A Week of Saints: November 18-24, 2019

Monday, November 18:  Dedication of the Basilicas of Sts. Peter and Paul

St Peter’s is located in the Vatican City State, surrounded by Rome, Italy.  It’ built on the tomb of St Pater. Constantine built the original structure that stood for more than a thousand years in 319.  It was losing its stability, so Pope Julius II reconstructed it, but it took 200 years for it’s completion. 

St Paul’s Outside the Walls the largest church in Rome, until St Peters was rebuilt.  It is built on the site that St Paul was beheaded.  Until the empire crumbled under “barbarian” invasions, the two churches, although miles apart, were linked by a roofed colonnade of marble columns.

Tuesday, November 19:  St. Agnes of Assisi, religious (1197-1253)

Agnes was St. Clare’s sister, and her first follower. When she left her family for the monastery, they tried o drag her out.  Her body became so heavy that several knights were unsuccessful at moving her.  When her uncle tried to hit her, he was temporarily paralyzed.  Agnes, like her sister was very devoted.  She was sent to be abbess to a group of Benedictine nuns, who wanted to be Poor Clares.  Agnes wanted to be with Clare and the other sisters, and after establishing the monasteries returned to San Damiano, when Clare was dying

“I come, O Lord, unto Thy sanctuary to see the life and food of my soul. As I hope in Thee,”

Wednesday, November 20:  St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, religious (1769-1852)

St Rose learned political skills from her father and love of the poor from her mother in Grenoble, France.  Her prevailing characteristic was her strong will. She entered the convent at 19, and during the French Revolution began taking care of the poor, sick, and children.  She risked her life helping Priests in the underground.  She came to America to be a missionary with several nuns. “In her first decade in America, Mother Duchesne suffered …poor lodging, shortages of food, drinking water, fuel and money, forest fires and blazing chimneys, the vagaries of the Missouri climate, cramped living quarters and the privation of all privacy, and the crude manners of children reared in rough surroundings.” (Louise Callan, R.S.C.J., Philippine Duchesne )

In poor health she got her lifelong wish, at 72, a mission, among the Potawatomi.

“You may dazzle the mind with a thousand brilliant discoveries of natural science; you may open new worlds of knowledge which were never dreamed of before; yet, if you have not developed in the soul of the pupil strong habits of virtue which will sustain her in the struggle of life, you have not educated her, but only put in her hand a powerful instrument of self-destruction”

Patron:  perseverance amid adversity,

Thursday, November 21:  The Presentation Of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Mary’s presentation was celebrated in Jerusalem in the sixth century. The Protoevangelium of James tells us that Anna and Joachim offered Mary to God in the Temple when she was three years old. Though it cannot be proven historically, Mary’s presentation emphasizes that the holiness conferred on Mary from the beginning of her life on earth continued through her early childhood and beyond.

Friday, November 22:  St Cecelia, Martyr (3rd century)

Although Cecilia is one of the most famous of the Roman martyrs, there is little known about her. In the late fourth century  a church was named after her, and her feast was celebrated at least in 545. Legend has it that Cecilia was a young high rank Christian betrothed to a Roman and because of her influence he was converted, and martyred. The legend about Cecilia’s death says that after being struck three times on the neck with a sword, she lived for three days, and asked the pope to convert her home into a church. Since the time of the Renaissance she has usually been portrayed with a viola or a small organ.

“Death and hell combine to distract man with a thousand useless cares, and to engage his thoughts with a multitude of imaginary wants.” 

Patron:  musicians, poets

Saturday, November 23: St Columban (543-615)

Columban was one of the greatest of the Irish missionaries. As a young man who was greatly tormented by temptations of the flesh.  After many years of seclusion and prayer, he traveled to Gaul with 12 companion missionaries. They won wide respect for their dedication to the faith and rigors of their lives. Columban established several monasteries. His writings include a treatise on penance and against Arianism, sermons, poetry, and his monastic rule. The Liturgical Feast of Saint Columban is November 23.

“Seek then the highest wisdom, not by arguments in words but by the perfection of your life, not by speech but by the faith that comes from simplicity of heart”

Patron:  motorcyclist 

Sunday November 24:  Feast of Christ The King of the Universe

Pope Pius XI in response to the growing secularism in the West stated how he hoped the feast would impact the laity.

“If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth; if all men, purchased by his precious blood, are by a new right subjected to his dominion; if this power embraces all men, it must be clear that not one of our faculties is exempt from his empire. He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things, and cleave to him alone. He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls, or to use the words of the Apostle Paul, as instruments of justice unto God.”

A Week of Saints

Monday, October 11:  St Martin of Tours, Bishop, martyr (315-397)

A conscientious objector who wanted to be a monk, and one of the first who wasn’t a martyr.  He was born a pagan in Eastern Europe.  He was forced into the military at age 15, and Baptized at 18.  He was ordained an exorcist, and established possibly the first monastery in France.  The people of Tours demanded that he become their bishop. Some of the consecrating bishops thought his rumpled appearance and unkempt hair indicated that he was not dignified enough for the office.  Martin plead for the life of a heretic, and then was accused of the same heresy and was martyred

“Allow me, brothers, to look toward heaven rather than at the earth, so that my spirit may set on the right course when the time comes for me to go on my journey to the Lord.”

Patron:  poverty, alcoholism, beggars, wine maker, tailors, soldiers

Tuesday, November 12:  St. Josaphat, Bishop, martyr (1580?-1623)

Born Joseph Kunsevich in Poland to a noble family.  He was ordained a priest and became a gifted speaker.  He was an advocate for uniting the Orthodox Church with Rome.  Joseph made progress gaining support, but was killed by an Orthodox fanatic.  He was the first saint of the Eastern Church to be canonized by Rome

“You make ambushes for me everywhere, in the streets, on the bridges, on the highways, and in the marketplace. I am here among you as a shepherd and you ought to know that I should be happy to give my life for you. I am ready to die for the holy union, for the supremacy of St. Peter and of his successor the Supreme Pontiff”

Patron: Ukraine

Wednesday, November13:  St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, Religious   (1850-1917)

Frances Xavier Cabrini was the first United States citizen to be canonized.She started work at the House of Providence Orphanage in Italy, and made her vows there and took the religious habit.  When the orphanage closed, the Bishop made her Prioress of Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart. She traveled with six sisters to New York City, to work with the thousands of Italian immigrants living there.  In 35 years Frances Xavier Cabrini founded 67 institutions dedicated to caring for the poor, the abandoned, the uneducated and the sick. She also organized schools and adult education classes.

“Did a Magdalene, a Paul, a Constantine, an Augustine become mountains of ice after their conversion? Quite the contrary. We should never have had these prodigies of conversion and marvelous holiness if they had not changed the flames of human passion into volcanoes of immense love of God.”

Patron:  Immigrants, hospital administrators

Thursday, November 14:  St Lawrence O’Toole, Archbishop (1125-1180)

St. Lawrence, when ten years old, given, by his father, as a hostage to the king of Leinster, by whom her was treated inhumanely. The king finally handed him over to the Bishopand Abbot. .Upon the death of the Bishop St Lawrence was chosen Abbot of the monastery.  He was made Archbishop of Dublin.  On a trip to England to see King Henry II.  As the archbishop was going to the altar to officiate, a maniac  struck him a violent blow on the head.He was thought mortally wounded, but the Lawrence asked for some water, blessed it, and and washed his wound with it.  The blood was immediately stopped, and the he celebrated Mass.

Patron:  Archdiocese of Dublin

Friday November 15:  St. Albert the Great, Bishop, Doctor (1206-1280)

Albert the Great was a German Dominican, who influenced the Church’s stance toward Aristotelian philosophy brought to Europe by the spread of Islam. He was the eldest son of a powerful and wealthy German. Despite opposition from his family, he entered the Dominican novitiate. His interests prompted him to write a compendium of all knowledge: natural science, logic, rhetoric, mathematics, astronomy, ethics, economics, politics and metaphysics. He was a Dominican provincial and even a bishop of Regensburg for a short time. He defended the mendicant orders and preached the Crusade in Germany and Bohemia.

“It is by the path of love, which is charity, that God draws near to man, and man to God. But where charity is not found, God cannot dwell. If, then, we possess charity, we possess God, for “God is Charity”

Patron: scientists and philosophers.

Saturday, November 16:  St. Margaret of Scotland, queen (1050?-1093)

Margaret of Scotland was free to be herself. For her, that meant freedom to love God and serve others.  Margaret was the daughter of Princess Agatha of Hungary and the Anglo-Saxon Prince Edward Atheling. She spent much of her youth in the court of her great-uncle, the English king, Edward the Confessor. Her family was shipwrecked off the coast of Scotland. King Malcolm befriended them Because of Malcolm’s love for Margaret, she was able to soften his temper,  and help him become a virtuous king. she promoted arts, tried to correct religious abuses common among priests and lay people. She and Malcolm had six sons and two daughters. Margaret personally supervised their religious instruction and other studies.  Her private life was austere. She had certain times for prayer and reading Scripture. She ate sparingly and slept little in order to have time for devotions. She was always surrounded by beggars in public and never refused them.

Patron:  Scotland

Darkness My Old Friend

I recently watched a movie about St Ignatius of Loyola, where he suffered from the memory of his sinful past.  He accused himself relentlessly over and over, while he heard lies of despair instead of Hope in his head.  He later identified the voice of despair as satan.

My confessor directed me to find were the lies were that satan was speaking to me in my life.  I found sins that I would revisit and feel bad about, or times where I could only see injustice, and not the Light.  Although placed there as temptations to despair, I could admit my cooperation with this way of thinking, and confess it.  

I know that my Father is Love, and satan wants to separate me from the Love of my God.  I think it fair to say that if there is something that makes me feel unloved by God, then the fault is mine.  So I was motivated to revisit these difficult memories and find God in them.  If its a forgiven sin, who am I to hold onto it.  If its an injustice done to me, then I need to look for how God was present to me through that experience.  I need to replace the negative feelings associated with these things, with the Truth. I have to stop listening to the mantra of evil.  I can’t linger in the darkness of satan’s suggestion.  I need to find these little seeds of demise, and quickly bring Light to the darkness.  I need to exercise vigilance.

The movie can be found on “Formed”, and is titled “Ignatius of Loyola”.

Week of Saints November 4-10, 2019

Monday, November 4:  St. Charles Borromeo, Cardinal (1538-1584)

Charles was born in Italy and a son of  Count Gilbert Borromeo and Margaret Medici, sister of Pope. he was made Bishop of Milan. He was intent to improve the morals and manners of the clergy and laity, established seminaries for the education of the clergy, founded a Confraternity of Christian Doctrine for the religious instruction of children. He founded a society of secular priests, Oblates of St. Ambrose (now Oblates of St. Charles). Although he achieved a position of great power, he used it with humility.

Be sure that you first preach by the way you live. If you do not, people will notice that you say one thing, but live otherwise, and your words will bring only cynical laughter and a derisive shake of the head.

Patron:  agains ulcers, appole orchards catechists, catechumens, colic; intestinal disorders;

Tuesday, November 5: Zachariah and Elizabeth Early Christian (time of Christ)

Elizabeth is a cousin to the Virgin Mary.  Zachariah, desiring a child, went to pray in the temple and was told by the angel Gabriel, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John… he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.” (Luke 1:13-15).

Zachariah was skeptical because both himself and his wife were elderly. For his skepticism, Zachariah was rendered mute until the prophecy had been fulfilled.

Elizabeth became pregnant shortly thereafter and she rejoiced.

Gabriel then visited the Virgin Mary at Nazareth, telling her that she would conceive of the Holy Spirit and become the mother of Jesus.  Elizabeth was visited by Mary, at which time Mary spoke the hymn of praise now known at the Magnificat, and after John’s birth, Zachary’s speech was restored

Wednesday, November 6:  St. Joseph Khang (d-1861)

Martyr of Vietnam. The servant of St. Jerome Hermosilla, Joseph tried to deliver St. Jerome from prison. He was caught in the attempt, lashed, and beheaded.

Thursday, November 7:  St. Didacus, Religious Brother(1400-1463)

He lived for some time as a hermit. After Didacus became a Franciscan brother, he developed a reputation for great insight into God’s ways. He volunteered for the missions in the Canary Islands.  In 1450 he was sent to Rome to attend the canonization of St. Bernardine of Siena. Didacus stayed in Rome for three months to nurse the friars, who had become ill. After he returned to Spain, he pursued a life of contemplation full-time.

“O faithful wood, O precious nails! You have borne an exceedingly sweet burden, for you have been judged worthy to bear the Lord and King of heaven”

Patron

Friday, November 8: Four Crowned Martyrs Death: 305

Two separate groups who suffered for the faith, called Sancti Quatuor Coronati, “the Four Holy Crowned Ones. Castorius, Claudius, Nicostratus, and Symphorian were tortured and slain in Pannonia, having been carvers from Sirmium. They refused to carve a pagan statue and were martyred by Emperor Diocletian. A martyr named Simplicius died with them. The second group of Four Holy Crowned Ones died at Albano, Italy. They were Carpophorus, Secundius, Severian, and Victorinus. A basilica was erected in honor of these martyrs in Rome. 

Saturday, November 9:  Dedication of St. John Lateran

St. John Lateran is the pope’s church, the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome where the Bishop of Rome presides.

The first structure and its successors suffered fire, earthquake and the ravages of war, but the Lateran remained the church where popes were consecrated until 14th century.

Pope Innocent X commissioned the present structure in 1646. One of Rome’s most imposing churches, the Lateran’s towering facade is crowned with 15 colossal statues of Christ, John the Baptist, John the Evangelist and 12 doctors of the Church. Beneath its high altar rest the remains of the small wooden table on which tradition holds St. Peter himself celebrated Mass.

Sunday, November 10:  St. Leo the Great, Pope (d. 461)

St Leo was elected Pope in 440, he worked guiding his fellow bishops as “equals in the episcopacy and infirmities.”

Leo is known as one of the best administrative popes of the ancient Church. He worked to control heresies, and to secure true Christian beliefs. He led the defense of Rome against barbarian attack, taking the role of peacemaker.

He is known for his spiritually profound sermons.

“Christian, remember your dignity, and now that you share in God’s own nature, do not return by sin to your former base condition. Bear in mind who is your head and of whose body you are a member. Do not forget that you have been rescued from the power of darkness and brought into the light of God’s kingdom”

A Week of Saints

Monday, October 28:  St’s Simon and Jude, Apostles, Martyrs (time of Christ)

St. Jude, was named by Luke and in Acts, but Matthew and Mark call him Thaddeus. He is listed among all the Apostles. Scholars hold that he is not the author of the Letter of Jude. He is brother of James the Less and son of Clopas and Mary, who was the cousin of the Blessed Mother. He preached the Gospel in 

Judea, Samaria, Idumaea, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Lybia. according to ancient writers.

Patron:  Desperate causes, desperate situations, lost causes

St. Simon, sometimes called the Zealot, was son of Cleophas, St. Joseph’s brother, and his mother was possibly Our Lady’s sister. He was successor to St James as  Bishop of Jerusalem,  The Christians fled the city with Simon to Pella on the other side of the Jordan, eventually returning to Jerusalem.  The church here flourished greatly, and that many Jews were converted by the miracles by the saints. He was thought to be 120 yrs old and was put to death by crucifixion.

Tuesday, October. 29:  St. Narcissus of Jerusalem, Bishop (d. 215)

St. Narcissus managed to live well beyond 100. Some even speculate he lived to 160. Details of his life are uncertain, but there are reports of his many miracles. He is most remembered for turning water into oil for use in the church lamps on Holy Saturday.  He was bishop of Jerusalem in the late second century. When he retired as Bishop he went into isolation. Upon returning to Jerusalem he resumed his role as Bishop.

Wednesday, October 30:  St. Alphonsus Rodriguez , Lay Brother(1533-1617)

Alphonsus Rodriguez found happiness and contentment through simple service and prayer.

Born in Spain, at 23 he inherited the family textile business. He lost his wife and daughter, sold his business that wasn’t doing well, and moved with his son to live with his sister..prayer and meditation. He joined the Jesuits, and served as doorkeeper.  His prayerfulness and holiness was noticed in his humble position

“You must strive with all possible care to please God in such a manner as neither to do nor behold anything, without first consulting Him, and in everything to seek Him alone and His glory.”

Thursday, October 31:  St. Wolfgang of Regensburg, Priest (924-994)

Wolfgang was born in Germany, taught in a cathedral school and supported efforts to reform the clergy.  He became a Benedictine monk, was ordained a priest and was made head of the monastery school.  He later went to Hungary as a  missionary. He was appointed Bishop of Regensburg, where he was an effective preacher, initiated clergy reform and had special concern for the poor.

Patron:  apoplexy, Carpenters, paralysis, stomach disease, strokes

Friday, November 1:  All Saints

The feast where the Catholic Church honors its Saints. 

Saturday, November 2:  All Souls

On this day the Church remembers and prays for the dead.

Sunday, November 3:  St Martin de Porres, Priest (1579-1639)

It was said that even as a child St Martin de Porres gave his heart and his goods to the poor..

He was the illegitimate son of a freed woman of Panama, and inherited the features and dark complexion of his mother. Martin was reared in poverty, and locked into a low level of society.  He applied to the Dominicans to be a “lay helper” His example of prayer and penance, charity and humility led the community to request him to make full religious profession. He treated the sick. all people, regardless of their color, race or status. When his priory was in debt, he said, “I am only a poor mulatto. Sell me. I am the property of the order. Sell me.”Martin’s life reflected God’s extraordinary gifts: ecstasies that lifted him into the air, light filling the room where he prayed, bilocation, miraculous knowledge, instantaneous cures and a remarkable rapport with animals. Many of his fellow religious took him as their spiritual director.

“Everything, even sweeping, scraping vegetables, weeding a garden and waiting on the sick could be a prayer, if it were offered to God.

Patron: people of mixed race, innkeepers, barbers, public health workers