Posted in IGNATIAN/JESUIT SJ- Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, MARIAN TITLES, MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Notre-Dame de Chartres / Our Lady of Chartres, (Pèlerinage de Chartres / The Chartres Pilgrimage) Mother of Youth (1935) and Memorials of the Saints – 22 December

Notre-Dame de Chartres / Our Lady of Chartres, (Pèlerinage de Chartres / The Chartres Pilgrimage) Mother of Youth (1935): also known as the Pilgrimage of Christendom, has been gathering thousands of people on the Solemnity of Pentecost for a three-day trek from the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris to the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Chartres.

Our Lady of Chartres, or Notre-Dame de Chartres, is a beautiful Gothic style Cathedral located in Beauce, France, which is about 80 kilometres southwest of Paris. This Cathedral, which was first built in the time of the Apostles, was demolished several times over the centuries. It was re-erected in its present state by Saint Fulbert, the fifty-fifth Bishop of Chartres at the end of the 12th Century into the beginning of the 13th century.
The Pilgrimage was inspired by French-Catholic writer Charles Péguy, who made a solitary Pilgrimage from Notre Dame of Paris to the Marian Sanctuary of Chartres in 1912, covering more than 136 kilometres in four days, 14-17 June, to ask the intercession of the Virgin Mary to help his ill son. He undertook the same Pilgrimage a year later, shortly before losing his life on the battlefield at the beginning of World War I in 1914.

The student’s Pilgrimage to Chartres started in 1935 with a group of fifteen young men and girls of the Sorbonne, who sacrificed their Pentecostal holidays in prayer to the Holy Spirit and to Mary. They marched 100 kilometres to the Shrine in Chartres and prayed there together. The next year there were 36 who went and in the following year 150. Then the war came but during the eight hard years that followed, the Pilgrimages were not deserted. The numbers increased, until in 1948, about 6,500 students formed a line to march to Mary.
Most of the Pilgrims were in their early twenties or late teens, from the universities, colleges and schools of Paris and the Provinces, although some were from foreign countries. The number of unbelievers, atheists and Communists has always been high even among the students; while Protestants and Jews also make up a goodly portion of the number (very much like the Santiago de Compostela). Some come out of curiosity, some following the persistent urgings of a friend; some for the sport of hiking, or to answer an invitation to test their grit and endurance but whatever their reasons for starting, few end, without a definite spiritual “joy.” Many make the Pilgrimage in bare feet over gravel roads; the sick and crippled go, too.
In our day there are thousands, perhaps 10,000 Pilgrims who walk through the French countryside to Chartres. Their trek is an open act of faith and reparation, something almost never seen in modern times.

In making the Chartres Pilgrimage, these young people help to give France a new birth of devotion to Mary; something new and spotless has been born as in the warmth of endless glorious Saints – re-lit in the hearts of young moderns. France must now place her hope in youth, the youth of France and the youth of the Church, through Our Blessed Mother, Mary the Lady of Chartres. Although this is primarily a Pentecost Pilgrimage, many smaller groups commence a Pilgrimage on 22 December to be in time for Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve and, in fact, all year round. Below,  a French flag displaying the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus with ‘Hope and Salvation of France.’ A Priest hears confession while other Pilgrims participate in Adoration in the background (at the final campsite of the pilgrimage in Gas, France, about 12 miles from Chartres). 

St Frances Xavier Cabrini (1850-1917) – Universal optional memorial (except in the USA which is on 13 November) Italian-American religious sister, who founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
About St Frances:

St Abban of New Ross
Bl Adam of Saxony
St Amaswinthus of Málaga
St Athernaise of Fife
St Bertheid of Münster
St Chaeremon of Nilopolis
St Flavian of Acquapendente (Died 363) Martyr Layman
St Honoratus of Toulouse

St Hungerus Frisus of Utrecht (Died 866) Bishop of Utrecht
His Life:

St Ischirione of Alexandria

Blessed Jutta of Disibodenberg OSB (c 1084-1136) Nun of the Benedictine Order, Foundress and Abbess, Spiritual Director (most notably of St Hildegard of Bingen), Mystic, miracle worker.

Bl Ottone of Toulouse

Blessed Thomas Holland SJ (1600-1642) Priest of the Society of Jesus and Martyr. of England and Wales.
His Life and Death:

St Zeno of Nicomedia

Martyrs of Ostia – (3 saints): A group of Christians martyred together. The only details about them to survive are three names – Demetrius, Florus and Honoratus. They were martyred at Ostia, Italy.

Martyrs of Rhaitu – (43 saints): 43 monks martyred by Blemmyes, in Raíthu, Egypt, date unknown.

Martyrs of Via Lavicana – (30 saints): A group of 30 Christians martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian.
c 303 in Rome, Italy and were buried between two bay trees on the Via Lavicana outside Rome.

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 22 December – Blessed Jutta of Disibodenberg OSB (c 1084-1136)

Saint of the Day – 22 December – Blessed Jutta of Disibodenberg OSB (c 1084-1136) – Religious Nun of the Benedictine Order, Foundress and Abbess, Spiritual Director (most notably of St Hildegard of Bingen), Mystic, miracle worker – born c 1084 in Spanheim, Rhineland-Palatinate (in modern Germany) and died on 22 December 1136 at Disibodenberg Abbey, Germany of natural causes.

“Jutta was like a river with many tributaries, overflowing with the grace of God.” – St Hildegard of Bingen OSB (1098-1179) Doctor of the Church.

Jutta, anchoress and foundress of the women’s cloister at Disibodenberg and spiritual mother to Hildegard, was born to Count Stephan II of Sponheim and his wife Sophia of Formbach in 1092.

Her father died when she was three and she was “nurtured with great care by her widowed mother”.   At the age of twelve when “she was laid low by a severe illness, . . . she vowed to God that if she survived she would undertake a holy way of life”.   After recovering, the beautiful girl had many suitors.   “Many nobles and wealthy landowners were coming to her, even from far-off places, panting to be joined to her in the marriage union.”

Disibodenberg ruins

Jutta kept her vow and at the age of twenty, with two companions, she was enclosed as an anchoress attached to the monastery at Disibodenberg.   Jutta, instead of entering the convent at an early age, became an “anchoress,” a symbolic “anchor” for the world to God and thus she closed herself for life in a one-room shelter, with only a small window through which food was passed in, and refused to be taken out.   This hut was next to the Benedictine monastery on Disibodenberg, where she was abbess.   She tutored several female pupils from wealthy families and they lived with her in her hermitage.   She taught and raised them all, but most notably the child Hildegard of Bingen.   On the Day of All Saints, 1 November 1112, Hildegard was given over as an oblate into the care of Jutta of Sponheim, who was only six years Hildegard’s elder.

Jutta taught Hildegard to write, to read the collection of psalms used in the liturgy and to chant the Opus Dei (‘work of God’), the weekly sequential recitation of the Canonical hours.   She probably also taught Hildegard to play the zither-like string instrument called the psaltery.

Eight-year-old Hildegard von Bingen is brought to Jutta

Throughout her religious life, Jutta practised extraordinary penance and became known as a healer.   “Through her consoling words, many were restored from all kinds of wretched conditions.”   She was so renowned for her wisdom that “all those from round about of whatever rank, nobles or common people, rich or poor, pilgrims or tenants, were asking only after the anchoress, the lady Jutta; they waited on her alone as on a heavenly oracle”.

On 2 December 1136, Jutta had a vision of a saint beloved by the Germans.   “Do not be afraid, for I am Oswald, once king of the English people and I have now come to you, that I might let you know the day of your departure, which you have obtained today from the Lord by your daily prayers.”

For the next twenty days, suffering with fever, Jutta comforted her ten disciples.   She received Viaticum almost every day and on 22 December she died.   Hildegard and two other disciples prepared her body for burial.

Hildegard succeeded Jutta as abbess and when she left Disibodenberg to found her own convent at Rupertsberg, it was with the financial assistance of Jutta’s brother, Count Meinhard.