Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 22 December – Saint Flavian of Acquapendente (Died 363) Martyr,

Saint of the Day – 22 December – Saint Flavian of Acquapendente (Died 363) Martyr, Married Layman, Prefect of Imperial Rome, Husband of Saint Dafrosa, Father of Saint Bibiana and Saint Demetria. The Roman Martyrology states: “At Rome, ex-Prefect, who, under Julian the Apostate, was condemned to be branded for Christ and banished to Aquae Taurinae, where he gave up his soul to God in prayer.

Saint Flavian, the father of two holy daughters, Bibiana and Demetria and the husband of Saint Dafrosa, was a descendant of a noble Roman family. His incomparable talents, great knowledge and holy life, made him so beloved and esteemed, not only by the people but also by Constantine the Great, that the latter raised him to the high office of Governor of Rome. The duties of this exalted dignity he fulfilled untiringly but, at the same time, neglected nothing that his faith demanded of him, on the contrary, his principal thought was to disseminate more and more the Catholic Faith among his subjects. Those who had already embraced Christianity he endeavoured to assist whenever an opportunity presented itself. After the death of Constantine the Great, his son Constantius, persuaded by his wicked Empress, favoured the Arian heresy and persecuted the Catholics, almost as much as had formerly been done, by the heathen Emperors.

Flavian endeavoured to strengthen the Catholics in their faith and to defend the divinity of Jesus Christ against the Arian blasphemies. This zeal made him hateful to the Emperor and, as neither promises, nor menaces, had any power to change him, he was divested of the high office which he had filled for so many years, to the satisfaction of all Rome. Flavian was not cast down but rather, rejoiced because, for the sake of the true Faith, he suffered so great a loss and no less ignominy. . The Officers whom Julian had appointed to apprehend and torture the Christians, took no notice of this for some time, as Flavian was still greatly esteemed on account of his high rank and the dignity, of the office with which he had been invested but at last, they informed the tyrant of it.

The latter commanded his new Governor, Apronian, to apprehend Flavian immediately and either force him to abandon his faith, or to take his life, by the most cruel tortures. Apronian obeyed the order, Flavian was seized and brought before him. The Governor endeavoured to persuade him to forsake his faith but Flavian said fearlessly: “I am a Christian and will remain a Christian and, further, I consider it the greatest honour to give, not only all I possess but also my life, for the honour of Christ.” The Governor, greatly embittered, sentenced him to be dispossessed of his nobility and placed in the rank of the most abject slaves, which, to a high-minded man, must have been more cruel than death. Hence, they tore off the insignia of his nobility and of his former high office from his body and, with a red-hot iron, burned a mark on his forehead. The pain was great, the ignominy and disgrace much greater but Flavian bore it cheerfully. “I receive,” said he, “this disgrace as the greatest honour that was ever bestowed upon me.” Apronian would have tortured him still more but as he knew that Flavian was highly esteemed on account of the faithfulness with which he had laboured for the public, he desisted, fearing a revolt. He deprived him, therefore, of all his possessions, and sent him into banishment, giving orders to those who were to transport him, to torment him on the road in every possible manner, in order that misery and grief might soon kill him. Flavian received the sentence of his banishment with the same joy that he had manifested at the preceding ignominy.

The most difficult sorrow for him to bear ,was to leave his spouse and his two daughters, as he foresaw that they would not be treated better than he had been. But this, also, he bore heroically and placing them under the protection of the Most High, he went into his banishment, guarded by a troop of soldiers, who delighted in obeying the orders of Apronian and maltreated him most cruelly. Not much better was the treatment which he received at the place to which he was exiled, where he soon ended his life. His only comfort was prayer, which so greatly supported him that, notwithstanding the hardships he endured, he was never seen looking downcast but always joyful. It was also in prayer that he closed his holy life for, one day, when conversing with God, his head sank quietly upon his breast and his heroic soul became free. He was, indeed, worthy to be placed among the greatest martyrs of the holy Church; as what he had suffered for his faith will appear to many much harder to endure than the bodily martyrdom of so many other Saints.

Posted in IGNATIAN/JESUIT SJ- Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, MARIAN TITLES, MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Notre-Dame de Chartres / Our Lady of Chartres, (Pèlerinage de Chartres / The Chartres Pilgrimage) Mother of Youth (1935) and Memorials of the Saints – 22 December

Notre-Dame de Chartres / Our Lady of Chartres, (Pèlerinage de Chartres / The Chartres Pilgrimage) Mother of Youth (1935): also known as the Pilgrimage of Christendom, has been gathering thousands of people on the Solemnity of Pentecost for a three-day trek from the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris to the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Chartres.

Our Lady of Chartres, or Notre-Dame de Chartres, is a beautiful Gothic style Cathedral located in Beauce, France, which is about 80 kilometres southwest of Paris. This Cathedral, which was first built in the time of the Apostles, was demolished several times over the centuries. It was re-erected in its present state by Saint Fulbert, the fifty-fifth Bishop of Chartres at the end of the 12th Century into the beginning of the 13th century.
The Pilgrimage was inspired by French-Catholic writer Charles Péguy, who made a solitary Pilgrimage from Notre Dame of Paris to the Marian Sanctuary of Chartres in 1912, covering more than 136 kilometres in four days, 14-17 June, to ask the intercession of the Virgin Mary to help his ill son. He undertook the same Pilgrimage a year later, shortly before losing his life on the battlefield at the beginning of World War I in 1914.

The student’s Pilgrimage to Chartres started in 1935 with a group of fifteen young men and girls of the Sorbonne, who sacrificed their Pentecostal holidays in prayer to the Holy Spirit and to Mary. They marched 100 kilometres to the Shrine in Chartres and prayed there together. The next year there were 36 who went and in the following year 150. Then the war came but during the eight hard years that followed, the Pilgrimages were not deserted. The numbers increased, until in 1948, about 6,500 students formed a line to march to Mary.
Most of the Pilgrims were in their early twenties or late teens, from the universities, colleges and schools of Paris and the Provinces, although some were from foreign countries. The number of unbelievers, atheists and Communists has always been high even among the students; while Protestants and Jews also make up a goodly portion of the number (very much like the Santiago de Compostela). Some come out of curiosity, some following the persistent urgings of a friend; some for the sport of hiking, or to answer an invitation to test their grit and endurance but whatever their reasons for starting, few end, without a definite spiritual “joy.” Many make the Pilgrimage in bare feet over gravel roads; the sick and crippled go, too.
In our day there are thousands, perhaps 10,000 Pilgrims who walk through the French countryside to Chartres. Their trek is an open act of faith and reparation, something almost never seen in modern times.

In making the Chartres Pilgrimage, these young people help to give France a new birth of devotion to Mary; something new and spotless has been born as in the warmth of endless glorious Saints – re-lit in the hearts of young moderns. France must now place her hope in youth, the youth of France and the youth of the Church, through Our Blessed Mother, Mary the Lady of Chartres. Although this is primarily a Pentecost Pilgrimage, many smaller groups commence a Pilgrimage on 22 December to be in time for Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve and, in fact, all year round. Below,  a French flag displaying the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus with ‘Hope and Salvation of France.’ A Priest hears confession while other Pilgrims participate in Adoration in the background (at the final campsite of the pilgrimage in Gas, France, about 12 miles from Chartres). 

St Frances Xavier Cabrini (1850-1917) – Universal optional memorial (except in the USA which is on 13 November) Italian-American religious sister, who founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
About St Frances:

St Abban of New Ross
Bl Adam of Saxony
St Amaswinthus of Málaga
St Athernaise of Fife
St Bertheid of Münster
St Chaeremon of Nilopolis
St Flavian of Acquapendente (Died 363) Martyr Layman
St Honoratus of Toulouse

St Hungerus Frisus of Utrecht (Died 866) Bishop of Utrecht
His Life:

St Ischirione of Alexandria

Blessed Jutta of Disibodenberg OSB (c 1084-1136) Nun of the Benedictine Order, Foundress and Abbess, Spiritual Director (most notably of St Hildegard of Bingen), Mystic, miracle worker.

Bl Ottone of Toulouse

Blessed Thomas Holland SJ (1600-1642) Priest of the Society of Jesus and Martyr. of England and Wales.
His Life and Death:

St Zeno of Nicomedia

Martyrs of Ostia – (3 saints): A group of Christians martyred together. The only details about them to survive are three names – Demetrius, Florus and Honoratus. They were martyred at Ostia, Italy.

Martyrs of Rhaitu – (43 saints): 43 monks martyred by Blemmyes, in Raíthu, Egypt, date unknown.

Martyrs of Via Lavicana – (30 saints): A group of 30 Christians martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian.
c 303 in Rome, Italy and were buried between two bay trees on the Via Lavicana outside Rome.