Friday, June 22, 2012

Saint Aaron of Aleth

Saint Aaron of Aleth (or, in Breton, Saint Aihran) was a mid-sixth century hermit, monk and abbot at a monastery on Cézembre, a small island near Aleth, opposite Saint-Malo in Brittany, France. Some sources say that he was born of British stock in Armorican Domnonia.

Aaron was a Welshman who lived in solitude near Lamballe and Pleumeur-Gautier, before finally settling in Aleth. He attracted numerous visitors while there, including Saint Malo, it is said, in 544, and became their abbot. He died soon afterwards. Saint Malo then succeeded to the spiritual rule of the district subsequently known as Saint-Malo, and was consecrated first Bishop of Aleth. Aaron's feast day is 21 June. He is mentioned in Les Vies des Saints de Bretagne.

Saint Aaron appears in the seal of the secret society of "Crosses and Circles".

Thursday, May 10, 2012

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Saint John of Ávila, Apostle of Andalusia

Saint John of Ávila, Apostle of Andalusia (Spanish: San Juan de Ávila) (6 January 1500 – 10 May 1569) was a Roman Catholic priest, Spanish preacher, scholastic author, religious mystic and saint. At the conclusion of a special World Youth Day Mass for seminarians at the Cathedral Church of Santa María La Real de la Almudena, in Madrid, Spain on 20 August 2011, Pope Benedict XVI announced that he would soon declare St. John the 34th Doctor of the Universal Church .

Saint John of Ávila was born in Almodóvar del Campo of a wealthy and pious family of Jewish converso descent. At the age of fourteen he was sent to the University of Salamanca to study law but returned after a year to his father's home, where he spent the next three years in the practice of austere piety. His sanctity impressed a Franciscan journeying through Almodóvar, on whose advice he took up the study of philosophy and theology at Alcalá de Henares, where he was fortunate to have as his teacher the famous Dominican Domingo de Soto. While he was a student his parents died and after his ordination he celebrated his first Mass in the church where they were buried, sold the family property and gave the proceeds to the poor.

He saw in the severing of natural ties a vocation to foreign missionary work and prepared to go to Mexico. In 1527, while he was in Seville looking for a favourable opportunity to set out for his new field of labour, his unusually great devotion in celebrating Mass attracted the attention of Hernando de Contreras, a priest of Seville, who mentioned him to the archbishop and Inquisitor General, Don Alonso Manrique de Lara. The archbishop saw in the young missionary a powerful instrument to stir up the faith in Andalusia, and after considerable persuasion Juan was induced to abandon his journey to America.

His first sermon was preached on 22 July 1529, and immediately established his reputation. During his nine years of missionary work in Andalusia, crowds packed the churches at all his sermons. However, his strong pleas for reform and the denunciation of the behaviour of the high society brought him before the inquisitor at Seville. He was charged with exaggerating the dangers of wealth and with closing the gates of heaven to the rich. The charges were quickly refuted and he was declared innocent in 1533. By special invitation of the court he was appointed to preach the sermon on the next great feast in the church of San Salvador, in Seville. Like other Spanish mystics of the period, including La Beata de Piedrahita, he was suspected several times during his career of belonging to the Alumbrados, deemed a heretical sect.

John of Avila is also remembered as a reformer of clerical life in Spain. He founded several colleges where his disciples dedicated themselves to the teaching of youths. Among the disciples attracted by his preaching and saintly reputation were Saint Teresa of Ávila, Saint John of God, Saint Francis Borgia and the Venerable Louis of Granada. Of special importance was the University of Baeza established in 1538 by a papal bull of Pope Paul III Its first rector was Saint John of Ávila and became a model for seminaries and for the schools of the Jesuits.

He is especially revered by the Jesuits. Their development in Spain is attributed to his friendship and support to the Society of Jesus.

May 10 Feast Days:
* St. Solange
* St. Alphius
* St. Aurelian of Limoges
* St. William of Pontoise
* St. Calepodius
* St. Cataldus
* St. Comgall
* St. Dioscorides
* St. Epimachus
* St. Gordian and Epimachus
* St. John of Avila
* St. Quaratus and Quintus
* St. Peter Van
* St. Catald
* St. Comgall
* Bl. Ivan Merz

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Bl. Theresa of Jesus Gerhardinger

Feastday: May 9
1797 - 1879
Beatified By: Pope John Paul II

Blessed Mary Theresa was born Caroline Gerhardinger in Bavaria in 1797. Encouraged by her parish priest to become a teacher, she believed strongly that a child's need for love, safety and food were as important as formal education. "Let us never forget the love of Jesus for children, whom he took upon his lap and blessed," she said.

Caroline gradually recognized God's call to found a religious community which would remedy the social situation through education. Her life work, helping women and children grow to their greatest potential, was a founding principle of the School Sisters of Notre Dame. She brought the order and the mission of educating girls to America, following the wave of German immigration. Within a year, they established a presence in seven cities.

Mother Theresa died in 1879. At that time, her congregation numbered more than 2500. They met the needs of their time by educating girls in elementary schools, orphanages, industrial schools and day nurseries and pioneered in the development of the Kindergarten. For girls working in factories, they provided homes and night schools where they could receive a basic education.

While most religious orders of her time were governed by men, she was convinced that a woman could better understand, direct and motivate her sisters. The Constitution of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, approved by Pope Pius IX in 1865, allowed Mother Theresa and her successors, rather than local bishops, to govern the congregation.

Mary Theresa of Jesus was beatified in 1985, and is now known as Blessed Theresa.

May 9 Feast Days

* St. Pachomius
* St. Beatus of Lungern
* St. Beatus of Vendome
* St. Brynoth
* St. Vincent
* Bl. Thomas Pickering
* St. Gerontius of Cervia
* St. Gorfor
* St. Hermas
* St. John of Chalons
* St. Pachomius
* St. George Preca
* Bl. Theresa of Jesus Gerhardinger

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

St. Victor Maurus

Feastday: May 8
Died: 303

Victor Maurus was a native of Mauretania. He was born in the third century, and was called Maurus to distinguish him from other confessors named Victor. He is believed to have been a soldier in the Praetorian guard. Victor was a Christian from his youth, but it was not until he was an elderly man that he was arrested for the Faith. After severe tortures, including being basted with molten lead, he was decapitated under Maximian in Milan around the year 303. Later a church was erected over his grave. According to St. Gregory of Tours, many miracles occurred at the shrine. In 1576, at the request of St. Charles of Borromeo, Victor's relics were transferred to a new church in Milan established by the Olivetan monks. The church still bears St. Victor's name today. After a life of adherence to the Faith during perilous times, St. Victor Maurus was taken prisoner and tortured as an old man. Despite age, infirmity, and declining health, he remained steadfast in the Faith, gladly giving up his life for the Kingdom. His generous response to the call to martyrdom stands as a solemn sign to the modern church of the folly of the things of this world. His feast day is May 8th.


May 8 Feast Days:
* St. Victor Maurus
* St. Desideratus
* St. Abran
* St. Wiro
* St. Acacius
* St. Victor the Moor
* St. Wiro
* St. Dionysius
* St. Helladius of Auxerre
* St. Indract
* St. Maria Magdalen of Canossa
* St. Odrian
* St. Peter of Tarantaise

Monday, May 7, 2012

St. Rose Venerini

Feastday: May 7
1656 - 1728
Beatified By: May 4, 1952
Canonized By: 3 June 2007 by Pope Benedict XVI

Blessed Rose was born at Viterbo in 1656, the daughter of Godfrey Venerini, a physician. Upon the death of a young man who had been paying court to her, she entered a convent, but after a few months had to return home to look after her widowed mother. Rose use to gather the women and girls of the neighborhood to say the rosary together in the evenings, and when she found how ignorant many of them were of their religion, she began to instruct them. She was directed by Father Ignatius Martinelli, a Jesuit, who convinced her that her vocation was as a teacher "in the world" rather than as a contemplative in a convent; whereupon in 1685, with two helpers, Rose opened a preschool for girls in Viterbo: it soon became a success. Blessed Rose had the gift of ready and persuasive speech, and a real ability to teach and to teach others to teach, and was not daunted by any difficulty when the service of God was in question. Her reputation spread, and in 1692, she was invited by Cardinal Barbarigo to advise and help in the training of teachers and organizing of schools in his diocese of Montefiascone. Here she was the mentor and friend of Lucy Filippini, who became foundress of an institute of maestre pie and was canonized in 1930. Rose organized a number of schools in various places, sometimes in the face of opposition that resorted to force in unbelievable fashion - the teachers were shot at with bows and their house fired. Her patience and trust overcame all obstacles, and in 1713 she made a foundation in Rome that received the praise of Pope Clement XI himself. It was in Rome that she died, on May 7, 1728; her reputation of holiness was confirmed by miracles and in 1952, she was beatified. It was not until sometime after her death that Blessed Rose's lay school teachers were organized as a religious congregation: they are found in America as well as in Italy, for the Venerini Sisters have worked among Italian immigrants since early in the twentieth century. Her feast day is May 7.

May 7 Feast Days:
* St. Rose Venerini
* St. John of Beverly
* St. Villanus
* St. Serenidus & Serenus
* St. Domitian of Huy
* St. Flavius
* St. Juvenal of Benevento
* St. Liudhard
* St. Quadratus
* Bl. Michael Ulumbijski
* St. Peter of Pavia
* St. Placid

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Saint Evodius

Saint Evodius (d. ca. 69) is a saint in the Christian Church and one of the first identifiable Christians.

Very little is known of the life of St. Evodius. However, he was a pagan who converted to Christianity due to the apostolic work of Saint Peter. In the Book of Acts, one of the first communities to receive evangelism were the Jews and pagans of Antioch. The city was opulent and cosmopolitan, and there were both Hellenized Jews and pagans influenced by monotheism. The term "Christian" was coined for these Gentile (mainly Syrian and Greek) converts, and St. Peter became the bishop of Antioch and led the church there. Evodius succeeded Peter the Apostle as bishop of Antioch when Peter left Antioch for Rome.

St. Evodius was bishop of Antioch until 69 AD, and was succeeded by St. Ignatius of Antioch. It is more likely that St. Evodius died of natural causes, in office, than that he was martyred. As one of the first pagans to come to the new church, he is venerated in both the Roman Catholic Church of the east and Orthodox Churches of the East as a saint. His feast day in the Roman Catholic Church is May 6 and in the Orthodox Church it is September 7.

May 6 Feast Days:
* Bl. Edward Jones
* Bl. Anthony Middleton
* St. Benedicta
* St. Theodotus
* St. Eadbert
* St. Evodius
* St. Heliodorus
* St. Heliodorus
* St. Lucius of Cyrene
* St. Petronax
* Bl. Anna Rosa Gattorno
* Bl. Francis de Laval

Saturday, May 5, 2012

St. Angelo

Feastday: May 5
1185 - 1220

St. Angelo, who was one of the early members of the Carmelite Order, suffered martyrdom for the Faith at Leocata, Sicily. The story of his life, as it has come down, is not very reliable. It may be summarized as follows: His parents were Jews of Jerusalem who were converted to Christianity by a vision of our Lady. She told them that the Messiah they were awaiting had already come to pass and had redeemed His people, and she promised them two sons, who would grow up as flourishing olive trees on the heights of Carmel-the one as a patriarch and the other as a glorious martyr. From childhood the twins displayed great mental and spiritual gifts when, at the age of eighteen, they entered the Carmelite Order, they already spoke Greek, Latin, and Hebrew. After Angelo had been a hermit on Mount Carmel for five years, Our Lord appeared to him and bade him go to Sicily, where he would have the grace to offer the sacrifice of his life. The saint immediately obeyed the call. During his journey from the East as well as after his arrival in Sicily, he converted many sinners by his teaching, no less than by his miracles. At Palermo over two hundred Jews sought Baptism as the result of his eloquence. Similar success attended his efforts in Leocata, but he aroused the fury of a man called Berengarius, whose shameless wickedness he had denounced. As he was preaching to a crowd, a band of ruffians headed by Berengarius broke through the throng and stabbed him. Mortally wounded, Angelo fell on his knees, praying for the people, but especially for his murderer.

May 5 Feast Days
* St. Angelo
* St. Aventinus of Tours
* St. Brito
* St. Theodore of Bologna
* St. Sacerdos
* St. Crescentiana
* St. Echa
* Bl. Edmund Ignatius Rice
* St. Eulogius of Edessa
* St. Hilary of Aries
* St. Hydroc
* Bl. John Haile
* St. Jovinian
* St. Jutta
* St. Nectarius
* St. Nicetius
* St. Maurontus
* St. Maximus of Jerusalem

Friday, May 4, 2012

St. Florian

Feastday: May 4

The St. Florian commemorated in the Roman Martyrology on May 4th, was an officer of the Roman army, who occupied a high administrative post in Noricum, now part of Austria, and who suffered death for the Faith in the days of Diocletian. His legendary "Acts" state that he gave himself up at Lorch to the soldiers of Aquilinus, the governor, when they were rounding up the Christians, and after making a bold confession, he was twice scourged, half-flayed alive, set on fire, and finally thrown into the river Enns with a stone around his neck. His body, recovered and buried by a pious woman, was eventually removed to the Augustinian Abbey of St. Florian, near Linz. It is said to have been at a later date translated to Rome, and Pope Lucius III, in 1138, gave some of the saint's relics to King Casimir of Poland and to the Bishop of Cracow. Since that time, St. Florian has been regarded as a patron of Poland as well as of Linz, Upper Austria and of firemen. There has been popular devotion to St. Florian in many parts of central Europe, and the tradition as to his martyrdom, not far from the spot where the Enns flows into the Danube, is ancient and reliable. Many miracles of healing are attributed to his intercession and he is invoked as a powerful protector in danger from fire or water. His feast day is May 4th.

May 4 Feast Days
* St. Florian
* St. Judas Cyriacus
* St. Venerius
* St. Augustine Webster
* St. Sacerdos
* Bl. Carthusian Martyrs
* St. Conleth
* St. Cyriacus
* St. Ethelred
* St. John Payne
* St. Richard Reynolds
* St. Robert Lawrence
* Martyrs of the Carthusian Order
* Martyrs of England
* Forty Martyrs of England & Wales
* St. Nepotian
* St. Paulinus of Sinigaglia
* St. Pelagia of Antioch
* St. Pelagia of Tarsus
* St. Conleth
* 85 martyrs of England and Wales
* Bl. Ceferino Jimenez Malla

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Saint Juvenal

Saint Juvenal (d. May 3, 369 or 377) (Italian: San Giovenale di Narni) is venerated as the first Bishop of Narni in Umbria. Historical details regarding Juvenal’s life are limited. A biography of Juvenal of little historical value was written after the seventh century; it states that Juvenal was born in Africa and was ordained by Pope Damasus I and was the first bishop of Narni and was buried in the Porta Superiore on the Via Flaminia on August 7, though his feast day was celebrated on May 3. This Vita does not call him a martyr but calls him a confessor. The martyrologies of Florus of Lyon and Ado describe Juvenal as a bishop and confessor rather than as a martyr.

Saint Gregory the Great in his Dialogues (IV, 12) and in his Homiliae in Evangelium speaks of a bishop of Narni named Juvenal, and describes him as a martyr. However, sometimes the title of martyr was given to bishops who did not necessarily die for their faith. Gregory also mentions a sepulcher associated with Juvenal at Narni.

In the Gelasian Sacramentary there is a prayer in honor of the saint under May 3. The Codex Bernense of the Martyrologium Hieronymianum records his name under May 3 with those of three martyrs of the Via Nomentana: Eventius, Alexander I, and Theodulus

Saint Juvenal appears, not as a martyr, but as a bishop and confessor, in the Tridentine Calendar, which allots him a commemoration, shared with these three martyrs, within the feast of the Finding of the Cross on 3 May. When this feast was abolished in 1960, the four saints continued to be merely commemorated jointly within the celebration of the weekday. The same day continues to be Saint Juvenal's feast day, as indicated in the Roman Martyrology, but since 1969 he is no longer included in the General Roman Calendar.

His legend suggests that he saved Narni from both Ligurian and Sarmatian invaders by calling down a divine thunderstorm.

The construction of Juvenal's sepulcher in Narni is attributed to his alleged successor St. Maximus (d. 416 AD). The author of the Life of Pope Vigilius (6th century) in the Liber Pontificalis states that a monastery founded by Belisarius near Orte was dedicated to Juvenal. In 878, Juvenal’s relics were taken to the Basilica di San Frediano in Lucca with those of Saints Cassius and Cassius' wife Fausta by Adalbert, Margrave of Tuscany, but all of the relics were returned to Narni two years later. The relics of Saint Cassius were built in a restored shrine later known as the Sacello di San Cassio. Juvenal’s relics are said to have been hidden.

Fossano claims Juvenal as a patron, and also claims to hold some of his relics, though these may belong to another saint of the same name.


May 3 Feast Days:

* St. Philip
* St. James the Lesser
* St. Adalsindis
* St. Alexander
* Sts. Timothy & Martha
* St. Scannal
* St. Diodorus
* St. Ethelwin
* St. Gluvias
* St. James the Less
* St. Juvenal of Narni
* St. Philip of Zell
* Bl. Marie Leonie Paradis

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Saint Waldebert

Waldebert (also known as Gaubert, Valbert and Walbert), (died c. 668), was a Frankish count of Guines, Ponthieu and Saint-Pol who became abbot of Luxeuil in the Benedictine Order, and eventually a canonized saint in the Roman Catholic Church, like several among his kinsmen who protected the Church, enriched it with lands and founded monasteries.

Like his predecessor at Luxeuil he was born of the noble Frankish family of Duke Waldelenus of Burgundy, highly influential in seventh-century Frankish politics and served in the military before dedicating himself to the contemplative life and joining the monastery at Luxeuil on the borders of Austrasia and Burgundy (in modern-day France), where he dedicated his weapons and armour, which hung in the abbey church for centuries.[4] He lived as a hermit close to the abbey until the death of the monastery's abbot, Saint Eustace of Luxeuil, when Waldebert was elected Luxeuil's third abbot (c. 628).

He was abbot of the monastery for forty years, during which the school of Luxeuil trained the Frankish aristocrats who became bishops in the Frankish kingdoms; Waldebert oversaw the move of the monastery from the Rule of St. Columban to the Benedictine Rule, though in the rule he drew up for the convent of Faremoutiers he drew upon the rules of Columbanus as well as Benedict, but made no mention whatsoever of a ritual of either profession or oblation. He also gained from Pope John IV the independence of his community from episcopal control and increased the size and prosperity of the monastery's territories and buildings. Naturally Jonas dedicated to him his vita of Saint Columbanus. Among numerous houses founded from Luxeuil during his tenure, he was instrumental in aiding Saint Salaberga found her convent at Laon.

After his death his wooden bowl was credited with miraculous powers.

His feast day in the Roman Church is May 2.

May 2 Feast Days

* St. Zoe
* St. Waldebert, Abbot
* St. Athanasius
* St. Vindemialis, Eugene, & Longinus
* St. Waldebert
* St. Wiborada
* St. Valentine
* St. Saturninus
* St. Exuperius
* St. Felix of Seville
* St. Joseph Luu
* St. Neachtian
* Bl. Jose M. Rubio y Peralta

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Saint Joseph the Worker

Saint Joseph (Hebrew יוֹסֵף, "Yosef"; Greek: Ἰωσήφ) is a figure in the Gospels, the husband of the Virgin Mary and the earthly father of Jesus Christ (in distinction to God the Father, his "heavenly father").

The earliest Christian records, the Pauline epistles make no reference to Jesus' father, and nor does the Gospel of Mark, the first of the Gospels. The first appearance of Joseph is therefore in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, one of which trace Joseph's lineage back to King David. The two lists give differing genealogies: Matthew says that Joseph's father was called Jacob[Mt. 1:16]. Some scholars reconcile the genealogies by viewing the lineage presented in Luke to be from Mary's side.

Matthew and Luke are also the only Gospels to include the infancy narratives, and again they differ. In Luke, Joseph lives in Nazareth and travels to Bethlehem in compliance with the requirements of a Roman census. Subsequently, Jesus was born there. In Matthew, Joseph was in Bethlehem, the city of David, where Jesus is born, and then moves to Nazareth with his family after the death of Herod. Matthew is the only Gospel to include the narrative of the Massacre of the Innocents and the Flight into Egypt: following the nativity, Joseph stays in Bethlehem for an unspecified period (perhaps two years) until forced by Herod to take refuge in Egypt; on the death of Herod he brings his family back to Palestine, and settles in Nazareth. After this point there is no further mention of Joseph by name, although the story of Jesus in the Temple, in Jesus' 12th year, includes a reference to "both his parents". Christian tradition represents Mary as a widow during the adult ministry of her son.[Jn. 19:26-27] The gospels describe Joseph as a "tekton" (τέκτων); traditionally the word has been taken to mean "carpenter", though the Greek term evokes an artisan with wood in general, or an artisan in iron or stone. Very little other information on Joseph is given in the Gospels, in which he never speaks.

Joseph is venerated as a saint in the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran faiths. In Catholic and other traditions, Joseph is the patron saint of workers and has several feast days. He was also declared to be the patron saint and protector of the Catholic Church by Pope Pius IX in 1870, and is the patron of several countries and regions. With the growth of Mariology, the theological field of Josephology has also grown and since the 1950s centres for studying it have been formed.

The epistles of Paul, from roughly 51-58 AD, are the oldest Christian writings. These mention Jesus' mother (without naming her), but never refer to his father. The oldest gospel, that of Mark, also does not name Joseph. He first appears in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, both from the decade or so following 70 CE. Luke names Joseph's father as Eli, but Matthew names him as Jacob, in keeping with that gospel's depiction of Jesus as a second Moses. This theme is developed further in the infancy narratives, which, like the genealogies, have the function of establishing Jesus as the promised Messiah, the descendant of David, born in Bethlehem. Like the genealogies the infancy narratives appear only in Matthew and Luke, and take different approaches to reconciling the requirement that the Messiah be born in Bethlehem with the tradition that Jesus came from Nazareth. In Matthew, Joseph, already living in Bethlehem, obeys the direction of an angel to marry Mary and then to flee to Egypt to escape the massacre of the children of Bethlehem planned by Herod the Great, the tyrant who rules Judea. Once Herod has died, the angel tells him to return to Galilee instead of to Bethlehem, and so Joseph takes his wife and the child to Nazareth and settles there. Thus in Matthew, the infant Jesus, like Moses, is in peril from a cruel king, like Moses he has a (fore)father named Joseph who goes down to Egypt, like the Old Testament Joseph this Joseph has a father named Jacob, and both Josephs receive important dreams foretelling their future. In Luke, Joseph already lives in Nazareth, and Jesus is born in Bethlehem because Joseph and Mary have to travel there to be counted in a census. Luke's account makes no mention of angels and dreams, the Massacre of the Innocents, or of a visit to Egypt.

The last time Joseph appears in person in any Gospel is the story of the Passover visit to the Temple in Jerusalem when Jesus is 12 years old, found only in Luke. Like the infancy narratives the story is didactic, emphasising Jesus' awareness of his coming mission: here Jesus speaks to his parents (both of them) of "my father," meaning God, but they fail to understand.

None of the Gospels mentions Joseph as present at any event during Jesus' adult ministry. The synoptic Gospels, however, share a scene in which the people of Nazareth, Jesus' hometown, doubt Jesus' status as a prophet because they know his family. In Mark, the first Gospel to be written (about 70 AD), they call Jesus "Mary's son" instead of naming his father. In the next Gospel, Matthew, the townspeople call Jesus "the carpenter's son," again without naming his father, and again he has a brother named Joseph; only in Luke is he named "the son of Joseph," and Luke makes no mention of any brothers. In Luke the tone is positive, whereas in Mark and Matthew it is disparaging. This incident does not appear at all in John, but in a parallel story the disbelieving Jews refer to "Jesus the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know".

Joseph is not mentioned as being present at the Wedding at Cana at the beginning of Jesus' mission, nor at the Passion at the end. If he had been present at the Crucifixion, he would under Jewish custom have been expected to take charge of Jesus' body, but this role is instead performed by Joseph of Arimathea. Nor would Jesus have entrusted his mother to John's care had her husband been alive

May 1 Feast Days

* St. Peregrine Laziosi
* St. Marculf
* St. Andeolus
* St. Augustus Schoffler
* St. Aceolus
* St. Acius
* St. Aldebrandus
* St. Amator
* St. Arigius
* St. Asaph
* St. Benedict of Szkalka
* St. Bertha of Kent
* St. Bertha of Val d'Or
* St. Brieuc
* St. Buriana
* St. Ultan
* St. Theodard
* St. Ceallach
* St. Cominus
* St. Evermarus
* St. Grata
* St. Isidora
* St. John-Louis Bonnard
* St. Orentius
* St. Orentius and Patientia
* St. Panacea
* St. Isidora the Simple
* St. Riccardo Pampuri

Monday, April 30, 2012

Pope Saint Pius V

Pope Saint Pius V (17 January 1504 – 1 May 1572), born Antonio Ghislieri (from 1518 called Michele Ghislieri, O.P.), was Pope from 1566 to 1572 and is a saint of the Catholic Church. He is chiefly notable for his role in the Council of Trent, the Counter-Reformation, and the standardization of the Roman liturgy within the Latin Church. Pius V declared saint Thomas Aquinas a Doctor of the Church and patronized prominent sacred music composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina.

As Cardinal, Ghislieri gained a reputation for putting orthodoxy before personalities, prosecuting eight French Bishops for heresy. He also stood firm against nepotism, rebuking his predecessor Pope Pius IV to his face when he wanted to make a 13-year old member of his family a cardinal and subsidise a nephew from the Papal treasury.

In affairs of state, Pius V excommunicated Elizabeth I of England for schism and persecutions of English Catholics during her reign. He also arranged the formation of the Holy League, an alliance of Catholic states. Although outnumbered, the Holy League famously defeated the Ottomans, who had threatened to overrun Europe, at the Battle of Lepanto. This victory Pius V attributed to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and instituted the feast, Our Lady of Victory.

Before Michele Ghislieri could return to his episcopate, Pope Pius IV died. On 7 January 1566, Ghislieri was elected to the Papal chair as Pope Pius V. He was crowned ten days later, on his 62nd birthday.

Aware of the necessity of restoring discipline and morality at Rome to ensure success without, he at once proceeded to reduce the cost of the papal court after the manner of the Dominican Order to which he belonged, compel residence among the clergy, regulate inns, expel prostitutes, and assert the importance of the ceremonial in general and the liturgy of the Mass in particular. In his wider policy, which was characterised throughout by an effective stringency, the maintenance and increase of the efficacy of the Inquisition and the enforcement of the canons and decrees of the Council of Trent had precedence over other considerations.

Accordingly, in order to implement a decision of that council, he standardised the Holy Mass by promulgating the 1570 edition of the Roman Missal. Pope Pius V made this Missal mandatory throughout the Latin rite of the Catholic Church, except where a Mass liturgy dating from before 1370 AD was in use. This form of the Mass remained essentially unchanged for 400 years until Pope Paul VI's revision of the Roman Missal in 1969–70, after which it has become widely known as the Tridentine Mass; use of the last pre-1969 edition of the Missal, that by Pope John XXIII in 1962, is permitted without limitation for private celebration of the Mass and, since July 2007, is allowed also, under certain conditions, for public use, as laid down in the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum of Pope Benedict XVI. Some continue to use even earlier editions, but without authorisation.

St Pius V recognized attacks on papal supremacy in the Catholic Church and was desirous of limiting their advancement. In France, where his influence was stronger, he took several measures to oppose the Protestant Huguenots. He directed the dismissal of Cardinal Odet de Coligny and seven bishops, nullified the royal edict tolerating the extramural services of the Reformers, introduced the Roman catechism, restored papal discipline, and strenuously opposed all compromise with the Huguenot nobility.

In the list of more important bulls issued by him the famous bull "In Coena Domini" (1568) takes a leading place; but amongst others throwing light on Pope Pius V's character and policy there may be mentioned his prohibition of quaestuary (February 1567 and January 1570); the condemnation of Michael Baius, the heretical Professor of Leuven (1567); the reform of the breviary (July 1568); the denunciation of the "dirum nefas" (August 1568); the banishment of the Jews from the ecclesiastical dominions except Rome and Ancona (1569); the injunction of the use of the reformed missal (July 1570); the confirmation of the privileges of the Society of Crusaders for the protection of the Inquisition (October 1570); the dogmatic certainty of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary (November 1570); the suppression of the Fratres Humiliati for profligacy (February 1571); the approbation of the new office of the Blessed Virgin (March 1571); the enforcement of the daily recitation of the Canonical Hours (September 1571); and the purchase of assistance against the Turks by offers of plenary pardon (March 1572).

Katherine Rinne says in the book Waters of Rome Pius V also ordered public constructions to improve water supply and sewer of Rome.

His response to the Queen Elizabeth I of England assuming governance of the Church of England included support of the imprisoned Mary, Queen of Scots, and her supporters in their attempts to take over England "ex turpissima muliebris libidinis servitute". A brief English Catholic uprising, the Rising of the North, had just failed. Pius then issued a bull, Regnans in Excelsis, dated April 27, 1570, that declared Elizabeth I a heretic and released her subjects from their allegiance to her. In response, Elizabeth, who had thus far tolerated Catholic worship in private, now actively started persecuting them.

Saint Pius V arranged the forming of the Holy League against the Islamic Turks, as the result of which the Battle of Lepanto (7 October 1571) was won by the combined fleet under Don John of Austria. It is attested in his canonisation that he miraculously knew when the battle was over, himself being in Rome at the time. Three national synods were held during his pontificate at Naples under Alfonso Cardinal Caraffa (whose family had, after inquiry, been reinstated by Pius V), at Milan under Saint Charles Borromeo, and at Machim.

Pius V is also often credited with the origin of the Pope's white garments, which supposedly originated because after this election Pius refused to replace his white Dominican habit with the red commonly worn by Popes and Cardinals at the time.

April 30 Feast Days:

* St. Adjutor
* St. Joseph Cottolengo
* St. Ajuture
* St. Aimo
* St. Aphrodisius
* St. Cynwl
* St. Desideratus
* St. Donatus of Evorea
* St. Eutropius
* St. Forannan
* Bl. Francis Dickenson
* St. Gerard Miles
* St. Lawrence of Novara
* St. Louis von Bruck
* St. Marianus
* St. Maximus of Rome
* Bl. Miles Gerard
* St. Pius V, Pope
* St. Pomponius of Naples

Sunday, April 29, 2012

St. Catherine of Siena - Doctor of the Church

Feastday: April 29
Patron Fire prevention
1347 - 1380

The 25th child of a wool dyer in northern Italy, St. Catherine started having mystical experiences when she was only 6, seeing guardian angels as clearly as the people they protected. She became a Dominican tertiary when she was 16, and continued to have visions of Christ, Mary, and the saints. St. Catherine was one of the most brilliant theological minds of her day, although she never had any formal education. She persuaded the Pope to go back to Rome from Avignon, in 1377, and when she died she was endeavoring to heal the Great Western Schism. In 1375 Our Lord give her the Stigmata, which was visible only after her death. Her spiritual director was Blessed Raymond of Capua. St, Catherine's letters, and a treatise called "a dialogue" are considered among the most brilliant writings in the history of the Catholic Church. She died when she was only 33, and her body was found incorrupt in 1430.


April 29 Feast Days:
* St. Catherine of Siena
* St. Peter of Verona
* St. Ava
* St. Agapius
* St. Wilfrid the Younger
* St. Torpes of Pisa
* St. Tychicus
* St. Senan
* St. Daniel
* St. Dichu
* St. Endellion
* St. Fiachan
* St. Hugh the Great
* St. Robert of Molesmes
* Bl. Robert Bruges
* Martyrs of Corfu
* St. Paulinus of Brescia
* St. Wilfrid the Younger

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Saint Louis de Montfort

St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort (31 January 1673 – 28 April 1716) was canonized in 1947. He was a French priest and known in his time as a preacher and author, whose books, still widely read, have influenced a number of popes.

He is considered as one of the early proponents of the field of Mariology as it is known today, and a candidate to become a Doctor of the Church. His "founders statue" by Giacomo Parisini is now placed at the Upper Niche of the South Nave within Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican.

He was born in Montfort-sur-Meu, the eldest surviving child of the large family of Jean-Baptiste Grignion, a notary, and his wife Jeanne Robert who was known for being deeply Catholic. He passed most of his infancy and early childhood in Iffendic, a few kilometers from Montfort, where his father had bought a farm. At the age of 12, he entered the Jesuit College of St Thomas Becket in Rennes.

At some time during his college days, he became aware of a call to the priesthood, and at the end of his ordinary schooling, began his studies of philosophy and theology, still at St Thomas in Rennes. Listening to the stories of a local priest, the Abbé Julien Bellier, about his life as an itinerant missionary, he was inspired to preach missions among the very poor. And, under the guidance of some other priests he began to develop his strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

He was then given the opportunity, through a benefactor, to go to Paris to study at the renowned Seminary of Saint-Sulpice towards the end of 1693. When he arrived in Paris, it was to find that his benefactor had not provided enough money for him, so he lodged in a succession of boarding houses, living among the very poor, in the meantime attending the Sorbonne University for lectures in theology. After less than two years, he became very ill and had to be hospitalized. Somehow he survived his hospitalization and the blood letting that was part of his treatment at the time.

Upon his release from the hospital, to his surprise he found himself with a place reserved at the Little Saint-Sulpice, which he entered in July 1695. Saint-Sulpice had been founded by Jean-Jacques Olier, one of the leading exponents of what came to be known as the French school of spirituality. Given that he was appointed the librarian, his time at Saint-Sulpice, gave him the opportunity to study most of the available works on spirituality and, in particular, on the Virgin Mary's place in the Christian life. This later lead to his focus on the Holy Rosary and his acclaimed book the Secret of the Rosary.

In June 1700, when a young Louis de Montfort was ordained a priest, he was but another young and idealistic man who wanted to be the champion of the poor, having been inspired as a teenager to preach to the poor. But he also had a very strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and was prepared to risk his life for it. Centuries later, he influenced four popes (Pope Leo XIII, Pope Pius X, Pope Pius XII and Pope John Paul II), and is now being considered as a Doctor of the Church.

Pope Leo XIII and Pope Pius X both relied on de Montfort in their writings and promulgated his Marian vision. It has been said, that the Marian encyclical of Pius X, Ad Diem Illum was not only influenced but penetrated by the Mariology of Montfort. and, that both Leo XIII and Pius X applied the Marian analysis of Montfort to their analysis of the Church as a whole.

Pope Leo XIII

Pope Leo XIII was concerned about secular attempts to destroy the faith in Christ, and, if possible, to ban him from the face of the earth. In his analysis, the destruction of the ethical order would lead to disaster and war, so Leo XIII dedicated the human race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. But in his analysis (based on Montfort's writings) any re-Christianisation was not possible without the Blessed Virgin Mary, so in ten encyclicals on the rosary he promulgated Marian devotion. In his encyclical on the fiftieth anniversary of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, he stressed her role in the redemption of humanity, mentioning Mary as Mediatrix and Co-Redemptrix, in the spirit and words of Louis de Montfort.

Pope Leo XIII then beatified him in 1888, and, as a special honour selected for Montfort's beatification the very day of his own Golden Jubilee as a priest.

Pope Pius X

The key Marian encyclical Ad Diem Illum was issued in 1904 in commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. It gave Pius X the opportunity to urge his intensified Marian devotion in his second encyclical, and relied heavily on the views expressed in Montfort's book True Devotion to Mary.

In fact the language of both writings is strikingly similar, which is not surprising, since Saint Pius highly esteemed True Devotion and granted an Apostolic Blessing to all who read it. Echoing Montfort, Pius X wrote: "There is no surer or easier way than Mary in uniting all men with Christ."

Pope Pius XII

Pope Pius XII was often called the most Marian pope. He was impressed by Montfort's work God Alone and when he canonized Montfort on July 27, 1947, he said:

God Alone was everything to him. Remain faithful to the precious heritage, which this great saint left you. It is a glorious inheritance, worthy, that you continue to sacrifice your strength and your life, as you have done until today

Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II once recalled how as a young seminarian he "read and reread many times and with great spiritual profit" a work of de Montfort and that:

"Then I understood that I could not exclude the Lord's Mother from my life without neglecting the will of God-Trinity"

According to his Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, the pontif's personal motto "Totus Tuus" was inspired by St. Louis' doctrine on the excellence of Marian devotion and total consecration, which he quoted:

“Our entire perfection consists in being conformed, united and consecrated to Jesus Christ. Hence the most perfect of all devotions is undoubtedly that which conforms, unites and consecrates us most perfectly to Jesus Christ.

Now, since Mary is of all creatures the one most conformed to Jesus Christ, it follows that among all devotions that which most consecrates and conforms a soul to our Lord is devotion to Mary, his Holy Mother, and that the more a soul is consecrated to her the more will it be consecrated to Jesus Christ."

The thoughts, writings, and example of St. Louis de Montfort, an example of the French school of spirituality, were also singled out by Pope John Paul II's encyclical Redemptoris Mater as a distinctive witness of Marian spirituality in the Catholic tradition. In an address to the Montfortian Fathers, the pontiff also said that his reading the saint's work True Devotion to Mary was a "decisive turning point" in his life.

Priest and poet

While the saint is best known for his spiritual writings, he was also a poet and during his missions managed to compose more than 20,000 verses of hymns.

Saint Louis's life coincided with some of the great highlights of French literature and Molière, Pierre Corneille and Jean Racine dominated the literature of his day. Yet Montfort believed that his battle-cry, "God Alone!" did not allow him to encourage his people to prefer classical works over sacred hymns. Montfort’s hymns and canticles were, for the most part, meant to be sung in village churches and in the homes of the poor. They were aimed at the masses and had a missionary motive above all. Some authors argue that a reading of Saint Louis’s hymns is essential for an understanding of him as a man and for appreciating his approach to spirituality.

Montfort was a missionary at heart and many of his hymns were addressed to the people whom he was evangelizing. He went from one parish to another with his ever-growing collection of hymns to be sung during the parish mission. But he also wrote hymns to express his own personal feelings, e.g. his numerous hymns in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Based on the analysis of Bishop Hendrik Frehen of the Company of Mary, Montfortian hymns fall into two major categories: "inspired" and "didactic." The inspired canticles flow spontaneously, on the occasion of a pilgrimage to a Marian shrine, or on the occasion of a joyful celebration. The didactic hymns took more effort and time to compose, and focus on instructional and informative qualities: they teach the audience through the use of a moral and a theme.

After the Saint Louis's death, the Company of Mary (which continued his work of preaching parish renewals) made great use of his hymns and used them as instruments of evangelization.

April 28 Feast Days:

* St. Theodora
* St. Peter Chanel
* St. Louis Mary Grignion
* St. Vitalis
* St. Luchesio
* St. Valerie
* St. Aphrodisius
* St. Artemius
* St. Valeria of Milan
* St. Theodora & Didymus
* St. Cronan of Roscrea
* St. John Baptist Thanh
* St. Louis de Montfort
* St. Mark of Galilee
* St. Pamphilus
* St. Patrick of Prusa
* St. Peter Hieu
* St. Pollio
* St. Cronan of Roscrea
* St. Gianna Beretta Molla

Friday, April 27, 2012

Saint Zita

Saint Zita (c. 1212 – 27 April 1272) was an Italian saint, the patron saint of maids and domestic servants. She is also appealed to in order to help find lost keys. Saint Zita was born in Tuscany in the village of Monsagrati, not far from Lucca where, at the age of 12, she became a servant in the Fatinelli household. For a long time, she was unjustly despised, overburdened, reviled, and often beaten by her employers and fellow servants for her hard work and obvious goodness. The incessant ill-usage, however, was powerless to deprive her of her inward peace, her love of those who wronged her, and her respect for her employers. By this meek and humble self-restraint, Zita at last succeeded in overcoming the malice of her fellow-servants and her employers, so much so that she was placed in charge of all the affairs of the house. Her faith had enabled her to persevere against their abuse, and her constant piety gradually moved the family to a religious awakening.

Zita often said to others that devotion is false if slothful. She considered her work as an employment assigned her by God, and as part of her penance, and obeyed her master and mistress in all things as being placed over her by God. She always rose several hours before the rest of the family and employed in prayer a considerable part of the time which others gave to sleep. She took care to hear mass every morning with great devotion before she was called upon by the duties of her station, in which she employed the whole day with such diligence and fidelity that she seemed to be carried to them on wings, and studied when possible to anticipate them.

One anecdote relates a story of Zita giving her own food or that of her master to the poor. On one morning, Zita left her chore of baking bread to tend to someone in need. Some of the other servants ensured the Fatinelli family was aware of what happened; when they went to investigate, they claimed to have found angels in the Fatinelli kitchen, baking the bread for her.

St. Betina Zita died peacefully in the Fatinelli house on April 27, 1272. It is said that a star appeared above the attic where she slept at the moment of her death. She was 60 years old, and had served and edified the family for 48 years. By her death, she was practically venerated by the family. After one hundred and fifty miracles wrought in the behalf of such as had recourse to her intercession were juridically proven, she was canonized in 1696.

Her body was exhumed in 1580, discovered to be incorrupt, but has since become mummified. St. Zita's body is currently on display for public veneration in the Basilica di San Frediano in Lucca.

Her feast day in the Roman Catholic Church is April 27. To this day, families bake a loaf of bread in celebration of St. Zita's feast day.

April 27 Feast Days
* Bl. Peter Armengol
* St. Zita
* St. Adelelmus
* St. Asicus
* St. Winewald
* St. Zita
* St. Tertullian
* St. Theodore of Tabenna
* St. Theophilus
* St. Castor & Stephen
* St. Enoder
* St. Floribert of Liege
* St. John of Constantinople
* St. Lawrence Huong
* St. Liberalis of Treviso
* St. Maughold
* Bl. Osanna of Cattaro
* Bl. Nicolas Roland

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Our Lady of Good Counsel

Our Lady of Good Counsel (Latin: Mater boni consilii) is a title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary, after a painting said to be miraculous, now found in the thirteenth century Augustinian church at Genazzano, near Rome, Italy. Measuring 40 by 45 centimeters the image is a fresco executed on a thin layer of porcelain no thicker than an egg shell. Over the centuries, devotions to Our Lady of the Good Counsel grew among saints and Popes, to the extent that a reference to it was added to the Litany of Loreto and the devotion spread throughout the world, as far as Brazil. Her feast day is April 26.

In the 5th century, during the reign of Pope Sixtus III, the town of Genazzano, about 30 miles (48 km) south of Rome, had contributed a large portion of its revenue for the Roman basilica now known as Santa Maria Maggiore. In appreciation, a church was built in Genazzano and was later entrusted to the Augustinian Order in 1356.

According to tradition, in the year 1467, in the midst of the festivities for the Feast of Saint Mark, the townfolk suddenly heard "exquisite music." A mysterious cloud was then said to have descended and obliterated an unfinished wall of the parish church. In front of the populace, the cloud dissipated and a beautiful fresco, no thicker than a carte-de-visite and no more than eighteen inches square, of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Christ Child was revealed. Many miracles are said to have occurred in the portrait's presence, and it was widely believed that it had been miraculously transported from a church in Albania.

Such was the holy image's reputation that Pope Urban VIII made a "glittering" pilgrimage there in 1630, invoking the protection of the Queen of Heaven, as did Blessed Pope Pius IX in 1864. On November 17, 1682, Blessed Pope Innocent XI had the picture solemnly crowned. Among her noted clients have been St Aloysius Gonzaga, St Alphonsus Liguori, St John Bosco, and Blessed Stephen Bellesini.

In 1753, Pope Benedict XIV established the Pious Union of Our Lady of Good Counsel. More than any other pope, Leo XIII, who was himself a member of the pious union, was deeply attached to this devotion. The small Scapular of Our Lady of Good Counsel (the White Scapular) was presented by the Hermits of St. Augustine to Pope Leo XIII, who, in December 1893, approved it and endowed it with indulgences. On April 22, 1903, that same Pope included the invocation "Mater boni consilii" in the Litany of Loreto. In 1939, Venerable Pope Pius XII placed his pontificate under the maternal care of Our Lady of Good Counsel and composed a prayer to her.

The Augustinian Order contributed to the spread of this devotion internationally. Through the years, various institutions have been named in honor of Mary under the title of Our Lady of Good Counsel. These institutions include a college, high schools, and churches.

April 26 Feast Days:
* St. Aldo
* St. Cletus
* St. Anacletus II
* St. Basileus
* St. Trudpert
* St. Exuperantia
* St. Franca Visalta
* St. Lucidius of Verona
* St. Riquier
* St. Paschasius Radbertus
* St. Peter of Rates

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Saint Mark

Feastday: April 25
Patron of notaries

The second Gospel was written by St. Mark, who, in the New Testament, is sometimes called John Mark. Both he and his mother, Mary, were highly esteemed in the early Church, and his mother's house in Jerusalem served as a meeting place for Christians there.

St. Mark was associated with St. Paul and St. Barnabas (who was Mark's cousin) on their missionary journey through the island of Cyprus. Later he accompanied St. Barnabas alone. We know also that he was in Rome with St. Peter and St. Paul. Tradition ascribes to him the founding of the Church in Alexandria.

St. Mark wrote the second Gospel, probably in Rome sometime before the year 60 A.D.; he wrote it in Greek for the Gentile converts to Christianity. Tradition tells us that St. Mark was requested by the Romans to set down the teachings of St. Peter. This seems to be confirmed by the position which St. Peter has in this Gospel. In this way the second Gospel is a record of the life of Jesus as seen throuhh the eyes of the Prince of the Apostles. His feast day is April 25. He is the patron saint of notaries.

April 25 Feast Days:
* St. Mark
* St. Anianus
* Bl. William Marsden
* St. Erminus
* St. Evodius
* St. Macaille
* St. Macedonius
* Bl. Robert Anderton
* St. Robert of Syracuse
* St. Mella
* St. Phaebadius
* St. Philo and Agathopodes

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Saint Mellitus

Mellitus (died 24 April 624) was the first Bishop of London in the Saxon period, the third Archbishop of Canterbury, and a member of the Gregorian mission sent to England to convert the Anglo-Saxons from their native paganism to Christianity. He arrived in 601 AD with a group of clergymen sent to augment the mission, and was consecrated as Bishop of London in 604. Mellitus was the recipient of a famous letter from Pope Gregory I known as the Epistola ad Mellitum, preserved in a later work by the medieval chronicler Bede, which suggested the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons be undertaken gradually, integrating pagan rituals and customs. In 610, Mellitus returned to Italy to attend a council of bishops, and returned to England bearing papal letters to some of the missionaries.

Mellitus was exiled from London by the pagan successors to his patron, King Sæberht of Essex, following the latter's death around 616. King Æthelberht of Kent, Mellitus' other patron, died at about the same time, forcing him to take refuge in Gaul. Mellitus returned to England the following year, after Æthelberht's successor had been converted to Christianity, but he was unable to return to London, whose inhabitants remained pagan. Mellitus was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury in 619. During his tenure, he was alleged to have miraculously saved the cathedral, and much of the town of Canterbury, from a fire. After his death in 624, Mellitus was revered as a saint.

April 24 Feast Days
* St. Egbert
* St. William Firmatus
* St. Sabas Stratelates
* St. Deodatus
* St. Diarmaid
* St. Dyfnan
* St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen
* St. Honorius of Brescia
* St. Mary Clopas
* St. Mellitus of Canterbury
* St. Benedetto Menni

Monday, April 23, 2012

Saint George

Feastday: April 23
Patron of England & Catalonia

Pictures of St. George usually show him killing a dragon to rescue a beautiful lady. The dragon stands for wickedness. The lady stands for God's holy truth. St. George was a brave martyr who was victorious over the devil.

He was a soldier in the army of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, and he was one of the Emperor's favorite soldiers. Now Diocletian was a pagan and a bitter enemy to the Christians. He put to death every Christian he could find. George was a brave Christian, a real soldier of Christ. Without fear, he went to the Emperor and sternly scolded him for being so cruel. Then he gave up his position in the Roman army. For this he was tortured in many terrible ways and finally beheaded.

So boldly daring and so cheerful was St. George in declaring his Faith and in dying for it that Christians felt courage when they heard about it. Many songs and poems were written about this martyr. Soldiers, especially, have always been devoted to him.

We all have some "dragon" we have to conquer. It might be pride, or anger, or laziness, or greediness, or something else. Let us make sure we fight against these "dragons", with God's help. Then we can call ourselves real soldiers of Christ. .


April 23 Feast Days
* St. Giles of Assisi
* St. George
* St. Adalbert of Prague
* Sts. Felix, Fortunatus, & Achilleus
* St. Adalbert of Prague
* St. Fortunatus
* St. Felix
* St. Ibar of Beggerin

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Abāmūn of Tarnūt

Abāmūn of Tarnūt is a saint and was a martyr of the fourth-century Coptic Church. He is known only from his name being mentioned in the Synaxarion of Mikhail of Atrib (c.1240). His feast day is 27 Abīb (April).

While residing in Upper Egypt, Abāmūn was a witness to the persecution of Christians at that time. He presented himself to Arianus, the governor of Antinoopolis, as a Christian. The governor tortured Abāmūn through a variety of methods, including blows, nails in the body, iron combs, and stringing him up. Thereafter, Arianus sent Abāmūn to Alexandria. There, Abāmūn's example inspired a number of other Christians to accept martyrdom.

One of the others who was inspired by Abāmūn's example was a girl named Theophila. She criticized the governor and his allies, specifically including criticism of their idolatry. For this, she was cast into the fire. The fire did not harm her, however, so she was subsequently beheaded.

Abāmūn himself had his limbs cut off and was beheaded.

The church of Saint Abamūn, while bearing his name, may not necessarily be devoted to Abāmūn of Tarnūt. There was another matyr of similar description who bore the same first name, and because the church only mentions a Christian name, it cannot be sure whether the church was dedicated to Abāmūn of Tarnūt or Abāmūn of Tukh, who was also mentioned in the Synaxarion of Mikhail of Atrib. There is yet another Abamun, included in Les Martyrs d'Égypte by Hippolyte Delehaye, who seems to be this individual, as he was stated to have been martyred in Alexandria.

Saint Acepsimas of Hnaita

Acepsimas of Hnaita (died October 10, 376) was a bishop, martyr and saint.

He was the bishop of Hnaita, residing at Paka in western Persia. He and several companions, including the priest Joseph of Bet-Katoba, who was then 70 years old, and the deacon Aitillaha of Bet-Nuhadra, who was then 60 six years, when they were arrested by Shapur II for refusing to worship the sun. They were taken to Arbela, where they were all tortured and whipped.

Acepsimas endured three years of prison before he was racked and whipped to death on October 10, 376. Joseph was taken to Hdajab where he was tortured until he was stoned to death by apostate Christians at Tabaha on the Friday after Pentecost, 377. Aithalla was stoned to death at Destegerd on November 3, 377. They were the last martyrs of the Christian persecution of Shapur II. The book of their acts, which has survived, is genuine.

They are considered saints. The Roman Catholic Church keeps their feast on April 22. The Greek Orthodox Church keeps their feast with the full office of the day on November 3. The Syriac Orthodox Church keeps their feast on September 2. Aithalla has a feast in the Greek Orthodox Church held in his specific honor on September 1.

Other individuals who are recognized with this group include the bishop Abdjesus and a deacon named Abdjesu.

April 22 Feast Days:

* St. Abdiesus
* St. Acepsimas
* St. Alexander
* St. Apelles
* St. Arwald
* St. Authaire
* St. Bicor
* St. Tarbula
* St. Theodore of Sykeon
* St. Senorina
* St. Epiphanius and Alexander
* St. Joseph of Persia
* St. Leo of Sens
* St. Leonides of Alexandria
* St. Mareas
* St. Opportuna
* St. Milles
* St. Parmenius, Chrysoteins, and Helimenas
* Bl. Maria Gabriella Sagheddu

Saturday, April 21, 2012

St. Anselm

Feastday: April 21
1033 - 1109

St. Anselm Archbishop of Canterbury and Confessor APRIL 21,A.D. 1109 IF the Norman conquerors stripped the English nation of its liberty, and many temporal advantages, it must be owned that by their valor they raised the reputation of its arms, and deprived their own country of its greatest men, both in church and state, with whom they adorned this kingdom: of which this great doctor, and his master, Lanfranc, are instances. St. Anselm was born of noble parents, at Aoust, in Piedmont, about the year 1033. His pious mother took care to give him an early tincture of piety, and the impressions her instructions made upon him were as lasting as his life. At the age of fifteen, desirous of serving God in the monastic state, he petitioned an abbot to admit him into his house: but was refused out of apprehension of his father's displeasure. Neglecting, during the course of his studies, to cultivate the divine seed in his heart, he lost this inclination, and, his mother being dead, he fell into tepidity; and, without being sensible of the fatal tendency of vanity and pleasure, began to walk in the broad way of the world: so dangerous a thing is it to neglect the inspirations of grace! The saint, in his genuine meditations, expresses the deepest sentiments of compunction for these disorders, which his perfect spirit of penance exceedingly exaggerated to him, and which, like another David, he never ceased most bitterly to bewail to the end of his days. The ill usage he met with from his father, induced him, after his mother's death, to leave his own country, where he had made a successful beginning in his studies; and, after a diligent application to them for three years in Burgundy, (then a distinct government,) and in France, invited by the great fame of Lanfranc, prior of Bec, in Normandy, under the abbot Herluin, he went thither and became his scholar.* On his father's death, Anselm advised with him about the state of life he was to embrace; as whether he should live upon his estate to employ its produce in alms, or should renounce it at once and embrace a monastic and eremitical life. Lanfranc, feeling an overbearing affection for the promising a disciple, dared not advise him in his vocation, fearing the bias of his own inclination; but he sent him to Maurillus, the holy archbishop of Rouen. By him Anselm, after he had laid open to him his interior, was determined to enter the monastic state at Bec, and accordingly became a member of that house, at the age of twenty-seven, in 1060, under the abbot Herluin. Three years after, Lanfranc was made abbot of St. Stephen's, at Caen, and Anselm prior of Bec. At this promotion several of the monks murmured on account of his youth; but, by patience and sweetness, he won the affections of them all, and by little condescension at first so worked upon an irregular young monk, called Osbern, as to perfect his conversion, and make him one of the most fervent. He had indeed so great a knowledge of the hearts and passions of men, that he seemed to read their interior in their actions; by which he discovered the sources of virtues and vices, and knew how to adapt to each proper advice and instructions; which were rendered most powerful by the mildness and charity with which he applied them. And in regard to the management and tutoring of youth, he looked upon excessive severity as highly pernicious. Eadmer has recorded a conversation he had on this subject with a neighboring abbot, who, by a conformity to our saint's practice and advice in this regard, experienced that success in his labors which he had till then aspired to in vain, by harshness and severity. St. Anselm applied himself diligently to the study of every part of theology, by the clear light of scripture and tradition. While he was prior at Bec, he wrote his Monologium, so called, because in this work he speaks alone, explaining the metaphysical proofs of the existence and nature of God. Also his Proslogium, or contemplation of God's attributes, in which he addresses his discourse to God, or himself. The Meditations, commonly called the Manual of St. Austin, are chiefly extracted out of this book. It was censured by a neighboring monk, which occasioned the saint's Apology. These and other the like works, show the author to have excelled in metaphysics over all the doctors of the church since St. Austin. He likewise wrote, while prior, On Truth, On Freewill, and On the Fall of the Devil. or, On the Origin of Evil: also his Grammarian, which is, in reality, a treatise on Dialectics, or the art of reasoning. Anselm's reputation drew to Bec great numbers from all the neighboring kingdoms. Herluin dying in 1078, he was chosen abbot of Bec being forty five years old, of which he had been prior fifteen. The abbey of Bec being possessed at that time of some lands in England, this obliged the abbot to make his appearance there in person, at certain times. This occasioned our saint's first journeys thither, which his tender regard for his old friend Lanfranc, at that time archbishop of Canterbury, made the more agreeable. He was received with great honor and esteem by all ranks of people, both in church and state; and there was no one who did not think it a real misfortune, if he had not been able to serve him in something or other. King William himself, whose title of Conqueror rendered him haughty and inaccessible to his subjects, was so affable to the good abbot of Bec, that he seemed to be another man in his presence. The saint, on his side, was all to all, by courtesy and charity, that he might find occasions of giving every one some suitable instructions to promote their salvation; which were so much the more effectual, as he communicated them, not as some do with the dictatorial air of a master, but in a simple familiar manner, or by indirect, though sensible examples. In the year 1092, Hugh, the great earl of Chester, by three pressing messages, entreated Anselm to come again into England, to assist him, then dangerously sick and to give his advice about the foundation of a monastery which that nobleman had undertaken at St. Wereburge's church at Chester. A report that he would be made archbishop of Canterbury, in the room of Lanfranc, deceased, made him stand off for some time; but he could not forsake his old friend in his distress, and at last came over. He found him recovered, but the affairs of his own abbey, and of that which the earl was erecting, detained him five months in England. The metropolitan see of Canterbury had been vacant ever since the death of Lanfranc, in 1089. ! . The sacrilegious and tyrannical king, William Rufus, who succeeded his father in 1087, by an injustice unknown till his time, usurped the revenues of vacant benefices, and deferred his permission, or Conge d'elire, in order to the filling the episcopal sees, that he might the longer enjoy their income. Having thus seized into his hands the revenues of the archbishopric, he reduced the monks of Canterbury to a scanty allowance: oppressing them moreover by his officers with continual insults, threats, and vexations. He had been much solicited, by the most virtuous among the nobility, to supply the see of Canterbury, in particular, with a person proper for that station; but continued deaf to all their remonstrances, and answered them at Christmas, 1093, that neither Anselm nor any other should have the bishopric while he lived; and this he swore to by the holy face of Lucca meaning a great crucifix in the cathedral of that city, held in singular veneration, his usual oath. He was seized soon after with a violent fit of sickness, which in a few days brought him to extremity. He was then at Gloucaster, and seeing himself in this condition, signed a proclamation, which was published, to release all those that had been taken prisoners in the field, to discharge all debts owing to the crown, and to grant a general pardon promising likewise to govern according to law, and to punish the instruments of injustice with exemplary severity. He moreover nominated Anselm to the see of Canterbury, at which all were extremely satisfied but the good abbot himself, who made all the decent opposition imaginable; alleging his age, his want of health and vigor enough for so weighty a charge, his unfitness for the management of public and secular affairs, which he had always declined to the best of his power. The king was extremely concerned at his opposition, and asked him why he endeavored to ruin him in the other world, being convinced that he should lose his soul in case he died before the archbishopric was filled. The king was seconded by the bishops and others present, who not only told him they were scandalized at his refusal, but added, that, if he persisted in it, all the grievances of the church and nation would be placed to his account. Thereupon they forced a pastoral staff into his hands, in the king's presence, carried him into the church, and sung Te Deum on the occasion. This was on the 6th of March, 1093 He still declined the charge, till the king had promised him the restitution of all the lands that were in the possession of that see in Lanfranc's time. Anselm also insisted that he should acknowledge Urban II for lawful pope. Things being thus adjusted, Anselm was consecrated with great solemnity on the 4th of December, 1093. Anselm had not been long in possession of the see of Canterbury, when the king, intending to wrest the duchy of Normandy out of the hands of his brother Robert, made large demands on his subjects for supplies. On this occasion, not content with the five hundred pounds (a very large sum in those days) offered him by the archbishop, the king insisted, at the instigation of some of his courtiers, on a thousand, for his nomination to the archbishopric, which Anselm constantly refused to pay: pressing him also to fill vacant abbeys, and to consent that the bishops should hold councils as formerly, and be allowed by canons to repress crimes and abuses, which were multiplied, and passed into custom, for want of such a remedy, especially incestuous marriages and other abominable debaucheries. The king was extremely provoked, and declared no one should extort from him his abbeys any more than his crown. * And from that day he sought to deprive Anselm of his see. William, bishop of Durham, and the other prelates, acquiesced readily in the king's orders, by which he forbade them to obey him as their primate, or treat him as archbishop, alleging for reason that he obeyed pope Urban, during the schism, whom the English nation had not acknowledged. The king, having brought over most of the bishops to his measures, applied to the temporal nobility, and bid them disclaim the archbishop: but they resolutely answered, that since he was their archbishop, and had a right to superintend the affairs of religion, it was not in their power to disengage themselves from his authority, especially as there was no crime or misdemeanor proved against him. King William then, by his ambassador, acknowledged Urban for true pope, and promised him a yearly pension from England, if he would depose Anselm; but the legate, whom his holiness sent, told the king that it was what could not be done. St. Anselm wrote to the pope to thank him for the pall he had sent him by that legate, complaining of the affliction in which he lived under a burden too heavy for him to bear, and regretting the tranquillity of his solitude which he had lost.. Finding the king always seeking occasions to oppress his church, unless he fed him with its treasures, which he regarded as the patrimony of the poor, (though he readily furnished his contingent in money and troops to his expeditions and to all public burdens,) the holy prelate earnestly desired to leave England, that he might apply, in person, to the pope for his counsel and assistance. The king refused him twice: and, on his applying to him a third time, he assured the saint that, if he left that kingdom, he would seize upon the whole revenue of the see of Canterbury, and that he should never more be acknowledged metropolitan. But the saint, being persuaded he could not in conscience abide any longer in the realm, to be a witness of the oppression of the church, and not have it in his power to remedy it, set out from Canterbury, in October, 1097, in the habit of a pilgrim; took shipping at Dover, and landed at Witsan having with him two monks, Eadmer, who wrote his life, and Baldwin. He made some stay at Cluni with St. Hugh, the abbot, and at Lyons with the good archbishop Hugh. It not being safe traveling any further towards Rome at that time, on account of the antipope's party lying in the way; and Anselm falling sick soon after, this made it necessary for him to stay longer at Lyons than he had designed. However, he left that city the March following, in 1098, on the pope's invitation, and was honorably received by him. His holiness, having heard his cause, assured him of his protection, and wrote to the king of England for his reestablishment in his rights and possessions. Anselm also wrote to the king at the same time; and, after ten days stay in the pope's palace, retired to the monastery of St. Savior in Calabria, the air of Rome not agreeing with his health. Here he finished his work entitled, Why God was made Man; in two books, showing, against infidels, the wisdom, justice, and expediency of the mystery of the incarnation for man's redemption. He had begun this work in England, where he also wrote his book On the Faith of the Trinity and Incarnation, dedicated to pope Urban II., in which he refuted Roscelin, the master, Peter Abailard, who maintained an erroneous opinion in regard to the Trinity. Anselm, charmed with the sweets of his retirement, and despairing of doing any good at Canterbury, hearing by new instances that the king was still governed by his passions, in open defiance to justice and religion, earnestly entreated the pope, whom he met at Aversa, to discharge him of his bishopric; believing he might be more serviceable to the world in a private station. The pope would by no means consent, but charged him upon his obedience not to quit his station: adding, that it was not the part of a man of piety and courage to be frightened from his post purely by the dint of browbeating and threats, that being all the harm he had hitherto received. Anselm replied, that he was not afraid of suffering, or even losing his life in the cause of God; but that he saw there was nothing to be done in a country where justice was so overruled as it was in England. However, Anselm submitted, and in the meantime returned to his retirement, which was a cell called Slavia, situated on a mountain, depending on the monastery of St. Savior. That he might live in the merit of obedience, he prevailed with the pope to appoint the monk Eadmer, his inseparable companion, to be his superior, nor did he do the least thing without his leave. The pope having called a council, which was to meet at Bari, in October, 1098, in order to effect a reconciliation of the Greeks with the Catholic church, ordered the saint to be present at it. It consisted of one hundred and twenty-three bishops. The Greeks having proposed the question about the procession of the Holy Ghost, whether this was from the Father only, or from the Father and the Son; the disputation being protracted, the pope called aloud for Anselm, saying, "Anselm, our father and our master, where are you?" And causing him to sit next to him, told him that the present occasion required his learning and elocution to defend the church against her enemies, and that he thought God had brought him thither for that purpose. Anselm spoke to the point with so much learning, judgment, and penetration, that he silenced the Greeks, and gave such a general satisfaction, that all present joined in pronouncing anathema against those that should afterwards deny the procession of the Holy Ghost from both the Father and the Son. This affair being at an end, the proceedings of the king of England fell next under debate. And on this occasion his simony, his oppressions of the church, his persecution of Anselm, and his incorrigibleness, after frequent admonitions, were so strongly represented, that the pope, at the instance of the council, was just going to pronounce him excommunicated. Anselm had hitherto sat silent, but at this he rose up, and casting himself on his knees before the pope, entreated him to stop the censure. And now the council, who had admired our saint for his parts and learning, were further charmed with him on account of his humane and Christian disposition, in behalf of one that had used him so roughly. The saint's petition in behalf of his sovereign was granted; and, on the council breaking up, the pope and Anselm returned to Rome. The pope, however, sent to the king a threat of excommunication, to be issued in a council to be shortly after held at Rome, unless he made satisfaction: but the king, by his ambassador, obtained a long delay. Anselm stayed some time at Rome with the pope, who always placed him next in rank to himself. All persons, even the schismatics, loved and honored him, and he assisted with distinction at the council of Rome, held after Easter, in 1099. Immediately after the Roman council he returned to Lyons, where he was entertained by the archbishop Hugh with all the cordiality and regard imaginable; but saw no hopes of recovering his see so long as king William lived. Here he wrote his book, On the Conception of the Virgin, and On Original Sin, resolving many questions relating to that sin. The archbishop of Lyons gave him in all functions the precedence, and all thought themselves happy who could receive any sacrament from his hands. Upon the death of Urban II., he wrote an account of his case to his successor, Pascal II. King William Rufus being snatched away by sudden death, without the sacraments, on the 2nd of August, 1100, St. Anselm, who was then in the abbey of Chaize-Dieu, in Auvergne, lamented bitterly his unhappy end, and made haste to England, whither he was invited by king Henry I He landed at Dover on the 23rd of September, and was received with great joy and extraordinary respect. And having in a few days recovered the fatigue of his journey, he went to wait on the king, who received him very graciously. But this harmony was of no long continuance. The new king required of Anselm to be reinvested by him, and do the customary homage of his predecessors for his see; but the saint absolutely refused to comply, and made a report of the proceedings of the late synod at Rome, in which the laity that gave investitures for abbeys or cathedrals were excommunicated; and those that received such investitures were put under the same censure. But this not satisfying the king, it was agreed between them to consult the pope upon the subject. The court in the mean time was very much alarmed at the preparations making by the king's elder brother, Robert, duke of Normandy; who, being returned from the holy war in Palestine, claimed the crown of England, and threatened to invade the land. The nobles, though they had sworn allegiance to Henry, were ready enough to join him; and, on his landing with a formidable army at Portsmouth, several declared for the duke. The king being in great danger of losing his crown, was very liberal in promises to Anselm on this occasion, assuring him that he would henceforward leave the business of religion wholly to him, and be always governed by the advice and orders of the apostolic see. Anselm omitted nothing on his side to prevent a revolt from the king. Not content with sending his quota of armed men, be strongly represented to the disaffected nobles the heinousness of their crime of perjury, and that they ought rather lose their lives than break through their oaths, and fail in their sworn allegiance to their prince. He also an excommunication against Robert, as an invader, who thereupon came to an accommodation with Henry, and left England. And thus, as Eadmer relates, the archbishop, strengthening the king's party, kept the crown upon his head. Amidst his troubles and public distractions, he retired often in the day to his devotions, and watched long in them in the night. At his meals, and at all times, he conversed interiorly in heaven. One day as he was riding to his manor of Herse, a hare, pursued by the dogs, ran under his horse for refuge: at which the saint stopped, and the hounds stood at bay. The hunters laughed, but the saint said, weeping, "This hare puts me in mind of a poor sinner just upon the point of departing this life, surrounded with devils, waiting to carry away their prey." The hare going off, he forbade her to be pursued, and was obeyed, not a hound stirring after her. In like manner, every object served to raise his mind to God, with whom he always conversed in his heart, and, in the midst of noise and tumult, he enjoyed the tranquillity of holy contemplation; so strongly was his soul sequestered from, and raised above the world.

April 21 Feast Days:
* St. Anselm
* St. Beuno
* St. Anastasius XI
* St. Anastasius the Sinaite
* St. Apollo and Companions
* St. Arator
* St. Conrad of Parzham
* St. Froduiphus
* St. Maximian of Constantinople
* Bl. John Saziari

Friday, April 20, 2012

St. Marian

Feastday: April 20

When St. Mamertinus was Abbot of the monastery which St. Germanus had founded at Auxerre, there came to him a young man called Marcian (also known as Marian), a fugitive from Bourges then occupied by the Visigoths. St. Mamertinus gave him the habit, and the novice edified all his piety and obedience. The Abbot, wishing to test him, gave him the lowest possible post - that of cowman and shepherd in the Abbey farm at Merille. Marcian accepted the work cheerfully, and it was noticed that the beast under his charge throve and multified astonishingly. He seemed to have a strange power over all animals. The birds flocked to eat out of his hands: bears and wolves departed at his command; and when a hunted wild boar fled to him for protection, he defended it from its assailants and set it free. After his death, the Abbey took the name of the humble monk. His feast day is April 20th.

Other Saints whose Feast Day is April 20
* St. Marian
* St. Agnes of Montepulciano
* St. Theodore Trichinas
* St. Theotimus
* St. Francis Page
* St. Hugh of Anzy le Duc
* Bl. John Finch
* St. Marcian of Auxerre
* Bl. Robert Watkinson

Thursday, April 19, 2012

St. Expeditus

Feastday: April 19
Patron of Republic of Molossia, emergencies, expeditious solutions, against procrastination, merchants, navigators, programmers, and hackers revolutionaries
Died: 303

At one time there was much talk of a Saint Expeditus, and some good people were led to believe that, when there was need of haste, petitioning Saint Expeditus was likely to meet with prompt settlement. However, there is no adequate reason to think that any such saint was ever invoked in the early Christian centuries; in fact it is more than doubtful whether the saint ever existed. In the "Hieronymianum" the name Expeditus occurs among a group of martyrs both on the 18th and 19th of April, being assigned in the one case to Rome, and in the other to Melitene in Armenia; but there is no vestige of any tradition which would corroborate either mention, whereas there is much to suggest that in both lists the introduction of the name is merely a copyist's blunder. Hundreds of similar blunders have been quite definitely proved to exist in the same document.

There is also a story which pretends to explain the origin of this "devotion" by an incident of modern date. A packing case, we are told, containing a body of a saint from the catacombs, was sent to a community of nuns in Paris. The date of its dispatch was indicated by the use of the word "spedito", but the recipients mistook this for the name of the martyr and set to work with great energy to propagate his cult. From these simple beginnings, it is asserted, a devotion to St. Expeditus spread rapidly through many Catholic countries. It should be pointed out that though the recognition of St. Expeditus as the patron of dispatch depends beyond doubt upon a play upon words - still the particular story about the Paris nuns falls to pieces, because as far back as 1781 this supposed martyr, St. Expeditus, was chosen patron of the town of Acireale in Sicily, and because pictures of him were in existence in Germany in the eighteenth century which plainly depicted him as a saint to be invoked against procrastination.

Other Saints whose Feast Day is April 19:
* St. Expeditus
* St. Alphege
* St. Ursmar
* St. Vincent of Collioure
* St. Timon
* St. Crescentius
* St. Gerold
* St. Hermogenes
* Bl. James Duckett
* St. Paphnutius
* St. Anthony Pavoni
* St. Alphege of Canterbury

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

St. Apollonius the Apologist

Feastday: April 18
Died: 185

Martyr whose Apologia, or defense of the faith, is considered one of the most priceless documents of the early Church. Apollonius was a Roman senator who was denounced as a Christian by one of his slaves. The Praetorian Prefect, Sextus Tigidius Perennis, arrested him, also putting the slave to death as an informer. Perennis demanded that Apollonius denounce the faith, and when he refused, the case was remanded to the Roman senate. There a debate took place between Perennis and Apollonius that clearly outlines the beauty and the value of Christianity. Despite his eloquent defense, Apollonius was condemned and beheaded.

Other Saints whose Feast Day is April 18
* St. Agia
* St. Apollonius the Apologist
* St. Athanasia of Aegina
* St. Wicterp
* St. Calocerus
* St. Cogitosus
* St. Corebus
* St. Eleutherius & Anthia
* St. Galdinus
* St. Gebuinus
* St. Laserian
* St. Perfectus
* St. Peter of Saint Joseph Betancur
* Bl. Marie-Anne Blondin
* St. Pedro de San Jose Betancur

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Saint Donan

Feastday: April 17
Patron of Eigg
Died: 617

ST. Donan a remarkable fact about the widespread work of the Celtic missionary saints from the fifth century onwards is that scarcely any cases of violent opposition or martyrdom are recorded until the Viking and Danish raids began at the end of the ninth century. The pagan Celts accepted the missionaries even when they did not accept their religion and pagan and Christian symbols are found side by side on the great pictish stones.

Donan (or Donnan) deserves a note in these pages not only because of the extent of his journeyings but because he and his fellow monks on the island of Eigg provide the most dreadful case of martyrdom in the history of the Celtic Church. He and fifty-two of his followers were butchered within the refectory of the monastery. The only other martyrdoms recorded seem to be those of Constantine of Kintyre and of Kessog, and the latter is doubtful.

Unfortunately the mediaeval Life of Donan is lost, and what little we know of him is limited to the brief comments in such ancient martyrologies as Tallaght, Donegal and Oengus. The date of his birth is not known but he was contemporary with, or a little younger, than Columba. We presume that he was Irish and early in adult life crossed to Galloway. Thereafter we only know him through a chain of Kildonans up the west coast of Scotland, beginning with a Kildonan at Kirkmaiden and a Chapel Donan at Kirkcolm, and terminating at Kildonan on the island of Little Bernera in the Outer Hebrides.

The story of Donan's martyrdom was by no means unknown in mediaeval Scotland and some commemorations might be due to later interest and veneration. But the plotting of the place-names suggests a logical route of missionary progression northwards. The only St Don- nan's east of the Great Glen is at Auchterless in Aberdeenshire, and it has been suggested that Donan had a special connection with this parish-there are several place-names and we know his 'bachail' or staff was kept there till the Reformation. Perhaps for this very reason the saint's personal connection with Auchterless is more open to doubt, as the possession of the bachail in mediaeval days might well lead to the name instead of vice versa.

Only one incident is recorded as happening during these missionary years. He crossed to lona to meet Columba, and according to the story, asked that saint to act as his 'anamchara' or 'soul- friend', which took the place of the Roman Church's 'confessor'. Strangely enough, Columba refused to act as anamchara, saying, 'I shall not be a soul-friend to a company of red-martyrdom.' Obviously some explanation must be sought for this abrupt refusal. Dr A. B. Scott, who disliked Columba, saw in it the Goidheal's refusal to have any friendly intercourse with a Pict, but there could be quite different reasons, such as Columba's unwilling-ness to accept the additional responsibility which the duty entailed.

Donan eventually formed his community on the small island of Eigg, with the monastic buildings on the side facing Arisaig. It had become a large community by the date of the massacre-fifty-two is the number of monks given in the record, although for some unknown reason only fifty names are listed. It has been suggested that the monks are fictional but Dr Scott was sure he had traced local place-names deriving from them. Did Donan cross from lreland with the nucleus of such a group ready formed? Did he start with one or two and build to over fifty? Any answer to such questions would be as vague as the reason for the sudden unprecedented attack. On this subject scholars have made much of an obscure statement in the martyrologies that the monks' keeping sheep on the island hadangered a local woman of importance. Scott draws the unwarranted conclusion that when the local folk refused to take action she deliberately bribed a group of pirates to make the attack. It cannot, of course, be proved that she did not do so, so the reason for the brutality must remain conjectural. Pirates were by no means unknown but it is doubtful that they would take time to raid an obscure, penniless and inoffensive group of monks. It is more likely to have been a very early group of 'Black Gentiles' from Jutland or Denmark.

Details of the raid differ. Donan, it is said, was celebrating the Sacrament when the intruders broke in. When he begged for respite till mass was completed, they agreed and he led the monks across to the refectory 'that the place where God had been worshipped in spiritual joy might not be polluted with their blood'. The Martyrology of Donegal then states that 'he was beheaded and 52 of the monks with him' while that of Oengus suggests that the building was set on fire and they all perished in the flames. The traditional year of the massacre was 618.

Other Saints whose Feast Day is April 17:

* St. Donan
* St. Anicetus
* St. Villicus
* Bl. Wando
* St. Elias
* St. Fortunatus & Marcian
* St. Landericus
* St. Mappalicus
* St. Robert of Chaise Dieu
* St. Peter and Hermogenes
* St. Stephen Harding

Monday, April 16, 2012

St. Bernadette

Feastday: April 16
Died: 1879

On April 16, 1879, Bernadette -- or Sister Marie-Bernard, as she was known within her order -- died in the Sainte Croix (Holy Cross) Infirmary of the Convent of Saint-Gildard. She was thirty-five.

Born into a humble family which little by little fell into extreme poverty, Bernadette had always been a frail child. Quite young, she had already suffered from digestive trouble, then after having just escaped being a victim of the cholera epidemic of 1855, she experienced painful attacks of asthma, and her ill health almost caused her to be cut off for ever from the religious life. When asked by Monsignor Forcade to take Bernadette, Louise Ferrand, the Mother Superior of the Sisters of Nevers, replied: "Monsignor, she will be a pillar of the infirmary".

At least three times during her short life-time, she received the last Sacraments. She was gradually struck by other illnesses as well as asthma: among them, tuberculosis of the lung and a tubercular tumor on her right knee. On Wednesday, April 16, 1879, her pain got much worse. Shortly after eleven she seemed to be almost suffocating and was carried to an armchair, where she sat with her feet on a footstool in front of a blazing fire. She died at about 3.15 in the afternoon.

The civil authorities permitted her body to remain on view to be venerated by the public until Saturday, April 19. Then it was "placed in a double coffin of lead and oak which was sealed in the presence of witnesses who signed a record of the events". Among the witnesses were "inspector of the peace, Devraine, and constables Saget and Moyen".

The nuns of Saint-Gildard, with the support of the bishop of Nevers, applied to the civil authorities for permission to bury Bernadette's body in a small chapel dedicated to Saint Joseph which was within the confines of the convent. The permission was granted on April 25, 1879, and on April 30, the local Prefect pronounced his approval of the choice of the site for burial. Immediately they set to work on preparing the vault. On May 30, 1879, Bernadette's coffin was finally transferred to the crypt of the chapel of Saint Joseph. A very simple ceremony was held to commemorate the event.

Additional Info:

St. Bernadette was born at Lourdes, France. Her parents were very poor and she herself was in poor health. One Thursday, February 11, 1858, when she was sent with her younger sister and a friend to gather firewood, a very beautiful Lady appeared to her above a rose bush in a grotto called Massabielle. The lovely Lady was dressed in blue and white. She smiled at Bernadette and then made the sign of the cross with a rosary of ivory and gold. Bernadette fell on her knees, took out her own rosary and began to pray the rosary. The beautiful Lady was God's Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. She appeared to Bernadette seventeen other times and spoke with her. She told Bernadette that she should pray sinners, do penance and have a chapel built there in her honor. Many people did not believe Bernadette when she spoke of her vision. She had to suffer much. But one day Our Lady told Bernadette to dig in the mud. As she did, a spring of water began to flow. The next day it continued to grow larger and larger. Many miracles happened when people began to use this water. When Bernadette was older, she became a nun. She was always very humble. More than anything else, she desired not to be praised. Once a nun asked her if she had temptations of pride because she was favored by the Blessed Mother. "How can I?" she answered quickly. "The Blessed Virgin chose me only because I was the most ignorant." What humility! Her feast day is April 16th.

Other Saints whose Feast Day is April 16:
* St. Bernadette
* St. Benedict Joseph Labré
* St. Bernadette Soubirous
* St. Turibius of Astorga
* St. Turibius the Monk
* St. Callistus & Charisius
* St. Contardo
* St. Drogo
* St. Encratia
* St. Fructuosus of Braga
* St. Herve
* St. Lambert of Saragossa
* St. Paternus
* Bl. Anne Maugrain
* Bl. Francoise Micheneau Gillot
* Bl. Francoise Suhard Menard
* Bl. Pierre Delepine