Posted in MARIAN TITLES, SAINT of the DAY

Easter Thursday, Our Lady of Valverde / Our Lady of the Green Valley, Sicily (1040) and Memorials of the Saints – 8 April

Easter Thursday The Fifth Day in the Easter Octave +2021


Our Lady of Valverde / Our Lady of the Green Valley, Sicily (1040) – 8 April:

The Sicilian Shrine to Our Lady of the Green Valley (Our Lady of Valverde) is said to have originated about the year 1040.

According to tradition, a soldier named Dionysius remained behind on the island of Sicily to engage in banditry, having been enticed by the wealth on the island and his greed for the money he felt he could easily steal from others. Assault, theft and murder meant nothing to him. Dionysius found a cave in which to hide and then lurked in the shadows of the thick woods, along the path that led from Catania to Aci. Dionysius was so active that this region near Mount Etna, soon became infamous as the scene of robberies, violence and even murder.
At that time, there was a certain man named Giles who lived in the City of Catania. In the course of business, it became necessary for him to make the dangerous trip to Aci. Now, while Giles was aware of the danger, he was a pious man who was greatly devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary and he was absolutely convinced that she would watch over him on his journey.
As Giles passed through the wood beneath the dormant but still volcanic Mount Etna, a bandit barred his way and threatened his life with a dagger.
Suddenly the earth shook violently and a globe of blinding light appeared nearby. From within the light a woman’s voice could be heard:

“Dionysisus, Dionysius, do not touch my devotee.”

The assassin’s arm was frozen by the command. He turned and looked around at the light.

“Lay down that weapon – and cease this life of banditry.”

At these words ,Dionysius saw the monstrosity of what had been his life passing before his eyes. Throwing away his knife, he humbly acknowledged the errors of his life and prostrated himself at the feet of his intended victim, begging his forgiveness.
Dionysus retreated alone to his cave to weep over his sins. Knowing his sincerity, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to him to comfort him. She urged him to trust in the goodness and mercy of God and go at once to Confession. She also requested that a Church be built on the hill of Valverde with the wealth Dionysius had obtained through his life of crime.
Within a few days word got out about what had happened and the faithful from Aci processed to the hill of Valverde. Once on the hill, they observed a noisy flock of cranes hovering in the sky before landing on a particular clearing nearby. Taking it as a sign, the bandit turned hermit, began the work of constructing the Chapel on that very spot. Although he began working immediately and with impressive fervour, progress soon came to a halt due to the lack of a water supply.
Dionysius turned in prayer to the Virgin Mary, who once again appeared to order, that a pickaxe be used, to strike at the base of the rock forming the entrance to the bandit’s cave. The result of the blow was a trickle of water that formed a pool sufficient, not only for the continuation of the work but also proved to be miraculous, as it soon became a source of cures for many of the sick who came and drank there. So many people came to assist the building work, that the work that had begun in the year 1038 was finished only two years later.

Dionysius kept the faith and continued to live on Valverde as a hermit. One night, he was rapt in prayer, when he was struck by an intense beam of light and saw a cloud in which the Madonna appeared surrounded by heavenly angels. The light dispersed as the cloud rose toward heaven, revealing a magnificent image of the Blessed Virgin and her Divine Son imprinted on the rough wall of a pillar of the Church.

The image, now known as Our Lady of the Green Valley, depicts the Virgin Mary seated and wearing a robe with gold accents. Her head is covered with a veil, although Mary’s hair can be seen framing her face. With her right hand she holds the Divine Child, who is seated upon a red and gold cushion. He has curly hair and is dressed in a white tunic. His right hand is raised in blessing, while the other rests upon a small crane that seems to hide behind the Virgin’s left hand.

This lighter coloured image shows the details more clearly – the cushion, the crane and colours of Our Lady’s robes.

In the year 1565 a group of Christian soldiers stopped here to invoke the aid of Our Lady of the Green Valley while on their way to the island of Malta. Suleiman the Magnificent was about to lay siege to the island fortress with countless thousands of his finest warriors, while only 600 Knights of St. John ,would stand against them, to defend the stronghold. These Christian soldiers were the same who would later operate the cannon, which fired the round that mortally wounded the infamous pirate commander Dragut Rais. A votive offering of two iron cannon balls now hang to the left of the Altar, as testimony and thanksgiving for the assistance of the Mother of God during that siege.

The feast of Our Lady of the Green Valley is kept, with great devotion, throughout three Dioceses of Sicily.

Festival of Our Lady of Valverde

St Agabus the Prophet
St Amantius of Como
St Asynkritos of Marathon
Blessed Augustus Czartoryski SDB (1858-1893) Priest
Biography of this Prince Salesian Priest:
https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/04/08/saint-of-the-day-8-april-blessed-augustus-czartoryski-s-d-b-1858-1893/

St Beata of Ribnitz
Blessed Clement of Osimo OSA (1235-1291)
His Lifestory:

https://anastpaul.com/2019/04/08/saint-of-the-day-blessed-clement-of-osimo-osa-1235-1291/
St Concessa
St Dionysius of Alexandria “The Great” (c 190-265) Archbishop

St Dionysius of Corinth
Bl Domingo Iturrate Zubero
Bl Gonzalo Mercador
St Herodion of Patras
St Julie Billiart (1751-1816)
About St Julie:

https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/04/08/saint-of-the-day-8-april-st-julie-billiat/

Bl Julian of Saint Augustine
Bl Libania of Busano
St Phlegon of Hyrcania
St Redemptus of Ferentini

Martyrs of Africa – 3 saints: A group of African martyrs whose name appears on ancient lists, but about whom nothing is known but their names – Januarius, Macaria and Maxima.

Martyrs of Antioch – 4 saints: A group of Christians martyred together for their faith. We know little more than their names – Diogene, Macario, Massimo and Timothy. They died in Antioch, Syria.

Martyrs of Seoul – 5 saints: A group laymen who were martyred together in the apostolic vicariate of Korea.
• Augustinus Jeong Yak-jong
• Franciscus Xaverius Hong Gyo-man
• Ioannes Choe Chang-hyeon
• Lucas Hong Nak-min
• Thomas Choe Pil-gong
They died on 8 April 1801 at the Small West Gate, Seoul, South Korea
Beatified on 15 August 2014 by Pope Francis

Posted in QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, St Pope JOHN PAUL, The WORD

Quote of the Day – 8 April – “How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, God of hosts.”

Quote of the Day – 8 April – Monday of the Fifth week of Lent, Year C and the Memorial of Blessed Augustus Czartoryski SDB (1858-1893)

“How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, God of hosts. My soul is longing and yearning, is yearning for the courts of the Lord…. One day within your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere” …Psalm 84[83]: 2, 11

“Blessed Augusto Czartoryski wrote these words of the Psalm, his motto of life, on the holy card of his first Mass.   In them is contained the rapture of a man who, following the voice of the call, discovers the beauty of the ministerial priesthood.   In them resounds the echo of the different choices that the person who is discerning God’s will and wishes to fulfil it must make. Augustus Czartoryski, a young prince, carefully prepared an effective method to discern the divine plan.   In prayer, he presented to God all questions and deep perplexities and then in the spirit of obedience he followed the counsel given by his spiritual guides.   In this way he came to understand his vocation and to take up the life of poverty to serve the “least”.   The same method enabled him throughout the course of his life to make decisions, so that today we can say that he accomplished the designs of Divine Providence in a heroic way.   I would like to leave this example of holiness especially to young people, who today search out the way to decipher God’s will relating to their own lives and desire to faithfully forge ahead each day according to the divine word.   My dear young friends, learn from Blessed Augustus to ask ardently in prayer for the light of the Holy Spirit and wise guides, so that you may understand the divine plan in your lives and are able to walk constantly on the path of holiness.”…St Pope John Paul on the Beatification of Blessed Augustus on Sunday, 25 April 2004bl-augustus-czartoryski-wrote-these-words-st-john-paul-8-april-2018.jpg

Posted in SAINT of the DAY, YouTube VIDEOS

Memorials of the Saints – 8 April

St Agabus the Prophet
St Amantius of Como
St Asynkritos of Marathon
Bl Augustus Czartoryski SDB (1858-1893)
Biography of this Prince Salesian Priest: https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/04/08/saint-of-the-day-8-april-blessed-augustus-czartoryski-s-d-b-1858-1893/

St Beata of Ribnitz
Bl Clement of Osimo OSA (1235-1291)
St Concessa
St Dionysius of Alexandria
St Dionysius of Corinth
Bl Domingo Iturrate Zubero
Bl Gonzalo Mercador
St Herodion of Patras
St Julie Billiart (1751-1816)
About St Julie:   https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/04/08/saint-of-the-day-8-april-st-julie-billiat/

Bl Julian of Saint Augustine
Bl Libania of Busano
St Phlegon of Hyrcania
St Redemptus of Ferentini

Martyrs of Africa – 3 saints: A group of African martyrs whose name appears on ancient lists, but about whom nothing is known but their names – Januarius, Macaria and Maxima.

Martyrs of Antioch – 4 saints: A group of Christians martyred together for their faith. We know little more than their names – Diogene, Macario, Massimo and Timothy. They died in Antioch, Syria.

Martyrs of Seoul – 5 saints: A group laymen who were martyred together in the apostolic vicariate of Korea.
• Augustinus Jeong Yak-jong
• Franciscus Xaverius Hong Gyo-man
• Ioannes Choe Chang-hyeon
• Lucas Hong Nak-min
• Thomas Choe Pil-gong
They died on 8 April 1801 at the Small West Gate, Seoul, South Korea
Beatified on 15 August 2014 by Pope Francis

Posted in DEVOTIO, DIVINE MERCY, EASTER, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on PRAYER, SAINT of the DAY, St Pope JOHN PAUL, The HOLY SPIRIT, VATICAN Resources

One Minute Reflection – 8 April – Low Sunday the Octave Day of Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday and the Memorial of Bl Augustus Czartoryski S.D.B. (1858-1893)

One Minute Reflection – 8 April – Low Sunday the Octave Day of Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday and the Memorial of Bl Augustus Czartoryski S.D.B. (1858-1893)

“How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, God of hosts.   My soul is longing and yearning, is yearning for the courts of the Lord…. One day within your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere” …Psalm 84[83]: 2, 11

REFLECTION – “Blessed Augusto Czartoryski wrote these words of the Psalm, his motto of life, on the holy card of his first Mass.   In them is contained the rapture of a man who, following the voice of the call, discovers the beauty of the ministerial priesthood.   In them resounds the echo of the different choices that the person who is discerning God’s will and wishes to fulfil it must make.   Augustus Czartoryski, a young prince, carefully prepared an effective method to discern the divine plan.   In prayer, he presented to God all questions and deep perplexities and then in the spirit of obedience he followed the counsel given by his spiritual guides.   In this way he came to understand his vocation and to take up the life of poverty to serve the “least”.   The same method enabled him throughout the course of his life to make decisions, so that today we can say that he accomplished the designs of Divine Providence in a heroic way.   I would like to leave this example of holiness especially to young people, who today search out the way to decipher God’s will relating to their own lives and desire to faithfully forge ahead each day according to the divine word.   My dear young friends, learn from Blessed Augustus to ask ardently in prayer for the light of the Holy Spirit and wise guides, so that you may understand the divine plan in your lives and are able to walk constantly on the path of holiness.”…St Pope John Paul on the Beatification of Blessed Augustus on Sunday, 25 April 2004

bl augustus czartoryski wrote these words - st john paul - 8 april 2018

PRAYER – Heavenly God and Father and Your divine Son, dear Jesus in whom we trust, send Your Holy Spirit to guide and teach us, to lead us into the ways of holiness.   Grant, we pray, that by the intercession of Blessed Augustus, we may fulfil Your Holy Will by the light of the Holy Spirit.   Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.bl augustus czartoryski - pray for us - 8 april 2018

Posted in SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 8 April – Blessed Augustus Czartoryski S.D.B. (1858-1893)

Saint of the Day – 8 April – Blessed Augustus Czartoryski S.D.B. (1858-1893) Religious Priest of the Salesians of Don Bosco, Royal Prince and Duke – born Prince August Franciszek Maria Anna Józef Kajetan Czartoryski/the Duke of Vista Alegre on 2 August 1858 in Paris, France – evening of 8 April, 1893 in Alassio, Savona, Italy of tuberculosis.  His remains were interred in the family mausoleum in the parish crypt in Sieniawa, Poland and later re-interred in the Salesian church in Przemysl, Poland.

Augusto Czartoryski was born on 2 August 1858 in Paris, France, the firstborn son to Prince Ladislaus of Poland and Princess Maria Amparo, daughter of the Duke and Queen of Spain.   The noble Czartoryski Family had been living in exile in France for almost 30 years, in the Lambert Palace.   Here, with the hope of restoring unity in Poland, they continued to direct activities between their fellow Polish countrymen and the European chancellery.

BlAugustoCzartoryski08-4

Plans for a future Prince

It was already planned that Augusto would be a future “reference point” for this restoration and would carry on the “Czartoryski” name.   God’s designs, however, were to unfold differently.
When Augusto was 6, his mother died of tuberculosis;  the disease was also transmitted to him and for the rest of his life he would be plagued by ill health.   Although he had to make “forced pilgrimages” with his father to Italy, Switzerland, Egypt and Spain in search of a cure, he never regained his health.

384px-María_Amparo_Muñoz_y_Borbón,_condesa_de_Vista_Alegre_–_conde_Ladislao_Czartoryski
His parents, c 1860

As he grew up, Augusto felt that he was not meant for the life of nobility and one day, when he was 20 years old, he wrote to his father:  “I confess to you that I am tired [of all the parties;  they are superficial entertainments that cause me anguish and I feel myself “forced’ to make acquaintances with others at these banquets”.

Augusto already received spiritual direction from his tutor, Joseph Kalinsowski (later Saint Raphael of Saint Joseph Kalinowski O.C.D. (1835-1907) , who would later become a Carmelite and who, before leaving for Carmel in 1877, wrote to Prince Ladislaus to suggest that it would be wise, considering the boy’s love for God, to entrust him to the direction of a priest.

Encounter with Don Bosco

Prince Ladislaus accepted the counsel given by Augusto’s tutor and Fr Stanislaus Kubowicz began to guide him.   Augusto was already feeling more and more called to religious life and was hoping for a clearer indication of what God wanted from him:  this “decisive event” took place when he was 25 and met Don Bosco, founder of the Salesians.

When Don Bosco came to Paris and celebrated Mass in the family chapel of the Lambert Palace, Augusto saw in this holy founder and teacher the “father of his soul” and guide for his future.   While Augusto remained quiet and withdrawn in the face of matrimony plans made for him by his father, he had no intention of continuing the “noble line”. Indeed, after his first encounter with the Salesian saint, he was more resolute than ever to answer God’s call by becoming a Salesian.

When his father gave him permission, Augusto would travel to Turin to meet with Don Bosco and participate in spiritual retreats.   He became comfortable with the “poverty” of the Salesian Oratory and was not disturbed by his frequent ill health or his father’s opposition;  he instead saw God’s hand in all these circumstances.

He would say: “If God wants this, all will go well since he can take away every obstacle.   If he does not want this, then neither do I”.BL AUGUSTUS

A “Prince’ for God’s Kingdom

Don Bosco was somewhat reluctant to accept Augusto into the Salesian community:  it took Pope Leo XIII to remove his doubts when he gave Augusto this message:  “Tell Don Bosco that it is the Pope’s will that he receives you among the Salesians”.

Don Bosco replied: “Well then, my dear son, I accept you. From this moment, you are a part of the Salesian Family and I desire that you belong here until you die”.

In 1887 he began his novitiate under the guidance of Don Giulio Barberis.   The young man had to overcome many “habits” and adjust to community life, schedule, frugal meals and other sacrifices.   All this he did with great serenity and abandonment to God.

When his father came to try to convince him to return home and accept his nobility as “Prince”, he refused.   On 24 November 1887, the day of his vesting in the hands of Don Bosco, the holy founder whispered into Augusto’s ear:  “Courage, my prince! Today we have conquered, and I can also say with great joy that one day when you become a priest you will do much for your Country”.

0802_august-czartoryski

One year as Christ’s priest

Don Bosco died two months later.   Augusto’s health was also worsening and his father continued to try to dissuade him from becoming a priest, using his ill health as an “excuse”.

When Prince Ladislaus asked the “help” of Cardinal Parocchi to dismiss him from the Salesians, Augusto wrote:   “In full liberty I made my vows and I did this with great joy of heart.   From that day I continue to live in the Congregation with an immense peace of spirit and I thank the Lord for allowing me to know the Salesian Family and for having called me to become a Salesian”.

On 2 April 1892 he was ordained a priest by the Bishop of Ventimiglia.   Although Prince Ladislaus was not present at the Ordination, a month later, joined by the entire family in Mentone, he reconciled himself with his son’s decision and renounced his own dreams of prestige and nobility for Augusto.

Fr Augusto died on 8 April 1893 in Alassio, where he lived his year as a priest, occupying a room which looked out onto the courtyard where the children of the Oratory played. He was 35 years old.

BL AUGUTUS TOMB-Salezjanie_-_Czartoryski1
Relics of August Czartoryski in Salesians Church in Przemyśl, Poland