Santa María la Antigua / St Mary the Ancient, Panama City, Panama , 16th century, Patron of the Republic of Panama – 9 September:
In 1510 Martín Fernández de Enciso and Vasco Nuñez de Balboa founded a Town in Chief Cémaco’s territory on the west shore of the Gulf of Urabá, initially named La Guardia and a few months later renamed Santa María la Antigua, fulfilling a vow they made to the Virgin if they emerged alive from the confrontation with the natives.
Chief Cémaco’s house was converted into a Chapel in honour of St Mary the Ancient, named for the Madonna in the Cathedral in Fernández de Enciso’s home town of Seville, Spain. A Christian community developed there composed of native converts and Spaniards.
On 9 September 1513, Pope Leo X created the first mainland Diocese with the bull “Pastoralis Officii Debitum,” transforming the little Chapel of St Mary the Ancient into a Cathedral under the Archdiocese of Seville. Later the see moved to the newer City of Panama, whose Cathedral was dedicated to Santa María la Antigua on 4 April 1796. In 2001 the Vatican confirmed St. Mary the Ancient as Patron of the Republic of Panama, setting 9 September as her feast day for the country.
St Basura of Masil St Bettelin St Dorotheus of Nicomedia Bl Gaudridus Bl George Douglas St Gorgonio of Rome St Gorgonius of Nicomedia St Isaac the Great Bl Jacques Laval St Joseph of Volokolamsk St Kieran the Younger (c 516-c 550) Monk, Abbot, One of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland. Bl Maria Eutimia Uffing Bl Mary de la Cabeza St Omer St Osmanna Bl Pierre Bonhomme St Rufinian St Rufinus Bl Seraphina Sforza St Severian St Straton St Teódulo González Fernández St Tiburtius St Valentinian of Chur St Wilfrida St Wulfhilda
Quote/s of the Day – 12 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Readings: Exodus 1: 8-14, 22; Psalms 124: 1b-3, 4-6, 7-8; Matthew 10: 34 – 11: 1
“And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink , … he shall not lose his reward.”
“You, who think that you have a healthy hand, beware lest it is withered by greed or by sacrilege. Hold it out often. Hold it out to the poor person who begs you. Hold it out to help your neighbour, to give protection to a widow, to snatch from harm one whom you see subjected to unjust insult. Hold it out to God for your sins.”
St Ambrose (340-397) Father and Doctor of the Church
“ Lift up and stretch out your hands, not to heaven but to the poor… if you lift up your hands in prayer without sharing with the poor, it is worth nothing.”
“… Let us be afraid, my beloved, lest we also see the poor and pass them by, lest instead of Lazarus, there be many to accuse us hereafter.”
St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father and Doctor of the Church
“For just as water extinguishes a fire, just so does charity blot out our sins.”
St John of God (1495-1550)
“We must speak to them with our hands, by giving, before we try to speak to them with our lips.”
St Peter Claver (1581-1654) “Slave of the slaves”
“I am now completely convinced, that when one does a deed of charity, one need not worry about where the money will come from, it will always come!”
Blessed Frédéric Ozanam (1813–1853) “Servant to the Poor”
Quote/s of the Day – 9 Sepember – The Memorial of St Peter Claver SJ (1581-1654) “Slave of the slaves” and Blessed Frédéric Ozanam (1813–1853) “Servant to the Poor” and Founder of the St Vincent de Paul Society
“We must speak to them with our hands, by giving, before we try to speak to them with our lips.”
“To love God as He ought to be loved, we must be detached from all temporal love. We must love nothing but Him, or if we love anything else, we must love it, only for His sake.”
“To do the will of God, man must despise his own; the more he dies to himself, the more he will live to God.”
St Peter Claver (1581-1654) “Slave of the slaves”
“Let us complain less of our times and more of ourselves. Let us not be discouraged, let us be better!”
“Let us learn of Him, that holy preference, which shows most love, to those who suffer most.”
“Let us go in simplicity, where merciful Providence leads us, content to see the stone on which we should step, without wanting to discover, all at once and completely, the windings of the road.”
Blessed Frédéric Ozanam (1813–1853) “Servant to the Poor”
One Minute Reflection – 9 September –Wednesday of the Twenty Third week in Ordinary Time, Readings: 1 Corinthians 7:25-31, Psalms 45:11-12, 14-15, 16-17, Luke 6:20-26 and the Memorial of St Peter Claver SJ (1581-1654) “Slave of the slaves” and Blessed Frédéric Ozanam (1813–1853) “Servant to the Poor” and Founder of the St Vincent de Paul Society
“Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh.” … Luke 6:21
REFLECTION – “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Mt 5:5). By this saying the Lord wants us to understand that the path of joy lies in tears. It is through desolation one goes to consolation; in losing one’s life that one finds it; in forsaking it that one possesses it; in hating it that one loves it; in despising it that one keeps it (cf. Mt 16:24 f.). If you would know and have the mastery over yourself, enter within yourself and do not seek yourself without (…) Return to yourself, you sinner, return to where you are, to your heart (…) Will not the one who returns to himself discover himself to be far away, like the prodigal son, in a region of unlikeness, in a foreign land, where he sits and weeps at the memory of his father and his native country? (Lk 15,17) (…)
“Adam, where are you? “(Genesis 3:9) Perhaps still in the shadows, so as not to see yourself, you are sewing leaves together in a vain desire to cover your shame, looking at what is around you and what belongs to you (…). Look inside, look at yourself (…) Return within yourself, you sinner, return to your soul. See and weep for this soul subject to vanity and restlessness who cannot set himself free from his captivity (…) It is clear, my brethren, that we live outside ourselves, we are forgetful of ourselves whenever we fritter our lives away in empty pursuits or distractions decked out with trifles. That is why Wisdom is more concerned to invite us to the house of repentance than the house of feasting, that is to say to call back into himself the man outside himself, saying: “Blessed are they that mourn” and in another passage: “Woe to you who laugh now.”
My brethren, let us groan in the presence of the Lord whose goodness moves Him to forgive; let us turn to Him “with fasting, weeping and mourning “ (Joel 2:12) so that one day His (…) consolation may delight our souls. Blessed indeed are those who weep now, not because they are weeping but because they shall be comforted. Weeping is the way, blessedness the consolation.” … Blessed Isaac of Stella O.Cist (c 1100 – c 1170) Sermon 2 for All Saints, 13-20
PRAYER – God of mercy and love, You offer all peoples the dignity of sharing in your life. Rule over our hearts and bodies this day. Sanctify us and guide our every thought, word and deed, may our hands be held out to our neighbour in imitation of Your love and mercy. By the example and prayers of St Peter Claver and Bl Frederic Ozanam, strengthen us to overcome all racial hatreds and to love each other as brothers and sisters. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever amen.
St Basura of Masil St Bettelin St Dorotheus of Nicomedia Bl Gaudridus Bl George Douglas St Gorgonio of Rome St Gorgonius of Nicomedia St Isaac the Great Bl Jacques Laval St Joseph of Volokolamsk St Kieran the Younger Bl Maria Eutimia Uffing Bl Mary de la Cabeza St Omer St Osmanna Blessed Pierre Bonhomme (1803-1861) Priest and Founder St Rufinian St Rufinus Bl Seraphina Sforza St Severian St Straton St Teódulo González Fernández St Tiburtius St Valentinian of Chur St Wilfrida St Wulfhilda
St Alexander of Sabine
Bl Antoine-Frédéric Ozanam (1813–1853)
St Basura of Masil
St Dorotheus of Nicomedia
Bl George Douglas
St Gorgonio of Rome
St Gorgonius of Nicomedia
St Isaac the Great
Bl Jacques Laval
St Joseph of Volokolamsk
St Kieran the Younger
Bl Maria Eutimia Uffing
Bl Mary de la Cabeza
Bl Pierre Bonhomme
Bl Seraphina Sforza
St Teódulo González Fernández
St Valentinian of Chur
Quote/s of the Day – 5 November – Feast of All Saints and Blesseds of the Jesuits
“If our church is not marked by caring for the poor, the oppressed, the hungry, we are guilty of heresy.”
“Be generous to the poor orphans and those in need. The man to whom our Lord has been liberal ought not to be stingy. We shall one day find in Heaven as much rest and joy as we ourselves have dispensed in this life.”
St Ignatius Loyola SJ (1491-1556)
“Take care, take care, never to close your heart to anyone!”
St Peter Faber (1506-1546)
“To do the will of God, man must despise his own – the more he dies to himself, the more he will live to God.”
St Peter Claver SJ (1581-1654)
“God gave Himself to you: give yourself to God.”
St Robert Southwell SJ (1561-1595)
“Any friend of the poor, is a friend of God.”
“Take life in instalments. This one day now. At least let this be a good day. Be always beginning.”
Blessed John Sullivan SJ (1861-1933)
“I hold that every poor man, every vagrant, every beggar, is Christ carrying His cross. And as Christ, we must love and help him.”
“Christ roams through our streets in the person of so many of the suffering poor, sick and dispossessed and people thrown out of their miserable slums. Christ huddled under bridges, in the person of so many children who lack someone to call father, who have been deprived for many years, without a mother’s kiss on their foreheads… Christ is without a home! Shouldn’t we want to give Him one, those of us who have the joy of a comfortable home, plenty of good food, the means to educate and assure the future of our children?”
St Alberto Hurtado SJ (1901-1952)
” To serve Christ is to love this concrete Church and to serve her with generosity and with the spirit of obedience.”
“Ask for the grace of shame; the shame that comes from the constant dialogue of mercy with Him; the shame that makes us blush before Jesus Christ; the shame that puts us in tune with the heart of Christ who is made sin for me; the shame that harmonises our heart in tears and accompanies us in the daily following of “my Lord”.
Pope Francis SJ – 31 July 2013 on the Feast of St Ignatius
Quote/s of the Day – 8 October – Today’s Gospel: Luke 10:25–37 – Monday of the Twenty-seventh week in Ordinary Time, Year B
Speaking of – Seeking : The Good Samaritan
As long as anyone has the means of doing good to his neighbours and does not do so, he shall be reckoned a stranger to the love of the Lord.
St Irenaeus (130-202) Father of the Church
No one has ever been accused for not providing ornaments but for those who neglect their neighbour, a hell awaits with an inextinguishable fire and torment in the company of the demons. Do not, therefore, adorn the church and ignore your afflicted brother, for he is the most precious temple of all.
St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father & Doctor of the Church
We must speak to them with our hands before we speak to them with our lips.
St Peter Claver (1580-1654)
We should strive to keep our hearts open to the sufferings and wretchedness of other people and pray continually, that God may grant us, that spirit of compassion, which is truly the Spirit of God.
St Vincent de Paul (1581-1660)
Since God is perfect in loving man, man must be perfect in loving his neighbour.
St Vincent Pallotti (1795-1850)
All our religion is but a false religion and all our virtues are mere illusions and we ourselves are only hypocrites in the sight of God, if we have not that universal charity for everyone – for the good and for the bad, for the poor and for the rich and for all those who do us harm, as much as those who do us good.
St John Vianney (1786-1859)
“This parable is a splendid gift for us all and also a task! To each of us Jesus repeats what He said to the doctor of the Law: “Go and do likewise” (v. 37). We are all called to follow the same path of the Good Samaritan, who is the figure of Christ: Jesus bent down to us, He became our servant and thus He has saved us, so that we too might love as He loved us, in the same way.”
Quote/s of the Day – 18 September – Today’s Gospel: Luke 7:11–17, Tuesday of the Twenty-fourth week in Ordinary Time and the Memorial of St Juan Macias O.P. (1585-1645) and St Joseph of Cupertino O.F.M. Conv. (1603-1663)
Speaking of: Living the Word
“The Christian should be an ‘alleluia’ from head to foot.
St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Church
“It is no use walking somewhere to preach, unless our walking is our preaching.”
St Francis of Assisi (c 1181-1226)
“To convert somebody, go and take them by the hand and guide them.”
St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Doctor of the Church
“Cook the truth in charity, until it tastes sweet.”
St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of the Church
“We must speak to them with our hands before we try to speak with our lips.”
St Peter Claver (1580-1654)
“Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses, than to teachers and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.”
Blessed Pope Paul VI (1897-1978)
“The only way to win audiences, is to tell people about the life and death of Christ. Every other approach is a waste.”
Ven Archbishop Fulton Sheen (1895-1979)
“Stay where you are – find your own Calcutta.”
St Mother Teresa (1910-1997)
“Your faith will grow, only in the measure, that you give it away.”
Saint of the Day – 9 September – St Peter Claver S.J. – Priest, Religious, Missionary, Confessor, Patron of the missions to African peoples and human rights defender, Apostle of Charity. Also known as • Apostle of Cartagena • Slave of the Blacks • Slave of the Slaves. (1581 at Verdu, Catalonia, Spain – 8 September 1654 at Cartegena, Colombia of natural causes). Beatified on 21 September 1851 by Pope Blessed Pius IX and Canonised on 15 January 1888 by Pope Leo XIII. St Peter Claver (Spanish: Pedro Claver y Corberó) was a Spanish Jesuit priest and missionary born in Verdú (Catalonia) who, due to his life and work, became the patron saint of slaves, the Republic of Colombia and ministry to African Americans. During the 40 years of his ministry in Colombia it is estimated he personally baptised around 300,000 people. He is also patron saint for seafarers. He is considered a heroic example of what should be the Christian praxis of love and of the exercise of human rights. The Congress of the Republic of Colombia declared September 9 as the Human Rights national Day in his honour. Patronage – • African missions (proclaimed in 1896 by Pope Leo XIII)• African-Americans• slaves, against slavery• black missions• black people• Human Rights• foreign missions• inter-racial justice• race relations• seafarers• Missionary Sisters of Saint Peter Claver• Colombia• Accra, Ghana, archdiocese of• Lake Charles, Louisiana, diocese of• Shreveport, Louisiana, diocese of
• Witbank, South Africa, diocese of • Apostleship of the Sea.
Claver was born in 1580 into a devoutly Catholic and prosperous farming family in the Catalan village of Verdú, Urgell, located in the Province of Lleida, about 54 miles (87 km) from Barcelona. He was born 70 years after King Ferdinand of Spain set the colonial slavery culture into motion by authorising the purchase of 250 African slaves in Lisbon for his territories in New Spain, an event which was to shape Claver’s life.
Later, as a student at the University of Barcelona, Claver was noted for his intelligence and piety. After two years of study there, Claver wrote these words in the notebook he kept throughout his life: “I must dedicate myself to the service of God until death, on the understanding that I am like a slave.”
In the New World:
After he had completed his studies, Claver entered the Society of Jesus in Tarragona at the age of 20. When he had completed the novitiate, he was sent to study philosophy at Palma, Mallorca. While there, he came to know the porter of the college, St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, a laybrother known for his holiness and gift of prophecy. Rodriguez felt that he had been told by God that Claver was to spend his life in service in the colonies of New Spain and he frequently urged the young student to accept that calling.
Claver volunteered for the Spanish colonies and was sent to the Kingdom of the New Granada, where he arrived in the port city of Cartagena in 1610. Required to wait six years to be ordained as a priest while he did his theological studies, he lived in Jesuit houses at Tunja and Bogotá. During those preparatory years, he was deeply disturbed by the harsh treatment and living conditions of the black slaves who were brought from Africa. By this time, the slave trade had been established in the Americas for about a century. Local natives were considered not physically suited to work in the gold and silver mines and this created a demand for blacks from Angola and Congo. These were bought in West Africa for four crowns a head, or bartered for goods and sold in America for an average two hundred crowns apiece. Others were captured at random, especially able-bodied males and females deemed suitable for labour.
Cartagena was a slave-trading hub. 10,000 slaves poured into the port yearly, crossing the Atlantic from West Africa under conditions so foul that an estimated one-third died in transit. Although the slave trade was condemned by Pope Paul III and Urban VIII had issued a papal decree prohibiting slavery, (later called “supreme villainy” by Pope Pius IX), it was a lucrative business and continued to flourish.
Claver’s predecessor in his eventual lifelong mission, Father Alonso de Sandoval, S.J., was his mentor and inspiration. Sandoval devoted himself to serving the slaves for 40 years before Claver arrived to continue his work. Sandoval attempted to learn about their customs and languages; he was so successful that, when he returned to Seville, he wrote a book in 1627 about the nature, customs, rites and beliefs of the Africans. Sandoval found Claver an apt pupil. When he was solemnly professed in 1622, Claver signed his final profession document in Latin as: Petrus Claver, aethiopum semper servus (Peter Claver, servant of the Ethiopians [i.e. Africans] forever).
Ministry to the slaves: Church of St. Peter Claver in Cartagena, Colombia, where Claver lived and ministered. Whereas Sandoval had visited the slaves where they worked, Claver preferred to head for the wharf as soon as a slave ship entered the port. Boarding the ship, he entered the filthy and diseased holds to treat and minister to their badly treated, terrified human cargo, who had survived a voyage of several months under horrible conditions. It was difficult to move around on the ships because the slave traffickers filled them to capacity. The slaves were often told they were being taken to a land where they would be eaten. Claver wore a cloak, which he would lend to anyone in need. A legend arose that whoever wore the cloak received lifetime health and was cured of all disease. After the slaves were herded from the ship and penned in nearby yards to be scrutinised by crowds of buyers, Claver joined them with medicine, food, bread, brandy, lemons and tobacco With the help of interpreters and pictures which he carried with him, he gave basic instructions.
Claver saw the slaves as fellow Christians, encouraging others to do so as well. During the season when slavers were not accustomed to arrive, he traversed the country, visiting plantation after plantation, to give spiritual consolation to the slaves. During his 40 years of ministry it is estimated that he personally catechised and baptised 300,000 slaves. He would then follow up on them to ensure that as Christians they received their Christian and civil rights. His mission extended beyond caring for slaves, however. He preached in the city square, to sailors and traders and conducted country missions, returning every spring to visit those he had baptised, ensuring that they were treated humanely. During these missions, whenever possible he avoided the hospitality of planters and overseers; instead, he would lodge in the slave quarters.
Claver’s work on behalf of slaves did not prevent him from ministering to the souls of well-to-do members of society, traders and visitors to Cartagena (including Muslims and English Protestants) and condemned criminals, many of whom he spiritually prepared for death; he was also a frequent visitor at the city’s hospitals. Through years of unremitting toil and the force of his own unique personality, the slaves’ situation slowly improved. n time he became a moral force, the Apostle of Cartagena.
Illness and death:
In the last years of his life Peter was too ill to leave his room. He lingered for four years, largely forgotten and neglected, physically abused and starved by an ex-slave who had been hired by the Superior of the house to care for him. He never complained about his treatment, accepting it as a just punishment for his sins. He died on 8 September 1654.
When the people of the city heard of his death, many forced their way into his room to pay their last respects. Such was his reputation for holiness that they stripped away anything to serve as a relic of the saint. The city magistrates, who had previously considered him a nuisance for his persistent advocacy on behalf of the slaves, ordered a public funeral and he was buried with pomp and ceremony. The extent of Claver’s ministry, which was prodigious even before considering the astronomical number of people he baptised, came to be realised only after his death.
He was canonized in 1888 by Pope Leo XIII, along with the holy Jesuit porter, Alphonsus Rodriguez. In 1896 Pope Leo also declared Claver the patron of missionary work among all African peoples. His body is preserved and venerated in the church of the Jesuit residence, now renamed in his honour.
Legacy:“No life, except the life of Christ, has moved me so deeply as that of Peter Claver”. St Pope Leo XIII, on the occasion of the canonisation of Peter Claver
Many organisations, missions, parishes, religious congregations, schools and hospitals bear the name of St. Peter Claver and also claim to continue the Mission of Claver as the following:
The Knights of Peter Claver, Inc. is the largest African-American Catholic fraternal organisation in the United States. In 2006, a unit was established in San Andres, Colombia. The Order was founded in Mobile, Alabama and is presently headquartered in New Orleans.
Claver’s mission continues today in the work of the Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) and his inspiration remains among port chaplains and those who visit ships in the name of the Church, through the AoS.
The Missionary Sisters of St. Peter Claver are a religious congregation of women dedicated to serving the spiritual and social needs of the poor around the world, particularly in Africa. They were founded in Austria by the Blessed Mary Theresa Ledóchowska in 1894.
Among the many parishes dedicated to St. Peter Claver are those in Lexington, Kentucky,[1 West Hartford, Connecticut, Macon, Georgia, New Orleans, Louisiana, Simi Valley, California, St. Paul, Minnesota, Sheboygan, Wisconsin, Montclair, New Jersey, Baltimore, Maryland and Nairobi, Kenya.
Among the many schools dedicated to St. Peter Claver are those in Decatur, Georgia and Pimville, South Africa. The oldest African American school in the Diocese of St. Petersburg and the oldest African American school still functioning in the State of Florida, is the St. Peter Claver Catholic School.
Thought for the Day – 9 September – The Memorial of St Peter Claver “A Stunning Hero”
Fr Claver’s apostolate extended beyond his care for slaves. He became a moral force, indeed, the “Apostle of Cartagena”. He preached in the city square, gave missions to sailors and traders as well as country missions, during which he avoided, when possible, the hospitality of the planters and owners and lodged in the slave quarters instead.
After four years of sickness, which forced the saint to remain inactive and largely neglected, St Peter Claver died on September 8, 1654. The city magistrates, who had previously frowned at his solicitude for the black outcasts, ordered that he should be buried at public expense and with great pomp.
Peter Claver was canonised in 1888 and Pope Leo XIII declared him the worldwide patron of missionary work among black slaves.
The Holy Spirit’s might and power are manifested in the striking decisions and bold actions of Peter Claver. A decision to leave one’s homeland never to return reveals a gigantic act of will difficult for us to imagine. Peter’s determination to serve forever the most abused, rejected and lowly of all people is stunningly heroic. When we measure our lives against such a man’s, we become aware of our own barely used potential and of our need to open ourselves more to the jolting power of Jesus’ Spirit. (Fr Don Miller OFM)
God our Heavenly Father, You have given us life through the Death and Resurrection of Your Beloved Son, Jesus Christ.
Jesus our saving Lord, You came into a world darkened by man’s sin and gave it light through your teachings,
Holy Spirit, the Breath of God Within us, You guide and enlighten us and give us the strength of our convictions;
Saint Peter Claver, who became an example for us, You showed us the Love of God The Light of Christ, and the strength of the Holy Spirit;
We pray now that all we say and do, in your honor, be a continuation of your work here on earth.
St Peter Claver….pray for us, St Peter Claver….pray for us, St Peter Claver….pray for us.
One Minute Reflection – September 9 – The Memorial of St Peter Claver
Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him………….James 2:5
REFLECTION – “This was how we spoke to them, not with words but with our hands and our actions. And in fact, convinced as they were that they had been brought here to be eaten, any other language would have proved utterly useless. Then we sat, or rather knelt, beside them and bathed their faces and bodies.”…St Peter Claver SJ (1581-1654) “Slave of the Slaves”
PRAYER – God of mercy and love, You offer all peoples the dignity of sharing in your life. By the example and prayers of St Peter Claver, strengthen us to overcome all racial hatreds and to love each other as brothers and sisters. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. St Peter Claver pray for us, amen