Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Blessed Fra Angelico

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Detail from Deeds of the Antichrist
by Luca Signorelli (c. 1501) in
Orvieto Cathedral, Italy

The 18th of February is the Feast day of Blessed Fra Angelico (c. 1395 – February 18, 1455). He is the patron saint of Catholic artists.

Blessed Fra Angelico lived between 1387 and 1455, and was born Guido di Pietro in Tuscany, Italy. He later became a famous Renaissance painter. Blessed Fra Angelico would pray before he painted, his belief was that he needed to be Christlike in order to paint Christ perfectly. In 1407 he joined the Dominican Order and received the name of Brother John, or Angelic Brother John, or Fra Angelico (Angelic Friar) due to his holiness. He moved to the Friary in San Marco, Florence where there was an artistic community and gained the patronage of the Medici family thanks to his artistic talents. He worked on Saint Peter’s Basilica in various chapels in 1445 and was a prior to the convent in Fiesole from 1449 till shortly before he died. He is buried in the Dominican church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva.

Monday, 17 February 2020

Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order

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The Seven Holy Founders of the Servite
Order receiving their habit from Our Lady,
Italian painting, ca. 1700

The 17th of February is the feast day of the seven holy founders of the Order of Servites .

Saint Manettus (d. 1268), also known as Saint Benedict dell’Antella and 6 other men founded the Order of Servites on 15th of August 1233. They were cloth merchants in the city of Florence, Italy who joined the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They wanted to dedicate their lives under Our Lady’s title of the Mother of Sorrows. On the feast of the Assumption in 1233, Our Lady appeared to them asking them to live a life in seclusion and in prayer. They obeyed, and Mary appeared again in 1240 giving them a black habit and a scroll with “Servants of Mary” inscribed on it. She asked them to create a religious order under the Rule of Saint Augustine. The Servites’ charism is devotion to the Passion of Jesus and the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady. and was one of the five original mendicant religious orders. The order was formally approved in 1304 by Rome.

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Saint Juliana of Nicomedia

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The 16th of February is the feast day of Saint Juliana of Nicomedia (286 AD-304 AD). She is the patron saint of sickness.

The following is from the Catholic Encyclopedia:

Suffered martyrdom during the Diocletian persecution. Both the Latin and Greek Churches mention a holy martyr Juliana in their lists of saints. The oldest historical notice of her is found in the “Martryologium Hieronymianum” for 16 February, the place of birth being given as Cumae in Campania (In Campania Cumbas, natale Julianae). It is true that the notice is contained only in the one chief manuscript of the above-named martyrology (the Codex Epternacensis), but that this notice is certainly authentic is clear from a letter of St. Gregory the Great, which testifies to the special veneration of St. Juliana in the neighbourhood of Naples. A pious matron named Januaria built a church on one of her estates, for the consecration of which she desired relics (sanctuaria, that is to say, objects which had been brought into contact with the graves) of Sts. Severinus and Juliana. Gregory wrote to Fortunatus, Bishop of Naples, telling him to accede to the wishes of Januaria (“Gregorii Magni epist.”, lib. IX, ep. xxxv, in Migne P.L., LXXXVII, 1015). The Acts of St. Juliana used by Bede in his “Martyrologium” are purely legendary. According to the account given in this legend, St. Juliana lived in Nicomedia and was betrothed to the Senator Eleusius. Her father Africanus was a pagan and hostile to the Christians. In the persecution of Maximianus, Juliana was beheaded after suffering frightful torturers. Soon after a noble lady, named Sephonia, came through Nicomedia and took the saint’s body with her to Italy, and had it buried in Campania. Evidently it was this alleged translation that caused the martyred Juliana, honoured in Nicomedia, to be identified with St. Juliana of Cumae, although they are quite distinct persons. The veneration of St. Juliana of Cumae became very widespread, especially in the Netherlands. At the beginning of the thirteenth century her remains were transferred to Naples. The description of this translation by a contemporary writer is still extant. The feast of the saint is celebrated in the Latin Church on 16 February, in the Greek on 21 December. Her Acts describe the conflicts which she is said to have with the devil; she is represented in pictures with a winged devil whom she leads by a chain.

MOMBRITIUS, Sanctuarium, II, fol. 41 v.-43 v.; Acta SS., FEB., II, 808 sqq.; MIGNE, P.G., CXIV, 1437-52; Bibliotheca hagiogr. lat., I, 670 sq.; Bibl. hagiogr. graeca (2nd. ed.), 134; NILLES, Kalendarium manuale, I (2nd ed., Innsbruck, 1896), 359; MAZOCCHI, In vetus S. Neapolitanae ecclesiae Kalendarum commentarius, I (Naples, 1744), 556-9; COCKAYNE, St. Juliana (London, 1872); Vita di S. Giuliana (Novara, 1889); BACKHAUS, Ueber die Quelle der mittelenglischen Legende der hl. Juliana und ihr Verhaltnis zu Cynewulfs Juliana (Halle, 1899).

J.P. KIRSCH

Saturday, 15 February 2020

Saint Claude de la Clombiere

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The 15th of February is the feast day of Saint Claude de la Clombiere S.J. (2 February 1641-15 February 1682). He is the patron saint of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The following is from Catholic Encyclopedia:

Missionary and ascetical writer, born of noble parentage at Saint-Symphorien-d’Ozon, between Lyons and Vienne, in 1641; died at Paray-le-Monial, 15 Feb., 1682. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1659. After fifteen years of religious life he made a vow, as a means of attaining the utmost possible perfection, to observe faithfully the rule and constitutions of his order under penalty of sin. Those who lived with him attested that this vow was kept with great exactitude. In 1674 Father de la Colombière was made superior at the Jesuit house at Paray-le-Monial, where he became the spiritual director of Blessed Margaret Mary and was thereafter a zealous apostle of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In 1676 he was sent to England as preacher to the Duchess of York, afterwards Queen of Great Britain. He lived the life of a religious even in the Court of St. James and was as active a missionary in England as he had been in France. Although encountering many difficulties, he was able to guide Blessed Margaret Mary by letter. His zeal soon weakened his vitality and a throat and lung trouble seemed to threaten his work as a preacher. While awaiting his recall to France he was suddenly arrested and thrown into prison, denounced as a conspirator. Thanks to his title of preacher to the Duchess of York and to the protection of Louis XIV, whose subject he was, he escaped death but was condemned to exile (1679). The last two years of his life were spent at Lyons where he was spiritual director to the young Jesuits, and at Paray-le-Monial, whither he repaired for his health. His principal works, including “Pious Reflections”, “Meditations on the Passion”, “Retreat and Spiritual Letters”, were published under the title, “Oeuvres du R. P. Claude de la Colombière” (Avignon, 1832; Paris, 1864). His relics are preserved in the monastery of the Visitation nuns at Paray-le-Monial.

SEQUIN, Vie du P. de la Colombière (Paris, 1876), tr. in Quarterly Series (London, 1883); LUBEN, Der ehrwurdige Diener Gottes P. Claudius de la Colombière (Einsiedeln, 1884); LETIERCE, Le Sacre Coeur, ses apotres et ses sanctuaires (Nancy, 1886); Lettres inedites de la bienheureuse Marguerite Marie (Toulouse, 1890); CHARRIER, Histoire du V. P. Claude de la Colombière (Paris, 1894); Bougaud, Histoire de la bienheureuse Marguerite Marie (Toulouse, 1900); Oeuvres completes du R. P. de la Colombière (Grenoble, 1901); HATTLER, Lebensbild der ehrwurdige P. Claudius de la Colombière (1903); POUPLARD, Notice sur le serviteur de Dieu, le R. P. Claude de la Colombière.

GERTRUDE DANA STEELE

Friday, 14 February 2020

Saint Valentine of Rome

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Saint Valentine receives a rosary
from the Virgin, by David Teniers III

The 14th of February is the Feast day of Saint Valentine of Rome (c. 270). He is the patron saint of affianced couples, against fainting, beekeepers, happy marriages, love, plague, and epilepsy.

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

VALENTINE was a holy priest in Rome, who, with St. Marius and his family, assisted the martyrs in the persecution under Claudius II. He was apprehended, and sent by the emperor to the prefect of Rome, who, on finding all his promises to make him renounce his faith ineffectual, commanded him to be beaten with clubs, and afterward to be beheaded, which was executed on the 14th of February, about the year 270. Pope Julius I, is said to have built a church near Ponte Mole to his memory, which for a long time gave name to the gate now called Porta del Popolo, formerly Porta Valentini. The greater part of his relics are now in the Church of St. Praxedes. To abolish the heathens’ lewd superstitious custom of boys ‘ drawing the names of girls, in honor of their goddess Februata Juno, on the 15th of this month, several zealous pastors substituted the names of Saints in billets given on this day.

Reflection.—In the cause of justice and truth, prudence should not be held in account; otherwise prudence is mere human respect. St. Paul says: “The wisdom of the flesh is death.”

Thursday, 13 February 2020

Saint Catherine of Ricci

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The 13th of February is the feast day of Saint Catherine of Ricci. She is the patron saint of the sick.

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

ALEXANDRINA of Ricci was the daughter of a noble Florentine. At the age of thirteen she entered the Third Order of St. Dominic in the monastery of Prato, taking in religion the name of Catherine, after her patron and namesake of Siena. Her special attraction was to the Passion of Christ, in which she was permitted miraculously to participate. In the Lent of 1541, being then twenty-one years of age, she had a vision of the crucifixion so heart-rending that she was confined to bed for three weeks, and was only restored, on Holy Saturday, by an apparition of St. Mary Magdalene and Jesus risen. During twelve years she passed every Friday in ecstasy, She received the sacred stigmata, the wound in the left side, and the crown of thorns. All these favors gave her continual and intense suffering, and inspired her with a loving sympathy for the yet more bitter tortures of the Holy Souls. In their behalf she offered all her prayers and penances; and her charity toward them became so famous throughout Tuscany that after every death the friends of the deceased hastened to Catherine to secure her prayers. St. Catherine offered many prayers, fasts, and penances for a certain great man, and thus obtained his salvation. It was revealed to her that he was in purgatory; and such was her love of Jesus crucified that she offered to suffer all the pains about to be inflicted on that soul. Her prayer was granted. The soul entered heaven, and for forty days Catherine suffered indescribable agonies. Her body was covered with blisters, emitting heat so great that her cell seemed on fire. Her flesh appeared as if roasted, and her tongue like red-hot iron. Amid all she was calm and joyful, saying, “I long to suffer all imaginable pains, that souls may quickly see and praise their Redeemer.” She knew by revelation the arrival of a soul in. purgatory, and the hour of its release. She held intercourse with the Saints in glory, and frequently conversed with St. Philip Neri at Rome without ever leaving her convent at Prato. She died, amid angels’ songs, in 1589.

Reflection.—If we truly love Jesus crucified, we must long, as did St. Catherine, to release the Holy Souls whom He has redeemed but has left to our charity to set free.

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Saint Julian the Hospitaller

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Saint Julian, from a fresco by
Domenico Ghirlandaio

The 12th of February is the feast day of Saint Julian the Hospitaller. He is the patron saint of boatmen, carnival workers, childless people, circus workers, clowns, ferrymen, fiddlers, fiddle players, hospitallers, hotel-keepers, hunters, innkeepers, jugglers, knights, murderers, pilgrims, shepherds, to obtain lodging while traveling, travelers, wandering musicians, St. Julian’s; and Macerata.

Saint Julian the Hospitaller lived in the 4th century and was born in a wealthy noble European family. Though little is known about his life for certain, there is a legend that he married a noble widow but was put under a curse. The curse was that he would kill his parents one day. Julian and his wife moved very far away hoping to avoid this curse. However, Julian’s parents discovered where he was and decided to visit him unannounced while Julian was away. His wife gave them their bed to sleep overnight. Julian returned and found the couple in the bed, assuming his wife was with another man, he slew them both. When he learned of the truth, he spent his life in penance. Both he and his wife went to Rome as pilgrims and returned to create a hospital as part of their penance, dedicating the rest of their lives in caring for the sick and the poor. A leper came to stay in the hospital and later revealed himself to be an angel, telling Julian that God had granted him absolution for his sins. The river that the hospital was built next to, was crossed often by the crusaders.

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Blessed Bartholomew of Olmedo

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The 11th of February is the feast day of Blessed Bartholomew of Olmedo (1485-1524).

At the age of 31, he arrived in Mexico from Spain becoming its first priest. He worked as a chaplain for the Spanish Conquistador Fernando Cortes’ expedition, which was responsible for the colonisation of the Americas by Spain and the decline of the Aztec empire. Blessed Bartholomew was liked by the natives of Mexico and he taught them the Christian faith, encouraging them to end their human sacrifice rituals. He also tried to restrain Cortes from acts of violence against the natives and defended them against injustice. He taught them the devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, under Her title of Our Lady of Mercy. Many natives were converted and he baptised more than 2500 people before he passed away at the age of 39. He is buried in Santiago de Tlateloco.

Our Lady of Lourdes

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The 11th of February is the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes. She is the patron saint of Lourdes, France, Quezon City of Metro Manila, Tagaytay City of Cavite, Barangay Granada of Bacolod City, Daegu, South Korea, Tennessee, Diocese of Lancaster, bodily ills, sick people, and protection from diseases.

Our Lady appeared to Bernadette Soubiroux on 11th February 1858 in Massabielle, southern France. Bernadette reported seeing 18 apparitions of the Woman Whom she described to be as “lovelier than I have ever seen” that year. The Woman in the apparition called Herself the “Immaculate Conception,” confirming the dogma which was defined by the Pope in the four years previously. Our Lady asked Bernadette to drink from a fountain at the grotto and a chapel to be built on the spot. Bernadette scratched at the dirt where a stream of pure water came forth and drank from it. The water prove to have healing properties, drawing pilgrims to the grotto worldwide. A basillica was eventually built in Massabielle, and was consecrated as the “Church of the Rosary” in 1876.

Our Lady of Medjugorje

January 25, 2020 Message to Marija

Dear children! Today I am calling you to pray even more, until you feel the holiness of forgiveness in your heart. There must be holiness in the families, little children, because there is no future for the world without love and holiness – because in holiness and joy, you give yourselves to God the Creator who loves you with immeasurable love. This is why He sends me to you. Thank you for having responded to my call.

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