Our Lady of the Thorn, Chalons-sur-Marne, France (1400) and Memorials of the Saints – 16 February

Our Lady of the Thorn, Chalons-sur-Marne, France (1400) – 16 February:

On the night of the Feast of the Annunciation, 24 March in the year 1400, some shepherds tending their flocks were attracted by a bright light coming from the Chapel of Saint John the Baptist near Chalons, France. As they approached the light, they saw that it was actually a thorn bush fully engulfed in flames and they discovered a statue of the Blessed Virgin standing unharmed in the midst of the flames. In fact, though the fire burned brightly, the branches and leaves of the thorn bush were unaffected by the flames.
The miracle continued all that night and into the next day and news of the miracle spread quickly. Mobs of people crowded around the burning bush that was so reminiscent of the one witnessed by Moses on Mount Horeb. The Bishop of Chalons, Charles of Poiters, also witnessed the burning bush and the miraculous statue – both still unaffected by the fire.
When the flames finally did die down, the bishop reverently took the statue and carried it in his own hands to the nearby Chapel of Saint John. On the very site of the miracle, construction of a Church was begun for the enshrinement of the miraculous statue. Since the Church was built so rapidly – in a little over 24 years – a charming local legend claims that angels continued the work at night after the labourers had left for home.
Our Lady of the Thorn (Notre Dame de l’ Epine) became a place of pilgrimage very rapidly. Today, a minor Basilica, the Shrine proved to be so beautiful that the people considered it a worthy place to venerate the Blessed Virgin. The flamboyant Gothic church boasts majestic great doors, a splendid rosette decorating the principle entrance and two chiselled stone spires, rise high and imposing on the plain in Champagne.
During the terrible French Revolution, the statue of Our Lady of Thorns was removed from the main altar and hidden for safekeeping. After it had ended, the statue was brought back out for veneration.
Many miracles have also been reported at the Shrine, many verified by physicians. The beautiful Basilica of Our Lady of the Thorn has been recognised by several Popes, including Pope Calixtis III, Pius II and Gregory XV. Pope Leo XIII ordered the solemn coronation of the miraculous statue, saying, “Yes, Our Lady of the Thorn will be crowned in my name. Prepare for her a diadem worthy of the Mother of God and the people whom she protects…”

It is a place of grandeur where Christian souls can expand in adoration of the Son of God and many are the pilgrims of all descriptions, who have visited the Shrine over the years, including Saint Joan of Arc in 1429.

St Aganus of Airola
Blessed Bernard Scammacca OP (1430-1487)
About St Bernard:
St Faustinus of Brescia
St Gilbert of Sempringham
St Honestus of Nimes
St John III of Constantinople
Blessed Joseph Allamano (1851–1926)
St Julian of Egypt
St Juliana of Campania
St Juliana of Nicomedia
Blessed Nicola Paglia OP (1197-1256)
Blessed Nicola’s Life:
St Onesimus of Ephesus
Blessed Philippa Mareria OSC (c 1195-1236)

Martyrs of Cilicia – 12 saints: A group of Christians who ministered to other Christians who were condemned to work the mines of Cilicia in the persecutions of Maximus. They were arrested, tortured and martryed by order of the governor Firmilian.
• Daniel
• Elias
• Isaias
• Jeremy
• Samuel
The group also includes the three known have been sentenced to the mines –
• Pamphilus
• Paul of Jamnia
• Valens of Jerusalem
and those who were exposed as Christians as a result of these murders –
• Julian of Cappadocia
• Porphyrius of Caesarea
• Seleucius of Caesarea
• Theodule the Servant
They were martyred in 309 in Cilicia, Asia Minor (in modern Turkey).


One Minute Reflection – 16 February – “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, (…) the people of God”

One Minute Reflection – 16 February – The Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: Sirach 15:15-20 (16-21), Psalm 119:1-2, 4-5, 17-18, 33-34, 1 Corinthians 2:6-10, Matthew 5:17-37 and the Memorial of Blessed Nicola Paglia OP (1197-1256) Priest

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.   I have come not to abolish but to fulfil” … Matthew 5:17

REFLECTION – At all times and in every race God has given welcome to whosoever fears Him and does what is right (cf. Acts 10:35).   God, however, does not make men holy and save them merely as individuals, without bond or link between one another.   Rather has it pleased Him to bring men together as one people, a people which acknowledges Him in truth and serves Him in holiness.   He, therefore, chose the race of Israel as a people unto Himself.   With it He set up a covenant   Step by step, He taught and prepared this people, making known in its history both Himself and the decree of His will and making it holy unto Himself.

All these things, however, were done by way of preparation and as a figure of that new and perfect covenant, which was to be ratified in Christ and of that fuller revelation which was to be given, through the Word of God Himself, made flesh.   “Behold the days shall come saith the Lord and I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel and with the house of Judah (. . ).   I will give my law in their bowels and I will write it in their heart and I will be their God and they shall be my people (. . .)   For all of them shall know Me, from the least of them even to the greatest, saith the Lord” (Jer 31:31f.)   Christ instituted this new covenant, the new testament, that is to say, in His Blood, (1 Cor 11:25) calling together a people made up of Jew and gentile, making them one, not according to the flesh but in the Spirit.   This was to be the new People of God (…) : “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, (…) the people of God” (1 Pt 2:9).

Israel according to the flesh, which wandered as an exile in the desert, was already called the Church of God.  (2 Esd 13:1; Nb 20:4; Dt 23:1f.)   So, likewise, the new Israel, which while living in this present age, goes in search of a future and abiding city (Heb 13:14) is called the Church of Christ. (Mt 16:18)   For He has bought it for Himself with His blood, (Acts 20:28) has filled it with His Spirit and provided it with those means which befit it as a visible and social union. … Vatican Council II – Constitution on the Church “Lumen gentium”, # 9matthew 5 17 do not think that i have come to abolish - christ instituted - lumen gentium 16 feb 2020

PRAYER – Loving and merciful Father!   In all our needs, even when we turn from You and cause You sorrow, You are there to help us!   You grace us with garments of love to protect us from the evils which surround us.   Bless us we pray, as we turn to You in pain and repentance and by the sufferings of Your divine Son Whom You sent to redeem us, grant us peace.   May the prayers of Blessed Nicola Paglia, intercede in our strife as we make our way home to You.   Through Jesus our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, one God for all eternity, nicola paglia pray for us 16 feb 2020

Posted in DOMINICAN OP, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 16 February – Blessed Nicola Paglia OP (1197-1256)

Saint of the Day – 16 February – Blessed Nicola Paglia OP (1197-1256) Priest of the Order of Preachers – Dominicans – born in 1197 in Giovanazzo, Bari, Italy and died aged 58 on 16 February 1256 at Perugia, Italy.   From his hometown Giovinazzo went to Bologna to study.   Here he was drawn to the Order by the vibrant preaching of St Dominic and became his most faithful companion in apostolic wanderings.   Twice he was voted as the Provincial of the Roman province and founded the convents of Perugia and Trani.   A cultured and far-sighted man, he promoted the study of Sacred Scripture and the compilation of biblical Concordances.   He died in Perugia where he is buried in the church of St nicola puglia

Nicola was born in Giovinazzo, in the province of Bari in 1197 of noble parents.    His parents, raised him with great care.   When he was still a child, an angel appeared to him who ordered him to abstain forever from the flesh because one day he would enter an Order where abstinence was perpetual law.   As he was the son of Judge Lupone, Nicola was sent to study in Bologna.   Here in 1218 met St Dominic.   It was then that the young man decided to enter the Order of the great preacher.

bl nicola puglia home
Bl Nicola’s Birthplace

He was received into the Dominican Order and was donned with the habit by the hands of Father St Dominic himself, who later made him his faithful companion in his apostolic journeys.   He preached in many cities of Italy with immense results and his ardent words were often confirmed by great miracles.

He was the third Provincial of the Roman Province, which then extended from Tuscany to Sicily, which he exercised with strength and gentleness for two terms.   One day, exhorting his religious to mutual charity, he confided to them that a recently died religious had appeared to him for forgiveness, who had been the cause of a serious dispute.   Having urged him to ask for forgiveness from God and not himself, the culprit replied that the Lord demanded this satisfaction from him:  “See Father Nicola, how serious and dangerous it is to offend your neighbour and how important it is to appease him after having him offended.”

Pope Gregory IX commissioned him to visit monasteries and to preach the Crusade against the Saracens.img-Blessed-Nicholas-Paglia

After long years of apostolic labours he retired to the convent of Perugia.   Here he had a vision.   Father Raone Romano, a dear friend of his most fruitful days of religious life, appeared and announced to him, in a message from the Madonna, his near death, which occurred in 1256.Dirk_hendricksz_centen_(teodoro_d'errico),_madonna_del_rosario,_1578,_Q1118,_01

Pope Leo XII confirmed his cultus and named him Blessed on 26 March 1828.