Saturday, October 31, 2009

St. Wolfgang of Austria

Wolfgang was a Bishop and reformer. He was born in Swabia, Germany,and he studied at Reichenau under the Benedictines and at Wurzburg before serving as a teacher in the cathedral school of Trier. In the year of 964 entered the Benedictines at Einsiedeln and was appointed head of the monastery school, receiving ordination from St. Ulrich in 971. He then set out with a group of monks to preach among the Magyars of Hungary, and in 972 was named bishop of Regensburg by Emperor Otto II. As bishop, he distinguished himself brilliantly for his reforming zeal and his skills as a statesman. He brought the clergy of the diocese into his reforms, restored monasteries, promoted education, preached enthusiastically, and was renowned for his charity and aid to the poor, receiving the title Eleemosynarius Major (Grand Almoner). He also served as tutor to Emperor Henry II while he was still king. Wolfgang died at Puppingen near Linz, Austria in the year of 994. He was canonized in 1052 by Pope St. Leo IX. Towards the end of his life Saint Wolfgang withdrew as a hermit to a solitary spot, Wolfgang's Lake in the region of upper Austria. He stayed in Hermatiage for many years but then was discovered by a hunter and brought back to town. While travelling on the Danube to Pöchlarn in Lower Austria, he fell ill at the village of Pupping, which is between Eferding and the market town of Aschach near Linz, and at his request was carried into the chapel of Saint Othmar at Pupping, where he died. It is also said that Saint Wolfgang had much dominion over the devil that he forced him to build a church for Our Lord in the name of Jesus Christ.

Friday, October 30, 2009

St. Alphonsus Rodriguez

Confessor and Lay brother, also called Alonso. He was born in Segovia, Spain, on July 25, 1532, the son of a wealthy merchant, and was prepared for First Communion by Blessed Peter Fabre, a friend of Alphonsus' father. While studying with the Jesuits at Alcala, Alphonsus had to return home when his father died. In Segovia he took over the family business, was married, and had a son. That son died, as did two other children and then his wife. Alphonsus sold his business and applied to the Jesuits. His lack of education and his poor health, undermined by his austerities, made him less than desirable as a candidate for the religious life, but he was accepted as a lay brother by the Jesuits on January 31, 1571. He underwent novitiate training and was sent to Montesion College on the island of Majorca. There he labored as a hall porter for twenty-four years. Overlooked by some of the Jesuits in the house, Alphonsus exerted a wondrous influence on many. Not only the young students, such as St. Peter Claver, but local civic tad and social leaders came to his porter's lodge for advice and direction. Obedience and penance were the hallmarks of his life, as well as his devotion to the Immaculate Conception. He experienced many spiritual consolations, and he wrote religious treatises, very simple in style but sound in doctrine. Alphonsus died after a long illness on October 31, 1617, and his funeral was attended by Church and government leaders. Alphonsus was named a patron of Majorca in 1633. St. Alphonsus is also presumed to have written the "Little Office of the Immaculate Conception." After his death many manuscripts were found and later published with the title "Obras Espirituales del B. Alonso Rodriguez ." In 1760 Pope Clement XIII said "the virtues of the Venerable Alonso were proved to be of a heroic degree", but the fact that the Jesuits were Exiled from Spain in 1773 delayed his beatification until 1825. On September 6th, 1887 he was canonized along with St. Peter Claver, one of his most beloved collaborators.

Prayer to St. Alphonsus Rodriguez
Holy are you Alphosus, being chosen by Christ, and with such rage and dignity you have always shown when defending the faith and the will of GOD. During your life you helped changed many lives for the best. So now I come to your holy presence so I may ask the heavens that they may grant me a grace our of all your good deeds and by the intercession of your noble spirit. AMEN.

Story and Image
Saints: A year in Faith and Art by Rosa Giorgi
Las Vidas de los Santos by Rev. Hugo Hover, S.O. Cist., Ph.D.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Saint Narcissus

Saint Narcissus from his youth applied himself with great care to the study of both religious and human disciplines. He entered into the ecclesiastical state, and in him all the sacerdotal virtues were seen in their perfection; he was called the holy priest. He was surrounded by universal esteem, but was consecrated Bishop of Jerusalem only in about the year 180, when he was already an octogenarian. He governed his church with a vigor which was like that of a young man, and his austere and penitent life was totally dedicated to the welfare of the church.

In the year 195, with Theophilus of Cesarea he presided at a council concerning the celebration date of Easter; it was decided then that this great feast would always be celebrated on a Sunday, and not on the day of the ancient Passover.

God attested his merits by many miracles, which were long held in memory by the Christians of Jerusalem. One Holy Saturday the faithful were distressed, because no oil could be found for the church lamps to be used in the Paschal vigil. Saint Narcissus bade them draw water from a neighboring well and after he blessed it, told them to put it in the lamps. It was changed into oil, and long afterwards some of this oil was still preserved at Jerusalem in memory of the miracle.

The virtue of the Saint did not fail to make enemies for him, and three wretched men charged him with an atrocious crime. They confirmed their testimony by horrible imprecations. The first one prayed that he might perish by fire, the second that he might be wasted by leprosy, the third that he might be struck blind, if the accusations they made against their bishop were false. The holy bishop had long desired a life of solitude, and at this time he decided it was best to withdraw to the desert and leave the Church in peace. But God intervened on behalf of His servant, when all three of the bishop’s accusers suffered the penalties they had invoked. Narcissus could then no longer resist the petitions of his people; he returned to Jerusalem and resumed his office. He died in extreme old age, bishop to the last.

Now let us invoke Saint Narcissus in hope that we too may reach eternal life. Just as he carried his soul to into heaven may he also carry our souls into heaven so that we may worship GOD forever and ever.
-Thank you and Peace be with you.

Reference:La Vida de los Santos (Catholic Book Publishing Corp.)
Saints: A year in Faith (by Rosa Giorgi)
Picture from Flickr by saints_n