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Showing posts from March, 2010

St. Benjamin

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Saint Benjamin was a deacon martyred circa 424 in Persia. St. Benjamin was executed during a period of persecution of Christians that lasted forty years and through the reign of two Persian kings: Isdegerd I, who died in 421, and his son and successor, Varanes V. King Varanes carried on the persecution with such great fury, that Christians were submitted to the most cruel tortures.
Benjamin was imprisoned a year for his Christian Faith, and later released with the condition that he abandon preaching or speaking of his religion. His release was obtained by the Eastern Roman Emperor Theodosius II through an ambassador. However, St. Benjamin declared that it was his duty to preach Christ and that he could not be silent. As a consequence, St. Benjamin was tortured mercilessly until his death in the year 424.

St. John Climacus

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John's nickname comes from the famous treatise on asceticism written by John and entrusted to the abbot of Raithu, The Ladder of Paradise (Greek climax, which means stairs). His biographer, the monk Daniel Raithu Monastery, southwest Sinai, writes that John was born in Palestine and the age of six left the hometown to retire to a monastery in Sinai. There he received the monastic tonsure at four years of income and lived 19 years in community under the guidance of a holy old man, named Martyrdom.
When the master died, John retired to a solitary cell on Mount Sinai, a few miles from the monastery, where he was down on Saturday and Sunday to participate in religious ceremonies with the other brothers. In the cell there was only a wooden cross, a table and a bench that served as chair and bed. Their only wealth were the books of Holy Scripture and the writings of the Fathers of the Church, including Pastoralis Regula of St. Gregory the Great, translated into Greek by a patriarch of An…

St. Bertold

Bertold was born in Limoges in south west France. He went to the Holy Lands as a Crusader and was in Antioch during its siege by the Saracens. It was around this time had Bertold had a vision of Christ denouncing the evil ways of the soldiers. Some accounts hold that in 1155 he came to Mount Carmel and built a small chapel there, gathering a community of hermits about him living in imitation of the prophet Elijah. This community has sometimes been thought to have given rise to the Order of Carmelites, but this is not supported by any clear evidence and is generally discounted by historians of the Order. Bertold died circa 1195, and tradition holds that he was replaced as leader of the hermits by Saint Brocard.

Palm Sunday

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In fulfillment of prophecy (Isaiah 62:11 & Zechariah 9:9), Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. The crowds lined the street shouting "Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord." (Psalm 118:25-26) They placed palm branches and robes in front of Jesus. This was particularly disturbing to the religious leaders who were jealous of Jesus. They demanded that Jesus silence the crowd, but he responded that even if the crowd were silent, the stones would cry out.

The events of the next week would forever change the world. Jesus entered Jerusalem and the crowd welcomed him as a king. By the end of the week they were demanding his death. His followers abandoned him in fear. None of his close followers had really understood the events of Palm Sunday and Holy Week until after Jesus returned. They had all expected Jesus to be an earthly king, but God had given them something so much better - an open door into a Kingdom that would never end.

St. Sixtus III

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He was elected to the death of Pope St. Celestine I, in 432, and occupied the See of Peter for eight years were very full of demands.
During his lifetime he was involved almost permanently in the fight against the Pelagian doctrine, one of those who first detected the evil and fought the heresy that had to condemn the Pope Zosimus. In fact, Sixtus wrote two letters on this matter by sending them to Aurelius, bishop condemned Caelestius at the Council of Carthage, and St. Augustine. It was about the Church's great controversy about the supernatural grace and therefore need to perform good works for salvation.
Pelagius was a monk from the British Isles. He lived in Rome for several years gaining the respect and admiration of many for his ascetic life and his doctrine of stoic type, according to which man can attain perfection by his own effort, with God's help only extrinsic-kind examples, guidelines and disciplinary norms, and so on., - was a proactive! Furthermore, the doctrine …

St. John of Egypt

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'Til he was twenty-five, John worked as a carpenter with his father. Then feeling a call from God, he left the world and committed himself to a holy solitary in the desert. His master tried his spirit by many unreasonable commands, bidding him roll the hard rocks, tend dead trees, and the like. John obeyed in all things with the simplicity of a child. After a careful training of sixteen years he withdrew to the top of a steep cliff to think only of God and his soul. The more he knew of himself, the more he distrusted himself. For the last fifty years, therefore, he never saw women, and seldom men. The result of this vigilance and purity was threefold: a holy joy and cheerfulness which consoled all who conversed with him; perfect obedience to superiors; and, in return for this, authority over creatures, whom he had forsaken for the Creator. St. Augustine tells us of his appearing in a vision to a holy woman, whose sight he had restored, to avoid seeing her face to face. Devils assa…

St. Ludger

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The story of St. Ludger, first bishop of Münster, born about 745 in Suescnon, Friesland, is attached to a new fact in the Christian world at that time Christianity went far beyond the Roman Empire, with the evangelization of trans / Rhenine Germania . This missionary work, which achieved the highest development with St. Boniface, are committed to St. Ludger, a disciple of St. Gregory and St. Alcuin of York.
After the ordination, which was in Cologne in 777, Ludger was dedicated to the evangelization of the pagan region of Friesland, where St. Boniface, had suffered martyrdom.
The methods used by Charlemagne to subdue this region and Christianize were not quite agree with the evangelical spirit. In 776, during the first expedition, the king imposed the baptism of all defeated soldiers, but the revolt of Widukind there was a general apostasy. Ludger had to flee and, after passing through Rome, came to Monte Cassino, where he donned the monastic habit without having yet delivered the vote…

The Annunciation of Christ

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The story of the Annunciation, meaning the announcing, from the Latin annuntiare, is told in Luke's gospel. At the Annunciation, the angel Gabriel announces to Mary that she will conceive a Son, and his name will be Jesus. His greeting, "Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you" has echoed down through the ages in many prayers, and is known as the "Hail Mary." Mary is initially confused as to how she will bear God's Son, seeing as she is a virgin. The angel then explains that the Holy Spirit will come upon on her. This is why when we recite the Nicene creed we say "by the power of the Holy Spirit, [Jesus] was born of the Virgin Mary and became man." The Apostles Creed likewise affirms that Jesus was "conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit." Thus, the Feast of the Annunciation is the beginning of Jesus' miraculous life, and it begins with the theotokos conceiving Jesus by the Holy Spirit's power.
Mary's response to the…

St. Catherine of Sweden

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Catherine of Vadstena or Sweden was born around the year 1331 the marriage of Prince Birgesdotter Ulf Gudmarsson and Brigitta, was the fourth of eight children. The raised, as was common at the time, the heat of the monastery, in this case did Riseberga nuns.
She married Earl Egar Lyderson good Kyren with whom they agreed to live a chaste marriage, which influences positively in noble environments plagued by frivolous and secular customs.
Bridget, her mother, has been revealed to found the Order of the Holy Savior that aims to praise the Lord and the Blessed Virgin according to the liturgy of the Church, to repair for the offenses he receives from men, propagating the contemplative prayer, preferably -Passion for the salvation of souls.
Mother and daughter are together in Rome. When Catherine plans to return home with the husband, his daughter Bridget informs another supernatural revelation of God: his son is dead. This will determine the course of Catherine's life ever since. Befor…

St. Toribio de Mongrovejo

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Born in Mayorga de Campos, Valladolid, Spain, of noble family and highly educated, Turibius was named after another Spanish saint, Turibius of Astorga. He became professor of law at the highly reputed University of Salamanca. His learning and virtuous reputation led to his appointment as Grand Inquisitor of Spain by King Philip II on the Court of the Inquisition at Granada. During this time, he was ordained priest in 1578 and sent to Peru. Though not yet of ecclesiastical rank, Turibius was named Archbishop of Lima, Peru, in May 1579.

He arrived at Paita, Peru, 600 miles from Lima, on May 24, 1581. He began his mission work by travelling to Lima on foot, baptizing and teaching the natives. His favourite topic was: "Time is not our own, and we must give a strict account of it." Three times he traversed the 180,000 square miles of his diocese, generally on foot, frequently defenceless and often alone; exposed to tempests, torrents, deserts, wild beasts, tropical heat, fevers an…

St. Lea

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A letter which St. Jerome wrote to St. Marcella provides the only information we have about St. Lea, a devout fourth century widow. Upon the death of her husband, she retired to a Roman monastery and ultimately became its Superior. Since his correspondence was acquainted with the details of St. Lea's life, St. Jerome omitted these in his letter. He concentrated instead on the fate of St. Lea in comparison with that of a consul who had recently died. "Who will praise the blessed Lea as she deserves? She renounced painting her face and adorning her head with shining pearls. She exchanged her rich attire for sackcloth, and ceased to command others in order to obey all. She dwelt in a corner with a few bits of furniture; she spent her nights in prayer, and instructed her companions through her example rather than through protests and speeches. And she looked forward to her arrival in heaven in order to receive her recompense for the virtues which she practiced on earth. "So …

St. Nicholas von Flüe

Hermit and Swiss political figure. Born near Sachseln, Canton Obwalden, Switzerland, he took his name from the Flueli river which flowed near his birthplace. The son of a peasant couple, he married and had ten children by his wife, Dorothea Wissling, and fought heroically in the forces of the canton against Zurich in 1439. After serving as magistrate and highly respected councilor, he refused the office of governor several times and, in 1467, at the age of fifty and with the consent of his wife and family, he embraced the life of a hermit, giving up all thought of political activity. Nicholas took up residence in a small cell at Ranft, supposedly surviving for his final nineteen years entirely without food except for the Holy Eucharist. Renowned for his holiness and wisdom, he was regularly visited by civic leaders, powerful personages, and simple men and women with a variety of needs. Through Nicholas’ labors, he helped bring about the inclusion of Fribourg and Soleure in the Swiss C…

Blessed John of Parma

John Buralli, the seventh minister general of the Franciscans, was born at Parma in the year 1209, and he was already teaching logic there when at the age of twenty-five, he joined the Franciscans. He was sent to Paris to study and, after he had been ordained, to teach and preach in Bologna, Naples and Rome. He preached so well that crowds of people came to hear his sermons, even very important persons flocked to hear him. In the year 1247, John was chosen Minister General of the Order of Franciscans. He had a very difficult task because the members of his community were not living up to their duties, due to the poor leadership of Brother Elias. Brother Salimbene, a fellow townsman who worked closely with John, kept an accurate record of Johns activities. From this record, we learn that John was strong and robust, so that he was always kind and pleasant no matter how tired he was. He was the first among the Ministers General to visit the whole Order, and he traveled always on foot. H…

St. Joseph

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Everything we know about the husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus comes from Scripture and that has seemed too little for those who made up legends about him.
We know he was a carpenter, a working man, for the skeptical Nazarenes ask about Jesus, "Is this not the carpenter's son?" (Matthew 13:55). He wasn't rich for when he took Jesus to the Temple to be circumcised and Mary to be purified he offered the sacrifice of two turtledoves or a pair of pigeons, allowed only for those who could not afford a lamb (Luke 2:24).
Despite his humble work and means, Joseph came from a royal lineage. Luke and Matthew disagree some about the details of Joseph's genealogy but they both mark his descent from David, the greatest king of Israel (Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-38). Indeed the angel who first tells Joseph about Jesus greets him as "son of David," a royal title used also for Jesus.
We know Joseph was a compassionate, caring man. When he discovered Mary…

St. Edward the Martyr

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Edward the Martyr was founded in 962, being the eldest son of Edgar the Pacific, King of England, and his first wife Ethelfleda, Ordmaer gentleman's daughter.
On the death of his father (July 8, 975) succeeded to the throne despite the opposition of his stepmother Elfrida, which defended the rights of her son Ethelred the grounds that he was born of a queen anointed, while the mother Edward was never crowned. But thanks to the support of Dunstan, finally manages to be proclaimed king by the Witenagemot.
Its policy is guided, supported by Dunstan, in defending the rights of the Church, diminished in previous reigns. Therefore, many nobles wanted to put in place the young Edward.
On 18 March 978, was hunting with his dogs and some gentlemen in Wareham, Dorset, when he decides to visit his half-brother in Corfe Castle, near Wareham, where he lived with his mother. Separated from the group that accompanied him, arrived alone at the castle. While riding his horse, his stepmother Elfrida o…

St. Patrick

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Patrick was born around 385 in Scotland, probably Kilpatrick. His parents were Calpurnius and Conchessa, who were Romans living in Britian in charge of the colonies.
As a boy of fourteen or so, he was captured during a raiding party and taken to Ireland as a slave to herd and tend sheep. Ireland at this time was a land of Druids and pagans. He learned the language and practices of the people who held him.
During his captivity, he turned to God in prayer. He wrote
"The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was rosed, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same." "I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain."
Patrick's captivity lasted until he was twenty, when he escaped after having a dream from God in which he was told to leave Ireland by going to the coast. There he found some sailors who took him bac…

St. Agapetus I

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His date of birth is uncertain, died April 22, 536.
Gordianus was the son of a Roman priest who had been discharged during the riots in the days of Pope Symmachus.
His first official act was to burn in the presence of the assembly of the clergy, the anathema which Boniface II had spoken out against Dioscurus, his last rival ordered to be preserved in the Roman archives.
He confirmed the decrees of the council held at Carthage, after the liberation of Africa from the yoke of vandalism, according to which converts from Arianism were declared ineligible to Holy Orders and those already ordained were merely admitted to lay communion.
He accepted an appeal from Contumeliosus, Bishop of Riez, a council in Marseille who had condemned for immorality, and ordered St. Caesarius of Arles to grant the defendant a new trial before papal delegates. Meanwhile Belisarius after the easy conquest of Sicily, was preparing for an invasion of Italy.
The Gothic king, Theodehad as a last resort, begged the …

Saint Louise de Marillac

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Louise, born near Meux, France, lost her mother when she was still a child, her beloved father when she was but 15. Her desire to become a nun was discouraged by her confessor, and a marriage was arranged. One son was born of this union. But she soon found herself nursing her beloved husband through a long illness that finally led to his death.
Louise was fortunate to have a wise and sympathetic counselor, St. Francis de Sales, and then his friend, the Bishop of Belley, France. Both of these men were available to her only periodically. But from an interior illumination she understood that she was to undertake a great work under the guidance of another person she had not yet met. This was the holy priest M. Vincent, later to be known as St. Vincent de Paul.
At first he was reluctant to be her confessor, busy as he was with his "Confraternities of Charity." Members were aristocratic ladies of charity who were helping him nurse the poor and look after neglected children, a real n…

St. Matilda of Ringelheim

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Matilda was a descendant of the famous Widukind, captain of the Saxons in their long struggle against Charlemagne, as the daughter of Dietrich, Count of Westphalia and Reinhild, scion of the royal house of Denmark. When the baby was born in the year 895, was entrusted to the care of his paternal grandmother, the abbess of the convent Erfut. There, without straying far from home, Matilda was educated and grew into a young girl who surpassed their peers in beauty, piety, and science, it is said. In due course, married Henry, son of Duke Otto of Saxony, who was called "the hunter". The marriage was exceptionally happy and Matilda on her husband exerted a moderate, yet uplifting influence. Just after the birth of his son, Otto, three years of marriage, Henry succeeded his father in the duchy. More or less at the beginning of the year 919, King Conrad died without descendants, and the Duke was elevated to the throne of Germany. There is no doubt that his experience of brave and s…

St. Roderick

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Martyrs of Spain. Roderic, also called Rudericus and Rodrigo, was a priest at Cabra who was assaulted by his two brothers, one a Muslim and the other a lapsed Catholic. He was denounced by the Muslim brother and imprisoned for falling away from the Islamic faith. Roderic proclaimed that he had always been a Christian, but was charged with apostasy. In prison, he met Salomon, a man under the same charge.

They were beheaded at Cordoba after a long period of imprisonment. There is another story which is very similar.

Roderick is venerated as one of the Martyrs of Córdoba. Tradition states that he was a Christian priest of Cabra who had two brothers: one was a Muslim, the other had no religion. Once, after his brothers began to fight one another, Roderick attempted to break up the fight. However, they turned on him instead and beat him.
When Roderick awoke, he found that his Muslim brother had reported to the authorities that Roderick had converted to Islam. When Roderick maintained his loy…

St. Luigi Orione

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Luigi Orione was born in Pontecurone, Diocese of Tortona, 23 June 1872. At 13 he was received into the Franciscan convent in Voghera (Pavia) who left after a year for health reasons. From 1886 to 1889 he was a student of St. John Bosco in Turin Oratory Valdocco.
On October 16, 1889 he entered the seminary of Tortona. While still a young priest, he devoted himself to live in solidarity with the fellow in the Society of Mutual Help in San Marciano and St. Vincent. On July 3, 1892, opened the first Oratory in Tortona to care for the Christian education of youth. The following year, on 15 October 1893 Luigi Orione, a clergyman of 21 years, opened a school for poor boys in the neighborhood of San Bernardino.
On 13 April 1895 Luigi Orione was ordained a priest and at the same time, Bishop won the clerical habit to six students at his school. Soon, Don Orione Mornico opened new homes in Lausanne (Pavia), in Noto (Sicily) in Sanremo, in Rome.
About Founder grew young clerics and priests who form…

St. Sophronius of Jerusalem

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Patriarch St. Sophronius of Jerusalem was called the Sophist because of his knowledge of Greek. He was an ardent opponent of monothelitism. Many of his writings, including the Florilegium and the life of St. John the Almsgiver, are no longer extant. He wrote an encomium on John of Cyrus and composed 23 anacreontic odes on the feasts of the church. His Christmas homily of 634 suggests that the Saracens held Bethlehem at that time. (Historians had dated the event later). The Orthodox remember St. Sophronius chiefly as the author of the life of St. Mary of Egypt. Sophronius was born in Damascus around 560. He and his friend John Moschus became ascetics together while they were in their late teens or early twenties. Some say they lived near the Jordan; some say they lived in Egypt. In 605, Sophronius fled to Alexandria in the wake of Persian invaders, and when the Persians invaded Alexandria in 616, he fled to Rome. In 619, he returned to Palestine and lived in the Theodosius monastery in…

St. John Ogilvie

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Father John Ogilvie came from a noble family. He was born in Drum-na-Kelth (Scotland) in 1579 and was educated in Calvinism. At thirteen, his father sent him to France, Italy and Germany to give a more complete education.
They had their first contacts with Catholicism as religious disputes were very popular in those places. He converted to Catholicism and was received into the Church of Scotland College of Louvain in 1596, seventeen. Embracing the Catholic faith meant for John to break with the family and the loss of support that she received, a waiver to a brilliant career and the pursuit reserved for traitors. On November 15, 1599 entered the Jesuit novitiate in Brno, studied philosophy at Gratz, was a professor at the Jesuit college in Vienna and eventually studied theology at Olmütz, being ordained a priest in Paris in 1610. After three years of pastoral life in the city of Rouen got permission to go to England.
He arrived in Scotland, under the guidance of an ex, dedicated to horse…

St. Frances of Rome

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Frances was born in the city of Rome in 1384 to a wealthy, noble family. From her mother she inherited a quiet manner and a pious devotion to God. From her father, however, she inherited a strong will. She decided at eleven that she knew what God wanted for her -- she was going to be a nun.
And that's where her will ran right up against her father's. He told Frances she was far too young to know her mind -- but not too young to be married. He had already promised her in marriage to the son of another wealthy family. In Rome at that time a father's word was law; a father could even sell his children into slavery or order them killed.
Frances probably felt that's what he was doing by forcing her to marry. But just as he wouldn't listen to her, Frances wouldn't listen to him. She stubbornly prayed to God to prevent the marriage until her confessor pointed out, "Are you crying because you want to do God's will or because you want God to do your will?"
Sh…

St. John of God

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From the time he was eight to the day he died, John followed every impulse of his heart. The challenge for him was to rush to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit gave him, not his own human temptations. But unlike many who act impulsively, when John made a decision, no matter how quickly, he stuck with it, no matter what the hardship.
At eight years old, John heard a visiting priest speak of adventures that were waiting in the age of 1503 with new worlds being opened up. That very night he ran away from home to travel with the priest and never saw his parents again. They begged their way from village to village until John fell sick. The man who nursed him back to health, the manager of a large estate, adopted John. John worked as a shepherd in the mountains until he was 27. Feeling pressure to marry the manager's daughter, whom he loved as a sister, John took off to join the Spanish army in the war against France. As a soldier, he was hardly a model of holiness, taking part i…

Ss. Perpetua and Felicity

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With the lives of so many early martyrs shrouded in legend, we are fortunate to have the record of the courage of Perpetua and Felicity from the hand of Perpetua herself, her teacher Saturus, and others who knew them. This account, known as "The Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity," was so popular in the early centuries that it was read during liturgies.
In the year 203, Vibia Perpetua made the decision to become a Christian, although she knew it could mean her death during Septimus' persecution. Her surviving brother (another brother had died when he was seven) followed her leadership and became a catechumen as well.
Her father was frantic with worry and tried to talk her out of her decision. We can easily understand his concern. At 22 years old, this well-educated, high-spirited woman had every reason to want to live -- including a baby son who was still nursing. We know she was married, but since her husband is never mentioned, many historians assume she was a widow.
Perp…

St. Colette

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Colette was born in Corbie, in northern France, near Amiens, on 13 January 1381. Her parents, Robert Boylet carpenter and his wife Catherine, had become bigger without having children, but when no longer expected, providentially still had a daughter they named Nicolette, Colette familiarly, in gratitude to St. Nicholas of Bari, attributed to their intercession on having it. She grew up in a cozy and very religious. But he soon lost his father and mother, and his 18 years, undertook a complicated and varying religious experience in which, for seven years, might seem not quite to the destination that God wanted to take.
Following the advice Jesus gives in the Gospel, she sold all her possessions and distributed them among the poor. Then went from monastery to monastery, from institution to institution, without finding peace. First was in the Beguine, of which the Benedictines came to his hometown, they did not fulfill their spiritual anxieties, and then joined the Poor Clares, but unsati…