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Life in this world is a period of separation from God, which is full of sorrow, and pain:
Sorrow is the bedstead, Pain the fiber with which it is woven, And separation is the quilt See this is the life we lead, O Lord. 
Absorption in the affairs of the world, in forgetfulness of God, is regarded by Sheikh Farid as desertion by a woman of her husband and going over to an alien house.  1266 Baba Sheikh Farid Ji
St. Aninus hermit of Syria greatly revered for his austerities venerated for miracles

Aninus was born in Chalcedon. He was of short stature as was Zacchaeus of old but great in spirit and faith. He withdrew from the world in his fifteenth year and settled in a hut near the Euphrates river where he prayed to God and atoned for his sins, at first with his teacher Mayum and, after his death, alone.
Through the power of his prayers, he replenished a dry well with water, healed the sick of various maladies and tamed wild beasts. A trained lion accompanied him and was at his service at all times. He discerned the future. When Pionius, a stylite,was attacked and badly beaten by robbers some distance away from Aninus, Pionius decided to descend from the pillar and proceed to complain to the judges. St. Aninus "discerned the soul" of this stylite and his intention. He sent a letter to Pionius, by his lion, counseling him to abandon his intention, to forgive his assailants and to continue in his asceticism.
His charity was inexpressible.

The bishop of Neo-Caesarea presented him with a donkey in order to ease the burden of carrying water from the river, but he gave the donkey to a needy man who had complained to him about his poverty. The bishop presented him with another donkey and he gave that one away. Finally, the bishop gave him a third donkey, not only to serve as a water-carrier but one that Aninus was to care for and to return.
Before his death Aninus saw Moses, Aaron and Or [Egyptian Ascetic] approaching him, and they called out to him, "Aninus, the Lord is calling you, arise and come with us." He revealed this to his disciples and gave up his soul to the Lord, Whom he faithfully served. He was one-hundred ten years old when his earthly life was ended.
1230 Blessed Bertrand of Garrigue ardent opponent of Albigensianism closest friend and travelling companion of Saint Dominic credited many miracles during life and after death OP (AC)
Born at Garrigue, diocese of Nîmes, France, c. 1195; died near there; cultus confirmed by Leo XIII.

Bertrand was a secular priest under the Cistercians, missioner, and ardent opponent of Albigensianism when he first met Saint Dominic in the party of Bishop Diego. Bertrand may have been the one to recruit Dominic in the battle against the French heretics because they worked closely together in this mission for the rest of their lives.

Bertrand joined the first Dominican friars by receiving the habit at Toulouse in 1216. Dominic left him in charge of the community when he travelled to Rome to seek papal approval of the order. Bertrand's zeal and experience played an important role in the founding of the Friar Preachers. When the brothers were sent out in little groups on missions, Bertrand was left in Paris with Matthew of France, where he helped to form the Dominican tradition of learning and governed the first foundation at Paris.

While Bertrand's advice and prayers helped to establish the order, he is best remembered as the closest friend and travelling companion of Saint Dominic, until he was appointed as provincial of Provence. He witnessed the miracles and heavenly favors bestowed upon his friend and provided us with insightful testimony about the heart and mind of the founder.

Bertrand himself was credited with many miracles, both during his life and after his death. Others considered him a "second Dominic" in austerity and holiness, but he humbly overlooked his own claims to sanctity in his loving insistence on those of his friend.

Bertrand was preaching a mission to the Cistercian sisters of Saint Mary of the Woods near Garrigue, when he fell sick and died. He was buried in the sisters' cemetery until the frequency of miracles suggested that he should be given a more suitable shrine. His relics were lost and shrine destroyed during the religious wars, but pilgrimages were still made to "Saint Bertrand's Cemetery" until the time of the French Revolution (Benedictines, Dorcy).
1236 St. Conon Basilian abbot Greek monastery at Nesi Sicily holiness working of miracles
Conon of Nesi, Abbot (AC) Died 1236. A Basilian monk and abbot of the Greek monastery of Nesi in Sicily, Saint Conon was revered for his holiness demonstrated by the working of miracles (Attwater2, Benedictines).
1246 St. Peter Gonzalez Dominican evangelized protector of captive Muslims and cared for sailors miracles at his grave
Born in Astorga, Spain, he entered the Dominicans and became the chaplain and confessor of King St. Ferdinand of Castile. He preached a campaign against the Moors, and then cared for the captured Muslims. He also cared for sailors, who dubbed him Thelmo, after St. Elmo.

St. Peter Gonzales Peter Gonzales, also known as St. Elmo or St. Telmo, was born to a Castilian family of nobility. He was educated by his uncle, the Bishop of Astorga, named canon of the local cathedral, famous for his penances and mortifications, joined the Dominican Order, preached and made chaplain of the court of King St. Ferdinand III. He converted and influenced the soldiers of his country, evangelized, and died on Easter Sunday. He was canonized by Pope Benedict XIV in 1741. Peter evangelized throughout his country and all along the coast. He had a special fondness for sailors. He used to visit them aboard their ships, preaching the Gospel and praying for their needs.

Peter Gonzalez, OP (AC) (also known as Elmo-Erasmus, Telmo) Born at Astorga, Leon, Spain, c. 1190; died April 14, 1246; beatified by Pope Innocent IV in 1254; cultus approved by Benedict XIV in 1741 for the veneration of the whole Order of Preachers. The patron saint of sailors, especially in Portugal and Spain, is popularly invoked as Saint Elmo or Telmo.
The parents of Peter Gonzales were wealthy and apparently expected their son to become a priest so that he might in time obtain some rank. It was a period in history when this sort of thing was a trial to the Church, and Peter's worldly youth was only one of many examples. He was educated by his uncle, the bishop of Astorga, who invested him with a canonry at Palencia and deanery when he was still quite young.

Full of pride, for a special Bull had been procured so that he might obtain the deanery while he was under age, he resolved to be installed with great pomp, and for his state entry into Astorga chose Christmas Day when the streets were likely to be crowded. He wanted to impress his flock with his fine clothes and vivid personality.

He paraded through the town on horseback, magnificently equipped, but in the noise and excitement the animal reared and threw him upon a dungheap. The Spanish people, who have a fine sense of comedy, responded with loud gusts of laughter. Picking himself up in shame, he cried: "If the world mocks me, henceforth, I will mock the world." Covered with filth and confusion, Peter withdrew to clean up and ponder his sins.

Surprisingly enough, when his wounded feelings had healed, Peter reformed his pointless life and immediately entered the Dominican monastery at Palencia. He was never to forget to weep for his sins, and his life was spent in prayer and penance to offset the wasted years of his youth.

Peter's friends did not allow this to happen without protest. They had been amused by his accident, but not converted by it as he was, and they did their best to talk him into leaving religious life and returning to the luxurious world he had left behind.
It was probably a serious temptation to the young man, for it is not easy to reform overnight. But he did not turn back. Instead, he said to his friends, "If you love me, follow me! If you cannot follow me, forget me!" He became, by close application to the rule, one of the shining exemplars of this difficult way of life.

After his studies were completed, Peter entered into his apostolate. It was to take him into places where his worldly background would be a help rather than a hindrance, for he could well understand the temptations and troubles of worldly people. He was first of all a military chaplain with the royal army. He also began to preach in the region. He did not talk about trivia, his sermons drew large crowds. The recitation of the Psalms was his most constant prayer.

The fame of his piety and zeal spread throughout Spain and reached the ears of King Saint Ferdinand of Castile, who sent for him and attached him to his court as chaplain and as his confessor. Appalled by its licentiousness, Gonzales immediately set about reforming it, which so displeased the younger courtiers that they tried to corrupt him; but he was proof against all temptations and won the confidence of the saintly king.

Peter did much to foster the crusade against the Moors. When Ferdinand finally acted, Peter accompanied him on his expedition against the Moors. Upon the capture of Cordova and Seville, Peter used his influence and authority on the side of the vanquished and was instrumental in reducing rape and bloodshed. He also took over the Moorish mosques and converted them into Christian churches.

He was showered with favors by the king, who had the utmost confidence in him. Fearing honors, however, Peter quit the king's service upon his return to Spain. Instead, moved by compassion, he lived among the poor peasants and sought to evangelize them. Although he was met everywhere with ignorance and brutality, his work proved efficacious. He penetrated the wildest and most inaccessible areas, seeking out the peasants in villages and the shepherds in the mountains of the Asturias. His preaching brought about reconciliation between neighbors and between men and God. He gave reassurance to the dismayed and the perplexed.

Most of the anecdotes of his life come from this period, and they have to do with miracles that he worked for these people. At his prayer, storms ceased, droughts were ended, bottles were refilled with wine, bread was found in the wilderness. The bridge that he built across the swift river Minho made his name famous throughout Spain, and it existed up until recent times. During the time he was directing work on this bridge, he used to call the fish to come and be caught; it was a way of helping to feed the workers.

He visited also the seaports of Galicia--boarding ships and preaching on their open decks. He had a great liking for sailors, and is often portrayed in the habit of his Order, holding a blue candle which symbolized Saint Elmo's fire, the blue electrical discharge which sometimes appears in thunder storms at the mast- heads of ships, and which was supposed to be a sign that the vessel was under the saint's protection. (The name of Saint Elmo is of earlier origin. Peter Gonzales, in the popular devotion of the sailors of the Mediterranean, has replaced the name and memory of the older saints associated with the sea, particularly the 4th century Saint Erasmus.)

He retired finally to Tuy in a state of extreme exhaustion. During Lent he preached each day in the cathedral, on Palm Sunday he foretold his death, and on the Sunday after Easter, he died at Santiago de Compostella. Bishop Luke of Tuy, his great admirer and friend, attended him to his last breath and buried him honorably in his cathedral. In his last will, the bishop gave directions for his own body to be laid near Peter's remains, which were placed in a silver shrine and honored with many miracles (Benedictines, Delaney, Dorcy, Encyclopedia, Gill, Husenbeth).

In art, Saint Peter is a Dominican lying on his cloak on hot coals. He may also be portrayed holding fire in his hand or catching fish with his bare hands (Roeder).
1260 St. Jutta Widowed noblewoman of Thuringia noted for visions and miracles
1253 St. Fina "Seraphina"Virgin many miracles through her intercession Gregory appeared to her and said, "Dear child on my festival God will give you rest"

She was known for her self denial and acts of penance as a young girl. A mysterious illness left this beautiful girl unattractive; her eyes, feet, and hands became deformed and eventually Seraphina was paralyzed. Her mother and father both died while she was young. She was devoted to St. Gregory the Great. She died on the feast of St. Gregory, exactly as she had been warned by Gregory in a dream. Seraphina was a very helpful child around the family home. She did many of the chores and helped her mother spin and sew.

St. Fina or Seraphina,  The old town of San Geminiano in Tuscany treasures with special veneration the memory of Santa Fina, a young girl whose claim to be recognized as a saint lay in the perfect resignation with which she accepted bodily suffering. She was born of parents who had seen better days but had fallen into poverty. The child was pretty and attractive. Poor as she was she always kept half her food to give to those who were worse off than herself. As far as possible she lived the life of a recluse at home, sewing indeed and spinning during the day, ;but spending much of the night in prayer.
Her father seems to have died when she was still young and about the same time Fina was attacked by a sudden complication of diseases. Her head, hands, eyes, feet and internal organs were affected and paralysis supervened. She lost her good looks and became a miserable object. Desiring to be like our Lord on the cross, for six years she lay on a plank in one position, unable to turn or to move. Her mother had to leave her for hours while she went to work or beg, but Fina never complained. Although in terrible pain she always maintained serenity and with her eyes fixed upon the crucifix she kept on repeating,"It is not my wounds but thine, O Christ, that hurt me".

Fresh trouble befell her. Her mother died suddenly and Fina was left utterly destitute. Except for one devoted friend Beldia she was now so neglected that it was clear she could not live long, dependent on the casual attentions of poor neighbors who shrank from contact with her loathsome sores.
Someone had told her about St. Gregory the Great and his sufferings, and she had conceived a special veneration for him. She used to pray that he, who was so much tried by disease would intercede with God that she might have patience in her affliction. Eight days before her death as she lay alone and untended, Gregory appeared to her and said, "Dear child on my festival God will give you rest". And it came to pass when her body was removed from the board on which it had rested, the rotten wood was found to be covered with white violets. All the city attended the funeral and many miracles were reported as having been wrought through her intercession. In particular she is said as she lay dead, to have raised her hand and to have clasped and healed the injured arm of her friend Beldia. The peasants of San Geminiano still give the name of Santa Fina's flowers to the white violets which bloom about the season of her feast day of March 12th.
1279 Bl. Albert of Bergamo Dominican tertiary pious farmer miracle worker to benefit others
Albert was a farmer living near Bergamo, Italy, where he became a Dominican Third Order member. Married, he was a champion of the poor in his hometown of Ogna. Sometime in his adult life, Albert went on a pilgrimage to the famous shrine at Santiago de Compostela in Spain.
He also visited Rome and Jerusalem, perilous journeys in his era. After his pilgrimages, Albert settled in Cremona, Italy, where he became known for his piety and for his many miraculous works to benefit others.
1270 Blessed Imana of Loss OSB Cist., Abbess (PC)
(also known as Imaina, Himmanna, Imaine)
Blessed Imana was a Cistercian abbess of Salzinnes, near Namur, and afterwards of Flines, in the diocese of Cambrai (Benedictines).
1295 Thomas Hales of Dover Miracles occurred at his tomb OSB M (AC)
feast day formerly on August 5. The near contemporary vita of Saint Thomas, a Benedictine monk of Saint Martin's Priory in Dover, a cell of Christ Church in Canterbury, concentrates on a conventional list of virtues and omits any biographical details of his early life.
On August 5, 1295, the French raided Dover and all the monks went into hiding except Thomas, who was too old and too infirm to run. The raiders, who are described in detail in the vita, found him in bed and ordered him to disclose the location of the church plate. He was murdered for his refusal to answer them. Miracles occurred at his tomb, which led to his veneration as a martyr. His cultus was encouraged by indulgences from the bishop of Winchester and the archbishop of Canterbury for pilgrimages to his tomb. King Richard II and "several noble Englishmen" petitioned Rome for his canonization. In 1380 Urban VI established a commission to enquire into Thomas's life and miracles. The work was delegated to the priors of Christ Church and Saint Gregory's in Canterbury, but nothing ever happened. There was an altar dedicated to him ("blessed Thomas de Halys") in the Dover Priory church in 1500, which was probably the altar of Our Lady and Saint Catherine in front of which he was buried. Thomas's his image figured among those of the English saints at the English College in Rome (Benedictines, Farmer).
1310 St. Alexis Falconieri Founder mystic 1233 on Feast of the Assumption group experienced vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary
one of the first Servants of Mary or Servites. The son of a wealthy merchant in Florence, Italy, Alexis and six companions joined the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin in Florence in 1225.

Gathered together on the Feast of the Assumption in 1233, the group experienced a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary which inspired them to found a new religious community dedicated to prayer. They founded such a group at La Camarzia, near Florence, moving eventually to Monte Senario, on the outskirts of the city.

Another vision inspired Alexis and his companions to form the Servites, or the Servants of Mary. All in the group were ordained priests, except for Alexis, who believed he was not worthy of such an honor. He helped build the Servite church at Cafaggio, and he managed the day-to-day temporal affairs of the congregation. The Servites received papal approval from Pope Benedict XI in 1304. Alexis was the only founding member still alive. He died at Monte Senario on February 17, 1310, recorded as 110 years old. Alexis and his companions are called the Seven Holy Founders. They were canonized by Pope Leo XIII in 1888.
1323 Blessed Augustine Gazotich of Lucera fought the Manichæen heresy; in Sicily, Islam; in Hungary both Several charming miracles are related OP B (AC)
Born in Trau, Dalmatia, c. 1260-1262; cultus reconfirmed by Pope Clement XI in 1702. Augustine was born into a wealthy family who provided him with an excellent education. At 18, he and an Italian friend headed to the Dominican novitiate in France. Near Pavia, Italy, they were attacked by enemies of his family, who left the bodies of the two boys in the snow by the side of the road. Augustine was badly injured; his friend died. When he recovered from his injuries, Augustine continued to the novitiate. Augustine spent most of his life battling heresy: In his native Dalmatia, he fought the Manichæen heresy; in Sicily, Islam; in Hungary both.

In every situation in which he found himself, Augustine gave proof of his virtue and good judgment. When Cardinal Boccasini came to Hungary as legate, he noted the wisdom and tact of his brother Dominican, and when he himself ascended the papal throne as Benedict XI, he appointed Augustine bishop of Zagreb in Croatia in 1303.
This diocese was in chaos when Augustine assumed the cathedra. His three predecessors had all tried, but failed, to repair the ravages of heresy, plague, and schism. The new bishop began by reforming the clergy. He finished building the cathedral and made a complete visitation of his diocese. His work was to bring him into violent conflict with the government, but, spiritually, he restored the entire see during his episcopacy.

Several charming miracles are related about Augustine. The river water of Zagreb was unfit to drink, so the Dominican fathers asked Augustine to pray for a new supply. At his prayer a fountain sprang up in the yard of the convent, abundantly supplying their needs. Another time he planted a tree in a little village and the leaves turned out to have healing properties. On one occasion, when Bishop Augustine was dining with Benedict XI, the pope, feeling that a missionary bishop must eat well to preach well, had a dish of partridge set before Augustine, who never ate meat. Because he did not want to offend the pope, he prayed for a resolution to the situation. The legend says that God turned the partridges into fish!

Augustine was transferred from Zagreb to Lucera (Nocera), Sicily. Here he continued his holy government, using his characteristic gentleness and his gift of healing. He promoted devotion to Saints Dominic, Thomas Aquinas, and Peter Martyr--all brother Dominicans. Feeling that he was near death, he returned to the Dominican convent in Nocera to die among his brethren. Under his statue in the cathedral of Nocera is the legend, "Sanctus Augustine Episcopus Lucerinus Ordinis Praedicatorum," an indication of the veneration in which he is held (Benedictines, Dorcy).
1348 Blessed Silvester Ventura age of 40 he joined Camaldolese at Santa Maria degli Angeli at Florence as a lay brother cook favored with ecstasies heavenly visions, angels were wont to come and cook for him spiritual advice was in great demand, OSB Cam. (AC)
Born in Florence, Italy; Silvester was a carder and bleacher of wool by trade. At the age of 40 he joined the Camaldolese at Santa Maria degli Angeli at Florence as a lay brother and served the community as cook. He was favored with ecstasies and heavenly visions, and the angels were wont to come and cook for him. His spiritual advice was in great demand (Benedictines).
1367 Blessed James of Cerqueto Many miracles occurred at his tomb OSA (AC)
Born in Cerqueto (near Perugia), Italy; cultus approved in 1895. James joined the Augustinian friar hermits in Pe
1373 St. Andrew Corsini Carmelite gifts of prophecy & miracles papal legate Apostle of Florence many miracles at his death
He was born in Florence on November 30, 1302, a member of the powerful Corsini family. Wild in his youth, Andrew was converted to a holy life by his mother and became a Carmelite monk. He studied in Paris and Avignon, France, returning to his birthplace. There he became known as the Apostle of Florence. He was called a prophet and miracle worker. Named as the bishop of Fiesole in 1349, Andrew fled the honor but was forced to accept the office, which he held for twelve years. He was sent by Pope Urban V to Bologna to settle disputes between the nobles and commoners, a mission he performed well. Andrew died in Fiesole on January 6, 1373. So many miracles took place at his death that Pope Eugenius IV permitted the immediate opening of his cause.
1380 St. Aventanus Carmelite mystic lay brother gift of ecstasies, miracles, and visions
A native of Limoges, France, he joined the Carmelites as a lay brother. With another Carmelite, Romaeus, Aventanus started on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Crossing the Alps they encountered many difficulties, including an outbreak of plague. Aventanus, who had a gift of ecstasies, miracles, and visions, succumbed to the plague near Lucca, Italy. His cult was approved by Pope Gregory XVI.
1317 St. Agnes of Montepulciano Nun foundress in Tuscany noted for her visions (of Christ the Blessed Virgin and angels) levitations performed miracles for the faithful (1435 - incorrupt)

She was born circa 1268 and at the age of nine entered the monastery of Montepulciano, near her home in Gracchiano-Vecchio. Four years later she was commissioned by Pope Nicholas IV to assist in the foundation of a new convent in Procena. At fifteen she became the head of the nuns there. About 1300, the people of Montepulciano built a new convent in order to lure Agnes back to them. She established a convent under the Dominican rule and governed there until her death in 1317.
Agnes was noted for her visions. She held the infant Christ in her arms and received Holy Communion from an angel. She experienced levitations and she performed miracles for the faithful of the region. She is still revered in Tuscany.

Agnes of Montepulciano, OP V (RM) Born in Gracchiano-Vecchio, Tuscany, Italy, in 1268; died at Montepulciano, Tuscany, on April 20, 1317; canonized by Benedict XIII in 1726.

Agnes was not a child martyr like her Roman patroness but she exhibited the same simplicity, and some of her best-known legends concern her childhood. Her birth into the wealthy de Segni family was announced by great lights surrounding the house where she was born. From her infancy she was especially marked for dedication to God: she would spend hours reciting Pater Nosters and Ave Marias on her knees in the corner of some room.

By the time Agnes was six, she was already urging her parents to let her enter the convent. When they assured her that she was much too young, she begged them to move to nearby Montepulciano, so she could make frequent visits to the convent. Because of the local political instability, her father was unwilling to move from his safe haven but did allow his little girl to visit with the sisters occasionally.

On one of these visits an event occurred that all the chroniclers record as being prophetic. Little Agnes was traveling in Montepulciano with her mother and the women of the household, and, as they passed a hill on which stood a bordello, a flock of crows swooped down and attacked the girl. Screaming and plunging, they managed to scratch and frighten her badly before the women drove them away. Upset by the incident, but devoutly sure of themselves, the women said that the birds must have been devils, and that they resented the purity and goodness of little Agnes, who would one day drive them from that hilltop.
Agnes did, in fact, build a convent there in later years.

When she was nine, Agnes insisted that the time had come to enter the convent del Sacco. She was allowed to go to a group of Franciscans in Montepulciano, whose dress was the ultimate in primitive simplicity: they were known, from the cut of the garment, as the Sacchine or 'sisters of the sack.' The high-born daughter of the Segni was not at all appalled at the crude simplicity with which they followed their Father Francis; she rejoiced in it. Her religious formation was entrusted to an experienced older sister named Margaret, and Agnes soon edified the whole house by her exceptional progress. For five years she enjoyed the only complete peace she would ever have; she was appointed bursar at the age of 14, and she never again was without some responsibility to others.

During this time Agnes reached a high degree of contemplative prayer and was favored with many visions. One of the loveliest is the one for which her legend is best known: the occasion of a visit from the Blessed Virgin. Our Lady came with the Holy Infant in her arms, and allowed Agnes to hold Him and caress Him. Unwilling to let Him go, Agnes hung on when Our Lady reached to take Him back. When she awakened from the ecstasy, Our Lady and her Holy Child were gone, but Agnes was still clutching tightly the little gold cross He had worn on a chain about His neck. She kept it as a precious treasure.

Another time, Our Lady gave her three small stones and told her that she should use them to build a convent some day. Agnes was not at the moment even thinking about going elsewhere, and said so, but Our Lady told her to keep the stones--three, in honor of the Blessed Trinity--and one day she would need them.
1486 Blessed Bernard Scammacca  gift of prophecy miracles spend his time in work of the confessional OP (AC)
Born in Catania, Sicily; cultus approved 1825. Born of wealthy and pious parents, Bernard was given a good education. In spite of this good training, he spent a careless youth. Only after he was badly injured in a duel was he brought back to his senses. His long convalescence gave him plenty of time to think, and once he was able to go out of the house, he went to the Dominican convent of Catania and begged to be admitted to the order.
Bernard, as a religious, was the exact opposite of what he had been as a young man. Now he made no effort to obtain the things he had valued all his life, but spent his time in prayer, solitude, and continual penance. There is little recorded of his life, except that he kept the rule meticulously, and that he was particularly kind to sinners in the confessional. Apparently, he did not attain fame as a preacher, but was content to spend his time in the work of the confessional and the private direction of souls.

One legend pictures Bernard as having great power over birds and animals. When he walked outside in the gardens, praying, the birds would flutter down around him, singing; but as soon as he went into ecstasy, they kept still, for fear they would disturb him. Once, the porter was sent to Bernard's room to call him, and saw a bright light shining under the door. Peeking through the keyhole, he saw a beautiful child shining with light and holding a book, from which Bernard was reading. He hurried to get the prior to see the marvel.

Bernard had the gift of prophecy, which he used on several occasions to try warning people to amend their lives. He prophesied his own death. Fifteen years after his death, he appeared to the prior, telling his to transfer his remains to the Rosary chapel. During this translation, a man was cured of paralysis by touching the relics (Benedictines, Dorcy).
1266 Baba Sheikh Farid Ji  On the banks of the river Sutlej at a place called Pak Pattan (Province Punjab, also known as the city of saints), tamerlane horses (1398) suddenly stopped. The horsement whipped their animals. The stallions started bleeding but refused to move further voice came from somewhere and called, "Baba Farid, the King of Kings"
Farid was to Punjabi what Chaucer was to English. He made Punjabi poetry and poetry Punjabi. Later when Adi Granth (Sikh scripture) was compiled by the fifth Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Arjun Dev Ji, Farid’s ‘slokas’ (sacred couplets) were given the place of honour along with those of Kabir, Ramdev and Guru Ravidas.
"Farid return thou good for evil; In thy heart bear no revenge.
Thus thy body will be free of maladies, And thy life have all blessings."
Baba Sheikh Farid Ji was a great Sufi saint, very sweet of tongue and who lived an austere life. He asked for only one blessing from God....a life of prayer and meditation. His following insight forms the subject of the painting above-
"Sweet are candy, sugar, honey, and buffalo's milk. Yea, sweet are these but sweeter by far is God."

The year was 1398. Timur was returning home after ransacking Delhi -light of mind but laden with gold, trampling corn, killing men and cattle alike. It was a typical Punjab winter and the air in the fields mingled with the blood of the innocents.
On the banks of the river Sutlej at a place called Pak Pattan, his horses suddenly stopped. The horsement whipped their animals. The stallions started bleeding but refused to move further. There was panic among the soldiers, hysteria among the officers, total confusion in the army. There was consternation and alarm writ large on every face. Not used to such unscheduled halts, the Turk chief leapt forward, roared like a lion and demanded answers.

Nobody replied. He shouted again. Everyone remained totally speechless. At last an old man came forward and said, "Your honour, this place is sanctified".
"By one saint whose ancestors had migrated from Iran to escape death at the hands of your ancestors", the old man replied. Everyone looked at everyone else. The general’s hands reached for his sword but before they could go any further, a miracle happened. As goes the legend, a voice came from somewhere and called, "Baba Farid, the King of Kings". Every tongue felt that it had an ear on it. A vision came to the advancing marauder. He felt elated. The armies were ordered to spare the town.
Timur bowed low in the ‘Khanqah’, heard the Sufi hymns, spent the night in the ‘dargah’. He ate the same austere food, which the Devotees ate, slept on the same mat and pledged not to kill any more innocents, only to break the pledge later.

Acknowledged by every literary authority as the first major poet of the Punjabi language, Farid was to Punjabi what Chaucer was to English. He made Punjabi poetry and poetry Punjabi. Later when Adi Granth (Sikh scripture) was compiled by the fifth Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Arjun Dev, Farid’s ‘slokas’ (sacred couplets) were given the place of honour along with those of Kabir, Ramdev and Guru Ravidas. They all sang in the people’s dialect about the glory of India’s culture, the greatness of Indian values and the supremacy of Indian thought.

Among the many social and religious movements in India of the last two thousand years, the Bhakti movement of the middle ages from the 13th to the 17th centuries was the most pronounced, as it cut across all distinctions of high and low birth, the learned and the unlettered, men and women and opened the doors of spiritual realization and salvation to one and all. Besides, it provided a base for common socio-religious culture in India.

One great characteristic of the Indian civilization is that more than its kings and warriors and generals, it is the Saints and the Sufis who realized the goals of the Renaissance and the Reformation. The cyclic tales recited by the lute players of ancient India, the songs of the wandering minstrels, the ba!lads and the ‘kathaks’ (storytellers) of medieval times provided a framework for the evolution and growth of the composite culture of India. They integrated the diverse elements of Indian society and knit them in a unified cultural necklace. It is these saints and sufis who bestowed a sense of Indianness on Indians down the ages. Baba Farid occupies a very high place in this cultural anthology.

Baba Farid lived in Punjab in the 13th century and composed hymns in Punjabi, the likes of which are yet to be composed. There was something in his poetry akin to prayer. He spoke of his people in the people’s dialect and asked them to use Punjabi for religious purposes. He started a ‘silsilah at Pak Pattan and established a mystic organization, a ‘Khanqah’ (Monastery) on the lines of a European seminary upholding the rule of mind over matter in the ultimate analysis of human affairs.
Baba Sheikh Farid had been in the 12th & 13th centuries, a great intellectual, unique renunciat, perfect ascetic and committed devotee of the Timeless Lord who communicated to the common folk the revealed divine message through the medium of sweet, soothing Punjabi language. Farid lived a householder's life marked with contentment and perseverance. One of the greatest virtues of his life was his love and sympathy for entire mankind. His heart felt pain of oppression perpetuated by the Muslim invaders in the name of religion. He tried to put balm on the hurt psyche of the people through the medium of sweet, soothing words so that the adverse impact caused by excesses of the orthodox Muslims to the image of Islam could be neutralised. Such an act on the part of someone was required for the revival of the feeling of fraternity amongst mankind. The unique humanitarian values of compassion, love, sympathy, mutual understanding and appreciation are clothed in the hymns of Farid as fragrance is in flowers. For his sweet words, sweet ideals and sweet behaviour, Farid became known as an epitome of Sweetness (Shakarganj); his full name was Sheikh Farid ud-din Maund Ganj-I-Shakar.

Farid occupies a place of pre-eminence among the Punjabi poets. During his lifetime, wherever he went, whomever he conversed with, could not but be influenced by the high, pious and divine ideas of Farid. So much do that Raja Gokul Dev changed the name of his capital town to Faridkot in honour of this great Sufi saint. Faridkot is today one of the important towns of the Punjab state. Sheikh Farid was a disciple of Khwaja Bakhtiar Kaki, the disciple & spiritual successor of Hazrat Ali who had received spiritual training from Hasan Basri; a known saint of Chishti traditon. Baba ji was born in 1173 AD at Khetwal, now known as Chawli Mashaikh, a village in the Multan district (Pakistan). His mother's name was Mariam, also called Kursum by some. It is said that after birth, he didn't suck milk for breatfeeding until night because he observed Roza (fast) at the time of his birth. This simplicity and austerity in the manner of his diet was to remain a life-long habit. The writer of 'Life and Times of Sheikh Farid' says that half a tumbler of Sherbat (sweetened water), few raisins and half a loaf of bread, prepared of the millet flour generally comprised his daily meal.

Farid's mother was very wise & noble, and wished for her son to acquire the best education so that he could comprehend the Truth. His father, Sheikh Jala ud-din Suleman, was descendant of the second Calipha of Islam. According to a historian, Farid was related to the Royal family of emporer Farakhshal of Kabul, but the family was uprooted due to the invasions by Changez. Farid deeply impressed his spiritual mentor, Kaki, with his varied virtues. Thus, Kaki had a high respect for this disciple whom he used to call the most important bead in the rosary of Dharma.
In an absolutely impressive manner, Sheikh Farid realised this manifest world, the reality of God. He advises us to overcome worldly temptations & remain devoted to God, the creator of the whole universe. He cautions us against the false attractions of the world through his Bani which is deeply sensitive to the feeling of Empathy, Inevitable death & the waste of human life due to man's indifference to God & goodness. He continued preaching his message throughout his life, and at last breathed his last in AD 1266 at Pak Patan, earliar known by the name Ajodhan. He was succeeded on his spiritual throne by his son, Diwan Badrud-din Suleman.

The essence of the hymns of Farid can be stated as follows:
· Never forget Death under any circumstances.
· Avoid all quarrelling & polemics.
· Non-violence is the most beautiful ornament of Peaceful life.

Baba Farid ji exhorts mankind to cultivate these & all such virtues. He states that Contentment resides in the heart purified of all traces of Ego & Greed. Talking of a Faqir (hermit) he states that any new cloth is like a coffin for him. According to him, the dtached person is also the wisest. He is the greatest who can face both pleasure & pain with Equanimity. The richest person is the one with the most content heart. He who has given up contentment is the worst dependent. Farid ji preached Ideology reflecting the reality of life. That is perhaps why he has been known as the best poet of old age & death.
According to Farid, self-realisation or liberation from self is the other name for God-realisation.. One who is subject to desires of senses, is the meanest of all because such a man fails to control his mind, and the endless desires emanating from mind make him a tool in the hands of the devil who makes him dance to his tune. Farid not only preached detachment and austerity but also made these the guiding principles of his life. It is said that at the time of Farid's death even a small piece of cloth to serve as coffin for his body could not be found in his house. For the tomb over his grave, the bricks were taken by pulling down a portion of one of the walls of his house.

The hymns of Sheikh Farid are available at 3 different places in the Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji (SGGS):
· 2 hymns under Asa musical measures.
· 2 hymns under Suhi measure
· 112 slokas toward end of Scripture
Farid’s ‘Bani’ (religious text) is small in volume but has moved mankind over the last eight centuries. The lyrical content and haunting melody of these ‘slokas’ has been so great that every visitor to Punjab has stopped to pay homage to the soul, which conceived them. In the true Sufi tradition, Farid employed sensual imagery to convey mystical meaning. Regarding God as eternal beauty, the Sufi poets, both in Persia and India, had set new trends in poetry. Its special quality lay in the fact that unless one knows the intentions of the poet, one cannot distinguish whether it is an ode to human love or a hymn addressed to a deity. Take for example this love song of the Baba.

"The alleyway is muddy, O Farid, The Beloved’s House is distance, if I go I would drench my cloak, And break my bond if I stay. It’s the Creator’s ordinance, this deluge;
Go I will to my Beloved to strengthen
The links of love, and let my woollen sheet
Be drenched with downpour."
Even the illiterate could understand and enjoy Farid’s metaphors and imagery - rooted as they were in the soil.

The high reputation Farid obtained in Delhi soon became irksome to him. He therefore made his way to Hansi, where he remained for some time. Meanwhile Khwaja Qutub-ud- Bakhtiar Kaki died at Delhi and Baba Farid paid a second visit to that city, and assumed the mantle of his late spiritual guide. He ultimately left it in the keeping of Jamal-ud-Din of Hansi and thence proceeded to Ajodhan, the present Pak Pattan. The manner in which the name of Ajodhan changed to Pak Pattan was that a canal which derived its water from the Sutlej passed near the town. It was usual for all who visited Baba Farid to wash their hands and feet there. The place then became known as Baba Sahib ji da Pak Pattan, or Farid’s cleansing ferry.

Sheikh Farid ji made Pak Pattan a great center of Sufi thoughts. People from all over India and Middle-east would come to see him. He always used his language, that is, Punjabi spoken by common people, even though he was highly learned and educated in Arabic, Persian, etc. His all couplets are written in Punjabi, in Persian script. He generally rejected offerings of money, but would accept gifts of food, etc for public kitchen. Baba Farid went to Delhi again and was received with a most hospitable reception. Emperor Nasir-ud-Din Balban introduced him to his family. Hazabra, the Emperor's daughter, was married to Baba Sheikh Farid, but only after Emperor Balban promised not to give any costly gifts. Baba ji distributed all her jewels, etc. to the poor.

Once seven hundred holy men were sitting together. An inquirer put them four questions to which Baba Farid ji replied :
Q.1 Who is the wisest of men?
A.1 He who refraineth from Sin.
Q.2 Who is the most intelligent?
A.1 He who is not disconcerted at anything.
Q.3 Who is most independent?
A.3 He who practise the contentment.
Q.4 Who is the most needy?
A.4 He who practise the it not.

A Student asked Baba Farid if singing was lawful and proper. He replied that, according to Islam, it was certainly unlawful, but its propriety was still a matter of discussion. Nizam-ud-Dauliya told Nasir-ud-din, a disciple of his, that one day when he went to visit Baba Farid he stood at his door, and saw him dancing as he sang the following
I wish ever to live in Thy love, O God
If I become the dust under Thy feet, I shall live
I thy slave desire none but Thee in both worlds;
For Thee I will live and for Thee I will die.

The following couplet was a favorite of Baba Farid’s Not every heart is capable of finding the secret of God’s love. There are not pearls in every sea; there is not gold in every mine.

Baba Farid visited a city called Mokhalpur, it is now called Faridkot in honor of the Baba Farid, and is in the Indian part of Punjab. Then he turned towards the Punjabi mountains where he converted a tribe. Baba Farid remained there for six months and then he locked up the house in which he had dwelt, saying that his successor would open it, and then returned to Pak Pattan. As his successor, Diwan Taj-ud-Din, was returning from a pilgrimage to Mecca and Madina, he happened to visit that part of the country. He asked people their tribe name, they said they were descendents of Qutub-ul-Alam Baba Farid Shakarganj. And thus Taj-ud-din opened the door of Baba Farid’s hut hundreds of years later.

Baba Farid died of Pneumonia on the fifth day of the month of Muharram, CE 1266. The date of Baba Farid's death is commemorated by chronograms (a) Farid Asari (b) Auliye Khudai. He was unique, a saint of God. Baba Farid was buried outside the town of Pak Pattan at a place called Martyr's Grave. His torch of Sufi thoughts was carried by his successor and subsequently several others such as Bhagat Kabir, Guru Nanak, etc. were influenced by the teachings of the great Saint. Guru Nanak’s contemporary was a Baba Sheikh Farid Sani, or the second Sheikh Farid, 6th in succession of Baba Farid Shaikh Shakarganj. Thus, Baba Sheikh Farid Shakarganj can be truly called the founder of Punjabi literature, making Punjabi literature older than Hindi, Urdu, etc. It was much after Baba Farid's use of Punjabi that Tulsidas, Mira Bai, etc started using Hindi as the language for writing religious literature. Baba Sheikh Farid can truely be called the founder of the Punjabi literary tradition.

Another article on Sheikh Farid
Rise Oh! Farid! do your ablutions And say the morning prayers. Behead the head that does not bow before the Lord.
It is early morning, some eight hundred years ago. In a small village named Khotwal; near Ajodhan, in West Punjab, an old man and his wife are worried. The lady of the house has just discovered that there are no sweets in the house and their child would not say his prayers without the promised prize. The understanding is that the mother keeps sweets beneath the prayer mat; this serves as a bait, as it were, for the child. He would get up and after he has said his prayers, he starts eating sweets. The child is fond of sweets. The shops are closed and the neighbors are asleep. The old father has a rustic sense of humor. "We collect some pebbles from the street and deposit them beneath the prayer mat," he suggests. "And if he discovers it, he would never say his prayers", the mother voices her fears. "No", says the lather, "he looks for the prize only when he has earned it, after finishing his prayers. By that time, the shops in the bazaar will open and we shall buy him sweets".

The trick works. Farid wakes up at the appointed time and making sure that his prize has been duly kept beneath the prayer-mat, he starts saying his prayers. The old man, his father, is happy in the heart of his hearts. The moment he finishes his prayers, the child lifts the corner of the prayer-mat and pulls out the prize bag. As be takes the first helping, the mother stops him, "No, son they are not sweets; your father has gone to the bazaar to bring them." "But they are sweets," the child insists; he starts munching the piece in his hand. "1t's sweeter than ever. What is wrong with it?" To her astonishment the mother finds that it is no handful of pebbles. They are sweets. As sweet as candy. A miracle had taken place. From that day, Sheikh Farid came to be known as Ganj-I-Shakkr, the store-house of candy. The real name of Shejkh Farid was Farid-ud-Din Masood. He was given this name after the great Sufi poet Farid-ud-Din Attar. Sheillh Farid was born in A.D. 1173. His father's name was Shejlth Jamal-ud-Din Suleman. His mother was a God-fearing lady. Her name was Kulsum Bibi. Sheikh Jamal-ud-Din had three sons and a daughter. Sheilth Farid was the second son. Sheikh Farid was born at a time when the Muslims were trying to establish their rule in India. A large number of Islamic scholars and religious leaders came and settled here. Some believe that they had been driven to India by Chengiz Khan, who was at that time active in West Asia. It seems more probable that they were invited by the conquerors to propagate the Muslim way of life in the country of their domicile. They were granted liberal endowments and settled in various parts of the country. Some of the more important centers of Islamic learning in Northern India were Delhi, Panipat, Hansi, Uch and Multan. Sheikh Farid's father had settled in Khotwal. When Farid grew up, he shifted to Multan for higher studies. Multan attracted eminent scholars from Iran and Baghdad.
It was at Multan that Farid came across his spritual mentor, Hazrat Qutb-ud-Din Bakhtiar Kaki. He took Farid along with him to Delhi where they met Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, the greatest name among the Muslim men of God belonging to the time. It is said that Farid underwent severe penance and asceticism under Khwaja Qutb-ud-Din's stewardship. He hung himself upside down in a well for forty days. He neither ate nor drank but remained attuned to the Almighty. There are a number of references to this experience:

Says Farid,
My bread is made of wood,
And hunger is my sauce;
Those who eat rich food,
Will suffer severe agonies.

Sheikh Nizamuddin Auliya of Delhi was Sheikh Farid's most prominent follower and a renowned Sufi himself. At the age of 90, Baba Farid sent for Harrat Nizamuddin and taking leave of him, breathed his last. It was a lucky coincidence that Guru Nanak met Sheikh Ibrahim, a follower of Baha Farid in the sixteenth century and recorded Baba Farid's poetry which was later on preserved in the Holy Granth Farid wrote a large of couplets (sloka) which are very popular with Punjabi-speaking people. They are noted or their musicality and sweet cadence of diction:
Says Farid,
I have seen the eyes that lured the world. A trace of kohl they would not bear. And birds, today, have made their nests in them.
Says Farid,
Why do you roam the jungles with thorns pricking your feet? Your Lord dwells in your heart. And you wander about in search of Him.
Says Farid,
I thought I was alone who suffered. I went on top of the house, And found every house on fire.
Owing partly to the distance of time between Sheikh Farid and Guru Nanak and partly to the influence of eastern Punjabi expressions in sheikh Farid's verses as found in the Guru Granth, it is sometimes doubted if they are actually Sheikh Farid's compositions. Some scholars have explicitly attributed them to a contemporary of Guru Nanak, Sheikh Ibrahim, who was the religious head at Pakpatan at that time. These attributions are difficult to accept Firstly, the Sikh Gurus, both Nanak and Arjan, were too discriminating scholars of the lore of their time to have been deceived into believing the compositions of a contemporary to be those of his illustrious predecessor of three hundred years earlier. Secondly, there are references in these verses to some events of the times and austerities undergone by the first Sheikh Farid. A much later descendant of his would not arrogate those austerities to himself. Thirdly, Guru Arjan who compiled the Guru Ganth is not known to have accorded the honor of inclusion in the scripture of his religion the compositions of any contemporary of local importance only. Even a famous mystic of the time, Shah Hussain, was not accorded that honor.

It is sometimes argued that since the modern Indian languages began to take shape in the eighth or ninth century and that literary traditions remained strongly conservative and were reflected primarily through Apabhramsha up to the 11th century, it is difficult to accept that the Multani dialect could have attained in the 12th century such literary refinement as is evidenced in Sheikh Farid's verses. Also they are so similar in their style and diction to the compositions of Guru Nanak and even Guru Arjan that it becomes bard to believe that there is a distance of some three hundred years between the two. If we proceed on the basis of this argument of chronic change, the language of Sheikh Farid's verses is not much different from refined Multani speech extant even today after a lapse of four centuries. And there is no reason to believe that the rate of change was quicker in the earlier period.

There can be no doubt about Sheikh Farid's deep learning. His available compositions, though written in a dialect, amply suggest a learned mind behind the sensitive idiom,. a mind that has steeped itself in the tradition of his age and creed and is
capable of absorbing the influences of his environment.

However, a feature of Sheikh Farid's compositions available in the Guru Granth is that they do not seem to be the work of a religious missionary of Islam who is known to have enjoyed great esteem in high circles both religious and temporal and to have converted large numbers of people to Islam. These compositions have very little of the spirit of Islamic Shara use very little of Islamic religious lore and do not show any marked sectarian trend. From the nature of the contents, they seem to be the work of a Muslimw who though deeply religious bad very little to do with Islamic lore. On the other hand, he is keenly aware with the transitory nature of this world as per the Hindu belief.

It is surprising indeed that nowhere in these verses does the name of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed ever occur, nor do his tides of Nabi, Rasul, Paigambar, etc. Even the word 'Murshid', a popular concept of Sufi tradition, is not to be found. The general temper is devotional, no doubt, and great stress is laid upon the performance of prayers, fasting and other ways of worship according to Islam. The spirit is, nevertheless, of Hindu bhakti Even the words Guru and Prabhu occur in one of the hymns.
Like most religious and metaphysical writing, Sheikh Farid's poetry has for its general content, man's love of God. Such poetry has naturally to be lyrical and sentimental and its imagery erotic. In Sheikh Farid the relationship between God and man is that of husband and wife. In the very first three of his couplets found in the Guru Granth he visualizes the relationship between man and God first as that between man and death and then gives it the conjugal parallel. The day woman was born, he says, the hour of dedication to the husband was fixed. Death, the bridegroom, heard of for long, comes and shows himself at the appointed hour. The helpless soul is beaten out of the bones. Death, the bridegroom, must take away in marriage the soul, the bride. Let the soul understand this that the appointed hour cannot be evaded.
There is very little difference between God and the Angel of Death in Sheikh Farid's imagery.
In another couplet he says:
Had I known the sesame seeds were so small in quantity  I should have been liberal in filling my fist.
Had I known my Lord was not yet an adult,  I would have prided less in myself.

In yet another verse, he says again:
Had I known the end would slip,  Tighter would I have made the knot. Nobody matters to me as much as You,
Though I have traversed a whole world.

This world indeed appears to Sheikh Farid to be an obstacle in the way of man's union with God. He says  The lanes are muddy and far is the house of the One I love so much. If I walk to Him I wet my rug, and remaining behind, I fail in my love!

Life in this world is a period of separation from God, which is full of sorrow, and pain:
Sorrow is the bedstead, Pain the fiber with which it is woven, And separation is the quilt See this is the life we lead, O Lord.  Absorption in the affairs of the world, in forgetfulness of God, is regarded by Sheikh Farid as desertion by a woman of her husband and going over to an alien house.

Give it not me, Oh Lord, that I should seek alien shelter. If that is what You have willed, Rather take the life out of this body.
Man's duty in this life is to win the love of God as it is the woman's to win the love of her husband, and as such, youth or age should not matter;
Those who have not wooed Him when their hair was dark, May do so when their hair is grey.
For if you love the Lord The newness of youth will be yours again.
The metaphors of wooing the husband and being accepted by him or failing in being accepted have been used in many other verses also:

I did not sleep with my love tonight And every bit of my body aches. Go ask the deserted ones, How they pass their nights.
I am not afraid of the passing of my youth, If the love of my Lord does not pass with it. So many youths have withered away without love.

The fear of death is perhaps a more forceful emotion in Sheikh Farid's poetry and he has expressed it in touching figures of speech. As mentioned before, the main image is that of death as the bridegroom and the human soul as the bride, and subordinate figures, the reduction of the body to dust, the greying of the hair, the trembling of the limbs and drying away of the bones have been used to reinforce the argument. The motif of rich and poor
being brought to the same end has also been used quite often, too.

The impermanence of life on this earth has been illustrated by the figure of a bir4 coming to play on the bank of a pool. In some verses man has been instructed how to behave in this transitory world. He is advised to live humbly and poorly and remain ever
conscious of his sins.

Like most men of renunciation, Sheikh Farid regards detachment from this world as the right path for man. A true fakir has been pictured by him thus:

On the bank of a pool in the moor The swan has come to alight  But he does not dip his beak to drink, He is eager to fly away.

The teachings of Sheikh Farid as embodied in these verses do not indeed smack at all of any superior attitude. He comes down to the level of the poorest of the poor and calls himself a sinner. This attitude of his endeared him to the conquered people. It is this fact of endearment which is responsible, perhaps, for the inclusion of his poetry in the Scripture of the Sikh Gurus who were in their time and in their own way endeavoring to uplift their people and to give them the strength to stand up to oppression.
There is nothing in Sheilth Farid's poetry that is strident, or offensive to the sentiments of the Indian people. Unlike missionaries in general, he does not play up the superior virtues of his creed. Nowhere does he make any reference to the caste system, to idolatry or to other peculiar features of the Brahmanical creed or creeds. His verse is singularly free from any social, historical or sectarian prejudices. No doubt, in many of his verses he exhorts people to offer prayers in the Muslim way and to practice other obligations of the Muslim creed, but his teachings are of a general moral nature and have to be judged as such. His message is for a typical feudal society; stressing detachment from the world, if not actual renunciation of it, to purge oneself of all ambition and passion, to be humble, poor, passive and contented. As such Farid must be credited with exercising a refining influence on the society of his day and keeping down the pressure of individual ambition and greed and of conflict. No other teaching was to be expected from a high-souled man like Sheikh Farid, especially when he happened to be on the winning side in the conflict between the two sets of forces.

Specimens of Farid’s verse
My bread is made of wood and my hunger is my sauce Those who eat rich meals shall come to grief.

Says Farid, you must fathom the ocean which contains what you want  Why do you soil your hand searching the petty ponds; Says Farid, the Greater is in the creation and the creation in theCreator Whom shall we blame when He is everywhere?

539 John of Reomay hermit monk  confirmed many miracles Abbot (RM)
(also known as John of Réomé)
Born in Dijon (diocese of Langres), France, 425; died at Reomay c. 544. This pioneer of the monastic life in France, was first a hermit at Reomay. When disciples gathered round him, he escaped in secret and became a monk at Lérins.
Here he learned the traditions of Saint Macarius, and when summoned back to his native Langres by its bishop to found Moûtier-Saint-Jean in Reomay, he regulated his monastery according to them. He governed the abbey for many years with great sanctity, confirmed by many miracles. He was almost 120 years old at his death. Saint Gregory of Tours provides an account of this holy pioneer of French monasticism in his On the glory of confessors (chapter 87), as does Saint Columbanus's disciple Jonas (Attwater2, Benedictines, Coulson, Encyclopedia, Roeder, Husenbeth). In art, Saint John is portrayed as a Benedictine hermit-abbot near a well with a dragon on a chain (Roeder). He is venerated especially in Dijon, Lérins, and Réomé (Roeder).

Hermit at Reomay, France. His reputation for holiness spread, and he began to attract would-be disciples. To escape them he sneaked away, and became a monk at Lérins. He was sent by his bishop back to Reomay as abbot of its monastery, which became Mount Saint Jean in his honour, he became one of the pioneers of Western monasticism.
So strict in his refusal to be around women, he refused to receive his own mother when she visited the monastery.
539 St. John of Reomay  Pioneer of Western monasticism in France
He was born in Dijon, France, in 425, and became a hermit at Reomay. When too many disciples appeared at his hermitage, John went to Lerins. He returned to Reomay and introduced the rules of St. Macanus, founding an abbey that became Mount St. Jean. He was known for his holiness and miracles.
626 St. Aidan Monastic & Church founder bishop miracle worker great charity kindness to animals
known for his kindness to animals. Known as Edan, Modoc, and Maedoc in some records, Aidan was born in Connaught, Ireland. Tradition states that his birth was heralded by signs and omens, and he showed evidence of piety as a small child. Educated at Leinster, Aidan went to St. David monastery in Wales. He remained there for several years, studying Scriptures, and his presence saved St. David from disaster. Saxon war parties attacked the monastery during Aidan's stay, and he supposedly repelled them miraculously. In time, Aidan returned to Ireland, founding a monastery in Ferns, in Wexford. He became the bishop of the region as well. His miracles brought many to the Church. Aidan is represented in religious art with a stag. He is reported to have made a beautiful stag invisible to save it from hounds.

Aidan of Ferns B (AC) (also known as Aedan, Aedh, Maedoc-Edan, Moedoc, Mogue)
Born in Connaught, Ireland; died 626.

"Give as if every pasture in the mountains of Ireland belonged to you." --Saint Aidan 626.

The Irish Saint Aidan loved animals. His fellow Irishmen were fond of hunting. Aidan so protected them that his emblem in art is a stag. Legend has it that as he sat reading in Connaught, a desperate stag took refuge with him in the hope of escaping pursuing hounds. Aidan by a miracle made the stag invisible, and the hounds ran off.

There were several Irish saints named Aidan but this one seems to have been the most important. As a youth he spent some time in Leinster but, 'desirous of becoming learned in holy Scripture,' Aidan went to Wales to study under Saint David (Dewi) at Menevia in Pembrokeshire for several years. His only difference from his fellow monks is that he brought his own beer from his native land.

The inspiration of Saint David caused him to return to Ireland with several other monks to built his own monastery at Ferns, County Wexford, on land given to him by Prince Brandrub (Brandubh) of Leinster together with the banquet halls and champions' quarters of the royal seat of Fearna. He also founded monasteries at Drumlane and Rossinver, which disputed Ferns' claim to his burial site. In addition to abbeys, Aidan is credited with founding about 30 churches in Ireland. One source claims that Aidan became the first bishop of Ferns (which is not that unlikely because many abbots were treated as bishops during the period), which displaced Sletty of Fiach as the bishop's seat.

Later in life he returned to Saint David's for a time, and it is said that Saint David died in the arms of Aidan. Welsh tradition maintains that Aidan succeeded David as abbot of Menevia, and on that basis Wales later claimed jurisdiction over Ferns because a Welsh abbot founded it. In fact, in Wales they regard Aidan as a native and provide him with a geneaology that includes Welsh nobility. There his great reputation for charity still survives, for he taught his monks to give their last bits of food to those in need.

The written vitae of Saint Aidan are composed mostly of miracles attributed to him. His is attributed with astonishing feats of austerity, such as fasting on barley bread and water for seven years, as well as reciting 500 Psalms daily. An odd tale is related in another. Some spurious beggars hid their clothes, donned rags, and then begged for alms. Knowing what they had done, Aidan gave their clothes to the poor and sent the impostors away with neither their clothing nor alms.

One story reports that he bequeathed his staff, bell (Bell of Saint Mogue), and reliquary to his three monasteries of Ferns, Drumlane, and Rossinver. All have survived the fates of time. The staff can be found in the National Museum in Dublin; the other two in the Library of Armagh cathedral. The bell had been in the hereditary keepership of the MacGoverns in Templeport, County Cavan. Another of his personal belongings, the Breac Moedoc, is in the National Museum. This stamped leather satchel and shrine that encased the relics of Saint Laserian of Leighlin was brought from Rome and given to Aidan, who placed it in the church of Drumlane. A bronze reliquary that contained his remains in the 11th century is preserved in Dublin. In addition to having a cultus in Ireland and Wales, Saint Aidan was venerated in Scotland in the 12th century.

He is represented in art by a stag because of the story related above (Attwater, Attwater2, Benedictines, Bentley, Coulson, D'Arcy, Delaney, Farmer, Husenbeth, Kenney, Montague, Neeson, Porter, Stokes).
555 St. Marius Abbot visions
Dynamius, patrician of the Gauls who is mentioned by St. Gregory of Tours, (l. 6, c. 11,) and who was for some time steward of the patrimony of the Roman church in Gaul, in the time of St. Gregory the Great, as appears by a letter of that pope to him, (in which he mentions that he sent him in a reliquary some of the filings of the chains of St. Peter, and of the gridiron of St. Laurence,) was the author of the lives of St. Marius and of St. Maximus of Ries.
From the fragments of the former in Bollandus, we learn that he was born at Orleans, became a monk, and after some time was chosen abbot at La-Val-Benois, in the diocese of Sisteron, in the reign of Gondebald, king of Burgundy, who died in 509.

St. Marius made a pilgrimage to St. Martin's, at Tours, and another to the tomb of St. Dionysius, near Paris, where, falling sick, he dreamed that he was restored to health by an apparition of St. Dionysius, and awaking, found himself perfectly recovered. St. Marius, according to a custom received in many monasteries before the rule of St. Bennet, in imitation of the retreat of our divine Redeemer, made it a rule to live a recluse in a forest during the forty days of Lent.
In one of these retreats, he foresaw, in a vision, the desolation which barbarians would soon after spread in Italy, and the destruction of his own monastery, which he foretold before his death, in 555.

The abbey of La-Val-Benois being demolished, the body of the saint was translated to Forcalquier, where it is kept with honor in a famous collegiate church which bears his name, and takes the title of Concathedral with Sisteron. St. Marius is called in French St. May, or St. Mary, in Spain, St. Mere, and St. Maire, and in some places, by mistake, St. Maurus. See fragments of his life compiled by Dynamius, extant in Bollandus, with ten preliminary observations.
 1242 St. Veridiana Benedictine virgin recluse walled up Francis of Assisi visited Many miracles
Originally from a noble family of Castelfiorentino, Tuscany, Italy, she went on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela and, after returning, had herself walled up in a hermitage near the Elba River. She spent the remaining thirty-four years of her life under the spiritual care of the local Vallumbrosian community. St. Francis of Assisi visited Veridiana in 1211.

Viridiana, OSB Vall., Hermit (AC) (also known as Veridiana) Born at Castelfiorentino, Tuscany, Italy; cultus approved in 1533; feast day sometimes shown as February 16. Saint Viridiana made a pilgrimage to Compostella before being walled up as an anchorite in her native town of Castelfiorentino in a cell adjoining the chapel of Saint Antony. There she lived for 34 years under the obedience of a Vallumbrosan abbey, although the Franciscans claim her as a tertiary. Many miracles were ascribed to her (Attwater2, Benedictines).
1250-1350(?) Blessed Peter Ghisengi many miracles were reported at his tomb OSA (AC)
(also known as Peter of Gubbio) Born at Gubbio, Umbria, Italy; died c. 1250-1350(?); cultus confirmed by Pope Pius IX. Blessed Peter was a scion of the distinguished Ghisleni family. He became an Augustinian hermit and later the provincial of his congregation. He is venerated at Gubbio, where his relics rest and where many miracles were reported at his tomb (Attwater2, Benedictines).
1259 Blessed Gundisalvus of Amarante miracles appears 40 yrs after death  OP (AC)
(also known as Gonsalvo, Gonzales) Born in Vizella (near Braga), Portugal, in 1187. 1259; cultus approved 1560.

Gonsalvo de Amarante was a true son of the Middle Ages, a man right out of the pages of the 'Golden Legend.' His whole life reads like a mural from the wall of a church--full of marvelous things and done up in brilliant colors.

In his boyhood Gonsalvo Pereira was gave wonderful indications of his holiness. While still small, he was consecrated to study for the Church, and received his training in the household of the archbishop of Braga. After his ordination he was given charge of a wealthy parish, an assignment that should have made him very happy. Gonsalvo was not as interested in choice parishes as some of his companions; he went to his favorite Madonna shrine and begged Our Lady to help him administer this office fairly.

There was no complaint with Gonsalvo's governance of the parish of Saint Pelagius. He was penitential himself, but indulgent with everyone else. Revenues that he might have used for himself were used for the poor and the sick. The parish, in fact, was doing very well when he turned it over to his nephew, whom he had carefully trained as a priest, before making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

Gonsalvo would have remained his entire life in the Holy Land, but after 14 years his archbishop commanded him to return to Portugal. Upon his arrival, he was horrified to see that his nephew had not been the good shepherd that he had promised to be, the money left for the poor had gone to purchase a fine stable of thoroughbred horses and a pack of fine hounds. The nephew had told everyone that his old uncle was dead, and he had been appointed pastor in his place by an unsuspecting archbishop. When the uncle appeared on the scene, ragged and old, but very much alive, the nephew was not happy to see him. Gonsalvo seems to have been surprised as well as pained.

The ungrateful nephew settled the matter by turning the dogs on his inconvenient uncle. They would have torn him to pieces, but the servants called them off and allowed the ragged pilgrim to escape. Gonsalvo decided then that he had withstood enough parish life, and went out into the hills to a place called Amarante. Here he found a cave and other necessities for an eremitical life and lived in peace for several years, spending his time building a little chapel to the Blessed Virgin. He preached to those who came to him, and soon there was a steady stream of pilgrims seeking out his retreat.

Happy as he was, Golsalvo felt that this was not his sole mission in life, and he prayed to Our Lady to help him to discern his real vocation. She appeared to him one night as he prayed and told him to enter the order that had the custom of beginning the office with "Ave Maria gratia plena." She told him that this order was very dear to her and under her special protection. Gonsalvo set out to learn what order she meant, and eventually came to the convent of the Dominicans. Here was the end of the quest, and he asked for the habit.

Blessed Peter Gonzales was the prior, and he gave the habit to the new aspirant. After Gonsalvo had gone through his novitiate, he was sent back to Amarante, with a companion, to begin a regular house of the order. The people of the neighborhood quickly spread the news that the hermit was back. They flocked to hear him preach, and begged him to heal their sick.

One of the miracles of Blessed Gonsalvo concerns the building of a bridge across a swift river that barred many people from reaching the hermitage in wintertime. It was not a good place to build a bridge, but Gonsalvo set about it and followed the heavenly directions he had received. Once, during the building of the bridge, he went out collecting, and a man who wanted to brush him off painlessly sent him away with a note for his wife.

Gonsalvo took the note to the man's wife, and she laughed when she read it. "Give him as much gold as will balance with the note I send you," said the message. Gonsalvo told her he thought she ought to obey her husband, so she got out the scales and put the paper in one balance. Then she put a tiny coin in the other balance, and another, and another--the paper still outweighed her gold--and she kept adding. There was a sizeable pile of coins before the balance with the paper in it swung upwards.

Gonsalvo died about 1259, after prophesying the day of his death and promising his friends that he would still be able to help them after death. Pilgrimages began soon, and a series of miracles indicated that something should be done about his beatification. Forty years after his death he appeared to several people who were apprehensively watching a flood on the river. The water had arisen to a dangerous level, just below the bridge, when they saw a tree floating towards the bridge, and Gonsalvo was balancing capably on its rolling balk. The friar carefully guided the tree under the bridge, preserving the bridge from damage, and then disappeared (Benedictines, Dorcy).

Saint Gundisalvus is generally shown as a Dominican between two Franciscans (SS Francis and Bernardino. The Christ-child, holding an orb, showers light upon him. He holds monastery in his hands. At times he may be shown giving food to beggars (Roeder). He is venerated in Braga, Portugal, and Amarante (Roeder).
1595 Saint Philip Neri showed humorous side of holiness
Patron of Rome Born at Florence, Italy, 22 July, 1515; died 27 May, 1595

If one had to choose one saint who showed the humorous side of holiness that would Philip Neri.

Born in 1515 in Florence, he showed the impulsiveness and spontaneity of his character from the time he was a boy. In fact one incident almost cost him his life. Seeing a donkey loaded with fruit for market, the little boy had barely formed the thought of jumping on the donkey's back before he had done it. The donkey, surprised, lost his footing, and donkey, fruit, and boy tumbled into the cellar with the boy winding up on the bottom! Miraculously he was unhurt.

His father was not successful financially and at eighteen Philip was sent to work with an older cousin who was a successful businessman. During this time, Philip found a favorite place to pray up in the fissure of a mountain that had been turned into a chapel. We don't know anything specific about his conversion but during these hours of prayer he decided to leave worldly success behind and dedicate his life to God.

After thanking his cousin, he went to Rome in 1533 where he was the live-in tutor of the sons of a fellow Florentine. He studied philosophy and theology until he thought his studies were interfering with his prayer life. He then stopped his studies, threw away his books, and lived as a kind of hermit.

Night was his special time of prayer. After dark he would go out in the streets, sometimes to churches, but most often into the catacombs of St. Sebastiano to pray. During one of these times of prayer he felt a globe of light enter his mouth and sink into his heart. This experience gave him so much energy to serve God that he went out to work at the hospital of the incurables and starting speaking to others about God, everyone from beggars to bankers.

In 1548 Philip formed a confraternity with other laymen to minister to pilgrims who came to Rome without food or shelter. The spiritual director of the confraternity convinced Philip that he could do even more work as a priest. After receiving instruction from this priest, Philip was ordained in 1551.

At his new home, the church of San Girolamo, he learned to love to hear confessions. Young men especially found in him the wisdom and direction they needed to grow spiritually. But Philip began to realize that these young men needed something more than absolution; they needed guidance during their daily lives. So Philip began to ask the young men to come by in the early afternoon when they would discuss spiritual readings and then stay for prayer in the evening. The numbers of the men who attended these meetings grew rapidly. In order to handle the growth, Philip and a fellow priest Buonsignore Cacciaguerra gave a more formal structure to the meetings and built a room called the Oratory to hold them in.

Philip understood that it wasn't enough to tell young people not to do something -- you had to give them something to do in its place. So at Carnival time, when the worst excesses were encouraged, Philip organized a pilgrimage to the Seven Churches with a picnic accompanied by instrumental music for the mid-day break. After walking twelve miles in one day everyone was too tired to be tempted!

In order to guide his followers, Philip made himself available to everyone at any hour -- even at night. He said some of the most devout people were those who had come to him at night. When others complained, Philip answered, "They can chop wood on my back so long as they do not sin."

Not everyone was happy about this growing group and Philip and Buonsignore were attacked by the priests they lived with. But eventually Philip and his companions were vindicated and went on with their work.

In 1555, the Pope's Vicar accused Philip of "introducing novelties" and ordered him to stop the meetings of the Oratory. Philip was brokenhearted but obeyed immediately. The Pope only let him start up the Oratory again after the sudden death of his accuser. Despite all the trouble this man had caused, Philip would not let anyone say anything against the man or even imply that his sudden death was a judgment from God.

One church, for Florentines in Rome, had practically forced him to bring the Oratory to their church. But when gossip and accusations started, they began to harass the very people they had begged to have nearby! At that point, Philip decided it would be best for the group to have their own church. They became officially known as the Congregation of the Oratory, made up of secular priests and clerics.

Philip was known to be spontaneous and unpredictable, charming and humorous.

He seemed to sense the different ways to bring people to God. One man came to the Oratory just to make fun of it. Philip wouldn't let the others throw him out or speak against him. He told them to be patient and eventually the man became a Dominican. On the other hand, when he met a condemned man who refused to listen to any pleas for repentance, Philip didn't try gentle words, but grabbed the man by the collar and threw him to the ground. The move shocked the criminal into repentance and he made a full confession.

Humility was the most important virtue he tried to teach others and to learn himself. Some of his lessons in humility seem cruel, but they were tinged with humor like practical jokes and were related with gratitude by the people they helped. His lessons always seem to be tailored directly to what the person needed. One member who was later to become a cardinal was too serious and so Philip had him sing the Misere at a wedding breakfast. When one priest gave a beautiful sermon, Philip ordered him to give the same sermon six times in a row so people would think he only had one sermon.

Philip preferred spiritual mortification to physical mortification. When one man asked Philip if he could wear a hair shirt, Philip gave him permission -- if he wore the hair shirt outside his clothes! The man obeyed and found humility in the jokes and name-calling he received.

There were unexpected benefits to his lessons in humility. Another member, Baronius, wanted to speak at the meetings about hellfire and eternal punishment. Philip commanded him instead to speak of church history. For 27 years Baronius spoke to the Oratory about church history. At the end of that time he published his talks as a widely respected and universally praised books on ecclesiastical history!

Philip did not escape this spiritual mortification himself. As with others, his own humbling held humor. There are stories of him wearing ridiculous clothes or walking around with half his beard shaved off. The greater his reputation for holiness the sillier he wanted to seem. When some people came from Poland to see the great saint, they found him listening to another priest read to him from joke books.

Philip was very serious about prayer, spending hours in prayer. He was so easily carried away that he refused to preach in public and could not celebrate Mass with others around. But he when asked how to pray his answer was, "Be humble and obedient and the Holy Spirit will teach you."

Philip died in 1595 after a long illness at the age of eighty years.

In his footsteps:
We often worry more about what others think that about what God thinks. Our fear of people laughing us often stops us from trying new things or serving God. Do something today that you are afraid might make you look a little ridiculous. Then reflect on how it makes you feel. Pray about your experience with God.

Prayer: Saint Philip Neri, we take ourselves far too seriously most of the time. Help us to add humor to our perspective -- remembering always that humor is a gift from God. Amen

1347 St. Flora Patron abandoned converts single laywomen betrayal victims
St. Flora, Virgin, Patron of the abandoned, of converts, single laywomen, and victims of betrayal
Flora was born in France about the year 1309. She was a devout child and later resisted all attempts on the part of her parents to find a husband for her.
In 1324, she entered the Priory of Beaulieu of the Hospitaller nuns of St. John of Jerusalem. Here she was beset with many and diverse trials, fell into a depressed state, and was made sport of by some of her religious sisters. However, she never ceased to find favor with God and was granted many unusual and mystical favors.
One year on the feast of All Saints, she fell into an ecstasy and took no nourishment until three weeks later on the feast of St.
On another occasion, while meditating on the Holy Spirit, she was raised four feet from the ground and hung in the air in full view of many onlookers.
She also seemed to be pierced with the arms of Our Lord's cross, causing blood to flow freely at times from her side and at others, from her mouth.
Other instances of God's favoring of his servant were also reported, concerning prophetic knowledge of matters of which she could not naturally know.
 Through it all, St. Flora remained humble and in complete communion with her Divine Master, rendering wise counsel to all who flocked to her because of her holiness and spiritual discernment. In 1347, she was called to her eternal reward and many miracles were worked at her tomb.
1459 Bl. Anthony della Chiesa miracle worker with an ability to read the consciences
Dominican superior and companion of St. Bernardino of Siena. Anthony was born in 1394, the son of the Marquis della Chiesa, in San Germano, Italy. At the age of twenty, despite his family's objections, Anthony became a Dominican, gaining recognition as a preacher and confessor. He accompanied St. Bernardine on missions and served in various capacities in the Dominican monasteries. Anthony was also one of the leaders opposing the last of the antipopes, Felix V While journeying from Savona to Genoa, Italy, Anthony was captured by pirates but was released unharmed. He was a known miracle worker with an ability to read the consciences of men and women.
1562 Peter of Alcántara practiced asceticism from 16 until death apared to Teresa patron of Brazil  OFM  (RM)
Born at Alcántara, Estremadura, Spain, in 1499; died at Arenas, 1562; canonized in 1669.
Sixteenth century Spain provided the Church with a wealth of heroes--most of whom seemed to know one another. I hope you enjoy this story of a man who truly fell in love with God at an early age.

Peter Garavito's father, who was a lawyer and governor of the province, died in 1513 and two years later, after studying law in Salamanca, 16-year-old Peter entered the Observant Franciscans at Manxarretes (Manjaretes). At 22 he was sent to Badajoz to found a friary.

He was ordained at the age of 25 (1524), and preached missions in Spain and Portugal. After serving as superior at Robredillo, Plasencia, and Estremadura, Peter finally had his request for solitude granted with an appointment to the friary at Lapa, though he was also named its superior. For a time he served as chaplain to the court of King John III of Portugal. This period of his life is uneventful, but all the time he was longing for a yet more rigorous following of the Franciscan rule.

After he was elected provincial for Saint Gabriel at Estremadura in 1538, he was able to take definite steps to begin the reform, but his efforts were not well received during the provincial chapter at Placensia in 1540. So, he resigned as minister provincial. For two years (1542-44) he lived as a hermit with Friar Martin of Saint Mary on Arabida Mountain near Lisbon and was named superior of Palhaes community for novices when numerous friars were attracted to their way of life. During that period he had become convinced of the need for a vigorous Catholic reform, a Counter-Reformation with which to oppose the Protestant Reformation.

Unable to secure approval for a stricter congregation of friars from his provincial, his idea was accepted by the bishop of Coria. Finally, with the approval of Pope Julius III, c. 1556, he founded the Reformed Friars Minor of Spain, usually called the Alcatarine Franciscans, which established not only monasteries but also Houses of Retreat where anyone could go and try to live according to the Rule of Saint Francis. The friars lived in small groups, in great poverty and austerity, going barefoot, abstaining from meat and wine, spending much time in solitude and contemplation.

Three years later, in 1559, the new order was enlarged with the addition of a new province, that of Saint Joseph. But the Reformed Franciscans failed to win the support of the other Franciscans; Conventuals and Observants, both jealous of their privileges, continued to quarrel over the inheritance of Saint Francis.

At the time of his death in 1562, Saint Peter was still uncertain of the future of his work, which had been placed under the Conventuals. But the example which he set was followed by Saint Teresa of Ávila and there was thus born Saint Joseph of Ávila, the first Reformed Carmel in Spain. Even if Peter's work was surpassed by that of Saint Teresa, it was instrumental in releasing in Spain, and then throughout Europe, a movement of vigorous revival which gave strength to the Church at a time when it was sorely needed.

Teresa and Peter were intimate friends for the last four years of her life. After they met in 1560, he became her confessor, advisor, and admirer. His ferocious and almost unbelievable asceticism is not myth, but rather described by Teresa in a celebrated chapter of her autobiography. She wrote with awe that his penances were "incomprehensible to the human mind." They had reduced him, she tells us, to a condition in which he looked as if "he had been made of the roots of trees."

He practiced asceticism from the age of 16 until his death, opposing a will of iron against the doubtlessly acute temptations of his body. He slept for no more than two hours each night, and even then he did not lie down, but slept either in a hard wooden chair or kneeling against the wall. His cell was no more than 4- ½ feet long. He ate extremely little, at first going for three days, and then for a week without food. When he did eat, he destroyed the taste of the food by sprinkling it with ashes or earth. He never drank wine.

He never wore shoes, or even sandals, and went about barefoot. He never wore a hat or a hood, and exposed his head to the icy rains of winter or the scorching sun of summer. He wore a hair shirt, and though he possessed a cloak, he never wore it in cold weather. He went everywhere on foot, or at the most would ride on a donkey.

Consumed with fever, he refused a glass of water, saying "Jesus was ready to die of thirst on the cross." For three years he never raised his eyes from the ground. And yet, "With all his holiness," wrote Saint Teresa of Ávila, "he was very kindly, though spare of speech except when asked a question, and then he was delightful, for he had a keen understanding."

Such asceticism may seem self-centered and excessive to us today. Some may think that there are sufficient mortifications in the normal course of life without adding to them. But asceticism has been in the Church since the days of the Desert Fathers, and though the practices of the ascetics might seem horrible, unnecessary, or even ridiculous to us, the Church has never reproved them; indeed, they are to be recommended for the active as well as for the contemplative. And who is to say that the present unhappy state of the world would not be greatly changed for the better if people did follow ascetic practices?

Peter's asceticism, however, is only one aspect of his life of great holiness and incessant labor devoted to the restoration in Spain of the primitive Franciscan rule.

Saint Peter was one of the great Spanish mystics and his Treatise on Prayer and Meditation (1926 English translation) was said by Pope Gregory XV to be "a shining light to lead souls to heaven and a doctrine prompted by the Holy Spirit." This treatise was used later by Saint Francis de Sales. His mystical works, intended purely for edification, follow traditional lines.

"He had already appeared to me twice since his death," wrote Teresa of Ávila, "and I witnessed the greatness of his glory. Far from causing me the least fear, the sight of him filled me with joy. He always showed himself to me in the state of a body which was glorious and radiant with happiness; and I, seeing him, was filled with the same happiness. I remember that when he first appeared to me he said, to show me the extent of his felicity, 'Blessed be the penitence which has brought me such a reward'" (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Underhill).

In art he is depicted as a Franciscan in radiance levitated before the Cross, angels carry a girdle of nails, chain, and discipline. Sometimes he is shown (1) walking on water with a companion, a star over his head; (2) praying before a crucifix, discipline (scourge), and hairshirt; or (3) with a dove at his ear, cross and discipline in the picture. He is venerated at Alcántara and Pedrosa (Roeder).

In 1862, he was declared the patron of Brazil (Delaney).
1231 b. 1195 St. Anthony Of Padua
Few of the medieval saints adopted into the Romish calendar have attained to such lasting celebrity as St. Anthony, or Antonio, of Padua. All over Italy his memory is held in the highest veneration; but at Padua in particular, where his festival is enthusiastically kept, he is spoken of as Il Santo, or the saint, as if no other was of any importance.
Besides larger memoirs of St. Anthony, there are current in the north of Italy small chap-books or tracts describing his character and his miracles. From one of these, purchased within the present year from a stall in Padua, we offer the following as a specimen of the existing folk-lore of Venetian Lombardy. St. Anthony was born at Lisbon on the 15th of August 1195. At twenty-five years of age he entered a convent of Franciscans, and as a preaching friar most zealous in checking heresy, he gained great fame in Italy, which became the scene of his labours. In this great work the power of miracle came to his aid.
On one occasion, at Rimini, there was a person who held heretical opinions, and in order to convince him of his error, Anthony caused the fishes in the water to lift up their heads and listen to his discourse.
This miracle, which of course converted the heretic, is represented in a variety of cheap prints, to be seen on almost every stall in Italy, and is the subject of a wood-cut in the chap-book from which we quote, here faithfully represented. On another occasion, to reclaim a heretic, he caused the man's mule, after three days' abstinence from food, to kneel down and venerate the host, instead of rushing to a bundle of hay that was set before it. This miracle was equally efficacious.
Then we are told of St. Anthony causing a new-born babe to speak, and tell who was its father; also, of a wonderful miracle he wrought in saving the life of a poor woman's child. The woman had gone to hear St. Anthony preach, leaving her child alone in the house, and during her absence it fell into a pot on the fire; but, strangely enough, instead of finding it scalded to death, the mother found it standing up whole in the boiling cauldron.
What with zealous labours and fastings, St. Anthony cut short his days, and died in the odour of sanctity on the 13th of June 1231. Padua, now claiming him as patron saint and protector, set about erecting a grand temple to his memory. This large and handsome church was completed in 1307. It is a gigantic building, in the pointed Lombardo-Venetian style, with several towers and minarets of an Eastern character. The chief object of attraction in the interior is the chapel specially devoted to Il Santo. It consists of the northern transept, gorgeously decorated with sculptures, bronzes, and gilding. The altar is of white marble, inlaid, resting on the tomb of St. Anthony, which is a sarcophagus of verd antique. Around it, in candelabra and in suspended lamps, lights burn night and day; and at nearly all hours a host of devotees may be seen kneeling in front of the shrine, or standing behind with hands devoutly and imploringly touching the sarcophagus, as if trying to draw succour and consolation from the marble of the tomb. The visitor to this splendid shrine is not less struck with the more than usual quantity of votive offerings suspended on the walls and end of the altar. These consist mainly of small framed sketches in oil or water colours, representing some circumstance that calls for particular thankfulness.
St. Anthony of Padua, as appears from these pictures, is a saint ever ready to rescue persons from destructive accidents, such as the over-turning of wagons or carriages, the falling from windows or roofs of houses, the upsetting of boats, and such like; on any of these occurrences a person has only to call vehemently and with faith on St. Anthony in order to be rescued. The hundreds of small pictures we speak of represent these appalling scenes, with a figure of' St. Anthony in the sky interposing to save life and limb. On each are inscribed the letters P. G. R., with the date of the accident;—the letters being an abbreviation of the words Per Grazzia Ricevuto—for grace or favour received. On visiting the shrine, we remarked that many are quite recent; one of them depicting an accident by a railway train. The other chief object of interest in the church is a chapel behind the high altar appropriated as a reliquary. Here, within a splendidly deco-rated cupboard, as it might be called, are treasured up certain relics of the now long deceased saint. The principal relic is the tongue of Il Santo, which. is contained within an elegant case of silver gilt, as here represented. This with other relics is exhibited once a year, at the great festival on the 13th of June, when Padua holds its grandest holiday.
It is to be remarked that the article entitled 'St. Anthony and the Pigs,' inserted under January 17, ought properly to have been placed here, as the patronship of animals belongs truly to St. Anthony of Padua, most probably in consequence of his sermon to the fishes.
1250-1350(?) Blessed Peter Ghisengi many miracles were reported at his tomb OSA (AC)
(also known as Peter of Gubbio) Born at Gubbio, Umbria, Italy; died c. 1250-1350(?); cultus confirmed by Pope Pius IX. Blessed Peter was a scion of the distinguished Ghisleni family. He became an Augustinian hermit and later the provincial of his congregation. He is venerated at Gubbio, where his relics rest and where many miracles were reported at his tomb (Attwater2, Benedictines).
1307 St. Albert of Trapani miracles
Carmelite hermit and missionary. He was born in Trapani, Sicily, and joined the Carmelite Order. After ordination, he was sent to nearby Messina, where he gathered thousands with his preaching and miracles. After serving as a missionary, Albert entered a monastic hermitage near Messina. He remained there until his death.
1220 Blessed Reginald of Saint-Gilles Queen of Heaven cured him he taught canon law , OP (AC)
(also known as Reginald of Orléans)
Born at Saint-Gilles, Languedoc, France, c. 1183; died 1220; cultus confirmed in 1885.
Reginald received his training at the University of Paris and thereafter taught canon law from 1206 to 1211 with great success. Because of his evident talents and virtues, he was appointed dean of the cathedral chapter (Saint-Agnan) of Orléans. Here as in Paris, he was renowned for the brilliance of his mind and the eloquence of his preaching, as well as for his tender devotion to the Mother of God.
Since he was a very zealous young man, Reginald was not content with his life as it was. He was in truth leading a very holy life, but he yearned for more. He determined on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, perhaps to pray for light to know his vocation, and on his way to Jerusalem he visited Rome. Here he discussed his desires with Cardinal Hugh de Segni, explaining that he felt a great call to the primitive poverty and preaching of the apostles but knew of no way to realize his hopes.
The cardinal replied that he knew the exact answer to his seeking and sent him to Saint Dominic, who was in Rome at the time. Reginald hastened to open his heart to the holy founder, and at Saint Dominic's words he knew he had come to the end of his seeking.

Reginald had scarcely made his decision to enter the Dominican order when he became so ill that his life was in danger. Saint Dominic, who was greatly attracted to the young man and knew what an influence for good he would be in the order, prayed earnestly for his recovery. It was said of Dominic that he never asked anything of God that he did not obtain. In any case, it was the Queen of Heaven herself who came to cure the dying man and ransom him a little time on earth.

Our Lady, accompanied by Saint Cecilia and Saint Catherine of Alexandria, appeared at Reginald's bedside and anointed him with a heavenly perfume. The Blessed Mother showed him a long white scapular and told him it was to be a part of the habit of the order. Going away, she left him completely cured and filled with great joy. The friars, who until that time, 1218, had worn the garb of he canons regular, gladly changed to the scapular especially designed for them by the Mother of God. Reginald was himself clothed with the Dominican habit, and in fulfillment of his vows proceeded to the Holy Land.

On his return, Reginald embarked on his brief but brilliant career of preaching. In Bologna and in Paris, his eloquence and the shining beauty of his life drew hundreds to follow him into the order. Among these were not only students but many famous professors and doctors of law. One of his greatest conquests was the young German dynamo, Jordan of Saxony, who was to be like Reginald himself--a kidnapper of souls for the service of God.

The first to be given the scapular and the first to wear the Dominican habit in the Holy Land, Reginald was also the first Dominican to die in it. Consumed with the fiery zeal of his work, he died in 1220, mourned by the entire order, when he had worn the habit scarcely two years. He displayed no fear of death--perhaps Our Lady had told him, on the occasion of the cure, that he was only loaned to life and the order--but received the last sacraments with touching devotion (Benedictines, Dorcy).

In art, Reginald is generally portrayed in his sick bed being attended by Saint Dominic, at whose prayer the Blessed Virgin appears with two female saints to anoint Reginald. He may also be shown as a Dominican offering his scapular to the Virgin (Roeder).
1287  Ambrose Sansedoni of Siena unknown pilgrim said, "Do not cover that child's face. He will one day be the glory of this city." A few days later the child suddenly stretch out his twisted limbs, pronounced the name "Jesus", and all deformity left him.
 Mystic with deep contemplative prayer life. Received ecstacies. Visionary. Known to levitate when preaching, and was seen circled in a mystic light in which flew bright birds.

Also known as Ambrogio Sansedoni Ambrose Sansedone
Profile  The son of a book illuminator, he was born so badly deformed that his mother gave him off to the care of a nurse. The nurse claimed that the only time the child was peaceful was in the local Dominican church, especially when near the altar of relics. Legend says that one day in church, the nurse covered the baby's face with a scarf; an unknown pilgrim told her, "Do not cover that child's face. He will one day be the glory of this city." A few days later the child suddenly stretch out his twisted limbs, pronounced the name "Jesus", and all deformity left him.

A pious child, getting up during the nights to pray and meditate. At age two he was given the choice of two of his father's books - and chose the one about saints. From age seven he daily recited the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin. Charitable, and even when young he worked with the poor, the abandoned, and the sick.

When he announced he wanted to join the preaching friars, his parents and friends tried to talk him out of it. But Ambrose had heard the call, and joined the friars in Siena in 1237 on his 17th birthday.

Studied in Paris, France, and Cologne, Germany with Saint Thomas Aquinas and Blessed Pope Innocent V under Saint Albert the Great. Taught in Cologne. Ambrose wanted to write, but saw the greatness of Saint Thomas, decided he could not match it, and devoted himself to preaching.

Worked on diplomatic missions for popes and secular rules. Evangelized in Germany, France, and Italy. Mystic with deep contemplative prayer life. Received ecstacies. Visionary. Known to levitate when preaching, and was seen circled in a mystic light in which flew bright birds.
Born 1220 at Siena, Italy Died 20 March 1287 at Siena, Italy of natural causes
Beatified 8 October 1622 by Pope Gregory XV (cultus confirmed)
Patronage betrothed couples, affianced couples, engaged couples, Siena Italy
Prayers Merciful God, may this feast of Blessed Ambrose bring joy to the Church, that she may be strengthened with spiritual help and be made worthy to enjoy everlasting happiness. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. - General Calendar of the Order of Preachers
Representation Dominican with a dove at his ear; holding a model of Siena, Italy; holding a book; preaching
1267 St. Parisius miracles and gift of prophecy
A beloved Camaldolese spiritual director, also called Parisio. A native of either Treviso or Bologna, Italy, he entered the Camaldolese at the age of twelve. Ordained a priest, he was appointed chaplain and spiritual director to the Camaldolese nuns of the St. Christina Convent at Treviso in 1191. He apparently held this post for seventy seven years, reportedly performing miracles and possessing the gift of prophecy. His body is enshrined in the cathedral of Treviso.
1270 Blessed Ilona of Hungary mistress Vesprim Dominican convent trained Saint Margaret of Hungary contemplative prayer often led to ecstasy crufixes would come to life for her first Dominican marked with the stigmata The lilies of light that appeared during her prayer is unique in the annals of the Church When Ilona was at the point of death, she was rapt in ecstasy. Her body glowed with a radiance that made it impossible for her sisters to determine the exact moment of her passing. At some point she also received wounds in her side and feet, which healed; however, when her tomb was opened 17 years after her death, the wound in her side reopened of its own volition and rays of light poured forth from it.OP V (PC)

(also known as Helen).
Ilona was the novice mistress of the Dominican convent of Vesprim, where she trained the future Saint Margaret of Hungary in the ways of holiness. She was one of the first sisters in the community founded by Paul of Hungary in 1222. Ilona was known for her gift of contemplative prayer that often led to ecstasy.

Sometimes God gave visible signs of her sanctity, which were not always understood by her community. Once she was watched by another sister as she prayed alone. The corpus on the crucifix came to life, reached down, and took her hand in His. It took a full day for the sisters to pry her hand from that of the corpus. Another time the large crucifix from the altar suspended itself over her until she finished her prayer, at which time she replaced it.

Ilona is reputed to have been the first Dominican marked with the stigmata. Before 1237, she received a mark in her right hand on the Feast of Saint Francis about 10 years after his death as she prayed for some of the saint's intense love for heavenly things. As she went into a state of ecstasy, her hand sparkled and gave off rays of light. In the center of her palm a circle of gold appeared and from this a dazzlingly bright lily grew. When she returned to a normal state of consciousness, she prayed that the wound would be invisible. Later a similar wound appeared in her left hand. God did not answer that prayer until near the time of her death. The lilies of light that appeared during her prayer is unique in the annals of the Church.

Ilona was dearly loved within her community, which she served as novice mistress and then as prioress. Her great desire was that her sisters might remain faithful to the rule and the offering of penance. She also had a "green thumb" with houseplants --her touch could restore withered plants. Other miracles are recorded of her: she levitated; candles lit themselves on the altar at her passing; and she revived a dead, pet goat. Saint Ilona lived for 30 years after Saint Margaret was removed to the more protected monastery at Budapest.

When Ilona was at the point of death, she was rapt in ecstasy. Her body glowed with a radiance that made it impossible for her sisters to determine the exact moment of her passing. At some point she also received wounds in her side and feet, which healed; however, when her tomb was opened 17 years after her death, the wound in her side reopened of its own volition and rays of light poured forth from it.

Ilona is venerated in Hungary and within the Dominican Order although she has never been formally beatified (Benedictines, Dorcy, Harrison).
1295 Thomas Hales of Dover Miracles occurred at his tomb OSB M (AC)
feast day formerly on August 5. The near contemporary vita of Saint Thomas, a Benedictine monk of Saint Martin's Priory in Dover, a cell of Christ Church in Canterbury, concentrates on a conventional list of virtues and omits any biographical details of his early life.
On August 5, 1295, the French raided Dover and all the monks went into hiding except Thomas, who was too old and too infirm to run. The raiders, who are described in detail in the vita, found him in bed and ordered him to disclose the location of the church plate. He was murdered for his refusal to answer them. Miracles occurred at his tomb, which led to his veneration as a martyr. His cultus was encouraged by indulgences from the bishop of Winchester and the archbishop of Canterbury for pilgrimages to his tomb. King Richard II and "several noble Englishmen" petitioned Rome for his canonization. In 1380 Urban VI established a commission to enquire into Thomas's life and miracles. The work was delegated to the priors of Christ Church and Saint Gregory's in Canterbury, but nothing ever happened. There was an altar dedicated to him ("blessed Thomas de Halys") in the Dover Priory church in 1500, which was probably the altar of Our Lady and Saint Catherine in front of which he was buried. Thomas's his image figured among those of the English saints at the English College in Rome (Benedictines, Farmer).
1292 Blessed Benvenuta Bojani an early age Dominican tertiary on the Vigil of the Feast of Saint Dominic he and Saint Peter Martyr, Mary and Jesus-Child appeared; severe penances; miracle worker OP Tert. V (AC)
Born in Cividale, Friuli, Italy, 1254; cultus approved in 1763.

Benvenuta was the last of seven daughters. Her parents, too, must have been amazing people in comparison with so many in our time. When the silence of the midwife proclaimed that her father had been disappointed once again in his desire for a son, he exclaimed, "She too shall be welcome!" Remembering this she was christened by her parents Benvenuta ("welcome"), although they had asked for a son.
A vain older sister unsuccessfully tried to teach the pious little Benvenuta to dress in rich clothing and use the deceits of society. Benvenuta hid from such temptations in the church where she developed a tender devotion to the Blessed Virgin. By the age of 12, Benvenuta was wearing hairshirts and a rope girdle. As she grew the rope became embedded in her flesh. When she realized the rope must be removed, she couldn't get it off, so she prayed and it fell to her feet. For this reason she is often pictured in art holding a length of rope in her hands.

Having become a Dominican tertiary at an early age, she added the penances practiced by the sisters to those she had appropriated for herself. All her disciplines, fasting, and lack of sleep soon caused her health to fail and she was confined to bed for five years. Thereafter, she was too weak to walk, so a kind older sibling carried her to church once a week for Compline (Night Prayer) in the Dominican church, her favorite liturgy after the Mass.

After evening prayer on the Vigil of the Feast of Saint Dominic, Dominic and Saint Peter Martyr appeared to Benvenuta. Dominic had a surprise for her. The prior was absent at the Salve procession, but at the beginning of Compline she saw Dominic in the prior's place. He passed from brother to brother giving the kiss of peace, then went to his own altar and disappeared. At the Salve procession, the Blessed Virgin herself came down the aisle, blessing the fathers while holding the Infant Jesus in her arms.

Benvenuta spent her whole life at home in Cividale busy with her domestic duties, praying, and working miracles. She was often attacked by the devil, who sometimes left her close to discouragement and exhaustion. When someone protested against the death of a promising young child, Benvenuta commented, "It is much better to be young in paradise than to be old in hell." The devil often appeared to her in horrifying forms but was banished when Benvenuta called upon the Virgin.

Benvenuta's companions called her "the sweetest and most spiritual of contemplatives, so lovable in her holiness that her touch and presence inspired gladness and drove away temptations." This is amazing in light of the severe penances that she imposed upon herself--and another sign of blessedness that she didn't judge others by her standards for herself (Benedictines, Dorcy).
1463 St. John of Sahagun experienced visions, was famous for his miracles, and had the gift of reading men's souls.
John Gonzales de Castrillo was born at Sahagun, Leon Spain. He was educated by the Benedictine monks of Fagondez monastery there and when twenty, received a canonry from the bishop of Burgos, though he already had several benefices. He was ordained in 1445; concerned about the evil of pluralism, he resigned all his benefices except that of St. Agatha in Burgos. He spent the next four years studying at the University of Salamanca and then began to preach. In the next decade he achieved a great reputation as a preacher and spiritual director, but after  recovering after a serious operation, became an Augustinian friar in 1463 and was professed the following year. He served as master of novices, definitor, prior at Salamanca, experienced visions, was famous for his miracles, and had the gift of reading men's souls. He denounced evil in high places and several attempts were made on his life. He died at Sahagun on June 11, reportedly poisoned by the mistress of a man he had convinced to leave her. He was canonized in 1690 as St. John of Sahagun.
1567 St. Salvatore Franciscan of the Observance specially devoted to our Lady and to St. Paul who appeared to him on several occasions many and severe austerities
St. Salvatore is usually described as "of Horta" because he spent many years in the Franciscan Friary of that place. He was born at Santa Columba in the diocese of Gerona in Spain. He came of a poor family, and lost both his parents while still a child. Migrating to the town, he worked as a shoemaker in Barcelona. At the age of twenty, as his heart was set on the religious life, he became a Franciscan of the Observance.
Employed in the kitchen, his virtue quickly matured in these humble surroundings, but he thirsted for greater austerity, and passed on, first to the convent of St. Mary of Jesus at Tortosa, and then to the solitude of St. Mary of the Angels at Horta in the same diocese. In that house of very strict observance, he made a protracted stay but eventually he returned to Barcelona, where his supernatural gifts attracted much notice, and where the blind, lame and deaf came to him to be healed. He always walked barefoot, scourged himself daily, and kept long and rigorous fasts. He was specially devoted to our Lady and to St. Paul who appeared to him on several occasions, notably on his death-bed.
St. Salvatore had gone to Sardinia in compliance with the orders of his superiors when he was seized with an illness which proved fatal. He died at Cagliari, being forty-seven years of age, in 1567. He was venerated as a saint during his lifetime and was eventually canonized in 1938.
1601 St. Germaine Cousin 400 miracles parted waters{see below for more}
Her remains were buried in the parish church of Pibrac in front of the pulpit. In 1644, when the grave was opened to receive one of her relatives, the body of Germaine was discovered fresh and perfectly preserved, and miraculously raised almost to the level of the floor of the church. It was exposed for public view near the pulpit, until a noble lady, the wife of François de Beauregard, presented as a thanks-offering a casket of lead to hold the remains. She had been cured of a malignant and incurable ulcer in the breast, and her infant son whose life was despaired of was restored to health on her seeking the intercession of Germaine. This was the first of a long series of wonderful cures wrought at her relics. The leaden casket was placed in the sacristy, and in 1661 and 1700 the remains were viewed and found fresh and intact by the vicars-general of Toulouse, who have left testamentary depositions of the fact. Expert medical evidence deposed that the body had not been embalmed, and experimental tests showed that the preservation was not due to any property inherent in the soil.
In 1700 a movement was begun to procure the beatification of Germaine, but it fell through owing to accidental causes. In 1793 the casket was desecrated by a revolutionary tinsmith, named Toulza, who with three accomplices took out the remains and buried them in the sacristy, throwing quick-lime and water on them. After the Revolution, her body was found to be still intact save where the quick-lime had done its work. The private veneration of Germaine had continued from the original finding of the body in 1644, supported and encouraged by numerous cures and miracles. The cause of beatification was resumed in 1850. The documents attested more than 400 miracles or extraordinary graces, and thirty postulatory letters from archbishops and bishops in France besought the beatification from the Holy See. The miracles attested were cures of every kind (of blindness, congenital and resulting from disease, of hip and spinal disease), besides the multiplication of food for the distressed community of the Good Shepherd at Bourges in 1845. On 7 May, 1854, Pius IX proclaimed her beatification, and on 29 June, 1867, placed her on the canon of virgin saints. Her feast is kept in the Diocese of Toulouse on 15 June. She is represented in art with a shepherd's crook or with a distaff; with a watchdog, or a sheep; or with flowers in her apron.
Her feast is kept in the Diocese of Toulouse on 15 June. 
1601 St. Germaine Cousin
Born in 1579 of humble parents at Pibrac, a village about ten miles from Toulouse; died in her native place.
When Hortense decided to marry Laurent Cousin in Pibrac, France, it was not out of love for his infant daughter. Germaine was everything Hortense despised. Weak and ill, the girl had also been born with a right hand that was deformed and paralyzed. Hortense replaced the love that Germaine has lost when her mother died with cruelty and abuse. Laurent, who had a weak character, pretended not to notice that Germaine had been given so little food that she had learned to crawl in order to get to the dog's dish. He wasn't there to protect her when Hortense left Germaine in a drain while she cared for chickens -- and forgot her for three days. He didn't even interfere when Hortense poured boiling water on Germaine's legs. With this kind of treatment, it's no surprise that Germaine became even more ill. She came down with a disease known as scrofula, a kind of tuberculosis that causes the neck glands to swell up. Sores began to appear on her neck and in her weakened condition to fell prey to every disease that came along. Instead of awakening Hortense's pity this only made her despise Germaine more for being even uglier in her eyes.
Germaine found no sympathy and love with her siblings. Watching their mother's treatment of their half-sister, they learned how to despise and torment her, putting ashes in her food and pitch in her clothes. Their mother found this very entertaining. Hortense did finally get concerned about Germaine's sickness -- because she was afraid her own children would catch it. So she made Germaine sleep out in the barn. The only warmth Germaine had on frozen winter nights was the woolly sheep who slept there too. The only food she had were the scraps Hortense might remember to throw her way.
The abuse of Germaine tears at our hearts and causes us to cry for pity and justice. But it was Germaine's response to that abuse and her cruel life that wins our awe and veneration. Germaine was soon entrusted with the sheep. No one expected her to have any use for education so she spent long days in the field tending the sheep. Instead of being lonely, she found a friend in God. She didn't know any theology and only the basics of the faith that she learned the catechism. But she had a rosary made of knots in string and her very simple prayers: "Dear God, please don't let me be too hungry or too thirsty. Help me to please my mother. And help me to please you." Out of that simple faith, grew a profound holiness and a deep trust of God.
1618 St. John Berchmans miracles were attributed to him after his death
Eldest son of a shoemaker, John was born at Diest, Brabant. He early wanted to be a priest, and when thirteen became a servant in the household of one of the Cathedral canons at Malines, John Froymont. In 1615, he entered the newly founded Jesuit College at Malines, and the following year became a Jesuit novice. He was sent to Rome in 1618 to continue his studies, and was known for his diligence and piety, impressing all with his holiness and stress on perfection in little things. He died there on August 13. Many miracles were attributed to him after his death, and he was canonized in 1888. He is the patron of altar boys
1637 Blessed Humilis of Bisignano Observant Franciscan lay-brother so widely known for his sanctity that he was called to Rome, where both Pope Gregory XV and Urban VIII consulted him OFM (AC)
Born in Bisignano, Calabria, Italy, 1582;  beatified in 1882. Humilis was an Observant Franciscan lay-brother so widely known for his sanctity that he was called to Rome, where both Pope Gregory XV and Urban VIII consulted him. In addition to his wisdom, Humilis possessed the gift of working miracles (Attwater 2, Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
1645 St. John de Massias  Dominican monk at Lima austerities, miracles, and visions
Peru. He was born in Ribera, Spain, to a noble family and was orphaned at a young age. John went to Peru to work on a cattle ranch before entering the Dominicans at Lima as a lay brother, assigned to serve as a doorkeeper, or porter. He was known for his austerities, miracles, and visions. John cared for all the poor of Lima, dying there on September 16. Pope Paul VI canonized him in 1975 .
1645 Saint John Masias Marvelous Dominican Gatekeeper of Lima, Peru truly a "child of God." saint of simplicity charity levitated Many miracles were attributed saved souls in urgatory
(1585-1645) Some saints have been brilliant leaders who steered their way through complicated courses.  Others have been renowned rather for their childlike simplicity.  St. John Masias of Lima, Peru, a friend and fellow Dominican of St. Martin de Porres, was like Martin, truly a "child of God."
John, a native of Rivera, Plasencia, Spain, is said to have been descended from a noble family that had become impoverished.  Whatever his lineage, he was orphaned at an early age, and raised by an uncle, who made him tend sheep to support himself and his brothers and sisters.  With no opportunity for schooling, Juan grew up illiterate.  The solitude of shepherding, however, gave him, as it has given to other saints, ample opportunity for recollection and prayer.  Sometimes as he recited the rosary, he sensed the presence of Our Lady and St. John the Evangelist.
When he was 21, he felt inspired by St. John the Evangelist to migrate to South America--a popular choice of many Spaniards in those days when Spain was colonizing Latin America.  The merchant who took him across the Atlantic abandoned him at Cartagena, Colombia, because he could neither read nor write.  Making his way gradually to Lima, John entered the employ of a landholder who assigned him to work with his cattle and sheep.  "On retreat" again among the animals, Masias resumed his old devotional schedule.
Around 1621, Juan decided to apply for entry into the Dominicans as a lay brother.  Giving away what remained of his savings, he was clothed in the Dominican habit at the Lima convent of St. Mary Magdalen.  During his Dominican career Brother John held only one post, that of porter of the convent, but it was in this role that he earned heaven.
The monastic life suited John to a "T".  He embraced penitential practices so harsh that his prior ordered him to tone them down.  Though he had lost the sheepfold as a favored place of private prayer, he found a hidden corner in the monastery garden that he called his Gethsemane.
But John became noted particularly for his works of charity.  Every day the poor, the sick and the abandoned would come to the door to receive bread from him. (The convent still preserves the basket he used to hold the loaves.) If his beloved poor were too shy to come begging at the convent, he would search them out in their own homes.
Collecting the food to give was his preliminary duty.
To save himself time in begging door to door, he trained the priory's donkey to go about town alone with baskets on its back.  When the people saw it coming, they would put food and clothing into its baskets for Brother Juan to distribute.  Nor did John content himself with silent almsgiving.  His contact with the needy gave him an opportunity to advise them and encourage them to love God and live good lives.  There is no doubt that Blessed Juan copied this style of apostolate from his good friend, fellow-Dominican lay brother and fellow townsman, the holy mulatto St. Martin de Porres.  Many miracles were attributed to Brother John.
Historians have often criticized the Spaniards who colonized Peru and other parts of Latin America for greed and harshness.  But we must not forget the bright side, the holy side of their colonial efforts.
Thus, Lima itself could boast of two saints early canonized: St. Rose of Lima and Archbishop St. Toribio de Mogrovejo.  More recent popes have added to that calendar two more, saints of simplicity and charity: St. Martin de Porres (canonized in 1962 by Pope John XXIII) and St. John Masias (canonized in 1975 by Pope Paul VI).  Of such is the kingdom of heaven.
--Father Robert F. McNamara

Name/Title: Saint John Masias - Marvelous Dominican Gatekeeper of Lima, Peru
Author:      Mary Fabyan Windeatt No. Pages:     156
"I'm going to see Father Prior about this!" sputtered old Father Francis, as the little group of priests and brothers peered into the chapel at Brother John. Brother John was praying ardently-several feet off the floor! "There is no need to have these... these acrobatics! And right in the sanctuary, too!"
The others did not know what to say. `Brother John is a saint," ventured one brother.
Father Francis, however, dismissed the wonder with a wave of his hand. "I'm quite sure that Brother John is a saint," he declared, "but I still see no reason for him to float about in the air! Some of our younger brothers may think they should be able to float in the air too!"
"Oh, no!" exclaimed one young priest. "That won't happen!"
"That's what you think!" came the reply. "I shall speak to Father Prior and ask him to put a stop to all such exhibitions. Brother John will have to obey him!"
What would the Prior say? Would he agree with Father Francis?
This book gives the answer. It also tells how John Masias came from Spain to the New World, how he was fired from a job because of his poor education, how he went on miraculous travels, how he fought the Devil, and how he freed over a million souls from Purgatory. All in all, this is the wonderful story of St. John Masias, the marvelous Dominican gatekeeper of Lima. Peru.
1642 Saint Simeon of Verkhoturye led beggars life worked many miracles after death
was a nobleman, but he concealed his origin and led the life of a beggar. He walked through the villages and for free sewed half-coats and other clothes, primarily for the poor. While doing this he deliberately failed to sew something, either a glove, or a scarf, for which he endured abuse from his customers.

The ascetic wandered much, but most often he lived at a churchyard of the village of Merkushinsk not far from the city of Verkhoturye (on the outskirts of Perm). St Simeon loved nature in the Urals, and while joyfully contemplated its majestic beauty, he would raise up a thoughtful glance towards the Creator of the world. In his free time, the saint loved to go fishing in the tranquility of solitude. This reminded him of the disciples of Christ, whose work he continued, guiding the local people in the true Faith. His conversations were a seed of grace, from which gradually grew the abundant fruits of the Spirit in the Urals and in Siberia, where the saint is especially revered.

St Simeon of Verkhoturye died in 1642, when he was 35 years of age. He was buried in the Merkushinsk graveyard by the church of the Archangel Michael.

On September 12, 1704, with the blessing of Metropolitan Philotheus of Tobolsk, the holy relics of St Simeon were transferred from the church of the Archangel Michael to the Verkhoturye monastery in the name of St Nicholas.

St Simeon worked many miracles after his death. He frequently appeared to the sick in dreams and healed them, and he brought to their senses those fallen into the disease of drunkenness. A peculiarity of the saint's appearances was that with the healing of bodily infirmities, he also gave instruction and guidance for the soul.

The memory of St Simeon of Verkhoturye is celebrated also on December 18, on the day of his glorification (1694).
1645 St. Mariana the lily of Quito gift of prophesy
Mariana was born at Quito, Ecuador (then part of Peru), of noble Spanish parents. She was orphaned as a child and raised by her elder sister and her husband. Mariana early was attracted to things religious and became a solitary in her sister's home under the direction of Mariana's Jesuit confessor. Mariana practiced the greatest austerities, ate hardly anything, slept for only three hours a night for years, had the gift of prophesy, and reputedly performed miracles. When an earthquake followed by an epidemic shook Quito in 1645, she offered herself publicly as a victim for the sins of the people. When the epidemic began to abate, she was stricken and died on May 26th. She is known as Mariana of Quito and is often called "the lily of Quito." She was canonized in 1950.
1663 St. Joseph of Cupertino b.1603 levitating at prayer temptations chains
Already as a child, Joseph showed a fondness for prayer. After a short career with the Capuchins, he joined the Conventuals. Following a brief assignment caring for the friary mule, Joseph began his studies for the priesthood. Though studies were very difficult for him, Joseph gained a great deal of knowledge from prayer. He was ordained in 1628.
Joseph’s tendency to levitate during prayer was sometimes a cross; some people came to see this much as they might have gone to a circus sideshow. Joseph’s gift led him to be humble, patient and obedient, even though at times he was greatly tempted and felt forsaken by God. He fasted and wore iron chains for much of his life.
The friars transferred Joseph several times for his own good and for the good of the rest of the community. He was reported to and investigated by the Inquisition; the examiners exonerated him.
Joseph was canonized in 1767. In the investigation preceding the canonization, 70 incidents of levitation are recorded.
Comment:  While levitation is an extraordinary sign of holiness, Joseph is also remembered for the ordinary signs he showed. He prayed even in times of inner darkness, and he lived out the Sermon on the Mount. He used his "unique possession" (his free will) to praise God and to serve God’s creation.
Quote:   "Clearly, what God wants above all is our will which we received as a free gift from God in creation and possess as though our own. When a man trains himself to acts of virtue, it is with the help of grace from God from whom all good things come that he does this. The will is what man has as his unique possession" (St. Joseph of Cupertino, from the reading for his feast in the Franciscan breviary).
1669-1739 Bl. Angelus Capuchin of Acri many miracles of healing gifts prophecy bilocation see into men's souls
Born at Acri, Italy, he was refused admission to the Capuchins twice but was accepted on his third attempt in 1690, and was ordained. Unsuccessful in his first sermons, he eventually became a famous preacher after a tremendous success preaching in Naples during Lent in 1711.
For the rest of his life, he preached missions in Calabria and Naples, converting thousands and performing many miracles of healing. He was reputed to have had the gifts of prophecy and bilocation, experienced visions and ecstasies and was a sought after confessor with the ability to see into men's souls. He died in the friary at Acri on October 30, and was beatified in 1825.

Blessed Angelus of Acri, OFM Cap. (AC) Born at Acri (diocese of Bisignano), Calabria, Italy, in 1669; died in 1739; beatified in 1825. Angelus twice attempted unsuccessfully to become a religious. The third time, after a tempestuous novitiate, he was professed as a Capuchin. His public life as a preacher was again quite unsuccessful in the beginning and "tempestuously successful" afterwards (Benedictines).
1781 Saint Ignatius of Laconi Capuchin questor for 40 years as a child  found daily at church doors before dawn waiting in prayer to be opened levitation in prayer gifts of prophecy and miracles of healing (AC)

Born in Laconi, Sardinia, in 1701; died at Cagliari, Italy, in 1781; canonized in 1951; feast day formerly May 12. I would like to be more like this Saint Ignatius because I think he is a wonderful role model. Vincent Peis' parents were of modest means, but his was not a modest devotion to God. In fact, his childlike devotion was so remarkable that he would be found daily at the church doors before dawn, waiting in prayer, for them to be opened.    
Saint Ignatius
With some difficulty he was received into the Capuchin branch of the Franciscan Order at Buoncammino (near Cagliari) in 1722 as a lay-brother, taking the name Ignatius. He passed his life doing mundane tasks and, at age 40 (1741), was entrusted with the work of questor, that is, begging for his convent at Cagliari. This office, which was his occupation for 40 years, gave him an opportunity to exercise his gentle love of children, the poor, and the sick. He travelled about on foot in all kinds of weather, meeting with refusals and contradictions but he never gave up.
An unusual legend tells us that he would never beg alms from an unscrupulous moneylender, who complained of this neglect. The local guardian ordered Ignatius to call upon him. The saint returned with a sack of food, but when it was opened, it dripped with blood. More reliable accounts tell of his levitation in prayer and miracles of healing wrought through his intercession.
Though he was illiterate, he loved to listen to the Gospels, especially the Passion accounts, and was favored with the gifts of prophecy and miracles. He would pass whole hours in prayer before the tabernacle. The particulars about his Christ-centered life that have survived show a determined, gentle character like those in the Little Flowers of Saint Francis. A contemporary portrait of the saint at Cagliari confirms a written description of him as medium height with slight features, a white beard and hair, upright in gait, and easy in manner (Attwater, Benedictines, Farmer).
1783 St. Benedict Joseph Labré "the Beggar of Rome," a pilgrim recluse devoted to the Blessed Sacrament miracles levitated.

Called "the Beggar of Rome," a pilgrim recluse. He was born in Amettes, France, on March 25, 1748, the eldest of eighteen children. Studying under his uncle, a parish priest, at Erin, France, Benedict tried to join the Trappists, Carthusians, and Cistercians but was refused by these orders.
In 1770, he made a pilgrimage to the major shrines of Europe, settling in Rome in 1774. There he lived near the Colosseum and earned fame for his sanctity. Benedict was devoted to the Blessed Sacrament and attended the Forty Hours devotion in the city. He died in Rome on April 16, and was beatified in 1860. He was canonized in 1883.

Benedict Joseph Labre (RM) Born at Amettes (near Boulogne), Arras, France, March 26 (25?), 1748; died in Rome, April 17 (16?), 1783; beatified in 1860; canonized in 1881.

Since God leads each of us in our own way, our spiritual life will assume an pattern totally different from that of anyone else. Each of us is one of a kind. Our spirituality then should also be one of a kind. This is shown dramatically in various people's lives.

The story of Saint Benedict caught my eye and my heart. He was born in 18th century France in Amettes, then in the diocese of Boulogne-sur-Mer, to a family of prosperous shopkeepers. His mother claimed to feel his sanctity while she carried him in her womb. Because of his piety he was sent to an uncle who was a parish priest at Erin for his education in Latin, grammar, and mathematics to prepare him for the religious life.

A domestic servant in his uncle's house, probably jealous, used to knock Benedict about when they were alone and forced the youngster to perform chores beyond the strength of his years. Since Benedict seemed to find this odious treatment amusing, the bully was disarmed.

In freedom from the prying eyes of his preoccupied elders, little Benedict tried his hand at austerities, the recipes for which he found in the dusty library of the presbytery. In addition to almsgiving that gives so much pleasure to the giver, he adopted a minor practice in austerity that was more sane than them all: every night he would replace his pillow with a plank of oakwood. Once upon being surprised while sleeping in this way, he explained, without ostentation: "I do it in order not to sleep too deeply."

He made steady progress in his studies until he was 16. Then, suddenly, he was unable to learn any more. His uncle died of cholera after he and Benedict had ministered to other victims in the parish. Is this the reason he could learn no more? Or was it because Benedict was overcome by the dark night of the soul, as Saint John of the Cross calls this state, in which God forms the soul and prepares it for union with himself?

After his uncle's death, he walked 60 miles to La Trappe to become a monk. He was irresistibly drawn to the very austere order. But he was denied entry. He vainly applied numerous times between 1766 and 1770 for entry into the Trappists, Carthusians, and Cistercians, but each time was sent home. For some of the communities he was too young; others, after admitting him, found him to be suffering such spiritual tortures that they couldn't let him stay; to still others, the failure of his physical health was proof that he could not observe the rule and, therefore, must be rejected.

Finally, Benedict realized that God must have something else in store for him. He went home and told his parents that he felt God was calling him to Rome. Perhaps because he was the eldest of 15 children, they were reluctant but finally gave him their blessing. Off he went on foot to Rome, begging his way.

Those who have never begged say that it's painful only the first time, but this isn't true. One does not knock on all doors in the same way. It is not true that the same words invariably come to mind in front of different faces. Each time is the first time. How tempting then to deprive yourself of a stale piece of bread which even the dogs would forego and to not ask. Begging is not easy. Try stretching out your own hand and you will see how difficult it is to swallow pride and ask for help.

Saint Vincent de Paul understood that the beggar needs us and deprives himself of us because we deprive ourselves of him. A beggar is a man who is completely at our mercy, and whom we never thank for the opportunity to act in God's Name.

The saint wandered to Italy to seek admission there into a strict monastery or community of hermits. In Italy he experienced inner enlightenment and clearly recognized that it was God's will that, like Saint Alexis, he was to leave his home, his father and mother, and everything that was agreeable in the world, in order to lead a new life, a life of rigorous penance, in the midst of the world, as an eternal pilgrim.

From the moment of this recognition, his soul was filled with perfect peace, and all attempts made by confessors to bring him back to an ordered life, with work, failed.

Benedict Joseph wandered. For the next three or four years he wandered about western Europe, going from shrine to shrine. He went to Santiago de Compostella in Spain, to Aix-en-Provence and Paray-le-Monial in France, to Assisi, Loreto, and Bari in Italy. He paid repeated visits to Einsiedeln and to German sanctuaries, made a pilgrimage every year to Loretto, and continued to make Rome his city of perpetual pilgrimage. He always travelled on foot, slept in the open or in some corner, his clothing rags, his body filthy, picking up food where he could, and sharing any money given to him.

As he travelled in his sack-cloth cinched with a rope, he carried with him only his perpetual nourishment: the Imitation of Christ, the New Testament, and a breviary. His rosary was made from the berries of wild rose bushes, which he would eat when they began to wear out.

He finally settled in Rome in 1774, where he found his vocation as a tramp, wandering the streets with other vagrants. How could this be a vocation? He dressed in rags and wandered from shrine to shrine. Eventually he became widely known as one of the homeless who roamed the streets accepting crumbs of food and clothes that the charitable would give him.

During the day he spent most of his time in churches with perpetual adoration; at night he wandered to the seven major basilicas. He quenched his thirst at the fountains; he lived from remnants of food found in the streets. He slept for a few hours under an arch of the Colosseum at the station of the Cross named "Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry the Cross." As time went on people began to realize that there was something different about this tramp. He became known as the 'beggar of the Colosseum' or the 'beggar of the perpetual adoration.'

It was rumored that he was of high birth but had committed a murder or other heinous crime and now sought atonement. Alms given to him burned in his hand; he passed them on to other who he deemed more needy. He was once beaten by a man who thought Benedict had spurned his offer of money because he gave it away.

His soul hovered constantly over the greatest mysteries of the faith. And, just as all water streams to the sea, so everything carried him on to the mysteries of the Most Holy Trinity. "When I contemplate the crowning of thorns," he said to the priest who examined him, "I feel myself elevated to the Trinity of God."

"What do you, a man without education, understand about this mystery?" the priest asked.

"I understand nothing about it," Benedict answered, "but I feel myself transported to it." And this transport was sometimes so strong that his soul was carried away and his body lay as though dead.

One day as he was praying at Saint Ignatius' and had fallen into ecstasy, an anxious visitor to the church asked the sacristan in alarm: "What has happened to this beggar?"
Benedict seemed to be swaying in the air. He was in a position that mocked the laws of equilibrium and gravity. "The saint is in ecstasy," said the sacristan, as though this were the most natural thing in the world, and went on sweeping with his broom.
Such soaring over the ground, as well as bilocation, is frequently attested in Benedict's case. As he worked in painting the interior of the church, Antonio Cavallucci was so impressed by the sight of the saint that he once took him to his studio and painted him. This painting can still be seen at the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica in Rome, Italy.

Image of Saint Benedict Labre courtesy of Saint Charles Borromeo Church 

This painting and his death mask reveal that Benedict was a handsome man with deep-set eyes, strong cheek bones, a perfectly straight and noble nose, high forehead, and gently protruding upper lip. Not only was his soul beautiful, so was his physical body. Perhaps the one transformed the other?

He is reputed to have multiplied bread for the hungry, and on another occasion to have cured an invalid.
One day some friends found him in a quiet glen on his knees absorbed in prayer. He stayed that way for the longest time. His companions were deeply impressed. They also found out that he had the rare gift of counseling people with the most complex problems and bringing them peace.

His reputation spread throughout Rome and soon strangers from all walks of life came to talk to him: lawyers, doctors, judges, women in society, bishops, cardinals, as well as just ordinary folks. His wisdom and understanding enabled him to bring peace to the most troubled souls.

He neglected his body and his fragile health finally obliged him to seek refuge in a hospice for poor men. There he was known to give away his portion of the soup.

The man who had spent long hours before the Blessed Sacrament collapsed from exhaustion on the steps of his favorite Roman church, Santa Maria dei Monti, during Holy Week and died, consumed by the inner flame of ceaseless prayer, in the back room of a butcher's shop to which he had been carried.
Since burial of Saint Philip Neri, there had been no such crowd pressing to see the mortal remains of a servant of God as at the Requiem Mass for Benedict Joseph. The military summoned to the scene had difficulty preserving order.

After his burial, people came from all over Europe to visit his grave and ask his intercession with God. In less than three months after his death, 136 miracles had already been protocoled. The healings and graces people received were so overwhelming that the Vatican was forced to start the process for his canonization as a saint. In record time, in 1883, he was proclaimed a person of rare heroic holiness.

The people of Rome had no doubt about the holiness of this 'new Saint Francis.' He is a late Western example of an ascetical vocation better known in the East, that of the pilgrim or wandering holy man. He also has points of resemblance with the Greek saloi and Russian yurodivy, 'fools for Christ's sake' (Attwater, Attwater2, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Girzone, de la Gorce, Schamoni, White).

On the day of his canonization Mass, in the crowded Saint Peter's Basilica way above the heads of the congregation was the glorious painting of this sainted tramp dressed in his rags, held up for the veneration and admiration of all the faithful.

"What a strange vocation! And you cannot help but ask why. But it was a time when the whole Christian world had become so materialistic that spiritual things meant little to people. So God called this young man to give up everything and wander the streets of Rome with other homeless people, dressed in the stinking rags of a tramp.

"All the while God molded in the depths of his soul a holiness that transcended anything people had ever witnessed, and held up the remarkable spirituality of this lowly beggar for the admiration and example of all. It was no doubt a difficult vocation for one to follow, but Saint Benedict was always a happy man, so he must have found a strange satisfaction in the realization that he was following where God was leading him" (Girzone).

Where is God leading you? Have you heard His voice yet? It's a small voice that cannot be heard except in the stillness of your heart. You, too, are called to be a saint--but how?

And how many of those nameless, faceless souls that we pass on the street are really God's Presence among us? How often do we recognize Him in them? Which one(s) is the saint we have failed to recognize?

In art, Saint Joseph Labre is depicted as a beggar with his bowl and the tricorn hat of a pilgrim sharing his alms with other poor (Roeder, White). He is the patron saint of tramps and the homeless (White).
1484 Blessed Damian dei Fulcheri Hundreds of sinners repented by the force of his preaching miracles worked at his tomb OP (AC)
(also known as Damian of Finario)
Born in Finario (Finale or Finarium near Genoa), Liguria, Italy; died near Modena at Reggio d'Emilia, Italy, in 1484; cultus approved in 1848.

Damian was born of rich and noble parents at the end of the 14th century. The only thing we know of his childhood was that as a baby he was kidnapped by a madman. His parents prayed to the Blessed Virgin, and Damian was returned unharmed.

He took the Dominican habit at Savona, where he was a diligent student. Once ordained, Damian became famous for his preaching, which he did in nearly all the cities of Italy. Hundreds of sinners repented and returned to God by the force of his preaching. Almost immediately upon his death he became the object of pious veneration because of the miracles worked at his tomb (Benedictines, Dorcy).
1837 Anne Mary Taigi Endowed with the gift of prophecy, she read thoughts and described distant events incorruptible.
Born at Siena 1769 daughter of a druggist named Giannetti, whose  business failed, she was brought to Rome and worked for a time  as a domestic servant. In 1790 she married Dominic Taigi, a butler of the Chigi family in Rome, and lived the normal life of a married woman of the working class. In the discharge of these humble duties and in the bringing up of her seven children she attained a high degree of holiness. Endowed with the gift of prophecy, she read thoughts and described distant events. Her home became the rendezvous of cardinals and other dignitaries who sought her counsel. She was beatified in 1920.
She frequented the Sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist, and it was observed that her piety increased on the approach of every feast of Our Lady. The Rosary was her only book, and her devotion to the Angelus was so great that she used to fall on her knees at the first sound of the bell, even though she heard it when crossing a stream.
And she had the most important prayer of all -- the Mass. Every day, without fail, she would leave her sheep in God's care and go to Mass. Villagers wondered that the sheep weren't attacked by the wolves in the woods when she left but God's protection never failed her. On several occasions the swollen waters were seen to open and afford her a passage without wetting her garments..
No matter how little Germaine had, she shared it with others. Her scraps of food were given to beggars. Her life of prayer became stories of God that entranced the village children.
But most startling of all was the forgiveness to showed to the woman who deserved her hatred.
Hortense, furious at the stories about her daughter's holiness, waited only to catch her doing wrong. One cold winter day, after throwing out a beggar that Germaine had let sleep in the barn, Hortense caught Germaine carrying something bundled up in her apron. Certain that Germaine had stolen bread to feed the beggar, she began to chase and scream at the child. As she began to beat her, Germaine opened her apron. Out tumbled what she had been hiding in her apron -- bright beautiful flowers that no one had expected to see for months. Where had she found the vibrant blossoms in the middle of the ice and snow? There was only one answer and Germaine gave it herself, when she handed a flower to her mother and said, "Please accept this flower, Mother. God sends it to you in sign of his forgiveness."
As the whole village began to talk about this holy child, even Hortense began to soften her feelings toward her. She even invited Germaine back to the house but Germaine had become used to her straw bed and continued to sleep in it.
At this point, when men were beginning to realize the beauty of her life, God called her to Himself. One morning in the early summer of 1601, her father finding that she had not risen at the usual hour went to call her; he found her dead on her pallet of vine-twigs. She was then twenty-two years old, overcome by a life of suffering.
With all the evidence of her holiness, her life was too simple and hidden to mean much beyond her tiny village -- until God brought it too light again. When her body was exhumed forty years later, it was found to be undecayed, what is known as incorruptible.

As is often the case with incorruptible bodies of saints, God chooses not the outwardly beautiful to preserve but those that others despised as ugly and weak. It's as if God is saying in this miracle that human ideas of beauty are not his. To him, no one was more beautiful than this humble lonely young woman. After her body was found in this state, the villagers started to speak again of what she had been like and what she had done. Soon miracles were attributed to her intercession and the clamor for her canonization began.

In this way, the most unlikely of saints became recognized by the Church. She didn't found a religious order. She didn't reach a high Church post. She didn't write books or teach at universities. She didn't go to foreign lands as a missionary or convert thousands. What she did was live a life devoted to God and her neighbor no matter what happened to her. And that is all God asks.
In Her Footsteps:  Do you make excuses not to help others because you have so little yourself? Share something this week with those in need that may be painful for you to give up.
Saint Germaine, watch over those children who suffer abuse as you did. Help us to give them the love and protection you only got from God. Give us the courage to speak out against abuse when we know of it. Help us to forgive those who abuse the way you did, without sacrificing the lives of the children who need help. Amen
December 1531 The Miracle Of Guadalupe
For more than three hundred years, the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe has been celebrated and revered in Mexico as the Patroness of Mexican and Indian peoples, and as the Queen of the Americas. 
She stands on home altars, lends her name to men and women alike, and finds herself at rest under their skin in tattoos. Guadalupe’s image proliferates on candles, decals, tiles, murals, and old and new sacred art. Churches and religious orders carry her name, as do place names and streets. Far from vulgarizing her image, these items personalize her and maintain her presence in daily life. She is prayed to in times of sickness and war and for protection against all evils.
The story of Guadalupe begins in December 1531 in Tenochtitlan (Mexico City) when the Virgin Mary appeared four times to the Indian peasant Juan Diego.

He was on his way to mass when a beautiful woman surrounded by a body halo appeared to him with the music of songbirds in the background. As the birds became quiet, Mary announced “I am the Entirely and Ever Virgin, Saint Mary”. Assuring Juan Diego that she was his “Compassionate Mother” and that she had come out of her willingness to love and protect "all folk of every kind," she requested that he build a temple in her honor at the place where she stood, Tepeyac Hill, on the eastern edge of Mexico City. (This spot has been identified as the site where once stood a temple to the Aztec goddess Tonantzin.)
Juan Diego went directly to the bishop of Mexico, Zumarraga, to relate this wondrous event.
The churchman was skeptical and dismissed the humble peasant, who then returned to Tepeyac Hill to beseech the Virgin Mary to find a more prominent person who was less “pitiably poor” than he to do her bidding.
Rejecting his protestations, the Virgin urged him to return to the bishop

and (
Second)“indeed say to him once more how it is I Myself, the Ever Virgin Saint Mary, Mother of God, who am commissioning you.”
Juan Diego returned to the churchman’s palace after mass, waited, and was finally able to enter his second plea on behalf of the Virgin. This time, Zumarraga asked the humble native to request a sure sign directly from the “Heavenly Woman” as to her true identity. The bishop then had some members of his staff follow Juan Diego to check on where he went and whom he saw.
The next day, Juan Diego hastened to the bedside of his dying uncle, Juan Bernadino. The old man, gravely ill, begged his nephew to fetch a priest for the last rites of the church. The following morning, before dawn, Juan Diego set off on this mission. He tried to avoid the Virgin because of his uncle’s worsening condition, but she intercepted him and asked “Whither are you going?” He confessed that it was on behalf of his uncle that he was rushing to summon a priest.
During this (third) meeting, she assured him that the uncle was “healed up”, as she had already made a separate appearance to him.
This visitation would start a tradition of therapeutic miracles associated with Our Lady of Guadalupe.
She also comforted Juan Diego with the assurance that she would give him sure proof of her real identity.
On December 12, 1531 the Virgin appeared to Juan Diego for the fourth time and bade him to go to the top of Tepeyac Hill and pick “Castilian garden flowers” from the normally barren summit.
She helped him by “taking them up in her own hands”
and folded them into his cloak woven of maguey plant fibers. Juan Diego then set off to Zumarraga’s palace with this sure sign of the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe’s identity. As he unwrapped his cloak, the flowers tumbled at the churchman’s feet, and “suddenly, upon that cloak, there flashed a Portrait, where sallied into view a Sacred Image of that Ever Virgin Holy Mary, Mother of God.” This imprint of the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe, the “Miraculous Portrait” as it is often called, hangs today in the Basilica of Gudalupe in Mexico City.   
Maddern Or Madron Well.
"Plunge thy right hand in St Maciron's spring, If true to its troth be the palm you bring; But if a false digit thy fingers bear, Lay them at once on the burning share."
OF the holy well at St Maddern, Carne [a] writes thus --
"It has been contended that a virgin was the patroness of this church--that she was buried at Minster--and that many miracles were performed at her grave. A learned commentator, however, is satisfied that it was St Motran, who was one of the large company that came from Ireland with St Buriana, and he was slain at the mouth of the Hayle; the body was begged, and afterwards buried here. Near by was the miraculous Well of St Maddern, over which a chapel was built, so sacred was it held, (This chapel was destroyed by the fanaticism of Major Ceely in the days of Cromwell.) It stood at no great distance on the moor, and the soil around it was black and boggy, mingled with a gray moorstone. . .
"The votaries bent awfully and tremblingly over its sedgy bank, and gazed on its clear bosom for a few minutes ere they proved the fatal ordeal; then an imploring look was cast towards the figure of St Motran, many a crossing was repeated, and at last the pin or pebble held aloof was dropped into the depth beneath. Often did the rustic beauty fix her eye intently on the bubbles that rose, and broke, and disappeared; for in that moment the lover was lost, or the faithful husband gained. It was only on particular days, however, according to the increase or decrease of the moon, that the hidden virtues of the well were consulted." [b]

Of this well we have the following notice by William Scawen, Esq., Vice-Warden of the Stannaries. The paper from which we extract it was first printed by Davies Gilbert, Esq., F.R.S., as an appendix to his "Parochial History of Cornwall." Its complete title is, "Observations on an Ancient Manuscript, entitled 'Passio Christo," written in the Cornish Language, and now preserved in the Bodleian Library; with an Account of the Language, Manners, and Customs of the People of Cornwall, (from a Manuscript in the Library of Thomas Artle, Esq., 1777)" --
"Of St Mardren's Well (which is a parish west to the Mount), a fresh true story of two persons, both of them lame and decrepit, thus recovered from their infirmity. These two persons, after they had applied themselves to divers physicians and chirurgeons, for cure, and finding no success by them, they resorted to St Mardren's Well, and according to the ancient custom which they had heard of, the same which was once in a year--to wit, on Corpus Christi evening--to lay some small offering on the altar there, and to lie on the ground all night, drink of the water there, and in the morning after to take a good draught more, and to take and carry away some of the water, each of them in a bottle, at their departure. This course these two men followed, and within three weeks they found the effect of it, and, by degrees their strength increasing, were able to move themselves on crutches. The year following they took the same course again, after which they were able to go with the help of a stick; and at length one of them, John Thomas, being a fisherman, was, and is at this day, able to follow his fishing craft. The other, whose name was William Cork, was a soldier under the command of my kinsman, Colonel William Godolphin (as he has often told me), was able to perform his duty, and died in the service of his majesty King Charles. But herewith take also this :-- "One Mr Hutchens, a person well known in those parts, and now lately dead, being parson of Ludgvan, a near neighbouring parish to St Mardren's Well, he observed that many of his parishioners often frequented, this well superstitiously, for which he reproved them privately, and sometimes publicly, in his sermons; but afterwards he, the said Mr Hutchens, meeting with a woman coming from the well with a bottle in her hand, desired her earnestly that he might drink thereof, being then troubled with colical pains, which accordingly he did, and was eased of his infirmity. The latter story is a full confutation of the former; for, if the taking the water accidentally thus prevailed upon the party to his cure, as it is likely it did, then the miracle which was intended to be by the ceremony of lying on the ground and offering is wholly fled, and it leaves the virtue of the water to be the true cause of the cure. And we have here, as in many places of the land, great variety of salutary springs, which have diversity of operations, which by natural reason have been found to be productive of good effects, and not by miracle, as the vain fancies of monks and friars have been exercised in heretofore."
Bishop Hale, of Exeter, in his "Great Mystery of Godliness," says --

"Of which kind was that noe less than miraculous cure, which, at St Maddern's Well, in Cornwall, was wrought upon a poore cripple; whereof, besides the attestation of many hundreds of the neighbours, I tooke a strict and impartial examination in my last triennial visitation there. This man, for sixteen years, was forced to walke upon his hands, by reason of the sinews of his Ieggs were soe contracted that he cold not goe or walke on his feet, who upon monition in a dream to wash in that well, which accordingly he did, was suddainly restored to the use of his limbs; and I sasve him both able to walk and gett his owne maintenance. I found here was neither art nor collusion,--the cure done, the author our invisible God," &c. 
In Madron Well--and, I have no doubt, in many others--may be found frequently the pins which have been dropped by maidens desirous of knowing "when they were to be married." I once witnessed the whole ceremony performed by a group of beautiful girls, who had walked on a May morning from Penzance. Two pieces of straw, about an inch long each, were crossed and the pin run through them. This cross was then dropped into the water, and the rising bubbles carefully counted, as they marked the number of years which would pass ere the arrlval of the happy day. This practice also prevailed amongst the visitors to the well at the foot of Monacuddle Grove, near St Austell. On approaching the Waters, each visitor is expected to throw in a crooked pin; and, if you are lucky, you may possibly see the other pins rising from the bottom to meet the most recent offering. Rags and- votive offerings to the genius of the waters are hung around many of the wells. Mr Couch says :-- "At Maciron Well, near Penzance, I observed the custom of hang-jog rags on the thorns which grew in the enclosure."
Crofton Croker tells us the same custom prevails in Ireland; and Dr O'Connor, in his "Travels in Persia," describes the prevalence of this custom.
Mr Campbell,[c] on this subject, writes :--" Holy healing wells are common all over the Highlands, and people still leave offerings of pins and nails, and bits of rag, though few would confess it. There is a well in Islay where I myself have, after drinking, deposited copper caps amongst a hoard of pins and buttons, and similar gear, placed in chinks in the rocks and trees at the edge of the 'Witches' Well.' There is another well with similar offerings freshly placed beside it, in an island in Loch Maree, in Ross-shire, and many similar wells are to be found in other places in Scotland. For example, I learn from Sutherland that a well in the Black Isle of Cromarty., near Rosehaugh, has miraculous healing powers. A country woman tells me, that abput forty years ago, she remembers it being surrounded by a crowd of people every first Tuesday its June, who bathed and drank of it before sunrise. Each patient tied a string or rag to one of the trees that overhung it before leaving. It was sovereign for headaches. Mr--remembers to have seen a well here, called Mary's Well, hung round with votive rags.'"

Well-worship is mentioned by Martin. The custom, in his day, in the Hebrides, was to walk south round about the well.
Sir William Betham, in his "Gael and Cymbri" (Dublin: W. Curry, Jun., & Co., 1834), says, at page 235 :-- "The Celtae were much addicted to the worship of fountains and rivers as divinities. They had a deity called Divona, or the river-god."

[a] "Tales of the West," by the author of "Letters from the East,"
[b] The tale of "The Legend of Pacorra."
[c] "Popular Tales of the West Highlands," by J. F. Campbell. (See page 234, vol. ii.)

1367 Blessed Sibyllina Biscossi blind (at 12) but saw Saint Dominic in ecstasy worked MANY GOOD miracles as an anchorite for 67 years OP Tert. (AC)
(also known as Sybillina) Born in Pavia, Italy, in 1287; cultus approved in 1853; beatified in 1854.
"All things work for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28). How many of us would have the faith to trust in God's providence as did this holy woman? As Mother Angelica has witnessed, true faith is knowing that when the Lord asks you to walk into the void, He will place a rock beneath your feet. True faith is to be able to praise God in all things; to say with Job, "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord" (Job 1:21).

Sybillina's parents died when she was tiny and as soon as she was old enough to be of use to anyone, the neighbors, who had taken her in at the time she was orphaned, put her out to work. She must have been very young when she started to work, because at the age of 12, when she became blind and could not work any more, she already had several years of work behind her.

The cause of her blindness is unknown, but the child was left doubly destitute with the loss of her sight. The local chapter of the Dominican tertiary sisters took compassion on the child and brought her home to live with them. After a little while of experiencing their kind help, she wanted to join them. They accepted her, young though she was, more out of pity than in any hope of her being able to carry on their busy and varied apostolate.

They were soon agreeably surprised to find out how much she could do. She learned to chant the Office quickly and sweetly, and to absorb their teaching about mental prayer as though she had been born for it. She imposed great obligations of prayer on herself, since she could not help them in other ways. Her greatest devotion was to Saint Dominic, and it was to him she addressed herself when she finally became convinced that she simply must have her sight back so that she could help the sisters with their work.

Praying earnestly for this intention, Sybillina waited for his feast day. Then, she was certain, he would cure her. Matins came and went with no miracle; little hours, Vespers--and she was still blind. With a sinking heart, Sybillina knelt before Saint Dominic's statue and begged him to help her. Kneeling there, she was rapt in ecstasy, and she saw him come out of the darkness and take her by the hand.

He took her to a dark tunnel entrance, and she went into the blackness at his word. Terrified, but still clinging to his hand, she advanced past invisible horrors, still guided and protected by his presence. Dawn came gradually, and then light, then a blaze of glory. "In eternity, dear child," he said. "Here, you must suffer darkness so that you may one day behold eternal light."

Sybillina, the eager child, was replaced by a mature and thoughtful Sybillina who knew that there would be no cure for her, that she must work her way to heaven through the darkness. She decided to become a anchorite, and obtained the necessary permission. In 1302, at the age of 15, she was sealed into a tiny cell next to the Dominican church at Pavia. At first she had a companion, but her fellow recluse soon gave up the life. Sybillina remained, now alone, as well as blind.

The first seven years were the worst, she later admitted. The cold was intense, and she never permitted herself a fire. The church, of course, was not heated, and she wore the same clothes winter and summer. In the winter there was only one way to keep from freezing--keep moving--so she genuflected, and gave herself the discipline. She slept on a board and ate practically nothing. To the tiny window, that was her only communication with the outside world, came the troubled and the sinful and the sick, all begging for her help. She prayed for all of them, and worked many miracles in the lives of the people of Pavia.

One of the more amusing requests came from a woman who was terrified of the dark. Sybillina was praying for her when she saw her in a vision, and observed that the woman--who thought she was hearing things--put on a fur hood to shut out the noise. The next day the woman came to see her, and Sybillina laughed gaily. "You were really scared last night, weren't you?" she asked. "I laughed when I saw you pull that hood over your ears." The legend reports that the woman was never frightened again.

Sybillina had a lively sense of the Real Presence and a deep devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. One day a priest was going past her window with Viaticum for the sick; she knew that the host was not consecrated, and told him so. He investigated, and found he had indeed taken a host from the wrong container.

Sybillina lived as a recluse for 67 years. She followed all the Masses and Offices in the church, spending what few spare minutes she had working with her hands to earn a few alms for the poor (Attwater2, Benedictines, Dorcy).
1394 St. Dorothy of Montau visions and spiritual gifts patroness of Prussia
Widow and hermitess. She was born a peasant on February 6, 1347, in Montau, Prussia. After marrying a wealthy swordsmith, Albrecht of Danzig, Poland, she bore him nine children and changed his gruff character. He even accompanied her on pilgrimages. However, when she went to Rome in 1390, Albrecht remained at home and died during her absence. A year later Dorothy moved to Marienswerder, where she became a hermitess. She had visions and spiritual gifts. Dorothy died on June 25 and is the patroness of Prussia. She was never formally canonized.

Dorothy of Montau, Widow (PC) Born at Montau near Marienburg, Prussia, Germany, on February 6, 1347; died June 25, 1394. Though she was never canonized, Saint Dorothy is widely venerated in central Europe, particularly among the Prussians, who have selected her as their patron saint. Like Saint Catherine of Siena and Saint Bridget of Sweden, who were her contemporaries, she was favored by divine grace with many visions, revelations, and ecstasies, especially during the last years of her life.

As a 17-year-old peasant girl, she married a wealthy swordsmith from Danzig named Albert (Albrecht) by whom she had nine children. Of these only the youngest survived, a daughter who later became a Benedictine nun. Albert appears to have been surly and bad- tempered, and it seems likely that their married life, at least in its early years, was far from ideal. However, Dorothy's gentleness, fortitude, and kindness gradually softened him, and in 1384, he agreed to accompany her on a pilgrimage to Aachen.

After other pilgrimages to Einsiedeln and Cologne, they planned to make one to Rome for the jubilee that was to be held in 1390; but while they were making their preparations, Albert fell ill and so Dorothy went alone, travelling on foot and begging her food. By the time she returned from Rome, where she had been delayed by a sickness, her husband had died.

Now that she had become a widow, Dorothy was able to fulfill a dream she had long cherished of retiring from the world. In 1391, she went to Marienwerder where, after spending two years on probation, she became a recluse in the church of the Teutonic Knights.

On May 2, 1393, she had herself walled up in a cell that measured 6' x 6' and was about 9' tall. Of the three windows one opened to the sky, the second to a cemetery (and through which she also received food) and the third on to the altar of the church where, as was often the custom in those regions, the Blessed Sacrament was exposed all day.

Like many others, Dorothy had an intense devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and was often favored with mystic visions of it. Her reputation for holiness grew rapidly and many people came to her seeking counsel or miraculous cures.

However, the rigors of her mode of life, added to the severe austerities she practiced, soon broke her health and she died in May 1394, after living only a little more than a year in her cell. Many miracles were attributed to her, and an account of her visions and ecstasies has been left by her confessor (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia).

Dorothy's emblem is a lantern and a rosary. Sometimes she is surrounded by arrows in paintings of her. Venerated at Montau and Marienwerder, Prussia (Roeder).
1420 Blessed Elisabeth the Good, OFM Tert.  mystical experiences including the stigmata V (AC)
Born in Waldsee, W&uouml;rtemberg, Germany, 1386; died there, ; cultus confirmed in 1766. Elisabeth lived her whole life in a small community of Franciscan tertiaries near Waldsee. She was subject to mystical experiences including the stigmata, and went for long periods without any natural food (Benedictines).

1431 Blessed Mary of Pisa Widow miraculous favors  saw guardian angel from childhood OP Tertiary (AC) (also known as Catherine Mancini)
Born in Pisa, Italy, 1355; died 1431; cultus confirmed by Pius IX in 1855; feast day formerly on December 22.

Almost from the moment Catherine Mancini was born into that noble family she began enjoying the miraculous favors with which her life was filled. At the age of three, she was warned by some heavenly agency that the porch on which she had been placed by her nurse was unsafe. Her cries attracted the nurse's attention, and they had barely left the porch when it collapsed. She also was able to see her guardian angel from her childhood.

When she was 5, she beheld in an ecstasy the dungeon of a palace in Pisa in which Blessed Peter Gambacorta, one of the leading citizens, was being tortured. At Catherine's prayer, the rope broke and the man was released. Our Lady told the little girl to say prayers every day for this man, because he would one day be her benefactor.
1452 Blessed Peter de Geremia heard a knock at the window no church large enough to hold crowds countless miracles: fish, stopped Aetna w/veil of Saint Agatha, raised dead etc. OP (AC)
Born in Palermo, Sicily, Italy, in 1381; cultus approved in 1784.  God has a mission for each of us and has given us the gifts to successfully complete the purpose for which He created us. Our job is to discern our role in His creation. The gifts He has given us can be the instrument of our damnation when used against His purposes; when we discern correctly through prayer and spiritual direction these same talents and abilities can sanctify us and those around us. It's not too late to seek God's will for your life--in fact, we should attempt to understand His will for our every action, each day, using all the gifts his has given us.

Peter Geremia was unusually gifted. He was sent early to the University of Bologna, where he passed his studies brilliantly, and attracted the attention and praise of all. On the brink of a successful career as a lawyer, he experienced a sudden and total conversion.

Having retired one night, he was pleasantly dreaming of the honors that would soon come to him in his work, when he heard a knock at the window. As his room was on the third floor, and there was nothing for a human to stand on outside his window, he sat up, in understandable fright, and asked who was there.

A hollow voice responded that he was a relative who had just died, a successful lawyer who had wanted human praise so badly that he had lied to win it, and now was eternally lost because of his pride. Peter was terrified, and acted at once upon the suggestion to turn, while there was still time, from the vanity of public acclaim. He went the next day to a locksmith and bought an iron chain, which he riveted tightly about him. He began praying seriously to know his vocation.

Soon thereafter, God made known to him that he should enter the Dominican Order. He did so as soon as possible. His new choice of vocation was a bitter blow to his father, who had gloried in his son's achievements, hoping to see him become the most famous lawyer in Europe. He angrily journeyed to Bologna to see his son and demanded that he come home. The prior, trying to calm the excited man, finally agreed to call Peter. As the young man approached them, radiantly happy in his new life, the father's heart was touched, and he gladly gave his blessing to the new undertaking.
Peter's brilliant mind and great spiritual gifts found room for development in the order, and he became known as one of the finest preachers in Sicily. He was so well known that Saint Vincent Ferrer asked to see him, and they conversed happily on spiritual matters. He always preached in the open air, because there was no church large enough to hold the crowds that flocked to hear him.

Being prior of the abbey, Peter was consulted one day when there was no food for the community. He went down to the shore and asked a fisherman for a donation. He was rudely refused. Getting into a boat, he rowed out from the shore and made a sign to the fish; they broke the nets and followed him. Repenting of his bad manners, the fisherman apologized, whereupon Peter made another sign to the fish, sending them back into the nets again. The records say that the monastery was ever afterwards supplied with fish.

Peter was sent as visitator to establish regular observance in the monasteries of Sicily. He was called to Florence by the pope to try healing the Greek schism. A union of the opposing groups was affected, though it did not last. Peter was offered a bishopric (and refused it) for his work in this matter.

At one time, when Peter was preaching at Catania, Mount Etna erupted and torrents of flame and lava flowed down on the city. The people cast themselves at his feet, begging him to save them. After preaching a brief and pointed sermon on repentance, Peter went into the nearby shrine of Saint Agatha, removed the veil of the saint, which was there honored as a relic, and held it towards the approaching tide of destruction. The eruption ceased and the town was saved.

This and countless other miracles he performed caused him to be revered as a saint. He raised the dead to life, healed the crippled and the blind, and brought obstinate sinners to the feet of God. Only after his death was it known how severely he had punished his own body in memory of his youthful pride (Benedictines, Dorcy).
1463 St. Didacus several miracles restoring patients eremite kind gentle
Didacus was a native of the little town of San Nicolas of del Puerto in the diocese of Seville, and his parents were poor folk. Near that town a holy priest led an eremitical life. Didacus obtained his consent to live with him and, though very young, he imitated the austerities and devotions of his master. They cultivated together a little garden, and also employed themselves in making wooden spoons, trenchers and such like utensils. After having lived thus a recluse for some years he was obliged to return to his home, but he soon after went to a convent of the Observant Friar Minors at Arrizafa, and there took the habit among the lay brothers.
After his profession he was sent to the mission of his Order in the Canary Islands, where he did a great work in instructing and converting the people. Eventually, in 1445, he, though a lay brother, was appointed chief guardian of a chief convent in those islands, called Fuerteventura. After four years he was recalled to Spain, and lived in several friaries about Seville with great fervor and recollection. In the year 1450 a jubilee was celebrated at Rome and, St. Bernardine of Siena being canonized at the same time, very many religious of the Order of St. Francis were assembled there. Didacus went there with FAther Alonzo de Castro, and at Rome he had to attend his companion during a dangerous illness. His devotion in this duty attracted the notice of his superiors and he was put in charge of the many sick friars who were accommodated in the infirmary of the convent of Ara Caeli.
St. Didacus was thus engaged for three months, and is said to have miraculously restored some of his patients. He lived for another thirteen years after his return to Spain, chiefly at the Friaries of Salcedo and Alcala in Castille. In 1463 he was taken ill at Alcala and in his last moments asked for a cord (such as the Friars wear); he put it about his neck and, holding a cross in his hands begged the pardon of all his brethren assembled about his bed. THen, fixing his eyes on the crucifix, he repeated with great tenderness the words of the hymn on the cross, "Dulce lignum, dulces clavos, dulce pondus sustinet", and peacefully died on November 12. Several miracles were attributed to him in his lifetime and many more through his intercession after his death.
King Philip II, out of gratitude for one in favor of his son, solicitated the saint's canonization which was decreed in 1588.

Didacus of Alcalà, OFM (RM)
(also known as Diego, Diaz)
Born near Seville, Spain, c. 1400; died at Alcalà de Henares, 1463; canonized 1588. Born of poor parents, the young Diego lived for a time as a solitary and then joined the Franciscans as a lay brother at Arrizafa.

Although remaining a lay brother, Diego was appointed doorkeeper of Fuerteventura friary in the Canary Islands because of his ability and goodness. Here he did great work among the poor, and earned such a reputation for holiness that in 1445 he was chosen as superior of the house for a term.

Later he was recalled to Spain, and passed the last 13 years of his life in humble duties at various houses of his order in Spain. After a pilgrimage to Rome in 1450, died at the friary of Alcalà in Castile. Diego's chief devotion was to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar (Attwater, Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
1481 Bl. Constantius a boy of extraordinary goodness gift of prophecy or second sight miracles
Early in the fifteenth century, there lived at Fabriano a boy of such extraordinary goodness that even his parents would sometimes wonder whether he were not rather an angel than a human child. Once, when his little sister was suffering from a disease which the doctors pronounced incurable, Constantius Bernocchi asked his father and mother to join him in prayer by her bedside that she might recover. They did so, and she was immediately cured. At the age of fifteen he was admitted to the Dominican convent of Santa Lucia and he seemed to have received the habit from the hands of Blessed Laurence of Ripafratta, at that time prior of this house of strict observance. Constantius was one of those concerned with the reform of San Marco in Florence, and it was while he was teaching in that city that it was discovered that he had the gift of prophecy or second sight. Among other examples, the death of St. Antoninus was made known to him at the moment it took place, and this is mentioned by Pope Clement VII in his Bull for the canonization of that saint. He was also credited with the power of working miracles, and besides the care of his office, he acted as peacemaker outside the convent and quelled popular tumults. He was esteemed so holy that it was reckoned a great favor to speak to him or even to touch his habit. Upon the news of his death, the senate and council assembled, "considering his death a public calamity", and resolved to defray the cost of a public funeral. The cultus of Blessed Constantius was confirmed in 1821. His feast day is February 25th.
1492 Blessed Tadhg MacCarthy Many cures have been reported at his under the high altar of the cathedral of Ivrea B (AC)
Born 1455; died in Ivrea, Savoy, Italy; beatified by Pope Leo XIII in 1895.

Tadhg was born into the ancient royal line of Munster; the MacCarthys were the most prominent family in southern Ireland and inevitably were pitted against the Norman Fitzgeralds who seized Irish lands during the reign of Henry II of England. A bitter enmity existed between the two families that lasted for centuries.

When Pope Sixtus IV consecrated Tadhg MacCarthy as bishop of Ross, the Fitzgeralds reacted by contriving to place a rival claimant in the office. When Tadhg returned from his consecration in Rome he found the see occupied. About that same time Sixtus died and Tadhg's enemies seized the opportunity to vehemently denounce him to the new Pope Innocent VIII. The charges were so outrageous that the holy father immediately excommunicated the lawful bishop. An investigation, however, revealed that Tadhg was innocent of the charges whereupon Innocent issued three bulls that totally exonerated Tadhg and appointed him to the bishopric of Cork and Cloyne.

The Fitzgeralds still opposed him and refused to surrender the property of the see or to allow him to occupy it. Innocent intervened by issuing such a strong decree that the Fitzgeralds finally relented. Tadhg set out from Rome to assume the leadership of his see. He travelled as a humble pilgrim and stayed overnight in the hospice of Ivrea. The next morning he was found dead.

Tradition says that the bishop of Ivrea was unable to sleep that night, disturbed by a vivid dream of a bishop, unknown to him, being taken into heaven. When it was discovered that Tadhg was a bishop, this dream was considered the first of numerous miracles connected with him. Many cures have been reported at his under the high altar of the cathedral of Ivrea, where he continues to be the subject of veneration (Montague).
1508 Blessed  Gratia mysterious light seen above his cell miracles at his intercession lay-brother at Monte Ortono, near Padua  gift of infused knowledge According to tradition, Gratia was a native of Cattaro (Kotor) in Dalmatia who followed the trade of the sea till he was thirty years old. Coming one day into a church at Venice, he was deeply impressed by a sermon from an Augustinian friar, Father Simon of Camerino. Gratia determined to enter that order and was accepted as a lay-brother at Monte Ortono, near Padua. Here, brother Gratia was employed in the gardens, and soon earned the respect and veneration of the whole convent.
When he was transferred to the friary of St. Christopher at Venice, a mysterious light was seen above his cell, and miracles took place at his intercession. When the church was being repaired and he was working on the building, his cistern was marvelously supplied with water all through a dry summer, and the water remained fresh even when the sea got into it. In his seventy-first year, Gratia was taken seriously ill, and insisted in getting out of bed to receive the last Sacraments on his knees. He died on November 9, 1508. The cultus of Blessed Gratia was confirmed in 1889.

Blessed Gratia of Cattaro, OSA (AC) Born in Cattaro, Dalmatia; died 1509; beatified in 1889. The Venetian fisherman, Gratia, was converted at the age of 30 on hearing a sermon. He then entered the Augustinians as a lay brother, where he became a gardener famous for his gift of infused knowledge (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).

Augustinian, Hermit (Mul in Boka Kotorska, November 27, 1438 - Venice, November 9, 1508)
Blessed Grace of Mul     In the small village of Mul in Boka Kotorska, a child was born who was christened Grace [Gracija]. This name seemed to characterize his entire life as a fisherman, sailor, monk and saint.
As the child of a poor fisherman, he spent his youth on the sea as a fisherman and working the barren land as a farmer. He soon became a sailor. On one voyage across the Adriatic Sea from his native village to Venice, he found not material but spiritual gain. In 1468, he heard the inspired preaching of the Blessed Simon of Camerine, an Augustinian who was a famous popular missionary of the time. The word of the Blessed Simon was like a seed planted in Grace's heart, which would soon yield fruit. Grace decided to abandon his way of life and devote himself entirely to God.
He knocked on the door of the Augustinian monastery and began a monastic life in the impoverished monastery on Mt. Ortona near Padua. After fifteen years of penitential life, from Ortona he went to a monastery on the island of San Kristoforo in Venice. There he spent the last years of his life and died in holiness at the age of 70. His body was initially buried in a common grave. After a short time, it was placed in a new marble sarcophagus and exhibited to the veneration of believers. Many claimed that they received numerous graces through his intercession.

After the fall of Napoleon, the hermits of St. Augustine left the island of San Kristoforo and returned the body of the Blessed Grace to his native village. Thus, after 250 years, the greatest son of this coastal village returned home by boat to a magnificent celebration. Pope Leo XIII approved the permanent veneration of this modest monk. In 1889, Grace was beatified.

Grace was a man of humble family origins. He went out into the world as a sailor. When he chose the monastic life, he did not want to study books and become a priest but live as a humble friar. Grace worked in the sacristy, monastery and monastery garden with devoted love and sacrifice. He cultivated special reverence toward Christ who is present in the Holy Eucharist. During the Mass, he would submerge himself in the Eucharistic Mystery and nourish himself with Christ's body during Holy Communion. In his free time, he would spend hours kneeling before the Most Holy Altar of the Sacrament. He was a eucharistic soul, distinguished by a childlike sincere piety toward Mary. The poor and beggars who came to the monastery gates had a special place in his heart. He never refused them. He offered each "a crust of bread" and word of encouragement, which often meant more to them than a material gift.
1511 Blessed John Liccio Dominican habit 96 years cured the sick when he was a baby reciting daily Office of the Blessed Virgin Office of the Dead, and the Penitential Psalms as a child frequently in ecstasy withered hand made whole OP (AC)

(also known as John Licci) Born in Sicily in 1400; beatified in 1733.

The man who holds the all-time record for wearing the Dominican habit--96 years-- was also a person about whom some delightful stories are told. Perhaps only in Sicily could so many wonderful things have happened to one man.

John was born to a poor family. His mother died at his birth and his father, too poor to hire a nurse for the baby, fed him on crushed pomegranates and other odds and ends. He was obliged to leave the baby alone when he went out to work in the fields, and a neighbor women, who heard the child crying, took the baby over to her house and fed him properly.

She laid the baby in bed beside her sick husband, who had been paralyzed for a long time. Her husband rose up--cured, and the woman began to proclaim the saintly quality of the baby she had taken in. When John's father came home, however, he was not only unimpressed by her pious remarks, he was downright furious that she had interfered in his household. He took the baby home again and fed it more pomegranates.

At this point, the sick man next door fell ill again, and his wife came to John's father and begged to be allowed to care for the child. Begrudgingly, the father let the wonderful child go. The good woman took care of him for several years, and never ceased to marvel that her husband had been cured a second time--and that he remained well.

Even as a tiny baby, John gave every evidence that he was an unusual person. At an age when most children are just beginning to read, he was already reciting the daily Office of the Blessed Virgin, the Office of the Dead, and the Penitential Psalms. He was frequently in ecstasy, and was what might be called an "easy weeper"; any strong emotion caused him to dissolve in floods of tears.

At the age of fifteen, John went to Palermo on a business trip for his father, and he happened to go to confession to Blessed Peter Geremia, at the church of Saint Zita. The friar suggested that he become a religious. John believed himself quite unworthy, but the priest managed to convince him to give it a try. The habit, which he put on for the first time in 1415, he was to wear with distinction for nearly a century.

Humble, pure, and a model of every observance, Brother John finished his studies and was ordained. He and two brothers were sent to Caccamo to found a convent, and John resumed his career of miracle-working, which was to bring fame to the order, and to the convent of Saint Zita.

As the three friars walked along the road, a group of young men began ridiculing them and finally attacked them with daggers. One boy attempted to stab John, but his hand withered and refused to move. After the friars had gone on, the boys huddled together and decided that they had better ask pardon. They ran after the Dominicans and begged their forgiveness. John made the Sign of the Cross, and the withered hand was made whole.

The story of the building at Caccamo reads like a fairy tale. There was, first of all, no money. Since the friars never had any, that did not deter John Liccio, but he knew it would be necessary to get enough to pay the workmen to begin the foundations.

John went into the parish church at Caccamo and prayed. An angel told him to "build on the foundations that were already built." All he had to do was to find them. The next day, he went into the woods with a party of young woodcutters and found the place the angel had described: foundations, strongly and beautifully laid out, for a large church and convent. It had been designed for a church called Saint Mary of the Angels, but was never finished.

John moved his base of operations to the woods where the angel had furnished him with the foundations. One day, in the course of the construction, the workmen ran out of materials. They pointed this out to John, who told them to come back tomorrow anyway. The next day at dawn a large wagon, drawn by two oxen, appeared with a load of stone, lime, and sand. The driver politely inquired where the fathers would like the material put; he capably unloaded the wagon, and disappeared, leaving John with a fine team of oxen--and giving us a fascinating story of an angel truck-driver.

These oxen figured at least once more in the legends of John Liccio. Near Christmas time, when there was little fodder, a neighbor insisted on taking the oxen home with him "because they were too much care for the fathers." John refused, saying that they were not too heavy a burden, and that they had come a long way.

The man took them anyway, and put them into a pasture with his own oxen. They promptly disappeared, and, when he went shamefacedly to report to the fathers, the man found the team contentedly munching on practically nothing in the fathers' yard. "You see, it takes very little to feed them," John said.

During the construction, John blessed a well and dried it up, until they were finished with the building. Whereupon, he blessed it again, and once more it began to give fine sweet water, which had curative properties.

Beams that were too short for the roof, he simply stretched. Sometimes he had to multiply bread and wine to feed his workers, and once he raised from the dead a venturesome little boy who had fallen off the roof while watching his uncle setting stones.

Word of his miraculous gift soon spread, of course, and all the neighbors came to John with their problems. One man had sowed a field with good grain, only to have it grow up full of weeds. John advised him to do as the Scriptures had suggested--let it grow until the harvest. When the harvest came, it still looked pretty bad, but it took the man ten days to thresh the enormous crop of grain that he reaped from that one field.

John never let a day pass without doing something for some neighbor. Visiting a widow whose six small children were crying for food, John blessed them, and he told her to be sure to look in the bread box after he had gone. Knowing there had been nothing in it for days, she looked anyway; it was full, and it stayed full for as long as the need lasted.

Once when a plague had struck most of the cattle of the vicinity, one of John's good friends came to him in tears, telling him that he would be ruined if anything happened to his cattle. "Don't worry," John said, "yours won't get sick." They didn't.

Another time a neighbor came running to tell him that his wife was dying. "Go home," said John. "You have a fine new son, and you shouldn't waste any time getting home to thank God for him."

John was never too famous as a preacher, though he did preach a good deal in the 90 years of his active apostolate. His favorite subject was the Passion, but he was more inclined to use his hands than his speech. He was provincial of Sicily for a time, and held office as prior on several occasions.

John Liccio is especially invoked to help anyone who has been hit on the head, as he cured no less than three people whose heads were crushed by accidents (Dorcy).
1540 St. Angela Merici innovative approach to education the Ursulines first teaching order of women Saint Ursula appeared to her levitated
When she was 56, Angela Merici said "No" to the Pope. She was aware that Clement VII was offering her a great honor and a great opportunity to serve when he asked her to take charge of a religious order of nursing sisters. But Angela knew that nursing was not what God had called her to do with her life.

She had just returned from a trip to the Holy Land. On the way there she had fallen ill and become blind. Nevertheless, she insisted on continuing her pilgrimage and toured the holy sites with the devotion of her heart rather than her eyes. On the way back she had recovered her sight. But this must have been a reminder to her not to shut her eyes to the needs she saw around her, not to shut her heart to God's call.

All around her hometown she saw poor girls with no education and no hope.
In the fifteenth and sixteenth century that Angela lived in, education for women was for the rich or for nuns. Angela herself had learned everything on her own. Her parents had died when she was ten and she had gone to live with an uncle. She was deeply disturbed when her sister died without receiving the sacraments. A vision reassured her that her sister was safe in God's care -- and also prompted her to dedicate her life to God.

When her uncle died, she returned to her hometown and began to notice how little education the girls had. But who would teach them? Times were much different then. Women weren't allowed to be teachers and unmarried women were not supposed to go out by themselves -- even to serve others. Nuns were the best educated women but they weren't allowed to leave their cloisters.
 There were no teaching orders of sisters like we have today.
But in the meantime, these girls grew up without education in religion or anything at all.

These girls weren't being helped by the old ways, so Angela invented a new way.
She brought together a group of unmarried women, fellow Franciscan tertiaries and other friends, who went out into the streets to gather up the girls they saw and teach them. These women had little money and no power, but were bound together by their dedication to education and commitment to Christ. Living in their own homes, they met for prayer and classes where Angela reminded them, " Reflect that in reality you have a greater need to serve [the poor] than they have of your service." They were so successful in their service that Angela was asked to bring her innovative approach to education to other cities, and impressed many people, including the pope.

Though she turned him down, perhaps the pope's request gave her the inspiration or the push to make her little group more formal. Although it was never a religious order in her lifetime, Angela's Company of Saint Ursula, or the Ursulines, was the first group of women religious to work outside the cloister and the first teaching order of women.

It took many years of frustration before Angela's radical ideas of education for all and unmarried women in service were accepted. They are commonplace to us now because people like Angela wanted to help others no matter what the cost. Angela reminds us of her approach to change: "Beware of trying to accomplish anything by force, for God has given every single person free will and desires to constrain none; he merely shows them the way, invites them and counsels them."

Saint Angela Merici reassured her Sisters who were afraid to lose her in death: "I shall continue to be more alive than I was in this life, and I shall see you better and shall love more the good deeds which I shall see you doing continually, and I shall be able to help you more." She died in 1540, at about seventy years old.
In Her Footsteps:

Take a look around you. Instead of just driving or walking without paying attention today, open your eyes to the needs you see along the way. What people do you notice who need help but who are not being helped? What are their true needs? Make a commitment to help them in some way.
Prayer: Saint Angela, you were not afraid of change. You did not let stereotypes keep you from serving. Help us to overcome our fear of change in order to follow God's call and allow others to follow theirs. Amen
Copyright (c) 1996-2000 by Terry Matz. All Rights Reserved.

Angela de'Merici, OSU V (RM) (also known as Angela of Brescia)  Born in Desenzano (near Lake Garda and Brescia), Lombardy, Italy, March 21, 1470 or 1474; died in Brescia, Italy, January 27, 1540; canonized 1807; feast day formerly on May 31.

"If any person, because of his state in life, cannot do without wealth and position, let him at least keep his heart empty of the love of them." --Saint Angela Merici.
As is often the case, it was the number of burdens which Angela Merici had to endure that brought her ever closer to God and moved her to order her existemce. Recalling her life, we should thank God for every hardship He permits us and the strength He gives us to endure them. Each trial is an opportunity to trust in God, to realize His power and His movement within and around us.
Orphaned at age 10, Angela and her sister and brother were raised by their wealthy uncle, Biancozi, at Salo. In Angela's first ecstatic experience, the Blessed Mother appeared with Angela's elder sister. Thus put her mind at rest regarding the salvation of her sister, who had died suddenly without receiving the sacraments. Angela became a Franciscan tertiary at 13 and lived austerely, sometimes eating only bread, water, and vegetables once a week. From this time onward, she wished to possess nothing, not even a bed (because the Son of Man had nowhere to lay His head).

On the death of her uncle, the 20-year-old Angela returned to her hometown and began giving catechism lessons to the poor children in Desenzano. She discussed her horror at the ignorance so many children had of their religion with her friends, who were mostly tertiaries. They were eager to help if Angela could show them how. Although Angela was small of stature, she had a great spirit, charm, and beauty capable of attracting and leading others. She and her friends began to regularly and systematically teach their young, female neighbors. Angela's own success in teaching the catechism in Desenzano led to the invitation from a wealthy couple, whom she had once helped, to begin a school in Brescia.

Angela had the special gift of being able to remember everything she read. She spoke Latin well and knew the meaning of some of the hardest passages of Scripture, which led to her being sought out for counsel. In Brescia she was brought in touch with the leading families and became the center of a circle of devout men and women whom she inspired with her great ideals.

On a trip to the Holy Land, she suddenly lost her sight in Crete. She continued her trip with devotion, and on the return trip, regained her sight at the very spot where she'd lost it.

During a visit to Rome for the Holy Year 1525, Pope Clement VII asked her to take charge of a group of nursing sisters in Rome, but she declined. She told him of a vision she had experienced years before of maidens ascending to heaven on a ladder of light, which was what led her to gather young women into an informal novitiate. In the vision the holy virgins were accompanied up and down the ladder by glorious angels who played sweet music on golden harps. All wore beautiful crowns decorated with precious jewels. After a time the music stopped and the Savior Himself called her by name to create a society of women. The Holy Father gave her permission to form a community.

Shortly, thereafter, Saint Ursula appeared to her, which is why she became the community's patron. Assisting at Mass one day, Angela fell into ecstasy and was said to have levitated.

Soon after her return to Brescia, she was forced to withdraw to Cremona because war had broken out, and when Charles V was on the point of making himself master of Brescia it was essential that non-combatants leave the city. When peace again prevailed, Angela's return to Brescia was greeted with joy by the citizens who already venerated her as a prophetess and saint.

In Saint Afra's Church at Brescia on November 25, 1535, Angela and 28 younger companions bound themselves before God to devote the rest of their lives to his service, especially by the education of girls. Angela placed herself and the novices under the protection of Saint Ursula, the patroness of medieval universities and venerated as a leader of women. This was the beginning of the Company of Saint Ursula (Ursuline nuns), the first teaching order of women--a novel idea that needed time before it was accepted.

The order had no habit (members usually wore a simple black dress), took no vows, and pursued neither an enclosed nor a communal life; they worked to oversee the religious education of girls, especially among the poorer classes, and to care for the sick. The Ursulines were formally recognized by Pope Paul III four years after Angela's death (1544) and were organized into a Congregation in 1565. At the start much of the teaching was done in the children's homes: but in her conception of an uncloistered, flexible society of women Saint Angela was before her time.
She survived to direct the society for only four years.

During that time Angela was noted for her patience to her sisters and kindness in her many acts of mercy to the poor, sick, and ignorant. Soon there were 150 sisters to whom Angela addressed her wise sayings in her Counsels. As her sisters surrounded her in prayer at the hour of her death, a beautiful ray of light shone upon the saint--a sign that God was welcoming her to her eternal home. Angela died with the name of Jesus on her lips.

In 1568, Saint Charles Borromeo called the Ursulines to Milan and persuaded them to assume a cloistered communal life. In a provincial synod he explained to his suffragan bishops that he knew of no better means for the reform of their dioceses than to introduce the Ursulines into populous communities.
Later in France strict enclosure was adopted and the teaching of young girls was made the chief concern of the order. The Ursulines flourish today (Attwater, Attwater2, Benedictines, Bentley, Caraman, Delaney, Farmer, Schamoni, Walsh, White).

In art Saint Angela is represented by the image of virgins ascending a ladder; or with Saint Ursula and companions appearing to her (White).
1568 Saint Theodosius of Totma & founded Ephraimov wilderness monastery miracles incorrupt
born at Vologda about the year 1530.

In his youth he was raised in a spirit of Christian piety and the fear of God. At the insistence of his parents he married, but family life did not turn him away from God. He went fervently to church and prayed at home, particularly at night. After the death of his parents and his wife, he withdrew to the Priluki monastery not far from Vologda.

At the monastery Theodosius passed through the various obediences: he carried water, chopped fire-wood, milled flour and baked bread. He went to Totma on the igumen's orders to search for a salt-works for the monastery. He sought the permission of Tsar Ivan Vasilevich and the blessing of Archbishop Nicander to found a monastery at Totma.
Theodosius was appointed head of this newly-formed Totma monastery, which in a grant of 1554 was declared free of taxation.

The saint founded the Totma Ephraimov wilderness monastery and brought brethren into it. Eventually becoming the head of two monasteries, Theodosius continued to lead an ascetic life. He wore down his body by wearing chains and a hairshirt, and beneath his monastic cowl he wore an iron cap. Fond of spiritual reading, he acquired many books for the monastery. St Theodosius reposed in the year 1568 and was buried in the monastery he founded, and miracles occurred at his grave.

On September 2, 1796 during the reconstruction of the Ascension church, his relics were found incorrupt, and their glorification took place on January 28, 1798, on the day of his repose.
1580  Blessed John the Merciful of Rostov long life of pursuing asceticism humility, patience and unceasing prayer, he spiritually nourished many people many healings that occurred at his grave
(also known as "the Hairy") struggled at Rostov in the exploit of holy foolishness, enduring much deprivation and sorrow. He did not have a permanent shelter, and at times took his rest at the house of his spiritual Father, a priest at the church of the All-Holy, or with one of the aged widows.

Living in humility, patience and unceasing prayer, he spiritually nourished many people, among them St Irenarchus, Hermit of Rostov (January 13). After a long life of pursuing asceticism, he died on September 3, 1580 and was buried, according to his final wishes, beside the church of St Blaise beyond the altar.

He had "hair upon his head abundantly," therefore he was called "Hairy." The title "Merciful" was given to Blessed John because of the many healings that occurred at his grave, and also in connection with the memory of the holy Patriarch John the Merciful (November 12), whose name he shared.
1591 Bl. Alphonsus de Orozco vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary
born in 1500 in Oropesa, Spain. He studied at Talavera, Toledo, and Salamanca, and became an Augustinian at the age of twenty-two. St. Thomas of Villanova was one of his instructors, imbuing him with a spirit of recollection and prayer. Alphonsus, a popular preacher and confessor, served as prior of the Augustinians in Seville and then in 1554, at Valladolid. In 1556 he became a court preacher, and in 1561 accompanied King Philip II of Spain to Madrid. Throughout his court life, he did not engage in the pleasures or intrigues around him. His example of holiness made a great impression on the royal family and the nobles of Madrid. Alphonsus was given a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and wrote treatises on prayer and penance as Our Lady instructed him. He was beatified in 1881.
1592 St. Alexander Sauli The Apostle of Corsica bishop  performed miracles of prophecy, healing, and calming of storms both during his life and after his death
He came from a prominent family of Lombard, Italy, born in Milan in 1533. At an early age he entered the Barnabite Congregation

{ Anthony Mary Zaccaria, Priest Born in Cremona, Italy, 1502; died there, July 15, 1539; canonized by Pope Leo XIII in 1897.  "That which God commands seems difficult and a burden. . . . The way is rough; you draw back; you have no desire to follow it. Yet do so and you will attain glory." Antony studied medicine at the University of Padua. In 1524, at the age of 25, he set up his practice in his hometown. As a medical man he found himself ministering not only to the sick but also to the dying and the bereaved. He found man and women sick not only in the body but spiritually, and so he turned to the study of theology to learn more about the comfort and ways of God. By 1528, it seemed natural that the young doctor should be ordained as a secular priest who pursued a spiritual and corporeal ministry. Soon he moved to work in Metan near Milan. His zeal, molded on that of Saint Paul, knew no bounds.  In 1530, he and a few other priests, including Venerable Bartholomew Ferrari and Venerable James Morigia, founded the congregation of Clerks Regular of Saint Paul, the members of which were neither monks nor friars but lived under a rule "to revive the love of divine worship and a true Christian way of life by continual preaching and faithfully administering the sacraments."  They worked among the plague-stricken Milanese, in the midst of wars, and during Luther's reforms. The group so invigorated the city's spiritual life that it was approved by Pope Clement VI in 1533 with Antony as its first provost general. The order became known as the Barnabites when, in the last year of Antony's life, the church of Saint Barnabas in Milan became the order's headquarters. Antony resigned in 1536, helped spread the community, and worked ceaselessly to reform the Church. Under his direction, Louisa Torelli founded the congregation of women called Angelicals, who protected and rescued girls who had fallen into disreputable lives. Antony was only 37 when he died as a result of his unceasing apostolic toil (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia, White).}

, and became a teacher at the University of Pavia and superior general of the congregation. In 1571 he was appointed by Pope Pius V to Aleria on Corsica.
Taking three companions, Alexander rebuilt churches, founded seminaries and colleges, and stood off the pirate raids in the area. He became the bishop of Pavia after refusing other sees, serving only a year before his death. Alexander was a noted miracle worker. He was also spiritual advisor to St. Charles Borromeo and to Cardinal Sfondrato, who became Pope Gregory XIV. He was canonized in 1904 by Pope St. Pius X.
Alexander Sauli, Barnabite B (RM)
Born at Milan, Italy, in 1534; died at Colozza (near Pavia) on October 11, 1593; beatified in 1741 or 1742; canonized by Pope Saint Pius X in 1904. At the age of 17, Saint Alexander, son of an important Genoese family, joined the Barnabites, which had been recently founded by Saint Antony Zaccharia, studied at the order's college at Pavia, endowed the college with a library, and was ordained in 1556. He was the confessor of Saint Charles Borromeo and Cardinal Sfondrati (later Pope Gregory XIV). Alexander earned the reputation as a zealous preacher during the time he was teaching at the university in Pavia.
In 1567, he was elected general of his congregation. About this time, Borromeo was given the mandate to reform the Humiliati. With the support of Pope Saint Pius V, Borromeo favored merging the group into the lively Barnabites. As provost general Sauli resisted Borromeo's efforts to incorporate the Humiliati friars into the Barnabites because he feared that they would reduce the discipline of his congregation. The assassination attempt on the life of Charles Borromeo in 1571, led to the complete suppression of the order soon afterwards.

Later (1570) he began his 20 years of service to the Church as a bishop of the Corsican diocese of Aleria. There he carried out religious reforms that were as unwelcome as they were necessary and overdue. The saint found that the clergy were ignorant and the people irreligious, engaging in frequent vendettas and brigandage. The bishop moved his cathedral from Aleria to Cervione and began a systematic visitation. He promulgated the decrees of the Council of Trent assiduously.

Sauli refused translation to the see of Tortona and then Genoa, but just before his death in 1592, Bishop Sauli was transferred to the Italian see of Pavia at the command of Pope Gregory XIV. His friend, Saint Philip Neri, considered that Sauli's reforms had transformed the disreputable Corsican diocese into a model for others. He died during a visitation of his new diocese.

The bishop was reputed to have performed miracles of prophecy, healing, and calming of storms both during his life and after his death. He was a learned man with a special aptitude for canon law, preaching, and catechesis. Although he is not as charismatic as some of the saints of the Counter-Reformation, Saint Alexander Sauli was an exemplary pastor in an age of abuse and corruption (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Farmer, Orsenigo, Yeo).
1595 St. Philip Romolo Neri THE APOSTLE OF ROME well-known miracle of his heart
Born at Florence, Italy, 22 July, 1515; died 27 May, 1595. Philip's family originally came from Castelfranco but had lived for many generations in Florence, where not a few of its members had practised the learned professions, and therefore took rank with the Tuscan nobility. Among these was Philip's own father, Francesco Neri, who eked out an insufficient private fortune with what he earned as a notary.
A circumstance which had no small influence on the life of the saint was Francesco's friendship with the Dominicans; for it was from the friars of S. Marco, amid the memories of Savonarola, that Philip received many of his early religious impressions.

Besides a younger brother, who died in early childhood, Philip had two younger sisters, Caterina and Elisabetta. It was with them that "the good Pippo", as he soon began to be called, committed his only known fault. He gave a slight push to Caterina, because she kept interrupting him and Elisabetta, while they were reciting psalms together, a practice of which, as a boy, he was remakably fond.

One incident of his childhood is dear to his early biographers as the first visible intervention of Providence on his behalf, and perhaps dearer still to his modern disciples, because it reveals the human characteristics of a boy amid the supernatural graces of a saint. When about eight years old he was left alone in a courtyard to amuse himself; seeing a donkey laden with fruit, he jumped on its back; the beast bolted, and both tumbled into a deep cellar. His parents hastened to the spot and extricated the child, not dead, as they feared, but entirely uninjured.

From the first it was evident that Philip's career would run on no conventional lines; when shown his family pedigree he tore it up, and the burning of his father's house left him unconcerned. Having studied the humanities under the best scholars of a scholarly generation, at the age of sixteen he was sent to help his father's cousin in business at S. Germano, near Monte Cassino. He applied himself with diligence, and his kinsman soon determined to make him his heir. But he would often withdraw for prayer to a little mountain chapel belonging to the Benedictines of Monte Cassino, built above the harbour of Gaeta in a cleft of rock which tradition says was among those rent at the hour of Our Lord's death. It was here that his vocation became definite: he was called to be the Apostle of Rome.

In 1533 he arrived in Rome without any money. He had not informed his father of the step he was taking, and he had deliberately cut himself off from his kinsman's patronage. He was, however, at once befriended by Galeotto Caccia, a Florentine resident, who gave him a room in his house and an allowance of flour, in return for which he undertook the education of his two sons.
For 17 years Philip lived as a layman in Rome, probably without thinking of becoming a priest. It was perhaps while tutor to the boys, that he wrote most of the poetry which he composed both in Latin and in Italian. Before his death he burned all his writings, and only a few of his sonnets have come down to us. He spent some three years, beginning about 1535, in the study of philosophy at the Sapienza, and of theology in the school of the Augustinians. When he considered that he had learnt enough, he sold his books, and gave the price to the poor. Though he never again made study his regular occupation, whenever he was called upon to cast aside his habitual reticence, he would surprise the most learned with the depth and clearness of his theological knowledge.

He now devoted himself entirely to the sanctification of his own soul and the good of his neighbour. His active apostolate began with solitary and unobtrusive visits to the hospitals. Next he induced others to accompany him. Then he began to frequent the shops, warehouses, banks, and public places of Rome, melting the hearts of those whom he chanced to meet, and exhorting them to serve God.
In 1544, or later, he became the friend of St. Ignatius.
Many of his disciples tried and found their vocations in the infant Society of Jesus; but the majority remained in the world, and formed the nucleus of what afterwards became the Brotherhood of the Little Oratory.
Though he "appeared not fasting to men", his private life was that of a hermit. His single daily meal was of bread and water, to which a few herbs were sometimes added, the furniture of his room consisted of a bed, to which he usually preferred the floor, a table, a few chairs, and a rope to hang his clothes on; and he disciplined himself frequently with small chains.
Tried by fierce temptations, diabolical as well as human, he passed through them all unscathed, and the purity of his soul manifested itself in certain striking physical traits. He prayed at first mostly in the church of S. Eustachio, hard by Caccia's house. Next he took to visiting the Seven Churches.

But it was in the catacomb of S. Sebastiano -- confounded by early biographers with that of S. Callisto -- that he kept the longest vigils and received the most abundant consolations. In this catacomb, a few days before Pentecost in 1544, the well-known miracle of his heart took place. Bacci describes it thus: "While he was with the greatest earnestness asking of the Holy Ghost His gifts, there appeared to him a globe of fire, which entered into his mouth and lodged in his breast; and thereupon he was suddenly surprised with such a fire of love, that, unable to bear it, he threw himself on the ground, and, like one trying to cool himself, bared his breast to temper in some measure the flame which he felt. When he had remained so for some time, and was a little recovered, he rose up full of unwonted joy, and immediately all his body began to shake with a violent tremour; and putting his hand to his bosom, he felt by the side of his heart, a swelling about as big as a man's fist, but neither then nor afterwards was it attended with the slightest pain or wound." The cause of this swelling was discovered by the doctors who examined his body after death. The saint's heart had been dilated under the sudden impulse of love, and in order that it might have sufficient room to move, two ribs had been broken, and curved in the form of an arch. From the time of the miracle till his death, his heart would palpitate violently whenever he performed any spiritual action.

During his last years as a layman, Philip's apostolate spread rapidly. In 1548, together with his confessor, Persiano Rosa, he founded the Confraternity of the Most Holy Trinity for looking after pilgrims and convalescents. Its members met for Communion, prayer, and other spiritual exercises in the church of S. Salvatore, and the saint himself introduced exposition of the Blessed Sacrament once a month (see FORTY HOURS' DEVOTION). At these devotions Philip preached, though still a layman, and we learn that on one occasion alone he converted no less than thirty dissolute youths. In 1550 a doubt occurred to him as to whether he should not discontinue his active work and retire into absolute solitude. His perplexity was set at rest by a vision of St. John the Baptist, and by another vision of two souls in glory, one of whom was eating a roll of bread, signifying God's will that he should live in Rome for the good of souls as though he were in a desert, abstaining as far as possible from the use of meat.

In 1551, however, he received a true vocation from God. At the bidding of his confessor - nothing short of this would overcome his humility - he entered the priesthood, and went to live at S. Girolamo, where a staff of chaplains was supported by the Confraternity of Charity. Each priest had two rooms assigned to him, in which he lived, slept, and ate, under no rule save that of living in charity with his brethren.
Among Philip's new companions, besides Persiano Rosa, was Buonsignore Cacciaguerra (see "A Precursor of St. Philip" by Lady Amabel Kerr, London), a remarkable penitent, who was at that time carrying on a vigorous propaganda in favour of frequent Communion. Philip, who as a layman had been quietly encouraging the frequent reception of the sacraments, expended the whole of his priestly energy in promoting the same cause; but unlike his precursor, he recommended the young especially to confess more often than they communicated. The church of S. Girolamo was much frequented even before the coming of Philip, and his confessional there soon became the centre of a mighty apostolate.
He stayed in church, hearing confessions or ready to hear them, from daybreak till nearly midday, and not content with this, he usually confessed some forty persons in his room before dawn. Thus he laboured untiringly throughout his long priesthood.

As a physician of souls he received marvellous gifts from God. He would sometimes tell a penitent his most secret sins without his confessing them; and once he converted a young nobleman by showing him a vision of hell. Shortly before noon he would leave his confessional to say Mass.
His devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, like the miracle of his heart, is one of those manifestations of sanctity which are peculiarly his own. So great was the fervour of his charity, that, instead of recollecting himself before Mass, he had to use deliberate means of distraction in order to attend to the external rite. During the last five years of his life he had permission to celebrate privately in a little chapel close to his room. At the "Agnus Dei" the server went out, locked the doors, and hung up a notice: "Silence, the Father is saying Mass". When he returned in two hours or more, the saint was so absorbed in God that he seemed to be at the point of death.

Philip devoted his afternoons to men and boys, inviting them to informal meetings in his room, taking them to visit churches, interesting himself in their amusements, hallowing with his sweet influence every department of their lives. At one time he had a longing desire to follow the example of St. Francis Xavier, and go to India. With this end in view, he hastened the ordination of some of his companions. But in 1557 he sought the counsel of a Cistercian at Tre Fontane; and as on a former occasion he had been told to make Rome his desert, so now the monk communicated to him a revelation he had had from St. John the Evangelist, that Rome was to be his India. Philip at once abandoned the idea of going abroad, and in the following year the informal meetings in his room developed into regular spiritual exercises in an oratory, which he built over the church. At these exercises laymen preached and the excellence of the discourses, the high quality of the music, and the charm of Philip's personality attracted not only the humble and lowly, but men of the highest rank and distinction in Church and State. Of these, in 1590, Cardinal Nicolo Sfondrato, became Pope Gregory XIV, and the extreme reluctance of the saint alone prevented the pontiff from forcing him to accept the cardinalate. In 1559, Philip began to organize regular visits to the Seven Churches, in company with crowds of men, priests and religious, and laymen of every rank and condition. These visits were the occasion of a short but sharp persecution on the part of a certain malicious faction, who denounced him as "a setter-up of new sects". The cardinal vicar himself summoned him, and without listening to his defence, rebuked him in the harshest terms. For a fortnight the saint was suspended from hearing confessions; but at the end of that time he made his defence, and cleared himself before the ecclesiastical authorities. In 1562, the Florentines in Rome begged him to accept the office of rector of their church, S. Giovanni dei Fiorentini, but he was reluctant to leave S. Girolamo. At length the matter was brought before Pius IV, and a compromise was arrived at (1564). While remaining himself at S. Girolamo, Philip became rector of S. Giovanni, and sent five priests, one of whom was Baronius, to represent him there. They lived in community under Philip as their superior, taking their meals together, and regularly attending the exercises at S. Girolamo. In 1574, however, the exercises began to be held in an oratory at S. Giovanni. Meanwhile the community was increasing in size, and in 1575 it was formally recognised by Gregory XIII as the Congregation of the Oratory, and given the church of S. Maria in Vallicella. The fathers came to live there in 1577, in which year they opened the Chiesa Nuova, built on the site of the old S. Maria, and transferred the exercises to a new oratory. Philip himself remained at S. Girolamo till 1583, and it was only in obedience to Gregory XIII that he then left his old home and came to live at the Vallicella.

The last years of his life were marked by alternate sickness and recovery. In 1593, he showed the true greatness of one who knows the limits of his own endurance, and resigned the office of superior which had been conferred on him for life. In 1594, when he was in an agony of pain, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him, and cured him. At the end of March, 1595, he had a severe attack of fever, which lasted throughout April; but in answer to his special prayer God gave him strength to say Mass on 1 May in honour of SS. Philip and James. On the following 12 May he was seized with a violent haemorrhage, and Cardinal Baronius, who had succeeded him as superior, gave him Extreme Unction. After that he seemed to revive a little and his friend Cardinal Frederick Borromeo brought him the Viaticum, which he received with loud protestations of his own unworthiness. On the next day he was perfectly well, and till the actual day of his death went about his usual duties, even reciting the Divine Office, from which he was dispensed. But on 15 May he predicted that he had only ten more days to live. On 25 May, the feast of Corpus Christi, he went to say Mass in his little chapel, two hours earlier than usual. "At the beginning of his Mass", writes Bacci, "he remained for some time looking fixedly at the hill of S. Onofrio, which was visible from the chapel, just as if he saw some great vision. On coming to the Gloria in Excelsis he began to sing, which was an unusual thing for him, and sang the whole of it with the greatest joy and devotion, and all the rest of the Mass he said with extraordinary exultation, and as if singing." He was in perfect health for the rest of that day, and made his usual night prayer; but when in bed, he predicted the hour of the night at which he would die. About an hour after midnight Father Antonio Gallonio, who slept under him, heard him walking up and down, and went to his room. He found him lying on the bed, suffering from another haemorrhage. "Antonio, I am going", he said; Gallonio thereupon fetched the medical men and the fathers of the congregation. Cardinal Baronius made the commendation of his soul, and asked him to give the fathers his final blessing. The saint raised his hand slightly, and looked up to heaven. Then inclining his head towards the fathers, he breathed his last. Philip was beatified by Paul V in 1615, and canonized by Gregory XV in 1622.

It is perhaps by the method of contrast that the distinctive characteristics of St. Philip and his work are brought home to us most forcibly (see Newman, "Sermons on Various Occasions", n. xii; "Historical Sketches", III, end of ch. vii).

We hail him as the patient reformer, who leaves outward things alone and works from within, depending rather on the hidden might of sacrament and prayer than on drastic policies of external improvement; the director of souls who attaches more value to mortification of the reason than to bodily austerities, protests that men may become saints in the world no less than in the cloister, dwells on the importance of serving God in a cheerful spirit, and gives a quaintly humorous turn to the maxims of ascetical theology; the silent watcher of the times, who takes no active part in ecclesiastical controversies and is yet a motive force in their development, now encouraging the use of ecclesiastical history as a bulwark against Protestantism, now insisting on the absolution of a monarch, whom other counsellors would fain exclude from the sacraments (see BARONIUS), now praying that God may avert a threatened condemnation (see SAVONAROLA) and receiving a miraculous assurance that his prayer is heard (see Letter of Ercolani referred to by Capecelatro); the founder of a Congregation, which relies more on personal influence than on disciplinary organization, and prefers the spontaneous practice of counsels of perfection to their enforcement by means of vows; above all, the saint of God, who is so irresistibly attractive, so eminently lovable in himself, as to win the title of the "Amabile santo"

1640 St. Joan de Lestonnac Foundress many miracles different kinds occurred at her tomb
St. Joan de Lestonnac was born in Bordeaux, France, in 1556. She married at the age of seventeen. The happy marriage produced four children, but her hasband died suddenly in 1597.
After her children were raised, she entered the Cistercian monastery at Toulouse. Joan was forced to leave the Cistercians when she became afflicted with poor health.
She returned to Bordeaux with the idea of forming a new congregation, and several young girls joined her as novices. They ministered to victims of a plague that struck Bordeaux, and they were determined to counteract the evils of heresy promulgated by Calvinism. Thus was formed the Congregation of the Religious of Notre Dame of Bordeaux. In 1608, Joan and her companions received the religious habit from the Archbishop of Bordeaux. Joan was elected superior in 1610, and many miracles occurred at her tomb. She was canonized in 1949 by Pope Pius XII.

Jeanne de Lestonnac, Widow Foundress (RM)(also known as Jane or Joan de Lestonnac) Born in Bordeaux, France, in 1556; died there February 2, 1640; beatified in 1900;

The story of Joan's long life reflects the importance of the domestic church in forming God's servants. Our saint triumphed over ill-health and the evil plottings of a wicked woman. Joan was the daughter of a good Catholic father of a distinguished family at a time when Calvinism was flourishing in Bordeaux.
 Her mother, however, was Joan Eyquem de Montaigne, the apostate sister of the famous essayist Michael de Montaigne. Her mother continually tried to undermine Joan's faith; when her attempts failed, she would abuse the child. These troubles, however, turned Joan's heart more fervently to God and made her long for a life of prayer and mortification.

At age 17 (1573), Joan was happily married to Gaston de Montferrant, who was related to the royal houses of France, Aragon, and Navarre. Joan was devoted to her husband and bore him one son and three daughters. After 24 years of deeply happy marriage, Gaston died in 1597. She continued to care for her children until they were old enough to be independent.

Two of Joan's daughters had felt drawn to religious life, and, at age 47 (1603), Joan herself then decided to enter the Cistercian monastery of Les Feuillantes at Toulouse despite the objections of her son and her anxiety over leaving her youngest daughter. The harsh regimen of life there caused her to become seriously ill.

She wanted to die in the convent, yet her wise superiors perceived what an exceptional woman Joan was and understood that God had other plans for her. They encouraged her to attempt a great service for God by founding an order of women devoted to Our Lady.
She miraculously recovered her health the moment she left the convent. Joan gathered a band of young girls on her estate, La Mothe in Périgord, where she spent two quiet years. Returning to Bordeaux, their first task became bravely serving as nurses during a savage plague that struck the people of Bordeaux.

A number of priests, including the Jesuit fathers Jean de Bordes and Raymond, had come to recognize the utter devotion of Joan, and realized the devastation Calvinism was working among young girls of all classes who were deprived of Catholic education. They saw the need for an order to educate young girls as the Jesuits educated boys.

To both of these priests the assurance was given simultaneously, while they were celebrating Mass, that it was the will of God that they should assist in founding an order to counteract the evils of the surrounding heresy, and that Mme de Lestonnac should be the first superior.
In 1606, Fathers de Bordes and Raymond helped Joan persuade Cardinal de Sourdis, archbishop of Bordeaux, to support her religious order.

The congregation was affiliated with the Benedictines, but its rule and constitutions were founded on those of Saint Ignatius Loyola. Her scheme was approved by Pope Paul V in 1607. The following year the sisters received the habit from the cardinal and, in 1610, Joan became the mother superior on the first house in Bordeaux of the Sisters of Notre Dame.

Seeking only the barest necessities for themselves, her sisters founded schools throughout the region, welcoming into them any girl who could come, with the aim of stemming the tide of Calvinism. But while this work prospered, exceeding all expectations but God's, two problems arose at Bordeaux.
The archbishop of Bordeaux resented attempts to gain extradiocesan freedom, and one vicious sister named Blanche Hervé, the director of one of the houses, began to spread lies about Joan. The authorities, including the cardinal, believed the concoctions, and Joan was dismissed as superior and Blanche intruded in her place as superior.

Here her great meekness triumphed. For three years Joan was beaten and humiliated, but she bore all so patiently that even Blanche Hervé was moved to confess her own maliciousness and the two reconciled. Joan de Lestonnac no longer wished to work as mother superior, but passed her last years highly honored by her order.

From 1625 to 1631, Joan visited each of the other 26 houses in turn. By the time she had returned to Bordeaux, two of her daughters and at least one grand-daughter had joined the Company of Mary, for which the revised rules and constitutions were drawn up in 1638. Meanwhile, her health began to fail and she died. Miracles of different kinds were reported at her tomb in Bordeaux. Her nuns now number about 2,500 and serve in 17 countries (Attwater, Attwater2, Benedictines, Bentley, Coulson, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Walsh).
1702 St. Joseph Oriol  Apostle of Barcelona miracle worker healings & prophet faith, hope, and love of God and neighbor
who lived on bread and water for twenty-six years. He was born at Barcelona, Spain. A priest and doctor of theology, he was a canon of Santa Maria del Pino. In 1686, he made a pilgrimage on foot to Rome. A beloved figure in Barcelona, Joseph was also a famed confessor, miracle worker, and prophet. Pope St. Pius X canonized him in 1909.

Joseph Oriol (RM) (also known as José Orioli) Born in Barcelona, Spain, on November 23, 1650; died there on March 23, 1702; beatified by Pope Pius VII on May 15, 1896; canonized in 1909. Father Joseph Oriol is remembered for the heroism of his virtues, for the example he proposes to Christians, and for the singular favors God accorded him.
Joseph is a saint among thousands of saints; but, for more than three centuries, history and legend together have justified the cognomen his parishioners gave him, even before he died: "wonder- worker of Barcelona." A saint among thousands of saints; but, for about three centuries, history and legend have emphasized the healings, the prophecies, the miracles of all kinds of which Joseph Oriol was the instrument.

Joseph Oriol was born of a poor family. His good conduct, his particular devotion to the Blessed Sacrament persuaded his parish priest to prepare him for the priesthood. He earned a doctorate in theology. In 1675, he was ordained and soon Innocent XI granted him a benefice at Santa Maria del Pino in his native city. In spite of his attempts and temptations, Joseph Oriol never left his parish.

Although he hoped to evangelize the infidels, God showed him that he had another vocation. On his way to Rome, Father Joseph fell ill and experienced a vision that outlined his new mission: He was to reinvigorate the faith of lukewarm hearts in Barcelona. Thus, Joseph Oriol instructed children, evangelized soldiers, and prayed and urged others to pray for the living and the dead.

He wore a hair-shirt, lived only on bread and water for 26 years, and used the discipline on himself. Nevertheless, he is not remembered for his austerity, but rather for his faith, hope, and love of God and neighbor. He epitomized the exercise of these virtues to such a high degree of perfection that the Devil was worried, persecuted him and even left his imprint on his flesh. But only on the flesh. Joseph Oriol remained firm on the path of justice and God manifested his Power and favors through his servant with extraordinary gifts. Death finally ended his life on the date he had announced.

Others would prefer, perhaps, that for the above conventional picture we substitute the one of the wonder-worker, the image of a veritable "medium," worthy heir of the charlatans of paganism, worthy rival of the sorcerers of fetishism, a conjurer as well as a man contemptuous of natural laws.

But that kind of picture does not deal with holiness. Holiness takes hold of man and utilizes him. It takes hold of the conscious and the unconscious, it takes hold of the miracle-man who, without holiness, would be less than a man, the inverted reflection of a saint (Attwater2, Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
1755  St. Gerard Majella lay Redemptorists patron of expectant mothers  gift of reading consciences bilocations levitation
He was born at Muro, Italy, in 1726 and joined the Redemptorists at the age of 23, becoming a professed lay brother in 1752. He served as sacristan, gardener, porter, infirmarian, and tailor. However, because of his great piety, extraordinary wisdom, and his gift of reading consciences, he was permitted to counsel communities of religious women.

This humble servant of God also had the faculties of levitation and bi-location associated with certain mystics. His charity, obedience, and selfless service as well as his ceaseless mortification for Christ, made him the perfect model of lay brothers. He was afflicted with tuberculosis and died in 1755 at the age of twenty-nine.

This great saint is invoked as a patron of expectant mothers as a result of a miracle effected through his prayers for a woman in labor.

Prayer: O Great Saint Gerard, beloved servant of Jesus Christ, perfect imitator of your meek and humble Savior, and devoted Child of the Mother of God: enkindle within my heart one spark of that heavenly fire of charity which glowed in your heart and made you an angel of love. O glorious Saint Gerard, because when falsely accused of crime, you did bear, like your Divine master, without murmur or complaint, the calumnies of wicked men, you have been raised up by God as the Patron and Protector of expectant mothers. Preserve me from danger and from the excessive pains accompanying childbirth, and shield the child which I now carry, that it may see the light of day and receive the lustral waters of baptism through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Gerard Majella came to be invoked particularly as patron saint of pregnant women, for reasons hard to discern.  He was only a humble Redemptorist lay brother.  Yet he did have a strong spiritual influence on women as well as men, something unusual for one who was not a priest.
Gerard was born at Muro Lucano in southern Italy.  He grew up a very pious child.  Perhaps because of his goodness he was often ill-treated by the fellow craftsmen with whom he studied tailoring, and even by the choleric Bishop of Lacedogna, in whose service he spent some time.
Actually, Majella aspired to join a religious order, but when the Capuchins rejected him as too young and of too uncertain health, he returned to his fatherless family and set up on his own as a tailor.  Meanwhile, he devoted an increasing amount of time to prayer and self-denial.  He earned enough, but two thirds of his earnings went to the poor and Masses for the souls in purgatory, one third to his mother.
Around 1749, when he was 23, the young tailor was deeply impressed by a mission preached by priests of a new religious order, the Redemptorists.  He asked that community if he might join them as a lay brother.  The Redemptorists, too, hesitated because of his poor health, but finally they accepted him.  The founder of the Redemptorists, St. Alphonsus de Liguori, was impressed by the young man, and shortened the required novitiate.  Gerard made his profession as a lay brother in 1752, adding to the three usual vows one that bound him always to do what seemed most pleasing to God.
His career as a lay brother was brief but brisk.  For the first three years his chief tasks were tailoring and working in the infirmary.  But he also became noted for the spiritual contacts that he made while he accompanied the missionary fathers on their rounds.  It seems that he had unusual charismatic abilities.  Thus he could read the hearts of people, and brought a score of them back to God through this insight.  He had the gift of prophecy.  He had the gift of levitation as well: he could be lifted into the air in the midst of ecstatic prayer.  Most extraordinary of these gifts, however, were his "bilocations".  He could be, or seem to be, in two places at the same time.
Not only did the Redemptorist superiors recognize Brother Gerard's singular gifts, they even named him spiritual director to several communities of nuns - an appointment seldom given to a non-priest.  He also carried on correspondence with priests and religious superiors, giving them sound advice.  Furthermore, he won a reputation for working miracles.  When the crowds seeking cures became too great at one house where he was stationed, he had to be transferred to another house.  There he was appointed to tend the door, but soon he was feeding and clothing countless beggars.  Nobody knew where the food and clothing came from, except him.
We have mentioned Brother Gerard's illness that had twice deferred his admission to a religious order. It was tuberculosis, and it overtook him after only three years as a Redemptorist.  He announced that he would die on the night of October 15-16, 1755, and he did precisely that.
Pope Pius IX would call him "a perfect model for… lay brothers." In 1904 Pope St. Pius X canonized this "most famous wonderworker of the 18th century."
It was shortly after his death that St. Gerard became the popular patron of the pregnant.  A story is told that suggests why this patronage may have developed.
On one occasion a young woman named Neria Caggiano, whom Gerard had befriended but who was of wanton disposition, accused him of immoral behavior.  St. Alphonsus, incredulous, summoned Brother Gerard to Nocera for questioning.  In keeping with his vow to do the more perfect thing, the Brother neither affirmed nor denied the charge.  St. Alphonsus, therefore, punished him by forbidding him to receive Holy Communion and to have further dealings with outsiders.
This situation went on for several weeks.  Then Neria confessed that she and her accomplice had lied in preferring the charge.
"Why didn't you protest your innocence?" Liguori then asked Brother Gerard.  "Father, Gerard replied, "doesn't our rule forbid us to excuse ourselves?"

St. Gerard Majella Catholic Encyclopedia
Born in Muro, about fifty miles south of Naples, in April, 1726; died 16 October, 1755; beatified by Leo XIII, 29 January, 1893, and canonized by Pius X, 11 December, 1904. His only ambition was to be like Jesus Christ in his sufferings and humiliations. His father, Dominic Majella, died while Gerard was a child. His pious mother, owing to poverty, was obliged to apprentice him to a tailor. His master loved him, but the foreman treated him cruelly. His reverence for the priesthood and his love of suffering led him to take service in the house of a prelate, who was very hard to please. On the latter's death Gerard returned to his trade, working first as a journeyman and then on his own account. His earnings he divided between his mother and the poor, and in offerings for the souls in purgatory one-third to each!. After futile attempts first to become a Franciscan and then a hermit, he entered the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer in 1749. Two years later he made his profession, and to the usual vows he added one by which he bound himself to do always that which seemed to him more perfect. St. Alphonsus considered him a miracle of obedience. He not only obeyed the orders of superiors when present, but also when absent knew and obeyed their desires. Although weak in body, he did the work of three, and his great charity earned for him the title of Father of the Poor. He was a model of every virtue, and so drawn to Our Lord in the tabernacle that he had to do violence to himself to keep away. An angel in purity, he was accused of a shameful crime; but he bore the calumny with such patience that St. Alphonsus said: "Brother Gerard is a saint". He was favoured with infused knowledge of the highest order, ecstatsies, prophecy, discernment of spirits, and penetration of hearts, bilocation, and with what seemed an unlimited power over nature, sickness, and the devils. When he accompanied the Fathers on missions, or was sent out on business, he converted more souls than many missionaries. He predicted the day and hour of his death. A wonderworker during his life, he has continued to be the same since his death.

1755  St. Gerard Majella professed lay brother Redemptorists patron of expectant mothers gift of reading consciences
He was born at Muro {meaning wall outside the town}, Italy, in 1726 and joined the Redemptorists at the age of 23, becoming a professed lay brother in 1752. He served as sacristan, gardener, porter, infirmarian, and tailor. However, because of his great piety, extraordinary wisdom, and his gift of reading consciences, he was permitted to counsel communities of religious women.

Gerard brought tasty bread to his mother for three days in a row saying it came from his friend.  At this time he was a child.  His mother sent his older sister on the third day to follow Gerard and see who was this friend with the tasty bread.  His sister followed him into the church and saw him crawl through the communion railing and began playing on the floor with another child his age and size.  After a while they quit playing and his friend went back up to the statue of Mary and reposed back into her arms.

He decided to become a Capuchin and left his home through his bedroom window leaving a note to his mother about his calling to God.  They rejected him.  Then he came back home and became a tailor.  One day the Redemptorists came to his town.  These were "Giants who walked the earth", hearing confessions and great preaching.  A current day Redemptorist  described Gerard, "...visuzlize this as Gerard looking like death warmed-over riding a bicycle."  They too rejected him at first, but relented upon his insistance and sent him to a friary with a note, "here comes a poor soul who wishes to join us."

While working in the chapel a sacristan came into the room quite upset about losing the church's key down the nearby well.  Worried he would occur the rath of the pastor he went to Gerard and told him the problem.  Gerard said, "take the Jesus child statue by the front door and lets go to the well."  Of course, that also worried the sacristan, but did as Gerard said.  Together they lowered the statue down the well, waited  a few minutes and pulled the statue back up.  Gripped firmly in little Jesus's hand was the key

While on his death-bed he was ordered to get up, get well and back to work..He did just that but became sick again months later.  This time he asked permission to die; he received it and died.

This humble servant of God also had the faculties of levitation and bi-location associated with certain mystics. His charity, obedience, and selfless service as well as his ceaseless mortification for Christ, made him the perfect model of lay brothers. He was afflicted with tuberculosis and died in 1755 at the age of twenty-nine.

This great saint is invoked as a patron of expectant mothers as a result of a miracle effected through his prayers for a woman in labor.  This is still happening as evidenced by any search on the internet of people who prayed to Gerard and received children.

Prayer: O Great Saint Gerard, beloved servant of Jesus Christ, perfect imitator of your meek and humble Savior, and devoted Child of the Mother of God: enkindle within my heart one spark of that heavenly fire of charity which glowed in your heart and made you an angel of love. O glorious Saint Gerard, because when falsely accused of crime, you did bear, like your Divine master, without murmur or complaint, the calumnies of wicked men, you have been raised up by God as the Patron and Protector of expectant mothers. Preserve me from danger and from the excessive pains accompanying childbirth, and shield the child which I now carry, that it may see the light of day and receive the lustral waters of baptism through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(1726-1755) Gerard Majella came to be invoked particularly as patron saint of pregnant women, for reasons hard to discern.  He was only a humble Redemptorist lay brother.  Yet he did have a strong spiritual influence on women as well as men, something unusual for one who was not a priest.
Gerard was born at Muro Lucano in southern Italy.  He grew up a very pious child.  Perhaps because of his goodness he was often ill-treated by the fellow craftsmen with whom he studied tailoring, and even by the choleric Bishop of Lacedogna, in whose service he spent some time.
Actually, Majella aspired to join a religious order, but when the Capuchins rejected him as too young and of too uncertain health, he returned to his fatherless family and set up on his own as a tailor.  Meanwhile, he devoted an increasing amount of time to prayer and self-denial.  He earned enough, but two thirds of his earnings went to the poor or to Masses for the souls in purgatory.
Around 1749, when he was 23, the young tailor was deeply impressed by a mission preached by priests of a new religious order, the Redemptorists.  He asked that community if he might join them as a lay brother.  The Redemptorists, too, hesitated because of his poor health, but finally they accepted him.  The founder of the Redemptorists, St. Alphonsus de Liguori, was impressed by the young man, and shortened the required novitiate.  Gerard made his profession as a lay brother in 1752, adding to the three usual vows one that bound him always to do what seemed most pleasing to God.
His career as a lay brother was brief but brisk.  For the first three years his chief tasks were tailoring and working in the infirmary.  But he also became noted for the spiritual contacts that he made while he accompanied the missionary fathers on their rounds.  It seems that he had unusual charismatic abilities.  Thus he could read the hearts of people, and brought a score of them back to God through this insight.  He had the gift of prophecy.  He had the gift of levitation as well: he could be lifted into the air in the midst of ecstatic prayer.  Most extraordinary of these gifts, however, were his "bilocations".  He could be, or seem to be, in two places at the same time.
Not only did the Redemptorist superiors recognize Brother Gerard's singular gifts, they even named him spiritual director to several communities of nuns - an appointment seldom given to a non-priest.  He also carried on correspondence with priests and religious superiors, giving them sound advice.  Furthermore, he won a reputation for working miracles.  When the crowds seeking cures became too great at one house where he was stationed, he had to be transferred to another house.  There he was appointed to tend the door, but soon he was feeding and clothing countless beggars.  Nobody knew where the food and clothing came from, except him.
We have mentioned Brother Gerard's illness that had twice deferred his admission to a religious order. It was tuberculosis, and it overtook him after only three years as a Redemptorist.  He announced that he would die on the night of October 15-16, 1755, and he did precisely that.
Pope Pius IX would call him "a perfect model for… lay brothers." In 1904 Pope St. Pius X canonized this "most famous wonderworker of the 18th century."
It was shortly after his death that St. Gerard became the popular patron of the pregnant.  A story is told that suggests why this patronage may have developed.
On one occasion a young woman named Neria Caggiano, whom Gerard had befriended but who was of wanton disposition, accused him of immoral behavior.  St. Alphonsus, incredulous, summoned Brother Gerard to Nocera for questioning.  In keeping with his vow to do the more perfect thing, the Brother neither affirmed nor denied the charge.  St. Alphonsus, therefore, punished him by forbidding him to receive Holy Communion and to have further dealings with outsiders.
This situation went on for several weeks.  Then Neria confessed that she and her accomplice had lied in preferring the charge.
"Why didn't you protest your innocence?" Liguori then asked Brother Gerard.  "Father, Gerard replied, "doesn't our rule forbid us to excuse ourselves?"

St. Gerard Majella Catholic Encyclopedia
Born in Muro, about fifty miles south of Naples, in April, 1726; died 16 October, 1755; beatified by Leo XIII, 29 January, 1893, and canonized by Pius X, 11 December, 1904. His only ambition was to be like Jesus Christ in his sufferings and humiliations. His father, Dominic Majella, died while Gerard was a child. His pious mother, owing to poverty, was obliged to apprentice him to a tailor. His master loved him, but the foreman treated him cruelly. His reverence for the priesthood and his love of suffering led him to take service in the house of a prelate, who was very hard to please. On the latter's death Gerard returned to his trade, working first as a journeyman and then on his own account. His earnings he divided between his mother and the poor, and in offerings for the souls in purgatory. After futile attempts first to become a Franciscan and then a hermit, he entered the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer in 1749. Two years later he made his profession, and to the usual vows he added one by which he bound himself to do always that which seemed to him more perfect.

St. Alphonsus considered him a miracle of obedience.
He not only obeyed the orders of superiors when present, but also when absent knew and obeyed their desires. Although weak in body, he did the work of three, and his great charity earned for him the title of Father of the Poor. He was a model of every virtue, and so drawn to Our Lord in the tabernacle that he had to do violence to himself to keep away. An angel in purity, he was accused of a shameful crime; but he bore the calumny with such patience that St. Alphonsus said: "Brother Gerard is a saint". He was favoured with infused knowledge of the highest order, ecstatsies, prophecy, discernment of spirits, and penetration of hearts, bilocation, and with what seemed an unlimited power over nature, sickness, and the devils. When he accompanied the Fathers on missions, or was sent out on business, he converted more souls than many missionaries. He predicted the day and hour of his death. A wonderworker during his life, he has continued to be the same since his death.
1815 St. Francis Xavier Bianchi Barnabite priest called “the Apostle of Naples.” stopped lava
Born in Arpino, Italy, in 1743, he became a Barnabite and was ordained in 1767. Francis worked endlessly for the poor and abandoned. His work load and austerities ruined his health, and though he lost the use of his legs, he continued in his labors. He was canonized in 1951.

Francis Xavier Bianchi, Barn. (AC)
Saint Francis studied in Naples, was tonsured at 14 and, despite his father's objections, joined the Congregation of Clerks Regular of Saint Paul (the Barnabites). After his ordination in 1767, Francis served as president of two colleges, and became famous for his gift of prophecy and the miracles credited to him (he is reported to have stopped the flow of lava from the erupting Vesuvius in 1805). He was considered and acclaimed 'Apostle of Naples' for his work among the poor and abandoned and to preserve girls from the danger of an immoral life. Owing to overwork and to his austere lifestyle, he ruined his health and lost the use of his legs. Unable to be moved because of his health, he was left alone at his college when his order was expelled from Naples and died there. He inspired boundless veneration in Naples and miracles were attributed to him (Attwater2, Benedictines, Coulson, Delaney).
1870 St. Anthony Mary Claret archbishop Cuba prophet miracle-worker
[Antonio Maria Claret y Clara] (Spanish, priest, retreat master, missionary, founder of the Congregation of Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary [commonly called Claretians] and of the Teaching Sisters of Mary Immaculate, archbishop in Cuba, confessor to queen of Spain, prophet and miracle-worker, preacher of 10,000 sermons, author of 200 works, spread devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady, d. 1870 in a French Cistercian monastery at age 63)

Anthony (Antony) Mary Claret B, Founder (RM) Born in Sallent, Spain, December 23, 1807; died in Narbonne, France, October 24, 1870; canonized 1950.
"When I see the need there is for divine teaching and how hungry people are to hear it, I am atremble to be off and running throughout the world, preaching the Word of God. I have no rest. My soul finds no other relief than to rush about and preach."

"If God's Word is spoken by a priest who is filled with the fire of charity--the fire of love of God and neighbor--it will wound vices, kill sins, convert sinners, and work wonders."

"When I am before the Blessed Sacrament I feel such a lively faith that I cannot describe it. Christ in the Eucharist is almost tangible to me. . . . When it is time for me to leave, I have to tear myself away from His sacred presence." --St. Antony Claret

As the son of a weaver, Antony became a weaver himself and in his free time he learned Latin and printing. At the age of 22 he entered the seminary at Vich, Catalonia, Spain, and was ordained in 1835. After a few years he began to entertain the idea of a Barthusian vocation but it seemed beyond his strength, so he travelled to Rome to join the Jesuits with the idea of becoming a foreign missionary. Ill health, however, caused him to leave the Jesuit novitiate and he returned to pastoral work at Sallent in 1837. He spent the next decade preaching parochial missions and retreats throughout Catalonia. During this time he helped Blessed Joachima de Mas to establish the Carmelites of Charity.

He went to the Canary Islands and after 15 months there (1848-49) with Bishop Codina, Anthony returned to Vich. His evangelical zeal inspired other priests to join in the same work, so in 1849 he founded the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (the Claretians), dedicated to preaching missions. The Claretians have spread far beyond Spain to the Americas and beyond.

In 1850, Queen Isabella II, appointed him archbishop of Santiago, Cuba. The people of this diocese were in a shocking state, and Claret made bitter enemies in his efforts to reform the see--some of whom made threats on his life. In fact, he was wounded in an assassination attempt against his life at Holguin in 1856, by a man angered that his mistress was won back to an honest life.

At the request of Queen Isabella, he returned to Spain in 1857 to become her confessor. He resigned his Cuban see in 1858, but spent as little time at the court as his official duties required. Throughout this period he was also deeply occupied with the missionary activities of his congregation and with the diffusion of good literature, especially in his native Catalan. He was also appointed rector of the Escorial, where he established a science laboratory, a natural history museum, and schools of music and languages. He also founded a religious library in Barcelona.

He followed Isabella to France when a revolution drove her from the throne in 1868. He attended Vatican Council I (1869-70) where he influenced the definition of papal infallibility. An attempt was made to lure him back to Spain, but it failed. Antony retired to Prades, France, but was forced to flee to a Cistercian monastery at Fontfroide near Narbonne when the Spanish ambassador demanded his arrest.

Anthony Claret was a leading figure in the revival of Catholicism in Spain, preached over 25,000 sermons, and published some 144 books and pamphlets during his lifetime. His continual union with God was rewarded by many supernatural graces. He was reputed to have performed miraculous cures and to have had gifts of prophecy. Both in Cuba and in Spain he encountered the hostility of the Spanish anti-clerical politicians (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Walsh, White).

He is the patron saint of weavers; and of savings and savings banks, a result of his opening savings banks in Santiago in an effort to help the poor (White).
1897 Saint Therese of Lisieux Since her death she has worked innumerable miracles one of the patron saints of the missions
 the Little Flower of Jesus, born at Alençon, France, 2 January, 1873; died at Lisieux 30 September, 1897.
Generations of Catholics have admired this young saint, called her the "Little Flower", and found in her short life more inspiration for own lives than in volumes by theologians.

Yet Therese died when she was 24, after having lived as cloistered Carmelite for less than ten years. She never went on missions, never founded a religious order, never performed great works. The only book of hers, published after her death, was an brief edited version of her journal called "Story of a Soul." (Collections of her letters and restored versions of her journals have been published recently.) But within 28 years of her death, the public demand was so great that she was canonized.

Over the years, some modern Catholics have turned away from her because they associate her with over- sentimentalized piety and yet the message she has for us is still as compelling and simple as it was almost a century ago.

Therese was born in France in 1873, the pampered daughter of a mother who had wanted to be a saint and a father who had wanted to be monk. The two had gotten married but determined they would be celibate until a priest told them that was not how God wanted a marriage to work! They must have followed his advice very well because they had nine children. The five children who lived were all daughters who were close all their lives.

Tragedy and loss came quickly to Therese when her mother died of breast cancer when she was four and a half years old. Her sixteen year old sister Pauline became her second mother -- which made the second loss even worse when Pauline entered the Carmelite convent five years later. A few months later, Therese became so ill with a fever that people thought she was dying.

The worst part of it for Therese was all the people sitting around her bed staring at her like, she said, "a string of onions." When Therese saw her sisters praying to statue of Mary in her room, Therese also prayed. She saw Mary smile at her and suddenly she was cured. She tried to keep the grace of the cure secret but people found out and badgered her with questions about what Mary was wearing, what she looked like. When she refused to give in to their curiosity, they passed the story that she had made the whole thing up.

Without realizing it, by the time she was eleven years old she had developed the habit of mental prayer. She would find a place between her bed and the wall and in that solitude think about God, life, eternity.

When her other sisters, Marie and Leonie, left to join religious orders (the Carmelites and Poor Clares, respectively), Therese was left alone with her last sister Celine and her father. Therese tells us that she wanted to be good but that she had an odd way of going about. This spoiled little Queen of her father's wouldn't do housework. She thought if she made the beds she was doing a great favor!

Every time Therese even imagined that someone was criticizing her or didn't appreciate her, she burst into tears. Then she would cry because she had cried! Any inner wall she built to contain her wild emotions crumpled immediately before the tiniest comment.

Therese wanted to enter the Carmelite convent to join Pauline and Marie but how could she convince others that she could handle the rigors of Carmelite life, if she couldn't handle her own emotional outbursts? She had prayed that Jesus would help her but there was no sign of an answer.

On Christmas day in 1886, the fourteen-year-old hurried home from church. In France, young children left their shoes by the hearth at Christmas, and then parents would fill them with gifts. By fourteen, most children outgrew this custom. But her sister Celine didn't want Therese to grow up. So they continued to leave presents in "baby" Therese's shoes.

As she and Celine climbed the stairs to take off their hats, their father's voice rose up from the parlor below. Standing over the shoes, he sighed, "Thank goodness that's the last time we shall have this kind of thing!"

Therese froze, and her sister looked at her helplessly. Celine knew that in a few minutes Therese would be in tears over what her father had said. But the tantrum never came. Something incredible had happened to Therese. Jesus had come into her heart and done what she could not do herself. He had made her more sensitive to her father's feelings than her own. She swallowed her tears, walked slowly down the stairs, and exclaimed over the gifts in the shoes, as if she had never heard a word her father said. The following year she entered the convent. In her autobiography she referred to this Christmas as her "conversion."

Therese be known as the Little Flower but she had a will of steel. When the superior of the Carmelite convent refused to take Therese because she was so young, the formerly shy little girl went to the bishop. When the bishop also said no, she decided to go over his head, as well.

Her father and sister took her on a pilgrimage to Rome to try to get her mind off this crazy idea. Therese loved it. It was the one time when being little worked to her advantage! Because she was young and small she could run everywhere, touch relics and tombs without being yelled at. Finally they went for an audience with the Pope. They had been forbidden to speak to him but that didn't stop Therese. As soon as she got near him, she begged that he let her enter the Carmelite convent. She had to be carried out by two of the guards!

But the Vicar General who had seen her courage was impressed and soon Therese was admitted to the Carmelite convent that her sisters Pauline and Marie had already joined. Her romantic ideas of convent life and suffering soon met up with reality in a way she had never expected. Her father suffered a series of strokes that left him affected not only physically but mentally. When he began hallucinating and grabbed for a gun as if going into battle, he was taken to an asylum for the insane. Horrified, Therese learned of the humiliation of the father she adored and admired and of the gossip and pity of their so-called friends. As a cloistered nun she couldn't even visit her father.

This began a horrible time of suffering when she experienced such dryness in prayer that she stated "Jesus isn't doing much to keep the conversation going." She was so grief-stricken that she often fell asleep in prayer. She consoled herself by saying that mothers loved children when they lie asleep in their arms so that God must love her when she slept during prayer.

She knew as a Carmelite nun she would never be able to perform great deeds. " Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love."
She took every chance to sacrifice, no matter how small it would seem. She smiled at the sisters she didn't like. She ate everything she was given without complaining -- so that she was often given the worst leftovers. One time she was accused of breaking a vase when she was not at fault. Instead of arguing she sank to her knees and begged forgiveness. These little sacrifices cost her more than bigger ones, for these went unrecognized by others. No one told her how wonderful she was for these little secret humiliations and good deeds.

When Pauline was elected prioress, she asked Therese for the ultimate sacrifice.
Because of politics in the convent, many of the sisters feared that the family Martin would taken over the convent. Therefore Pauline asked Therese to remain a novice, in order to allay the fears of the others that the three sisters would push everyone else around. This meant she would never be a fully professed nun, that she would always have to ask permission for everything she did. This sacrifice was made a little sweeter when Celine entered the convent after her father's death. Four of the sisters were now together again.

Therese continued to worry about how she could achieve holiness in the life she led.
She didn't want to just be good, she wanted to be a saint. She thought there must be a way for people living hidden, little lives like hers. " I have always wanted to become a saint. Unfortunately when I have compared myself with the saints, I have always found that there is the same difference between the saints and me as there is between a mountain whose summit is lost in the clouds and a humble grain of sand trodden underfoot by passers-by. Instead of being discouraged, I told myself: God would not make me wish for something impossible and so, in spite of my littleness, I can aim at being a saint. It is impossible for me to grow bigger, so I put up with myself as I am, with all my countless faults. But I will look for some means of going to heaven by a little way which is very short and very straight, a little way that is quite new.

" We live in an age of inventions. We need no longer climb laboriously up flights of stairs; in well-to-do houses there are lifts. And I was determined to find a lift to carry me to Jesus, for I was far too small to climb the steep stairs of perfection. So I sought in holy Scripture some idea of what this life I wanted would be, and I read these words: "Whosoever is a little one, come to me." It is your arms, Jesus, that are the lift to carry me to heaven. And so there is no need for me to grow up: I must stay little and become less and less."

She worried about her vocation:
" I feel in me the vocation of the Priest. I have the vocation of the Apostle. Martyrdom was the dream of my youth and this dream has grown with me. Considering the mystical body of the Church, I desired to see myself in them all. Charity gave me the key to my vocation. I understood that the Church had a Heart and that this Heart was burning with love. I understood that Love comprised all vocations, that Love was everything, that it embraced all times and a word, that it was eternal! Then in the excess of my delirious joy, I cried out: O Jesus, my vocation, at last I have found it...My vocation is Love!"

When an antagonist was elected prioress, new political suspicions and plottings sprang up. The concern over the Martin sisters perhaps was not exaggerated. In this small convent they now made up one-fifth of the population. Despite this and the fact that Therese was a permanent novice they put her in charge of the other novices.

Then in 1896, she coughed up blood. She kept working without telling anyone until she became so sick a year later everyone knew it. Worst of all she had lost her joy and confidence and felt she would die young without leaving anything behind. Pauline had already had her writing down her memories for journal and now she wanted her to continue -- so they would have something to circulate on her life after her death.

Her pain was so great that she said that if she had not had faith she would have taken her own life without hesitation. But she tried to remain smiling and cheerful -- and succeeded so well that some thought she was only pretending to be ill. Her one dream as the work she would do after her death, helping those on earth. "I will return," she said. "My heaven will be spent on earth." She died on September 30, 1897 at the age of 24 years old. She herself felt it was a blessing God allowed her to die at exactly that age. She had always felt that she had a vocation to be a priest and felt God let her die at the age she would have been ordained if she had been a man so that she wouldn't have to suffer.

After she died, everything at the convent went back to normal.
One nun commented that there was nothing to say about Therese. But Pauline put together Therese's writings (and heavily edited them, unfortunately) and sent 2000 copies to other convents. But Therese's "little way" of trusting in Jesus to make her holy and relying on small daily sacrifices instead of great deeds appealed to the thousands of Catholics and others who were trying to find holiness in ordinary lives. Within two years, the Martin family had to move because her notoriety was so great and by 1925 she had been canonized.

Therese of Lisieux is one of the patron saints of the missions, not because she ever went anywhere, but because of her special love of the missions, and the prayers and letters she gave in support of missionaries. This is reminder to all of us who feel we can do nothing, that it is the little things that keep God's kingdom growing.

Teresa of the Child (Infant) Jesus V (RM) + (also known as Thérèse of Lisieux, Marie Francoise Martin)
Born in Alençon, France, January 2, 1873; died in Lisieux, Normandy, France, on September 30, 1897; canonized in 1925 by Pope Pius XI, who in 1927 declared patron of foreign missions (together with Saint Francis Xavier); in 1997, she was named a Doctor of the Church by Pope John Paul II.

    "I had offered myself . . . to the Child Jesus as His little plaything. I told Him not to use me as a valuable toy . . . but like a little ball of no value. . . . He let His little ball fall to the ground and He went to sleep. What did He do during His gentle sleep and what became of the abandoned ball? Jesus dreamed He was still playing with His toy, leaving it and taking it up in turns, and then, having seen it roll quite far, He pressed it to His heart, no longer allowing it to ever go far from His little hand."    --St. Thérèse of Lisieux

Thérèse was the ninth child of Louis Martin, a watchmaker, and Azélie-Marie Geurin, a maker of point d'Alençon lace. She was baptized Marie-Fran‡oise- Thérèse. Her mother died in 1877 when Thérèse was five, and the father moved the family to Lisieux, where the children could be overseen by their aunt.

Thérèse's two older sisters became Carmelite nuns at Lisieux. When she was 15, Thérèse told her father that she was so much devoted to Jesus that she wished to do the same but the Carmelites and her bishop thought that she was too young. A few months later during a pilgrimage to Rome for the jubilee of Pope Leo XIII, she met the pope. As she knelt before him, she broke the rule of silence and asked him, "In honor of your jubilee, allow me to enter Carmel at fifteen. . . ." The pope was impressed by her fervor, but upheld the decision to make her wait.

At the end of the year, she was received in the Carmel and took the name Thérèse of the Child Jesus. Her father suffered a nervous breakdown and was institutionalized for three years. Despite her fragile health, she lived the austere life faithfully. At 22, she was appointed assistant novice mistress, although in fact she fulfilled the duties of the novice mistress. After her father died in 1894, the fourth sister joined the convent.

Her prioress Mother Agnes (her blood-sister Pauline) requested the she write her autobiography, L'histoire d'une âme (The story of a soul). She began in 1894 to write the story of her childhood, and in 1897, after finishing it the previous year, she was ordered by the new prioress, Mother Marie de Gonzague, to tell of her life in the convent. Both were combined in the final book, which was revised and circulated to all the Carmelite houses.

Thérèse of Lisieux's autobiography was three sections written specifically to her sister Pauline, her sister Marie, and her prioress. It was edited by Pauline (Sister Agnes) and made to appear as though written to her prioress. Highly edited book sold without notation until 1956. In 1952 the unedited manuscripts were published in their original form. The first English version, translated by Ronald Knox, appeared in 1958 under the title Autobiography of a saint. Thérèse was childlike, not polished, and she was sentimental. Surprisingly, Thérèse found it hard to say the rosary, which should be a comfort to those saints-in-the-making who find it difficult, too.

The appeal of the book was immediate and astonishing:
It had an instant appeal in every language into which it was translated. Her "little way" of searching for simplicity and perfection in everyday tasks became a model for ordinary people. The saint's nine years in the convent were uneventful and 'ordinary,' such as could be paralleled in the lives of numberless other young nuns: the daily life of prayer and work, faults of pride and obstinacy to be overcome, a certain moodiness to be fought, inward and outward trials to be faced. Sister Thérèse stuck bravely to her 'little way' of simple trust in and love for God.

Afflicted with tuberculosis, Thérèse hemorrhaged but endured her illness with patience and fortitude. She wished to join the Carmelites at Hanoi in Indochina at their invitation, but her illness became worse. She moved into the infirmary in 1897 and died at the age of 24. Her last words were, "I love him. My God I love you."
Since her death she has worked innumerable miracles, and her cultus has spread throughout the world. She had become the most popular saint of modern times: Thérèse had shown innumerable people that sainthood is attainable by anybody, however, obscure, lowly, untalented, by doing the small things and discharging daily duties in a perfected spirit of love for God. Her popularity was so great that a large church was built in Lisieux to accommodate the crowds of pilgrims to her shrine.

In contemplating her death, Thérèse said, "I will let fall a shower of roses," meaning favors through her intercession. From this we get the novena of St. Thérèse which requires the praying of 24 Our Fathers each day for nine days in honor of the 24 years of life that God granted the saint. It is said that when the prayer has been heard and answered, the petitioner will receive a rose from the heavenly garden as a sign. For this reason, she is called "the Little Flower of Jesus."

Thérèse's attraction is her utter simplicity. She was no scholar; no great student of the Bible or the Fathers. She simply longed to be a saint, as she believed her person could. "In my little way," she wrote, "are only very ordinary things. Little souls can do everything that I do."

She was full of fun. She drew a coat of arms for herself and Jesus, surmounted with her initials M.F.T., and the divine ones I.H.S. She made superbly innocent and happy jokes. She recorded that she would pretend she was at Nazareth in the Holy Family's home. "If I am offered salad, cold fish, wine or anything with a strong flavor, I give that to good Saint Joseph. I give the warm dishes and the ripest fruits to the Holy Virgin. I give the infant Jesus soup, rice, and jam. But if I am offered a bad meal, I say gaily to myself, 'My little girl, today it is all yours'."

Thérèse was a happy saint. Even as she suffered pain--physical and emotional (being scolded for pulling up flowers rather than weeds in the garden)--she always thanked God for everything (Attwater, von Balthasar, Benedictines, Bentley, Day, Delaney, Gorres, Robo, Sackville-West, Sheppard, White).

In art, St. Thérèse is a Discalced Carmelite holding a bouquet of roses or with roses at her feet. She is the patron saint of foreign missions (due to her prayers for and correspondence with missions), all works for Russia, France, florists and flower growers (White); aviators, and, in 1944, was named copatroness of France with Saint Joan of Arc (Delaney).