Saint of the Day – 28 December – Saint Anthony of Lérins (c 428-c 520) Monk, Hermit, miracle-worker. Born in c 468 at Valeria, Lower Pannonia (in modern Hungary) and died in c 520 at Lerins, Provence, France of natural causes. Also known as – Antony of Lérins, Anthony the Hermit.
The Roman Martyrology states: “Commemoration of Saint Anthony, a Monk, who, a man distinguished by grace and preparation, after having led a solitary life, retired, by now an old man in the Monastery of Lérins in Provence, where he piously fell asleep in the Lord.”
He was born in the ancient Roman Province of Valeria (now Hungary), then part of the Hunnic Empire. When he was eight years old, his father died and he was entrusted to the care of the holy Abbot Severinus of Noricum, in modern-day Austria. Severinus, however, died when the boy was in his early teens and Anthony moved in with his uncle, Bishop Constantius of Lorsch, Bavaria (in modern Germany).
When he was of age, Anthony entered the monastic life, making himself immediately appreciated for his great humility.
In 488, at about 20 years of age, Anthony moved to Italy to take up an eremitical life with a small group of hermits living on an island in Lake Como. He was eventually joined by numerous disciples seeking to emulate his holiness.
Anthony’s fame, which soon spread to the surrounding areas, caused him a curious accident. A man, who had been sentenced to death for killing his wife in a fit of jealousy, took refuge with Anthony to escape punishment, simulating the desire to become his disciple. But Anthony unmasked the hypocrite and threw him out of his cell to face his crime. Naturally, this episode greatly increased his fame and he, disturbed by numerous visitors, finally crossed the Alps and settled in Lérins, where he found the peace he had always sought
He lived in various solitary places until two years before his death he became a Monk at the Abbey of Lérins, where he again was an icon of piety locally and attracted those seeking spiritual aid. The holiness of his life and the miracles he performed, encourage many to visit him.
Saint Ennodius of Pavia wrote a Life of Saint Anthony.
Notre-Dame de Pontoise / Our Lady of Pontoise, France (13th Century) – 28 December:
Pontoise is an old Town built around a bridge across the Oise and its Shrine dates from around the 13th Century, as is evidenced by a charter of donation from the year 1231. Our Lady of Pontoise is about seven leagues from Paris. This image, is celebrated for many miracles which are wrought there. The Statue of Our Lady of Pontoise is of marble and stands over 1,8 metres in height. The Madonna wears a short veil and a dress with long tight sleeves. Our Lady’s face is framed by her hair. The Divine Child lays His hands on an orb that His mother holds. The Statue was, according to tradition, carved by a pious youth in the quarry at Blangis, near Abbeville and brought to Pontoise. In 1226 the Archbishop of Rouen dedicated a Chapel there and in 1249 it was made a Parish Church, and the sSatue was placed outside, over the main entrance. The Church was visited by the Saint-king, Louis IX. In around 1434 the Church was destroyed by the English soldiers fighting in the area. The faithful Catholic, determined to rebuild the Shrined. It was partly finished when the French reconquered the territory. They finished the rebuilding in 1484. During the years of 1580 and 1650, when the plague was destroying the country, people flocked to Our Lady of Pontoise and the danger was averted. Again in 1849 a cholera epidemic was averted through her intercession, so that the Shrine had the name of being powerful against plagues. In Reformation times, a devout Protestant tried to steal the Statue and failing that, knocked off the head of the Infant and threw it into the river. A fisherman had spread his nets just below the bridge and the severed head was saved and returned to the Statue. In 1585 the Church was destroyed again by the English; in 1790 by the revolutionaries. Each time the Statue was saved and returned; the last time by a man who bid on it at an auction-house and kept it until the troubled days were over. The Church was rebuilt in 1800 and a century later was still extant; the yearly thanksgiving procession for Our Lady’s protection from the plague is held annually. The Statue now resides inside the Church. Replicas of the statue were placed over many doorways of the City after the plague of 1640 and some are still there today.
Bl Nicolas Mello Bl Otto of Heidelberg St Romulus St Simon the Myroblite St Theonas of Alexandria St Theodore of Tabenna St Troadius of Pontus — 20,000 Martyrs of Nicomedia: 20,000 Christians who were murdered during in 303 in Nicomedia, Bithynia (modern Izmit, Turkey) during the persecutions of Diocletian. Many of them were killed en masse when they were ordered, during Christmas Mass, to sacrifice to idols; when they refused, they were locked in the churches and the buildings burned around them. We know some details of a few of them, but most are known only to God. The names we have are – Agape, Anthimos, Domna, Domna, Dorotheus, Esmaragdus, Eugene, Euthymius, Glykerios, Gorgonius, Hilary, Indes, Mardonius, Mardonius, Maximus, Migdonius, Migdonus, Peter, Peter, Theophila, Theophilus and Zeno. 303 in Nicomedia, Bithynia (modern Izmit, Turkey).
Martyrs of Africa – (3 saints): Three Christians murdered together in Africa for their faith. The only details to survive are their names – Castor, Rogatian and Victor.