Posted in PATRONAGE - EMMIGRANTS / IMMIGRANTS, PATRONAGE - HOSPITALS, NURSES, NURSING ASSOCIATIONS, PATRONAGE - ORPHANS,ABANDONED CHILDREN, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 22 December – St Frances Xavier Cabrini (1850-1917) Virgin,

Saint of the Day – 22 December – St Frances Xavier Cabrini (1850-1917) Virgin, Religious Sister, Missionary, Founder. Patronages – against malaria, emigrants, immigrants (given on 8 September 1950 by Pope Pius XII) hospital administrators, orphans.

St Frances Xavier Cabrini
From the Roman Breviary

Frances Cabrini, who later took the name of Xavier because of her desire to imitate the Apostle of the Indies, was born in the Town of Sant’ Angelo in the Diocese of Lodi in 1850. Her parents were holy and respectable people. Aided by divine grace, she had attained, even as a child, to a very high degree of union with God and was already given to the practice of austerities. When she was seven years old, the custom of listening before evening prayers, to readings from a magazine concerning missionary work in China, filled her with an ardent desire to go there, in order to win souls for God. She was hardly thirteen years old, when she took a vow of perpetual Virginity. From that time, the all-absorbing thought of her soul was how to return love, for love ,to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and thus bring some consolation to Him, in His sufferings and distress.

After the successful completion of her studies she resolved to embrace the religious life. Twice she applied for admission and each time was refused, on the ground of poor health. She then taught for some years in the public school, with a considerable measure of success. Thereafter, she was appointed by the Bishop of Lodi, as the directress of an orphanage, in which position, she displayed such prudence and zeal, especially in the Christian education of girls that the same Bishop urged her to found a new religious congregation which would principally be devoted, to the missions.

She undertook this difficult assignment with great courage and in 1880, in the Chapel of our Lady of Grace at Codogno, laid the foundation of the Institute of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart. She then sought from the Holy See, the approval of the Rules and Constitutions of the new Institute. This having been achieved, she laboured with all zeal, to imbue the new sisterhood with the same spirit of love of God and neighboir ,which she, herself had drawn, in copious draughts ,from the fountain of the Sacred Heart.

The expansion of this new religious family to include sixty-seven foundations in Europe and America, testifies to the extraordinary character and skill of its wise and saintly ruler. She had, moreover ,a mind to establish missions in more remote lands and being in doubt, concerning God’s will in the matter, she followed the advice of Pope Leo XIII and turned to the West.

It was to these western shores of both Americas, that large multitudes of Italians had emigrated, in order to find employment because they were unable to exist in their own land. The condition of the Italian immigrants was then very poor and Frances sought to alleviate it. It was the love of Christ that urged her to take up this work, so wholeheartedly and so courageously. No labour could overcome her, no danger could frighten her. Her intrepid and undaunted spirit braved the rough and dangerous voyages across the ocean, twenty-four times!

She travelled over the length and breadth of America, establishing everywhere, hospitals, schools, houses of rest, nurseries, orphanges and other institutions, in order to promote the material livelihood but above all the spiritual well-being of the working class. By such charitable endeavours, she won the hearts of her fellow-countrymen and so, came to be called the Mother of the Italians.

She exerted every effort to accomplish the work she had in mind and her zeal could brook no delay. Placing her complete confidence in Divine Providence, she took as her motto that saying of Paul: “I can do all things in Him Who strengtheneth me.

Her heart was consecrated to God by a perpetual union with Him, so that even amid the most absorbing occupations, her mind never lost track of heavenly things. All she met with, on her various journeys, were like so many stepping-stones, by which her soul ascended to God.

She had the greatest veneration for the Roman Pontiff and the Apostolic See and saw in the laws of the Church, norms of conduct that give one the greatest sense of security. She cultivated a childlike love for the Blessed Virgin Mary and often used to say, that Mary was the Mother and Foundress of her Institute.

Finally her life, extraordinary by reason of its integrity and labours for God, came to an end at Chicago, on 22 December 1917. Later her body was translated to New York. She was solemnly Beatified by Pope Pius XI, whereas Pope Pius XII, after new miracles were performed, solemnly added her name to the list of holy Virgins.

Inspired by the grace of God, we join the Saints in honouring the holy Virgin Frances Xavier Cabrini. She was a humble woman who became outstanding, not because she was famous or rich or powerful but because, she lived a virtuous life. From the tender years of her youth, she kept her innocence as white as a lily and preserved it carefully, with the thorns of penitence. As the years progressed, she was moved by a certain instinct and supernatural zeal, to dedicate her whole life to the service and greater glory of God.
She welcomed delinquent youths into safe homes and taught them to live upright and holy lives. She consoled those who were in prison and recalled to them, the hope of eternal life. She encouraged prisoners to reform themselves and to live honest lives. She comforted the sick and the infirm in the hospitals and diligently cared for them. She extended a friendly and helping hand especially to immigrants and offered them necessary shelter and relief, for having left their homeland behind, they were wandering about in a foreign land with no place to turn for help. Because of their condition, she saw that they were in danger of deserting the practice of Christian virtues and their Catholic faith.
Undoubtedly she accomplished all this through the faith which was always so vibrant and alive in her heart, through the divine love which burned within her and finally, through constant prayer, by which she was so closely united with God, from Whom she humbly asked and obtained, whatever her human weakness could not obtain.
Although her constitution was very frail, her spirit was endowed with such singular strength that, knowing the will of God in her regard, she permitted nothing to impede her from accomplishing what seemed beyond her strength.”
– From his sermon at the Canonisation of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini by Pope Pius XII.

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Posted in PATRONAGE - against ALCOHOLISM, of ALCOHOLICS, PATRONAGE - HOSPITALS, NURSES, NURSING ASSOCIATIONS, PATRONAGE - MENTAL ILLNESS, PATRONAGE - THE SICK, THE INFIRM, ALL ILLNESS, PATRONAGE - WRITERS, PRINTERS, PUBLISHERS, EDITORS, etc, SAINT of the DAY, YouTube VIDEOS

Saint of the Day – 8 March – St John of God OH (1495-1550)

Saint of the Day – 8 March – St John of God OH (1495-1550)

“All things pass, only good works last”

Miracles of St John of God

During his lifetime, St John of God accomplished miracles both small and large.   Daily he went out into the streets of Granada, providing help for the poor, the sick and the mentally disturbed.   He would often give the cloak off his back to someone who had no cloak.   The home he rented was a place of refuge for many.st  john of god.jpeg

According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary a miracle is defined as, “an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs,” and “an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing or accomplishment.”

St John’s daily activities of providing a place for unwanted people to feel loved and safe can be described as daily, small miracles for the people who needed help.   In the book Saints for Sinners by Alban Goodier, he writes about St John. “He could wash his patients and dress their sores;  he could kiss their feet and let them feel that somebody cared;  he could put them to bed and give them a sense of home.”st john of god 3.jpg

Keep in the mind, that the Granada of St John’s time was not the modern city it is today. Roads were unpaved and people walked everywhere.   Their feet were most likely the dirtiest parts of their bodies.   By kissing them, St John imitated Jesus’s actions toward His disciples and showed complete humility and compassion for these individuals.
St John lived out the commands of our Saviour to love one another and to love your neighbour as yourself.   Jesus says in Matthew 26:40, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

Despite his earnest desire to serve Christ, St John faced oppression and had enemies who did not believe he was sincere in his service.   He would often care for his patients during the day and beg for alms at night.   Even though he faced hardships, his needs were always met and God always provided for his cause (another miracle).
Perhaps the grandest and best known of St John of God’s miracles was his rescuing of the patients from a fire in the hospital of Granada and yet escaping from the flames unscathed.   For this reason, he is the patron saint of firefighters.

Considered an impulsive man, one night, St John heard that the Royal Hospital of Granada was on fire.   When he rushed to the scene, he saw that people were just standing there watching the fire burn  . All the patients were inside the burning building. This non-action was unthinkable to St John and he rushed inside, leading all the patients to safety.
Once he knew that all the patients were safe, St John ran back into the building and started throwing items such as blankets and mattresses out the windows of the hospital. In his mission, St. John knew the importance of these goods for caring for the sick.   He wanted to salvage as much as possible.

By this point, the city had brought a canon to try to destroy and separate the burning part of the hospital from the non-burning portion, in its best efforts to contain the fire. However, St John could not accept this.   He ran up to the roof and started separating the two parts of the hospital with his axe.

Although he was successful, he fell through the burning roof.   Bystanders thought he had perished in the fire, until he appeared out of the smoke and ashes unharmed.
In an essay titled “St John of God, Founder of the Order of Charity,” written by Fr Francis Xavier Weninger in 1877, Weninger wrote, “The flame of Divine love which burned in his heart surpassed the intensity of the material fire.”st john of god - beautiful statue.jpg

In addition to performing great miracles, St John of God was also the recipient of divine intervention and spiritual favours.   Throughout his lifetime, he received assistance from heavenly beings including the Holy Mother and the Archangel Raphael.   His name of St John of God comes from a vision he had of the infant Jesus, who bestowed the name upon him.

Another time, St John experienced a heavenly vision when he found a dying beggar on the streets of Granada.   St John carried the man to the hospital and began washing the beggar’s feet.   While doing so, the man became transfigured with a shining light and brightness enveloped both himself and St John.   Later as St John was walking through the hospital alone, patients saw such a bright light surrounding him that they thought he was on fire.   He had a difficult time convincing the patients that all was well.

St John of God of was Canonised by Pope Alexander VIII on 16 October 1690, over 140 years after his death.   Today he remains the patron saint of hospitals, the sick, nurses, firefighters, alcoholics and booksellers.   His legacy and miracles live on through the Hospitaller Brothers and all of the good works they are accomplishing in our world today.   His Order looks after the Holy Father and the Vatican Household too.john of God - san-juan-de-dios-manuel-caro.jpg

The Museum of St John of God in Granada

Posted in PATRONAGE - BEGGARS, the POOR, against POVERTY, PATRONAGE - DOMESTIC ANIMALS, PATRONAGE - GARDENERS, FARMERS, PATRONAGE - HOSPITALS, NURSES, NURSING ASSOCIATIONS, PATRONAGE - MENTAL ILLNESS, PATRONAGE - of PILGRIMS, PATRONAGE - PRISONERS, PATRONAGE - THE SICK, THE INFIRM, ALL ILLNESS, PATRONAGE - TRAVELLERS / MOTORISTS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 17 March – St Gertrude of Nivelles O.S.B. (626-659)

Saint of the Day – 17 March – St Gertrude of Nivelles O.S.B. (626-659) was a 7th-century Religious Abbess who, with her mother Itta, founded the Abbey of Nivelles located in present-day Belgium.   She was born in 626 at Landen, Belgium and died on 17 March 659 at Nivelles, Belgium of natural causes.   Patronages – against fear of mice and rates, against suriphobia, fever, mental disorders, insanity, of cats, of gardeners, innkeepers, hospitals, the mentally ill, pilgrims, travellers, suriphobics, sick, poor, prisoners, Landen, Belgium, Nivelles, Belgium, Wattenscheid, Germany.   Attributes – a nun with a crosier, with cats, with mice, a woman spinning.st gertrude of nivelles - patron of cats.2Nivelles_JPG00_(1)

Our Saint was born at Landen, Belgium in 626 and died at Nivelles, 659;  she was just thirty-three, the same age as Our Lord.   Both her parents, Pepin of Landen and Itta were held to be holy by those who knew them;  her sister Begga is numbered among the Saints.   On her husband’s death in 640, Itta founded a Benedictine monastery at Nivelles, which is near Brussels and appointed Gertrude its abbess when she reached twenty, tending to her responsibilities well, with her mother’s assistance and following her in giving encouragement and help to monks, particularly Irish ones, to do missionary work in the locale.nivelles

Saint Gertrude’s piety was evident even when she was as young as ten, when she turned down the offer of a noble marriage, declaring that she would not marry him or any other suitor:  Christ alone would be her bridegroom.

She was known for her hospitality to pilgrims and her aid to missionary monks.   She gave land to one monk so that he could build a monastery at Fosse.   By her early thirties Gertrude had become so weakened by the austerity of abstaining from food and sleep that she had to resign her office and spent the rest of her days studying Scripture and doing penance.   It is said that on the day before her death she sent a messenger to Fosse, asking the superior if he knew when she would die.st-gertrude-of-nivelles6xgertrude nivelles

His reply indicated that death would come the next day during holy Mass-the prophecy was fulfilled.   Her feast day is observed by gardeners, who regard fine weather on that day as a sign to begin spring planting.

Devotion to St. Gertrude became widely spread in the Lowlands and neighbouring countries.

Commonly seen running up her pastoral staff or cloak are hopeful-looking mice representing Souls in Purgatory, to which she had an intense devotion, just as with St Gertrude the Great.   Even as recently as 1822, offerings of mice made of gold and silver were left at her shrine.   Another patronage is to travellers on the high seas.   It is held that one sailor, suffering misfortune while under sail, prayed to the Saint and was delivered safely.

Just before her death in 659, Gertrude instructed the nuns at Nivelles to bury her in an old veil left behind by a travelling pilgrimess and Gertrude’s own hair shirt.   Gertrude’s choice of burial clothing is a pattern in medieval hagiography as an expression of humility and piety.   Her death and the image of her weak and humble figure is in fact a critical point in her biographer’s narrative.   Her monastery also benefited from this portrayal because the hair cloth and veil in which Gertrude was interred became relics.  At Nivelles, her relics were only publicly displayed for feast days, Easterand other holy days.

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Shrine of St Gertrude of Nivelles, originally made in 1272-1298; this reproduction, in the Pushkin Museum, was cast from the original.   In 1940, a German bomb smashed the original reliquary into 337 fragments.   It was subsequently rebuilt.

Posted in MARTYRS, PATRONAGE - BREAST CANCER, BREAST DISEASES, PATRONAGE - HOSPITALS, NURSES, NURSING ASSOCIATIONS, PATRONAGE - RAPE VICTIMS, PATRONAGE - SINGLE LAYWOMEN, PATRONAGE - STORMS, EARTHQUAKES, FIRES, DROUGHT / NATURAL DISASTERS, PATRONAGE-INFERTILITY & SAFE CHILDBIRTH, SAINT of the DAY, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS

Saint of the Day – 5 February – St Agatha (c 231- c 251) Virgin and Martyr

Saint of the Day – 5 February – St Agatha (c 231- c 251) Virgin and Martyr.   St Agatha was born at Catania or Palermo, Sicily and she was martyred in approximately 251 at Catania, Sicily by being rolled on coals.   She is one of seven women, who, along with the Blessed Virgin Mary, are commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass.   Patronages – against breast cancer, against breast disease, against earthquakes, against eruptions of Mount Etna, against fire, against natural disasters, against sterility, against volcanic eruptions, of bell-founders, fire prevention, jewellers, martyrs, nurses, rape victims, single laywomen, torture victims, wet-nurses, Malta, San Marino, 64 Cities.

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One of the most highly venerated virgin martyrs of Christian antiquity, Agatha was put to death during the persecution of Decius (250–253) in Catania, Sicily, for her determined profession of faith.   Her written legend comprises “straightforward accounts of interrogation, torture, resistance and triumph which constitute some of the earliest hagiographic literature”.   Although the martyrdom of Saint Agatha is authenticated and her veneration as a saint had spread beyond her native place even in antiquity, there is no reliable information concerning the details of her death.

According to Jacobus de Voragine, Golden Legend of c 1288, having dedicated her virginity to God, fifteen-year-old Agatha, from a rich and noble family, rejected the amorous advances of the low-born Roman prefect Quintianus, who then persecuted her for her Christian faith.   He sent Agatha to Aphrodisia, the keeper of a brothel.   The madam finding her intractable, Quintianus sent for her, argued, threatened and finally had her put in prison.   Amongst the tortures she underwent was the cutting off of her breasts with pincers.

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After further dramatic confrontations with Quintianus, represented in a sequence of dialogues in her passio that document her fortitude and steadfast devotion, Saint Agatha was then sentenced to be burnt at the stake but an earthquake saved her from that fate; instead, she was sent to prison where St Peter the Apostle appeared to her and healed her wounds. Saint Agatha died in prison, according to the Legenda Aurea in “the year of our Lord two hundred and fifty-three in the time of Decius, the emperor of Rome.”

Saint Agatha is a patron saint of Malta, where in 1551 her intercession through a reported apparition to a Benedictine nun is said to have saved Malta from Turkish invasion.   Agatha is the patron saint of bell-founders because of the shape of her severed breasts and also of bakers, whose loaves were blessed at her feast day.   More recently, she has been venerated as patron saint of breast cancer patients. She is claimed as the patroness of Palermo.   The year after her death, the stilling of an eruption of Mt. Etna was attributed to her intercession.   As a result, apparently, people continued to ask her prayers for protection against fire.

Agatha is buried at the Badia di Sant’Agata, Catania.   She is listed in the late 6th-century Martyrologium Hieronymianum associated with Jerome and the Synaxarion, the calendar of the church of Carthage, ca. 530.438px-Catania's_duomo_and_balloons

Two early churches were dedicated to her in Rome, notably the Church of Sant’Agata dei Goti in Via Mazzarino, a titular church with apse mosaics of c 460 and traces of a fresco cycle, overpainted by Gismondo Cerrini in 1630.   Agatha is also depicted in the mosaics of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, where she appears, richly dressed, in the procession of female martyrs along the north wall.

Basques have a tradition of gathering on Saint Agatha’s Eve (Basque: Santa Ageda bezpera) and going round the village. Homeowners can choose to hear a song about her life, accompanied by the beats of their walking sticks on the floor or a prayer for the household’s deceased.   After that, the homeowner donates food to the chorus.[25] This song has varying lyrics according to the local tradition and the Basque language.

An annual festival to commemorate the life of Saint Agatha takes place in Catania, Sicily, from February 3 to 5.   The festival culminates in a great all-night procession through the city for which hundreds of thousands of the city’s residents turn out.catania_i_cannalori

St Agatha’s Tower is a former Knight’s stronghold located in the north west of Malta.  The seventeenth-century tower served as a military base during both World Wars and was used as a radar station by the Maltese army.

Burial of St Agatha, by Giulio Campi, 1537
Burial of St Agatha, by Giulio Campi, 1537

Posted in ADVENT, PATRONAGE - EMMIGRANTS / IMMIGRANTS, PATRONAGE - HOSPITALS, NURSES, NURSING ASSOCIATIONS, PATRONAGE - ORPHANS,ABANDONED CHILDREN, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 22 December – St Frances Xavier Cabrini M.S.C. (1850-1917)

Saint of the Day – 22 December – St Frances Xavier Cabrini M.S.C.   RELIGIOUS AND FOUNDRESS – Born Francesca Saverio Cabrini on 15 July 1850 – 22 December 1917), also called Mother Cabrini, was an Italian-American religious sister, who founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, that was a major support to the Italian immigrants to the United States. She was the first naturalised citizen of the United States to be canonised on 7 July 1946.   Additional Memorial – 13 November (in the United States).   Patronages – • against malaria • emigrants, immigrants (given on 8 September 1950 by Pope Pius XII) • hospital administrators • orphans.frances xavier cabrini

This saint, the first United States citizen to be canonised, was born in Italy of parents who were farmers.   She was the thirteenth child, born when her mother was fifty-two years old.   The missionary spirit was awakened in her as a little girl when her father read stories of the missions to his children.   She received a good education and at eighteen was awarded the normal school certificate.mothercabrini2a-2-1-web

For a while she helped the pastor teach catechism and visited the sick and the poor.   She also taught school in a nearby town and for six years supervised an orphanage assisted by a group of young women.   The bishop of Lodi heard of this group and asked Frances to establish a missionary institute to work in his diocese.   Frances did so, calling the community the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart.   An academy for girls was opened and new houses quickly sprang up.

One day Bishop Scalabrini, founder of the Missionaries of Emigration, described to Mother Cabrini the wretched economical and spiritual conditions of the many Italian immigrants in the United States and she was deeply moved.   An audience with Pope Leo XIII changed her plans to go to the missions of the East. “Not to the East, but to the West,” the Pope said to her. “Go to the United States.”   Mother Cabrini no longer hesitated.   She landed in New York in 1889, established an orphanage and then set out on a lifework that comprised the alleviation of every human need.   For the children she erected schools, kindergartens, clinics, orphanages and foundling homes and numbers of hospitals for the needy sick.   At her death over five thousand children were receiving care in her charitable institutions and at the same time her community had grown to five hundred members in seventy houses in North and South America, France, Spain and England.

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St Frances, frail and diminutive of stature, showed such energy and enterprise that everyone marvelled.   She crossed the Atlantic twenty-five times to visit the various houses and institutions.   In 1909 she adopted the United States as her country and became a citizen.   After thirty-seven years of unflagging labour and heroic charity she died alone in a chair in Columbus Hospital at Chicago, Illinois, while making dolls for orphans in preparation for a Christmas party.   Cardinal Mundelein of Chicago officiated at her funeral and in 1938 also presided at her beatification by Pius XI.   She was canonised by Pius XII in 1946.   She lies buried under the altar of the chapel of Mother Cabrini High School in New York City.1113frances8

Posted in PATRONAGE - BEGGARS, the POOR, against POVERTY, PATRONAGE - CHARITABLE SOCIETIES, PATRONAGE - CHEFS and/or BAKERS, CONFECTIONERS, PATRONAGE - HOSPITALS, NURSES, NURSING ASSOCIATIONS, PATRONAGE - WIDOWS, QUOTES on CHARITY, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 17 November – St Elizabeth of Hungary (1207-1231)

Saint of the Day – 17 November – St Elizabeth of Hungary TOSF (1207-1231) Princess, Widow member of the Third Order of the Franciscans, Mother, Apostle of the poor, the sick, the needy..  Also known as St Elizabeth of Thuringia.   Born in 1207 at Presburg, Hungary – 1231 at Marburg, Germany of natural causes.   Her relics, including her skull wearing a gold crown she had worn in life, are preserved at the convent of Saint Elizabeth in Vienna, Austria.   Patronages – hospitals, nurses, bakers, brides, countesses, dying children, exiles, homeless people, lace-makers, widows. all Catholic charities and the Third Order of Saint Francis.   She was Canonised on 27 May 1235 by Pope Gregory IX at Perugia, Italy. HEADER - Marcos da Cruz - st elizabeth

Elizabeth was born in 1207.   Her father was Alexander II, the King of Hungary.   Her marriage was arranged when she was just a child and at age four, she was sent to Thuringia for education and eventual marriage.   When she was 14, she married Louis of Thuringia.   They loved each other deeply.elizabeth-of-hungary-spinning-for-poor-marianne-stokes_1895

Elizabeth went out with loaves of bread to feed those who were poor.   Her husband saw her and took hold of her cape to see what she was carrying. What he saw was roses rather than bread!   Because of this, she is also known as the patroness of bakers.   Louis supported her in all she did to relieve the sufferings of those who were poor or sick.   But Louis’s mother, Sophia, his brother and other members of court resented Elizabeth’s generosity.   She was taunted and mocked by the royal family but deeply loved by the common people.   Louis loved her and defended her.   They had three children.

In 1227, after six years of marriage, Louis went to fight in the Crusades.   He died on the way.   Elizabeth was grief stricken.   Her in-laws accused her of mismanaging the finances of the kingdom, forcing her and her children out of the palace.   For a while, they found refuge only in barns.   Finally, they were taken in by her uncle, the bishop of Bamberg.   When her husband’s friends returned from the Crusades, they helped restore her to her rightful place in the palace.   Elizabeth increased her service to others.   She was 24 when she died.

She was canonised only four years later.   Elizabeth is symbolized by a triple crown—for roles as a member of royalty, as a mother, and as a saint, crowned in heaven. Canonization of St Elisabeth of Hungary in 1235

Elisabeth-Kirche Marburg
Elisabeth-Kirche Marburg

Posted in INCORRUPTIBLES, PATRONAGE - CHARITABLE SOCIETIES, PATRONAGE - HOSPITALS, NURSES, NURSING ASSOCIATIONS, PATRONAGE - LOST KEYS/LOST ARTICLES, PATRONAGE - PRISONERS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 27 September – St Vincent de Paul CM (1581-1660) Confessor

Saint of the Day – 27 September – St Vincent de Paul CM (1581-1660) Confessor, known as the  “Great Apostle of Trumpets” – Priest, Founder, Apostle of Charity, Doctor of Canon Law, Reformer of Society and Priests, founder of Hospital and Orphanages.   Born on 24 April 1581 near Ranquine, Gascony near Dax, southwest France – the Town is now known as Saint-Vincent-de-Paul, Landes, France  and died on  27 September 1660 at Paris, France of natural causes.   His body was found incorrupt when exhumed in 1712 and the incorrupt heart is displayed in a reliquary in the Chapel of the Motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity in Paris.  St Vincent was Beatified on 13 August 1729 by Pope Benedict XIII and Canonised on 16 June 1737 by Pope Clement XII.   Patronages – lepers; against leprosy, all charitable societies (given on 12 May 1885 by Pope Leo XIII),  charitable workers; volunteers, horses, hospital workers, hospitals, lost articles, prisoners, for spiritual help, Madagascar, Brothers of Charity, Richmond, Virginia, diocese of, Saint Vincent de Paul Societies, Sisters of Charity, Vincentian Service Corps.   Attributes – 16th century cleric performing some act of charity, cleric carrying an infant, priest surrounded by the Sisters of Charity, cannon ball and sword (referring to prisoners of war he ransomed).

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St Vincent was born of poor parents in the village of Pouy in Gascony, France, about 1580.  He enjoyed his first schooling under the Franciscan Fathers at Acqs.   Such had been his progress in four years that a gentleman chose him as subpreceptor to his children and he was thus enabled to continue his studies without being a burden to his parents.
In 1596, he went to the University of Toulouse for theological studies, and there he was ordained priest in 1600.

In 1605, on a voyage by sea from Marseilles to Narbonne, he fell into the hands of African pirates and was carried as a slave to Tunis.   His captivity lasted about two years, until Divine Providence enabled him to effect his escape.

After a brief visit to Rome he returned to France, where he became preceptor in the family of Emmanuel de Gondy, Count of Goigny, and General of the galleys of France.   In 1617, he began to preach missions, and in 1625, he lay the foundations of a congregation which afterward became the Congregation of the Mission or Lazarists, so named on account of the Priory of St. Lazarus, which the Fathers began to occupy in 1633.vincent-Moutiersst vincent de paul 3.vincents_heart

The deathbed confession of a dying servant opened Vincent de Paul’s eyes to the crying spiritual needs of the peasantry of France.   This seems to have been a crucial moment in the life of the man from a small farm in Gascony, France, who had become a priest with little more ambition than to have a comfortable life.

The Countess de Gondi–whose servant he had helped–persuaded her husband to endow and support a group of able and zealous missionaries who would work among poor tenant farmers and country people in general.   Vincent was too humble to accept leadership at first but after working for some time in Paris among imprisoned galley slaves, he returned to be the leader of what is now known as the Congregation of the Mission, or the Vincentians.   These priests, with vows of poverty, chastity, obedience, and stability, were to devote themselves entirely to the people in smaller towns and villages.

It would be impossible to enumerate all the works of this servant of God.   Charity was his predominant virtue.   It extended to all classes of persons, from forsaken childhood to old age.   The Sisters of Charity also owe the foundation of their congregation to St. Vincent.   In the midst of the most distracting occupations his soul was always intimately united with God.   Though honoured by the great ones of the world, he remained deeply rooted in humility.   The Apostle of Charity, the immortal Vincent de Paul, breathed his last in Paris at the age of eighty in 1660.

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St Vincent De Paul is among the Incorruptibles.  The Incorruptibles are Catholic Saints who’s bodies show no decay after their death.   The Incorruptibles are a consoling sign of Christ’s victory over death, a confirmation of the dogma of the Resurrection of the Body, a sign that the Saints are still with us in the Mystical Body of Christ, as well as a proof of the truth of the Catholic Faith – for only in the Catholic Church do we find this phenomenon.Vincent-de-Paul_body

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Reliquary containing St Vincent’s incorrupt heart

Posted in PATRONAGE - HOSPITALS, NURSES, NURSING ASSOCIATIONS, PATRONAGE - NAPLES, PATRONAGE - THE SICK, THE INFIRM, ALL ILLNESS, SACRED and IMMACULATE HEARTS

Saint of the Day – 14 July – St Camillus de Lellis MI (1550-1614) Confessor, “The Giant of Charity.”

Saint of the Day – 14 July – St Camillus de Lellis MI (1550-1614) Confessor, Priest and Founder, Apostle of the Sick,  ((25 May 1550 at Bocchiavico, Abruzzi, Naples, Italy – 14 July 1614 at Genoa, Italy of natural causes).   He was Canonised on 29 June 1746 by Pope Benedict XIV.  Patronages –  against illness, sickness or bodily ills; sick people (proclaimed on 22 June 22 1886 by Pope Leo XIII), hospitals, hospital workers, nurses, Abruzzi, Italy.

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Founder of the Order of Clerks Regular, Ministers of the Infirm (abbreviated as M.I.), better known as the Camillians.
His experience in wars led him to establish a group of health care workers who would assist soldiers on the battlefield.   The large, red cross on their cassock remains a symbol of the Congregation today.   Camillians continue to identify themselves with this emblem on their habits, a symbol universally recognized today as the sign of charity and service. This was the original Red Cross, hundreds of years before the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement was formed.

During the Battle of Canizza in 1601, while Camillians were helping with the wounded, the tent in which they were tending to the sick and in which they had all of their equipment and supplies was completely destroyed and burned to the ground.   Everything in the tent was destroyed except the red cross of a religious habit belonging to one of the Camillians who was ministering to the wounded on the battlefield.   This event was taken by the Camillans to manifest divine approval of the Red Cross of St Camillus.

Members of the Order also devoted themselves to victims of Bubonic plague.   It was due to the efforts of the brothers and supernatural healings by de Lellis that the people of Rome credited de Lellis with ridding the city of a great plague and the subsequent famine.   For a time, he became known as the “Saint of Rome”.

De Lellis’ concern for the proper treatment of the sick extended to the end of their lives. He had come to be aware of the many cases of people being buried alive, due to haste and ordered that the Brothers of his Order wait fifteen minutes past the moment when the patient seemed to have drawn his last breath, in order to avoid this.   St Camillus Church and Museum in Italy http://himetop.wikidot.com/camillus-de-lellis-church-and-museum

Camillus de Lellis was born on May 25, 1550, at Bucchianico (now in Abruzzo, then part of the Kingdom of Naples).   His mother, Camilla Compelli de Laureto, was nearly fifty when she gave birth to him.   His father was an officer in both the Neapolitan and French royal armies and was seldom home.   De Lellis had his father’s temper and, due to her age and retiring nature, his mother felt unable to control him as he grew up.   She died in 1562.   As a consequence he grew up neglected by the family members who took him in after her death.   Tall for his age, at 16 De Lellis joined his father in the Venetian army and fought in a war against the Turks.

After a number of years of military service, his regiment was disbanded in 1575.   De Lellis was then forced to work as a labourer at the Capuchin friary at Manfredonia;  he was constantly plagued, however, by a leg wound he received while in the army, which would not heal.   Despite his aggressive nature and excessive gambling, the guardian of the friary saw a better side to his nature and continually tried to bring that out in him. Eventually the friar’s exhortations penetrated his heart and he had a religious conversion in 1575.   He then entered the novitiate of the Capuchin friars.   His leg wound, however, had continued to plague him and was declared incurable by the physicians, thus he was denied admission to that Order.

He then moved to Rome where he entered the Hospital of St. James (possibly founded by the Hospitaller Knights of St. James), which cared for incurable cases.  He himself became a caregiver at the hospital and later its Director.   In the meantime, he continued to follow a strict ascetic life, performing many penances, such as constant wearing of a hairshirt.   He took as his spiritual director and confessor, the popular local priest, Philip Neri, who was himself to found a religious congregation and be declared a saint.

De Lellis began to observe the poor attention the sick received from the staff of the hospital.   He was led to invite a group of pious men to express their faith through the care of the patients at the hospital.   Eventually he felt called to establish a religious community for this purpose and that he should seek Holy Orders for this task.   Neri, his confessor, gave him approval for this endeavour and a wealthy donor provided him with the income necessary to undertake his seminary studies.

He was ordained on Pentecost of 1584 by Lord Thomas Goldwell, Bishop of St Asaph, Wales and the last surviving Catholic bishop of Great Britain.   Camillus then retired from his service at the hospital and he and his companions moved to the Hospital of the Holy Ghost, where they assumed responsibility for the care of the patients there.

In 1586 Pope Sixtus V gave the group formal recognition as a congregation and assigned them the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Rome, which they still maintain.   In 1588 they expanded to Naples and in 1594 St Camillus led his Religious to Milan where they attended to the sick of the Ca’ Granda, the main hospital of the city.   A memorial tablet in the main courtyard of the Ca’ Granda commemorates his presence there.

Pope Gregory XV raised the Congregation to the status of an Order, equivalent with the mendicant orders, in 1591.   At that time they established a fourth religious vow unique to their Order: “to serve the sick, even with danger to one’s own life.”

Throughout his life De Lellis’ ailments caused him suffering but he allowed no one to wait on him and would crawl to visit the sick when unable to stand and walk.   It is said that Camillus possessed the gifts of healing and prophecy.   He resigned as Superior General of the Order in 1607 but continued to serve as Vicar General of the Order.   By that time, communities of the Order had spread all throughout Italy, even as far as Hungary.   He assisted in a General Chapter of the Order in 1613, after which he accompanied the new Superior General on an inspection tour of all the hospitals of the Order in Italy.   In the course of that tour, he fell ill.   He died in Rome in 1614 and was entombed at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene.

Posted in PATRONAGE - A HOLY DEATH & AGAINST A SUDDEN DEATH, of the DYING, DEATH of CHILDREN, DEATH of PARENTS, PATRONAGE - against ALCOHOLISM, of ALCOHOLICS, PATRONAGE - HOSPITALS, NURSES, NURSING ASSOCIATIONS, PATRONAGE - MENTAL ILLNESS, PATRONAGE - WRITERS, PRINTERS, PUBLISHERS, EDITORS, etc, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 8 March – St John of God OH (1495-1550)

Saint of the Day – 8 March – St John of God OH (1495-1550) – aged 55 – Founder of the  Brothers Hospitallers of Saint John of God, a worldwide Catholic religious institute dedicated to the care of the poor, sick, and those suffering from mental disorders.  Patronages –  against alcoholism and of alcoholics, against bodily ills of all sickness and of the sick, bookbinders, booksellers, publishers and printers, of the dying, firefighters, heart patients, hospitals (proclaimed on 22 June 1886 by Pope Leo XIII), hospital workers, nurses (proclaimed in 1930 by Pope Pius XI),Tultepec, Mexico

by Pedro de Raxis,

As a 16th-century Spanish soldier, John gave up religion and led a wild life.   When he left the military at age 40, he became a shepherd.   John decided to make a radical conversion—to go to Muslim North Africa and free Christian slaves.   He saw himself dying as a martyr.   His confessor helped John settle on a more prudent plan: to open a religious bookstore in Granada, Spain.   He successfully managed this project.    It was during this period of his life that Cidade is said to have had a vision of the Infant Jesus, who bestowed on him the name by which he was later known, John of God, also directing him to go to Granada.    He then settled in that city, where he worked disseminating books, using the recent movable type printing press of Johannes Gutenberg to provide people with works of chivalry and devotional literature.

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Saint John of God by Murillo (1672)
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St John of God saving the Sick from a Fire at the Royal Hospital in 1549 by Manuel Gómez-Moreno González (1880)

At first, John begged for money to support those in need but soon people volunteered to help.   John led a life of total giving and constant prayer.   He found work for unemployed people.   When the archbishop called John to his office because people complained that John kept immoral women in his hospital, he was silenced by John’s humility.   John fell on his knees, saying, “I know of no bad person in my hospital except myself, who am unworthy to eat the bread of the poor.”   John soon had a flourishing hospital.   His helpers formed a community called the Brothers Hospitallers.

John of God died from pneumonia contracted while saving a drowning man. When John realised he was dying, he went over all the accounts, revised the rules and timetable and appointed a new leader.   He died kneeling before the altar in his hospital chapel.   John is the patron of hospitals.

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Founder Statue at the Vatican

The first biography of John of God was written by Francisco de Castro, the chaplain at John of God’s hospital in Granada, Spain.   He drew from his personal knowledge of John as a young man and also used material gathered from eyewitnesses and contemporaries of his subject.   It was published at the express wish of the Archbishop of Granada, who gave financial backing to its publication.    Castro began writing in 1579, twenty-nine years after John of God’s death but he did not live to see it published, for he died soon after completing the work.   His mother, Catalina de Castro, had the book published in 1585.

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Statue of St John of God at the Church of Vilar de Frades, Barcelos, Portugal.
The inscription reads: All things pass, only good works last.