St Achillas of Sketis St Amoes of Sketis St Antony of Rome Bl Euphemia Domitilla Blessed Gamelbert of Michaelsbuch (c 720-c 802) Priest St Genitus St Genulfus St Jenaro Sánchez Delgadillo St John of Rome Bl Joseph of Freising St Julian Sabas the Elder St Marcellus of Die St Merulus of Rome St Mildgytha St Nennius St Neosnadia St Pior St Richimir
Notre Dame d’Esperance de Pontmain / Our Lady of Hope, Our Lady of Pontmain (1871) – 17 January:
During the Franco-Prussian War, German troops approached the town of Pontmain, France and the villagers there prayed for protection. On the evening of 17 January 1871, Mary appeared in the sky for several minutes over the town. She wore a dark blue dress covered in stars, carried a crucifix and below her were the words – “Pray, my children, God will answer your prayers very soon. He will not allow you to be touched.” That night the German army was ordered to withdraw and an armistice ending the war was signed eleven days later on 28 January. In May 1872, Bishop Wicart authorized the construction of a Sanctuary, which was consecrated in October 1900. In 1905 Pope Pius X elevated the Sanctuary to the status of a Basilica – The Basilica of Our Lady of Hope of Pontmain. Pope Pius XI gave a final decision regarding the mass and office in honour of Our Lady of Hope of Pontmain. A final papal honour was given to Our Lady of Hope on 16 July 1932 by Cardinal Pacelli, who later became Pope Pius XII, by passing a decree from the Chapter of St Peter’s Basilica, that the Statue of the Blessed Lady, Mother of Hope, be solemnly honoured with the crown of gold. The Lady then was crowned in the presence of Archbishop, Bishops, Priests and the laity by Cardinal Verdier, Archbishop of Paris. The coronation took place on 24 July 1934. At Pontmain, it was a matter of a message of prayer, very simple in the dramatic circumstances of war and invasion. At Pontmain, Mary is a sign of hope in the midst of war. A place of pilgrimage, it attracts annually around 200,000 drawn from among the people of the region, with some international pilgrimages, especially from Germany.
It was in the winter of 1871 in the village of Pontmain, France, Eugene Barbedette was busy in his father’s barn helping prepare the animal feed. He stood briefly in the open doorway, admiring the beautiful evening. Suddenly the gaze of the 12 year old was held there, for opposite the barn and in a framework of stars, stood a beautiful lady – motionless – smiling at him. “Do you see anything?” he shouted to the others, “Look, over there!” “Yes,” cried his brother Joseph, “a beautiful lady dressed in a blue robe with golden stars, yes and blue shoes with golden buckles…and, she has a golden crown which is getting bigger and a black veil.” Since the father did not see her, he told the boys to get on with their work; then curiously, he asked, “Eugene, do you still see anything?” “Yes, she’s still there,” the boy answered and ran to fetch his mother; she saw nothing but with a woman’s intuition, she thought it might be the Blessed Virgin and assembling the family gently, all prayed five Paters and Aves in honour of the Mother of God. She called for a nun at the convent next door, who brought her two little charges with her, the latter, Francoise and Jean Marie, reaching the door of the barn, called out, “Oh, look at that lovely lady with the golden stars!” and clapped their hands with delight. The news spread quickly, people gathered, with them the Cure, M Guerin. The Magnificat was intoned and Eugene shouted, “Look what she is doing!” Slowly a great white streamer unfolded and in large letters they read: “Pray, my children, God will answer your prayers very soon. He will not allow you to be touched.”
The Cure then intoned the hymn: “My Sweet Jesus…” At that a red cross with the wounded body of Christ appeared before the Virgin, who held it. At the top in large red letters was written, “Jesus Christ.” The crowd burst into tears, while the Cure ordered night prayers to be said; a white veil hid the vision, while our Lady smiled at the children, a smile which haunted them all through life with its beauty. Something of the sorrow of farewell was depicted on the faces of Eugene and Joseph, for the cure said quickly, “Can you still see anything?” “No, it is quite finished,” they answered.
At the moment the message was being written in the sky, a messenger passing in front of the crowd had shouted, “You may well pray, the Russians are at Laval.” But they never entered it. On the 17th of January, at six o’clock at night, the very hour the Virgin appeared to the children of Pontmain, the division of soldiers, without apparent reason, received the order to retire. On the 28th of January, the armistice was signed at Versailles. After long and searching inquiry, Mgr. Wicart, the Bishop of Laval, proclaimed the authenticity of the vision and at the very spot where Our Lady had appeared, a cHURCH was erected in honour of Our Lady of Hope of Pontmain. There the Queen of Heaven receives her countless children and gives them fresh hope in their trials, as she gave France peace in her hour of need. The Basilica is a magnificent structure in the 13th century style and one may still see the barn where Eugene and Joseph worked when Mary appeared.
St Achillas of Sketis St Amoes of Sketis St Antony of Rome Bl Euphemia Domitilla Bl Gamelbert of Michaelsbuch St Genitus St Genulfus St Jenaro Sánchez Delgadillo St John of Rome Bl Joseph of Freising St Julian Sabas the Elder St Marcellus of Die St Merulus of Rome St Mildgytha St Nennius St Neosnadia St Pior St Richimir
Our Lady of Pontmain – 17 January: During the Franco-Prussian War, German troops approached the town of Pontmain, France and the villagers there prayed for protection. On the evening of 17 January 1871, Mary appeared in the sky for several minutes over the town. She wore a dark blue dress covered in stars, carried a crucifix and below her were the words – Pray please. God will hear you soon. My son lets Himself be touched. That night the German army was ordered to withdraw and an armistice ending the war was signed eleven days later on 28 January. Approval of diocesan bishop.
St Achillas of Sketis
St Amoes of Sketis
St Antony of Rome
Bl Euphemia Domitilla
Bl Gamelbert of Michaelsbuch
St Jenaro Sánchez Delgadillo
St John of Rome
Bl Joseph of Freising
St Julian Sabas the Elder
St Marcellus of Die
St Merulus of Rome
Saint of the Day – 17 January – Blessed Rosalina of Villeneuve O.Cart. (1263–1329) – Religious Nun of the Carthusaian Order, Mystic, Apostle of Charity – born in 1267 in a castle at Villeneuve, France and died on 17 January 1329. Her body is incorrupt.
Rosalina belonged to the noble Southern French family of the ‘de Villeneuve’, which still exists today. She was born in 1263. When the Bishop of Fréjus gave her the sacrament of confirmation in 1270 in the chapel of the family castle, a supernatural light seemed to envelope the child. At a very young age she made a private vow of virginity.
She loved more than anything else to take care of the poor, distributing generously from the family provisions, which alarmed the servants of the castle. Once, after having filled her skirt with bread, Rosalina was on her way to the poor grouped together at the doors of the castle. She was suddenly stopped by her father who asked her what she was carrying. She answered: “These are the roses I just finished picking.” Extending her skirt, she showed the said roses to the astonished eyes of her father. It is to recall this miracle that Rosalina is often represented in portraits with her skirt full of roses.
When she was sixteen years old she wanted to become a Carthusian nun. She knew their life from the Charterhouse of la Celle-Roubaud close by, where her aunt Jeanne de Villeneuve was Prioress. Since that House had no novitiate, it was at Saint André de Ramires that she entered and then she moved to the chief Charterhouse for women, Bertaud, not far from the city of Gap, in the French Alps. She made profession there in 1280.
Her aunt at Celle Roubaud was getting on in age, so after a few years the Superior General of our Order permitted Rosalina to go to that House to help her aunt. In 1288 she received virginal consecration at the hands of the Bishop of Fréjus. It is told that this grace put her into a state of ecstasy which lasted the whole day. Although she assisted in the choir and followed all the activities of the community, her soul was united with the Lord. She was known for her inclination towards asceticism. For example, she reduced her sleep and lived only on bread the days when she went to communion. Prayer was for her most important in Carthusian life. Each night she used to spend long hours in prayer, thus obtaining special graces for the Order, her family and town and for the entire Church.
Owing to her purity of heart God granted her the gift of reading what is in other people’s heart. At the death of her aunt in 1300 the Superior General appointed Rosaline as Prioress. She held that office for twenty-nine years. It was during this time that her friend, the Bishop of Fréjus, became Pope as John XXII.
She died at the age of sixty-six with a great renown for holiness. Immediately, there were miracles – blind received their sight and sick were cured. Five years after her death, in 1334, Pope John ordered to open her tomb. Her body was found entirely incorrupt and it is still so today. In 1602 it was transferred from the crypt to a newly built chapel. In 1851 Blessed Pius IX authorised her feast for the diocese of Fréjus and in 1857 for the Carthusian Order. Today, the Carthusians celebrate her memory on 6 July and her feast is a solemnity for the nuns of the Order.
Lord God, for love of You, Saint Rosalina trampled underfoot the flattering allurements of the world, that she might adhere only to You. Help us to follow her example and, turning away from things of earth, find our joy in sharing Your heavenly gifts.
Deus, pro cuius amore, beata Rossolina mundi sibi blandientis calcavit illecebras ut tibi unice adhaereret : tribue nobis ex eius imitatione terrena despicere, et caelestium donorum semper participatione gaudere
text from from the Charterhouse of the Transfiguration.