Posted in INCORRUPTIBLES, JESUIT SJ, PATRONAGE - against EPIDEMICS, PATRONAGE - MISSIONS, MISSIONARIES, PATRONAGE - SAILORS, MARINERS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 3 December – St Francis Xavier SJ (1506-1552) Confessor

Saint of the Day – 3 December – St Francis Xavier SJ (1506-1552) Confessor, Priest, Missionary, Miracle-worker, co-Founder with St Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556) and St Peter Faber (1506-1546) of the Society of Jesus. One of the Greatest Missionaries since St Paul. St Francis was Canonised on 12 March 1622 by Pope Gregory XV. His body is incorrupt.

St Francis Xavier
By Fr Francis Xavier Weninger SJ (1805-1888)
Part One -(His early years, before departing for the Indies).

St Francis Xavier,–the great Apostle of the Indies, as he is called in the Bull of his Canonisation–the celebrated Thaumaturgus of the 16th Century, the irreproachable witness of the truth of our holy religion, the ornament of the Society of Jesus and of the entire Catholic Church–was of Royal lineage and was born of illustrious parents, at the Castle of Xavier, in the Kingdom of Navarre.

Having passed his childhood there, he was sent to the University of Paris, to study the liberal arts, for which he evinced an especial inclination. He applied himself so diligently and made so much progress that he was not only created. Doctor of Philosophy but also appointed to instruct others in that science. All his aim was to gain honours and to become great in the eyes of the world. His father intended to recall him home after some years but his sister, who was Prioress in the Convent of the Poor Clares at Gandia and had the reputation of being a Saint, knew, by Divine inspiration, the great work for which her brother was destined by the Almighty and persuaded her father not to insist on his return, saying, in a prophetic manner that Francis was chosen to become the apostle of many nations.

Whilst Xavier was teaching at Paris, St Ignatius came to the same City to finish his studies. Knowing, by Divine inspiration, how much good Francis, who was so highly gifted by the Almighty, would be able to do for the salvation of souls, he sought the friendship of the young Professor and gradually showed him the emptiness, of all temporal greatness and drew him from his eagerness to obtain worldly honours, by repeating the earnest words of Christ: “What will it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul!” These words of our Saviour, coming from the lips of a St Ignatius, so deeply pierced the heart of Xavier and made so indelible an impression that he became entirely converted.

Taking St Ignatius as his guide, he followed his precepts and after having most fervently gone through the “Spiritual Exercises,” he resolved to devote himself, with Ignatius, to the greater glory of God.

On the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, in the year 1534, Ignatius, St Francis and five others, made a vow in the Church of Montmartre at Paris, to consecrate their lives to the salvation of souls. Soon after, St Francis, by the order of St Ignatius, went with some of these zealous men to Italy.

At the very beginning of this journey, which was to be performed on foot, St Francis gave a striking proof of the ardour of his spirit. Before his conversion, he had been a great lover of dancing and gymnastic exercises and, so greatly excelled in them that he had taken great pride in these accomplishments. To punish this vanity, he tied his arms and ankles so tightly with small knotted cords, that he could not make the least motion without pain. After the first day’s march, his pains became so intense that he fainted away and was forced to reveal the cause. The cords had cut so deeply into the flesh that they could hardly be seen. The surgeon who was called, declared that a painful operation was necessary to cut the cords out of the flesh.St Francis and his companions, not wishing to be delayed on their way, prayed for aid from on High and, on the following morning they found, not only the cords broken but all the wounds entirely healed. Having given due thanks to the Almighty for this miracle, they continued their journey.

At Venice, St Francis spent two months in the hospital, nursing the sick most tenderly. While there, it happened that he found, among the sick, one who was suffering from a loathsome ulcer. St Francis felt a natural repugnance to approach the poor patient, but, recollecting the maxim of St. Ignatius, “Conquer thyself,” he unhesitatingly went to the sick, embraced him kindly and putting his lips to the ulcer, cleansed it of all offensive matter. As a reward for so heroic a victory over self, God restored the sick man’s health and took from St Francis all repugnance to the most hideous forms of disease.

Two months after this, he was Ordained Priest and said his first Holy Mass, amid a flood of tears, after having prepared himself for it, by forty days of solitude, many prayers, austere fasting and other penances.

At Rome, whither he was called by St Ignatius, he preached for a time with great success. It was at this period that John III., King of Portugal, requested the Pope to send him six of the disciples of St Ignatius, for the Indies. St Ignatius, on account of the small number of his followers, gave only two, Simon Rodriguez and Nicholas Bobadilla but, as the latter fell ill just before the time appointed for setting out, St Francis Xavier., whom Heaven had selected for this mission, was sent in his stead.

No tongue can tell the joy with which the Saint received this news, which fulfilled that which had been shown him, years before, in a mysterious dream. It had appeared to him, in his sleep that he had a negro on his shoulders, whom he was obliged to carry and that he was so fatigued, as to sink to the ground under his burden. He then awoke and found himself in truth, covered with perspiration and extremely tired.

He was soon prepared for his journey from Rome to Lisbon, whence he was to sail for the Indies and having received, from St Ignatius, valuable instructions and from the Vicar of Christ, the Papal Blessing, with the powers of an Apostolic Nuncio, he set out with his companion, Rodriguez, carrying nothing with him but the Crucifix on his breast, his Breviary under his arm and his staff in his hand.

At the holy house of Loretto, where he stopped on his way, he commended his important mission to his divine Mother, and begged, with childlike trust, for her motherly assistance. Feeling in his heart that his prayer had been heard, he was greatly comforted, on leaving this blessed spot. To be continued …

Posted in DYING / LAST WORDS, FATHERS of the Church, MARTYRS, PATRONAGE - EYES, PATRONAGE - SAILORS, MARINERS, PATRONAGE - THE SICK, THE INFIRM, ALL ILLNESS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 23 November – St Clement I (c 88–c 101) Pope Martyr.

Saint of the Day – 23 November – St Clement I (c 88–c 101) Pope Martyr, Miracle-worker. St Clement is considered to be the first Apostolic Father of the Church, one of the three chief ones together with St Polycarp and St Ignatius of Antioch. Papal Ascensi,on c 88. Born in Rome, Italy and died by drowning at Chersonesus, Taurica, Bosporan Kingdom (modern Greece). Patronages – boatmen, sailors, marble workers, against blindness, sick children, stonecutters, Diocese of Aarhus, Denmark, Dundee, Scotland. Steenwijk, Netherlands, Velletri, Italy. Also known as – Clement of Rome, Clemens Romanus.

The Roman Martyrology reads: “The birthday of Pope Clement, who held the sovereign Pontificate, the third after the blessed Apostle St Peter. In the persecution of Trajan, he was banisbed to Chersonesus, where being percipitated into the sea with an anchor tied to his neck, he was crowned with Martyrdom. His body was taken to Rome during the Pontificate of Nicholas I and placecd, with due honour in the Church which had been previously built under his invocation.

c 1000 portrayal at Saint Sophia’s Cathedral, Kyiv

Saint Clement I., Pope and Martyr
By Father Francis Xavier Weninger SJ (1805-1888)

Whilst the holy Apostles, Peter and Paul, were preaching the Gospel at Rome, there came to them Clement, a son of Faustinus, who was related to the Emperor Domitian. After several discourses with St Peter, he saw the error of Paganism, in which he had been born and educated and became a convert to the Christian faith. He progressed so rapidly in virtue and holiness that he was of great help to Paul in converting the heathens, as the holy Apostle testifies in his Epistle to the Philippians. The unwearied zeal he manifested in such holy endeavours, his purity and other bright virtues, raised him, after the death of Sts Linus and Cletus, to the government of the entire Church of Christ.

In this elevated but burdensome dignity, his holy life was an example to his flock. He gave several excellent laws to the Church, by one of which he divided the City into seven districts and placed in each, a notary to record the deeds, virtues and Martyrdom, of those who were persecuted for Christ’s sake that posterity, admiring their heroism, might be animated to follow their example. His sermons were so full of deep thought and so powerful, that he daily converted several heathens. Among these was Flavia Domitilla, a niece of the Emperor Domitian, who not only became a zealous Christian but, refusing several advantageous offers of marriage, vowed her virginity to God.

He converted Sisinius, one of the most influential men in the City, by a miracle. While yet a heathen, Sisinius went unseen into the secret Chapel where the Christians assembled, in order to ascertain what they were doing and to see whether his wife was among them. God, however, punished him immediately with blindness in both eyes. He revealed himself by calling for, someone to lead him home and St. Clement, who was present, went to him and, restoring his sight after a short prayer, he improved the occasion, to explain to him, the truths of Christianity. Sisinius, being soon convinced, received holy Baptism and many heathens followed his example. The Emperor Trajan, being informed of this, commanded St Clement to be banished to the Chersonesus, unless he consented to sacrifice to the gods. Nearly two thousand Christians had already been banished to that region, where they were forced to work in mines and quarries. The holy Vicar of Christ rejoiced to be thought worthy to suffer for his Divine Master and indignantly, refused to comply with the Emperor’s command to worship the Pagan idols. He was accordingly transported, and condemned to labour like the others.

This fate at first seemed very hard to him but. the thought that he suffered it for Christ’s sake, strengthened him. With the same thought. he endeavoured also to inspire his unhappy companions, when he saw that they became discouraged and lost their patience. He also frequently represented to them, the reward which was awaiting them in Heaven. A miracle which God performed through him, raised him to great consideration, even with the heathens.

There was a great scarcity of water and the Christians suffered much from the thirst occasioned by their hard work. St Clement, pitying them most deeply, prayed to God to help them. Rising from his knees, he saw, on a high rock, a lamb, which seemed, with his raised right foot, to point to the place where water could be found. The holy man, trusting in the Almighty, seized an axe and, lightly striking the rock, procured a rich stream of clear water, which refreshed all the inhabitants of the country, especially the poor persecuted Christians. So many heathens were converted on account of this miracle, that, in the course of a year, almost all the idolatrous temples were torn down and Christian c=Churches erected in their stead.

St Clement by Tiepolo

Some of the idolatrous priests complained of this to the Emperor, who immediately sent Aufidian, a cruel tyrant, to force the Christians to forsake their faith and to put St Clement to death. The tyrant endeavoured to induce the holy man to forsake Christ but finding that all words were useless, he commanded the executioners to tie an anchor to the neck of St Clement, take him out into the sea and cast him into the deep, in order that nothing of him should remain to comfort the Christians. The last words of the holy Pope were: “Eternal Father! receive my spirit!

Martyrdom of St Clement by Fungai

The Christians, who had been encouraged by him to remain constant in their faith, stood on the sea-shore, until the tyrant and his followers had departed, after the death of the Saint. They then knelt in prayer, to beg of the Almighty that He would restore to them the body of their beloved shepherd and, whilst they prayed, the sea began slowly to retreat from the shore. The Christians, following the retreating water, came to the place where the Saint had been cast into the sea and found, to their inexpressible astonishment and joy, a small marble Chapel and in it, a tomb of stone, in which the body of the holy Pope was reposing. At his side, lay the anchor which had been tied around his neck. The joy and comfort which filled the hearts of the faithful at this sight, can more easily be imagined than described. They wished to take the holy body away but God made known to them that, for the present, it should not be disturbed and that, every year, the sea would retreat, during seven days, so as to permit all to visit the shrine of the Saint! This took place for several years, until, at last, by divine revelation, the Relics were transported to Rome.

Posted in MARTYRS, PATRONAGE - A HOLY DEATH & AGAINST A SUDDEN DEATH, PATRONAGE - BREWERS, PATRONAGE - EARTHQUAKES, FIRES, DROUGHT / NATURAL DISASTERS, PATRONAGE - SAILORS, MARINERS, SAINT of the DAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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 INCORRUPTIBLES, JESUIT SJ, PATRONAGE - against EPIDEMICS, PATRONAGE - MISSIONS, MISSIONARIES, PATRONAGE - SAILORS, MARINERS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 3 December – St Francis Xavier SJ (1506-1552) – One of the greatest Missionaries since St Paul

Saint of the Day – 3 December – St Francis Xavier SJ (1506-1552 – aged 46) – Priest, Missionary, co-Founder with St Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556) and St Peter Faber (1506-1546) of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) – he was born Francisco de Jasso y Azpilicueta on 7 April 1506 at Javier, Spanish Navarre, Basque region and died on 3 December 1552 at Sancian, China of a fever contracted on a mission journey.    Patronages:  African missions, black missions, foreign missions (proclaimed on 25 March 1904 by St Pope Pius X), missionaries, sailors, navigators, parish missions, plague epidemics, World Youth Day 2011, Australia, Borneo, Brunei, China, East Indies, India, Japan, Kenya, New Zealand, South Africa, Apostleship of Prayer, Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, Fathers of the Precious Blood, Missioners of the Precious Blood, University of Saint Francis Xavier, 6 cities, 16 dioceses.  His body is incorrupt.st francis xavier info
St Francis was a companion of Saint Ignatius of Loyola and one of the first seven Jesuits who took vows of poverty and chastity at Montmartre, Paris, in 1534.   He led an extensive mission into Asia, mainly in the Portuguese Empire of the time and was influential in evangelisation work, most notably in India.   He also was the first Christian missionary to venture into Japan, Borneo, the Maluku Islands and other areas.   In those areas, struggling to learn the local languages and in the face of opposition, he had less success than he had enjoyed in India.   Xavier was about to extend his missionary preaching to China when he died on Shangchuan Island.ST FRANCES XAVIER

He was Beatified by Pope Paul V on 25 October 1619 and Canonised by Pope Gregory XV on 12 March 1622.   In 1624 he was made co-patron of Navarre.   Known as the “Apostle of the Indies” and “Apostle of Japan”, he is considered to be one of the greatest missionaries since Saint Paul.   In 1927, Pope Pius XI published the decree “Apostolicorum in Missionibus” naming Saint Francis Xavier, along with Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, co-patron of all foreign missions.   He is now co-patron saint of Navarre with San Fermin. The Day of Navarre (Día de Navarra) in Spain marks the anniversary of Saint Francis Xavier’s death, on 3 December 1552.

A young Spanish gentleman, in the dangerous days of the Reformation, was making a name for himself as a professor of philosophy at the University of Paris.   He was aspiring, apparently, to a high dignity, until Saint Ignatius of Loyola decided to undertake the spiritual conquest of this ardent soul.   What does it profit a man to gain the entire world, if he suffers the loss of his soul?   Ignatius often repeated to the brilliant teacher. The words of Christ, joined to the example of Ignatius and his disciples, prevailed.   It was not long before his gifted friend decided to labour for the glory of God, by adopting the evangelical life of an apostle, to which he was indeed called.   He was among the first members of the Society of Jesus, those who with Ignatius made their religious vows in the church of Montmartre in Paris, on the feast of the Assumption in 1534.

st ignatius, st francis and st peter - First Companions
St Ignatius, St Peter & St Francis

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St Francis, St Ignatius, St Peter

On his way to Rome with the others, handicapped by severe penances he had imposed on himself, he remained in Venice and exercised a brief apostolate by caring for the sick in the city hospital.   The others waited for him to regain his ability to walk.   These first fervent Jesuits were intending to embark for the Holy Land but were prevented by a war.   In Rome, Francis again went to a hospital to serve the sick and visited the prisons to encourage and console the poor inmates, while preparing for ordination with the others, according to the desire of the Pope.ST FRANCIS XAVIER LG

Saint Ignatius having remained in Venice, the other five returned there afterwards. Francis was sent by Saint Ignatius to the Orient in 1534, where for twelve years he laboured unceasingly to win souls, sleeping only three hours a night, eating very little, and bearing the Gospel to Hindustan, to Malacca and as far as Japan.   At all times thwarted by jealousy, covetousness and the carelessness of those who should have helped and encouraged him, he did not slacken in his apostolic endeavours despite opposition and the difficulties of every sort which he encountered.st francis xavier lg new

Miracles accompanied him everywhere, he resurrected several who had died.    His inexhaustible kindness was not the least of his assets in winning thousands of pagans to the Faith.   He baptised so many that his arm became virtually disabled, ten thousand in a single month in the kingdom of Trevancor, where in the same space of time he saw to the building of forty-five churches.   At Meliapour, site of the martyrdom of Saint Thomas, he found the marble on which the Apostle was sacrificed and which exuded blood the first time Mass was said upon it.   Passing through various islands, cities and provinces of India, he strengthened his first conquests by additional preaching.   He planted crosses in the public squares and overcame all obstacles.saint-francis-xavier-andrea-pozzo-1701

Saint Francis is called Apostle of Japan as well as of India.   There the pagan priests opposed and calumniated him and tried without success to outwit him in debates. Humiliated, they used subtle means to instil dislike for him in the minds of the court authorities.   But he won the love as well as the respect of those he evangelised, blessing them with such miracles as filling the hitherto sterile sea of Cangoxima with inexhaustible reserves of fish.   The vast kingdom of China appealed to his charity and he was resolved to risk his life to force an entry, when God took him to Himself.   It was on 2 December 1552, that the Apostle of the Indies died on Sancian, an island facing the city of Canton in China, like Moses, in sight of the land of promise.

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St Francis on the South Colonnade at St Peter’s Rome

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St Francis on the Charles Bridge, Prague

beautiful statue saint-francis-xavier

St Francis was first buried on a beach at Shangchuan Island, Taishan, Guangdong.   His incorrupt body was taken from the island in February 1553 and was temporarily buried in St Paul’s church in Portuguese Malacca on 22 March 1553.   An open grave in the church now marks the place of Xavier’s burial.   Pereira came back from Goa, removed the corpse shortly after 15 April 1553 and moved it to his house.   On 11 December 1553, Xavier’s body was shipped to Goa.   The body is now in the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Goa, where it was placed in a glass container encased in a silver casket on 2 December 1637. This casket, constructed by Goan silversmiths between 1636 and 1637, was an exemplary blend of Italian and Indian aesthetic sensibilities.   There are 32 silver plates on all the four sides of the casket depicting different episodes from the life of the Saint.   The right forearm, which Xavier used to bless and baptise his converts, was detached by Superior General Claudio Acquaviva in 1614.   It has been displayed since in a silver reliquary at the main Jesuit church in Rome, Il Gesù.

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Casket of Saint Francis Xavier in the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Goa, India

incorrupt arm of francis xavier at gesu At Rome's Church of the Gesu' (brought to Rome in 1614).
St Francis’ Incorrupt arm at the Jesuit Church of the Gesu, Rome

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/