One Minute Reflection – 21 October – Saint Ursula and Companions: (Died c 238) Virgin Martyrs – Ecclesiasticus 45:1-6, Matthew 19:27-29 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“And everyone who has left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for My Name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold and shall possess life everlasting.” – Matthew 19:29
REFLECTION – “Again He says: My sheep hear My Voice and I know them; they follow Me and I give them eternal life. Shortly before this He had declared – If anyone enters the sheepfold through Me he shall be saved; he shall go freely in and out and shall find good pasture. He will enter into a life of faith; from faith he will go out to vision, from belief to contemplation and will graze in the good pastures of everlasting life.
So Our Lord’s sheep, will finally reach their grazing ground where all who follow Him, in simplicity of heart, will feed on the green pastures of eternity. These pastures are the spiritual joys of Heaven. There, the elect look upon the face of God with unclouded vision and feast at the Banquet of Life for evermore.
Beloved …, let us set out for these pastures where we shall keep joyful festival with so many of our fellow citizens. May the thought of their happiness urge us on! Let us stir up our hearts, rekindle our faith and long eagerly for what Heaven has in store for us. To love thus ,is to be already on our way. No matter what obstacles we encounter, we must not allow them to turn us aside from the joy of that Heavenly Feast. Anyone who is determined to reach his destination, is not deterred by the roughness of the road, that leads to it. Nor must we allow the charm of success to seduce us, or we shall be like a foolish traveller who is so distracted by the pleasant meadows through which he is passing, that he forgets where he is going!” – St Gregory the Great (540-604) – Pope and Great Western Father and Doctor of the Church (An excerpt from his Homily 14).
PRAYER – Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord our God that we may never cease devoutly, to venerate the triumphs of Thy holy Virgins and Martyrs, Ursula and her companions that, as we cannot worthily shew forth their praises, yet we may continually honour them, with lowly service Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Saint of the Day – 21 October – Saint Ursula and Companions: (Died c 238) Virgin Martyrs. Died on 21 October 238 in Cologne, Germany. Patronages – British Virgin Islands, Catholic education (especially of girls), Cologne, Germany, of a holy death, students, school children, teachers, University of Paris.
St Ursula and Her Companions, Virgin Martyrs By Father Francis Xavier Weninger SJ (1805-1888)
To-day we commemorate the festival of St Ursula and her Companions. Although her life and Martyrdom are variously described, by different historians, we cannot, therefor,e conclude, with some heretical writers, that she never existed and that all that has been told of her, are fables; for, although historians differ in some points, yet all unanimously declare that St Ursula and her Companions sacrificed their lives for their faith and, in defence of their Virginity. The short sketch we give of this Saint is partly taken from the works of the celebrated Cardinal Cesare Baronius (1538-1607), the Historian and partly from the Roman Breviary.
The Roman General, Maximus, surnamed Flavius Magnus Clemens, who commanded the Imperial armies in Britain, caused himself, in 383, to be proclaimed Emperor by his soldiers, while the lawful Emperor Gratian was still alive. After this, he crossed the sea, landed on the shores of France, took possession of a large portion of it, drove the inhabitants away and occupied the land with his soldiers, among whom, he divided the conquered towns and villages.
Conanus, a tributary King in Great Britain, who commanded one part of the army of this new Emperor, advised him to bring, from England, Virgins, who might be given in marriage to the new inhabitants of the conquered land, in order to keep them in obedience and fidelity to their master. Maximus, pleased with this advice, sent an embassy to Britain and stating his reasons, demanded a great number of maidens. The Britons hesitated not to consent to the new Emperor’s demand because many of his soldiers were Britons and because, Maximus had given them considerable property. They, therefore, assembled the desired number of Virgins, placed them in several boats and sent them to France. The noblest among them was Ursula, daughter of the King of Wales, who was to become the spouse of Conanus.
The wisdom of the Almighty, however, had decreed otherwise; for, whilst the ships sailed from England to France, contrary winds arose, which drove them all to the shores of Germany. It is believed that they went up the Rhine and landed in the neighbourhood of Cologne.
At that period, the wild Huns happened to be there, whom the Emperor Gratian had called to his aid against Maximus, who resided for some time at Treves. When these heathens beheld this large number of Virgins, they forced them to land and would have sacrificed them to their lust. Ursula, however, the Christian heroine, exhorted all, rather to suffer the most bitter death than consent to evil. All followed her admonition and courageously resisted the savages, who, in their furious rage, killed the defenceless Virgins with swords, arrows and clubs. Only one of the maidens, Cordula, had escaped and concealed herself during the massacre but repenting of her timidity, she revealed herself on the following day and last of all, she received the Crown of Martyrdom.
The bodies of the holy Virgins were buried, with great solemnities, by the inhabitants of Cologne. Their memory, however,and the veneration with which they were regarded, were not confined within the walls of this town but spread over the whole Christian world.
St Ursula encouraged and exhorted her companions to preserve their purity and to give up lif, rather than lose it. Heed it well, the Saint’s advice and exhort others to preserve purity.
Who, therefore, are those that tempt others to violate it? St Bonaventure says: “The mouth of him who tempts others to impurity, is the mouth of a devil!” Hence, those who tempt to impurity are incarnate devils or the devil speaks through their mouths. How senseless are you, therefore, when you listen to them and follow their advice. St Ursula and her Companions did not listen to the savage Huns and followed them not. Thus must you act and neither listen to them, nor obey them who would tempt you to the least sin against purity. “Shun and abhor,” says St Nilus, “all those who would prevent you from the practice of virtue and who tempt you to violate the laws of God and to sin against purity.” Detest them as you would the Evil One himself; for, in truth, “There is no difference between an evil spirit and a human being tempting you to impurity,” says St Cyril of Alexandria.
Saint Ursula and Companions: (Died c 238) Legendary Princess, the daughter of a Christian British King and Saint Daria. She travelled Europe in company of either 11 or 11,000 fellow maidens; the 11,000 number probably resulted from a misreading of the term “11M” which indicated 11 Martyrs, but which a copyist took for a Roman numeral. Ursula and her company were tortured to death to get them to renounce their faith, and old paintings of them show many of the women being killed in various painful ways. Namesake for the Ursuline Order, founded for the education of young Catholic girls and women. There are other Saints closely associated with Ursula and her story – travelling companions who were Martyred with her. They are: Antonia of Cologne Cesarius of Cologne Cyriacus of Cologne Daria Fiolanus of Lucca Ignatius of Cologne James of Antioch Mauritius of Cologne Pontius of Cologne Sulpitius of Ravenna Vincent of Cologne Travelling companion, but escaped the massacre: • Cunera led by a dove to the lost tomb of Ursula: • Cunibert of Cologne.
St Agatho the Hermit St Asterius of Périgord St Asterius of Rome St Berthold of Parma St Celina of Meaux St Cilinia St Condedus St Domnolus of Pouilly St Finian Munnu St Gebizo Bl Hilarion of Moglena St Hugh of Ambronay Bl Imana of Loss Bl Iulianus Nakaura St John of Bridlington St Letizia St Maurontus of Marseilles St Malchus of Syria