Octave Day of St John, Apostle
Notre-dame de Montaigu-Zichem / Our Lady of Sichem / Our Lady of Montaigu (474) – 3 January:
The Shrine in Brabant in the Duchy of Louvain, is a replacement of the one below Mount Garizim, Israel. Hadrian restored the temple on Mount Garizim and dedicated it to Jupiter. A small Christian community settled there and on several occasions they suffered greatly at the hands of the pagans. In 474 the Emperor, to avenge an unjust attack on the community, gave Mount Garizim to the Christians, who built on it a Church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin.
After the Mohammedan conquest, Christianity practically disappeared from the district. The French made amends by erecting a Shrine to Mary in the Duchy of Louvain. The ancient Statue of Our Lady of Sichem, or as Our Lady of Montaigu-Zichem, which is the title more commonly used today, has been venerated in Belgium from very early times. The Mother of God rewarded the faithful magnanimously for their pious attention.
According to legend, a shepherd boy originally found the Statue of Our Lady after it had apparently fallen from a niche cut in an old oak tree. The Statue was mysteriously too heavy for him to lift alone, so he ran to find his master, and have him return to help him replace the statue in its place in the old oak.
It is said that in 1306 the Blessed Virgin Mary moved the hearts of the people by causing four drops of blood to flow from the eyes of the Statue. This revived the faith of the people and increased their fervour.
A small Chapel was built beneath the tree, which was rebuilt in 1602 and the dedication of Our Lady of Sichem took place in the year 1604 by the Archbishop of Mechlin, Mathias Hovius.
From that time forward, there were many miracles as Our Lady seemed to demonstrate her appreciation by granting many favours. The Statue was soon venerated as miraculous, and there have been many pilgrimages to the site during the centuries, continuing even until this day.
The Titular Feast of the Society of Jesus
St Genevieve (c 419-c 502) Virgin, Apostle of prayer and of the poor and sick. Patronages – against plague, against natural disasters, against fever, French security forces (chosen in 1962), Paris, France, Women’s Army Corps.
St Pope Antherus (Died 235) Martyr, Bishop of Rome from 21 November 235 to 3 January 236, the date of his Martyrdom.
Bl Arnold Wala
St Athanasius of Cilicia
St Bertilia of Mareuil
St Bertille of Thuringia
St Blitmund of Bobbio (Died 660) Monk, Abbot, Founder of Monasteries and Churches, Miracle-worker.
St Constant of Gap
St Cyrinus of Cyzicus
St Daniel Himmerod the Younger
Bl Daniel of Padua
St Fintan of Doon (Died 6th Century) Abbot
St Florentius of Vienne
St Florentius of Vienne the Martyr
Bl Gerard Cagnoli
St Gordius of Cappadocia
St Lucian of Lentini
St Peter of Palestine
St Primus of Cyzicus
St Salvator of Belluno
St Theogenes of Cyzicus
St Theopemptus of Nicomedia
Bl William Vives
St Zosimus of Cilicia
Martyrs of Africa – 12 Saints: A group of Christians Martyred together in Africa, date unknown, exact location unknown. We know nothing more than their names – Acuta, Candidus, Constantius, Eugenia, Firmus, Hilarinus, Lucida, Martial, Poenica, Possessor, Rogatianus and Statutianus.
Martyrs of Tomi – 7 Saints: A group of Christians Martyred together, date unknown. We know nothing more than their names – Claudon, Diogenius, Eugene, Eugentus, Pinna, Rhodes and Rhodo. They were martyred at Tomi, Exinius Pontus, Moesia (modern Constanta, Romania).
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