Wednesday, March 31, 2010
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.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
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 Antioch about AD 600.
The allusion to this work is not casual. Clearly, the Scala Paradisi depends on Pastoralis Regula, although for a long time this was inexplicable because scholars believe that St. John Climacus had lived in the
John Climacus, Saint
Century V, after new documents were allowed to establish the date of his death in 649, thus clarifying the influence of St. Gregory the Great on the doctrine of ascetic hermit Sinai, especially in the epilogue, entitled "Liber ad Pastorem . In the epilogue are summarized the duties of the abbots and of all who govern a religious community. John Climacus wrote that synthesis of the spiritual teaching in the years following his experience of a hermit, when he was taken from his beloved solitude for him to the front of the monastery of Mount Sinai.
The holy hermit was sixty years old when, in obedience, wrote the result of his prolonged meditations on the practice of Christian virtues. Thus was born one of the more ascetic theological treatises read and that since its first publication has been widespread. His Scala has three steps, namely, thirty chapters corresponding to the years of the life of Jesus, and develops in three parts the road or soul's progress towards perfection, based on the renunciation of the world to come, by combating vices and the acquisition of virtues, to the top of inner perfection, which is union with God through charity.
Father may your abbot John
help us so we can be
better Catholics through
this day and all the other
Monday, March 29, 2010
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.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
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.
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 had annexed the denial of original sin. And consequently rejects the need for the redemption of Jesus Christ. From this stems the sacramental inefficiency. A whole mess monumental theological based on false principles that naturally Rome could not afford.
And it was just that. Nestorianism has just been condemned at the Council of Ephesus in 431, one year before being elected Pope Sixtus III, but wrong doctrine about Jesus Christ that had been planted and the consequences do not disappear with council resolutions. Nestorius came from Antioch and bishop of Constantinople. Christology remained imprecise and misleading terminology as conceptual, asserting that in Christ there are two people and denying the divine maternity of the Virgin Mary was condemned by teaching
Sixtus III, Saint
contradict the Christian faith deposed from his seat, imprisoned or exiled to the monastery of St. Eutropius, in Antioch, dying unrepentant outside the communion of the Church. Pope Sixtus III tried with remarkable faith effort to reduce it to no avail and despite his futile efforts Nestorians misrepresented his words saying that the pope was against them.
Pope showered the slanders of his opponents. The emperor Valentinian and his mother Placida prompted a council to restore the fame and honor was in question. Baso-one of the main promoters of fuss unjustly deprived of his fame to the pope, dies repentant and forgiven so that it serves Sixto himself spiritually at the end of his life and comforted by the sacraments.
As every saint has to be pious, also took before his death in the year 440 in Rome, to repair and ennoble the ancient basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore who built the Pope Liberius, St. Peter and the St. Lawrence.
Father may Pope Sixtus III
help us be religious like him
so we can always love the Eucharist
each and day of our life.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
'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 assailed him continually, but John never ceased his prayer. From his long communings with God, he turned to men with gifts of healing and prophecy. Twice each week he spoke through a window with those who came to him, blessing oil for their sick and predicting things to come. A deacon came to him in disguise, and he reverently kissed his hand. To the Emperor Theodosius he foretold his future victories and the time of his death. The three last days of his life John gave wholly to God: on the third he was found on his knees as if in prayer, bud his soul was with the blessed.
Friday, March 26, 2010
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 votes.
Widukind The rebellion was crushed in 784, and the repression was brutal. The refusal of baptism and the failure of the Lenten fast is punishable by death, but this reign of terror, against which stood the great teacher Alcuin, was odious to Christianity itself, which, however, flourished wonderfully, thanks to the true preachers the Gospel, as St. Ludger, whom the emperor himself went to find Montecasino to return to the motherland and dedicate herself to preach in Friesland. Shortly afterward, to reward him for his zeal, he offered the vacant bishopric of Trier, but the saint refused. But he accepted his missionary work and then took the post of Bishop Bernard in the territory of Saxony.
In AD 795 Ludger built a monastery, around which grew the current city of Münster (Münster in German means monastery). The territory belonged to the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Cologne, for Ludger accepted only in the 804 to be consecrated bishop of the diocese. Before that date, the indefatigable missionary had no fixed abode.
He built churches and founded schools and new parishes entrusted to the priests that he had formed. He is also due to the founding of the Benedictine monastery of Werden where after he was buried. He died on 26 March 809 and was immediately venerated as a saint. His tomb in Werden remains a pilgrimage destination.
Father may the life of your
Bishop Ludger help us Catholics
to love our Blessed Mother Mary
and your son Jesus Christ.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
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 angel, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word," (Latin: ecce ancilla Domini; fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum) is a statement of humble faith, and a model for how we are to respond when God calls us to do what seems impossible. This response is called Mary's fiat, from the Latin word meaning "let it be done." The Catechism addresses the significance of Mary's faith in relation to her role as Christ's mother:
By pronouncing her "fiat" at the Annunciation and giving her consent to the Incarnation, Mary was already collaborating with the whole work her Son was to accomplish. She is mother wherever he is Savior and head of the Mystical Body
The Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary dates back to at least the 6th century, and is mentioned between AD 530 and 533 in a sermon by Abraham of Ephesus. In the West, the first authentic reference is in the Gelasian Sacramentary in the 7th century. The tenth Synod of Toledo, and Trullan Synod speak of the Annunciation feast as universally celebrated in the Catholic Church. In the Acts of the latter council, the feast is exempted from the Lenten fast.
The oldest observance of the day is on March 25, although in Spain the feast was at times celebrated on December 19 to avoid any chance of the date falling during the Lenten season. March 25 is obviously 9 months before Christmas, the birth of Jesus. Scholars are not completely sure whether the date of the Annunciation influenced the date of Christmas, or vice-versa. Before the Church adopted fixed days of celebration, early Christians speculated on the dates of major events in Jesus' life.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
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. Before the logical psychic pain and depression sufferer, is removed from the situation by the Virgin. It is in these circumstances when she shows to her mother's firm internal arrangement to pass all sorts
Catherine of Sweden, Saint
of hardship and suffering for Christ. The two together and begin a time of intense prayer, mortification and extreme poverty, their bodies know only the hard ground to sleep are visiting churches and charity. The young widow rejects proposals of marriage that arise frequently, until reaching some impertinence and harassment. Pilgrimages to famous shrines and arrange a visit to the Holy Land to soak up the love of God in the places where the Savior suffered and died.
In the year 1373 have returned, died in Rome Bridget and Catherine gave provisional burial in the Eternal City to the corpse of his mother in the church of San Lorenzo. The transfer of the body in a funeral procession to Sweden is a continuous missionary activity through which it passes. Catherine spoke of the mercy of God who always expects the conversion of sinners, is counting the revelations and predictions that God gave to His holy mother.
Söderköping homeland is the place to get the procession in 1374 as if it were an act of triumph. Conversions and miracles are told that occur to deposit the remains in the monastery of Vadstena, where he comes and stays Catalina, practicing the rule that lived for twenty years with his mother.
A second trip to Rome last five years, will aim at the start of the process of canonization of St. Bridget's future and the adoption of the Order of the Holy Savior. On his return to Vadstena, died on 24 March 1381.
Apart from the revelations and predictions had made the holy supernatural, she is told the fineness of soul that led him to confession daily for twenty years-not for being scrupulously and got the unrepentant confession sorry about died. There is also talk of lights surrounding the dead body after his death, a star that was seen for a while stating the place of rest and luminosity that shone beside the sarcophagus. No wonder that the legend has wanted to leave his mark trying to make sense to discover the magnanimity of his soul which is only perceptible by the external. So said they never sucked the milk of the mother worldly chest while looking for his mother and other women holy honest. Also told Rome that spared flood entering their feet on the Tiber and spoke of the liberation of one possessed.
Anyway, the saints of yesterday and today, have always been turning points of grace for the good of all men.
His cult was confirmed by Pope Innocent VIII in 1784.
Father may Catherine of Sweden
help us become more religious
so we mat go love your more
eaach and every day.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
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 and sometimes threats from hostile tribes; baptizing and confirming nearly one half million souls, among them St. Rose of Lima, and St. Martin de Porres.
He built roads, schoolhouses and chapels, many hospitals and convents, and at Lima, in 1591, founded the first seminary in the Western hemisphere. He inaugurated the first part of the third Lima Cathedral on February 2, 1604.
Turibius assembled thirteen diocesan synods and three provincial councils. He was seen as a champion of the rights of the natives against the Spanish masters. "There was great opposition to Turibius from the governors of Peru whose authority he challenged," Elizabeth Hallam has written. "He learned local dialects so that he could communicate with–-and convert–-the native peoples, and he was a strong and effective champion of their rights."
Years before he died, he predicted the day and hour of his death. At Pacasmayo he contracted fever, but continued labouring to the last, arriving at Saña in a dying condition. Dragging himself to the sanctuary he received the Viaticum, expiring shortly after on March 23, 1606.
Monday, March 22, 2010
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 it is that thence forth she enjoyed perfect happiness. From Abraham's bosom, where she resides with Lazarus, she sees our consul who was once decked out in purple, now vested in a shameful robe, vainly begging for a drop of water to quench his thirst. Although he went up to the capital to the plaudits of the people, and his death occasioned widespread grief, it is futile for the wife to assert that he has gone to heaven and possesses a great mansion there. The fact is that he is plunged into the darkness outside, whereas Lea who was willing to be considered a fool on earth, has been received into the house of the Father, at the wedding feast of the Lamb. "Hence, I tearfully beg you to refrain from seeking the favors of the world and to renounce all that is carnal. It is impossible to follow both the world and Jesus. Let us live a life of renunciation, for our bodies will soon be dust and nothing else will last any longer."
Father may Lea your daughter
help us become better Catholics
so when we die we may all
become Saints like her.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
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 Confederation in 1481, thus preventing the eruption of a potentially bloody civil war. One of the most famous religious figures in Swiss history, he was known affectionately as “Bruder Klaus,” and was much venerated in Switzerland.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
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. He was so humble that when he visited the different houses of the Order, he would often help the Brother wash vegetables in the kitchen. He loved silence so that he could think of God and he never spoke an idle word. When he began visiting the various houses of his Order, he went to England first. When King Henry III heard that John came to see him, the King went out to meet him and embraced the humble Friar. When John was in France, he was visited by St. Louis IX who, on the eve of his departure for the Crusades, came to ask John's prayers and blessing on his journey. The next place John visited was Burgundy and Provence. At Arles, a friar from Parma, John of Ollis, came to ask a favor. He asked John if he and Brother Salimbene could be allowed to preach. John, however, did not want to make favorites of his Brothers. He said, "even if you were my blood brothers, I would not give you that permission without an examination." John of Ollis then said, "Then if we must be examined, will you call on Brother Hugh to examine us?" Hugh, the former provincial was in the house, but since he was a friend of John of Ollis and Salimbene, he would not allow it. Instead, he called the lecturer and tutor of the house. Brother Salimbene passed the test, but John of Ollis was sent back to take more studies. Trouble broke out in Paris where John had sent St. Bonaventure who was one of the greatest scholars of the Friars Minor. Blessed John went to Paris and was so humble and persuasive that the University Doctor who had caused the trouble, could only reply, "Blessed are you, and blessed are your words". Then John went back to his work at restoring discipline to his Order. Measures were taken to make sure the Friars obeyed the Rules of the Order. In spite of all his efforts, Blessed John was bitterly opposed. He became convinced that he was not capable of carrying out the reforms that he felt was necessary. So he resigned his office and nominated St. Bonaventure as his successor. John retired to the hermitage of Greccio, the place where St. Francis had prepared the first Christmas crib. He spent the last thirty years of his life there in retirement. He died on March 19, 1289 and many miracles were soon reported at his tomb.
Father you gave us John of Parma
to help us love you that we
give everything to follow your
Holy Catholic Church.
Father you gave us John of Parma
to help us love you that we
give everything to follow your
Holy Catholic Church.
Friday, March 19, 2010
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 was pregnant after they had been betrothed, he knew the child was not his but was as yet unaware that she was carrying the Son of God. He planned to divorce Mary according to the law but he was concerned for her suffering and safety. He knew that women accused to adultery could be stoned to death, so he decided to divorce her quietly and not expose her to shame or cruelty (Matthew 1:19-25).
We know Joseph was man of faith, obedient to whatever God asked of him without knowing the outcome. When the angel came to Joseph in a dream and told him the truth about the child Mary was carrying, Joseph immediately and without question or concern for gossip, took Mary as his wife. When the angel came again to tell him that his family was in danger, he immediately left everything he owned, all his family and friends, and fled to a strange country with his young wife and the baby. He waited in Egypt without question until the angel told him it was safe to go back (Matthew 2:13-23).
We know Joseph loved Jesus. His one concern was for the safety of this child entrusted to him. Not only did he leave his home to protect Jesus, but upon his return settled in the obscure town of Nazareth out of fear for his life. When Jesus stayed in the Temple we are told Joseph (along with Mary) searched with great anxiety for three days for him (Luke 2:48). We also know that Joseph treated Jesus as his own son for over and over the people of Nazareth say of Jesus, "Is this not the son of Joseph?" (Luke 4:22)
We know Joseph respected God. He followed God's commands in handling the situation with Mary and going to Jerusalem to have Jesus circumcised and Mary purified after Jesus' birth. We are told that he took his family to Jerusalem every year for Passover, something that could not have been easy for a working man.
Since Joseph does not appear in Jesus' public life, at his death, or resurrection, many historians believe Joseph probably had died before Jesus entered public ministry.
Joseph is the patron of the dying because, assuming he died before Jesus' public life, he died with Jesus and Mary close to him, the way we all would like to leave this earth.
Joseph is also patron of the universal Church, fathers, carpenters, and social justice.
There is much we wish we could know about Joseph -- where and when he was born, how he spent his days, when and how he died. But Scripture has left us with the most important knowledge: who he was -- "a righteous man" (Matthew 1:18).
Thursday, March 18, 2010
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 offers from the top of the castle a glass of wine, and when he was to achieve it, was stabbed in the back by one of the minions of the queen.
According to legend, immediately after the murder, made his horse dragged the body slipped from the saddle and with one foot in the stirrup and fell at the base of the hill on which Corfe Castle was located. The queen then ordered that the body hidden in a hut nearby. Inside the hut, however, lived a woman blind from birth whom the queen supported by charity. During the night, a wonderful light appeared and filled the whole hut with great fear, she cried: - "Lord, have mercy!" - Suddenly received her sight. She discovered the body of the king.
The church of St. Edward at Corfe Castle now stands on the site of this miracle. At dawn the queen learned of what happened, and scared, he recovered the body, and buries a place according to their rank near Wareham. A year after the crime a pillar of fire appeared on the place where the body was hidden, lighting up the entire area. This was seen by some inhabitants of Wareham, who removed the body of burial given by the Queen. An outbreak originated clear water immediately in that place, being thenceforth known as healing water. Accompanied by a crowd of peasants, the body was taken the church of the Holy Mother of God in Wareham and buried at the east end of the church. This occurred on 13 February 980.
The following year (February 13, 981) the body was moved to the Abbey of Shaftesbury, in Dorset. On the road to be taken the body of the king to the abbey, another miracle occurs: two humpbacks who followed the procession are incredibly healed.
Edward was eventually canonized in English council in the year 1008, chaired by Alpagio, Archbishop of Canterbury later martyred by the Danes in 1012 - and King Ethelred orders the festivities are 3 days: March 18 (day of death), February 13 (day of his miraculous buried in Wareham) and 20 June (on that day in 1001, he was buried and we saw that was uncorrupted). Shaftesbury Abbey was rededicated to the Virgin Mary and Edward. Many miracles kept happening in his tomb for centuries to come, including the cure of leprosy and the return of sight to the blind.
In the sixteenth century during the reign of Henry VIII, when there is mass destruction of monasteries and convents, Edward's body is hidden to save him from the fury of the king. In 1931, the relics were recovered by Mr. Wilson-Claridge during an archaeological dig, his identity was confirmed by Dr. TEA Stowell, osteologist. In 1970, examinations performed on the relics, suggested that the boy had been stabbed in the back while riding his horse and had then been dragged along the ground by the terrified animal with his foot caught in a stirrup. In 1982, Mr-Claridge donated the relics to the Russian Orthodox Church, which put them in a church in Brookwood Cemetery in Woking, Surrey. They organized a brotherhood of monks of the order of Edward to guard there. The church is now called Orthodox Church of Edward the Martyr.
Father may the life and death
of your servant Edward help
us lov e the Virgin Mary and
Jesus more each day of our lives.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
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 back to Britian, where he reunited with his family.
He had another dream in which the people of Ireland were calling out to him "We beg you, holy youth, to come and walk among us once more."
He began his studies for the priesthood. He was ordained by St. Germanus, the Bishop of Auxerre, whom he had studied under for years.
Later, Patrick was ordained a bishop, and was sent to take the Gospel to Ireland. He arrived in Ireland March 25, 433, at Slane. One legend says that he met a chieftain of one of the tribes, who tried to kill Patrick. Patrick converted Dichu (the chieftain) after he was unable to move his arm until he became friendly to Patrick.
Patrick began preaching the Gospel throughout Ireland, converting many. He and his disciples preached and converted thousands and began building churches all over the country. Kings, their families, and entire kingdoms converted to Christianity when hearing Patrick's message.
Patrick by now had many disciples, among them Beningnus, Auxilius, Iserninus, and Fiaac.
Patrick preached and converted all of Ireland for 40 years. He worked many miracles and wrote of his love for God in Confessions.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
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 old pontiff to proceed to Constantinople and bring their influence to deal with the Emperor Justinian.
To defray the costs of the embassy, Agapito was forced to pledge the sacred vessels of the Church of Rome.
He has engaged in midwinter with five bishops and an impressive entourage. In February 536, appeared in the capital of the East and was received with full honors befitting the head of the Catholic Church.
As he had no doubt expected, the apparent object of his visit was doomed to failure. Justinian could not be diverted from his resolution to restore the rights of the empire in Italy. But from the ecclesiastical point of view, the Pope's visit to Constantinople was a triumph scarcely less memorable than the campaigns of Belisarius.
The occupant then Byzantium Headquarters was some Anthimus, who without the authority of the canons had left his episcopal see of Trebizond to join the crypto-Monophysites, in conjunction with the Empress Theodora intrigued to undermine the authority of the Council of Chalcedon.
Against the protests of the orthodox, Empress Anthimus finally seated in the patriarchal chair.
No sooner had the Pope arrived, most prominent of the clergy entered charges against the new patriarch, as an outsider and a heretic. Agapito ordered a written profession of faith and return to his home abandoned, upon his refusal, declined to have any relationship with him.
This angered the Emperor, who had been deceived by his wife as to the orthodoxy of his favorite, to the point of threatening the Pope with the banishment. Agapito replied with spirit: "With eager longing come to look to the Christian Emperor Justinian. Instead find a Diocletian, whose threats, however, does not terrify me." This bold language made Justinian pause, being finally convinced that Anthimus was unsound in faith, made no objection to the Pope in bringing the fullness of his powers to lay down and stop the intruder, and for the first time in the Church history, personally consecrating his legally elected successor, Mennas.
This memorable exercise of papal prerogative not soon forgotten by the Orientals, who, along with Latinos, venerate him as a saint.
To clear himself of any suspicion of abetting heresy, Justinian gave the Pope a written confession of faith, which the latter accepted with the judicious clause, "though he could not admit to a layman the right to teach religion, noted with pleasure that the desire of the Emperor was in perfect accord with the decisions of the Fathers.
Agapito Shortly after he fell ill and died, after a glorious reign of ten months. His remains were placed in a coffin and sent to Rome, being held in San Pedro.
His memory is kept on 20 September, the day of his deposition. The Greeks commemorate him on 22 April, the day of his death.
Father may the life and death
of your servant Agapetus I help us
be better Catholics.
Monday, March 15, 2010
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 need of the day. But the ladies were busy with many of their own concerns and duties. His work needed many more helpers, especially ones who were peasants themselves and therefore close to the poor and could win their hearts. He also needed someone who could teach them and organize them.
Only over a long period of time, as Vincent de Paul became more acquainted with Louise, did he come to realize that she was the answer to his prayers. She was intelligent, self-effacing and had physical strength and endurance that belied her continuing feeble health. The missions he sent her on eventually led to four simple young women joining her. Her rented home in Paris became the training center for those accepted for the service of the sick and poor. Growth was rapid and soon there was need of a so-called rule of life, which Louise herself, under the guidance of Vincent, drew up for the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul (though he preferred "Daughters" of Charity).
He had always been slow and prudent in his dealings with Louise and the new group. He said that he had never had any idea of starting a new community, that it was God who did everything. "Your convent," he said, "will be the house of the sick; your cell, a hired room; your chapel, the parish church; your cloister, the streets of the city or the wards of the hospital." Their dress was to be that of the peasant women. It was not until years later that Vincent de Paul would finally permit four of the women to take annual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. It was still more years before the company would be formally approved by Rome and placed under the direction of Vincent's own congregation of priests.
Many of the young women were illiterate and it was with reluctance that the new community undertook the care of neglected children. Louise was busy helping wherever needed despite her poor health. She traveled throughout France, establishing her community members in hospitals, orphanages and other institutions. At her death on March 15, 1660, the congregation had more than 40 houses in France. Six months later St. Vincent de Paul followed her in death.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
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 skilful soldier found it very useful, since his life was a constant struggle in which he often succeeded remarkably.
Henry himself and his subjects attributed their success, both to the prayers of the Queen, and their own efforts. This continued to live in humility which had distinguished child. In his courtiers and their servants, the more it seemed like a loving mother to his queen and mistress, none of those who came to her for help he was disappointed. Her husband rarely asked their alms or accounts was enraged by her pious practices, with the absolute certainty of his goodness and trusting her fully. After twenty years of marriage, King Henry died of apoplexy, at 936. When they told her that her husband had died, the Queen was at church and there he sat, pouring his soul at the altar in a fervent prayer for him. He then asked a priest to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the repose of the king and taking off the jewelry she wore them down on the altar as a pledge renouncing, from that moment, the pomp of the world.
They had five children: Otto, later Emperor Henry Tough, San Bruno, later Archbishop of Cologne; Gerberga who married Louis IV, King of France and Hedwig, the mother of Hugh Capet. Although the king had expressed his wish that his eldest son, Otto, succeeded him on the throne, Matilda favored his son Henry and nobles persuaded to vote for him, however, Otto was elected and crowned . Henry did not accept willingly give up their claims and initiated a rebellion against his brother, but was defeated and sued for peace. Otto forgave him and, through the intercession of Matilda, was appointed Duke of Bavaria. The queen then took her from a life of complete self-sacrifice, her jewelry had been sold to help the poor and was as generous in his gifts, which gave rise to criticism and blame. His son Otto was accused of having hidden a treasure, and ill spend the proceeds from its crown, was required to give an account of what had spent and sent spies to monitor their movements and register their donations.
His bitter suffering was the discovery that Henry instigated and helped his brother against her. He endured all with unwavering patience, noting with a touch of pathetic humor, which at least comforting to see that their children were united, if only to pursue it. "Gladly endure all that they can make, provided they do so without sin, if this will remain united," he would say, as stated.
To please them, Matilda gave up his inheritance for his children and retreated to the country home where I was born. But shortly after his departure, Duke Henry fell ill and began to rain on the state disaster. The general feeling was that such misfortunes were due to treatment that the princes had given his mother, Edith, Otto's wife convinced him to go and ask his forgiveness and give back all that they had taken. Without being asked, Matilde pardoned and returned to court, where he resumed his work of mercy. But though Henry had ceased to importune, his behavior continued causing him great distress. The newly turned against Otto and then punished a revolt of his own subjects in Bavaria with incredible cruelty, not even the bishops escaped his wrath.
In 955, when Matilda was last seen, he prophesied his coming death and urged him to repent, before it was too late. Indeed, soon after, Henry died and the news caused a deep pain in the queen.
Undertook the construction of a convent at Nordhausen, made further foundations in Quedlinburg, in Engern Poehler and also where he established a monastery for men. It is clear that Otto never again suffer because her mother's income spent on religious works, for when he went to Rome to be crowned emperor, left the kingdom by Matilde.
The last time that Matilda took part in a family meeting was in Cologne at Easter of 965, were with her when Emperor Otto the Great ", his other children and grandchildren. After this comeback, virtually retired from the world, spending time in either of its foundations, especially in Nodhausen. He was about to address certain urgent matters that the claimed in Quedlinburg, worsened a fever that had been suffering for some time and knew that would soon reach its last moment. Richburg sent for the maid who had helped her in her charities and was abbess at Nordhausen. According to tradition, the Queen proceeded to do a deed of donation for all he had in his room, until there was nothing but the canvas of his shroud. "Give it to Bishop William of Mainz (who was his grandson). The first thing I will need it." Indeed, the bishop died suddenly, twelve days before it occurred the death of his grandmother, who died on March 14, 968. Matilda's body was buried along with her husband, in Quedlinburg, where she was venerated as a saint since the time of his death.
Father may Queen Matilda help
us love you and the Blessed
Virgin Mary. So we all can be
Saints like her.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
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 loyalty to the Catholic religion, he was accused of apostasy under Sharia law. He was imprisoned and then beheaded along with Salomon at Córdoba.
Friday, March 12, 2010
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 formed the first nucleus of the Little Work of Divine Providence. In 1899 started the branch of the Hermits of Divine Providence. The Bishop of Tortona, Bishop Igino Bandi, with Decree of 21 March 1903, canonically recognized the Sons of Divine Providence (priests, brothers coadjutor and hermits), male religious congregation of the Little Work of Divine Providence, dedicated to "cooperate to bring the young, the poor and people of the Church and the Pope, through works of charity, IV professing a special vote" allegiance to the Pope ". In the first Constitutions of 1904, a new purpose of the new Congregation appears to work "to achieve the union of the separate Churches.
Driven by a passion for the church and the salvation of souls, took an active interest in the problems emerging at that time, such as freedom and unity of the Church, the 'Roman question', modernism, socialism, Christianization of the working masses.
He has helped heroically to populations affected by the earthquakes of Messina and Reggio (1908) and by the Marsica (1915). By desire of Pius X was vicar general of the diocese of Messina for three years.
At twenty years of the founding of the Sons of Divine Providence, as in "a single plant with many branches," the June 29, 1915 began the Congregation of the Little Missionary Sisters of Charity, animated by the same charism and in 1927 the blind Sacramentine Adoration Sisters, which is added after the Contemplative of Jesus Crucified.
He organized the laity in the associations of the "Ladies of Divine Providence", the "Alumni" and "Friends". Then the body will Orionini Secular Institute and the lay movement Orionini.
After the First World War (1914-1918) was a proliferation of schools, colleges, agricultural settlements, charitable and welfare. Among the most characteristic works, created the "Small Cottolengo" to the suffering and the abandoned, encountered in the outskirts of large cities as "new pulpits" from which to speak about Christ and the Church, "beacons of faith and of humanity. "
The missionary zeal of Don Orione, who had already spoken with shipping to Brazil in 1913 of his first religious, then spread to Argentina and Uruguay (1921), England (1935) and Albania (1936). In 1921-1922 and 1934-1937, he made two trips to Latin America, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, reaching Chile.
He enjoyed the esteem of the Popes and the authorities of the Holy See, who entrusted him with numerous and sensitive assignments to solve problems and heal wounds both within the Church and in relations with the civilian world. He was a preacher, confessor and tireless organizer of pilgrimages, missions, processions, "living nativity" and other demonstrations of faith. Very devoted to the Virgin, her devotion promoted by all means and with the handiwork of his clergy, he built the shrines of the Madonna della Guardia in Tortona and Our Lady of Caravaggio in smoke.
In the winter of 1940, trying to alleviate the problems of heart and lungs in pain, went to the house of Sanremo, though, as I said, 'is not among the palm trees where I want to live and die, but among the poor who are Jesus Christ. After just three days, surrounded by the love of his brothers, Don Orione died on 12 March 1940, sighing "! Jesus! ! Jesus! I '.
His body, intact at the time of the first exhumation in 1965, was put in a place of honor in the sanctuary of the Madonna della Guardia in Tortona, after that, on 26 October 1980, John Paul II inscribed her name in the cast of the Blessed.
His Holiness John Paul II canonized him on May 16, 2004.He was the founder of the Little Work of Divine Providence and the Congregation of the Little Missionary Sisters of Charity.He is an incorruptable
Father may St.Luigi Orione
help us have a greater love
to the Eucharist and our
Blessed Mother the Virgin Mary.
We ask this through Christ our lord.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
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 Jerusalem. When Patriarch Cyrus of Alexandria began to preach monothelitism, St. Sophronius travelled to that city to argue against him; in 633, when Patriarch Sergius of Constantinople began to preach monothelitism, St. Sophronius travelled to that city to argue against him. Neither visit was successful. After Sophronius was elected Patriarch of Jerusalem in 634, he wrote the Synodical Letter to teach the two wills of Christ. In 637, the Muslims captured Jerusalem; St. Sophronius died a year later of grief at the fall of his city.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
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-trading, with the pseudonym of John Watson and pretending horse dealer, with laws against priests who entered Britain were very severe. He landed in November 1613 in the port of Leith.
Concentrated their activity in Renfrewshire, Edinburgh and Glasgow, facing a thousand dangers. The Catholic community of Father Ogilvie began to grow underground and are
St. John Ogilvie
made famous by the insistence with which he preached fervently in Catholic life, with great dangers, visiting Catholics: Sir James MacDonald recalled with satisfaction the views of the father in prison Ogilvie, who was betrayed and arrested in Glasgow on 14 October 1614.
He was subjected to prolonged torture and interrogation to denounce Catholics, coming to deprive him of sleep for eight consecutive days. Being asked whether the pope's jurisdiction extended to the king's authority in spiritual matters, said he constantly declaring his readiness to die to defend it. In all trials that lasted for months, and in Glasgow and Edinburgh, the father did not flinch because he could not, or want to betray God. The news of his heroism spread throughout Scotland, so that the pursuers, especially the Anglican bishop would have given anything to renounce their faith and accept the supremacy of the king. Although the guards began to treat more severely, Father Ogilvie could write in Latin an account of his imprisonment, when he finished, he managed to slip under the door to some Catholics who had entered the jail. In order stated only will save my life if I can save without being forced to lose God. Unable to keep both, either voluntarily lose less, save the maximum. He was sentenced to die as a traitor. The executioners offered him freedom if he repudiated the faith. Was hanged on 10 March 1615, in Glasgow.
He was beatified in 1929 by Pope Pius XI and canonized in 1976 by Pope Paul VI.
Father may the life of
your religious martyr
John help us love you
more each and every day of
our life so we may be better
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
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?"
She gave in to the marriage -- reluctantly. It was difficult for people to understand her objection. Her future husband Lorenzo Ponziani was noble, wealthy, a good person and he really cared for her. An ideal match -- except for someone who was determined to be a bride of Christ.
Then her nightmare began. This quiet, shy thirteen year old was thrust into the whirl of parties and banquets that accompanied a wedding. Her mother-in-law Cecilia loved to entertain and expected her new daughter-in-law to enjoy the revelry of her social life too. Fasting and scourging were far easier than this torture God now asked her to face.
Frances collapsed from the strain. For months she lay close to death, unable to eat or move or speak.
At her worst, she had a vision of St. Alexis. The son of a noble family, Alexis had run away to beg rather than marry. After years of begging he was so unrecognizable that when he returned home his own father thought he was just another beggar and made him sleep under the stairs. In her own way, Frances must have felt unrecognized by her family -- they couldn't see how she wanted to give up everything for Jesus. St. Alexis told her God was giving her an important choice: Did she want to recover or not?
It's hard for us to understand why a thirteen-year-old would want to die but Frances was miserable. Finally, she whispered, "God's will is mine." The hardest words she could have said -- but the right words to set her on the road to sanctity.
St. Alexis replied, "Then you will live to glorify His Name." Her recovery was immediate and complete. Lorenzo became even more devoted to her after this -- he was even a little in awe of her because of what she'd been through.
But her problems did not disappear. Her mother-in-law still expected her to entertain and go on visits with her. Look at Frances' sister-in-law Vannozza --happily going through the rounds of parties, dressing up, playing cards. Why couldn't Frances be more like Vannozza?
In a house where she lived with her husband, his parents, his brother and his brother's family, she felt all alone. And that's why Vannozza found her crying bitterly in the garden one day. When Frances poured out her heart to Vannozza and it turned out that this sister-in-law had wanted to live a life devoted to the Lord too. What Frances had written off as frivolity was just Vannozza's natural easy-going and joyful manner. They became close friends and worked out a program of devout practices and services to work together.
They decided their obligations to their family came first. For Frances that meant dressing up to her rank, making visits and receiving visits -- and most importantly doing it gladly. But the two spiritual friends went to mass together, visited prisons, served in hospitals and set up a secret chapel in an abandoned tower of their palace where they prayed together.
But it wasn't fashionable for noblewomen to help the poor and people gossiped about two girls out alone on the streets. Cecilia suffered under the laughter of her friends and yelled at her daughters-in-law to stop theirs spiritual practices. When that didn't work Cecilia then appealed to her sons, but Lorenzo refused to interfere with Frances' charity.
The beginning of the fifteenth century brought the birth of her first son, Battista, after John the Baptist. We might expect that the grief of losing her mother-in-law soon after might have been mixed with relief -- no more pressure to live in society. But a household as large as the Ponziani's needed someone to run it. Everyone thought that sixteen-year-old Frances was best qualified to take her mother-in-law's place. She was thrust even more deeply into society and worldly duties. Her family was right, though -- she was an excellent administrator and a fair and pleasant employer.
After two more children were born to her -- a boy, Giovanni Evangelista, and a girl, Agnes -- a flood brought disease and famine to Rome. Frances gave orders that no one asking for alms would be turned away and she and Vannozza went out to the poor with corn, wine, oil and clothing. Her father-in-law, furious that she was giving away their supplies during a famine, took the keys of the granary and wine cellar away from her.
Then just to make sure she wouldn't have a chance to give away more, he sold off their extra corn, leaving just enough for the family, and all but one cask of one. The two noblewomen went out to the streets to beg instead.
Finally Frances was so desperate for food to give to the poor she went to the now empty corn loft and sifted through the straw searching for a few leftover kernels of corn. After she left Lorenzo came in and was stunned to find the previously empty granary filled with yellow corn. Frances drew wine out of their one cask until one day her father in law went down and found it empty. Everyone screamed at Frances. After saying a prayer, she led them to cellar, turned the spigot on the empty cask, and out flowed the most wonderful wine. These incidents completely converted Lorenzo and her father-in-law.
Having her husband and father-in-law completely on her side meant she could do what she always wanted. She immediately sold her jewels and clothes and distributed money to needy. She started wearing a dress of coarse green cloth.
Civil war came to Rome -- this was a time of popes and antipopes and Rome became a battleground. At one point there were three men claiming to be pope. One of them sent a cruel governor, Count Troja, to conquer Rome. Lorenzo was seriously wounded and his brother was arrested. Troja sent word that Lorenzo's brother would be executed unless he had Battista, Frances's son and heir of the family, as a hostage. As long as Troja had Battista he knew the Ponzianis would stop fighting.
When Frances heard this she grabbed Battista by the hand and fled. On the street, she ran into her spiritual adviser Don Andrew who told her she was choosing the wrong way and ordered her to trust God. Slowly she turned around and made her way to Capitol Hill where Count Troja was waiting. As she and Battista walked the streets, crowds of people tried to block her way or grab Battista from her to save him. After giving him up, Frances ran to a church to weep and pray.
As soon as she left, Troja had put Battista on a soldier's horse -- but every horse they tried refused to move. Finally the governor gave in to God's wishes. Frances was still kneeling before the altar when she felt Battista's little arms around her.
But the troubles were not over. Frances was left alone against the attackers when she sent Lorenzo out of Rome to avoid capture. Drunken invaders broke into her house, tortured and killed the servants, demolished the palace, literally tore it apart and smashed everything. And this time God did not intervene -- Battista was taken to Naples. Yet this kidnapping probably saved Battista's life because soon a plague hit -- a plague that took the lives of many including Frances' nine-year-old son Evangelista.
At this point, her house in ruins, her husband gone, one son dead, one son a hostage, she could have given up. She looked around, cleared out the wreckage of the house and turned it into a makeshift hospital and a shelter for the homeless.
One year after his death Evangelista came to her in a vision and told her that Agnes was going to die too. In return God was granting her a special grace by sending an archangel to be her guardian angel for the rest of her life. She would always been able to see him. A constant companion and spiritual adviser, he once commanded her to stop her severe penances (eating only bread and water and wearing a hair shirt). "You should understand by now," the angel told her, "that the God who made your body and gave it to your soul as a servant never intended that the spirit should ruin the flesh and return it to him despoiled."
Finally the wars were over and Battista and her husband returned home. But though her son came back a charming young man her husband returned broken in mind and body. Probably the hardest work of healing Frances had to do in her life was to restore Lorenzo back to his old self.
When Battista married a pretty young woman named Mabilia Frances expected to find someone to share in the management of the household. But Mabilia wanted none of it. She was as opposite of Frances and Frances had been of her mother-in- law. Mabilia wanted to party and ridiculed Frances in public for her shabby green dress, her habits, and her standards. One day in the middle of yelling at her, Mabilia suddenly turned pale and fainted, crying, "Oh my pride, my dreadful pride." Frances nursed her back to health and healed their differences as well. A converted Mabilia did her best to imitate Frances after that.
With Lorenzo's support and respect, Frances started a lay order of women attached to the Benedictines called the Oblates of Mary. The women lived in the world but pledged to offer themselves to God and serve the poor. Eventually they bought a house where the widowed members could live in community.
Frances nursed Lorenzo until he died. His last words to her were, "I feel as if my whole life has been one beautiful dream of purest happiness. God has given me so much in your love." After his death, Frances moved into the house with the other Oblates and was made superior. At 52 she had the life she dreamed of when she was eleven. She had been right in discerning her original vocation -- she just had the timing wrong. God had had other plans for her in between.
Frances died four years later. Her last words were "The angel has finished his task -- he beckons me to follow him."
in Frances of Rome
you have given us a unique example of love in marriage
as well as in religious life.
We ask this throught Christ Our Lord.
Monday, March 8, 2010
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 in the gambling, drinking, and pillaging that his comrades enjoyed. One day, he was thrown from a stolen horse near French lines. Frightened that he would be captured or killed, he reviewed his life and vowed impulsively to make a change.
When he returned he kept his spur of the moment vow, made a confession, and immediately changed his life. His comrades didn't mind so much that John was repenting but hated that he wanted them to give up their pleasures too. So they used his impulsive nature to trick him into leaving his post on the pretext of helping someone in need. He was rescued from hanging at the last minute and thrown out of the army after being beaten and stripped. He begged his way back to his foster-home where he worked as a shepherd until he heard of a new war with Moslems invading Europe. Off he went but after the war was over, he decided to try to find his real parents. To his grief he discovered both had died in his absence.
As a shepherd he had plenty of time to contemplate what God might want of his life. When he decided at 38 that he should go to Africa to ransom Christian captives, he quit immediately and set off for the port of Gibraltar. He was on the dock waiting for his ship when he saw a family obviously upset and grieving. When he discovered they were a noble family being exiled to Africa after political intrigues, he abandoned his original plan and volunteered to be their servant. The family fell sick when they reached their exile and John kept them alive not only by nursing them but by earning money to feed them. His job building fortifications was grueling, inhuman work and the workers were beaten and mistreated by people who called themselves Catholics. Seeing Christians act this way so disturbed John that it shook his faith. A priest advised him not to blame the Church for their actions and to leave for Spain at once. John did go back home -- but only after he learned that his newly adopted family had received pardons.
In Spain he spent his days unloading ship cargoes and his nights visiting churches and reading spiritual books. Reading gave him so much pleasure that he decided that he should share this joy with others. He quit his job and became a book peddler, traveling from town to town selling religious books and holy cards. A vision at age 41 brought him to Granada where he sold books from a little shop. (For this reason he is patron saint of booksellers and printers.)
After hearing a sermon from the famous John of Avila on repentance, he was so overcome by the thought of his sins that the whole town thought the little bookseller had gone from simple eccentricity to madness. After the sermon John rushed back to his shop, tore up any secular books he had, gave away all his religious books and all his money. Clothes torn and weeping, he was the target of insults, jokes, and even stones and mud from the townspeople and their children.
Friends took the distraught John to the Royal Hospital where he was interned with the lunatics. John suffered the standard treatment of the time -- being tied down and daily whipping. John of Avila came to visit him there and told him his penance had gone on long enough -- forty days, the same amount as the Lord's suffering the desert -- and had John moved to a better part of the hospital.
John of God could never see suffering without trying to do something about it. And now that he was free to move, although still a patient, he immediately got up and began to help the other sick people around him. The hospital was glad to have his unpaid nursing help and were not happy to release him when one day he walked in to announce he was going to start his own hospital.
John may have been positive that God wanted him to start a hospital for the poor who got bad treatment, if any, from the other hospitals, but everyone else still thought of him as a madman. It didn't help that he decided to try to finance his plan by selling wood in the square. At night he took what little money he earned and brought food and comfort to the poor living in abandoned buildings and under bridges. Thus his first hospital was the streets of Granada.
Within an hour after seeing a sign in a window saying "House to let for lodging of the poor" he had rented the house in order to move his nursing indoors. Of course he rented it without money for furnishings, medicine, or help. After he begged money for beds, he went out in the streets again and carried his ill patients back on the same shoulders that had carried stones, wood, and books. Once there he cleaned them, dressed their wounds, and mended their clothes at night while he prayed. He used his old experience as a peddler to beg alms, crying through the streets in his peddler's voice, "Do good to yourselves! For the love of God, Brothers, do good!" Instead of selling goods, he took anything given -- scraps of good, clothing, a coin here and there.
Throughout his life he was criticized by people who didn't like the fact that his impulsive love embraced anyone in need without asking for credentials or character witnesses. When he was able to move his hospital to an old Carmelite monastery, he opened a homeless shelter in the monastery hall. Immediately critics tried to close him down saying he was pampering troublemakers. His answer to this criticism always was that he knew of only one bad character in the hospital and that was himself. His urge to act immediately when he saw need got him into trouble more than a few times. Once, when he encountered a group of starving people, he rushed into a house, stole a pot of food, and gave it to them. He was almost arrested for that charity! Another time, on finding a group of children in rags, he marched them into a clothing shop and bought them all new clothes. Since he had no money, he paid for it all on credit!
Yet his impulsive wish to help saved many people in one emergency. The alarm went out that the Royal Hospital was on fire. When he dropped everything to run there, he found that the crowd was just standing around watching the hospital -- and its patients -- go up in flames. He rushed into the blazing building and carried or led the patients out. When all the patients were rescued, he started throwing blankets, sheets, and mattresses out the windows -- how well he knew from his own hard work how important these things were. At that point a cannon was brought to destroy the burning part of the building in order to save the rest. John stopped them, ran up the roof, and separated the burning portion with an axe. He succeeded but fell through the burning roof. All thought they had lost their hero until John of God appeared miraculously out of smoke. (For this reason, John of God is patron saint of firefighters.)
John was ill himself when he heard that a flood was bringing precious driftwood near the town. He jumped out of bed to gather the wood from the raging river. Then when one of his companions fell into the river, John without thought for his illness or safety jumped in after him. He failed to save the boy and caught pneumonia. He died on March 8, his fifty-fifth birthday, of the same impulsive love that had guided his whole life.
John of God is patron saint of booksellers, printers, heart patients, hospitals, nurses, the sick, and firefighters and is considered the founder of the Brothers Hospitallers.
Father may the heart of John
of God help us have a heart to
love your son Jesus Christ.
Whom we pray to.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
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.
Perpetua's answer was simple and clear. Pointing to a water jug, she asked her father, "See that pot lying there? Can you call it by any other name than what it is?"
Her father answered, "Of course not." Perpetua responded, "Neither can I call myself by any other name than what I am -- a Christian."
This answer so upset her father that he attacked her. Perpetua reports that after that incident she was glad to be separated from him for a few days -- even though that separation was the result of her arrest and imprisonment.
Perpetua was arrested with four other catechumens including two slaves Felicity and Revocatus, and Saturninus and Secundulus. Their catechist, Saturus, had already been imprisoned before them.
She was baptized before taken to prison. Perpetua was known for her gift of "the Lord's speech" and receiving messages from God. She tells us that at the time of her baptism she was told to pray for nothing but endurance in the face of her trials.
The prison was so crowded with people that the heat was suffocating. There was no light anywhere and Perpetua "had never known such darkness." The soldiers who arrested and guarded them pushed and shoved them without any concern. Perpetua had no trouble admitting she was very afraid, but in the midst of all this horror her most excruciating pain came from being separated from her baby.
The young slave, Felicity was even worse off for Felicity suffered the stifling heat, overcrowding, and rough handling while being eight months pregnant.
Two deacons who ministered to the prisoners paid the guards so that the martyrs would be put in a better part of the prison. There her mother and brother were able to visit Perpetua and bring her baby to her. When she received permission for her baby to stay with her "my prison suddenly became a palace for me." Once more her father came to her, begging her to give in, kissing her hands, and throwing himself at her feet. She told him, "We lie not in our own power but in the power of God."
When she and the others were taken to be examined and sentenced, her father followed, pleading with her and the judge. The judge, out of pity, also tried to get Perpetua to change her mind, but when she stood fast, she was sentenced with the others to be thrown to the wild beasts in the arena. Her father was so furious that he refused to send her baby back to Perpetua. Perpetua considered it a miracle that her breasts did not become inflamed from lack of nursing.
While praying in prison, she suddenly felt "gifted with the Lord's speech" and called out the name of her brother Dinocrates who had died at seven of gangrene of the face, a disease so disfiguring that those who should have comforted him left him alone. Now she saw a vision that he was even more alone, in a dark place, hot and thirsty -- not in the eternal joy she hoped for him. She began to pray for Dinocrates and though she was put in stocks every day, her thoughts were not on her own suffering but on her prayers to help her brother. Finally she had another vision in which she saw Dinocrates healed and clean, drinking from a golden bowl that never emptied.
Meanwhile Felicity was also in torment. It was against the law for pregnant women to be executed. To kill a child in the womb was shedding innocent and sacred blood. Felicity was afraid that she would not give birth before the day set for their martyrdom and her companions would go on their journey without her. Her friends also didn't want to leave so "good a comrade" behind.
Two days before the execution, Felicity went into a painful labor. The guards made fun of her, insulting her by saying, "If you think you suffer now, how will stand it when you face the wild beasts?" Felicity answered them calmly, "Now I'm the one who is suffering, but in the arena Another will be in me suffering for me because I will be suffering for him." She gave birth to a healthy girl who was adopted and raised by one of the Christian women of Carthage.
The officers of the prison began to recognize the power of the Christians and the strength and leadership of Perpetua. In some cases this helped the Christians: the warden let them have visitors -- and later became a believer. But in other cases it caused superstitious terror, as when one officer refused to let them get cleaned up on the day they were going to die for fear they'd try some sort of spell. Perpetua immediately spoke up, "We're supposed to die in honor of Ceasar's birthday. Wouldn't it look better for you if we looked better?" The officer blushed with shame at her reproach and started to treat them better.
There was a feast the day before the games so that the crowd could see the martyrs and make fun of them. But the martyrs turned this all around by laughing at the crowd for not being Christians and exhorting them to follow their example.
The four new Christians and their teacher went to the arena (the fifth, Secundulus, had died in prison) with joy and calm. Perpetua in usual high spirits met the eyes of everyone along the way. We are told she walked with "shining steps as the true wife of Christ, the darling of God."
When those at the arena tried to force Perpetua and the rest to dress in robes dedicated to their gods, Perpetua challenged her executioners. "We came to die out of our own free will so we wouldn't lose our freedom to worship our God. We gave you our lives so that we wouldn't have to worship your gods." She and the others were allowed to keep their clothes.
The men were attacked by bears, leopards, and wild boars. The women were stripped to face a rabid heifer. When the crowd, however, saw the two young women, one of whom had obviously just given birth, they were horrified and the women were removed and clothed again. Perpetua and Felicity were thrown back into the arena so roughly that they were bruised and hurt. Perpetua, though confused and distracted, still was thinking of others and went to help Felicity up. The two of them stood side by side as all five martyrs had their throats cut.
Perpetua's last words were to her brother: "Stand fast in the faith and love one another."
Saints Perpetua and Felicity, watch over all mothers and children who are separated from each other because of war or persecution. Show a special care to mothers who are imprisoned and guide them to follow your example of faith and courage.
Saturday, March 6, 2010
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 unsatisfied again, chose the habit of the Third Order of St. Francis , which also found no rest her spirit, so determined, leads a solitary life, as "prison" in a small church near Corbie; this, however, was not what God wanted of her.
At 25 years ended his pilgrimage Coleta cloistered. She, from her deep life of poverty and prayer, she felt called to renew the Order of St. Clare, handing the spirit and enforcement that would give the holy founder in his Rule. Fr Henry de Baume, a Franciscan, he learned to discern God's plans and advised to return to Colette Clare. Obtained from the papal curia immunity from voting for life imprisonment, Colette went to Nice in 1406, where he was at that time, Benedict XIII, and explained in detail their comprehensive and restorative purposes. Benedict XIII, after careful and deep reflection, he realized that there was the hand of God, who was the woman who guided, therefore, using his power, he imposed the veil of Clare and authorized it to reform the monasteries of the Order and to establish new ones. This happened in the tragic days of the so-called "Schism", with potatoes and anti-popes at once, which ended in 1417. The Christians, in their bewilderment and goodwill, were on the side which were authentic or that they indicated their authorities. Thus St. Catherine of Siena and St. Catherine of Sweden were with the Pope of Rome, while St. Vincent Ferrer and St. Coleta were to Avignon, in particular with Benedict XIII.
It was not easy to Coleta immediately implement their projects. For some years his attempts at reform failed, until in 1410, the reform got a first monastery, Besançon, followed by others until a total of 16 or 17, reformed or sheath. For all of them written
Or Boylet Colette of Corbie Colette, Saint
some Constitutions, which were approved by the Church.
There were also convents of Franciscan monks, remained under the authority of their superiors, welcomed the fresh impetus of Colette and returned to the spirit and practices that Francis had wanted for his Order: The Life of unmitigated poverty, austere life, intense personal prayer and community, and much prayer and penance for the unity of the Church, then divided by the Western Schism.
The soul and engine of reform were certainly the life and example of Colette, who had come to surrender up to God to be perfectly accurate instrument. Her reputation for holiness attracted great enthusiasm both in monasteries and outside them. God also granted him extraordinary charismatic gifts: discernment of consciences, prophesy and even miracles. In difficult times for the Church and when the sons and daughters of St. Francis and St. Clare were in a state of obvious decay, God used a woman of the people, plain and simple to carry out a renovation, approved by the Minister General of the Franciscans in 1434 and by Pius II in 1458, corroborating the validity of fruit and then gave tapir has continued until today. Today the monasteries of "coletinas" are about 140, most of which are located in Europe, although there are in America, Asia and Africa.
He died at his monastery in Ghent (Belgium) on 6 March 1447, and canonized by Pope Pius VII in 1807.
Father may the life of
your daughter Colette
help us in our every
day life to love you each
and every day.
We ask this through Christ