Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Saint Alexius of Rome

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The 17th of July is the feast day of Saint Alexius of Rome (4th Century – 5th Century). He is also known as Alexis of Edessa and is the patron saint of Alexians; beggars; belt makers; nurses; pilgrims; and travellers.

The following is from Butler’s Lives of the Saints:

ST. ALEXIUS was the only son of parents pre-eminent among the Roman nobles for virtue, birth, and wealth. On his wedding-night, by God’s special inspiration, he secretly quitted Rome, and journeying to Edessa, in the far East, gave away all that he had brought with him, content thenceforth to live on alms at the gate of Our Lady’s church in that city. It came to pass that the servants of St. Alexius, whom his father sent in search of him, arrived at Edessa, and seeing him among the poor at the gate of Our Lady’s church, gave him an alms, not recognizing him. Whereupon the man of God, rejoicing, said, “I thank thee, O Lord, Who hast called me and granted that I should receive for Thy name’s sake an alms from my own slaves. Deign to fulfil in me the work Thou hast begun.” After seventeen years, when his sanctity was miraculously manifested by the Blessed Virgin’s image, he once more sought obscurity by flight. On his way to Tarsus contrary winds drove his ship to Rome. There no one recognized in the wan and tattered mendicant the heir of Rome’s noblest house; not even his sorrowing parents, who had vainly sent throughout the world in search of him. From his father’s charity he begged a mean corner of his palace as a shelter, and the leavings of his table as food. Thus he spent seventeen years, bearing patiently the mockery and ill-usage of his own slaves, and witnessing daily the inconsolable grief of his spouse and parents. At last, when death had ended this cruel martyrdom, they learned too late, from a writing in his own hand, who it was that they had unknowingly sheltered. God bore testimony to His servant’s sanctity by many miracles. He died early in the fifth century.

Reflection.—We must always be ready to sacrifice our dearest and best natural affections in obedience to the call of our heavenly Father. “Call none your father upon earth, for one is your Father in heaven” (Matt. xxiii. 9) . Our Lord has taught us this not by words only, but by His own example and by that of His Saints.

Monday, 16 July 2018

Saint Marie-Madeleine Postel

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Image: Saint Marie-Madeleine Postel tomb in the abbey of St Sauveur le Vicomte

The 16th of July is the feast day of Saint Marie-Madeleine Postel (28 November 1756 – 16 July 1846). She was born as Julie Françoise-Catherine Postel and is the patron saint of Sisters of Christian Schools.

Saint Marie Magdelen Postel was born in Normandy to a family of seven other children. She was well known for her generosity as a child, she would give her food and belongings to those in need and was often rebuked for her actions. Educated by Benedictine nuns, she decided to devote her life to God and made a vow of chastity. When she was 18 she started a school for girls which ran for five years until it was shut down due to the French Revolution. She would house fugitive priests in the school and encouraged the faithful during the persecution. She was also granted special permission to keep the Blessed Sacrament in order to give it those who were in danger of death. After the unrest, she founded “The Poor Daughters of Mercy” which lived under the rule of the Third Order of Saint Francis. The community was renamed “Sisters of the Christian Schools of Mercy” and took the rule of Saint John Baptist de la Salle. She died at the age of 90.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

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Image: Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saints (Simon Stock, Angelus of Jerusalem, Mary Magdalene de’Pazzi, Teresa of Avila) by Pietro Novelli (1641)

The 16th of July is the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

The following is from Catholic Encyclopedia:

This feast was instituted by the Carmelites between 1376 and 1386 under the title “Commemoratio B. Marif Virg. duplex” to celebrate the victory of their order over its enemies on obtaining the approbation of its name and constitution from Honorius III on 30 Jan., 1226 (see Colvenerius, “Kal. Mar.”, 30 Jan. “Summa Aurea”, III, 737). The feast was assigned to 16 July, because on that date in 1251, according to Carmelite traditions, the scapular was given by the Blessed Virgin to St. Simon Stock; it was first approved by Sixtus V in 1587. After Cardinal Bellarmine had examined the Carmelite traditions in 1609, it was declared the patronal feast of the order, and is now celebrated in the Carmelite calendar as a major double of the first class with a vigil and a privileged octave (like the octave of Epiphany, admitting only a double of the first class) under the title “Commemoratio solemnis B.V.M. de Monte Carmelo”. By a privilege given by Clement X in 1672, some Carmelite monasteries keep the feast on the Sunday after 16 July, or on some other Sunday in July. In the seventeenth century the feast was adopted by several dioceses in the south of Italy, although its celebration, outside of Carmelite churches, was prohibited in 1628 by a decree contra abusus. On 21 Nov., 1674, however, it was first granted by Clement X to Spain and its colonies, in 1675 to Austria, in 1679 to Portugal and its colonies, and in 1725 to the Papal States of the Church, on 24 Sept., 1726, it was extended to the entire Latin Church by Benedict XIII. The lessons contain the legend of the scapular; the promise of the Sabbatine privilege was inserted into the lessons by Paul V about 1614. The Greeks of southern Italy and the Catholic Chaldeans have adopted this feast of the “Vestment of the Blessed Virgin Mary”. The object of the feast is the special predilection of Mary for those who profess themselves her servants by wearing her scapular (see CARMELITES).

FREDERICK G. HOLWECK

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Saint Bonaventure

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Image: The Prayer of St. Bonaventura about the Selection of the New Pope by Francisco de Zurbarán (1628 – 1629)

The 15th of July is the feast day of Saint Bonaventure (1221 – 15 July 1274). He was born Giovanni di Fidanza.

The following is from Butler’s Lives of the Saints:

SANCTITY and learning raised Bonaventure to the Church’s highest honors, and from a child he was the companion of Saints. Yet at heart he was ever the poor Franciscan friar, and practised and taught humility and mortification. St. Francis gave him his name; for, having miraculously cured him of a mortal sickness, he prophetically exclaimed of the child, “O bona ventura!”—good luck. He is known also as the “Seraphic Doctor,” from the fervor of divine love which breathes in his writings. He was the friend of St. Thomas Aquinas, who asked him one day whence he drew his great learning. He replied by pointing to his crucifix. At another time St. Thomas found him in ecstasy while writing the life of St. Francis, and exclaimed, “Let us leave a Saint to write of a Saint.” They received the Doctor’s cap together. He was the guest and adviser of St. Louis, and the director of St. Isabella, the king’s sister. At the age of thirty-five he was made general of his Order; and only escaped another dignity, the Archbishopric of York, by dint of tears and entreaties. Gregory X. appointed him Cardinal Bishop of Albano. When the Saint heard of the Pope’s resolve to create him a Cardinal, he quietly made his escape from Italy. But Gregory sent him a summons to return to Rome. On his way, he stopped to rest himself at a convent of his Order near Florence; and there two Papal messengers, sent to meet him with the Cardinal’s hat, found him washing the dishes. The Saint desired them to hang the hat on a bush that was near, and take a walk in the garden until he had finished what he was about. Then taking up the hat with unfeigned sorrow, he joined the messengers, and paid them the respect due to their character. He sat at the Pontiff’s right hand, and spoke first at the Council of Lyons. His piety and eloquence won over the Greeks to Catholic union, and then his strength failed. He died while the Council was sitting, and was buried by the assembled bishops, A. D. 1274.

Reflection.—”The fear of God,” says St. Bonaventure, “forbids a man to give his heart to transitory things, which are the true seeds of sin.”

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha

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Image: Kateri Tekakwitha – Oil Painting by Father Claude Chauchetière S.J. (1690)

The 14th of July is the feast day of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha (1656 – April 17, 1680). She is also known as Lily of the Mohawks and was baptised with the Christian name of Catherine. She is the patron saint of patronage ecologists, ecology, environment, environmentalism, environmentalists, loss of parents, people in exile, people ridiculed for their piety, Native Americans, Igorots, Cordilleras, Thomasites, Northern Luzon, Diocese of Bangued, Vicariate of Tabuk, Vicariate of Bontoc-Lagawe, Diocese of Baguio, and Philippines.

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha was born in what is today’s, New York. Her father was a Mohawk chief, and her mother was converted to the Christian faith by Jesuit missionaries. A smallpox epidemic killed her entire family and at the age of four, she contracted the disease which left her partially blind, disfigured and crippled. Her uncle, who was against Christianity, raised her. Kateri was drawn to the Christian faith which the missionaries were evangelising near her village. She was baptised at the age of 20 and took the Christian name Catherine after Saint Catherine of Siena. Her uncle was opposed to her conversion and she was ostracised by her people. Since her life was in danger due to her conversion, a priest helped her to escape to Montreal, Canada to a French Jesuit mission. The journey was over 200 miles which she did on foot. She spent her life in prayer and penance and rejected marriage. She was known as a miracle worker and she died at the age of 24. In 1980 she was beatified by Pope Saint John Paul II and was the first Native American saint when she was canonised in 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI.

Friday, 13 July 2018

Saint Henry II

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Image: Sacramentary of King Henry II

The 13th of July is the feast day of Saint Henry II (6 May 973 – 13 July 1024). He was Holy Emperor from 1014 till his death in 1024 and was the last of the Ottonian dynasty of Emperors as he was childless.

The following is from Butler’s Lives of the Saints:

HENRY, Duke of Bavaria, saw in a vision his guardian, St. Wolfgang, pointing to the words “after six.” This moved him to prepare for death, and for six years he continued to watch and pray, when, at the end of the sixth year, he found the warning verified in his election as emperor. Thus trained in the fear of God, he ascended the throne with but one thought—to reign for His greater glory. The pagan Slavs were then despoiling the empire. Henry attacked them with a small force; but angels and Saints were seen leading his troops, and the heathen fled in despair. Poland and Bohemia, Moravia and Burgundy, were in turn annexed to his kingdom, Pannonia and Hungary won to the Church. With the Faith secured in Germany, Henry passed into Italy, drove out the Antipope Gregory, brought Benedict VIII. back to Rome, and was crowned in St. Peter’s by that Pontiff, in 1014. It was Henry’s custom, on arriving in any town, to spend his first night in watching in some church dedicated to our blessed Lady. As he was thus praying in St. Mary Major’s, the first night of his arrival in Rome, he “saw the Sovereign and Eternal Priest Christ Jesus” enter to say Mass. Sts. Laurence and Vincent assisted as deacon and sub-deacon. Saints innumerable filled the church, and angels sang in the choir. After the Gospel, an angel was sent by Our Lady to give Henry the book to kiss. Touching him lightly on the thigh, as the angel did to Jacob, he said, “Accept this sign of God’s love for your chastity and justice;” and from that time the emperor always was lame. Like holy David, Henry employed the fruits of his conquests in the service of the temple. The forests and mines of the empire, the best that his treasury could produce, were consecrated to the sanctuary. Stately cathedrals, noble monasteries, churches innumerable, enlightened and sanctified the once heathen lands. In 1022 Henry lay on his bed of death. He gave back to her parents his wife, St. Cunegunda, “a virgin still, as a virgin he had received her from Christ,” and surrendered his own pure soul to God.

Reflection.—St. Henry deprived himself of many things to enrich the house of God. We clothe ourselves in purple and fine linen, and leave Jesus in poverty and neglect.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Saint Veronica

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Image: Saint Veronica, by Hans Memling, c. 1470.

The 12th of July is the feast day of Saint Veronica. She is the patron saint of images; laundry workers, pictures, photos, photographers,; Santa Veronica, San Pablo City, and Laguna.

The following is from Catholic Encyclopedia:

In several regions of Christendom there is honored under this name a pious matron of Jerusalem who, during the Passion of Christ, as one of the holy women who accompanied Him to Calvary, offered Him a towel on which he left the imprint of His face. She went to Rome, bringing with her this image of Christ, which was long exposed to public veneration. To her likewise are traced other relics of the Blessed Virgin venerated in several churches of the West. The belief in the existence of authentic images of Christ is connected with the old legend of Abgar of Edessa and the apocryphal writing known as the “Mors Pilati”. To distinguish at Rome the oldest and best known of these images it was called vera icon (true image), which ordinary language soon made veronica. It is thus designated in several medieval texts mentioned by the Bollandists (e.g. an old Missal of Augsburg has a Mass “De S. Veronica seu Vultus Domini”), and Matthew of Westminster speaks of the imprint of the image of the Savior which is called Veronica: “Effigies Domenici vultus quae Veronica nuncupatur”. By degrees, popular imagination mistook this word for the name of a person and attached thereto several legends which vary according to the country.

In Italy Veronica comes to Rome at the summons of the Emperor Tiberius, whom she cures by making him touch the sacred image. She thenceforth remains in the capitol of the empire, living there at the same time as Sts. Peter and Paul, and at her death bequeaths the precious image to Pope Clement and his successors. In France she is given in marriage to Zacheus, the convert of the Gospel, accompanies him to Rome, and then to Quiercy, where her husband becomes a hermit, under the name of Amadour, in the region now called Rocamadour. Meanwhile Veronica joins Martial, whom she assists in his apostolic preaching.

In the region of Bordeaux Veronica, shortly after the Ascension of Christ, lands at Soulac at the mouth of the Gironde, bringing relics of the Blessed Virgin; there she preaches, dies, and is buried in the tomb which was long venerated either at Soulac or in the Church of St. Seurin at Bordeaux. Sometimes she has even been confounded with a pious woman who, according to Gregory of Tours, brought to the neighboring town of Bazas some drops of the blood of John the Baptist, at whose beheading she was present.

In many places she is identified with the Haemorrhissa who was cured in the Gospel. These pious traditions cannot be documented, but there is no reason why the belief that such an act of compassion did occur should not find expression in the veneration paid to one called Veronica, even though the name has found no place in the Hieronymian Martyrology or the oldest historical Martyrologies, and St. Charles Borromeo excluded the Office of St. Veronica from the Milan Missal where it had been introduced. The Roman Martyrology also records at Milan St. Veronica de Binasco, the Order of St. Augustine, on 13 January, and St. Veronica Giuliani on 9 July.

Acta SS. Bolland., Feb. I (Paris, 1863); Maury, Lettres sur l’etymologie du nom de Veronique, apotre de l’Aquitaine (Toulouse, 1877); Bourrieres, Saint Amadour et Sainte Veronique (Cahors, 1894); Palme, Die deutchen Veronicalegenden des XII Jahrh. (Prague, 1892)

Antoine Degert
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Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Saint Benedict of Nursia

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Image: Saint Benedict by Pietro Peruginao (1495-1498)

The 11th of June is the feast day of Saint Benedict of Nursia (c. 2 March 480 – 543 or 547 AD). He is the patron saint of; against poison; against witchcraft; agricultural workers; cavers; civil engineers; coppersmiths; dying people; erysipelas; Europe; farmers; fever; gall stones; Heerdt (Germany); Heraldry and Officers of arms; the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest; inflammatory diseases; Italian architects; kidney disease; monks; nettle rash; Norcia, (Italy); people in religious orders; schoolchildren and students; servants who have broken their master’s belongings; Speleologists; Spelunkers and temptations.

The following is from Butler’s Lives of the Saints:

ST. BENEDICT, blessed by grace and in name, was born of a noble Italian family about 480. When a boy he was sent to Rome, and there placed in the public schools. Scared by the licentiousness of the Roman youth, he fled to the desert mountains of Subiaco, and was directed by the Holy Spirit into a cave, deep, craggy, and almost inaccessible. He lived there for three years, unknown to any one save the holy monk Romanus, who clothed him with the monastic habit and brought him food. But the fame of his sanctity soon gathered disciples round him. The rigor of his rule, however, drew on him the hatred of some of the monks, and one of them mixed poison with the abbot’s drink; but when the Saint made the sign of the cross on the poisoned bowl, it broke and fell in pieces to the ground. After he had built twelve monasteries at Subiaco, he removed to Monte Casino, where he founded an abbey in which he wrote his rule and lived until death. By prayer he did all things: wrought miracles, saw visions, and prophesied. A peasant, whose boy had just died, ran in anguish to St. Benedict, crying out, “Give me back my son!” The monks joined the poor man in his entreaties; but the Saint replied, “Such miracles are not for us to work, but for the blessed apostles. Why will you lay upon me a burden which my weakness cannot bear? ” Moved at length by compassion he knelt down and, prostrating himself upon the body of the child, prayed earnestly. Then rising, he cried out, “Behold not, O Lord, my sins, but the faith of this man, who desireth the life of his son, and restore to the body that soul which Thou hast taken away.” Hardly had he spoken when the child’s body began to tremble, and taking it by the hand he restored it alive to its father. Six days before his death he ordered his grave to be opened, and fell ill of a fever. On the sixth day he requested to be borne into the chapel, and, having received the body and blood of Christ, with hands uplifted, and leaning on one of his disciples, he calmly expired in prayer on the 21st of March, 543.

Reflection.—The Saints never feared to undertake any work, however arduous, for God, because, distrusting self, they relied for assistance and support wholly upon prayer.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Saint Amalberga of Temse

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Image: From the book Caractâeristiques des saints dans l’art populaire (1867)

The 10th of July is the feast day of Saint Amalberga of Temse (741 – 10 July 772). She is also known as Saint Amelia and is the patron saint of farmers, fishermen, sufferers of arm and shoulder pain.

Saint Amalberga was born to noble and pious Christians in Ardennes which is the land bordering today’s Belgium and Luxembourg. She committed her virginity to Christ when she was young and was beautiful and virtuous. She was pursued her hand in marriage by young Charles, later known as Charlemagne, who broke her arm while trying to hold her hand. Her arm was miraculously healed afterwards. She entered the Benedictine abbey of Münster-Bilzen in Belgium and built a church dedicated to Our Lady in Temsche, Belgium. She is known to perform many miracles, one of which was that she stood on the back of a giant sturgeon fish. She also cured Charles who was stricken with illness because of the rude way he had treated Saint Amalberga.

Monday, 9 July 2018

Saint Augustine Zhao Rong and Companions

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Image: The icon of the Holy Orthodox Martyrs of China (1900)

The 9th of July is the feast day of Saint Augustine Zhao Rong and Companions, also known as the Martyr Saints of China, or Augustine Zhao Rong and his 119 companions (1648–1930).

Saint Augustine Zhoa Rong died in 1815 and was a soldier in China who was sent to bring the Catholic bishop, John Gabriel Taurin Dufresse to Beijing to be beheaded. However, he converted to Christianity due to the bishop’s faith and he then asked to be baptised. He took up the name of Augustine and entered the seminary to be ordained as a priest. Augustine was arrested, then tortured and martyred for his faith in 1815 and is recognised with a group of 120 martyrs who died for their faith in China in between 1648 and 1930. They were canonised by Pope Saint John Paul II n 2000. 87 of them were Chinese natives and 33 were Western missionaries.

Our Lady of Medjugorje

July 2, 2018 Message to Mirjana

Dear children, I am the mother of all of you and, therefore, do not be afraid because I hear your prayers. I know that you seek me and that is why I am praying to my Son for you, my Son, who is united with the Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit - the Paraclete - my Son who leads souls to the Kingdom from where He came, the Kingdom of peace and light. My children, you are given the freedom to choose, but, as a mother, I implore you to choose the freedom for the good. You, with pure and simple souls comprehend - even if sometimes you do not understand the words - and within yourselves you feel what the truth is. My children, do not lose the truth and true life so as to follow the false one. By life in truth, the Kingdom of Heaven enters into your hearts, and that is the Kingdom of peace, love and harmony. Then, my children, there will not be the selfishness which distances you from my Son. There will be love and understanding for your neighbors. Because, remember, again I repeat to you, to pray also means to love others, your neighbors, and to give yourself to them. Love and give in my Son, and then He will work in you and for you. My children, ceaselessly think of my Son and love Him immeasurably and you will have true life, and that will be for eternity. Thank you, apostles of my love.

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