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
1702 March 23 St. Joseph Oriol  Apostle of Barcelona miracle worker healings & prophet faith, hope, and love of God
         and neighbor
1710 Saint Theodora, the greatest of Romania's holy ascetics;  St Theodora made such progress in asceticism that she was able to keep vigil all night long with her arms lifted up toward heaven. When the morning sun touched her face, she would eat some herbs and other vegetation to break her fast. She drank rainwater which she collected from a channel cut into the cliff, which is still known as St Theodora's Spring; As St Theodora grew old, she was forgotten and there was no one to care for her. Placing all her hope in God, she continued her spiritual struggles, and reached great heights of perfection. When she prayed her mind was raised up to Heaven, and her body was lifted up off the ground.
1713 St. Joseph Mary Tomasi;  Jan 1 Cardinal confessor of Pope Clement XI {1649 1721}; He answered that the days of actual physical martyrdom are over, and that we are now in the days of hidden martyrdom, seen only by God; the lesson of it all being trust in God; Even before his death the sick were healed through touching his clothing, and when the end had come cures multiplied round his bier. Bd Joseph Tommasi was beatified in 1803.
1716 St. Francis Jerome famous Jesuit preacher credited with miracles, attributing numerous cures to intercession of
        Saint Cyrus
1717 December 16 BD MARY OF TURIN, VIRGIN  miraculous abbess “Obedience wills what God wills"
1721 St Pacifico of San Severino At Mass he was often rapt in ecstasy;  gift of prophecy ability to read the consciences
        of his penitents Miracles took place at his tomb, as they had done in his lifetime
1727 July 09 St. Veronica Giuliani Capuchin mystic many spiritual gifts; recipient of a stigmata in 1697 and visions
1728 May 07 Blessed Rose Venerini organize schools in many parts of Italy numerous miracles were attributed to her
1730 April 12 Saint Acacius the New monk at Holy Trinity monastery of St Dionysius of Olympus St Maximus repeatedly appeared to the ascetic gifts of unceasing mental prayer and divine revelation
1730 May 21 Pachomius Our Holy Father the Martyr Many miracles were wrought by his blood and his relics, his body being buried on the island of Patmos in the Church of St John the Theologian
1731 Saint Innocent, Bishop of Irkutsk, (in the world John) miracles occurred not only at Irkutsk, but also in remote places of Siberia, for those who flocked to the saint with prayer incorrupt .
1732 March 26 St. Lucy Filippini Co-foundress of the Italian institute of the Maestre Pie, the Filippine;
         predicted day of her death

1734 Mar 05 St. John Joseph of the Cross very ascetic; prophesy, miracles, humility, religious discipline
1669-1739 Bl. Angelus Capuchin of Acri; many miracles of healing; gifts prophecy; bilocation; see into men's souls; Meditating on his failure and asking God’s help in his trouble, he one day seemed to hear a voice saying, “Be not afraid. The gift of preaching shall be yours.” “Who art thou?” asked Father Angelo, and the reply came, “I am who I am. For the future preach simply and colloquially, so that all may understand you.” Father Angelo did as he was told; he laid aside all his books of oratory and with them the flowers of speech and flights of learning, and prepared his discourses only with the help of his Bible and crucifix.
1740 St. Theophilus of Corte Franciscan reformer. Born Biagio Arrighi at Corte, Corsica, Italy ordained at {feast days May 21, 19} Naples, taught at Civitella, and then embarked upon a mission to promote the faith in Corsica and Italy The influence exerted by his eloquent words was enhanced by the holiness of his life and by miracles. At Civitella, of which he became guardian, he won the love and veneration of the whole community
1744 April 05 Blessed Crescentia Höss blessed by celestial visions, OFM Tert. V (AC)
1750 May 21 1750 Crispin (patron of cobblers) of Viterbo the admirable quaestor (the brother who requests alms) taught basics of the catechism, then noted for his prophecies, his miracles of multiplication of food, and his wise sayings, some of which have been preserved. OFM Cap. (AC)
1755  St. Gerard Majella lay Redemptorists patron of expectant mothers  gift of reading consciences bilocations
         levitation
1763 St. Joseph of Khevi attained the heights of clairvoyance and miracle-working; Little is known about his life; a native of Khevi (in northern Georgia) and served as a priest in that village. In addition to being great warriors, the people of Khevi have throughout history been remarkably steadfast in the Christian Faith. The churches and monasteries in Khevi are extraordinary in both beauty and inaccessibility. They were deliberately built in mountainous places, as if reaching them should demand the greatest of zeal.
1770 St. Teresa Margaret Redi discalced Carmelite nun remarkable prayer life and a deeply penitential demeanor; The devotion paid to her, especially in the city of Florence, has been attended with many miracles.
1774 Aug 24 Saint Serapion was abbot of the Monastery of St. John the Baptist in the Davit-Gareji Wilderness. He was
       endowed by God with the ability to work miracles.
1775   Oct 19 St. Paul of the Cross Priest vision of our Lady in a black habit with the name Jesus and a cross in white on the chest Blessed Virgin told him to found a religious order devoted to preaching the Passion of Christ (RM) St Paul-of-the-Cross was endowed with extraordinary gifts. He prophesied future events, healed the sick, and even during his lifetime appeared on various occasions in vision to persons far away. In the cities which he visited crowds followed him, desiring to touch him or to carry off some fragment of his habit as a relic, but he deprecated all tokens of esteem. In 1765 he had the grief of losing John Baptist, from whom he had scarcely ever been separated and to whom he was united by a bond of love as rare as it was beautiful. Unlike in disposition, the one brother seemed the complement of the other as they strove side by side to attain to perfection. Since their ordination they had been each other’s confessors, inflicting penances and reproofs in turn. Once only had a shadow of disagreement ever arisen between them, and that was upon the only occasion John Baptist ever ventured to praise his brother to his face. St Paul’s humility was so deeply wounded that he put them both to penance, forbidding his brother to approach him. Not until the third day, when John Baptist crept on his knees to implore pardon, did the cloud lift—never to descend again. It was in memory of the close association between the two men that Pope Clement XIV long afterwards bestowed upon St Paul-of-the-Cross the Roman basilica dedicated in the names of Saints John and Paul.
1781 Saint Ignatius of Laconi Capuchin questor for 40 years as a child  found daily at church doors before dawn
         waiting in prayer to be opened levitation in prayer gifts of prophecy and miracles of healing (AC)   
1783 St. Benedict Joseph Labré "the Beggar of Rome," a pilgrim recluse devoted to the Blessed Sacrament miracles;
       levitated.



1702 St. Joseph Oriol  Apostle of Barcelona miracle worker healings & prophet faith, hope, and love of God and neighbor
who lived on bread and water for twenty-six years. He was born at Barcelona, Spain. A priest and doctor of theology, he was a canon of Santa Maria del Pino. In 1686, he made a pilgrimage on foot to Rome. A beloved figure in Barcelona, Joseph was also a famed confessor, miracle worker, and prophet. Pope St. Pius X canonized him in 1909.
1702 ST JOSEPH ORIOL
ST JOSEPH ORIOL, was born in Barcelona and spent almost all his life in that city. His father having died while he was still in the cradle, his mother contracted a second marriage with a shoemaker, who loved his little stepson as though he had been his own child. Joseph early became a choirboy at the church of St Mary-of-the-Sea, and the clergy, noticing that he spent hours in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, taught him to read and write, foreseeing in him a vocation to the priesthood. They subsequently enabled him to follow the university courses. At the death of her second husband, Joseph’s mother was left very poor, and the son went to live with his foster-mother, who was tenderly attached to him. The young man’s life as a student was most exemplary. After he had taken his doctor’s degree and had been raised to the priesthood, Joseph accepted some tutorial work in a family of good position to enable him to support his mother. Here also he gained all hearts and was looked upon as a saint, but he remained under no illusions about himself, for God made known to him how far he was from perfection. In consequence of that revelation, he took a vow of perpetual abstinence, and lived for the rest of his days on bread and water. He also increased his bodily penances and wore such miserable clothes that he was often insulted in the streets of Barcelona.

Relieved of the support of his mother by her death in 1686, Joseph started for Rome to venerate the tombs of the apostles, and made the whole journey on foot. Here he was presented by Pope Innocent XI to a benefice in his native Barcelona, and as a priest with the cure of souls he continued to live in the most complete self-abnegation. The one little room which he hired at the top of a house contained only a crucifix, a table, a bench and a few books—it was all he needed. The income of his cure went for the relief of the poor, being expended in alms to the living and in Masses for the dead. No bed was necessary for one who never slept for more than two or three hours at night. St Joseph had a great gift for direction, and whatever time he could spare was spent in the confessional. At one time, indeed, he was accused of over-severity and of inflicting penances which were injurious to health. His critics succeeded in gaining the ear of the bishop, who forbade him to hear confessions, but the prohibition did not last long. The prelate in question died soon afterwards and his successor reinstated Joseph in all his faculties. Throughout his ministry his zeal was all-embracing, including the most opposite extremes. He was fond of teaching little children, but he also had a great influence over soldiers, whom he won by his gentleness and sympathy. Strangely enough, in the midst of this busy life, St Joseph was suddenly seized with an ardent desire for martyrdom, and decided to go at once to Rome to place himself at the disposal of the Congregation de Propaganda Fide. In vain did the people of Barcelona entreat him not to leave them in vain did two wise priests urge him to take time for reflection. His decision was made his purpose unalterable and he started off for Italy. At Marseilles, however, he fell ill, and the Blessed Virgin in a vision told him that his intention was accepted but that it was God’s will that he should go back to Barcelona and spend the rest of his life in caring for the sick.

His return was attended with extraordinary demonstrations of joy. The fame of his wonderful healing powers spread far and wide, and sufferers came from long distances to be cured of their infirmities. Miracle after miracle was reported, and at one time the saint’s confessor forbade him to perform such cures in church because of the disturbance which they caused. As a matter of fact St Joseph always sought to direct attention away from himself and to associate bodily cures with the tribunal of penance, but powers such as his could not be hidden. Like many other wonder-workers, he also possessed the gift of prophecy, and amongst other predictions he foretold the time of his own death. After receiving the last sacraments he asked for the Stabat Mater to be said aloud, and died on March 23, 1702. He was in his fifty-third year. Immense crowds collected round the bier of the dead saint, and on the day of the funeral it became necessary to close the cathedral before his burial could be proceeded with. His few little possessions were eagerly sought for as relics, and the tribute of popular veneration only aug­mented with the lapse of years. St Joseph Oriol was canonized in 1909.

The bull of canonization (Acta Apostolicae Sedis, vol. (1909), pp. 605—622, of almost unprecedented length, gives a full summary of his career. The principal published life is that of J. Ballester de Claramunt, Vida de San José Oriol, presbitero (1909) but there are others both in Spanish and Catalan by M. E. Anzizu and by Masden, and one in Italian by Salotti.
Joseph Oriol (RM) (also known as José Orioli) Born in Barcelona, Spain, on November 23, 1650; died there on March 23, 1702; beatified by Pope Pius VII on May 15, 1896; canonized in 1909. Father Joseph Oriol is remembered for the heroism of his virtues, for the example he proposes to Christians, and for the singular favors God accorded him.
Joseph is a saint among thousands of saints; but, for more than three centuries, history and legend together have justified the cognomen his parishioners gave him, even before he died: "wonder- worker of Barcelona." A saint among thousands of saints; but, for about three centuries, history and legend have emphasized the healings, the prophecies, the miracles of all kinds of which Joseph Oriol was the instrument.

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

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

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

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

But that kind of picture does not deal with holiness. Holiness takes hold of man and utilizes him. It takes hold of the conscious and the unconscious, it takes hold of the miracle-man who, without holiness, would be less than a man, the inverted reflection of a saint (Attwater2, Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
1710 Saint Theodora, the greatest of Romania's holy ascetics;  St Theodora made such progress in asceticism that she was able to keep vigil all night long with her arms lifted up toward heaven. When the morning sun touched her face, she would eat some herbs and other vegetation to break her fast. She drank rainwater which she collected from a channel cut into the cliff, which is still known as St Theodora's Spring; As St Theodora grew old, she was forgotten and there was no one to care for her. Placing all her hope in God, she continued her spiritual struggles, and reached great heights of perfection. When she prayed her mind was raised up to Heaven, and her body was lifted up off the ground. Like the great saints of earlier times, her face shone with a radiant light, and a flame came forth from her mouth when she prayed.   In time her clothes became mere rags, and when her food ran out, she was fed by birds like the Prophet Elias (July 20). They brought her crusts of bread from the Sihastria Skete. Seeing the birds come to the skete and then fly away with pieces of bread in their beaks, the igumen sent two monks to follow them. Night fell as they walked toward Sihla, and they lost their way in the woods. They decided to wait for daylight, and began to pray. Suddenly, they saw a bright light stretching up into the sky, and went to investigate. As they approached, they saw a woman shining with light and levitating above the ground as she prayed.

Born in the village of Vanatori, Neamts in the first half of the seventeenth century, and was the daughter of Stephen Joldea and his wife.   She was married to a man of Ismail, but had no children. Therefore, she and her husband decided to enter the monastic life. Her husband went to the Skete of Poiana Marului, where he was tonsured with the name Eleutherius. He was also ordained to the holy priesthood.   Theodora also received the monastic tonsure in the Skete of Poiana Marului. In just a few years, she advanced in obedience, prayer, and asceticism, acquiring the grace of unceasing prayer of the heart.
     When her skete was destroyed by the Turks, she fled to the Buzau Mountains with her spiritual mother, Schemanun Paisia. They lived for several years in fasting, vigil and prayer, enduring cold, hunger, and demonic temptations. When her spiritual mother fell asleep in the Lord (1670-1675), St Theodora was led by God to the mountains of Neamts. After venerating the wonderworking Neamts Icon of the Mother of God (June 26) in the monastery, she was told to seek the advice of Hieromonk Barsanuphius of Sihastria Skete. Seeing her desire for the eremetical life, and recognizing her great virtues, he gave her Holy Communion and assigned Hieromonk Paul as her Father Confessor and spiritual guide.
   Fr Barsanuphius advised Theodora to go and live alone in the wilderness for a year. "If, by the grace of Christ, you are able to endure the difficulties and trials of the wilderness, then remain there until you die. If you cannot endure, however, then go to a women's monastery, and struggle there in humility for the salvation of your soul."
Fr Paul searched in vain for an abandoned hermitage where St Theodora might live. Then they met an old hermit living beneath the cliffs of Sihla. This clairvoyant Elder greeted them and said, "Mother Theodora, remain in my cell, for I am moving to another place."
        Fr Paul left Theodora on Mount Sihla, blessing her before he returned to the skete. St Theodora lived in that cell for thirty years. Strengthened with power from on high, she vanquished all the attacks of the Enemy through patience and humility. She never left the mountain, and never saw another person except for Fr Paul, who visited her from time to time to bring her the Spotless Mysteries of Christ and the supplies she needed to survive.
St Theodora made such progress in asceticism that she was able to keep vigil all night long with her arms lifted up toward heaven. When the morning sun touched her face, she would eat some herbs and other vegetation to break her fast. She drank rainwater which she collected from a channel cut into the cliff, which is still known as St Theodora's Spring.

When Turks attacked the villages and monasteries around Neamts, the woods became filled with villagers and monastics. Some nuns found St Theodora's cell, and she called out to them, "Remain here in my cell, for I have another place of refuge." Then she moved into a nearby cave, living there completely alone. An army of Turks discovered the cave, and were about to kill the saint. Lifting up her hands, she cried out, "O Lord, deliver me from the hands of these murderers." The wall of the cave opened, and she was able to escape into the woods.

As St Theodora grew old, she was forgotten and there was no one to care for her. Placing all her hope in God, she continued her spiritual struggles, and reached great heights of perfection. When she prayed her mind was raised up to Heaven, and her body was lifted up off the ground. Like the great saints of earlier times, her face shone with a radiant light, and a flame came forth from her mouth when she prayed.   In time her clothes became mere rags, and when her food ran out, she was fed by birds like the Prophet Elias (July 20). They brought her crusts of bread from the Sihastria Skete. Seeing the birds come to the skete and then fly away with pieces of bread in their beaks, the igumen sent two monks to follow them. Night fell as they walked toward Sihla, and they lost their way in the woods. They decided to wait for daylight, and began to pray. Suddenly, they saw a bright light stretching up into the sky, and went to investigate. As they approached, they saw a woman shining with light and levitating above the ground as she prayed.
St Theodora said, "Brethren, do not be afraid, for I am a humble handmaiden of Christ. Throw me something to wear, for I am naked."

Then she told them of her life and approaching death. She asked them to go to the skete and ask for Fr Anthony and the hierodeacon Laurence to come and bring her Communion. They asked her how they could find their way to the skete at night, for they did not know the way. She said that they would be guided to the skete by a light which would go before them.

The next day at dawn, Fr Anthony went to Sihla with the deacon and two other monks. When they found St Theodora, she was praying by a fir tree in front of her cave. She confessed to the priest, then received the Holy Mysteries of Christ and gave her soul to God. The monks buried her in her cave with great reverence sometime during the first decade of the eighteenth century.
News of her death spread quickly, and people came from all over to venerate her tomb. Her holy relics remained incorrupt, and many miracles took place before them. Some kissed the relics, others touched the reliquary, while others washed in her spring. All who entreated St Theodora's intercession received healing and consolation.
       St Theodore's former husband, Hieromonk Eleutherius, heard that she had been living at Sihla, and decided to go there. He found her cave shortly after her death and burial. Grieving for his beloved wife, Eleutherius did not return to his monastery, but made a small cell for himself below the cliffs of Sihla. He remained close to her cave, fasting, praying, and serving the Divine Liturgy. He lived there for about ten years before his blessed repose. He was buried in the hermits' cemetery, and the Skete of St John the Baptist was built over his grave.
St Theodora's relics were taken to the Kiev Caves Monastery between 1828 and 1834. There she is known as St Theodora of the Carpathians.
1713 St. Joseph Mary Tomasi;  Jan 1 Cardinal confessor of Pope Clement XI {1649 1721}; He answered that the days of actual physical martyrdom are over, and that we are now in the days of hidden martyrdom, seen only by God; the lesson of it all being trust in God; Even before his death the sick were healed through touching his clothing, and when the end had come cures multiplied round his bier. Bd Joseph Tommasi was beatified in 1803.
Born the son of the duke of Palermo, he became a member of the Theatine Order. Sent to Rome, he became the confessor of Cardinal Giovanni Francesco Albani, proving instrumental in convincing the cardinal to accept elevation as pope in 1700 under pain of mortal sin. In return, the newly elected pontiff forced Joseph to accept appointment as a cardinal. While he served capably as a cardinal, his first preoccupation was as a brilliant liturgical scholar who published some of his works under the pseudonym J. M. Carus.Among his most notable contributions were: Codices Sacramentorunz Nongentis Annis Vetustiores (1680), including the Missale Gothicurn and the Missale Francorum; Responsalia etA ntiphonaria Ronzanae Ecclesiae a Sancto Gregorio Magno Disposita (1686); and the Antiqua Libri Missaruni Romanae Ecclesiae (1691). Beatified in 1803, he was canonized in 1986 by Pope John Paul II.

1713 Bd Joseph Tommasi, Cardinal of The Holy Roman Church
By the beatification of Cardinal Joseph Mary Tommasi, the Church may be said to have set her seal upon the principle that neither profound learning nor the critical spirit of accurate scholarship nor independence of judgement, so long as it is kept in check by regard for dogmatic truth, are inconsistent with the highest sanctity.

Bd Joseph Tommasi has been described by a high modern authority, Edmund Bishop, as “the prince of liturgists”, and he has been honoured by Anglicans on that ground almost as much as by Catholics; yet amid all his literary labours he practised heroic virtue, and was faithful to the minutest observances of a strict religious rule.
   He was born on September 12, 1649, at Alicata in Sicily. His father was duke of Palermo and prince of Lampedusa, with other honourable titles; his mother’s name was Rosalia Traino. They already had four daughters, who became nuns in the Benedictine monastery at Palma founded by their father. One of them, Isabella, the cardinal’s great confidant (in religion Maria Crocifissa), is also a candidate for beatification and may be styled “Venerable”.

No pains were spared in Joseph’s education, and even as a boy he was a good Greek scholar. The music of the Church also had ever a great attraction for him, and before he was fifteen the superior general of the Theatines was struck with his unusual ability. His distinct call to the religious life came about this time—manifested in his increasing love of prayer and solitude, and his growing distaste for the things of earth. Many obstacles were in the way, besides his father’s wish that he should take up a position at court. One was most unexpected. His mother had already entered a convent as an oblate or tertiary, and now his father determined to do the same and to leave the world, making over everything to Joseph. However, after a time he gave his consent to his son’s fulfilling his vocation. He was drawn to the Theatine clerks regular, as his uncle, Don Carlo, was a distinguished and most saintly member of that order, and his vocation was finally determined by a sermon that he heard.
   He entered the noviciate at Palermo in 1664, and after his profession, being very delicate, he was sent to Palma for change and rest, giving great edification to all he met. He next went to Messina to study Greek, thence to Rome and to the Universities of Ferrara and Modena. In the process of beatification is a letter from Mgr Cavalcante, Bishop of Pozzuoli, speaking of the great virtue, humility and love of silence of the young religious.

A few years later we hear of a prophecy of Maria Crocifissa that her brother would one day be a cardinal, accompanied by a sisterly reminder that, however fine a horse’s trappings may be, he still remains a horse. In 1673 Joseph was called to Rome, being twenty-four years old. His superior offered to ordain him before the full time, but he refused the offer. Maria Crocifissa wrote him a letter of encouragement, telling him rot to shrink from the priesthood, but to see that his soul was like wax, ready to receive its indelible seal. “I give you”, she wrote, “the great book of Christ crucified. Pass your time reading it, for I find your name inscribed
there.” He prepared most earnestly for his ordination, and sang his three Christ­mas Masses at San Silvestro, where for forty years, with the exception of a journey to Loreto, he lived the ordinary life of his order.

He was already looked upon as a saint in Rome. At the very sight of him quarrels and disputes, unkind or loose talk ceased. But Don Joseph, like all the chosen of God, passed through a time of bitter spiritual trial and desolation. In 1675 he writes to Maria Crocifissa imploring her prayers. She answered exhorting him to patience and humility in accepting his cross from the hand of God, telling him that she, too, was not without her spiritual trials. He answered that the days of actual physical martyrdom are over, and that we are now in the days of hidden martyrdom, seen only by God; the lesson of it all being trust in God. He was at this time so scrupulous that he could not be allowed to hear confessions or preach.

Don Joseph’s life was almost that of a hermit, devoted to prayer and study.
He made a special study of Greek philosophy, Holy Scripture and the Breviary. Knowledge of eastern languages was a necessity, and his Hebrew teacher, Rabbi Moses da Cave, owed his conversion from Judaism in 1698, at the age of seventy and after long years of resistance, to the prayers of Don Giuseppe and his sisters.

   His first book was an edition of the Speculum of St Augustine. In 1680 appeared the Codices Sacramentorum, being four texts of the most ancient liturgies he could meet with. These precious documents had been stolen from the library of Fleury Abbey, and dispersed by the Calvinists in the sixteenth century. They had been gradually collected together again in Rome, partly by Queen Christina of Sweden. Tommasi’s work became celebrated and Mabillon transcribed a great part of it in his Liturgia Gallicana. Out of modesty his next book, the Psalterium, was pub­lished under the name of Giuseppe Caro. It was a work of very great learning, giving an account of the two most important translations of the psalms, the Roman and the Gallican, and it opened up for liturgists a whole new field of research. There were many other treatises of the same class, particularly on the Antiphonarium, all displaying great erudition and fervent piety. His work on the psalms attracted the notice of Pope Innocent XII, and in 1697 Tommasi entered the Vatican, under obedience, for the first time. 

The year 1704 saw him appointed theologian to the Congregation of Discipline of Regulars. In this latter capacity he laboured for the reform of the orders, and all who came in contact with him were impressed with his zeal and holiness.  Don Tommasi, having been chosen as confessor by Cardinal Albani, had required his penitent in 1700 to accept the papacy under pain of mortal sin. Soon after, Clement XI insisted on raising the Theatine scholar to the cardinalate, saying, Tommasi l’ha fatto a Noi, e Noi lo faremo a lui. (“What Tommasi did to us, we will do to him.”) It was promptly refused, and the whole day was spent in discussion between Don Tommasi and the high ecclesiastics. Eventually he wrote the pope a grateful letter of thanks, “representing to your Holiness the obstacles and impediments, my grave sins, my passions ill-controlled, my ignorance and want of ability, and my conscience bound by vows never to accept any dignity, which make it imperative to implore from your Holiness the permission to refuse the honour”. This letter was read to the Congregation of the Holy Office, and Cardinal Ferrari was deputed by Clement to tell Tommasi that the same reasons applied to him as to the pope, whom he had urged to accept the still more onerous burden of the papacy. Being finally persuaded that it was the will of God, he submitted, saying, Oh via! sara per pochi mese (“ Well it will only be for a few Months”), and went to receive the hat from his Holiness. He wrote to Maria Crocifissa to implore her prayers, saying that Saul among the prophets fell terribly, and that Judas was an apostle and perished.

Joseph Tommasi continued his simple life, going to choir with his brethren, and as much as possible avoiding all ceremony. The members of his household were dressed as poor people; amongst them was an old beggar, a converted Jew. His food was of the plainest, and even of that he ate so little that his doctor remon­strated. The new cardinal took the title of San Martino ai Monti, remembering that he had left home to begin his religious life on St Martin’s day, and also because it had been the title of St Charles Borromeo, who was his great pattern in his life as cardinal. He found it necessary to leave his monastery in order to live near his church, which belonged to the Carmelites, with whom he frequently joined in their offices as one of themselves. People flocked from all over Rome to be present at his Mass, whereat he allowed nothing but plainsong, accompanied by the organ only. At the classes of Christian doctrine on Sunday he himself instructed the smallest children, explaining the catechism and singing hymns with them. Owing to the extreme moral laxity of the day, he, with the pope’s approval and following the example of Borromeo, insisted on the separation of the sexes in the church and in approaching the altar. This raised a storm of opposition and abuse, but he persevered quietly in what he thought to be right.*{ * Separation of men from women at public worship is normal in most parts of the East, and is considered theoretically desirable in the West too: cf. the Code of Canon Law, canon 1262, § 1.}

Bd Joseph was absorbed in the love of God, and often walked about hardly knowing what he was doing. Those who served his Mass bore witness to the extraordinary graces vouchsafed to him, and he was several times found in ecstasy before the Blessed Sacrament or his crucifix. He showed his love for God’s creatures by his almsgiving and care for all who came to him in need—not even allowing the birds to go hungry. The poor and suffering besieged his house and pressed round him when he went out, just as long ago they pressed round his Master. His humility had even, at times, been exaggerated, and his uncle Don Carlo once reproved him for calling himself a ne’er-do-well, telling him not to be abject but humble. To Maria Crocifissa he once called himself a tristo, which may mean scoundrel, to which she replied that she must decline to correspond with such a character. We read also of his patience in bearing constant bad health; of his very severe bodily mortifications, and of the wise moderation of the advice he gave to all who sought his help. He more than once foretold his own death, and when in December 1712 Pope Clement fell ill, the cardinal observed, “The pope will recover; I shall die.” He chose the spot where he should be buried in the crypt of his church, to which he went for the last time on St Thomas’s day and joined the friars at Compline. After the office, he made arrangements with the prior about the alms to be given to the poor, advising him to keep back the coal as the cold would increase after Christmas.

On Christmas Eve he was very ill, but insisted on attending the services at St Peter’s, and offered his three Masses in his own chapel. He suffered greatly from cold, and, refusing all food, could only sit crouching over the fire. After two days he took to his bed. Hearing the lamentations of his famiglia and of the poor people who were crowding into the lower part of the house, he sent them word that he had asked the pope to provide for them. At times he was delirious, but his confessor repeating the name of Jesus he recovered consciousness at once. He would not have the prayers for the dying said until he asked for them. Very shortly before his death he received viaticum, and thus strengthened by the Lord he had so dearly loved, he passed quietly through the janua caeli of death on January 1, 1713. Even before his death the sick were healed through touching his clothing, and when the end had come cures multiplied round his bier. Bd Joseph Tommasi was beatified in 1803.

See D. Bernino, Vita del V. Card. G. M. Tomasi (1722); and the anonymous Theatine biography compiled from the process of beatification, Vita del B. Giuseppe M. Tommasi (1803). Vezzosi published a collected edition of his works in eleven volumes in Rome, 1747—1769; but some few tractates have only been printed in recent times by Cardinal G. Mercati (Studi e Testi, vol. xv, 1905), who points out that the beatus in signing his own name spelt it with one “m”; but the commonly received form is Tommasi.
1716 St. Francis Jerome famous Jesuit preacher credited with miracles, attributing numerous cures to the intercession of Saint Cyrus
Neápoli, in Campánia, sancti Francísci de Hierónymo, in Tarentínæ diœcésis óppido Cryptaleárum orti, Sacerdótis e Societáte Jesu et Confessóris, exímiæ in salúte animárum procuránda caritátis et patiéntiæ viri; quem Gregórius Papa Décimus sextus in Sanctórum cánonem rétulit.
        At Naples in Campania, St. Francis of Jerome, priest of the Society of Jesus, and confessor.  He was born in the town of Grottaglia, in the diocese of Taranto.  Having been a man of great patience and zeal for the salvation of souls, he was canonized by Pope Gregory XVI.
 
Also known as Francis de Geronimo. Born near Taranto, Italy, he was ordained in 1666 and became a Jesuit in 1670. Francis Jerome was famous as a preacher. He was canonized in 1839.

Francis di Girolama, SJ (RM) (also known as Francis Jerome) Born at Grottaglie, near Taranto, Italy, in 1642; died 1716; canonized in 1839. Francis was the oldest of 11 children. Once he had received his first communion at age 12, he was received into the house of some secular priests. Recognizing his intelligence, the fathers promoted him to teaching catechism, and he received the tonsure at 16.
He accompanied one of his brothers to Naples. While his brother wanted to study under an eminent painter, Francis went learn canon and civil law.

In 1666, he was ordained a priest under a special dispensation because he was under 24. He taught in the Jesuit Collegio dei Nobili for five years. At 28, having persuaded his family to consent, he entered the Society of Jesus. During his first year of novitiate, he was severely tested by his superiors, but he received their complete approval by the time he finished, and they sent to help the preacher Father Agnello Bruno in his mission work. For three years the two worked tirelessly and with great success, primarily among the peasants in the province of Otranto.
Francis was then recalled to Naples, finished his theological studies, and was professed.

He was appointed preacher at the church known as the Gesu Nuovo in Naples. From the start, he attracted huge crowds. He was commissioned to train other missionaries and conducted at least one hundred missions in the provinces. His very effective preaching was marked by brevity and vigor: He was, it is said, 'a lamb when he talks and a lion when he preaches.' In search of sinners he penetrated into prisons, the brothels, and the galleys, and continued his missions in hamlets, back lanes, and at street corners. He converted 20 Turkish prisoners on a Spanish galley.
One of his most interesting penitents was a Frenchwoman, Mary Alvira Cassier. She had murdered her father and served in the Spanish army, impersonating a man. Under Francis, she repented and became very devout.
He rescued many children from dangerous surroundings, opened a charitable pawnshop, and organized an association of workingmen to help the Jesuit fathers in their work.

Although Francis was credited with miracles, he disclaimed that they were due to his own powers, attributing numerous cures to the intercession of Saint Cyrus, for whom he had a special devotion. He died at age 74, after a painful illness, and at his funeral all the poor of Naples thronged around his coffin.
His remains were interred in the Jesuit Church of Naples (Attwater, Benedictines, Walsh, White).
1717 BD MARY OF TURIN, VIRGIN  miraculous abbess “Obedience wills what God wills"
 There lived at Turin during the seventeenth century a count of Santena named John Donato Fontanella. He was a religious and well-loved man and married an equally good wife, Mary Tana, whose father was cousin-German to St Aloysius Gonzaga.
   They had eleven children, of whom the ninth, Marianna, was a girl of particular intelligence and promise. When a child of six, emulating St Teresa, she concocted a scheme with her little brother to run away and live “ in the desert” but they spoiled it by oversleeping on the morning intended for their departure. Two years later, when making recovery from a serious illness, she experienced her first vision, and from that time began to show a strongly ascetic disposition; in the following year she made her first communion. A deep impression had been made on her mind by contemplation of the blow in the face given to our Lord by the servant of Caiaphas, and a strange incident is related in that connection. One evening, when Marianna was kneeling at Benediction with one of her sisters, a strange man on her other side turned suddenly and violently slapped her cheek. The man escaped in the ensuing confusion and was never seen again. When she was something over twelve, Marianna, by a not very creditable ruse in concert with the nuns to evade her mother, joined the Cistercians at Saluzzo to live among their alumnae; but she was not happy there and, on the death of her father, went home to keep house for her mother. She became ever more drawn to the religious life and in 1676, after some difficulties with her family, was admitted in her sixteenth year to the Carmel of Santa Cristina. Here her first experience was one of great home-sickness; following that, an intense distaste for her new life and dislike of the novice-mistress. But she persevered and was in due course professed.
   After seven years in the convent Sister Mary-of-the-Angels, as she was now called, was visited by a long and severe “dark night”, during which she was tormented by numerous diabolical assaults and manifestations. She was guided through this by a very able director, Father Laurence-Mary, o.c.d., and at the end of three years began to come into more peaceful ways and to attain higher states of prayer. In 1690 she wrote to Father Laurence an account of a mystical experience which marked the end of her violent struggles. That Sister Mary herself was of a vehement disposition her own physical penances show. At one time she was scourging herself to blood daily, compressing her tongue with an iron ring, dropping molten wax on her skin, even suspending herself cross-wise by ropes from a beam in her cell. Of such practices we may borrow from the words of Father George O’Neill, s.j., her Irish biographer: “ No one is asked to imitate, no one is bound to admire them.” When she was thirty she was appointed novice-mistress, and three years later prioress, offices which she took up with deep reluctance and discharged with an equally marked ability. At the suggestion of Bd Sebastian Valfré she undertook a new foundation with a small house and inadequate endowment at Moncaglieri; and having overcome opposition from both ecclesiastical and civil authorities she was able to establish the nucleus of a community there in 1703, and the convent is still in being. Sister Mary herself wished to go there, but the people of Turin would not suffer it; all, from the members of the ducal family of Savoy downwards, were accustomed to go and ask the advice and prayers of the prioress of Santa Cristina, especially during the war with the French.
During the last twenty years of her life Bd Mary continued to have remarkable experiences and gifts, among them what appeared to be a literal “odour of sanctity”. This scent emanated from her person, and was communicated to her clothes and even to things that she touched, from which it was sometimes difficult to eradicate. From about 1702 this phenomenon was permanent, and among the witnesses to it was Father Costanzo, afterwards archbishop of Sassari in Sardinia. He characterized it as “neither natural nor artificial, nor like flowers or aromatic drugs or any mixture of perfumes, but only to be called an ‘odour of sanctity’”.
   It is stated that certain secondary relics of the beata at Moncaglieri still retain this fragrance. At the same time Bd Mary, like so many other mystics, was also notably proficient and careful in the practical matters, keeping accounts, looking after workmen, and so on, which fell to her lot as prioress. At the end of the priorate of Mother Teresa-Felix in 1717 the nuns of Santa Cristina wished to elect Bd Mary for a fifth term of office. She thought that her physical weakness would prevent her from giving a proper example of observance, and appealed to her confessor and to the prior provincial, but they both refused to interfere. Whereupon she set herself to pray that, if it were God’s will, she might shortly die; and within three weeks she was very ill.
   Punctilious obedience to superiors had been so marked in her life that the nuns now implored them to “give her an obedience” to recover. They demurred, and Mary said, “ Obedience wills what God wills, and therefore I will what obedience wills. Were the impossible possible I would do as you ask but I have so stormed the heart of Jesus to get my desire that He has granted it. It cannot be changed now.”
  She blessed all her sisters, and Father Costanzo asked, without saying who she was, for a last word for “another daughter”, who was in fact the young Princess di Carignano who had hurried to the convent when she heard that Mother Mary was dying. “May our Lord bless her”, she murmured, “and give her real detachment from the world—for everything here comes to an end.” Bd Mary-of-the-Angels died on December 16, 1717, and seven years later her cause was introduced at the instance of Victor Amadeus II of Savoy; but she was not officially declared blessed until 1865.

A full account of this Carmelite mystic will be found in the book of Father G. O’Neill, Bd Mary of the Angels (1909). It is based upon a life written in Italian by Father Elias-of St-Teresa who had known the beata personally and was able to utilize what survived of an autobiography which she wrote by command of her superiors. A later Italian account is by Father Benedetto (1934).
1727 St. Veronica Giuliani Capuchin mystic who had many spiritual gifts; recipient of a stigmata in 1697 and visions
Tiférni, in Umbria, sanctæ Verónicæ de Juliánis, Vírginis, in Urbaniénsis diœcésis óppido Mercatéllo natæ, Moniális e secúndo sancti Francísci Ordine ac Tifernátis ascetérii Abbatíssæ; quam, insígni patiéndi stúdio, ceterísque virtútibus et cæléstibus charismátibus illústrem, Gregórius Papa Décimus sextus in sanctárum Vírginum collégium adscrípsit.
    At Tiferno in Umbria, St. Veronica Giuliani, a nun of the second Order of St. Francis and abbess of the monastery in that town.  Born at Mercatello in the diocese of Urbania, she became illustrious by her great love for suffering and other virtues, and by her heavenly gifts.  She was inscribed among the holy virgins by Pope Gregory XVI.
A native of Binasco, near Milan, Italy, born in 1660, she entered the Capuchins at Citttidi Castello, Umbria, in 1677. She remained there for the rest of her life and served as novice mistress 34 years.
A mystic, she was the recipient of a stigmata in 1697 and visions, the accounts of which are quite detailed. She impressed her fellow nuns by remaining remarkably practical despite her numerous ecstatic experiences. Veronica was named abbess of the convent in 1716, remaining in that role until her death. She is called one of the most extraordinary mystics of her era.
Veronica Giuliani, OFM Cap. Abbess (RM) Born in Mercatello, Urbino, Italy, 1660;
died at Città di Castello, Umbria, July 9, 1727; beatified in 1804; canonized in 1839.

   Saint Veronica Giuliani was canonized for her piety but she is more often remembered for the marvels surrounding her life. She was born Ursula Giuliana, the daughter of a family of wealth and breeding.
   Ursula was devout from a very early age. By the time she was six, she was giving her food and clothing to the poor. By age 11, she was pursuing a devotion to the Lord's Passion. Also early in life she was intolerant of those who were not as devoted as she, but this tendency was tempered by a vision.
   She took great enjoyment in the increased station her father's promotion to public office at Piacenza brought, and she reproached herself for it in later years. She decided to become a nun after experiencing a vision of the Virgin Mary, but her father opposed her plan. He insisted on introducing her to eligible suitors, which caused her to become ill from anxiety. In 1677, her father finally gave in and allowed her to become a nun at the Capuchin convent of Città di Castello in Umbria, where she took the name Veronica.
   Her novitiate was difficult. She became more intense in her devotion to the Passion of Christ and experienced a vision of Him bearing the cross. At this time, she began to experience a feeling of pain over her heart. In 1693, she had another vision in which the chalice of Christ's sufferings was offered to her. On Easter 1694 she was espoused to Jesus in a vision and the imprint of the Crown of Thorns appeared on her head.
   Three years later she saw Blessed Virgin Mary say to Jesus, 'let thy bride be crucified with thee.' Then at age 37, she received the stigmata in hands, feet, and side during a long period of ecstasy on April 5, 1697. Medical treatment was given, but the wounds did not heal. Her journal records experience.
   In her journal she tells of the rays of light that came from Jesus' wounds and became small flames of fire, four in the form of great pointed nails, the fifth a spear-head of gleaming gold. She writes, "I felt a fearful agony of pain, but with the pain I clearly saw and was conscious that I was wholly transformed into God. When I had been thus wounded, in my heart, in my hands and feet, the rays of light gleaming with a new radiance shot back to the Crucifix, and illuminated the gashed side, the hands and feet of Him who was hanging there. Thus My Lord and My God espoused me, and gave me in charge to His Most Holy Mother for ever and ever, and bade my Guardian Angel watch over me, for He was jealous of His honor, and then thus He spoke to me: 'I am Thine, I give Myself wholly unto thee. Ask whatsoever thou wilt, it shall be granted thee.' I made reply: 'Beloved, only one thing I ask, never to be separated from Thee.' And then in a twinkling all vanished away."
Roused, she found the wounds aching and blood and water pouring from her side. She did not want the wounds to be seen, but they were visible until 1700, because Jesus promised her that the marks would only last three years. Thereafter, only her side bled.
Shortly after they first appeared, her wounds were examined by the bishop of Città di Castello, who devised a special, fraud excluding regimen for her. The wounds were bandaged, and the dressings fastened shut with the bishop's seal; she was separated from the other sisters and watched carefully. The wounds remained. During her ecstasies she emitted a sweet odor of sanctity and she levitated. The local bishop was impressed by her obedience and humility throughout and was convinced that the phenomenon was genuine. A favorable report was given to the Holy Office and Veronica was permitted to resume normal community life.
   Veronica was the novice mistress for 34 years, forbidding the novices to read books of advanced mysticism. Instead, she insisted on the fundamental virtues fostered by reading Rodriguez's Christian and religious perfection. She was elected abbess in 1716 and served in that capacity for the last 11 years of her life. Not only did the spiritual life of the community improve during her abbacy, but also their physical comfort for Veronica was a practical woman. She installed piped water into the convent and expanded and enlarged its buildings.
    She died of apoplexy. She had told her confessor that the instruments of the Lord's Passion were imprinted on her heart, and she drew their positioning for him more than once as she said they changed location over the years. Her heart was examined after death and "miraculously" showed images of a cross, crown of thorns, and chalice, as she had said it would. Examination also revealed a curvature of the right shoulder as if she had carried a heavy cross. (Imagination of the doctors?)
   An autobiographical account (10 volumes) she had written at the command of her confessor was used in the process of her beatification and has been published since her canonization. Her mystical experiences were accurately authenticated by eyewitnesses. Through she was in a state of almost continuous ecstacy, she was in no way visionary, but a most practical and level-headed religious. Levitations and stigmata, which ceased bleeding at a word of command, reveal Veronica as one of the best documented examples of how prolonged and intense consideration of Christ's Passion can have an extraordinary effect in the faithful.
She is portrayed in art holding a heart marked with a cross (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Harrison).
1721 St Pacifico of San Severino At Mass he was often rapt in ecstasy;  gift of prophecy ability to read the consciences of his penitents Miracles took place at his tomb, as they had done in his lifetime
IN the year 1653 there was born to Antony Divini and Mary Bruni, at San Severino in the March of Ancona, a son, who was baptized under the names of Charles Antony.  When he was about five both his parents died, leaving him to the care of his maternal uncle, a harsh and disagreeable man.  He used the boy simply as a servant about the house and treated him with something less than the consideration due to a servant, all of which Charles bore with patience and humility until, in his seventeenth year, he offered himself to the Friars Minor of the Observance. In 1670 he was clothed in their monastery at Forano and received the name of Pacifico.  After the usual course of studies he was ordained at the age of twenty-five. For the two following years he taught philosophy to the junior friars and then, representing to his superiors that preaching was a more suitable employment for him, he was sent out on mission work in the neighbouring villages and hamlets.  His sweet and simple discourses were everywhere well received, and were strengthened in their effect by his ability to read the consciences of his penitents.  He reminded one James Sconocchia at Cingoli that he had forgotten to confess two sins of profanity, and another penitent said that the friar had brought back to his memory occasions on which he had been unkind to his mother and had entertained unchaste thoughts.  But the public apostolate of Brother Pacifico was destined to last only for six or seven years, for when he was thirty-five he was overtaken by both deafness and blindness and by a chronic ulceration of his legs which almost crippled him. He continued to live at Forano, passing his time in prayer, penance and almsdeeds, but having for a short time filled the offices of vicar and guardian of the friary of San Severino, he was in 1705 transferred to that house where, amid the friends and scenes of his childhood, he passed the rest of his life.
    On several occasions St Pacifico displayed the gift of prophecy, as, for example, in 1717 when he foretold the victory of Prince Eugene of Savoy over the Turks at Belgrade.  As though his natural bodily afflictions were not enough, he still further mortified himself with hair-shirt and discipline, and his superiors had to interfere to limit his fasts.  At Mass he was often rapt in ecstasy, sometimes for several hours. During the month of July 1721 he received a visit from the bishop of San Severino, and as he was leaving St Pacifico suddenly cried out   My lord-Heaven, Heaven I And I shall soon follow you." Within fifteen days the bishop was dead, and on the following September 24 St Pacifico died also.  Miracles took place at his tomb, as they had done in his lifetime, and in 1752 his cause was begun; Cardinal Henry of York was ponente and Mgr (afterwards Cardinal) Erskine promoter of the faith.  He was canonized in 1839.
   Several biographies have been published since the saint was canonized, notably those of Melehiorri (1839), Bernardino da Gajoli (1898), and Diotallevi (1910).    See also Leon, Aureole Seraphique (Eng. trans.), vol. iii, pp. 224-229.
 1728 Blessed Rose Venerini organize schools in many parts of Italy a number of miracles were attributed to her
Rose was born 1728 at Viterbo in Italy, the daughter of a doctor. Following the death of her fiancé she entered a convent, but soon returned home to care for her newly widowed mother. Meanwhile, Rose invited the women of the neighborhood to recite the rosary in her home, forming a sort of sodality with them.
As she looked to her future, Rose, under the spiritual guidance of a Jesuit priest, became convinced that she was called to become a teacher in the world rather than a contemplative nun in a convent.

Clearly, she made the right choice: She was a born teacher, and the free school for girls she opened in 1685 was well received.

Soon the cardinal invited her to oversee the training of teachers and the administration of schools in his Diocese of Montefiascone. As Rose's reputation grew, she was called upon to organize schools in many parts of Italy, including Rome. Her disposition was right for the task as well, for Rose often met considerable opposition but was never deterred.
She died in Rome in 1728, where a number of miracles were attributed to her. She was beatified in 1952. The sodality, or group of women she had invited to prayer, was ultimately given the rank of a religious congregation. Today, the so-called Venerini Sisters can be found in the United States and elsewhere, working among Italian immigrants.
Comment:  Whatever state of life God calls us to, we bring with us an assortment of experiences, interests and gifts—however small they seem to us. Rose’s life stands as a reminder that all we are is meant to be put to service wherever we find ourselves.
1730 Pachomius Our Holy Father the Martyr Many miracles were wrought by his blood and his relics, his body being buried on the island of Patmos in the Church of St John the Theologian
Born in Little Russia, he was taken by the Tartars as a boy and sold to a Turkish tanner as a slave. He spent twenty-seven years in slavery in Usaki in Asia Minor, and was forced to embrace Islam. He went off to the Holy Mountain, became a monk and spent twelve years near the monastery of St Paul. He resolved to suffer for Christ. His spiritual elder, Joseph, sent him off to Usaki, where he showed himself to his former owner as a Christian, wearing his monastic habit. The Turks gave him over to torture, then threw him into prison and finally beheaded him on May 8th, 1730, on Ascension Day. Many miracles were wrought by his blood and his relics, his body being buried on the island of Patmos in the Church of St John the Theologian. Thus this villager from Little Russia became a martyr and wears the wreath in the Kingdom of Christ.
1730 Saint Acacius the New monk at Holy Trinity monastery of St Dionysius of Olympus St Maximus repeatedly appeared to the ascetic gifts of unceasing mental prayer and divine revelation
(January 24) at Zagora. After visiting several monasteries on Mount Athos, the saint on the advice of his father-confessor, Father Galacteon, settled in the skete monastery of St Maximus the Hut-Burner ("Kavsokalyvites", January 13), who repeatedly appeared to the ascetic.

The exploits of St Acacius were extremely severe: in place of bread he ate dry grass, which he crushed with a piece of marble. When asked how much a monk ought to sleep, he said that for a true monk half an hour even was sufficient.
He said, "In order to conquer the flesh, a monk must practice two virtues: fasting and vigil." In spite of his age and illness, he was an example of this.

Once, when St Acacius had come on a Sunday to the skete church, the igumen Neophytus handed him his own staff and said, "Father, take the staff, and be the Superior for all these brethren until your last breath."

St Acacius kissed the hand of the igumen, and accepted the staff with all humility. Although previously he had walked with a staff because of his age, from that time forward the righteous one no longer held a staff in his hand.

For his exalted exploits St Acacius was granted the gifts of unceasing mental prayer and divine revelations. He fell asleep in the Lord on April 12, 1730, being nearly a hundred years old.
1731 Saint Innocent, Bishop of Irkutsk, (in the world John) miracles occurred not only at Irkutsk, but also in remote places of Siberia, for those who flocked to the saint with prayer incorrupt .
   His parents moved from Volhynia to the Chernigov region in the mid-seventeenth centuryas descended from the noble Kulchitsky family. The saint was born in about the year 1680, and educated at the Kiev Spiritual Academy. He accepted monastic tonsure in 1710 and was appointed an instructor at the Moscow Slavonic-Greek-Latin Academy as prefect and professor of theology.

In 1719 St Innocent transferred to the St Peterburg Alexander Nevsky Lavra, and was appointed chief naval chaplain. In 1720 he served as vice-regent of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra.

On February 14, 1721, hieromonk Innocent was consecrated as Bishop of Pereyaslavl and appointed to the Peking Spiritual Mission in China. But the Chinese government refused to allow him to enter the country, because the Senate Commission on External Affairs had indiscretely characterized him as "a spiritual personage, a great lord." The saint was compelled to spend three years at Selingin on the Chinese border, suffering much deprivation because of the uncertainty of his position, and grief from the disarray of the civil government in Siberia. Diplomatic blunders of the Russian Mission in China by Graf Raguzinsky, and intrigues by the Irkutsk archimandrite Anthony Platkovsky led to the appointment of Archimandrite Anthony in China. By decree of the Most Holy Synod St Innocent was named in 1727 to be Bishop of Irkutsk and Nerchinsk. And so he entered into the governance of the newly-formed dioceses.

The proximity of the Chinese border, the expanse and sparsely-settled dioceses, the great number of diverse nationalities (Buryat, Mongol, and others), mostly unenlightened by the Christian Faith, the lack of roads and the poverty - all this made St Innocent's pastoral work burdensome and his life full of deprivations. Through a strange oversight of the Senate, he did not receive any money until the time of his death, and he endured extreme want. In these difficult condition of scant funds the Irkutsk Ascension monastery still maintained two schools opened under him, one Mongol and the other Russian. The constant concern of the saint was directed towards the schools: the selection of worthy teachers, and providing the necessary books, clothing and other provisions for students.

The saint toiled tirelessly at organizing the diocese, and strengthening its spiritual life. His many sermons, pastoral letters and directives bear witness to this. In his work and deprivations St Innocent found spiritual strength, humility, and insight.

In the spring of 1728, the Baikal region began to suffer a drought. Famine from a poor grain harvest had threatened the diocese already back in 1727. With the blessing of the holy hierarch, in May within the churches of Irkutsk and the Irkutsk region they began to include a Molieben for an end to the drought at each Liturgy. On Saturdays they sang an Akathist to the Mother of God, and on Sundays they served a Molieben. "The supplications," said the saint, "should end on the Feast of St Elias" (July 20). Indeed, on that very day a storm raged at Irkutsk with such strong rains, that in the streets of the city water stood up to people's knees, and thus the drought ended.

Through the efforts of St Innocent, construction was started on a stone church to replace the wooden one at the Ascension monastery, and the boundaries of the diocese were expanded to include not only Selingin, but also the Yakutsk and Ilimsk surroundings.

The saint, not noted for robust health, and under the influence of the severe climate and his afflictions, departed to the Lord at a rather young age (51). He reposed on the morning of November 27, 1731.  In the year 1764, the body of the saint was discovered incorrupt during restoration work on the monastery's Tikhvin church. Many miracles occurred not only at Irkutsk, but also in remote places of Siberia, for those who flocked to the saint with prayer. This moved the Most Holy Synod to uncover the relics and to glorify the saint in the year 1800.  In the year 1804, a feastday was established to celebrate his memory throughout all Russia on November 26, since the Sign Icon of the Mother of God is commemorated on the actual day of his repose (November 27). St Innocent is also remembered on February 9.

In 1921, the relics of St Innocent were taken from their shrine and placed in a Soviet anti-religious museum. They were moved to another museum in Yaroslav in 1939, and were exhibited as "mummified remains of an unknown man." In 1990, they were brought to the newly-reopened Tolga Monastery in the Yaroslav diocese.
In September of 1990, the holy relics arrived in Irkutsk and were placed in the cathedral, to the joy of all the faithful.
1732 St. Lucy Filippini Co-foundress of the Italian institute of the Maestre Pie, the Filippine; predicted day of her death
 Faliscodúni sanctæ Lúciæ Filippíni, Fundatrícis Institúti Magistrárum Piárum ab ejus cognómine nuncupatárum, de Christiána puellárum et mulíerum, præsértim páuperum, eruditióne óptime méritæ, quam Pius Papa Undécimus inter sanctas Vírgines rétulit.
      At Montefiascone, St. Lucia Filippini, founder of the Institute of Pious Teachers,  from whose surname they are known as Filippines.  Having merited greatly by the Christian education of girls and women, especially of the poor, Pope Pius XI enrolled her among the holy virgins
Also listed as Lucia, she was born in Tuscany, Italy. With Rosa Venerini, Lucy started training schoolmistresses at Monte Fiascone. The institute evolved from this work. Lucy was canonized in 1930.


1732 ST LUCY FILIPPINI, VIRGIN
THE institute of the “Maestre Pie” is not as well-known outside of Italy as it deserves to be, but at a period when compulsory education was still undreamed of it worked wonders both for the religious and the social improvement of the women of that country. Although St Lucy was not the actual foundress of this remarkable organization, she was perhaps the most zealous, the most influential and the most holy of all its early promoters. Born in 1672 at Tarquinia in Tuscany, about sixty miles from Rome, she was left an orphan at an early age, and when still quite young her seriousness of purpose, her great piety and remarkable gifts brought her to the notice of the bishop of the diocese, Cardinal Marcantonio Barbarigo, who persuaded her to come to Montefiascone to take part in an educational institute for training teachers which he had established in that city under the direction of religious. Lucy threw herself heart and soul into the work and was there brought into contact with Bd Rose Venerini, whom as the successful and most devoted organizer of a similar work in Viterbo, the cardinal had summoned to Montefiascone, that she might give his own foundation the benefit of her experience.
No pupil could have shown more aptitude than St Lucy. Her modesty, her charity, her intense conviction of the value of the things of the spirit, together with her courage and her practical common sense, won all hearts. The work prospered amazingly. New schools for girls and educational centres multiplied in all directions, and in 1707, at the express desire of Pope Clement XI, she came to Rome and there founded the first school of the Maestre Pie in the Via delle Chiavi d’Oro. She was only able to remain in the city a little more than six months, her duties calling her elsewhere, but the children came in crowds which far exceeded the accommodation which could be provided for them, and Lucy before she left was known to half the district as the Maestra santa (the holy schoolmistress). Like Rose Venerini, she had a great gift of easy and convincing speech. Unfortunately her strength was not equal to the strain that was put on it. She became seriously ill in 1726, and in spite of medical care in Rome itself was never able to regain her normal health, dying a most holy death on March 25, 1732, the day she had herself predicted. St Lucy Filippini was canonized in 1930.
See the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, vol. xxii (1930), pp. 433—443 (the canonization) ; F. de Simone, Vita della serva. . . Lucia Filippini (1732) ; and La B. Lucia Filippini . . . (1926).

Lucy Filippini V (RM) Born in Corneto or Tarquinia, Tuscany, Italy, January 13, 1672; died at Montefiascone, Italy, on March 25, 1732; canonized in 1930.   Marc'Antonio Cardinal Barbarigo discovered the pedagogical genius of Lucia Filippini, who had been orphaned while still quite young. In her native town of Corneto, he saw young and old gathered about a little girl in the market place, listening to the child as she explained the catechism. He took the little girl with him on the very same day to the episcopal city of Montefiascone, and had her instructed by the Poor Clares.

She joined Blessed Rosa Venerini in training school mistresses at Montefiascone. Although Rose began the work, she died before it matured into the flourishing Italian institute of the Maestre Pie, or Filippine, of which Saint Lucy is venerated as the co-foundress. Lucy devoted the rest of her life to improving the status of women, and founding schools and educational centers for girls and women throughout Italy. In 1707, she was called to Rome by Pope Clement XI to establish the first school of the institute there. Lucy endeared hereself to the people of Rome during her tenure.

In a parchment laid in her grave at the Cathedral of Montefiascone, the saint is lovingly described: "After she had lost both her parents, Cardinal Marc'Antonio Barbarigo of blessed memory took her into his care. He later availed himself of her services in the founding of schools of Christian doctrine for young girls. Active with the greatest ardor for this foundation and its propagation, she fully realized the importance of this work for the glory of God, the saving of souls, and the Christian education of women.

"Her ability and experience made her work flourish and spread to our diocese and to many others. Her endeavors earned her the name of una donna forte--a strong woman. Though she lived wholly for her foundation, she never ceased praying at the feet of the Lord, thus uniting, in admirable fashion, the virtues of Martha and Mary.

"To set her up also as a model of invincible patience, God put her to the severest tests. She died on the Feast of the Annunciation, March 25, 1732, at the age of 60, of cancer, in terrible pain, which she endured with supreme patience."

A portrait reveals that she was a very pretty woman (Attwater2, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Schamoni)

1734 St. John Joseph of the Cross very ascetic; prophesy, miracles, humility, religious discipline
Ne ápoli, in Campánia, deposítio sancti Joánnis-Joséphi a Cruce, Sacerdótis ex Ordine Minórum et Confessóris, qui, sanctórum Ordini Seráphico insígne decus áddidit, atque a Gregório Papa Décimo sexto in Sanctórum cánonem est relátus.
At Naples, in Campania, the death of St. John Joseph of the Cross, priest of the Order of Friars Minor, and confessor.  By emulating the virtues of St. Francis of Assisi and of St. Peter Alcantara, he added great glory to the Seraphic Order.  He was canonized by Pope Gregory XVI.
  Born 1654 Self-denial is never an end in itself but is only a help toward greater charity—as the life of Saint John Joseph shows.  John Joseph was very ascetic even as a young man. At 16 he joined the Franciscans in Naples; he was the first Italian to follow the reform movement of Saint Peter Alcantara. John’s reputation for holiness prompted his superiors to put him in charge of establishing a new friary even before he was ordained.

Obedience moved John to accept appointments as novice master, guardian and, finally, provincial. His years of mortification enabled him to offer these services to the friars with great charity. As guardian he was not above working in the kitchen or carrying the wood and water needed by the friars.
When his term as provincial expired, John Joseph dedicated himself to hearing confessions and practicing mortification, two concerns contrary to the spirit of the dawning Age of Enlightenment. John Joseph was canonized in 1839.
Comment: John Joseph’s mortification allowed him to be the kind of forgiving superior intended by St. Francis. Self-denial should lead us to charity—not to bitterness; it should help us clarify our priorities and make us more loving. John Joseph is living proof of Chesterton’s observation: "It is always easy to let the age have its head; the difficult thing is to keep one’s own" (G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, page 101).
Quote:  "And by this I wish to know if you love the Lord God and me, his servant and yours—if you have acted in this manner: that is, there should not be any brother in the world who has sinned, however much he may have possibly sinned, who, after he has looked into your eyes, would go away without having received your mercy, if he is looking for mercy. And if he were not to seek mercy, you should ask him if he wants mercy. And if he should sin thereafter a thousand times before your very eyes, love him more than me so that you may draw him back to the Lord. Always be merciful to [brothers] such as these" (St. Francis, Letter to a Minister).

St. John Joseph of the Cross was born about the middle of the seventeenth century in the beautiful island of Ischia, near Naples. From his childhood he was the model of virtue, and in his sixteenth year he entered the Franciscan Order of the Strictest Observance, or Reform of St. Peter of Alcantara. Such was the edification he gave in his Order, that within three years after his profession he was sent to found a monastery in Piedmont. He became a priest out of obedience, and obtained, as it seems, an inspired knowledge of moral theology. With his superiors' permission he built another convent and drew up rules for that community, which were confirmed by the Holy See. He afterward became Master of Novices. Sometimes later he was made provincial of the province of Naples, erected in the beginning of the eightheenth century by Clement XI. He labored hard to establish in Italy that branch of his Order which the sovereign Pontiff had separated from the one in Spain. In his work he suffered much, and became the victim of numerous calumnies. However, the saint succeeded in his labors, endeavoring to instill in the hearts of his subjects, the double spirit of contemplation and penance bequeathed to his Reform by St. Peter of Alcantara. St. John Joseph exemplified the most sublime virtues, especially humility and religious discipline. He also possessed numerous gifts in the supernatural order, such as those of prophesy and miracles. Finally,consumed by labors for the glory of God, he was called to his reward. Stricken with apoplexy, he died an octogenarian in his convent at Naples on March 5, 1734.
1669-1739 Bl. Angelus Capuchin of Acri; many miracles of healing; gifts prophecy; bilocation; see into men's souls; Meditating on his failure and asking God’s help in his trouble, he one day seemed to hear a voice saying, “Be not afraid. The gift of preaching shall be yours.” “Who art thou?” asked Father Angelo, and the reply came, “I am who I am. For the future preach simply and colloquially, so that all may understand you.” Father Angelo did as he was told; he laid aside all his books of oratory and with them the flowers of speech and flights of learning, and prepared his discourses only with the help of his Bible and crucifix.

1739 BD ANGELO OF ACRI
THE fame of St Leonard of Port Maurice as a mission-preacher in Tuscany and northern Italy during the first half of the eighteenth century has gone far beyond the boundaries of his own order and country, but his contemporary preacher in Calabria, Angelo of Acri, also a Franciscan, is not so well known, though he was as famous in the south as St Leonard in the north.
 
   He was born at Acri in the diocese of Bisignano in 1669, and when he was eighteen was accepted as a postulant by the Capuchins, but the austerity of their life was too much for him and he left. But he was not satisfied, and after a time was permitted again to try his vocation in the same order. And again he failed to persevere. Thereupon his uncle, a priest, pointed out to him that he was obviously intended by God for a secular life and had better marry. Angelo was still unconvinced: he had a strong attraction to the religious life and a corresponding aversion from trying to settle down “in the world”, and in 1690 he made a third attempt with the Capuchins. This time he overcame his difficulties by the aid of urgent prayer, and after a rather stormy novitiate was professed and began his studies for the priesthood.
  
His superiors saw that he still stood in need of strict discipline and treated Angelo with considerable severity, and at the same time he was greatly tried by temptations against chastity. He overcame both trials and so profited by them that it is said that during the celebration of his first Mass he was rapt in ecstasy.


  
It was not till 1702 that he was first entrusted with public preaching, when he was sent to preach the Lent at San Giorgio. He prepared his course with great care, but in the pulpit his confidence and memory deserted him and he failed so lament­ably that he gave up and returned to his friary before it was over. Meditating on his failure and asking God’s help in his trouble, he one day seemed to hear a voice saying, “Be not afraid. The gift of preaching shall be yours.” “Who art thou?” asked Father Angelo, and the reply came, “I am who I am. For the future preach simply and colloquially, so that all may understand you.” Father Angelo did as he was told; he laid aside all his books of oratory and with them the flowers of speech and flights of learning, and prepared his discourses only with the help of his Bible and crucifix.  His new manner was immediately successful with the common people; but these were the days before St Alphonsus Liguori and his Redemptorists had simplified the style of preaching prevalent in Italy, and more refined people were contemptuous of the straightforwardness and familiar phrasing of Father Angelo. The attention of these was won in a rather dramatic way when, in 1711, Cardinal Pignatelli invited him to preach the Lent at Naples. His first sermon there provoked the usual superior amusement among the gentry, and the two following days the church was almost empty. The parish priest asked him to discontinue the course, but Cardinal Pignatelli said he was to continue, and this “incident” stimulated curiosity, so that the church was crowded next day. At the end of his sermon Father Angelo asked the congregation to pray for the soul of somebody in the church who was about to die. As they left the building, speculating about the prophecy, a well-known lawyer, who had made himself conspicuous by his raillery at the preacher, fell dead from a stroke. This happening, which was followed by others equally remarkable, made Father Angelo’s reputation in Naples for the future there were more listeners than the church could hold, and many
who came merely from curiosity received the grace of God and were brought to their knees.
   For the next twenty-eight years Bd Angelo preached as a missioner in the kingdom of Naples and particularly up and down his own province of Calabria, where he brought thousands to penance and amendment of life.
  His mission was emphasized by many miracles, especially of healing the sick, and examples of seeming supernatural agility or of bilocation are recorded of him.


He had insight into the souls of men, reminding them of forgotten or concealed sins, and several times, as at Naples, predicted future events with exactness.
   He continued his labours to within six months of his death, when he became blind, but was able to celebrate Mass daily till the end, which came peacefully at the friary of Acri on October 30, 1739. A flow of blood in the veins and movement of an arm at the word of the father guardian, similar to the phenomena reported of Bd Bonaventure of Potenza (October 26), are stated to have taken place three days after death. Bd Angelo of Acri was beatified in 1825.

The Bollandists have supplied a full account in the Acta Sanctorum, October, vol. xiii, drawing almost entirely upon the evidence presented in the beatification process. See, however, also the lives written by Ernest de Beaulieu (1899) and Giacinto da Belmonte (1894). English summary may be read in Leon, Aureole.Séraphique (Eng. trans.), vol. iv, pp. 1—7.

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).
1740 St. Theophilus of Corte Franciscan reformer. Born Biagio Arrighi at Corte, Corsica, Italy ordained at Naples, taught at Civitella, and then embarked upon a mission to promote the faith in Corsica and Italy
Ficécli, in Etrúria, sancti Theóphili a Curte, Confessóris, Sacerdótis Ordinis Fratrum Minórum, sacrórum recéssum propagatóris, quem Pius Papa Undécimus inter Sanctos rétulit.
    At Fucecchio in Etruria, St. Theophilus of Curte, confessor and priest of the Order of Friars Minor, who was canonized by Pope Pius XI.

1740 ST THEOPHILUS OF CORTE The influence exerted by his eloquent words was enhanced by the holiness of his life and by miracles. At Civitella, of which he became guardian, he won the love and veneration of the whole community

THE little town of Corte in Corsica was the birthplace of this Theophilus, or, to give him his baptismal and family names, Blasius de’ Signori. He was the only child of aristocratic parents who fostered, up to a certain point, the boy’s early piety. They encouraged him to invite his schoolfellows on Sundays to his home, where he would say prayers with them and repeat the morning’s sermon. But when, at the age of fifteen, he ran away to enter a Capuchin monastery, he was not permitted to remain there. Nevertheless, as he continued to show a marked vocation for the religious life, his father and mother allowed him two years later to take the Fran­ciscan habit in his native town. After studying philosophy and theology at Cope, in Rome and at Naples he was ordained in 1700. In the retreat-house of Civitella, to which he was appointed lector in theology, he formed an intimate friendship with Bd Thomas of Cori in 1705, while still at Civitella, he was chosen for mission preaching and, overcoming a natural shrinking from publicity, he went forth as an evangelist among the people.

At once it became evident that St Theophilus had great oratorical gifts, which enabled him to touch the hearts not only of careless Christians but also of hardened sinners. The influence exerted by his eloquent words was enhanced by the holiness of his life and by miracles. At Civitella, of which he became guardian, he won the love and veneration of the whole community. In 1730 his superiors sent him back to Corsica in order that he might form one or more houses there on the lines of Civitella. He found himself confronted by many difficulties, but he succeeded in establishing a retreat at Luani, where the rule of Civitella was followed in all its poverty and austerity. Four years later he was recalled to Italy to do similar work in Tuscany, and at Fucecchio, some twenty English miles from Florence, he made his second foundation. That same year he was summoned to Rome to give evidence for the beatification of Thomas of Cori. So great was the impression he then made upon the bishop of Nicotera, who was in charge of the case, that the prelate afterwards exclaimed, “I have been questioning one saint about another saint”.

Theophilus died at Fucecchio on May 20, 1740. As his body lay awaiting burial in the church, immense crowds gathered round to venerate it.  They kissed his hands and feet and tore so many pieces from his clothing that it became necessary to dress the body in a new habit. St Theophilus was canonized in 1930.

The brief of beatification, which includes a biographical summary, may be read in the Analecta Ecclesiastica. vol. iv (1806) no. 57. There is an excellent account in French by the Abbé Abeau, Vie du B. Théophile de Cone (1896)—it runs to more than 400 pages—and an almost equally lengthy Italian life, in which the archives of the Franciscans of the Obser­vance have been utilized, by Father Dominichelli, Vita del B. Teofilo do Corte (1896). Another full life in Italian is by A. M. Paiotti (1930), and there is a shorter account by M. P. Anglade, Une page d’histoire franciscaine (1931).

May 19, 2010 St. Theophilus of Corte (1676-1740) 
If we expect saints to do marvelous things continually and to leave us many memorable quotes, we are bound to be disappointed with St. Theophilus. The mystery of God's grace in a person's life, however, has a beauty all its own.

Theophilus was born in Corsica of rich and noble parents. As a young man he entered the Franciscans and soon showed his love for solitude and prayer. After admirably completing his studies, he was ordained and assigned to a retreat house near Subiaco. Inspired by the austere life of the Franciscans there, he founded other such houses in Corsica and Tuscany. Over the years, he became famous for his preaching as well as his missionary efforts.

Though he was always somewhat sickly, Theophilus generously served the needs of God's people in the confessional, in the sickroom and at the graveside. Worn out by his labors, he died on June 17, 1740. He was canonized in 1930.

Comment: There is a certain dynamism in all the saints that prompts them to find ever more selfless ways of responding to God's grace. As time went on, Theophilus gave more and more singlehearted service to God and to God's sons and daughters. Honoring the saints will make no sense unless we are thus drawn to live as generously as they did. Their holiness can never substitute for our own.  Quote: Francis used to say, "Let us begin, brothers, to serve the Lord God, for up to now we have made little or no progress" (1 Celano, #193).
He entered the Franciscans and took the name Theophilus in 1693. He was ordained at Naples, taught at Civitella, and then embarked upon a mission to promote the faith in Corsica and Italy while encouraging his fellow Franciscans to observe with zeal the rules of the order. He was canonized in 1930.
1744 Blessed Crescentia Höss blessed by celestial visions, OFM Tert. V (AC)
Born in Kaufbeuren, Bavaria, Germany; died there in 1744; beatified in 1900. The German virgin Crescentia, daughter of a poor weaver, was admitted to the convent of the Franciscan regular tertiaries in 1703 at the behest of the Protestant mayor of Kaufbeuren. The other nuns neglected and even persecuted her because she had entered without a dowry. Her holiness, however, overcame their hostility, when they realized that it was her dowry. Eventually Crescentia became novice-mistress, then superioress of the convent. Crescentia was blessed by celestial visions. (Attwater2, Benedictines, Encyclopedia).

1744 BD CRESCENTIA OF KAUFBEUREN, VIRGIN She had many visions and ecstasies, besides a mystical experience of the sufferings of our Lord which lasted every Friday from nine until three, culminating often in complete unconsciousness. On the other hand she suffered greatly from the assaults of the powers of evil.
IT was in the humble home of wool-weavers at Kaufbeuren in Bavaria that Crescentia Höss first saw the light in 1682, but if her parents were lacking in this world’s goods, they could set their children an example of simple piety which Crescentia— or Anna as she was baptized—was quick to follow.
At an early age, as she knelt in the chapel of the local convent of Franciscan nuns, a voice from the crucifix had said to her, “This shall be your dwelling-place”. When, however, her father applied that she might be received there, he was informed that the poverty of the house rendered a dowry essential—and a dowry he could not supply. Crescentia was content to wait, working at the family trade until she was twenty-one. The promise was then fulfilled in an unexpected way. Beside the convent was a tavern the noise from which was a constant annoyance to the nuns. When they would have bought it up, a prohibitive price was set upon it by the owner. Eventually it came into their possession through the benevolence of the Protestant burgomaster who, as the only token of gratitude which he would accept, asked them to admit Crescentia, saying it would be a pity for such an innocent lamb to remain in the world. Her wish was thus accomplished and she entered the third order regular of St Francis.
Her life for the next few years was to be one of humiliations and persecution, for the superioress and the older nuns could not forget that she had come to them penniless. They taunted her with being a beggar, gave her the most disagreeable work, and then called her a hypocrite. At first she had a little cell, but that was taken away to be given to a novice who had brought money. For three years she had to beg first one sister and then another to allow her to sleep on the floor of her cell: then she was allowed a damp dark little corner of her own. Taking all humiliations as her due, Crescentia refused the sympathy of some of the younger nuns when they exclaimed at the treatment meted out to her. In time, however, another superioress was appointed, who had more charity and discrimination. In time the nuns recognized that they had a saint amongst them and eventually chose her as novice mistress and finally as superioress. She had many visions and ecstasies, besides a mystical experience of the sufferings of our Lord which lasted every Friday from nine until three, culminating often in complete unconsciousness. On the other hand she suffered greatly from the assaults of the powers of evil.
Unkindly criticism of others Crescentia always repressed, invariably defending the absent. Stern to herself, she yet said to her daughters, “The practices most pleasing to God are those which He himself imposes—to bear meekly and patiently the adversities which He sends or which our neighbours inflict on us”. Gradually her influence spread beyond the walls of her convent, and people who came to consult her went away impressed by her wisdom and spoke of her to others: leaders in church and state visited the weaver’s daughter or corresponded with her, and to this day her tomb is visited by pilgrims. Pope Leo XIII beatified her in 1900.

The decree of beatification, giving a summary of the life of Crescentia Höss, is printed in the Analecta Ecclesiastica, viii (1900), pp. 435—457.
Besides the documents published for the Congregation of Rites in the course of the process, sonic unprinted materials connected with the first stages of the inquiry have been edited by Alfred Schroder in the Hagiographischer Jahresbericht for 1903, pp. 1—111. There are also sundry popular lives of the beata in German, e.g., that by Jeiler, which has been translated into Italian, and others by Offner, Seeböck and P. Gatz (1930).
1750 Crispin (patron of cobblers) of Viterbo the admirable quaestor (the brother who requests alms) taught basics of the catechism, then noted for his prophecies, his miracles of multiplication of food, and his wise sayings, some of which have been preserved. OFM Cap. (AC)
1750 BD CRISPIN OF VITERBO
THE Romans have a great devotion to Bd Crispin of Viterbo, whose relics rest under a side altar in the church of the Immaculate Conception in the City. At an early date he learnt from his mother the deep veneration to our Blessed Lady which characterized him throughout his life. After he had received a little schooling at the Jesuit College, Peter—as he was named in baptism—served his apprenticeship with an uncle, from whom he learnt the trade of a shoemaker. The Franciscan Order attracted him greatly, and when he was about twenty-five he obtained admission to the Capuchin convent at Viterbo, choosing the name of Crispin because of his trade. In the novice house at Paranzana the father guardian hesitated to receive him because he looked so delicate and was diminutive in stature; but the minister provincial, who had previously admitted him, overruled all objections. As it turned out, Brother Crispin proved equal to the heaviest tasks, and loved to call himself the Capuchin ass, deeming himself unfit to be regarded as anything more than a beast of burden. At Viterbo he dug the garden and acted as cook, and at Tolfa, where he was infirmarian during an epidemic, he effected some wonderful cures.
A short residence in Rome was followed by a stay at Albano and another at Bracciano, where he again nursed the sick during an epidemic and seems to have healed many of them miraculously. At Orvieto, where he was questor—charged with soliciting alms—he was so greatly beloved that the citizens were determined to keep him. When the time came for his departure the housewives with one consent decided to close their doors to his successor, and as the convent depended on the charity of the faithful, the guardian was compelled to re-appoint Brother Crispin rather than allow the brethren to starve. The holy friar’s last years, however, were spent in Rome. He was then noted for his prophecies, his miracles of multiplication of food, and his wise sayings, some of which have been preserved. He died in his eighty-second year on May 19, 1750, and was beatified in 1806.

There is an anonymous Vita del B. Crispino da Viterbo printed at the time of the beatification, and there have been many others since, notably two in French, by Ildephonsus de Bard (1889) and by Pie de Langogne (1901), and two in Italian, by P. Pacilli (1908) and by Paolo di Campello (1923). See also Léon, Auréole Séraphique
(Eng. trans.), vol. ii, pp. 280—285.

(also known as Peter Fioretti) Born in Viterbo, Italy, November 13, 1668; died at Rome on May 19, 1750; beatified in 1806; canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1982; feast day was May 23. Small, fragile Peter Fioretti was an apprentice shoemaker under his uncle's tutelage when he heard God's call to the religious life. Although joined the Capuchins at Orvieto about 1693 and took the name Crispin (patron of cobblers), he bore a resemblance to Blessed Benvenutus in that he too worked in the kitchen as a lay brother. His services in the kitchen, garden, and infirmary were used at the friaries of Viterbo, Tolfa, Bracciano, Rome, and Albano. He loved to call himself "the little beast of burden of the Capuchins."

For many years at Orvieto he was the admirable quaestor (the brother who requests alms). Those contacts allowed him to listen and help the unhappy, despairing, and discouraged. He was always joyful and so well liked that when another brother was appointed as quaestor in his place, the housewives refused to receive him or support his community. The guardian was thus obliged to restore Crispin to that role. In addition to counselling the townsfolk, Crispin taught the basics of the catechism to them and the peasants in the nearby mountains.

During his canonization, Pope John Paul II praised Crispin as a "humble brother without any history, who simply accomplished his mission and understood the true value of our earthly pilgrimage" (Benedictines, Farmer).
1755  St. Gerard Majella lay Redemptorists patron of expectant mothers  gift of reading consciences bilocations levitation
He was born at Muro, Italy, in 1726 and joined the Redemptorists at the age of 23, becoming a professed lay brother in 1752. He served as sacristan, gardener, porter, infirmarian, and tailor. However, because of his great piety, extraordinary wisdom, and his gift of reading consciences, he was permitted to counsel communities of religious women.

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

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

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

(1726-1755) Gerard Majella came to be invoked particularly as patron saint of pregnant women, for reasons hard to discern.  He was only a humble Redemptorist lay brother.  Yet he did have a strong spiritual influence on women as well as men, something unusual for one who was not a priest.
Gerard was born at Muro Lucano in southern Italy.  He grew up a very pious child.  Perhaps because of his goodness he was often ill-treated by the fellow craftsmen with whom he studied tailoring, and even by the choleric Bishop of Lacedogna, in whose service he spent some time.
Actually, Majella aspired to join a religious order, but when the Capuchins rejected him as too young and of too uncertain health, he returned to his fatherless family and set up on his own as a tailor.  Meanwhile, he devoted an increasing amount of time to prayer and self-denial.  He earned enough, but two thirds of his earnings went to the poor and Masses for the souls in purgatory, one third to his mother.
Around 1749, when he was 23, the young tailor was deeply impressed by a mission preached by priests of a new religious order, the Redemptorists.  He asked that community if he might join them as a lay brother.  The Redemptorists, too, hesitated because of his poor health, but finally they accepted him.  The founder of the Redemptorists, St. Alphonsus de Liguori, was impressed by the young man, and shortened the required novitiate.  Gerard made his profession as a lay brother in 1752, adding to the three usual vows one that bound him always to do what seemed most pleasing to God.
His career as a lay brother was brief but brisk.  For the first three years his chief tasks were tailoring and working in the infirmary.  But he also became noted for the spiritual contacts that he made while he accompanied the missionary fathers on their rounds.  It seems that he had unusual charismatic abilities.  Thus he could read the hearts of people, and brought a score of them back to God through this insight.  He had the gift of prophecy.  He had the gift of levitation as well: he could be lifted into the air in the midst of ecstatic prayer.  Most extraordinary of these gifts, however, were his "bilocations".  He could be, or seem to be, in two places at the same time.

Not only did the Redemptorist superiors recognize Brother Gerard's singular gifts, they even named him spiritual director to several communities of nuns - an appointment seldom given to a non-priest.  He also carried on correspondence with priests and religious superiors, giving them sound advice.  Furthermore, he won a reputation for working miracles.  When the crowds seeking cures became too great at one house where he was stationed, he had to be transferred to another house.  There he was appointed to tend the door, but soon he was feeding and clothing countless beggars.  Nobody knew where the food and clothing came from, except him.
We have mentioned Brother Gerard's illness that had twice deferred his admission to a religious order. It was tuberculosis, and it overtook him after only three years as a Redemptorist.  He announced that he would die on the night of October 15-16, 1755, and he did precisely that.
Pope Pius IX would call him "a perfect model for… lay brothers." In 1904 Pope St. Pius X canonized this "most famous wonderworker of the 18th century."
It was shortly after his death that St. Gerard became the popular patron of the pregnant.  A story is told that suggests why this patronage may have developed.
On one occasion a young woman named Neria Caggiano, whom Gerard had befriended but who was of wanton disposition, accused him of immoral behavior.  St. Alphonsus, incredulous, summoned Brother Gerard to Nocera for questioning.  In keeping with his vow to do the more perfect thing, the Brother neither affirmed nor denied the charge.  St. Alphonsus, therefore, punished him by forbidding him to receive Holy Communion and to have further dealings with outsiders.
This situation went on for several weeks.  Then Neria confessed that she and her accomplice had lied in preferring the charge.
"Why didn't you protest your innocence?" Liguori then asked Brother Gerard.  "Father, Gerard replied, "doesn't our rule forbid us to excuse ourselves?"
St. Gerard Majella Catholic Encyclopedia
Born in Muro, about fifty miles south of Naples, in April, 1726; died 16 October, 1755; beatified by Leo XIII, 29 January, 1893, and canonized by Pius X, 11 December, 1904. His only ambition was to be like Jesus Christ in his sufferings and humiliations. His father, Dominic Majella, died while Gerard was a child. His pious mother, owing to poverty, was obliged to apprentice him to a tailor. His master loved him, but the foreman treated him cruelly. His reverence for the priesthood and his love of suffering led him to take service in the house of a prelate, who was very hard to please. On the latter's death Gerard returned to his trade, working first as a journeyman and then on his own account. His earnings he divided between his mother and the poor, and in offerings for the souls in purgatory one-third to each!. After futile attempts first to become a Franciscan and then a hermit, he entered the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer in 1749. Two years later he made his profession, and to the usual vows he added one by which he bound himself to do always that which seemed to him more perfect. St. Alphonsus considered him a miracle of obedience. He not only obeyed the orders of superiors when present, but also when absent knew and obeyed their desires. Although weak in body, he did the work of three, and his great charity earned for him the title of Father of the Poor. He was a model of every virtue, and so drawn to Our Lord in the tabernacle that he had to do violence to himself to keep away. An angel in purity, he was accused of a shameful crime; but he bore the calumny with such patience that St. Alphonsus said: "Brother Gerard is a saint". He was favoured with infused knowledge of the highest order, ecstatsies, prophecy, discernment of spirits, and penetration of hearts, bilocation, and with what seemed an unlimited power over nature, sickness, and the devils. When he accompanied the Fathers on missions, or was sent out on business, he converted more souls than many missionaries. He predicted the day and hour of his death. A wonderworker during his life, he has continued to be the same since his death.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This situation went on for several weeks.  Then Neria confessed that she and her accomplice had lied in preferring the charge.
"Why didn't you protest your innocence?" Liguori then asked Brother Gerard.  "Father, Gerard replied, "doesn't our rule forbid us to excuse ourselves?"
1763 St. Joseph of Khevi attained the heights of clairvoyance and miracle-working; Little is known about his life; a native of Khevi (in northern Georgia) and served as a priest in that village. In addition to being great warriors, the people of Khevi have throughout history been remarkably steadfast in the Christian Faith. The churches and monasteries in Khevi are extraordinary in both beauty and inaccessibility. They were deliberately built in mountainous places, as if reaching them should demand the greatest of zeal.
The Church is certain only that he was a native of Khevi (in northern Georgia) and served as a priest in that village. In addition to being great warriors, the people of Khevi have throughout history been remarkably steadfast in the Christian Faith. The churches and monasteries in Khevi are extraordinary in both beauty and inaccessibility. They were deliberately built in mountainous places, as if reaching them should demand the greatest of zeal.
The most important ornament and symbol of Khevi is the ice that perpetually caps the peak of Mt. Kazbegi. On the slope of this mountain stands Trinity Monastery, where at one time St. Nino’s cross was preserved (it is presently kept in Tbilisi, in the northern section of the iconostasis at Sioni Cathedral).
Located above Trinity Monastery, on the ice-covered, vertical cliff of Mt. Kazbegi, is a cave hermitage at 13,450 feet, known as the Bethlehem Cave. It is possible to reach this hermitage only by climbing chains let down from its height. According to the chronicle Life of Kartli, this cave has throughout history been used to store sacred objects and treasures of the Church.
The historian David Batonishvili records that St. Joseph was especially known for his love of holy objects, for keeping the strictest of fasts, and for his outstanding virtues. He climbed to the Bethlehem Hermitage and returned with a piece of the tent of the patriarch Abraham, (Georgian tradition relates that both the tent of the Patriarch Abraham and the manger of Christ were kept in the Bethlehem Cave for many centuries.) which he presented to King Erekle.
Having attained the heights of clairvoyance and miracle-working, St. Joseph reposed peacefully in the year 1763.
1770 St. Teresa Margaret Redi discalced Carmelite nun remarkable prayer life and a deeply penitential demeanor; The devotion paid to her, especially in the city of Florence, has been attended with many miracles.

Anna Maria Redi was a native of Florence, Italy. She entered the Carmelites in 1765 and took the name Sister Teresa Margaret. She died at the age of twenty-three, but in the very brief time of her life in the cloister, she displayed a remarkable prayer life and a deeply penitential demeanor. She was canonized in 1934 by Pope Pius XI (r. 1922-1939).

1770 ST TERESA MARGARET REDI, VIRGIN
To the list of youthful saints who of late years have been honoured by the Church is now to be added the name of the Carmelite nun, Teresa-Margaret-of-the-Sacred Heart, canonized in 1934.
Anne Mary Redi, as she was called in the world, belonged to Arezzo, but the greater part of her life was spent at Florence and within convent walls. Born in 1747, she was sent to Florence at the age of ten to be educated by the nuns of the community of St Apollonia. She remained with them for seven years, giving a most admirable example of obedience, modesty, prayerfulness, diligence and all the virtues appropriate to a child. At school, reclaimed by her parents when her education was completed, she remained for a few months at home, but received what seemed to her a supernatural admonition from St Teresa of Avila that she was called to the Carmelites. She accordingly entered the convent of St Teresa at Florence in 1765. She would have wished to enter as a lay-sister, but this was not allowed, and after a most edifying noviceship she took her vows as a choir-nun.
There is not much to chronicle in the retired life Teresa Margaret led in a cloistered order, but those who had known her during the five years she was spared to them spoke in glowing terms of her extraordinary fidelity to her Christian vocation. We have the actual words used by her fellow Carmelites when summoned to give evidence in the episcopal process instituted not long after her death in view of her beatification. She was especially devout to the Sacred Heart and marvelously charitable, putting to profit every opportunity which a cloistered life could afford of sacrificing herself for the benefit of others. Her prayers, penances and a practice of poverty far more rigid than the rule required probably shortened her life. Moreover, she was much employed in tending the sick of the community, maintaining an unclouded brightness and equanimity even when she herself was far more fit to be a patient than a nurse. After her death at the age of twenty-three her body lay exposed for fifteen days without a sign of decomposition, and it has remained incorrupt until the present time. The devotion paid to her, especially in the city of Florence, has been attended with many miracles.

The summarium de virtutibus printed for the process of beatification may be found in the library of the British Museum. See also Fr Lorenzo, La b. Teresa Margherita (1930) and Fr Stanislas, Un angelo del Carmelo (1930), of which there is an adapted English version by Mgr J. F. Newcomb, St Theresa Margaret...(1934). She is honoured liturgically among the Carmelites on March 11, though March 7 was the day of her death.

Teresa Margaret Redi, OCD V (RM) (Baptized as Anna Maria Redi) Born in Arezzo, Tuscany, Italy, July 15, 1747; died March 7, 1770; canonized 1934. Teresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was born of a distinguished family, baptized Anna Maria, and raised by the Benedictine nuns of Santa Apollonia in Florence.
One day on entering her room, she distinctly heard herself addressed with the words: "I wish to have you among my daughters." She felt herself irresistibly drawn to the chapel, where the same voice said to her: "I am Teresa of Jesus, and I tell you that soon you will be in my convent."

Teresa Margaret returned to her parents' house for a few weeks, then, in the summer of 1764, was received on probation in the convent of the discalced Carmelites in Florence. The nuns were amazed at this novice, who set them an example of the perfect conventual life. Her motto was: "To suffer, to love, to be silent."

Under the spiritual sufferings of the path of purification she matured quickly to mystical union with God. On the evening of March 6, 1770, she was suddenly overcome by violent pains, and the very next day she peacefully and joyfully gave back her soul to God, whom she had always loved and for whom she had constantly yearned. She was 22 at the time of her death. The rumor that a saint had died rapidly spread through Florence, and her body had to be kept above ground for 15 days (Benedictines, Schamoni).

1774 Saint Serapion was abbot of the Monastery of St. John the Baptist in the Davit-Gareji Wilderness. He was endowed by God with the ability to work miracles.
Once St. Serapion set off for the city, following at a short distance behind several of the monastery’s brothers.

While they were traveling, a group of bandits attacked the monks who were walking in front of their abbot and made off with many of the church vessels they were carrying.

Terrified, the monks ran back to Serapion and told him what had happened.

“Great is God!” said Serapion. “I will not permit the unbelievers to steal His sacred things!”

With staff in hand, the elder raced ahead alone in pursuit of the robbers. When the robbers turned back they saw a terrible flame issuing forth from the elder’s staff and became greatly afraid. They abandoned the donkey that had been carrying their spoils and took to their heels. Another time Serapion suddenly burst out of his cell and cried to the brothers, “Woe is me! Woe is me! Robbers have attacked the servants on their way to the monastery!”

Having made this frightening announcement, he returned to his cell and began to pray. After a few hours the distraught servants arrived at the monastery and reported that bandits had attacked them along the way. The servants said that, when fleeing their attackers, they had abandoned the mules that were hauling the monastery’s property. A short time later the mules arrived at the monastery unaccompanied, bearing their load as before.

St. Serapion eventually abandoned his leadership of the monastery. He was tonsured into the great schema and withdrew into seclusion. Soon after, God revealed to him that his death was near, and he asked the brothers to bury him under the church gates, in a grave that he had prepared for himself. He intended for all who entered there to walk over his grave.
St. Serapion reposed in the year 1774.
1775 Sancti Pauli a Cruce, Presbyteri et Confessóris; qui Congregatiónis a Cruce et Passióne Dómini nostri Jesu Christi nuncupátæ Institútor fuit, atque in Dómino obdormívit quintodécimo Kaléndas Novémbris.
 St. Paul of the Cross, priest and confessor, founder of the Congregation of the Cross and Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He went to his repose in the Lord on the 18th of October.
St. Paul of the Cross Paul Francis Daneii, born at Ovada, Genoa, Italy, 3 January, 1694; died in Rome, 18 October, 1775.
1775 St Paul Of The Cross, Founder Of The Barefooted Clerks Of The Holy Cross And Passion
THE founder of the Passionists, St Paul-of-the-Cross, was born at Ovada in the republic of Genoa in 1694—the year which saw also the birth of Voltaire. Paul Francis, as he was called, was the eldest son of Luke Danei, a business man of good family, and his wife, both exemplary Christians. Whenever little Paul shed tears of pain or annoyance his mother used to show him the crucifix with a few simple words about the sufferings of our Lord, and thus she instilled into his infant mind the germs of that devotion to the Sacred Passion which was to rule his life. The father would read aloud the lives of the saints to his large family of children, whom he often cautioned against gambling and fighting. Although Paul seems to have been one of those chosen souls who have given themselves to God almost from babyhood, yet at the age of fifteen he was led by a sermon to conclude that he was not corresponding to grace. Accordingly, after making a general confession, he embarked on a life of austerity, sleeping on the bare ground, rising at midnight, spending hours in prayer, and scourging himself. In all these practices he was imitated by his brother John Baptist, his junior by two years. He also formed a society for mutual sanctification among the youths of the neighbourhood, several of whom afterwards joined religious communities.

In 1714 Paul went to Venice in response to the appeal of Pope Clement XI for volunteers to fight in the Venetian army against the Turks, but a year later he obtained his discharge, having discovered that the army was not his vocation. Convinced that he was not meant to lead the ordinary life in the world he refused a good inheritance and a promising marriage; but before he or his directors could perceive his true vocation he was to spend (at Castellazzo in Lombardy, then his home) several years in almost unbroken prayer which sometimes attained to the highest degree of contemplation.
During the summer of 1720, in three extraordinarily vivid visions, Paul beheld a black habit with the name of Jesus in white characters, surmounted by a white cross, emblazoned upon the breast. On the third occasion our Lady, attired in the tunic, told him that he was to found a congregation, the members of which would wear that habit and would mourn continually for the passion and death of her Son. A written description of these visions was submitted to the bishop of Alessandria, who consulted several spiritual guides, including Paul’s former director, the Capuchin Father Columban of Genoa. In view of the heroic life of virtue and prayer led by the young man since his childhood, all agreed that the call must have come from God. The bishop therefore authorized him to follow his vocation and invested him with the black habit, stipulating, however, that the badge was not to be worn until papal approval had been obtained. Paul’s next step was to compose a rule for the future congregation. He retired for a forty days’ retreat into a dark, damp, triangular cell adjoining the sacristy of St Charles’s church at Castellazzo, where he lived on bread and water and slept on straw. The rules which he drew up at that time, without book or earthly guide, are substantially the regulations followed by the Passionists to-day. It was during this retreat that the saint first felt impelled to pray for the conversion of England: “That country is always before my eyes””, he said in later years. “If England again becomes Catholic, immeasurable will be the benefits to Holy Church.”

For a short time after the retreat he remained with John Baptist and another disciple in the neighbourhood of Castellazzo, rendering assistance to the local clergy by catechizing the children and giving missions, which were very successful. Nevertheless he soon realized that if he wished to carry out his vocation he must seek the highest sanction. Bareheaded, barefoot and penniless, he set out for Rome, refusing the escort of John Baptist beyond Genoa. Upon his arrival he presented himself at the Vatican, but as he had not thought of providing himself with an introduction or credentials he was turned away. He accepted the rebuff as a sign that his hour was not yet come, and started on his homeward journey, visiting on the way the solitary slopes of Monte Argentaro, which the sea almost severs from the mainland. So great was the attraction he felt to this spot that he soon returned to it, accompanied by John Baptist, to lead in one of its derelict hermitages a life almost as austere as that of the fathers in the desert. They left for a time to stay in Rome, where they were ordained to the sacred ministry, but in 1727 they made their way back to Monte Argentaro, prepared to start their first house of retreat on the strength of the papal permission Paul had received to accept novices.
Numerous were the difficulties with which they had to contend. Their first recruits found the life too hard and all withdrew; war was threatening; benefactors who had offered assistance declared themselves unable to fulfil their undertakings; a serious epidemic broke out in the nearest villages. Paul and John Baptist, who had received faculties for missionary work soon after they had left Rome: went about fearlessly ministering to the dying, nursing the sick, and reconciling sinners to God. The missions they thus inaugurated proved so fruitful that more distant towns applied for the services of the missioners. Fresh novices came—not all of whom remained—and in 1737 the first Passionist Retreat (as their monasteries are called) was completed. The little band could now move from its inadequate quartets in the old hermitage. From this time onwards there was a steady progress, although many trials and disappointments had still to be faced. In 1741 Pope Benedict XIV granted a general approbation to the rules after their severity had been somewhat mitigated, and immediately a number of promising candidates offered themselves. Six years later, when the congregation had three houses, the first general chapter was held. By this time the fame of the Passionists, of their missions and of their austerity, was spreading throughout Italy. St Paul himself evangelized in person nearly every town in the Papal States as well as a great part of Tuscany, taking always as his theme the Sacred Passion. When, cross in hand, with arms outstretched, he preached about the sufferings of Christ, his words seemed to pierce the stoniest hearts and when he scourged himself pitilessly in public for the offences of the people, hardened soldiers and even bandits wept, confessing their sins. “Father, I have been in great battles without ever flinching at the cannon’s roar”, exclaimed an officer who was attending one of the missions. “But when I listen to you I tremble from head to foot.” Afterwards in the confessional the apostle would deal tenderly with his penitents, confirming them in their good resolutions, leading them on to amendment of life and suggesting practical aids to perseverance.
St Paul-of-the-Cross was endowed with extraordinary gifts. He prophesied future events, healed the sick, and even during his lifetime appeared on various occasions in vision to persons far away. In the cities which he visited crowds followed him, desiring to touch him or to carry off some fragment of his habit as a relic, but he deprecated all tokens of esteem. In 1765 he had the grief of losing John Baptist, from whom he had scarcely ever been separated and to whom he was united by a bond of love as rare as it was beautiful. Unlike in disposition, the one brother seemed the complement of the other as they strove side by side to attain to perfection. Since their ordination they had been each other’s confessors, inflicting penances and reproofs in turn. Once only had a shadow of disagreement ever arisen between them, and that was upon the only occasion John Baptist ever ventured to praise his brother to his face. St Paul’s humility was so deeply wounded that he put them both to penance, forbidding his brother to approach him. Not until the third day, when John Baptist crept on his knees to implore pardon, did the cloud lift—never to descend again. It was in memory of the close association between the two men that Pope Clement XIV long afterwards bestowed upon St Paul-of-the-Cross the Roman basilica dedicated in the names of Saints John and Paul.
The new institute in 1769 received from Clement XIV the final authorization which placed it on the same footing as other approved religious institutes. Now St Paul would fain have retired into solitude, for his health was failing and he thought that his work was done. His sons, however, would have no other superior, whilst the pope, who was greatly attached to him, insisted upon his spending part of the year in Rome. During the latter part of his life, he was much preoccupied by arrangements for the establishment of Passionist nuns. After many disappointments the first house was opened at Corneto in 1771, but the founder was not well enough to be present, nor did he ever see his spiritual daughters in their habit. So ill was he indeed during this year, that he sent to ask for the papal blessing, only to be told by Pope Clement that he must live a little longer because he could not yet be spared. The saint actually rallied and survived for three years, dying in Rome on October 18, 1775, at the age of eighty. His canonization took place in 1867.
Apart from the depositions of witnesses in the process of beatification, the most important contribution which has been made to the history of the founder of the Passionists is the publication in 1924 of his letters, in four volumes Lettere di S. Paolo della Croce, disposte ed annotate dal P. Amadeo della Madre del Buon Pastore. In particular the spiritual journal of the forty days’ retreat made at Castellazzo in 1720 is worthy of attention as enabling the reader better than any other document to enter into the workings of St Paul’s soul. Other biographies are numerous in most European languages. The earliest was that written by St Vincent Strambi of which an English version in three volumes was published in 1853 in the Oratorian series. A revised edition of the English life by Father Pius a Spiritu Sancto was issued in 1924, and there is a study by Father Edmund, c.p., Hunter of Souls (1946). Several others might be cited, but the religious names of their authors, such as “Father Pius of the Name of Mary”, “Father Louis of Jesus Agonizing”, not to speak of “Father Amadeus of the Mother of the Good Shepherd”, mentioned above, do not encourage the bibliographer to make a long catalogue.
His parents, Luke Danei and Anna Maria Massari, were exemplary Catholics. From his earliest years the crucifix was his book, and the Crucified his model. Paul received his early education from a priest who kept a school for boys, in Cremolino, Lombardy. He made great progress in study and virtue; spent much time in prayer, heard daily Mass, frequently received the Sacraments, faithfully attended to his school duties, and gave his spare time to reading good books and visiting the churches, where he spent much time before the Blessed Sacrament, to which he had an ardent devotion. At the age of fifteen he left school and returned to his home at Castellazzo, and from this time his life was full of trials. In early manhood he renounced the offer of an honourable marriage; also a good inheritance left him by an uncle who was a priest. He kept for himself only the priest's Breviary.

Inflamed with a desire for God's glory he formed the idea of instituting a religious order in honour of the Passion. Vested in a black tunic by the Bishop of Alessandria, his director, bearing the emblem of our Lord's Passion, barefooted, and bareheaded, he retired to a narrow cell where he drew up the Rules of the new congregation according to the plan made known to him in a vision, which he relates in the introduction to the original copy of the Rules. For the account of his ordination to the priesthood, of the foundation of the Congregation of the Passion, and the approbation of the Rules, see PASSIONISTS. After the approbation of the Rules and the institute the first general chapter was held at the Retreat of the Presentation on Mount Argentaro on 10 April, 1747. At this chapter, St. Paul, against his wishes, was unanimously elected first superior general, which office he held until the day of his death. In all virtues and in the observance of regular discipline, he became a model to his companions. "Although continually occupied with the cares of governing his religious society, and of founding everywhere new houses for it, yet he never left off preaching the word of God, burning as he did with a wondrous desire for the salvation of souls" (Brief of Pius IX for St. Paul's Beatification, 1 Oct., 1852). Sacred missions were instituted and numerous conversions were made. He was untiring in his Apostolic labours and never, even to his last hour, remitted anything of his austere manner of life, finally succumbing to a severe illness, worn out as much by his austerities as by old age.

Among the distinguished associates of St. Paul in the formation and extension of the congregation were: John Baptist, his younger brother and constant companion from childhood, who shared all his labours and sufferings and equaled him in the practice of virtue; Father Mark Aurelius (Pastorelli), Father Thomas Struzzieri (subsequently Bishop of Amelia and afterwards of Todi), and Father Fulgentius of Jesus, all remarkable for learning, piety, and missionary zeal; Venerable Strambi, Bishop of Macerata and Tolentino, his biographer. Constant personal union with the Cross and Passion of our Lord was the prominent feature of St. Paul's sanctity. But devotion to the Passion did not stand alone, for he carried to a heroic degree all the other virtues of a Christian life. Numerous miracles, besides those special ones brought forward at his beatification and canonization, attested the favour he enjoyed with God. Miracles of grace abounded, as witnessed in the conversion of sinners seemingly hardened and hopeless. For fifty years he prayed for the conversion of England, and left the devotion as a legacy to his sons. The body of St. Paul lies in the Basilica of SS. John and Paul, Rome. He was beatified on 1 October, 1852, and canonized on 29 June, 1867. His feast occurs on 28 April. [Editor's note: It was later transferred to 19 October.] The fame of his sanctity, which had spread far and wide in Italy during his life, increased after his death and spread into all countries. Great devotion to him is practiced by the faithful wherever Passionists are established.
1781 Saint Ignatius of Laconi Capuchin questor for 40 years as a child  found daily at church doors before dawn waiting in prayer to be opened levitation in prayer gifts of prophecy and miracles of healing (AC)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

His soul hovered constantly over the greatest mysteries of the faith. And, just as all water streams to the sea, so everything carried him on to the mysteries of the Most Holy Trinity. "When I contemplate the crowning of thorns," he said to the priest who examined him, "I feel myself elevated to the Trinity of God."
"What do you, a man without education, understand about this mystery?" the priest asked.
"I understand nothing about it," Benedict answered, "but I feel myself transported to it." And this transport was sometimes so strong that his soul was carried away and his body lay as though dead.

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

Image of Saint Benedict Labre courtesy of Saint Charles Borromeo Church 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In art, Saint Joseph Labre is depicted as a beggar with his bowl and the tricorn hat of a pilgrim sharing his alms with other poor (Roeder, White). He is the patron saint of tramps and the homeless (White).
1775 Paul of the Cross; Priest, vision of our Lady in a black habit with the name Jesus and a cross in white on the chest Blessed Virgin told him to found a religious order devoted to preaching the Passion of Christ (RM)
Romæ item natális sancti Pauli a Cruce, Presbyteri et Confessóris; qui Congregatiónis a Cruce et Passióne Dómini nostri Jesu Christi nuncupátæ Institútor fuit.  Ipsum vero, mira innocéntia ac pæniténtia conspícuum et singulári in Christum crucifíxum caritáte incénsum, Pius Papa Nonus fastis Sanctórum adjúnxit, et ejúsdem festivitátem quarto Kaléndas Maji recoléndam indíxit.
    At Rome, the birthday of St. Paul of the Cross, priest, confessor, and founder of the Congregation of the Cross and Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Known for his remarkable innocency of life and his penitential spirit, and aflame with love for Christ crucified, he was canonized by Pope Pius IX, and the 28th of April was assigned as his feast day.
quintodécimo Kaléndas Novémbris.       His feast occurs on 28 April. [Editor's note: It was later transferred to 19 October.]
 St. Paul of the Cross, priest and confessor, founder of the Congregation of the Cross and Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He went to his repose in the Lord on the 18th of October.
St. Paul of the Cross Paul Francis Daneii, born at Ovada, Genoa, Italy, 3 January, 1694; died in Rome, 18 October, 1775.

1775 St Paul Of The Cross, Founder Of The Barefooted Clerks Of The Holy Cross And Passion
THE founder of the Passionists, St Paul-of-the-Cross, was born at Ovada in the republic of Genoa in 1694—the year which saw also the birth of Voltaire. Paul Francis, as he was called, was the eldest son of Luke Danei, a business man of good family, and his wife, both exemplary Christians. Whenever little Paul shed tears of pain or annoyance his mother used to show him the crucifix with a few simple words about the sufferings of our Lord, and thus she instilled into his infant mind the germs of that devotion to the Sacred Passion which was to rule his life. The father would read aloud the lives of the saints to his large family of children, whom he often cautioned against gambling and fighting. Although Paul seems to have been one of those chosen souls who have given themselves to God almost from babyhood, yet at the age of fifteen he was led by a sermon to conclude that he was not corresponding to grace. Accordingly, after making a general confession, he embarked on a life of austerity, sleeping on the bare ground, rising at midnight, spending hours in prayer, and scourging himself. In all these practices he was imitated by his brother John Baptist, his junior by two years. He also formed a society for mutual sanctification among the youths of the neighbourhood, several of whom afterwards joined religious communities.
In 1714 Paul went to Venice in response to the appeal of Pope Clement XI for volunteers to fight in the Venetian army against the Turks, but a year later he obtained his discharge, having discovered that the army was not his vocation. Convinced that he was not meant to lead the ordinary life in the world he refused a good inheritance and a promising marriage; but before he or his directors could perceive his true vocation he was to spend (at Castellazzo in Lombardy, then his home) several years in almost unbroken prayer which sometimes attained to the highest degree of contemplation.
During the summer of 1720, in three extraordinarily vivid visions, Paul beheld a black habit with the name of Jesus in white characters, surmounted by a white cross, emblazoned upon the breast. On the third occasion our Lady, attired in the tunic, told him that he was to found a congregation, the members of which would wear that habit and would mourn continually for the passion and death of her Son. A written description of these visions was submitted to the bishop of Alessandria, who consulted several spiritual guides, including Paul’s former director, the Capuchin Father Columban of Genoa. In view of the heroic life of virtue and prayer led by the young man since his childhood, all agreed that the call must have come from God. The bishop therefore authorized him to follow his vocation and invested him with the black habit, stipulating, however, that the badge was not to be worn until papal approval had been obtained. Paul’s next step was to compose a rule for the future congregation. He retired for a forty days’ retreat into a dark, damp, triangular cell adjoining the sacristy of St Charles’s church at Castellazzo, where he lived on bread and water and slept on straw. The rules which he drew up at that time, without book or earthly guide, are substantially the regulations followed by the Passionists to-day. It was during this retreat that the saint first felt impelled to pray for the conversion of England: “That country is always before my eyes”, he said in later years. “If England again becomes Catholic, immeasurable will be the benefits to Holy Church.”

For a short time after the retreat he remained with John Baptist and another disciple in the neighbourhood of Castellazzo, rendering assistance to the local clergy by catechizing the children and giving missions, which were very successful. Nevertheless he soon realized that if he wished to carry out his vocation he must seek the highest sanction. Bareheaded, barefoot and penniless, he set out for Rome, refusing the escort of John Baptist beyond Genoa. Upon his arrival he presented himself at the Vatican, but as he had not thought of providing himself with an introduction or credentials he was turned away. He accepted the rebuff as a sign that his hour was not yet come, and started on his homeward journey, visiting on the way the solitary slopes of Monte Argentaro, which the sea almost severs from the mainland. So great was the attraction he felt to this spot that he soon returned to it, accompanied by John Baptist, to lead in one of its derelict hermitages a life almost as austere as that of the fathers in the desert. They left for a time to stay in Rome, where they were ordained to the sacred ministry, but in 1727 they made their way back to Monte Argentaro, prepared to start their first house of retreat on the strength of the papal permission Paul had received to accept novices.
Numerous were the difficulties with which they had to contend. Their first recruits found the life too hard and all withdrew; war was threatening; benefactors who had offered assistance declared themselves unable to fulfil their undertakings; a serious epidemic broke out in the nearest villages. Paul and John Baptist, who had received faculties for missionary work soon after they had left Rome: went about fearlessly ministering to the dying, nursing the sick, and reconciling sinners to God. The missions they thus inaugurated proved so fruitful that more distant towns applied for the services of the missioners. Fresh novices came—not all of whom remained—and in 1737 the first Passionist Retreat (as their monasteries are called) was completed. The little band could now move from its inadequate quartets in the old hermitage. From this time onwards there was a steady progress, although many trials and disappointments had still to be faced. In 1741 Pope Benedict XIV granted a general approbation to the rules after their severity had been somewhat mitigated, and immediately a number of promising candidates offered themselves. Six years later, when the congregation had three houses, the first general chapter was held. By this time the fame of the Passionists, of their missions and of their austerity, was spreading throughout Italy. St Paul himself evangelized in person nearly every town in the Papal States as well as a great part of Tuscany, taking always as his theme the Sacred Passion. When, cross in hand, with arms outstretched, he preached about the sufferings of Christ, his words seemed to pierce the stoniest hearts and when he scourged himself pitilessly in public for the offences of the people, hardened soldiers and even bandits wept, confessing their sins. “Father, I have been in great battles without ever flinching at the cannon’s roar”, exclaimed an officer who was attending one of the missions. “But when I listen to you I tremble from head to foot.” Afterwards in the confessional the apostle would deal tenderly with his penitents, confirming them in their good resolutions, leading them on to amendment of life and suggesting practical aids to perseverance.
St Paul-of-the-Cross was endowed with extraordinary gifts. He prophesied future events, healed the sick, and even during his lifetime appeared on various occasions in vision to persons far away. In the cities which he visited crowds followed him, desiring to touch him or to carry off some fragment of his habit as a relic, but he deprecated all tokens of esteem. In 1765 he had the grief of losing John Baptist, from whom he had scarcely ever been separated and to whom he was united by a bond of love as rare as it was beautiful. Unlike in disposition, the one brother seemed the complement of the other as they strove side by side to attain to perfection. Since their ordination they had been each other’s confessors, inflicting penances and reproofs in turn. Once only had a shadow of disagreement ever arisen between them, and that was upon the only occasion John Baptist ever ventured to praise his brother to his face. St Paul’s humility was so deeply wounded that he put them both to penance, forbidding his brother to approach him. Not until the third day, when John Baptist crept on his knees to implore pardon, did the cloud lift—never to descend again. It was in memory of the close association between the two men that Pope Clement XIV long afterwards bestowed upon St Paul-of-the-Cross the Roman basilica dedicated in the names of Saints John and Paul.
The new institute in 1769 received from Clement XIV the final authorization which placed it on the same footing as other approved religious institutes. Now St Paul would fain have retired into solitude, for his health was failing and he thought that his work was done. His sons, however, would have no other superior, whilst the pope, who was greatly attached to him, insisted upon his spending part of the year in Rome. During the latter part of his life, he was much preoccupied by arrangements for the establishment of Passionist nuns. After many disappointments the first house was opened at Corneto in 1771, but the founder was not well enough to be present, nor did he ever see his spiritual daughters in their habit. So ill was he indeed during this year, that he sent to ask for the papal blessing, only to be told by Pope Clement that he must live a little longer because he could not yet be spared. The saint actually rallied and survived for three years, dying in Rome on October 18, 1775, at the age of eighty. His canonization took place in 1867.
Apart from the depositions of witnesses in the process of beatification, the most important contribution which has been made to the history of the founder of the Passionists is the publication in 1924 of his letters, in four volumes Lettere di S. Paolo della Croce, disposte ed annotate dal P. Amadeo della Madre del Buon Pastore. In particular the spiritual journal of the forty days’ retreat made at Castellazzo in 1720 is worthy of attention as enabling the reader better than any other document to enter into the workings of St Paul’s soul. Other biographies are numerous in most European languages. The earliest was that written by St Vincent Strambi of which an English version in three volumes was published in 1853 in the Oratorian series. A revised edition of the English life by Father Pius a Spiritu Sancto was issued in 1924, and there is a study by Father Edmund, c.p., Hunter of Souls (1946). Several others might be cited, but the religious names of their authors, such as “Father Pius of the Name of Mary”, “Father Louis of Jesus Agonizing”, not to speak of “Father Amadeus of the Mother of the Good Shepherd”, mentioned above, do not encourage the bibliographer to make a long catalogue.
His parents, Luke Danei and Anna Maria Massari, were exemplary Catholics. From his earliest years the crucifix was his book, and the Crucified his model. Paul received his early education from a priest who kept a school for boys, in Cremolino, Lombardy. He made great progress in study and virtue; spent much time in prayer, heard daily Mass, frequently received the Sacraments, faithfully attended to his school duties, and gave his spare time to reading good books and visiting the churches, where he spent much time before the Blessed Sacrament, to which he had an ardent devotion. At the age of fifteen he left school and returned to his home at Castellazzo, and from this time his life was full of trials. In early manhood he renounced the offer of an honourable marriage; also a good inheritance left him by an uncle who was a priest. He kept for himself only the priest's Breviary.

Inflamed with a desire for God's glory he formed the idea of instituting a religious order in honour of the Passion. Vested in a black tunic by the Bishop of Alessandria, his director, bearing the emblem of our Lord's Passion, barefooted, and bareheaded, he retired to a narrow cell where he drew up the Rules of the new congregation according to the plan made known to him in a vision, which he relates in the introduction to the original copy of the Rules. For the account of his ordination to the priesthood, of the foundation of the Congregation of the Passion, and the approbation of the Rules, see PASSIONISTS. After the approbation of the Rules and the institute the first general chapter was held at the Retreat of the Presentation on Mount Argentaro on 10 April, 1747. At this chapter, St. Paul, against his wishes, was unanimously elected first superior general, which office he held until the day of his death. In all virtues and in the observance of regular discipline, he became a model to his companions.
Although continually occupied with the cares of governing his religious society, and of founding everywhere new houses for it, yet he never left off preaching the word of God, burning as he did with a wondrous desire for the salvation of souls (Brief of Pius IX for St. Paul's Beatification, 1 Oct., 1852). Sacred missions were instituted and numerous conversions were made. He was untiring in his Apostolic labours and never, even to his last hour, remitted anything of his austere manner of life, finally succumbing to a severe illness, worn out as much by his austerities as by old age.

Among the distinguished associates of St. Paul in the formation and extension of the congregation were: John Baptist, his younger brother and constant companion from childhood, who shared all his labours and sufferings and equaled him in the practice of virtue; Father Mark Aurelius (Pastorelli), Father Thomas Struzzieri (subsequently Bishop of Amelia and afterwards of Todi), and Father Fulgentius of Jesus, all remarkable for learning, piety, and missionary zeal; Venerable Strambi, Bishop of Macerata and Tolentino, his biographer. Constant personal union with the Cross and Passion of our Lord was the prominent feature of St. Paul's sanctity. But devotion to the Passion did not stand alone, for he carried to a heroic degree all the other virtues of a Christian life. Numerous miracles, besides those special ones brought forward at his beatification and canonization, attested the favour he enjoyed with God. Miracles of grace abounded, as witnessed in the conversion of sinners seemingly hardened and hopeless. For fifty years he prayed for the conversion of England, and left the devotion as a legacy to his sons. The body of St. Paul lies in the Basilica of SS. John and Paul, Rome. He was beatified on 1 October, 1852, and canonized on 29 June, 1867. His feast occurs on 28 April. [Editor's note: It was later transferred to 19 October.] The fame of his sanctity, which had spread far and wide in Italy during his life, increased after his death and spread into all countries. Great devotion to him is practiced by the faithful wherever Passionists are established.

Born at Ovada, Piedmont, Italy, in 1694; died in Rome, Italy, October 18, 1775; canonized in 1867; feast day formerly on April 28. Paolo Francesco Danei was well brought up by devout, middle-class parents (a.k.a. impoverished nobility). At 15, while still living with his parents in Castellazzo, Lombardy, Paul adopted a lifestyle of rigorous austerity and great mortifications. When he was 20 he volunteered for the Venetian army to fight against the Turks, but he soon found he was not meant to be a soldier. After his discharge, he resumed his life of prayer and penance. He refused marriage, and spent several years in retreat at Castellazzo.
In 1720, had a vision of our Lady in a black habit with the name Jesus and a cross in white on the chest. In the vision, the Blessed Virgin told him to found a religious order devoted to preaching the Passion of Christ (hence their name, Passionists). Paul experienced such mystical communications all his life, and came to distrust them; however, he acted promptly on these first ones.
The bishop of Alessandria discerned that Paul's visions were authentic, and gave him permission to proceed to draw up a rule for the new order. Thus, Paul wrote the Passionist rule during a 45- day retreat. With his brother, Giovanni Baptista, who became his inseparable companion and closest confidant, he went to Rome to seek papal approval, which was refused at first. On their return to Rome in 1725, they were granted permission by Pope Benedict XIII to accept novices. Two years later (1727), the holy father ordained the two brothers as priests in the Vatican basilica.
After their ordination he and his brother started the first Passionist house, on the Monte Argentaro peninsula (near Orbitello) in Tuscany. The first ten years were difficult, for both internal and external reasons. Many of their first novices left because of the severity of the rule. Perseverance won. In the end austere life of the missioners and the fervent preaching of their founder made their mark.
The first monastery was opened in 1737. In 1741, Pope Benedict XIV approved a modified rule, and the "Barefoot Clerks of the Holy Cross and Passion" began to spread throughout Italy. They were in great demand for their missions, which became famous.
Paul was elected first superior general, against his will, at the first general chapter at Monte Argentaro and held that position the rest of his life. He preached all over the Papal States to tremendous crowds, raised them to a fever pitch as he scourged himself in public, and brought back to the faith the most hardened sinners and criminals (What would Saint Hippolytus say to that!).
He was blessed with supernatural gifts--prophecy, miracles of healing, appearances to people in visions at a distance--and was one of the most celebrated preachers of his day. People fought to touch him and to get a piece of his tunic as a relic. Though the two main objectives of the order were service to the sick and the dying, Paul's special concern was the conversion of sinners, for which he prayed for 50 years.
The Passionists received final approbation from Pope Clement XIV in 1769. Two years later, Paul's efforts to create an institute of nuns came into being with the opening of the first house of Passionist nuns at Corneto. Paul lived to see the congregation firmly established. After a three-year illness, Paul died and was buried in the Basilica of SS John and Paul, given to the order by Pope Clement.
Saint Paul of the Cross was always interested in the religious state of England. Thus, it is heartening to note that the leader of the first Passionists to work there, Father Dominic Barberi (d. 1849), who received John Henry Newman into the Catholic Church, was also beatified in 1963 (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, White).
1783 St. Benedict Joseph Labré "the Beggar of Rome," a pilgrim recluse devoted to the Blessed Sacrament miracles soaring over the ground, as well as bilocation, is frequently attested in Benedict's case
Romæ natális sancti Benedícti-Joséphi Labre Confessóris, qui contémptu sui et extrémæ voluntáriæ paupertátis laude exstitit insígnis.
    At Rome, the birthday of St. Benedict Joseph Labre, confessor, who was famed for his contempt of self and his great voluntary poverty. miraculous multiplication of bread for some poor people and by the healing of a confirmed invalid.

1783 ST BENEDICT JOSEPH LABRE
AMETTES, in the eighteenth century a village in the diocese of Boulogne-sur-Mer, was the birthplace in 1748 of Benedict Joseph Labre, the eldest of the fifteen children of a local shopkeeper of good standing. His parents sent him at the age of twelve to pursue his studies with his uncle, the parish priest of Erin. Here he became so completely absorbed in the Holy Scriptures and the lives of the saints that his uncle had to insist upon the importance of Latin and of secular subjects generally in the education of a candidate for holy orders. The boy, however, had already begun to realize a call to serve God in complete abandonment of the world. The good curé died of cholera, after he and his nephew had spent themselves in assisting other victims of the epidemic in the parish, and Benedict Joseph returned home. His one ambition was now to retire into the most austere religious order he could find. At the age of eighteen, having wrung a reluctant consent from his parents, he started off in mid-winter to walk sixty miles to La Trappe. Here disappointment awaited him: he was too young, he was told, to be admitted. Subsequent attempts to join the Carthusians and the Cistercians were not much more successful. Thrice indeed he was permitted to make trial of his vocation, but he was obviously unsuited to community life: devout indeed he was, but somewhat eccentric the confinement of the cell told on his health as well as on his spirits; he became reduced to a shadow, and his superiors had no option but to dismiss him. “God’s will be done”, he said, as he took a final farewell of the Cistercians of Septfons in 1770.
Benedict now determined to go on pilgrimage to Rome, walking all the way and living on alms. He set out accordingly, staying among other places at Ars, where he met Mr Vianney, father of the future curé. Having crossed the Alps into Italy, he wrote from Piedmont a touching letter to his parents—the last they ever received from him. In it he apologized for the uneasiness he may have caused them and announced his intention of trying to enter an Italian monastery. This he does not appear to have done, for his true vocation began to dawn upon him. Not by shutting himself up in any cloister was he to abandon the world, but by obeying the counsels of perfection without turning his back on the world. Literally and in spirit he must follow the example of our Lord and so many of His saints. With this object in view he embarked upon a life of pilgrimages which led him to the principal shrines in western Europe. Oblivious of wind and weather, he travelled everywhere on foot, carrying neither purse nor scrip nor yet provisions for the way. Often he slept in the open air upon the bare ground; at best he took his rest in a shed or a garret, for he could rarely be induced to accept a bed. He wished to be homeless like his Master. He saluted no man by the way unless specially moved to do so, he seldom opened his lips except to acknowledge or distribute to others the alms which he had received.
As he made his way along the roads absorbed in meditation, or spent whole days of prayer in churches, he was so entirely lost to his surroundings that once, in his later years when he was kneeling before a crucifix, an artist was able to paint the portrait which has preserved his likeness for later generations. His clothing consisted of a ragged old cloak and of broken shoes, whilst his two or three books were carried with his few other possessions in an old sack slung over his back. Was it not written, “Be not solicitous for your body—what you shall put on?” As for that body, Benedict Joseph carried his neglect of it to a degree which provided him with a form of mortification of the flesh more galling than any hairshirt, besides earning the contempt and avoidance which he actually desired.

No one could possibly have a lower opinion of him than he held of himself. He seldom begged if charitable people failed to offer him food, he would pick up orange peel, cabbage stalks, or mouldy fruit from refuse heaps, or would do without. If they gave him money he usually passed it on. A donor of a trifling coin afterwards confessed to having belaboured him with a stick for having, as he thought, shown his contempt at the smallness of the gift by handing it over to another. Benedict bore the beating without a word.
For three years and more the young man wandered about western Europe, not aimlessly, but going from shrine to shrine in Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France, Spain, to Loreto, Assisi, Ban, Einsiedeln, Aix, Compostela. Nor was an undeserved beating an isolated example of ill-treatment. At Moulins he was suspected of theft, and turned out of the church; in Gascony he was arrested for assaulting an injured man whom he had in fact been helping.

But he attracted the attention he wished to avoid by an apparently miraculous multiplication of bread for some poor people and by the healing of a confirmed invalid.

In the year 1774, after a fifth visit to Einsiedeln, his pilgrimages ceased and he remained in Rome, except for an annual journey to Loreto. His nights were now spent in the ruins of the Colosseum, his days in the various churches of the city. So constantly was he to be seen wherever the Quarant’ Ore was in progress that the Romans nicknamed him “the saint of the Forty Hours”. Many people who knew nothing about him testified after his death to the inspiration they had received from seeing him absorbed in contemplation before the Blessed Sacrament or a crucifix. Increasing infirmities obliged Benedict Joseph to accept the night shelter of a hospice for poor men, and his obedience as well as his true piety greatly impressed those in charge. It was noticed that he always came last to receive his portion of soup, and that often he would give it away to someone he thought more hungry than himself.
At the beginning of Lent 1783, Benedict contracted a chill with a violent cough but he would abandon none of his religious observances. On the Wednesday in Holy Week he managed to attend Mass in his favourite church, Santa Maria dei Monti, but was overcome with faintness. Sympathizers gathered round him as he sat on the steps outside the church, and a butcher who lived near by removed him to his own house. It was quite clear that Benedict was dying. He received the last sacraments and passed away peacefully about eight o’clock in the evening. He was thirty-five years old. Scarcely had he breathed his last when children in the street were heard to raise the cry, “The saint is dead”, and the chorus was taken up all over the city. Within an incredibly short period the name of St Benedict Joseph Labre became known throughout Christendom, and his fame was enhanced by the account of “the beggar of Rome”, which was written by one who had been his confessor during the closing years of his life. He was canonized in 1883, exactly a century later.

Called "the Beggar of Rome," a pilgrim recluse. He was born in Amettes, France, on March 25, 1748, the eldest of eighteen children. Studying under his uncle, a parish priest, at Erin, France, Benedict tried to join the Trappists, Carthusians, and Cistercians but was refused by these orders.

In 1770, he made a pilgrimage to the major shrines of Europe, settling in Rome in 1774. There he lived near the Colosseum and earned fame for his sanctity. Benedict was devoted to the Blessed Sacrament and attended the Forty Hours devotion in the city. He died in Rome on April 16, and was beatified in 1860. He was canonized in 1883.

Benedict Joseph Labre (RM) Born at Amettes (near Boulogne), Arras, France, March 26 (25?), 1748; died in Rome, April 17 (16?), 1783; beatified in 1860; canonized in 1881.
 
Since God leads each of us in our own way, our spiritual life will assume an pattern totally different from that of anyone else. Each of us is one of a kind. Our spirituality then should also be one of a kind. This is shown dramatically in various people's lives.

The story of Saint Benedict caught my eye and my heart. He was born in 18th century France in Amettes, then in the diocese of Boulogne-sur-Mer, to a family of prosperous shopkeepers. His mother claimed to feel his sanctity while she carried him in her womb. Because of his piety he was sent to an uncle who was a parish priest at Erin for his education in Latin, grammar, and mathematics to prepare him for the religious life.  A domestic servant in his uncle's house, probably jealous, used to knock Benedict about when they were alone and forced the youngster to perform chores beyond the strength of his years.
Since Benedict seemed to find this odious treatment amusing, the bully was disarmed.

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

He made steady progress in his studies until he was 16. Then, suddenly, he was unable to learn any more. His uncle died of cholera after he and Benedict had ministered to other victims in the parish. Is this the reason he could learn no more? Or was it because Benedict was overcome by the dark night of the soul, as Saint John of the Cross calls this state, in which God forms the soul and prepares it for union with himself?
After his uncle's death, he walked 60 miles to La Trappe to become a monk. He was irresistibly drawn to the very austere order. But he was denied entry. He vainly applied numerous times between 1766 and 1770 for entry into the Trappists, Carthusians, and Cistercians, but each time was sent home. For some of the communities he was too young; others, after admitting him, found him to be suffering such spiritual tortures that they couldn't let him stay; to still others, the failure of his physical health was proof that he could not observe the rule and, therefore, must be rejected.

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

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

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

The saint wandered to Italy to seek admission there into a strict monastery or community of hermits. In Italy he experienced inner enlightenment and clearly recognized that it was God's will that, like Saint Alexis, he was to leave his home, his father and mother, and everything that was agreeable in the world, in order to lead a new life, a life of rigorous penance, in the midst of the world, as an eternal pilgrim. From the moment of this recognition, his soul was filled with perfect peace, and all attempts made by confessors to bring him back to an ordered life, with work, failed.

Benedict Joseph wandered. For the next three or four years he wandered about western Europe, going from shrine to shrine. He went to Santiago de Compostella in Spain, to Aix-en-Provence and Paray-le-Monial in France, to Assisi, Loreto, and Bari in Italy. He paid repeated visits to Einsiedeln and to German sanctuaries, made a pilgrimage every year to Loretto, and continued to make Rome his city of perpetual pilgrimage. He always travelled on foot, slept in the open or in some corner, his clothing rags, his body filthy, picking up food where he could, and sharing any money given to him.
As he travelled in his sack-cloth cinched with a rope, he carried with him only his perpetual nourishment: the Imitation of Christ, the New Testament, and a breviary.
His rosary was made from the berries of wild rose bushes, which he would eat when they began to wear out.

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

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

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

His soul hovered constantly over the greatest mysteries of the faith. And, just as all water streams to the sea, so everything carried him on to the mysteries of the Most Holy Trinity.
"When I contemplate the crowning of thorns," he said to the priest who examined him, "I feel myself elevated to the Trinity of God."
"What do you, a man without education, understand about this mystery?" the priest asked.
"I understand nothing about it," Benedict answered, "but I feel myself transported to it." And this transport was sometimes so strong that his soul was carried away and his body lay as though dead.
One day as he was praying at Saint Ignatius' and had fallen into ecstasy, an anxious visitor to the church asked the sacristan in alarm: "What has happened to this beggar?"
Benedict seemed to be swaying in the air. He was in a position that mocked the laws of equilibrium and gravity.
"The saint is in ecstasy," said the sacristan, as though this were the most natural thing in the world, and went on sweeping with his broom.
Such soaring over the ground, as well as bilocation, is frequently attested in Benedict's case. As he worked in painting the interior of the church, Antonio Cavallucci was so impressed by the sight of the saint that he once took him to his studio and painted him. This painting can still be seen at the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica in Rome, Italy.
 
Image of Saint Benedict Labre courtesy of Saint Charles Borromeo Church 
This painting and his death mask reveal that Benedict was a handsome man with deep-set eyes, strong cheek bones, a perfectly straight and noble nose, high forehead, and gently protruding upper lip. Not only was his soul beautiful, so was his physical body. Perhaps the one transformed the other?
He is reputed to have multiplied bread for the hungry,
and on another occasion to have cured an invalid.
One day some friends found him in a quiet glen on his knees absorbed in prayer. He stayed that way for the longest time. His companions were deeply impressed. They also found out that he had the rare gift of counseling people with the most complex problems and bringing them peace.

His reputation spread throughout Rome and soon strangers from all walks of life came to talk to him: lawyers, doctors, judges, women in society, bishops, cardinals, as well as just ordinary folks. His wisdom and understanding enabled him to bring peace to the most troubled souls. 
He neglected his body and his fragile health finally obliged him to seek refuge in a hospice for poor men. There he was known to give away his portion of the soup.

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

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

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

On the day of his canonization Mass, in the crowded Saint Peter's Basilica way above the heads of the congregation was the glorious painting of this sainted tramp dressed in his rags, held up for the veneration and admiration of all the faithful.
"What a strange vocation! And you cannot help but ask why. But it was a time when the whole Christian world had become so materialistic that spiritual things meant little to people. So God called this young man to give up everything and wander the streets of Rome with other homeless people, dressed in the stinking rags of a tramp. "All the while God molded in the depths of his soul a holiness that transcended anything people had ever witnessed, and held up the remarkable spirituality of this lowly beggar for the admiration and example of all. It was no doubt a difficult vocation for one to follow, but Saint Benedict was always a happy man, so he must have found a strange satisfaction in the realization that he was following where God was leading him" (Girzone).
Where is God leading you? Have you heard His voice yet? It's a small voice that cannot be heard except in the stillness of your heart. You, too, are called to be a saint--but how?
And how many of those nameless, faceless souls that we pass on the street are really God's Presence among us? How often do we recognize Him in them? Which one(s) is the saint we have failed to recognize?
In art, Saint Joseph Labre is depicted as a beggar with his bowl and the tricorn hat of a pilgrim sharing his alms with other poor (Roeder, White). He is the patron saint of tramps and the homeless (White).