Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Saint Maximilian Kolbe

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The 14th of August is the feast day of Saint Maximilian Kolbe (Polish: Maksymilian Maria Kolbe; 8 January 1894 – 14 August 1941). He is the patron saint of families, imprisoned people, journalists, political prisoners, prisoners, pro-life movement, amateur radio, Esperantists, and Militia Immaculatae.

Saint Maximilian Kolbe was born in Poland, his family were devout Christians. When he was a young boy, he had a vision of Our Lady. She showed him two crowns, one white representing virginity, the other red for martyrdom. She asked him which he would accept, he replied that he would accept both. He joined the Franciscans and while studying for the priesthood in Rome, he founded a group of friars called the Militia of the Immaculata. The group started in 1917 and was to crusade for the consecration to the Immaculate Heart and oppose Freemasonry. From the group came the Knights of the Immaculate magazine and a radio show. He also founded a monastery of 800 friars, which was at the time, the largest in the world. In 1930 he founded another monastery in Nagasaki, Japan. In 1936 he returned to Poland. During World War II, Saint Maximillian Kolbe housed 3000 over Polish refugees in his monastery. He was, however, imprisoned because of his work and in 1941 was sent to Auschwitz. Saint Maximillian offered to replace the position of a father, condemned to death by starvation. This was accepted and he and a group of 9 other men were kept in a cell without food or water. He led the men in prayer to Our Lady. After 2 weeks only Saint Maximillian remained alive. He was then given a dose of lethal injection on 14th of August 1941. His remains were cremated the next day on the 15th of August, the feast day of the Assumption of Our Lady.

Monday, 13 August 2018

Saint Cassian of Imola

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The 13th of August is the feast day of Saint Cassian of Imola (d. August 13, 363). He is also known as Cassius and is the patron saint of Imola, Mexico City, San Casciano in Val di Pesa, Las Galletas (Tenerife), schoolteachers, shorthand-writers, and parish clerks.

Saint Cassian of Imola was the Bishop of Brescia, near Milan Italy in the 4th Century. When the Roman Emperor persecuted Christians, Saint Cassian fled to Imola where he worked as a schoolmaster teaching children how to read and write. He taught them Christianity as well as a form of shorthand that helped them to write as fast as they can speak. A city official found out he was a Christian and reported him to the government authorities. Saint Cassian was arrested and ordered to offer sacrifices to the pagan gods which he refused. As punishment, he was stripped, and tied to the stake where he was given to his pagan students to be tortured to death. The students numbered about 200 and used their iron styli, their writing instrument, to carve into his skin and stab him to death.

Image: Martyrdom of Saint Cassian of Imola (San Cassiano) by Innocenzo di Pietro Francucci da Imola (c.1500)

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Saint Jane Frances de Chantal

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The 12th of August is the feast day of Saint Jane Frances de Chantal (28 January 1572 – 13 December 1641). She is also known as Jeanne-Françoise Frémiot or Jeanne de Chantal. She is the patron saint of forgotten people; in-law problems; loss of parents; parents separated from children; and widows.

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

AT the age of sixteen, Jane Frances de Frémyot, already a motherless child, was placed under the care of a worldly-minded governess. In this crisis she offered herself to the Mother of God, and secured Mary’s protection for life. When a Protestant sought her hand, she steadily refused to marry “an enemy of God and His Church,” and shortly afterwards, as the loving and beloved wife of the Baron de Chantal, made her house the pattern of a Christian home. But God had marked her for something higher than domestic sanctity. Two children and a dearly beloved sister died, and, in the full tide of prosperity, her husband’s life was taken by the innocent hand of a friend. For seven years the sorrows of her widowhood were increased by ill-usage from servants and inferiors, and the cruel importunities of friends, who urged her to marry again. Harassed almost to despair by their entreaties, she branded on her heart the name of Jesus, and in the end left her beloved home and children to live for God alone. It was on the 19th of March, 1609, that Madame de Chantal bade farewell to her family and relations. Pale, and with tears in her eyes, she passed round the large room, sweetly and humbly taking leave of each. Her son, a boy of fifteen, used every entreaty, every endearment, to induce his mother not to leave them, and at last passionately flung himself across the door of the room. In an agony of distress, she passed on over the body of her son to the embrace of her aged and disconsolate father. The anguish of that parting reached its height when, kneeling at the feet of the venerable old man, she sought and obtained his last blessing, promising to repay in her new home his sacrifice by her prayers. Well might St. Francis call her “the valiant woman.” She was to found with St. Francis de Sales a great Order. Sickness, opposition, want, beset her, and the death of children, friends, and of St. Francis himself followed, while eighty-seven houses of the Visitation rose under her hand. Nine long years of interior desolation completed the work of God’s grace; and in her seventieth year St. Vincent of Paul saw, at the moment of her death, her soul ascend, as a ball of fire, to heaven.

Reflection.—Profit by the successive trials of life to gain the strength and courage of St. Jane Frances, and they will become stepping-stones from earth to heaven.

Saturday, 11 August 2018

Saint Clare of Assisi

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The 11th of August is the feast day of Saint Clare of Assisi (July 16, 1194 – August 11, 1253). She is also known as Chiara Offreduccio, Clair, or Claire. She is the patron saint of eye disease, goldsmiths, laundry, television, embroiderers, gilders, good weather, needleworkers, Santa Clara Pueblo, and Obando.

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

ON Palm Sunday, March 17, 1212, the Bishop of Assisi left the altar to present a palm to a noble maiden, eighteen years of age, whom bashfulness had detained in her place. This maiden was St. Clare. Already she had learnt from St. Francis to hate the world, and was secretly resolved to live for God alone. The same night she escaped, with one companion, to the Church of the Portiuncula, where she was met by St. Francis and his brethren. At the altar of Our Lady, St. Francis cut off her hair, clothed her in his habit of penance, a piece of sack-cloth, with his cord as a girdle. Thus she was espoused to Christ. In a miserable house outside Assisi she founded her Order, and was joined by her sister, fourteen years of age, and afterwards by her mother and other noble ladies. They went barefoot, observed perpetual abstinence, constant silence, and perfect poverty. While the Saracen army of Frederick II. was ravaging the valley of Spoleto, a body of infidels advanced to assault St. Clare’s convent, which stood outside Assisi. The Saint caused the Blessed Sacrament to be placed in a monstrance, above the gate of the monastery facing the enemy, and kneeling before it, prayed, “Deliver not to beasts, O Lord, the souls of those who confess to Thee.” A voice from the Host replied, “My protection will never fail you.” A sudden panic seized the infidel host, which took to flight, and the Saint’s convent was spared. During her illness of twenty-eight years the Holy Eucharist was her only support and spinning linen for the altar the one work of her hands. She died in 1253, as the Passion was being read, and Our Lady and the angels conducted her to glory.

Reflection.—In a luxurious and effeminate age, the daughters of St. Clare still bear the noble title of poor, and preach by their daily lives the poverty of Jesus Christ.

Image: Detail depicting Saint Clare from a fresco (1312–20) by Simone Martini in the Lower basilica of San Francesco, Assisi

Friday, 10 August 2018

Saint Lawrence

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The 10th of August is the feast day of Saint Lawrence (Latin: Laurentius, lit. “laurelled”; 31 December AD 225 – 10 August 258). He is also known as Laurence and is the patron saint of Rome, Rotterdam (Netherlands), Huesca (Spain), San Lawrenz, Gozo and Birgu (Malta), Barangay San Lorenzo San Pablo (Philippines), Canada, Sri Lanka, comedians, librarians, students, miners, tanners, chefs, roasters, the poor, and firefighters.

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

ST. LAURENCE was the chief among the seven deacons of the Roman Church. In the year 258 Pope Sixtus was led out to die, and St. Laurence stood by, weeping that he could not share his fate. “I was your minister,” he said, “when you consecrated the blood of Our Lord; why do you leave me behind now that you are about to shed your own?” The holy Pope comforted him with the words, “Do not weep, my son; in three days you will follow me.” This prophecy came true. The prefect of the city knew the rich offerings which the Christians put into the hands of the clergy, and he demanded the treasures of the Roman Church from Laurence, their guardian. The Saint promised, at the end of three days, to show him riches exceeding all the wealth of the empire, and set about collecting the poor, the infirm, and the religious who lived by the alms of the faithful. He then bade the prefect “see the treasures of the Church” Christ, whom Laurence had served in his poor, gave him strength in the conflict which ensued. Roasted over a slow fire, he made sport of his pains. “I am done enough,” he said, “eat, if you will.” At length Christ, the Father of the poor, received him into eternal habitations. God showed by the glory which shone around St. Laurence the value He set upon his love for the poor. Prayers innumerable were granted at his tomb; and he continued from his throne in heaven his charity to those in need, granting them, as St. Augustine says, “the smaller graces which they sought, and leading them to the desire of better gifts”

Reflection.—Our Lord appears before us in the persons of the poor. Charity to them is a great sign of predestination. It is almost impossible, the holy Fathers assure us, for any one who is charitable to the poor for Christ’s sake to perish.

Image: St. Lawrence Distributing the Treasures of the Church by Bernardo Strozzi (c.1625)

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

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The 9th of August is the feast day of Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (12 October 1891 – 9 August 1942). She is also known as Teresa Benedicta a Cruce OCD, and her previous name was Edith Stein. She is the patron saint of Europe; loss of parents; converted Jews; martyrs; and World Youth Day.

Edith Stein lived between 1891 to 1942 and was born in Prussia, the youngest of eleven children of Jewish parents. Edith was an atheist and gained a doctorate in philosophy. However, she was greatly affected by several friends who were Catholic. One day at her friend’s home, she read the book on the autobiography of Saint Teresa of Avila. After finishing the book she exclaimed that “This is the Truth,” and was baptised in Cologne, Germany in 1922. She taught at a Dominican school and studied Saint Thomas Aquinas as well as other Catholic philosophers. Edith wrote a letter to Pope Pius XI asking him to denounce the Nazis when anti-Semitism rose and she had to leave her teaching post. She became a Carmelite nun in Cologne in 1934 and took the name of Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. Her convent moved to the Netherlands in order to escape the Nazi threat that was growing in Germany. She then desired to offer her life for the salvation of souls and when the Nazis came, she and another sister, Rose, who was also a convert, was sent to the Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz. Both sisters were killed in the gas chamber.

Stein in 1938 or 1939

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Saint Dominic

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The 8th of August is the feast day of Saint Dominic (Spanish: Santo Domingo, 8 August 1170 – 6 August 1221). He is also known as Dominic of Osma and Dominic of Caleruega, Dominic de Guzmán and Domingo Félix de Guzmán. He is the patron saint of astronomers; astronomy; Dominican Republic; Santo Domingo Pueblo, Valletta, Birgu (Malta), and Managua.

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

ST. DOMINIC was born in Spain, in 1170. As a student, he sold his books to feed the poor in a famine, and offered himself in ransom for a slave. At the age of twenty-five he became superior of the Canons Regular of Osma, and accompanied his Bishop to France. There his heart was well-nigh broken by the ravages of the Albigenian heresy, and his life was henceforth devoted to the conversion of heretics and the defence of the Faith. For this end he established his threefold religious Order. The convent for nuns was founded first, to rescue young girls from heresy and crime. Then a company of apostolic men gathered around him, and became the Order of Friar Preachers. Lastly came the Tertiaries, persons of both sexes living in the world. God blessed the new Order, and France, Italy, Spain, and England welcomed the Preaching Friars. Our Lady took them under her special protection, and whispered to St. Dominic as he preached. It was in 1208, while St. Dominic knelt in the little chapel of Notre Dame de la Prouille, and implored the great Mother of God to save the Church, that Our Lady appeared to him, gave him the Rosary, and bade him go forth and preach. Beads in hand, he revived the courage of the Catholic troops, led them to victory against overwhelming numbers, and finally crushed the heresy. His nights were spent in prayer; and, though pure as a virgin, thrice before morning broke he scourged himself to blood. His words rescued countless souls, and three times raised the dead to life. At length, on August 6, 1221, at the age of fifty-one, he gave up his soul to God.

Reflection.—”God has never,” said St. Dominic, “refused me what I have asked;” and he has left us the Rosary, that we may learn, with Mary’s help, to pray easily and simply in the same holy trust.

Image: The Perugia Altarpiece, Side Panel Depicting St. Dominic by Fra Angelico (1437)

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Pope Saint Sixtus II

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The 7th of August is the feast day of Pope Saint Sixtus II (died 6 August 258). He was martyred with Saint Lawrence of Rome and 6 other deacons when the Catholic Church was persecuted by Emperor Valerian.

Pope Saint Sixtus II became the Pontiff in 257 A. D. He mended the relationship between the churches of Rome, the East and Africa due to the controversy of rebaptism and converted heretics. He served as the Pope for one year and was forbidden to celebrate Mass. He, however, continued to worship and it was while he was offering mass in a cemetery chapel that he was caught and beheaded by Roman soldiers.

Image: Pope Sixtus II by Sandro Botticelli (1480s)

Monday, 6 August 2018

Blessed Anna Maria Rubatto

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The 6th of August is the feast day of Blessed Anna Maria Rubatto (14 February 1844 – 6 August 1904). She was an Italian nun who took the name of Francesca Maria. She is the patron saint of the Capuchin Sisters of Mother Rubatto.

Blessed Maria Francesca of Jesus Rubatto came from an Italian family of 8 children. At the age of four, her father died. She received an offer of marriage when she was a teenager, but she had taken a vow of virginity when she was younger and decline. Her mother died and when she was nineteen years old, Maria moved to Turin. She taught catechism to a noblewoman’s children as well as other children in the city and visited the sick and the poor. A construction worker who was building a convent had an accident and Maria happened to be walking nearby. She gave him money to aid his recovery and helped him. Her act of charity caught the attention of the sisters of the convent and they asked if she will join their community which she accepted. She later became the superior of the Capuchin Franciscan sisters. She then became interested in overseas missions and in 1892 left Italy to South America. She founded the Catholic missions in Uruguay and Argentina, crossing the Atlantic Ocean seven times in the process.

Image: Blessed Anna Maria Rubatto

Transfiguration of Our Lord

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The 6th of August is the feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord.

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

OUR divine Redeemer, being in Galilee about a year before His sacred Passion, took with Him St. Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, Sts. James and John, and led them to a retired mountain. Tradition assures us that this was Mount Thabor, which is exceedingly high and beautiful, and was anciently covered with green trees and shrubs, and was very fruitful. It rises something like a sugar-loaf, in a vast plain in the middle of Galilee. This was the place in which the Man-God appeared in His glory. Whilst Jesus prayed, He suffered that glory which was always due to His sacred humility, and of which, for our sake, He deprived it, to diffuse a ray over His whole body. His face was altered and shone as the sun, and His garments became white as snow. Moses and Elias were seen by the three apostles in His company on this occasion, and were heard discoursing with Him of the death which He was to suffer in Jerusalem. The three apostles were wonderfully delighted with this glorious vision, and St. Peter cried out to Christ, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. Let us make three tents: one for Thee, one for Moses, and one for Elias” Whilst St. Peter was speaking, there came, on a sudden, a bright shining cloud from heaven, an emblem of the presence of God’s majesty, and from out of this cloud was heard a voice which said, “This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him” The apostles that were present, upon hearing this voice, were seized with a sudden fear, and fell upon the ground; but Jesus, going to them, touched them, and bade them to rise. They immediately did so, and saw no one but Jesus standing in his ordinary state. This vision happened in the night. As they went down the mountain early the next morning, Jesus bade them not to tell any one what they had seen till He should be risen from the dead.

Reflection.—From the contemplation of this glorious mystery we ought to conceive a true idea of future happiness; if this once possess our souls, we will think nothing of any difficulties or labors we can meet with here, but regard with great indifference all the goods and evils of this life, provided we can but secure our portion in the kingdom of God’s glory.

Image: The Transfiguration by Raphael, c. 1520

Our Lady of Medjugorje

August 02, 2018 Message to Mirjana

Dear children, with a motherly love I am calling you to open hearts to peace; to open hearts to my Son, so that in your hearts love for my Son may sing, because only out of that love peace comes in the soul. My children, I know that you have goodness, I know that you have love - a merciful love, but many of my children still have a closed heart. They think that they can do it without directing their thoughts towards the Heavenly Father who illuminates-towards my Son who is always with you anew in the Eucharist and who desires to listen to you. My children, why do you not speak to Him? The life of each of you is important and precious, because it is a gift from the Heavenly Father for eternity. Therefore, do not ever forget to keep on thanking Him: speak to Him. I know, my children, that what is to come afterwards is unknown to you, but when your hereafter comes you will receive all the answers. My motherly love desires that you be ready. My children, by your life keep putting good feelings in the hearts of the people whom you meet, feelings of peace, goodness, love and forgiveness. Through prayer, hearken to what My Son is saying and act accordingly. Anew, I am calling you to prayer for your shepherds, for those whom my Son has called. Remember that they need prayers and love. Thank you.

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