Saint of the Day – 5 October – Blessed Pietro of Imola (c1250-1320) Knight of the Order of St John of Jerusalem and Grand Prior , Lawyer, Jurist, Mediator, Peace-maker. Born in mid-13th century in Italy as Pietro Pattarini and died on 5 October 1320 in Campo Corbellini, Florence, Tuscany, Italy of natural causes . Also known as – Peter of Imola, Peter Pattarini, Pietro Pattarini de Imola.
The Roman Martyrology states: “In Florence, blessed Pietro da Imola, who, a Knight of the Order of St John of Jerusalem, took care of the sick with pious charity.”
Very little is known of the details of the life of Blessed Pietro of Imola whose memorial we celebrate today. He was born in the mid 1200s at Imola, in Italy, into the noble Pattarini family who had been the Lords of Linasio for over 100 years and part of the Ghibelline faction. Pietro was an excellent scholar and become a well-known lawyer and jurist. The respect held for his legal opinion is evident ,by the fact that his name is found on many important documents which are still preserved in Imola, giving his interpretation of the laws of his time. In 1289 he became a Court Magistrate and eight years later was to use all his skills and experience to negotiate a peace between the rival Guelph and Ghibelline factions in Romagna. The Guelphs were predominately from wealthy mercantile families who supported the Pope while the Ghibellines tended to come from families with wealthy agricultural estates who supported the Emperor. It was no easy task and took several years but, at last, Pietro was able to persuade the Ghibellines to leave Romagna.
After successfully mediating this conflict and crowning, what had been a successful secular career, Pietro sought a new vocation dedicated to charitable works, in helping the poor and the sick. He began working in one of the Order of St John’s hospitals in Florence and was invested as a Knight in 1310. His administrative skills were welcome and appreciated and put to good use as he assumed greater responsibilities in his work in the hospital. His talents were not unnoticed and after some years he was chosen Grand Prior of the Order in Rome. He again returned to Florence to the Commandery of St James in Campo Corbellini.
We do not know for certain if he became the Commander of St James or assumed other duties. Nevertheless, he continued performing great charitable works serving the sick who were either home-bound or in the hospital. Blessed Pietro died in Florence on 5 October 1320 and his loss was felt by everyone who knew him. He was buried in the Church of St James in Campo Corbellini which still belongs to the Order of the Knights.
One of the most remarkable stories about Blessed Pietro occurred after his death. One day in preparation for the feast of St James, the Church was being decorated by the brothers and a Priest had placed a ladder against the tomb of Blessed Pietro and was standing on it and working up high against the wall, hanging some decorations. The Priest lost his balance and the ladder began to fall. Suddenly, Bless Pietro’s tomb opened slightly and his hand reached out and steadied the ladder, no doubt saving the life of the Priest. This miracle was authenticated by several witnesses. Blessed Pietro’s relics were later translated to under the main Altar of the Church in a reliquary that Commander Fra Augustine Mego had made for it, and the miracle-working arm was kept in a separate little box. After the flooding of the Arno river in 1557, the documents and reliquary were submerged and greatly damaged. However ,the box containing his arm survived and is still venerated in the Imola Cathedral. The main relics of Blessed Pietro reside at St Lawrence’s Church in Florence on 10 June 2016 and further relics are contained in the Reliquary at the Chapel in the Grand Magistry of the Order of Malta in Rome. The skin and nails of the arm and hand remain intact, all these centuries later.
Saint of the Day – 19 September – St Maria de Cervellón OdeM (1230– 1290) Virgin, Catalan Superior of a Second Order of Mercedarians, known as “Maria of Help,” Mystic, graced with the gift of bilocation, apostle of the poor, the abandoned, the needy. She was the first woman to wear the Habit of the ‘ Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Ransom. She is considered the Founder of the Mercedary Nuns. Born in 1230 at Barcelona, Spain and died on 19 September 1290 at Barcelona, of natural causes. Patronages – Mercadarian Nuns and Sisters, Navigators, against shipwreck, Spanish sailors., of the abandoned. Also known as – Maria di Cervellon, Maria dell’Aiuto, Maria de Socos., Mary of Cerevellone. Her body is incorrupt.
Her entry in the Roman Martyrology states: “At Barcelona in Spain, blessed Maria de Cervellione, Virgin of the Order of Our Lady of Ransom. She is commonly called Maria of Help on account of the prompt assistance she renders to those who invoke her.“
María de Cervellón was born in Barcelona on 1 December 1230. At that time, the Mercedarian Friars had been redeeming captives from the power of the Saracens for several years,and in that seaport and commercial City, there was talk about the great work of charity and of the growing needs of the Friars in financing redemptions and the upkeep of the Hospital of St. Eulalia, where the ransomed were kept once they returned.
As with every young woman in her time, her family had made other plans for her future. They had tried several times to marry her off to various and prominent men so as to strategically improve their familial alliances and strengthen their position. However, Maria’s heart belonged to Another and she refused each offer her family made on her behalf. She had become the bride of Christ the Redeemer and would spend her life in service to her Spouse in the guise of the captive, the wounded, the sick and the needy. With the assistance of Fr. Bernardo de Corbera, she consecrated herself to God in the Order of Mercy on 25 May 1265, together with other young women from Barcelona.
Maria was not the first, for there is written evidence that the female branch of the Order of Mercy began earlier but she is the first one whose self-offering we know about. From then on, her life would be spent between her house and the Hospital of Saint Eulalia, on the sea, on the shore of Villanova, where it was built thanks to a donation by Raimundo de Plagamans. The Sisters were not originally formed as a contemplative family, but their life was centred on prayer. They were not founded as cloistered Nuns, but gathered in fellowship to be able to live out the Lord’s command – “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Maria took this call to heart and was able to convince others to follow the path that she had set out on. They formed a community of Sisters who were ready to share in the work of redemption, even to the end.
It is reported that Maria had the gift of bilocation. In Spanish, she was known by the surname de Socós or de Socorro (meaning helper), because she was seen coming to the aid of the ransom ships, walking in the midst of the waves of stormy and rough seas, in order to guide the sailors and their precious cargo to safety.
She died on 19 September 1290, and her remains are preserved in the Basilica of La Merced in Barcelona.
On 13 February1692, Pope Innocent XII gave a favourable judgement and confirmed her immemorial cult;and she was introduced into the Roman Martyrology as a Saint on 8 November 1729. Today, the Nuns and Sisters of the Order proclaim her as a strong woman who followed Jesus Christ, taking flesh in the realities of captivity, so as to be redeemers with Christ through prayer and various apostolates according to their respective constitutions.
Saint of the Day – 1 September – Blessed Giuliana of Collalto (1186-1262) Benedictine Nun, Abbess, Thaumaturgist, apostle of the poor. Born in 1186 in Collalto, Susegana, Treviso, Italy and died on 1 September 1262 at Venice, Italy of natural causes. Also known as – Juliana. Patronages – against headaches, against migraines; of migraine sufferers. Her body is incorrupt.
The Roman Martyrology states of her today: “In Venice, Blessed Giuliana da Collalto, Abbess of the Order of Saint Benedict.”
Giuliana was born in Collalto (today a fraction of the Municipality of Susegana in the Province of Treviso, Italy) in 1186. Her parents were Count Rambaldo VI and Countess Giovanna di Sant’Angelo di Mantova.
She was educated in a Christian manner and very young, at the age of twelve, she wore the Benedictine habit in St Margherita di Salarola, on the Euganean Hills. Here she lived the first years of religious life in an exemplary way. In 1220 the Blessed Beatrice I d’Este entered the same Monastery and a deep friendship was born between the two chosen souls.
In the powerful and rich Venetian Republic, Monasteries also had their importance because young people from the most important and noble families were welcomed within their walls.
On the island of Spinalonga (now Giudecca) stood the ruined Church of St Cataldo. Giuliana, whose illustrious name in terms of wealth was by now also known for her excellent virtues, was entrusted with the foundation, next door, of a Monastery. Thus was born, in that abandoned place, a cloistered community that for centuries devoted itself to prayer. The Church was also dedicated to St Biagio. Giuliana, nominated Abbess, in addition to respecting the Rule for her own sanctification and that of her Sisters, always had particular regard for the poor. Her charity was known throughout the City and she performed many wonders while still alive. Following the laws of suppression of religious orders at the end of the eighteenth century, the building was then transformed into the Villa Albarea, being located right along the Riviera del Brenta.
During the last years of her life the blessed suffered from severe headaches, which earned her the Patronage of those who suffer from the same ailment. She died on 1 September 1262, at the age of seventy-six, of which sixty-four had been dedicated to the Lord. She was buried in the Church cemetery. Her memory remained alive and above all her fame as a thaumaturgist against migraines. Her biographers were several.
Around 1290 the body, found incorrupt, was placed in an artistic wooden sarcophagus. In 1733 the relics were placed in an Altar of the Church while exactly twenty years later (on 30 May) Pope Benedict XI confirmed the cult “ab immemorabili,” with her Memorial y on 1 September . In 1810 the body was moved to the Church of the Redentore and twelve years later to the parish of St Eufemia where it is still venerated in the Chapel of St Anna. In the Church of her birthplace there is a relic of the phalanx, a crown on which she rested her head, a pillow and part of the dress worn at the time of death. The ancient wooden sarcophagus is now kept at the Correr Museum in Venice. Her paintings are an ancient example of how Venetian painting was influenced, at that time, by the Byzantine style.
Saint of the Day – 7 August – Blessed Vincent de L’Aquila OFM (c 1435-1504) Lay Brother Friar of the Order of the Friars Minor of St Francis, gifted with the charism of prophecy, Mystic, known to levitate whilst in prayer, miracle-worker. He was sought out by nobility, future saints and ordinary people for spiritual advice and prophecy. Born in c 1435 in L’Aquilaand died on the evening of 7 August 1504 in his hut in the forest outside the convent of San Giualiano near L’Aquila, Italy of natural causes. His body is incorrupt. Patronage – L’Aquila, Italy. Also known as Vicente.
The Roman Martyrology states of him today: “In L’Aquila, in the Vestina region (today Abruzzo), Italy, Blessed Vincent, a religious of the Order of Friars Minor, famous for his humility and his prophetic spirit”
Vincent was born in L’Aquila, in Abruzzo, a City that at that time was part of the kingdom of Naples..
At the age of 14 he entered the Order of Friars Minor in the Convent of San Julián, founded by Blessed Antonio de Stroncone, near the City gates. After the profession of perpetual vows, he spent the first years of his conventual life retired in a hut in the forest of the Convent, which he only left to fulfill the offices assigned to him. He preferred humble jobs, he helped the brothers with their domestic chores and fixed their sandals because, to be more useful, he had learned the trade of shoemaker. Other times he would dedicate himself to the work of the fields and, in the rest periods, he would retire to the roughness of the rocky ground, about a hundred paces from the Convent, to devote himself to prayer.
Although educated at home with great care, Vincent wanted, out of humility, to remain a lay brother. One of the characteristics of his holiness was the spirit of mortification. So much was his austerity, that he did not even wear the sandals permitted but always remained barefoot. His brown habit, which can still be seen today, was the heaviest and coarsest of all; He did not take it off day or night. In addition, he wore sackcloth and inflicted frequent and prcticed floggings. His food was reduced to bread and water with some raw herbs, and if he was sometimes obliged, by obedience, to eat like the community, he nevertheless found a means of mortifying himself, taking only a part of his portion and adding dust or bitter substances to it.
His application to prayer was so great that Fray Marcos de Lisboa wrote about him: “Vicente remained abstracted and elevated in the air and his body was as deprived of the senses as if he were dead.” The superiors, seeing him as exemplary, to keep him away from excessive mortification, dedicated him to begging in which Vincent undoubtedly found many sacrificial occasions, given his fondness for solitude and the hidden life. His main concern, in the daily walks, was always the good of souls. Among the people who were inspired by his holiness we must remember the young girl Mattia Ciccarelli, who later became an Augustinian nun in L’Aquila, with the name of Blessed Sister Cristina Ciccarelli and today she is venerated on Altars with the title of Blessed.
Vincent was sent to the Penne Convent, then for 10 years, to that of Sulmona; from there here turned to San Julián del Aquila. The Prince of Capua, Queen Juana, second wife of Ferdinand I and sister of Ferdinand the Catholic, King of Spain, became acquainted with him for advice. He predicted the royal crown to the Duke of Calabria, the eldest son of Ferdinand I of Aragon.
An illness which had afflicted Vincent for a long time was getting worse and worse, until it prevented him from leaving his poor cell. He endured everything with great resignation and with the serenity of the Saints. On the afternoon of 7 August 1504, he expired serenely in the Lord, lovingly assisted by his confreres. Blessed Cristina Ciccarelli, from her window, saw the Convent of San Julián illuminate with great splendour and the soul of her spiritual director fly to heaven accompanied by a crowd of Angels.
In life, Vincent performed several miracles. In L´Aquila he returned speech to a mute. In another City, he cured a child who, due to his misshapen legs, could not walk and in Sant’Angelo three people owed him the cure of a similar disease. But the most admirable prodigy attributed to the power of his prayers was the resurrection of the Bishop of Sulmona, Bartolomé della Scala, of the Order of Preachers. This latter miracle had a great impact in Abruzzo and visits flowed to the Convent of San Nicolás de Sulmona, the residence of the miracle-worker at that time. They brought him sick to pray for them and they were cured.
He was 69 years old. He was buried in the Church of San Julián next to the Convent. His incorrupt body is preserved in in a walnut and glass chest.. Since then it began to shine with miracles attested by donations and votive inscriptions. After more than a century, in 1634, the preservation of the body was still evident. A new inscription was added: “In this tomb rests the body of Blessed Vincent de L’Aquila, who passed away on 7 August 1504.” Pope Pius VI approved his cult by Beatification on 19 September 1787.
Saint of the Day – 29 July – St William Pinchon of Saint Brieuc (1180-1234) Bishop of Saint Brieuc, Confessor Born as Guillaume Pinchon on 11 October 1180 in Saint-Alban, San-Brieuc, Brittany (in France) and died on 29 July 1234 of natural causes. William was a champion for the poor and defended the rights and privileges of the Church against secular intervention. This was a cause of his exile from his Diocese but he returned not long after his exile and set himself on the construction of a new Cathedral which was still in construction at the time of his death. Patronage – Diocese of Saint-Brieuc, France. Also known as – William Pinchon, William of San Brieuc, Guillaume Pinchon.His body is incorrupt.
William was born in 1175 in Saint-Alban to the peasants Oliver Pinchon and Jane Fortin. He was, from a young age,, by the innocence of his manners, his admirable meekness, humility, chastity, mortification, charity and devotion, an accomplished model of all virtues. He received the tonsure and some years later, the Holy Orders of Deacon and Priest, at the hands of Josselin, Bishop of Saint-Brieuc.
He served that Church and Diocese, under his two predecessors, Bishops Peter and Sylvester and succeeded the latter in the episcopal dignity about the year 1220.
The poor were his treasurers and not content to exhaust on them whatever he possessed, he often borrowed great stores of corn and other necessary provisions for their relief. The bare boards were usually his bed – for his domestic servants discovered that he never made use of the soft bed which they prepared for him. In 1225 he sold all his possessions in a famine to aid the poor and homeless.
The Duke Peter I forced him into a brief exile in 1228 and he spent that time living for a while in Poitiers before he returned to his Diocese in 1230 after the Duke reconciled with Pope Gregory IX. It was during his exile in Poitiers that he assisted the ill Bishop there and helped him in his ecclesial duties.
He died in 1234 and his body was deposited in his Cathedral and taken up incorrupt in 1284 . Pope Innocent IV Canonised Pinchon on 24 March 1247 a mere 13 years after his death.
Saint of the Day – 9 July – Blessed Giovanna Scopelli O.Carm (1428 – 1491) Virgin, Mystic, Italian Religious of the Carmelites and established her own Convent as its first Prioress. She was known, during her lifetime as a miracle-worker with many coming to her to ask for her assistance and prayers. Born in 1428 at Reggio d’ Emilia, Italy and died in 1491 of natural causes, aged 63. Also known as – Jane Scopelli, Joan Scopelli, Giovanna of of Reggio Her body is incorrupt.
Giovanna Scopelli was born in 1428 in Reggio Emilia to Simone and Caterina Scopelli. From her childhood she felt a strong attraction to the religious life though her parents disapproved of this vocation and forbade her to pursue it. Scopelli submitted to this and so led her austere and pious life at home until the death of her parents around 1480, when she then decided to form the Carmelite Convent of Santa Maria del Popolo while in the process of her Novitiate.
Giovanna took on the task of looking for a suitable place, when a widow offered herself, two daughters and her home. They lived together from 1480 until 1484, meanwhile Giovanna was looking for a place twhich could serve as a Monastery. Giovanna set her eyes on the Church of St Bernard, which belonged to the Humiliati Friars. With the support of the Bishop, Philip Zoboli, she obtained it from the Friars’ General on his way through Reggio. The beginnings of the new Monastery dates from 1485, with the name changed from that of St Bernard to that of St Mary of the People (afterwards called of the White Sisters). The inevitable financial difficulties at the beginning were surmounted through the help of a certain Christopher Zoboli. Under Joan’s direction more than twenty religious made up the new community, which was entrusted to the care of the Mantuan Congregation of Carmelites and, for which, in 1487, the Carmelites provided a Confessor.
She refused all endowments and gifts – and urged her fellow religious to do the same thing – unless such gifts were given as alms with no conditions attached to them. In 1487 a Priest was assigned to them as their Confessor. The nuns became known as “The White Nuns.”
God gifted Giovanna with extraordinary charisms. She herself fostered a deep Marian piety (she venerated the Blessed Virgin with a special devotion of her own, called the Tunic of Our Lady – mainly a frequent repetition of Hail Marys and was animated by an intense spirit of penance.
She died on 9 July1491;. Her cult began the following year, with the exhumation of her incorrupt body. In 1500 a public judgement was passed on her life, her virtues and her miracles. During the years 1767-70 the Diocesan process for the recognition of the cult was held, which met with the approval of Pope Clement XIV on 24 August 1771. After the suppression of the Monastery by the secular powers and of the Church of the Carmelite nuns in 1797, the body of the Blessed was transferred to the Cathedral in the year 1803.
Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul (29 June) +2021
Nuestra Señora del Refugio / Our Lady of Refuge, Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico (1720) – 4 July:
Jesuit Missionary Father Juan José Güica brought a painting of Our Lady, Refuge of Sinners from Italy to Mexico in 1720. In a dream, the Virgin told Padre Güica to ask the Franciscans of Zacatecas to use and promote the image; – they distributed over 150 copies, making this one of the most widespread Marian devotions in Mexico.
In 1793 Franciscan Friars came to the new settlement which would become Matamoros, renaming the area “Nuestra Señora del Refugio de los Esteros Hermosos” (Our Lady of the Refuge of the Lovely Marshes).
The Cathedral of Our Lady of Refuge, built in 1832, displays an 1886 painting of her. Her fiesta, celebrated in many Mexican Towns, commemorates the coronation of the original “Refugium Peccatori” in the Jesuit Church of Frascati, Italy, on 4 July 1717.
Bl Agatha Yun Jeom-Hye St Albert Quadrelli St Andrew of Crete St Anthony Daniel St Aurelian of Lyons St Bertha of Blangy St Carileffo of Anille Bl Catherine Jarrige St Cesidio Giacomantonio Bl Damiano Grassi of Rivoli St Donatus of Libya St Edward Fulthrop St Elias of Jerusalem St Finbar of Wexford St Fiorenzo of Cahors St Flavian of Antioch St Giocondiano Bl Giovanni of Vespignano St Haggai the Prophet Bl Hatto of Ottobeuren Bl Henry Abbot St Henry of Albano St Hosea the Prophet St Innocent of Sirmium Bl John Carey Blessed John Cornelius SJ (1557– 1594) Martyr, English Priest of the Society of Jesus, Missionary. Bl Jozef Kowalski St Jucundian St Laurian of Seville St Lauriano of Vistin Bl Maria Crocifissa Curcio St Namphanion the Archmartyr Bl Natalia of Toulouse St Odo the Good Bl Odolric of Lyon Bl Patrick Salmon Bl Pedro Romero Espejo
Our Lady of the Taper of Cardigan (1100s)– 15 June:
During the middle ages there was a notable pilgrimage in honour of Our Lady in Cardigan. A beautiful legend describes how a Statue of Mary was found by the side of the river Teifi, “and her sonne upon her lappe and the taper bernynge in her hande.” It was taken to the Parish Church but would not remain there, returning three or four times to “the place where now is buyIded the Church of our Lady,” the present St.Mary’s Church. A chantry Priest sang Mass daily in honour of Our Lady for pilgrims who came to pray and leave gifts. They lodged with the Knights Hospitallers of S. John, where the Angel Hotel now stands.
St Mary’s dates from 1158, built to hold the Statue. It resembles an earlier Shrine in the city of Arras, which was then in Flanders. Did Flemish merchants, who settled in Cardigan and traded in Welsh wool out of the port, bring the Statue back with them?
Devotion to Mary was once universal in Wales. Many places are called Llanfair or Capel Mair (Mary’s Church, Chapel) and dozens of flowers and plants bear her name. No girl was given the name Mair (Mary), as it was reserved for Our Lady.
We do not know how the devotion transferred to Barcelona and Cagliari. In the 1320’s and 1330’s Catalonian sailors had thronged British waters. Did they come to Cardigan, see the Shrine and copy it? In 1904 Breton Monks, in exile near Cardigan, revived the devotion, giving the title Our Lady of Cardigan to their Abbey Church and also to the little Church they opened in Town in 1912. They left in 1916 and another generation passed before the name was heard again.
In 1952 Martin Gillett, who later was to found the Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary, told Bishop Petit that Cardigan had once possessed a famous Shrine. The Bishop instantly decided to restore it. In 1956 a new Statue was blessed by Cardinal Griffin in Westminster Cathedral and then taken to every Parish in the Diocese of Menevia before arriving in Cardigan. On 27 May 1956, a great concourse from all parts of Britain bore it to the little Church of Our Lady of Sorrows. On 23 July 1970 Bishops Petit and Fox consecrated the new church of Our Lady of the Taper, named after the Shrine. Three days later pilgrims transferred the Statue there.
The original Statue was taken to London and destroyed at Chelsea in 1538 along with other Marian images on the orders of Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex, Chief Minister of King Henry VIII. Mother Concordia, OSB, was asked to make another in bronze. Designated as a Welsh National Shrine of Our Lady, it was blessed in Cardiff Metropolitan Cathedral and brought all over Wales before, on Pentecost Sunday, 18 May 1986, it was solemnly installed in the presence of 4,500 pilgrims. Its beauty catches the imagination and arouses devotion. Pope John Paul II wrote a special message for the occasion, and a taper he blessed in Rome was placed in the hand of the statue and lit.
Its symbolism is that Mary presents her Son to us, as she did to the Wise Men, to be adored. The taper testifies that He is Light of the World. Pilgrims come to pray individually and in groups. May they learn to treasure the word of God in their hearts, as Mary did, and live by the light of her Son, who is her Saviour and ours.
St Abraham of Saint-Cyriacus St Achaicus of Corinth St Barbara Cui Lianshi St Benildis of Córdoba
St Bernard of Montjoux/Menthon CRSA (c 1020-1081) “Apostle of the Alps” Priest, Founder of a patrol that cleared robbers from the mountains and he established hospices for travellers and pilgrims. The large dogs, trained to search for lost victims in the mountains, are named for him. Patronages – Alpinists, Alps (proclaimed by Pope Pius XI on 20 August 1923), Campiglia Cervo, Italy, mountain climbers (proclaimed by Pope Pius XI on 20 August 1923), mountaineers, skiers, travellers in the mountains (proclaimed by Pope Pius XI on 20 August 1923). Biography: https://anastpaul.com/2018/06/15/saint-of-the-day-15-june-st-bernard-of-menthon-c-r-s-a-c-1020-1081-apostle-of-the-alps/
St Constantine of Beauvais St Domitian of Lobbes St Edburgh of Winchester St Eigil St Eutropia of Palmyra St Fortunatus of Corinth
St Hadelinus of Lobbes St Hesychius of Durostorum St Hilarion of Espalion Bl Juan Rodriguez St Julius of Durostorum St Landelin of Crespin St Leonides of Palmyra St Libya of Palmyra St Lotharius of Séez St Melan of Viviers St Orsisius Bl Pedro da Teruel Bl Peter Snow St Pierre de Cervis Blessed Pietro Nolasco Perra OdeM (1574-1606) Bl Ralph Grimston St Tatian of Cilicia Bl Thomas Scryven St Trillo of Wales St Vaughen of Ireland
St Vitus (c 290-c 303) – Martyr, One of the Seven Holy Helpers. Died aged 12-13 years of age. Patronages – against animal attacks, against dog bites, against epilepsy; epileptics, against lightning, against over-sleeping, against rheumatic chorea or Saint Vitus Dance, against snake bites, against storms, against wild beasts, of actors, comedians, dancers, dogs, Bohemia, Czech Republic, Serbia, 17 cities. His very short life: https://anastpaul.com/2017/06/15/saint-of-the-day-15-june-st-vitus/
St Vouga of Lesneven — Martyr of Lucania – 11 saints: Eleven Christians martyred together. We known nothing else about them but the names – Anteon, Candidus, Cantianilla, Cantianus, Chrysogonus, Jocundus, Nivitus, Protus, Quintianus, Silvius, Theodolus in Lucania (modern Basilicata), Italy, date unknown.
Saint of the Day – 8 June – Saint William of York (Died 1154) Archbishop of York, Monk. Also known as William FitzHerbert, William FitzHerbert of York, William of Thwayt.
Born William FitzHerbert in York, William was the son of Herbert of Winchester, Chancellor and Treasurer of King Henry I. Thus born into a powerful family in 12th-century England, William seemed destined for great things. His uncle was next in line for the English throne—though a nasty dynastic struggle complicated things. William himself faced an internal Church feud.
He was elected as the Archbishop of York in 1140. His selection was challenged by reformers, especially a group of Cistercians and William was accused of simony, sexual misconduct and being unduly influenced by his connections to the Royal Court.
The Vatican investigated and Pope Innocent cleared him of all charges,and confirmed him as Archbishop on 26 September 1143, 3 years of his election. However, the charges resurfaced a few years later under Pope Eugene III, a Cistercian; Eugene suspended William from his See and in 1147 removed him as Archbishop, replacing him with the Cistercian Henry Murdac, Abbot of Fountains’ Abbey. Some of William’s supporters took to the streets to defend him and during a riot, they attacked and burned a section of the Monastery of Fountains’ Abbey. William, however, retired to Winchester and became a Monk, noted for his austerities and active prayer life.
In 1154, in the reign of Pope Anastasius IV, William was called from his seclusion and again became the Archbishop of York. When he entered the City that Spring after years of exile, he received an enthusiastic welcome. Within two months, however, he was dead, probably from poisoning believed to be in the sacramental wine. One of William’s Clerks accused Osbert de Bayeux, an Archdeacon of York and Osbert was summoned before the King to be tried at the Royal Court. But the King died before the trial could take place ad it seems to have never occurred.
William was buried at York Cathedral. A few months of his death, miracles were attributed to his intervention and a sweet smell came from his tomb when it was damaged during a fire. Nor was the body decayed or burnt in the fire. Pope Honorius III then ordered an investigation into the miracles. In 1226, he was Canonised in Rome by Pope Honorius III on 18 March 1226, just 73 years after his death.
Virgen María Sembradora / Virgin Mary the Planter, Hurlingham, Buenos Aires, Argentina – 4 June :
She is a great sower in the world of the best Seed, that of her Son. She was chosen to be the door of that great Seed that has changed the colour and flavour of all things and peoples of this world, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. A planter of the Gospel as a woman in her home, in that family of Nazareth where Jesus grew in wisdom and truth. She sowed silence around her Son, a silence of listening, of following, of accepting God’s will. But she also sowed commitment to the need of Elizabeth her relative and at that wedding in Cana. She again put seeds of the Kingdom at the foot of the Cross, welcoming that disconsolate disciple, becoming a Mother to him and to us all. Her seeds of unity, affection and advice in the midst of the community bore fruit … Today she continues to plant all this in our hearts to love her Son Jesus and God our Father who chose her as His Masterpiece.
The image of Virgen Maria Sembradora / Virgin Mary the Planter is housed in the Parish “San Carlos Borromeo” in Hurlingham, Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Virgin carries in her right hand the Seed of the Word, planting it in the hearts of the faithful.
A Novena is begun on 25 May and on 4 June every year, the Statue is carried out in procession.
St Aldegrin of Baume St Alexander of Verona St Alonio Bl Antoni Zawistowski St Aretius of Rome Bl Boniface of Villers St Breaca of Cornwall St Buriana of Cornwall St Christa of Sicily St Clateus of Brescia St Cornelius McConchailleach St Croidan St Cyrinus of Aquileia St Dacian of Rome St Degan St Edfrith of Lindisfarne St Elsiar of Lavedan St Ernin of Cluain
St Francis Caracciolo CRM (1563-1608) Priest, Co-Founder of the Congregation of the Clerics Regular Minor with Venerable John Augustine (1551-1587) the “Adorno Fathers,” Confessor, Apostle of the Eucharistic Adoration. His body was given enough preparation for a long journey to Naples. Truly, God has left His own sign on him. When the body was lanced, the blood spouted a red and scented fluid and his vital organs were uncorrupted. Around his heart were printed the words of the Psalm: “The zeal of your house consumes me” (Ps 69:10). Wow!: https://anastpaul.com/2020/06/04/saint-of-the-day-4-june-saint-francis-caracciolo-crm-1563-1608/
Bl Francis Ronci Bl Margaret of Vau-le-Duc St Medan Bl Menda Isategui St Metrophanes of Byzantium St Nennoc St Nicolo of Sardinia St Optatus of Milevis Blessed Pacificus of Cerano OFM (c 1424-1482) Priest of the Order of the Friars Minor of St Francis St Petroc of Cornwall St Quirinus of Croatia St Quirinus of Tivoli St Rutilus of Sabaria Saturnina of Arras Bl Stanislaw Kostka Starowieyski St Trano of Sardinia St St Walter of Fontenelle Walter of Serviliano — Martyrs of Cilicia – 13 saints: A group of 13 Christians who were martyred together. The only details about them that have survived are their names – • Cama• Christa• Crescentia• Eiagonus• Expergentus• Fortunus• Italius • Jucundian• Julia• Momna• Philip• Rustulus• Saturnin They were martyred in in Cilicia, Asia Minor (in modern Turkey), date unknown
Martyrs of Nyon – 41 saints: A group of 41 Christians martyred together for refusing to sacrifice to imperial Roman idols. We know the names of some but no other details. • Amatus• Attalus• Camasus• Cirinus• Dinocus• Ebustus• Euticus• Eutychius • Fortunius• Galdunus• Julia• Quirinus• Rusticus• Saturnina• Saturninus • Silvius• Uinnita• Zoticus Martyred by being beheaded in Noviodunum (modern Nyon, Switzerland).
Saint of the Day – 22 May – Saint Humility of Faenza (c 1226–1310) Wife, Mother, Nun – a founder of Vallumbrosan convents and is considered the Founder of the Vallumbrosan Nuns, Wife, Mother Widow, Recluse, spiritual adviser, spiritual writer. Born in 1226 at Faenza, Italy as Rosanna Negusanti and died on 22 May 1310 at Florence, Italy of natural causes. Also known as – Rosanna, Humilitas, Umiltà. Patronage- Faenza. Her body is incorrupt.
The Roman Martyrolog states pf her todzy: “In Florence, blessed Umiltà (Rosanna), who, with her husband’s consent, lived for twelve years as a recluse. Aat the request of the Bishop, she then built a Monastery of which she became Abbess and which she associated with the Order of Vallombrosa.”
Her ‘Life’ was written by the contemporary Monk Biagio in c 1330, is contained in the cod. 271 of the Riccardiana Library of Florence; also there is a second ‘Life’ in the cod. 1563 of the same Library. But many other texts of the following centuries, up to the Acts of the Congregation of Rites of 1720, report news concerning her, both as a person, for the writings, for the apostolic processes and for the foundations of ,onasteries connected to her.
Rosanna Negusanti, daughter of the nobles Elimonte and Richelda, was born in Faenza in 1226, the year of the death of the Seraphic Francis of Assisi, 1226.
In 1241 at the age of 15, she lost her father and the following year at 16 she married the nobleman named Ugoletto dei Caccianemici (died 1256). They had two children, but their happiness was very brief for both children died as soon as they were Baptise. At this time too, her mother, Richelda also died.
But the young woman, she was 24, without becoming discouraged and giving in to despair or distracting herself with the joys of the world, together with her husband Ugoletto decided to retire to religious life, both entering the cloisters of the rectory of St Perpetua. ; Iit was not uncommon in the Middle Ages to witness choices of this kind between two Christian spouses. And on this occasion Rosanna Negusanti changes her name to Humility; after having miraculously recovered from a serious illness.
Here she lived for twelve years, purifying and elevating her spirit with prayers and fasting, alternating them with advice that she gave to those who turned to her for help. Her example attracted some young women from Faenza who asked to build cells near hers and to live under her guidance.
And so in 1266 on the advice of Bishop Petrella, Humility agreed to become the spiritual guide of the new nuns, gathered in the old Monastery of Malta in Vallombrosa, which from then on would be called St Maria Novella. Humility was now 40 years old, she returned to being a mother full of goodness, wisdom and energy, becoming the guide for the new daughters, directing them on the path of holiness.
Fifteen years passed, putting into practice all the virtues of the Rule of St Benedict and the Vallombrosan Constitutions of St John Gualberto. When she was 55, in 1281, Mother Humilitybegan to build a new spiritual home for the young Florentine girls, whose life was shaken by the struggles between Whites and Blacks, the warring factions in the region. A Cchurch was erected in Florence, in honour of St John the Apostle Evangelist, had as Architect Giovanni Pisano and as Decorator the famous Buffalmacco. It was Consecrated in 1297 by the Bishop Francesco Monaldeschi.
Despite being very sick and elderly, Sister Humilty kept personal contacts with Faenza and Rome to give continuity to the two Monasteries, until after six months of suffering, at the age of 84, she ceased to live in Florence and on 22 May 1310 she entered life.
After a year on 6 June 1311, her body was exhumed and although it was buried in the bare earth, under the floor of the Church, it was incorrupt. She was dressed in precious clothes and from then on, she had an uninterrupted cult. Her body was later transferred to the Monasteries of St Caterina, of St Antonio (1529), of San Salvi (1534), in the 19th century to that of the Spirito Santo of Varlungo near Florence. Finally, in 1972, in the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Bagno a Ripoli, near Florence, where it is still preserved as perfect as it was in 1310.
The spirituality of St Humility can be seen from the few writings that have come down to us, they are a living expression of profound humility and fervent love for God and neighbour. Her cult is very ancient, perhaps it even dates back to the solemn ‘elevation’ of the relics in 1311, in which a Mass of its own was granted. In 1317, the Bishops gathered in Avignon, granted particular indulgences to her cult.
On 27 January 1720, the Congregation of Rites with Pope Benedict XIII confirmed the ancient cult, having their own Mass celebrated on 22 May and she was formally Canonised on 27 January 1720 by Pope Clement XI. She was declared Co-Patroness of Faenza in 1942. Altars were dedicated to her in the two Monasteries she founded of the Vallombrosana Congregation .
Saint of the Day – 14 May – Saint Ampelio (Died c 428) Hermit, miracle-worker. Born in the 4th century in Upper Egypt and died on 5 October c 428 in Bordighera, Italy of natural causes. His Feast day refers to the translation of his body to the Church of Saint Stephen in Genoa, Italy on 14 May 1258. Patronages – blacksmiths, Bordighera, Italy. His body is incorrupt and is the only image we have of him.
Nothing is known about the early life of Saint Ampelio. We know that he was a blacksmith who left his work to become a Recluse in Egypt. His faith was tested in the form of a woman (devil) but Ampelio heated an iron bar until it glowed and chased the demon away.
Ampelio emigrated to Italy, where he planted the first date palms, having brought the seeds from Egypt, lived in a cave, was known as a miracle worker and served as a model for prayer for the Christian life.
He died on 5 October 428 in Bordighera, Italy of natural causes. His body was moved to the Convent of Saint Stephen in Genoa, Italy on 14 May 1258. On 16 August 1047, his body was brought back to Bordighera. He was taken in procession through the crowd to the Church of Magdalene, where he now lies. The Patron celebrations take place on 14th May, in memory of the transfer of the body from Sanremo to Genoa in 1258.
There is a little Church dedicated to St Ampelio in Bordighera in Liguria, Italy. The crypt, with two apses and small, inclined loop-holes, holds a squared-off block of stone from La Turbie (the rock which dominates the Principality of Monaco). This stone was the poor and very uncomfortable “bed of the saint,” where Ampelio died the 5th October 428.
Nuestra Señora del / Our Lady of Quito, Ecuador (1534) – 28 April:
This miraculous image of Our Lady of Quito currently in the Capital City of Ecuador ,is said to date from the first Spanish settlement there in the year 1534. At the very least, it has certainly been venerated there for a long time and is popularly called ,by the people of Quito, Our Lady of the Earthquake. The painting represents the Sorrowful Mother and in the early years of the twentieth century, devotion to Mary under the title of Our Lady of Quito was introduced into England ,by the Servite Friars in London. Saint Pius X accorded them an indulgence for those who should pray before her picture, and the devotion was greatly promoted in England by the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus, Mother Cornelia Connelly’s congregation. The original image at Quito was solemnly crowned in 1918. On 20 April 1906, thirty-six boys attending the boarding school of the Jesuit Fathers at Quito, Ecuador, together with Father Andrew Roesch, witnessed a miracle of this famous picture of Our Lady. While in the refectory they all saw the Blessed Mother slowly open and shut her eyes. The same miracle occurred no less than seven times after that, in favour of the boys at the school but this time, in the Chapel to which the picture had been taken.
Ecclesiastical authorities soon investigated these incidents and finally concluded by ordering the picture to be transferred, in procession from the college to the Church of the Jesuit Fathers. Once at the Church, the miracle was repeated several times before large crowds and many, many conversions took place because of these miracles. At one time, the wonder continued for three consecutive days. At Riobamba, before a faithful reproduction of Our Lady of Quito, the same wonder was seen by more than 20 persons, including the president of the City. In Quito this picture is known as the Dolorosa del Colegio.
A Conceptionist Sister, named Mother Mariana de Jesús Torres received Marian apparitions under this title from 2 February 1594 to 2 February 1634. In 1611, the local Bishop gave his approval to the apparitions.
Our Lady appeared to Mother Mariana and predicted many things about our own times. This following, is part of what she told her. We can see for ourselves how it relates directly to our own time. “…. I make it known to you, that from the end of the 19th century and shortly after the middle of the 20th century…. the passions will erupt and there will be a total corruption of customs (morals)…. “They will focus principally on the children, in order to sustain this general corruption. Woe to the children of these times! It will be difficult to receive the Sacrament of Baptism and also, that of Confirmation… “As for the Sacrament of Matrimony… it will be attacked and deeply profaned… The Catholic spirit will rapidly decay; the precious light of the Faith will gradually be extinguished… Added to this, will be the effects of secular education, which will be one reason for the dearth of priestly and religious vocations. “The Sacrament of Holy Orders will be ridiculed, oppressed and despised… The Devil will try to persecute the ministers of the Lord in every possible way; he will labour with cruel and subtle astuteness, to deviate them from the spirit of their vocation and will corrupt many of them. These depraved priests, who will scandalise the Christian people, will make the hatred of bad Catholics and the enemies of the Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church ,fall upon all priests… “Further, in these unhappy times, there will be unbridled luxury, which will ensnare the rest ,into sin and conquer innumerable frivolous souls, who will be lost. Innocence will almost no longer be found in children, nor modesty in women. In this supreme moment of need of the Church, the one who should speak will fall silent.” In a subsequent apparition, Our Lady told Mother Mariana that these apparitions were not to become generally known until the twentieth century.
On 8 December 1634, the apparition predicted that Papal Infallibility “will be declared a Dogma of the Faith by the same Pope chosen to proclaim the Dogma of the Mystery of My Immaculate Conception.” In 1854, Blessed Pope Pius IX defined the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception and in 1870, he declared the Dogma of Papal Infallibility as defined by the First Vatican Council.
Mother Mariana died on 16 January 1635, shortly after the last apparition. When her tomb was reopened in 1906, her body was found to be perfectly incorrupt, after nearly 300 years in an ordinary, unprotected, wooden coffin. The Archdiocese of Quito opened her cause for Canonisation in 1986 and finished the Diocesan stage of the process ,in 1997.
Saint of the Day – 27 April – Blessed Osanna of Cattaro OP (1493-1565) Virgin, Mystic, Anchoress., Tertiary of the Order of St Dominic, spiritual guide. Born on 25 November 1493 at Kumano, Montenegro as Catherine Cosie and died on 27 April 1565 in Kotor, Montenegro of natural causes, aged 71. Patronage – Kotor, Montenegro. Also known as – Catherine Cosie, Catherine Kosic, Catherine of Montenegro, Hosanna of Kotor, Ossana of Cattaro, Ozana Kotorska, “Teacher of Mysticism,” “Angel of Peace,” “Virgin Reconciler”and “Trumpet of the Holy Spirit.” Her Body is incorrupt.
Over the course of her life, the people of Kotor came to call her “the trumpet of the Holy Spirit” and the “teacher of mysticism.” People from all walks of life came to her for advice and she interceded particularly ,for peace in the town and among feuding families. Therefore, she was also called “the Virgin Reconciler” and the “Angel of Peace.”
The life of this Blessed has a very special charm. Born in 1493 to very humble Orthodox parents in Kebeza, during the heart of the Greek schism, she was given the name of Catherine at her baptism.
This little shepherdess, enraptured by the beauty of the magnificent views of her Montenegro, she fell in love with the Creator of so many wonders and, with unusual ardour, sheasked Him to show Himself to her. And there, in the solitude of the mountains, Jesus appeared to her first, a tender child and then Crucified, imprinting an indelible seal on her virgin heart.
When she was a little older, she was placed in Kotor as a servant in the family of a Senator, an excellent Catholic. Here, she was able to educate herself in the true faith and to receive the Sacraments. Having known the Dominicans, at the age of twenty-two, she made a heroic decision: -to become a recluse forever, taking up the habit and the Rule of the Third Order of St Dominic.
And so, walled up in a cell next to the Church of St Paolo, run by the Dominicans, she lived in the contemplation of the pains of Jesus and in the complete immolation of herself. She was also a teacher of holiness to countless souls but above all she was the guardian angel of Kotor. Although she lived alone, there was nothing selfish about Osanna’s spirituality. A group of her Dominican sisters, who considered her their leader, consulted her frequently and sought her prayers. A convent of sisters founded at Cattaro, regarded her as their foundress,because of her spiritual guidance and prayers, although she never saw the place. When the City was attacked by the Turks, the people ran to her for help and they credited their deliverance to her prayers. Another time, her prayers saved them from the plague.
She died on 27 April 1565. Her body rests in the Church of Santa Maria in Kotor.
The incorrupt body of Osanna was kept in the Church of St Paul until 1807, when the French Army converted the church into a warehouse. Her body was then brought to the Church of St Mary. The people of Kotor venerated her as a saint. In 1905, the process for her Beatification began in Kotor and was successfully completed in Rome. On 21 December 1927, Pope Pius XI approved her cultus, invoking its intercession for Christian unity and in 1934, he formally Beatified her.
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