Sunday, November 18
Dedication of Churches of Sts. Peter and Paul
St Peter’s is located in the Vatican City State, surrounded by Rome, Italy. It’s built on the tomb of St Peter. 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.
Monday, 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 to 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,”
Tuesday, 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,
Wednesday, 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.
Thursday, 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 ranking, 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
Friday, November 23,
St Columban (543-615)
St Columban was one of he greatest of the Irish missionaries. He was 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.
“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”
Saturday, November 24,
St Andrew Dung-Lac, martyr (1795- 1839)
St. Andrew was one of 117 people martyred in Vietnam between 1820 and 1862. In the 19th century 100,000 and 300,000 Catholics were killed or subjected to great hardship. Jesuits opened the first permanent mission at Da Nang in 1615. They ministered to Japanese Catholics who had been driven from Japan.