Posted in PATRONAGE - PHARMACISTS / CHEMISTS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 9 October – St John Leonardi (1541-1609) Confesso

Saint of the Day – 9 October – St John Leonardi (1541-1609) Confessor, Priest, Founder. Patron of Pharmacists.

Saint John Leonardi was born in 1541 in Diecimo, in the Province of Lucca, Italy. He was the youngest of seven children and was raised in his Catholic faith. His family was industrious and John was the same. Throughout his adolescence, John spent a lot of time working hard in a shop of herbs and medicines that was located in his home town. When he was seventeen years old, his father had enrolled him in a regular course in Pharmacy training in Lucca, with plans for him to be a future Pharmacist. John agreed to follow this path and worked very diligently to achieve his goals.

After studying for more than a decade, John was able to open his own Pharmacy shop, however, he did not think the moment had arrived for him to fulfil a plan that he always had in his heart. After a mature reflection and much prayer, he decided to enter the Priesthood. He left his career as a Pharmacist and began taking theological formation courses.

On the Feast of the Epiphany in 1572, John was Ordained a Priest and celebrated his first Mass. As a Priest, John realised how his passion for Pharmaceutics had helped him in his vocation. With his Pharmacist background, he was able to help people discover “the medicine of God,” which is Jesus Christ Crucified and Risen, “measure of all things.” He firmly believed that all people needed this medicine and he desired to “start anew from Christ,” as he often said. He spent a lot of time working in hospitals and prisons and spreading “the medicine of God” to these people.

John knew that the fundamental reason for his existence, was his personal relationship with Jesus Christ in order to save his own soul and because of this conviction, he knew that Christ took primacy over everything in his life. This conviction helped him live out his Priestly vocation. John decided to dedicate himself with enthusiasm to the apostolate among the youth, through the Company of Christian Doctrine. On 1 September 1574, he founded the Congregation of Reformed Priests of the Blessed Virgin, later known as the Order of Clerks Regular of the Mother of God. He encouraged his disciples to have “before the mind’s eye only the honour, service and glory of Christ Jesus Crucified” and, like a good Pharmacist, accustomed to giving out medicines, according to careful measurements, he would add: “Raise your hearts to God a bit more and measure things with him.” He chose the Blessed Mother to be the Patroness of his Order because he had a strong devotion to her. He always kept his gaze on our Lady and she was his teacher, sister and mother, who protected him and led him closer to Jesus Christ.

During his Priestly life, the Church was under spiritual renewal and many new religious institutes were forming. In May 1605, John sent Pope Paul V a report, in which he suggested the criteria for a genuine renewal of the Church. He explained that “whoever wishes to carry out a serious moral and religious reform, must make first of all, like a good doctor, a careful diagnosis of the evils that beset the Church, so as to be able to prescribe, for each of them, the most appropriate remedy.” He knew what the real medicine was for these spiritual evils and he explained it by saying, “Christ first of all, Christ in the centre of the heart, in the centre of history and of the cosmos. Humanity needs Christ intensely because, He is our ‘measure.’ There is no realm that cannot be touched by His strength; there is no evil that cannot find remedy in Him, there is no problem that cannot be solved in Him. Either Christ or nothing!” This was John’s prescription for every type of spiritual and social reform.

John was also very much concerned with the Christian formation of the people, especially the young. He educated them in the purity of the Christian faith and in holy practices. John spent his entire life working hard to purify the Church and to evangelisie the world. His apostolic zeal and all of his evangelical efforts, led him to be one of the Founders of the College for the Propagation of the Faith.

On 9 October 1609, he passed away from influenza, which he contracted while he was giving himself to the care of all those, who had been stricken by the epidemic,in the Roman quarter of Campitelli. He was venerated for his miracles and religious fervour and was Canonised in 1938 by Pope Pius XI.

Posted in PATRONAGE - ALTAR SERVERS and/or DEACONS, PATRONAGE - BACHELORS, PATRONAGE - BANKERS, PATRONAGE - BEGGARS, the POOR, against POVERTY, PATRONAGE - BREWERS, PATRONAGE - BRIDES and GROOMS, PATRONAGE - ENGAGED COUPLES, PATRONAGE - FISHERMEN, FISHMONGERS, PATRONAGE - GARDENERS, FARMERS, PATRONAGE - HAPPY MARRIAGES, of MARRIED COUPLES, PATRONAGE - LAWYERS / NOTARIES, PATRONAGE - ORPHANS,ABANDONED CHILDREN, PATRONAGE - PENITENTS, PATRONAGE - PHARMACISTS / CHEMISTS, PATRONAGE - PRISONERS, PATRONAGE - SAILORS, MARINERS, PATRONAGE - SCHOOLS, COLLEGES etc AND STUDENTS, PATRONAGE - SINGLE LAYWOMEN, PATRONAGE - TRAVELLERS / MOTORISTS, PATRONAGE - VINTNERS, WINE-FARMERS, PATRONAGE-INFERTILITY & SAFE CHILDBIRTH, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 6 December – St Nicholas (270-343) Bishop

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.st nicholas - Jaroslav_Čermák_(1831_-_1878)_-_Sv._Mikuláš.jpg

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.

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Fra Angelico’s St Nicholas donating the dowries

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-nicholas4st nicholas - glass

Posted in ADVENT, MORNING Prayers, ON the SAINTS, PATRONAGE - ALTAR SERVERS and/or DEACONS, PATRONAGE - BACHELORS, PATRONAGE - BANKERS, PATRONAGE - BEGGARS, the POOR, against POVERTY, PATRONAGE - BREWERS, PATRONAGE - BRIDES and GROOMS, PATRONAGE - CHEFS and/or BAKERS, CONFECTIONERS, PATRONAGE - EARTHQUAKES, FIRES, DROUGHT / NATURAL DISASTERS, PATRONAGE - FISHERMEN, FISHMONGERS, PATRONAGE - GARDENERS, FARMERS, PATRONAGE - HAPPY MARRIAGES, of MARRIED COUPLES, PATRONAGE - LAWYERS / NOTARIES, PATRONAGE - ORPHANS,ABANDONED CHILDREN, PATRONAGE - PENITENTS, PATRONAGE - PHARMACISTS / CHEMISTS, PATRONAGE - PRISONERS, PATRONAGE - SAILORS, MARINERS, PATRONAGE - SCHOOLS, COLLEGES etc AND STUDENTS, PATRONAGE - SINGLE LAYWOMEN, PATRONAGE - TRAVELLERS / MOTORISTS, PATRONAGE - VINTNERS, WINE-FARMERS, PATRONAGE-INFERTILITY & SAFE CHILDBIRTH, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 6 December – St Nicholas (270-343)

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.   st nicholas header

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.bari-shrine3-detail

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).St Nicholas of Myra slapping Arius at the Council of Nicaea.

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.

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For St Nicholas traditional biscuits see here:  https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2016/12/06/st-nicholas-6-december/

Posted in EUCHARISTIC Adoration, PATRONAGE - PHARMACISTS / CHEMISTS, SAINT of the DAY, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Saint of the Day – 9 October – St John Leonardi (1541-1609)

Saint of the Day – 9 October – St John Leonardi (1541-1609) – Priest, Founder, Confessor, Reformer, Apostle of the Holy Eucharist and Eucharistic Adoration, Marian devotee.  Born Giovanni Leonardi in 1541 at Diecimo, Lucca, Italy – 8 October 1609 at Rome, Italy of natural causes).   He was buried in Santa Maria in Portico and was Beatified in 1861 and Canonised on 17 April 1938 by Pope Pius XI.  St John founded the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God of Lucca, wherein he assumed the name of “Giovanni of the Mother of God” as his religious name.   Patronages – Pharmacists and the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God of Lucca.   Attributes – Cassock.

John Leonardi was born in 1541 in Diecimo, in the province of Lucca.   The last of seven siblings, his adolescence was sprinkled with rhythms of faith lived in a healthy and industrious family group, as well as the assiduous frequenting of a shop of herbs and medicines in his native town.   At age 17 his father enrolled him in a regular course in pharmacy in Lucca, with the aim of making him a future pharmacist, that is, an apothecary, as they were called then.   For close to a decade young John Leonardi was vigilant and diligent in following this, but when, according to the norms established by the former Republic of Lucca, he acquired the official recognition that would have allowed him to open his own shop, he began to think if perhaps the moment had not arrived to fulfill a plan that he had always had in his heart.

After mature reflection he decided to direct himself toward the priesthood.   And thus, having left the apothecary’s pharmacy, and acquired an appropriate theological formation, he was ordained a priest and celebrated his first Mass on the feast of Epiphany of 1572.   However, he did not abandon his passion for pharmaceutics because he felt that professional mediation as a pharmacist would allow him to realize fully his vocation of transmitting to men, through a holy life, “the medicine of God,” which is Jesus Christ crucified and risen, “measure of all things.”

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Animated by the conviction that, more than any other thing, all human beings need such medicine, St John Leonardi tried to make the personal encounter with Jesus Christ the fundamental reason of his existence.   It is necessary to “start anew from Christ,” he liked to repeat very often.

The primacy of Christ over everything became for him the concrete criterion of judgment and action and the generating principle of his priestly activity, which he exercised while a vast and widespread movement of spiritual renewal was under way in the Church, thanks to the flowering of new religious institutes and the luminous witness of saints such as Charles Borromeo, Philip Neri, Ignatius of Loyola, Joseph Calasanzius, Camillus of Lellis and Aloysius Gonzaga.

He dedicated himself with enthusiasm to the apostolate among youth through the Company of Christian Doctrine, gathering around himself a group of young men with whom, on Sept. 1, 1574, he founded the Congregation of Reformed Priests of the Blessed Virgin, subsequently called the Order of Clerks Regular of the Mother of God.   He recommended to his disciples to have “before the mind’s eye only the honour, service and glory of Christ Jesus Crucified,” and, like a good pharmacist, accustomed to giving out potions according to careful measurements, he would add:  “Raise your hearts to God a bit more and measure things with him.”

Moved by apostolic zeal, in May 1605 he sent newly elected Pope Paul V a report in which he suggested the criteria for a genuine renewal of the Church.   Observing how it is “necessary that those who aspire to the reform of men’s practices must seek especially and firstly, the glory of God,” he added that they should stand out “for their integrity of life and excellence of customs thus, rather than constraining, they gently draw one to reform.”   Moreover, he observed that “whoever wishes to carry out a serious moral and religious reform must make first of all, like a good doctor, a careful diagnosis of the evils that beset the Church so as to be able to prescribe for each of them the most appropriate remedy.”   And he noted that “the renewal of the Church must be confirmed as much in leaders as in followers, high and low.   It must begin from those who command and be extended to the subjects.”

It was because of this that, while soliciting the Pope to promote a “universal reform of the Church,” he was concerned with the Christian formation of the people, especially of the young, educating them “from their early years … in the purity of the Christian faith and in holy practices.”

He chose the Blessed Mother to be the patroness of his order because he had a strong devotion to her.   He always kept his gaze on our Lady and she was his teacher, sister and mother who protected him and led him closer to Jesus Christ.

Dear brothers and sisters, the luminous figure of this saint invites priests, in the first place and all Christians, to tend constantly to the “high measure of the Christian life,” which is sanctity — each, of course, according to his own state.   In fact, only from fidelity to Christ can genuine ecclesial renewal spring.

In those years, in the cultural and social passage between the 16th and 17th century, the premises of the future contemporary culture began to be delineated, characterised by an undue separation of faith and reason.   This has produced among its negative effects the marginalization of God, with the illusion of a possible and total autonomy of man who chooses to live “as if God did not exist.”   This is the crisis of modern thought, which many times I have had the opportunity to point out and which often leads to a form of relativism.

John Leonardi intuited what the real medicine was for these spiritual evils and he synthesized it in the expression: “Christ first of all,” Christ in the centre of the heart, in the centre of history and of the cosmos.   And humanity — he affirmed forcefully — needs Christ intensely, because he is our “measure.”   There is no realm that cannot be touched by his strength;  there is no evil that cannot find remedy in him, there is no problem that cannot be solved in him. “Either Christ or nothing!”  Here is his prescription for every type of spiritual and social reform.

There is another aspect of the spirituality of St John Leonardi that I would like to highlight.   In many circumstances he had to confirm that a living encounter with Christ is realised in his Church:  holy but fragile, rooted in history and in a sometimes dark future, where wheat and weeds grow together (cf. Matthew 13:30), but, nevertheless, always the sacrament of salvation.   Having a clear awareness that the Church is the field of God (cf. Matthew 13:24), he was not scandalised by her human weaknesses.   To oppose the weeds he chose to be good wheat:   He decided, that is, to love Christ in the Church and to contribute to render her an ever more transparent sign of Him.

He saw the Church with great realism, her human frailty, but also her being “God’s field,” the instrument of God for the salvation of humanity.   And not only this.   For love of Christ he worked with alacrity to purify the Church, to render her more beautiful and holy.   He understood that every reform is made within the Church and never against the Church.

In this, St John Leonardi was truly extraordinary and his example is always timely.   Every reform certainly involves structures but in the first place it must be engraved in the hearts of believers.   Only the saints, men and women who allow themselves to be guided by the divine Spirit, ready to carry out radical and courageous choices in the light of the Gospel, renew the Church and contribute, in a decisive way, to building a better world.

Together with Monsignor Juan Bautista Vives and Jesuit Martin de Funes, he planned and contributed to the establishment of a specific Congregation of the Holy See for the missions, that of Propoganda Fide, and to the future birth of the Pontifical Urbanian Athenaeum “De Propoganda Fide,” which in the course of centuries has forged thousands of priests, many of them martyrs, to evangelise peoples.   We are speaking, therefore, of a luminous priestly figure, which I am pleased to point out as an example to all presbyters in this Year for Priests.   He died in 1609 from influenza contracted while he was giving himself to the care of all those who had been stricken by the epidemic in the Roman quarter of Campitelli.     He was venerated for his miracles and religious fervour and was canonised in 1938 by Pope Pius XI.  He was chosen as the patron of pharmacistss.

General Audience
On St John Leonardi
“To Oppose the Weeds He Chose to be Good Wheat”
H.H. Benedict XVI
7 October 2009

St John Leonardi

st john leonardi relics close-up