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Saint of the Day – 10 November – St Andrew Avellino CR (1521– 1608) Confessor,

Saint of the Day – 10 November – St Andrew Avellino CR (1521– 1608) Confessor, Theatine Priest, Canon and Civil Lawyer, Reformer, Founder of many new Theatine houses, Preacher, Spiritual Advisor, Miracle-worker.

Saint Andrew Avellino, Confessor
By Fr Francis Xavier Weninger SJ (1805-1888)

St Andrew Avellino was born at Castro Nuovo, in the kingdom of Naples. To fear God and to avoid sin, were the maxims which his mother, from early childhood, implanted deep into his heart and which became the rule of his entire life. While he studied at Senise, a lady sought to attract him by several presents which she sent him but the chaste youth, accepted not her gifts,and sent her word, saying that she should trouble him no more and might rest assured that he would rather die than consent to any evil. On another occasion when he was enticed to sin, he fled like the chaste Joseph. To escape similar temptations, he determined to become a Priest and was Ordained after he had finished his studies.

For some time he devoted himself to the practice of Canon Law in the eEclesiastical Courts until one day, in the heat of his argument, a trivial lie escaped him. Soon after, while reading the Holy Scriptures, the words, “The mouth that lieth, killeth the soul,” came under his eyes and his repentance was such that, from that moment, he renounced his profession in order to escape from the danger of offending God and gave himself entirely, to the Sacred ministry. By associating frequently with the religious of the Theatine Order, he conceived the desire of joining their number, which he did in 1556. It was on this occasion that he took the name of Andrew, in honour of the holy Apostle of that name, after whose example he desired to suffer much for the glory of God.

His eminent virtues induced his superiors to make him Master of Novices, although he had been only five years in the Order,and afterwards, to charge him with the administration of several houses. He attended to all his duties to the greatest benefit of those under him. Besides the usual vows, he imposed upon himself two more. The first of these was to work continually against his own inclinations; the second, to make continual progress in perfection. The fervent love he bore to God and men, induced him to employ all his leisure moments in prayer and in labouring for the salvation of souls. Before entering into religion, he had been accustomed to give six hours daily to prayer but as he could not, as a religious, spare so much time during the day, he took a part of the night for this sacred duty.

He benefitted mankind much, by preaching and hearing Confessions. He reformed many a hardened sinner, restrained others from falling again, reconciled embittered minds and led numberless souls to Heaven.

God manifested more than once, by miracles, how agreeable the endeavours of the Saint were to Him. One night as he returned home, with his companion, from the house of a sick man whose Confession he had heard, a violent storm extinguished the light that was carried before them but then, such a brightness emanated from the Saint’s body that the way was made clear through the darkness, whilst, at the same time, neither he, nor his companion, was touched by the rain. Many similar events, as also the frequent visions of Saints, the gifts of prophecy and of reading the hearts of men but above all, the many examples of heroic virtue which he gave to others, won for St Andrew, the highest regard. St Charles Borromeo, the holy Cardinal, esteemed him greatly and made use of his zeal on many occasions.

Notwithstanding this, the holy man had so low an opinion of himself that he regarded as nothing his great and arduous labours to further the honour of God and the salvation of souls; looked upon himself as a great sinner,and frequently evinced great fear in regard to his salvation. “If they,” said he, “must regard themselves as useless servants, who have done all their duty, what must I do, who have done so small a part of what I ought to have done?” Sometimes he would look up to Heaven and sigh: “Will that magnificent mansion of the blessed spirits allow the entrance of one so miserable, despicable and sinful as I am?

From this fear, however, he was afterwards freed by a comforting vision. St Augustine and St Thomas of Aquin, both of whom he honoured as Patrons, appeared to him, consoled him and promised him their aid, especially in that hour, on which eternity depends. Andrew, taking heart, asked them whether he would enjoy eternal life? The answer was as follows: “The time of thy salvation has not come yet. But as in life, everything is doubtful and uncertain, follow our advice – struggle, with the greatest perseverance, on the battle-field of virtue, as thou hast done till now and thus, thou wilt gather a treasure of merit and God will not close to thee, the gates of Heaven.” With these words, the Saint consoled himself,and not only continued his zeal in the practice of virtue but increased it daily.

During the last 18 years of his life, he allowed himself neither meat, nor eggs, nor fish – his nourishment consisted of beans only, of which he had always enough cooked to last him three days. When advised to change his diet, on account of his advanced age, he said: “Although, at the age of 83 years, I am excused from the law of fasting, I find, when thinking of my sins and my indolence in the service of the Most High that I am obliged to fast and to observe other austerities, in order to appease the wrath of God.” Thus spoke he, who had ever preserved his first innocence. His bed was a sack of straw on two boards. He daily scourged himself to blood. Not content with all this, he daily begged the Almighty to send him something to suffer.

The greatest wrongs he bore with invincible meekness; in persecutions and trials, he evinced heroic patience and he met his enemies with truly Christian gentleness. This was especially experienced by the man who had cruelly murdered the son of the Saint’s brother. The holy man exhorted his brother neither to seek, nor demand vengeance. He knew the murderer but revealed him not and when the wretch was at last discovered and arraigned, before the judges, Andrew implored mercy and pardon for him.

Our Saint’s devotion to the passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, was the cause of his earnest desire to suffer more and more. He was often heard to say: “Ah ! what is all that I do and suffer compared with what my Jesus did and suffered for my sake? O, that I might, for His honour, be torn with scourges and pierced with nails and expire on the Cross for Him!

Not less deep was his devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and at the time of Holy Mass, his whole countenance glowed with divine love. To the very last day of his life, although he was almost entirely exhausted, he insisted on saying Mass but he had hardly begun the Psalm at the foot of the Altar, when he was struck with paralysis. He was then carried to his room, where the last Sacraments were administered to him. Having received them, he blessed all those who were present and peace and happiness shone from his countenance. After this, he turned his eyes upon an image of the Blessed Virgin,whom, during all his life he had greatly loved and honoured and expired in the 88th year of his life. His face beamed after his death with a truly divine radiance and God proclaimed the glory which the Saint enjoyed in Heaven, by many and great miracles. St Andrew Avellino, Pray for us! Amen.

The death of St Andrew Avellino
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Saint/s of the Day – 8 August – The Fourteen Holy Helpers.

Saint/s of the Day – 8 August – The Fourteen Holy Helpers.
A group of Saints invoked with special confidence because they have proven themselves efficacious helpers in adversity and difficulties, are known and venerated under the name Fourteen Holy Helpers.

The Notable Martyrs Saints within the Group are:
Acacius, Barbara, Blaise, Christopher, Cyriacus, Catherine of Alexandria, Denis, Erasmus of Formia, Eustace, George, Giles, Margaret of Antioch, Pantaleon and Vitus.

Devotion to these fourteen ,as a group, spread in response to the Black Plague which devastated Europe from 1346 to 1349. Among its symptoms were the tongue turning black, a parched throat, violent headache, fever, and boils on the abdomen. It attacked without warning, robbed its victims of reason and killed within a few hour. Many died without the last Sacraments.

Brigands roamed the streets, people suspected of contagion were attacked, animals died, people starved, whole villages vanished into the grave, social order and family ties broke down and the disease appeared incurable. The pious turned to Heaven, begging the intervention of the Saints, praying to be spared or cured. This group devotion began in Germany–the Diocese of Wurzburg having been renowned for its observance.

Pope Nicholas V attached Indulgences to devotion of the Fourteen Holy Helpers in the 16th century.

Saint Christopher and Saint Giles are nvoked against the plague itself.
Saint Denis is prayed to for relief from headache, Saint Blaise for ills of the throat,
Saint Elmo for abdominal maladies,
Saint Barbara for fever and Saint Vitus against epilepsy.
Saint Pantaleon is the Patron of physicians,
Saint Cyriacus invoked against temptation on the deathbed and Saints Christopher, Barbara and Catherine, for protection against a sudden and unprovided death.
Saint Giles is prayed to for a good Confession and Saint Eustace as healer of family troubles.
Domestic animals were also attacked by the plague and so, Saints George, Elmo, Pantaleon and Vitus are invoked for the protection of these animals.
Saint Margaret of Antioch is the Patron of safe childbirth.

The legends of the Fourteen Holy Helpers are replete with the most glorious examples of heroic firmness and invincible courage in the profession of the Faith, which ought to incite us to imitate their fidelity in the performance of the Christian and social duties. If they, with the aid of God’s grace, achieved such victories, why should not we, by the same aid, be able to accomplish the very little which is desired of us? God rewarded His victorious champions with eternal bliss – the same crown is prepared for us, if we but render ourselves worthy of it. God placed the seal of miracles on the intrepid confession of His Servants and a mind imbued with the spirit of faith, sees nothing extraordinary therein because our Divine Saviour, Himself said, “Amen, amen I say to you, he that believes in Me, the works that I do, he also shall do and greater than these shall he do” (John 14:12). In all the miraculous events wrought in and by the Saints, there appears only the victorious omnipotent Power of Jesus Christ and the living faith, in which His Servants operated in virtue of this power.

The histories of the Saints are called Legends.
This word is derived from the Latin,and signifies something that is to be read, a passage the reading of which is prescribed.
Therefore, the Legends of the Saints are the lives of the holy Martyrs and Confessors of the Faith.
Some of them occur in the Roman Breviary which the Catholic Clergy is obliged to read everyday.

(The corruption of this word has occurred in modern times, giving it a meaning of either “unprovable story or celebrity.”)

A little more about the 14 Holy Helpers and a prayer to them by St Alphonsus Liguori here:  https://anastpaul.com/2018/07/25/thought-for-the-day-25-july-the-memorial-of-st-christopher-died-c-251-one-of-the-fourteen-holy-helpers/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Saint of the Day – 25 July – Saint Christopher (Died c 251) Martyr

Saint of the Day – 25 July – Saint Christopher (Died c 251) Martyr and “Christ-Bearer” – Born at Canaan as Offero and Martyred in the reign of the 3rd-century Roman Emperor Decius (reigned 249–251) – Additional Memorials – 9 March (Greek calendar), 9 May (some Eastern calendars), 16 November (Cuba), 10 July (some areas of Spain).   Also known as Christobal, Christoval, Cristobal, Kester, Kitt, Kitts, Offero Patronages – against bad dreams, epileptics; against epilepsy, against floods, against hailstorms, against lightning, against pestilence, against storms, against sudden death, against toothache, Air Forces, archers, motorists, bachelors,bookbinders, bus drivers, taxi drivers, civil aeronautics, fruit dealers, fullers, gardener, of a holy death, truck drivers, mariners, sailors, market carriers, mountain climbers, porters, relief from pestilence, transportation, transportation workers, travellers, travellers in the mountains, Saint Christopher’s Island, Saint Kitts, 13 cities.Borgianni-Orazio-St-Christopher-carrying-the-infant-Christ-c1598-1602-oil-on-canvas-Museo-del-Prado-Madrid.jpg

He was a man of many names, Offero being one of them.   Born in the third century in Asia Minor, son of a king, he would grow to be a restless young man of considerable size. The early years of his life were spent in search of riches, of purpose, of a cause worthy of his allegiance.saint-christopher-carrying-the-christ-child-mateo-cerezo.jpg

As the story goes, a young Offero, looking for the strongest and boldest ruler to follow, briefly courted Satan.   When his new master cowered in fear at a holy cross on the side of a road, Offero abandoned Satan, choosing light over darkness.   During this period of transition, a holy hermit awakened the restless wanderer to Christianity, schooling and baptising him.   From then on, Offero pledged his life to Christ and vowed to serve God’s people along the banks of an untamed river.   So he built a hut and set up camp with a new purpose—to be a boatman to the world.st christopher 5.jpg

His popularity was solidified when a small child once approached him, wanting safe passage across the water.   He hoisted the boy on his shoulders and, with his trusty staff, began the journey.   As the river deepened, the child began to grow heavier.   Waters quickly rising, the precious cargo continued to weigh the giant down.   As he reached the banks of the river, Offero said, “Child, thou hast put me in great peril, thou weighest almost as if I had all the world upon me – I might bear no greater burden.”

“Christopher,” the little boy responded, “thou hast not only borne all the world upon thee but thou hast borne Him that created and made all the world, upon thy shoulders.”

The child instructed Christopher (meaning “Christbearer”) to cross the river again and plant his staff in the ground, telling the ferryman that life would spring forth.   To Christopher’s astonishment, by morning his staff had taken root—bright flowers and fruit grew from it.st christopher.jpg

The rest of Christopher’s life is even sketchier in detail.   One legend states that many in the immediate area converted to Christianity based on his encounter, which drew unwanted attention.   In Lycia—present-day Turkey—under Emperor Decius, he was imprisoned, shot with arrows, burned and then beheaded around 251.

st christopher and st peter
St Christopher and St Peter

Though the life of this mighty martyr was later questioned by historians, Saint Christopher’s story and his worldwide appeal have proven invulnerable.   Amen and alleluia, glory be to God!st christopher lg

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Saint of the Day – 25 November – St Catherine of Alexandria (Died c 305)

Saint of the Day – 25 November – St Catherine of Alexandria (Died c 305) Virgin and Martyr, Philosopher – One of the Fourteen Holy Helpers – Patronages:  unmarried girls and women, apologists, craftsmen who work with a wheel (potters, spinners), archivists, dying people, educators, jurists, knife sharpeners, lawyers, librarians, libraries, mechanics, millers, milliners, hat-makers, nurses, philosophers, preachers, schoolchildren, secretaries, stenographers, students, tanners, theologians, haberdashers, wheelwrights, 6 Universities worldwide, 12 Cities, 2 Diocese.   It is important to note that whilst much of St Catherine’s history is regarded as apocryphal (by historians), St Catherine, like many of the early Martyrs, did exist though the details and circumstances of her life are probably partly unknown.   587px-Simon_Vouet_-_St._Catherine_-_Google_Art_Project

According to the traditional narrative, Catherine was the daughter of Constus, the governor of Egyptian Alexandria during the reign of the emperor Maximian (286–305). From a young age, she devoted herself to study.   A vision of the Madonna and Child persuaded her to become a Christian.   When the persecutions began under Maxentius, she went to the emperor and rebuked him for his cruelty.   The emperor summoned 50 of the best pagan philosophers and orators to dispute with her, hoping that they would refute her pro-Christian arguments but Catherine won the debate.   Several of her adversaries, conquered by her eloquence, declared themselves Christians and were at once put to death.900_Saint Catherine of Alexandria

Catherine was then scourged and imprisoned.   She was scourged so cruelly and for so long, that her whole body was covered with wounds, from which the blood flowed in streams.   The spectators wept with pity but Catherine, strengthened by God, stood with her eyes raised to heaven, without giving a sign of suffering or fear.   He ordered her to be imprisoned without food, so she would starve to death.   During the confinement, angels tended her wounds with salve.   Catherine was fed daily by a dove from Heaven and Christ also visited her, encouraging her to fight bravely and promised her the crown of everlasting glory.paolo veronese st catherine of alexandria in prison 1528-1588

During her imprisonment, over 200 people came to see her, including Maxentius’ wife, Valeria Maximilla – all converted to Christianity and were subsequently martyred. Twelve days later, when the dungeon was opened, a bright light and fragrant perfume filled it and Catherine came forth even more radiant and beautiful.

Upon the failure of Maxentius to make Catherine yield by way of torture, he tried to win the beautiful and wise princess over by proposing marriage.   The saint refused, declaring that her spouse was Jesus Christ, to whom she had consecrated her virginity. The furious emperor condemned Catherine to death on a spiked breaking wheel but, at her touch, it shattered.   Maxentius ordered her to be beheaded.   Catherine herself ordered the execution to commence.   A milk-like substance rather than blood flowed from her neck.St_Catherine_of_Alexandria_WGA

Angels transported her body to the highest mountain (now called Mount Saint Catherine) next to Mount Sinai, where God gave His Law.   In 850, her incorrupt body was discovered by monks from the Sinai Monastery.   The monks found on the surface of the granite on which her body lay, an impression of the form of her body.   Her hair still growing and a constant stream of the most heavenly fragranced healing oil issuing from her body.   This oil produced countless miracles.Saint Catherine of Alexandria wp size

Saint Catherine was one of the most important saints in the religious culture of the late Middle Ages and arguably considered the most important of the virgin martyrs, a group including Saint Agnes, Margaret of Antioch, Saint Barbara, Saint Lucy, Valerie of Limoges and many others.   Her power as an intercessor was renowned and firmly established in most versions of her hagiography, in which she specifically entreats Christ at the moment of her death to answer the prayers of those who remember her martyrdom and invoke her name.

The pyrotechnic Catherine wheel, from which sparks fly off in all directions, took its name from the saint’s wheel of martyrdom.St.-Catherine-of-Alexandria-Window-at-St.-Bridget-in-DeGraf

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Saint of the Day – 10 November – St Andrew Avellino CR (1521 – 1608)

Saint of the Day – 10 November – St Andrew Avellino CR (1521 – 1608) Theatine Priest (Cong of the Clerics Regular of Divine Providence founded by St Cajetan 1480-1547), Canon and Civil Lawyer, Reformer, Founder of many new Theatine houses, Preacher, Spiritual Advisor, Confessor – born in 1521 at Castronuovo, Sicily as Lorenzo (called Lancelotto by his mother) and died on 10 November 1608 at Naples, Italy of a stroke. Patronages – against apoplexy or strokes, against sudden death, for a holy death, Badolato, Naples, Sicily, Italy.Antonino Cinniardi, Saint Andrew Avellino Intercedes for Piazza

After a holy youth devoted to serious studies of philosophy and the humanities in Venice, Lancelot Avellino was ordained priest by the bishop of Naples.   He was assigned to the chaplaincy of a community of nuns, sadly in need of reform, his intrepid courage and perseverance finally overcame many difficulties and regular observance was restored in the monastery.   Certain irritated libertines, however, decided to do away with him and, waiting for him when he was about to leave a church, felled him with three sword thrusts.   He lost much blood but his wounds healed perfectly without leaving any trace. The viceroy of Naples was ready to employ all his authority to punish the authors of this sacrilege but the holy priest, not desiring the death of sinners but rather their conversion and their salvation, declined to pursue them.   One of them, however, died soon afterwards, assassinated by a man who wished to avenge a dishonour to his house.avellino

He was still practising law, which he had studied in Naples, one day a slight untruth escaped him in the defence of a client and he conceived such regret for his fault that he vowed to practice law no longer.   In 1556, at the age of thirty-six, he entered the Theatine Order, taking the name of Andrew out of love for the cross.   After a pilgrimage to Rome to the tombs of the Apostles, he returned to Naples and was named master of novices in his Community.  Andreas_Avellino

After holding this office for ten years, he was elected superior.   His zeal for strict religious discipline and for the purity of the clergy, as well as his deep humility and sincere piety, induced the General of his Order to entrust him with the foundation of two new Theatine houses, one at Milan and the other at Piacenza.   By his efforts, many more Theatine houses rose up in various dioceses of Italy.   As superior of some of these new foundations, he was so successful in converting sinners and heretics by his prudence in the direction of souls and by his eloquent preaching that numerous disciples thronged around him, eager to be under his spiritual guidance.   One of the most noteworthy of his disciples was Lorenzo Scupoli, the author of The Spiritual Combat.   St Charles Borromeo was an intimate friend of Avellino and sought his advice in the most important affairs of the Church.   He also requested Avellino to establish a new Theatine house in Milan.

Though indefatigable in preaching, hearing confessions and visiting the sick, Avellino still had time to write some ascetical works.   His letters were published in 1731 at Naples in two volumes and his other ascetical works were published three years later in five volumes.Saint Andrew Avellino

On 10 November 1608, when beginning the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, he was stricken with apoplexy and, after receiving the Holy Viaticum, died at the age of 88.   In 1624, only 16 years after his death, he was Beatified by Pope Urban VIII and in 1712 was Canonised by Pope Clement XI.  His remains lie buried in the Church of St Paul at Naples.death of st andrew

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Saint of the Day – 9 April – St Liborius of Le Mans (early 4th century – 397)

Saint of the Day – 9 April – St Liborius of Le Mans (early 4th Century – 397) Bishop, Confessor, Reformer, Evangeliser and Shepherd of souls, Builder of Churches and Monasteries.   Patronages – abdominal pains, against calculi, gravel, kidney stones or gall stones, against colic, against fever, of a Holy death, archdiocese of Paderborn, Germany, City of Paderborn, Germany, Paderborn Cathedral.   Attributes – Bishop with pebbles on a book; Bishop with a peacock; episcopal attire.

st liborius - v large

St Liborius was born of an illustrious family of Gaul (a region in the Roman Empire which extended to the area on the west bank of the Rhine river of the present day Germany) and became Bishop of Le Mans, France.   He was a trusty companion and great friend to St Marinus (Martin of Tours).   They were both bishops, neighbours in office.  St Liborius was bishop for about 49 years and ordained 217 priests, 186 deacons and 93 sub deacons and other churchmen.

st liborius

Much of the ministerial life of Bishop Liborius covered the second half of the 4th century. By this time, the Roman Empire ended its persecution of Christianity with Emperor Constantine the Great’s Edict of Milan in the year 313.   Freed from persecution, the Christian faith was now free to grow.   However, during this time, foreign tribes roamed the land.   There was chaos and misery.   Bishop Liborius’ Episcopal area had been Christian for some time but heathen Druids were still active and through their mysterious pagan rites were able to influence the people.   So, Bishop Liborius built many churches and celebrated the Eucharist with piety and dignity.   The well-trained priests in his diocese finally triumphed over the Druids.   Nowadays, we would call the works of Bishop Liborius and his clergy at the time as primary evangelisation.

st liborius of le mans

In the year, 836 A.D., (9th century), the relics of Saint Liborius were brought from Le Mans, France, to Paderborn, Germany.   At this time, relics of the saints were well guarded and venerated in churches and dioceses which had them.   The willingness of the diocese of Le Mans to handover the relics of St Liborius to the diocese of Paderborn was a true act of charity.   The event forged a long lasting friendship between the sister cities of Le Mans and Paderborn;  it has existed for over 1,000 years to this day.

Since St Liborius died in the arms of his friend St Martin of Tours, he is looked to as a patron of a good death.   Since the century he is prayed to for assistance against that gallstones that are caused by the water of the limestone area; the first account of a healing of this kind concerns the cure of Archbishop Werner von Eppstein, who came on pilgrimage to the saint’s shrine in 1267.   This is the origin of the saint’s attribute of three stones placed on a copy of the Bible.   In the same period he became the patron of the cathedral and the archdiocese, rather than the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Kilian, who were previously in first place.   And he is often cited as a patron of peace and understanding among peoples.   He is invoked against colic, fever, and gallstones.

As well as being shown as a bishop carrying small stones on a book, Saint Liborious is also shown with the attribute of a peacock because of a legend that, when his body was brought to Paderborn, a peacock guided the bearers.

The popularity of the saint in Paderborn is shown in the week-long yearly festival known as “Libori”, that begins on the Saturday after his local 23 July feast day but his universal memorial is today, 9 April.   Today, many parishes across the world are named after this great man and Saint, as their patron.

Posted in PATRONAGE - A HOLY DEATH & AGAINST A SUDDEN DEATH, of the DYING, DEATH of CHILDREN, DEATH of PARENTS, PATRONAGE - against EPIDEMICS, PATRONAGE - BUILDERS, CONSTRUCTION WORKERS, PATRONAGE - GARDENERS, FARMERS, PATRONAGE - POLICE, SOLDIERS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 20 January – St Sebastian (Died c 288)

Saint of the Day – 20 January – St Sebastian Martyr, Roman Soldier.  He was born in Milan and was Martyred in c 288.  Patronages – against cattle disease, against plague/epidemics and the victims, dying people, against enemies of religion, archers, armourers,arrowsmiths, athletes, bookbinders, fletchers, gardeners, gunsmiths, hardware stores,ironmongers, lace makers, lace workers, lead workers, masons, police officers, racquet makers, soldiers, stone masons, stonecutters, Pontifical Swiss Guards, Bacolod, Philippines, Diocese of, Tarlac, Philippines, Diocese of, 22 Cities.   St Sebastian was Martyred during the Roman Emperor Diocletian’s persecution of Christians.  He is commonly depicted in art and literature tied to a post or tree and shot through with arrows.   Despite this being the most common artistic depiction of Sebastian, he was rescued and healed by St Irene of Rome.   Shortly afterwards he went to Diocletian to warn him about his sins and as a result, was clubbed to death.   The details of Saint Sebastian’s Martyrdom were first spoken of by the 4th Century Bishop, the beloved and revered Doctor of the Church St  Ambrose in his sermon (number 22) on Psalm 118.   St Ambrose stated that Sebastian came from Milan and that he was already venerated there at that time.

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Although there is no doubt that there was a Roman martyr named Sebastian and that devotion to him dates back to the fourth century, the earliest surviving life of the saint was written a century or more after his death.   According to this story Sebastian was a Praetorian, a member of an elite troop of soldiers who served as the emperor’s bodyguard.   When Emperor Diocletian began his persecution of the Church, Sebastian used his status to visit Christians in prison.   This was dangerous business and it was not long before he was denounced to the emperor.

Enraged that one of his own bodyguards was a Christian, Diocletian ordered the Praetorians to take Sebastian back to their camp and shoot him to death with arrows.  After performing this deadly evil on their former comrade, the Praetorians assumed that Sebastian was dead.   So did everyone else who heard of his martyrdom. sebastian statue

After sunset a Christian woman named Irene crept into the Praetorians’ camp to retrieve the body and give it a Christian burial.   As Irene and her serving woman cut Sebastian down, they heard him groan.   Incredibly, he was still alive.st-sebastian-tended-by-st-ireneRegnier, Nicolas, c.1590-1667; St Sebastian Tended by the Holy IreneSebastian

Instead of carrying him to the catacombs for burial, Irene brought Sebastian back to her house where she and her servant nursed him.   As soon as his strength returned, Sebastian went off to confront Diocletian.   He found the emperor on the steps of the imperial palace.   Furious that his former bodyguard was still alive, Diocletian demanded of his entourage, “Did I not sentence this man to be shot to death with arrows?”   But Sebastian answered for the emperor’s courtiers.   He had been made a target for archers, “But the Lord kept me alive so I could return and rebuke you for treating the servants of Christ so cruelly.”

This time the emperor took no chances, he ordered his guard to beat Sebastian to death there on the palace steps, while he watched.   800px-tytgadt_-_martyrs_death_of_st_sebastian1

Once he was certain that Sebastian truly was dead, Diocletian had the martyr’s body dumped into the Cloaca Maxima, Rome’s main sewer.   Nonetheless, Christians recovered it and buried Sebastian in a catacomb known ever since as San Sebastiano.RomaSanSebastianosebastian - Andrea Boscoli

Posted in PATRONAGE - A HOLY DEATH & AGAINST A SUDDEN DEATH, of the DYING, DEATH of CHILDREN, DEATH of PARENTS, PATRONAGE - IN-LAW PROBLEMS, PATRONAGE - WIDOWS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 4 January – St Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774-1821)

Saint of the Day – 4 January – St Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774-1821) (also known as Mother Seton) Widow and Mother, Religious, Foundress, Teacher, first native-born citizen of the United States to be Canonised on 14 September 1975 by Pope Paul VI.   She was born on 28 August 1774 in New York City, New York, USA as Elizabeth Ann Bayley – 4 January 1821 in Emmitsburg, Maryland of natural causes.  Patronages – • against in-law problems• against the death of children• against the death of parents• Apostleship of the Sea (two of her sons worked on the sea)• opposition of Church authorities• people ridiculed for their piety• Shreveport, Louisiana, Diocese of• widows.   She established the first Catholic girls’ school in the nation in Emmitsburg, Maryland, where she also founded the first American congregation of religious sisters, the Sisters of Charity.

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Mother Seton is one of the keystones of the American Catholic Church.   She founded the first American religious community for women, the Sisters of Charity.   She opened the first American parish school and established the first American Catholic orphanage.   All this she did in the span of 46 years while raising her five children.

Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton is a true daughter of the American Revolution, born August 28, 1774, just two years before the Declaration of Independence.   By birth and marriage, she was linked to the first families of New York and enjoyed the fruits of high society. Reared a staunch Episcopalian, she learned the value of prayer, Scripture and a nightly examination of conscience.   Her father, Dr Richard Bayley, did not have much use for churches but was a great humanitarian, teaching his daughter to love and serve others.st E A SETON 2

The early deaths of her mother in 1777 and her baby sister in 1778 gave Elizabeth a feel for eternity and the temporariness of the pilgrim life on earth  . Far from being brooding and sullen, she faced each new “holocaust,” as she put it, with hopeful cheerfulness.   At 19, Elizabeth was the belle of New York and married a handsome, wealthy businessman, William Magee Seton.   They had five children before his business failed and he died of tuberculosis.   At 30, Elizabeth was widowed, penniless, with five small children to support.

While in Italy with her dying husband, Elizabeth witnessed Catholicity in action through family friends.   Three basic points led her to become a Catholic:  belief in the Real Presence, devotion to the Blessed Mother and conviction that the Catholic Church led back to the apostles and to Christ.   Many of her family and friends rejected her when she became a Catholic in March 1805.

To support her children, she opened a school in Baltimore.   From the beginning, her group followed the lines of a religious community, which was officially founded in 1809.f607fe8df5569d4f21ff7e7d13d22852--elizabeth-ann-seton-patron-saints (1)4c81c022a8d462572b891dd436c9aea9--elizabeth-ann-seton-catholic-saints

The thousand or more letters of Mother Seton reveal the development of her spiritual life from ordinary goodness to heroic sanctity.   She suffered great trials of sickness, misunderstanding, the death of loved ones (her husband and two young daughters) and the heartache of a wayward son.   She died 4 January 1821 and became the first American-born citizen to be beatified (1963) and then canonised (1975).   She is buried in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

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