-1409) Archbishop, Religious Priest of the Order of Friars Minor, Missionary, Apostle of the Holy Eucharist, Eucharistic Adoration, the Blessed Virgin and the Holy Rosary. He founded Churches, Monateries, Schools, Hospitals, apostolates of Eucharistic Adoration and promoted the prayer of the Holy Rosary, apostle of the poor and needy. He was given the title of “Protector of the Kingdom, Defender and Guardian of the Homeland” – born as Jakub Strzemię in c 1350 in Galacia, Poland and died on 1 June 1411 (aged 69) at Lviv, Poland (in modern Ukraine) of natural causes. Patronages – Archdiocese of Lviv, Diocese of Zamość-Lubaczów, against headaches and on 16 March 1910, St Pius X proclaimed Blessed James, along with St Anthony of Padua, the Patrons of the Conventual Franciscan Order of Krakow Province. He is also known as Jakob/James Strepa or Strzemie. He served as the Archbishop of Halicz from 1392 until his death, when the Archdiocese was incorporated into that of the Archdiocese of Lviv. He was an indefatigable Apostle of Poland and Russia during the fourteenth century, who, rich by birth, put into practice, the invitation addressed by Jesus to the rich young man of the Gospels – to leave all his possessions and follow Him. His body is incorrupt.
James was born in the Diocese of Krakow, to a Polish noble family, around the year 1340. He was very young when, fascinated by and, devoted to Saint Francis of Assisi and by the Franciscan ideal, he entered a convent of Friars Minor.
He joined the Society of Pilgrim Friars, made up of both Franciscans and Dominicans and, with a strong missionary yearning, set Ukraine as his goal. He was elected Superior of the convent of Lviv (a city founded around 1250) in a troubled moment in the ecclesiastical history of that city. There were in fact, contrasts between the Diocesan clergy and the religious and between Catholics and Orthodox. Furthermore, holding the position of inquisitor of the faith in Ruthenia, for ten years his apostolate was tireless.
At the height of his maturity, a new great mission appeared to him – to preach the Word of Christ in Russia. Such was his success, that he was appointed Vicar General and then Bishop of Halicz, a bishopric that was later transferred to Leopoli. Fr James was fifty-two years old.
Tirelessly, the new Bishop employed all his strength, with an extraordinary commitment, for the good of the Diocese. He built Churches in the most remote places and erected Parishes, entrusting them to Priests of proven virtues, who sometimes came especially from Poland.
Attentive to the needs of the poor and places of worship, he donated the income of the Bishopric to these purposes. He engaged in the construction of Monasteries, schools and hospitals.
On foot, without any honour, in the simple Franciscan habit, he visited every community. He was an example of humility, accompanying the active apostolate with personal penances. In every action he was driven by a great interior faith, transmitting his devotions to the Blessed Sacrament and to Our Lady. He instituted Perpetual Adoration and depicted the Virgin in the bishop’s coat of arms, inviting people to recite the Rosary everyday. So much zeal bore the fruits of a widespread religious awakening of the people. The Friar Bishop maintained unchanged, his missionary character towards atheists and towards the Orthodox, strongly desiring the unity of Christians while, due to his high moral authority, he was appointed senator of the Council of the Fatherland. In this capacity he gave practical suggestions for the administration of the city, one day finding himself facing even the incursions of the barbarians.
He died on 20 October 1409, receiving the title of “Protector of the Kingdom, Defender and Guardian of the Homeland” for his exceptional merits, including civil ones. Such was he considered by all.
His body, with the Habit and the Bishop’s insignia, was buried in the Church of the Franciscans. The fame of holiness was vast, pilgrimages to his tomb continued endlessly, while miracles occurred through his intercession. Ten years after his death, the body was exhumed and appeared uncorrupted. The cult, widespread in Poland, Lithuania and Russia, was confirmed by Pope Pius VI on 11 September 1791.
Today his relics are venerated in the Cathedral of Lviv (L’viv), the important Ukrainian city rich in history and culture, which has among it’s fathers the noble Friar who came from Poland.
Blessed James encouraged the faithful to donate books, liturgical garments, kitchenware to Monasteries. In everyday life, Bishop James was noted for his simplicity and Franciscan poverty – King Władysław II Jagiełło donated to James an estate in the centre of Lviv but he decided to live in a modest wooden house wearing a Franciscan habit. Bl James was sensitive to the needs of the poor and sick – he donated his episcopal income to the hospital of the Holy Spirit and to a shelter for the poor, sick and pilgrims. In his will he asked to give a mitre, silver ecclesiatical vessels, a Franciscan habit, books and all his belongings to the poor and use them for acts of mercy and for the celebration of Masses for his soul.
PRAYER O God, that with the apostolic labours of Bishop Blessed James Strepar you have placed the seeds of faith in the Church of Poland and Russia, through his intercession grant us to live our Christian vocation in an authentic way . Through Christ our Lord. Amen
Quote/s of the Day – 16 October – The Memorial of St Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690) “Apostle of the Sacred Heart”
“Announce it and let it be announced to the whole world, that I set neither limit nor measure to my gifts of grace, for those who seek them in my Heart.”
Revelations of Our Lord to St Margaret Mary Alacoque
“The Sacred Heart is the symbol of that boundless love which moved the Word to take flesh, to institute the Holy Eucharist, to take our sins upon Himself and, dying on the Cross, to offer Himself as a victim and sacrifice to the eternal Father.”
“O Heart of love, I put all my trust in Thee, for I fear all things, from my own weakness, but I hope for all things, from Thy Goodness.”
“Let every knee bend before You, O greatness of my God, so supremely humbled in the Sacred Host. May every heart love You, every spirit adore You and every will be subject to You!”
The Twelve Promises of Jesus to Saint Margaret Mary or those Devoted to His Sacred Heart:
I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.
I will establish peace in their families.
I will console them in all their troubles.
They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of their death.
I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.
Sinners shall find in My Heart the source of an infinite ocean of mercy.
Tepid souls shall become fervent.
Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.
I will bless the homes where an image of My Heart shall be exposed and honoured.
I will give to priests the power of touching the most hardened hearts.
Those who propagate this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart, never to be effaced.
The all-powerful love of My Heart will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under my displeasure, nor without receiving their Sacraments; My heart shall be their assured refuge at that last hour.
From Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque’s Vision of Jesus
St Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690) “Apostle of the Sacred Heart“
Quote/s of the Day – 27 September – The Memorial of St Vincent de Paul (1581-1660)
“The most powerful weapon to conquer the devil is humility. For, as he does not know at all, how to employ it, neither does he know how to defend himself from it.”
“Free your mind from all that troubles you; God will take care of things. You will be unable to make haste in this (choice) without, so to speak, grieving the heart of God because He sees that you do not honour Him sufficiently with holy trust. Trust in Him, I beg you and you will have the fulfilment of what your heart desires.”
“He who allows himself to be ruled or guided by the lower and animal part of his nature, deserves to be called a beast, rather than a man.”
“Perfection consists in one thing alone, which is doing the will of God. For, according to Our Lord’s words, it suffices for perfection to deny self, to take up the cross and to follow Him. Now who denies himself and takes up his cross and follows Christ better, than he who seeks not to do his own will but always that of God? Behold, now, how little is needed to become as Saint? Nothing more than to acquire the habit of willing, on every occasion, what God wills.”
“Our business is, to gain heaven; everything else, is a sheer waste of time.”
One Minute Reflection – 27 September – Twenty Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Readings: Ezekiel 18:25-28, Psalms 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9, Philippians 2:1-11, Matthew 21:28-32 and the Memorial of St Vincent de Paul (1581-1660)
‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ … Matthew 21:28
REFLECTION – “My brethren, this is the time for each one of us to go out, for our part, from the place our sin. Let us go out from our Babylon to meet God our Saviour, as the prophet warns us: “Prepare to meet God our Saviour, O Israel, for he comes!” (cf Am 4:12). Let us leave the depth of our sin and consent to set out towards the Lord, who assumed “the likeness of our sinful flesh” (cf Rm 8:3). Let us leave sin’s will and set out to do penance for our sins. Then we shall find Christ – He Himself made expiation for the sin He had certainly not committed. Then He who saves the repentant will grant us salvation: “He shows mercy to those who are converted” (Sir 12:3).
But you are going to say to me (…): “Who is able to depart from sin by himself?” Indeed, it is true, the greatest sin is the love of sin, the desire to sin. Therefore, leave this desire (…), hate sin and see yourself departed from sin. If you hate sin, you have met Christ where He is to be found. To whoever hates sin, (…) Christ forgives their fault while waiting to root out our evil habits.
But you will say that even this is a great deal for you and that, without the grace of God, it is impossible to hate one’s sin and desire justice: “Let them thank the Lord for his mercy, such wondrous deeds for the children of Adam!” (Ps 106:8). (…) O Lord, with a mighty hand, Jesus all-powerful, come to free my captive reason from the demon of ignorance and snatch my sick will, from the plague of it’s lusts. Free my capacities, so that I may act with strength as I desire to do with all my heart.”… Bl Isaac of Stella O.Cist (c 1100 – c 1170) Cistercian Monk, Abbot, Theologian, Philosopher – Sermon for Lent
PRAYER – Lord God, You hold out the Light of Your Word to those who do not know You. Strengthen in our hearts, the faith You have given us and the Credo we profess, so that no trials may quench the fire Your Spirit has kindled in us. May the intercession of St Vincent de Paul, grant us the grace of following the way of the Cross, to stand beneath it with our Mother, the Mother of God, Ave Maria! We make our prayer through Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Quote/s of the Day – 15 September – The Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows and of St Catherine of Genoa (1447-1510)
‘By the cross of our salvation Mary stood in desolation While the Saviour hung above All her human powers failing, Sorrow’s sword, at last prevailing, Stabs and breaks her heart of love… Virgin Mary, full of sorrow, From your love I ask to borrow Love enough to share your pain. Make my heart to burn with fire, Make Christ’s love my own desire, Who for love of me was slain.’
“The spear which opened His side passed through the soul of the Virgin, which could not be torn from the heart of Jesus.”
St Bernard (1090-1153) Mellifluous Doctor of the Church
“Whoever you are, who love the Mother of God, take note and reflect with all your innermost feelings, upon her, who wept for the Only-Begotten as He died… The grief she felt in the Passion of her son, goes beyond all understanding.”
St Amadeus of Lausanne (1108-1159)
“Near the cross stood His mother, speechless; living she died; dying she lived.”
“Any time spent before the Eucharistic presence, be it long or short, is the best-spent time of our lives.”
“We must not wish anything other than what happens from moment to moment, all the while, however, exercising ourselves in goodness.”
“And when I hear it said, that God is good and He will pardon us and then see, that men cease not from evil-doing, oh, how it grieves me! The infinite goodness with which God communicates with us, sinners as we are, should constantly make us love and serve Him better but we, on the contrary, instead of seeing in His goodness an obligation to please Him, convert it into an excuse for sin, which will, of a certainty, lead in the end, to our deeper condemnation.”
“The one sole thing, in myself, in which I glory, is that I see in myself, nothing, in which I can glory.”
“Oh, what peril attaches to sin, wilfully committed! For it is so difficult for man to bring himself to penance and without penitence, guilt remains and will ever remain, so long as man retains unchanged, the will to sin, or is intent upon committing it.”
“I see clearly with the interior eye, that the sweet God loves, with a pure love, the creature that He has created and has a HATRED for nothing but SIN, which is more opposed to Him, than can be thought or imagined.”
Saint of the Day – 15 September – St Catherine of Genoa (1447-1510) Married laywoman, Mystic, Apostle of the sick, the poor and the needy, Writer – born in 1447 at Genoa, Italy as Caterina Fieschi Adorno and died on 15 September 1510 at Genoa, Italy of natural causes. Patronages – Brides, Childless People, Difficult Marriages, People Ridiculed For Their Piety, Temptations, Victims Of Adultery, Victims Of Unfaithfulness, Widow, Hospitals in Italy (declared by Venerable Pope Pius XII). Her body is incorrupt and rests in a glass reliquary at the Capuchin Church in Genoa.
Catherine was born in Genoa in 1447. She was the youngest of five. Her father, Giacomo Fieschi, died when she was very young. Her mother, Francesca di Negro provided such an effective Christian education that the elder of her two daughters became a religious. When Catherine was 16, she was given in marriage to Giuliano Adorno, a man who after various trading and military experiences in the Middle East had returned to Genoa in order to marry.
Married life was far from easy for Catherine, partly because of the character of her husband who was given to gambling. Catherine herself, was at first induced to lead a worldly sort of life in which, however, she failed to find serenity. After 10 years, her heart was heavy with a deep sense of emptiness and bitterness. A unique experience on 20 March 1473 sparked her conversion. She had gone to the Church of San Benedetto in the monastery of Nostra Signora delle Grazie [Our Lady of Grace], to make her confession and, kneeling before the Priest, “received,” as she herself wrote, “a wound in my heart from God’s immense love.” It came with such a clear vision of her own wretchedness and shortcomings and at the same time of God’s goodness, that she almost fainted.
Her heart was moved by this knowledge of herself — knowledge of the empty life she was leading and of the goodness of God. This experience prompted the decision that gave direction to her whole life. She expressed it in the words: “no longer the world, no longer sin” (cf. Vita Mirabile, 3rv). Catherine did not stay to make her Confession. On arriving home she entered the remotest room and spent a long time weeping. At that moment she received an inner instruction on prayer and became aware of God’s immense love for her, a sinner. It was a spiritual experience she had no words to describe ( cf. Vita Mirabile, 4r).
It was on this occasion that the suffering Jesus appeared to her, bent beneath the Cross, as he is often portrayed in the Saint’s iconography. A few days later she returned to the Priest to make a good Confession at last. It was here, that began the “life of purification” which for many years caused her to feel constant sorrow for the sins she had committed and which spurred her to impose forms of penance and sacrifice upon herself, in order to show her love to God.
On this journey Catherine became ever closer to the Lord until she attained what is called “unitive life,” namely, a relationship of profound union with God. In her Vita it is written, that her soul was guided and instructed from within, solely by the sweet love of God, which gave her all she needed. Catherine surrendered herself so totally into the hands of the Lord that she lived, for about 25 years, as she wrote, “without the assistance of any creature, taught and governed by God alone” (Vita, 117r-118r), nourished above all by constant prayer and by Holy Communion which she received every day, an unusual practice in her time. Only many years later did the Lord give her a Priest who cared for her soul.
Catherine was always reluctant to confide and reveal her experience of mystical communion with God, especially because of the deep humility she felt before the Lord’s graces. The prospect of glorifying Him and of being able to contribute to the spiritual journey of others, alone spurred her, to recount what had taken place within her, from the moment of her conversion, which is her original and fundamental experience.
The place of her ascent to mystical peaks was Pammatone Hospital, the largest hospital complex in Genoa, of which she was director and animator. Hence Catherine lived a totally active existence despite the depth of her inner life. In Pammatone a group of followers, disciples and collaborators formed around her, fascinated by her life of faith and her charity. Indeed her husband, Giuliano Adorno, was so so won over, that he gave up his dissipated life, became a Third Order Franciscan and moved into the hospital to help his wife.
Catherine’s dedication to caring for the sick continued until the end of her earthly life on 15 September 1510. From her conversion until her death there were no extraordinary events but two elements characterise her entire life – on the one hand her mystical experience, that is, the profound union with God, which she felt as spousal union and on the other, assistance to the sick, the organisation of the hospital and service to her neighbour, especially the neediest and the most forsaken. These two poles, God and neighbour, totally filled her life, virtually all of which she spent within the hospital walls.
Dear friends, we must never forget that the more we love God and the more constantly we pray, the better we will succeed in truly loving those who surround us, who are close to us, so that we can see in every person the Face of the Lord whose love knows no bounds and makes no distinctions. The mystic does not create distance from others or, an abstract life but, rather approaches other people, so that they may begin to see and act with God’s eyes and heart.
Catherine’s thought on purgatory, for which she is particularly well known, is summed up in the last two parts of the book mentioned above – The Treatise on Purgatory and the Dialogues between the body and the soul. The first original passage concerns the “place” of the purification of souls. In her day, it was depicted mainly using images linked to space – a certain space was conceived of, in which purgatory was supposed to be located. Catherine, however, did not see purgatory as a scene in the bowels of the earth – for her it is not an exterior but rather an interior fire. This is purgatory – an inner fire. The Saint speaks of the Soul’s journey of purification on the way to full communion with God, starting from her own experience of profound sorrow for the sins committed, in comparison with God’s infinite love (cf. Vita Mirabile, 171v).
We heard of the moment of conversion when Catherine suddenly became aware of God’s goodness, of the infinite distance of her own life from this goodness and of a burning fire within her. And this is the fire that purifies, the interior fire of purgatory. Here too, is an original feature in comparison with the thought of her time. In fact, she does not start with the afterlife in order to recount the torments of purgatory — as was the custom in her time and perhaps still is today — and then to point out the way to purification or conversion. Rather our Saint begins with the inner experience of her own life on the way to Eternity.
“The soul,” Catherine says, “presents itself to God, still bound to the desires and suffering that derive from sin and this makes it impossible for it to enjoy the beatific vision of God.” Catherine asserts that God is so pure and holy, that a soul stained by sin, cannot be in the presence of the Divine Majesty (cf. Vita Mirabile, 177r).
We too feel how distant we are, how full we are of so many things that we cannot see God. The soul is aware of the immense love and perfect justice of God and consequently, suffers for having failed to respond in a correct and perfect way to this love and, love for God itself, becomes a flame, love itself cleanses it from the residue of sin.
In Catherine we can make out the presence of theological and mystical sources on which it was normal to draw in her time. In particular, we find an image typical of Dionysius the Areopagite – the thread of gold that links the human heart to God Himself. When God purified man, he bound him with the finest golden thread, that is, His love and draws him toward Himself with such strong affection, that man i,s as it were “overcome and won over and completely beside himself.” Thus man’s heart is pervaded by God’s love that becomes the one guide, the one driving force of his life (cf. Vita Mirabile, 246rv). This situation of being uplifted towards God and of surrender to His will, expressed in the image of the thread, is used by Catherine to express the action of divine light on the souls in purgatory, a light that purifies and raises them to the splendour of the shining radiance of God (cf. Vita Mirabile, 179r).
With her life, St Catherine teaches us that the more we love God and enter into intimacy with Him in prayer the more He makes Himself known to us, setting our hearts on fire with His love. In writing about purgatory, the Saint reminds us of a fundamental truth of faith that becomes for us an invitation to pray for the deceased, so that they may attain the beatific vision of God in the Communion of Saints.
Moreover, the humble, faithful and generous service in Pammatone Hospital that the Saint rendered throughout her life, is a shining example of charity for all and an encouragement, especially for women who, with their precious work enriched by their sensitivity and attention to the poorest and neediest, make a fundamental contribution to society and to the Church.
Catherine’s writings were examined by the Holy Office and declared to contain doctrine that would alone be enough to prove her sanctity and she was accordingly Beatified in 1675 by Pope Clement X and Canonised in 1737 by Pope Clement XII. Her writings also, became sources of inspiration for other religious leaders such as Robert Bellarmine and Francis de Sales and Cardinal Henry Edward Manning. Pope Pius XII declared her Patroness of the hospitals in Italy.
When she died, her body was placed in a coffin in the Chapel of the hospital where she had served so selflessly. The wooden coffin unfortunately suffered water damage, yet after it was removed, a year later, the body itself was found to be incorrupt. Her body was later transferred to the Capuchin Convent Annunziata di Portoria, near the centre of Genoa and can be viewed by the public, in the Church attached to the Convent.
Saint of the Day – 22 August – Blessed Timoteo da Monticchio OFM (1444-1503) Priest and Friar of the Franciscan Order,he ws endowed with mystical gifts, especially of the Blessed Virgin and of St Francis of Assisi – born in 1444 in Monticchio, L’Aquila and died on 22 August 1504 in the San Angelo convent in Ocra, L’Aquila, Abruzzo, Italy of natural causes. He was distinguished for his austerity of life, his visions and his fervour of prayer. His body is incorrupt.
Blessed Timoteo was born in 1444 in Monticchio, therefore, in a period of great affirmation of the Franciscan Order, so much so, that in the same L’Aquila, not far away, the reformer St Bernardine of Siena, the great Franciscan preacher, preached and lived.
He was born into a peasant family and while growing up poor, he was completely absorbed by the spirit of prayer. As a young man he entered the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor, where he studied and was Ordained a Priest.
After his Ordination he was sent to Campli in the province of Teramo as the Master of Novices. His life was a succession of mystical phenomena – he had frequent visions of the Blessed Virgin and the holy founder Francis of Assisi. It was said that Timoteo’s life was more celestial than earthly.
He faithfully adhered to the spirit of those Franciscan saints, who restored observance in the Order, such as the aforementioned St Bernardine of Siena, St Giacomo della Marca, St John da Capestrano and the Blessed Bernardino da Fossa.
From Campli, he was transferred to the small Convent of St Angelo d’Ocre, here too, he led a life interwoven with prayer and contemplation, becoming for his brothers an example of the active and contemplative Priesthood and of heroic fidelity to the Franciscan Rule.
He died holy in the latter convent on 22 August 1504. For his reputation for holiness, already known in life and continued after his death, in the lands of Abruzzo, especially in the Aquila and Teramo area, he was given a cult of blessed, which continued uninterruptedly over the centuries, until on 10 March 1870, his Beatification was confirmed by Pope Pius IX. His feast is celebrated today, 22 August.
Saint of the Day – 20 August – Saint Oswine of Deira (Died 651) King, Martyr, King of Deira in northern England. Also known as Osuine, Oswin. Born a Prince, the son of King Osric of Deira in Northumbria and died by being murdered on 20 August 651 at Gilling, Yorkshire, England on the orders of his cousin Oswy. Patronage – betrayal victims (his location was betrayed to his murders by a one of his supposedly loyal nobles).
“King Oswine was of a goodly countenance and tall of stature, pleasant in discourse and courteous in behaviour; and bountiful to all, gentle and simple alike.
[…] He had given a beautiful horse to Bishop Aidan, to use either in crossing rivers, or in performing a journey upon any urgent necessity, though the Bishop was wont to travel ordinarily on foot. Some short time after, a poor man meeting the Bishop and asking alms, he immediately dismounted and ordered the horse, with all his royal trappings, to be given to the beggar; for he was very compassionate, a great friend to the poor and, in a manner, the father of the wretched.
This being told to the King, when they were going in to dinner, he said to the Bishop, “What did you mean, my lord Bishop, by giving the poor man that royal horse, which it was fitting that you should have for your own use? Had not we many other horses of less value, or things of other sorts, which would have been good enough to give to the poor, instead of giving that horse, which I had chosen and set apart for your own use?”
Thereupon the Bishop answered, “What do you say, O King? Is that son of a mare more dear to you than that son of God?”
Upon this they went in to dinner and the Bishop sat in his place but the King, who had come in from hunting, stood warming himself, with his attendants, at the fire. Then, on a sudden, whilst he was warming himself, calling to mind what the Bishop had said to him, he ungirt his sword and gave it to a servant and hastened to the Bishop and fell down at his feet’ beseeching him to forgive him:
“For from this time forward,” said he, “I will never speak anymore of this, nor will I judge of what or how much of our money you shall give to the sons of God.” […] The King, at the Bishop’s command and request, was comforted but the Bishop, on the other hand, grew sad and was moved even to tears. His Priest then asking him, in the language of his country, which the King and his servants did not understand, why he wept.
“I know,” said he, “that the King will not live long, for I never before saw a humble King, whence I perceive that he will soon be snatched out of this life, because this nation is not worthy of such a ruler.” Not long after, the Bishop’s gloomy foreboding was fulfilled by the King’s sad death….”
The Venerable Bede (673-735): Ecclesiastical History of England, 3
St Oswine ruled as King of Deira (southern Northumbria) from 644-651, in the second generation after England’s conversion to Christianity by St Augustine of Canterbury. His father had been murdered by the warlord Cadwalla and young Oswine had been spirited away to safety in Wessex shortly afterwards. Following the death of his kinsman, Oswald, at the hands of King Penda of Mercia in 642, he returned to Deira and became King around 644 . His kinsman Oswy ruled Bernicia, the northern part of Northumbria.
Oswine had a great reputation for sanctity and justice and for seven years the kingdom of Deira enjoyed great happiness and prosperity. But his kinsmen Oswy, jealous of his power, made war upon Oswine. Oswine found himself unable to best the armies of Oswy and so he disbanded them and fled to Humwald of Gilling, whom had recently pledged allegiance to Oswine. But the unscrupulous Humwald quickly betrayed the saintly King Oswin to some of Oswy’s officers who murdered him at Gilling in 651. The slain king was immediately venerated as a Saint as St Bede explained above.
He was buried at Gilling, but his remains were lost during the Danish troubles. Only one year before the Norman Conquest (1065), St Oswine appeared in a vision to a monk named Edmund and revealed the location of his body. On 20 August 1103 his body was transferred solemnly to its final resting place. During the Dissolution of the Monasteries during Henry VIII’s reign, his body was found to be intact in the tomb but it was sacrilegiously destroyed. Only a fragment remained, which is now kept at Durham Cathedral.
As a side note, Eanfleda, the wife of Oswine’s murderer Oswy and daughter of St Edwin, persuaded her husband to do penance for Oswine’s murder by endowing a Monastery at Gilling, which he promptly did. Some remains of the Monastery can still be seen today, though it was destroyed by the Danes in the 11th century.
Saint of the Day – 18 August – Blessed Rinaldo of Concorezzo (c 1245 – 1321) Bishop of Vicenza from 1296 until his 1303 appointment as the Archbishop of Ravenna-Cervia holding that until his death, Doctor of Canon Law, Papal envoy, Arbitrator and peace-maker. Rinaldo served as a close confidante to Pope Boniface VIII before the latter was elected as Pontiff and is known for attempting to secure the rehabilitation of the Knights Templar. Archbishop Rinaldo was also a close friend of Dante Alighieri.
Rinaldo was a son of the noble Da Concoregio family, he was born in Milan between 1240 and 1250. Nothing is known about his youth, we have first knowledge of him in Bologna at the University. In his adolescence he completed his studies in Bologna and began to teach Canon law in Lodi from October 1286. In May 1287, the Bishop of Lodi asked him for legal opinions, this makes us understand that he enjoyed a reputation as a jurist and in fact had the academic title of ‘Doctor’ in 1295. We presume that during this time he completed his theological studies and was Ordained.
In 1289 he entered the staff of the Vice Chancellor of the Roman Curia Cardinal Pietro Peregrosso and he became an heir of the Cardinal in the latter’s will after he died in 1295. Rinaldo became a private aide and later the Chaplain to Cardinal Benedetto Caetani who became Pope Boniface VIII in 1294.
On 13 October 1296 the Pope appointed him Bishop of Vicenza, a See which he reached in a stormy way because in the meantime, the Vicentines had elected another bishop. In the end, the Pope’s authority prevailed and Rinaldo received his Episcopal Consecration and was installed as Bishop.
In that period he had special diplomatic and arbitration posts in the disputes that stirred between France and England. He was appointed by King Charles of Valois (1270-1325), called by the Pope to Florence to act as Arbirtrator and as Papal Nuncio (1302) in Romagna, later becoming the spiritual and temporal rector of the Region.
And in this function he found himself involved in the known turbulence of the area in continuous guerrilla warfare, in Forlì his headquarters, he took to the streets to bring peace but was attacked and seriously wounded, miraculously healed from deep wounds and continued his mission but sadly, without success.
The death of Boniface VIII came as a slight blow to the Bishop though Pope Benedict XI appointed him on 19 November 1303 as the Archbishop of Ravenna-Cervia and Rinaldo was installed in his new Archdiocese in October 1305.
He convoked a provincial council in 1307 and then resumed the old practice of visiting all parishes contained within the Archdiocese. He held a second in 1309 and another in 1311 all in Ravenna. He visited northern Italian cities in tumult to reconcile them with the empire’s monarch Henry VII. In 1314 he called the fourth council in Argenta in order to restore discipline to priests and liturgical matters. He called for the fifth and last in Bologna in 1317.
He attempted to defend and secure the rehabilitation of the Knights Templar at the Council of Ravenna. He was the architect of the acquittal of the Italian Templars in the Council of Ravenna, which was under investigation and threatened with the dissolution of the Order at the behest of Philip the Beautiful. Together with his suffragan Bishops. He condemned torture and terror as a means of obtaining confessions, not accepting them if extorted with these methods and in this he also opposed the will of Pope Clement V who wanted them to be dissolved.
Moreover, in the Council of Vienne (1311-1312) while dissolving the Order of the Templars by authority, Pope Clement V, together with the King of France, had to admit, that none of the accusations had been proven and Rinaldo who participated in the Council, had thus a total and complete confirmation to his right action.
He travelled a great deal due to the heavy assignments he received from both the Pope and the King of France. He travelled around the various Lombard cities to try to make peace on behalf of Henry VII, King of Germany.
In 1314, he convened the fourth provincial council in Argenta, with the aim of recovering the assets of the Church, restoring the discipline of the clergy, the faithful and worship. A fifth and last Provincial Council was held in Bologna in 1317.
With impressive works he restored the Cathedral of St Bear, increasing preaching in the vernacular. From 1314, now ill in health, he settled in the castle of Argenta and governed the Episcopal See of Ravenna through Vicars, gradually estranging himself from political action and limiting himself to the care of the Diocese.
He died in that castle on 18 August 1321 and was interred in the Ravenna Cathedral. He was exhumed in 1566 and found incorrupt with his long beard still intact.
The cult of Rinaldo has always been a constant tradition of the Ravenna Church – in a document of 1340 he was given the title of ‘blessed’; in 1413 the Franciscan Niccolò da Rimini wrote his ‘Acts and miracles’.
His relics are in Lodi, Concorezzo and Vicenza, places where he is also venerated. The official cult was granted to the Diocese of Ravenna on 15 January 1852. Pope Pius IX approved his Beatification on 18 August 1852.
St Hermas of Rome
St John of Rome
St Juliana of Myra
St Juliana of Stobylum
St Laurus of Illyria
St Leo of Myra
Bl Leonard of Cava St Macarius the Wonder-Worker (Died 850) Biography: https://anastpaul.com/2019/08/18/saint-of-the-day-18-august-saint-macarius-the-wonder-worker-died-850/
Bl Martín Martínez Pascual (1910-1936) Martyr
St Maximus of Illyria
Bl Milo of Fontenelle
St Polyaenus of Rome
St Proculus of Illyria Blessed Rinaldo of Concorezzo (c 1245 – 1321) Bishop
St Ronan of Iona
St Serapion of Rome
Massa Candida: Also known as –
• Martyrs of Utica
• White Company
Three hundred 3rd century Christians at Carthage who were ordered to burn incense to Jupiter or face death by fire. Martyrs. Saint Augustine of Hippo and the poet Prudentius wrote about them. They jumped into a pit of burning lime c 253 at Carthage, North Africa.
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
Martyred Carmelites of Carabanchel Bajo – 8 beati:
Martyrs of La Tejera – 4 beati:
• Blessed Adalberto Vicente y Vicente
• Blessed Agustín Pedro Calvo
• Blessed Angelo Reguilón Lobato
• Blessed Atanasio Vidaurreta Labra
• Blessed Aurelio García Anton
• Blessed Celestino José Alonso Villar
• Blessed Daniel García Antón
• Blessed Eliseo María Camargo Montes
• Blessed Eudald Rodas Saurina
• Blessed Fermín Gellida Cornelles
• Blessed Francisco Arias Martín
• Blessed Francisco Pérez y Pérez
• Blessed Gregorio Díez Pérez
• Blessed Jaume Falgarona Vilanova
• Blessed José María Ruiz Cardeñosa
• Blessed José Sánchez Rodríguez
• Blessed Joseph Chamayoux Auclés
• Blessed Liberio González Nombela
• Blessed María Luisa Bermúdez Ruiz
• Blessed Micaela Hernán Martínez
• Blessed Nicomedes Andrés Vecilla
• Blessed Patricio Gellida Llorach
• Blessed Rosario Ciércoles Gascón
• Blessed Santiago Franco Mayo
• Blessed Silvano Villanueva González
• Blessed Vicente María Izquierdo Alcón
Quote/s of the Day – 11 August – The Memorial of St Clare of Assisi (1194-1253)
“Our labour here is brief but the reward is eternal. Do not be disturbed by the clamour of the world, which passes like a shadow. Do not let false delights of a deceptive world deceive you.”
“Love God, serve God, everything is in that.”
“Totally love Him, who gave Himself totally, for your love.”
“Love that cannot suffer is not worthy of that name.”
“Happy the soul to whom it is given to attain this life with Christ … For He is the Brightness of eternal glory, the Splendour of eternal light, the Mirror without spot.”
“O blessed poverty, who bestows eternal riches on those who love and embrace her!”
“Never forget that the way which leads to heaven is narrow; that the gate leading to life is narrow and low; that there are but few who find it and enter by it and, if there be some who go in and tread the narrow path for some time, there are but very few who persevere therein.”
“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”… Matthew 18:3
REFLECTION – “Beside this obvious explanation let another be given as well.
As an act of theological and ethical reflection, let us ask what sort of a child Jesus called to Himself and has set in the midst of the disciples.
Think of it this way – the child called by Jesus is the Holy Spirit, who humbled Himself.
He was called by the Saviour and set in the middle of the disciples of Jesus. The Lord wants us, ignoring all the rest, to turn to the examples given by the Holy Spirit, so that we become like the children — that is, the disciples — who were themselves converted and made like the Holy Spirit. God gave these children to the Saviour according to what we read in Isaiah: “Behold, I and the children whom the Lord has given me.”
To enter the kingdom of heaven is not possible for the person who has not turned from worldly matters and become like those children who had the Holy Spirit.
Jesus called this Holy Spirit to Himself like a child, when He came down from His perfect completeness, to mankind and set it in the middle of the disciples.” … Origen Adamantius (c 185-253) Priest, Theologian, Father – Commentary on Matthew, 13
PRAYER – Holy God, grant we pray, Your Holy Spirit of love and divine grace to grow ever more in faith. By our prayers and love for You and our neighbour, may we merit Your divine assistance. Lord Jesus, help us to dwell often on the manner in which we are following You. Let us strive each day to become more and more like You in all things and, to become beacons of Your Light, to all the world. St Clare of Assisi, you who were a light to all, pray for us, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 11 August – Tuesday of the Nineteenth week in Ordinary Time and The Memorial of St Clare of Assisi(1194-1253)
I Come, O Lord By St Clare of Assisi (1194-1253)
I come, O Lord,
unto Thy sanctuary
to see the life and food of my soul.
As I hope in Thee, O Lord,
inspire me with that confidence
which brings me to Thy holy mountain.
Permit me, Divine Jesus,
to come closer to Thee,
that my whole soul may do homage
to the greatness of Thy majesty,
that my heart,
with its tenderest affections,
may acknowledge Thy infinite love,
that my memory may dwell
on the admirable mysteries
here renewed everyday
and that the sacrifice,
of my whole being,
may accompany Thine.
“As for what was sown on good soil, this is he who hears the word and understands it; he indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty and in another thirty.”...Matthew 13:23
REFLECTION – “And yet, if both the land be good and the Sower one and the seed the same, wherefore did one bear a hundred, one sixty, one thirty?
Here again the difference is from the nature of the ground, for even where the ground is good, great even therein, is the difference.
Understand that not the Sower is to be blamed, nor the seed but the land that receives it? not for its nature but, for its disposition.
And herein too, great is His mercy to man, that He does not require one measure of virtue.
… And these things He says, lest they that followed Him should suppose that hearing is sufficient for salvation.
… Yes, both vainglory and all the rest belong to this world and to the deceitfulness of riches, such as pleasure and gluttony and envy and vainglory and all the like.
But He added also the “way” and the “rock,” signifying that it is not enough to be freed from riches only, but we must cultivate also the other parts of virtue.
But what if you are free indeed from riches, yet are soft and unmanly? and what if you are not indeed unmanly but are remiss and careless about the hearing of the word?
No one part is sufficient for our salvation but there is required first, a careful hearing and a continual recollection, then fortitude, then contempt of riches and deliverance from all worldly things.” … St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father and Doctor
PRAYER – A pure heart create for me O God, put a steadfast spirit within me! (Ps 50) Lord God, bestow a full measure of Your grace to us. Keep us within in the path of Your commandments, help us to work on the earth of our souls, rooting out the weeds and casting forth the stones of malice. Grant that by the prayers of St Charbel Makhluf, who by Your grace triumphed in all virtues, we may succeed in attaining sanctity. Through Christ, our Lord, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God, forever, amen.