Martyrs of Nicomedia – 8 Beati: Christians who were Martyred in succession in a single incident during the persecutions of Diocletian. First there were the eight imprisoned Christians, Domna, Esmaragdus, Eugene, Hilary, Mardonius, Maximus, Mígdonus and Peter, about whom we know little more than their names. Each day for eight days one of them would be strangled to death in view of the others so that they would spend the night in dread, not knowing if they were next. Peter was the chamberlain or butler in the palace of Diocletian. When he was overheard complaining about this cruelty, he was exposed as a Christian, arrested, tortured and executed by having the flesh torn from his bones, salt and vinegar poured on the wounds and then being roasted to death over a slow fire. Gorgonio was an army officer and member of the staff in the house of emperor Diocletian, Doroteo was a staff clerk. They were each exposed as Christians when they were overhead objecting to the torture and murder of Peter. This led to their own arrest, torture and executions. Died in 303 in Nicomedia, Bithynia (in modern Turkey) Additional Memorial – 28 December as part of the 20,000 Martyrs of Nicomedia. Beatified on 14 January 1891 by Pope Leo XIII (cultus confirmation).
All Saints of the Carmelite Order: On this day, the Carmelite Family celebrates the memory of all its holy men and women, those known and those unknown, those living on Earth and those living in Heaven, who reflect the glory of God.
St Laurence O’Toole/Lorcán Ua Tuathail (c 1128 – 1180) Archbishop of Dublin, Abbot, Reformer, Mediator, Preacher, Apostle of Charity, Papal Legate to Ireland, he established new Churches and Monasteries. Due to the great number of miracles that rapidly occurred either at his tomb or through his intercession, Lorcán was canonised only 45 years after his death in 1225 by Pope Honorius III. Biography: https://anastpaul.com/2018/11/14/saint-of-the-day-14-november-st-laurence-otoole-c-1128-1180/
St Modanic St Pierre of Narbonne St Ruf of Avignon St Serapion of Alexandria
St Serapion of Algiers OdeM (c 1179–1240) Mercedarian Priest and Martyr, Soldier and Crusader. The Roman Martyrology states today: “At Algiers in Africa, the blessed Serapion, of the Order of Our Blessed Lady of Ransom, for the Redemption of the faithful in captivity and the preaching of the Christian Faith. He was the first of his Order to deserve the Palm of Martyrdom by being crucified and cut to pieces.” On 14 July 1728, a decree was issued confirming his immemorial cult. he was Canonised on 14 April 1728 by Pope Benedict XIII and on 24 August 1743, he was included in the Roman Martyrology. His Life and Death: https://anastpaul.com/2021/11/14/saint-of-the-day-14-november-saint-serapion-of-algiers-odem-c-1179-1240-martyr/
St Siard OPraem (Died 1230) Abbot of the Premonstratensian Order or the “Norbertines.” St Venerando the Centurian St Venerandus of Troyes
Martyrs of Emesa: Group of Christian women tortured and executed for their faith in the persecutions of the Arab chieftain Mady. They died in Emesa (modern Homs, Syria).
Martyrs of Heraclea – (3 Saints): Group of Christians murdered together for their faith. The only details we have are three of their names – Clementinus, Philomenus and Theodotus. They were Martyred in Heraclea, Thrace.
St Heiu of Hartlepool St Indrecht of Iona St Pope Innocent I St Joseph Zhang Dapeng
St Luigi Orione FDP (1872-1940) “The Advocate of the Poor and of Orphans” Priest, Preacher, Confessor, Writer, Apostle of Charity, Apostle of Eucharistic Adoration, Marian Devotee and Founder of Sons of Divine Providence Congregation, the Congregation of the Little Missionary Sisters of Charity, Blind Sisters, Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament, Contemplative Sisters of Jesus Crucified. About St Luigi: https://anastpaul.com/2019/03/12/saint-of-the-day-12-march-st-luigi-orione-fdp-1872-1940/
St Maximilian of Thebeste St Mura McFeredach St Paul Aurelian St Peter the Deacon
Martyrs of Nicomedia – 8 Saints: Christians who were Martyred in succession in a single incident during the persecutions of Diocletian. First there were the eight imprisoned Christians, Domna, Esmaragdus, Eugene, Hilary, Mardonius, Maximus, Mígdonus and Peter, about whom we know little more than their names. Each day for eight days one of them would be strangled to death in view of the others so that they would spend the night in dread, not knowing if they were next. Peter was the chamberlain or butler in the palace of Diocletian. When he was overheard complaining about this cruelty, he was exposed as a Christian, arrested, tortured and executed by having the flesh torn from his bones, salt and vinegar poured on the wounds and then being roasted to death over a slow fire. Gorgonio was an army officer and member of the staff in the house of emperor Diocletian, Doroteo was a staff clerk. They were each exposed as Christians when they were overhead objecting to the torture and murder of Peter. This led to their own arrest, torture and executions. Died in 303 in Nicomedia, Bithynia (in modern Turkey) Additional Memorial – 28 December as part of the 20,000 Martyrs of Nicomedia.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart” – Mark 12:30
REFLECTION – “The great ones of the earth glorify themselves in possessing kingdoms and wealth. Jesus Christ finds all His happiness in ruling over our hearts. This is the sovereignty He desires and, that He decided to conquer, with His death on the cross: “Upon his shoulder dominion rests” (Is 9:5). Many interpreters understand, by these words, … the Cross our divine Redeemer bore on His shoulders. “This heavenly king,” Cornelius à Lapide remarks, “is a completely different master to the devil. The latter loads heavy burdens onto his slaves’ shoulders. Jesus, to the contrary, takes the full weight of His lordship on Himself, He embraces the Cross and wants to die on it, so as to reign over our hearts.” And Tertullian says that, whereas earthly monarchs “carry a sceptre in their hands and wear a crown on their heads as emblems of their power, Jesus Christ bore the Cross on His shoulders. And the Cross was the Throne, to which He ascended to establish His kingdom of love” … Let us then hasten to dedicate all our heart’s love to this God who, to win it, has sacrificed His blood, His life, His whole self. “If you knew the gift of God,” said Jesus to the Samaritan woman, “and who it is who says to you: ‘Give me to drink’” (Jn 4:10). That is to say: if you only knew how great is the grace you receive from God … Oh, if the soul only understood what an extraordinary grace God bestows on it, when He begs for its love in the words: “You shall love the Lord your God ….” Would not a subject who heard his lord say : “Love me” not be entranced? And could God not succeed in winning our hearts when He asks us for it with such great sweetness: “My son, give me your heart?” (Prv 23:26). However, God does not want this heart by halves, He wants the whole of it, without reserve. His commandment is: “You shall love the Lord your God with ALL your heart.” – – St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787) Bishop and Most Zealous Doctor of the Church – 6th Discourse for the Octave of Christmas
PRAYER – Lord Almighty God, You sanctify Your Church, by the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Fulfil in us the words of Your Son that our love for You and Your children may be come to perfection. Grant that by the prayers of St Seraphina, we too may attain our heavenly home. Through Christ our Lord, in union with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, amen.
Saint of the Day – 12 March – Saint Seraphina (1238-1253) Virgin. Born as Fina dei Ciardi , in 1238 at San Geminiano, Tuscany, Italy and died on 12 March 1253 of natural causes, aged 15. PATRONAGES– crippled, paralysed and disabled people, spinners. Also known as Fina, Serafina. Saint Seraphina is celebrated in San Gimignano on both 12 March, the anniversary of her death and the first Sunday in August.
Fina dei Ciardi was born in San Gimignano in 1238. The Daughter of Cambio Ciardi and Imperiera, a declined noble family, she lived all her existence in a humble house located in the historic centre of the famous “city of beautiful towers” (today the small road on which her house stands takes her name). There is little record of the first ten years of her life and what information is available comes from legends narrated after her death. Some accounts note Seraphina’s strong devotion to the Virgin Mary and that she went out, only to hear Mass. She was also said to be extraordinarily kind.
In 1248, Seraphina’s life was changed by a serious illness, which began, progressively, to paralyse her (probably a form of tuberculous osteomyelitis). Her deep faith relieved her pain. She refused a bed and chose instead, to lie on a wooden pallet. According to her legend, during her long illness, her body became attached to the wood of the table, with worms and rats feeding on her rotting flesh. During her illness, she lost her father and later her mother died after a fall. In spite of her misfortunes and poverty, she thanked God and expressed a desire that her soul might separate from the body, in order to meet Jesus Christ.
In her reading, St Seraphina had heard of the great sufferings of St Gregory the Great and he became her special Patron. She prayed to him, drew strength from the sufferings that he had to endure and prayed, that he would obtain for her, the patience she needed to bear her own sufferings. She was now so weak and helpless, that it was clear to everyone she could not live very long.
Seraphina’s immense devotion was an example to all the citizens of San Gimignano, who frequently visited her. Visitors were surprised to receive words of encouragement from a desperately ill young girl who was resigned to the will of God. On 4 March 1253, after five years of sickness and pain, her nurses Beldia and Bonaventura, were waiting for her to die. Suddenly, Saint Gregory the Great appeared in Seraphina’s room and predicted, that she would die on the 12th of March .Seraphina died on the predicted date at the age of 15.
Miracles attributed to Seraphina are mentioned in stories, paintings, poems and in notary documents. The most important miracle of her life, was her vision of Saint Gregory, also because she died on Saint Gregory’s Feast day (12 March) as he predicted.
When Seraphina’s body was removed from the pallet that was her deathbed, onlookers saw white violets bloom from the wood and smelt a fresh, floral fragrance throughout her house. The violets grew on the walls of San Gimignano and still grow there today. For this reason, the townspeople call them “The Saint Seraphina violets.” The young girl’s body was brought to the Church and during the transfer, the crowd proclaimed “The Saint is dead!”
For several days, pilgrims went to the Church to venerate Seraphina’s remains and in the same period, there were many evidences of her intercessionary power. One was her nurse Beldia. The woman had a paralysed hand for the labour in supporting Fina’s head during her sickness. While she was near the body, the dead young girl cured Beldia’s hand. Legends say that, at the exact moment of Seraphina’s passing away, all the bells of San Gimignano rang without anyone touching them.
Many sick people who visited her grave during the following years were cured and some of these became some of Seraphina’s most fervent devotees.
Another legend tells that during a walk with two of her friends she heard another young girl, Smeralda, crying. Smeralda had broken a pitcher given her to fill with water from well. While she was entertained by other children, she forgot the pitcher on the ground which unfortunately rolled down and broke. Seraphina told her to arrange the pieces and put them under the water and the pitcher became whole and full of water.
Another anecdote about Seraphina’s miracles is the one of Cambio di Rustico, the Ciardi family’s neighbour. On one anniversary of Seraphina’s death, when the townsfolk had a holiday to remember her, Cambio went to cut wood and hurt his leg. Suffering, he asked forgiveness of Saint Seraphina and was very sorry for not having respected her memorial. His cut then miraculously disappeared.
Saint Fina is celebrated in San Gimignano on two separated days. Her first feast is on 12 March – the anniversary of her death – which has been a statutory holiday in the town since 1481. The second feast on the first Sunday of August, commemorates her miraculous intercession for the cessation of two incidents of the Plague, which had ravaged the town in 1479 and 1631.
On both days, her relics are carried in procession in order to bless the town. Her example of devotion has been handed down by the people of San Gimignano through her veneration, despite not being formally canonised by the Church. So, as written in some paintings dedicated to her, it would be correct to call her Blessed Fina. In fact, the official Patron saint of her town, is still Saint Gimignano.
The most important memorial produced in the memory of Saint Fina is the hospital which took her name and was built in 1255, thanks to donations given at her tomb. The hospital gave hospitality to old and poor people and pilgrims too. It became in the following century one of the best in Tuscany. In the hospital’s Chapel, the original oak wood table where Saint Seraphina lay for five years is preserved.
*A Shrine dedicated to Saint Seraphina is a Chapel (designed by Giuliano da Maiano in 1468 and consecrated in 1488) located inside the Church of San Gimignano where, inside theAaltar (built by the brother Benedetto da Maiano), her bones are kept. On the left and right walls of the Chapel there are two frescoes painted by Domenico Ghirlandaio – one shows the vision of Saint Gregory; the other shows the funeral where the violets in blossom on the towers are represented. We also see an angel ringing the bells, Beldia’s cured hand and the self-portrait of the painter and his brother-in-law Mainardi, who painted the Chapel’s ceiling. On the altar there is a bust with Saint Seraphina ’s relics inside.*
Inside the Civic Museum of San Gimignano there is a wood tabernacle (by Lorenzo di Niccolò 1402) depicting Saint Seraphina with the town on her lap, an icon of St Gregory and some of her anecdotes. Another image of Fina is in the nearby Sant’Agostino Church, painted by Benozzo Gozzoli. Other artists depicting the Saint’s life were Piero del Pollaiolo and Pier Francesco Fiorentino. In others small Churches in the countryside, further paintings of the Saint reside.
Notre-Dames-des-Miracles / Our Lady of Miracles, St Maur des Fosses, France (1328) – 12 March;
The Abbot Orsini wrote: “Our Lady of Miracles, in the cloister of Saint Maur des Fosses, near Paris. It is said that this image was found made, when the sculptor, named Rumold, was going to work at it in 1328.”
Saint-Maur-des-Fosses is a city that may be considered to be a suburb of Paris, France. There is a miraculous Statue of the Blessed Virgin, Our Lady of Miracles, located in the Church of Saint Nicholas in the city. The Town owes its name to an Abbey that was founded by Queen Nanthild in the year 638 at Les Fosses, which means ‘the moats’ in French. The Abbey was called Sanctus Petrus Fossatensis and was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, as well as saints Peter and Paul. When the Monks of the Abbey of Saint-Maur de Glanfeuil in western France fled from the Vikings in the year 868, Holy Roman Emperor, King Charles the Bald, asked them to settle at Sanctus Petrus Fossatensis. They did so, bringing with them their relic of Saint Maurus and introducing the rule of Saint Benedict to France in the 6th century. The Abbey, located in a loop of the Marne just before it joined the Seine, became an important pilgrimage site when the relics of Saint Maurus were found to be effective in curing those who suffered from gout and epilepsy. Due to this sudden popularity and, in recognition of it, the name of the Abbey was changed to, Saint-Maur-des-Fosses, or St Maurus of the Moats. In the drought year of 1137, all of Western Europe was without rain. The Monks of the Abbey led a procession of the relics of St. Maurus and, at the conclusion of Mass, there was a violent thunderstorm which brought rain to the region. As should not be surprising, the Abbey was seized during the French Revolution by the enthusiastic proponents of liberty, equality, and brotherhood. Anything of value was looted and the property then sold to speculators. After they were stripped of everything of value, the buildings that remained were demolished and the material used in other building projects, so that today nothing remains but a few vestiges that were collected for display in a museum. Fortunately, the Statue of Our Lady of Miracles miraculously survived. The Statue had been venerated since 1328 because of the miraculous circumstances of its creation and was saved by a locksmith named Hazar. It is now kept at the Church of Saint Nicholas (see below) in Saint Maur-des-Fosses.
St Maximilian of Thebeste St Mura McFeredach St Paul Aurelian St Peter the Deacon St Seraphina (1238-1253) Virgin St Theophanes the Chronographer — Martyrs of Nicomedia – 8 saints: Eleven Christians who were martyred in succession in a single incident during the persecutions of Diocletian. First there were the eight imprisoned Christians, Domna, Esmaragdus, Eugene, Hilary, Mardonius, Maximus, Mígdonus and Peter, about whom we know little more than their names. Each day for eight days one of them would be strangled to death in view of the others so that they would spend the night in dread, not knowing if they were next. Peter was the chamberlain or butler in the palace of Diocletian. When he was overheard complaining about this cruelty, he was exposed as a Christian, arrested, tortured and executed by having the flesh torn from his bones, salt and vinegar poured on the wounds and then being roasted to death over a slow fire. Gorgonio was an army officer and member of the staff in the house of emperor Diocletian, Doroteo was a staff clerk. They were each exposed as Christians when they were overhead objecting to the torture and murder of Peter. This led to their own arrest, torture and executions. Died in 303 in Nicomedia, Bithynia (in modern Turkey) Additional Memorial – 28 December as part of the 20,000 Martyrs of Nicomedia.
For his sake I have forfeited everything…..
so that Christ may be my wealth and
I may be in him…………Phil 3:8-9
REFLECTION – “An act of renunciation is an act of union with God.
The Divine Master looks lovingly upon a person who gains a victory over self.”……….St Madeleine Sophie Barat
PRAYER – Divine Master, teach me to give up all things so that I may be united closely to You. Let me be willing to lose all things rather than give up my union with You. Dear St Seraphina, so young and innocent, you knew completely serenity in suffering and union with the Father, please pray for us! Amen
Saint of the Day – 12 March – St Seraphina/Fina – (1238-1253) – Virgin – Patron of physically challenged people, handicapped people and spinners
She was a little girl, very pretty, born into a very poor family, whose father died when she was very young. As a little girl she learned to sew and spin, spending most of her time at home.
After her father’s death, she was struck with a strange and paralyzing illness. She became misshapen and ugly, in constant pain, unable to get out of bed or even to move. Her mother took care of her but had to leave her for hours at a time to attend to her work. Seraphina’s only consolation was the crucifix and she realized that she was called to imitate the suffering Christ.
So she never complained. She managed to remain serene and something beautiful shone out of her face. Then she was struck another blow. Her mother died and she was left completely destitute, her neighbours repelled by her appearance and her sickness, her only friend a girl named Beldia who visited her and brought her food.
In her reading, St. Seraphina had heard of the great sufferings of Pope St. Gregory the Great and he became her special saint. She prayed to him, drew strength from the sufferings that he had to endure and prayed that he would obtain for her the patience she needed to bear her own sufferings. She was now so weak and helpless that it was clear to everyone she could not live very long.
Eight days before her death, alone and almost completely forsaken, St. Gregory appeared to her and told her: “Dear child, on my feast day, God will give you rest” (in those days his feast day was celebrated on March 12). On that day, she died. The whole city attended her funeral and from that moment everyone began to pray to her. On the place where she had lain, her neighbours found white violets growing and even today in the village of San Geminiano where she lived, the white violets that bloom in March are called Santa Fina flowers. She died on March 12,1253, at the age of fifteen.
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