Posted in DOMINICAN OP, MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 18 February

St Esuperia of Vercelli
St Ethelina
St Flavian (Died 449) Archbishop Martyr
Biography:
https://anastpaul.com/2019/02/18/saint-of-the-day-18-february-st-flavian-of-constantinople-died-449-martyr/

St Francis Regis Clet CM (1748-1820) Priest, Martyr

Bl John of Fiesole/Fra Angelico OP – The Angelic Friar Giovanni (1387-1455)
The Artist:
https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/02/18/saint-of-the-day-18-february-blessed-john-of-fiesole-fra-angelico-o-p-1387-1455/

St Gertrude Caterina Comensoli
St Helladius of Toledo
St Ioannes Chen Xianheng
St Ioannes Zhang Tianshen
St Jean-François-Régis Clet
St Jean-Pierre Néel
Bl Jerzy Kaszyra
Bl John Pibush – one of the Martyrs of Douai
St Leo of Patera
St Martinus Wu Xuesheng
Bl Matthew Malaventino
St Paregorius of Patara
St Sadoth of Seleucia
St Simeon
St Tarasius of Constantinople
St Theotonius
Bl William Harrington

Martyrs of North Africa – 7 saints: Group of Christians who were martyred together, date unknown. We know nothing else but seven of their names – Classicus, Fructulus, Lucius, Maximus, Rutulus, Secundinus and Silvanus.
They were born and martyred in North Africa.

Martyrs of Rome – 5 saints: A group of Christians martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian. We know nothing else but their names – Alexander, Claudius, Cutias, Maximus and Praepedigna. They were martyred in 295 in Rome, Italy.

Posted in PAPAL HOMILIES, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES on CONSCIENCE, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on ENVY, QUOTES on FORGIVENESS, QUOTES on GOSSIP, QUOTES on LOVE, QUOTES on PEACE, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, QUOTES on TEMPTATION, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, QUOTES on the DEVIL/EVIL, QUOTES on UNITY, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

Thought for the Day – 18 February – “However, you killed at the beginning”

Thought for the Day – 18 February – Monday of the Sixth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, First Reading – Genesis 4:1-15

“Cain said to Abel his brother, “Let us go out to the field.”   And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.   Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?”   He said, “I do not know;  am I my brother’s keeper?”   And the Lord said, “What have you done?   The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.   And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.   When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength;  you shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.” …Genesis 4:8-12

“Cain favoured instinct – he preferred to let this feeling stew inside him, festering and allowing it to grow. This sin, which he will later commit, which is couching behind the feeling, grows.

This, is how hostilities grow between you – they begin with something small – jealousy, envy and then this grows and I pull away from my brother, saying this person is not my brother, this one is an enemy, this one must be destroyed, driven away… and so people are destroyed -it is thus that animosity destroys families, populations, everything.   It is that eating away at you, that being constantly obsessed with that person.

No!… there is no brother.
It is just me;  there is no brotherhood – it is just me.
What happened at the beginning, can happen to all of us – it is a possibility. For this reason, it is a process which must be stopped immediately, at the beginning, at the first sign of bitterness.   It must be stopped, because bitterness is not Christian – pain, yes, bitterness no.
Indeed, resentment is not Christian – pain yes, resentment no.
Instead, how much hostility and how many cracks exist and it ends in a war that kills.

However, you killed at the beginning.   This is the process of blood and today the blood of many people in the world is crying to God from the ground.

And it is all connected – that blood has some connection, perhaps a small droplet of blood that I caused to ooze out with my envy and jealousy when I destroyed a brotherhood.”

Pope Francis – Santa Marta, 13 February 2017genesis 4 10 and the lord said what have you done - and it is all connected - pope francis 18 feb 2019.jpg

It is not enough to simply “follow the rules” and stay out of trouble.   If that is all we do then we are trying to achieve heaven by our own merits. God wants more from us than that.   God invites us into a relationship of friends and family, a relationship of love.   This type of relationship is a living, dynamic one.   To love Christ and to want to be near Him is to be crucified with Him.

It means standing up for the Truth even when it is unpopular.   It means finding time to pray.   It means that we stay faithful to the teachings of Jesus.   And it means that when we fail, we humbly confess our sins as we would apologise to a friend we have hurt, so that that relationship can be restored.   It means that we must reflect Christ to the whole world, so that when people look at us they do not see us, they see Christ.

But in the end that is what it means to live for Christ and not for ourselves, to love for Christ and not for ourselves, to give of ourselves for Christ!

Blessed Fra Angelico, you gave your all for Christ, please Pray for Us!bl fra angelico pray for us 18 feb 2019.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on FAITH, SAINT of the DAY

One Minute Reflection – 18 February – “But for one who comes among friends, there should be no need of such signs.”

One Minute Reflection – 18 February – Monday of the Sixth week in Ordinary Time, Year C – Gospel: Mark 8:11–13 and the Memorial of The Memorial of St Flavian of Constantinople(Died 449) and Blessed John of Fiesole/Fra Angelico OP (1387-1455)

And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign?...Mark 8:12-13

REFLECTION – “But for what sign from heaven were they asking?   Maybe that he should hold back the sun, or curb the moon, or bring down thunderbolts, or change the direction of the wind, or something like that?   In Pharaoh’s time there was an enemy from whom deliverance was needed.   But for one who comes among friends, there should be no need of such signs.
No sign more impressed the crowds than the miracles of the loaves.   Not only did they want to follow him but also seemed ready to make him a king.   In order to avoid all suspicion of usurping civil authority, he made a speedy exit after this wonderful work. He did not even leave on foot, lest they chase after him but took off by boat.”…St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father & Doctor (Gospel of Saint Matthew, Homily 53)mark 8 12-13 and he sighed deeply - but for what sign where they asking st john chrysostom 18 feb 2019.jpg

PRAYER – Almighty Lord and God, protect us by Your power throughout the course of this day, even as You have enabled us to begin it.   Your grace is all that we need to see the loving kindness of Your Son, our Lord Jesus in all we meet.   Do not let us turn aside from His path but by the faith You have granted us, let us find meaning in all, which is the sign of Your glory.   Do not let us turn aside to sin and may the intercession of St Flavian and Blessed Fra Angelico, grant us courage and peace. Through Jesus Christ, our Saviour, with the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.st flavian of constantinople pray for us 18 feb 2019

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Posted in ART DEI, MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY, YouTube VIDEOS

Memorials of the Saints – 18 February

St Angilbert of Centula
St Colman of Lindisfarne
St Constance of Vercelli
St Esuperia of Vercelli
St Ethelina
St Flavian (Died 449) Martyr
Bl John of Fiesole/Fra Angelico OP  – The Angelic Friar Giovanni (1387-1455)
The Artist: https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/02/18/saint-of-the-day-18-february-blessed-john-of-fiesole-fra-angelico-o-p-1387-1455/

St Gertrude Caterina Comensoli
St Helladius of Toledo
St Ioannes Chen Xianheng
St Ioannes Zhang Tianshen
St Jean-François-Régis Clet
St Jean-Pierre Néel
Bl Jerzy Kaszyra
Bl John Pibush – one of the Martyrs of Douai
St Leo of Patera
St Martinus Wu Xuesheng
Bl Matthew Malaventino
St Paregorius of Patara
St Sadoth of Seleucia
St Simeon
St Tarasius of Constantinople
St Theotonius
Bl William Harrington

Martyrs of North Africa – 7 saints: Group of Christians who were martyred together, date unknown. We know nothing else but seven of their names – Classicus, Fructulus, Lucius, Maximus, Rutulus, Secundinus and Silvanus.
They were born and martyred in North Africa.

Martyrs of Rome – 5 saints: A group of Christians martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian. We know nothing else but their names – Alexander, Claudius, Cutias, Maximus and Praepedigna. They were martyred in 295 in Rome, Italy.

Posted in ART DEI, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on SANCTITY, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 18 February – The Memorial of Blessed John of Fiesole/Fra Angelico O.P. (1387-1455)

Thought for the Day – 18 February – The Memorial of Blessed John of Fiesole/Fra Angelico O.P. (1387-1455)

One of the greatest Christian artists is Giovanni Fiesole, better known to the world as Blessed Fra Angelico, the “Angelic Brother.”   Fra Angelico is a patron saint for Catholic artists.   His style of painting beautifully bridges the iconographic and gothic traditions. Giorgio Vasari, author of “Lives of the Artists,” referred to Angelico as a “rare and perfect talent.”

Very little of his writings have survived the centuries but one phrase still resonates, more than 400 years after his death. “He who does Christ’s work, must stay with Christ always.”

Saint Paul, in his letter to the Galatians said something similar.   “I live; yet now, it is not I, but truly Christ, who lives in me. And though I live now in the flesh, I live in the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and who delivered himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

What does it mean when Paul tells us it is no longer he who lives but Christ who lives in him?   What does it mean to stay with Christ always?

In Paul’s time it was believed that the only way to have a right relationship with God was to follow the law, the Ten Commandments and all the thousands of rules that derive from them.   But Paul rejected this idea and preached that the only road to justification, to having that right relationship with God, is through faith in Jesus Christ.

It is not enough to simply “follow the rules” and stay out of trouble.   If that is all we do then we are trying to achieve heaven by our own merits.   God wants more from us than that.   God invites us into a relationship of friends and family, a relationship of love.   This type of relationship is a living, dynamic one.   To love Christ and to want to be near Him is to be crucified with Him.

It means standing up for the Truth even when it is unpopular.   It means finding time to pray.   It means that we stay faithful to the teachings of Jesus.   And it means that when we fail, we humbly confess our sins as we would apologise to a friend we have hurt, so that that relationship can be restored.   It means that we must reflect Christ to the whole world, so that when people look at us they do not see us, they see Christ.

For the Artist this means we must deeply consider our vocation, St John Paul described it as a vocation of beauty.   Do we work to bring beauty to the world?   Do we use our gifts to lift peoples hearts and minds to God?   Does our work reflect His splendour and bring hope and joy to our brothers and sisters?   This does not mean that every artist must confine themselves to religious art but it does mean that we may be called to sacrifice lucrative opportunities. or turn away from work that does not suit our vocation.   But in the end that is what it means to live for Christ and not for ourselves.   (Deacon Lawrence Klimecki – Speaker, Writer, Artist)

Blessed Fra Angelico, pray for us!

bl-fra-angelco-pray-for-us-18 feb 2017-no 2

Posted in ART DEI, MORNING Prayers, ON the SAINTS, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

One Minute Reflection – 18 February – The Memorial of Blessed John of Fiesole/Fra Angelico O.P. (1387-1455)

One Minute Reflection – 18 February – The Memorial of Blessed John of Fiesole/Fra Angelico O.P. (1387-1455)

Well done you are an industrious and reliable servant…… Come share your master’s joy…………Matthew 25:21

REFLECTION – “In God’s house we must try to accept whatever job he gives us – cook, kitchen boy, waiter, stable boy or baker. For we know that our reward depends not on the job itself but on the faithfulness with which we serve God.”… Pope John Paul I
“Fra Angelico’s painting was the fruit of the great harmony between a holy life and the creative power with which he had been endowed.”… St Pope John Paul IIin-gods-house-we-must-try-pope-john-paul-i-18 feb 2018fra angelico's painting was the fruit - st john paul - 18 feb 2018

PRAYER – O God, in Your providence You inspired blessed Fra Angelico to portray the beauty and sweetness of heaven.   By his prayers and the example of his virtues, grant that we may manifest this splendour to our brothers and sisters.   Blessed Angelico, pray for us! Through Christ our Lord, amen.

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Posted in ON the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 18 February – Blessed John of Fiesole/Fra Angelico O.P. (1387-1455)

Saint of the Day – 18 February – Blessed John of Fiesole/Fra Angelico O.P. (1387-1455)  Born in 1387 in Vicchio di Mugello near Florence, Italy as Guido di Pietro – he died on 18 February 1455 in the Dominican convent in Rome, Italy of natural causes.   He was known to contemporaries as Fra Giovanni da Fiesole (Brother John of Fiesole) and Fra Giovanni Angelico (Angelic Brother John).   In modern Italian he is called il Beato Angelico (Blessed Angelic One);  the common English name Fra Angelico means the “Angelic friar”.   In 1982, Pope John Paul II proclaimed his beatification in recognition of the holiness of his life, thereby making the title of “Blessed” official.   Fiesole is sometimes misinterpreted as being part of his formal name but it was merely the name of the town where he took his vows as a Dominican friar and was used by contemporaries to separate him from others who were also known as Fra Giovanni.   He is listed in the Roman Martyrology as Beatus Ioannes Faesulanus, cognomento Angelicus—”Blessed Giovanni of Fiesole, surnamed ‘the Angelic’ “.   Patron of Catholic Artists.HEADER - fra-angelico

Fra Angelico was an Early Italian Renaissance painter described by Vasari in his Lives of the Artists as having “a rare and perfect talent”.

Early life, 1395–1436
Fra Angelico was born Guido di Pietro at Rupecanina in the Tuscan area of Mugello near Fiesole towards the end of the 14th century.   Nothing is known of his parents.   He was baptised Guido or Guidolino.   The earliest recorded document concerning Fra Angelico dates from 17 October 1417 when he joined a religious confraternity or guild at the Carmine Church, still under the name of Guido di Pietro.   This record reveals that he was already a painter, a fact that is subsequently confirmed by two records of payment to Guido di Pietro in January and February 1418 for work done in the church of Santo Stefano del Ponte.   The first record of Angelico as a friar dates from 1423, when he is first referred to as Fra Giovanni (Friar John), following the custom of those entering one of the older religious orders of taking a new name.  He was a member of the local community at Fiesole, not far from Florence, of the Dominican Order; one of the medieval Orders belonging to a category known as mendicant Orders because they generally lived not from the income of estates but from begging or donations.   Fra, a contraction of frater (Latin for ‘brother’), is a conventional title for a mendicant friar.beato-angelico1

According to Vasari, Fra Angelico initially received training as an illuminator, possibly working with his older brother Benedetto who was also a Dominican and an illuminator. The former Dominican convent of San Marco in Florence, now a state museum, holds several manuscripts that are thought to be entirely or partly by his hand.   The painter Lorenzo Monaco may have contributed to his art training and the influence of the Sienese school is discernible in his work.   He had several important charges in the convents he lived in but this did not limit his art, which very soon became famous. According to Vasari, the first paintings of this artist were an altarpiece and a painted screen for the Charterhouse (Carthusian monastery) of Florence; none such exist there now.

From 1408 to 1418, Fra Angelico was at the Dominican friary of Cortona, where he painted frescoes, now mostly destroyed, in the Dominican Church and may have been assistant to Gherardo Starnina or a follower of his.   Between 1418 and 1436 he was at the convent of Fiesole, where he also executed a number of frescoes for the church and the Altarpiece, which was deteriorated but has since been restored.   A predella of the Altarpiece remains intact and is conserved in the National Gallery, London, and is a great example of Fra Angelico’s ability.   It shows Christ in Glory surrounded by more than 250 figures, including beatified Dominicans.397px-Fra_Angelico_-_Deposition_from_the_Cross_(detail)_-_WGA00534

San Marco, Florence, 1436–1445
In 1436, Fra Angelico was one of a number of the friars from Fiesole who moved to the newly built convent or friary of San Marco in Florence.   This was an important move which put him in the centre of artistic activity of the region and brought about the patronage of one of the wealthiest and most powerful members of the city’s governing authority, or “Signoria” (namely Cosimo de’ Medici), who had a cell reserved for himself at the friary in order that he might retreat from the world.

It was, according to Vasari, at Cosimo’s urging that Fra Angelico set about the task of decorating the convent, including the magnificent fresco of the Chapter House, the often-reproduced Annunciation at the top of the stairs leading to the cells, the Maesta (or Coronation of the Madonna) with Saints (cell 9) and the many other devotional frescoes, of smaller format but remarkable luminous quality, depicting aspects of the Life of Christ that adorn the walls of each cell.

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The Last Judgement
Fra_Angelico_042_the transfiguration - adjusted
The Transfiguration shows the directness, simplicity and restrained palette typical of these frescoes. Located in a monk’s cell at the Convent San’ Marco and intended for private devotion.

 

In 1439 Fra Angelico completed one of his most famous works, the San Marco Altarpiece at Florence. The result was unusual for its time. Images of the enthroned Madonna and Child surrounded by saints were common, but they usually depicted a setting that was clearly heaven-like, in which saints and angels hovered about as divine presences rather than people. But in this instance, the saints stand squarely within the space, grouped in a natural way as if they were able to converse about the shared experience of witnessing the Virgin in glory. Paintings such as this, known as Sacred Conversations, were to become the major commissions of Giovanni Bellini, Perugino and Raphael.

Fra_Angelico_-_San_Marco_Altarpiece_-_WGA00509_02
San Marco Altarpiece 

The Vatican, 1445–1455
In 1445 Pope Eugene IV summoned him to Rome to paint the frescoes of the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament at St Peter’s, later demolished by Pope Paul III.   Vasari claims that at this time Fra Angelico was offered the Archbishopric of Florence by Pope Nicholas V and that he refused it, recommending another friar for the position.   The story seems possible and even likely.   However, if Vasari’s date is correct, then the pope must have been Eugene IV and not Nicholas, who was elected Pope only on 6 March 1447.   Moreover, the archbishop in 1446–1459 was the Dominican Antoninus of Florence (Antonio Pierozzi), canonised by Pope Adrian VI in 1523. In 1447 Fra Angelico was in Orvieto with his pupil, Benozzo Gozzoli, executing works for the Cathedral.   Among his other pupils were Zanobi Strozzi.

From 1447 to 1449 Fra Angelico was back at the Vatican, designing the frescoes for the Niccoline Chapel for Nicholas V.   The scenes from the lives of the two martyred deacons of the Early Christian Church, St Stephen and St Lawrence may have been executed wholly or in part by assistants.   The small chapel, with its brightly frescoed walls and gold leaf decorations gives the impression of a jewel box.   From 1449 until 1452, Fra Angelico returned to his old convent of Fiesole, where he was the Prior.

Death and beatification
In 1455, Fra Angelico died while staying at a Dominican convent in Rome, perhaps on an order to work on Pope Nicholas’ chapel.   He was buried in the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva.

When singing my praise, don’t liken my talents to those of Apelles.
Say, rather, that, in the name of Christ, I gave all I had to the poor.

The deeds that count on Earth are not the ones that count in Heaven.

I, Giovanni, am the flower of Tuscany.
— Translation of epitaph

The English writer and critic William Michael Rossetti wrote of the friar:

“From various accounts of Fra Angelico’s life, it is possible to gain some sense of why he was deserving of canonisation.   He led the devout and ascetic life of a Dominican friar and never rose above that rank;  he followed the dictates of the order in caring for the poor;  he was always good-humoured.   All of his many paintings were of divine subjects and it seems that he never altered or retouched them, perhaps from a religious conviction that, because his paintings were divinely inspired, they should retain their original form.   He was wont to say that he who illustrates the acts of Christ should be with Christ.  It is averred that he never handled a brush without fervent prayer and he wept when he painted a Crucifixion. The Last Judgement and the Annunciation were two of the subjects he most frequently treated.”

442px-Fra_Angelico_the crucified christ.012
The Crucified Christ

Pope John Paul II beatified Fra Angelico on 3 October 1982 and in 1984 declared him patron of Catholic artists.

“Angelico was reported to say “He who does Christ’s work must stay with Christ always”.   This motto earned him the epithet “Blessed Angelico” because of the perfect integrity of his life and the almost divine beauty of the images he painted, to a superlative extent those of the Blessed Virgin Mary.”— St Pope John Paul IIshrine of fra angelicobl-fra-angelico-my-edit

 

Posted in MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 18 February

Thought for the Day – 18 February

Faithful to the promises he made as a Dominican, to preach the Gospel after having contemplated it in prayer, Fra Angelico put his creativity at the disposal of the Lord.   With brush and paint in hand, he used his talents to transmit to all people the sublimity and the redemptive strength of the divine mysteries.

Between 1425 and 1447, Fra Angelico carried out his activity for the Dominican convents and other ecclesiastical institutes at Fiesole, Florence (most especially at the convent of San Marco), Cortona and Orvieto.   The fame of his genius merited him the esteem of the Sovereign Pontiffs Eugenio IV and Nicolas V, who contracted him for the task of frescoing several rooms in the Vatican Palace (1445-49).

Fra Angelico died on February 18, 1455, in the convent of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva in Rome and was buried in the adjoining Basilica, where his body was covered by a simple slab on which was carved his portrait.   With a personality that was uncomplicated and clear, Brother Giovanni had lived a poor and humble life, refusing honours and positions.

The virtue and the profound religious spirit which characterized the life of this artist and Dominican is reflected in his spirituality, his purity and the luminosity of his art.   Even before his official recognition as a blessed of the Church, he had been given by the faithful the title “Beato Angelico.”   In a moving ceremony on October 18, 1984, Pope John Paul II, on his knees in front of Fra Angelico’s tomb, proclaimed him solemnly to be the universal patron of all artists.

The Incarnation was one of Fra Angelico’s favourite themes and he painted over 25 variations of it.   His painted meditations, so needed at the time of the early Renaissance, are still necessary today.   God became man to bring us closer to Himself by way of all things human.   He makes all things new by fashioning them into possible vehicles of grace for us, so that by visible realities and concrete concepts, we can arrive at an understanding and a love of higher, invisible realities, all leading to God Himself.  Without art our lives would be much depleted. L   et us pray for artists today, especially those who can lift our hearts and minds to God that the Lord may come to them and guide their hands.

Blessed Fra Angelico, Pray for us!

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Posted in ART DEI, MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY

Quote of the Day – 18 February

Quote/s of the Day – 18 February

Theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar said Angelico’s art embodies the motto of the Dominican Order contemplata aliis tradere, that is,
“communicating to others the contemplated mysteries”.
Another writer expressed a similar judgment: fece teologia dipingendo la bellezza, che mostrò la luce del Risorto nelle creature da lui redente: “he did theology by painting the beauty that shows the light of the Risen Christ in creatures”.

Author of the Lives of the Artists – Vasari – wrote of Fra Angelico that “it is impossible to bestow too much praise on this holy father, who was so humble and modest in all that he did and said and whose pictures were painted with such facility and piety.”

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Posted in MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 18 February

One Minute Reflection – 18 February

Well done you are an industrious
and reliable servant…… Come share
your master’s joy…………Matthew 25:21

REFLECTION – “In God’s house we must try to
accept whatever job he gives us:
cook, kitchen boy, waiter, stable boy or baker.
For we know that our reward depends not
on the job itself but on the faithfulness
with which we serve God.”……..Pope John Paul I
Fra Angelico’s painting was the fruit of the great harmony between a holy life and the creative power with which he had been endowed………St John Paul

PRAYER – O God, in Your providence You inspired blessed Fra Angelico to portray the beauty and sweetness of heaven. By his prayers and the example of his virtues, grant that we may manifest this splendour to our brothers and sisters. Blessed Angelico, pray for us! Through Christ our Lord, amen.

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Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 18 February – Blessed FRA ANGELICO

Saint of the Day – 18 February – Blessed FRA ANGELICO O.P. (1395-1455 aged 59) – Patron of Artists.

Fra Angelico was an Early Italian Renaissance painter described by Vasari in his Lives of the Artists as having “a rare and perfect talent”.

He was known to contemporaries as Fra Giovanni da Fiesole (Brother John of Fiesole) and Fra Giovanni Angelico (Angelic Brother John). In modern Italian he is called il Beato Angelico (Blessed Angelic One); the common English name Fra Angelico means the “Angelic friar”.

In 1982 Pope John Paul II proclaimed his beatification in recognition of the holiness of his life, thereby making the title of “Blessed” official. Fiesole is sometimes misinterpreted as being part of his formal name, but it was merely the name of the town where he took his vows as a Dominican friar and was used by contemporaries to separate him from others who were also known as Fra Giovanni. He is listed in the Roman Martyrology as Beatus Ioannes Faesulanus, cognomento Angelicus—”Blessed Giovanni of Fiesole, surnamed ‘the Angelic’ “.

Fra Angelico is probably better known as an artist than as a holy man. He was already called “Beato” while he was still alive. Pope John Paul II gave this a new reality when he beatified him in 1982. Patrick Duffy tells his story.

Early life
Born Guido di Pietro at Vicchio, 25 kms north-east of Florence, also the birth place of Giotto, in his childhood he was known as Guido da Vicchio or Guido di Pietro.   He may have been already a painter before he and his brother Benedetto joined the Dominicans at Fiesole.

At Fiesole 1418-35
After his novitiate at Cortona he went to live at the Dominican convent at Fiesole.   As a young friar, he worked at illuminating missals and manuscripts.   He became known to his companions as Fra Giovanni da Fiesole but later more popularly – even within his own lifetime in Italy – he was called Il Beato Angelico.

San Marco, Florence (1436-45)
In 1436 Fra Angelico was one of a number of the monks from Fiesole who moved into the newly-built monastery of San Marco in Florence.   This not only put him in the centre of artistic activity but also engaged the patronage of the wealthy and powerful Cosimo de’ Medici, who often came there himself when he wanted to retreat from the world.

According to his biographer Giorgio Vasari (1511-74), it was at Cosimo’s urging that Fra Angelico undertook the task of decorating the monastery, including the magnificent Chapter House fresco, the often-reproduced Annunciation, the Maesta with Saints Cosmas and Damian, Saint Mark and Saint John, Saint Lawrence and three Dominicans, Saint Dominic, Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Peter Martyr.

The Vatican and Orvieto, 1445–1449
bl Sacrament and fra angIn 1445 Pope Eugenius IV (1431-47), who knew the artist’s work in Florence, summoned Angelico to Rome to paint the frescoes of the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament at St Peter’s but this was destroyed a century later when Pope Paul III (Alessandro Farnese 1534-49) wanted to make room for the great staircase of the Vatican Palace.   Vasari says that at this time Eugenius offered Fra Angelico the archbishopric of Florence, but that he refused it, recommending another friar for the position.

In 1447 when the papal court moved to the comparative cool of Orvieto Fra Angelico worked with his pupil, Benozzo Gozzoli, on the vault of the chapel of the Madonna of St Brizio in the cathedral.

In 1449 back at the Vatican, he designed the famous fresco scenes from the lives of St. Laurence and St. Stephen for the walls of the Chapel of Nicholas V.   From 1449 until 1452, Fra Angelico was back at San Marco in Florence, where he was prior for three years.

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The Transfiguration shows the directness, simplicity and restrained palette typical of these frescoes. Located in a monk’s cell at the Convent San’ Marco, its apparent purpose is to encourage private devotion.

Death and influence
In 1455 Fra Angelico died while staying at a Dominican Convent in Rome, perhaps working on Pope Nicholas’ Chapel. His tomb can be seen in the Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in the centre of Rome. And this is his epitaph:

When singing my praise, do not say I was another Apelles.
But say that, in the name of Christ, I gave all I had to the poor.
Part of my work remains on earth and part is in heaven.
The city that bore me, Giovanni, is the flower of Tuscany.

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