Mary the Mother of Jesus Miracles_BLay Saints 
Miracles 100   200   300   400   500   600   700    800   900   1000    1100   1200   1300   1400  1500  1600  1700  1800   1900
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
1601 June 15 St. Germaine Cousin 400 miracles parted waters{see below for more}
1602 Vasilii (Basil), Mangazeia the Holy Martyr Wonderworker, -- was the first saint glorified in the Siberian land
1604 Bd Juvenal Ancina, Bishop Of Saluzzo supernatural gifts and the performance of miracles
1604 October 12 Bd Seraphino famous for charity to the poor and power to heal sickness OFM Cap. (RM)
1607 After his death relics of Patriarch Job were buried by the western doors of the Dormition Church monastery in
        Staritsa Many miracles took place at his grave incorrupt.
1607 May 24  St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi -she is called the "ecstatic saint."
1608 ST ANDREW AVELLINO number of miraculous happenings recorded in life 5 volumes devotional writings published at Naples in 1733-1734 there are others still unprinted
1610 July 13 St. Francis Solano Franciscan Observance priest; survived the plague of 1583 at Granada; in Peru refused to leave shipwrecked slaves baptized them and most survived; 20 years of untiring ministry among Indians and Spanish colonists;. he had the "gift of tongues", for miracles he was called "wonder-worker of the New World"; died at moment of consecration, saying with last breath, "Glory be to God"
1611  January 06 St. John de Ribera Archbishop Valencia Vice-roy deported Moors miracles attributed to intercession
1612 St. Joseph of Leonissa Capuchin Franciscan missionary ministered to captives Feb 4th.
1614 July 18 Camillus de Lellis_Priest. To him the only people that mattered were the sick, for in serving them he was serving God charity was the only thing that made life worth living, the surest way of bringing man closer to God, the only true life-blood of the Church for the first time the patients were separated into different wards according to the nature of their maladie RM
1617 St. Rose of Lima Aug 30 patroness of Latin America and the Philippines miracles followed her death
1617 St. Alphonsus Rodriguez Obedient penintent experienced many spiritual consolations he died in 1617 still a porter saying only one word: Jesus; the reputation he had was summed up once for all by Father Michael Julian in his exclamation, “That brother is not a man—he is an angel!”; Especially in his later years he suffered from long periods of desolation and aridity, and with terrifying regularity he was seized with pain and sickness whenever he set himself formally to meditate. Added to this, he was beset with violent temptations, just as though for years he had not curbed his body by fierce austerities, which now had to be made even more rigorous. But he never despaired, carrying out every duty with exact regularity, knowing that in God’s own time he would be seized again in an ecstasy of love and spiritual delight; trials of ill-health and physical suffering; at last he was practically confined to his bed. But his invincible perseverance and patience brought consolations “to such a degree that he could not raise his eyes in spirit to Jesus and Mary without their being at once before him”.
1618 November 26 St. John Berchmans miracles were attributed to him after his death
1621 ST ROBERT BELLARMINE, ARCHBISHOP OF CAPUA AND CARDINAL,  DOCTOR OF THF CHURCH
1599-1624 Virgin Juliana, Princess of Olshansk Uncovering of the Relics of; Many miracles have been worked by St Juliana, and she helps those who venerate her holy relics with piety and faith
1624 December 17 Saint Dionysius of Zakynthos Bishop of Aegina gift of working miracles
1625 April 10 St. Michael de Sanctis; life of exemplary fervor, devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament; his ecstacies during Mass; many miracles After his death at 35.
1626 Blessed Anne of Saint Barholomew shepherdess the first to join Saint Teresa of Ávila's reformed order sent to France introduce the reform there appointed prioress of the convents at Pontoise and Tours; founded convent at Antwerp for English refugees;  regarded as a saint and was known to be a prophet and a wonder-worker. OCD V (AC) (also known as Anne García)
1637 Blessed Humilis of Bisignano Observant Franciscan lay-brother so widely known or his sanctity that he was called
        to Rome, where both Pope Gregory XV and Urban VIII consulted him OFM (AC)
1639 St. Martin de Porres Dominican  resolving theological problems aerial flights and bilocation
1640 December 09 St. Peter Fourier Founder of the Congregation of Notre Dame
1640 St. Joan de Lestonnac Foundress many miracles different kinds occurred at her tomb
1640 St. John Francis Regis Confessor of the Society of Jesus:  True virtue, or Christian perfection, consists not in
        great or shining actions, but resides in the heart, and appears to great edification, though in the usual train of
        common and religious duties constantly performed fidelity and fervor  June 16 feast
1641 Simon of Volomsk Hosiomartyr received monastic tonsure at the Pinegsk Makariev monastery settled in the
        Volomsk forest, 80 versts to the southwest of Ustiug at the River Kichmenga grace-filled miracles at his relics
1642 Saint Simeon of Verkhoturye led beggars life worked many miracles after death
1645 September 18 St. John de Massias  Dominican monk at Lima austerities, miracles, and visions
1645 May 28 St. Mariana the lily of Quito gift of prophesy
1648 St. Joseph Calasanctius Founder of Scolopi or Piarists
1650 Anna of Kashin died Oct. 2, 1338.   many miracles took place at her tomb
1654 Saint Athanasius III Patelarios, Patriarch of Constantinople, Wonderworker of Lubensk relics  glorified by
        numerous miracles and signs, rest in the city of Kharkov, in the Annunciation cathedral church.
1654 September 09 St Peter Claver, SJ Priest unable to abolish the slave trade (RM) Sometimes St Peter would spend almost the whole day in the great square of the city, where the four principal streets met, preaching to all who would stop to listen, he became the apostle of Cartagena as well as of the Negroes, and in so huge a work was aided by God with those gifts that particularly pertain to apostles, of miracles, of prophecy, and of reading hearts.
1656 September 15 Saint Joseph the New traveled to Mount Athos, tonsured at Pantokrator Monastery; worked many miracles attained unceasing prayer of the heart, receiving from God gift of tears, healing the sick and the crippled; relics remained incorrupt.
1660 March 15 St. Louise de Marillac Sisters of Charity caring for sick poor neglected patron saint of social workers
Lutétiæ Parisiórum sanctæ Ludovícæ de Marillac, víduæ Le Gras, Societátis Puellárum a Caritáte una cum sancto Vincéntio a Paulo Fundatrícis, egénis sublevándis addictíssimæ, quam Pius Papa Undécimus Sanctárum fastis accénsuit.
 
At Paris, the birthday of St. Louise de Marillac, a widow of Le Gras, co-founder with St. Vincent de Paul of the Society of the Daughters of Charity.  Outstanding for her virtues and miracles, her name was inscribed on the roll of the saints by Pope Pius XI.
1663 September 18 St. Joseph of Cupertino b.1603 levitating at prayer; temptations; chains
1666 Blessed Margaret of Amelia Benedictine abbess many mystical gifts OSB V (PC)
1667  The Child SchemaMonk Bogolep july 24 was the son of a Moscow nobleman Yakov Lukich Umakov and his wife Ekatarina Numerous miracles of healing through the prayers of the holy SchemaMonk Bogolep; the holy lad had repeatedly appeared to many either in sleep, or awake while walking along the river bank or coming down the hill 
1671 Blessed Anthony Grassi devotion Our Lady of Loreto outstanding confessor gift reading consciences & future
1679 St. John Kemble 1/ 40 Martyrs of England and Wales; several miracles; annual pilgrimage uninterrupted since martyrdom; studied at Douai ordained 1625; falsely charged in the Titus Qates Plot and condemned for being Catholic
1679 August 27 David Lewis, SJ Priest Rome spiritual director for English college alias Charles Baker farmhouse at Cwm (Monnow Valley) headquarters for 31 years;  a handkerchief dipped in his blood had been the occasion of the cure of an epileptic child and of other miracles.
1688 Saint Elisha of Suma was a monk at the Solovky monastery, occupied with weaving fishing nets. Before his death he became a schemamonk. In 1688 miracles began from the saint's grave in a crypt in the Nikolsk church of the city of Suma, Archangelsk diocese.
1690 St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Apostle of the Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus; France of the seventeenth century, love of God had gone cold, on the one hand because of widespread rebellion and sinfulness, on the other because of the numbing influence of Jansenism, which presented God as not loving all mankind alike. And to rekindle that love there flourished, between 1625 and 1690, three saints, John Eudes, Claud La Colombière, and Margaret-Mary Alacoque, who between them brought and taught to the Church, in the form that we have had it ever since, devotion to our divine Lord in His Sacred Heart, “the symbol of that boundless love which moved the Word to take flesh, to institute the Holy Eucharist, to take our sins upon Himself, and, dying on the cross, to offer Himself as a victim and a sacrifice to the eternal Father.”
1669-1739 Bl. Angelus Capuchin of Acri many miracles of healing gifts prophecy bilocation see into men's souls

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.

1601 St. Germaine Cousin  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.
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. 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.
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.

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.
Prayer:   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
1602 Vasilii (Basil), Mangazeia the Holy Martyr Wonderworker, -- was the first saint glorified in the Siberian land.
He accepted a martyr's death on 4 April 1602, and from the mid-XVII Century he is deeply venerated for manifold manifestations of grace in help of infirmities, in sorrow and in desperate straits.
Blessed Vasilii was the son of a not-rich inhabitant of Yaroslavl', Feodor by name, and was taken by a certain rich Yaroslavl' merchant to a place for the selling of his wares in sub-polar Mangazeia -- one of the first Russian cities in Siberia.
Vasilii strictly fulfilled the Christian commandments. From his early years his integrity was obvious to all. Meekness and humility were his finery, and his heart was filled with faith in God and by piety. Love for prayer impelled him during time of Divine-services to leave off with mundane concerns and to go to the holy church.
The devout youth just barely turned age 19, when the All-Supreme, "looking out for his virtue, did intend to summon him to eternal blessedness, the which to attain from this temporal life is impossible otherwise, than by the narrow and afflicted path of an external testing".
As the Church tradition testifies, one time, when Blessed Vasilii was at prayer in church during the Paschal matins, thieves plundered the wares of his master. An explanation was demanded of Vasilii. Despite the many shouts of his master, Righteous Vasilii remained in church until the end of the Divine-services. His money-loving master, at the instigation of the devil, suspected Vasilii of being an accomplice in the crime and upon his return from the church he was subjected to insults and beatings. The guiltless youth answered his tormentor: "I have in truth taken none of thine goods". Then the master led Vasilii off to the city military-commander, who subjected the sufferer to new cruel torments. The merchant, enraged at the patient silence of Vasilii, in anger struck him with a ring of ware-house keys, and from this blow Blessed Vasilii died.
The body of the innocent martyr was put in a grave and without Christian burial was committed to the earth, "where it is duly moist from water". But the All-Mighty Lord after the passage of 47 years willed for it to appear from the bosom of the earth and to be glorified by many miracles.
Saint Vasilii many a time helped lost and danger-threatened travelers and fur-hunters; he healed palsy, blindness, and various other maladies; through the prayers of mothers he healed children, and preserved the despondent from suicide. There have been preserved copies of the Life of Saint Vasilii (XVII-XIX Cent.) that testify about the abundant manifestations of grace through prayers to the Mangazeia wonderworker.
In 1659 with the blessing of the Tobolsk metropolitan, Simeon, there was made an inspection of the relics of the saint, and from that time there began to spread veneration of him as one truly God-pleasing. In 1670 with the construction of the Turokhansk monastery of the Holy Trinity, priestmonk Tikhon transferred the relics of Righteous Vasilii into the monastery founded by him. In 1719 this monastery was visited by the great Siberian missionary -- the Tobolsk metropolitan, Philothei (Leschinsky), and he venerated the relics of the saint and compiled a canon to him. Towards the end of the first third of the XVIII Century there were compiled three services and several discourses on the day of memory of Righteous Vasilii.
The veneration of the God-pleasing saint contributed not a little to the conversion from paganism to Orthodoxy of the Tungus, Evenki and Yurak peoples. The peoples of the North turn to Saint Vasilii as a patron saint for the fur-hunter tradesmen.
One of the first icons of Saint Vasilii was written by a novice of the Tobolsk metropolitan Pavel -- the painter Luke, on the occasion of his miraculous deliverance from death. On the holy icons Saint Vasilii is depicted "with a boyish face, and small of stature", "in image of reverence, eyes having a sparkle, gazing intently, and the hair of his head dark blond". On several of the icons of the saint the Trinity Turukhansk monastery is depicted, and over it on a mount is Vasilii praying -- in but a shirt and without footwear. Sometimes also on the icons was depicted the suffering of the saint at the hands of the merchant and military-commander. Depictions of Saint Vasilii of Mangazeia are known of at the Vladimir cathedral in Kiev, at Novgorod, and at Moscow.
One of the first days of memory of the saint was on 22 March, when Holy Church remembers a saint of same name with him -- the PriestMartyr Basil of Ancyra. Afterwards, at the Turukhansk Trinity monastery his memory began to be celebrated on 10 May, in honour of remembrance of the transfer of his relics from Mangazeia to Turukhan. An earlier commemoration of Righteous Vasilii of Manganzeia was done under 6 June, on the day of appearance of his relics.
1604 Bd Juvenal Ancina, Bishop Of Saluzzo supernatural gifts and the performance of miracles
On October 19, 1545, was born at Fossano in Piedmont the first child of Durando Ancina, of a distinguished family of Spain, and his wife Lucy. The boy was baptized John Juvenal, in honour of St Juvenal of Nami, patron of Fossano. He was a pious youth, but at first he had no intention of entering upon other than a secular career; his father proposed that he should be a physician and sent Juvenal at the age of fourteen to begin his studies at the University of Montpellier. From thence he went to the school of Mondovi in Savoy and, after his father's death, to the University of Padua; he was a brilliant student, and when only about twenty-four took his doctorate both in philosophy and medicine at Turin.  Here he was appointed to the chair of medicine in 1569   and he soon had an extensive private practice, especially among the poor, because he treated them free of charge.  It was noticed that Juvenal never took part in games or recreations ; the only relaxations that he allowed himself were chess and the writing of verse in Latin and Italian
   He liked to deal with great affairs of church and state, and publicly declaimed his own ode on the death of Pope St Pius V in 1572.  He continued to write verses and hymns all through his life, and composed two epigrams on St Thomas More.  About this same year he was assisting at a solemn Mass of requiem in a church at Savigliano, when he was suddenly overwhelmed by the tremendous message of the Dies irae he must have heard the hymn often, and as a physician he was very familiar with death, but now he realized as never before that after death comes judgement.   Hitherto his life had been blameless, but now he saw that this was not enough; God required something more of him, though what it was he did not yet know.  He gave himself more than ever to prayer and meditation, trained himself in detachment from temporal things, and accepted the first opportunity that came along to relinquish his post at Turin. This was when Count Frederick Madrucci, ambassador of the duke of Savoy to the Holy See, asked him to become his personal private physician.

  Juvenal arrived in Rome in 1575, and took a lodging near the church of Ara Cueli, in a spot which appealed to him because it was, "close to the prisons, the
hospital, a multitude of the poor, and the prison for young criminals ".  His official work was not arduous and he set himself to the serious study of theology, having for his master St Robert Bellarmine himself; he became acquainted with Don Caesar Baronius, and by him was introduced to St Philip Neri, and so frequented the most learned and most devout society of Rome.  Thus he lived for three years, becoming ever more attracted to the formal religious life, but uncertain what definite step to take.   He received minor orders, attended regularly the exercises at the Oratory, and put himself under the direction of St Philip, on whose advice he accepted a benefice at Cherasco in Piedmont ; but almost at once legal proceedings were taken to dispossess him and he relinquished it without contesting the suit.  The fact was that he was disturbed in mind by the example of a leading lawyer at Turin, who had become a Carthusian monk at Pavia, and thought he saw in that an indication of what he must do.   His brother, John Matthew, with whom Juvenal kept up an intimate correspondence from Rome, was of one mind with him, and eventually they together consulted St Philip Neri.  He unhesitatingly dissuaded them from the Carthusian life, as being unsuited to their temperament and needs, and recommended to them the newly founded Congregation of the Oratory, over which he himself presided.    Juvenal at first dissented, wanting more austerity and solitude, but submitted to his director and on October 1, 1578, was admitted with his brother into the congregation.    Baronius said it had that day received a "second St Basil ".

  When Bd Juvenal had lived four years at the Oratory he was ordained priest, and in 1578 he was sent to the Oratory at Naples, the first house of his congregation to be founded outside Rome.    He was appointed to preach at once, and after a few sermons wrote to his brother, " These Neapolitans require very beautiful things, and they must be substantial as well.    Ordinary things are no use here, where even the cobblers can compose sermons, and make a profession of it.    One has to keep one's wits about one."  But Juvenal succeeded in pleasing even the fastidious Neapolitans, and they remembered the nickname that had been given him by some wit in Rome, "the son of thunder"; " By the grace of God the people are satisfied with me ", he writes.  One of his most sensational conversions was that of Giovannella Sanchia, a singer who was known in the city as "the Siren"-and not solely on account of her singing. She was so touched by hearing him speak of the beauty of holiness that she made a vow never again to sing any vain, improper or profane song, but only sacred songs. Bd Juvenal was very fond of music; we are told that " he wished Vespers to be sung with the best music, or if that were not attainable, with Gregorian chant faultlessly executed "-a critical distinction that is not acceptable to everybody.  He therefore took a great deal of care with the music at the Naples Oratory, not simply from the point of view of the decencies of Christian worship and the honour due to Almighty God, but also because he had a firm belief in its good effect on the soul ; he got hold of all the latest popular airs and wrote devout words to them (whether or not to be sung in the Oratory church does not appear) and published a hymn-book with tunes, called the Temple of Harmony.  One of the Oratorians, Father Borla, took up his quarters at the Hospital for Incurables, which for long had been grossly neglected.    Bd Juvenal supported him and enlisted the interest and assistance of the Neapolitan ladies, whom he formed into a confraternity of " Kind Ladies" ; to ensure that the object for which they were banded together should not be lost sight of, it had its headquarters not at a church but in the hospital itself.  His own material charity was boundless; its most unusual manifestation (but a very useful one) was to have a deposit account with a birber, to whom he sent any poor man whom he saw with unkempt hair or beard; and the barber was under orders when he met any such to use his skill on them and " put it down to Father Juvenal ".  How much he was respected and loved by the whole city he betrays himself in a letter written to St Philip, when convalescent from a serious illness. He obediently accepted the comforts that were provided for him by his brethren and took a reasonable pleasure in them.
   About the year 1595, when he had been in Naples nearly ten years, Juvenal was tormented on the one hand by a desire for the cloistered and contemplative life, and on the other by the sight of so much wretchedness and wickedness around him which he could do relatively little to alleviate and reform.   But in 1596 Baronius was made a cardinal and the fathers of the Roman Oratory recalled Bd Juvenal from Naples to fill the vacant place in their community.  Greatly fearing what responsible dignities might be thrust on him in Rome, he obeyed at once, to the great grief of the Neapolitans;  he carried on quietly for a year and then suddenly three episcopal sees fell vacant.  Bd Juvenal had good reason to think that he would be preferred to one of them; he went out from the Oratory one day and did not return, and after hiding for a time in the city fled from Rome.  He spent the next five months wandering from place to place.  At San Severino he received an imperative order to come back to Rome, and found when he got there that the danger of his being made bishop was, for the moment, over. During the next four years he worked with great energy on behalf of the Piedmontese, and met and entered into intimate friendship with St Francis de Sates.
   In 1602 the duke of Savoy asked Clement VIII to fill the two vacant sees in his dominions, and the pope personally charged Bd Juvenal to accept the charge of one of them.  "It is time to obey and not to fly ", said he, and on September 1 was consecrated bishop of Saluzzo by Cardinal Borghese. His troubles began at once.  When he went to take possession of his see he found that, owing to certain actions of the duke of Savoy, he could do so only either by compromising the rights of the Church or breaking with his prince. So he withdrew to Fossano, wrote a pastoral letter for his diocese, and devoted himself to good works for the benefit of his native town; supernatural gifts and the performance of miracles were, not for the first time, freely attributed to him.   After four months he was able to take possession of his cathedral, and one of his first acts was to observe the "Forty Hours" therein, for the first time in Piedmont. Towards the end of 1603 Bd Juvenal set out on a visitation of his diocese.  Supernatural happenings again attended his progress, especially by way of healing and prophecy-Juvenal had at all times a disconcerting habit of correctly foretelling people's approaching death.  Both before and during this visitation he had foretold his own, and he had only been back in Saluzzo a few weeks when his prophecy came true.
   There was in the town a certain friar who was carrying on an intrigue with a nun ; this came to the ears of Bd Juvenal, who reasoned gently with them both but warned them that if their conduct was continued he would use strong measures to stop it.  On the feast of St Bernard he went to officiate for and to dine with the Conventual Franciscans, it being the name-day of their church, and the criminal friar took the opportunity to poison the bishop's wine. Before Vespers he was taken ill; four days later he had to retire to bed; and by the dawn of August 31 Bd Juvenal Ancina was dead.  "He died ", wrote a Carthusian monk, "for virtue, for religion, for Christ, and therefore a martyr's death " ; like St John the Baptist, he "received martyrdom as the reward of fearless speech".      Marvels attended his lying-in-state and burial, Masses of the Holy Ghost were celebrated rather than requiems, and the cause of his beatification was introduced at Rome in 1624; this received several set-backs and postponements and was not finally achieved till 1869, when the Vatican Council had just assembled.
A full Life of Bd John Juvenal Ancina, with an admirable portrait, was published by Fr Charles Bowden in 1869.  The author in his preface refers to the life by F. Bacci (1671) as his principal authority.  There are other modern lives, in French, by Ingold (1890), Richard (1891), and Duver (1905). In a review of Fr Duver's book in the Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xxviii (1909), p. 243, it is pointed out that some of the most valuable sources for the history of the beato have never been utilized, notably a memoir written by Fr B. Scaraggi, who had his work revised by G. M. Ancina, a brother of the holy bishop.
1604 Seraphino famous for charity to the poor and power to heal sickness OFM Cap. (RM)
(also known as Seraphinus, Serafino) Born at Montegranaro, Italy, in 1540; canonized 1767; feast day formerly October 12. Seraphino took the Capuchin habit as a lay-brother in 1556 and spent the whole of his uneventful life at the friary of Ascoli-Piceno. He is said to have been the spiritual advisor of high ecclesiastical and civil dignitaries.
He was famous for his charity to the poor and his power to heal sickness (Attwater, Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
1604 St. Seraphinus Capuchin spiritual gifts wisdom spiritual advisor
Asculi, in Picéno, sancti Seraphíni Confessóris, ex Ordine Minórum Capuccinórum, vitæ sanctimónia et humilitáte conspícui; quem Clemens Décimus tértius, Póntifex Máximus, Sanctórum fastis adscrípsit.
    At Ascoli in Piceno, St. Seraphinus, confessor, of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, distinguished by his humility and holiness of life.  He was enrolled among the saints by the Sovereign Pontiff Clement XIII.
also called Seraphino. Born at Montegranaro, Italy, in 1540, he worked as a shepherd in his youth and was reportedly much abused by his older brother. At the age of sixteen he entered the Capuchins as a lay brother at Ascoli Piceno, earning a reputation for his holiness. He was graced with considerable spiritual gifts and wisdom, as well as devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. Seraphinus gave counsel to ecclesiastical and secular leaders. He was canonized in 1767.
Seraphinus (Serafino) of Ascoli-Piceno, OFM Cap. (RM) Born at Montegranaro, Italy, 1540; died 1604; canonized in 1767. At the age of 16, Saint Seraphinus took the Capuchin habit as a lay-brother. He spent the whole of his uneventful life during good works at the Ascoli-Piceno friary, where he became famous for his charity to the poor and his power to heal sickness. He is also said to have been the spiritual advisor to dignitaries of both the church and the state (Attwater, Benedictines, Encyclopedia).

St. Seraphin of Montegranaro (1540-1604)
Born into a poor Italian family, young Seraphin lived the life of a shepherd and spent much of his time in prayer. Mistreated for a time by his older brother after the two of them had been orphaned, Seraphin became a Capuchin Franciscan at age 16 and impressed everyone with his humility and generosity.
Serving as a lay brother, Seraphin imitated St. Francis in fasting, clothing and courtesy to all. He even mirrored Francis' missionary zeal, but Seraphin's superiors did not judge him to be a candidate for the missions.

Faithful to the core, Seraphin spent three hours in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament daily. The poor who begged at the friary door came to hold a special love for him. Despite his uneventful life, he reached impressive spiritual heights and has had miracles attributed to him.

Seraphin died on October 12, 1604, and was canonized in 1767.
Comment: For many people these days, work has no significance beyond providing the money they need to live. How many share the belief expressed in the Book of Genesis that we are to cooperate with God in caring for the earth? The kind of work Seraphin did may not strike us as earth-shattering. The work was ordinary; the spirit in which he did it was not.

Quote: In Brothers of Men, Rene Voillaume of the Little Brothers of Jesus speaks about ordinary work and holiness: "Now this holiness [of Jesus] became a reality in the most ordinary circumstances of life, those of work, of the family and the social life of a village, and this is an emphatic affirmation of the fact that the most obscure and humdrum human activities are entirely compatible with the perfection of the Son of God." Christians are convinced, he says, "that the evangelical holiness proper to a child of God is possible in the ordinary circumstances of a man who is poor and obliged to work for his living."
1607  St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi -she is called the "ecstatic saint."
Mystical ecstasy is the elevation of the spirit to God in such a way that the person is aware of this union with God and both internal and external senses are detached from the sensible world. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi was so generously given this special gift of God that she is called the "ecstatic saint."
She was born into a noble family in Florence in 1566. The normal course would have been for Catherine de Pazzi to have married wealth and enjoyed comfort, but she chose to follow her own path. At nine she learned to meditate from the family confessor. She made her first Communion at the then-early age of 10 and made a vow of virginity one month later.
When 16, she entered the Carmelite convent in Florence because she could receive Communion daily there.
Catherine had taken the name Mary Magdalene and had been a novice for a year when she became critically ill. Death seemed near so her superiors let her make her profession of vows from a cot in the chapel in a private ceremony. Immediately after, she fell into an ecstasy that lasted about two hours. This was repeated after Communion on the following 40 mornings. These ecstasies were rich experiences of union with God and contained marvelous insights into divine truths.
As a safeguard against deception and to preserve the revelations, her confessor asked Mary Magdalene to dictate her experiences to sister secretaries. Over the next six years, five large volumes were filled. The first three books record ecstasies from May of 1584 through Pentecost week the following year. This week was a preparation for a severe five-year trial. The fourth book records that trial and the fifth is a collection of letters concerning reform and renewal. Another book, Admonitions, is a collection of her sayings arising from her experiences in the formation of women religious.
The extraordinary was ordinary for this saint. She read the thoughts of others and predicted future events. During her lifetime, she appeared to several persons in distant places and cured a number of sick people.
It would be easy to dwell on the ecstasies and pretend that Mary Magdalene only had spiritual highs. This is far from true. It seems that God permitted her this special closeness to prepare her for the five years of desolation that followed when she experienced spiritual dryness. She was plunged into a state of darkness in which she saw nothing but what was horrible in herself and all around her. She had violent temptations and endured great physical suffering. She died in 1607 at 41, and was canonized in 1669.
Comment:  Intimate union, God's gift to mystics, is a reminder to all of us of the eternal happiness of union he wishes to give us. The cause of mystical ecstasy in this life is the Holy Spirit, working through spiritual gifts. The ecstasy occurs because of the weakness of the body and its powers to withstand the divine illumination, but as the body is purified and strengthened, ecstasy no longer occurs. On various aspects of ecstasy, see Teresa of Avila, Interior Castle, Chapter 5, and John of the Cross, Dark Night of the Soul, 2:1-2.
Quote:   There are many people today who see no purpose in suffering. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi discovered saving grace in suffering. When she entered religious life she was filled with a desire to suffer for Christ during the rest of her life. The more she suffered, the greater grew her desire for it. Her dying words to her fellow sisters were: "The last thing I ask of you—and I ask it in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—is that you love him alone, that you trust implicitly in him and that you encourage one another continually to suffer for the love of him."
1608 ST ANDREW AVELLINO number of miraculous happenings recorded in life 5 volumes devotional writings published at Naples in 1733-1734 there are others still unprinted
Neápoli, in Campánia, natális sancti Andréæ Avellini, Clérici Reguláris et Confessóris, sanctitáte et salútis proximórum procurándæ stúdio præcélebris, quem, miráculis clarum, Clemens Undécimus, Póntifex Máximus, Sanctórum catálogo adscrípsit.
    At Naples in Campania, the birthday of St. Andrew Avellini, Cleric Regular and confessor, celebrated for his sanctity, his zeal in procuring the salvation of souls, and renowned for his miracles.  He was inscribed on the catalogue of the Saints by Pope Clement XI.
Native of Castronuovo  a small town in the kingdom of Naples, and born in 1521, His parents gave him the name of Lancelot at baptism. He determined to enter the clerical state, and was sent to Naples to study civil and canon law. Being there promoted to the degree of doctor and to the priesthood, he began to practise in the ecclesiastical courts. This employment, however, too much engrossed his thoughts and dissipated his mind; and, having while pleading a cause caught himself in a lie, and reading that same evening the words of Holy Scripture, The mouth that belieth killeth the soul, he resolved to give himself up entirely to the spiritual care of souls. This he did, and with such prudence and ability that in 1556 Cardinal Scipio Ribiba entrusted to him the task of trying to reform the nuns of Sant' Arcangelo at Baiano, This convent had an evil reputation, and the efforts of the young priest were ill received both by some of the nuns and certain men who used to visit them. These did not stop short of physical violence, but Don Lancelot's strivings and willingness to give his life for the good of souls met with little success, for eventually the convent had to be suppressed.

Don Lancelot in the meantime determined to put himself under a rule, and joined the congregation of clerks regular called Theatines, which had been founded at Naples by St Cajetan thirty years before; his novice-master was Bd John Marinoni. Lancelot himself was now thirty-five, and on changing his way of life he also changed his name, to Andrew. He remained in the Theatine house at Naples for fourteen years, his goodness, spiritual fervour and exactness in discipline causing him to be employed as master of novices, and then elected superior.

Among those whom he trained was Father Lorenzo Scupoli, author of the Spiritual Combat, who became a clerk regular when he was forty. The fine qualities of St Andrew Avellino and his zeal for a better priesthood were recognized by many reforming  prelates in Italy, particularly Cardinal Paul Aresio and St Charles Borromeo. The last-named in 1570 asked the provost general of the Theatines to send St Andrew into Lombardy, where he founded a house of his congregation at Milan and became a close friend and counsellor of St Charles. He then founded another house, at Piacenza, where his preaching converted several noble ladies, induced others to enter the religious life, and generally turned the city upside down, so that complaints were made to the Duke of Parma, who sent for him. St Andrew was able to satisfy the duke, and so impressed his wife that she asked him to be her spiritual director.

In 1582 St Andrew returned to Naples, and preached with great fruit in the conversion of sinners and the disabusing of the minds of the people of the beginnings of Protestant error which had penetrated even into southern Italy. A number of miraculous happenings are recorded in his life, including the case of a man who denied the real presence of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. This man is said to have gone to holy communion out of human respect and fear, but removed the Host from his mouth and wrapped It up in a handkerchief, which he subsequently found stained with blood. In remorse and terror he went to St Andrew, who published the story but refused to divulge the penitent man's name lest he should be proceeded against for sacrilege.

On November 10, 1608, being in his eighty-eighth year, St Andrew Avellino had an attack of apoplexy just as he was beginning to celebrate Mass, and died that same afternoon. His body was laid out in the crypt of the church of St Paul, where it was visited by large crowds of the faithful, many of whom snipped off locks of his hair to be carried away as relics. In so doing they seem to have made cuts in the skin of his face. The next morning, thirty-six hours after death, these cuts were seen to have exuded blood, and as the body of the saint was still warm it is natural to suppose that he was not really dead. Further incisions were made by physicians, and for another thirty-six hours blood continued to trickle from them. This blood was, of course, carefully kept, and four days later it was seen to be bubbling; in subsequent years it is recorded that, on the anniversary of St Andrew's death, the solidified blood liquefied, after the manner of that of St Januarius in the same city of Naples. St Andrew was canonized in 1712. During the process the phenomena connected with his blood were proposed as a miracle, but the evidence was regarded as inadequate. Mgr Pamphili (afterwards Pope Innocent X) deposed that a phial of the solid blood in bis care failed to liquefy on any occasion.
The Bollandists, in the Acta Sanctorum, November, vol. iv, virtually apologize for the limited space allotted to this saint, but, as they point out, the large numbers of lives published in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries have made him very well known, and have left no particular problems to elucidate. Besides a clear but concise summary of the principal incidents of his career and a very full bibliography of the printed literature, they have edited a valuable manuscript memoir in Italian by Father Valerio Pagani, the intimate friend of St Andrew, dealing more particularly with the saint's connection with the Theatines. In the Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xli (1923), pp. 139-148, there had previously been printed some interesting details regarding the" conversion" of St Andrew. Most of the information that comes to us is contributed by contemporaries. In 1609 Bishop del Tufo published a Historia della Religione de' Padri Cherici Regolari in which he included a narrative of the saint's early days; while a formal biography by Father Castaldo appeared in 1613. Other Italian lives, e.g, by Baggatta, Bolvito, de Maria, are easily met with. On the blood phenomena mentioned above see The Month for May 1926, pp 437-443· In the Dictionnaire de Spiritualite, vol. i (1937), cc. 551-554, G. de Luca has contributed an article dealing mainly with St Andrew's devotional writings. Five volumes of these were published at Naples in 1733-1734, but there are others still unprinted.
1609 St. John Leonardi miracles and religious fervor founder
Romæ sancti Joánnis Leonárdi, Confessóris, Fundatóris Congregatiónis Clericórum Regulárium a Matre Dei, labóribus et miráculis clari, cujus ópera Missiónes a Propagánda Fide institútæ sunt.
    At Rome, St. John Leonard, confessor, founder of the Congregation of Clerks Regular of the Mother of God, renowned for his labours and miracles, and by whose zeal were begun missions for the propagation of the faith.

John Leonardi was born at Diecimo, Italy. He became a pharmacist's assistant at Lucca, studied for the priesthood, and was ordained in 1572. He gathered a group of laymen about him to work in hospitals and prisons, became interested in the reforms proposed by the Council of Trent, and proposed a new congregation of secular priests. Great opposition to his proposal developed, but in 1583, his association (formally designated Clerks Regular of the Mother of God in 1621) was recognized by the bishop of Lucca with the approval of Pope Gregory XIII.
  John was aided by St. Philip Neri and St. Joseph Calasanctius, and in 1595, the congregation was confirmed by Pope Clement VIII, who appointed John to reform the monks of Vallombrosa and Monte Vergine. He died in Rome on October 9th of plague contracted while he was ministering to the stricken. He was venerated for his miracles and religious fervor and is considered one of the founders of the College for the Propagation of the Faith. He was canonized in 1938 by Pope Pius XI
.

1609 St John Leonardi, Founder of The Clerks Regular of The Mother Of God

John Leonardi was a young assistant to an apothecary in the city of Lucca in the middle of the sixteenth century. He was of a religious disposition, became a member of a confraternity founded by Bd John Colombini, and after a time began to study privately with the object of receiving holy orders.  After he had been ordained he was very active in the works of the ministry, especially in hospitals and prisons, and he attracted several young laymen to assist him. Their headquarters was at the church of St Mary Della Rosa in Lucca, and they lived in common in a house near by.
    It was a time when the Council of Trent and the ravages of Protestantism had filled serious Catholics with a passion for reform, and John Leonardi and his followers, several of whom were studying for the priesthood, soon projected a new congregation of secular priests. When this scheme was spread abroad it at once provoked powerful opposition in the Lucchesan republic. This opposition was political, and rather difficult to understand, but was formidable enough to keep the founder an exile from Lucca for practically the rest of his life except when he was able to visit there under special papal protection.
   In 1580 he secretly acquired the church of Santa Maria Cortelandini (or Nera) for the use of his followers, who three years later were recognized officially by the bishop of Lucca, with the approval of Pope Gregory XIII, as an association of secular priests with simple vows (they were granted their present name and solemn vows in 1621). St John received the encouragement and, help of St Philip Neri, who gave up to him his premises at San Girolamo della Carità, together with the care of his cat; and of St Joseph Calasanctius, with whose congregation his own was fused for a short time.
    Father Leonardi and his priests became so great a power for good in Italy that Clement VIII confirmed their congregation in 1595. This pope had a very great regard for the character and capabilities of St John, and appointed him commissary apostolic to superintend the reform of the monks of Vallumbrosa and Monte Vergine. He obtained from Clement the church of Santa Maria in Portico, and Cardinal Baronius was made cardinal protector of the congregation.

St John’s miracles and his zeal for the spread of the faith are referred to by the Roman Martyrology, but the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God have had only one house outside of Italy. By the deliberate policy of their founder they never had more than fifteen churches, and they form today only a very small congregation. The saint was associated with Mgr J. B. Vives in the first planning of a seminary for foreign missions, instituted by Pope Urban VIII in 1627 as the College de Propaganda Fide.

   John Leonardi died on October 9, 1609, from disease caught when tending the plague-stricken. He was canonized in 1938, and his feast was added to the general calendar in 1941.
More than one life of this saint has been published. See, for example, L. Marracci, Vita del P. Giovanni Leonardi, Lucehese (1673) A. Bianchini, Vita del B. Giovanni Leonardi (1861); and two works by F. Ferraironi (1938), on St John as a founder and in connection with the Urban College. His cause is frequently referred to by Prosper Lambertini (Bene­dict XIV) in bk ii of his great work, De beatificatione.
On St. John Leonardi  "To Oppose the Weeds He Chose to be Good Wheat"
VATICAN CITY, OCT. 7, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today during the general audience in St. Peter's Square.
Dear brothers and sisters! 
The day after tomorrow, Oct. 9, will be the 400th anniversary of the death of St. John Leonardi, founder of the religious order of Clerks Regular of the Mother of God, canonized on April 17, 1938, and chosen patron of pharmacists on Aug. 8, 2006. He is also remembered for his great missionary zeal.

Together with Monsignor Juan Bautista Vives and Jesuit Martin de Funes, he planned and contributed to the establishment of a specific Congregation of the Holy See for the missions, that of Propoganda Fide, and to the future birth of the Pontifical Urbanian Athenaeum "De Propoganda Fide," which in the course of centuries has forged thousands of priests, many of them martyrs, to evangelize peoples. We are speaking, therefore, of a luminous priestly figure, which I am pleased to point out as an example to all presbyters in this Year for Priests. He died in 1609 from influenza contracted while he was giving himself to the care of all those who had been stricken by the epidemic in the Roman quarter of Campitelli.
 
John Leonardi was born in 1541 in Diecimo, in the province of Lucca. The last of seven siblings, his adolescence was sprinkled with rhythms of faith lived in a healthy and industrious family group, as well as the assiduous frequenting of a shop of herbs and medicines in his native town. At age 17 his father enrolled him in a regular course in pharmacy in Lucca, with the aim of making him a future pharmacist, that is, an apothecary, as they were called then. For close to a decade young John Leonardi was vigilant and diligent in following this, but when, according to the norms established by the former Republic of Lucca, he acquired the official recognition that would have allowed him to open his own shop, he began to think if perhaps the moment had not arrived to fulfill a plan that he had always had in his heart.


After mature reflection he decided to direct himself toward the priesthood. And thus, having left the apothecary's pharmacy, and acquired an appropriate theological formation, he was ordained a priest and celebrated his first Mass on the feast of Epiphany of 1572. However, he did not abandon his passion for pharmaceutics because he felt that professional mediation as a pharmacist would allow him to realize fully his vocation of transmitting to men, through a holy life, "the medicine of God," which is Jesus Christ crucified and risen, "measure of all things."
 
Animated by the conviction that, more than any other thing, all human beings need such medicine, St. John Leonardi tried to make the personal encounter with Jesus Christ the fundamental reason of his existence. It is necessary to "start anew from Christ," he liked to repeat very often.

The primacy of Christ over everything became for him the concrete criterion of judgment and action and the generating principle of his priestly activity, which he exercised while a vast and widespread movement of spiritual renewal was under way in the Church, thanks to the flowering of new religious institutes and the luminous witness of saints such as Charles Borromeo, Philip Neri, Ignatius of Loyola, Joseph Calasanzius, Camillus of Lellis and Aloysius Gonzaga.

He dedicated himself with enthusiasm to the apostolate among youth through the Company of Christian Doctrine, gathering around himself a group of young men with whom, on Sept. 1, 1574, he founded the Congregation of Reformed Priests of the Blessed Virgin, subsequently called the Order of Clerks Regular of the Mother of God. He recommended to his disciples to have "before the mind's eye only the honor, service and glory of Christ Jesus Crucified," and, like a good pharmacist, accustomed to giving out potions according to careful measurements, he would add: "Raise your hearts to God a bit more and measure things with him."

 
Moved by apostolic zeal, in May 1605 he sent newly elected Pope Paul V a report in which he suggested the criteria for a genuine renewal of the Church. Observing how it is "necessary that those who aspire to the reform of men's practices must seek especially, and firstly, the glory of God," he added that they should stand out "for their integrity of life and excellence of customs thus, rather than constraining, they gently draw one to reform." Moreover, he observed that "whoever wishes to carry out a serious moral and religious reform must make first of all, like a good doctor, a careful diagnosis of the evils that beset the Church so as to be able to prescribe for each of them the most appropriate remedy." And he noted that "the renewal of the Church must be confirmed as much in leaders as in followers, high and low. It must begin from those who command and be extended to the subjects."

It was because of this that, while soliciting the Pope to promote a "universal reform of the Church," he was concerned with the Christian formation of the people, especially of the young, educating them "from their early years ... in the purity of the Christian faith and in holy practices."
 
Dear brothers and sisters, the luminous figure of this saint invites priests, in the first place, and all Christians, to tend constantly to the "high measure of the Christian life," which is sanctity -- each, of course, according to his own state. In fact, only from fidelity to Christ can genuine ecclesial renewal spring.

In those years, in the cultural and social passage between the 16th and 17th century, the premises of the future contemporary culture began to be delineated, characterized by an undue separation of faith and reason. This has produced among its negative effects the marginalization of God, with the illusion of a possible and total autonomy of man who chooses to live "as if God did not exist." This is the crisis of modern thought, which many times I have had the opportunity to point out and which often leads to a form of relativism.

John Leonardi intuited what the real medicine was for these spiritual evils and he synthesized it in the expression: "Christ first of all," Christ in the center of the heart, in the center of history and of the cosmos. And humanity -- he affirmed forcefully -- needs Christ intensely, because he is our "measure." There is no realm that cannot be touched by his strength; there is no evil that cannot find remedy in him, there is no problem that cannot be solved in him. "Either Christ or nothing!" Here is his prescription for every type of spiritual and social reform.

 
There is another aspect of the spirituality of St. John Leonardi that I would like to highlight. In many circumstances he had to confirm that a living encounter with Christ is realized in his Church: holy but fragile, rooted in history and in a sometimes dark future, where wheat and weeds grow together (cf. Matthew 13:30), but, nevertheless, always the sacrament of salvation. Having a clear awareness that the Church is the field of God (cf. Matthew 13:24), he was not scandalized by her human weaknesses. To oppose the weeds he chose to be good wheat: He decided, that is, to love Christ in the Church and to contribute to render her an ever more transparent sign of him.

He saw the Church with great realism, her human frailty, but also her being "God's field," the instrument of God for the salvation of humanity. And not only this. For love of Christ he worked with alacrity to purify the Church, to render her more beautiful and holy. He understood that every reform is made within the Church and never against the Church.

In this, St. John Leonardi was truly extraordinary and his example is always timely. Every reform certainly involves structures, but in the first place it must be engraved in the hearts of believers. Only the saints, men and women who allow themselves to be guided by the divine Spirit, ready to carry out radical and courageous choices in the light of the Gospel, renew the Church and contribute, in a decisive way, to building a better world.
 
Dear brothers and sisters, St. John Leonardi's existence was always enlightened by the splendor of the "Holy Face" of Jesus, kept and venerated in the Cathedral Church of Lucca, becoming the eloquent symbol and the indisputable synthesis of the faith that animated him. Conquered by Christ like the Apostle Paul, he pointed out to his disciples, and continues to point out to all of us, the Christocentric ideal for which "it is necessary to divest oneself of every self interest and only look to the service of God," having "before the mind's eye only the honor, service and glory of Christ Jesus Crucified."


Along with the face of Christ, he fixed his gaze on the maternal face of Mary. She whom he chose patroness of his order, was for him teacher, sister and mother, and he felt her constant protection. May the example and intercession of this "fascinating man of God" be, particularly in this Year for Priests, a call and encouragement for priests and for all Christians to live their own vocations with passion and enthusiasm. [Translation by ZENIT]
 
[The Pope then greeted pilgrims in several languages. In English, he said:]
 Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This week marks the four hundreth anniversary of the death of Saint John Leonardi, the founder of the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God and a priest whose missionary zeal found expression in the establishment of the congregation of Propoganda Fide. Saint John was born near Lucca, and after training as a pharmacist, became a priest committed to offering "the medicine of God" to the men and women of his time. At a period of great reform and renewal in the life of the Church, he made the crucified Christ the centre of his preaching and the criterion of all his activity. John understood that all true reform is born of fidelity to Christ and love for the Church. It was love for Christ which inspired his efforts to catechize the young, to promote missionary activity and to renew Christian life and practice. Saint John was convinced that Christ is the true measure of man, and so he worked with great realism and zeal to promote holiness and the reform of society. During this Year for Priests, may the figure of this great missionary inspire priests and laity alike to "start anew from Christ" and embrace their vocation with passionate enthusiasm.

I offer a warm welcome to the English-speaking visitors at today’s Audience, including the Sisters and friends of the Congregation of Jesus and the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, celebrating the four hundredth anniversary of their foundation by Mary Ward. My particular greetings go to the groups of faithful from Iraq, from the Archdiocese of Samoa-Apia, and to the Diaconate ordination candidates from the Pontifical North American College accompanied by their families and friends. Upon all of you I invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace!
© Copyright 2009 - Libreria Editrice Vatican

Pontiff Notes Saint's Light in Trying Times
VATICAN CITY, OCT. 18, 2009 (Zenit.org).-
Cardinal, Clerks Regular Remember Giovanni Leonardi
St. Giovanni Leonardi made the light of Christ shine in difficult times, Benedict XVI said in a message read today at a Mass to mark the 400th anniversary of the founder's death. The Mass today in St. Peter's Basilica was celebrated by Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

St. Giovanni Leonardi founded the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God. He is also the patron of pharmacists. The Pope reflected on his teaching and role during the general audience two weeks ago. The papal message was addressed to Father Francesco Petrillo, rector general of the order.

“St. Giovanni Leonardi shines in the firmament of the saints like a beacon of generous fidelity to Christ,” the Pontiff wrote, according to a Vatican Radio report. The message noted that in a society that was “convulsed” like that at the turn of the 17th century, the saint “struggled so that the light of Christ would shine again among his contemporaries and they would feel the warmth of God’s merciful love.”
Cardinal Dias repeated this point in his homily, saying that Leonardi, “with his luminous life, brought God back to men.”
“His whole life,” the prelate said, “has the seal of the uncontainable and untiring love for the glory of Christ. His missionary zeal was not merely geographic […] but had to be capable of transforming every gesture, every effort, every bit of time and energy into something missionary, and for one single and supreme interest: Christ and Christ crucified.”
St. Giovanni Leonardi, the cardinal said as the Church marks today's World Mission Sunday, wanted an entirely missionary Church, “without the interference of political or administrative patronage,” but intimately directed toward man.

At the close of his customary Sunday recitation of the Angelus, the Pope greeted the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God, who had come for the celebrations of the 400th anniversary of St. Giovanni Leonardi’s death, along with the students of the Colleges of the Propaganda Fidei and representatives of pharmacists, who have the saint as their patron, calling on them “to follow him on the path of holiness and to imitate his missionary zeal.”
1607 After his death relics of Patriarch Job were buried by the western doors of the Dormition Church monastery in Staritsa Many miracles took place at his grave incorrupt
In 1652, on the recommendation of Metropolitan Nikon of Novgorod, Tsar Alexei ordered that the relics of St Job and St Philip (January 9) be transferred to Moscow.
Metropolitan Barlaam of Rostov presided at the uncovering of St Job's relics in Staritsa. The Patriarch's incorrupt and fragrant relics became the source of healing for many who were afflicted by physical and mental illnesses.  On March 27 a procession set off for Moscow with the relics. On Monday of the sixth week of Lent (April 5), the relics of Patriarch Job were brought to the Passions Monastery. From there, the procession proceeded to the Kremlin, and the relics of the saint were placed in the Dormition cathedral.
A few days later, Patriarch Joseph died and was buried next to St Job.
St Job has long been revered as a worker of miracles. The Altar Crosses in the churches of the Staritsa monastery and the Tver cathedral contained particles of his holy relics.
St Job is commemorated on June 19, and also (in the Tver diocese) on the first Sunday after the Feast of Sts Peter and Paul.
1610 St. Francis Solano Franciscan Observance priest; survived the plague of 1583 at Granada; in Peru refused to leave shipwrecked slaves baptized them and most survived; 20 years of untiring ministry among Indians and Spanish colonists;. he had the "gift of tongues", for miracles he was called "wonder-worker of the New World"; died at moment of consecration, saying with last breath, "Glory be to God"
ST FRANCIS SOLANO (A.D. 1610)
THIS saint was born at Montilla in Andalusia in 1549, did his studies in the school of the Jesuits, and in 1569 joined the Franciscan Observants at his birthplace. He was duly professed and in 1576 ordained priest. Full of zeal and charity and an ardent desire for the salvation of souls, he divided his time between silent retirement and the ministry of preaching. His sermons, though without the ornaments of studied eloquence, had a great effect in reforming his hearers. The saint was appointed master of novices, and when his charges were at fault he gave a penance not to them but to himself, for if they transgressed, he said, the blame must be his.
Francis exercised his ministry in southern Spain for many years and heroically during the plague of 1583 at Granada, when he himself was struck down but made a quick recovery. After the epidemic was passed he asked to be sent as a missionary into Africa; this was refused, but when in 1589 King Philip II wanted more friars of the Observance in the West Indies, Francis was selected to go with Father Balthazar Navarro to Peru. The missionaries sailed to Panama, crossed the isthmus, and again took ship on the other side. But in approaching Peru they ran into a bad storm and were driven aground on a sandbank. The ship looked as if she were going to pieces, and the master ordered that she be abandoned, leaving aboard her a number of Negro slaves for whom there was no room in the single lifeboat. Francis had these men under instruction and he now refused to leave them, so he remained behind on the ship, which was breaking up. He gathered them around him, encouraged them to trust in the mercy of God and the merits of Jesus Christ, and then baptized them. This he had scarcely done when the vessel parted amidships, and some of the Negroes were drowned. The remainder were on the part of the hull that was firmly aground, and there they remained for three days, Francis keeping up their courage and rigging signals of distress. When the weather broke the ship's boat returned and took them off to join the others in a place of safety, whence they eventually were conveyed to Lima.
Now began twenty years of untiring ministry among the Indians and Spanish colonists. First of all Francis was sent to Tucuman, in the north of what is now the Argentine Republic; he set himself to learn the Indian languages and dialects, and from thence went on a missionary journey through the Chaco to Paraguay, where in after years were to be the famous “reductions" of the Society of Jesus. In these days it is difficult to realize what such a journey meant in those; this friar not only did it, but made numerous converts as well. After a time he was made custos of the houses of his order in Tucuman and Paraguay, and so was able to supervise the missions he had planted, but when his term in that office was ended he was appointed guardian of the Lima friary. Here there was plenty of work of another kind for him to do among the Peruvian Spaniards of that port, of Trujillo, and other towns. In 1604 his preaching in the public square against the corruptions of Lima and his comparison of the fate of a sinful soul to that of a doomed city had so powerful an effect on the people that their consciences caused them to fear an impending calamity like to that of Ninive, and a panic threatened. The viceroy was alarmed and consulted St Turibius, archbishop of the city, who with the Franciscan commissary general required of St Francis that he should calm the people, who had already had examples of his gift of prophecy, by declaring his true meaning, which was not to foretell a material destruction of buildings but a spiritual loss of souls.
It is said that St Francis had the gift of tongues, and for his miracles he was called the “Wonder-worker of the New World"; in his funeral sermon Father Sebastiani, S.J., said that God had chosen him to be "the hope and edification of all Peru. the example and glory of Lima, the splendour of the Seraphic order".
A habit of his, very reminiscent of his religious father and namesake, was to take a lute and sing to our Lady before her altar. He died on July 14, 1610, while his brethren were singing the conventual Mass, at the moment of consecration, saying with his last breath, "Glory be to God". His whole life, says Alvarez de Paz, was a holy uninterrupted course of zealous action, yet at the same time a continued prayer. St Francis Solano was canonized in 1726.
There is a very full account of this great missionary in the Acta Sanctorum, July, vol. v, which includes a reprint of the life by Tiburtio Navarro, together with a number of documents submitted in the process of beatification. A still more copious life by Fray Diego de Cordova appeared twenty years after the saint's death. There are modem biographies in most languages: a translation of the short sketch by F. Courtot was included in the Oratorian series in 1847, an English life appeared in New York in 1888, and a German one by O. Maas in 1938. Some of these, notably that of A. M. Hiral in French (1906), are devotional rather than critical. There is a sketch by J. Wilbois in the series “Profils franciscains" (1942). The saint's feast is observed on differing dates; he is named in the Roman Martyrology on the day of his death, July 14.
Born at Montilla in Andalusia in 1549, did his studies in the school of the Jesuits, and in 1569, joined the Franciscan Observance at his birth place. He was duly professed and in 1576 ordained priest. Full of zeal and charity and an ardent desire for the salvation of souls, he divided his time between silent retirement and the ministry of preaching.
   Francis exercised his ministry in southern Spain for many years and heroically during the plague of 1583 at Granada, when he himself was struck down but made a quick recovery. After the epidemic was passed, Francis was selected to go with Father Balthazar Navarro to Peru. The missionaries to Panama, crossed the Isthmus, and again took ship on the other side. But approaching Peru, they ran into a bad storm and were driven aground on a sand bank. The ship looked as if she were going to pieces, and the master ordered that she be abandoned, leaving aboard her, a number of negro slaves for whom there was no room in the single lifeboat. Francis had these men under instruction and he now refused to leave them, so he remained behind on the ship, which was breaking up. He gathered them around him, encouraged them to trust in the mercy of God and the merits of Jesus Christ, and then baptized them. This he had scarcely done when the vessel parted amidships and some of the negroes were drowned. The remainder were on the part of the hull that was firmly aground and there they remained for three days, Francis keeping up their courage and rigging signals of distress. When the weather broke, the ship's boat returned and took them off to join the others in a place of safety, where they eventually were conveyed to Lima, Peru.
   Now began twenty years of untiring ministry among the Indians and Spanish colonists. It is said that St. Francis had the "gift of tongues", and for his miracles he was called the "wonder-worker of the New World"; in his funeral sermon Father Sabastiani, S.J., said that God had chosen him to be "the hope and edification of all Peru, the example and glory of Lima, the splendor of the Seraphic order". A habit of his, very reminiscent of his religious father and namesake, was to take a lute and sing to Our Lady before her altar. He died on July 14, 1610, while his brethren was singing the conventual Mass, at the moment of consecration, saying with his last breath, "Glory be to God". His whole life, says Alvarez de Paz, was a holy uninterrupted course of zealous action, yet at the same time, a continued prayer. St. Francis Solano was canonized in 1726
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1611  St. John de Ribera Archbishop Vice-roy of Valencia deported Moors Many miracles attributed to his intercession
Spain. He was the son of the duke of Alcala, and was born in Seville, Spain. Ordained a priest in 1557, he became archbishop in 1568, serving for more than four decades until he died on January 6, in Valencia. John ordered the Moors deported from his see. He was revered by Pope Pius V and King Philip II of Spain. Pope John XXIII canonized him in 1959.

1611 ST JOHN DE RIBERA, archbishop of Valencia

PETER DE RIBERA, the father of Don John, was one of the highest grandees in Spain; he was created duke of Alcalá, but already held many other titles and important charges. Among the rest, he for fourteen years governed Naples as viceroy. But above all, he was a most upright and devout Christian. His son, therefore, was admirably brought up, and during a distinguished university career at Salamanca and elsewhere, divine Providence seems perceptibly to have intervened to shield his virtue from danger. Realizing the perils to which he was exposed, he gave himself up to penance and prayer in preparation for holy orders. In 1557, at the age of twenty-five, Don John was ordained priest; and after teaching theology at Salamanca for a while, he was preconized bishop of Badajoz, much to his dismay, by St Pius V in 1562. His duties as bishop were discharged with scrupulous fidelity and zeal, and six years later, by the desire both of Philip II and the same holy pontiff, he was reluctantly constrained to accept the dignity of archbishop of Valencia. A few months later, filled with consternation at the languid faith and relaxed morals of this province, which was the great stronghold of the Moriscos, he wrote begging to be allowed to resign, but the pope would not consent; and for forty-two years, down to his death in 1611, St John struggled to support cheerfully a load of responsibility which almost crushed him. In his old age the burden was increased by the office of viceroy of the province of Valencia, which was imposed upon him by Philip III.

The archbishop viewed with intense alarm what he regarded as the dangerous activities of the Moriscos and Jews, whose financial prosperity was the envy of all. Owing to the universal ignorance of the principles of political economy, which then prevailed, the Moriscos seemed to Ribera to be “the sponges which sucked up all the wealth of the Christians”. At the same time, it is only fair to note that this was the view of nearly all his Christian countrymen, and that it was shared even by so enlightened a contemporary as Cervantes. In any case, it is beyond dispute that St John de Ribera was one of the advisers who were mainly responsible for the edict of 1609 that enforced deportation of the Moriscos from Valencia. We can only bear in mind that a decree of beatification pronounces only upon the personal virtues and miracles of the servant of God so honoured, and that it does not constitute an approbation of all his public acts or of his political views. The archbishop did not long survive the tragedy of the deportation. He died, after a long illness most patiently borne, at the College of Corpus Christi, which he himself had founded and endowed, on January 6, 1611. Many miracles were attributed to his intercession, He was beatified in 1796 and canonized in 1960.

See V. Castillo, Vita del B. Giovanni de Ribera (1796); M. Belda, Vida del B. Juan de Ribera (1802) and P. Boronat y Barrachina, Los Moriscos españoles y su Expulsion (1901).
1612 St. Joseph of Leonissa Capuchin Franciscan missionary
 In oppido Amatrícis, in Aprútio, deposítio sancti Joséphi a Leoníssa, Sacerdótis ex Ordine Minórum Capuccinórum et Confessóris; quem, ob fídei prædicatiónem a Mahumetánis dira perpéssum, labóribus apostólicis et miráculis clarum, Benedíctus Décimus quartus, Póntifex Máximus, in Sanctórum cánonem rétulit.
      In the town of Amatrice, in the diocese of Rieti, the death of St. Joseph of Leonissa, a Capuchin priest who suffered greatly from the Mohammedans.  As he was celebrated for his apostolic labours and miracles, he was placed on the list of holy confessors by the Sovereign Pontiff, Benedict XIV.

Served as a missionary to Christian galley slaves in Constantinople. Born in Leonissa, Italy, he became a Capuchin at age eighteen. In 1587 he started his mission and was arrested, released, and then imprisoned and tortured by the Turks. Eventually set free, he returned to Italy and died there of cancer.
Joseph of Leonissa, OFM Cap. (RM) Born in Leonissa near Otricoli in 1556; died in Italy in February 4, 1612; beatified in 1737 by Clement XII; canonized by Benedict XIV in 1745.

At age 18, Eufranius professed himself as a Capuchin and took the name Joseph. He was always mild, humble, chaste, charitable, obedient, patient, and penitential to a heroic degree. With the utmost fervor and on the most perfect motive he endeavored to glorify God in all his actions.  Three days each week he fasted on bread and water and passed entire Lenten seasons in the same manner. His bed was hard boards, with the trunk of a vine as his pillow. He found joy in chastisement and humiliations, identifying himself with the sufferings of Jesus. He looked upon himself as the basest of sinners, and said that God indeed, by His infinite mercy, had preserved him from grievous crimes, but that by his sloth, ingratitude, and infidelity to the divine grace, he deserved to have been abandoned by God. The sufferings of Christ were his favorite meditations.
He usually preached with a crucifix in his hands and the fire of the Holy Spirit in his words.
In 1587, he was sent to Turkey as a missioner, primarily to tend to the Christian galley-slaves. He contracted the pestilence but recovered. He converted many apostates, one of whom was a pasha. By preaching the faith to the Islamics, he incurred the wrath of the Turkish law and was twice imprisoned and tortured.
The second time he was condemned to death. He did not die, so he was banished instead.
Upon his return to Italy, he continued to preach. To complete his sacrifice, he suffered much at the end of his life from a painful cancer. He underwent two operations (without anesthesia) without the least groan or complaint, except the repetition of, "Holy Mary, pray for us miserable, afflicted sinners." When someone said before the operation that he ought to be restrained, he pointed to the crucifix in his hand and said, "This is the strongest band; this will hold me unmoved better than any cords could do." The operation was unsuccessful and he died at age 58.
Many miracles were reported in the acts of his beatification (Benedictines, Husenbeth).
In art, Saint Joseph is always shown with Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen, OFM Cap. Both are old Capuchins who were canonized on the same day. Saint Fidelis tramples on Heresy and an angel carries the palm of martyrdom (Roeder).
1614 Camillus de Lellis, Priest To him the only people that mattered were the sick, for in serving them he was serving God charity was the only thing that made life worth living, the surest way of bringing man closer to God, the only true life-blood of the Church for the first time the patients were separated into different wards according to the nature of their maladie RM
Born at Bucchianico, Abruzzi, Italy, 1550; canonized in 1746; feast day formerly July 18. To Saint Camillus de Lellis the only people that mattered were the sick, for in serving them he was serving God. With other people he was hard, brusque and obstinate, but with the sick he was gentle and loving. In his eyes charity was the only thing that made life worth living, the surest way of bringing man closer to God, the only true life-blood of the Church; charity that Saint Paul had said was greater even than faith and hope.
What makes the life of Saint Camillus all the more amazing is that he himself suffered from a disease of the feet and legs that forced him to leave the Capuchins.

Once a cardinal asked to see him while he was busy tending the sick.
 "His Excellency will have to excuse me," said Camillus. "For the moment I am with Our Lord. I will see His Excellency when I have finished."
To another cardinal, who was a member of the administrative council for the hospitals in Rome, he said:
"Monsignor, if some of my poor people suffer from hunger or die because of this shortage of food, I swear to God that I will accuse you in front of his mighty Judgment Seat."

Camillus made sweeping reforms in the hospitals that were nothing short of revolutionary. His ideas were few and simple, but they were full of common sense and nobility of heart. At a time when medicine was backward, when attendants and orderlies were recruited from among hardened criminals and chaplains and almoners from among priests who had been suspended from their regular duties.

The filth and squalor that had been a standard feature of hospitals were eliminated, and he himself would often get down on his knees and scrub the floor. New arrivals were washed, their beds were made regularly, the dirty linens were changed, wounds were dressed carefully, and for the first time the patients were separated into different wards according to the nature of their maladies.
From the moment of entry, each patient was given personal attention. Day and night, Camillus would go from bed to bed, listening to complaints, watching over the dying, giving Communion and Extreme Unction, making sure that a person was properly cured before being allowed to leave, and seeing to it that the food served was of good quality and properly cooked.

If the administration was slow in giving him the supplies that he needed, he would go out on foot or with a little donkey and beg from door to door. "I do not think," he said, "that in the whole world there is a field of flowers whose scent could be sweeter to me than is the small of these hospitals." "These holy places," as he once called the hospital, were also the best places to convert souls to God.
His charity was not confined within the walls of the hospitals.
He sought out the destitute who lived on the Quirinal or under the arches of the Coliseum. He visited the sick in their homes and organized a soup kitchen on the Piazza Maddalena.
Nor did he confine himself to Rome, for he and his companions, the Camillans, extended their activities to Milan, Genoa, Florence, Mantua, Messina, Palermo, to the battlefields of Hungary where the Austrian and Italian armies were fighting against the Turks (1595- 1601), travelling on foot in shabby and travel-stained clothes, indifferent to the bitter cold of winter the scorching heat of summer.
"The sun is one of God's creatures," he said, "and will do me no more harm than God allows him to."

Like many other saints, this man of genius had a wild and reckless youth before discovering his vocation. His mother was nearly 60 when he was born. His father was a minor nobleman who had been a captain in the army of Charles V. At the age of 17, the 6'6" youth went with his father to fight in the service of Venice against the Turks, but at the last moment he was prevented from joining his troops by an ulcerous growth in his right leg, a painful, ugly problem that was to remain with him throughout his life.

After another attempt to serve in the Venetian forces, he went in 1571 to the hospital of Saint James (San Giacomo) in Rome for incurables as a patient and servant, but was soon dismissed. "This young man is incorrigible, and completely unsuited to be an infirmarian," said the report on him; but in fact he returned there several times, for the ulcer in his leg kept opening, and the only way in which he could have it attended to was by working in the hospital.  He entered the service of Spain, but the expedition against Tunis for which he enlisted was called off and the fleet was taken out of commission. Depressed, demoralized, and out of work, Camillus drifted about until he came to Naples where he fell into the habit of compulsive gambling. His few possessions--his sword, his cloak, his shirt--were soon lost, and he was reduced to a state of penury in the fall of 1574.
For a while he lived by begging alms in church doors. Chastened by his penury and remembering a vow he had once made in a fit of remorse to join the Franciscans, Camillus contracted a job as a laborer on some Capuchins buildings in Manfredonia. On Candlemas Day, when he was 25, he entered the novitiate of Capuchins but could not be professed because of his leg. He was also denied by the Franciscan Recollects.
Camillus returned to and was admitted to the hospital of Saint James, where he found his true vocation. Abandoning his attempts to become a Franciscan, at which he had tried and failed four times, he devoted himself to remedying the appalling conditions he found there. Two other members of the staff, Bernardino Norcino, a storeman, and Curtio Lodi, a steward, joined him to form the nucleus of the Camillans. Encouraged by Saint Philip Neri, he resigned from Saint James and in 1584 was ordained a priest by the exiled Thomas Goldwell of Saint Asaph, the last English bishop of the old hierarchy. He was given an annuity by Fermo Calvi, a gentleman of Rome. Camillus decided to leave Saint James, against the advice of his confessor, Philip Neri.
After moving two or three times, he and his companions settled down in an establishment in the street called Botteghe Oscure. The short rules he prescribed for his order required going daily to the hospital of the Holy Ghost to serve.  Gradually the seed that he planted grew into a mighty tree. On March 18, 1586, Pope Sixtus V approved his congregation and in the same year the order received its distinctive habit--a black cloak with a red cross on the right shoulder. Soon afterwards they were given the hospice of the Magdalen near the Pantheon, and on September 21, 1591, Pope Gregory XIV raised them to the rank of an order, that of the "Ministers of the Sick."
In 1588, he was invited to Naples, and with 12 companions founded a new house. Galleys holding plague victims were forbidden to dock, and Camillus and his members would embark to minister to the sick. Two brothers died, becoming the first martyrs of this order.
Camillus himself was the first Prefect General of the order, which spread so rapidly that by 1607, seven years before his death, it had eight hospitals, 15 houses, and over 300 members; and already over 170 members had already died while carrying out their duties. To the three great vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, the Camillans added a fourth: "O Lord, I promise to serve the sick, who are Your sons and my brothers, all the days of my life, with all possible charity"
By 1591, Camillus was suffering several other painful diseases in addition to his ulcerous leg, but he refused to be waited upon. He resigned as superior in 1607. He assisted at the general chapter in 1613 and visited the houses with the new superior general. In Genoa, he became very ill, but recovered and continued the visitation. Camillus suffered a relapse and received the last sacraments from Cardinal Ginnasi. He had revolutionized nursing, insisting upon fresh air, suitable diets, isolation of infectious patients, and spiritual assistance to the dying, for which reason the order was also called "the Fathers of a Good Dying" or "Agonizantes" (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, White).
In art, Saint Camillus is a layman tending the sick (Roeder). He was declared the patron of the sick and their nurses by Leo XIII (Benedictines).

St. Camillus de Lellis Born at Bacchianico, Naples, 1550; died at Rome, 14 July, 1614.

He was the son of an officer who had served both in the Neapolitan and French armies. His mother died when he was a child, and he grew up absolutely neglected. When still a youth he became a soldier in the service of Venice and afterwards of Naples, until 1574, when his regiment was disbanded. While in the service he became a confirmed gambler, and in consequence of his losses at play was at times reduced to a condition of destitution. The kindness of a Franciscan friar induced him to apply for admission to that order, but he was refused. He then betook himself to Rome, where he obtained employment in the Hospital for Incurables. He was prompted to go there chiefly by the hope of a cure of abscesses in both his feet from which he had been long suffering. He was dismissed from the hospital on account of his quarrelsome disposition and his passion for gambling. He again became a Venetian soldier, and took part in the campaign against the Turks in 1569. After the war he was employed by the Capuchins at Manfredonia on a new building which they were erecting. His old gambling habit still pursued him, until a discourse of the guardian of the convent so startled him that he determined to reform. He was admitted to the order as a lay brother, but was soon dismissed on account of his infirmity. He betook himself again to Rome, where he entered the hospital in which he had previously been, and after a temporary cure of his ailment became a nurse, and winning the admiration of the institution by his piety and prudence, he was appointed director of the hospital.
While in this office, he attempted to found an order of lay infirmarians, but the scheme was opposed, and on the advice of his friends, among whom was his spiritual guide, St. Philip Neri, he determined to become a priest. He was then thirty-two years of age and began the study of Latin at the Jesuit College in Rome. He afterwards established his order, the Fathers of a Good Death (1584), and bound the members by vow to devote themselves to the plague-stricken; their work was not restricted to the hospitals, but included the care of the sick in their homes. Pope Sixtus V confirmed the congregation in 1586, and ordained that there should be an election of a general superior every three years. Camillus was naturally the first, and was succeeded by an Englishman, named Roger. Two years afterwards a house was established in Naples, and there two of the community won the glory of being the first martyrs of charity of the congregation, by dying in the fleet which had been quarantined off the harbour, and which they had visited to nurse the sick.
   In 1591 Gregory XIV erected the congregation into a religious order, with all the privileges of the mendicants. It was again confirmed as such by Clement VIII, in 1592. The infirmity which had prevented his entrance among the Capuchins continued to afflict Camillus for forty-six years, and his other ailments contributed to make his life one of uninterrupted suffering, but he would permit no one to wait on him, and when scarcely able to stand would crawl out of his bed to visit the sick. He resigned the generalship of the order, in 1607, in order to have more leisure for the sick and poor. Meantime he had established many houses in various cities of Italy.
   He is said to have had the gift of miracles and prophecy. He died at the age of sixty-four while pronouncing a moving appeal to his religious brethren. He was buried near the high altar of the church of St. Mary Magdalen, at Rome, and, when the miracles which were attributed to him were officially approved, his body was placed under the altar itself. He was beatified in 1742, and in 1746 was canonized by Benedict XIV.

[Note: In 1930, Pope Pius XI named St. Camillus de Lellis, together with St. John of God, principal Co-Patron of nurses and of nurses' associations.]
1617 St. Rose of Lima patroness of Latin America and the Philippines miracles followed her death
Sanctæ Rosæ a Sancta María, e tértio Ordine sancti Domínici, Vírginis; cujus dies natális nono Kaléndas Septémbris recensétur.
    The feast of St. Rose of St. Mary, virgin of the Third Order of St. Dominic, whose birthday is recalled on the 24th of August.
Virgin, born at Lima, Peru 20 April, 1586; died there 30 August, 1617.

ST  ROSE   OF  LIMA, VIRGIN
ASIA, Europe and Africa had been watered with the blood of many martyrs and adorned for ages with the shining example of innumerable saints, whilst the vast regions of America lay barren till the faith of Christ began to enlighten them in the sixteenth century, and this maiden appeared in that land like a rose amidst thorns, the first-fruits of its canonized saints.  She was of Spanish extraction, born at Lima, the capital of Peru, in 1584. Her parents, Caspar de Flores Maria del Oliva, being decent folk of moderate means.  She was christened Isabel but was commonly called Rose, and she was confirmed by St Toribio, Archbishop of Lima, in that name only.
  When she was grown up, she seems to have taken St Catherine of Siena for her model, in spite of the objections and ridicule of her parents and friends. One day her mother having put on her head a garland of flowers, to show her off before some visitors, she stuck in it a pin so deeply that she could not take off the garland without some difficulty.  Hearing others frequently commend her beauty, and fearing lest it should be an occasion of temptation to anyone, she used to rub her face with pepper, in order to disfigure her skin with blotches.  A woman happening cne day to admire the fineness of the skin of her hands and her shapely fingers, she rubbed them with lime and was unable to dress herself for a month in consequence.  By these and other even more surprising austerities she armed herself against external danger  and against the insurgence of her own senses.  But she knew that this would avail her little unless she banished from her heart self-love, which is the source of pride and seeks itself even in fasting and prayer.  Rose triumphed over this enemy by humility, obedi
ence and denial of her own will. She didn't scruple to oppose her parents when she thought they were mistaken, but never wilfully disobeyed them or departed from scrupulous obedience and patience under all trouble and contradictions, of which she experienced more than enough from those who did not understand her.
   Her parents having been reduced to straitened circumstances by an unsuccessful mining venture, Rose by working all day in the garden and late at night with her needle relieved their necessities.   These employments were agreeable to her, and she probably would never have entertained any thoughts of a different life if her parents had not tried to induce her to marry.  She had to struggle with them over this for ten years, and to strengthen herself in her resolution she took a vow of virginity.  Then, having joined the third order of St Dominic, she chose for her dwelling a little hut in the garden, where she becamepractically a recluse.
  She wore upon her head a thin circlet of silver, studded on the inside with little sharp prickles, like a crown of thorns.  So ardent was her love of God that as often as she spoke of Him the tone of her voice and the fire which sparkled in her face showed the flame which consumed her soul.  This appeared most openly when she was in presence of the Blessed Sacrament and when in receiving It she united her heart to her beloved in that fountain of His love.

   God favoured St Rose with many great graces, but she also suffered during fifteen years persecution from her friends and others, and the even more severe trial of interior desolation and anguish in her soul.   The Devil also assaulted her with violent temptations, but the only help she got from those she consulted was the recommendation to eat and sleep more ; at length she was examined by a commission of priests and physicians, who decided that her experiences, good and bad, were supernatural. But it is permissible to think that some of them, if correctly reported, were due to natural physical and psychological causes.
  The last three years of her life were spent under the roof of Don Goazalo de Massa, a government official, and his wife, who was fond of Rose.  In their house she was stricken by her last illness, and under long and painful sickness it was her prayer, "Lord, increase my sufferings, and with them i
ncrease thy love in my heart".
  She died August 24, 1617, thirty-one years old. The chapter, senate, and other honourable corporations of the city carried her body by turns to the grave.  She was canonized by Pope Clement X in 1671, being the first canonized saint of the New World.

   The mode of life and ascetical practices of St Rose of Lima are suitable only for those few whom God calls to them; the ordinary Christian may not seek to copy them, but must look to the universal spirit of heroic sanctity behind them, for all the saints, whether in the world, in the desert or in the cloister, studied to live every moment to God. If we have a pure intention of always doing His will we thus consecrate to Him all our time, even our meals, our rest, our conversation and whatever else we do all our works will thus be full.
  The Bollandists in the Acta Sanctorum, August, vol. v, after referring to one or two earlier lives of St Bose, in particular that of John de Vargas Machuca in Spanish, and that of D. M. Marchese in Italian, elected to print entire the Latin biography of the saint by Fr Leonard Hansen, O.P.  This has been the backbone of nearly all that has been subsequently written about her. Moreover, it is supplemented in the Acta Sanctorum by the text of Clement X's very ample bull of canonization, which gives full details both of the life of the saint and of her miracles. In English we have in the Oratorian series a translation of a seventeenth-century French life by J. Fl Feuillet, and an attractive sketch by F. M. Capes, The Flown of the New World Rose of America (1943) is spoiled by too much "sweetness".   See also Vicomte de Bussière, Le Perou et Ste Rose de Lima (1863); Mortier, Maitres Généraux O.P., vol. vii, pp. 76 seq., and the Monumenta OP. Historica, vol. xiii, pp. 22 seq. There are several recent books in Spanish ; and see Sheila Kaye-Smith, Quartet in Heaven (1952). (1899); Sara Maynard's attempt to popularize the saint.

This South American Saint's real name was Isabel, but she was such a beautiful baby that she was called Rose, and that name remained. As she grew older, she became more and more beautiful, and one day, her mother put a wreath of flowers on her head to show off her loveliness to friends. But Rose had no desire to be admired, for her heart had been given to Jesus. So she put a long pin into that wreath and it pierced her so deeply, that she had a hard time getting the wreath off afterward. Another time she became afraid that her beauty might be a temptation to someone, since people could not take their eyes off her. Therefore, she rubbed her face with pepper until it was all red and blistered.
St. Rose worked hard to support her poor parents and she humbly obeyed them, except when they tried to get her to marry. That she would not do. Her love of Jesus was so great that when she talked about Him, her face glowed and her eyes sparkled.
Rose had many temptations from the devil, and there were also many times when she had to suffer a feeling of terrible loneliness and sadness, for God seemed far away. Yet she cheerfully offered all these troubles to Him. In fact, in her last long, painful sickness, this heroic young woman use to pray: "Lord, increase my sufferings, and with them increase Your love in my heart."
Many miracles followed her death. She was beatified by Clement IX, in 1667, and canonized in 1671 by Clement X, the first American to be so honoured. She is represented wearing a crown of roses.
1617 St. Alphonsus Rodriguez Obedient penintent experienced many spiritual consolations he died in 1617 still a porter saying only one word: Jesus; the reputation he had was summed up once for all by Father Michael Julian in his exclamation, “That brother is not a man—he is an angel!”; Especially in his later years he suffered from long periods of desolation and aridity, and with terrifying regularity he was seized with pain and sickness whenever he set himself formally to meditate. Added to this, he was beset with violent temptations, just as though for years he had not curbed his body by fierce austerities, which now had to be made even more rigorous. But he never despaired, carrying out every duty with exact regularity, knowing that in God’s own time he would be seized again in an ecstasy of love and spiritual delight; trials of ill-health and physical suffering; at last he was practically confined to his bed. But his invincible perseverance and patience brought consolations “to such a degree that he could not raise his eyes in spirit to Jesus and Mary without their being at once before him”.

1617 ST ALPHONSUS RODRIGUEZ
THERE are two well-known canonized lay brothers commemorated this month, but in other external circumstances there were considerable differences between St Gerard Majella and St Alphonsus Rodriguez. For instance, at the age when Gerard was dead, Alphonsus was still a married man, living with his family while the one died before he was thirty, the other lived to be nearly ninety during his three years of profession Gerard served in several houses of his congregation and was employed in a variety of ways, but Alphonsus was porter at the same college for forty-five years.

Diego Rodriguez was a well-to-do wool-merchant in Segovia, and Alphonsus, born about 1533 was his third child in a big family. When Bd Peter Favre and another Jesuit came to preach a mission at Segovia they stayed with Diego, and at the end accepted his offer of a few days’ holiday at his country house. Young Alphonsus, then about ten, went with them and was prepared for his first communion by Bd Peter.

When he was fourteen he was sent with his elder brother to study under the Jesuits at Alcala, but before the first year was out their father died, and it was decided that Alphonsus must go into the business, which his mother was going to carry on. She retired and left him in sole charge when he was twenty-three, and three years later he married a girl called Mary Suarez.

The business had been doing badly and his wife’s dowry did not do much to improve it Alphonsus was not an incapable businessman, but “times were bad”.  Then he lost his little daughter, and, after a long illness following the birth of a boy, his wife too. Two years later his mother died, and this succession of mis­fortunes and losses made Alphonsus give very serious thought to what God was calling him to do in the world.

   He had always been a man of devout and righteous life, but he began to realize that he was meant to be something different from the numerous commercial men who led exemplary but unheroic lives in Segovia. If he sold his business he would have enough for himself and his little son to live on, so he did this and went to live with his two maiden sisters. These two, Antonia and Juliana, were a pious couple and taught their brother the rudiments of mental prayer, so that he was soon meditating two hours every morning and evening on the mysteries of the rosary.

    Alphonsus began to see his past life as very imperfect when regarded in the light of Christ and, following a vision of the glories of Heaven, he made a general confession and set himself to practise considerable austerities, Confession and communion every week. After some years his son died, and the edge of Alphonsus’s sorrow was turned by the consideration that the boy had been saved from the danger and misery of ever offending God.

He now contemplated, not for the first time, the possibility of becoming a religious and applied to the Jesuits at Segovia. They unhesitatingly refused him he was nearly forty, his health was not good, and he had not finished an education good enough to make him fit for sacerdotal studies. Undaunted, he went off to see his old friend Father Louis Santander, s.j., at Valencia. Father Santander recommended him to get ordained as soon as possible, and as a first step to learn Latin. So, like St Ignatius Loyola before him, and with like mortifications, he put himself to school with the little boys. As he had given nearly all his money to his sisters and to the poor before leaving Segovia, he had to take a post as a servant and supplement his earnings by begging to support himself.

   He met at the school a man of his own age and inclinations, who induced him to consider giving up all idea of becoming a Jesuit and to be instead a hermit. Alphonsus went to visit this man at his hermitage in the mountains, but suddenly seeing the suggestion as a temptation to desert his real vocation, he returned to Valencia and confessed his weakness to Father Santander, saying, I will never again follow my own will for the rest of my life. Do with me as you think best.” In 1571 the Jesuit provincial, over-ruling his official consultors, accepted Alphonsus Rodriguez as a lay brother, or temporal coadjutor, as such is called in the Society. Six months later he was sent from Spain to the College of Montesione in the island of Majorca, and soon after his arrival was made hall-porter.
   St Alphonsus carried out the duties of this post till he became too old and infirm, and the reputation he had in it was summed up once for all by Father Michael Julian in his exclamation, “That brother is not a man—he is an angel!”  Every minute left free by his work and what it entailed was given to prayer, but though he achieved a marvellous habitual recollection and union with God his spiritual path was far from an easy one.
   Especially in his later years he suffered from long periods of desolation and aridity, and with terrifying regularity he was seized with pain and sickness whenever he set himself formally to meditate. Added to this, he was beset with violent temptations, just as though for years he had not curbed his body by fierce austerities, which now had to be made even more rigorous. But he never despaired, carrying out every duty with exact regularity, knowing that in God’s own time he would be seized again in an ecstasy of love and spiritual delight.
   Priests who had known him for forty years used to say that they had never noticed a word or action of Brother Alphonsus that could justly receive adverse criticism. In 1585 when he was fifty-four years old, he made his final vows, which he used to renew every day at Mass. A hall-porter is not to be envied at the best of times, and when a boys’ school is part of the establishment he needs to have a firm hand and an extra fund of patience; but the job has its compensations the porter meets a variety of people and is a link between the public world without and the private world within.

  
At Montesione, in addition to the students, there was a constant coming and going of clergy of all sorts, of nobles and professional men and members of their families having business with the Jesuit fathers, of the poor wanting help and merchants and tradesmen from Palma wanting orders. All these people got to know, to respect and to love Brother Alphonsus, whose opinions and advice were sought and valued as well by the learned and holy as by the simple, and his reputation was known far beyond the boundaries of the college. The most famous of his “pupils” was St Peter Claver, who was studying at the college in 1605. For three years he put himself under the direction of St Alphonsus who, enlightened by Heaven, fired his enthusiasm for and urged him on to that work in America which was eventually to gain for St Peter the title of “Apostle of the Negroes”.

St Alphonsus had always a very deep devotion towards the Mother of God as conceived free from original sin, a truth that had been defended in Majorca three hundred years before by Bd Raymund Lull.
For a time it was believed by many that Al­phonsus had composed the Little Office of the Immaculate Conception; he had a great regard for this office and popularized its use among others, from which arose the mistake that he was its author.

Nor did he write the famous treatise on the Practice of Perfection and Christian Virtues this was the work of another Jesuit of the same name, who has not been canonized.
   But St Alphonsus left some fugitive writings, set down at the command of his superiors, full of the simple, solid doctrine and exhortation that one would look for from such a man, showing too that he was indeed a mystic favoured of Heaven. When he was over seventy and very infirm, his rector told him one day, just to see what he would do, to go on duty to the Indies. St Alphonsus went straight down to the gate and asked for it to be opened for him. “I am ordered to the Indies”, he said, and was going there and then to look for a ship at Palma, but was told to go back to the rector.
 
That during the later part of his life he suffered from spiritual dereliction and diabolical assaults has been mentioned above, and to these were added the trials of ill-health and physical suffering; at last he was practically confined to his bed. But his invincible perseverance and patience brought consolations “to such a degree that he could not raise his eyes in spirit to Jesus and Mary without their being at once before him”.

    In May of 1617 the rector of Montesione, Father Julian, was down with rheumatic fever, and asked for the prayers of St Alphonsus. He spent the night interceding for him, and in the morning Father Julian was able to celebrate Mass. In October Alphonsus knew that his end was at hand, and after receiving Holy Communion on the 29th all pain of mind and body ceased. He lay as it were in an unbroken ecstasy until, at midnight of the 31st, a terrible agony began. At the end of half an hour composure returned, he looked around lovingly at his brethren, kissed the crucifix, uttered the Holy Name in a loud voice, and died. The Spanish viceroy and nobility of Majorca, by the bishop, and by crowds of the poor, sick and afflicted whose love and faith were rewarded by miracles, attended his funeral. He was canonized in 1888 with St Peter Claver.

The documents printed for the Congregation of Sacred Rites in view of the beatification and canonization of St Alphonsus are very copious owing to the objections raised by the promotor fidei in connection with the saint’s early occupations and his writings. These documents, with the autobiographical notes, which he wrote down by order of obedience between the years 1601 and 1616, supply the most valuable materials for his life. The notes in question are printed at the beginning of his Obras Espirituales, which were edited in three volumes by Fr J. Nonell at Barcelona in 1885—1887. The same Fr Nonell wrote in Spanish what is still perhaps the best biography of the saint, Vida de San Alonso Rodriguez (1888) and Father Goldie largely used this in the English life that he published in 1889. In the Acta Sanctorum, October, vol. xiii, is reprinted the earliest published life of Alphonsus, that by Father Janin which appeared in 1644 and was written in Latin.  On the saint’s connection with the Little Office of the Immaculate Conception, often errone­ously printed under his name, see Uriarte, Obras anonimas y seudonimas, S.J., vol. i, pp. 512—515 and on his ascetical teaching see Viller, Dictionnaire de Spiritualité, vol. i (1933), cc. 395—402. The latest biographies seem to be that of M. Dietz, Der hl. Alfons Rodriguez (1925), and a popular account by M. Farnum, The Wool Merchant of Segovia (1945).

Confessor and Lay brother, also called Alonso. He was born in Segovia, Spain, on July 25, 1532, the son of a wealthy merchant, and was prepared for First Communion by Blessed Peter Favre, a friend of Alphonsus' father. While studying with the Jesuits at Alcala, Alphonsus had to return home when his father died. In Segovia he took over the family business, was married, and had a son. That son died, as did two other children and then his wife. Alphonsus sold his business and applied to the Jesuits. His lack of education and his poor health, undermined by his austerities, made him less than desirable as a candidate for the religious life, but he was accepted as a lay brother by the Jesuits on January 31, 1571. He underwent novitiate training and was sent to Montesion College on the island of Majorca. There he labored as a hall porter for twenty-four years. Overlooked by some of the Jesuits in the house, Alphonsus exerted a wondrous influence on many. Not only the young students, such as St. Peter Claver, but local civic tad and social leaders came to his porter's lodge for advice and and direction. Obedience and penance were the hallmarks of his life, as well as his devotion to the Immaculate Conception. He experienced many spiritual consolations, and he wrote religious treatises, very simple in style but sound in doctrine. Alphonsus died after a long illness on October 31, 1617, and his funeral was attended by Church and government leaders. He was declared Venerable in 1626, and was named a patron of Majorca in 1633. Alphonsus was beatified in 1825 and canonized in September 1888 with St. Peter Claver.

Alphonsus Rodriguez, SJ (RM) (also known as Alonso) Born in Segovia, Spain, July 25, 1533; died at Palma de Majorca in 1617; beatified 1825; canonized 1888; feast formerly on October 31."The difference between adversity suffered for God and prosperity is greater than that between gold and a lump of lead." --Saint Alphonsus.

Brother Alphonsus proves Mother Teresa's axiom that small things done with great love is the call of the Christian. Every day Alphonsus Rodriguez prayed to more than 20 confessors, martyrs, and Church Fathers. He had a great veneration for Saint Ursula, and though modern scholarship has done much to revise and alter the story of her martyrdom, the fact remains that a liturgy might be clumsy and inaccurate and yet represent a far more fertile and living expression of religious life than one which has been cleaned and scoured to the point of rendering it sterile.

Surely the candor and devotion of Saint Alphonsus is of greater value than the scientific researches of our professors of liturgy. He was a bit mad perhaps--when he was told to eat his plate, he took his knife and tried to cut it into pieces and swallow them. Perhaps that sounds stupid, but it was he who was in the right for he had, on entering the Jesuits, made his vow of obedience, and his obedience was so perfect that he obeyed hasty or perhaps joking orders to the letter.

Alphonus was the third child of a large family of wool merchants. When Blessed Peter Favre and another Jesuit came to preach a mission at Segovia, they stayed with Alphonus's family and took up the invitation for a short holiday at their country house. Young Alphonsus, then about 10, went with them and was prepared for his First Communion by Blessed Peter.

When he was 14, Alphonsus was sent with his elder brother to study under the Jesuits at Alcala. Before the year was out, their father Diego was dead and it fell to Alphonsus interrupt his studies to manage the family business. When he was 23, his mother retired and Alphonus inherited his father's business. Like Saint Francis of Assisi, he sold cloth all day long, buying with one hand and selling with the other.

He married Maria Suarez when he was 27. Soon the business was failing due to hard economic times. Then his little daughter died. When he was about 35, his wife died shortly after giving birth to their only son. Two years later his mother died. The business didn't prosper either. This succession of misfortunes forced Alphonsus to seriously consider God's plan for his life. He began to realize that he was meant to do something different from the numerous businessmen who led exemplary but unheroic lives in Segovia. So he sold his business and took his son to live with the boy's two maiden aunts, Antonia and Juliana.

From these two ladies, Alphonsus learned to meditate for at least two hours a day. He was an assiduous communicant. His life was austere and happy, though he still longed to devote himself to God. So, after abandoning his business, he resumed his studies at the point where he had broken them off. He had always taken religion seriously so when his son died, Alphonsus decided it was finally time to become a Jesuit, if possible, as an ordained priest.

Alphonsus was nearly 40, barely literate, and his health tenuous. It's no wonder that the Jesuits of Segovia unhesitatingly refused him entry. Undaunted, Alphonsus presented himself to Father Luis Santander, SJ, at the novitiate of the Jesuits of Aragon at Valencia. Father Santander recommended him to be ordained as soon as possible, and requested that he learn Latin. He had given away most of his money by now, so he became a hired servant, hoping to pay for his necessary extra education by this and by begging. Thus, he put himself through school with the young boys.

Happily the provincial of the order spotted the saintliness of Alphonsus's life, and, in 1571, overruled those who had refused him permission to join them. He was admitted as a lay brother and six months later was sent to Palma de Majorca, where, after serving in various capacities, he became door-keeper at Montesión College.

He was diligent in carrying out his assignments, but every spare moment was given to prayer. Though he achieved a marvelous habitual recollection and union with god, his spiritual path was far from an easy one. Especially in his later years he suffered from long periods of aridity. Yet he never despaired, knowing that in God's own time he would be seized again in an ecstasy of love and spiritual delight. Persevering, Brother Alphonsus professed his final vows in 1585, at the age of 54.

Many of the varied people who were thus brought into contact with him learned to respect him and value his advice; in particular Saint Peter Claver as a student used to consult him frequently and received from Brother Alphonsus the impetus for his future work among the slaves of South America.

In May 1617, the rector of Montesión, Father Julian, was struck with rheumatic fever. Alphonsus spent the night interceding for the priest. In the morning, Father Julian was able to celebrate Mass.

After receiving Communion on October 29, Alphonsus lay as if dead, but he was in ecstasy. At midnight on October 31, the ecstasy ended and the final death pangs began. One-half hour later the brother regained his composure, lovingly looked at his brethren, and kissed the crucifix. Still a porter, he died in 1617, saying only one word: Jesus.

A collection of his notes, reflections, thoughts, which he wrote down at the request of his superiors, along with some quotations that he borrowed from the spiritual classics but which were mistakenly attributed to him, was frequently copied and widely circulated during his lifetime. Many people found true spiritual nourishment in them.
There is a sonnet on Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez among Gerard Manley Hopkins' Poems (2nd ed., 1930).

Alphonsus bears considerable resemblance to the Carmelite Brother Lawrence, of the next generation. He was a man of practically no education, but he had deep religious sensibility of a mystical kind. His faith was uncomplicated and simple, untroubled either by Protestantism or the threat of Islam. He had cultivated the Spanish faith of his father and mother, he believed in Jesus Christ, the Holy Church, and in the communion of saints (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Encyclopedia, Walsh, Yeomans).

This Alphonsus Rodriguez must not be confused with two Jesuit contemporaries of the same names, one a writer of well-known religious books, the other a martyr in Paraguay. Neither of these has been canonized, though the second is venerated as a beatus. 
In art he is depicted as an old Jesuit with two hearts on his breast, connected by rays of light to Christ and the Virgin. Venerated at Majorca (Roeder). 
1618 St. John Berchmans miracles were attributed to him after his death
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

  1621 ST JOHN BERCHMANS
         “IF I do not become a saint when I am young
, said John Berchmans, “I shall never become one.” He died when he was twenty-two and he was a saint, one of the three notable young saints of the Society of Jesus. He differed from the other two, St Aloysius and St Stanislaus Kostka, in his origins, for while they belonged to aristocratic families John was the eldest son of a master-shoemaker, a burgess of the town of Diest in Brabant.
 John was born in 1599, at his father’s shop at the sign of the Big and Little Moon in Diest, and seems to have been a good and attractive child. He was most devoted to his mother, who suffered very bad health. His early education was in the hands first of a lay schoolmaster and then of Father Peter Emmerich, a Premonstratensian canon from the abbey of Tongerloo, who taught him Latin versification and took the boy with him when he visited the shrines or clergy of the neighbourhood. This rather encouraged John’s tendency to prefer his own and his elders’ company to that of other boys, but he entered whole-heartedly with them in their festival mystery-plays, and particularly distinguished himself in the part of Daniel defending Susanna.
By the time he was thirteen his father’s affairs had become straitened and there were growing brothers and sisters to be considered, so John was told that, he must leave school and learn a trade. He protested that he wished to be a priest, and at length his father compromised by sending him as a servant in the household of one of the cathedral canons, John Froymont, at Malines, where he could also attend the classes at the archiepiscopal seminary.
           The secular canon Froymont was a different sort of man from the regular canon Emmerich, and with him young John went duck-shooting rather than visiting shrines; he is said to have learned the difficult art of teaching a dog to retrieve, and his particular duty in the house was waiting at table. In 1615 the Jesuits opened a college at Malines and John Berchmans was one of the first to enter himself there at, “not without a good deal of feeling on the part of his former master and rector, on account of which’ there was a great gulf fixed’ between them and us
, wrote his confessor and tutor in Greek, Father De Greeff. He studied with earnest application, continued to be an enthusiastic player of sacred dramas, and was sometimes found kneeling at the foot of his bed after midnight when sleep had overtaken him at his prayers. A year later, after some objection from his father, he joined the novitiate. He wrote home a week before, “I humbly pray you, honoured father and dearest mother, by your parental affection for me and by my filial love for you, to be so good as to come here on Wednesday evening at the latest, either by the Malines coach from Montaigu or by Stephen’s wagon, so that I may say. ‘Welcome and good-bye’ to you, and you to me when you give me, your son, back to the Lord God who gave me to you.
     As was expected by those who knew him best, John Berchmans was an admirable novice, and throughout his ascetical notes and other writings of that time it appears that, like another holy young religious three hundred and fifty years later, he kept before himself a way of perfection which he expressed in the phrase “Set great store on little things
. His industry in writing down his reflections was remarkable, and it extended to making an analysis of Father Alphonsus Rodriguez’s book on Christian perfection, which had been published less than ten years. Soon after his novitiate began his mother died (there is extant a touching letter from him to her during her last illness), and within eighteen months his father had been ordained priest and presented to a canonry in his native town.
   On September 2, 1618, Brother John wrote to Canon Berchmans announcing that he was about to take his first vows, and asking in a postscript, “Please send me by his reverence the precentor, eleven ells of cloth, six ells of flannel, three ells of linen, and two calf-skins to make my clothes
. Canon Berchmans died the day before his son’s profession, but John did not hear of this until he wrote to make an appointment to meet him at Malines before he set out for Rome where he was to begin his philosophy. Before leaving he wrote to his relatives expressing his astonishment and displeasure at their not having told him of his father’s death, and another to his old master Canon Froymont asking him to keep an eye on his younger brothers, Charles and Bartholomew, “whom perhaps I shall never see again.
      St John arrived in Rome on new year’s eve 1618, after having walked with one companion from Antwerp in ten weeks, and began his studies at the Roman College under Father Cepari, who afterwards wrote his biography. A professor there, Father Piccolomini, testified that, “Berchmans had good talent, capable of taking in several different subjects at the same time, and in my opinion his enthusiasm and application to work have been rarely equalled and never surpassed...He spared himself no labour or weariness thoroughly to master the various languages and branches of knowledge that go to make a learned and scholarly man.” Father Massucci, the spiritual director of the senior students, declared that, “After Blessed Aloysius Gonzaga, with whom I lived in the Roman College during the last year of his life, I have never known a young man of more exemplary life, of purer conscience, or of greater perfection than John
. And withal his brethren loved and revered him as an angel from Heaven. Among these brethren was a number of students from England, of whom the martyr Bd Henry Morse was one. For two and a half years St John continued his “little way”, without singularity or excess; “my penance, he would say, “is to live the common life, and he jotted down, “I like letting myself be ruled like a baby a day old.
    St John’s success at his examination in May 1621, caused him to be selected to defend a thesis against all corners in a public debate. But the strain of prolonged study during the heat of a Roman summer had been too much for him, and he began rapidly to fail. On August 6, though feeling unwell, he took a prominent part in a public disputation at the Greek College, but the next afternoon he had to be sent off to the infirmary. He was cheerful as usual—Father Cepari records there was always a smile playing about his mouth. When he had drunk a peculiarly nasty dose of medicine he asked the attendant father to say the grace after meals, and he told the rector that he hoped the death of another Flemish Jesuit in Rome would not cause friction between the two provinces of the Society; when the doctor ordered his temples to be bathed with old wine he observed that it was lucky such an expensive illness would not last long. After four days Father Cornelius a Lapide, the great Biblical exegete, asked if aught were on his conscience. “Nihil omnino. Nothing at all
, replied St John, and he received the last sacraments with great devotion. He lingered two more days (the doctors were at a loss to diagnose what it was that had brought him so low), and died peacefully on the morning of August 13, 1621.
    There were extraordinary scenes at the funeral, numerous miracles were attributed to John’s intercession, and the recognition of his holiness was spread so rapidly that within a few years Father Bauters, s.j., wrote from Flanders,  “Though he died in Rome, and but few of his countrymen knew him by sight, ten of our best engravers have already published his portrait and at least 24,000 copies have been struck off. This is not including the works of lesser artists and numbers of paintings.” Nevertheless, though his cause was begun in the very year of his death, the beatification of St John Berchmans did not take place till 1865, and his canonization till 1888.
           By far the most valuable contribution to our knowledge of St John Berchmans is that of A. Poncelet, printed in the
          Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xxxiv (1921), pp. 1—227. The whole question of sources is there discussed, and attention is
         drawn to the work of his more accredited biographers. Among these are specially mentioned V. Cepari  (1627), L. J. M.
         Cros (1894), R P. Vanderspecten (1886), and N. Angelini (1888). Fr Poncelet’s article also includes copies of
         unpublished documents and letters—many of them submitted to St John’s first biographer, Father Cepari. See further, in
         the series “Les Saints
, the life by Fr H. Delehaye (Eng. trans., 1925). There is also an English life by Father Goldie
        (1873), another by J. Daly (1921), and a sketch by Fr C. C. Martindale in his Christ’s Cadets (1953).


1599-1621)The Jesuit Order has produced three admirable young saints: Stanislaus Kostka, Aloysius Gonzaga, and John Berchmans.
     Unlike the other two, St. John Berchmans was not of noble rank. His father was a master shoemaker, a prominent citizen of Dienst, Belgium. John's early schooling was in the hands of a layman and a religious-order priest, and he proved a bright student, especially gifted as an actor.
     By the time he was 13, young Berchmans had already decided that he wanted to be a priest. That year his father, faced with financial problems, told him that he would have to leave school and learn a trade to help support their family. It was then that he confided his desire for the priesthood to his parents. They reached a compromise. He was hired to be the house servant of a prominent priest at Mechelen. This would give him a chance to attend the local seminary.
     In 1615 the Jesuits opened a college at Mechelen. John was one of the first to enroll. A year later he joined the Jesuit novitiate, intent on becoming a member of the Society. This turn of events displeased his sponsors, and was accepted only reluctantly by his parents. But he lovingly assured them that they would simply be giving back to God the son that God had given to them. (When his mother died not long afterward, his father became a priest!)
     Berchmans had clearly made the right choice. He was a perfect novice. Holiness was his primary aim. (“If I do not become a saint when I am young,” he once said, “I shall never become one.”) Yet his method of growing in sanctity was beautifully balanced. He did not aim at great deeds, but, like St. Therese of Lisieux in our times, he tried to do the little things as well as possible. Well-rounded and good-humored, he was admired and respected by all.
     Because of his talents as a student, John was assigned to Rome in 1619 to begin his philosophical studies. He and one companion walked from Belgium to Rome in ten weeks. At Rome, too, his Jesuit professors and colleagues marveled at his diligence and his exemplary life. Because of his proficiency as a student he was chosen in 1621 to defend a thesis in an academic disputation. Unfortunately, soon afterward he contracted an infectious disease that would prove mortal. Since he had aspired to martyrdom anyhow, John accepted the trial with cheerful grace. As he grew worse, the great Jesuit scripture scholar, Father Cornelius a Lapide, in administering the last rites, asked him if he had anything on his conscience. “Nothing at all,” he replied.
     John Berchmans died peacefully on August 13, 1621. Miracles were reported soon after his death, but he was declared “blessed” only in 1865. There was an American angle to his canonization in 1888. One of the miracles accepted by the Holy See as verified took place in Grand Coteau, Louisiana, at a girls' academy founded in 1821 by the Religious of the Sacred Heart.
     In 1862, Mary Wilson, a 16-year-old Canadian Presbyterian, had become attracted to Catholicism while visiting St. Louis, Missouri. Having asked for instruction, she was received in the Church by the Jesuits. Her family disowned her, but rejection did not keep her from joining the Sacred Heart nuns in 1866.
     That October, however, on the day before Mary was to receive the habit, she was seized by a deathly ailment. After she had received the last rites, she prayed to Blessed John Berchmans for either cure or patience, as God willed. Then she placed on her tongue a holy card bearing his image. At once she felt a finger on her tongue and heard the words, “Sister, you will get the desired habit. Fear not.” Now she saw beside her bed a luminous figure. She asked him if he were Berchmans, and he said yes, he was sent by God's order to tell her she was cured. To the amazement of all, she had completely recovered. The official report of the miracle was duly sent to Rome and filed in the dossier on the canonization of this young Jesuit who had won heaven by doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.     --Father Robert F. McNamara

John Berchmans, SJ (RM) (also known as Jan Berchmans) Born in Diest, Brabant, Flanders (Belgium), on March 13, 1599; died at Rome August 13, 1621; canonized 1888; feast day formerly on August 13.  Eldest son of a master-shoemaker, John knew early that he wanted to be a priest. His piety attracted attention even in his youth. When he was 11, his parish priest permitted him to study in the little seminary run out of the rectory. At the age of 13, he became a servant in the household of one of the cathedral canons at Malines, John Froymont, in order to pay for his education. In 1615, the Jesuits opened a college at Malines (Mechlin) and the following year John became a Jesuit novice there. After his mother's death, his father and two brothers followed suit and entered religious life.

The year his father was ordained (1618) and died six months later, John was sent to Rome for his novitiate. He was so poor and humble that he walked from Antwerp to Rome. In the seminary he was known for his diligence and piety, impressing all with his holiness and stress on perfection in little things. His kindly and cheerful nature made him popular (contemporary accounts of his attractive nature survive). In these respects he reminds us of the "little way" of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. There was nothing visibly extraordinary about him; he was one of those saints who do the ordinary things of everyday life in an uncommon manner, out of their overflowing love of God.

There are some reports that he found the regimented life of a Jesuit scholar nearly intolerable. Yet he continued in humble and cheerful obedience to his superiors and to God.

Although he longed to work in the mission fields of China, he did not live long enough to permit it. After completing his coursework, he was asked to defend the "entire field of philosophy" in a public disputation in July, just after his exit examinations. The following month he was asked to represent the Roman College in a debate with the Greek College. Although he distinguished himself in this disputation, he had studied so assiduously that he caught a cold in mid-summer, became very ill with dysentary and a fever, and died a week later. He was buried in the church of Saint Ignatius at Rome, but his heart was later translated to the Jesuit church at Louvain.

So many miracles were attributed to him after his death at the age of 22, that his cultus soon spread to his native Belgium, where 24,000 copies of his portrait were published within a few years of his death (Attwater, Attwater 2, Benedictines, Brenan, Coulson, Delaney, Delehaye, Farmer, Schamoni).

Saint John is represented as a young Jesuit kneeling in a ray of light, and pointing to a skull, with a log of wood, crucifix, book and rosary near him. He is the patron of altar boys (Roeder). The convent of Via di Tor dei Specchi (founded by Saint Frances of Rome) has two pictures of the saint, although his death mask has been lost. One was painted directly from the corpse; the other is a sweetened copy of the death portrait. The original has never been published (Schamoni).
1621 ST ROBERT BELLARMINE, ARCHBISHOP OF CAPUA AND CARDINAL,  DOCTOR OF THF CHURCH
ONE of the greatest polemical theologians the Church has ever produced, and her foremost controversialist against the doctrines of the Protestant Reformation, was Robert Francis Romulus Bellarmine, whose feast is kept upon this day. Born in 1542 at Montepulciano in Tuscany, of a noble but impoverished family, he was the son of Vincent Bellarmino and Cynthia Cervini, half-sister to Pope Marcellus II.
Even as a boy Robert showed great promise. He knew Virgil by heart, he wrote good Latin verses, he played the violin, and he could hold his own in public disputations, to the great admiration of his fellow-citizens. Moreover, he was so deeply devout that in 1559, when Robert was seventeen, the rector of the Jesuit college at Montepulciano described him in a letter as “the best of our school, and not far from the kingdom of Heaven”.
It was his ambition to enter the Society of Jesus, but he had to encounter strong opposition from his father, who had formed other plans for his son. Robert’s mother, however, was on his side, and eventually he obtained the permission he desired. In 1560 he went to Rome to present himself to the father general of the order, by whom his noviciate was curtailed to enable him to pass almost immediately into the Roman College to enter upon the customary studies.

Ill-health dogged his steps from the cradle to the grave, and his delicacy became so pronounced that, at the close of his three years of philosophy, his superiors sent him to Florence to recruit his strength in his native Tuscan air, whilst at the same time teaching boys and giving lectures on rhetoric and on the Latin poets. Twelve months afterwards he was transferred to Mondovi in Piedmont. There he discovered that he was expected to instruct his pupils in Cicero and Demosthenes.
    He knew no Greek except the letters of the alphabet, but with characteristic obedience and energy he set to work to study at night the grammar lesson he was expected to give the next day. Father Bellarmine strongly objected to the flogging of boys, and himself never did so. In addition to teaching he preached sermons which attracted crowds. Amongst the congregation on one occasion was his provincial superior, Father Adorno, who promptly transferred him to Padua that he might prepare himself in that famous university town to receive ordination.

Again he studied and preached, but before the completion of his course he was bidden by the father general, St Francis Borgia, to proceed at once to Louvain in Belgium to finish his studies there and to preach to the undergraduates, with a view to counteracting the dangerous doctrines which were being propagated by Dr Michael Baius, the chancellor, and others.

   It is interesting to note that on his journey he had as companion for part of the way the Englishman William Allen, afterwards to become like himself a cardinal. From the time of his arrival at Louvain until his departure seven years later, Robert’s sermons were extraordinarily popular, although they were delivered in Latin, and although the preacher had no physical advantages to commend him, for he was small of stature and had to stand on a stool in the pulpit to make himself properly seen and heard. But men declared that his face shone with a strange light as he spoke and that his words seemed like those of one inspired.
After his ordination at Ghent in 1570, he was given a professorship in the University of Louvain—the first Jesuit to hold such a post—and began a course of lectures on the Summa of St Thomas Aquinas, which were at the same time brilliant expositions of doctrine and a vehicle through which he could, and did, controvert the teachings of Baius on such matters as grace, free will and papal authority. In contrast to the controversial brutality of the time he never made personal attacks on his enemies or mentioned them by name. Not content with the great labour entailed on him by his sermons and lectures, St Robert during his stay at Louvain taught himself Hebrew and embarked upon a thorough study of the Holy Scriptures and of the Fathers. To assist the studies of others he also made time to write a Hebrew grammar, which became extremely popular.
    A serious breakdown in health, however, necessitated his recall to Italy and there, in spite of the efforts of St Charles Borromeo to secure his services for Milan, he was appointed to the recently established chair of controversial theology at the Roman College. For eleven years, from 1576, he laboured untiringly, giving lectures and preparing the four great volumes of his Disputations on the Contro­versies of the Christian faith which, even three hundred years later, the great ecclesiastical historian Hefele described as “the most complete defence of Catholic teaching yet published”. It showed such profound acquaintance with the Bible, the Fathers, and the heretical writers, that many of his opponents could never bring themselves to believe that it was the work of one man. They even suggested that his name was an anagram covering a syndicate of learned and wily Jesuits. The work was one urgently needed at that particular moment, because the leading Reformers had recently published a series of volumes purporting to show, by an appeal to history, that Protestantism truly represented the Church of the Apostles. As these were published at Magdeburg, and as each volume covered a century, the series became known as the “Centuries of Magdeburg”. The answer which Baronius set out to furnish in the field of history, St Robert Bellarmine supplied in the field of dogmatics. The success of his Controversies was instantaneous:  laymen and clergy, Catholics and Protestants, read the volumes with avidity, and even in Elizabethan England, where the work was prohibited, a London bookseller declared,
 “I have made more money out of this Jesuit than out of all the other divines put together”.

In 1589 he was separated for a while from his books to be sent with Cardinal Cajetanus on a diplomatic embassy to France, then in the throes of war between Henry of Navarre and the League. No tangible results came of the mission, but the party had the experience of being in Paris for eight months during the siege, when, to quote St Robert’s own words, they “did practically nothing though they suffered a very great deal”. As opposed to Cardinal Cajetanus, who had Spanish sympathies, St Robert was openly in favour of trying to make terms with the king of Navarre if he would become a Catholic, but within a very short time of the raising of the siege the members of the mission were recalled to Rome by the death of Pope Sixtus V.

     Soon afterwards we find St Robert taking the leading part on a papal commission appointed by Pope Clement VIII to edit and make ready for publication the new revision of the Vulgate Bible, which had been called for by the Council of Trent. An edition had indeed already been completed during the reign of Sixtus V and under that pope’s immediate supervision, but it contained many errors due to defective scholarship and to a fear of making important alterations in the current text. Moreover, it was never in general circulation. The revised version, as produced by the commission and issued with the imprimatur of Clement VIII, is the Latin Bible as we have it to-day, with a preface composed by St Robert himself. He was then living at the Roman College, where, as official spiritual director to the house, he had been brought into close contact with St Aloysius Gonzaga, whose death-bed he attended and to whom he was so deeply attached that in his will he asked to be buried at the feet of the youthful saint, “once my dear ghostly child”.

Recognition of Bellarmine’s great qualities followed quickly. In 1592 he was made rector of the Roman College; in 1594 he was made provincial of Naples; and three years later he returned to Rome in the capacity of theologian to Clement VIII, at whose express desire he wrote his two celebrated catechisms, one of which is still in general use throughout Italy. These catechisms are said to have been translated more frequently than any other literary work except the Bible and the Imitation of Christ.

In 1598, to his great dismay, he was nominated a cardinal by Clement VIII on the ground that “he had not his equal for learning”. Though obliged to occupy apartments in the Vatican and to keep up some sort of an estab­lishment, he relaxed none of his former austerities. Moreover, he limited his household and expenses to what was barely essential: he lived on bread and garlic—the food of the poor; and he denied himself a fire even in the depth of winter. Once he ransomed a soldier who had deserted from the army; and he used the hangings of his rooms to clothe poor people, remarking, “The walls won’t catch cold”.

In 1602 he was, somewhat unexpectedly, appointed archbishop of Capua, and within four days of his consecration he left Rome to take up his new charge. Ad­mirable as the holy man appears in every relation of life, it is perhaps as shepherd of his immense flock that he makes the greatest appeal to our sympathy. Laying aside his books, the great scholar, who had no pastoral experience, set about evangelizing his people with all the zeal of a young missionary, whilst initiating the reforms decreed by the Council of Trent. He preached constantly, he made visitations, he exhorted the clergy, he catechized the children, he sought out the necessitous, whose wants he supplied, and he won the love of all classes. He was not destined, however, to remain long away from Rome. Paul V, who was elected pope three years later, at once insisted upon retaining Cardinal Bellarmine by his side, and the archbishop accordingly resigned his see.

From that time onwards, as head of the Vatican Library and as a member of almost every congregation, he took a prominent part in all the affairs of the Holy See. When Venice ventured arbi­trarily to abrogate the rights of the Church, and was placed under an interdict, St Robert became the pope’s great champion in a pamphlet contest with the Republic’s theologian, the famous Servite, Fra Paolo Sarpi. A still more important adversary was James I of England. Cardinal Bellarmine had remonstrated with his friend, the Archpriest Blackwell, for taking the oath of allegiance to James—an oath purposely so worded as to deny to the pope all jurisdiction over temporals. King James, who fancied himself as a controversialist, rushed into the fray with two books in defence of the oath, both of which were answered by Cardinal Bellarmine. In the earlier rejoinder, St Robert, writing in the somewhat lighter vein that so became him, made humorous references to the monarch’s bad Latin; but his second treatise was a serious and crushing retort, covering every point in the controversy.

 Stand­ing out consistently and uncompromisingly as a champion of papal supremacy in all things spiritual, Bellarmine nevertheless held views on temporal authority which were displeasing to extremists of both parties. Because he maintained that the pope’s jurisdiction over foreign rulers was indirect, he lost favour with Sixtus V. and because, in opposition to the Scots jurist, Barclay, he denied the divine right of kings, his book, De potestate papae, was publicly burnt by the parlement of Paris.

The saint was on friendly terms with Galileo Galilei, who dedicated to him one of his books. He was called upon, indeed, to admonish the great astronomer in the year 1616, but his admonition, which was accepted with a good grace, amounted to a caution against putting forward, otherwise than as a hypothesis, theories not yet fully proved. Well would it have been for Galileo if he had continued to act in accordance with that advice.

It would be impossible in limited space even to enumerate the various activities of St Robert during these later years. He con­tinued to write, but his works were no longer controversial. He completed a commentary on the Psalms and wrote five spiritual books, all of which, including the last, on the Art of Dying, were soon translated into English. When it became clear that his days were drawing to a close, he was allowed to retire to the Jesuit novitiate of St Andrew. There he died, at the age of seventy-nine, on September 17, 1621—on the day which, at his special request, had been set aside as the feast of the Stigmata of St Francis of Assisi. St Robert Bellarmine was canonized in 1930, and declared a doctor of the Church in 1931.

It hardly needs saying that the sources of information for such a career are far too copious to be specified in detail. The mere fact that the beatification was opposed, and in this way retarded, by a certain school of theologians who did not find themselves in harmony with Bellarmine’s views, has had the result of multiplying to a quite unusual extent the printed documents connected with the process. Besides these quasi-official materials and the seventeenth century lives, notably those by Fuligatti (1624) and Daniel Bartoli (1678), it will be sufficient to call attention to the brief autobiography of the saint written in 1613 at the pressing instance of Father Mutius Vitelleschi. This may most conveniently be consulted in the valuable work of Father LeBachelet, Bellarmin avant son Cardinalat (1911); Le Bachelet supplemented this with another important collection of documents, entitled Auctarium Bellarminianum (1913). For English readers the work which supersedes all others and which is as exhaustive in its range as it is attractive in treatment, is the Life of Robert Bellarmine, by Father James Brodrick (2 vols. 1928). The Congregation of Sacred Rites issued an imposing volume, De S. Roberto Bellarmino Univ. Eccl. Doctore (1931), setting out the grounds on which Bellarmine was enrolled among the doctors of the Church; this includes (pp. xxi—xxxii) what is in effect a very full bibliography. St Bellarmine’s Tor in the parish of Cardinham, Cornwall, is a curious modern corruption of St Bartholomew, titular of a neighbouring church.

1599-1624 Virgin Juliana, Princess of Olshansk Uncovering of the Relics of; Many miracles have been worked by St Juliana, and she helps those who venerate her holy relics with piety and faith
St Juliana lived during the first quarter of the sixteenth century. Her father, Prince Yurii Dubrovitsky-Olshansky, was one of the benefactors of the Kiev Caves Lavra. The God-pleasing virgin died at the age of sixteen. Her body, which was buried at the Kiev Caves Lavra near the great church, was found incorrupt during the time of Archimandrite Elisha Pletenets (1599-1624).
The holy relics were in a fire at the great church in the year 1718, and were put into a reliquary and placed in the church of the Near Caves.
St Juliana appeared to Archimandrite Peter Moghila (afterwards Metropolitan of Kiev) in a dream, reproaching him for the carelessness and lack of respect shown to her relics. He ordered a new reliquary to be made, for which a suitable covering was made by pious nuns. On the reliquary was the inscription: "By the will of the Creator of heaven and earth Juliana, patroness and great intercessor to Heaven, rests here for all time. Here are the bones ... healing against all passions ... You adorn Paradise, Juliana, like a beautiful flower ..."
Many miracles have been worked by St Juliana, and she helps those who venerate her holy relics with piety and faith. She is also commemorated on October 10 with the seven saints of Volhynia
.
1624 Saint Dionysius of Zakynthos Bishop of Aegina gift of working miracles
born in 1547 on the island of Zakynthos. Though born into a noble family, he was determined to flee the world and set his mind upon heavenly things. He entered the monastery of Strophada, and after the prescribed time, he was clothed in the angelic schema by the abbot. Though young in years, he surpassed many of his elders in virtue, and was found worthy of ordination to the holy priesthood.

Although he protested his unworthiness, St Dionysius was consecrated Bishop of Aegina. In that office he never ceased to teach and admonish his flock, and many were drawn to him in order to profit from his wisdom.
He feared the praise of men, lest he should fall into the sin of vainglory, so he resigned his See and returned to Zakynthos.

In 1579 the diocese of Zakynthos was widowed (when a bishop dies, his diocese is described as "widowed"), and Dionysius agreed to care for it until a new bishop could be elected.
Then he fled from the worldly life which gave him no peace, and went to the Monastery of the Most Holy Theotokos Anaphonitria, twenty miles from the main village.
A certain stranger murdered the saint's brother Constantine, an illustrious nobleman. Fearing his victim's relatives, the stranger, by chance or by God's will, sought refuge in the monastery where St Dionysius was the abbot. When the saint asked the fugitive why he was so frightened, he confessed his sin and revealed the name of the man he had murdered, asking to be protected from the family's vengeance.
St Dionysius wept for his only brother, as was natural. Then he comforted the murderer and hid him, showing him great compassion and love.
Saint Susanna
Soon the saint's relatives came to the monastery with a group of armed men and told him what had happened. He pretended to know nothing about it. After weeping with them and trying to console them, he sent them off in the wrong direction. Then he told the murderer that he was the brother of the man he had killed. He admonished him as a father, and brought him to repentance. After forgiving him, St Dionysius brought him down to the shore and helped him to escape to another place in order to save his life. Because of the saint's Christ-like virtue, he was granted the gift of working miracles.

Having passed his life in holiness, St Dionysius reached a great age, then departed to the Lord on December 17, 1624. Not only are the saint's relics incorrupt, but he is also one of Greece's "walking saints" (St Gerasimus and St Spyridon are the others). He is said to leave his reliquary and walk about performing miracles for those who seek his aid. In fact, the soles of his slippers wear out and must be replaced with a new pair from time to time. The old slippers are cut up, and the pieces are distributed to pilgims. On August 24, we celebrate the Transfer of his Holy Relics.
Through prayers of Saint Dionysius, may Christ our God have mercy upon us and save us.
1625 St. Michael de Sanctis; life of exemplary fervor, devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament; his ecstacies during Mass; many miracles After his death at 35
Vallisoléti, in Hispánia, sancti Michaélis de Sanctis, ex Ordine Discalceatórum sanctíssimæ Trinitátis redemptiónis captivórum, Confessóris, innocéntia vitæ, admirábili pæniténtia et caritáte in Deum exímii; quem Pius Nonus, Póntifex Máximus, inter Sanctos rétulit.

1625 ST MICHAEL DE SANCTIS “remarkable for innocence of life, wonderful penitence, and love for God” working of a number of miracles during life and after his death

THIS Michael was born at Vich in Catalonia in 1589 or 1591, and when six years old announced that he had decided to be a monk when he grew up; his mother having told him about St Francis of Assisi he set himself to imitate that saint in ways unsuitable to his years. Doubtless his prudent parents restrained his ardour, but he retained his enthusiasm for St Francis. When his father and mother died, leaving him to the guardianship of an uncle, he was put in the service of a merchant. Young Michael had no fads about being above “mere trade” and did his work well; but whenever he was not at it he was doing works of devotion: assisting at the Divine Office when he could, and saying the Little Office of our Lady every day. His master was thoroughly edified, held up Michael is a pattern to his family, and raised no objection to the boy joining the Trinitarian friars at Barcelona; he took his vows at the monastery of St Lambert at Saragossa inl 1607.
About this time Bd John-Baptist-of-the-Conception had rallied many of the Trinitarians of Spain to his congregation of reformed Trinitarians, whose greater austerity was indicated by the wearing of sandals instead of shoes. One of these discalced brothers coming to St Lambert’s to be ordained, Michael was moved to offer himself for their harder life. His superiors gave the necessary permission, he was received into the novitiate at Madrid, and some time later he renewed his vows with them at Alcala. He studied at Seville and Salamanca, was ordained priest, and his virtues and ability caused him to be twice named superior of the convent at Valladolid. His religious not only loved him as a father but revered him as a saint, and he set them a special example of devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. Several times he was rapt in ecstasy during Mass, and he was God’s instrument in the working of a number of miracles during life and after his death, which took place on April 10, 1625, when he was only thirty-six years old. St Michael de Sanctis was canonized in 1862, and he is described in the Roman Martyrology to-day as “remarkable for innocence of life, wonderful penitence, and love for God”.

The postulator of the cause, Fr Niccoló, della Vergine, in the year of the beatification (1779), published a Ristretto istorico della vita, virtu e miracoli del B. Michele de Santi, in which, for example, details are given of the saint’s levitations. A devotional tractate of his on “The Peace of the Soul” has been discovered and printed by Fr Antonino de la Asuncion. St Michael’s feast is kept in the Trinitarian Order on July 5.
    At Valladolid in Spain, St. Michael of the Saints, confessor, of the Order of Discalced Trinitarians for the Redemption of Captives, a man known for his upright life, his penitential spirit, and his great love of God.  He was placed on the roll of the saints by Pope Pius IX.
Michael de los Santos was born in Catalonia, Spain around 1591. At the age of six he informed his parents that he was going to be a monk. Moreover, he imitated St. Francis of Assisi to such a great extent that he had to be restrained. After the death of his parents, Michael served as an apprentice to a merchant. However, he continued to lead a life of exemplary fervor and devotion, and in 1603, he joined the Trinitarian Friars at Barcelona, taking his vows at St. Lambert's monastery in Saragosa in 1607. Shortly thereafter, Michael expressed a desire to join the reformed group of Trinitarians and was given permission to do so. He went to the Novitiate at Madrid and, after studies at Seville and Salamanca, he was ordained a priest and twice served as Superior of the house in Valladolid.
His confreres considered him to be a saint, especially because of his devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament and his ecstacies during Mass. After his death at the age of thirty-five on April 10, 1625 many miracles were attributed to him. He was canonized in 1862 by Pope Pius IX. St. Michael de Sanctis is noted in the Roman Martyrology as being "remarkable for innocence of life, wonderful penitence, and love for God." He seemed from his earliest years to have been selected for a life of great holiness, and he never wavered in his great love of God or his vocation.
As our young people look for direction in a world that seems not to care, St. Michael stands out as worthy of imitation as well as of the prayers of both young and old alike.

Michael of Sanctis, O. Trin. (RM) (also known as Michael of the Saints) Born at Vich, Catalonia, Spain, in 1591; died at Valladolid, Spain, in 1625; canonized in 1862. Saint Michael joined the calced Trinitarians at Barcelona in 1603, and took his vows at Saragossa in 1607. That same year he migrated to the discalced branch of the order and renewed his vows at Alcalá. After his ordination he was twice superior at Valladolid. He was one of the greatest apostles of the order in the 17th century, and is often surnamed 'the Ecstatic One' (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
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).
1639 St. Martin de Porres Dominican  resolving theological problems aerial flights and bilocation

1639 ST MARTIN DE PORRES

AMONG the people to whom the epithet “half-caste” is often given as a term of contempt, the first of whom it is recorded that he practised Christian virtue in an heroic degree is this Dominican lay-brother. He was born in Lima in Peru in 1579, the natural child of John de Porres (Porras), a Spanish knight, and a coloured freed-woman from Panama, Anna by baptism. Young Martin inherited the features and dark complexion of his mother, which was a matter of vexation to the noble Porres, who nevertheless acknowledged the boy and his sister as his children, but eventually left Martin to the care of his mother. When he was twelve she apprenticed him to a barber-surgeon; but three years later, having received the habit of the third order of St Dominic, he was admitted to the Rosary convent of the Friars Preachers at Lima, eventually becoming a professed lay-brother.
   “Many were the offices to which the servant of God, Brother Martin de Porres, attended, being barber, surgeon, wardrobe-keeper and infirmarian. Each of these jobs was enough for any one man, but alone he filled them all with great liberality, promptness and carefulness, without being weighed down by any of them. It was most striking, and it made me [Brother Fernando de Aragones] realize that, in that he clung to God in his soul, all these things were effects of divine grace.”

   Martin extended his care of the sick to those of the city, and was instrumental in establishing an orphanage and foundling-hospital, with other charitable institutions attached; he was given the office of distributing the convent’s daily alms of food to the poor (which he is said sometimes to have increased miraculously); and he took upon himself to care for the miserable slaves who were brought to Peru from Africa. He was greatly desirous of going to some foreign mission where he might earn the crown of martyrdom, but this was impossible, so he made a martyr of his own body; and as well as of his penances much is said of his aerial flights, bilocations and other supernatural gifts. Brother Martin’s charity embraced the lower 
animals (which seems to have surprised the Spaniards) and even vermin, excusing the depredations of rats and mice on the ground that the poor little things were insufficiently fed, and he kept a “cats’ and dogs’ home” at his sister’s house.

ST Martin’s protégé, Juan Vasquez Parra, shows the lay-brother as eminently practical in his charities, using carefully and methodically the money and goods he collected, raising a dowry for his niece in three days (at the same time getting as much and more for the poor), putting up the banns, showing Parra how to sow camomile in the well-manured hoof-prints of cattle, buying a Negro servant to work in the laundry, looking after those who needed blankets, shirts, candles, sweets, miracles or prayers—the procurator apparently both of the priory and the public. Don Balthasar Carasco, a jurist, wanted to be Brother Martin’s “adopted son” and to call him “father”. Martin objected: “Why do you want a mulatto for a father? That would not look well”.—“Why not ? It would rather be said that you have a Spaniard for a son”, retorted Don Balthasar. On one occasion when his priory was being dunned for a debt, Martin offered himself in payment:  “I am only a poor mulatto; I’m the property of the order: sell me.”

ST Martin was a close friend of St Rose of Lima as well as of Bd John Massias, who was a lay brother at the Dominican priory of St Mary Magdalen in the same town. Martin was at the Rosary priory, and he died there on November 3, 1639:  prelates and noblemen carried him to his grave. He was beatified in 1837, after long delays, and canonized on May 6, 1962. He is patron of social justice.

Fr Van Ortroy adopted in this case a course unprecedented in earlier volumes of the Acta Sanctorum, for he printed a tolerably full account of the servant of God in a modern language. Fr B. de Medina gave testimony regarding Martin de Porres before the apostolic commission in 1683 his evidence was translated into Italian for the benefit of the C.R.S. in Rome, and this version Fr Van Ortroy reproduced. But see also With Bd Martin (1945), pp. 132—168, and the Fifteenth Anniversary Book (1950), pp. 130—158, publications of the Blessed Martin Guild, New York, edited by Fr Norbert Georges, where are printed trans­lations of the evidence of ten witnesses at the apostolic process. The appropriate adoption of Bd Martin in America and elsewhere as patron of work for inter-racial justice and harmony has led to the publication of several popular and devotional works on him, such as that of J. C. Kearns (1950). There is a life in French by S. Fumet (1933), rather uncritical. See Fr C. C. Martindale in The Month, April 1920, pp. 300—313 and M. C. de Ganay in Vie spirituelle, vol. ix (1923—24), notably pp. 54—61.   

Born at Lima, Peru 1579 St. Martin de Porres'  father was a Spanish gentleman and his mother a coloured freed-woman from Panama. At fifteen, he became a lay brother at the Dominican Friary at Lima and spent his whole life there-as a barber, farm laborer, almoner, and infirmarian among other things.
Martin had a great desire to go off to some foreign mission and thus earn the palm of martyrdom. However, since this was not possible, he made a martyr out of his body, devoting himself to ceaseless and severe penances. In turn, God endowed him with many graces and wondrous gifts, such as, aerial flights and bilocation.
St. Martin's love was all-embracing, shown equally to humans and to animals, including vermin, and he maintained a cats and dogs hospital at his sister's house. He also possessed spiritual wisdom, demonstrated in his solving his sister's marriage problems, raising a dowry for his niece inside of three day's time, and resolving theological problems for the learned of his Order and for bishops. A close friend of St. Rose of Lima, this saintly man died on November 3, 1639 and was canonized on May 6, 1962. His feast day is November 3.


Martin de Porres, OP (AC)
Born at Lima, Peru, on November 9, 1579; died November 3, 1639; beatified in 1837; canonized on May 5, 1962, by Pope John XXIII; feast day formerly November 5.
Martin was the illegitimate child of Juan de Porres, a Spanish knight (hidalgo) from Alcantara, and Anna Velasquez, a free Panamanian mullato. Martin inherited his mother's features and dark skin, which upset his father, but John acknowledged his paternity of Martin and his sister while neglecting them. He was left to the care of his mother, and at 12 he was apprenticed to a barber-surgeon, who taught him the healing arts.

Martin's prayer life was rich even in his youth. He had a deep devotion to the Passion of Our Lord, and continually prayed to know what he could do in gratitude for the immense blessings of redemption.
    Martin de Porres
Deciding upon the religious life, at the age of 15, Martin received the habit of the Third Order of Saint Dominic and was admitted to the Dominican Rosary Convent at Lima as a servant. He gave himself the lowliest duties of the house. Finally, his superiors commanded him to accept the habit of a lay brother-- something Martin felt was too great an honor for him--and he was professed.

He served in several offices in the convent--barber, infirmarian, wardrobe keeper--as well as in the garden and as a counsellor. Soon Martin's reputation as a healer spread abroad. He nursed the sick of the city, including plague victims, regardless of race, and helped to found an orphanage and foundling hospital with other charities attached to them. He distributed the convent's alms of food (which he is said sometimes to have increased miraculously) to the poor. Martin especially ministered to the slaves that had been brought from Africa.


He cured as much through prayer as through his knowledge of the medical arts. Among the countless many whose cures were attributed to Martin were a priest dying from a badly infected leg and a young student whose fingers were so damaged in an accident that his hopes for ordination to the priesthood were nearly quenched.

Martin spent his nights in prayer and penance, and he experienced visions and ecstasies. In addition to these gifts, he was endowed with the gift of bilocation; he was seen in Mexico, Central America, and even Japan, by people who knew him well, whereas he had never physically been outside of Lima after entering the order. One time Martin was on a picnic with the novices and they lost track of time. Suddenly realizing that they would be late for their prayers, Martin had them join hands. Before they knew what happened, they found themselves standing in the monastery yard, unable to explain how they travelled several miles in a few seconds.

He passed through locked doors by some means known only to himself and God. In this way he appeared at the bedside of the sick without being asked and always soothed the sick even when he did not completely heal them.
St. Martin

Even sick animals came to Martin for healing. He demonstrated a great control of and care for animals--a care that apparently was inexplicable to the Spaniards--extending his love even to rats and mice, whose scavenging he excused on the grounds that they were hungry. He kept cats and dogs at his sister's house.

Great as his healing faculty was, Martin is probably best remembered for the legend of the rats. It is said that the prior, a reasonable man, objected to the rodents. He ordered Martin to set out poison for them. Martin obeyed, but was very sorry for the rats. He went out into the garden and called softly--and out came the rats. He reprimanded them for their bad habits, telling them about the poison. He further assured them that he would feed them every day in the garden, if they would refrain from annoying the prior. This they agreed upon. He dismissed the rodents and forever after, they never troubled the monastery.
His protege, Juan Vasquez Parra, reveals him to have been a practical and capable man, attending to details ranging from raising his sister's dowry in three days, to teaching Juan how to sow chamomile in the manured hoofprints of cattle. He was eminently practical in his charities, using carefully and methodically the money and goods he collected. He was consulted on delicate matters by persons of consequence in Lima.

Martin's close friends included Saint Rose of Lima and Blessed John Massias, who was a lay-brother at the Dominican priory of Saint Mary Magdalene in Lima. Although he referred to himself as a "mulatto dog," his community called him the "father of charity." They came to respect him so much that they accepted his spiritual direction, even though he was but a lay brother.

He died of quatrain fever at Rosary Convent on November 3. The Spanish viceroy, the count of Chinchón, came to kneel at his deathbed and ask his blessing. Martin was carried to his grave by prelates and noblemen.

The startling miracles, which caused Martin to be called a saint in his own lifetime, continue today at his intercession. He lived a life of almost constant prayer, and practiced remarkable austerities. He worked at hard and menial tasks without ever losing a moment of union with God. His charity, humility, and obedience were extraordinary--even for a saint. Such was the veneration for Martin that the canonical inquiry into his cause was begun in 1660 (Attwater, Cavallini, Delaney, Dorcy, Farmer, Walsh, White).

He is the patron saint of interracial relations (because of his universal charity to all men), social justice, public education, and television in Peru, Spanish trade unionists (due to injustices workers have suffered), Peru's public health service, people of mixed race, and Italian barbers and hairdressers (White).


 St. Martin de Porres (1579-1639) 
"Father unknown" is the cold legal phrase sometimes used on baptismal records. "Half-breed" or "war souvenir" is the cruel name inflicted by those of "pure" blood. Like many others, Martin might have grown to be a bitter man, but he did not. It was said that even as a child he gave his heart and his goods to the poor and despised.

He was the illegitimate son of a freed woman of Panama, probably black but also possibly of Native American stock, and a Spanish grandee of Lima, Peru. He inherited the features and dark complexion of his mother. That irked his father, who finally acknowledged his son after eight years. After the birth of a sister, the father abandoned the family. Martin was reared in poverty, locked into a low level of Lima’s society.
At 12 his mother apprenticed him to a barber-surgeon. He learned how to cut hair and also how to draw blood (a standard medical treatment then), care for wounds and prepare and administer medicines.
After a few years in this medical apostolate, Martin applied to the Dominicans to be a "lay helper," not feeling himself worthy to be a religious brother. After nine years, the example of his prayer and penance, charity and humility led the community to request him to make full religious profession. Many of his nights were spent in prayer and penitential practices; his days were filled with nursing the sick and caring for the poor. It was particularly impressive that he treated all people regardless of their color, race or status. He was instrumental in founding an orphanage, took care of slaves brought from Africa and managed the daily alms of the priory with practicality as well as generosity. He became the procurator for both priory and city, whether it was a matter of "blankets, shirts, candles, candy, miracles or prayers!" When his priory was in debt, he said, "I am only a poor mulatto. Sell me. I am the property of the order. Sell me."
Side by side with his daily work in the kitchen, laundry and infirmary, Martin’s life reflected God’s extraordinary gifts: ecstasies that lifted him into the air, light filling the room where he prayed, bilocation, miraculous knowledge, instantaneous cures and a remarkable rapport with animals. His charity extended to beasts of the field and even to the vermin of the kitchen. He would excuse the raids of mice and rats on the grounds that they were underfed; he kept stray cats and dogs at his sister’s house.
He became a formidable fundraiser, obtaining thousands of dollars for dowries for poor girls so that they could marry or enter a convent.
Many of his fellow religious took him as their spiritual director, but he continued to call himself a "poor slave." He was a good friend of another Dominican saint of Peru, Rose of Lima.
Comment: Racism is a sin almost nobody confesses. Like pollution, it is a "sin of the world" that is everybody's responsibility but apparently nobody's fault. One could hardly imagine a more fitting patron of Christian forgiveness (on the part of those discriminated against) and Christian justice (on the part of reformed racists) than Martin de Porres.
Quote: Pope John XXIII remarked at the canonization of Martin (May 6, 1962), "He excused the faults of others. He forgave the bitterest injuries, convinced that he deserved much severer punishments on account of his own sins. He tried with all his might to redeem the guilty; lovingly he comforted the sick; he provided food, clothing and medicine for the poor; he helped, as best he could, farm laborers and Negroes, as well as mulattoes, who were looked upon at that time as akin to slaves: thus he deserved to be called by the name the people gave him: 'Martin of Charity.'"
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).
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 Purgatory
(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
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1654 Peter Claver, SJ Priest unable to abolish the slave trade (RM) Sometimes St Peter would spend almost the whole day in the great square of the city, where the four principal streets met, preaching to all who would stop to listen, he became the apostle of Cartagena as well as of the Negroes, and in so huge a work was aided by God with those gifts that particularly pertain to apostles, of miracles, of prophecy, and of reading hearts.
Born 1581 "Jesus Christ, Son of God, you will be my father and my mother and all my good. I love you much. I am sorry for having sinned against you. Lord, I love you much, much, much."
--Saint Peter Claver.
Saint Peter Claver was unable to abolish the slave trade, but he did what he could to mitigate its horrors by bringing them the consolations of religion and ministering to their bodily wants. He landed in Cartagena (Colombia) in 1610 and for forty years strove to alleviate their lot, with true apostolic fervor, declaring himself "the slave of the Negroes forever."

1654 ST PETER CLAVER
In the United States of America, this is the principal feast for this date.

IF to England belongs the honour of having begun the work of abolishing the slave-trade in 1815, it was she also who, in the person of such national heroes as Sir John Hawkins, played a great part in establishing that trade between Africa and the New World in the sixteenth century. And of the heroes who in the intervening period devoted their lives to the interests of the victims of this nefarious exploitation, the most were from countries which had not received the enlightenment of the Re­formers.
 Among them none was greater than St Peter Claver, a native of that Spain whose history in his time is represented for most Englishmen solely by the buccancering of an unscrupulous imperialism and the fantastic cruelty of an eccle­siastical inquisition. He was born at Verdu, in Catalonia, about 1581, and as he showed fine qualities of mind and spirit was destined for the Church and sent to study at the University of Barcelona. Here he graduated with distinction and, after receiving minor orders, determined to offer himself to the Society of Jesus.
He was received into the novitiate of Tarragona at the age of twenty, and was sent to the college of Montesione at Palma, in Majorca. Here he met St Alphonsus
Rodriguez, who was porter in the college, though with a reputation far above his humble office, and this meeting was to set the direction of Peter Claver’s life. He studied the science of the saints at the feet of the lay-brother, and Alphonsus conceived a corresponding regard for the capabilities of the young scholastic, and saw in him a man fit for a new, arduous and neglected work. He fired him with the idea of going to the help of the many who were without spiritual ministrations in the colonies of the New World.

In after years St Peter Claver said that St Alphonsus had actually foretold to him that he would go and the very place wherein he would work. Moved by the fervour of these exhortations Peter Claver approached his provincial, offering himself for the West Indies, and was told that his vocation would be decided in due course by his superiors. He was sent to Barcelona for his theology and after two years was, at his further request, chosen to represent the province of Aragon on the mission of Spanish Jesuits being sent to New Granada. He left Spain for ever in April 1610, and after a wearisome voyage landed with his companions at Cartagena, in what is now the republic of Colombia. Thence he went to the Jesuit house of Santa Fe to complete his theological studies, and was employed as well as sacristan, porter, infirmarian and cook, and was sent for his tertianship to the new house of the Society at Tunja. He returned to Cartagena in 1615 and was there ordained priest.

By this time the slave trade had been established in the Americas for nearly a hundred years, and the port of Cartagena was one of its principal centres, being conveniently situated as a clearing-house. The trade had recently been given a considerable impetus, for the local Indians were not physically fitted to work in the gold and silver mines, and there was a big demand for Negroes from Angola and the Congo. These were bought in West Africa for four crowns a head, or bartered for goods, and sold in America for two hundred crowns. The conditions under which they were conveyed across the Atlantic were so foul and inhuman as to be beyond belief, and it was reckoned that there would be a loss in each cargo by death during the six or seven weeks’ voyage of at least a third; but in spite of this an average of ten thousand living slaves was landed in Cartagena every year. In spite of the condemnation of this great crime by Pope Paul III and by many lesser authorities, this “supreme villainy”, as slave-trading was designated by Pius IX, continued to flourish; all that most of the owners did in response to the voice of the Church was to have their slaves baptized. They received no religious instruc­tion or ministration, no alleviation of their physical condition, so that the sacrament of baptism became to them a very sign and symbol of their oppression and wretched­ness. The clergy were practically powerless; all they could do was to protest and to devote themselves to the utmost to individual ministration, corporal and material, among the tens of thousands of suffering human beings. They had no charitable funds at their disposal, no plaudits from well-disposed audiences; they were ham­pered and discouraged by the owners and often rebuffed by the Negroes themselves.

At the time of Father Claver’s ordination the leader in this work was Father Alfonso de Sandoval, a great Jesuit missionary who spent forty years in the service of the slaves, and after working under him Peter Claver declared himself  “the slave of the Negroes for ever”.

 Although by nature shy and without self-confidence, he threw himself into the work, and pursued it not with unreliable enthusiasm but with method and organization. He enlisted bands of assistants, whether by money, goods or services, and as soon as a slave-ship entered the port he went to wait on its living freight. The slaves were disembarked and shut up in the yards where crowds came to watch them, “idle gazers”, wrote Father de Sandoval, “drawn thither by curiosity and careful not to come too close”. Hundreds of men who had been for several weeks shut up without even the care given to cattle in the ship’s hold were now, well, ill or dying, herded together in a confined space in a climate that was unwholesome from damp heat. So horrible was the scene and revolting the conditions that a friend who came with Father Claver once could never face it again, and of Father de Sandoval himself it was written in one of the “relations” of his province that, “when he heard a vessel of Negroes was come into port he was at once covered with a cold sweat and death-like pallor at the recollection of the indescribable fatigue and unspeakable work on the previous like occasions. The experience and practice of years never accustomed him to it.”

Into these yards or sheds St Peter Claver plunged, with medicines and food, bread, brandy, lemons, tobacco to distribute among the Negroes, some of whom were too frightened, others too ill, to accept them. “We must speak to them with our hands, before we try to speak to them with our lips”, Claver would say. When he came upon any who were dying he baptized them, and then sought out all babies born on the voyage that he might baptize them. During the time that the Negroes spent in the sheds, penned so closely that they had to sleep almost upon one another and freely handed on their diseases, St Peter Claver cared for the bodies of the sick and the souls of all.

Unlike many, even among the clergy, he did not consider that ignorance of their languages absolved him from the obligation of instructing them in the truths of religion and morals and bringing to their degraded spirits the consolation of the words of Christ. He had a band of seven interpreters, one of whom spoke four Negro dialects, and with their help he taught the slaves and prepared them for baptism, not only in groups but individually; for they were too backward and slow and the language difficulty too great for him to make himself understood otherwise. He made use of pictures, showing our Lord suffering on the cross for them and popes, princes and other great ones of the “white men” standing by and rejoicing at the baptism of a Negro; above all did he try to instil in them some degree of self-respect, to give them at least some idea that as redeemed human beings they had dignity and worth, even if as slaves they were outcast and despised. Not otherwise could he hope to arouse in them a shame and contrition for their vices more perfect than that evoked by the picture of Hell which he held up as a warning. He showed them that they were loved even more than they were abused, and that that divine love must not be outraged by evil ways, by cruelty and lust. Each one had to be taken apart and drilled, time and again, even in so simple a matter as making the sign of the cross or in learning the prayer of love and repent­ance that each had to know: “Jesus Christ, Son of God, thou shalt be my Father and my Mother and all my good. I love thee much. I am sorry for having sinned against thee. Lord, I love thee much, much, much.”

How difficult was his task in teaching is shown by the fact that at baptism each batch of ten catechumens was given the same name—to help them to remember it. It is estimated that in forty years St Peter Claver thus instructed and baptized over 300,000 slaves. When there was time and opportunity he took the same trouble to teach them how properly to use the sacrament of penance, and in one year is said to have heard the confessions of more than five thousand. He never tired of persuading them from the occasions of sin or of urging the owners to care for the souls of the slaves; he became so great a moral force in Cartagena that a story is told of a Negro frightening off a harlot who was pestering him in the street by saying, “Look!” “Here comes Father Claver”.

When the slaves were at length allotted and sent off to the mines and plantations, St Peter could only appeal to them for the last time with renewed earnestness, for he would he able to keep in touch with only a very few of them. He had a steady confidence that God would care for them and, not his least difference from some social-reformers of a later age, he did not regard the most brutal of the slave-owners as despicable barbarians, beyond the mercy or might of God. They also had souls to he saved, no less than the Negroes, and to the masters St Peter appealed for physical and spiritual justice, for their own sakes no less than for that of their slaves. To the cynical mind the trust of the saint in the goodness of human nature must seem naif, and no doubt could he have known he would have been far more often disappointed than not. But the conclusion cannot he avoided that only the worst of the Spanish masters can he compared for iniquity with, say, the English slave-owners of Jamaica in the seventeenth-eighteenth centuries, whose physical cruelty was no less than fiendish and moral indifference diabolical. The laws of Spain at least provided for the marriage of slaves, forbade their separation from their families, and defended them from unjust seizure after liberation. St Peter Claver did all he could to provide for the observance of these laws, and every spring after Easter he would make a tour of those plantations nearer Cartagena in order to see how his Negroes were getting on. He was not always well received. The masters complained that he wasted the slaves’ time with his preaching, praying and hymn-singing; their wives complained that after the Negroes had been to Mass it was impossible to enter the church and when they misbehaved Father Claver was blamed. “What sort of a man must I be, that I cannot do a little good without causing so much confusion?” he asked himself. But he was not deterred, not even when the ecclesiastical authorities lent too willing an ear to the complaints of his critics.

Many of the stories both of the heroism and of the miraculous powers of St Peter Claver concern his nursing of sick and diseased Negroes, in circumstances often that no one else, black or white, could face, but he found time to care for other sufferers besides slaves. There were two hospitals in Cartagena, one for general cases, served by the Brothers of St. John-of-God; this was St Sebastian’s and another, of St Lazarus, for lepers and those suffering from the complaint called “St Antony’s Fire”. Both these he visited every week, waiting on the patients in their material needs and bringing hardened sinners to penitence.

He also exercised an apostolate among the Protestant traders, sailors and others whom he found therein, and brought about the conversion of an Anglican dignitary, repre­sented to be an archdeacon of London, whom he met when visiting prisoners-of-war on a ship in the harbour. Temporal considerations stood in the way of his being then reconciled, but he was taken ill and removed to St Sebastian’s, where before he died he was received into the Church by Father Claver. A number of other Englishmen followed his example. Claver was less successful in his efforts to make converts among the Mohammedans who came to Cartagena, who, as his biographer remarks, “are well known to be of all people in the world the most obstinate in their errors”, but he brought a number of Moors and Turks to the faith, though one held out for thirty years before succumbing, and even then a vision of our Lady was required to convince him. Father Claver was also in particular request to minister to condemned criminals, and it is said that not one was executed at Cartagena during his lifetime without his being present to console him; under his influence the most hardened and defiant would spend their last hours in prayer and sorrow for their sins. But many more, uncondemned by man, would seek him out in the confessional, where he had sometimes to spend fifteen hours at a stretch, reproving, advising, encouraging, absolving.

His country missions in the spring, during which he refused as much as possible the hospitality of the planters and owners and lodged in the quarters of the slaves, were succeeded in the autumn by a mission among the traders and seamen, who landed at Cartagena in great numbers at that season and further increased the vice and disorder of the port. Sometimes St Peter would spend almost the whole day in the great square of the city, where the four principal streets met, preaching to all who would stop to listen, he became the apostle of Cartagena as well as of the Negroes, and in so huge a work was aided by God with those gifts that particularly pertain to apostles, of miracles, of prophecy, and of reading hearts.

Few saints carried out their active work in more repulsive circumstances than did he, but these mortifications of the flesh were not enough ; he continuously used penitential instruments of the most severe description, and would pray alone in his cell with a crown of thorns pressed to his head and a heavy cross weighing down his shoulders. He avoided the most innocent gratification of his senses, lest such should divert him from his path of self-imposed martyrdom; never would he extend to himself the indulgence and kindness he had for others. Once when commended for his apostolic zeal, he replied, “It ought to be so, but there is nothing but self-indulgence in it; it is the result of my enthusiastic and impetuous temperament. If it were not for this work, I should be a nuisance to myself and to everybody else.” And he put down his apparent indifference to handling loathsome diseases to lack of sensibility “if being a saint consists in having no taste and having a strong stomach, I admit that I may be one.”

In the year 1650 St Peter Claver went to preach the jubilee among the Negroes along the coast, but sickness attacked his emaciated and weakened body, and he was recalled to the residence at Cartagena. But here a virulent epidemic had begun to show itself, and one of the first to be attacked among the Jesuits was the debili­tated missionary, so that his death seemed at hand. After receiving the last sacraments he recovered, but he was a broken man. For the rest of his life pain hardly left him, and a trembling in his limbs made it impossible for him to celebrate Mass. He perforce became almost entirely inactive, but would sometimes hear confessions, especially of his dear friend Doña Isabella de Urbina, who had always generously supported his work with her money. Occasionally he would be carried to a hospital, a dying prisoner, or other sick person, and once when a cargo arrived of slaves from a tribe which had not been seen in Cartagena for thirty years his old strength returned; he was taken around till he found an interpreter who spoke their tongue, then baptized all the children, and gave brief instructions to the adults. Otherwise he remained in his cell, not only inactive but even forgotten and neglected; the numbers in the house were much reduced, and those who remained were fully occupied in coping with the confusion and duties imposed by the spreading plague, but even so their indifference to the saint is surprising. Doña Isabella and her sister remained faithful to him, doubtless his old helper, Brother Nicholas Gonzalez, visited him when he could. For the rest, St Peter Claver was left in the hands of a young Negro, who was impatient and rough with the old man, and sometimes left him nearly helpless for days on end without any attention whatever.

Once the authorities woke up to his existence, when a complaint was laid that Father Claver was in the habit of re-baptizing Negroes. This, of course, he had never done, except conditionally in cases of doubt, but he was nevertheless forbidden to baptize in future. “It behoves me” he once wrote, “always to imitate the example of the ass. When he is evilly spoken of, he is dumb. When he is starved, he is dumb. When he is overloaded, he is dumb. When he is despised and neglected, he is still dumb. He never complains in any circumstances, for he is only an ass. So also must God’s servant be: ‘Ut jumentum factus sum apud te.’”

In the summer of 1654 Father Diego Ramirez Farina arrived in Cartagena from Spain with a commission from the king to work among the Negroes. St Peter Claver was overjoyed and dragged himself from his bed to greet his successor. He shortly afterwards heard the confession of Doña Isabella, and told her it was for the last time, and on September 6, after assisting at Mass and receiving com­munion, he said to Nicholas Gonzalez, “I am going to die”. That same evening he was taken very ill and became comatose. The rumour of his approaching end spread round the city, everyone suddenly remembered the saint again, and numbers came to kiss his hands before it was too late; his cell was stripped of everything that could be carried off as a relic.

St Peter Claver never fully recovered con­sciousness, and died two days later on the birthday of our Lady, September 8 1654. The civil authorities who had looked askance at his solicitude for mere Negro slaves, and the clergy, who had called his zeal indiscreet and his energy wasted, now vied with one another to honour his memory. The city magistrates ordered that he should be buried at the public expense with great pomp, and the vicar general of the diocese officiated at the funeral.

The Negroes and Indians arranged for a Mass of their own, to which the Spanish authorities were invited the church was ablaze with lights, a special choir sang, and an oration was delivered by the treasurer of the church of Popayan, than whom “no other preacher was more diffuse on the virtues, holiness, heroism and stupendous miracles of Father Claver”. St Peter Claver was never again forgotten and his fame spread throughout the world: he was canonized at the same time as his friend St Alphonsus Rodriguez in 1888, and he was declared by Pope Leo XIII patron of all missionary enterprises among Negroes, in whatever part of the world. His feast is observed throughout the United States.

It would seem that no quite adequate life of St Peter Claver has yet seen the light, though the depositions obtained in the various “processes” conducted in view of his beatification afford a good deal of material. Perhaps the most reliable summary is that set out in chapter 8 of the 5th  volume of Astrain, Historia de la Compañia de Jesus en la Asistencia de España, pp. 479—495. The best accessible biography is probably that of J. M. Solá, Vida de San Pedro Claver (1888), which is based on the early life by J. M. Fernandez. There are a number of other lives, mostly of small compass, amongst which may be mentioned that of J. Charrau, L’Esclave des Nègres (1914); G. Ledos in “Les Saints” series (1923); Höver (in German; 1905); M. D. Petre, Aethiopum Servus (in English; 1896); and C. C. Martindale, Captains of Christ, pt iii. Claver’s story is told in fictional form by M. Farnum in Street of the Half-Moon. See Arnold Lunn, A Saint in the Slave Trade (1935).

Cartagena, which was founded by Pedro de Heredia in 1533, owed its great commercial importance to its superb harbor. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea near the most northerly point of South America, to the east of the Isthmus of Panama. It is in the tropics, about 700 miles north of the Equator.

When Peter Claver first set foot in Cartagena, he kissed the ground which was to be the scene of his future labors. He had every reason to rejoice, for the climate of Cartagena was disagreeably hot and moist, the country around was flat and marshy, the soil was barren, the necessities of life had to be imported, and in the time of Peter Claver fresh vegetables were almost unknown. In the seventeenth century Cartagena was the happy hunting ground of fever-bearing insects from tropical swamps. These, the natural disadvantages of Cartagena, might have been wasted on a robust saint, but Claver must have been consoled to feel that the fine edge of these discomforts would not be blunted by a naturally healthy constitution. He had, indeed, been warned that his delicate health might easily succumb to excessive heat.

Cartagena was the chief center for the slave trade. Slave-traders picked up slaves at four crowns a head on the coast of Guinea or Congo, and sold them for 200 crowns or more at Cartagena. The voyage lasted two months, slaves cannot live on air, even foul air, and the overheads may fairly be credited with 33 per cent or so of slaves who died en route.

Father Claver, whose life's work was to be the instruction, the conversion and the care of the Negroes who landed in Cartagena, began his ministry under the guidance of Father Alfonso de Sandoval.

Father Claver never experienced that momentary weakness which always overcame the heroic Sandoval when a slave ship was announced. The horror with which Sandoval contemplated a return to these scenes of squalid misery only serves to increase our admiration of the courage with which he conquered these very natural shrinking of the flesh.

Father Claver, on the other hand, was transported with joy when messengers announced the arrival of a fresh cargo of Africans. Indeed, he bribed the officials of Cartagena with the promise to say Mass for the intentions of whoever was first to bring him this joyful news. But there was no need for such bribes, for among the simple pleasures of life must be counted the happiness of bringing good news to a grateful recipient. The Governor himself coveted this mission, for the happiness of watching the radiant dawn of joy on the saint's face. At the words "Another slave ship" his eyes brightened, and color flooded back into his pale, emaciated cheeks.

In the intervals between the arrival of slave ships, Father Claver wandered round the town with a sack. He went from house to house, begging for little comforts for the incoming cargo. Claver enjoyed the respect of the responsible officials of the Crown in Cartagena, devout Catholics who approved warmly the work of instruction which the good Father carried on amongst the Negroes. They felt responsible for the welfare of these exiles. Such opposition as Claver encountered amongst the Spaniards came from the traders and planters, who were often inconvenienced by Claver's zeal on behalf of his black children.

The black cargo arrived in a condition of piteous terror. They were convinced that they were to be bought by merchants who needed their fat to grease the keels of ships, and their blood to dye the sails, for this was one of the favorite bedtime stories with which they had been regaled by friendly mariners during the two months' passage.

The first appearance of Father Claver was often greeted with screams of terror, but it was only a matter of moments to convince these frantic creatures that Claver was no purchaser of slave fat and slave blood. He scarcely needed the interpreters who accompanied him for this purpose for the language of love survived in the confusion of Babel, and readily translated itself into gesture. Cor ad cor loquitur ("heart speaks to heart"). Long before the interpreters had finished explaining that the story that had so terrified them was the invention of the devil, Father Claver had already soothed and comforted them by his very presence. And not only by his presence, for Claver was a practical evangelist. The biscuits, brandy, tobacco and lemons which he distributed were practical tokens of friendship. "We must," he said, "speak to them with our hands, before we try to speak to them with our lips."

After a brief talk to the Negroes on deck, Claver descended to the sick between decks. In this work he was often alone. Many of his African interpreters were unable to endure the stench and fainted at the first contact with that appalling atmosphere. Claver, however, did not recoil. Indeed, he regarded this part of his work as of special importance. Again and again he was able to impart to some poor dying wretch those elements of Christian truth which justified him in administering baptism.

It is recorded that the person of Father Claver was sometimes illumined with rays of glory as he passed through the hospital wards of Cartagena. It may well be that a radiance no less illuminating lit the dark bowels of the slave ship as Father Claver moved among the dying. There they lay in the slime, the stench and the gloom, their bodies still bleeding from the lash, their souls still suffering from insults and contempt. There they lay, and out of the depths called upon the tribal gods who had deserted them, and called in vain. Then suddenly things changed. The dying Africans saw a face bending over them, a face illumined with love, and a voice infinitely tender, and the deft movement of kind hands easing their tortured bodies, and supreme miracle his lips meeting their filthy sores in a kiss. . . . A love so divine was an unconquerable argument for the God in whom Father Claver believed.
When Father Claver returned next day he was welcomed with ecstatic cries of child-like affection.
Two or three days usually passed before arrangements at the port could be completed to allow the disembarkation of a fresh cargo of slaves. When the day of disembarkation arrived, Father Claver was always present, waiting on shore with another stock of provisions and delicacies. Sometimes he would carry the sick ashore in his own arms. Again and again in the records of his mission, we find evidences of his strength, which seemed almost supernatural. His diet would have been ridiculously inadequate for a normal man living a sedentary life. His neglect of sleep would have killed a normal man within a few years, but in spite of his contempt for all ordinary rules of health, in spite of a constitution which was none too strong at the outset of his career, he proved himself capable of outworking and out-walking and out-nursing all his colleagues. He made every effort to secure for the sick special carts, as otherwise they ran the risk of being driven forward under the lash. He did not leave them until he had seen them to their lodgings, and men said that Father Claver escorting slaves back to Cartagena reminded them of a conqueror entering Rome in triumph.

It was after the Negroes had been lodged in the magazines where they awaited their sale and ultimate disposal that Claver's real work began. In the case of the dying, Claver was satisfied if he could awaken some dim sense of contrition of sin, and some faint glimmering of understanding of the fundamental Christian belief. The healthy slaves, however, had to qualify by a course of rigid instruction for the privilege of baptism.

I have already referred to the crowded conditions of the compound in which the Negroes were stocked on disembarkation, and on the squalor and misery which was the result of the infectious diseases from which many of them were suffering. The stink of sick Negroes, confined in a limited space, often proved insupportable to Father Claver's Negro interpreters. It was in this noxious and empoisoned air that Peter Claver's greatest work was achieved.

Before the day's work began, Father Claver prepared himself by special prayers before the Blessed Sacrament and by self-inflicted austerities. He then passed through the streets of Cartagena, accompanied by his African interpreters, and bearing a staff crowned by a cross. On his shoulder he carried a bag which contained his stole and surplice, the necessities for the arrangement of an altar, and his little store of comforts and delicacies. Heavily loaded though he was, his companions found it difficult to keep up with this eager little man who dived through the crowded streets with an enthusiasm which suggested a lover hurrying to a trysting place.

On arrival, his first care was for the sick. He had a delicacy of touch in the cleansing and dressing of sores which was a true expression of his personality. After he had made the sick comfortable on their couches and given them a little wine and brandy and refreshed them with scented water, he then proceeded to collect the healthier Negroes into an open space.

In his work of instruction Claver relied freely on pictures. This method appealed effectively to the uneducated mind, and was, moreover, in accordance with the teachings of his Order, for, as we have seen, Saint Ignatius in his Spiritual Exercises was constant in urging the exercitant to picture to himself sensibly the subject-matter of his meditations. His favorite picture was in the form of a triptych, in the center Christ on the Cross, his precious blood flowing from each wound into a vase, below the Cross a priest collecting this blood to baptize a faithful Negro. On the right side of the triptych a naively dramatic group of Negroes, glorious and splendidly arrayed; on the left side the wicked Negroes, hideous and deformed, surrounded by unlovely monsters.

Claver was particularly careful to make every possible arrangement for the comfort of his catechumens. He himself remained standing, even in the heat of the day, and the slave-masters, who sometimes attended these edifying ceremonies, often remonstrated with the slaves for remaining seated while their instructor stood. But Father Claver always intervened, and explained with great earnestness to the slave-masters that the slaves were the really important people at this particular performance, and that he himself was a mere cipher who was there for their convenience. Sometimes, if a Negro was so putrescent with sores as to be revolting to his neighbors, and worse still, to prevent them from concentrating their thoughts on Father Claver's instruction, he would throw his cloak over him as a screen. Again, he would often use his cloak as a cushion for the infirm. On such occasions the cloak was often withdrawn so infected and filthy as to require most drastic cleansing. Father Claver, however, was so engrossed in his work, that he would have resumed his cloak immediately had not his interpreters forcibly prevented him.

This cloak was to serve many purposes during his ministry: as a veil to disguise repulsive wounds, as a shield for leprous Negroes, as a pall for those who had died, as a pillow for the sick. The cloak was soon to acquire a legendary fame. Its very touch cured the sick and revived the dying. Men fought to come into contact with it, to tear fragments from it as relics. Indeed, before long its edge was ragged with torn shreds.

Claver's work was not confined to Cartagena. Cartagena was a slave mart, and very few slaves whom Father Claver baptized in Cartagena remained there. Now, Father Claver was determined not to lose his converts, and it was therefore his practice to conduct a series of country missions after Easter. He went from village to village, crossing mountain ranges, traversing swamps and bogs, making his way through forests. On arriving in a village he would plant a cross in the market place, and there he would await the sunset and the return from the fields of the slaves whom he had first met it might be some weeks, it might be some years before in Cartagena. The ecstatic welcome which marked these scenes of reunion were a royal recompense for the hardships of the missionary journey.

Father Claver never lost his ascendancy over the men whom he had baptized. On one occasion a mere message from him was sufficient to arrest the flight of a panic-stricken Negro population retreating in disorder from a volcano in eruption. Father Claver's messenger stopped the rout, and Father Claver's bodily presence next day transformed a terror-infected mob into a calm and orderly procession which followed him without fear round the very edge of the still active crater, on the crest of which Father Claver planted a triumphant cross.

Though Father Claver's activities were not confined to the Negroes, the "slave of the slaves" regarded himself as, above all, consecrated to their service. Proud Spaniards who sought him out had to be content with such time as he could spare from the ministrations of the Negroes. This attitude did not meet with universal approval. Spanish ladies complained that the smell of the Negroes who had attended Father Claver's daybreak Mass clung tenaciously to the church, and rendered its interior insupportable to sensitive nostrils for the remainder of the day. How could they possibly be expected to confess to Father Claver in a confessional used by Negroes and impregnated with their presence? "I quite agree," replied Father Claver, with the disarming simplicity of the saint. "I am not the proper confessor for fine ladies. You should go to some other confessor. My confessional was never meant for ladies of quality. It is too narrow for their gowns. It is only suited to poor Negresses."

But were his Spanish ladies satisfied with this reply? Not a bit. It was Father Claver to whom they wished to confess, and if the worst had come to the worst, they were prepared to use the same confessional as the Negresses. "Very well, then," replied Father Claver, meekly, "but I am afraid you must wait until all my Negresses have been absolved."
In the sight of God the white man and the Negro may be equal,
but in the sight of Father Claver the Negro had precedence every time (Lunn)

St. Peter Claver (1581-1654)  
A native of Spain, young Jesuit Peter Claver left his homeland forever in 1610 to be a missionary in the colonies of the New World. He sailed into Cartagena (now in Colombia), a rich port city washed by the Caribbean. He was ordained there in 1615.

By this time the slave trade had been established in the Americas for nearly 100 years, and Cartagena was a chief center for it. Ten thousand slaves poured into the port each year after crossing the Atlantic from West Africa under conditions so foul and inhuman that an estimated one-third of the passengers died in transit. Although the practice of slave-trading was condemned by Pope Paul III and later labeled "supreme villainy" by Pius IX, it continued to flourish.

Peter Claver's predecessor, Jesuit Father Alfonso de Sandoval, had devoted himself to the service of the slaves for 40 years before Claver arrived to continue his work, declaring himself "the slave of the Negroes forever."

As soon as a slave ship entered the port, Peter Claver moved into its infested hold to minister to the ill-treated and miserable passengers. After the slaves were herded out of the ship like chained animals and shut up in nearby yards to be gazed at by the crowds, Claver plunged in among them with medicines, food, bread, brandy, lemons and tobacco. With the help of interpreters he gave basic instructions and assured his brothers and sisters of their human dignity and God's saving love. During the 40 years of his ministry, Claver instructed and baptized an estimated 300,000 slaves.

His apostolate extended beyond his care for slaves. He became a moral force, indeed, the apostle of Cartagena. He preached in the city square, gave missions to sailors and traders as well as country missions, during which he avoided, when possible, the hospitality of the planters and owners and lodged in the slave quarters instead.

After four years of sickness which forced the saint to remain inactive and largely neglected, he d ied on September 8, 1654. The city magistrates, who had previously frowned at his solicitude for the black outcasts, ordered that he should be buried at public expense and with great pomp.
He was canonized in 1888, and Pope Leo XIII declared him the worldwide patron of missionary work among black slaves.

Comment:  The Holy Spirit's might and power are manifested in the striking decisions and bold actions of Peter Claver. A decision to leave one's homeland never to return reveals a gigantic act of will difficult for the contemporary mind to imagine. Peter's determination to serve forever the most abused, rejected and lowly of all people is stunningly heroic. When we measure our lives against such a man's, we become aware of our own barely used potential and of our need to open ourselves more to the jolting power of Jesus' Spirit.

Quote:  Peter Claver understood that concrete service like the distributing of medicine, food or brandy to his black brothers and sisters could be as effective a communication of the word of God as mere verbal preaching. As Peter Claver often said, "We must speak to them with our hands before we try to speak to them with our lips."

In art, Saint Peter Claver is a Jesuit with a Negro (Roeder). He is the apostle of Cartagena and patron of missions to non-European nations (Roeder).
1654 Saint Athanasius III Patelarios, Patriarch of Constantinople, Wonderworker of Lubensk relics  glorified by numerous miracles and signs, rest in the city of Kharkov, in the Annunciation cathedral church
In the world Alexis, was born in 1560 on the island of Crete, into the pious Greek family Patelarios. Despite his education and position in society, Alexis was attracted by the life of Christian ascetics. After his father's death, he became a novice in one of the monasteries of Thessalonica with the name Ananias. From there, he he later went to the monastery of Esphimenou on Mt. Athos, where he fulfilled his obedience in the trapeza (dining area).

From Athos he journeyed to the Palestinian monasteries, and he was tonsured with the name Athanasius. Upon his return to Thessalonica he was ordained presbyter and spread the Gospel of Christ among the Vlachs and the Moldovians, for whom he translated the PSALTER from the Greek. Sometimes, the saint went to Mt. Athos for solitude, and to ask God's blessing on his pastoral work. The holiness of his life attracted many Christians who wished to see a true preacher of the Orthodox Faith.

By his remarkable abilities and spiritual gifts he attracted the attention of the Patriarch of Constantinople, Cyril I (Lukaris) (1621-1623). Summoning the ascetic, Patriarch Cyril appointed him a preacher of the Patriarchal throne. Soon St Athanasius was consecrated bishop and became Metropolitan of Thessalonica.

At this time Patriarch Cyril was slandered before the sultan and imprisoned on the island of Tenedos. St Athanasius assumed the Patriarchal throne on March 25, 1634, on the day of the Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos.

Patriarch Athanasius led an incessant struggle against heretics, Jesuits, and Moslems. After only forty days on the Patriarchal throne, he was deposed through the intrigues of the enemies of Orthodoxy, and Cyril I was returned.

The saint went to Athos, where for a certain time he pursued asceticism in solitude. Then he became Patriarch again, but was deposed after a year. After this, he returned to Thessalonica and renewed his connections with the Holy Mountain. In view of the intolerable persecution of Christians by the Moslems, St Athanasius was repeatedly (from 1633 to 1643) obliged to send petitions to the Russian tsar Michael (1613-1645) seeking alms for the hapless Church of Constantinople.

When living at Thessalonica became impossible for the saint, he was forced to journey to Moldavia under the protection of its sovereign, Basil Lukulos, and he settled there in the monastery of St Nicholas near Galats, but he longed for Mount Athos. He visited it often and hoped to finish his life there, but God ordained something else for him.

In 1652 after the death of Patriarch Cyril I, St Athanasius was returned to the patriarchal throne. He remained only fifteen days, since he was not acceptable to the Moslems and Catholics. During his final Patriarchal service he preached a sermon in which he denounced papal pretensions to universal jurisdiction over the whole Church.

Persecuted by the Moslems and Jesuits, physically weakened, he transferred the administration of the Church of Constantinople to Metropolitan Paisius of Laureia, and he withdrew to Moldavia, where he was appointed administrator of the monastery of St Nicholas at Galats.

Knowing the deep faith and responsiveness of the Russian nation, St Athanasius undertook a journey to Russia. In April 1653 he was met with great honor in Moscow by Patriarch Nikon (1652-1658) and Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich. Having received generous alms for the needs of the monastery, Patriarch Athanasius left for Galats in December 1653. On the way he fell ill and stayed at the Transfiguration Mgarsk monastery in the city of Lubno in February 1654.
Sensing his impending death, the saint wrote his last will, and he fell asleep in the Lord on April 5. Igumen Petronios and the brethren of the monastery buried the Patriarch. By Greek custom the saint was buried in a sitting position. On February 1, 1662 St Athanasius was glorified as a saint and his Feastday was designated as May 2, the Feast of St Athanasius the Great.
The relics of holy Patriarch Athansios, glorified by numerous miracles and signs, rest in the city of Kharkov, in the Annunciation cathedral church.
1640 St. John Francis Regis Confessor of the Society of Jesus:  True virtue, or Christian perfection, consists not in great or shining actions, but resides in the heart, and appears to great edification, though in the usual train of common and religious duties constantly performed fidelity and fervor.

1640 St Jean François Regis Confessor of the Society of Jesus:  True virtue, or Christian perfection, consists not in great or shining actions, but resides in the heart, and appears to great edification, though in the usual train of common and religious duties constantly performed fidelity and fervor.
Such a life has its trials, and often a severer martyrdom than that which stands the test of the flames. 
This we find in the life of the holy servant of God, John Francis Regis.
ST JOHN FRANCIS REGIS (A.D. 1640)
ST JOHN FRANCIS REGIS was born in 1597 at Fontcouverte, in the diocese of Narbonne, of a family that had recently emerged from the bourgeoisie into the ranks of the small landed gentry. He was educated at the Jesuit college of Beziers, and in 1615 sought admittance into the Society of Jesus. His conduct from the time he was allowed to begin his noviciate was exemplary: so marked was his severity towards himself and his tenderness towards others that it was said that he vilified himself beyond measure but canonized everyone else. The first year of noviciate ended, he passed on to follow courses of rhetoric and philosophy at Cahors and Tournon. Whilst at Tournon, every Sunday and holiday, he accompanied the father who served the little town of Andance, and through the catechetical instructions he gave when the priest was hearing confessions he gained a wonderful influence not only over the children but also over their elders. He was then only twenty-two years of age.
In 1628 he was sent to Toulouse to begin his theology course. A companion who shared his room at this time informed the superior that Regis spent the greater part of the night at prayer in the chapel. The reply he received was prophetic; "Take care not to disturb his devotions", said Father Francis Tarbes, "nor to hinder his communion with God. He is a saint; and if I am not greatly mistaken, the Society will some day celebrate a feast in his honour." In 1631 he was ordained, and on Trinity Sunday, June 15, he celebrated his first Mass. His superiors had already destined him for the missionary work that was to occupy the last ten years of his life: beginning in Languedoc, it was to extend throughout the Vivarais, and to end in the Velay, of which Le Puy was the capital. The summers were spent in the towns, but the winter months were to be devoted to the villages and the countryside. He may be said to have initiated his campaign in the autumn of that same year, 1631, by a mission which he conducted in the Jesuit church at Montpellier. Unlike the formal rhetorical sermons of the day, his discourses were plain-even homely-but so eloquently expressive of the fervour that burnt within him that they attracted enormous congregations, drawn from all classes. He addressed himself particularly to the poor: the rich, he was wont to say, never lack confessors. He would himself convey to his humble protégés any comforts he could procure for them, and when warned that he was making himself ridiculous he retorted, "So much the better: we are doubly blest if we can relieve a poor brother at the expense of our dignity." His mornings were spent in the confessional, at the altar and in the pulpit: the afternoons he devoted to prisons and hospitals. Very often he was so busy that he forgot to take his meals. Before he left Montpellier he had converted several Huguenots and many lax Catholics, he had formed a committee of ladies to look after prisoners, and had reclaimed a number of women from a life of sin. To the critics who contended that the penitence of such rescue cases is seldom sincere, he replied, "If my efforts do no more than to hinder one sin I shall consider them well expended." After Montpellier he made his temporary headquarters at Sommières, from whence he penetrated into the most out-of-the-way places, winning the confidence of the people by talking to them and instructing them in their own patois.
His success at Montpellier and Sommières prompted Mgr de la Baume, bishop of Viviers, to apply for the services of Father Regis and of another Jesuit to help him in his diocese. No part of France had suffered more as the result of prolonged civil and religious strife than the wild, mountainous regions of south-eastern France known as the Vivarais and the Velay. Law and order seemed to have disappeared, the poverty-stricken peasantry were lapsing into savagery, and the nobles were often no better than brigands. Absentee prelates and negligent priests had allowed the churches to fall into ruin, whole parishes having been deprived of the sacraments for twenty years or more. A considerable proportion of the inhabitants, indeed, were traditionally Calvinist, but their Protestantism in many cases was a mere party badge, and in laxity of morals and indifference to religion there was little to choose between Catholics and Protestants. With the help of his Jesuit assistants Bishop de la Baume undertook a thorough visitation of his diocese, and Father Regis went everywhere a day or two in advance of him, conducting a kind of mission. It proved the beginning of a three-years' ministry, during the course of which he succeeded in effectively bringing back religious observance, as well as in converting a great number of Protestants.
That such a vigorous campaign should remain unopposed was scarcely to be expected, and in fact there was actually a moment when those who resented his activities were on the point of obtaining his recall. He himself never said a word in his own defence; but the bishop's eyes were opened in time to the baselessness of the charges that had been made against him. About this time Father Regis made the first of several unsuccessful applications to be sent on the Canadian mission to the North American Indians. His superiors were no doubt satisfied with the work he was doing in France, but he always regarded it as a punishment for his sins that he was not allowed the chance of winning the crown of martyrdom. So instead he extended his missions to the wildest and most desolate part of all that highland district, a region where no man went unarmed, and where the winters were rigorous in the extreme. On one occasion he was held up by a snow-drift for three weeks, with only a little bread to eat and with the bare ground for a bed.
Graphic and touching descriptions of those expeditions are to be found in the depositions for the saint's canonization furnished by those who could still remember them. "After the mission I did not recognize my own parishioners, so completely had he reformed them", stated the curè of Marlhes. "No cold, no snow-blocked path, no mountains, no rain-swollen torrent could stop him. His fervour inspired others with courage, for wherever he went countless multitudes followed him and came out to bid him welcome, in spite of danger and difficulties. I have seen him stop in the middle of a forest to satisfy a crowd who wished to hear him. I have seen him stand all day on a heap of snow at the top of a mountain instructing and preaching, and then spend the whole night hearing confessions." Another witness had been passing through the district when he noticed a procession winding its way in the distance. "It is the saint", he was told, "and the people are following." As he entered the town of Saint-Andre he came upon a huge crowd assembled in front of the church. "We are waiting for the saint", was the explanation he received. "He is coming to give us a mission." Men and women would walk a dozen leagues or more to seek him, confident that however late they might arrive Father Regis would always be ready to minister to them. He, on his part, would often set off to visit a distant hamlet at three o'clock in the morning with a few apples in his pocket. Never did he fail to keep an appointment. Once he had stumbled and broken his leg: nevertheless, with the help of a stick and the shoulder of his companion, he arrived at his destination and entered the confessional as though nothing had happened. When after his day's work was over he submitted himself to a medical examination, the leg was found to be healed.
The four last years of the saint's life were spent in Velay. All through the summer he worked in Le Puy, where the Jesuit church proved too small for congregations which often numbered four or five thousand. His influence reached all classes and brought about a very real and lasting spiritual revival. He established and organized a complete social service with prison visitors, sick-nurses and guardians of the poor drawn from his women penitents. With the help of money freely given to him by the well-to-do he set up a granary for the poor, and a refuge for women and girls who had been leading sinful lives. This last enterprise involved him in many difficulties. Evil men, robbed of their victims, assaulted him and blackened his character, whilst some of his own brethren questioned his prudence. For a short time his activities were checked by an over-timorous superior, and Father Regis made no attempt to justify himself; but God, who exalts the humble, was pleased to set the seal of His approval upon His servant by granting him the gift of miracles. Numerous cures were wrought by him, including the restoration of sight to a boy, and to a middle-aged man who had been blind for eight years. In a time of dearth, when many demands upon his granary had to be satisfied, the store of corn was three times miraculously renewed-to the utter bewilderment of the good woman who had been left in charge.
The work went on until the autumn of 1640, when St John Francis seems to have realized that his days were numbered. He had to give a mission at La Louvesc towards the end of Advent. Before doing so he made a three-days' retreat at the college of Le Puy and settled a few small debts. On the eve of his departure he was invited to stay on until the semi-annual renewal of vows, but replied: "The Master does not wish it. He wishes me to leave to-morrow," adding," I shall not be back for the renewal of vows: my companion will." They set out in appalling weather, lost their way, and were overtaken by night in the woods. They were obliged to rest in a ruined house open to the piercing wind, and Father Regis, already completely exhausted, contracted pleurisy. Nevertheless, the next morning he managed to crawl to La Louvesc, where he opened his mission. He preached three times on Christmas day, three times on St Stephen's day, and spent the rest of those days in the tribunal of penance. At the close of the last address when he again entered the confessional he fainted twice. He was carried to the cure's house and was found to be dying. On December 31, during the whole day, he kept his eyes on the crucifix: in the evening he suddenly exclaimed, "Brother! I see our Lord and His Mother opening Heaven for me!" Then with the words: "Into Thy hands I commend my spirit", he passed to his eternal reward. He was forty-three years of age. His body remains to this day at La Louvesc, where he died, and his tomb is annually visited by some fifty thousand pilgrims from every part of France. It was such a pilgrimage to La Louvesc that St John Vianney, the Cure d' Ars, made in 1806: he ascribed to St Francis Regis the realization of his vocation to the priesthood.
There are many excellent lives of St John Francis Regis (who was canonized in 1737) especially in French. The biography by C. de la Broüe, printed ten years after his death has a special charm, but much fuller detail is available in more modern works, especially those of de Curley and L. J. M. Cros. An excellent short life is that of J. Vianney in the series "Les Saints". See also L. Pize, La perpetuelle mission de St jean François Regis (1924); the admirable account by Fr Van Ortroy in the Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. viii. pp. 464-465, and that by Fr Martindale which forms a chapter of his little book, In God's Army.
Such a life has its trials, and often a severer martyrdom than that which stands the test of the flames.  This we find in the life of the holy servant of God, John Francis Regis.

He was born on the 31st of January, in 1597, at Foncouverte, a village in the diocese of Narbonne in Languedoc. His parents, John Regis, who was descended from a younger branch of the noble house of Deplas, in Rovergue, and Magdalen Darcis, daughter to the lord of Segur, were distinguished amongst the nobility of Lower Languedoc by their virtue.
Their eldest son was killed in the siege of Villemur, in a rally made by the Huguenot garrison. Francis was one of the youngest brothers.

At five years of age he fainted away hearing his mother speak of the horrible misfortune of being eternally damned; which discourse made a lasting impression on his tender heart. In his childhood he never discovered any inclination to the amusements of that age. The same disposition made him refuse at his school to join his companions in the innocent diversions of an age generally too eager for play.
His first master was one of a morose, hasty temper, under whom this modest and bashful child had much to suffer; all which he bore without the least complaint.

The Jesuits having opened a public school at Beziers, he was one of the first whom the reputation of its professors drew to the new college. His gravity increased with his years, nor was he to be seen in the beautiful walks which were chiefly crowded by his school fellows. Avaricious of his time, he scarcely allowed himself any for necessary relaxation. Sundays and holidays were a most precious time to him, and he divided them entirely between pious reading and devotions at home and in the church.

He was often seen on those days retired in a chapel and bathed in tears in the presence of Jesus Christ, the tender object of his affections. His conduct made him for some time the subject of his young companions' score and railleries; which his constancy changed at last into veneration. He performed many exercises in honor of the Blessed Virgin, with a particular confidence in her patronage, especially after he was enrolled in a confraternity under her name erected in the Jesuits college. He had a singular devotion to his good angel, and improved every escape from any danger into a motive of redoubling his fervor and gratitude towards God.
By the influence of his holy example, and by his religious discourses, which were animated with a peculiar unction and divine fire, he inflamed many of his companions with the love of virtue, and reclaimed several from dangerous courses. Six of the most fervent associated themselves with him in the same lodgings, and formed a kind of regular seminary, looking upon him as their living rule, and honoring him as a saint and their master in a spiritual life.
In the eighteenth year of his age he was visited with a dangerous sickness, under which his patience and piety moved exceedingly all that came to see him. Soon after his recovery he made a spiritual retreat to deliberate on the choice of a state of life; and finding in his heart a strong impulse to devote himself to labor in procuring the salvation of souls in the Society of Jesus, and being confirmed by the advice of his confessor that this desire was a call of God, he earnestly begged to be admitted, and was readily received by F. Francis Suarez, provincial of the Jesuits, then at Beziers, upon his visitation of that college .

The postulant entered his noviceship with great joy at Toulouse, in the nineteenth year of his age, on the 8th of December, 1616. Here being no longer divided between study and prayer, he gave himself to so close a union with God as to seem to he never without attention to his presence.  His punctual exactness and fervor in the minutes actions and duties, raised them all to a great value: and by the excellence and purity of his motives, they became steps to an eminent into nor perfection.  Here he laid the deep foundation of those virtues which formed his distinguishing character during his whole life, humility, contempt of the world, holy hatred of himself, charity to the poor, and love of God, and zeal for his glory.

The meanest employs were his delight, such as the most humbling duties of a religious state, to wait at table, and cleanse the house: also to make the beds, and dress the sores of the poorest and most loathsome patients in the hospital, where he considered Jesus Christ in his most afflicted members.  He was as austere to himself as he was tender to others, which made his companions say, that he was his own eternal persecutor. He seemed never to do anything to indulge his senses, which he studied to curb and mortify. The spirit of prayer accompanied all his actions. The interior fire of his breast appeared in his looks.
He was often seen at the foot of the altar without motion as in a kind of rapture; and he spoke of God with such a feeling unction, that he inspired all that heard him with his holy love, and excited the most tepid to fervor.

After two years of probation, he made his religious vows in 1618, and was then sent to Cahors to finish his rhetoric, and the following year to Tournon to perform his course of philosophy; but to preserve the fire of devotion in his heart under the dissipation of those studies, he joined to them frequent visits of the blessed sacrament, pious reading, and set times of holy recollection, though he made even his studies a continuation of his commerce with God, in a continual recourse to him by devout aspirations. Such was his fidelity in every action, that his superiors attested they never observed in him the least breach of any college duty; which procured him the name of the angel of the college.
Desiring to form himself principally to the sacred function of teaching the poor the ways of salvation he undertook, by his superior's consent, the charge of instructing the menial servants, and the poor of the town of Tournon, to whom he distributed the alms of the college.  On Sundays and holidays he preached in the adjacent villages, and summoned the children to catechism with a little bell. The little township of Andance having the happiness to fall under his particular care, it quite changed its face: the saint's zeal soon banished out of it drunkenness licentiousness, and swearing, restored the frequent use of the sacraments and established there first the confraternity of the blessed sacrament, the rules of which this holy man, then only two-and-twenty years old, but full of the spirit of devotion, drew up, and which was afterwards propagated to other places. He regulated families, composed differences, and reformed all manner of irregularities: such was the authority which his sanctity and holy prudence procured him.
Having finished his course of philosophy in 1621, he was sent to teach the schools of humanity at Billom, Auch, and Puy; in which employ he spared no application for the assistance of his scholars, both in their studies and in exciting them to virtue, loving them as a tender mother does her children, and being beloved and reverenced by them as a saint.
He was particularly diligent in procuring them all relief in sickness, and by his prayers obtained the sudden recovery of one whose life was despaired of but he was most sensible to their spiritual infirmities.
Being informed of a grievous sin committed by one of them, he burst into a torrent of tears, and after a short recollection, he made, in the transport that had seized him, so pathetic a discourse to his scholars on the severity of God's judgments, that the terrors with which it struck their minds never forsook them their whole lives after, as several of them used to say.

The edifying example, simplicity, humility, modesty, and penitential air of the master, was a most moving and continual sermon to them; and such was the powerful influence it had, that they were visibly distinguished from others by the regularity of their lives.
To solicit the blessings of heaven for them he always spent some time at the foot of the altar before he entered the school, and implored the assistance of their angel guardians in their behalf.

His union with God was perpetual; and from hence flowed his other virtues, particularly his saintly exterior comportment. To animate himself in spirit, notwithstanding the fatigues of his employment, he added many other devotions to the daily hour's meditation, and other prayers enjoined by the rules of the society. He often begged leave of the superior to make extraordinary communions, besides those that were regular in the house; and having obtained it, broke out in transports of joy, which testified his insatiable desire of, and the great comfort he received from that divine food. He prepared himself to receive it by private austerities and public humiliations, and by spending a great part of the night before in the church.  On Sundays and holidays he continued to instruct the poor people with wonderful unction and fruit, and even in his familiar conversation turned all to some spiritual advantage.   After he had taught the lower classes seven years; two at Billom, one at Auch, and four at Puy; he began the study of divinity at Toulouse, in 1628, in which, by his assiduity and the pregnancy of his wit, he made an uncommon progress; yet, out of a fear of applause, he sought to make himself contemptible by an affected simplicity and pretended ignorance.
In the vacation, at the time which the students spent in their country-house for the necessary relaxation of their mind, Regis withdrew into private places to converse with God almost the whole day; and in the night, after a short sleep, he arose and stole secretly into the domestic chapel; which a companion having discovered, and informed the superior thereof, he received this answer: "Interrupt not the sweet communications of that angel with God."
  Notice being given him by his superiors, in the beginning of the year 1630, to prepare himself for holy orders, he felt in his breast the struggle of the strongest sentiments of an humble terror and a glowing zeal; but as he saw the will of God intimated in the order of his superiors, his fears were calmed, and he disposed himself for that sacrament, by retirement, austerities, prayer, and fervorous desires. He then longed for the happiness of approaching the altars, so that he promised his superior to say thirty masses for him, because he had hastened the time of his ordination. When ordained, he took time to prepare, by prayer and penance, to offer the divine sacrifice, and celebrated his first mass with the most tender devotion, and in one continued torrent of tears, so that those who were present could not contain theirs, and, by the divine fire which sparkled in his countenance, thought him like an angel than a man at the altar.

The same year, Toulouse being afflicted with a violent plague, Francis made pressing instances to obtain leave to serve the sick. In 1631, after the course of his studies was over, he made the third year of his novitiate, during which he was obliged to go to Foncouverte to settle some family affairs, where he spent his time in visiting the poor and sick, catechizing the children every morning, and preaching to the people twice a day. His begging for the poor, going through the streets followed by crowds of them and children, and carrying upon his shoulders a fagot, a straw bed, or such like things for the necessitous, drew on him many insults, once from the very soldiers, and bitter remonstrances from his brothers and other friends; but he rejoiced in the humiliations of the cross, and answered that they became a minister of the gospel which had been established by them. Their contempt of him was at last converted into admiration, and everyone discerned in his actions a divine wisdom and zeal which differs from worldly prudence, and rejoices with David if its simplicity appeals contemptible to men.

He lived among his kindred as one truly deal to the world: not like those religious persons, who, wanting the spirit of a their vocation, seek earthly comforts among them. Having composed the differences his relations, and edified them by his humility and heavenly life, he was ordered to go to the college of Pamiers to supply the place of a master who was fallen sick.
In the mean time his superiors, from the experience they had of his vocation and talents for an apostolic life, resolved to apply him solely to the missions; in which he accordingly spent the last ten years of his life, beginning them in Languedoc, continuing them through the Vivarez, and ending them with his life in the Velay, of which Le Puy is the capital.
The summer he employed in cities and towns, as the husbandmen then were taken up with their tillage; but the winter seasons he consecrated to the villages and the country.

F. Regis entered upon his apostolic course at Montpellier in 1631 arriving there in the beginning of summer; and immediately opening his mission by instructing the children and preaching to the people upon Sundays and holidays in the church of the college.  His discourses were plain and familiar; after a clear exposition of the Christian truth, which he had taken for his subject, he closed them with moral and pathetic exhortations he delivered them with such vehemence that sometimes his voice and strength failed him; and with such unction that both preacher and audience often were dissolved in tears, anti the most hardened left the church with hearts full of compunction.
He was always resorted to by a numberless audience of all ranks, though principally of the poor. A famous preacher was astonished to see how his catechisms were admired, and the great conversions they effected, while elegant sermons had so few to hear them, and produced so little fruit.  The reason was, the word of God became a two edged sword in the mouth of Regis, who spoke it from a heart full of the spirit of God, whereas it was lost under the pomp of an affected rhetoric
The saint never refused himself to the rich, but he used to say they would never want confessors,
and that the poor destitute part of Christ's flock were his share and his delight.
He thought that he ought to live only for them.

He spent usually the whole morning in the confessional, at the altar, or in the pulpit; the afternoon he devoted to the hospitals and prisons, sometimes forgetting his meals, having, as he once said, no leisure to think of them.  He begged from door to door for the poor; procured them physicians and all necessaries when sick, and dressed himself their most loathsome sores. 
He was seen loaded with bundles of straw for them; and when laughed a by the children, and told that this made him ridiculous, he answered:
"With all my heart, we receive a double advantage when we purchase a brother's relief with our own disgrace."
He established an association of thirty gentlewomen to procure assistance for the prisoners.
He converted several Huguenots, and many lewd women; and when told the repentance of these latter is seldom sincere, he answered;
"If my labors hinder one sin they will be well bestowed."
Towards winter he went to Sommiers, the capital of Lavonage, twelve miles from Montpellier, and with incredible labor declaring war against vice and extreme ignorance, saw his endeavors crowned with the most surprising success all over that country, penetrating into the most inaccessible places, and deterred by no rigors of weather, living chiefly on bread and water, taking sometimes a little milk; always abstaining from fish, flesh, eggs, and wine;  allowing himself very little rest at night on some hard bench or floor and wearing a hair-shirt.
With a crucifix in his hand, he boldly stopped a troop of enraged soldiers from plundering a church, and another time demanded and obtained of a Calvinist officer the restitution of a poor man's goods which had been plundered, without mentioning the high indignities and ill treatment he had received from the soldiers to the commander's great astonishment.

The Vivarez had been for fifty years the center of Calvinism in France, and the seat of horrible wars and desolation.
The pious bishop of Viviers, in 1633, by earnest entreaties drew Regis into his diocese, received him with great veneration, and took him with him in his visitation, during which the father made a most successful mission over that whole diocese. The count de la Mothe Brion, who had lived as a wise man of the world, was so moved with the unction of the holy man's sermons, as entirely to devote himself to fasting, prayer, and alms. This nobleman, by his zeal and charities, very much contributed to assist the saint in his holy enterprises; in which he was seconded by another gentleman, named De la Suchere, who had formerly been the saint's scholar.

At Puy, Regis undertook the reformation of many negligent pastors, brought many lewd women, and some the most obstinate and abandoned, to become patterns of fervor among the penitents, and converted a Calvinist lady of great reputation at Usez.  About that time God permitted a storm to be raised against his servant for his trial; for amidst these glorious successes he was accused loudly as a disturber of the peace of families by his indiscreet zeal, and as a violent man, who spared no one in his invectives and satires.
The bishop defended him, till wearied out with repeated complaints, he wrote to his superior to recall him, and sending for the saint, gave him a severe reprimand; adding that he found himself under a necessity of dismissing him.

Regis, who had all along neglected to take any measures for his own justification, answered him with such humility, and with such an unfeigned love of humiliations and the cross, that the prelate was charmed with his virtue; and being undeceived by others in regard to him, he praised him in public, and continued him with his employ till the beginning of the year 1634, when the missionary was ordered by his superiors to repair to Puy, but went loaded with letters full of the highest commendations of his virtue and prudence from the good bishop.

The saint wrote earnestly to the general of the society, desiring to be employed on a mission to the barbarous Hurons and Iroquois in Canada, and received a favorable answer; but at the request of count de la Mothe, he returned early the next year to the diocese of Viviers, to labor in the conversion of Calvinists, and in the instruction of the ignorant at Cheylard, and on the other estates of that gentleman. It is incredible how much the apostolic man underwent in this rough country, in the highest mountains, in which he was once locked up three weeks by the snows, lying on the bare ground, eating only black bread, and drinking water, with the addition of astonishing voluntary mortification,- fasts, disciplines to blood, and hair shirts. The count was so edified, and so moved with the inexpressible fruits of his labors, that he founded a perpetual mission for two Jesuits at Cheylard, giving to it a principal of sixteen thousand livres, and his fine house there for their residence.

Regis made his next mission at Privas with equal fruit, and thence was called by the bishop of Valence to St. Aggreve, a mountainous savage place, the nest of heresy in his diocese. Among his heroic actions and virtues here, it is recorded, that one Sunday going into an inn to stop the excesses committed by lewd company assembled in it, he received from one a box on the ear, without any other reply than this: "I thank you; if you knew me you would judge that I deserve much more."
Which meekness overcame their obstinacy. After three months' labors in this neighborhood, by the same bishop's orders he repaired to Saint Andre des Fangas, and was from thence recalled to Marlhes in the Vivarez about the end of the year 1635
In the first of these two places, a boy falling from the top of a high pair of stairs to the bottom near the holy man,
then at his prayer in a corner, was found without hurt;

in the latter, a woman would take his tapered cloak to mend, keept 2 rags as relics by applying them to 2 of her children,
cured one of a fever, the other her of a formed dropsy
.

The curate of Marlhes, in a deposition upon oath, the process of the canonization of the servant of God, gave testimony of him:
 "He was indefatigable, and employed both night and day in his sacred functions."
He was under the bitterest affliction whenever he was informed that God had been offended.
Then he forgot his natural meekness, and appearing transported with holy anger, he with a voice of thunder deterred the most resolute libertines.  He would have sacrificed a thousand lives to prevent one sin.  A word from him sufficed to inflame the coldest hearts and to soften the hardest. After the mission, I knew not my own parishioners, so much I found them reformed. No violence of cold, no snows blocking up all passages, no mountains, or torrents swelled by rains, could be an obstacle to his zeal. His ardor communicated an intrepidity to others; for when he went to any place, innumerable troops followed, and met him through all sorts of difficulties and dangers.
I have seen him in the most rigorous season stop in the middle of a forest, to content the crowds, desirous to hear him speak concerning salvation.
I have seen him at the top of a mountain, raised on a heap of snow, hardened by the frost, preach and instruct the whole day, and after that spend the whole night in hearing confessions.

Winter being over he returned to Puy about the end of April, in 1636, testifying that he found his strength and courage not abated, but increased by his labors. He met at the college here his general's refusal of the mission of Canada, which frustrated his hopes of martyrdom. This refusal he imputed to his sins.

The four remaining years of his life were taken up in missions in the Velay, a mountainous country, the winters in the villages, the summers in Puy, the bishop of which city made use of his counsels and ministry to reform his flock. He preached and catechized at Puy, first in the Jesuits' church; but this being too little, he removed to that of St. Peter le Monstiers, belonging to the Benedictines. His discourses were without art, but clear to the meanest capacities, and delivered with that emotion of heart, and so moving a tone of voice, that he seemed transported by a divine fire above himself; and all who heard him declared, that "Francis preached the word of God as it is in itself; whereas others seemed, in comparison of him, to preach themselves." His audience usually consisted of four or fire thousand. His provincial in his visitation, hearing him, wept during the whole sermon. He formed an association of virtuous ladies to relieve the poor, and another in favor of the prisoners; for both which incredible funds were raised; and in times of need God miraculously multiplied the corn he had stored up, three several times: of which verbal processes were drawn up, and juridical information taken before ecclesiastical and secular judges: and these miracles were confirmed by fourteen credible witnesses in the acts of his canonization.

His constant readiness and extreme diligence to run to the sick, and his happy success in assisting them in spirituals, were recompensed by several cures effected on the spot by his prayers, the unexceptionable relation of which may be read at length in F. Daubenton's History of his life. Nor were the conversions of many sinners less miraculous. Among these, a certain voluptuous rich merchant had long endeavored to blacken the saint's reputation by his slanders; who in return bought of him all he wanted for his poor. Having softened him to a more tractable temper by these and other good offices, he laid hold of a favorable opportunity of representing to sum what could be the end of his pains, and the fruit of all his riches which death must soon bereave him of; the man was struck, and having revolved in his mind all night the reflections the words of the man of God raised in him, came the next day to lay open the agitation of his soul to him.

The saint having for some time continued to excite in him still l ivelier apprehensions of the divine judgments, and conducted him through sentiments of hope and divine love to the dispositions of a perfect penitent, he heard his general confession, which the other made with such a flood of tears that the confessor judged the greatness of his contrition might require a smaller penance. The penitent asked him why he had so much spared his weakness. The zealous pastor answered that he took upon himself to discharge the rest of his debt, which mildness added still more to the fervor of this repenting sinner. His meekness and patience made a conquest of those souls which were so hardened as to be able to resist his zeal. A young man enraged that the saint had converted and drawn from him the object of his impure passion, resolved to kill him. The man of God discovered by a divine light his wicked intention, and said to him: "Dear brother, why do you bear this ill-will to one that would hazard his life to procure you the greatest of blessings, eternal salvation?" The sinner, overcome by his sweetness, fell at his feet, begged his pardon, and became a sincere convert.

Three other young noblemen, on a like occasion, resolved revenge Regis met them with courage, saying to them:
"You come with a design upon my life. What concerns me is not death, which is the object of my wishes:
but the state of damnation that you are in, and regard so little."

The libertines stood as if stunned: Regis embracing them with the tenderness of a parent, induced them to repent; and they made their confessions to him, and led regular lives till their deaths.

Addressing drunkards and other sinners, with his eyes all on fire with zeal, he often by one moving sentence reclaimed them from their disorders. When he had received a blow on the cheek, the magistrates could not prevail upon him to denounce the delinquent; but the offender, moved by his charity, became of his own accord his sincere penitent.

The servant of God was extremely solicitous in removing all occasions of sin, and preventing the promiscuous company of young men and women. He converted many prostitutes with the help of charitable contributions, founded a retreat to secure the virtue of such penitents, till his rector fearing that house could not be maintained, forbade him to meddle in it; he moreover gave him many severe reprimands even in public, accused his zeal as too forward, and forbade him to hear confessions, instruct the poor, or visit the sick, only on certain days and at appointed times.

Regis suffered many humiliations and mortification under this superior, without even allowing anyone to speak in his justification; till the succeeding rector, convinced of his innocence and prudence, restored to him the care of the refuge, and the whole field of his former labors.

His zeal exposed him often to occasions of martyrdom, and to open insults; and once he was cruelly beaten. He was also censured bitterly by many, and even by several of his own brethren; but his rector undertook his defense, and God crowned his labors with incredible success; in which he was seconded by the great vicar Peter le Blanc, his constant friend, without whose counsel he undertook nothing.

 This is the summary of his transactions at Puy during the four last summers of his missions: the winters he employed in laboring in the country, the most abandoned part of which was his first care and chief delight.
   The country inhabitants of the Velay in some parts, especially in mountains, were very rustic, and perfectly savage: Calvinism had insinuated itself, and ignorance and the grossest vices prevailed in many of the wilder places. The boroughs and villages are situated in the diocese of Puy Vienne, Valence, and Viviers. The saint's first mission among them was in the beginning of the year 1636, to Fay and the neighboring places. Hugh Sourdon, LL. D. engaged him to lodge in his house.
The man of God finding his kind host's son Claudius Sourdon, aged fourteen years, entirely deprived of all sight for the six months past, from a deflection; upon his eyes, with excessive pain, he exhorted him to confidence in God, and retired into a neighboring room to prayer with some of the family, which he had not ended when the child recovered his sight, and distinguished everybody in the assembly which then met to hear the first catechistical instruction; and from that time never felt any more either of that pain or deflection, as he attested before the bishops of Puy and Valence, being then fourscore years old.

Upon this, another man forty years of age, who had been blind eight years, was brought to the saint, who making the sign of the cross over him, immediately restored his sight. By the fame of these two miracles, this mission was opened with wonderful concourse and fruit. His conduct in it is thus described by Claudius Sourdon, with whom he lodged, in a juridical deposition that grave person gave before two bishops:
 "His whole behavior breathed sanctity. Men could neither see nor hear him without being inflamed with the love of God. He celebrated the divine mysteries with such devotion that he seemed like an angel at the altar. I have observed him in familiar intercourse become silent and recollected, and all on fire: then speaking of God with a fervor and rapidity that proved his heart to be carried away with an impulse from heaven."

John Francis Regis, SJ (PC) (also known as Jean-François Regie)  Born at Fontcouverte near Narbonne, Languedoc, France, on January 31, 1597; died at La Louvesc in Dauphine, France, on December 30, 1640; canonized in 1737; feast day formerly December 31; he may have another feast on July 2.

While John Francis Regis was born into a family of landed gentry, he preferred the company of humble people. His father was a prosperous merchant. He attended the Jesuit college of Béziers before seeking admission into the Society of Jesus when he was 18. After a successful year as a novice, John Francis went to study at Cahors, Le Puy, Auch, and Tournon. While in Tournon, he accompanied the priest who served the town of Andance on Sundays and holidays, and his catechism instruction was so effective that he inspired the parents through their children.

He returned to Toulouse to begin his theology course, and he spent much of each night in prayer. The plague raged in the town for four consecutive years and he was sent into the country. Finally, he was ordained in 1631. He tended the plague-stricken in Saint James Hospital in Toulouse, where "he did the most menial tasks in the kitchens with greater willingness and pleasure than vain people derive from the glory of dignified offices." But when his companion in this work died, he was sent to Pamiers to teach.

So successful was the preaching of John Francis Regis that, in 1632, he was commissioned to devote himself entirely to evangelization of the illiterate farmers in the diocese of Montpellier. The area had suffered tragically during the Wars of Religion, which ended in France with the Edict of Nantes in 1598. The Huguenots had overrun the churches and many Catholics had abandoned their faith. The rest of his life was spent in this missionary work among the lapsed. He worked in Languedoc, throughout the Vivarais, and ended in Velay.

To some people his preaching was "banal and common, mediocre and crude, and even quite vulgar." To such people he appeared as a "man of wretched appearance, dressed in tattered clothes, without any talent for preaching...Father Regis, no matter how saintly he may be, is a disgrace to his ministry because of the triviality and indelicacy of his language."

One of his colleagues said, "Ah, how vainly do we study to polish and ornament our sermons! Crowds hasten to hear the simple catechisms of this man and conversions multiply, while our own studied eloquence produces nothing."

This tall, attractive, physically strong man had a simple, homely style of preaching that drew large crowds. He gained the confidence of the people by speaking to them in their own patois. While people of all ranks were eager to hear him, Regis preferred a congregation of poor and unlettered people, saying "the rich never lack confessors." There was little that he would not do for the poor, and when he was warned that by doing so he appeared foolish, he responded, "So much the better."

He was as severe with himself as he was gentle with others. He loved the poor and wished to associate himself with them. He never ate meat or fish, and his usual diet was apples and black bread. But sometimes there were so many penitents after his preaching, he had no time for any meal. "I cannot remember my dinner," he said, "when I am ministering to these poor wounded souls." Like his admirer, the Curé d'Ars, he spent long hours in the confessional and slept no more than three hours a night. Among the many mortifications he inflicted upon himself, he used to expose his hands to the freezing cold "so that they were sometimes so red and blotched that they aroused compassion."

For ten years he preached his way through France with simplicity, joy, emotion, and fierceness. He concentrated his efforts on the Auvergne and Languedoc. In the summer he preached in the towns and in winter he evangelized in the villages, when the farmers had time to listen. In Montpellier he converted several Huguenots and many lapsed Catholics, and also established hostels for fallen women, called "Daughters of Refuge," for which he was physically assaulted numerous times.

Among his converts were people of wealth and distinction. At Puy Regis devoted himself to the care of the poor, the sick, and prostitutes. He helped the young country girls who did not want to leave the city but could not find employment by providing them materials with which they could make a living. They worked at home, making lace, embroidering, and doing other types of needlework. Regis collected and sold the work for them at the best possible price.

To handle the rest, Regis made two lists: one of those in need, and the other a register of the devout who were ready to engage in acts of charity. This was the beginning of his social service called the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament. To the ladies of high society he offered the "gift" of a few hungry mouths to feed. To others he sent notes such as: "Sir, you will provide food for the poor people who names are listed below and you will give them six sous for their lodging. If you are unable to provide them with food, you will give them a further six sous so that they may buy it themselves. For this is the decision that has been made by the office of the poor at the town hall on May 9, 1631." Pretty audacious, isn't it?

Not really; for the simple reason that he engaged others with his unstinted enthusiasm. Regis established a granary for the poor. Several times it was miraculously refilled. He called for nurses and doctors, asked pharmacists to provide medicine, sought out guardians of the poor, and assigned overseers of prisons to ensure humane conditions. Nothing could deter him: vermin, ulcers, outbreaks of plague. He faced them all and entered hovels and hospitals "with joy, as if he were entering a palace."

He became the infirmarian of sick bodies and sick souls. When a Jesuit visiting from Lyons asked Regis to show him the most interesting sights of Puy, the saint took him to see a sick pauper who "was rotting in his bed." Afterwards the visitor reported, "I was more pleased than if I had seen all the wonders of Europe." Occasionally John effected miraculous cures by commanding something as simple as: "Fever, leave this young girl for she needs her health to earn her living." And the girl was immediately cured. He did not put much stock in this kind of miracle. He was known to say: "Every time that God converts a hardened sinner he is working a far greater miracle."

His greatest effort, however, was the establishment of the Daughters of the Refuge in imitation of Saint Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, who opened the Refuge of Saint Martha at Rome for repentent women. When Regis experimented with the idea at Montpellier, he placed the girls in private homes, but found it necessary to house them under one roof. His second and more important Refuge was at Puy. He succeeded with these women because he treated them "in a manner full of honor and respect...So great was his deference and politeness that he might have been talking to queens." The refuge for women and girls was endangered by the vindictive slander of unprincipled people who had lost the supply of females that they wished to exploit, and his activities were stopped for a time. But the bishop of Puy, Just de Serres, stoutly defended Regis before the rector of the Jesuit College.

But Regis did not limit himself to healing bodies; souls were more important. The regions of the Vivarais had experienced civil and religious discord, and the people had become uncivilized. Churches were neglected and some parishes had not received the sacrament for twenty years. In the course of a three-year ministry launched by Bishop de la Baume and his assistants, with John traveling a day or so ahead of them, the mission returned the area to religious observance, in addition to converting a large number of Protestants.

Charges made by those who resented his zeal. Such "signs of simplicity and indiscretion" were forbidden and he was ordered to make reparation by "being recalled to the College from the mission where he is conducting himself so badly." Nor was that enough for "he must also be punished in proportion to his fault." These accusations came close to causing his recall, but the excellent bishop of Viviers, Louis de Suze, recognized them for what they were: the attack of lethargic priests whose comfort had been disturbed. After this, Regis asked to be allowed to go to Canada. But the answer from the Jesuit general in Rome, Father Vitelleschi, was categorically: "Your Canada is the Vivarais."

And, indeed, it was as difficult to evangelize these former Catholics and Huguenots as it would be those who had never heard the name Jesus. In 1629, the Edict of Alès reneged on the guarantees made in the Edict of Nantes. Protestants were now deprived of the "places of security" they had been promised. Those who refused to surrender were subject to the "Dragonnades"--a persecution whereby "dragons" (soldiers) were quartered in Protestant homes with permission to behave as badly as they willed. It was very difficult for a missionary to follow in the wake of these troops and encounter the bitter hostility of the Protestants. Nevertheless, Regis continued. He sought out the peasants in the mountains, slept in barns and forests, often lost his way, and wherever he went he kindled a flame of evangelism. Men hung on his words, were moved by his very presence, and came in their need to seek his guidance and blessing.

One day as he was leaving the church after preaching, he found a group of weary peasants waiting at the gate. "We have walked all night," they said, "we have come 12 leagues to hear you, and now we are too late!" Though Regis himself was exhausted, he answered, "No, my children, you are not too late. Come with me." And returning with them into the church, he preached to them with his usual power.

On another occasion, a Jesuit father, on a journey, saw from a hilltop a swarm of people approaching in the distance and, as they came nearer, heard them singing. He enquired what it meant, and was told: "It is the saint followed by the inhabitants of whole villages who cannot leave him." As he was about to proceed on his way, he was overtaken by another crowd, approaching from the opposite direction. "And who are these?" he asked. "We are going out to meet the saint," was their answer.

When he reached his destination he found the small town full of excitement, with lines waiting at the church doors. Again he asked and again received the answer: "The saint! We are waiting to hear the saint." Then he remembered how in the ancient days men came to Christ from every quarter and the common people heard Him gladly. "That man," said one who went to hear Regis, "is full of God. I do not know his equal. I would walk forty leagues to hear him."

In mid-September 1640 (age 43), Regis had a premonition of his death. He spent the next three days in retreat, made a general confession, and continued his mission to Louvesc, a remote mountain village. Thus, on a cold December day, he travelled to his last mission. Overtaken by a snowstorm, he slept that night in a wayside barn and developed pleurisy. The next day he continued his journey in great pain and discomfort.

They reached the village on Christmas Eve and travelled directly to the church, where Regis began to preach immediately without stopping to rest. He spent the whole of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day without intermission conducting services, preaching, and giving counsel. Zealous to save souls, the following day he preached three times in the draughty church and contracted pneumonia. On leaving the pulpit the third time, he fainted. Four days later he died, his last words were: "Jesus, my Savior, I recommend my soul to You."

John Francis Regis was one of those saints, like the Curé d'Ars and Saint Vincent de Paul, who was eminently likeable and approachable. He is one of those saints for whom sanctity is not a personal adventure but something which is to be put to the service of others. His tomb is still the destination of thousands of pilgrims each year (Attwater, Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Gill, Farmer, White).

In art, he is a Jesuit wearing a leather cape and holding a staff surmounted by a crucifix. He is venerated in the Auvergne, particularly Montfauçon and Puy (Roeder). A contemporary portrait shows that Regis was a handsome, distinguished-looking man. John Francis Regis is the patron of lace-makers (Encyclopedia).
1626 Blessed Anne of Saint Batholomew shepherdess the first to join Saint Teresa of Ávila's reformed order sent to France introduce the reform there appointed prioress of the convents at Pontoise and Tours; founded convent at Antwerp for English refugees;  regarded as a saint and was known to be a prophet and a wonder-worker. OCD V (AC) (also known as Anne García)
1626 BD ANNE OF ST BARTHOLOMEW, VIRGIN
IN the writings of St Teresa of Avila we find various allusions to a young lay-sister, Anne-of-St-Bartholomew, whom she made her special companion and whom she once described as a great servant of God. Anne was the child of Ferdinand Garcia and Catherine Mançanas, peasants living at Almendral, four miles from Avila. Until the age of twenty she was employed as a shepherdess, but she then obtained admission to the Carmelite convent of St Joseph at Avila. During the last seven years of her life St Teresa took Anne on nearly all her journeys, declaring that in her work of foundations and reforms she found her more useful than anyone else. Several times she proposed that Anne should receive the black veil, but Anne always refused, preferring to remain a lay-sister. Anne has left a graphic description of their journey from Medina to Alba and of the saint's death, pathetically recording the consolation she herself derived from being able to gratify the holy Mother's love of neatness up to the very end. “The day she died she could not speak. I changed all her linen, headdress and sleeves. She looked at herself quite satisfied to see herself so clean: then, turning her eyes on me, she looked at me smilingly and showed her gratitude by signs." It was in Anne's arms that St Teresa breathed her last.
For six years more Anne remained on quietly at Avila, and then a great change came into her life. Important personages in Paris-notably Madame Acarie and Peter de Bérulle-had for some time been anxious to introduce the Barefooted Carmelites into France. They now applied for some Spanish nuns to help in making a foundation, and Teresa's successor, Anne-of-Jesus, set out with five nuns, of whom Bd Anne-of-St-Bartholomew was one. Upon their arrival in Paris, whilst the rest were being welcomed by Princess de Longueville and ladies of the court, Anne slipped into the kitchen to prepare a meal for the community. Her superiors, however, had decided that St Teresa's chosen companion was fitted for higher work, and shortly afterwards Anne unwillingly found herself promoted to be a choir sister. She had signed her own profession with a simple cross, but according to the best authorities she had acted long before this as secretary to St Teresa: according to others, she now found herself miraculously able to write. It may be that the gift of letters was bestowed upon her with other wisdom when she was about to be faced with new responsibilities. Difficulties of various kinds attended the establishment of Carmel in France, and five of the six Spanish nuns went to the Netherlands. Anne, who remained in France, was appointed prioress at Pontoise and then at Tours. The prospect of being set to govern others at first distressed her greatly, and in fervent prayer she pleaded her incompetence, comparing herself to a weak straw. The answer she received reassured her: "It is with straws I light my fire", our Lord had replied.
A few years later Carmelite houses were opened in the Netherlands. Bd Anne was sent to Mons, where she remained a year. In 1612 she made a foundation of her own at Antwerp. It was soon filled with the daughters of the noblest families in the Low Countries,[* Among them was Anne Worsley (Anne-of-the-Ascension), the first English Teresian Carmelite. It was she who in 1619 established the English community at Antwerp, now at Lanherne in Cornwall. See Sr A. Hardman, English Carmelites in Penal Times (1936).]   all eager to tread the path of perfection under the guidance of one who already in her lifetime was regarded as a saint and was known to be a prophet and a wonder-worker. On two occasions, when Antwerp was besieged by the Prince of Orange and was on the point of capture, Anne prayed all night; the city was saved, and she was acclaimed the protectress and defender of Antwerp. Her death in 1626 was the occasion for extraordinary demonstrations, when twenty thousand persons touched her body with rosaries and other things as it lay exposed before burial. For many years afterwards the city continued to venerate her memory by an annual procession in which the members of the municipality, candle in hand, led the way to her convent. Bd Anne was beatified in 1917.
The apostolic letter pronouncing the decree of beatification is printed in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, vol. ix (1917), pp. 257-261, and it contains the usual biographical summary. Bd Anne wrote an autobiography at the command of her superiors; the account is carried down to the first years of her residence in Antwerp, and the original document is preserved in the Carmelite convent there. An incomplete French translation was published in 1646, and Fr Bouix makes limited use of the autobiography in his life, "purement édifiante", of the beata (1872); see also Fr Bruno's La belle Acarie (1942). C. Henriquez published a life in Spanish in 1632, and a modern account in the same language, by Florencio del Niño Jesus, appeared in 1917: this was adapted into French by Abbe L. Aubert (1918). See also H. Bremond, Histoire littéraire..., t. ii, pp. 299-319 (there is an English translation of this volume).
Born at Almendral (diocese of Ávila), Spain, in 1549; died 1626; beatified in 1917. Anne was a shepherdess, the daughter of poor shepherds, who was the first to join Saint Teresa of Ávila's reformed order. She became Teresa's secretary and travelled throughout Spain with the foundress. In 1606, she was sent to France to introduce the reform there. Eventually, she was appointed prioress of the convents at Pontoise and Tours. She founded a convent at Antwerp for English refugees. Interestingly enough, though one would expect a shepherdess to be illiterate, Anne has left us some delightful religious verse (Benedictines).
1640 St. Peter Fourier Founder of the Congregation of Notre Dame
Graji, in Burgúndia, sancti Petri Fourier qui Canónicus Reguláris fuit Salvatóris Nostri, et Canonissárum Regulárium Dóminæ Nostræ edocéndis puéllis Institútor; atque, virtútibus ac miráculis clarus, a Leóne Décimo tértio, Pontífice Máximo, Sanctórum catálogo adjúnctus est.
    At Gray in Burgundy, St. Peter Fournier, Canon Regular of Our Saviour and the founder of the Canonesses Regular of Our Lady for the education of children.  Because of his brilliant virtues and miracles, Leo XIII placed him the catalogue of the Saints.
 

1640 St Peter Fourier, Co-Founder of The Augustinian Canonesses Regular of Our Lady   
Peter Fourier was born at Mirecourt, in Lorraine, in 1565, and at the age of fifteen was sent by his father to the university directed by the Jesuits at Pont-à-Mousson, where he must have met Bd William Lacey, the future martyr, then studying there.
   He completed a very creditable course of studies and opened a school at his home, but he had already decided against a secular career and at the age of twenty joined the Canons Regular of St Augustine at Chaumousey. In 1589 he was ordained priest; it was not till some months later that his humility and sense of unworthiness would let him celebrate his first Mass, and then his abbot sent him back to the university for further theological study. He remained there for some years, took his doctorate, and displayed an astonishing memory. When he was recalled to his monastery he was appointed procurator and vicar of the abbey parish; he carried out his duties under most disheartening conditions, for the observance of the abbey was bad and his attempts to improve it were met with ridicule.
  In 1597 he was offered the cure of souls in one of the three other parishes served by the canons, and he chose Mattaincourt, as that presented the greatest difficulties. Mattaincourt is a village of the Vosges, which at that time was contaminated by Calvinism and rotten with evil living; St Peter Fourier worked there for thirty years and is to this day remembered in the neighbourhood as “le bon père de Mattaincourt”. He served his flock first by his prayers and by his example; he never forgot that he was a canon regular, subject to the vows of religion, and always lived with an austerity, poverty and simplicity befitting the monastic life; he dispensed with a fire, except for the comfort of visitors, and never refused the needy alms or advice whether spiritual or temporal: his pupil and biographer, Father John Bedel, says that he was particularly compassionate towards those who, through bad business or theft, or other causes outside their control, were less well off than they had been. “For the benefit of such he started a fund, called St Evre’s Purse, after the patron-saint of the parish, into which he paid all charitable bequests, fines, et cetera. When any parishioner was in real difficulty, a few hundred francs were given him from this fund so that he could carry on his business, the only condition being that if he prospered it should be repaid. This scheme worked so well that it could be carried on with the interest on the fund.”
   St Peter also established three confraternities in his church: of St Sebastian for men, of the Rosary for matrons, and of the Immaculate Conception for maidens; this last was among the earliest sodalities of “Children of Mary”. The good parish priest was badly faced with what is today called the problem of “leakage”, and after much prayer and consideration he decided that the free education of children was a first necessity.
He first of all tackled the boys. But the time was not yet; God’s chosen tool for this work was John-Baptist de la Salle, not to be born for another half-century. St Peter Fourier saw at once that he had failed, wasted no more time on it, and turned his attention to four women volunteers, Alix Le Clercq, Ganthe André, Joan and Isabel de Louvroir. These he tested, put for training in the house of canonesses of Poussey in 1598, and in due course they opened a free school at Mattaincourt.
   The saint was a man of ideas in education and himself gave the mistresses a daily lesson in pedagogy. He was one of the first to use what educationists call the “simultaneous method” ; and he required that the older girls should be taught how to draw up invoices and receipts, should be given practice in composition and in writing letters, and should be able to speak correctly “the language of their province” (he knew nothing of an equivalent to “standard English”).
   He was urgent that for their own good and the welfare of the state poor children as well as others should be educated in the love of God and so much as possible in everything that would help them to live with decency and dignity, and that their schooling was to cost nothing. Knowing the value of the “dramatic method” he wrote some dialogues on the virtues and vices (with a particular eye to the shortcomings of his parishioners), which the children would recite before their elders in the church on Sunday afternoons. St Peter gave particular instructions to his nuns on how Protestant children were to be treated: “…kindly and lovingly. Do not let the other children interfere with or tease them…Do not speak harshly of their religion, but when occasion serves show them, when speaking in general terms to all your pupils, how good and reasonable are the precepts and practices of ours.”
  He used similar methods himself when, in 1625, he was commissioned to combat Protestantism in the principality of Salm. He spent as much time in urging Catholics to change their lives as in urging Protestants to change their faith, and would not provoke them by calling them heretics but referred to them as “strangers”. With Father Bedel and another Jesuit he had more success in six months than his predecessors in thirty years. The new institute of nuns in 1616 received papal approval under the title of Canonesses Regular of St Augustine of the Congregation of Our Lady, and soon spread throughout France; it is now established as well in England and other countries. In 1628 Pope Urban VIII allowed the nuns to take a fourth vow binding themselves to the free education of children. Father Fourier’s chief partner, Alix Le Clercq, was beatified as cofoundress in 1947.
St Peter Fourier having been so successful in the reformation of a country parish, he was directed to undertake a less localized and no less difficult task. Monastic life was at a low ebb in Lorraine at that time, and in 1622, having had him appointed visitor to the canons regular by the Holy See, Mgr John de Porcelets de Maillane, Bishop of Toul, called on him to re-establish discipline in the houses of his order and to unite them all into one reformed congregation. His mission was not enthusiastically received, but in the following year the abbot of Lunéville handed over his monastery to St Peter Fourier and a handful of reformed canons. By 1629 the work was done, observance was re-established, and the canons regular of Lorraine formed into the Congregation of Our Saviour. St Peter, much against his wish, was elected their superior general in 1632, saying when he entered into office, “As Jesus Christ gives Himself to men in the Blessed Sacrament, looking
for no return but the good they shall receive in communion, so do I give myself to you this day: not for the sake of any honour or advantage I may receive thereby, but only for the salvation of your souls”.
   It had been his hope all along that the reformed canons would undertake that work of educating boys which he had failed to establish in Mattaincourt, and they were quite willing to take it on. When therefore he sent representatives to Rome in 1627 to see about the recognition of the Con­gregation of Our Saviour, he told them to bring this matter up: “With regard to the schools that we want, it will be well to show that as boys who do not wish to learn Latin, and others before they enter college, have no religious order to take charge of them, at least in these parts, it looks as if there were a vacant benefice in the Church of God. Let us, then, humbly ask for it.” Ask they did, and were refused—in Rome in the seventeenth century it had been forgotten that there was nothing inconsistent with the dignity of the priesthood in teaching in “elementary schools”. But they did in fact do some educational work and had several colleges; and when the Jesuits were suppressed in the eighteenth century, those of Lorraine handed their colleges over to the canons regular.
St Peter Fourier was greatly attached to the house of Lorraine and Duke Charles IV, so that when in 1636 he was tendered the oath of allegiance to King Louis XIII he refused it and fled to Gray in Franche-Comté. Here in exile he spent the last four years of his life, as chaplain of a convent and teaching in the free school, which he caused to be opened. He died on December 9, 1640, and was canonized in 1897. His shrine at Mattaincourt is the resort of numerous pilgrims.

The Saint’s first biographer was Father Bedel, who had been his disciple and companion. Of the many lives that have since been written it will be sufficient to note those of Father Rogie, Dom Vuillemin, and the Abbé Pingaud. This last has been translated into English. A volume by Father Chérot makes excellent use of the saint’s letters, and a new life by B. Bontoux, St Pierre Fourier, was published in 1949. See also under Bd Alix Le Clercq (January 9).
A native of Mirecourt, Lorraine, France, he entered the Augustinian canons regular and received ordination in 1585. He then served as head of the deteriorated parish of Mattaincourt, striving to restore it to a flowering community. Part of his effort included establishing the Congregation of Notre Dame to educate young girls. He failed to win approval for a similar organization to teach boys, but enjoyed much success with the other community. He was canonized in 1897.
1641 Simon of Volomsk Hosiomartyr received monastic tonsure at the Pinegsk Makariev monastery settled in the Volomsk forest, 80 versts to the southwest of Ustiug at the River Kichmenga grace-filled miracles at his relics
In the world Simon, son of the peasant Michael from the vicinity of Volokolamsk, was born in the year 1586. At 24 years of age, after long pilgrimage through Orthodox monasteries, he received monastic tonsure at the Pinegsk Makariev monastery. In the year 1613 he settled in the Volomsk forest, 80 versts to the southwest of Ustiug at the River Kichmenga. Here he spent five years alone, away from people. He nourished himself with vegetables which he himself cultivated, and sometimes asked for bread in some settlement.

When lovers of the quiet life began to gather to him, St Simon, through a grant of Tsar Michael Theodoreovich and with the blessing of the Rostov Metropolitan Barlaam, built a temple in honor of the Cross of the Lord, and in 1620 was made head of the monastery he founded.
A strict ascetic, serving as an example to all in virtue, love of toil, fasting and prayer, he was wickedly murdered in his own monastery on July 12, 1641. The body of the venerable Simon was buried on the left side of the church he built.

Veneration of the saint began in 1646 after grace-filled miracles at his relics were attested. His Life was written in the seventeenth century.
1648 St. Joseph Calasanctius Founder of Scolopi or Piarists
Romæ natális sancti Joséphi Calasánctii, Presbyteri et Confessóris, vitæ innocéntia et miráculis illústris; qui, ad erudiéndam pietáte ac lítteris juventútem, Ordinem Clericórum Regulárium Páuperum Matris Dei Scholárum Piárum fundávit.  Eum Pius Duodécimus, Póntifex Máximus, ómnium Scholárum populárium christianárum ubíque exsisténtium cæléstem apud Deum Patrónum constítuit.  Ipsíus tamen festívitas sexto Kaléndas Septémbris recólitur.
    At Rome, the birthday of St. Joseph Calasanctius, priest and confessor, noteworthy for his holy life and miracles.  He founded the Order of Poor Clerics Regular of the Mother of God of the Christian Schools.  The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius XII, named him as heavenly patron of all Christian schoolchildren.  His feast is on the 27th of August.

St Joseph Calasanctius, Founder of The Clerks Regular of The Religious Schools 
Joseph Calasanctius was the youngest of five children borne by Maria Gaston to her husband Pedro Calasanz.  He was born in his father's castle near Peralta de Ia Sal in Aragon in the year 1556, and in due course was sent to study the humanities at Estadilla, where his virtue and religious observances were regarded with considerable disrespect by his fellow-students. His father wanted him to be a soldier, but Joseph had other ideas and induced Don Pedro instead to send him to the University of Lerida, where he took his doctorate in law before going on to Valencia.  It is said that he left this university in order to escape the attentions of a young kinswoman, who subjected him to a temptation similar to that undergone by his namesake many centuries before at the court of Pharaoh certainly he continued his theology at Alcalá, and in 1583 he was ordained priest, being already twenty-eight years old.
  Soon the fame of Joseph's wisdom, learning and goodness was spread abroad, and after varied experience he was appointed by the bishop of Urgel vicar general of the district of Trempe. He was so successful here that he was sent to deal with the Pyrenean part of the diocese, which comprises the valleys of Andorra of which the bishop of Urgel was joint sovereign prince (he still holds the title) as well as ordinary.  This lonely and inaccessible region was in a terrible state of religious and moral disorder, and St Joseph conducted a long and arduous visitation of which the first task was to bring the clergy to a sense of their responsibilities and obligations;   on its completion he returned to Trempe and remained there until he was made vicar general of the whole diocese.
  For some time Joseph had been listening to an interior call to undertake a quite different sort of work;  at length he resigned his office and benefices, divided his patrimony between his sisters and the poor, reserving a sufficient income for himself, endowed several charitable institutions, and in 1592 left Spain for Rome. Here Joseph met an old friend of Alcalá, Ascanio Colonna, already a cardinal, and for five years he was under the direct patronage of the Colonnas. During the plague of 1595 he distinguished himself by his devotion and fearlessness, and entered into a holy rivalry with his friend St Camillus of Lellis as to who should expend himself the more freely in the service of the sick and.dying.
  During these years St Joseph never lost sight of the work which had drawn him to Rome, namely, the instruction of young children, of whom there were so many, neglected or homeless, in the most urgent need of interest and care. He had become a member of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, whose business it was to teach both children and adults on Sundays and feast-days, and in so doing was brought home vividly to St Joseph the state of degradation and ignorance in which so many of the children of the poor lived.  He was soon convinced that periodical instruction was utterly inadequate to cope with the situation; and that free day-schools for both religious and secular education were required. He therefore first of all invited the official parish-schoolmasters to admit poor pupils to their schools without payment, but they would not undertake the extra work without a rise in salary, and this the Roman senate refused to grant.
  He approached the Jesuits and the Dominicans, but neither order could see a way to extending its activities, for their members were already fully engaged.  St Joseph then came to the conclusion that it was God's will that he should begin the work himself, single-handed if necessary.  Don Antonio Brendani, parish-priest of Santa Dorotea, offered him the use of two rooms and his own services, two more priests joined them, and in November 1597 a public free school was opened.  At the end of a week the school had a hundred pupils and before long many more, and the founder had to engage paid teachers from among the unbeneficed clergy of the city.
  In 1599 it was moved into new quarters and St Joseph obtained permission from Cardinal Ascanio to leave the Colonna household and take up his residence on the school premises with the other masters; they lived a quasi-community life and the founder acted as superior.  During the following couple of years the pupils increased to seven hundred, and in 1602 another move was made, to a large house adjoining the church of Sant' Andrea della Valle.   While hanging a bell in the courtyard St Joseph fell from a ladder and broke his leg, an accident the effects of which were a source of lameness and pain for the rest of his life.
  Pope Clement VIII having made a grant towards the rent, and people of consequence having begun to send their children to the school, the parish-schoolmasters and others began to criticize it with some vehemence; complaints of its disorders were made to the pope and he directed Cardinals Antoniani and Baronius to pay it a surprise visit of inspection.   This was done and as a result of their report Clement took the institution under his immediate protection.
  In similar circumstances the same course was taken and the grant doubled in 1606 by Paul V.
These difficulties were the beginning of trials and persecutions which beset St Joseph until the end of his life. Nevertheless during the succeeding five years the work prospered and grew in spite of all opposition, and in 1611 a palazzo was purchased to house it near the church of San Pantaleone; there were about a thousand pupils, including a number of Jews whom the founder himself invited to attend and encouraged by his kindness.
  Other schools were opened, and in 1621 the teachers were recognized as a religious order, of which St Joseph was named superior general.  He did not let the cares of the generalate diminish either religious observances or his care for the needy, the sick, and any to whom he could be of service.   About this time there came to Rome, with his wife and family, an English gentleman, Mr Thomas Cocket, who by abjuring Protestantism had brought himself within reach of the penal laws. St Joseph 
assisted him, and the pope followed his example assigning a pension to the refugee converts.  For ten years the congregation continued to prosper and extend, and spread from Italy into the Empire.
   In 1630, the institute at Naples admitted one Mario Sozzi, a middle-aged priest, who in due course was professed.  For several years his froward and perverse behaviour made him a great nuisance to his brethren but, having by a show of zeal gained the good will and influence of the Holy Office, he contrived to get himself, in 1639, made provincial of the Clerks Regular of the Religious Schools in Tuscany, with extraordinary powers and independence of the superior general. He proceeded to administer the province in the most capricious and damaging way, harmed as much as he could the reputation of St Joseph with the Roman authorities, and at length denounced him to the Holy Office.
   Cardinal Cesarini, as protector of the new institute and in order to vindicate Joseph, ordered Father Mario's papers and letters to be seized these included some documents of the Holy Office and that congregation, spurred on by Sozzi, straightway had St Joseph arrested and carried through the streets like a felon.
  He was brought before the assessors and only saved from imprisonment by the intervention of Cardinal Cesarini. Father Mario was unpunished, and continued to plot for control of the whole institute, representing St Joseph to be too old and doddering for the responsibility he managed by deceit to get him suspended from the generalate and contrived that a visitor apostolic be appointed who was favourable to himself.  This visitor and Father Mario became in effect in supreme command, and St Joseph was subjected by them to the most humiliating, insulting and unjust treatment, while the order was reduced to such confusion and impotence that the loyal members were unable to persuade the superior authorities of the true state of affairs. 

  Towards the end of 1643 Mario died and was succeeded by Father Cherubini, who pursued the same policy. St Joseph bore these trials with marvellous patience, urging the order to obey his persecutors for they were defacto in authority, and on one occasion sheltering Cherubini from the violent opposition of some of the younger fathers who were indignant at his treachery.
  The Holy See had some time previously set up a commission of cardinals to look into the whole matter, and at length in 1645 it ordered the reinstatement of St Joseph as superior general.  This announcement was received with great joy but it led at once to renewed efforts on the part of the malcontents, who had the support of an aggrieved female relative of the pope.  They were successful, and in 1646 Pope Innocent X published a brief of which the effect was to make the Clerks Regular of the Religious Schools simply a society of priests subject to their respective bishops.  Thus in his ninetieth year St Joseph saw the apparent overturning of all his work by the authority to which he was so greatly devoted and the indirect disgrace of himself before the world when the news was brought to him he simply murmured,
"The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away.  Blessed be the name of the Lord."
   The business of drawing up new constitutions and regulations for the shattered institute of Religious Schools was entrusted to Father Cherubini, but within a few months he was convicted by the auditors of the Rota of the maladministration of the Nazarene College, of which he was rector.  He retired from Rome in disgrace, but returned in the following year to die, repentant of the part he had played and reconciled to St Joseph, who consoled him on his death-bed.  A few months later, on August 25, 1648, St Joseph himself died, and was buried in the church of San Pantaleone he was ninety-two years old.
  There is an obvious parallel between this history and that of St Alphonsus Liguori and the early days of the Redemptorists, and during the troubles of his young congregation St Alphonsus used to encourage and fortify himself by reading the life of St Joseph Calasanctius; he was canonized in 1767, six years before the death of Alban Butler, who only gives to him a brief notice, wherein he is referred to as "a perpetual miracle of fortitude and another Job"-a comparison made by Cardinal Lambertini (afterwards Pope Benedict XIV) before the Congregation of Sacred Rites in 1728.
  The failure of
St Joseph's foundation was only apparent.  Its suppression was strongly objected to in several places, and it was reconstituted with simple vows in 1656 and restored as a religious order in 1669.  Today the Clerks Regular of the Religious Schools (commonly called Piarists or Scolopi) flourish in various parts of the world.
  The documents submitted in the process of beatification and canonization have been largely utilized by the biographers of St Joseph Calasanctius, and this is notably the case in the life written in Italian in the eighteenth century, a translation of which was published in the Oratorian Series edited by Father Faber (1850).  The earliest detailed account of Calasanctius seems to have been compiled by one of his religious sons, Father Mussesti, for the information of Pope Alexander VII, less than twenty years after the saint's death. A considerable number of biographies have since appeared in Italian, French, Spanish and German. Those by Timon-David (1883), Tommasee (1898), Casanovas y Sanz (1930), Heidenreich (1907), Giovanozzi (1930) and Santoloci (1948) may be specially mentioned.  See also Heimbucher, Orden, und Kongregationen der Kat. Kirche, vol. iii, pp. 287-296 and Pastor, Geschichte der Papste, especially vol. xi, pp. 431-433 (Eng. trans.).
St. Joseph Calasanctius Called in religion "a Matre Dei", founder of the Piarists, b. 11 Sept., 1556, at the castle of Calasanza near Petralta de la Sal in Aragon; d. 25 Aug., 1648, at Rome; feast 27 Aug. His parents, Don Pedro Calasanza and Donna Maria Gastonia, gave Joseph, the youngest of five children, a good education at home and then at the school of Petralta. After his classical studies at Estadilla he took up philosophy and jurisprudence at Lérida and merited the degree of Doctor of Laws, and then with honours completed his theological course at Valencia and Alcalá de Henares. His mother and brother having died, Don Pedro wanted Joseph to marry and perpetuate the family. God interfered by sending a sickness in 1582 which soon brought Joseph to the brink of the grave. On his recovery he was ordained priest 17 Dec., 1583, by Hugo Ambrose de Moncada, Bishop of Urgel. Joseph began his labours as priest in the Diocese of Albarracin, where Bishop della Figuera appointed him his theologian and confessor, synodal examiner, and procurator, and when the bishop was transferred to Lérida his theologian followed him to the new diocese. In 1586 della Figuera was sent as Apostolic visitator to the Abbey of Montserrat, and Joseph accompanied him as secretary. The bishop died the following year and Joseph left, though urgently requested to remain. He hurried to Calasanza only to be present at the death of his father. He was then called by his Bishop of Urgel to act as vicar-general for the district of Trempe. In 1592 he embarked for Rome, where he found a protector in Cardinal Marcantonio Colonna who chose him as his theologian and instructor to his nephew. Rome offered a splendid field for works of charity, especially for the instruction of neglected and homeless children, many of whom had lost their parents. Joseph joined a Confraternity of Christian Doctrine and gathered the boys and girls from the streets and brought them to school. The teachers, being poorly paid, refused to accept the additional labour without remuneration. The pastor of S. Dorotea, Anthony Brendani, offered him two rooms and promised assistance in teaching, and when two other priests promised similar help, Joseph, in November, 1597, opened the first public free school in Europe. Pope Clement VIII gave an annual contribution and many others shared in the good work, so that in a short time Joseph had about a thousand children under his charge. In 1602 he rented a house at S. Andrea della Valle and commenced a community life with his assistants and laid the foundation of the Order of Piarists. Much envy and opposition arose against him and his new institute, but all were overcome in time. In 1612 the school was transferred to the Torres palace adjoining S. Pantaleone. Here Joseph spent the remaining years of his life in his chosen calling. He lived and died a faithful son of the church, a true friend of forsaken children. His body rests in S. Paltaleone. His beatification was solemnized on 7 Aug., 1748, and his canonization by Clement XIII, 16 July, 1767.

Founder of the Religious Schools, called the Scolopi or Piarists. Joseph was born in Peralta, Aragon, Spain. He went to Rome in 1592 and joined the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, founding his congregation as a result of his work with neglected children. Joseph suffered unjust accusations but restored as head of his congregation before he died. He was canonized in 1767.
1650 Anna of Kashin died Oct. 2, 1338.   many miracles took place at her tomb
The Holy Right-Believing Princess;
solemn transfer of her relics from the wooden Dormition cathedral into the stone Resurrection church took place on June 12, 1650;  many miracles took place at her tomb

A Church council decided to glorify the holy Princess Anna as a saint, and her holy relics were uncovered on July 21, 1649. The solemn transfer of her relics from the wooden Dormition cathedral into the stone Resurrection church took place on June 12, 1650.

In 1677 Patriarch Joachim proposed to the Moscow Council that the veneration of St Anna of Kashin (October 2) throughout Russia should be discontinued because of the Old Believers Schism, which made use of the name of St Anna of Kashin for its own purposes. When she was buried her hand had been positioned to make the Sign of the Cross with two fingers, rather than three. Therefore, only local veneration of St Anna was permitted.

However, the memory of St Anna, who had received a crown of glory from Christ, could not be erased by decree. People continued to love and venerate her, and many miracles took place at her tomb.

On June 12, 1909 her second glorification took place, and her universally observed Feast day was established. Her Life describes her as a model of spiritual beauty and chastity, and an example to future generations.
1656 Saint Joseph the New traveled to Mount Athos, tonsured at Pantokrator Monastery; worked many miracles attained unceasing prayer of the heart, receiving from God gift of tears, healing the sick and the crippled; relics remained incorrupt
Born in 1568 at Raguza in Dalmatia, and was given the name Jacob at his Baptism. When he was very young, his father died, and he was raised by his mother. At the age of twelve, he was sent to Ochrid to be schooled.

The young Jacob was called to live the monastic life when he was fifteen, and entered the monastery of the Mother of God. After five years, he traveled to Mount Athos, and was tonsured at the Pantokrator Monastery with the new name of Joseph. He fulfilled his various obediences in an exemplary manner, becoming perfected in virtue and holiness. He attained unceasing prayer of the heart, receiving from God the gift of tears. He also performed many miracles, healing the sick and the crippled. Some of the monasteries of the Holy Mountain would send for him so that he could heal those monks who were afflicted with severe bodily suffering.

On July 20, 1650, at the age of eighty-two, St Joseph was elected as Metropolitan of Timishoara. He was a wise and good shepherd to his flock, healing their physical and spiritual illnesses. Once he extinguished a fire in the western part of Timishoara by his prayers, when God sent a heavy rainfall.  After three years of archpastoral labors, he retired to the Partosh Monastery, where he was often visited by many of the faithful. The monastery was an important center of church activity in those days, and even had a school for training priests.

Metropolitan Joseph fell asleep in the Lord on August 15, 1656 when he was eighty-eight years old, and he was buried in the monastery church. He is commemorated on September 15.  He worked many miracles during his lifetime, and there are reports that his relics remained incorrupt after his death.

For more than 300 years the monks reverently tended his grave, then at his glorification on October 7, 1956 St Joseph's relics were transferred into the cathedral at Timishoara. The casket containing his holy relics is adorned with carvings depicting scenes from his life.
An Akathist composed to honor St Joseph speaks of his many virtues.
1660 St. Louise de Marillac Sisters of Charity caring for sick poor neglected patron saint of social workers
Lutétiæ Parisiórum sanctæ Ludovícæ de Marillac, víduæ Le Gras, Societátis Puellárum a Caritáte una cum sancto Vincéntio a Paulo Fundatrícis, egénis sublevándis addictíssimæ, quam Pius Papa Undécimus Sanctárum fastis accénsuit.
 
At Paris, the birthday of St. Louise de Marillac, a widow of Le Gras, co-founder with St. Vincent de Paul of the Society of the Daughters of Charity.  Outstanding for her virtues and miracles, her name was inscribed on the roll of the saints by Pope Pius XI.

1660 ST LOUISA DE MARILLAC, WIDOW, CO-FOUNDRESS OF THE Vincentian Sisters OF CHARITY
To the modern reader it must seem strange that this valiant woman, who had been a wife and a mother before she consecrated her widowhood to the service of God, was best known to her contemporaries as Mademoiselle Le Gras, Le Gras not being even her maiden name but the name of her husband. The tide Madame, however, in seventeenth-century France, was given only to great ladies of the high nobility, and Louisa de Marillac, though well-born and married to an important official in the service of the queen, was not of the rank to whom that compliment was paid. Her father,. Louis de Marillac, was a country gentleman of ancient lineage, and her father’s brothers after rising to fame became even more celebrated in history as the tragic victims of the resentment of Cardinal Richelieu.

Louisa, born in 1591, lost her mother when still a child, but had a good up-bringing and education, thanks partly to the nuns of Poissy to whose care she was confided for a while, and partly to the personal instruction of her own father, who, however, died when she was little more than fifteen. She had wished at one time to become a Capuchin sister but her then confessor, himself a Capuchin, dissuaded her because her health was too frail. In the end a suitable husband was found for her and she consented to marry Antony Le Gras, a man who seemed destined for a distinguished career. A son was born to them, and her twelve years of married life were happy enough except that before very long her husband fell ill of a lingering sickness in which she nursed him most devotedly. Unfortunately she was tempted to regard this visitation as a punishment for her own infidelity to grace; and these anxieties of conscience became the occasion of long spells of aridity and doubt. It was, however, her good fortune to make the acquaintance of St Francis de Sales, who spent some months in Paris during the year 1619. From him she received the wisest and most sympathetic of guidance. But Paris was not his home, and though he con­fided her to the spiritual care of his favourite disciple, Mgr Le Camus, Bishop of Belley, the latter’s visits to the capital were rare and apt to be somewhat uncertain.

Not long before the death of her husband, Louisa made a vow not to marry again but to devote herself wholly to the service of God, and this was followed a little later by a strange spiritual illumination in which she felt her misgivings dispelled and was given to understand that there was a great work which she was called to do in the future under the guidance of a director to whom she had never yet spoken. Her husband’s state of health had long been hopeless. He died in 1625, but before this she had already made the acquaintance of “M. Vincent”, as the holy priest known to us now as St Vincent de Paul was then called, and he, though showing reluctance at first, consented eventually to act as her confessor. St Vincent was at this time organizing his “Confraternities of Charity”, with the object of remedying the appalling misery and ignorance which he had found existing among the peasantry in country districts. With his wonderful tact and zeal he was soon able to count upon the assistance of a number of ladies (whom he styled Dames de Charité), and associations were formed in many centres which undoubtedly effected a great deal of good. None the less experience showed that if this work was to be carried on systematically and was to be developed in Paris itself, good order was needed and a copious supply of helpers. The aristocratic ladies of charity, however zealous, could not spare enough time from their other duties, and in many cases had not the physical strength, to meet the demands made upon them. For the purpose of nursing and tending the poor, looking after neglected children and dealing with rough-spoken male folk, the most useful recruits were as a rule those in humble station, who were accustomed to hardships. But they needed supervision and guidance from one whom they thoroughly respected and who had the tact to win their hearts and to show them the way by example.

Coming by degrees to be better acquainted with Mile Le Gras, St Vincent found that he had here at hand the very instrument he needed. She had a clear intelligence, unflinching courage, a marvellous endurance in spite of feeble health and, perhaps most important of all, the readiness to efface herself completely, realizing that the work was wholly for God and not for her glory. Never perhaps was a greater or more enduring religious enterprise set on foot with less of sensa­tionalism than the founding of that society which was at first known by the name of the “Daughters of Charity” (Fillet de la Charité) which has now earned the respect of men of the most divergent beliefs in every part of the world. It was only after some five years personal association with Mile Le Gras that M. Vincent, who was ever patient to abide God’s own good time, sent this devoted soul in May 1629 to make what we might call a visitation of the “Charity” of Montmirail. This was the precursor of many similar missions, and in spite of much bad health, of which St Vincent himself was by no means inconsiderate, his deputy, with all her reckless self-sacrifice did not succumb. Quietly, however, and very gradually, as activities multiplied, in the by-ways of Paris as well as in the country, the need of robust helpers made itself felt. There were many girls and widows of the peasant class who were ready to give their lives to such work, but they were often rough and quite illiterate. To obtain the best results instruction was necessary and tactful guidance. Vincent’s own energies were already taxed to the uttermost, most of his time being necessarily given to his company of mission priests. More­over, much of the work of the “Charities” had necessarily to be done by women, and to organize and superintend that work a woman was needed who was well acquainted with the instruments upon whom she had to depend.

Hence it came about that in 1633 a sort of training centre or noviceship was established in what was then known as the Rue des Fossés-Saint-Victor. This was the unfashionable dwelling which Mile Le Gras had rented for herself after her husband’s death, and she now gave hospitality to the first candidates who were accepted for the service of the sick and poor, four simple people whose very names are unrecorded. These with Louisa as their directress formed the grain of mustard seed which has grown into the world-wide organization known as the Sisters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul. But expansion was rapid. Soon it became evident that some rule of life and some guarantee of stability was desirable. Louisa had long wanted to bind herself to this service by vow, but St Vincent, always prudent and content to wait for a clear manifestation of the will of God, had restrained her ardour. But in 1634 her desire was gratified; and this naturally paved the way for a scrutiny of the whole position and the possibilities of the future, St Vincent had now complete confidence in his spiritual daughter, and it was she who drafted something in the nature of a rule of life which was to be followed by the members of their association. The substance of this document forms the kernel of the religious observance of the Sisters of Charity down to the present day. But although this was a great step forward, the recognition of the Sisters of Charity as an institute of nuns was still far distant. St Vincent himself insisted that he had never dreamed of founding a religious order. It was God who had done it all. These poor souls, as he often reminded them, must look upon themselves as nothing but Christian women devoting their energies to the service of the sick and the poor. “Your convent “, hesaid, “will be the house of the sick; your cell, a hired room; your chapel, the parish church;• your cloister, the streets of the city or the wards of the hospital ; your enclosure, obedience; your grating, the lear of God; your veil, holy modesty.” If at ‘the present day the’white cornette and the grey stufF gown to which his daughters have remained faithful during nearly three centuries at once attract the eye in any crowd, that is only due to the modern abandonment of the peasant costume of past ages. In the towns of Normandy and Brittany not so long ago the white linen headdresses of the country-women were such that a Sister of Charity who had strayed amongst them would not easily have been distinguishable in the throsig. St Vincent, the foe of all pretension, was reluctant that his daughters should claim even that distinction and respect which attach to the religious habit of those who are consecrated to God. It was not until 1642 that he allowed four of the company to take annual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, and it was not until 1655—though this delay was mainly due to political and accidental causes—that Cardinal de Retz, Archbishop of Paris, despatched from Rome the formal approbation of the company and placed them definitely under the direction of St Vincent’s own congregation of priests.

Meanwhile the good works of the Daughters of Charity had multiplied apace. The patients of the great Paris hospital of the Atel-Dieu had passed in large measure under their care, the brutal treatment of an abandoned child had led St Vincent to organize a home for foundlings, and despite the illiteracy of many of their own recruits the associates had found themselves compelled to undertake the teaching of children. In all these developments Mile Le Gras had borne the heaviest part of the burden. She had set a wonderful example at Angers in taking over the care of a terribly neglected hospital. The strain had been so great that in spite of the devotion of her Daughters of Charity she had suffered a severe breakdown, which at first was reported, but incorrectly, to be a case of plague infection. In Paris she had nursed the plague-stricken herself during an outbreak of the epidemic and in spite of her delicate constitution had survived the ordeal. Her frequent journeys, necessitated by the duties of her office, would have tried the endurance of the most robust, but she was always at hand when her presence was needed, full of hope and creating around her an atmosphere of. joy and peace. As we may learn from her letters to St Vincent and others, two things only troubled her; the one was the respect and veneration with which she found her visits welcomed, the other was her anxiety for the spiritual welfare of ber son Michael. With all her occupations she never forgot him. St Vincent himself kept an eye on Michael, and was satisfied that the young man was a thoroughly good fellow, but with not much stability of character. He had no vocation for the priesthood, as his mother had hoped, but he married and seems to have led a good and edifying life to the end. He came,with his wife and child to visit his mother on her deathbed and she blessed them tenderly. It was the year i66o, and St Vincent was himself eighty years old and very infirm. She would have given much to see this beloved father once more, but that consolation was denied her. Nevertheless her soul was at peace, her life’s work had been marvellously blessed, and she uncomplainingly made the sacrifice, telling those around her that she was happy to have still this one deprivation left which she could offer to God. The burden of what, in those last days, she said to her grieving sisters was always this: “Be diligent in serving the poor . . . love the poor, honour them, my children, as you would honour Christ Himself.” St Louisa de Marillac died on March 15, 1660, and St Vincent followed her only six months later. She was canonized in 1934.

No more valuable source exists for the biographer of St Louisa than the Vie de Saint Vincent de Paul, by Father P. Coste, together with the saint’s correspondence and discourses which had previously been collected and published by the diligence of the same painstaking editor. Some value also attaches to the Vie de Mile 1e Gras, which was brought out by M. Gobillon in 1676, and to three others of more modern date,, that by the Countess de Richemont in 1882, that of Mgr Baunard in 1898, and that of B. de Broglie in the series “Les Saints” (Eng. trans., 1933). A slight but attractive, if not always accurate, sketch was written by Kathleen O’Meara under the title of A Heroine of Charity, and there are other popular accounts by M. V. Woodgate (1942) and Sister M. Cullen. All the lives of St Vincent de Paul mentioned herein under July 19 necessarily include much information concerning St Louisa.
Louise de Marillac was born probably at Ferrieres-en-Brie near Meux, France, on August 12, 1591. She was educated by the Dominican nuns at Poissy. She desired to become a nun but on the advice of her confessor, she married Antony LeGras, an official in the Queen's service, in 1613.
After Antony's death in 1625, she met St. Vincent de Paul, who became her spiritual adviser. She devoted the rest of her life to working with him. She helped direct his Ladies of Charity in their work of caring for the sick, the poor, and the neglected.
In 1633 she set up a training center, of which she was Directress in her own home, for candidates seeking to help in her work. This was the beginning of the Sisters (or Daughters, as Vincent preferred) of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul (though it was not formally approved until 1655). She took her vows in 1634 and attracted great numbers of candidates. She wrote a rule for the community, and in 1642, Vincent allowed four of the members to take vows. Formal approval placed the community under Vincent and his Congregation of the Missions, with Louise as Superior. She traveled all over France establishing her Sisters in hospitals, orphanages, and other institutions. By the time of her death in Paris on March 15, the Congregation had more than forty houses in France. Since then they have spread all over the world. She was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1934, and was declared Patroness of Social Workers by Pope John XXIII in 1960.

Louise de Marillac, Widow (RM)  Born in Ferrières-en-Brie (near Meaux), Auvergne, France, on August 12, 1591; died in Paris, France, March 15, 1660; beatified in 1920; canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1934; declared patroness of social workers by Pope John XXIII in 1960. Saint Vincent de Paul, when he held missions conducted by his priests, made efforts to create the lay apostolate of the (female) Servants of the Poor and of the (male) Helpers of the Poor for the services of the poor and sick in all his parishes. His manifold occupations made it impossible for the saint personally to supervise and direct these numerous charitable groups.

Saint Vincent found in the person of Louise de Marillac his best instrument for the direction of the women. Louise was a woman of the highest social status--a paternal uncle was marshal of France, another was garde des sceaux--and well-educated by the Dominican nuns of Poissy after her mother's early death. Her father died when she was 15. On the advice of her confessor, Louise had decided not to join the Capuchin nuns, and in 1613, at the age of 22, married Antoine Le Gras, secretary to Marie de Medici. Her husband, a pious and high-minded man, allowed her to do all the good to which her kind heart prompted her in slums and in tenements of want, and protected her in those circles of society that felt outraged by her activities. After his death in 1625, she devoted herself to the education of their son, who eventually married and had children.

When he had outgrown her guardianship, she lived entirely for works of Christian charity. Louise had met St. Vincent prior to her husband's death, and he had agreed to become her confessor. He had been trying to organize devout, wealthy women to help the poor and sick in often appalling conditions. It soon became clear that many of these ladies, although well-intentioned, were unfit to face the ugliness and suffering of poverty and illness. The practical work of nursing the sick in their own homes, caring for neglected children, and dealing with often rough husbands and fathers was best accomplished by women of similar social status to the principal sufferers. Louise, he realized, was made of sterner stuff.

The aristocratic ladies were better suited to the equally necessary task of fund raising and dealing with correspondence. Louise was the exception. In her Vincent saw a woman of a clear mind, great courage, endurance, and self-effacement. In 1629, in order to test his assessment, he sent Louise to make a visitation of the "Charity" of Montmirail he had founded. She passed the test and, despite unstable health, Louise made many more such missions.

Vincent chose Louise to train and organize girls and widows, mainly of the peasant and artisan classes. In the home Louise rented on the rue des Fossé-Saint-Victor in Paris, beginning in 1633 with four country girls, she trained groups of women for ambulatory care of the sick. Louise wanted to draw up a rule of life, but St. Vincent convinced her to wait for a sign from God. Vincent had not intended to start a religious order. The sisters, he said, should consider themselves simply as Christians devoted to the sick and poor: "your convent will be the house of the sick, your cell a hired room, your chapel the parish church, your grill the fear of God, your veil modesty."
Image of Saint Louise de Marillac courtesy of
Saint Charles Borromeo Church 

Finally assured of Louise's dedication, Vincent permitted her to draft a rule in 1634; essentially, this rule that was formally approved in 1655 is the rule still used today. Vows are taken only for one year and renewed. Louise made her vows in 1634, and in 1642, the first four candidates were professes as Sisters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul in 1638. Vincent himself preferred the name, Daughters of Charity. Formal approval placed the community under Vincent and his Congregation of the Mission with Louise as their superioress until her death.
This sisterhood, according to the wishes of Saint Vincent, was to realize the idea that had animated his friend, Saint Francis de Sales, in creating this foundation--the idea of an uncloistered religious community for all the evangelical tasks in the world, especially on behalf of the poor, the sick, and the little children.
 
St. Vincent opened an orphanage, and the sisters taught the children. They also took charge of the Hôtel-Dieu in Paris. Louise established other orphanages and hospitals, nursed plague victims herself in Paris, reformed a neglected hospital in Angers, and oversaw all the activity of the order despite her fragile health. She traveled all over France founding more than 40 daughter houses (including one in Madagascar and another in Poland) and charities. Just before her death, she exhorted her sisters to be diligent in serving the poor "and to honor them like Christ Himself." At the time of her death the sick poor were tended in their homes in 26 Parisian parishes, hundreds of women were given shelter, and other good done. These sisters of charity accomplished immeasurable good in every part of the world through their self-sacrificing love for their fellow men. (Attwater, Benedictines, Calvet, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Schamoni, White).
In art, Saint Louise is depicted in the original habit of the order--a gray wool tunic with a large headdress or cornette of white linen, the usual dress of the peasant women of Brittany in the 17th century. She is the patron saint of social workers (White).

St. Louise de Marillac (d. 1660)
Louise, born near Meux, France, lost her mother when she was still a child, her beloved father when she was but 15. Her desire to become a nun was discouraged by her confessor, and a marriage was arranged. One son was born of this union. But she soon found herself nursing her beloved husband through a long illness that finally led to his death.


Louise was fortunate to have a wise and sympathetic counselor, St. Francis de Sales, and then his friend, the Bishop of Belley, France. Both of these men were available to her only periodically. But from an interior illumination she understood that she was to undertake a great work under the guidance of another person she had not yet met. This was the holy priest M. Vincent, later to be known as St. Vincent de Paul.

At first he was reluctant to be her confessor, busy as he was with his "Confraternities of Charity." Members were aristocratic ladies of charity who were helping him nurse the poor and look after neglected children, a real need of the day. But the ladies were busy with many of their own concerns and duties. His work needed many more helpers, especially ones who were peasants themselves and therefore close to the poor and could win their hearts. He also needed someone who could teach them and organize them.

Only over a long period of time, as Vincent de Paul became more acquainted with Louise, did he come to realize that she was the answer to his prayers. She was intelligent, self-effacing and had physical strength and endurance that belied her continuing feeble health. The missions he sent her on eventually led to four simple young women joining her. Her rented home in Paris became the training center for those accepted for the service of the sick and poor. Growth was rapid and soon there was need of a so-called rule of life, which Louise herself, under the guidance of Vincent, drew up for the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul (though he preferred "Daughters" of Charity).


He had always been slow and prudent in his dealings with Louise and the new group. He said that he had never had any idea of starting a new community, that it was God who did everything. "Your convent," he said, "will be the house of the sick; your cell, a hired room; your chapel, the parish church; your cloister, the streets of the city or the wards of the hospital." Their dress was to be that of the peasant women. It was not until years later that Vincent de Paul would finally permit four of the women to take annual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. It was still more years before the company would be formally approved by Rome and placed under the direction of Vincent's own congregation of priests.

Many of the young women were illiterate and it was with reluctance that the new community undertook the care of neglected children. Louise was busy helping wherever needed despite her poor health. She traveled throughout France, establishing her community members in hospitals, orphanages and other institutions. At her death on March 15, 1660, the congregation had more than 40 houses in France. Six months later St. Vincent de Paul followed her in death.

Louise de Marillac was canonized in 1934 and declared patroness of social workers in 1960.

Comment:
In Louise’s day, serving the needs of the poor was usually a luxury only fine ladies could afford. Her mentor, St. Vincent de Paul, wisely realized that women of peasant stock could reach poor people more effectively, and the Sisters of Charity were born under her leadership. Today that Order continues to nurse the sick and aging and provide refuge for orphans. Many of its members are social workers toiling under Louise’s patronage. The rest of us must share her concern for the disadvantaged.

1663 St. Joseph of Cupertino b.1603 levitating at prayer temptations chains

1663 St. Joseph of Cupertino Franciscan mystic patron saint of pilots /air passengers; From time of his ordination St Joseph’s life was one long succession of ecstasies, miracles of healing and supernatural happenings on a scale not paralleled in the reasonably authenticated life of any other saint.    When Cardinal Lauria asked him what souls in ecstasy saw during their raptures he replied: “They feel as though they were taken into a wonderful gallery, shining with never-ending beauty, where in a glass, with a single look, they apprehend the marvellous vision which God is pleased to show them.”

Anything that in any way could be particularly referred to God or the mysteries of religion was liable to ravish him from his senses and make him oblivious to what was going on around him; the absent-mindedness and abstraction of his childhood now had an end and a purpose clearly seen. The sight of a lamb in the garden of Capuchins at Fossombrone caused him to be lost in contemplation of the spotless Lamb of God and, it is said, be caught up into the air with the animal in his arms.
Auximi, in Picéno, sancti Joséphi a Cupertíno, Sacerdótis ex Ordine Minórum Conventuálium et Confessóris; quem Clemens Papa Décimus tértius in Sanctórum númerum rétulit.
    At Osimo in Piceno, St. Joseph of Cupertino, priest and confessor of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual, who was placed among the saints by Clement XIII.


1663 ST JOSEPH OF CUPERTINO
JOSEPH DESA was born June 17, 1603, at Cupertino, a small village between Brindisi and Otranto. His parents were poor and unfortunate. Joseph himself was born in a shed at the back of the house, because his father, a carpenter, was unable to pay his debts and the home was being sold up. His childhood was unhappy. His widowed mother looked on him as a nuisance and a burden, treated him with great severity, and he developed an extreme absentmindedness and inertia. He would forget his meals, and when reminded of them say simply, “I forgot”, and wander open-mouthed in an aimless way about the village so that he earned the nick-name of “Boccaperta”, the gaper.
   He had a hot temper, which made him more unpopular, but was exemplary - even precocious in his religious duties. When the time came for him to try and earn his own living, Joseph was bound apprentice to a shoemaker, a trade he applied himself to for some time, but without any success.
  When he was seventeen he presented himself to be received amongst the Conventual Franciscans, but they refused to have him. Then he went to the Capuchins, and they took him as a lay-brother; but after eight months he was dismissed as unequal to the duties of the order: his clumsiness and preoccupation made him an apparently impossible subject, for he dropped piles of plates and dishes on the refectory floor, forgot to do things he was told, and could not be trusted even to make up the kitchen fire.
   Joseph then turned for help to a wealthy uncle, who curtly refused to aid an obvious good-for-nothing, and the young man returned home in despair and misery. His mother was not at all pleased to see him on her hands again and used her influence with her brother, a Conventual Franciscan, to have him accepted by the friars of his order at Grottella as a servant. He was given a tertiary habit and put to work in the stables. Now a change seems to have come over Joseph; at any rate he was more successful in his duties, and his humility, his sweetness, his love of mortification and penance gained him so much regard that in 1623 it was resolved he should be admitted amongst the religious of the choir, that he might qualify himself for holy orders.
   Joseph therefore began his novitiate, and his virtues rendered him an object of admiration; but his lack of progress in studies was also remarked. Try as he would, the extent of his human accomplishments was to read badly and to write worse. He had no gift of eloquence or for exposition, the one text on which he had something to say being, “Blessed is the womb that bore thee”. When he came up for examination for the diaconate the bishop opened the gospels at random and his eye fell on that text: he asked Brother Joseph to expound it, which he did well. When it was a question of the priesthood, the first candidates were so satisfactory that the remainder, Joseph among them, were passed without examination. After having received the priesthood in 1628 he passed five years without tasting bread or wine, and the herbs he ate on Fridays were so distasteful that only he could use them. His fast in Lent was so rigorous that he took no nourishment except on Thursdays and Sundays, and he spent the hours devoted to manual work in those simple household and routine duties which he knew were, humanly speaking, all he was fitted to undertake.
   From the time of his ordination St Joseph’s life was one long succession of ecstasies, miracles of healing and supernatural happenings on a scale not paralleled in the reasonably authenticated life of any other saint. Anything that in any way could be particularly referred to God or the mysteries of religion was liable to ravish him from his senses and make him oblivious to what was going on around him; the absent-mindedness and abstraction of his childhood now had an end and a purpose clearly seen. The sight of a lamb in the garden of the Capuchins at Fossombrone caused him to be lost in contemplation of the spotless Lamb of God and, it is said, be caught up into the air with the animal in his arms.
   At all times he had a command over beasts surpassing that of St Francis himself; sheep were said to gather round him and listen to his prayers, a sparrow at a convent came and went at his word. Especially during Mass or the Divine Office he would be lifted off his feet in rapture.
   During the seventeen years he remained at Grottella over seventy occasions are recorded of his levitation, the most marvellous being when the friars were building a Calvary. The middle cross of the group was thirty-six feet high and correspondingly heavy, defying the efforts of ten men to lift it. St Joseph is said to have “flown” seventy yards from the door of the house to the cross, picked it up in his arms “as if it were a straw”, and deposited it in its place. This staggering feat is not attested by an eyewitness, and, in common with most of his earlier marvels, was recorded only after his death, when plenty of time had elapsed in which events could be exaggerated and legends arise.
   Whatever their exact nature and extent, the daily life of St Joseph was surrounded by such disturbing phenomena that for thirty-five years he was not allowed to celebrate Mass in public, to keep choir, to take his meals with his brethren, or to attend processions and other public functions. Sometimes when he was bereft of his senses they would try to bring him to by hitting him, burning his flesh or pricking it with needles, but nothing had any effect except, it is said, the voice of his superior. When he did come back to himself he would laughingly apologize for what he called his “fits of giddiness”.
  Levitation, the name given to the raising of the human body from the ground by no apparent physical force, is recorded in some form or other of over two hundred saints and holy persons (as well as of many others), and in their case is interpreted as a special mark of God’s favour whereby it is made evident even to the physical senses that prayer is a raising of the heart and mind to God. St Joseph of Cupertino, in both the extent and number of these experiences, provides the classical examples of levitation, for, if many of the earlier incidents are doubtful some of those recorded in his later years are very well attested. For example, one of his biqgraphers states that: “When in 1645 the Spanish amhassador to the papal court, the High Admiral of Castile, passed through [Assisi] he visited Joseph of Cupertino in his cell. After conversing with him he returned to the church and told his wife: ‘I have seen and spoken with another St Francis.’ As his wife then expressed a great desire to enjoy the same privilege, the father guardian gave Joseph an order to go down to the church and speak with her Excellency. To this he made answer: ‘I will obey, but I do not know whether I shall be able to speak with her.’ In point of fact no sooner had he entered the church than his eyes rested on a statue of Mary Immaculate which stood over the altar, and he at once flew about a dozen paces over the heads of those present to the foot of the statue. Then after paying homage there for some short space and uttering his customary shrill cry he flew back again and straightway returned to his cell, leaving the admiral, his wife, and the large retinue which attended them, speechless with astonishment.” This story is supported in two biographies by copious references to depositions, in the process of canonization, of witnesses who are expressly stated to have been present.
“Still more trustworthy”, says Father Thurston in the Month for May 1919, “is the evidence given of the saint’s levitations at Osimo, where he spent the last six years of his life. There his fellow religious saw him fly up seven or eight feet into the air to kiss the statue of the infant Jesus which stood over the altar, and they told how he carried off this wax image in his arms and floated about with it in his cell in every conceivable attitude. On one occasion during these last years of his life he caught up another friar in his flight and carried him some distance round the room, and this indeed he is stated to have done on several previous occasions. In the very last Mass which he celebrated, on the festival of the Assumption 1663, a month before his death, he was lifted up in a longer rapture than usual. For these facts we have the evidence of several eye-witnesses who made their depositions, as usual under oath, only four or five years later. It seems very difficult to believe that they could possibly be deceived as to the broad fact that the saint did float in the air, as they were convinced they had seen him do, under every possible variety of conditions and surroundings.”
   Prosper Lambertini, afterwards Pope Benedict XIV, the supreme authority on evidence and procedure in canonization causes, personally studied all the details of the case of St Joseph of Cupertino. The writer goes on: “When the cause came up for discussion before the Congregation of Rites [Lambertini] was ‘promotor Fidei’ (popularly known as the Devil’s Advocate), and his ‘animadversions’ upon the evidence submitted are said to have been of a most searching character. None the less we must believe that these criticisms were answered to his own complete satisfaction, for not only was it he himself who, when pope, published in 1753 the decree of beatification, but in his great work, De Servorum Del Beatificatione, etc., he speaks as follows: ‘Whilst I discharged the office of promoter of the Faith the cause of the venerable servant of God, Joseph of Cupertino, came up for discussion in the Congregation of Sacred Rites, which after my retirement was brought to a favourable conclusion, and in this eyewitnesses of unchallengeable integrity gave evidence of the famous upliftings from the ground and prolonged flights of the aforesaid servant of God when rapt in ecstasy.’ There can be no doubt that Benedict XIV, a critically-minded man, who knew the value of evidence and who had studied the original depositions as probably no one else had studied them, believed that the witnesses of St Joseph’s levitations had really seen what they professed to have seen.”
   There were not wanting persons to whom these manifestations were a stone of offence, and when St Joseph attracted crowds about him as he travelled in the province of Ban, he was denounced as “one who runs about these provinces and as a new Messias draws crowds after him by the prodigies wrought on some few of the ignorant people, who are ready to believe anything”.
   The vicar general carried the complaint to the inquisitors of Naples, and Joseph was ordered to appear. The heads of his accusation being examined, the inquisitors could find nothing worthy of censure, but did not discharge him; instead they sent him to Rome to his minister general, who received him at first with harshness, but he became impressed by St Joseph’s innocent and humble bearing and he took him to see the pope, Urban VIII. The saint went into ecstasy at the sight of the Vicar of Christ, and Urban declared that if Joseph should die before himself he would give evidence of the miracle to which he had been a witness.
   It was decided to send Joseph to Assisi, where again his superiors treated him with considerable severity, they at least pretending to regard him as a hypocrite. He arrived at Assisi in 1639, and remained there thirteen years. At first he suffered many trials, both interior and exterior. God seemed to have abandoned him his religious exercises were accompanied with a spiritual dryness that afflicted him exceedingly and terrible temptations cast him into so deep a melancholy that he scarce dare lift up his eyes. The minister general, being informed, called him to Rome, and having kept him there three weeks he sent him back to Assisi.
   The saint on his way to Rome experienced a return of those heavenly consolations, which had been withdrawn from him. Reports of Joseph’s holiness and miracles spread over the borders of Italy, and distinguished people, such as the Admiral of Castile mentioned above, would call at Assisi to visit him.
   Among them were John Frederick, Duke of Brunswick and Hanover. This prince, who was a Lutheran, was so struck with what he had seen that he embraced the Catholic faith.
  Joseph used to say to some scrupulous persons who came to consult him: “I like neither scruples nor melancholy; let your intention be right and fear not”, and he was always urging people to prayer. “Pray”, he would say, “pray. If you are troubled by dryness or distractions, just say an Our Father. Then you make both vocal and mental prayer.”
   When Cardinal Lauria asked him what souls in ecstasy saw during their raptures he replied: “They feel as though they were taken into a wonderful gallery, shining with never-ending beauty, where in a glass, with a single look, they apprehend the marvellous vision which God is pleased to show them.”
   In the ordinary comings and goings of daily life he was so preoccupied with heavenly things that he would genuinely suppose a passing woman to be our Lady or St Catherine or St Clare, a strange man to be one of the Apostles, a fellow friar to be St Francis or St Antony.
   In 1653, for reasons which are not known, the Inquisition of Perugia was instructed to remove St Joseph from the care of his own order and put him in charge of Capuchins at a lonely friary among the hills of Pietrarossa, where he was to live in the strictest seclusion. “Have I got to go to prison then?” he asked, and departed at once—leaving his hat, his cloak, his breviary and his spectacles behind him. To prison, in effect, he had gone. He was not allowed to leave the convent enclosure, to speak to anyone but the friars, to write or to receive letters he was completely cut off from the world. Apart from wondering why he should be sundered from his fellow Conventuals and treated like a criminal, this life must have been particularly satisfactory to St Joseph. But soon his whereabouts was discovered and pilgrims flocked to the place; whereupon he was spirited away to lead the same sort of life with the Capuchins of Fossombrone.
   The rest of his life was spent like this. When in 1655 the chapter general of the Conventual Franciscans asked for the return of their saint to Assisi, Pope Alexander VII replied that one St Francis at Assisi was enough, but in 1657 he was allowed to go to the Conventual house at Osimo. Here the seclusion was, however, even more strict, and only selected religious were allowed to visit him in his cell. But all this time, and till the end, supernatural manifestations were his daily portion: he was in effect deserted by man but God was ever more clearly with him.
  He fell sick on August 10, 1663, and knew that his end was at hand five weeks later he died, at the age of sixty. He was canonized in 1767.
There is a printed summarium prepared for the Congregation of Rites in 1688, containing an abstract of the depositions of witnesses in the process of beatification. It is stated, however, that only two copies are now known to exist, and it does not seem to have been accessible to the Bollandists. In the Acta Sanctorum, therefore (September, vol. v), they contented themselves with translating from previously published biographies such as those of Pastrovicchi (1753) and Bernino (1722). The two lives last named have been translated into French and other languages. A convenient version or adaptation of Pastrovicchi in English was brought out by Father F. S. Laing (1918). The bull of canonization, a lengthy document, containing many biographical data, is printed in the later Italian lives, and in the French translation of Bernino (1856). In this the story of St Joseph’s aerial flights, as recounted above, is told in detail and emphasized. Cf. H. Thurston, The Physical Phenomena of Mysticism (1952).
He was born in Cupertino, Italy. After several attempts to enter the religious life, he was accepted by the Conventual Franciscans at Grattela, where he received ordination in 1628. He soon demonstrated many gifts, including the ability to fly through the air. In 1639, because of the enmity of his fellow monks, Joseph was sent to Assisi. In 1653, the Inquisition sent him to a remote friary and then to another house at Pieterossa, because of the popularity and fame attached to his levitation and other gifts. Joseph was also confined to a house in Fossombrofle until 1657. He died at Osimo and was canonized in 1767. His cult is now confined to local calendars.
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).

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).
1666 Blessed Margaret of Amelia Benedictine abbess many mystical gifts OSB V (PC).
Margaret, a Benedictine abbess of Saint Catherine Convent at Amelia, possessed many mystical gifts (Benedictines).
1667  The Child SchemaMonk Bogolep july 24 was the son of a Moscow nobleman Yakov Lukich Umakov and his wife Ekatarina Numerous miracles of healing through the prayers of the holy SchemaMonk Bogolep; the holy lad had repeatedly appeared to many either in sleep, or awake while walking along the river bank or coming down the hill 
He was born in 1660 at Moscow. During Baptism they gave the new-born the name Boris, in honour of the holy nobleborn Prince PassionBearer ("Strastoterpets") Boris (Comm. 24 July).
Umakov was appointed voevoda (military-commander) in the city of Chernyi Yar, situated 250 versts from Astrakhan. He was known for his integrity. Boris from infancy displayed unusual traits. On Wednesdays and Fridays he would not suckle the milk from his mother's breasts; when the bells pealed at the church, he began to cry and at once became quiet, when they brought him into the church. When they did not take the infant to church, he cried all day and ate nothing.
In 1662 a deadly pestilence spread about in Russia. The child fell ill -- the pestilence afflicted him in the legs. He became lame, but continued to walk to church. The parents prayed about the health of their son and they tried everything in their power, that he would be healed. But no sooner had the one illness gone, than upon his face there appeared another, called scales.
One time during his illness the child saw a wandering monk, who visited at their home. The angelic garb so impressed the child, that he began to implore his parents to dew him suchlike garb and permit him to take monastic tonsure. Amidst this the holy lad proclaimed: "Lo, ye wilt see for yourselves, when ye tonsure and grant me the angelic garb, I shall be well". The parents consented. The child was invested in the schema with the name Bogolep (the Russian version of the Greek name Theoprepios, meaning -- "in the semblance of God"). On the next day the holy schema-monk was completely healthy, his face was clear and there remained not a trace of the illness. But on the third day there was a new illness, he was feverish, and it mortally struck down the lad. He died on 1 August 1667 and was buried at the left wall of the wooden Chernoyarsk church in honour of the Resurrection of Christ. (This church was erected, following a great conflagration in Chernyi Yar, in the year 1652 on 24 July, the day of memory of Saint Boris). Over the grave of the lad was built a chapel.

Numerous miracles of healing through the prayers of the holy SchemaMonk Bogolep appear to be the basis of establishing the feastday to him on his name-day in common ("tezoimenitstvo") with the holy nobleborn Prince Boris -- 24 July.  The life of the holy SchemaMonk Bogolep was compiled under a vow by the Chernoyarsk merchant Savva Tatarinov during the years 1731-1732.  Icons of the saint, with the tropar and kondak to him, were widely dispersed throughout the Astrakhan region.
In 1750 on the place of the wooden church was built a stone church with a side altar in honour of the holy Martyr John the Warrior.
The grave of the holy schema monk was enclosed in this side-altar. The bank of the river, at which the church of the Resurrection of Christ was situated, was constantly eroding. By the mid XIX Century the structure of the church was threatened, and they removed all the holy things from it. But for a long time the Chernoyarsk people did not remove the chief holy thing -- the grave of the holy schema-monk. Finally, in 1851 when the water had already approached 2 arshin [4 ft. 8 in.], the people recoursed to the MostHoly Synod with a request to transfer the holy remains of the Schema-Monk Bogolep, and they received permission for this. The small child's coffin was laid bare, but just when the city head took it into his hands, it slid out from his hands and together with the crumbled earth it disappeared into the waters of the Volga.
This disappearance just at the opening of the grave was accepted as happening at the Will of God, since the holy lad had repeatedly appeared to many either in sleep, or awake while walking along the river bank or coming down the hill. Amidst this he gave the consolation, that spiritually he would be present with believers.

The simple life, but full of the mysteries of God, of the holy Schema-Monk Bogolep manifests the power of the words of the Saviour concerning children: "Let the children come unto Me and hinder them not, for of such is the Kingdom of God. Truly I tell ye: whoso cometh not to the Kingdom of God as a little child, shalt not enter therein. And, having hugged them, He raised His hands over them and He blessed them" (Mk. 10: 14-16)
1671 Blessed Anthony Grassi devotion to Our Lady of Loreto an outstanding confessor gift of reading consciences and of the future
ancient statue of Our Lady which is found at Loreto
Anthony’s father died when his son was only 10 years old, but the young lad inherited his father’s devotion to Our Lady of Loreto. As a schoolboy he frequented the local church of the Oratorian Fathers, joining the religious order when he was 17.

Already a fine student, he soon gained a reputation in his religious community as a "walking dictionary" who quickly grasped Scripture and theology. For some time he was tormented by scruples, but they reportedly left him at the very hour he celebrated his first Mass. From that day, serenity penetrated his very being.

In 1621, at age 29, Anthony was struck by lightning while praying in the church of the Holy House at Loreto. He was carried paralyzed from the church, expecting to die. When he recovered in a few days he realized that he had been cured of acute indigestion. His scorched clothes were donated to the Loreto church as an offering of thanks for his new gift of life.

More important, Anthony now felt that his life belonged entirely to God. Each year thereafter he made a pilgrimage to Loreto to express his thanks.

He also began hearing confessions, and came to be regarded as an outstanding confessor. Simple and direct, he listened carefully to penitents, said a few words and gave a penance and absolution, frequently drawing on his gift of reading consciences.

In 1635 he was elected superior of the Fermo Oratory. He was so well regarded that he was reelected every three years until his death. He was a quiet person and a gentle superior who did not know how to be severe. At the same time he kept the Oratorian constitutions literally, encouraging the community to do likewise.

He refused social or civic commitments and instead would go out day or night to visit the sick or dying or anyone else needing his services. As he grew older, he had a God-given awareness of the future, a gift which he frequently used to warn or to console.
1679 David Lewis, SJ Priest Rome spiritual director for English college alias Charles Baker farmhouse at Cwm (Monnow Valley) headquarters for 31 years;  a handkerchief dipped in his blood had been the occasion of the cure of an epileptic child and of other miracles.

DAVID LEWIS (alias Charles Baker) was a Monmouthshire man, son of Morgan Lewis, a Protestant member of a recusant family, and Margaret Prichard, a Catholic.  All their nine children were brought up Catholics except, curiously enough, the future martyr.  He was born in 1616 and lived at Abergavenny, where he was educated at the Royal Grammar School (his grand-uncle, the Venerable Father Augustine Baker, Bd Philip Powell, and others had preceded him there); at the age of sixteen he was entered at the Middle Temple, but after three years in London went abroad as tutor to the son of Count Savage, and it is probable that he was reconciled to the Church while staying in Paris.
  He returned home to Abergavenny for a couple of years, and in 1638 entered the Venerabile at Rome.  He was ordained priest in 1642 and two years later became a Jesuit novice. In 1646 he was sent to the mission, but such was the impression he left behind him that he was almost at once recalled to Sant'Andrea and made spiritual director of the English College. In 1648 the Jesuit father general again sent him to Wales and he had his head-quarters at the Cwm, an obscure hamlet on the Hereford-Monmouth border; here in a large farmhouse was the College of St Francis Xavier, which from 1625 to 1678 was the Jesuit centre in the west of England and the shelter and refuge of hunted priests for miles around.  For the next thirty-one years he worked in this border-land, which was full of recusants:  "a zealous seeker after the lost sheep, fearless in dangers, patient in labours and sufferings, and so charitable to his indigent neighbours as to be commonly called the father of the poor", in Welsh, "tad y tlodion

   In 1678 Thus Oates discovered his "popish plot ". When the anti-Catholic panic reached Monmouthshire the Jesuits got ready to leave the Cwm and cover up their tracks, and they did so only just in time. The Cwm was sacked by the sheriff's men, who found pictures of saints, "also crucifixes and bottles of oyle, reliques, an incense-pot, a mass-bell, surplices and other habits, boxes of white wafers, stamps with Jesuitical devices", and a number of books which are still in the cathedral library at Hereford.
  Father Lewis was by then safely in hiding at Llanfihangel Llantarnam; but there was a woman, Dorothy James, wife of a servant of Father Lewis, and now apostates both, who had tried to get some money from him on false pretences, and she was going about the streets of Caerleon saying that "she would wash her hands in Mr Lewis's blood, and would have his head to make porridge of, as a sheep's head". James found out his refuge, denounced him, and he was taken by six dragoons early on Sunday morning, November 17, just as he was going to celebrate Mass. John Arnold of Llanfihangel Crucorney and two other magistrates conveyed him into Abergavenny, where the recorder was wakened from his Sunday after-dinner nap, and in a room of the Golden Lion inn David Lewis was committed to Monmouth jail. Here he remained till the following January 13:  "I was kept close prisoner, locked up at night and barred up by day, though indeed friends by day had access unto me, with an underkeeper's leave".  Then he was removed to Usk, "and it snowing hard on the way, we alighted at Raglan to warm and refresh ourselves. While I was there a messenger comes to the door and desires to speak to me.   His business was that a very good friend of mine, one Mr Ignatius, alias Walter Price [s.j.], lay dying about half a mile off thence."  Being able to do no more, Father Lewis sent him his best wishes for his soul's passage out of this turbulent world into an eternity of rest, and so went forward with his keepers to his new prison of  Usk".

   He was tried at the March assizes before Sir Robert Atkins, and was condemned for his priesthood, chiefly on the evidence of James and wife though, on the prisoner's strong protest, the judge exonerated him from "a foul aspersion" being circulated in a pamphlet, viz, that he had cheated a woman out of £30. The words of the sentence, as used in all such cases, have a grim interest:  "David Lewis, thou shalt be led from this place to the place from whence thou camest, and shalt be put upon a hurdle and drawn with thy heels forward to the place of execution, where thou shalt be hanged by the neck and be cut down alive, thy body to be ripped open and thy bowels plucked out; thou shalt be dismembered and thy members burnt before thy face, thy head to be divided from thy body, thy four quarters to be separated, and to be disposed of at his Majesty's will. So the Lord have mercy on thy soul!"  And so it was done. But not before this old man, together with Bd John Kemble who was much older, had been made to ride up to London to be examined by the Privy Council touching the plot, about which they could tell them nothing because there was nothing to tell "and conform I would not, for it was against my conscience".
  On August 27, 1679, at some spot on or near the site of the present Catholic church at Usk, the gallows was set up by a bungling amateur (he was a convict, who thus earned his freedom), the official executioner having decamped with his assistants.
   From the scaffold Bd David made a ringing speech. "I die for conscience and religion, and dying upon such good scores, as far as human frailty permits I die with alacrity, interior and exterior.. Here, methinks, I feel flesh and blood ready to burst into loud cries  `Tooth for tooth, eye for eye, blood for blood, life for life` `No ` exclaims the holy gospel.  `Forgive and you shall be forgiven 'I profess myself a child of the gospel, and the gospel I obey...Friends, fear God, honour your king, be firm in your faith, avoid mortal sin by frequenting the sacraments of Holy Church, patiently bear your persecutions and afflictions, forgive your enemies.  Your sufferthgs are great.  I say, be firm in your faith to the end, yea, even to death...The crowd threatened to stone the proxy hangman, who ran away, and a blacksmith was bribed to take his place-but no one would employ him after at his own trade. The body of Bd David Lewis was buried in the neighbouring churchyard, and within a short time a handkerchief dipped in his blood had been the occasion of the cure of an epileptic child and of other miracles.

  In the case of this martyr we are fortunate in possessing his own account of his arrest, imprisonment and trial  a summary of the proceedings in court, and also a copy of the speech (written out in prison beforehand) which he delivered to the assembled crowd at the time of his execution. All these have been utilized in the admirable sketch contributed to St Peter's Magazine (Cardiff) in 1923 by J. H. Canning under the general title of  "The Titus Oates Plot in S. Wales and the Marches". See also REPSJ., vol. v. pp. 912 seq. MMP., pp. 557-561. T. P. Ellis, Catholic Martyrs of Wales (1932), pp. 129-140; and Catholic Record Society Publications, vol. xlvii (1953), pp. 299-304.

Born at Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, Wales, in 1616; died at Usk, August 27, 1679; beatified in 1929; canonized in 1970 by Pope Paul VI as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. David was the son of a Protestant school teacher and a Catholic mother. Amazingly enough, he was the only one of the nine siblings to have been raised as a Protestant--but that did not last for long. After studying law at the Middle Temple in London, he accompanied a nobleman's son to the Continent as his tutor. While visiting Paris, David was converted to Catholicism.
By 1638, he was studying for the priesthood at the English college in Rome. Two years after his ordination in 1642, he joined the Jesuits, who sent him to the English mission for a short time, then recalled him to Rome to serve as the spiritual director for the English college.
In 1648, David was sent to Wales, where he used the alias Charles Baker and a farmhouse at Cwm (Monnow Valley) in southern Wales as his headquarters for the next 31 years. This same inconspicuous building was the College of Saint Francis Xavier, the center for Jesuit missionary activities in western England. When the persecution of Catholics was unleashed by the fictitious Titus Oates Plot, David escaped Cwm but was betrayed by a servant and captured at Llanfihangel Llantarnam. Following a two-month imprisonment at Monmouth, he was tried at Usk. Although no evidence could be found to link him to the conspiracy, he was convicted of being a Catholic priest, hanged, drawn, and quartered.
   He is buried in a now Anglican parish in Usk, with a prominent grave stone giving the details of his canonization in Latin and English. There is an annual, well-attended pilgrimage to Usk, which begins with Mass at the Catholic church and continues with a processional Rosary to Saint David's grave (Benedictines, Delaney).
1679 St. John Kemble 1/ 40 Martyrs of England and Wales; several miracles; annual pilgrimage uninterrupted since martyrdom; studied at Douai ordained 1625; falsely charged in the Titus Qates Plot and condemned for being Catholic
   This martyr was the son of John Kemble, gentleman, of a family originally of Wiltshire, and Anne, one of the Morgans of Skenfrith, and was born in 1599 traditionally at Rhydicar farm in the parish of Saint Weonards, Herefordshire, though some say at Pembridge Castle nearby.  They were a Catholic family, and there were four other related Kemble priests at this time.
  In some year unknown John was smuggled abroad to Douay, where he was ordained in 1625 and in the same year sent on the mission to work in and around his birthplace. Of these labours nothing at all is known except that they extended over a period of fifty-three years, apparently unbroken save that in the archives of the Old Brotherhood of the Secular Clergy there is an entry in or about the year 1649 which suggests that he was then for a time in London; it is known from the Westminster archives that in 1643 he was recommended as a suitable person to be made archdeacon of South Wales.   During these years he gained that reputation for goodness which persisted among the folk of Monmouthshire almost to our own day and, with the help of the Jesuits at the Cwm in Llanrothal, he formed those mission centres, at the Llwyn, the Graig, Hilston, and elsewhere, which lingered on into the nineteenth century and are now represented only by a desolate burying-ground and a ruined chapel at Coed Anghred on a hill above Skenfrith.  During most, if not all, of this time he made his headquarters at Pembridge Castle, the home first of his brother George, and then of his nephew, Captain Richard Kemble. In 1678 the "Oates Plot" terror began and in the autumn it reached Herefordshire:  the Cwm was sacked and John Kemble's friend David Lewis, s.j., was taken.   He was urged to fly, but he would not: "According to the course of nature I have but a few years to live [he was just on eighty]; it will be an advantage to suffer for my religion, and therefore I will not abscond."
   In November Captain Scudamore of Kentchurch, for all his wife and children were Catholics and ministered to by Mr Kemble, went to Pembridge Castle, arrested the old priest, and dragged him off through the snow to Hereford gaol.  There he remained four months, till the March assizes, at which he was condemned to be hanged, drawn and quartered, pro Sacerd' Seminar., "for being a seminary priest", as it is recorded in the Crown Book of the Oxford Circuit.  On April 23 an order was signed for him and Bd David Lewis to be sent to London for examination by the Privy Council; on the journey he "suffered more than a martyrdom on account of a great indisposition he had, which would not permit him to ride but sideways; and it was on horseback he was compelled to perform the journey, at least a great part of the way".  "He was strapped like a pack to his horse going there, but allowed to walk most of the way on his journey back", which he made a few weeks later as he said at his execution, "Oates and Bedloe not being able to charge me with anything when I was brought up to London (though they were with me) makes it evident that I die only for professing the old Roman Catholic religion, which was the religion that first made this kingdom Christian.  That execution was ordered by Scroggs L.C.J., at the summer assizes, and its date fixed for August 22.  When the under-sheriff, one Digges, arrived at the jail Bd John asked for time first to finish his prayers and then to smoke a pipe of tobacco and have a drink.  The governor and under-sheriff joined him, Digges in his turn delaying in order to finish his pipe.* {* This curious and pleasing incident originated the Herefordshire custom of calling the last pipe of a sitting "the Kemble pipe", a custom now fallen into disuse.  Cf. the footnote on p. 394 of Sir John Hawkins's edition of Izaak Walton's Compleat Angler (1808), where Bd John Kemble is made a Protestant martyr under Queen Mary.}
  Towards evening he was dragged on a hurdle to Widemarsh Common, where before a huge crowd he denied all knowledge of any plot and made a final profession of faith.  He was allowed to hang till he was dead before the remainder of the sentence was carried out, but the hangman's work was so ill done that, old as he was, he lived for half-an-hour after the cart was withdrawn. With the exception of the left hand, now enshrined in the Catholic church at Hereford, Bd John's remains were buried under a flat stone in Welsh Newton churchyard, where they still lie.  The first miracle recorded at the intercession of Bd John was in favour of the daughter of his denouncer, Captain Scudamore, who was cured of an affection of her throat by applying to it the rope with which the martyr was hanged; and Mgr Matthew Pritchard, Vicar Apostolic for the Western District in 1715, was present when Mrs Catherine Scudamore was cured of long-standing deafness while praying at his graveside.   Protestant witnesses of his execution "acknowledged that they never saw one die so like a gentleman and so like a Christian", and Bd John Kemble has never been without local veneration; the annual pilgrimage to his grave is said to have been uninterrupted since his martyrdom.
See MMP., pp. 555-557 T. P. Ellis, Catholic Martyrs of Wales (1932), pp. 126-129 B. Camm, Forgotten Shrines (1910), pp. 333-342  and an excellent C.T.S. pamphlet by J. H. Canning.  Sarah Siddons, née Kemble, was a great-great-grandniece of the martyr.
He was born in Herefordshire, England, in 1599, and studied at Douai, where he was ordained in 1625. Returning to England, John labored in missions for fifty-three years. At the age of eighty-one, he was arrested at Pembridge Castle, the home of his brother. He was falsely charged in the Titus Qates Plot and condemned for being a Catholic. He was hanged, drawn, and quartered at Hereford. Pope Paul VI canonized him in 1970.
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).
  1690 St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Apostle of the Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus; France of the seventeenth century, love of God had gone cold, on the one hand because of widespread rebellion and sinfulness, on the other because of the numbing influence of Jansenism, which presented God as not loving all mankind alike. And to rekindle that love there flourished, between 1625 and 1690, three saints, John Eudes, Claud La Colombière, and Margaret-Mary Alacoque, who between them brought and taught to the Church, in the form that we have had it ever since, devotion to our divine Lord in His Sacred Heart, “the symbol of that boundless love which moved the Word to take flesh, to institute the Holy Eucharist, to take our sins upon Himself, and, dying on the cross, to offer Himself as a victim and a sacrifice to the eternal Father.”
Parédii, in diœcési Augustodunénsi, sanctæ Margarítæ Maríæ Alacóque, quæ, Ordinem Visitatiónis beátæ Maríæ Vírginis proféssa, exímiis in devotióne erga sacratíssimum Cor Jesu propagánda et público ejúsdem  cultu provehéndo méritis excélluit; atque in sanctárum Vírginum album a Benedícto Papa Décimo quinto reláta fuit.
 At Paray, in the diocese of Autun, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque.  She made her profession in the Order of the Visitation of Blessed Mary the Virgin, and she excelled with great merit in spreading devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and in furthering its public veneration.  Pope Benedict XV added her name to the list of holy virgins.
Religious of the Visitation Order. Apostle of the Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, born at Lhautecour, France, 22 July, 1647; died at Paray-le-Monial, 17 October, 1690.

1690 St Margaret Mary, Virgin
Notwithstanding the great saints and many other holy people of the time, in France of the seventeenth century, love of God had gone cold, on the one hand because of widespread rebellion and sinfulness, on the other because of the numbing influence of Jansenism, which presented God as not loving all mankind alike. And to rekindle that love there flourished, between 1625 and 1690, three saints, John Eudes, Claud La Colombière, and Margaret-Mary Alacoque, who between them brought and taught to the Church, in the form that we have had it ever since, devotion to our divine Lord in His Sacred Heart, “the symbol of that boundless love which moved the Word to take flesh, to institute the Holy Eucharist, to take our sins upon Himself, and, dying on the cross, to offer Himself as a victim and a sacrifice to the eternal Father.”
  The third and most prominent of these “saints of the Sacred Heart” was born in 1647 at Janots, the eastern quarter of L’Hautecour, a small town in Burgundy. Her father was a notary of some distinction, whose wife bore him seven children, of whom Margaret was the fifth. She was a devout and good little girl, with a horror of “being naughty”. When she was four she “made a vow of chastity”, though she admitted afterwards that, as one would expect at that age, she knew not what either a vow or chastity might be. When she was about eight her father died and she was sent to school with the Poor Clares at Charolles; she was at once attracted by what she could see and understand of the life of the nuns, and they on their side were so impressed by Margaret’s piety that she was allowed to make her first communion when she was nine. Two years later she was afflicted by a painful rheumatic affection that kept her to her bed till she was fifteen, and in the course of it she was taken back to her home at L’Hautecour. Several other members of the family now occupied her father’s house as well, and one sister and her husband had taken all domestic and business authority out of the hands of the widow Alacoque. She and Margaret were treated almost as servants, and she recovered from her sickness only to be confronted by this persecution of her mother. “At this time”, she writes in her autobiography, “all my desire was to seek happiness and comfort in the Blessed Sacrament, but as I lived some way from the church I could not go without the leave of these persons, and sometimes one would give and another refuse her consent.” They would say it was a pretext to meet some boy or other, and Margaret would go and hide herself in a corner of the garden, and stop there crying and praying for the rest of the day, without food or drink unless somebody from the village took pity on her. “The heaviest of my crosses was my powerlessness to lighten those laid upon my mother.”
  From the energy with which Margaret reproaches herself for worldliness, faithlessness and resistance to grace, it may reasonably be gathered that she was not averse from a reasonable participation in those opportunities for gaiety and amusement that came her way, and when her mother and other relatives wanted her to marry she considered the proposal not unfavourably for some time. In her uncertainty she inflicted cruel austerities on herself in punishment for her faults, and brought the further dislike of her relations upon herself by collecting neglected village children into the house or garden and giving them lessons. When she was twenty, more pressure was put on her to marry, but now, fortified by a vision of our Lord, she made up her mind once for all what she would do, and firmly refused. Not till she was twenty-two did she receive the sacrament of confirmation (it was then that she took the name of Mary), and thus armed she was able to withstand the final opposition of her family. Her brother Chrysostom furnished her dowry, and in June 1671 she entered the Visitation convent at Paray-le-Monial.

 As a novice Margaret-Mary was humble, obedient, simple and frank, and she edified the community, testified a fellow-novice, “by her charity to her sisters, to whom she never uttered an irritating word, and by her patience under the sharp reproofs, scorn and ridicule to which she was often submitted”. But her novitiate was not an easy one. A Visitation nun must not “be extraordinary except by being ordinary”, and already God was leading Margaret-Mary by extraordinary paths. For example, she was quite unable to practice discursive meditation: “No matter how much I tried to follow the method taught me, I invariably had to return to my divine Master’s way [i.e. ‘prayer of simplicity’], although I did my best to give it up.” In due course she was professed, and on that occasion our Lord was pleased to accept her as His bride, “but in a way that she felt herself incapable of describing”. From that time “my divine Master urged me incessantly to ask for humiliations and mortifications”, and they came unsought when she was appointed to assist in the infirmary. The infirmarian, Sister Catherine Marest, was temperamentally very different from her assistant: active, energetic, and efficient, while Margaret-Mary was quiet, slow and clumsy. The result she summed up in her own words: “God alone knows what I had to suffer there, as much through my impulsive and sensitive disposition as from my fellow-creatures and the Devil.” But, granted that Sister Marest was too vigorous in her methods, she on her side probably had something to suffer too. During these two and a half years our Lord continually made Himself sensibly present to Margaret-Mary, often as crowned with thorns, and on December 27, 1673, her devotion to His passion was rewarded with the first of the revelations.

  She was kneeling alone at the grille before the Blessed Sacrament exposed on the altar, and all at once she felt herself, as she says, “invested” by the divine Presence, and heard our Lord inviting her to take the place which St John (it was his feast) had occupied at the Last Supper. He then went on speaking, “in so plain and effective a manner as to leave no room for doubt, such were the results that this grace produced in me, who am always afraid of deceiving myself about what I assert to take place interiorly”. He told her that the love of His heart must needs spread and manifest itself to men by means of her, and that He would reveal the treasures of its graces through her, His chosen instrument and the disciple of His Sacred Heart. Then it was as though our Lord took her heart and put it within His own, returning it burning with divine love into her breast. During a period of eighteen months our Lord continued to appear to Margaret-Mary at intervals, explaining and amplifying the first revelation. He told her that His heart was to be honoured under the form of a heart of flesh, represented in a way now familiar to Catholics throughout the world, and that, in consideration of the coldness and rebuffs given to Him by mankind in return for all His eagerness to do them good, she should make up for their ingratitude so far as she was able.
This was to be done by frequent loving communion, especially on the first Friday of each month and by an hour’s vigil every Thursday night in memory of His agony and desertion in Gethsemane—practices which Catholics have made their own in the devotions of the Nine Fridays and the Holy Hour.
  After a long interval a final revelation was made within the octave of Corpus Christi in 1675, when our Lord said to St Margaret-Mary,
“Behold the heart which has so much loved men that it has spared nothing, even exhausting and consuming itself in testimony of its love. Instead of gratitude I receive from most only indifference, by irreverence and sacrilege and the coldness and scorn that men have for me in the sacrament of love.”
Then He asked that a feast of reparation be instituted for the Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi (now the feast of the Sacred Heart). Thus through His chosen instrument God made known to the world His will concerning the reparation due for human ingratitude towards His goodness and mercy, by worship of the heart of flesh of His Son, considered as united to His divinity and as the symbol of His love in dying for our redemption.*{*It is interesting to note that just before this time, in 1651, Thomas Goodwin, Independent (Congregationalist) chaplain to Oliver Cromwell, wrote a book entitled The Heart of Christ in Heaven towards Sinners on Earth (vol. iv of his Complete Works, 1862). It has remarkable affinities with the teaching of Bd Claud La Colombière.}
  Our Lord had told St Margaret-Mary that she was to “do nothing without the approval of those who guide you, in order that, having the authority of obedience, you may not be misled by Satan, who has no power over those who are obedient”. When she carried the matter to her superior, Mother de Saumaise, she “mortified and humiliated her with all her might, and allowed her to do none of the things that our Lord had asked of her, treating contemptuously all that the poor sister had said”. “This”, adds St Margaret-Mary, “consoled me very much and I withdrew in great peace.” But she was seriously over-wrought by all that had happened, was taken ill, and her life was in danger. Mother de Saumaise was looking for a sign to guide her in dealing with Sister Alacoque, and said to her, “If God cures you, I shall take it as a proof that all you experience comes from Him, and I will allow you to do what our Lord wishes in honour of His Sacred Heart”. St Margaret-Mary prayed accordingly, she at once recovered, and Mother de Saumaise fulfilled her promise. But there was a minority in the community definitely hostile to their sister and her spiritual experiences, and the superior ordered her to set them out for the opinion of certain theologians. These men lacked experience in such matters, diagnosed them as delusions, and recommended that the visionary should take more food. Our Lord, however, had promised that an understanding director should come to St Margaret-Mary, and when Claud La Colombière arrived as confessor extraordinary to the nuns she knew at once that he was the man. He did not stay at Paray long, but long enough to be convinced of the genuineness of Margaret-Mary’s experiences, to gain a deep respect and affection for her, and sincerely to adopt the teaching of the Sacred Heart while confirming the saint herself in it.
   Soon after Bd Claud had left for England (“where”, he complained, “there are no Daughters of Holy Mary, much less a Sister Alacoque”), Margaret-Mary underwent probably the most distressing trial of her life. She was asked in vision to become the sacrificial victim for the shortcomings of the nuns of her community and for the ingratitude of some to the Sacred Heart. For long she demurred, asking that this cup might pass from her. Then our Lord asked her again that she would do this thing, not merely interiorly but in public. She accepted, not in desperation or defiance, but in an agony of fear at what she felt bound to do because God had asked her—and had had to ask her twice. On that very same day, November 20, 1677, this young nun of only five years’ standing, having first told her superior and been told by her to obey God’s voice, “said and did what her Lord required of her”—knelt before her sisters in religion and told them in the name of Christ that she was appointed to be the victim for their failings. They did not all take it in the same spirit of utter humility and obedience, and on that occasion, she says, our Lord, “chose to favour me with a little sample of the grievous night of His own passion”.

  It is a tradition at Paray that the next morning there were not enough priests available to hear all the nuns who wanted to go to confession, but unhappily there is reason to believe that for many years afterwards there were sisters who nursed resentment against St Margaret-Mary.

   During the rule of Mother Greyfié, who succeeded Mother de Saumaise, St Margaret-Mary alternately received great graces and underwent great trials, both interiorly and from her fellow-creatures. She was tempted to despair, vainglory, self-indulgence, and had a good deal of sickness. In 1681 Claud La Colombière came to Paray for the good of his health, and died there in February of the following year. St Margaret-Mary is said been supernaturally assured that his soul was in Heaven, as she was from time to time regarding the state of others who were dead.

  Two years later Mother Melin, who had known Margaret-Mary during all her religious life, was elected superior at Paray and she appointed the saint as her assistant, with the approval of the chapter. From henceforth any remaining opposition ceased, or at least was silenced. The secret of her divine revelations was made known to the community in a rather dramatic (and for her embarrassing) way, being read out, presumably by accident, in the refectory in the course of a book written by Bd Claud La Colombière.
   But the ultimate triumph made no difference, one way or another, to St Margaret-Mary. One of the duties of the assistant superior was to sweep out the choir, and one day while she was doing it she was asked to go and lend a hand in the kitchen. Without brushing up the dust under her hand she went off, and when the nuns assembled for office the heap of dust was still there in full view. That is the sort of thing that twelve years before had upset Sister Marest the infirmarian she still lived and was to have Sister Alacoque to help her again, and doubtless she remembered it with a grim smile. St Margaret Mary was also made mistress of the novices, with such success that professed nuns would ask leave to attend her conferences. Her secret being now known, she was less reticent in encouraging devotion to the Sacred Heart, and inculcated it among her novices, who privately observed the feast in 1685. In the following year the family of a dismissed novice caused trouble by denouncing the novice mistress as an impostor and unorthodox innovator, and for a time some of the old feeling was raised against her in the convent, but it soon subsided and on June 21 the whole house privately celebrated the feast so far as they were able. Two years later a chapel was built at Paray in honour of the Sacred Heart, and the devotion began to be accepted in other convents of the Visitandines, and to be propagated here and there throughout France.
  While serving a second term as assistant superior St Margaret-Mary was taken ill in October 1690. “I shall not live”, she said, “for I have nothing left to suffer”, but the doctor did not think anything was very seriously wrong. A week later she asked for the last sacraments, saying, “I need nothing but God, and to lose myself in the heart of Jesus”. The priest came and began to administer the last rites; at the fourth anointing, of the lips, she died. St Margaret-Mary Alacoque was canonized in 1920.
In the very complete Vie de Ste Marguerite-Marie by Fr A. Hamon, of which the first edition appeared in 1907, nearly thirty pages are devoted to an “étude des sources” and a full bibliography. It must suffice here to note, as most important of all, the autobiographical sketch (Eng. trans.) which was written by the saint at the bidding of her director five years before her death, as well as 533 letters of hers and a number of notes and spiritual memoranda in her own handwriting. Besides these we have a valuable mémoire by her superior, Mother Greyfié, with other letters concerning her, and the depositions of the sisters at Paray-le-Monial, who were examined on oath with a view to her ultimate beatification. The first printed summary of what was then known of the saint’s history was published in 1691 as an appendix which Fr Croiset added to his little book on Devotion to the Sacred Heart. Upon this followed the very careful biography of Mgr Languet, Bishop of Soissons (1729). Since then we have a long succession of lives, among which it will be sufficient to mention those of Mgr Bougaud (Eng. trans., 1890), Mgr Leon Gauthey (3 vols., 1915). Abbé Demimuid (1912) in the series “Les Saints” (Eng. trans.), J. Rime (1947), and M. Yeo in These Three Hearts. There are many other short lives in every European language. For the text of the saint’s own writings reference is generally made to the Vie et Oeuvres which was published by the Visitation nuns of Paray-le-Monial in 1876. See further DTC., vol. iii, cc. 320—351. For the Nine Fridays, see Fr Thurston in The Month, June 1903, pp. 635— 649; and J. B. O’Connell, The Nine First Fridays (1934).
Her parents, Claude Alacoque and Philiberte Lamyn, were distinguished less for temporal possessions than for their virtue, which gave them an honourable position. From early childhood Margaret showed intense love for the Blessed Sacrament, and preferred silence and prayer to childish amusements. After her first communion at the age of nine, she practised in secret severe corporal mortifications, until paralysis confined her to bed for four years. At the end of this period, having made a vow to the Blessed Virgin to consecrate herself to religious life, she was instantly restored to perfect health. The death of her father and the injustice of a relative plunged the family in poverty and humiliation, after which more than ever Margaret found consolation in the Blessed Sacrament, and Christ made her sensible of His presence and protection. He usually appeared to her as the Crucified or the Ecce Homo, and this did not surprise her, as she thought others had the same Divine assistance. When Margaret was seventeen, the family property was recovered, and her mother besought her to establish herself in the world. Her filial tenderness made her believe that the vow of childhood was not binding, and that she could serve God at home by penance and charity to the poor. Then, still bleeding from her self-imposed austerities, she began to take part in the pleasures of the world. One night upon her return from a ball, she had a vision of Christ as He was during the scourging, reproaching her for infidelity after He had given her so many proofs of His love. During her entire life Margaret mourned over two faults committed at this time--the wearing of some superfluous ornaments and a mask at the carnival to please her brothers.

 On 25 May, 1671, she entered the Visitation Convent at Paray, where she was subjected to many trials to prove her vocation, and in November, 1672, pronounced her final vows. She had a delicate constitution, but was gifted with intelligence and good judgement, and in the cloister she chose for herself what was most repugnant to her nature, making her life one of inconceivable sufferings, which were often relieved or instantly cured by our Lord, Who acted as her Director, appeared to her frequently and conversed with her, confiding to her the mission to establish the devotion to His Sacred Heart. These extraordinary occurrences drew upon her the adverse criticism of the community, who treated her as a visionary, and her superior commanded her to live the common life. But her obedience, her humility, and invariable charity towards those who persecuted her, finally prevailed, and her mission, accomplished in the crucible of suffering, was recognized even by those who had shown her the most bitter opposition.

  Margaret Mary was inspired by Christ to establish the Holy Hour and to pray lying prostrate with her face to the ground from eleven till midnight on the eve of the first Friday of each month, to share in the mortal sadness He endured when abandoned by His Apostles in His Agony, and to receive holy Communion on the first Friday of every month. In the first great revelation, He made known to her His ardent desire to be loved by men and His design of manifesting His Heart with all Its treasures of love and mercy, of sanctification and salvation. He appointed the Friday after the octave of the feast of Corpus Christi as the feast of the Sacred Heart; He called her "the Beloved Disciple of the Sacred Heart", and the heiress of all Its treasures. The love of the Sacred Heart was the fire which consumed her, and devotion to the Sacred Heart is the refrain of all her writings. In her last illness she refused all alleviation, repeating frequently: "What have I in heaven and what do I desire on earth, but Thee alone, O my God", and died pronouncing the Holy Name of Jesus.

The discussion of the mission and virtues of Margaret Mary continued for years. All her actions, her revelations, her spiritual maxims, her teachings regarding the devotion to the Sacred Heart, of which she was the chief exponent as well as the apostle, were subjected to the most severe and minute examination, and finally the Sacred Congregation of rites passed a favourable vote on the heroic virtues of this servant of God. In March, 1824, Leo XII pronounced her Venerable, and on 18 September, 1864, Pius IX declared her Blessed. When her tomb was canonically opened in July, 1830, two instantaneous cures took place. Her body rests under the altar in the chapel at Paray, and many striking favours have been obtained by pilgrims attracted thither from all parts of the world. Her feast is celebrated on 17 October. [Editor's Note: St. Margaret Mary was canonized by Benedict XV in 1920.]
1688 Saint Elisha of Suma was a monk at the Solovky monastery, and was occupied with the weaving of fishing nets. Before his death he became a schemamonk. In 1688 miracles began from the saint's grave in a crypt in the Nikolsk church of the city of Suma, Archangelsk diocese.