Sunday, 20 May 2018

Saint Bernardino of Siena

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Image: Saint Bernardino of Siena by Jacopo Bellini, c. 1450-55

The 20th of May is the feast day of Saint Bernadino of Siena (8 September 1380 – 20 May 1444). He is also known as Bernardine. He is the patron saint of advertisers; advertising; Aquila, Italy; chest problems; Italy; Diocese of San Bernardino, California; gambling addicts; public relations personnel; public relations work; and Bernalda, Italy.

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

IN 1408 St. Vincent Ferrer once suddenly interrupted his sermon to declare that there was among his hearers a young Franciscan who would be one day a greater preacher than himself, and would be set before him in honor by the Church. This unknown friar was Bernardine. Of noble birth, he had spent his youth in works of mercy, and had then entered religion. Owing to a defective utterance, his success as a preacher at first seemed doubtful, but, by the prayers of Our Lady, this obstacle was miraculously removed, and Bernardine began an apostolate which lasted thirty-eight years. By his burning words and by the power of the Holy Name of Jesus, which he displayed on a tablet at the end of his sermons, he obtained miraculous conversions, and reformed the greater part of Italy. But this success had to be exalted by the cross. The Saint was denounced as a heretic and his devotion as idolatrous. After many trials he lived to see his innocence proved, and a lasting memorial of his work established in a church. The Feast of the Holy Name commemorates at once his sufferings and his triumph. He died on Ascension Eve, 1444, while his brethren were chanting the antiphon, “Father, I have manifested Thy Name to men.” St. Bernardine, when a youth, undertook the charge of a holy old woman, a relation of his, who had been left destitute. She was blind and bedridden, and during her long illness could only utter the Holy Name. The Saint watched over her till she died, and thus learned the devotion of his life.

Reflection.—Let us learn from the life of St. Bernardine the power of the Holy Name in life and death.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Saint Ivo of Kermartin

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Image: Saint Ivo portrayed by Rogier van der Weyden (15th century)

The 19th of May is the feast day of Saint Ivo of Kermartin (17 October 1253 – 19 May 1303). He is also known as Yvo, Ives, Erwan, Iwan, Youenn, Eozenn or Yves Hélory. He is the patron saint of Brittany, lawyers, and abandoned children.

Saint Ivo lived between 1253 and 1303 and was born to a noble family in Britanny, France. He studied civil and canon law, philosophy and theology. He practised law in both the civil and ecclesiastical courts. While he was practising, he made sure not to charge the poor when he defended them and would visit them in prison as they await trial. He would settle matters out of court to save litigants money as well as time. He was thus known as the “Advocate of the Poor.” He was a Franciscan Tertiary and wore a hairshirt and fasted regularly. He defended the rights of the Church in court, and eventually became a diocesan judge and was unable to be bribed. He then quit law and joined the priesthood, using the funds that he acquired while working to help build a hospital for the poor and fed them from the harvests of his land. Among his miracles, he was attributed with feeding hundreds from a single loaf of bread.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Saint Felix of Cantalice

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Image: Saint Felix of Cantalice by Peter Paul Rubens

The 18th of May is the feast day of Saint Felix of Cantalice (1515 – 1587). He is the patron saint of Spello.

Saint Felix of Cantalice was born in Italy to pious parents. At the age of nine, he was hired out to work for a farmer which he continued to do so for twenty years. He spent his free time in prayer and had a friend read him the lives of the saints. He joined the Capuchin Franciscans and served as the Order’s official beggar in Rome. His piety and labours he undertook had a great influence over the Roman people, even though he could not read and had no formal study. He encouraged all to live a life of greater virtue regardless if they were peasants or dignitaries. Even men who lead scandalous lives retreated from him, lest he convicts them of their sins. Saint Felix’s apostolate was among the children of the city, where he would give them religious instruction in a simple and with childlike humility. His friend and contemporary was Saint Philip Neri, who declared him to be the Church’s greatest living saint. For 42 years Saint Felix served this way, and died in 1587 at the age of 42 years old and was beatified immediately after his death. He was the first Capuchin Franciscan to be canonised. His body is kept in the church of the Immaculate Conception in Rome under an altar dedicated to him.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Blessed Antonia Mesina

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The 17th of May is the feast day of Blessed Antonia Mesina (21 June 1919 – 17 May 1935). She is the patron saint of Nuoro, Orgosolo and rape victims.

She came from a large poor family, the second eldest of ten children who lived on the island of Sardinia in Italy. She left school to help with the family chores when her mother became bedridden. She was referred to by her mother as the “flower of my life”. Antonia joined the Young Women of Catholic Action when she was ten. She was in a forest with a friend gathering firewood on the 17th May 1935 when she was assaulted by a teenage boy who wanted to rape her. Her friend ran for help, while Antonia defended herself. The young man attacked Antonia with dozens of blows with a rock and she died. It was already too late when help arrived. She is considered a martyr of sexual purity and was declared a Blessed by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1987.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Saint Simon Stock

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Image: Pietro Novelli, Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Carmelite Saints (Simon Stock (standing), Angelus of Jerusalem (kneeling), Mary Magdalene de’Pazzi, Teresa of Avila), 1641 (Museo Diocesano, Palermo.).

The 16th of May is the feast day of Saint Simon Stock (1165-1265). He is the patron saint of Bordeaux, France.

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

SIMON was born in the county of Kent, England, and left his home when he was but twelve years of age, to live as a hermit in the hollow trunk of a tree, whence he was known as Simon of the Stock. Here he passed twenty years in penance and prayer, and learned from Our Lady that he was to join an Order not then known in England. He waited in patience till the White Friars came, and then entered the Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. His great holiness moved his brethren in the general chapter held at Aylesford, near Rochester, in 1245, to choose him prior-general of the Order. In the many persecutions raised against the new religious, Simon went with filial confidence to the Blessed Mother of God. As he knelt in prayer in the White Friars’ convent at Cambridge, on July 16, 1251, she appeared before him and presented him with the scapular, in assurance of her protection. The devotion to the blessed habit spread quickly throughout the Christian world. Pope after Pope enriched it with indulgences, and miracles innumerable put their seal upon its efficacy. The first of them was worked at Winchester on a man dying in despair, who at once asked for the Sacraments, when the scapular was laid upon him by St. Simon Stock. In the year 1636, M. de Guge, a cornet in a cavalry regiment, was mortally wounded at the engagement of Tobin, a bullet having lodged near his heart. He was then in a state of grievous sin, but had time left him to make his confession, and with his own hands wrote his last testament. When this was done, the surgeon probed his wound, and the bullet was found to have driven his scapular into his heart. On its being withdrawn, he presently expired, making profound acts of gratitude to the Blessed Virgin, who had prolonged his life miraculously, and thus preserved him from eternal death. St. Simon Stock died at Bordeaux in 1265.

Reflection.—To enjoy the privileges of the scapular, it is sufficient that it be received lawfully and worn devoutly. How, then, can any one fail to profit by a devotion so easy, so simple, and so wonderfully blessed? “He that shall overcome, shall thus be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels” (Apoc. iii. 5).

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Saint Dymphna

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Image: Martyrdom of St. Dymphna and St. Gerebernus by Gerard Seghers (painted between 1603-1651)

The 15th of May is the feast day of Saint Dymphna (7th c.) She is also known as Dympna, Dimpna, Dymphnart, and Damnat. She is the patron saint of mental disorders, neurological disorders, runaways, victims of incest, depression, and anxiety.

The following is from Catholic Encyclopedia:

Dympna (Dimpna), Saint, virgin and martyr. The earliest historical account of the veneration of St. Dymphna dates from the middle of the thirteenth century. Under Bishop Guy I of Cambrai (1238-47), Pierre, a canon of the church. of Saint Aubert at Cambrai, wrote a “Vita” of the saint, from which we learn that she had been venerated for many years in a church at Gheel (province of Antwerp, Belgium), which was devoted to her. The author expressly states that he has drawn his biography from oral tradition. According to the narrative Dymphna, the daughter of a pagan king of Ireland, became a Christian and was secretly baptized. After the death of her mother, who was of extraordinary beauty, her father desired to marry his own daughter, who was just as beautiful, but she fled with the priest Gerebernus and landed at Antwerp. Thence they went tot the village of Gheel, where there was a chapel of St. Martin, beside which they took up their abode. The messengers of her father however, discovered their whereabouts; the father betook himself thither and renewed his offer. Seeing that all was in vain, he commanded his servants to slay the priest, while he himself struck off the head of his daughter. The corpses were put in sacrophagi and entombed in a cave where they were found later. The body of St. Dymphna was buried in the church of Gheel, and the bones of St. Gerebernus were transferred to Kanten. This narrative is without any historical foundation, being merely avariation of the story of the king who wanted to marry his own daughter, a motif which appears frequently in popular legends. Hence we can conclude nothing from it as to the history of St. Dymphna and the time in which she lived. That she is identical with St. Damhnat of Ireland cannot be proved. There are at Gheel fragments of two simple ancient sarcophagi in which tradition says the bodies of Dymphna and Gerebernus were found. There is also a quadrangular brick, said to have been found in one of the sarcophagi, bearing two lines of letters read as DYMPNA. The discovery of this sarcophagus with the corpse and the brick was perhaps the origin of the veneration. In Christian art St. Dymphna is depicted with a sword in her hand and a fettered devil at her feet. Her feast is celebrated 15 May, under which date she is also found in the Roman martyrology.

From time immemorial, the saint was invoked as patroness against insanity. The Bollandists have published numerous accounts of miraculous cures, especially between 1604 and 1668. As a result, there has long been a colony for lunatics at Gheel; even now there are sometimes as many as fifteen hundred whose relatives invoke St. Dymphna for their cure. The insane are treated in a peculiar manner; it is only in the beginning that they are placed in an institution for observation; later they are given shelter in the homes of the inhabitants, take part in their agricultural labours, and are treated very kindly. They are watched without being conscious of it. The treatment produces good results. The old church of St. Dymphna in Gheel was destroyed by fire in 1489. The new church was consecrated in 1532 and is still standing. Every year on the feast of the saint and on the Tuesday after Pentecost numerous pilgrims visit her shrine. In Gheel there is also a fraternity under her name.

J.P. KIRSCH

Monday, 14 May 2018

Saint Matthias

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Saint Matthias

The 14th of May is the feast day of Saint Matthias (died c. 80 AD). He was an apostle of Jesus and is the patron saint of alcoholics; carpenters; Gary, Indiana; Great Falls-Billings, Montana; smallpox; tailors; hope; and perseverance.

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

AFTER our blessed Lord’s Ascension His disciples met together, with Mary His mother and the eleven apostles, in an upper room at Jerusalem. The little company numbered no more than one hundred and twenty souls. They were waiting for the promised coining of the Holy Ghost, and they persevered in prayer. Meanwhile there was a solemn act to be performed on the part of the Church, which could not be postponed. The place of the fallen Judas must be filled up, that the elect number of the apostles might be complete. St. Peter, therefore, as Vicar of Christ, arose to announce the divine decree. That which the Holy Ghost had spoken by the mouth of David concerning Judas, he said, must be fulfilled. Of him it had been written, “His bishopric let another take.” A choice, therefore, was to be made of one among those who had been their companions from the beginning, who could bear witness to the Resurrection of Jesus. Two were named of equal merit, Joseph called Barsabas, and Matthias. Then, after praying to God, Who knows the hearts of all men, to show which of these He had chosen, they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Matthias, who was forthwith numbered with the apostles. It is recorded of the Saint, thus wonderfully elected to so high a vocation, that he was above all remarkable for his mortification of the flesh. It was thus that he made his election sure.

Reflection.—Our ignorance of many points in St. Matthias’s life serves to fix the attention all the more firmly upon these two—the occasion of his call to the apostolate, and the fact of his perseverance. We then naturally turn in thought to our own vocation and our own end.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Saint Julian of Norwich

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Statue of Julian of Norwich by David Holgate, west front, Norwich Cathedral

The 13th of May is the feast day of Saint Julian of Norwich (c. 8 November 1342 – c. 1416). She is also known as Saint Juliana of Norwich. She was an English anchoress, mystic and theologian. She is known for writing the book Revelations of Divine Love in around 1395, which is the first book in the English language known to have been written by a woman.

She was a Benedictine nun living in recluse in Norwich, England. She was struck with an illness when she was 30 that nearly took her life. During the illness, she had visions of Jesus in sixteen separate revelations. The visions stopped when she recovered. Jesus made known the meaning of the revelations fifteen years later, she then wrote about the visions in the book Revelations of Divine Love. She became an anchoress living a solitary life in a cell built into the wall of the church of Saint Julian in Norwich which is not far from London. The Church was in schism during her life, and England was in a war with France. The book brought hope and optimism that God loves and protects with His Providence. Visitors were received in her cell and she gave them guidance in their spiritual life.

Our Lady of Fatima

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Image: Virgin of Fatima, in the Church of Santa Maria, Miranda de Ebro, Burgos, Spain.
The 13th of May is the feast day of Our Lady of Fatima.

On the 13th of May 1917, Our Lady appeared to three shepherd children while they were with their sheep in Fatima, Portugal. The three children were Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta. They described her as “brighter than the sun, shedding rays of light clearer and stronger than a crystal goblet filled with the most sparkling water and pierced by the burning rays of the sun.” She told them she was “Our Lady of the Rosary” and taught them to recite the rosary daily, to pray for the conversion of poor sinners, to make sacrifices as penance for the reparation for sin and in honour of Her Immaculate Heart. She prophesied the World Wars, and showed them a vision of Hell, as well as warning them about the spread of ideological errors originating from Russia. She asked that Russia be consecrated to Her Immaculate Heart by the Pope in union with the world’s bishops. She appeared in Fatima every 13th day of the month from May to October that year. In the final apparition, tens of thousands of people witnessed the “Miracle of the Sun” by both believers and unbelievers.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Blessed Imelda Lambertini

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Image: Blessed Imelda Lambertini

The 12th of May is the feast day of Blessed Imelda Lambertini (1322 – May 12, 1333). She is the patron saint of First Holy Communicants.
Her family was noble and devout living in Bologna Italy. She developed a love for the Holy Mass, the Eucharist and prayer as a child. Spending much time with the Dominican nuns, she requested, at the age of nine, to enter as a postulant. Though her request was accepted, she was not allowed to receive the Eucharist due to her young age. As the feast of the Ascension approached, she begged again to be able to receive the Eucharist. However, she was denied. As the other sisters received the Eucharist, a glowing host was seen suspended in the air above Blessed Imelda. The priest took this as a sign that she should receive the Eucharist and he ministered it to her. Imelda then remained kneeling in prayer in thanksgiving and the nuns left. When they returned to fetch her she was found lifeless but in the same position. She had died of pure joy after receiving the Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Her body is incorrupt and is kept in Bologna at the Church of San Sigismondo.

Our Lady of Medjugorje

May 02, 2018 Message to Mirjana

Dear children, all that my Son, who is the light of love, has done and does, He has done out of love. Also you, my children, when you live in love and love your neighbors, you are doing the will of my Son. Apostles of my love, make yourselves little; open your pure hearts to my Son so that He can work through you. With the help of faith, be filled with love. But, my children, do not forget that the Eucharist is the heart of faith. This is my Son who feeds you with His Body and strengthens you with His Blood. This is a miracle of love: my Son who always comes anew, alive, to bring life back to souls. My children, by living in love you are doing the will of my Son and He lives in you. My children, my motherly desire is for you to always love Him more, because He is calling you with His love. He is giving you love so that you may spread it to all those around you. As a mother, through His love, I am with you to speak the words of love and hope to you - to speak to you the eternal words that are victorious over time and death - so as to call you to be my apostles of love. Thank you.

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