Friday, 25 May 2018

Saint Bede

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Image: Cropped portrait from The Last Chapter by J. Doyle Penrose (c. 1902), showing Bede finishing his translation of the Gospel of John on his deathbed)

The 25th of May is the feast day of Saint Bede (672/3 – 26 May 735). He is also known as Venerable Bede, and Bede the Venerable. He is the patron saint of English writers and historians; Jarrow, Tyne and Wear, England, San Beda College.

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

VENERABLE BEDE, the illustrious ornament of the Anglo-Saxon Church and the first English historian, was consecrated -to God at the age of seven, and intrusted to the care of St. Benedict Biscop at Wearmouth. He became a monk in the sister-house of Jarrow, and there trained no less than six hundred scholars, whom his piety, learning, and sweet disposition had gathered round him. To the toils of teaching and the exact observance of his rule he added long hours of private prayer, and the study of every branch of science and literature then known. He was familiar with Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. In the treatise which he compiled for his scholars, still extant, he threw together all that the world had then stored in history, chronology, physics, music, philosophy, poetry, arithmetic, and medicine. In his Ecclesiastical History he has left us beautiful lives of Anglo-Saxon Saints and holy Fathers, while his commentaries on the Holy Scriptures are still in use by the Church. It was to the study of the Divine Word that he devoted the whole energy of his soul, and at times his compunction was so overpowering that his voice would break with weeping, while the tears of his scholars mingled with his own. He had little aid from others, and during his later years suffered from constant illness; yet he worked and prayed up to his last hour.

The Saint was employed in translating the Gospel of St. John from the Greek up to the hour of his death, which took place on Ascension Day, 735. “He spent that day joyfully,” writes one of his scholars. And in the evening the boy who attended him said, “Dear master, there is yet one sentence unwritten.” He answered, “Write it quickly.” Presently the youth said, “Now it is written” He replied, “Good! thou hast said the truth—consummatum est; take my head into thy hands, for it is very pleasant to me to sit facing my old praying-place, and there to call upon my Father.” And so on the floor of his cell he sang, “Glory be to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost;” and just as he said “Holy Ghost,” he breathed his last, and went to the realms above.

Reflection.—”The more,” says the Imitation of Christ, “a man is united within himself and interiorly simple, so much the more and deeper things doth he understand without labor; for he receiveth the light of understanding from on high.”

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Saint Simeon Stylites the Younger

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mage: St. Simeon Stylites the Younger (orthodox icon)

The 24th of May is the feast day of Saint Simeon Stylites the Younger (521 – May 24, 592). He is also known as Saint Simeon of the Admirable Mountain (Arabic: مار سمعان العمودي الأصغر mār semʻān l-ʻamūdī l-asghar).

Saint Simeon Stylites the Younger was born in Antioch in Syria which is the present-day Turkey. Simeon wanted to live a life of penance and austerity due to his great love for God. His mother, Martha is also a saint. He became attached to a monastery of hermits as a young boy and their spiritual director, John lived on top of a tall pillar, also known as a style. The holy hermits who lived on top of the styles, were known as stylites. Saint Simeon the Younger imitated John and stayed on another smaller pillar close to his. Saint Simeon had three different pillars during his life time, each one higher than the next until he died. His last pillar was 12 meters high. He was ordained a deacon and a priest and his disciples would climb a ladder to receive Holy Communion from him. Saint Simeon worked many miracles and he was known for his great sanctity. Many people from distant countries would come for his blessings, cures, prophesies and to hear his spiritual advice. After he died, his pilar was a place of pilgrimage and its ruins still exist today.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Saint William of Perth

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Image: Rochester Cathedral, stained glass window (late 19th century), Saint William of Perth

The 23rd of May is the feast day of Saint William of Perth (died c. 1201). He is also known as Saint William of Rochester. He is the patron saint of adopted children.

The following is from Catholic Encyclopedia:

(Or ST. WILLIAM OF ROCHESTER).

Martyr, born at Perth; died about 1201. Practically all that is known of this martyr comes from the “Nova legenda Anglie”, and that is little. In youth he had been somewhat wild, but on reaching manhood he devoted himself wholly to the service of God. A baker by trade, he was accustomed to set aside every tenth loaf for the poor. He went to Mass daily, and one morning, before it was light, found on the threshold of the church an abandoned child, whom he adopted and to whom he taught his trade. Later he took a vow to visit the Holy Places, and, having received the consecrated wallet and staff, set out with his adopted son, whose name is given as “Cockermay Doucri”, which is said to be Scots for “David the Foundling”. They stayed three days at Rochester, and purposed to proceed next day to Canterbury, but instead David wilfully misled his benefactor and, with robbery in view, felled him with a blow on the head and cut his throat. The body was discovered by a mad woman, who plaited a garland of flowers and placed it first on the head of the corpse and then her own, whereupon the madness left her. On learning her tale the monks of Rochester carried the body to the cathedral and there buried it. In 1256 the Bishop of Rochester, Lawrence de S. Martino, obtained the canonization of St. William by Pope Innocent IV. A beginning was at once made with his shrine, which was situated in the northeast transept, and attracted crowds of pilgrims. At the same time a small chapel was built at the place of the murder, which was thereafter called Palmersdene. Remains of this chapel are still to be seen near the present St. William’s Hospital, on the road leading by Horsted Farm to Maidstone. On 18 and 19 February, 1300, King Edward I gave two donations of seven shillings to the shrine. On 29 November, 1399, Pope Boniface IX granted an indulgence to those who visited and gave alms to the shrine on certain specified days. St. William is represented in a wall-painting, which was discovered in 1883 in Frindsbury church, near Rochester, which is supposed to have been painted about 1256-1266. His feast was kept on 23 May.

Acta SS., XVII, 268; HORSTMANN, Nova legenda Anglie, II (Oxford, 1901), 457; Archaeologia Cantiana (London, 1858-), III, 108; V, 144; XV, 331; XVI, 225; XVIII, 200; XXIII, passim; XXVII, 97; BLISS AND TWEMLOW, Calendar of Papal Letters, V (London, 1904), 256-7; BRIDGETT in The Month (London, 1891); STANTON, Menology of England and Wales (London, 1887-92), 228, 648; CHALLONER, Britannia Sancta, I (London, 1745), 312.

John B. Wainewright.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Saint Rita of Cascia

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Image: A popular religious depiction of Saint Rita during her partial Stigmata, though historically inaccurate, she is wearing a black Augustinian habit instead of the brown robe and white veil of Monastery of Saint Mary Magdalene from the 13th century.

The 22nd of May is the feast day of Saint Rita of Cascia (1381 – 22 May 1457). She was born Margherita Lotti. She is the patron saint of lost and impossible causes, sickness, wounds, marital problems, abuse, and mothers.

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

ST. RITA OF CASCIA, whose feast is celebrated on May 22, was born at Rocca Porena, Italy, about the year 1386, and died at Cascia in the year 1456. Her parents opposed her desire to become a nun, and persuaded her to marry a man who, in a short time, lost his reputation on account of his cruelty. After being converted from his wicked ways, he was murdered by an enemy. Rita’s two sons then resolved to take revenge, but through her prayers they repented. After their death, she applied several times for admission into the Augustinian Convent at Cascia. Repeatedly refused until God Himself cleared away all obstacles, she entered the convent, made her profession and lived the life of a holy and devout Religious for forty-two years, “a shining example of every Christian virtue, pure as a lily, simple as a dove, and obedient as an angel.” That “God is wonderful in His Saints” is easily proved in the life of St. Rita, and, owing to her great number of miracles, she is often styled “The Saint of the Impossible.”

Monday, 21 May 2018

Saint Eugène de Mazenod

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Image: St. Eugène de Mazenod

The 21st of May is the feast day of Saint Eugene de Mazenod (1 August 1782 – 21 May 1861). He was born as Charles-Joseph-Eugène de Mazenod.

The following is from Catholic Encyclopedia:

Bishop of Marseilles, and founder of the Congregation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, b. at Aix, in Provence, 1 August, 1782; d. at Marseilles 21 May, 1861. De Mazenod was the offspring of a noble family of southern France, and even in his tender years he showed unmistakable evidence of a pious disposition and a high and independent spirit. Sharing the fate of most French noblemen at the time of the Revolution, he passed some years as an exile in Italy, after which he studied for the priesthood, though he was the last representative of his family. On 21 December, 1811, he was ordained priest at Amiens, whither he had gone to escape receiving orders at the hands of Cardinal Maury, who was then governing the archdiocese of Paris against the wishes of the pope. After some years of ecclesiastical labours at Aix, the young priest, bewailing the sad fate of religion resulting among the masses from the French Revolution, gathered together a little band of missionaries to preach in the vernacular and to instruct the rural populations of Provence. He commenced, 25 January, 1816, his Institute which was immediately prolific of much good among the people, and on 17 February, 1826, was solemnly approved by Leo XII under the name of Congregation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

After having aided for some time his uncle, the aged Bishop of Marseilles, in the administration of his diocese, Father De Mazenod was called to Rome and, on 14 October, 1832, consecrated titular Bishop of Icosium, which title he had, in the beginning of 1837, to exchange for that of Bioshop of Marseilles. His episcopate was marked by measures tending to the restoration in all its integrity of ecclesiastical discipline. De Mazenod unceasingly strove to uphold the rights of the Holy See, somewhat obscured in France by the pretensions of the Gallican Church. He favoured the moral teachings of Blessed (now Saint) Alphonsus Liguori, whose theological system he was the first to introduce in France, and whose first life in French he caused to be written by one of his disciples among the Oblates. At the same time he watched with a jealous eye over the education of youth, and, in spite of the susceptibilities of the civil power, he never swerved from what he considered the path of justice. In fact, by the apostolic freedom of his public utterances he deserved to be compared to St. Ambrose. He was ever a strong supporter of papal infallibility and a devout advocate of Mary’s immaculate conception, in the solemn definition of which (1854) he took an active part. In spite of his well-known outspokenness, he was made a Peer of the French Empire, and in 1851 Pius IX gave him the pallium.

Meanwhile he continued as Superior General of the religious family he had founded and whose fortunes will be found described in the article on the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Such was the esteem in which he was held at Rome that the pope had marked him out as one of the cardinals he was to create when death claimed him at the ripe age of almost seventy-nine.

Cooke, Sketches of the Life of Mgr de Mazenod, Bishop of Marseilles (London and Dublin, 1879); Rambert, Vie de Mgr D. J. E. De Mazenod (Tours, 1883); Ricard, Mgr de Mazenod, évêque de Marseille (Paris, n. d.).

A. G. Morice.

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).

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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