Sunday, 24 February 2019

Blessed Thomas Maria Fusco

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The 24th of February is the feast day of Blessed Thomas Maria Fusco (1 December 1831 – 24 February 1891).

He lived between 1831 and 1891 and was born in Italy, and was the seventh child of a family of eight children. At an early age he was left an orphan and was sent to be raised by his uncle, who was also a priest. He himself became a priest when he was 24 years old and opened a school in his home. He became an itinerant missionary in southern Italy. He opened another school to train priests to become confessors after his travels. He founded the Priestly Society of the Catholic Apostolate to support the missions, gaining the papal approval to do so. He then started a new religious order of sisters, the Daughters of Charity of the Most Precious Blood which ministers orphan children. During this time, he was also a parish priest, a confessor to cloistered nuns and spiritual father to a lay group at the Shrine of the Lady of Mount Carmel. At the age of 59, he died of liver disease.

Friday, 22 February 2019

Saint Margaret of Cortona

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The 22nd of February is the feast day of Saint Margaret of Cortona. She is the patron saint against temptations; falsely accused people; homeless people; insanity; loss of parents; mental illness; mentally ill people; midwives; penitent women; single mothers; people ridiculed for their piety; reformed prostitutes; sexual temptation; single laywomen; and third children.

Saint Margaret of Cortona lived between 1247 and 1297 and was the only child of a working-class family in Tuscany, Italy. Her mother died when she was seven years old and she did not get along well with her stepmother. Margaret was a spoilt child and was reckless but beautiful. She left home at the age of seventeen to become a mistress of a young nobleman. She lived with him in his castle for nine years and had a son with him but did not marry because of her lower social class One day he did not return home but his hound came back alone. The dog led Margaret to her lover’s body where he was murdered in the woods. She became deeply repentant and left his castle with her son and went to seek the Franciscan friars for spiritual direction. She eventually joined the Third Order of Saint Francis and led a life of prayer, penance, poverty and charity towards the poor.

Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter

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The 22nd of February is the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter.

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

THAT St. Peter, before he went to Rome, founded the see of Antioch is attested by many Saints. It was just that the Prince of the Apostles should take this city under his particular care and inspection, which was then the capital of the East, and in which the faith took so early and so deep root as to give birth in it to the name of Christians. St. Chrysostom says that St. Peter made’ there a long stay; St. Gregory the Great, that he was seven years Bishop of Antioch; not that he resided there all that time, but only that he had a particular care over that Church. If he sat twenty-five years at Rome, the date of his establishing his chair at Antioch must be within three years after Our Saviour’s Ascension; for in that supposition he must have gone to Rome in the second year of Claudius. In the first ages it was customary, especially in the East, for every Christian to keep the anniversary of his Baptism, on which he renewed his baptismal vows and gave thanks to God for his heavenly adoption: this they called their spiritual birthday. The bishops in like manner kept the anniversary of their own consecration, as appears from four sermons of St. Leo on the anniversary of his accession or assumption to the pontifical dignity; and this was frequently continued after their decease by the people, out of respect for their memory. St. Leo says we ought to celebrate the chair of St. Peter with no less joy than the day of his martyrdom; for as in this he was exalted to a throne of glory in heaven, so by the former he was installed head of the Church on earth.

Reflection.—On this festival we are especially bound to adore and thank the Divine Goodness for the establishment and propagation of His Church, and earnestly to pray that in His mercy He preserve the same, and dilate its pale, that His name may be glorified by all nations, and by all hearts, to the boundaries of the earth, for His divine honor and the salvation of souls, framed to His divine image, and the price of His adorable blood.

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Saint Peter Damian

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The 21st of February is the feast day of Saint Peter Damian (c. 1007 – 21 or 22 February 1072 or 1073). He is the patron saint of traceurs, and freerunners.

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

ST. PETER DAMIAN was born in 988, and lost both parents at an early age. His eldest brother, in whose hands he was left, treated him so cruelly that a younger brother, a priest, moved by his piteous state, sent him to the University of Parma, where he acquired great distinction. His studies were sanctified by vigils, fasts, and prayers, till at last, thinking that all this was only serving God by halves, he resolved to leave the world. He joined the monks at Font-Avellano, then in the greatest repute, and by his wisdom and sanctity rose to be Superior. He was employed on the most delicate and difficult missions, amongst others the reform of ecclesiastical communities, which was effected by his zeal. Seven Popes in succession made him their constant adviser, and he was at last created Cardinal Bishop of Ostia. He withstood Henry IV. of Germany, and labored in defence of Alexander II. against the Antipope, whom he forced to yield and seek for pardon. He was charged, as Papal Legate, with the repression of simony; again, was commissioned to settle discords amongst various bishops, and finally, in 1072, to adjust the affairs of the Church at Ravenna. He was laid low by a fever on his homeward journey, and died at Faenza, in a monastery of his order, on the eighth day of his sickness, whilst the monks chanted matins around him.

Reflection.—The Saints studied, not in order to be accounted learned, but to become perfect. This only is wisdom and true greatness, to account ourselves as ignorant, and to adhere in all things to the teachings and instincts of the Church.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Saints Francisco and Jacinta Marto

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The 20th of February is the feast day of Saints Francisco and Jacinta Marto. They are the patron saints of bodily ills, Portuguese children, captives, people ridiculed for their piety, prisoners, sick people and are invoked against sickness.

Saints Francisco de Jesus Marto (1908 – 1919), his sister Jacinta de Jesus Marto (1910 – 1920), and their cousin Lucia dos Santos (1907-2005) witnessed three apparitions in 1916 of an angel while tending their sheep in Fatima, Portugal, and another six apparitions of the Virgin Mary in 1917. They were given many messages and warnings for the world, among which that they had to do penance and pray for the conversion of poor sinners. Though they were very young, they offered up many sacrifices as Our Lady had requested and prayed their rosary daily, even giving their lunches to the poor and practiced many forms of penances such as not drinking water on hot days and wearing rope against their skins. They faced ridicule due to the apparitions and endured many sufferings. Our Lady told the two visionaries, Francisco and Jacinta that they would die young and that she would bring them to heaven. They both fell ill from influenza in 1918 and Francisco died first, with Jacinta the following year after two hospitalisations. They are both buried at Our Lady of Fatima Basilica which is in Portugal.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Blessed Alvaro of Cordoba

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The 19th of February is the feast day of Blessed Alvaro of Cordoba. He is also known as Alvarez of Cordova. He lived between 1350 and 1430 and was born to a noble family in Zamora, Spain. He became a Dominican and preached throughout Spain, serving at the court of Queen Catherine. He made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and started to preach the crusades against the Muslims when he returned. The priory of Scala Caeli (Ladder of Heaven) at Cordova was founded by him, legend says that the angels helped in providing its building materials. He placed pictures of the holy places in Jerusalem in the gardens and help to make the Stations of the Cross popular. He begged for alms, though he could have obtained what he needed from the royal court. Another legend says that he found a dying beggar, whom he wrapped in a blanket and carried back to the convent. When he unwrapped the cloth, he found a crucifix only. He helped to spread devotion to the Way of the Cross in Western Europe and led a resistance against the anti-pope and help to bring Spain under the allegiance of the true Pope in Rome.

Monday, 18 February 2019

Blessed Fra Angelico

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The 18th of February is the Feast day of Blessed Fra Angelico (c. 1395 – February 18, 1455). He is the patron saint of Catholic artists.

Blessed Fra Angelico lived between 1387 and 1455, and was born Guido di Pietro in Tuscany, Italy. He later became a famous Renaissance painter. Blessed Fra Angelico would pray before he painted, his belief was that he needed to be Christlike in order to paint Christ perfectly. In 1407 he joined the Dominican Order and received the name of Brother John, or Angelic Brother John, or Fra Angelico (Angelic Friar) due to his holiness. He moved to the Friary in San Marco, Florence where there was an artistic community and gained the patronage of the Medici family thanks to his artistic talents. He worked on Saint Peter’s Basilica in various chapels in 1445 and was a prior to the convent in Fiesole from 1449 till shortly before he died. He is buried in the Dominican church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva.

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order

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The 17th of February is the feast day of the seven holy founders of the Order of Servites .

Saint Manettus (d. 1268), also known as Saint Benedict dell’Antella and 6 other men founded the Order of Servites on 15th of August 1233. They were cloth merchants in the city of Florence, Italy who joined the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They wanted to dedicate their lives under Our Lady’s title of the Mother of Sorrows. On the feast of the Assumption in 1233, Our Lady appeared to them asking them to live a life in seclusion and in prayer. They obeyed, and Mary appeared again in 1240 giving them a black habit and a scroll with “Servants of Mary” inscribed on it. She asked them to create a religious order under the Rule of Saint Augustine. The Servites’ charism is devotion to the Passion of Jesus and the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady. and was one of the five original mendicant religious orders. The order was formally approved in 1304 by Rome.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Saint Juliana of Nicomedia

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The 16th of February is the feast day of Saint Juliana of Nicomedia (286 AD-304 AD). She is the patron saint of sickness.

The following is from the Catholic Encyclopedia:

Suffered martyrdom during the Diocletian persecution. Both the Latin and Greek Churches mention a holy martyr Juliana in their lists of saints. The oldest historical notice of her is found in the “Martryologium Hieronymianum” for 16 February, the place of birth being given as Cumae in Campania (In Campania Cumbas, natale Julianae). It is true that the notice is contained only in the one chief manuscript of the above-named martyrology (the Codex Epternacensis), but that this notice is certainly authentic is clear from a letter of St. Gregory the Great, which testifies to the special veneration of St. Juliana in the neighbourhood of Naples. A pious matron named Januaria built a church on one of her estates, for the consecration of which she desired relics (sanctuaria, that is to say, objects which had been brought into contact with the graves) of Sts. Severinus and Juliana. Gregory wrote to Fortunatus, Bishop of Naples, telling him to accede to the wishes of Januaria (“Gregorii Magni epist.”, lib. IX, ep. xxxv, in Migne P.L., LXXXVII, 1015). The Acts of St. Juliana used by Bede in his “Martyrologium” are purely legendary. According to the account given in this legend, St. Juliana lived in Nicomedia and was betrothed to the Senator Eleusius. Her father Africanus was a pagan and hostile to the Christians. In the persecution of Maximianus, Juliana was beheaded after suffering frightful torturers. Soon after a noble lady, named Sephonia, came through Nicomedia and took the saint’s body with her to Italy, and had it buried in Campania. Evidently it was this alleged translation that caused the martyred Juliana, honoured in Nicomedia, to be identified with St. Juliana of Cumae, although they are quite distinct persons. The veneration of St. Juliana of Cumae became very widespread, especially in the Netherlands. At the beginning of the thirteenth century her remains were transferred to Naples. The description of this translation by a contemporary writer is still extant. The feast of the saint is celebrated in the Latin Church on 16 February, in the Greek on 21 December. Her Acts describe the conflicts which she is said to have with the devil; she is represented in pictures with a winged devil whom she leads by a chain.

MOMBRITIUS, Sanctuarium, II, fol. 41 v.-43 v.; Acta SS., FEB., II, 808 sqq.; MIGNE, P.G., CXIV, 1437-52; Bibliotheca hagiogr. lat., I, 670 sq.; Bibl. hagiogr. graeca (2nd. ed.), 134; NILLES, Kalendarium manuale, I (2nd ed., Innsbruck, 1896), 359; MAZOCCHI, In vetus S. Neapolitanae ecclesiae Kalendarum commentarius, I (Naples, 1744), 556-9; COCKAYNE, St. Juliana (London, 1872); Vita di S. Giuliana (Novara, 1889); BACKHAUS, Ueber die Quelle der mittelenglischen Legende der hl. Juliana und ihr Verhaltnis zu Cynewulfs Juliana (Halle, 1899).

J.P. KIRSCH

Friday, 15 February 2019

Saint Claude de la Clombiere

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The 15th of February is the feast day of Saint Claude de la Clombiere S.J. (2 February 1641-15 February 1682). He is the patron saint of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The following is from Catholic Encyclopedia:

Missionary and ascetical writer, born of noble parentage at Saint-Symphorien-d’Ozon, between Lyons and Vienne, in 1641; died at Paray-le-Monial, 15 Feb., 1682. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1659. After fifteen years of religious life he made a vow, as a means of attaining the utmost possible perfection, to observe faithfully the rule and constitutions of his order under penalty of sin. Those who lived with him attested that this vow was kept with great exactitude. In 1674 Father de la Colombière was made superior at the Jesuit house at Paray-le-Monial, where he became the spiritual director of Blessed Margaret Mary and was thereafter a zealous apostle of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In 1676 he was sent to England as preacher to the Duchess of York, afterwards Queen of Great Britain. He lived the life of a religious even in the Court of St. James and was as active a missionary in England as he had been in France. Although encountering many difficulties, he was able to guide Blessed Margaret Mary by letter. His zeal soon weakened his vitality and a throat and lung trouble seemed to threaten his work as a preacher. While awaiting his recall to France he was suddenly arrested and thrown into prison, denounced as a conspirator. Thanks to his title of preacher to the Duchess of York and to the protection of Louis XIV, whose subject he was, he escaped death but was condemned to exile (1679). The last two years of his life were spent at Lyons where he was spiritual director to the young Jesuits, and at Paray-le-Monial, whither he repaired for his health. His principal works, including “Pious Reflections”, “Meditations on the Passion”, “Retreat and Spiritual Letters”, were published under the title, “Oeuvres du R. P. Claude de la Colombière” (Avignon, 1832; Paris, 1864). His relics are preserved in the monastery of the Visitation nuns at Paray-le-Monial.

SEQUIN, Vie du P. de la Colombière (Paris, 1876), tr. in Quarterly Series (London, 1883); LUBEN, Der ehrwurdige Diener Gottes P. Claudius de la Colombière (Einsiedeln, 1884); LETIERCE, Le Sacre Coeur, ses apotres et ses sanctuaires (Nancy, 1886); Lettres inedites de la bienheureuse Marguerite Marie (Toulouse, 1890); CHARRIER, Histoire du V. P. Claude de la Colombière (Paris, 1894); Bougaud, Histoire de la bienheureuse Marguerite Marie (Toulouse, 1900); Oeuvres completes du R. P. de la Colombière (Grenoble, 1901); HATTLER, Lebensbild der ehrwurdige P. Claudius de la Colombière (1903); POUPLARD, Notice sur le serviteur de Dieu, le R. P. Claude de la Colombière.

GERTRUDE DANA STEELE

Our Lady of Medjugorje

February 2, 2019 Message to Mirjana

Dear children, the love and goodness of the Heavenly Father give revelations, which make faith grow, for it to be interpreted, that it may bring peace, certainty and hope. In this way, I, too, my children, through the merciful love of the Heavenly Father, always, anew, am showing you the way to my Son, to eternal salvation. But, unfortunately, many of my children do not want to hear me; many of my children are of two minds. And I always, in time and beyond time, magnified the Lord for all that He has done in me and through me. My Son gives Himself to you and breaks the bread with you. He speaks the words of eternal life to you so that you may carry them to everyone. And you, my children, apostles of my love, what are you afraid of when my Son is with you? Offer your souls to Him so that He can be in them and that He can make you instruments of faith, instruments of love. My children, live the Gospel, live merciful love for your neighbors, and, above all, live love for the Heavenly Father. My children, you are not united by chance. The Heavenly Father does not unite anyone by chance. My Son speaks to your souls. I speak to your heart. As a mother I am saying to you: set out with me, love one another, and give witness. Do not be afraid, with your example, to defend the truth - the Word of God, which is eternal and never changes. My children, whoever acts in the light of merciful love and truth is always helped by Heaven and is not alone. Apostles of my love, may you always be recognized among all others by your hiddenness, love and radiance. I am with you. Thank you.

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