Posted in FRANCISCAN OFM, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 24 January – Blessed Paola Gambara Costa TOSF (1463-1515)

Saint of the Day – 24 January – Blessed Paola Gambara Costa TOSF (1463-1515) a Countess and member of the Third Order of St Francis, Laywoman, mother, widow, apostle of the poor and sick – born on 3 March 1463 in Verola Alghise (modern Verolanuova), Brescia, Duchy of Milan (in modern Lombardy, Italy) and died on 24 January 1515 in Binaco, Duchy of Milan (in modern Lombardy, Italy) of a fever.   Patronages – Widows, Married couples, Franciscan tertiaries, difficult marriages, victims of adultery.   Additional memorial – 23 January in Brescia.bl paola vision

Paola Gambara Costa was born on 3 March 1463 in Brescia as the first of seven children to the nobles Giampaolo Gambara and Taddea Caterina Martinengo.

In her childhood she delighted in spiritual reading and reflection on the Gospel and harboured an ardent desire to become a nun later in life.   But this dream was cut short when her parents decided to arrange her marriage to Count Lodovico Antonio Costa – the Lord of Benasco – and she saw this as the will of God manifesting itself and so complied with the wishes of her parents.   The marriage came about after Count Bongiovanni Costa visited her parents and was struck with her virtue and so wanted her as his nephew Lodovico Antonio’s wife.   Her decision to become a nun worried the count who sent her to Blessed Angelo Carletti – a Franciscan priest – who persuaded her that marriage was a call from God to embrace a different kind of life still in accordance with Christian values.

The pair married in autumn 1485 and the pair travelled to the small Benasco province for the ensuring celebrations.   She endured her new husband’s expensive tastes, seeing it as her role to be faithful to him, even if she did not live the excessively luxurious life herself.bl paola costs

Her confessor around this time was Father Crescenzio Morra from Bene though she later reconnected with Carletti who became her friend and spiritual advisor as well as a confessor.   Carletti kept her on the path of virtue and advised her to enrol in the Third Order of Saint Francis, while learning to appreciate the poor and to detest the lavishness of the secular world.   She joined in 1491 with the permission of her husband.   Gambara often deprived herself of food in order to bring it to the sick and on one occasion took off her shoes and gave it to an old woman who was struggling barefoot through the snow.

In 1488 she gave birth to her sole child Giovanni Francesco and named him in honour of Saint Francis of Assisi.   To mark this occasion, she managed to persuade her husband to distribute large amounts of food to the poor of their area.bl paola costs almsgiving

But her excessive charitable works and almsgiving soon vexed her husband, who reproached her for her conduct and ridiculed her in front of their servants and the servants followed their master’s example and joined in ridiculing their mistress.

Costa soon acquired a mistress – the daughter of the Podestà of Carrù – and he allowed her to live in the castle in 1494 even though Paola resided there.   In 1495 her son left for Chieri for his education and Father Carletti died on 11 April 1495.   She attended his funeral in Cuneo – he had died at the convent of Sant’Antonio where he had fallen ill.

In 1500 she reunited with her parents and siblings when she returned to her hometown on a brief visit.   In 1504 her late husband’s mistress fell ill with abdominal pains and it was Paola who comforted her and forgave her as she died.   Also in 1504 her son – now a page – returned to his home.

Her husband later repented and approved her good works and also consented to her wearing the habit of her order in public.   Costa became ill in 1504 and she began to tend to him.   The two travelled to Cuneo to ask for the intercession of her former confessor Carletti and when her husband was healed, attributed the healing to him – Costa celebrated a banquet in commemoration of this and undertook a pilgrimage to the priest’s grave in thanksgiving with his wife at his side.   This conversion was short-lived however, for her husband died not long after in 1504.bl paola costs and mary

On 14 January 1515 she was struck with an extreme fever that caused her great pain and she died on 24 January 1515 in the town of Binasco in Milan after having confessed and received the Eucharist for the final time.

Blessed Paola was buried in a church outside the walls of convent of Rocchetta that she had helped re-build.  When the church was destroyed in 1536 during a war between Francis I and Charles V, Paola’s body was re-interred in the nearby castle and later enshrined in a chapel built by the Counts of Costa in the Franciscan monastery of Bene Vagienna.bl paola body

Her Beatification received formal ratification on 14 August 1845 once Pope Gregory XVI issued a decree that recognised that there existed an enduring and longstanding local ‘cultus’.

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 24 January

St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) (Memorial) – Doctor of the Church: Doctor caritatis (Doctor of Charity) “The Gentle Christ of Geneva” and the “Gentleman Saint”

Biography:
https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/01/24/saint-of-the-day-24-january-st-francis-de-sales-1567-1622-doctor-of-the-church-doctor-caritatis-doctor-of-charity/

AND:
https://anastpaul.com/2019/01/24/saint-of-the-day-24-january-st-francis-de-sales-the-gentle-christ-of-geneva/

St Anicet Hryciuk
St Artemius of Clermont
St Bartlomiej Osypiuk
Bertrand of Saint Quentin
St Daniel Karmasz
St Exuperantius of Cingoli
St Felician of Foligno
St Filip Geryluk
Bl Francesc de Paula Colomer Prísas
St Guasacht
St Ignacy Franczuk
Bl John Grove
St Julian Sabas the Elder
St Luigj Prendushi
St Macedonius Kritophagos
Bl Marcolino of Forli
Bl Marie Poussepin
Blessed Paola Gambara Costa TOSF (1463-1515)
St Projectus
St Sabinian of Troyes
St Suranus of Sora
St Thyrsus
Bl William Ireland

Martyrs of Asia Minor – 4 saints: A group of Christians martyred together for their faith. The only details to survive are four of their names – Eugene, Mardonius, Metellus and Musonius. They were burned at the stake in Asia Minor.

Martyrs of Podlasie – 13 beati: Podlasie is an area in modern eastern Poland that, in the 18th-century, was governed by the Russian Empire. Russian sovereigns sought to bring all Eastern-rite Catholics into the Orthodox Church. Catherine II suppressed the Greek Catholic church in Ukraine in 1784.   Nicholas I did the same in Belarus and Lithuania in 1839. Alexander II did the same in the Byzantine-rite Eparchy of Chelm in 1874 and officially suppressed the Eparchy in 1875.   The bishop and the priests who refused to join the Orthodox Church were deported to Siberia or imprisoned.   The laity, left on their own, had to defend their Church, their liturgy, and their union with Rome.
On 24 January 1874 soldiers entered the village of Pratulin to transfer the parish to Orthodox control.   Many of the faithful gathered to defend their parish and church.   The soldiers tried to disperse the people, but failed.   Their commander tried to bribe the parishioners to abandon Rome but failed.   He threatened them with assorted punishments but this failed to move them.   Deciding that a show of force was needed, the commander ordered his troops to fire on the unarmed, hymn-singing laymen. Thirteen of the faithful died, most married men with families, ordinary men with great faith.
We know almost nothing about their lives outside of this incident.   Their families were not allowed to honour them or participate in the funerals and the authorities hoped they would be forgotten. Their names are:
• Anicet Hryciuk
• Bartlomiej Osypiuk
• Daniel Karmasz
• Filip Geryluk
• Ignacy Franczuk
• Jan Andrzejuk
• Konstanty Bojko
• Konstanty Lukaszuk
• Lukasz Bojko
• Maksym Hawryluk
• Michal Wawryszuk
• Onufry Wasyluk
• Wincenty Lewoniuk
Martyrdom:
• shot on 14 January 1874 by Russian soldiers in Podlasie, Poland
• buried nearby without rites by those soldiers
Beatified
6 October 1996 by Pope John Paul II

Martyrs of Antioch:
Babylas
Epolonius
Prilidian
Urban