Saint of the Day – 22 April – Saint Leonides Adamantius of Alexandria (Died 202) Martyr – Layman – Father of Origen (Adamantius), Husband and Father, Philosopher, Rhetorician, a great scholar. Died by beheading in 202 at Alexandria, Egypt. Patronage – large families. Also known as Leonidas.
The Emperor Severus, in the year 202, during the tenth of his reign, raised a bloody persecution, which filled the whole empire with martyrs but especially in Egypt. One renowned Martyr, whose triumph ennobled and edified the City of Alexandria, was Leonides, father of the great Origen.
Leonides was a Christian philosopher learned in both the profane and sacred sciences. He had seven sons whom he raised with abundant care. The eldest son, Origen, took after his father with a love for learning and piety. Leonides loved his children with paternal affection, seeing each as a temple of the Holy Spirit.
When the persecution raged at Alexandria under Lætus, the Governor of Egypt, Leonides was cast into prison. Origen, who was then only seventeen, burned with fearless zeal for the Gospel but was spared martyrdom for some divine design which he could discern at the time.
Cautioned and impelled by his mother toward temperance and courage, rather than recklessness, Origen cared for his family and his mother’s well-being. He then wrote to his father in very moving terms, strongly exhorting him to look on the crown that was offered him with courage and joy, adding this clause, “Take heed, sir, that for our sakes you do not change your mind.”
Leonides was accordingly beheaded for the faith in 202. His estates and goods were confiscated and his widow was left with seven children to maintain in the poorest condition imaginable. Divine Providence was both her comfort and support andthe Lord worked great signs through her family and children. The extant works of Origen inspired Christian Science and formed Christian thought and doctrine ever since and still does.
The Roman Martyrology for oday states: ” At Alexandria, the birthday of the holy and learned Martyr, Saint Leonides, who suffered under Severus.”
Notre-Dames de Betharam / Our Lady of Betharam, France (1503) – 22 April:
The Abbot Orsini wrote: “Our Lady of Betharam, in the Diocese of Lescar, in the Province of Bearn. This image was found, in the year 1503, by some shepherds, who, seeing an extraordinary light on the spot where the High Altar of the Chapel now stands, came up to it and found there, an image of Our Lady, for which they had a Chapel built immediately.”
More commonly known as the Sanctuary of Betharram, it is located only 15 kilometers from the more famous Marian Shrine at Lourdes. It used to be a very popular pilgrimage destination, as according to Saint Vincent de Paul, Betharram was once the second most popular place of pilgrimage in France. The river Gave, beside which the Shrine is located, is the same river whose waters flow past Lourdes.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Betharam is famous for may miracles but three have reached international fame. According to tradition, one day in 1503 there were some shepherds leading their flocks along the bank of the river Gave when they suddenly observed an extremely bright light coming from the rocks. When they drew nearer, they found a beautiful Statue of the Blessed Virgin. Learning of the incident, the people in the nearby village of Lestelle, decided to construct a Chapel to house the Statue. Due to space limitations, the Chapel was initially planned for the opposite bank from where the Statue had been found. Once the Statue was placed there, however, they found that it would always return on its own, to the other side of the river ,where it had originally been found. The faithful then understood that the Blessed Virgin desired that the Chapel should be built where the Statue had been found and so it happened. The next miracles occurred in the year 1616 when some peasants from the village of Montaut were returning home from the fields at the end of the day. A storm suddenly developed, with fierce winds that threatened Betharram. In fact, the labourers saw that there was a cyclone in the storm that beat against the great wooden Cross that had been erected on the top of the hill. The Cross fell but then was encircled by a radiant aura of dazzling light before raising itself to its former position. The third miracle is the one after which the Shrine is named. Apparently a young girl fell head first into the Gave when trying to pluck a flower along the bank. The water runs fast and deep in this area and the girl was on the verge of drowning, when she cried aloud to Our Lady of Betharam of the nearby Shrine. The Blessed Virgin appeared standing on the bank holding the Divine Infant, who held a branch which He extended to rescue the girl. She offered a golden branch to the Shrine as an ex-voto offering. A beautiful branch is ‘Betharram’ in the local dialect and has became the name of the Shrine.
There were many other miracles, as at one point between the years 1620 and 1642, there were 82 documented miracles involving the blind who received their sight, the paralysed who regained the use of the limbs and those instantly cured of cancer, among other miracles.
Saint Bernadette Soubirous frequently visited the Shrine of Betharram. In fact, the rosary beads that Bernadette used when praying with the Blessed Virgin during the first apparition at Lourdes had come from the Betharram Shrine and the priest to whom she was sent after the apparitions, was Saint Michel Garicoïts (1797-1863) the Priest of Betharram. He it was who alone believed Bernadette’s accounts of the apparitions at Lourdes. He was Canonised in 1947. About St Michel Garicoits here: https://anastpaul.com/2019/05/14/saint-of-the-day-14-may-saint-michel-garicoits-1797-1863/
The Cross that the winds could not destroy was finally destroyed by the folly of man during the French Revolution. The property was unlawfully confiscated and the Chaplains expelled. Saint Pope Pius X was known to be devoted to Our Lady of Betharam. He offered her two magnificent golden crowns made up of branches woven together. The prayer accompanying the inscription stated: “May the Son and His Mother accept our gifts and by appeasing our hopes and desires, may they keep for us, one day, the crown of glory which none can tarnish.”
Martyrs of Persia: Bishops, priests, deacons and laity who were martyred in Persia and celebrated together. Several of them have their stories related in the Acta of Saints Abdon and Sennen. • Abdiesus the Deacon • Abrosimus • Aceptismas of Hnaita • Aithilahas of Persia • Azadanes the Deacon • Azades the Eunuch • Bicor • Chrysotelus of Persia • Helimenas of Persia • James of Persia • Joseph of Persia • Lucas of Persia • Mareas • Milles of Persia • Mucius of Persia • Parmenius of Persia • Tarbula of Persia