Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Queenship of Mary

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Coronation of the Virgin, by Diego Velázquez


The 22nd of August is the feast day of the Queenship of Mary.

The title Queen of Heaven, or Regina Caeli, is based on biblical history where the title "Queen Mother" was given to the mother of Israel's King. According to the tradition of the Church, Our Lady was crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth once her body and soul were assumed into heaven to reign with Her Son, Jesus, the King of Kings.

Saint Pope Pius X

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The 21st of August is the feast day of Saint Pope Pius X. He is the patron saint of Society of Saint Pius X, Archdiocese of Atlanta, Georgia; Diocese of Des Moines, Iowa; first communicants; Diocese of Great Falls-Billings, Montana; Archdiocese of Kottayam, India; Esperantists; pilgrims; Santa Luċija, Malta; Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Missouri; Archdiocese of Zamboanga, Philippines; emigrants from Treviso; Patriarchy of Venice; and Catechists.

Giuseppe Melchoire was born in 1835, from a family in Venetia and was one of ten children. His parents ensured Giuseppe had good education and Giuseppe had to walk nearly four miles to school each day. He received a scholarship to enter in one of the best seminaries available in his day. He was ordained in 1858. Pope Leo II made him cardinal and after he died, Giuseppe was elected to be Supreme Pontiff in 1903 and he took the name of Pius X. He is known as one of the greatest reforming popes in history. He helped reform the elections of the pope, seminary life, the liturgy, studies of the bible, the Divine Office, catechesis, how the Roman Curia is organised and canon law.  He denounced Modernism as "the summation of all heresies" and lowered the age of First Holy Communion to the age of reason. He was especially devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Our Lady of Confidence. He died in 1914 on the 20th of August at the age of 79.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

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St Bernard in "A Short History of Monks and Monasteries" by Alfred Wesley Wishart (1900).



The 20th of August is the feast day of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux. He is the patron saint of  Cistercians, Burgundy, beekeepers, candlemakers, Gibraltar, Algeciras, Queens' College, Cambridge, Speyer Cathedral, Knights Templar.

The following is from Butler's Lives of the Saints:
BERNARD was born at the castle of Fontaines, in Burgundy. The grace of his person and the vigor of his intellect filled his parents with the highest hopes, and the world lay bright and smiling before him when he renounced it forever and joined the monks at Citeaux. All his brothers followed Bernard to Citeaux except Nivard, the youngest, who was left to be the stay of his father in his old age. "You will now be heir of everything," said they to him, as they departed. "Yes," said the boy; "you leave me earth, and keep heaven for yourselves; do you
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call that fair?" And he too left the world. At length their aged father came to exchange wealth and honor for the poverty of a monk of Clairvaux. One only sister remained behind; she was married, and loved the world and its pleasures. Magnificently dressed, she visited Bernard; he refused to see her, and only at last consented to do so, not as her brother, but as the minister of Christ. The words he then spoke moved her so much that, two years later, she retired to a convent with her husband's consent, and died in the reputation of sanctity. Bernard's holy example attracted so many novices that other monasteries were erected, and our Saint was appointed abbot of that of Clairvaux. Unsparing with himself, he at first expected too much of his brethren, who were disheartened at his severity; but soon perceiving his error, he led them forward, by the sweetness of his correction and the mildness of his rule, to wonderful perfection. In spite of his desire to lie hid, the fame of his sanctity spread far and wide, and many churches asked for him as their Bishop. Through the help of Pope Eugenius III., his former subject, he escaped this dignity; yet his retirement was continually invaded: the poor and the weak sought his protection; bishops, kings, and popes applied to him for advice; and at length Eugenius himself charged him to preach the crusade. By his fervor, eloquence, and miracles Bernard kindled the enthusiasm of Christendom, and two splendid armies were despatched against the infidel. Their defeat was only due, said the Saint, to their own sins. Bernard died in 1153. His most precious writings have earned for him the titles of the last of the Fathers and a Doctor of Holy Church.
Reflection.—St. Bernard used to say to those who applied for admission to the monastery, "If you desire to enter here, leave at the threshold the body you have brought with you from the world; here there is room only for your soul." Let us constantly ask ourselves St. Bernard's daily question, "To what end didst thou come hither?"

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Saint John Eudes

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Portrait of Saint John Eudes, 1673



The 19th of August is the feast day of Saint John Eudes, also known as Saint Jean Eudes. 

The following is from Catholic Encyclopedia:
French missionary and founder of the Eudists and of the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity; author of the liturgical worship of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary; b. at Ri, France, 14 Nov., 1601; d. at Caen, 19 Aug., 1680. He was a brother of the French historian, François Eudes de Nézeray. At the age of fourteen he took a vow of chastity. After brilliant studies with the Jesuits at Caen, he entered the Oratory, 25 March, 1623. His masters and models in the spiritual life were Fathers de Bérulle and de Condren. He was ordained priest 20 Dec., 1025, and began his sacerdotal life with heroic labours for the victims of the plague, then ravaging the country. As a missionary, Father Eudes became famous. Since the time of St. Vincent Ferrer, France had probably not seen a greater. He was called by Olier "the prodigy of his age". In 1641 he founded the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Refuge, to provide a refuge for women of ill-fame who wished to do penance. The society was approved by Alexander VII, 2 Jan., 1666. With the approbation of Cardinal de Richelieu and a great number of others, Father Eudes severed his connection with the Oratory to establish the Society of Jesus and Mary for the education of priests and for missionary work. This congregation was founded at Caen, 25 March, 1643, and was considered a most important and urgent work (see EUDISTS).
Father Eudes, during his long life, preached not less than one hundred and ten missions, three at Paris, one at Versailles, one at St-Germaine-en-Laye, and the others in different parts of France. Normandy was the principal theatre of his apostolic labours. In 1674 he obtained from Clement X six Bulls of indulgences for the Confraternities of the Sacred Heart already erected or to be erected in the seminaries. He also established the Society of the Heart of the Mother Most Admirable -- which resembles the Third Orders of St. Francis and St. Dominic. This society now numbers from 20,000 to 25,000 members. Father Eudes dedicated the seminary chapels of Caen and Coutances to the Sacred Hearts. The feast of the Holy Heart of Mary was celebrated for the first time in 1648, and that of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1672, each as a double of the first class with an octave. The Mass and Office proper to these were composed by Father Eudes, who thus had the honour of preceding the Blessed Margaret Mary in establishing the devotion to the Sacred Hearts. For this reason, Pope Leo XIII, in proclaiming his virtues heroic in 1903, gave him the title of "Author of the Liturgical Worship of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Holy Heart of Mary". Father Eudes wrote a number of books remarkable for elevation of doctrine and simplicity of style. His principal works are:--"Le Royaume de Jésus"; "Le contrat de l'homme avec Dieu par le Saint Baptême"; "Le Mémorial de la vie Ecclésiastique"; "Le Bon Confesseur"; "Le Prédicateur Apostolique"; "Le Cœ;ur Admirable de la Très Sainte Mère de Dieu". This last is the first book ever written on the devotion to the Sacred Hearts. His virtues were declared heroic by Leo XIII, 6 Jan., 1903. The miracles proposed for his beatification were approved by Pius X, 3 May, 1908, and he was beatified 25 April, 1909.
[St. John Eudes was beatified April 25, 1909 and canonized in 1925. His feast day is August 19. --Ed.] Œuvres Complètes du Vén. J. Eudes (1905-); Montigny, Vie du R. P. Jean Eudes (Paris, 1827); Hé, Le Père Eudes, ses vertus (Paris, 1869); Martine, Vie du P. Eudes (Caen, 1880); Boulay, Vie du V. Jean Eudes (Paris); Joly, Le Vén. Père Eudes (Paris, 1907); Le Doré, Le Père Eudes, Premier Apôtre des Sacrés Cœ;urs de Jésus et de Marie (Paris, 1870); Les Sacrés Cœ;urs et le V. P. Eudes (Paris, 1891); Ory, Les Origines de Nôtre Dame de Charité (Abbeville, 1891); Nilles, De Rationibus festorum SS. Cordium Jesu et Mariæ (Innsbruck, 1889). Charles Lebrun.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Saint Helena

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Saint Helena with the CrossLucas Cranach the Elder

The 18th of August is the feast day of Saint Helena, also known as Saint Helen. She is the patron saint of archaeologists, converts, difficult marriages, divorced people, empresses, Saint Helena island, and new discoveries.

The following is from Butler's Lives of the Saints:
IT was the pious boast of the city of Colchester, England, for many ages, that St. Helena was born within its walls; and though this honor has been disputed, it is certain that she was a British princess. She embraced Christianity late in life; but her incomparable faith and piety greatly influenced her son Constantine, the first Christian emperor, and served to kindle a holy zeal in the
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hearts of the Roman people. Forgetful of her high dignity, she delighted to assist at the Divine Office amid the poor; and by her alms-deeds showed herself a mother to the indigent and distressed. In her eightieth year she made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, with the ardent desire of discovering the cross on which our blessed Redeemer suffered. After many labors, three crosses were found on Mount Calvary, together with the nails and the inscription recorded by the Evangelists. It still remained to identify the true cross of Our Lord. By the advice of the bishop, Macarius, the three were applied successively to a woman afflicted with an incurable disease, and no sooner had the third touched her than she arose, perfectly healed. The pious empress, transported with joy, built a, most glorious church on Mount Calvary to receive the precious relic, sending portions of it to Rome and Constantinople, where they were solemnly exposed to the adoration of the faithful. In the year 312 Constantine found himself attacked by Maxentius with vastly superior forces, and the very existence of his empire threatened. In this crisis he bethought him of the crucified Christian God Whom his mother Helena worshipped, and kneeling down, prayed God to reveal Himself and give him the victory. Suddenly, at noonday, a cross of fire was seen by his army in the calm and cloudless sky, and beneath it the words, In hoc signo vinces—"Through this sign thou shalt conquer." By divine command, Constantine made a standard like the cross he had seen, which was borne at the head of his troops; and under this Christian ensign they marched against the enemy, and obtained a complete victory. Shortly after, Helena herself returned to Rome, where she expired, 328.
Reflection.—St. Helena thought it the glory of her life to find the cross of Christ, and to raise a temple in its
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honor. How many Christians in these days are ashamed to make this life-giving sign, and to confess themselves the followers of the Crucified!

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Saint Hyacinth of Poland

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Apparition of the Virgin to Saint HyacinthLudovico Carracci (1592), in the Louvre Museum


The 17th of August is the feast day of Saint Hyacinth of Poland. He is the patron saint of Lithuania, University of Santo Tomas-College of Tourism and Hospitality Management, and invoked by those in danger of drowning; Basilica of St. Hyacinth.

The following is from Butler's Lives of the Saints:
HYACINTH, the glorious apostle of Poland and Russia, was born of noble parents in Poland, about the year 1185. In 1218, being already Canon of Cracow, he accompanied his uncle, the bishop of that place, to Rome. There he met St. Dominic, and received the habit of the Friar Preachers from the patriarch himself, of whom be became a living copy. So wonderful was his progress in virtue that within a year Dominic sent him to preach and plant the Order in Poland, where he founded two houses. His apostolic journeys extended over numerous regions. Austria, Bohemia, Livonia, the shores of the Black Sea, Tartary, and Northern China on the east, and .Sweden and Norway to the west, were evangelized by him, and he is said to have visited Scotland. Everywhere multitudes were converted, churches and convents were built; one
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hundred and twenty thousand pagans and infidels were baptized by his hands. He worked numerous miracles, and at Cracow raised a dead youth to life. He had inherited from St. Dominic a most filial confidence in the Mother of God; to her he ascribed his success, and to her aid he looked for his salvation. When St. Hyacinth was at Kiev the Tartars sacked the town, but it was only as he finished Mass that the Saint heard of the danger. Without waiting to unvest, he took the ciborium in his hands, and was leaving the church. As he passed by an image of Mary a voice said: "Hyacinth, my son, why dust thou leave me behind? Take me with thee, and leave me not to mine enemies." The statue was of heavy alabaster, but when Hyacinth took it in his arms it was light as a reed. With the Blessed Sacrament and the image he came to the river Dnieper, and walked dry-shod over the surface of the waters. On the eve of the Assumption he was warned of his coming death. In spite of a wasting fever, he celebrated Mass on the feast, and communicated as a dying man. He was anointed at the foot of the altar, and died the same day, 1257.
Reflection.—St. Hyacinth teaches us to employ every effort in the service of God, and to rely for success not on our own industry, but on the prayer of His Immaculate Mother.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Saint Roch

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Saint Roch


The 16th of August is the feast day of Saint Roch, also known as Saint Rocco. He is the patron saint of Potenza, Italy. Girifalco, Italy, bachelors, diseased cattle, dogs, falsely accused people, invalids, Istanbul, surgeons, tile-makers, gravediggers, second-hand dealers, pilgrims, and apothecaries. He is invoked against: cholera, epidemics, knee problems, plague, skin diseases.

The following is from Catholic Encyclopedia:
Born at Montpellier towards 1295; died 1327. His father was governor of that city. At his birth St. Roch is said to have been found miraculously marked on the breast with a red cross. Deprived of his parents when about twenty years old, he distributed his fortune among the poor, handed over to his uncle the government of Montpellier, and in the disguise of a mendicant pilgrim, set out for Italy, but stopped at Aquapendente, which was stricken by the plague, and devoted himself to the plague-stricken, curing them with the sign of the cross. He next visited Cesena and other neighbouring cities and then Rome. Everywhere the terrible scourge disappeared before his miraculous power. He visited Mantua, Modena, Parma, and other cities with the same results. At Piacenza, he himself was stricken with the plague. He withdrew to a hut in the neighbouring forest, where his wants were supplied by a gentleman named Gothard, who by a miracle learned the place of his retreat. After his recovery Roch returned to France. Arriving at Montpellier and refusing to disclose his identity, he was taken for a spy in the disguise of a pilgrim, and cast into prison by order of the governor, — his own uncle, some writers say, — where five years later he died. The miraculous cross on his breast as well as a document found in his possession now served for his identification. He was accordingly given a public funeral, and numerous miracles attested his sanctity. 
In 1414, during the Council of Constance, the plague having broken out in that city, the Fathers of the Council ordered public prayers and processions in honour of the saint, and immediately the plague ceased. His relics, according to Wadding, were carried furtively to Venice in 1485, where they are still venerated. It is commonly held that he belonged to the Third Order of St. Francis; but it cannot be proved. Wadding leaves it an open question. Urban VIII approved the ecclesiastical office to be recited on his feast (16 August). Paul III instituted a confraternity, under the invocation of the saint, to have charge of the church and hospital erected during the pontificate of Alexander VI. The confraternity increased so rapidly that Paul IV raised it to an archconfraternity, with powers to aggregate similar confraternities of St. Roch. It was given a cardinal-protector, and a prelate of high rank was to be its immediate superior (see Reg. et Const. Societatis S. Rochi). Various favours have been bestowed on it by Pius IV (C. Regimini, 7 March, 1561), by Gregory XIII (C. dated 5 January, 1577), by Gregory XIV (C. Paternar. pont., 7 March, 1591), and by other pontiffs. It still flourishes.

Assumption of Mary

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De hemelvaart van MariaRubens, circa A.D. 1626


The 15th of August is the feast day of the Assumption of Our Lady. It is a Holy Day of Obligation.

The following is from Butler's Lives of the Saints:
IN this festival the Church commemorates the happy departure from life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and her translation into the kingdom of her Son, in which she received from Him a crown of immortal glory, and a throne above all the other Saints and heavenly spirits. After Christ, as the triumphant Conqueror of death and hell, ascended into heaven, His blessed Mother remained at Jerusalem, persevering in prayer with the disciples, till, with them, she had received the Holy Ghost. She lived to a very advanced age, but finally paid the common debt of nature, none among the children of Adam being exempt from that rigorous law. But the death of the Saints is
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rather to be called a sweet sleep than death; much more that of the Queen of Saints, who had been exempt from all sin. It is a traditionary pious belief, that the body of the Blessed Virgin was raised by God soon after her death, and taken up to glory, by a singular privilege, before the general resurrection of the dead. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the greatest of all the festivals which the Church celebrates in her honor. It is the consummation of all the other great mysteries by which her life was rendered most wonderful; it is the birthday of her true greatness and glory, and the crowning of all the virtues of her whole life, which we admire single in her other festivals.
Reflection.—Whilst we contemplate, in profound sentiments of veneration, astonishment, and praise, the glory to which Mary is raised by her triumph on this day, we ought, for our own advantage, to consider by what means she arrived at this sublime degree of honor and happiness, that we may walk in her steps. No other way is open to us. The same path which conducted her to glory will also lead us thither; we shall be partners in her reward if we copy her virtues.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Saint Maximilian Kolbe

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Apostle of Consecration to Mary



The 14th of August is the feast day of Saint Maximilian Kolbe. He is the patron saint of against drug addictions, drug addicts, families, imprisoned people, journalists, political prisoners, prisoners, pro-life movement, amateur radio, and esperantists.

Saint Maximilian Kolbe lived between 1894 till 1941. He 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. 

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Saint Cassian of Imola

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Martyrdom of Saint Cassian, ca. 1500. Innocenzo Francucci.
The 13th of August is the feast day of Saint Cassian of Imola. He 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 is also known as Cassius 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 short hand 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.

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