The beloved Foster-Father and Guardian of Jesus and Protector of the Holy Family, is celebrated for this whole month and his Feast Day falls in the middle of it – 19 March – this year moved to the 20th as the 19th is Laetare Sunday, the Fourth Sunday of Lent.
“Quamquam Pluries” On the Devotion to St Joseph Pope Leo XIII
“On 10 March, [11 MARCH THIS YEAR], we begin the Novena to St Joseph, entrusting so many of our woes and cares to his holy and fatherly care and intercession. His Patronages are numerous, as we know, one of them will fit our needs perfectly and if not, then we should all ask him to intercede on our behalf for our families and for a Happy and Holy Death. On the 20th [FEAST normally 19th] we pray the Consecration to St Joseph.”
Patronages in Alphabetical Order:
of Accountants • Bursars • Cabinetmakers • Carpenters • Catholic Church • Cemetery Workers • Children • Civil Engineers • against Communism • Confectioners • Craftsmen • against Doubt and Hesitation • the Dying • Emigrants • Exiles • Expectant Mothers • Families • Fathers • Furniture Makers • Grave diggers • Happy Death • Holy Death • House Hunters • House Sellers • Immigrants • Joiners • Labourers • all the Legal Profession • Married Couples • Oblates of Saint Joseph • Orphans • Pioneers • Social Justice • Teachers • Travellers • the Unborn • Wheelwrights • Workers • Americas • Austria • Belgium • Bohemia • Canada • China • Croatian people • Korea • Mexico • New France • New World • Peru • Philippines • Vatican City • VietNam • Canadian Armed Forces • Papal States • 46 Diocese • 26 Cities,States and Regions.
Saint of the Day – 28 December – The Holy Innocents. Patronages – • against ambition•against jealousy• altar servers•babies•children• children’s choir• choir boys• orphans• students.
The Feast of the Holy Innocents By Father Francis Xavier Weninger SJ (1805-1888)
By the Holy Innocents, who are honoured as Martyrs today by the Catholic Church, we understand those happy infants, who, by the command of King Herod, were put to death, for no other cause, than that the new-born King of the Jews might be deprived of life.
When Christ was born, Herod, well known for his cruelty, reigned at Jerusalem. He was not of the Jewish nation but a foreigner and was, therefore, hated by the Jews. Herod knew this well; hence, he feared that they would dethrone him and he had several illustrious persons executed, whom he suspected of aspiring to the throne.
Meanwhile, it happened, that the three Magi or Kings from the East came to Jerusalem, to find and adore the new-born King, Who had been announced to them by a star. They doubted not that they would learn more of Him in the capital of Judea and they, therefore, asked without hesitation: “Where is He that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to adore Him.”
This question seemed very strange to the Jews and the news of it spread through the whole City, until it reached the King. His fear can hardly be described, for he already believed his crown and sceptre lost. To escape the danger in which he supposed himself, he called the chief priests and scribes together,and inquired of them, where the Messiah should be born. They answered: “In Bethlehem, according to the Prophets.” Satisfied with this answer, Herod had the three wise men brought to court and speaking very confidentially with them, he asked diligently when and where the star had appeared to them. After this, he advised them to go to Bethlehem and inquire after the new-born Child and when they had found and adored Him, to return and inform Herod, as he wished to go and adore the Child too. These words of the king, who was not less cunning than cruel, were only a deceit, as he had already resolved to kill the new-born Babe.
Meanwhile, the Magi followed the advice of the king and, guided by the star, which again appeared to them when they had left Jerusalem, went to Bethlehem, found and adored the Divine Child and offered gold, frankincense and myrrh, as we read in Holy Writ. Having finished their devotion, they intended, in accordance with king Herod’s wish, to bring him word that they had happily found the Child. An Angel, however, appeared to them in their sleep and admonished them not to return to Jerusalem but to go into their own country by another way which they accordingly did.
When Herod perceived that they had deluded him, it was too late and his rage was boundless. Hearing of what had taken place in the temple, at the Purification of Mary that the venerable Simeon had pronounced a Child which he had taken into his arms, the true Messiah, the Herod’s heart was filled with inexpressible fear and anxiety. The danger in which he was, as he imagined, of losing his crown, left him no peace day or night. He secretly gave orders to search for this Child but all was of no avail, He could not be found.
After long pondering how he might escape the danger, his unbounded ambition led him to an act of cruelty unprecedented in history. He determined to murder all the male children, in and around Bethlehem, who were not over two years of age, as he thought that thus, he could not fail to take the life of the Child so dangerous to him. This fearful design was executed amidst the despairing shrieks of the parents, especially the mothers.
How many children were thus inhumanly slaughtered is not known but the number must have been very large. Yet, the tyrant gained not his end for, the Divine Child was already in security. The Gospel tells us that an Angel appeared during the night to St Joseph, saying to him: “Arise, take the Child and His Mother and fly into Egypt and remain there until I tell thee. For, it will come to pass that Herod will seek the Child to destroy Him.” St Joseph delayed not to obey, and fled, the same night, with the Child and His Mother, into the land indicated to the Angel.
As this had happened before Herod executed his cruel determination, God thus frustrated the plot. Herod soon after, received his just punishment. Several terrible maladies suddenly seized him, as Josephus, the Jewish historian, relates. An internal fever consumed him and all his limbs were covered with abominable ulcers, breeding vermin. His feet were swollen, his neck, shoulders and arms drawn together, and his breast so burdened, that the unfortunate man could hardly breathe, while his whole body exhaled, so offensive an odour, that neither he nor others, could endure it. Hence, in despair, he frequently cried for a knife or a sword that he might end his own life. In this miserable condition, he ceased not his cruelties and only five days before his death, he had his son, Antipater, put to death.
As he had good reason to believe that the entire people would rejoice at his death, he wished at least, to take to the grave, the thought that many should grieve, if not for him, at least for their friends and relatives. Hence, he had the chief men of the nobility imprisoned and gave orders to his sister Salome that, as soon as he had closed his eyes, they were all to be murdered. This order, however, was not executed by Salome, who justly loathed its cruelty. In this lamentable condition, the cruel tyrant ended his life but began one in eternity, whose pains and torments were still more unendurable and from which he cannot hope ever to be released!
While the innocent children massacred by him, rejoice for all eternity in the glories of Heaven, giving humble thanks to God for having thus admitted them into His presence. The Catholic Church has always honoured them as Martyrs; because, although not confessing Christ with their lips, as many thousands of others have done, yet, they confessed Him with their death, by losing their lives for His sake. Amen.
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.
Saint of the Day – 13 October – St Simbert of Augsburg (Died c 809) Bishop of Augsburg, Monk, Abbot, Miracle-worker, he restored and built Churches and the Cathedral of Augsburg, as well as, contributed vastly to the reconstruction of the City after the devastation of war. Simbert – name means: on a brilliant path (old high German) Died on 13 October in c 809 of natural causes. Also known as – Simpert, Sintbert, Sinthert. He was Canonised by Pope Nicholas V. Patronages – against headaches, of children and youth of the Diocese of Augsburg and the third Patron of the Diocese.
The Roman Martyrology reads: “In Augsburg in Bavaria in Germany, St Simbert, who was Bishop and Abbot of Murbach.”
Simpert, probably the son of Duke Ambertus of Lorraine and his wife Simphorina, a sister of Charlemagne , was educated in a Monastery. King Karl, with whom he was in close contact throughout his life, appointed him Bishop of Augsburg – probably in 778 – as Bishop Tozzo ‘s successor . In documents from 798 and 799, Simpert was also referred to as Bishop of Neuburg an der Donau , in 800 he became Bishop of Neuburg. It was only between 801 and 807 that the areas of the Diocese east and west of the Lech, which had previously been separated, were united and Augsburg, once again, became the sole Episcopal See – this union was due to the great merit of Simbert.
Augsburg was badly damaged in the fighting between Bavaria and Franconia, at the time, and Simpert contributed greatly to the reconstruction of the City of Augsburg. To renovate his Diocese, he received extensive gifts and goods. In Augsburg, he had the destroyed Church of St Afra – today St. Ulrich and Afra – rebuilt and also completed the new building of the Cathedral, which he accordingly Consecrated in 807. He also founded the Cathedral school.
According to his wishes,, Simpert was buried in the Church of St Afra , which he had renovated and Consecrated. In 1064 his bones were raised and reburied. Numerous miracles occurred at his tomb. Records tell us how a mother asked for the intercession of St Simbert because a wolf had kidnapped her child. The wolf then returned the child and left it, unharmed in the Church. Simper’t’s intercession rescued a man who was about to sink in a swamp. Since the late Middle Ages, Simpert has also been revered as a Miracle-worker and regionally, as a unfailing assistant in all needs. Simpert caps were worn for headaches.
Simpert’s hagiography and reports on the miracles he performed, were written in 1230 by the Abbot of the Monastery in St. Ulrich and Afra. Emperor Maximilian I had a great devotion and veneration for him and included him in his line of ancestors. Emperor Maximillian was present as King when the bones were transferred in 1492. The large marble reclining figure above his grave, dates from 1714. The grave was opened in 1977 and an almost intact skeleton was revealed together with a copy of the biography from 1492 were found. His skull was then transferred to the St Simpert Church , which was newly built in 1978/1979 .
In 2007, Bishop Walter Mixa placed the Youth ministry of the Diocese of Augsburg and all children and young people under Simpert’s special protection and entrusted them to him as Patron Saint and advocate.
In 1450 Pope Nicholas V Canonised St Simbert and allowed Simpert to be venerated as a Saint in his burial Church of St Ulrich and Afra in Augsburg, then in 1622, Pope Gregory XV approved. his veneration in the Diocese of Augsburg and in 1624 he was appointed the third Diocesan Patron.
Saint of the Day – 20 July – St Jerome Emiliani (1486–1537) Confessor, Layman, Founder of the Somascan Fathers, Apostle of the poor, orphans, the sick, Catechist, Founder of countless Orphanages, Teaching institutions and Homes for converted street woman, Apostle of prayer. He was Beatified in 1747 by Pope Benedict XIV and Canonised in 1767 by Pope Clement XIII. Patronages – Orphans and Abandoned Children
Jerome was bora at Venice, of the patrician family of the Emiliani and from his boyhood embraced a military life. At a time when the Republic was in great difficulty, he was placed in command of Castelnovo, in the territory of Quero, in the mountains of Tarviso. The fortress was taken by the enemy and Jerome was thrown, bound hand and foot, into a horrible dungeon. When he found himself thus destitute of all human aid, he prayed most earnestly to the Blessed Virgin, who mercifully came to his assistance. She loosed his bonds and led him safely through the midst of his enemies, who had possession of every road, till he was within sight of Tarviso. He entered the town; and, in testimony of the favour he had received, he hung up at the Altar of our Lady, to whose service he had vowed himself, the manacles, shackles and chains which he had brought with him.
On his return to Venice he gave himself with the utmost zeal to exercises of piety. His charity towards the poor was wonderful but he was particularly moved to pity, for the orphan children who wandered poor and dirty about the town. He received them into houses which he hired, where he fed them at his own expense and trained them to lead Christian lives.
At this time Blessed Cajetan and Peter Caraffa, who was afterwards Paul IV., disembarked at Venice. They commended Jerome’s spirit and his new institution for gathering orphans together. They also introduced him into the hospital for incurables, where he would be able to devote himself with equal charity to the education of orphans and to the service of the sick. Soon, at their suggestion, he crossed over to the Continent and founded orphanages, first at Brescia, then at Bergamo and Como. At Bergamo his zeal was specially prolific, for there, besides two orphanages, one for boys and one for girls, he opened a house, an unprecedented thing in those parts, for the reception of fallen women, who had been converted.
Finally he took up his abode at Somascha, a small village in the territory of Bergamo, near to the Venetian border and this he made his headquarters; here, too, he definitely established his Congregation, which, for this reason, received the name of Somasques. In course of time it spread and increased and, for the greater benefit of the Christian Republic, it undertook, besides the ruling and guiding of orphans and the taking care of Sacred buildings, the education, both secular and moral, of young men in Colleges, Academies and Seminaries.
Pius V. enrolled it among religious Orders and other Roman Pontiffs have honoured it with privileges. Entirely devoted to his work of rescuing orphans, Jerome journeyed to Milan and Pavia and in both Cities, he collected numbers of children and provided them, through the assistance given him by noble personages, with a home, food, clothing and education. He returned to Somascha and, making himself all to all, he refused no labour which he saw might turn to the good of his neighbour. He associated himself with the peasants scattered over the fields and while helping them, with their work of harvesting, he would explain to them the mysteries of faith. He used to take care of children with the greatest patience, even going so far as to cleanse their heads and he dressed the corrupt wounds of the village folk, with such success, that it was thought he had received the gift of healing. In 1928 Pope Pius XI proclaimed St Jerome as the Universal Heavenly Patron of Orphans and abandoned children.
On the mountain which overhangs Somascha, he found a cave in which he hid himself and there, scourging himself, spending whole days fasting, passing the greater part of the night in prayer and snatching only a short sleep on the bare rock, he expiated his own sins and those of others. In the interior of this grotto, water trickles from the dry rock, obtained, as constant tradition says, by the prayers of the Servant of God. It still flows, even to the present day and being taken into different countries, it often gives health to the sick.
At length, when a contagious distemper was spreading over the whole valley and he was serving the sick and carrying the dead to the grave, on his own shoulders, he caught the infection and died at the age of fifty-six. His precious death, which he had foretold a short time before, occurred in the year 1537. He was illustrious both in life and death for many miracles. Benedict XIV. enrolled him among the Blessed,and Clement XIII. solemnly inscribed his name on the catalogue of the Saints.
Saint of the Day – 20 March – Saint Wulfram of Sens (c 640-c 703) Archbishop of Sens and Confessor, Missionary, miracle-worker. Born in c 640 in France and died on 20 March c 703 at Fontenelle, France of natural causes. Patronages – Abbeville, France, against the dangers of the sea/of sailors, childbirth and young children. Also known as Wulfram of Fontenelle, Offran, Oufran, Suffrain, Vuilfran, Vulfran, Vulfranno, Vulphran, Wilfranus, Wolfram, Wolframus, Wolfran, Wulframnus, Wulfran, Wulfrann, Wulfrannus. Additional Memorials – 15 October (translation of relics) and 8 November as one of the Saints of the Diocese of Evry.
Wulfran’s life was recorded eleven years after he died by the Monk Jonas of Fontenelle. However, there seems to be little consensus about the precise dates of most events, whether during his life or after hs death.
Wulfran’s father was an Officer in the armies of Dagobert, a powerful King of the Franks. The Saint spent some years in the Court of King Clotaire III and his mother, Saint Bathildes but he occupied his heart only with God, despising worldly greatness as empty and dangerous and daily advancing in virtue. He renounced the world and received Sacred Orders; his estate he bestowed on the Abbey of Fontenelle, or Saint Wandrille, in Normandy. He was nonetheless called to the Court, where he served until his father died. Then, because the Archbishop of Sens had recently died in 682, he was chosen to replace him, by the common consent of the clergy and people of that City.
He governed that Diocese for two and a half years, with great zeal and sanctity. It was a tender compassion for the blindness of the idolaters of Friesland and the example of the zealous English preachers in those parts, which moved him then to resign his Bishopric, with proper advice and after a retreat at Fontenelle, to enter Friesland as a poor missionary Priest.
On the voyage by water, the Deacon who served him at the Altar, accidentally dropped the paten into the sea. Saint Wulfran told him to place his hand where it had fallen on the waves and it came up to him by a miracle. For long years that paten was conserved in the Monastery of Saint Wandrille. On this mission wULFRAM baptized great multitudes, among them a son of their King, Radbod and drew the people away from the barbarous custom of sacrificing human beings to idols.
The custom was that pagan people, including children, were sacrificed to the local gods having been selected by a form of lottery. Wulfram, having remonstrated with Radbod on the subject, was told that the King was unable to change the custom but Wulfram was invited to save them if he could. The saint then waded into the sea, to save two children who had been tied to posts and left to drown as the tide rose. The turning point came, with the rescue of a young man, Ovon, who had been chosen by lot, to be sacrificed by hanging. Wulfram begged King Radbod to stop the killing but the people were outraged at the sacrilege proposed. In the end, they agreed that Wulfram’s God could have a chance to save Ovon’s life and if he did, Wulfram and his God could rescue him. Ovon was hanged and left for a few of hours, while Wulfram prayed. When the Frisians decided to leave Ovon for dead, the rope broke, Ovon fell and was still alive. Ovon became Wulfram’s devoted servant, his disciple, a Monk and then a Priest at Fontenelle Abbey. The faith of the missionaries (and their power to work miracles) frightened and awed the pagan people, who were Baptised and turned away from paganism.
Even Radbod seemed ready for conversion but just before his Baptism, he asked where his ancestors were. Wulfram told him that idolaters went to Hell. Rather than be apart from his ancestors, he chose to stay as he was.
Wulfran finally retired to Fontenelle, where he died in c 703. The Saint’s year of death is sometimes given as 720 but his interred body is said to have been moved in 704. Regardless of the exact year, St Wulfram’s feast day is kept on 20 March. He was buried in St Paul’s Chapel in the Abbey but in 704, his relics were translated to the Church. The body was again moved in 1058, this time to the collegiate Church of Our Lady in Abbeville, which was then re-dedicated in Wulfram’s name. The translation of his body to Abbeville is commemorated on 15 October.
At about this time or later, perhaps when his body was again moved, this time to Rouen, his arm was taken as a relic to Croyland Abbey, Lincolnshire. The interest in him there, may have arisen from Ingulph, the Zbbot being a former Monk of Fontenelle. After the building at Crowland was damaged by fire, there was no longer a suitable place for keeping the relic, so it went to Grantham for safe-keeping. For two or three hundred years, it was kept in the Crypt Chapel below the Lady Chapel, where the pilgrims helped to wear the hollow, now to be seen in stone step before the Altar. Later, towards 1350, the arm went to the specially added Chapel above the north porch. At some stage in the long process of the English Reformation, this relic was lost.
A hagiographical account of his miracles was produced at the Abbey of Saint Wandrille before 1066. Among the miracles are two pertaining to childbirth and children. In one, Wulfram is credited with the miraculous delivery of a stillborn baby, the mother having commenced labour on 20 January (the feast day of Saint Sebastian). A week after Easter, prayers to Wulfram caused her belly to split open so the dead child could be delivered, after which, the wound healed as if it had never been, leaving only a “token of the cut.”
In the other, Wulfram is credited with the safe passage of an accidentally swallowed clothespin, which left the body of a two-year-old boy, after three days, without having injured it: “Is it not miraculous how through all the twists of the boy’s intestines, as if through fine small round tubes, the copper sharp object, now going up high, now going down low, could travel without getting stuck anywhere or causing wounds and so at last through Nature’s lower parts, find a way out all in one piece?”
Saint of the Day – 30 January – Saint Bathilde (c 626–680) Queen, Regent, Widow and Mother, Religious, Apostle of the poor and of slaves, Social Reformer, pioneer in the abolition of Slavery, founder of Monasteries. Born in c 630 in England and died on 30 January 680 of natural causes. Other forms of her name are Bathilidis, Bathild, Batilda, Bathchilde and Bauteur.Patronage – children, the sick, all bodily illness, widows
An Anglo-Saxon by birth, Bathilde was captured in 641 by Danish raiders and sold to Erchinoald, the Chief Officer of the Palace of Clovis II, King of the Franks. She quickly gained favour, for she had charm, beauty and a graceful and gentle nature. She also won the affection of her fellow-servants, for she would do them many kindnesses such as cleaning their shoes and mending their clothes and her bright and attractive disposition endeared her to them all.
The Officer, impressed by her fine qualities, wished to make her his wife but Bathilde, alarmed at the prospect, both by reason of her modesty and of her humble status, disguised herself in old and ragged clothes and hid herself away among the lower servants of the palace and he, not finding her in her usual place and thinking she had fled, married another woman.
Her next suitor, however, was none other than the King himself, for when she had discarded her old clothes and appeared again in her place, he noticed her grace and beauty and declared his love for her. Thus in 649, the 19-year-old slave girl Bathilde became Queen of France, amidst the applause of the Court and the Kingdom. She bore Clovis three sons – Clotaire III, Childeric II and Theodoric III–all of whom became Kings. On the death of Clovis (c 655-657), she was appointed Regent in the name of her eldest son, who was only five and ruled capably for eight years with Saint Eligius (feast day 1 December) as her Advisor.
She made a wonderful Queen and ruled wisely. Unlike many who rise suddenly to high place and fortune, she never forgot that she had been a slave and did all within her power to relieve those in captivity. We are told that “Queen Bathilde was the holiest and most devout of women; her pious munificence knew no bounds; remembering her own bondage, she set apart vast sums for the redemption of captives.” She helped promote Christianity by supporting the zeal of Saint Owen (feast day, 24 August), Saint Leodegar (feast day 2 October 2) and many other Bishops.
At that time, the poorer inhabitants of France, were often obliged to sell their children as slaves, to meet the crushing taxes imposed upon them. Bathilde reduced this taxation, forbade the purchase of Christian slaves and the sale of French subjects and declared, that any slave who set foot in France, would from that moment be free. Thus, this enlightened women earned the love of her people and was a pioneer in the abolition of slavery.
She also founded many Abbeys, such as Corbie, Saint-Denis and Chelles, which became civilised settlements in wild and remote areas, inhabited only by prowling wolves and other wild beasts. Under her guidance forests and waste land were reclaimed, cornland and pasture took their place and agriculture flourished. She built hospitals and sold her jewellery to supply the needy.
After her children were well established in their respective territories, Childeric IV in Austrasia and Thierry in Burgundy, she returned to her wish for a secluded life and retired to her own Royal Abbey of Chelles, near Paris, where she served the other nuns with humility and obeyed the Abbess like the least of the sisters. On entering the Abbey she laid down the insignia of royalty and desired to be the lowest in rank among the sisters. It was her pleasure to take her position after the novices and to serve the poor and infirm with her own hands. Prayer and manual toil occupied her time, nor did she wish any allusion made to the grandeur of her past position. In this manner she passed fifteen years of retirement. At the beginning of the year 680 she had a presentiment of the approach of death and made religious preparation for it.
She died at the Abbey of Chelles, near Paris, before she had reached her 50th birthday. Death touched her with a gentle hand; as she died, she said she saw a ladder reaching from the Altar to heaven and up this she climbed, in the company of angels.
Bathilde was buried in the Abbey of Chelles and was Canonised by Pope Nicholas I (820-867) Papacy 858-867.
Saint of the Day -31 January – St John Bosco “Don Bosco” SDB (1815-1888) Founder of the Society of St Francis de Sales now known as the Salesians, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and the Association of Salesian Co-operators. His body is incorrupt.
John Bosco’s theory of education could well be used in today’s schools. It was a preventive system, rejecting corporal punishment and placing students in surroundings removed from the likelihood of committing sin. He advocated frequent reception of the sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion. He combined catechetical training and fatherly guidance, seeking to unite the spiritual life with one’s work, study and play.
Encouraged during his youth in Sardinia to become a priest so he could work with young boys, John was ordained in 1841. His service to young people started when he met a poor orphan in Turin and instructed him in preparation for receiving Holy Communion. He then gathered young apprentices and taught them catechism.
After serving as chaplain in a hospice for working girls, Don Bosco opened the Oratory of St Francis de Sales for boys. Several wealthy and powerful patrons contributed money, enabling him to provide two workshops for the boys, shoe-making and tailoring.
By 1856, the institution had grown to 150 boys and had added a printing press for publication of religious and catechetical pamphlets. John’s interest in vocational education and publishing justify him as patron of young apprentices and Catholic publishers.
John’s preaching fame spread and by 1850 he had trained his own helpers because of difficulties in re-training young priests. In 1854, he and his followers informally banded together, inspired by Saint Francis de Sales.
With Pope Pius IX’s encouragement, John gathered 17 men and founded the Salesians in 1859. Their activity concentrated on education and mission work. Later, he organised a group of Salesian Sisters to assist girls.
Salesian Coat of Arms
John Bosco knew God wanted him to work with boys because of a dream he had when he was young. In this dream, boys who had been playing roughly suddenly began playing together as happily as lambs. John heard a voice saying, “Teach them right from wrong. Teach them the beauty of goodness and the ugliness of sin.” When John told his mother about his dream, she said it might mean God wanted him to be a priest and care for some of the sheep in his flock.
John Bosco spent so much time working that people who knew him well became worried about his health. They said he should take more time for rest and sleep. John replied that he’d have enough time to rest in heaven. “Right now,” he said, “how can I rest? The devil doesn’t rest from his work.”
Saints of the Day – Feast of the Holy Innocents: Martyrs – 28 December – 4th Day of the Christmas Octave. Patronages – • against ambition•against jealousy• altar servers•babies•children• children’s choir• choir boys• foundlings• students.
“A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”
During this octave of Christmas the Church celebrates the memory of the small children of the neighbourhood of Bethlehem put to death by Herod.
Sacrificed by a wicked monarch, these innocent lives bear witness to Christ who was persecuted from the time of His birth by a world which would not receive Him. It is Christ Himself who is at stake in this mass-murder of the children, already the choice, for or against Him, is put clearly before men. But the persecutors are powerless, for Christ came to perform a work of salvation that nothing can prevent, when He fell into the hands of His enemies at the time chosen by God, it was to redeem the world by His own Blood.
Our Christmas joy is tempered today by a feeling of sadness. But the Church looks principally to the glory of the children, of these innocent victims, whom she shows us in heaven following the Lamb wherever He goes.
One of the most cherished carols of the Christmas season is often presented as a melody without lyrics. For this reason, the tune is familiar but the words of the carol are not. The carol of which I am referring to is known as the Coventry Carol, which originates in a 16th century “mystery play” called the Pageant of the Shearman and Tailors. The play and the song concern the massacre of the young children of Bethlehem at the command of King Herod, a story that is recorded in the Gospel of Matthew. The Coventry Carol is a lament that is imagined in the play to have been sung by the mothers whose children have been murdered by Herod’s cruelty, it combines the sound of their weeping with the gentle cadences of a lullaby:
Lullay thou little tiny child, Bye, bye lully lullay.
O sisters, too how may we do, For to preserve this day; This poor youngling for whom we sing, Bye bye lully lullay.
Herod the King, in his raging Charged he hath this day; His men of might in his own sight All young children to slay.
Then woe is me, poor child for thee And ever mourn and say; For thy parting, no say nor sing Bye bye lully lullay
The Holy Innocents saved the Child Jesus from death by King Herod, by the shedding of their own blood. The Holy Innocents are the special patrons of small children, who can please the Christ Child by being obedient and helpful to parents and by sharing their toys and loving their siblings and playmates.
The feast of the Holy Innocents is an excellent time for parents to inaugurate the custom of blessing their children. From the Ritual comes the form which we use on solemn occasions, such as First Communion. But parents can simply sign a cross on the child’s forehead with the right thumb dipped in holy water and say: “May God bless you and may He be the Guardian of your heart and mind—the Father, + Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.”
Saint of the Day – 6 December – St Nicholas (270-343) Bishop
The absence of the “hard facts” of history is not necessarily an obstacle to the popularity of saints, as the devotion to Saint Nicholas shows. Both the Eastern and Western Churches honour him and it is claimed that after the Blessed Virgin, he is the saint most pictured by Christian artists. And yet historically, we can pinpoint only the fact that Nicholas was the fourth-century bishop of Myra, a city in Lycia, a province of Asia Minor.
As with many of the saints, however, we are able to capture the relationship which Nicholas had with God through the admiration which Christians have had for him—an admiration expressed in the colourful stories which have been told and retold through the centuries.
Perhaps the best-known story about Nicholas concerns his charity toward a poor man who was unable to provide dowries for his three daughters of marriageable age. Rather than see them forced into prostitution, Nicholas secretly tossed a bag of gold through the poor man’s window on three separate occasions, thus enabling the daughters to be married. Over the centuries, this particular legend evolved into the custom of gift-giving on the saint’s feast.
In the English-speaking countries, Saint Nicholas became, by a twist of the tongue, Santa Claus—further expanding the example of generosity portrayed by this holy bishop.
Saint of the Day – 11 August – St Philomena (c 291 – 304) “The Wonder Worker” Virgin, Martyr. Patronages – against barrenness, infertility, sterility, against bodily ills, against mental illness, against sickness, sick people, babies, infants, newborns, toddlers , children, young people, youth, Children of Mary, desperate, forgotten, lost or impossible causes, Living Rosary, orphans, poor people, Priests, prisoners, students, test takers.
The tomb of this virgin and martyr, unknown until the first years of the 19th century, was providentially discovered in 1802 in the catacombs of Priscilla on the Via Salaria, Rome, Italy. It was covered by stones, the symbols on which indicated that the body was a martyr named Saint Philomena. The bones were exhumed, catalogued and effectively forgotten since there was so little known about the person.
In 1805 Canon Francis de Lucia of Mugnano, Italy was in the Treasury of the Rare Collection of Christian Antiquity (Treasury of Relics) in the Vatican. When he reached the relics of Saint Philomena he was suddenly struck with a spiritual joy and requested that he be allowed to enshrine them in a chapel in Mugnano. After some disagreements, settled by the cure of Canon Francis following prayers to Philomena, he was allowed to translate the relics to Mugnano. Miracles began to be reported at the shrine including cures of cancer, healing of wounds and the Miracle of Mugnano in which Venerable Pauline Jaricot was cured a severe heart ailment overnight. Philomena became the only person recognised as a Saint solely on the basis of miraculous intercession as nothing historical was known of her except her name and the evidence of her martyrdom.
God, by many miracles, made the discovery of Saint Philomena’s body famous and the cult of the young Saint spread everywhere with an extraordinary rapidity. She received such exceptional homage, that she deserves to be placed in the first ranks of the virgin martyrs, whom the Church venerates. The Holy Curé of Ars called her his dear little Saint and performed wonders himself by his prayers to her.
Certain revelations having the character of authenticity say that Saint Philomena was the daughter of a Greek prince, who accompanied her parents to Rome on a journey and that her glorious martyrdom occurred there under Diocletian in the third century. The two arrows engraved on her tombstone in opposite directions referred to the efforts of the persecutor to slay her with a volley of arrows, after Angels preserved her from death by drowning; the arrows turned against the archers. Finally she was beheaded, like so many other miraculously protected heroes and heroines of Christ. This opinion, which certain circumstances attending the translation of her relics in 1805 to the city of Mugnano appeared to verify, has prevailed. In that city, devotion to her has been extraordinary and remains so to this day, miracles have multiplied both there and elsewhere for those who invoke her.
Other very serious studies, maintain that she was a child of the Roman people, immolated in the first century for Jesus Christ, at the age of twelve or thirteen years. An examination of her bones permitted her age to be estimated and the vial of dried blood in her tomb clearly indicated her martyrdom. The instruments of torture painted on the terra cotta plaque which enclosed her tomb — an arrow, an anchor, a torch — show us what sort of tortures she bore, all of which are known to us through other martyrdoms of the same early centuries. The inscription: Peace be with you, Philomena, reveals her name.
What is beyond doubt is that this Saint responds unfailingly to the faith of those who invoke her. Invoked everywhere with wonderful success, she was entitled the wonder-worker of the 19th century. She has shown herself to be the protectress, in particular, of small children. A mother whose young son died despite her prayers, placed a picture of the Saint on his corpse, begging that he be returned to her. And the child rose as though from sleep, stood up beside his bed and had no more symptoms of any sickness whatsoever. A little girl who had put out her eye playing with a pair of scissors, which injury was declared irreparable by physicians, had her eye restored when she washed her face in oil taken from the Saint’s lamp and this eye seemed to everyone more vivid and bright than the other.
Many doubts remain about this little Saint, however, although she is no longer anywhere on the Church’s calendar, devotion to her has never floundered or diminished. Personal devotion to any saint and we know ourselves, that there are many unknown saints around us and when they leave this earth, we ask them for their prayers of intercession and therefore, the faithful continue without doubt to venerate St Philomena.
Popes loved her and they were joined in fervour by some of the era’s greatest saints . John Vianney, the Cure of Ars, called Philomena the True Light of the Church Militant. He built a basilica in her honour, where he installed the relic he had been given by the Venerable Pauline Jaricot, foundress of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. (Innumerable “pagan babies” were given the name Philomena in honour of the foundress’s favourite saint, as I recall.) Father Damien dedicated the first leper chapel on Molokai in her honour. The American missionary saints John Neumann and Frances Cabrini spread devotion to Philomena throughout the Catholic United States. St Peter Julian Eymard was a great devotee as was St Anthony Mary Claret. Padre Pio, himself no mean wonder-worker, once silenced critics of her cult by snarling, “For the love of God! It might well be that her name is not Philomena but this Saint has performed many miracles and it is not the name that did them.”
Saint of the Day – 19 March – The Solemnity of St Joseph, Spouse of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and Patron of the Universal Church. The name ‘Joseph’ means “whom the Lord adds”. Patronages • against doubt and hesitation • accountants • all the legal professions • bursars • cabinetmakers • carpenters • cemetery workers • children • civil engineers • confectioners • craftsmen • the dying • teachers • emigrants • exiles • expectant mothers • families • fathers • furniture makers • grave diggers • happy death • holy death • house hunters • immigrants • joiners • labourers • married couples • orphans • against Communism • pioneers • pregnant women • social justice • teachers • travellers • the unborn • wheelwrights • workers • workers • Catholic Church • Oblates of Saint Joseph • for protection of the Church • Universal Church • Vatican II • Americas • Austria • Belgium • Bohemia • Canada • China • Croatian people • Korea • Mexico • New France • New World • Peru • Philippines • Vatican City • VietNam • Canadian Armed Forces • Papal States • 46 dioceses • 26 cities • states and regions.
St Joseph is invoked as patron for many causes. He is the patron of the Universal Church. He is the patron of the dying because Jesus and Mary were at his death-bed. He is also the patron of fathers, of carpenters and of social justice. Many religious orders and communities are placed under his patronage.
St Joseph, the spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the foster-father of Jesus, was probably born in Bethlehem and probably died in Nazareth. His important mission in God’s plan of salvation was “to legally insert Jesus Christ into the line of David from whom, according to the prophets, the Messiah would be born, and to act as his father and guardian” (Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy). Most of our information about St. Joseph comes from the opening two chapters of St Matthew’s Gospel. No words of his are recorded in the Gospels; he was the “silent” man. We find no devotion to St Joseph in the early Church. It was the will of God that the Virgin Birth of Our Lord be first firmly impressed upon the minds of the faithful. He was later venerated by the great saints of the Middle Ages. Pius IX (1870) declared him patron and protector of the universal family of the Church.
St Joseph was an ordinary manual labourer although descended from the royal house of David. In the designs of Providence he was destined to become the spouse of the Mother of God. His high privilege is expressed in a single phrase, “Foster-father of Jesus.” About him Sacred Scripture has little more to say than that he was a just man-an expression which indicates how faithfully he fulfilled his high trust of protecting and guarding God’s greatest treasures upon earth, Jesus and Mary.
The darkest hours of his life may well have been those when he first learned of Mary’s pregnancy; but precisely in this time of trial Joseph showed himself great. His suffering, which likewise formed a part of the work of the redemption, was not without great providential import: Joseph was to be, for all times, the trustworthy witness of the Messiah’s virgin birth. After this, he modestly retires into the background of holy Scripture.
Of St Joseph’s death the Bible tells us nothing. There are indications, however, that he died before the beginning of Christ’s public life. His was the most beautiful death that one could have, in the arms of Jesus and Mary. Humbly and unknown, he passed his years at Nazareth, silent and almost forgotten he remained in the background through centuries of Church history. Only in more recent times has he been accorded greater honour. Liturgical veneration of St Joseph began in the fifteenth century, fostered by Sts Brigid of Sweden and Bernadine of Siena. St Teresa of Avila, too, did much to further his cult.
At present there are two major feasts in his honour. Today 19 our veneration is directed to him personally and to his part in the work of redemption and is his main Feast and a Solemnity in the Universal Church, while on 1 May we honour him as the patron of workmen throughout the world and as our guide in the difficult matter of establishing equitable norms regarding obligations and rights in the social order….Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch
Grant, we pray, almighty God, that by Saint Joseph’s intercession Your Church may constantly watch over the unfolding of the mysteries of human salvation, whose beginnings You entrusted to his faithful care. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Saint of the Day – 3 February – St Blaise (Died c 316) – Martyr, Bishop of Sebaste, Armenia, Physician, Miracle-worker. Died in c 316 by his flesh being torn off his body by iron wool-combs, then beheaded. Patronages – against angina • against bladder diseases • against blisters • against coughs • against dermatitis • against dropsy • against eczema • against edema • against fever • against goitres • against headaches • against impetigo • against respiratory diseases • against skin diseases • against snake bites • against sore throats • against stomach pain • against storms • against teething pain • against throat diseases • against toothaches • against ulcers • against whooping cough • against wild beasts • angina sufferers of ; of children, animals, builders, drapers, against choking, veterinarians, infants, of 21 Cities, of stonecutters, carvers, wool workers. St Blaise is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers – 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/
Today the Church remembers the life and witness of Saint Blaise, a 3rd century Armenian bishop who endured terrifying torments and surrendered his life rather than repudiate his profession of Faith.
Much of the life of Saint Blaise is history that has passed into legend but even these legendary accounts offer spiritual insight.
Blaise was renowned as a wonderworker, effecting miraculous cures. T his would have been enough to attract attention but he was also not averse to calling out the Roman officials who ruled the region in which he lived, Cappadocia, for their tyranny and intolerance of Christian faith and practice. The combination of a reputation for supernatural power and the courage of his convictions was not welcomed by Rome and the governor ordered Bishop Blaise to be arrested. Blaise was able to elude capture and took refuge in the wilderness. It was there in the caves of Cappadocia that his ministry and his mission continued.
There is an account of Saint Blaise that identifies not only his pastoral care for the Christian faithful but also for the animals of the wilderness.
A woman had witnessed her piglet carried off by a wolf and spoke of her plight to the bishop. Saint Blaise called for the wolf, demanded her return the piglet to its rightful owner and reminded the wolf of the grave penalty that awaited a thief. The wolf complied and returned the piglet to its owner- a credit to the bishop’s power of persuasion. The woman would later return the favour to Saint Blaise when he was finally captured and imprisoned. She brought to him candles to illuminate his dank and dreary cell.
This legend hints at how the saints represent, in their holiness, the restoration of a paradise lost and regained in Christ. The ease and familiarity with which the Biblical character of Adam is believed to have communed with nature before the fall is recapitulated in Saint Blaise- he is a sign that anticipates the restoration of all things in Christ where the lion will rest with the lamb and in this case, the wolf will return stolen property to its rightful owner.
Saint Blaise has been invoked for centuries as a specialist in diseases of the throat. The origin of this practice might be in the story of a child brought to the saint who was either choking or suffering from some other malady of the throat. Saint Blaise blessed the boy and he was restored to health.
The practice of blessing throats on the Feast of Saint Blaise is a commemoration of this miracle, that crossed candles are often used to impart this blessing might also be a recollection of the kindness of the woman who gave candles to the saint as he languished in prison.
Saint Blaise was an extraordinarily popular saint during the Middle Ages in Europe. Presentations of his miraculous and mighty deeds were commonly represented in art and sculpture, and he was included in a listing of saints called the Fourteen Holy Helpers (or Auxiliary Saints), holy men and women who could be counted on as intercessors for all manner of maladies from madness to travelers in distress. During times in which a sore throat could be a signal of an impending epidemic or an early death, the faithful were all too happy to accept the help of a heavenly specialist in such matters like Saint Blaise.
The legends regarding Saint Blaise report that his sojourn in the wilderness did not protect him for very long. He was eventually arrested and brought to trial. The judge advised him that only a pinch of incense offered to the image of Caesar and the gods of Rome could win him his freedom. Blaise refused. He was cruelly tortured and beheaded.
The Church does not mourn Saint Blaise, for we know that in Christ this world is not all that there is. While tyrants like Caesar and his successors can threaten us with death, Christ promises us a life that like his own, is transformed through suffering and death, into resurrection.
The scriptures proclaim, “though they slay me I will trust in you.”
Saint Blaise did precisely this. He trusted that Christ would not abandon him to the power of death nor allow his suffering to be meaningless. Our lives might never be raised to the legendary status of Saint Blaise but we can trust in Christ as he did and live in hope that one day we will join him in communion with all the saints who have gone before us in faith and who, from their place in heaven, guide and protect us still. (Fr Steve Grunow)
Saints of the Day – Feast of the Holy Innocents – 28 December – 4th Day of the Christmas Octave – Patronages – • against ambition•against jealousy• altar servers•babies•children• children’s choir• choir boys• foundlings• students. The Massacre of the Innocents is the biblical account of infanticide by Herod the Great, the Roman-appointed King of the Jews. According to the Gospel of Matthew, Herod ordered the execution of all young male children in the vicinity of Bethlehem, so as to avoid the loss of his throne to a newborn King of the Jews whose birth had been announced to him by the Magi. In typical Matthean style, it is understood as the fulfilment of an Old Testament prophecy:
Then was fulfilled that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet, saying, A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted because her children are no more.’
The number of infants killed is not stated. The Holy Innocents, although Jewish, have been claimed as martyrs for Christianity and the Feast of the Holy Innocents has long been celebrated.
Taken from THE LITURGICAL YEAR, Christmas II, by Abbot Dom Guéranger. 1 A.D.
THE feast of the beloved Disciple, St John is followed by that of the Holy Innocents. The Crib of Jesus, where we have already met and venerated the Prince of Martyrs and the Eagle of Patmos, has today standing round it a lovely choir of little Children, clad in snow-white robes and holding green branches in their hands. The Divine Babe smiles upon them: He is their King and these Innocents are smiling upon the Church of God. Courage and Fidelity first led us to the Crib; Innocence now comes and bids us tarry there.
Herod intended to include the Son of God amongst the murdered Babes of Bethlehem. The Daughters of Rachel wept over their little ones and the land streamed with blood but the Tyrant’s policy can do no more, it cannot reach Jesus and its whole plot ends in recruiting an immense army of Martyrs for Heaven. These Children were not capable of knowing what an honour it was for them to be made victims for the sake of the Saviour of the world but the very first instant after their immolation, all was revealed to them, they had gone through this world without knowing it and now that they know it, they possess an infinitely better. God showed here the riches of His mercy, He asks of them but a momentary suffering and that over, they wake up in Abraham’s Bosom, no further trial awaits them, they are in spotless innocence and the glory due to a soldier who died to save the life of his Prince belongs eternally to them.
They died for Jesus’ sake, therefore, their death was a real Martyrdom and the Church calls them by the beautiful name of the Flowers of the Martyrs because of their tender age and their innocence. Justly then does the ecclesiastical Cycle bring them before us today, immediately after the two valiant Champions of Christ, Stephen and John. The connection of these three Feasts is thus admirably explained by St Bernard- “In St Stephen, we have both the act and the desire of Martyrdom; in St John, we have but the desire; in the Holy Innocents, we have but the act. . . . Will anyone doubt whether a crown was given to these Innocents?. . . If you ask me what merit could they have that God should crown them? Let me ask you what was the fault for which Herod slew them? What! is the mercy of Jesus less than the cruelty of Herod and whilst Herod could put these Babes to death, who had done him no injury, Jesus may not crown them for dying for Him?”
Stephen, therefore, is a Martyr by a Martyrdom of which men can judge, for he gave this evident proof of his sufferings being felt and accepted, that, at the very moment of his death, his solicitude both for his own soul and for those of his persecutors increased; the pangs of his bodily passion were less intense than the affection of his soul’s compassion, which made him weep more for their sins than for his own wounds. John was a Martyr, by a Martyrdom which only Angels could see, for the proofs of his sacrifice being spiritual, only spiritual creatures could ken them. But the Innocents were Martyrs, to none other eye save Thine, O God! Man could find no merit, Angel could find no merit, the extraordinary prerogative of Thy grace is the more boldly brought out. From the mouth of the Infants and the Sucklings Thou hast perfected praise. The praise the Angels give Thee is- Glory be to God in the highest and peace on earth to men of good will it is a magnificent praise, but I make bold to say that it is not perfect till He cometh Who will say: “Suffer little Children to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of Heaven.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Saint of the Day – 6 December – St Nicholas (270-343) Confessor, Bishop, Miracle-Worker, Apostle of Charity. Also known as – • Nicholas of Bari• Nicholas of Lpnenskij • Nicholas of Lipno • Nicholas of Sarajskij • Nicholas the Miracle Worker • Klaus, Mikulas, Nikolai, Nicolaas, Nicolas, Niklaas, Niklas. Nikolaus, Santa Claus.
Patronages -• against fire • against imprisonment • against robberies • against robbers • against storms at sea • against sterility • against thefts • altar servers • archers • boys • brides • captives • children • choir boys • happy marriages • lawsuits lost unjustly • lovers • maidens • penitent murderers • newlyweds • paupers • pilgrims • poor people • prisoners • scholars • schoolchildren, students • penitent thieves • travellers • unmarried girls • apothecaries • bakers • bankers • barrel makers • boatmen • boot blacks • brewers • butchers • button makers • candle makers • chair makers • cloth shearers • coopers • dock workers • educators • farm workers, farmers • firefighters • fish mongers • fishermen • grain merchants • grocers • grooms • hoteliers • innkeepers • judges • lace merchants • lawyers • linen merchants • longshoremen • mariners • merchants • millers • notaries • parish clerks • pawnbrokers • perfumeries • perfumers • poets • ribbon weavers • sailors • ship owners • shoe shiners • soldiers • spice merchants • spinners • stone masons • tape weavers • toy makers • vintners • watermen • weavers • Greek Catholic Church in America • Greek Catholic Union • Varangian Guard • Germany • Greece • Russia • 3 Diocese • 78 Cities.
Attributes – • anchor • bishop calming a storm • bishop holding three bags of gold • bishop holding three balls • bishop with three children • bishop with three children in a tub at his feet • purse • ship • three bags of gold • three balls • three golden balls on a book • boy in a boat. Saint Nicholas’ reputation evolved among the faithful, as was common for early Christian saints and his legendary habit of secret gift-giving gave rise to the traditional model of Santa Claus through Sinterklaas. St Nicholas was generous to the poor and special protector of the innocent and wronged. Many stories grew up around him prior to his becoming associated with Santa Claus.
Some examples of the Miracles of St Nicholas and the reasons for various Patronages:
• Upon hearing that a local man had fallen on such hard times that he was planning to sell his daughters into prostitution, Nicholas went by night to the house and threw three bags of gold in through the window, saving the girls from an evil life. These three bags, gold generously given in time of trouble, became the three golden balls that indicate a pawn broker’s shop.
• He raised to life three young boys who had been murdered and pickled in a barrel of brine to hide the crime. These stories led to his patronage of children in general and of barrel-makers besides.
• Induced some thieves to return their plunder. This explains his protection against theft and robbery and his patronage of them – he’s not helping them steal but to repent and change. In the past, thieves have been known as Saint Nicholas’ clerks or Knights of Saint Nicholas.
• During a voyage to the Holy Lands, a fierce storm blew up, threatening the ship. He prayed about it and the storm calmed – hence the patronage of sailors and those like dockworkers who work on the sea.
St Nicholas died in 346 at Myra, Lycia (in modern Turkey) of natural causes and his relics are believed to be at Bari, Italy.
Here is the story of St Nicholas by Prosper Dom Gueranger:
Nicholas was born in the celebrated city of Patara, in the province of Lycia. His birth was the fruit of his parents’ prayers. Evidences of his great future holiness were given from his very cradle. For when he was an infant, he would only take his food once on Wednesdays and Fridays and then not till evening but on all other days he frequently took the breast: he kept up this custom of fasting during the rest of his life.
Having lost his parents when he was a boy, he gave all his goods to the poor. Of his Christian kindheartedness there is the following noble example. One of his fellow-citizens had three daughters but being too poor to obtain them an honourable marriage, he was minded to abandon them to a life of prostitution. Nicholas having learned of the case, went to the house during the night and threw in by the window a sum of money sufficient for the dower of one of the daughters; he did the same a second and a third time and thus the three were married to respectable men.
Having given himself wholly to the service of God, he set out for Palestine, that he might visit and venerate the holy places. During this pilgrimage, which he made by sea, he foretold to the mariners, on embarking, though the heavens were then serene and the sea tranquil, that they would be overtaken by a frightful storm. In a very short time, the storm arose. All were in the most imminent danger, when he quelled it by his prayers.
His pilgrimage ended, he returned home, giving to all men example of the greatest sanctity. He went, by an inspiration from God, to Myra, the Metropolis of Lycia,which had just lost its Bishop by death and the Bishops of the province had come together for the purpose of electing a successor. Whilst they were holding council for the election, they were told by a revelation from heaven, that they should choose him who, on the morrow, should be the first to enter the church, his name being Nicholas. Accordingly, the requisite observations were made, when they found Nicholas to be waiting at the church door: they took him and, to the incredible delight of all, made him the Bishop of Myra.
During his episcopate, he never flagged in the virtues looked for in a bishop; chastity, which indeed he had always preserved, gravity, assiduity in prayer, watchings, abstinence, generosity and hospitality, meekness in exhortation, severity in reproving. He befriended widows and orphans by money, by advice and by every service in his power. So zealous a defender was he of all who suffered oppression, that, on one occasion, three Tribunes having been condemned by the Emperor Constantine, who had been deceived by calumny and having heard of the miracles wrought by Nicholas, they recommended themselves to his prayers, though he was living at a very great distance from that place: the saint appeared to Constantine and angrily looking upon him, obtained from the terrified Emperor their deliverance.
Having, contrary to the edict of Dioclesian and Maximian, preached in Myra the truth of the Christian faith, he was taken up by the servants of the two Emperors. He was taken off to a great distance and thrown into prison, where he remained until Constantine, having become Emperor, ordered his rescue and the Saint returned to Myra. Shortly afterwards, he repaired to the Council which was being held at Nicaea: there he took part with the three hundred and eighteen Fathers in condemning the Arian heresy (Tradition has it that he became so angry with the heretic Arius during the Council that he struck him in the face).
Scarcely had he returned to his See than he was taken with the sickness of which he soon died. Looking up to heaven and seeing Angels coming to meet him, he began the Psalm, In thee, O Lord, have I hoped and having come to those words, Into your hands I commend my spirit, his soul took its flight to the heavenly country. His body, having been translated to Bari in Apulia, is the object of universal veneration.
For St Nicholas traditional biscuits see here: https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2016/12/06/st-nicholas-6-december/
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