Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Saint Priscilla of Rome

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Credit: Wellcome Library, London. St. Paul is staying in the house of Aquila and his wife Priscilla, the family are making tents and St. Paul is writing. Engraving by J. Sadeler after Jodocus Winghe.
Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/


The 16th of January is the feast day of Saint Priscilla of Rome.

The following is from Catholic Encyclopedia:

(Or Prisca.)

Jewish tentmakers, who left Rome (Aquila was a native of Pontus) in the Jewish persecution under Claudius, 49 or 50, and settled in Corinth, where they entertained St. Paul, as being of their trade, on his first visit to the town (Acts, 18:1f.). The time of their conversion to the Faith is not known. They accompanied St. Paul to Ephesus (Acts, 18:18-19), instructed the Alexandrian Apollo, entertained the Apostle Paul at Ephesus for three years, during his third missionary journey, kept a Christian church in their house (I Cor., 16:19), left Ephesus for Rome, probably after the riot stirred up by the silversmith Demetrius (Acts, 19:24-40), kept in Rome also a church in their house (Rom., 16:3-5), but soon left that city, probably on account of the persecution of Nero, and settled again at Ephesus (II Tim., 4:l9). The Roman Martyrology commemorates them on 8 July. It is not known why Scripture several times names Priscilla before Aquila; the different opinions are given by Cornely, (Rom., 772). A number of modern difficulties based on the frequent change of residence of Aquila and Priscilla are treated by Cornely, (Rom., 16:3-5).

HAGEN, Lexicon Biblicum (Paris, 1905); LE CAMUS in VIG., Dict. de la Bible (Paris, 1895); KLOSS and KAULEN in Kirchenlex. (Freiburg, 1882).

A. J. MAAS

Monday, 15 January 2018

Saint Arnold Janssen

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Portrait photography of Arnold Janssen (1837-1909)


The 15th of January is the feast day of Saint Arnold Janssen. He was a German-Dutch Roman Catholic Priest and missionary.

The following is from Catholic Encyclopedia:

Founder and first superior-general of the Society of the Divine Word, b. at Goch in the Rhine Province, Germany, 5 Nov., 1837; d. at Steyl, Holland, 15 Jan., 1909. At a very tender age he manifested an inclination for the priesthood. After completing his Classical studies at the diocesan college of Gaesdonck in the northern Rhine Province, he took up the study of philosophy at the Academy of Munster, and then entered the University of Bonn. Having completed his theological studies at Bonn and at Munster, he was ordained, 15 Aug., 1861. He devoted some years to pastoral work and the teaching of Christian doctrine, in 1873 becoming chaplain and director at the Ursuline convent of Kempen. As diocesan president of the Apostleship of Prayer he laboured for the propagation of that association, and in this capacity felt called to found a missionary centre for Germany. The result was the establishment of the Mission House of St. Michael at Steyl, Holland, 8 Sept., 1875. Out of this grew the Society of the Divine Word, which received canonical approbation in 1901. The congregation now has flourishing missions in all parts of the world, and, besides that at Steyl, has four mission houses in Germany and Austria and two in the United States. The institution at Techny, Ill., called St. Mary’s Mission House, was opened 2 Feb., 1909, and was followed by another mission house, opened September, 1912, at Girard, Pa., the object of both institutions is to educate priests for the heathen missions in charge of the society. The spirit of the founder lives also in the many educational institutions conducted by the members of the Society of the Divine Word. In conjunction with his missionary work Father Janssen in 1889 founded the congregation of the Servant Sisters of the Holy Ghost, who assist the priests in their missionary undertakings. This congregation numbers some 600 sisters, who have a home for the aged at Techny, Ill. In 1912 Father Janssen’s society numbered 625 priests, 1250 students for the priesthood, and 800 lay brothers.

[Note: Arnold Janssen was beatified by Pope Paul VI in 1975.]

HERM. RICHARZ

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Saint Felix of Nola

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Felix of Nola, Saint, beaten and hidden by a spider’s web


The 14th of January is the feast day of Saint Felix of Nola. He is the patron saint of Nola, Italy.

The following is from Catholic Encyclopedia:

Born at Nola, near Naples, and lived in the third century. After his father’s death he distributed almost all his goods amongst the poor, and was ordained priest by Maximum Bishop of Nola. In the year 250, when the Decian persecution broke out, Maximus was forced to flee. The persecutors seized on Felix and he was cruelly scourged, loaded with chains, and cast into prison. One night an angel appeared to him and bade him go to help Maximus. His chains fell off, the doors opened, and the saint was enabled to bring relief to the bishop, who was then speechless from cold and hunger. On the persecutors making a second attempt to secure Felix, his escape was miraculously effected by a spider weaving her web over the opening of a hole into which he had just crept. Thus deceived, they sought their prey elsewhere. The persecution ceased the following year, and Felix, who had lain hidden in a dry well for six months, returned to his duties. On the death of Maximus he was earnestly desired as bishop, but he persuaded the people to choose another, his senior in the priesthood. The remnant of his estate having been confiscated in the persecution, he refused to take it back,and for his subsistence rented three acres of land, which he tilled with his own hands. Whatever remained over he gave to the poor, and if he had two coats at any time he invariably gave them the better. He lived to a ripe old age and died 14 January (on which day he is commemorated), but the year of his death is uncertain. Five churches were built in his honour, outside Nola, where his remains are kept, but some relics are also at Rome and Benevento. St. Paulinus, who acted as porter to one of these churches, testifies to numerous pilgrimages made in honour of Felix. The poems and letters of Paulinus on Felix are the source from which St. Gregory of Tours, Venerable Bede, and the priest Marcellus have drawn their biographies (see PAULINUS OF NOLA). There is another Felix of Nola, bishop and martyr under a Prefect Martianus. He is considered by some to be the same as the above.

AMBROSE COLEMAN

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Saint Hilary of Poitiers

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The ordination of Saint Hilary of Poitiers


The 13th of January is the feast day of Saint Hilary of Poitiers. He is also known as the “Hammer of the Arians” and the “Athanasius of the West.”

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

ST. HILARY was a native of Poitiers in Aquitaine. Born and educated a pagan, it was not till near middle age that he embraced Christianity, moved thereto mainly by the idea of God presented to him in the Holy Scriptures. He soon converted his wife and daughter, and separated himself rigidly from all un-Catholic company. In the beginning of his conversion St. Hilary would not eat with Jews or heretics, nor salute them by the way; but afterwards, for their sake, he relaxed this severity. He entered Holy Orders, and in 353 was chosen bishop of his native city. Arianism, under the protection of the Emperor Constantius, was just then in the height of its power, and St. Hilary found himself called upon to support the orthodox cause in several Gallic councils, in which Arian bishops formed an overwhelming majority. He was in consequence accused to the emperor, who banished him to Phrygia. He spent his three years and more of exile in composing his great works on the Trinity. In 359 he attended the Council of Seleucia, in which Arians, semi-Arians, and Catholics contended for the mastery. With the deputies of the council he proceeded to Constantinople, and there so dismayed the heads of the Arian party that they prevailed upon the emperor to let him return to Gaul. He traversed Gaul, Italy, and Illyria, wherever he came discomfiting the heretics and procuring triumph of orthodoxy. After seven or eight years of missionary travel he returned to Poitiers, where he died in peace in 368.

Reflection.—Like St. Hilary, we, too, are called to a lifelong contest with heretics; we shall succeed in proportion as we combine hatred of heresy, with compassion for its victims.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys

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The 12th of January is the feast day of Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys. She is the patron saint against poverty; loss of parents; and people rejected by religious orders.

Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys lived between 1620 and 1700 and was born in France to a large middle-class Christian family. She had a religious experience when she was 20 years old and decided to dedicate her life to God through the Virgin Mary and entered an apostolate which taught underprivileged children. At the age of 32, she agreed to become a missionary in the New World as a lay teacher, teaching children of the colonists and the Native Americans. There Marguerite helped young ladies in preparing for marriage and family life as pioneer women. She was known as the “Mother of the Colony” as she signed and witness many marriage certificates of early settlers. Besides this, she also helped built the first church and school and founded the Congregation of Notre Dame of Montreal which is still active today. Now, she is considered the co-foundress of Montreal for all her efforts in apostolic and missionary work. She is the first canonised woman saint in Canada.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Pope Saint Saint Hyginus

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The 11th of January is the feast day of Pope Saint Hyginus.

The following is from Catholic Encyclopedia:

Reigned about 138-142; succeeded Pope Telesphorus, who, according to Eusebius (Hist. eccl., IV, xv), died during the first year of the reign of the Emperor Antonius Pius — in 138 or 139, therefore. But the chronology of these bishops of Rome cannot be determined with any degree of exactitude by the help of the authorities at our disposal to-day. According to the “Liber Pontificalis”, Hyginus was a Greek by birth. The further statement that he was previously a philosopher is probably founded on the similarity of his name with that of two Latin authors. Irenaeus says (Adv. haereses, III, iii) that the Gnostic Valentine came to Rome in Hyginus’s time, remaining there until Anicetus became pontiff. Cerdo, another Gnostic and predecessor of Marcion, also lived at Rome in the reign of Hyginus; by confessing his errors and recanting he succeeded in obtaining readmission into the bosom of the Church, but eventually he fell back into the heresies and was expelled from the Church. How many of these events took place during the time of Hyginus is not known. The “Liber Pontificalis” also relates that this pope organized the hierachy and established the order of ecclesiastical precedence (Hic clerum composuit et distribuit gradus). This general observation recurs also in the biography of Pope Hormisdas; it has no historical value, and according to Duchesne, the writer probably referred to the lower orders of the clergy. Eusebius (Hist. eccl. IV, xvi) claims that Hyginus’s pontificate lasted four years. The ancient authorities contain no information as to his having died a martyr. At his death he was buried on the Vatican Hill, near the tomb of St. Peter. His feast is celebrated on 11 January.

DUCHESNE, (ed.) Liber Pontificalis, I, 131; Acta Ss., Jan. I, 665; HARNACK, Geschichte der altchristl. Literatur, II: Die Chronologie, I (Leipzig, 1897), 144 sq.

J.P. KIRSCH

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Saint William Bourges

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The 10th of January is the feast day of Saint William of Bourges. He is also known as Saint William of Donjeon and Saint Guillaume de Donjeon. He is the patron saint of University of Paris and gunsmiths.

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

WILLIAM BERRUYER, of the illustrious family of the ancient Counts of Nevers, was educated by Peter the Hermit, Archdeacon of Soissons, his uncle by the mother’s side. From his infancy William learned to despise the folly and emptiness of the world, to abhor its pleasures, and to tremble at its dangers. His only delight was in exercises of piety and in his studies, in which he employed his whole time with indefatigable application. He was made canon, first of Soissons and afterwards of Paris; but he soon resolved to abandon the world, and retired into the solitude of Grandmont, where he lived with great regularity in that austere Order until finally he joined the Cistercians, then in wonderful odor of sanctity. After some time he was chosen Prior of the Abbey of Pontigny, and afterwards became Abbot of Chaalis. On the death of Henri de Sully, Archbishop of Bourges, William was chosen to succeed him. The announcement of this new dignity which had fallen on him overwhelmed him with grief, and he would not have accepted the office had not the Pope and his General, the Abbot of Citeaux, commanded him to do so. His first care in his new position was to conform his life to the most perfect rules of sanctity. He redoubled all his austerities, saying it was incumbent on him now to do penance for others as well as for himself. He always wore a hair-shirt under his religious habit, and never added to his clothing in winter or diminished it in summer; he never ate any flesh-meat, though he had it at his table for strangers. When he drew near his end, he was, at his request, laid on ashes in his hair-cloth, and in this posture expired on the 10th of January, 1209. His body was interred in his cathedral, and, being honored by many miracles, was taken up in 1217, and in the year following William was canonized by Pope Honorius III.

Reflection.—The champions of faith prove the truth of their teaching no less by the holiness of their lives than by the force of their arguments. Never forget that to convert others we must first see to our own souls.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Saint Adrian of Canterbury

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The 9th of January is the feast day of Saint Adrian of Canterbury. He is also known as Hadrian of Canterbury.

The following is from Catholic Encyclopedia:

An African by birth, died 710. He became Abbot of Nerida, a Benedictine monastery near Naples, when he was very young. Pope Vitalian intended to appoint him Archbishop of Canterbury to succeed St. Deusdedit, who had died in 664, but Adrian considered himself unworthy of so great a dignity, and begged the Pope to appoint Theodore, a Greek monk, in his place. The Pope yielded, on condition that Adrian should accompany Theodore to England and be his adviser in the administration of the Diocese of Canterbury. They left Rome in 668, but Adrian was detained in France by Ebroin, the Mayor of the Palace who suspected that he had a secret mission from the Eastern Emperor, Constans II, to the English kings. After two years Ebroin found that his suspicion had been groundless and allowed Adrian to proceed to England. Immediately upon his arrival in England, Archbishop Theodore appointed him Abbot of St. Peter in Canterbury, a monastery which had been founded by St. Augustine, the apostle of England, and became afterwards known as St. Austin’s. Adrian accompanied Theodore on his apostolic visitations of England and by his prudent advice and co-operation assisted the Archbishop in the great work of unifying the customs and practices of the Anglo-Saxon Church with those of the Church of Rome. Adrian was well versed in all the branches of ecclesiastical and profane learning. Under his direction the School of Canterbury became the centre of English learning. He established numerous other schools in various parts of England. In these schools of Adrian were educated many of the saints, scholars, and missionaries, who during the next century rekindled the waning light of faith and learning in France and Germany. After spending thirty-nine years in England Adrian died in the year 710 and was buried at Canterbury. His feast is celebrated 9 January, the day of his death.

MICHAEL OTT

Monday, 8 January 2018

Saint Apollinaris Claudius

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Saint Apollinaris, first bishop of Ravenna. Detail from the 6th century Byzantine mosaic in the apse of the basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe (Ravenna, Italy)


The 8th of January is the feast day of Saint Apollinaris Claudius. He is also known as Apollinaris of Hierapolis or Apollinaris the Apologist.

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

CLAUDIUS APOLLINARIS, Bishop of Hierapolis in Phrygia, was one of the most illustrious prelates of the second age. Notwithstanding the great encomiums bestowed on him by Eusebius, St. Jerome, Theodoret, and ethers, but little is known of his actions; and his writings, which then were held in great esteem, seem now to be all lost. He wrote many able treatises against the heretics, and pointed out, as St. Jerome testifies, from what philosophical sect each heresy derived its errors. Nothing rendered his name so illustrious, however, as his noble apology for the Christian religion which he addressed to the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, about the year 175, soon after the miraculous victory that prince had obtained over the Quadi by the prayers of the Christians. St. Apollinaris reminded the emperor of the benefit he had received from God through the prayers of his Christian subjects, and implored protection for them against the persecution of the pagans. Marcus Aurelius published an edict in which he forbade any one, under pain of death, to accuse a Christian on account of his religion; by a strange inconsistency, he had not the courage to abolish the laws then in force against the Christians, and, as a consequence, many of them suffered martyrdom, though their accusers were also put to death. The date of St. Apollinaris’ death is not known; the Roman Martyrology mentions him on the 8th of January.

Reflection.—”Therefore I say unto you, all things whatsoever you ask when you pray, believe that you shall receive: and they shall come unto you.”

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Saint Raymond of Penyafort

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Raymond of Penyafort by Tommaso Dolabella (1627)


The 7th of January is the feast day of Saint Raymond of Penyafort. He is the patron saint of canon lawyers; and all types of lawyers.

The following is from Catholic Encyclopedia:

Born at Villafranca de Benadis, near Barcelona, in 1175; died at Barcelona, 6 January, 1275. He became professor of canon law in 1195, and taught for fifteen years. He left Spain for Bologna in 1210 to complete his studies in canon law. He occupied a chair of canon law in the university for three years and published a treatise on ecclesiastical legislation which still exists in the Vatican Library.

Raymond was attracted to the Dominican Order by the preaching of Blessed Reginald, prior of the Dominicans of Bologna, and received the habit in the Dominican Convent of Barcelona, whither he had returned from Italy in 1222. At Barcelona he was co-founder with St. Peter Nolasco of the Order of Mercedarians. He also founded institutes at Barcelona and Tunis for the study of Oriental languages, to convert the Moors and Jews.

At the request of his superiors Raymond published the Summa Casuum, of which several editions appeared in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In 1229 Raymond was appointed theologian and penitentiary to the Cardinal Archbishop of Sabina, John of Abbeville, and was summoned to Rome in 1230 by Gregory IX, who appointed him chaplain and grand penitentiary.

The reputation of the saint for juridical science decided the pope to employ Raymond of Peñafort’s talents in re-arranging and codifying the canons of the Church. He had to rewrite and condense decrees that had been multiplying for centuries, and which were contained in some twelve or fourteen collections already existing. We learn from a Bull of Gregory IX to the Universities of Paris and Bologna that many of the decrees in the collections were but repetitions of ones issued before, many contradicted what had been determined in previous decrees, and many on account of their great length led to endless confusion, while others had never been embodied in any collection and were of uncertain authority.

The pope announced the new publication in a Bull directed to the doctors and students of Paris and Bologna in 1231, and commanded that the work of St. Raymond alone should be considered authoritative, and should alone be used in the schools. When Raymond completed his work the pope appointed him Archbishop of Tarragona, but the saint declined the honour. Having edited the Decretals he returned to Spain. He was not allowed to remain long in seclusion, as he was elected General of the Order in 1238; but he resigned two years later. During his tenure of office he published a revised edition of the Dominican Constitutions, and it was at his request that St. Thomas wrote the Summa Contra Gentiles. St. Raymond was canonized by Clement VIII in 1601. His Summa de Poenitentia et Matrimonio is said to be the first work of its kind. His feast is 23 January.

Monumenta Historica Ord. Proed., V, iv; Bullarium Ord. Proed.; PENIA, Vita S. Raymundi; MORTIER, Hist. des Maitres Generaux (Paris, 1903); FINKE, Acta Aragonensia, II (1908), 902-904; QUETIF-ECHARD, Script. Ord. Proed.; BALME, Raymundiana (1901).

Our Lady of Medjugorje

January 2, 2018 Message to Mirjana

Dear children, when love is beginning to disappear on earth, when the way of salvation is not being found, I, the mother, am coming to help you to come to know true faith – living and profound – so as to help you to truly love. As a mother, I am longing for your mutual love, goodness, and purity. My desire is that you be just and that you love each other. My children, be joyful in your soul, be pure, be children. My Son used to say that he loves to be among pure hearts, because pure hearts are always young and joyful. My Son said to you to forgive and to love each other. I know that this is not always easy. Suffering makes you grow in spirit. For you to spiritually grow all the more, you must sincerely and truly forgive and love. Many of my children on earth do not know my Son, they do not love Him; but you who do love my Son, you who carry Him in your heart, pray, pray and in praying feel my Son beside you. May your soul breathe in His spirit. I am among you and am speaking about little and great things. I will not grow tired speaking to you about my Son – the true love. Therefore, my children, open your hearts to me. Permit me to lead you as a mother. Be apostles of the love of my Son and of me. As a mother I implore you not to forget those whom my Son has called to lead you. Carry them in your heart and pray for them. Thank you.

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