Posted in MARIAN TITLES, MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Notre-Dames de Betharam / Our Lady of Betharam, France (1503)

Thursday of the Third Week of Easte +2021

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.

The Chapel of Our Lady at Betharam

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/

St Michel Garicoits

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.”

The Crowns of St Pius X

St Abel McAedh
St Aceptismas of Hnaita
St Apelles of Smyrna
St Arwald
St Pope Caius I (Died 296)
Biography:

https://anastpaul.com/2019/04/22/saint-of-the-day-22-april-saint-pope-caius-i-died-613/

St Epipodius of Lyon
St Euflamia
Blessed Francis of Fabriano OFM (1251-1322)
About Blessed Francis:

https://anastpaul.com/2020/04/22/saint-of-the-day-22-april-blessed-francis-of-fabriano-ofm-1251-1322-priest/
St Helimenas
St Joseph of Persia
St Leo of Sens
St Leonides Adamantius of Alexandria (Died 202) Martyr – Layman – Father of Origen (Adamantius)
St Lucius of Laodicea
Blessed Maria Gabriella Sagheddu
St Opportuna of Montreuil
St Senorina
St Pope Soter (Died c 174)
St Pope Soter’s Life:

https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/04/22/saint-of-the-day-st-pope-soter-died-c-174/

St Theodore of Sykeon (Died 613)
About St Theordore:

https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/04/22/saint-of-the-day-22-april-st-theodore-of-sykeon/
St Virginio

Martyrs of Alexandria: No info yet

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

Posted in SAINT of the DAY, YouTube VIDEOS

Memorials of the Saints – 22 April

St Abel McAedh
St Aceptismas of Hnaita
St Pope Agapitus I,
St Apelles of Smyrna
St Arwald
St Pope Caius I (Died 296)
Biography:
https://anastpaul.com/2019/04/22/saint-of-the-day-22-april-saint-pope-caius-i-died-613/

St Epipodius of Lyon
St Euflamia
Blessed Francis of Fabriano OFM (1251-1322)
St Helimenas
St Joseph of Persia
St Leo of Sens
St Leonidas of Alexandria
St Lucius of Laodicea
Blessed Maria Gabriella Sagheddu
St Opportuna of Montreuil
St Senorina
St Pope Soter (Died c 174)
St Pope Soter’s Life:
https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/04/22/saint-of-the-day-st-pope-soter-died-c-174/

St Theodore of Sykeon (Died 613)
About St Theordore:
https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/04/22/saint-of-the-day-22-april-st-theodore-of-sykeon/
St Virginio

Martyrs of Alexandria: No info yet

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

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 22 April

St Abel McAedh
St Aceptismas of Hnaita
St Pope Agapitus I,
St Apelles of Smyrna
St Arwald
St Pope Caius I (Died 296)

St Epipodius of Lyon
St Euflamia
Bl Francis of Fabriano
St Helimenas
St Joseph of Persia
St Leo of Sens
St Leonidas of Alexandria
St Lucius of Laodicea
St Opportuna of Montreuil
St Senorina
St Pope Soter (Died c 174)
Biography:  https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/04/22/saint-of-the-day-st-pope-soter-died-c-174/

St Theodore of Sykeon (Died 613)
About St Theordore:  https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/04/22/saint-of-the-day-22-april-st-theodore-of-sykeon/
St Virginio

Martyrs of Alexandria:  No info yet

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

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – St Pope Soter (died c 174)

Saint of the Day – St Pope Soter (died c 174) – Latin: Soterius; died c 174) was the Bishop of Rome from c 167 to his death c 174.   According to the Annuario Pontificio, the dates may have ranged from 162–168 to 170–177.   He was born in Fondi, Campania, today Lazio region, Italy.   St Pope Soter is known for declaring that marriage was valid only as a sacrament blessed by a priest and also for formally inaugurating Easter as an annual festival in Rome and for combatting Montanism.  His name, from Greek σωτήρ “saviour”, would be his baptismal name, as his lifetime predates the tradition of adopting papal names.

Saint Soter’s feast day is celebrated today, 22 April, as is that of Saint Pope Caius.   The Roman Martyrology, the official list of recognised saints, references Soter:  “At Rome, Saint Soter, Pope, whom Dionysius of Corinth praises for his outstanding charity towards needy exiled Christians who came to him and towards those who had been condemned to the mines.”

It has often been supposed that all the earliest Popes suffered martyrdom but the Roman Martyrology does not give Pope Soter the title of martyr.   The book detailing the 1969 revision of the General Roman Calendar states:  “There are no grounds for including Saint Soter and Saint Caius among the martyrs.”

header - st pope soter

Born to a Greek father in Latium, Italy, St Soter became the twelfth pope, raised to the Papacy upon the death of St Anicetus in 173.   He is remembered for his love and charity of persecuted Christians, as well as his bravery during a time in which it was dangerous to be a Christian, let alone the pope!

The Montanist movement, which originated in Asia Minor, made its way to Rome and Gaul in the second half of the 2nd century, during the reign of Eleuterus.   Its nature did not diverge so much from the orthodoxy of the time for it to initially be labelled heresy. During the violent persecution at Lyon, in 177, local confessors wrote from their prison concerning the new movement to the Asiatic and Phrygian communities as well as to Pope Eleuterus.   The bearer of their letter to the pope was the presbyter St Irenaeus, soon to become Bishop of Lyon.   It appears from statements of Eusebius concerning these letters that the Christians of Lyon, though opposed to the Montanist movement, advocated patience and pleaded for the preservation of ecclesiastical unity.

When the Roman church took its definite stand against Montanism is not precisely known.   Tertullian records that a Roman bishop sent some conciliatory letters to the Montanists but based on the complaints of Praxeas “concerning the prophets themselves and their churches and by insistence on the decisions of the bishop’s predecessors” forced the pontiff to recall these letters.   Another ancient source states that “Holy Soter, Pope of the City, wrote against them a book, as did the master, Apollonius of Ephesus. Against these wrote the priest Tertullian of Carthage.   Who in all ways wrote well, wrote first and wrote incomparably, in this alone did reprehensibly, that he defended Montanus”.   At Rome, the Gnostics and Marcionites continued to preach against the Catholic Church.

pope7soterst pope soter - snip

Letters written to Saint Soter have survived, addressed to him by Saint Dionysius of the Corinthian church and others.  These letters reference the fatherly love with which Saint Soter wrote to and help support and build the congregation of the Church, offering prayers and financial assistance to all in need—those imprisoned in Rome, those Christians sent to work in the dangerous mines for failing to renounce their faith and those who lived in the remotest of Churches (like Corinth at the time), extending the charity of the Church well beyond that of his predecessors.

st pope soterst pope soter statue in the vatican

From the letter of Saint Dionysius:  “From the beginning it has been your custom to do good to all the brethren in many ways and to send alms to many churches in every city, refreshing the poverty of those who sent requests, or giving aid to the brethren in the mines, by the alms which you have had the habit of giving from old, Romans keeping up the traditional custom of the Romans;  which your blessed Bishop Soter has not only preserved but has even increased, by providing the abundance which he has sent to the saints and by further consoling with blessed words with brethren who came to him, as a loving father his children… Today, therefore, we have kept the holy Lord’s day, on which we have read your letter, which we shall always have to read and be admonished, even as the former letter which was written to us by the ministry of Clement.”

St Soter died in C 174 and buried in the Callistus Catacombs in Rome, Italy.   At his tomb are written the words, “Pope Saint Soter, Master of Charity, Pray for us!”

While we know little about his life, the charitable works and principles of Pope Saint Soter remain extant, inspiring us to evaluate our lives.   Who could we be more loving and charitable to?   How better could be model our lives after Saint Soter,?   How better could we model our lives after Our Blessed Mother, the perfect model of Christian charity? callistus catacombs - snipcecilia-3.Callistus Catacombs - Rome