Saturday, March 31, 2012

St. Benjamin

Feastday: March 31
Died: 424

St. Benjamin, Martyr (Feast Day - March 31) The Christians in Persia had enjoyed twelve years of peace during the reign of Isdegerd, son of Sapor III, when in 420 it was disturbed by the indiscreet zeal of Abdas, a Christian Bishop who burned the Temple of Fire, the great sanctuary of the Persians. King Isdegerd threatened to destroy all the churches of the Christians unless the Bishop would rebuild it.

As Abdas refused to comply, the threat was executed; the churches were demolished, Abdas himself was put to death, and a general persecution began which lasted forty years. Isdegerd died in 421, but his son and successor, Varanes, carried on the persecution with great fury. The Christians were submitted to the most cruel tortures.

Among those who suffered was St. Benjamin, a Deacon, who had been imprisoned a year for his Faith. At the end of this period, an ambassador of the Emperor of Constantinople obtained his release on condition that he would never speak to any of the courtiers about religion.

St. Benjamin, however, declared it was his duty to preach Christ and that he could not be silent. Although he had been liberated on the agreement made with the ambassador and the Persian authorities, he would not acquiesce in it, and neglected no opportunity of preaching. He was again apprehended and brought before the king. The tyrant ordered that reeds should be thrust in between his nails and his flesh and into all the tenderest parts of his body and then withdrawn. After this torture had been repeated several times, a knotted stake was inserted into his bowels to rend and tear him. The martyr expired in the most terrible agony about the year 424.

March 31 Feast Days

* St. Benjamin
* St. Guy of Pomposa
* St. Achatius
* St. Balbina
* St. Theodulus
* St. Daniel
* St. Machabeo
* St. Renovatus

Friday, March 30, 2012

St. Peter Regulatus

Feastday: March 30
1390 - 1456

Also Peter Regalado, Franciscan reformer. Peter was born at Valladolid, Spain, to a noble family, and entered the Franciscan Order in his native city at the age of thirteen. After several years, he transferred to a far more austere monastery at Tribulos, where he became known for his severe asceticism as well as his abilities to levitate and enter into ecstasies. A success as abbot, he gave himself over to bringing needed reforms to the monastery and to promoting reforms in other Franciscan houses. For his zeal in adhering to the rules of the community he was designated Regulatus.

March 30 Feast Days

* Bl. Amadeus IX of Savoy
* St. Zosimus
* St. Tola
* St. Clinius
* St. Domninus
* St. Fergus
* St. John Climacus
* St. Leonard Muraildo
* St. Mamertinus of Auxerre
* St. Regulus
* St. Quirinus
* St. Osburga
* St. Pastor
* St. Patto
* St. Peter Regulatus

Thursday, March 29, 2012

St. Berthold

Feastday: March 29
Died: 1195

Considered by some historians to be the founder of the Carmelite Order. He was born in Limoges, France, and proved a brilliant student at the University of Paris. Ordained a priest, Berthold joined his brother, Aymeric, the Latin patriarch of Antioch, in Turkey, on the Crusades. On Mount Carmel he found a group of hermits, joined them, and established a rule. Aymeric appointed Berthold the first Carmelite superior general. Berthold tried to reform the Christian soldiers in the region, having had a vision of Christ, and headed the Carmelites for forty-five years.

March 29 Feast Days

* St. Armogastes and Companions
* St. Berthold
* St. Secundus
* St. Eustace
* St. Firminus
* St. Gladys
* St. Gwynllyw
* St. Lasar
* St. Ludolph
* St. Mark
* St. Pastor
* St. Ludolf of Ratzeburg

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

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St. Venturino of Bergamo

Feastday: March 28
1304 - 1346

Dominican preacher and missionary crusader. A native of Bergamo, Italy, he joined the Dominicans in 1319 and soon distinguished himself as a brilliant preacher, attracting huge crowds throughout northern Italy. Pleased with his ability to reach large numbers of believers, he announced in 1335 his intention to go on a pilgrimage to Rome. When Pope Benedict XII (r. 1334-1342) learned of the pilgrimage, he feared Venturino might be planning to crown himself pope, and so forbade the friar to proceed. This decree was joined by one issued by the Dominicans themselves at the Chapter in London (1335). Ignorant of these bans, Venturino proceeded to Rome and then to Avignon where he was arrested and imprisoned until 1343. He is also known for helping to organize a crusade, at the behest of Pope Clement VI (r. 1342-1352), against the Turks who were then menacing Europe.

March 28 Feast Days

* St. Alexander
* St. Alkeld
* St. Venturino of Bergamo
* St. Tutilo
* St. Castor & Dorotheus
* St. Conon of Naso
* St. Gundelindis
* Bl. James Claxton
* St. Rogatus
* St. Priscus
* St. Conon of Naso

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

St. Rupert

Feastday: March 27
60 - 717

Bishop and missionary, also listed as Robert of Hrodbert. A member of a noble Frankish family, he was appointed bishop of Worms, Germany, and then dedicated himself to spreading the faith among the Germans. With the patronage of Duke Thedo of Bavaria, he took over the deserted town of luvavum about 697, which was renamed Salzburg, Austria. Rupert founded a church, a monastery, and a school; brought in groups of missionaries; and established a nunnery at Nonnberg with his sister, Eerentrudis, serving as the first abbess. He died at Salzburg and is venerated as the first archbishop of this major diocese in the West. Rupert is revered as the Apostle of Bavaria and Austria.

March 27 Feast Days

* St. Alexander
* St. Amator
* St. Augusta
* St. John of Egypt
* St. Rupert
* St. Matthew of Beauvais
* St. Philetus

Monday, March 26, 2012

St. Margaret of Clitherow

Feastday: March 26

St. Margaret Clitherow was born in Middleton, England, in 1555, of protestant parents. Possessed of good looks and full of wit and merriment, she was a charming personality. In 1571, she married John Clitherow, a well-to-do grazier and butcher (to whom she bore two children), and a few years later entered the Catholic Church. Her zeal led her to harbor fugitive priests, for which she was arrested and imprisoned by hostile authorities. Recourse was had to every means in an attempt to make her deny her Faith, but the holy woman stood firm. Finally, she was condemned to be pressed to death on March 25, 1586. She was stretched out on the ground with a sharp rock on her back and crushed under a door over laden with unbearable weights. Her bones were broken and she died within fifteen minutes. The humanity and holiness of this servant of God can be readily glimpsed in her words to a friend when she learned of her condemnation: "The sheriffs have said that I am going to die this coming Friday; and I feel the weakness of my flesh which is troubled at this news, but my spirit rejoices greatly. For the love of God, pray for me and ask all good people to do likewise." Her feast day is March 26th.

March 26 Feast Days

* St. Margaret Clitherow
* St. Braulio
* St. Castulus
* St. Basil the Younger
* St. Bathus and Companions
* St. William of Norwich
* St. Theodore
* St. Eutychius of Alexandria
* St. Garbhan
* St. Govan
* St. Ludger
* St. Quadratus
* St. Mochelloc
* St. Montanus & Maxima
* St. Peter
* Bl. Magdalena Caterina Morano

Sunday, March 25, 2012

St. Dismas

Feastday: March 25

All that is known of Dismas is that he is the Good Thief crucified with Christ on Calvary. The other thief is known as Gestas. A completely unsubstantiated myth from the Arabic Gospel of the Infancy that enjoyed great popularity in the West during the Middle Ages had two thieves who held up the Holy Family on the way to Egypt. Dismas bought off Gestas with forty drachmas to leave them unmolested, whereupon the Infant predicted that they would be crucified with Him in Jerusalem, and that Dismas would accompany Him to Paradise. His feast day is March 25th.

March 25 Feast Days

* St. Dismas
* St. Alfwold
* St. Dula
* St. Harold
* St. Hermenland
* St. Humbert of Morailles
* Bl. James Bird
* St. Kennocha
* St. Lucy Filippini
* St. Robert of Bury
* St. Quirinus of Tegernsee
* St. Pelagius of Laodicea
* Bl. Emilian Kovch

Saturday, March 24, 2012

St. Aldemar

Feastday: March 24
Died: 1080

Abbot and miracle worker, called "the Wise." Born in Capua, Italy, he became a monk in Monte Cassino and was called to the attention of a Princess Aloara of the region. When she built a new convent in Capua, Alder became the director of the religious in the established house. He performed many miracles in this capacity. Aldemar was reassigned by his abbot to Monte Cassino, a move that angered the princess. As a result, Aldemar went to Boiana, Italy, where a companion involved in the dispute tried to kill him. Aldemar fled into the region of Bocchignano, Abruzzi, where he founded several more religious houses.

March 24 Feast Days

* St. Aldemar
* St. Timolaus & Companions
* St. Seleucus
* St. Caimin
* St. Cairlon
* St. Domangard
* St. Epicharis
* St. Hildelitba
* St. Latinus
* St. Macartan
* St. Romulus and Secundus
* St. Mark & Timothy
* St. Pigmenius

Friday, March 23, 2012

St. Toribio Alfonso de Mogrovejo

Feastday: March 23
Patron of Native rights; Latin American bishops; Peru
1538 - 1606

Bishop and defender of the rights of the native Indians in Peru, Born in Mayorga, Spain, he studied law and became a lawyer and then professor at Salamanca, receiving appointment-despite being a layman-as chief judge of the court of Inquisition at Granada under King Philip II of Spain. The king subsequently appointed him in 1580 to the post of archbishop of Lima, Peru. After receiving ordination and then consecration, he arrived in Peru in 1581 and soon demonstrated a deep zeal to reform the archdiocese and a determination to do all in his power to aid the poor and defend the rights of the Indians who were then suffering severely under Spanish occupation. He founded schools, churches, hospitals, and the first seminary in the New World. To assist his pastoral work among the Indians, he also mastered several Indian dialects. He was canonized in 1726.

March 23 Feast Days

* St. Fidelis
* St. Benedict of Campania
* St. Victorian
* St. Theodulus
* St. Toribio Alfonso de Mogrovejo
* St. Domitius
* St. Ethelwald
* St. Felix
* St. Joseph Oriol
* St. Julian
* St. Nicon

Thursday, March 22, 2012

St. Lea

Feastday: March 22

A letter which St. Jerome wrote to St. Marcella provides the only information we have about St. Lea, a devout fourth century widow. Upon the death of her husband, she retired to a Roman monastery and ultimately became its Superior. Since his correspondence was acquainted with the details of St. Lea's life, St. Jerome omitted these in his letter. He concentrated instead on the fate of St. Lea in comparison with that of a consul who had recently died. "Who will praise the blessed Lea as she deserves? She renounced painting her face and adorning her head with shining pearls. She exchanged her rich attire for sackcloth, and ceased to command others in order to obey all. She dwelt in a corner with a few bits of furniture; she spent her nights in prayer, and instructed her companions through her example rather than through protests and speeches. And she looked forward to her arrival in heaven in order to receive her recompense for the virtues which she practiced on earth. "So it is that thence forth she enjoyed perfect happiness. From Abraham's bosom, where she resides with Lazarus, she sees our consul who was once decked out in purple, now vested in a shameful robe, vainly begging for a drop of water to quench his thirst. Although he went up to the capital to the plaudits of the people, and his death occasioned widespread grief, it is futile for the wife to assert that he has gone to heaven and possesses a great mansion there. The fact is that he is plunged into the darkness outside, whereas Lea who was willing to be considered a fool on earth, has been received into the house of the Father, at the wedding feast of the Lamb. "Hence, I tearfully beg you to refrain from seeking the favors of the world and to renounce all that is carnal. It is impossible to follow both the world and Jesus. Let us live a life of renunciation, for our bodies will soon be dust and nothing else will last any longer." Her feast day is March 22.

March 22 Feast Days

* St. Lea
* St. Nicholas Owen
* St. Basil of Ancyra
* St. Benvenutus Scotivoli
* St. Trien
* St. Saturninus
* St. Callinica & Basilissa
* St. Darerca of Ireland
* St. Deogratius
* St. Epaphroditus
* St. Humilitas
* St. Octavian
* St. Paul of Narbonne

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

St. Enda

Feastday: March 21

Legend has him an Irishman noted for his military feats who was convinced by his sister St. Fanchea to renounce his warring activities and marry. When he found his fiancee dead, he decided to become a monk and went on pilgrimage to Rome, where he was ordained. He returned to Ireland, built churches at Drogheda, and then secured from his brother-in-law King Oengus of Munster the island of Aran, where he built the monastery of Killeaney, from which ten other foundations on the island developed. With St. Finnian of Clonard, Enda is considered the founder on monasticism in Ireland. His feast day is March 21.

March 21 Feast Days

* St. Enda
* St. Birillus
* St. Serapion the Scholastic
* St. Lupicinus
* St. Nicholas of Flue
* St. Philemon and Domninus
* Bl. Maria Candida of the Eucharist
* St. Arcangelo Tadini
* St. Benedicta Cambiagio Frassinello

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Bl. John of Parma

Feastday: March 20

John Buralli, the seventh minister general of the Franciscans, was born at Parma in the year 1209, and he was already teaching logic there when at the age of twenty-five, he joined the Franciscans. He was sent to Paris to study and, after he had been ordained, to teach and preach in Bologna, Naples and Rome. He preached so well that crowds of people came to hear his sermons, even very important persons flocked to hear him. In the year 1247, John was chosen Minister General of the Order of Franciscans. He had a very difficult task because the members of his community were not living up to their duties, due to the poor leadership of Brother Elias. Brother Salimbene, a fellow townsman who worked closely with John, kept an accurate record of Johns activities. From this record, we learn that John was strong and robust, so that he was always kind and pleasant no matter how tired he was. He was the first among the Ministers General to visit the whole Order, and he traveled always on foot. He was so humble that when he visited the different houses of the Order, he would often help the Brother wash vegetables in the kitchen. He loved silence so that he could think of God and he never spoke an idle word. When he began visiting the various houses of his Order, he went to England first. When King Henry III heard that John came to see him, the King went out to meet him and embraced the humble Friar. When John was in France, he was visited by St. Louis IX who, on the eve of his departure for the Crusades, came to ask John's prayers and blessing on his journey. The next place John visited was Burgundy and Provence. At Arles, a friar from Parma, John of Ollis, came to ask a favor. He asked John if he and Brother Salimbene could be allowed to preach. John, however, did not want to make favorites of his Brothers. He said, "even if you were my blood brothers, I would not give you that permission without an examination." John of Ollis then said, "Then if we must be examined, will you call on Brother Hugh to examine us?" Hugh, the former provincial was in the house, but since he was a friend of John of Ollis and Salimbene, he would not allow it. Instead, he called the lecturer and tutor of the house. Brother Salimbene passed the test, but John of Ollis was sent back to take more studies. Trouble broke out in Paris where John had sent St. Bonaventure who was one of the greatest scholars of the Friars Minor. Blessed John went to Paris and was so humble and persuasive that the University Doctor who had caused the trouble, could only reply, "Blessed are you, and blessed are your words". Then John went back to his work at restoring discipline to his Order. Measures were taken to make sure the Friars obeyed the Rules of the Order. In spite of all his efforts, Blessed John was bitterly opposed. He became convinced that he was not capable of carrying out the reforms that he felt was necessary. So he resigned his office and nominated St. Bonaventure as his successor. John retired to the hermitage of Greccio, the place where St. Francis had prepared the first Christmas crib. He spent the last thirty years of his life there in retirement. He died on March 19, 1289 and many miracles were soon reported at his tomb. His feast day is March 20th.

March 20 Feast Days

* Bl. John of Parma
* St. Cuthbert
* St. Alexandra and Companions
* St. Anastasius XVI
* St. Archippus
* St. Benignus
* St. Urbitius
* St. Wulfram of Sens
* St. William of Penacorada
* St. Tetricus
* St. Herbert of Derwentwater
* St. John, Sergius, & Companions
* St. Martin of Braga
* St. Nicetas
* St. Paul and Companions
* St. Photina
* St. Josef Bilczewski
* St. Maria Josefa Sancho de Guerra

Monday, March 19, 2012

St. Joseph

Feastday: March 19
Patron of the Universal Church

Everything we know about the husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus comes from Scripture and that has seemed too little for those who made up legends about him.

We know he was a carpenter, a working man, for the skeptical Nazarenes ask about Jesus, "Is this not the carpenter's son?" (Matthew 13:55). He wasn't rich for when he took Jesus to the Temple to be circumcised and Mary to be purified he offered the sacrifice of two turtledoves or a pair of pigeons, allowed only for those who could not afford a lamb (Luke 2:24).

Despite his humble work and means, Joseph came from a royal lineage. Luke and Matthew disagree some about the details of Joseph's genealogy but they both mark his descent from David, the greatest king of Israel (Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-38). Indeed the angel who first tells Joseph about Jesus greets him as "son of David," a royal title used also for Jesus.

We know Joseph was a compassionate, caring man. When he discovered Mary was pregnant after they had been betrothed, he knew the child was not his but was as yet unaware that she was carrying the Son of God. He planned to divorce Mary according to the law but he was concerned for her suffering and safety. He knew that women accused to adultery could be stoned to death, so he decided to divorce her quietly and not expose her to shame or cruelty (Matthew 1:19-25).

We know Joseph was man of faith, obedient to whatever God asked of him without knowing the outcome. When the angel came to Joseph in a dream and told him the truth about the child Mary was carrying, Joseph immediately and without question or concern for gossip, took Mary as his wife. When the angel came again to tell him that his family was in danger, he immediately left everything he owned, all his family and friends, and fled to a strange country with his young wife and the baby. He waited in Egypt without question until the angel told him it was safe to go back (Matthew 2:13-23).

We know Joseph loved Jesus. His one concern was for the safety of this child entrusted to him. Not only did he leave his home to protect Jesus, but upon his return settled in the obscure town of Nazareth out of fear for his life. When Jesus stayed in the Temple we are told Joseph (along with Mary) searched with great anxiety for three days for him (Luke 2:48). We also know that Joseph treated Jesus as his own son for over and over the people of Nazareth say of Jesus, "Is this not the son of Joseph?" (Luke 4:22)

We know Joseph respected God. He followed God's commands in handling the situation with Mary and going to Jerusalem to have Jesus circumcised and Mary purified after Jesus' birth. We are told that he took his family to Jerusalem every year for Passover, something that could not have been easy for a working man.

Since Joseph does not appear in Jesus' public life, at his death, or resurrection, many historians believe Joseph probably had died before Jesus entered public ministry.

Joseph is the patron of the dying because, assuming he died before Jesus' public life, he died with Jesus and Mary close to him, the way we all would like to leave this earth.

Joseph is also patron of the universal Church, fathers, carpenters, and social justice.

We celebrate two feast days for Joseph: March 19 for Joseph the Husband of Mary and May 1 for Joseph the Worker.

There is much we wish we could know about Joseph -- where and when he was born, how he spent his days, when and how he died. But Scripture has left us with the most important knowledge: who he was -- "a righteous man" (Matthew 1:18).
In His Footsteps:

Joseph was foster father to Jesus. There are many children separated from families and parents who need foster parents. Please consider contacting your local Catholic Charities or Division of Family Services about becoming a foster parent.
Prayer:

Saint Joseph, patron of the universal Church, watch over the Church as carefully as you watched over Jesus, help protect it and guide it as you did with your adopted son. Amen

March 19 Feast Days

* St. Joseph
* St. Adrian
* St. Gemus
* St. John the Syrian of Pinna
* St. Lactali
* St. Landoald
* St. Leontius
* St. Quintius
* St. Pancharius

Sunday, March 18, 2012

St. Cyril of Jerusalem

Feastday: March 18
315 - 386

"Make your fold with the sheep; flee from the wolves: depart not from the Church," Cyril admonished catechumens surrounded by heresy. These were prophetic words for Cyril was to be hounded by enemies and heretics for most of his life, and although they could exile him from his diocese he never left his beloved Church.

Cyril's life began a few years before Arianism (the heresy that Jesus was not divine or one in being with the Father) and he lived to see its suppression and condemnation at the end of his life. In between he was the victim of many of the power struggles that took place.

We know little about Cyril's early life. Historians estimate he was born about 315 and that he was brought up in Jerusalem. He speaks about the appearance of the sites of the Nativity and Holy Sepulchre before they were "improved" by human hands as if he were a witness. All we know of his family were that his parents were probably Christians and he seemed to care for them a great deal. He exhorted catechumens to honor parents "for however much we may repay them, yet we can never be to them what they as parents have been to us." We know he also had a sister and a nephew, Gelasius, who became a bishop and a saint.

He speaks as one who belonged to a group called the Solitaries. These were men who lived in their own houses in the cities but practiced a life of complete chastity, ascetism, and service.

After being ordained a deacon and then a priest, his bishop Saint Maximus respected him enough to put him in charge of the instruction of catechumens. We still have these catechetical lectures of Cyril's that were written down by someone in the congregation. When speaking of so many mysteries, Cyril anticipated the question, "But some one will say, If the Divine substance is incomprehensible, why then do you discourse of these things? So then, because I cannot drink up all the river, am I not even to take in moderation what is expedient for me? Because with eyes so constituted as mine I cannot take in all the sun, am I not even to look upon it enough to satisfy my wants? Or again, because I have entered into a great garden, and cannot eat all the supply of fruits, would you have me go away altogether hungry?.. I am attempting now to glorify the Lord, but not to describe him, knowing nevertheless that I shall fall short of glorifying God worthily, yet deeming it a work of piety even to attempt it at all."

When Maximus died, Cyril was consecrated as bishop of Jerusalem. Because he was supported by the Arian bishop of Caesarea, Acacius, the orthodox criticized the appointment and the Arians thought they had a friend. Both factions were wrong, but Cyril wound up in the middle.

When a famine hit Jerusalem, the poor turned to Cyril for help. Cyril, seeing the poor starving to death and having no money, sold some of the goods of the churches. This was something that other saints including Ambrose and Augustine had done and it probably saved many lives. There were rumors, however, that some of the vestments wound up as clothing for actors.

Actually, the initial cause of the falling out between Acacius and Cyril was territory not beliefs. As bishop of Caesarea, Acacia had authority over all the bishops of Palestine. Cyril argued that his authority did not include Jerusalem because Jerusalem was an "apostolic see" -- one of the original sees set up by the apostles. When Cyril did not appear at councils that Acacius called, Acacius accused him of selling church goods to raise money and had him banished.

Cyril stayed in Tarsus while waiting for an appeal. Constantius called a council where the appeal was supposed to take place. The council consisted of orthodox, Arians, and semi-Arian bishops. When Acacius and his faction saw that Cyril and other exiled orthodox bishops were attending, they demanded that the persecuted bishops leave. Acacius walked out when the demand was not met. The other bishops prevailed on Cyril and the others to give in to this point because they didn't want Acacius to have reason to deny the validity of the council. Acacius returned but left again for good when his creed was rejected -- and refused to come back even to give testimony against his enemy Cyril. The result of the council was the Acacius and the other Arian bishops were condemned. There's no final judgment on Cyril's case but it was probably thrown out when Acacius refused to testify and Cyril returned to Jerusalem.

This was not the end of Cyril's troubles because Acacius carried his story to the emperor -- embellishing it with details that it was a gift of the emperor's that was sold to a dancer who died wearing the robe. This brought about a new synod run by Acacius who now had him banished again on the basis of what some bishops of Tarsus had done while Cyril was there.

This exile lasted until Julian became emperor and recalled all exiled bishops, orthodox or Arian. Some said this was to exacerbate tension in the Church and increase his imperial power. So Cyril returned to Jerusalem. When Acacius died, each faction nominated their own replacement for Caesarea. Cyril appointed his nephew Gelasius -- which may seem like nepotism, except that all orthodox sources spoke of Gelasius' holiness. A year later both Cyril and Gelasius were driven out of Palestine again as the new emperor's consul reversed Julian's ruling.

Eleven years later, Cyril was allowed to go back to find a Jerusalem destroyed by heresy and strife. He was never able to put things completely right. He did attend the Council at Constantinople in 381 where the Nicene Creed and orthodoxy triumphed and Arianism was finally condemned. Cyril received justice at the same Council who cleared him of all previous rumors and commended him for fighting "a good fight in various places against the Arians."

Cyril had eight years of peace in Jerusalem before he died in 386, at about seventy years old.

March 18 Feast Days

* St. Cyril of Jerusalem
* St. Alexander
* Bl. Christian O'Conarchy
* St. Salvatore
* St. Edward the Martyr
* St. Anselm of Lucca
* Sts. Trophimus & Eucarpius
* St. Salvator of Horta
* St. Frediano
* St. Humphrey
* St. Narcissus and Felix
* St. Anselm of Lucca

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patrick

St. Patrick
Feastday: March 17
Patron of Ireland
b. 387 d.461

Buy St. Patrick of Ireland: A Biography by Philip Freeman at Amazon.com


St. Patrick of Ireland is one of the world's most popular saints.
Apostle of Ireland, born at Kilpatrick, near Dumbarton, in Scotland, in the year 387; died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, 17 March, 461.

Along with St. Nicholas and St. Valentine, the secular world shares our love of these saints. This is also a day when everyone's Irish.

There are many legends and stories of St. Patrick, but this is his story.

Patrick was born around 385 in Scotland, probably Kilpatrick. His parents were Calpurnius and Conchessa, who were Romans living in Britian in charge of the colonies.

As a boy of fourteen or so, he was captured during a raiding party and taken to Ireland as a slave to herd and tend sheep. Ireland at this time was a land of Druids and pagans. He learned the language and practices of the people who held him.

During his captivity, he turned to God in prayer. He wrote

"The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was rosed, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same." "I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain."

Patrick's captivity lasted until he was twenty, when he escaped after having a dream from God in which he was told to leave Ireland by going to the coast. There he found some sailors who took him back to Britian, where he reunited with his family.

He had another dream in which the people of Ireland were calling out to him "We beg you, holy youth, to come and walk among us once more."

He began his studies for the priesthood. He was ordained by St. Germanus, the Bishop of Auxerre, whom he had studied under for years.

Later, Patrick was ordained a bishop, and was sent to take the Gospel to Ireland. He arrived in Ireland March 25, 433, at Slane. One legend says that he met a chieftain of one of the tribes, who tried to kill Patrick. Patrick converted Dichu (the chieftain) after he was unable to move his arm until he became friendly to Patrick.

Patrick began preaching the Gospel throughout Ireland, converting many. He and his disciples preached and converted thousands and began building churches all over the country. Kings, their families, and entire kingdoms converted to Christianity when hearing Patrick's message.

Patrick by now had many disciples, among them Beningnus, Auxilius, Iserninus, and Fiaac, (all later canonized as well).

Patrick preached and converted all of Ireland for 40 years. He worked many miracles and wrote of his love for God in Confessions. After years of living in poverty, traveling and enduring much suffering he died March 17, 461.

He died at Saul, where he had built the first church.
Why a shamrock?

Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Trinity, and has been associated with him and the Irish since that time.
In His Footsteps:

Patrick was a humble, pious, gentle man, whose love and total devotion to and trust in God should be a shining example to each of us. He feared nothing, not even death, so complete was his trust in God, and of the importance of his mission.

March 17 Feast Days

* St. Patrick
* St. Gertrude of Nivelles
* St. Jan Sarkander
* St. Joseph of Arimathea
* St. Paul of Cyprus
* Bl. Peter Lieou
* St. Ambrose of Alexandria

Friday, March 16, 2012

St. Abban

Feastday: March 16
Died: 620

Abbot and Irish missionary. An Irish prince, Abban was the son of King Cormac of Leinster. He is listed as the nephew of St. Ibar. Abban founded many churches in the old district of Ui Cennselaigh, in modern County Wexford and Ferns. His main monastery is Magheranoidhe, in Adamstown, Ireland. This monastery's fame is attributed in some records to another Abban, that of New Ross. Abban is also associated with Kill-Abban Abbey in Leinster, serving as abbot there until March 16, 620. He is revered in Adamstown, which was once called Abbanstown.

March 16 Feast Days

* St. Abban
* St. Hilary
* St. Aninus
* St. Dentlin
* St. Eusebia
* St. Finian Lobhar
* St. Finian Munnu
* Bl. John Amias
* Bl. John Cacciafronte
* St. Julian of Antioch
* Bl. Robert Dalby
* St. Megingaud
* St. Patrick of Malaga

Thursday, March 15, 2012

St. Louise de Marillac

Feastday: March 15
Died: 1660

Louise de Marillac was born probably at Ferrieres-en-Brie near Meux, France, on August 12, 1591. She was educated by the Dominican nuns at Poissy. She desired to become a nun but on the advice of her confessor, she married Antony LeGras, an official in the Queen's service, in 1613. After Antony's death in 1625, she met St. Vincent de Paul, who became her spiritual adviser. She devoted the rest of her life to working with him. She helped direct his Ladies of Charity in their work of caring for the sick, the poor, and the neglected. In 1633 she set up a training center, of which she was Directress in her own home, for candidates seeking to help in her work. This was the beginning of the Sisters (or Daughters, as Vincent preferred) of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul (though it was not formally approved until 1655). She took her vows in 1634 and attracted great numbers of candidates. She wrote a rule for the community, and in 1642, Vincent allowed four of the members to take vows. Formal approval placed the community under Vincent and his Congregation of the Missions, with Louise as Superior. She traveled all over France establishing her Sisters in hospitals, orphanages, and other institutions. By the time of her death in Paris on March 15, the Congregation had more than forty houses in France. Since then they have spread all over the world. She was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1934, and was declared Patroness of Social Workers by Pope John XXIII in 1960. Her feast day is March 15th.

March 15 Feast Days

* St. Louise de Marillac
* St. Matrona
* St. Aristobulus
* Bl. William Hart
* St. Clement Maria Hofbauer
* St. Leocrita
* St. Mancius
* St. Raymond of Fitero
* St. Nicander
* St. Menignus
* St. Monaldus of Ancona
* Bl. Artemide Zatti

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

St. Matilda

Feastday: March 14
Patron of parents of large families
Died: 968

Matilda was the daughter of Count Dietrich of Westphalia and Reinhild of Denmark. She was also known as Mechtildis and Maud. She was raised by her grandmother, the Abbess of Eufurt convent. Matilda married Henry the Fowler, son of Duke Otto of Saxony, in the year 909. He succeeded his father as Duke in the year 912 and in 919 succeeded King Conrad I to the German throne. She was noted for her piety and charitable works. She was widowed in the year 936, and supported her son Henry's claim to his father's throne. When her son Otto (the Great) was elected, she persuaded him to name Henry Duke of Bavaria after he had led an unsuccessful revolt. She was severely criticized by both Otto and Henry for what they considered her extravagant charities. She resigned her inheritance to her sons, and retired to her country home but was called to the court through the intercession of Otto's wife, Edith. When Henry again revolted, Otto put down the insurrection in the year 941 with great cruelty. Matilda censored Henry when he began another revolt against Otto in the year 953 and for his ruthlessness in suppressing a revolt by his own subjects; at that time she prophesized his imminent death. When he did die in 955, she devoted herself to building three convents and a monastery, was left in charge of the kingdom when Otto went to Rome in 962 to be crowned Emperor (often regarded as the beginning of the Holy Roman Empire), and spent most of the declining years of her life at the convent at Nordhausen she had built. She died at the monastery at Quedlinburg on March 14 and was buried there with Henry. Her feast day is March 14th.

March 14 Feast Days

* St. Matilda
* Bl. Ambrose Fernandez
* St. Boniface Curitan
* St. Diaconus
* Bl. Dominic Jorjes
* St. Eutychius
* Bl. Giacomo Cusmano
* Martyrs of Valeria
* St. Mathilda

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

March 13 Feast Days


* Bl. Agnello of Pisa
* St. Agnellus of Pisa
* St. Ansovinus
* St. Euphrasia of Constantinople
* St. Heldrad
* St. Kevoca
* St. Macedonius
* St. Mochoemoc
* St. Nicephorus
* St. Ramirus and Companions
* St. Roderic
* St. Roderic and Salomon
* St. Sabinus
* St. Theusetas
* St. Urpasian

Bl. Agnello of Pisa

Feastday: March 13

The founder of the English Franciscan province, Blessed Agnello, was admitted into the Order by St. Francis himself on the occasion of his sojourn in Pisa. He was sent to the Friary in Paris, of which he became the guardian, and in 1224, St. Francis appointed him to found an English province; at the time he was only a deacon. Eight others were selected to accompany him. True to the precepts of St. Francis, they had no money, and the monks of Fecamp paid their passage over to Dover. They made Canterbury their first stopping place, while Richard of Ingworth, Richard of Devon and two of the Italians went on to London to see where they could settle. It was the winter of 1224, and they must have suffered great discomfort, especially as their ordinary fare was bread and a little beer, which was so thick that it had to be diluted before they could swallow it. Nothing, however, dampened their spirits, and their simple piety, cheerfulness and enthusiasm soon won them many friends. They were able to produce a commendatory letter from Pope Honorius III, so that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Steven Langton, in announcing their arrival, said, "Some religious have come to me calling themselves penitents of the Order of Assisi, but I called them of the Order of the Apostles." In the meantime, Richard of Ingworth and his party had been well received in London and hired a dwelling on Cornhill. They were now ready to push on to Oxford, and Agnello came from Canterbury to take charge of the London settlement. Everywhere the Friars were received with enthusiasm, and Matthew Paris himself attests that Blessed Agnello was on familiar terms with King Henry III. Agnello is thought to have died at the age of forty-one, only eleven years after he landed at Dover, but his reputation for sanctity and prudence stood high amongst his fellows. It is stated that his zeal for poverty was so great that "he would never permit any ground to be enlarged or any house to be built except as inevitable necessity required." He was stern in resisting relaxations in the Rule, but his gentleness and tact led him to be chosen in 1233 to negotiate with the rebellious Earl Marshal. His health is said to have been undermined by his efforts in this cause and by a last painful journey to Italy. Opon his return he was seized with dysentery at Oxford and died there, after crying out for three days, "Come, Sweetest Jesus." The cult of Blessed Agnello was confirmed in 1892; his feast is observed in the Archdiocese of Birmingham today and by the Friars Minor on the eleventh.

Monday, March 12, 2012

March 12 Feast Days

* St. Fina
* St. Alphege
* St. Bernard of Carinola
* St. Egdunus
* Bl. Joseph Tshang-ta-Pong
* Bl. Luigi Orine
* St. Mamilian
* St. Maximilian
* St. Mura McFeredach
* St. Paul Aurelian
* St. Peter of Nicomedia
* St. Peter the Deacon
* St. Seraphina
* St. Theophanes

St. Fina "Seraphina"

Feastday: March 12

St. Fina or Seraphina, Virgin A.D. 1253 The old town of San Geminiano in Tuscany treasures with special veneration the memory of Santa Fina, a young girl whose claim to be recognized as a saint lay in the perfect resignation with which she accepted bodily suffering. She was born of parents who had seen better days but had fallen into poverty. The child was pretty and attractive. Poor as she was she always kept half her food to give to those who were worse off than herself. As far as possible she lived the life of a recluse at home, sewing indeed and spinning during the day, ;but spending much of the night in prayer. Her father seems to have died when she was still young and about the same time Fina was attacked by a sudden complication of diseases. Her head, hands, eyes, feet and internal organs were affected and paralysis supervened. She lost her good looks and became a miserable object. Desiring to be like our Lord on the cross, for six years she lay on a plank in one position, unable to turn or to move. Her mother had to leave her for hours while she went to work or beg, but Fina never complained. Although in terrible pain she always maintained serenity and with her eyes fixed upon the crucifix she kept on repeating,"It is not my wounds but thine, O Christ, that hurt me".

Fresh trouble befell her. Her mother died suddenly and Fina was left utterly destitute. Except for one devoted friend Beldia she was now so neglected that it was clear she could not live long, dependent on the casual attentions of poor neighbors who shrank from contact with her loathsome sores. Someone had told her about St. Gregory the Great and his sufferings, and she had conceived a special veneration for him. She used to pray that he, who was so much tried by disease would intercede with God that she might have patience in her affliction. Eight days before her death as she lay alone and untended, Gregory appeared to her and said, "Dear child on my festival God will give you rest". And it came to pass when her body was removed from the board on which it had rested, the rotten wood was found to be covered with white violets. All the city attended the funeral and many miracles were reported as having been wrought through her intercession. In particular she is said as she lay dead, to have raised her hand and to have clasped and healed the injured arm of her friend Beldia. The peasants of San Geminiano still give the name of Santa Fina's flowers to the white violets which bloom about the season of her feast day of March 12th.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

March 11 Feast Days

* St. Constantine
* St. Aengus
* St. Amunia
* St. Aurea
* St. Benedict Crispus
* St. Candidus
* St. Eulogius of Cordoba
* St. Euthymius of Sardis
* St. Firmian
* St. Heraclius and Zosimus
* St. Peter the Spaniard
* St. Sophronius of Jerusalem
* St. Teresa Margaret Redi
* Sts. Trophimus & Thalus
* St. Vigilius
* St. Vindician

St. Constantine

Feastday: March 11

Constantine was king of Cornwall. Unreliable tradition has him married to the daughter of the king of Brittany who on her death ceded his throne to his son and became a monk at St. Mochuda monastery at Rahan, Ireland. He performed menial tasks at the monastery, then studied for the priesthood and was ordained. He went as a missionary to Scotland under St. Columba and then St. Kentigern, preached in Galloway, and became Abbot of a monastery at Govan. In old age, on his way to Kintyre, he was attacked by pirates who cut off his right arm, and he bled to death. He is regarded as Scotland's first martyr. His feast day is March 11th.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

March 10 Feast Days

* St. John Ogilvie
* St. Anastasia Patricia
* St. Anastasia the Patrician
* St. Attalas
* St. Codratus of Corinth
* St. Droctoveus
* St. Emilian
* St. Himelin
* St. Himelin
* St. Kessag
* St. Macarius of Jerusalem
* St. Marcarius of Jerusalem
* Martyrs of Armenia
* St. Sedna
* St. Simplicius
* St. Victor

St. John Ogilvie

Feastday: March 10
1579 - 1615

Born in 1579, John Ogilvie belonged to Scottish nobility. Raised a Calvinist, he was educated on the continent. Exposed to the religious controversies of his day and impressed with the faith of the martyrs, he decided to become a Catholic. In 1596, at age seventeen he was received into the Church at Louvain. Later John attended a variety of Catholic educational institutions, and eventually he sought admission into the Jesuits. He was ordained at Paris in 1610 and asked to be sent to Scotland, hoping some Catholic nobles there would aid him given his lineage. Finding none, he went to London, then back to Paris, and finally returned to Scotland. John's work was quite successful in bring back many people to the Faith. Some time later he was betrayed by one posing as a Catholic. After his arrest he was tortured in prison in an effort to get him to reveal the names of other Catholics, but he refused. After three trials, John was convicted of high treason because he converted Protestants to the Catholic Faith as well as denied the king's spiritual jurisdiction by upholding the Pope's spiritual primacy and condemning the oaths of supremacy and allegiance. Sentenced to death, the courageous priest was hanged at Glasgow in 1615 at the age of thirty-six. His feast day is March 10.

Friday, March 9, 2012

March 9 Feast Days

* St. Anthony
* St. Bosa of York
* St. Catherine of Bologna
* St. Gregory of Nyssa
* St. Pacian
* St. Frances of Rome

St. Frances of Rome

Feastday: March 9

Frances was born in the city of Rome in 1384 to a wealthy, noble family. From her mother she inherited a quiet manner and a pious devotion to God. From her father, however, she inherited a strong will. She decided at eleven that she knew what God wanted for her -- she was going to be a nun.

And that's where her will ran right up against her father's. He told Frances she was far too young to know her mind -- but not too young to be married. He had already promised her in marriage to the son of another wealthy family. In Rome at that time a father's word was law; a father could even sell his children into slavery or order them killed.

Frances probably felt that's what he was doing by forcing her to marry. But just as he wouldn't listen to her, Frances wouldn't listen to him. She stubbornly prayed to God to prevent the marriage until her confessor pointed out, "Are you crying because you want to do God's will or because you want God to do your will?"

She gave in to the marriage -- reluctantly. It was difficult for people to understand her objection. Her future husband Lorenzo Ponziani was noble, wealthy, a good person and he really cared for her. An ideal match -- except for someone who was determined to be a bride of Christ.

Then her nightmare began. This quiet, shy thirteen year old was thrust into the whirl of parties and banquets that accompanied a wedding. Her mother-in-law Cecilia loved to entertain and expected her new daughter-in-law to enjoy the revelry of her social life too. Fasting and scourging were far easier than this torture God now asked her to face.

Frances collapsed from the strain. For months she lay close to death, unable to eat or move or speak.

At her worst, she had a vision of St. Alexis. The son of a noble family, Alexis had run away to beg rather than marry. After years of begging he was so unrecognizable that when he returned home his own father thought he was just another beggar and made him sleep under the stairs. In her own way, Frances must have felt unrecognized by her family -- they couldn't see how she wanted to give up everything for Jesus. St. Alexis told her God was giving her an important choice: Did she want to recover or not?

It's hard for us to understand why a thirteen-year-old would want to die but Frances was miserable. Finally, she whispered, "God's will is mine." The hardest words she could have said -- but the right words to set her on the road to sanctity.

St. Alexis replied, "Then you will live to glorify His Name." Her recovery was immediate and complete. Lorenzo became even more devoted to her after this -- he was even a little in awe of her because of what she'd been through.

But her problems did not disappear. Her mother-in-law still expected her to entertain and go on visits with her. Look at Frances' sister-in-law Vannozza --happily going through the rounds of parties, dressing up, playing cards. Why couldn't Frances be more like Vannozza?

In a house where she lived with her husband, his parents, his brother and his brother's family, she felt all alone. And that's why Vannozza found her crying bitterly in the garden one day. When Frances poured out her heart to Vannozza and it turned out that this sister-in-law had wanted to live a life devoted to the Lord too. What Frances had written off as frivolity was just Vannozza's natural easy-going and joyful manner. They became close friends and worked out a program of devout practices and services to work together.

They decided their obligations to their family came first. For Frances that meant dressing up to her rank, making visits and receiving visits -- and most importantly doing it gladly. But the two spiritual friends went to mass together, visited prisons, served in hospitals and set up a secret chapel in an abandoned tower of their palace where they prayed together.

But it wasn't fashionable for noblewomen to help the poor and people gossiped about two girls out alone on the streets. Cecilia suffered under the laughter of her friends and yelled at her daughters-in-law to stop theirs spiritual practices. When that didn't work Cecilia then appealed to her sons, but Lorenzo refused to interfere with Frances' charity.

The beginning of the fifteenth century brought the birth of her first son, Battista, after John the Baptist. We might expect that the grief of losing her mother-in-law soon after might have been mixed with relief -- no more pressure to live in society. But a household as large as the Ponziani's needed someone to run it. Everyone thought that sixteen-year-old Frances was best qualified to take her mother-in-law's place. She was thrust even more deeply into society and worldly duties. Her family was right, though -- she was an excellent administrator and a fair and pleasant employer.

After two more children were born to her -- a boy, Giovanni Evangelista, and a girl, Agnes -- a flood brought disease and famine to Rome. Frances gave orders that no one asking for alms would be turned away and she and Vannozza went out to the poor with corn, wine, oil and clothing. Her father-in-law, furious that she was giving away their supplies during a famine, took the keys of the granary and wine cellar away from her.

Then just to make sure she wouldn't have a chance to give away more, he sold off their extra corn, leaving just enough for the family, and all but one cask of one. The two noblewomen went out to the streets to beg instead.

Finally Frances was so desperate for food to give to the poor she went to the now empty corn loft and sifted through the straw searching for a few leftover kernels of corn. After she left Lorenzo came in and was stunned to find the previously empty granary filled with yellow corn. Frances drew wine out of their one cask until one day her father in law went down and found it empty. Everyone screamed at Frances. After saying a prayer, she led them to cellar, turned the spigot on the empty cask, and out flowed the most wonderful wine. These incidents completely converted Lorenzo and her father-in-law.

Having her husband and father-in-law completely on her side meant she could do what she always wanted. She immediately sold her jewels and clothes and distributed money to needy. She started wearing a dress of coarse green cloth.

Civil war came to Rome -- this was a time of popes and antipopes and Rome became a battleground. At one point there were three men claiming to be pope. One of them sent a cruel governor, Count Troja, to conquer Rome. Lorenzo was seriously wounded and his brother was arrested. Troja sent word that Lorenzo's brother would be executed unless he had Battista, Frances's son and heir of the family, as a hostage. As long as Troja had Battista he knew the Ponzianis would stop fighting.

When Frances heard this she grabbed Battista by the hand and fled. On the street, she ran into her spiritual adviser Don Andrew who told her she was choosing the wrong way and ordered her to trust God. Slowly she turned around and made her way to Capitol Hill where Count Troja was waiting. As she and Battista walked the streets, crowds of people tried to block her way or grab Battista from her to save him. After giving him up, Frances ran to a church to weep and pray.

As soon as she left, Troja had put Battista on a soldier's horse -- but every horse they tried refused to move. Finally the governor gave in to God's wishes. Frances was still kneeling before the altar when she felt Battista's little arms around her.

But the troubles were not over. Frances was left alone against the attackers when she sent Lorenzo out of Rome to avoid capture. Drunken invaders broke into her house, tortured and killed the servants, demolished the palace, literally tore it apart and smashed everything. And this time God did not intervene -- Battista was taken to Naples. Yet this kidnapping probably saved Battista's life because soon a plague hit -- a plague that took the lives of many including Frances' nine-year-old son Evangelista.

At this point, her house in ruins, her husband gone, one son dead, one son a hostage, she could have given up. She looked around, cleared out the wreckage of the house and turned it into a makeshift hospital and a shelter for the homeless.

One year after his death Evangelista came to her in a vision and told her that Agnes was going to die too. In return God was granting her a special grace by sending an archangel to be her guardian angel for the rest of her life. She would always been able to see him. A constant companion and spiritual adviser, he once commanded her to stop her severe penances (eating only bread and water and wearing a hair shirt). "You should understand by now," the angel told her, "that the God who made your body and gave it to your soul as a servant never intended that the spirit should ruin the flesh and return it to him despoiled."

Finally the wars were over and Battista and her husband returned home. But though her son came back a charming young man her husband returned broken in mind and body. Probably the hardest work of healing Frances had to do in her life was to restore Lorenzo back to his old self.

When Battista married a pretty young woman named Mabilia Frances expected to find someone to share in the management of the household. But Mabilia wanted none of it. She was as opposite of Frances and Frances had been of her mother-in- law. Mabilia wanted to party and ridiculed Frances in public for her shabby green dress, her habits, and her standards. One day in the middle of yelling at her, Mabilia suddenly turned pale and fainted, crying, "Oh my pride, my dreadful pride." Frances nursed her back to health and healed their differences as well. A converted Mabilia did her best to imitate Frances after that.

With Lorenzo's support and respect, Frances started a lay order of women attached to the Benedictines called the Oblates of Mary. The women lived in the world but pledged to offer themselves to God and serve the poor. Eventually they bought a house where the widowed members could live in community.

Frances nursed Lorenzo until he died. His last words to her were, "I feel as if my whole life has been one beautiful dream of purest happiness. God has given me so much in your love." After his death, Frances moved into the house with the other Oblates and was made superior. At 52 she had the life she dreamed of when she was eleven. She had been right in discerning her original vocation -- she just had the timing wrong. God had had other plans for her in between.

Frances died four years later. Her last words were "The angel has finished his task -- he beckons me to follow him."
In Her Footsteps:

Do you have a spiritual friend who helps you on your journey, someone to pray with and serve with? If you don't have one now, ask God to send you such a companion. Then look around you. This friend, like Frances' Vannozza, may be near you already. Try sharing some of your spiritual hopes and desires with those closest to you. You may be surprised at their reaction. (But don't force your opinions on others or get discouraged by lack of interest. Just keep asking God to lead you.)
Prayer:

Saint Frances of Rome, help us to see the difference between what we want to do and what God wants us to do. Help us to discern what comes from our will and what comes from God's desire. Amen

Thursday, March 8, 2012

March 8 Feast Days

* St. John of God
* St. Senan
* St. Arian and Companions
* St. Beoadh
* St. Veremundus
* St. Vincent Kadlubek
* St. Theophylact of Nicomedia
* St. Duthac
* St. Beoadh
* St. Julian of Toledo
* St. Rhian
* St. Quintilis
* St. Jón Ögmundsson
* St. Philemon
* St. Stephen of Obazine
* St. Pontius of Carthage
* St. Simon Berneux

St. John of God

Feastday: March 8
Patron of Booksellers

From the time he was eight to the day he died, John followed every impulse of his heart. The challenge for him was to rush to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit gave him, not his own human temptations. But unlike many who act impulsively, when John made a decision, no matter how quickly, he stuck with it, no matter what the hardship.

At eight years old, John heard a visiting priest speak of adventures that were waiting in the age of 1503 with new worlds being opened up. That very night he ran away from home to travel with the priest and never saw his parents again. They begged their way from village to village until John fell sick. The man who nursed him back to health, the manager of a large estate, adopted John. John worked as a shepherd in the mountains until he was 27. Feeling pressure to marry the manager's daughter, whom he loved as a sister, John took off to join the Spanish army in the war against France. As a soldier, he was hardly a model of holiness, taking part in the gambling, drinking, and pillaging that his comrades enjoyed. One day, he was thrown from a stolen horse near French lines. Frightened that he would be captured or killed, he reviewed his life and vowed impulsively to make a change.

When he returned he kept his spur of the moment vow, made a confession, and immediately changed his life. His comrades didn't mind so much that John was repenting but hated that he wanted them to give up their pleasures too. So they used his impulsive nature to trick him into leaving his post on the pretext of helping someone in need. He was rescued from hanging at the last minute and thrown out of the army after being beaten and stripped. He begged his way back to his foster-home where he worked as a shepherd until he heard of a new war with Moslems invading Europe. Off he went but after the war was over, he decided to try to find his real parents. To his grief he discovered both had died in his absence.

As a shepherd he had plenty of time to contemplate what God might want of his life. When he decided at 38 that he should go to Africa to ransom Christian captives, he quit immediately and set off for the port of Gibraltar. He was on the dock waiting for his ship when he saw a family obviously upset and grieving. When he discovered they were a noble family being exiled to Africa after political intrigues, he abandoned his original plan and volunteered to be their servant. The family fell sick when they reached their exile and John kept them alive not only by nursing them but by earning money to feed them. His job building fortifications was grueling, inhuman work and the workers were beaten and mistreated by people who called themselves Catholics. Seeing Christians act this way so disturbed John that it shook his faith. A priest advised him not to blame the Church for their actions and to leave for Spain at once. John did go back home -- but only after he learned that his newly adopted family had received pardons.

In Spain he spent his days unloading ship cargoes and his nights visiting churches and reading spiritual books. Reading gave him so much pleasure that he decided that he should share this joy with others. He quit his job and became a book peddler, traveling from town to town selling religious books and holy cards. A vision at age 41 brought him to Granada where he sold books from a little shop. (For this reason he is patron saint of booksellers and printers.)

After hearing a sermon from the famous John of Avila on repentance, he was so overcome by the thought of his sins that the whole town thought the little bookseller had gone from simple eccentricity to madness. After the sermon John rushed back to his shop, tore up any secular books he had, gave away all his religious books and all his money. Clothes torn and weeping, he was the target of insults, jokes, and even stones and mud from the townspeople and their children.

Friends took the distraught John to the Royal Hospital where he was interned with the lunatics. John suffered the standard treatment of the time -- being tied down and daily whipping. John of Avila came to visit him there and told him his penance had gone on long enough -- forty days, the same amount as the Lord's suffering the desert -- and had John moved to a better part of the hospital.

John of God could never see suffering without trying to do something about it. And now that he was free to move, although still a patient, he immediately got up and began to help the other sick people around him. The hospital was glad to have his unpaid nursing help and were not happy to release him when one day he walked in to announce he was going to start his own hospital.

John may have been positive that God wanted him to start a hospital for the poor who got bad treatment, if any, from the other hospitals, but everyone else still thought of him as a madman. It didn't help that he decided to try to finance his plan by selling wood in the square. At night he took what little money he earned and brought food and comfort to the poor living in abandoned buildings and under bridges. Thus his first hospital was the streets of Granada.

Within an hour after seeing a sign in a window saying "House to let for lodging of the poor" he had rented the house in order to move his nursing indoors. Of course he rented it without money for furnishings, medicine, or help. After he begged money for beds, he went out in the streets again and carried his ill patients back on the same shoulders that had carried stones, wood, and books. Once there he cleaned them, dressed their wounds, and mended their clothes at night while he prayed. He used his old experience as a peddler to beg alms, crying through the streets in his peddler's voice, "Do good to yourselves! For the love of God, Brothers, do good!" Instead of selling goods, he took anything given -- scraps of good, clothing, a coin here and there.

Throughout his life he was criticized by people who didn't like the fact that his impulsive love embraced anyone in need without asking for credentials or character witnesses. When he was able to move his hospital to an old Carmelite monastery, he opened a homeless shelter in the monastery hall. Immediately critics tried to close him down saying he was pampering troublemakers. His answer to this criticism always was that he knew of only one bad character in the hospital and that was himself. His urge to act immediately when he saw need got him into trouble more than a few times. Once, when he encountered a group of starving people, he rushed into a house, stole a pot of food, and gave it to them. He was almost arrested for that charity! Another time, on finding a group of children in rags, he marched them into a clothing shop and bought them all new clothes. Since he had no money, he paid for it all on credit!

Yet his impulsive wish to help saved many people in one emergency. The alarm went out that the Royal Hospital was on fire. When he dropped everything to run there, he found that the crowd was just standing around watching the hospital -- and its patients -- go up in flames. He rushed into the blazing building and carried or led the patients out. When all the patients were rescued, he started throwing blankets, sheets, and mattresses out the windows -- how well he knew from his own hard work how important these things were. At that point a cannon was brought to destroy the burning part of the building in order to save the rest. John stopped them, ran up the roof, and separated the burning portion with an axe. He succeeded but fell through the burning roof. All thought they had lost their hero until John of God appeared miraculously out of smoke. (For this reason, John of God is patron saint of firefighters.)

John was ill himself when he heard that a flood was bringing precious driftwood near the town. He jumped out of bed to gather the wood from the raging river. Then when one of his companions fell into the river, John without thought for his illness or safety jumped in after him. He failed to save the boy and caught pneumonia. He died on March 8, his fifty-fifth birthday, of the same impulsive love that had guided his whole life.

John of God is patron saint of booksellers, printers, heart patients, hospitals, nurses, the sick, and firefighters and is considered the founder of the Brothers Hospitallers.
In His Footsteps:

When you feel the urge to serve, help, or pray do you act on it or argue yourself out of it? Today if you feel an impulse to do good, do it immediately as John of God would have done without thinking of how practical or how embarrassing it might be.
Prayer:

Saint John of God, help us to act out of love as soon as we feel the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Help us learn to fight the little voices in our heads and hearts that give us all sorts of practical reasons to wait or delay in our service of God. Amen

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

March 7th Feast Days

* St. Ardo
* St. Deifer
* St. Drausinus
* St. Enodoch
* St. Esterwine
* Bl. John Ireland
* Bl. John Larke
* St. Paul of Prusa
* St. Paul the Simple

St. Paul the Simple

Feastday: March 7
Died: 339

Paul spent his first sixty years in the world, employed as a laborer. He then suffered the ordeal of discovering that his wife had committed adultery. Thereafter, Paul withdrew into the Egyptian desert in the hope of becoming a hermit under the tutelage of Saint Anthony the Abbot. Upon seeing this aged would-be disciple at his door, Anthony judged him to be ill suited to eremitical life, and refused to receive him. But Paul refused to leave. Anthony thereupon decided to test Paul’s virtue by commanding him to carry out a series of difficult tasks, including a very prolonged regimen of continuous prayer, the sewing of mats that he was then instructed to take apart and sew all over again, and very strict fasting. Paul proved himself to be unwavering in obedience and perseverance, winning Anthony’s confidence and admiration. Anthony was later to say of Paul, “How this monk puts us all to shame! He immediately obeys man’s simplest order, while we often fail to listen to the word which comes to us from heaven.” Paul lived his remaining years in great humility and childlike simplicity.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March 6th Feast Days

* St. Colette
* St. Baldred
* St. Balther
* St. Basil
* St. Bilfrid
* St. Cadroe of Metz
* St. Conon
* St. Evagrius of Constantinople
* St. Fridolin
* St. Kyneburga, Kyneswide, & Tibba
* St. Marcian of Tortona
* St. Ollegarius

St. Colette

Feastday: March 6

Colette was the daughter of a carpenter named DeBoilet at Corby Abbey in Picardy, France. She was born on January 13, christened Nicolette, and called Colette. Orphaned at seventeen, she distributed her inheritance to the poor. She became a Franciscan tertiary, and lived at Corby as a solitary. She soon became well known for her holiness and spiritual wisdom, but left her cell in 1406 in response to a dream directing her to reform the Poor Clares. She received the Poor Clares habit from Peter de Luna, whom the French recognized as Pope under the name of Benedict XIII, with orders to reform the Order and appointing her Superior of all convents she reformed. Despite great opposition, she persisted in her efforts. She founded seventeen convents with the reformed rule and reformed several older convents. She was reknowned for her sanctity, ecstacies, and visions of the Passion, and prophesied her own death in her convent at Ghent, Belgium. A branch of the Poor Clares is still known as the Collettines. She was canonized in 1807. Her feast day is March 6th.

Monday, March 5, 2012

March 5th Feast Days

* St. John Joseph of the Cross
* St. Piran
* St. Adrian
* St. Virgilius of Arles
* St. Theophilus
* St. Caron
* St. Carthach the Elder
* St. Colman of Armagh
* Bl. Dionysius Fugishima
* St. Eusebius of Cremona
* St. Gerasimus of the Jordan
* St. Kieran of Saigir
* St. Oliva
* St. Phocas of Antioch

St. John Joseph of the Cross

Feastday: March 5
Patron of Ischia
1654 - 1739

St. John Joseph of the Cross was born about the middle of the seventeenth century in the beautiful island of Ischia, near Naples. From his childhood he was the model of virtue, and in his sixteenth year he entered the Franciscan Order of the Strictest Observance, or Reform of St. Peter of Alcantara. Such was the edification he gave in his Order, that within three years after his profession he was sent to found a monastery in Piedmont. He became a priest out of obedience, and obtained, as it seems, an inspired knowledge of moral theology. With his superiors' permission he built another convent and drew up rules for that community, which were confirmed by the Holy See. He afterward became Master of Novices. Sometimes later he was made provincial of the province of Naples, erected in the beginning of the eightheenth century by Clement XI. He labored hard to establish in Italy that branch of his Order which the sovereign Pontiff had separated from the one in Spain. In his work he suffered much, and became the victim of numerous calumnies. However, the saint succeeded in his labors, endeavoring to instill in the hearts of his subjects, the double spirit of contemplation and penance bequeathed to his Reform by St. Peter of Alcantara. St. John Joseph exemplified the most sublime virtues, especially humility and religious discipline. He also possessed numerous gifts in the supernatural order, such as those of prophesy and miracles. Finally,consumed by labors for the glory of God, he was called to his reward. Stricken with apoplexy, he died an octogenarian in his convent at Naples on March 5, 1734. His feast day is March 5th.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

March 4th Feast Days

* St. Casimir
* Bl. Humbert
* St. Lucius I
* St. Adrian
* St. Appian
* St. Basil and Companions
* St. Basinus
* St. Casimir of Poland
* St. Felix of Rhuys
* St. Owen
* St. Peter of Pappacarbone
* St. Placide Viel

St. Casimir

Feastday: March 4
Patron of Poland and Lithuania
1461 - 1484

Casimir grew up in a world where his life was not his own. As a prince of Poland, the second son of King Casimir IV and Elizabeth of Austria, his life was scheduled to cement his father's authority and increase Poland's power.

Casimir realized from an early age that his life belonged to someone else, but to a much higher King than his father. Despite pressure, humiliation, and rejection, he stood by that loyalty through his whole life.

Born the third of thirteen children in 1461, Casimir was committed to God from childhood. Some of that commitment was the result of a tutor, John Dlugosz, whose holiness encouraged Casimir on his own journey.

It may be hard for us to imagine royal luxury as a pressure. But for Casimir, the riches around him were temptations to forget his true loyalties. Rebelling against the rich, fashionable clothes he was expected to enjoy, he wore the plainest of clothes.

Rejecting even ordinary comforts, he slept little, spending his nights in prayer. And when he did sleep, he lay on the floor not on a royal bed. Even though he was a prince, many of those around him must have laughed and joked at his choices. Yet, in the face of any pressure, Casimir was always friendly and calm.

Though his father must have wondered about him, he must have seen and admired Casimir's strength. He showed that he misunderstood this strength when he sent Casimir as head of an army to take over the throne of Hungary at the request of some nobles there. Casimir felt the whole expedition was wrong but was convinced to go out of obedience to his father. He could not help but feel at every step that it was disobedient to his other Father. So when soldiers started deserting, he was only too glad to listen to the advice of his officers and turn back home. His feelings were confirmed when he discovered that Pope Sixtus IV had opposed the move.

His father, however, was furious at being deterred from his plans and banished Casimir to a castle in Dobzki, hoping that imprisonment would change Casimir's mind. Casimir's commitment to what he believed was right only grew stronger in his exile and he refused to cooperate with his father's plans any more despite the pressure to give in. He even rejected a marriage alliance his father tried to form. He participated in his true King's plans wholeheartedly by praying, studying, and helping the poor.

He died at the age of 23 in 1484 from lung disease. He was buried with his favorite song, a Latin hymn to Mary called "Omni die dic Mariae" which we know as "Daily, Daily Sing to Mary." Because of his love for the song, it is known as the Hymn of St. Casimir though he didn't write it.

Casimir is patron saint of Poland and Lithuania.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

March 3rd Feast Days

* St. Katharine Drexel
* St. Cunegundes
* St. Anselm of Nonantola
* St. Arthelais
* St. Winwaloc
* St. Titian of Brescia
* St. Sacer
* St. Calupan
* St. Camilla
* St. Cele-Christ
* St. Cleonicus
* St. Foila
* St. Felix
* St. Hemiterius and Cheledonius
* St. Lamalisse
* St. Non
* St. Marinus & Asterius
* St. Teresa Eustochio Verzeri

St. Katharine Drexel

Feastday: March 3
Died: 1955
Beatified By: Pope John Paul II
Canonized By: Pope John Paul II

Saint Katharine Drexel, Religious (Feast Day-March 3) Born in 1858, into a prominent Philadelphia family, Katharine became imbued with love for God and neighbor. She took an avid interest in the material and spiritual well-being of black and native Americans. She began by donating money but soon concluded that more was needed - the lacking ingredient was people. Katharine founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Black and Native American peoples, whose members would work for the betterment of those they were called to serve. From the age of 33 until her death in 1955, she dedicated her life and a fortune of 20 million dollars to this work. In 1894, Mother Drexel took part in opening the first mission school for Indians, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Other schools quickly followed - for Native Americans west of the Mississippi River, and for the blacks in the southern part of the United States. In 1915 she also founded Xavier University in New Orleans. At her death there were more than 500 Sisters teaching in 63 schools throughout the country. Katharine was beatified by Pope John Paul II on November 20, 1988.

Because of her lifelong dedication to her faith and her selfless service to the oppressed, Pope John Paul II canonized her on October 1, 2000 to become only the second recognized American-born saint.

Friday, March 2, 2012

March 2nd Feast Days

* Bl. Charles the Good
* St. Agnes of Bohemia
* St. Willeic
* St. Chad of Mercia
* St. Cynibild
* St. Fergna
* St. Gilstlian
* St. Jovinus & Basileus
* Martyrs of Campania
* St. Paul, Heraclius, and Companions
* St. Angela of the Cross

Blessed Charles the Good

Feastday: March 2
1083 - 1127

In 1086, St. Canute, King of Denmark and father of Blessed Charles the Good, was slain in St. Alban's Church, Odence. Charles who was only a few years old was taken by his mother to the court of Robert, Count of Flanders, his maternal grandfather. When he grew up, he became a knight and accompanied Robert in a crusade to the Holy Land where he distinguished himself; on their return, Charles also fought against the English with his uncle. On Robert's death, his son Baldwin succeeded him and designated Charles as the heir. At the same time, he arranged for Charles' marriage to the daughter of the Count of Clermont. During Baldwin's rule, Charles was closely associated with him, and the people came to have a high regard for his wise and beneficent ways as well as his personal holiness. At Baldwin's death, in 1119, the people made his cousin their ruler. Charles ruled his people with wisdom, diligence, and compassion; he made sure that times of truce were respected and fought against black marketeers who horded food and were waiting to sell it at astronomical prices to the people. This encouraged their undying wrath and one day in 1127 as Charles was praying in the Church of St. Donatian they set upon him and killed him.Blessed Charles the Good feast day is March 2nd.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

March 1st Feast Days

* St. David
* St. Albinus
* St. Monan
* St. Eudocia
* St. Herculaflus
* St. Hermes and Adrian
* St. Leo Luke
* St. Leo of Rouen
* St. Lupercus
* St. Rudesind
* St. Suitbert of Kaiserwerdt
* Adrianus

St. David

Feastday: March 1

According to tradition, St. David was the son of King Sant of South Wales and St. Non. He was ordained a priest and later studied under St. Paulinus. Later, he was involved in missionary work and founded a number of monasteries. The monastery he founded at Menevia in Southwestern Wales was noted for extreme asceticism. David and his monks drank neither wine nor beer - only water - while putting in a full day of heavy manual labor and intense study. Around the year 550, David attended a synod at Brevi in Cardiganshire. His contributions at the synod are said to have been the major cause for his election as primate of the Cambrian Church. He was reportedly consecrated archbishop by the patriarch of Jerusalem while on a visit to the Holy Land. He also is said to have invoked a council that ended the last vestiges of Pelagianism. David died at his monastery in Menevia around the year 589, and his cult was approved in 1120 by Pope Callistus II. He is revered as the patron of Wales. Undoubtedly, St. David was endowed with substantial qualities of spiritual leadership. What is more, many monasteries flourished as a result of his leadership and good example. His staunch adherence to monastic piety bespeaks a fine example for modern Christians seeking order and form in their prayer life.His feast day is March 1.