Mary the Mother of Jesus Miracles Miracles_BLay Saints 
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Life in this world is a period of separation from God, which is full of sorrow, and pain:
Sorrow is the bedstead, Pain the fiber with which it is woven, And separation is the quilt See this is the life we lead, O Lord.  Absorption in the affairs of the world, in forgetfulness of God, is regarded by Sheikh Farid as desertion by a woman of her husband and going over to an alien house.  1266 Baba Sheikh Farid Ji.
1801 March 24, 26 BD DIDACUS, or DIEGO, OF CADIZ
1815 St. Francis Xavier Bianchi Barnabite priest called “the Apostle of Naples.” stopped lava
1815 April 02 BD LEOPOLD OF GAICHE founded house to which missioners and preachers could retire for their annual retreat and other brethren and friends of the order could come for spiritual refreshment; numerous miracles reported at his grave
May 08 formerly May 14 1835 St. Maria Magdalen of Canossa Foundress of the Daughters of Charity saw the Blessed Mother surrounded by six religious dressed in brown herself tended the poorest and dirtiest children ecstasy, levitating
1836 January 02 St. Caspar del Bufalo Various miracles many graces were obtained by his intercession Various miracles had been worked by Don Caspar during his lifetime, and after his death many graces were obtained by his intercession. He was canonized in 1954.
1837 May 24 June 09  Anne Mary Taigi gift of prophecy, she read thoughts and described distant events incorruptible.
1846 July 16 St. Mary Magdalen Postel opened a school for girls at Barfleur; a leader in Barfleur against constitutional
        priests; sheltered fugitive priests in her home venerated for her holiness and miracles.
1850 March 07 Surety of Sinners Icon of the Mother of God first glorified by miracles at the St Nicholas Odrino men's
        monastery of the former Orlov gubernia

1857 March 09 Dominic Savio Bosco would write Dominic's biography  known for cheerfulness, friendliness, careful
         observation, and good advice (RM)
1858 March 21 Saint Benedicta Cambiagio Frassinello profound mystical experience that left her devoted to prayer
         miraculously cured by St Jerome Emiliani

Also known as Benedetta Cambiagio Frassinello; Benedikta Frassinello; Benedetta Cambiagio

1862 February 27 Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows  patron saint of students (Possenti), CP
 Insulæ, in Aprútio, sancti Gabriélis a Vírgine Perdolénte, Clérici Congregatiónis a Cruce et Passióne Dómini nuncupátæ, et Confessóris; qui, magnis intra breve vitæ spátium méritis et post mortem miráculis clarus, a Benedícto Papa Décimo quinto in Sanctórum cánonem relátus est.

1867 St Francis Xavier Seelos No mission preaching Miracle worker
1868 Saint (Mary) Euphrasia Pelletier  generously given this special gift of God that she is called the "ecstatic saint."
        bilocation V (RM)
1869 St. John Vianney Patron of priests ordained 1815
In vico Ars, diœcésis Bellicénsis, in Gállia, natális sancti Joánnis Baptístæ-Maríæ Vianney, Presbyteri et Confessóris, in parochiáli múnere obeúndo insígnis, quem Pius Papa Undécimus in Sanctórum númerum rétulit; ipsíus festum quinto Idus mensis hujus agéndum indíxit, eúmque ómnium parochórum cæléstem Patrónum constítuit.
    In the village of Ars, in the diocese of Belley, France, the birthday of St. John Baptist-Mary Vianney, priest and confessor, renowned for his devotion as a parish priest.  Pope Pius XI placed him in the number of the saints, ordered that his feast should be observed on the 9th day of this month, and appointed him as the heavenly patron of all parish priests.

1870 St. Anthony Mary Claret archbishop Cuba prophet miracle-worker; performed cures and had gifts of prophecy
1879 St. Bernadette Mary appeared to Bernadette 18 times and spoke with her above a rose bush in a grotto called Massabielle dressed in blue and white with a rosary of ivory and gold
Nivérnis, in Gállia, sanctæ Maríæ-Bernárdæ Soubirous, Vírginis, e Congregatióne Sorórum a Caritáte et Institutióne Christiána, Lapúrdi, adhuc juvénculæ, iterátis apparitiónibus Immaculátæ Dei Genitrícis Maríæ recreátæ; quam Pius Papa Undécimus, inter sanctas Vírgines adscrípsit.
    In the city of Nevers in France, St. Mary Bernard Soubirous of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity, also called the Christian Institute.  She was favoured with frequent apparitions and conversations at Lourdes with Mary Immaculate, the Mother of God.  In 1933 her name was added to the roll of holy virgins by Pope Pius XI.
1889 Bl. Mary Teresa de Soubiran care of working girls orphans; Eucharistic adoration; enjoyed mystical gifts of a
        high order (Benedictines).
1892 ST ANTONY PUCCI a member of a religious order, the Servants of Mary, spent most of his life and achieved holiness as a parish priest and miracles of healing took place at his grave
1894 April 21 St. Conrad of Parzham Franciscan mystic lay brother Marian devotions gift of prophecy read people’s hearts
1893 Jan 05 Fr. Charles of St. Andrew; the saint of Mount Argus; received by Blessed Dominic Barberi, Passionist; Due to his poor mastery of the English language, he was never a formal preacher and he never preached missions. Rather he very successfully dedicated himself to spiritual direction, especially through the sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession). The fame of his virtue was such that great crowds of people would gather at the monastery to seek his blessing. There are also numerous testimonies to the outstanding miraculous cures that he worked to the extent that even during his lifetime he was known as a miracle worker.
1897 Saint Therese of Lisieux Since death worked innumerable miracles one of the patron saints of the missions
1898 December 14 Charbel Makhlouf the Maronite, Hermit After his death many favors and miracles were claimed through his intercession in heaven. (RM)
19th v. Sitka Icon of the Mother of God Located at the Cathedral of St Michael the Archangel in Sitka, Alaska;
        Miracles have been attributed to her gaze

1801 BD DIDACUS, or DIEGO, OF CADIZ

Bd DIDACUS JOSEPH OF CADIZ was popularly called “the apostle of the Holy Trinity”, because of his devotion to the mystery of the Three Divine Persons and the ingenuity with which he contrived to make the theological dogma of the Blessed Trinity the subject of his eloquent and most fruitful sermons.
He was born on March 29, 1743 in Cadiz, and was baptized Joseph Francis. His parents brought him up devoutly, and he preserved throughout his life his baptismal innocence. As a child he liked to construct and decorate little altars, and the same instinct led him when he was older to wait at the church doors in the early morning that he might offer his services to any priest who wanted a server. Constant attendance at the Capuchin church where he made his communions, and the reading of the lives of Capuchin saints, led Diego to desire to enter the Order of St Francis, but he was refused at first as he seemed to be insufficiently educated. However, he overcame this obstacle, and on being at last accepted began his novitiate at Seville as Brother Diego or Didacus. In due course he was raised to the priesthood and sent to preach. From the first it became evident that he was endowed with gifts of no mean order, for his sermons wherever he went brought conviction of sin and amend­ment of life. Throughout Spain, but more particularly in Andalusia, the holy man journeyed, teaching and preaching in remote villages and crowded towns, shrinking from no fatigue or hardship so long as there was work to do for souls. He was content simply to preach the gospel, indulging in no rhetorical artifices or flowery language. A wonderful intuition or sympathy seems to have brought him into touch with his hearers, so that he won the hearts alike of the poor and of the well-to-do, of young students in schools and of professors in universities. His work in the tribunal of penance was complementary to his preaching, for it enabled him to direct and strengthen those whom his sermons had touched. Any free time during the day was spent in visiting prisons and hospitals or in similar works of charity, whilst a great part of the night was given to prayer.

It is related that in preaching about the love of God, there were occasions when Father Diego was raised supernaturally into the air so that he required assistance to regain the floor of the pulpit. Sometimes the largest churches could not contain the crowds who flocked to hear him, and he would preach in a square or in the streets, whilst the crowds stood for hours entranced. At the close of his sermons he had to be protected from the people, who tried to tear pieces from his habit as relics. Popularity, however, could not injure one so humble as Bd Diego: slights and insults might serve, he thought, as a very inadequate expiation for his sins. He shunned all presents, and, if obliged to accept them, he immediately distributed them to the poor: money he absolutely refused. Immediately his death became known in 1801 he was acclaimed as a saint, and Pope Leo XIII proclaimed his beatification in 1894.

See C. Kempf, The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century; Analecta Ecclesiastica, 1894, pp. 151 seq.; Damase de Soisey, Le bx Diego Joseph de Cadiz (1902).

1815 BD LEOPOLD OF GAICHE founded house to which missioners and preachers could retire for their annual retreat and other brethren and friends of the order could come for spiritual refreshment; numerous miracles reported at his grave
Bd LEOPOLD was born at Gaiche in the diocese of Perugia, the son of humble parents, and was christened John. A neighbouring priest helped him with his education and in 1751, when he was eighteen, he received the Franciscan habit in the friary at Cibotola, taking the name Leopold. After he became a priest in 1757 he was sent to preach Lenten courses of sermons which soon made him famous. As the result of his eloquence and fervour, numerous conversions took place, enemies were reconciled, and penitents besieged his confessional. For ten years, from 1768 when he was made papal missioner in the States of the Church, he held missions in several dioceses, and even after he had become minister provincial he continued his apostolic labours. Fired by the example of Bd Thomas of Con and of St Leonard of Port Maurice he was anxious to found a house to which missioners and preachers could retire for their annual retreat and where other brethren and friends of the order could come for spiritual refreshment. He had, however, many difficulties to overcome and disappointments to meet before he could realize his desire, on the lonely hill of Monte Luco, near Spoleto.

When in 1808 Napoleon invaded Rome and imprisoned Pope Pius VII, religious houses were suppressed and their occupants turned out. Bd Leopold, a venerable old man of seventy-seven, was obliged to abandon his beloved convent, and with three of his brethren to live in a miserable hut in Spoleto. While there he acted as assistant to a parish priest, but afterwards he had charge of an entire parish whose pastor had been driven out by the French. Then he was himself imprisoned for refusing to take an oath which he considered unlawful. His imprisonment, however, was of short duration, for we soon find him giving missions once more. His fame was enhanced by his prophetical powers and by strange phenomena which attended him: for example, when he was preaching his head often appeared to his congregation as though it were crowned with thorns.
With the fall of Napoleon, Bd Leopold hurried back to Monte Luco, where he set about trying to establish things as they had been before but he only survived for a few months, dying on April 15, 1815, in his eighty-third year. The numerous miracles reported to have taken place at his grave caused the speedy introduction of the process of his beatification, which reached a favourable conclusion in 1893.

Abundant information is provided by the documents printed for the process of beati­fication and there is a life by Fr M. Antonio da Vicenza. See also Kempf, Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century, pp. 95—96, and Seeböck, Die Herrlichkeit der Katholischen Kirche, pp. 212—213.
1815 St. Francis Xavier Bianchi Barnabite priest called “the Apostle of Naples.” stopped lava
Born in Arpino, Italy, in 1743, he became a Barnabite and was ordained in 1767. Francis worked endlessly for the poor and abandoned. His work load and austerities ruined his health, and though he lost the use of his legs, he continued in his labors. He was canonized in 1951.

Francis Xavier Bianchi, Barn. (AC)
Saint Francis studied in Naples, was tonsured at 14 and, despite his father's objections, joined the Congregation of Clerks Regular of Saint Paul (the Barnabites). After his ordination in 1767, Francis served as president of two colleges, and became famous for his gift of prophecy and the miracles credited to him (he is reported to have stopped the flow of lava from the erupting Vesuvius in 1805). He was considered and acclaimed 'Apostle of Naples' for his work among the poor and abandoned and to preserve girls from the danger of an immoral life. Owing to overwork and to his austere lifestyle, he ruined his health and lost the use of his legs. Unable to be moved because of his health, he was left alone at his college when his order was expelled from Naples and died there. He inspired boundless veneration in Naples and miracles were attributed to him (Attwater2, Benedictines, Coulson, Delaney).
1835 St. Maria Magdalen of Canossa Foundress of the Daughters of Charity at Verona, Italy saw the Blessed Mother surrounded by six religious dressed in brown She herself tended the poorest and dirtiest children witnesses observed her rapt in ecstasy, and once she was seen levitating
Born in 1774, she was the daughter of the Marquis of Canossa, who died when Maria Magdalen was three. Her mother abandoned the family, and Maria Magdalen managed her father’s estate until she was thirty-three, then founding her institute. When she died, her Daughters of Charity were widespread. She was canonized in 1988 by Pope John Paul II.

Magdalen of Canossa, Founder (RM)  Born in Verona, Italy, March 1, 1774; died there on April 10, 1835; declared venerable on January 6, 1927; beatified December 7, 1941, by Pope Pius XII; canonized by Pope John Paul II on October 2, 1988; feast day formerly on May 14.

Saint Magdalen was only five years old when her father, the marquis of Canossa, died. Two years later her mother remarried and abandoned her four children to the care of their uncles. Although they treated the children well enough, their French governess was harsh. Perhaps as a result of this ill-treatment, Magdalen suffered a painful illness when she was fifteen. Upon her recovery, she was determined to become a nun. In October 1791, she enter the Carmel for a short time before returning home to manage her father's estate until she was 33.

During the Napoleonic wars, her family took refuge in Venice. There she had a dream in which she saw the Blessed Mother surrounded by six religious dressed in brown. Our Lady led them two by two into a church filled with women and girls, into a hospital, and into a hall filled with bedraggled children. She admonished the religious to serve all three, but especially to help the poor children. Almost immediately she began tending the sick in the city's hospitals and working with children.. The family returned to Verona, where they were visited by Napoleon himself. Magdalen requested from him the empty convent of Saint Joseph, which she intended to use for the poor. Several women had already joined her in her charitable work and with the gift of the convent, they opened the first house of her institute, the Daughters of Charity. Its mission followed her vision: the education of poor girls, the service of the sick in hospitals, and the teaching of the catechism in parishes.

The doors of the house in the San Zeno district was opened to poor girls on May 8, 1808. Thereafter, community prospered and its fame spread. The Canossians were invited to open a house in Venice, then in Milan, Bergamo, Trent, and elsewhere in northern Italy. Since Saint Magdalen's death, well over 400 have been established throughout the world.

Saint Magdalen drew up the rule in Venice. The congregation received formal papal approval from Pope Pius VII in 1816 and definitive approval from Pope Leo XII in an apostolic brief dated December 23, 1828. When she was declared venerable by Pope Pius XI in 1927, he wrote that "many are charitable enough to help and even to serve the poor, but few are able deliberately to become poor with the poor."
But that is exactly what the marchioness did. She herself tended the poorest and dirtiest children. Although the congregation's primary concern was poor and neglected children, she also founded high schools and colleges, especially for the deaf and dumb. Magdalen organized closed retreats for females. In Venice, she even launched a small congregation of men to carry on similar work with boys. Following her death, the Daughters of Charity entered the mission field.

Despite, or perhaps because of, the hectic pace of her life, Saint Magdalen developed enormous powers of recollection and prayer. She attained remarkable levels of contemplation. On several occasions, witnesses observed her rapt in ecstasy, and once she was seen levitating.
Towards the end of her life, Magdalen was bent almost double and could sleep only in a sitting position. She became seriously ill in Bergamo at the end of 1834 and was taken back to the mother house in Verona. By Holy Week 1835, she knew she was dying, though none of her doctors agree with her. She asked for the last rites, then died suddenly (Benedictines, Walsh).
1836 St. Caspar del Bufalo Various miracles many graces were obtained by his intercession Various miracles had been worked by Don Caspar during his lifetime, and after his death many graces were obtained by his intercession. He was canonized in 1954.
St. Caspar del Bufalo was the Founder of the Missioners of the Precious Blood. His feast day is January 2nd. Caspar, who was born in Rome, the son of a chef, in 1786, was ordained a priest in 1808. Shortly after this, Rome was taken by Napoleon's army, and he, with most of the clergy was exiled for refusing to abjure his allegiance to the Holy See. He returned after the fall of Napoleon to find a wide scope for work, as Rome had for nearly five years been almost entirely without priests and sacraments.

In 1814 he founded the Congregation of the Most Precious Blood and in 1815, it was formally approved. The second foundation was made in 1819 and the third shortly afterwards at Albano. His wish was to have a house in every diocese, the most neglected and wicked town or district being chosen. The Kingdom of Naples in those days was a nest of crime of every kind; no one's life or property was safe, and in 1821 the pope asked del Bufalo to found six houses there. He joyfully responded but met with endless difficulties before subjects and funds were collected.

Grave difficulties arose under Pope Leo XII; but these were cleared up, and in 1824, the houses of the congregation were opened to young clergy who wished to be trained specially as missioners. In his lifetime, their work covered the whole of Italy.

Del Bufalo's biographer gives us a graphic account of a mission, describing its successive stages. Some of his methods were distinctly dramatic, e.g. the missioners took the discipline in the public piazza, which always resulted in many conversions. On the last day, forbidden firearms, obscene books, and anything else that might offend Almighty God, were publicly burnt. A cross was erected in memoriam, a solemn Te Deum sung, and the missioners went away quietly.

His last mission was preached in Rome at the Chiesa Nuova during the cholera outbreak of 1836. Feeling his strength failing, he returned at once to Albano, and made every preparation for death. He suffered terribly from cold, and at night from parching thirst, but he would not take anything to drink, so that he might be able to celebrate Mass. After the feast of St. Francis Xavier he went to Rome to die. On December 19, the doctor forbade him to say Mass; he received the last sacraments on December 28, and he died the same day.

Various miracles had been worked by Don Caspar during his lifetime, and after his death many graces were obtained by his intercession. He was canonized in 1954.

In 1824, the houses of the congregation were opened to young clergy who wished to be trained specially as missionaries. In his lifetime, their work covered the whole of Italy. Journeying from town to town, enduring endless hardships, threatened often even with death, Gaspar always taking the hardest work himself, they preached their message. One of his principles was that everybody should be made to work. He therefore founded works of charity in Rome for young and old, rich and poor of both sexes. He opened the night oratory, where our Lord is worshipped all night by men, many coming to Him, like Nicodemus, by night who would not have the courage to go to confession by day.

1837 St Caspar Del Bufalo, Founder of The Missioners of The Precious Blood
Caspar, who was born in Rome, the son of a chef, in 1786, received his education at the Collegio Romano and was ordained priest in 1808. Shortly after this Rome was taken by Napoleon’s army, and he, with most of the clergy, was exiled for refusing to abjure his allegiance to the Holy See. He returned after the fall of Napoleon to find a wide scope for work, as Rome had for nearly five years been almost entirely without priests and sacraments.
In 1814 he conducted a mission at Giano, in the diocese of Spoleto, and there the idea of the Congregation of the Most Precious Blood first came to him. He found a house at Giano suitable for his purpose, and with the help of Cardinal Cristaldi, ever his kind friend, and the hearty approval of Pope Pius VII, the new congregation was formally approved in 1815. The house and adjoining church of San Felice in Giano were given him by the pope. The second foundation was made in 1819 and the third shortly afterwards at Albano. His wish was to have a house in every diocese, the most neglected and wicked town or district being chosen. The kingdom of Naples was in those days a nest of crime of every kind; no one’s life or property was safe, and in 1821 the pope wrote with his own hand to del Bufalo asking him to found six houses there. He joyfully responded, but met with endless difficulties before subjects and funds were collected. His biographer tells us that Providence had scherzato (played practical jokes) with him, as over and over again one difficulty was overcome only to be replaced by a greater; but by degrees men gathered round him, and at last he could say he had more than all the money he wanted.
Grave difficulties arose under Pope Leo XII; but these were cleared up, and in 1824, the houses of the congregation were opened to young clergy who wished to be trained specially as missioners. The ideal was high, the work arduous. A missioner, the founder said, like a soldier or sailor, must never give in, must be ready for anything. He required from his sons not only devotion, but also hard study. To evangelize the whole world, which was their aim, they must learn foreign languages besides theology and Holy Scripture. In his lifetime their work covered the whole of Italy. Journeying from town to town, enduring endless hardships, threatened often even with death, their founder always taking the most arduous work himself, they preached their message.
Del Bufalo’s biographer gives us a graphic account of a mission, describing its successive stages. Some of his methods were distinctly dramatic, e.g. the missioners took the discipline in the public piazza, which always resulted in many conversions. On the last day forbidden firearms, obscene books, and anything else that might offend Almighty God were publicly burnt. A cross was erected in memoriam, a solemn Te Deum sung, and the missioners went away quietly. Caspar
would often say at the end of a mission, exhausted but thankful, “If it is so sweet to tire ourselves for God, what will it be to enjoy Him!” One of his principles was that everybody should be made to work. He therefore founded works of charity in Rome for young and old, rich and poor of both sexes. He opened the night oratory, where our Lord is worshipped all night by men, many coming to Him, like Nicodemus, by night who would not have the courage to go to confession by day.

His last mission was preached in Rome at the Chiesa Nuova during the cholera outbreak of 1836. Feeling his strength failing, he returned at once to Albano, and made every preparation for death. He suffered terribly from cold, and at night from parching thirst, but he would not take anything to drink, so that he might be able to celebrate Mass. He asked to be left alone as much as possible, that his prayer might be less interrupted. After the feast of St Francis Xavier he went to Rome to die. On December 19 the doctor forbade him to say Mass; he received the last sacraments on December 28, and he died the same day.

Various miracles had been worked by Don Caspar during his lifetime, and after his death many graces were obtained by his intercession. We have, in fact, a long list of cures and other miraculous occurrences. He was canonized in 1954.

See the summarium presented to the Congregation of Rites in the process of beatification, and Sardi, Notizie intorno alla vita del beato Gaspare del Bufalo (1904). The English form of the name Caspar or Gaspar is properly Jasper.

1837 Anne Mary Taigi Endowed with the gift of prophecy, she read thoughts and described distant events incorruptible.
Born at Siena 1769 daughter of a druggist named Giannetti, whose  business failed, she was brought to Rome and worked for a time  as a domestic servant. In 1790 she married Dominic Taigi, a butler of the Chigi family in Rome, and lived the normal life of a married woman of the working class. In the discharge of these humble duties and in the bringing up of her seven children she attained a high degree of holiness. Endowed with the gift of prophecy, she read thoughts and described distant events. Her home became the rendezvous of cardinals and other dignitaries who sought her counsel. She was beatified in 1920.
She frequented the Sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist, and it was observed that her piety increased on the approach of every feast of Our Lady. The Rosary was her only book, and her devotion to the Angelus was so great that she used to fall on her knees at the first sound of the bell, even though she heard it when crossing a stream.
And she had the most important prayer of all -- the Mass. Every day, without fail, she would leave her sheep in God's care and go to Mass. Villagers wondered that the sheep weren't attacked by the wolves in the woods when she left but God's protection never failed her. On several occasions the swollen waters were seen to open and afford her a passage without wetting her garments..
No matter how little Germaine had, she shared it with others. Her scraps of food were given to beggars. Her life of prayer became stories of God that entranced the village children.
But most startling of all was the forgiveness to showed to the woman who deserved her hatred.
Hortense, furious at the stories about her daughter's holiness, waited only to catch her doing wrong. One cold winter day, after throwing out a beggar that Germaine had let sleep in the barn, Hortense caught Germaine carrying something bundled up in her apron. Certain that Germaine had stolen bread to feed the beggar, she began to chase and scream at the child. As she began to beat her, Germaine opened her apron. Out tumbled what she had been hiding in her apron -- bright beautiful flowers that no one had expected to see for months. Where had she found the vibrant blossoms in the middle of the ice and snow? There was only one answer and Germaine gave it herself, when she handed of counsel, as he one admitted to his friend Henry Imgrund, and he continued to exercise it as he had done in the past. Strangers also were attracted by the fame of this remarkable man, who was reported to live without eating and drinking. Never very talkative, he was particularly sparing of his words to those who came out of mere curiosity. So also, when questioned as to his abstention from food, he would only reply, “God knows”. That no one brought him provisions the cantonal magistrates proved by having all approaches to his cell watched for a month, and unprejudiced foreigners, such as Archduke Sigismund’s physician and envoys from the Emperor Frederick III, satisfied themselves of the truth of the report and were profoundly impressed by the hermit’s sincerity.

Once a year Nicholas took part in the great Musegger procession in Lucerne, but otherwise he only left his retreat to attend divine service and occasionally to visit Einsiedeln. The gifts of the faithful enabled him in his later years to found a chantry for a priest in connection with his own little chapel, and he was thus able to assist at Mass daily and to communicate often.

At this epoch the Swiss Confederation had just passed through the most glorious phase in its history. Within six years, in the three battles of Grandson, Morat and Nancy, the sturdy mountain folk had vindicated their independence and had routed the hitherto unconquered Charles the Bold, master of the two Burgundies and nearly the whole of Belgium: their reputation was so great that every prince in Europe sought their alliance. The hour of their most signal triumph proved nevertheless to be the hour of their greatest danger, for internal dissensions threatened to undo the success which their arms had won. Quarrels arose over the division of booty and between the country party and the towns. Another source of contention was, the proposal to include Fribourg and Soleure (or Solothurn) in the confederation. At length agreement was reached on most points and was embodied in a document known as the Edict of Stans.

On the subject of the inclusion of Fribourg and Soleure, however, no accommodation could be reached, and feeling ran so high that it seemed that the question would have to be settled by arms. The meeting was breaking up in disorder when the parish-priest of Stans suggested seeking a final opinion from Nicholas von Flue. The deputies gave their consent and he set out to seek the hermit. His suggestion was no casual or sudden inspiration. As we know from the protocols of the Council of Lucerne, that city, which occupied an ambiguous position between the two parties, had, at an early stage of the strife, sent delegates to Brother Nicholas to obtain his advice, and it is quite possible that other districts had done the same. It has been even suggested that the Edict of Stans, a most statesmanlike charter, may have been drafted in the hermit’s cell. In any case, it is greatly to the credit of the deputies that, in the heat of their quarrel, they should have been willing to refer the matter to him. The chronicler Diebold Schilling, who represented his father at the council, tells us that the priest Imgrund arrived back in Stans streaming with perspiration, and that, seeking out the deputies in their lodgings, he besought them with tears to reassemble immediately to hear the message which he must impart to them alone. Schilling does not record the words of that message, but he informs us that within an hour the council had arrived at a unanimous agreement. Fribourg and Soleure were to be admitted into the Swiss Confederation, but upon certain conditions, which were accepted for them by Hans von Stall, the delegate of Soleure. The date was December 22, 1481.

That Christmas was a specially joyful one throughout Switzerland, and the Stans Council expressed in laudatory terms its gratitude to Nicholas for his services. Letters of thanks from Berne and Soleure to the holy man are still extant, as well as a letter written on his behalf by his son John, thanking Berne for a gift which would be expended upon the Church. (He himself could neither read nor write, but used a special seal by way of a signature.) Several of the hermit’s visitors have left accounts of their interviews with him, and that written by Albert von Bon­stetten, dean of the monastery of Einsiedeln, is particularly interesting. He describes the recluse as tall, brown and wrinkled, with thin grizzled locks and a short beard. His eyes were bright, his teeth white and well preserved, and his nose shapely. He adds, “He praises and recommends obedience and peace. As he exhorted the Confederates to maintain peace, so does he exhort all who come to him to do the same.” The dean held him in great veneration, but with regard to the prophetical gifts ascribed to Nicholas in some quarters, he says cautiously that he had received no evidence of them from trustworthy sources. Six years after the Council of Stans, Nicholas was seized with his last illness, which lasted only eight days, but caused him intense suffering. He bore it with perfect resigna­tion and died peacefully in his cell, on his birthday, having attained the age of seventy. Immediately his death became known he was honoured in all Switzerland both as a patriot and as a saint, though it was only in 1669 that his cultus was formally sanctioned: he was canonized in 1947. His skeleton lies in a shrine under a black marble canopied altar which stands close to the entrance to the choir of the present church of Sachseln, and the habit in which he died is preserved in a cupboard in the south apse. The two “Flue houses” at Flüeli date back to the days of St Nicholas, and although they have been greatly modernized one room in his dwelling-house remains intact.

In 1917 the fifth centenary of the birth of “ Bruder Klaus” was celebrated throughout Switzerland with quite remarkable enthusiasm. Perhaps the most valuable result of the interest thus awakened was the publication of a great historical monograph by Robert Durrer, a scholar with an unrivalled knowledge of the archives of his country. In these two quarto volumes, entitled Bruder Klaus, which together total some 1350 pages, will be found all the available material bearing on the life of Nicholas von Flue. The collection includes two early sketches of the career of Bruder Klaus, one by Albrecht von Bonstetten, the other by Heinrich von Gundelfingen, but these are supplemented by a mass of documentary evidence derived from ancient records and other sources. A comprehensive nineteenth century biography is that of J. Ming, Der selige Bruder Nikolaus von Flue, and others have since been written by A. Baumberger, F. X. Wetzel and J. T. de Belloc, in Italian by F. Andina (‘945), and in French by A. Andrey (1941) and C. Journet (i947). See also the Acta Sanctorum, March, vol. iii, and the Kirchenlexikon, vol. ix, pp. 316-319.

 (also known as Bruder Klaus)
Born at Flüeli near Sachseln, Obwalden (Unterwalden), Switzerland, March 21, 1417; died at Ranft, Switzerland, March 21, 1487; cultus  approved in 1669; canonized 1947; feast day formerly March 21; feast day in Switzerland is September 25.

"My Lord and my God, remove from me all that may keep me from you. My Lord and my God, give me all that I need to bring me to you. My Lord and my God, take me from myself and give me to yourself." --Nicholas von Flüe.
Nicholas was born into a family of prosperous farmers, who owned the Kluster Alp and the estate of Flüeli on the Sachsterberg (near Lucerne), from which their surname derives. At various times Saint Nicholas was a soldier, peasant, patriot, and judge in Switzerland. His father held a civil post; his mother was very devout and raised her sons to belong to the brotherhood of the Friends of God (Gottesfreunde). The society sought to live a strict life, to meditate on the passion of the Lord, and to seek a close relationship with God. They lived with their families in small communities or as hermits. Thus, Nicholas was pious from childhood. He was also illiterate.
In his youth Nicholas fought in defense of Swiss Confederation liberties, especially against the Hapsburgs. After the siege of Zurich in 1439, he was commissioned in the army. He defended women and children and the Church, fighting "with a sword in one hand, and a rosary in the other!"

He loved solitude and prayer, but, by 1447, he married pious and comely Dorothea Wysling, daughter of one of the chief families of Sachseln. In the 30 years of their marriage, he had 10 children: John, Rudolph, Walter, Henry, Nicholas, Dorothea, Marguerite, Katherine, Veronica, and another girl who died in infancy. John was elected Landmann of Unterwald. Nicholas (the youngest) studied at the University of Basle and became a priest; another became a governor of the province. Dorothea's piety led her to be called "the consolation of the Church."

Nicholas would rise at dawn to tend the flocks, eat at 9:00 a.m. with his family and servants at the same table, and again at the end of the day they would gather for Vesperbrod and end the evening with family prayers. While working in the fields, he was often rapt in ecstatic prayer, experiencing visions and revelations. He continued the devout practices of his youth, fasted frequently, and often spent the night in prayer.

In 1460, Thurgau was invaded by Austria and Nicholas commanded 100 men. During this campaign at Katharinental the Swiss troops were faced with a situation that anticipated in miniature that at Monte Cassino in 1944: When the Swiss succeeded in capturing the village of Diesenhofer, many Austrian soldiers sought refuge in the church of the Dominican Convent of Saint Catherine. The Swiss command was going to burn the church, but Nicholas prayed for divine guidance before the crucifix in the cloister, then he asked the command to revoke its order stressing the moral gravity of the act. The order was canceled. Nicholas was awarded a gold medal when peace was declared, in thanks for his services.

Fellow-citizens wanted him to accept the office of Landmann (governor), but he twice refused. He was appointed magistrate, served as judge for the canton, and was sent as a deputy for Obwalden to councils. When, in 1465, a powerful family appealed his fair decision and was rendered an unjust one against a humble peasant, he resigned. "Later he testified that he could see and feel flames of fire, of a disgusting odor, issuing from the mouths of the judges as they pronounced their unjust sentence; and he knew that they already had a foretaste of hell within themselves." Though the elite turned against him and spoke calumnies of him, Nicholas was still sought out by his neighbors and people from the adjoining cantons to settle disputes.

In 1467 (age 50), fourteen months after the birth of the tenth child, Nicholas heard God's command to live as a hermit and told his wife immediately. He resigned his offices and, with his devout wife's permission, left his family to live for the next 20 years as a hermit in almost perpetual prayer. Dorothea was overcome by the news but put no obstacles in his way because she recognized the call. "She wept as she made the supreme sacrifice" of allowing her husband to leave. His relatives and neighbors, however, were full of indignation, which he disregarded. Nicholas and his wife drew up an agreement and told the family and servants that Dorothea was thenceforth head of the family.

He left barefoot and bareheaded, wearing a drab habit and carrying a rosary and a staff. Thus clad as a pilgrim, Nicholas became known as Brother Klaus. He appears to have been headed for Strasbourg, France, where the headquarters of the Gottesfreunde lay, looking for a hermitage in which to spend his final years. On his way, however, he wandered toward Basle, where he was put up by a peasant who was a Friend of God, who told him that the Swiss were unpopular in Alsace and that he might not find there the life that he sought.

That night during a violent thunderstorm, Nicholas looked at a little town beyond the frontier and saw that lightning made it appear to be in flames. He took this as a divine confirmation of the peasant's advice and turned back. When Brother Klaus decided to follow the peasant's suggestion, he felt a violent pain in his intestines and was surrounded by light. Thereafter, he "never felt the need of human food or drink, and have never used them." Hunters brought back to his family the news that they had seen him living on his pastureland in a shelter of boughs. Family members went to beg him not to stay there and fall prey to exposure.

So, he finally moved to Ranft, where the people of Obwalden built him a cell and a small chapel. He lived many years in this lonely place above a narrow gorge within earshot of the mountain stream spending most of his time in prayer. He prayed and meditated from midnight to midday, attended Mass in Sachseln every Sunday, and paid an annual visit to Lucerne for the Musegger procession. He never ate or drank anything except the Blessed Sacrament.

Abbot Oswald Isner wrote:  "When Nicholas had abstained for 11 days from taking natural food, he sent for me and asked me secretly whether he should take some food or continue to fast. He had always desired to live without eating, the better to separate himself from the world. I touched the parts of his body where little flesh was left; all was dried up; his cheeks were hollow and his lips were very thin.
"When I had seen and understood that it could come only from divine love, I advised brother Nicholas to continue to this test as long as he could stand it without the danger of death. That is what brother Nicholas did; from that moment until his death, that is for about twenty-one and a half years, he continued to take no food for the body.

"Since the holy brother was more familiar with me than with anyone else, I asked him many times how he managed to do it. One day in his cell he told me, in great secrecy, that when the priest celebrated communion he received the strength which alone permitted him to live without eating or drinking."

When those seeking his counsel asked him about eating nothing, Nicholas would reply, "God knows." Cantonal magistrates had his cell watched for a month to ensure themselves of the fact that no one brought him food.
Nevertheless, Nicholas held that "holy obedience is the highest virtue." When Bishop Thomas visited him and commanded him to eat bread and a little wine after 18 months of nothing, Nicholas hesitated to obey. When he did try to eat a tiny fragment of a morsel, he almost choked to death and the bishop finally believed.

Until he had a chaplain, he attended Sunday Mass and Holy Days at the parish church of Sachseln. Nicholas founded a chantry for a priest with donations and thus was enabled to assist at Mass daily. In 1470, Pope Paul II granted the first indulgence to the sanctuary at Ranft and it became a place of pilgrimage. Occasionally Klaus would make a pilgrimage to Engleburg or Einsiedeln.

He received the great (including Emperor Frederick III), the humble, and children. Many pilgrims came for counsel. He could speak with authority to married people and children. His wife and children also attended Mass in his chapel and listened to his spiritual counsel.

In 1481, the Swiss Confederation had gained its independence from Charles the Bold of Burgundy, the rulers of Europe sought its alliance, and it was on the verge of breaking apart over how to divide the spoils gained during the conquests. Internal disputes threatened its solidarity, but an agreement was reached and put forth in the Compromise of Stans. Still unresolved, however, was the issue of the inclusion of Fribourg and Soleure, and it caused such controversy that in 1481 civil war was feared. A parish priest of Stans recommended seeking a final opinion from the 64- year-old Nicholas. This was agreed to, and he went to Nicholas, whose counsel had been sought at various stages of the drafting of the edict, and it has even been said that it was drawn up in his cell. After the priest's return to Stans, the council arrived at a unanimous decision within an hour and maintained the unity of the land.

Despite his lack of education and experience with the world, his mediation led to permanent national unity for Switzerland. He could not even write; he used a special seal as a signature. Letters of thanks to him from Berne and Soleure still survive.

Six years later, he became ill for the last time. He suffered greatly for eight days, received Holy Viaticum, then died peacefully in his cell with his wife and children by his bed. Nicholas was buried at Sachseln and the Flüe family still survives in Switzerland.

His wife and children were probably none the worse for his becoming a hermit. It may be that his prayers and spiritual counsel did more for his family than his remaining with them would have. We do not blame explorers and soldiers for leaving their families, why blame a saint?

His canonization was delayed because a fire destroyed the documents relating to it. Nevertheless, he is the patron saint of Switzerland.

Several accounts survive of visitors' memories of Bruder Klaus: one described him as tall, brown, and wrinkled with then grizzled locks and a short beard, bright eyes, white teeth, and a shapely nose. This corresponds well with a Fribourg portrait of him done in 1492 (Attwater, Attwater2, Benedictines, Bentley, J. Delaney, S. Delany, Encyclopedia, Farmer, White).

Saint Nicholas is portrayed as a hermit being thrown into a thorn bush by the devil. At other times he may be shown praying in a mountainous landscape or entering a house while carrying a staff tipped with a cross. Nicholas is greatly venerated in Switzerland (Roeder).

1858 Saint Benedicta Cambiagio Frassinello profound mystical experience that left her devoted to prayer miraculously cured by St Jerome Emiliani
Also known as Benedetta Cambiagio Frassinello; Benedikta Frassinello; Benedetta Cambiagio
Daughter of Giuseppe and Francesca Cambiagio, she grew up in Pavia, Italy. At the age of 20 she had a profound mystical experience that left her devoted to prayer and desiring a religious life. However, to go along with her family's wishes, she married Giovanni Battista Frassinella on 7 February 1816. The couple had a normal married life for two years, but Giovanni, impressed with Benedicta's holiness and desire for religious life, agreed to live continently. The two took care of Benedicta's little sister Maria until the girl's death from intestinal cancer in 1825.
Giovanni then joined the Somaschan Fathers, Benedicta became an Ursuline nun.

In 1826 ill health forced Benedicta to return home to Pavia. There she began to work with young women in the area. The work sent so well that her husband Giovanni was assigned to help. The schools continued to grow and prosper, and Benedicta was appointed Promoter of Public Instruction in Pavia. However, no matter how chastely they lived, Benedicta and Giovanni's unusual relationship drew gossip and criticism from civil and Church authorities. To insure that she did not get in the way of the work, in 1838 Benedicta turned her work over to the bishop of Pavia, and withdrew to live as a nun at Ronco Scrivia.
Not content to withdraw from the world, Benedicta began all over.
With five companions, she founded the Congregation of the Benedictine Sisters of Providence dedicated to teaching, and opened another school. Living alone, the local authorities found no causes for gossip, and Benedicta spent her remaining years in prayer and service.
Born  2 October 1791 at Langasco, Italy as Benedetta Cambiagio Died 21 March 1858 at Ronco Scrivia, Italy of natural causes
Beatified  10 May 1987 by Pope John Paul II Canonized 19 May 2002 by Pope John Paul II at Rome, Italy

Saint Benedetta Cambiagio Frasinello was born on 2 October 1791 in Langasco (Genoa) Italy; she died on 21 March 1858 in Ronco Scrivia in Liguria. She was wife, religious and foundress.
She let the Holy Spirit guide her through married life to the work of education and religious consecration.
She founded a school for the formation of young women and also a religious congregation, and did both with the generous collaboration of her husband.
This is unique in the annals of Christian sanctity.
Benedetta was a pioneer in her determination to give a high quality education to young women, for the formation of families for a "new Christian society" and for promoting the right of women to a complete education.
Call to marriage, then to religious life
From her parents Benedetta received a Christian formation that rooted in her the life of faith. Her family settled in Pavia when she was a girl. When she was 20 years old, Benedetta had a mystical experience that gave her a profound desire for a life of prayer and penance, and of consecration to God. However, in obedience to the wishes of her parents, in 1816, she married Giovanni Frassinello and lived married life for two years. In 1818, moved by the example of his saintly wife, Giovanni agreed that the two should live chastely, "as brother and sister" and take care of Benedetta's younger sister, Maria, who was dying from intestinal cancer. They began to live a supernatural parenthood quite unique in the history of the Church.
Congregation founded by wife, who is supported by her husband
Following Maria's death in 1825, Giovanni entered the Somaschi Fathers founded by St Jerome Emiliani, and Benedetta devoted herself completely to God in the Ursuline Congregation of Capriolo. A year later she was forced to leave because of ill health, and returned to Pavia where she was miraculously cured by St Jerome Emiliani. Once she regained her health, with the Bishop's approval, she dedicated herself to the education of young girls. Benedetta needed help in handling such a responsibility, but her own father refused to help her. Bishop Tosi of Pavia asked Giovanni to leave the Somaschi novitiate and help Benedettain her apostolic work. Together they made a vow of perfect chastity in the hands of the bishop, and then began their common work to promote the human and Christian formation of poor and abandoned girls of the city. Their educational work was of great benefit to Pavia. Benedetta became the first woman to be involved in this kind of work. The Austrian government recognized her as a "Promoter of Public Education".

She was helped by young women volunteers to whom she gave a rule of life that later received ecclesiastical approval. Along with instruction, she joined formation in catechesis and in useful skills like cooking and sewing, aiming to transform her students into "models of Christian life" and so assure the formation of families.

Benedictine Sisters of Providence
Benedetta's work was considered pioneering for those days and was opposed by a few persons in power and by the misunderstanding of clerics. In 1838 she turned over the institution to the Bishop of Pavia. Together with Giovanni and five companions, she moved to Ronco Scrivia in the Genoa region. There they opened a school for girls that was a refinement on what they had done in Pavia.

Eventually, Benedetta founded the Congregation of the Benedictine Sisters of Providence. In her rule she stressed the education of young girls. She instilled the spirit of unlimited confidence and abandonment to Providence and of love of God through poverty and charity. The Congregation grew quickly since it performed a needed service. Benedetta was able to guide the development of the Congregation until her death. On 21 March 1858 she died in Ronco Scrivia.

Her example is that of supernatural maternity plus courage and fidelity in discerning and living God's will.

Today the Benedictine Nuns of Providence are present in Italy, Spain, Burundi, Ivory Coast, Peru and Brazil. They are at the service of young people, the poor, the sick and the elderly. The foundress also opened a house of the order in Voghera. Forty years after the death of Benedetta, the bishop separated this house from the rest of the Order. The name was changed to the Benedictines of Divine Providence who honour the memory of the Foundress.

1862 Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows  patron saint of students (Possenti), CP
 Insulæ, in Aprútio, sancti Gabriélis a Vírgine Perdolénte, Clérici Congregatiónis a Cruce et Passióne Dómini nuncupátæ, et Confessóris; qui, magnis intra breve vitæ spátium méritis et post mortem miráculis clarus, a Benedícto Papa Décimo quinto in Sanctórum cánonem relátus est.
      At Isola, in the province of Abruzzi, St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Virgin, confessor and cleric of the Passionist Congregation.  Having been known  for his merits during his short life, and after death renowned for miracles, Pope Benedict XV enrolled him in the canon of the saints.
Born in Assisi, Italy, March 1, 1838; died on Isola di Gran Sasso, Abruzzi, Italy, on February 27, 1862; canonized in 1920.

St. Gabriel Possenti Image of Saint Gabriel Possenti courtesy of the Passionists
Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, Passionist (1838-1862) Special Devotion to Mary the Afflicted Mother February 27
 
1802 ST GABRIEL POSSENTI Passionist name in religion of Brother Gabriel-of-our-Lady-of-Sorrows; he renewed his promise to a relic of the Jesuit martyr St Andrew Bobola, recently beatified; cured, miraculously; life of continual self-surrender, cheerfulness with which the offering was made.
THIS young saint was the son of a distinguished advocate who held a succession of official appointments under the government of the States of the Church. There were thirteen children in the family of Sante Possenti, of whom the future saint, born in 1838 and christened Francis, was the eleventh. Several died in infancy and their delicate mother was herself taken from them in 1842, when Francis was only four years old. Mr Possenti had just then become “grand assessor”, let us say registrar, of Spoleto, and it was in the Jesuit college of that city that Francis received most of his education. After a surfeit of the dubious marvels which meet us in the legendary story of so many aspirants for canonization, it is a distinct relief to find that the childhood of Francis Possenti, like that of Teresa Martin, was perfectly normal. It is not recorded that he had visions at the age of four, or that he had devised extraordinary forms of self-torture before he was eight. On the contrary he seems by nature to have possessed a warm temper, which was not always under perfect control, and to have been fastidious about his dress and personal appearance. As a youth he read novels, he was fond of gaiety and of the theatre, though seemingly the plays he frequented were innocent enough, and on account of his cheerfulness and good looks he was a universal favourite. Though there is not the least reason to believe that he ever lost his innocence or seriously broke the law of God, he, from the shelter of the cloister, looked back upon these years with evident alarm.

Dear Philip, [he afterwards wrote to a friend] If you truly love your soul, shun bad companions; shun the theatre. I know by experience how very difficult it is when entering such places in the state of grace to come away without having lost it, or at least exposed it to great danger. Avoid pleasure-parties and avoid evil books. I assure you that if I had remained in the world, it seems certain to me that I should not have saved my soul. Tell me, could any one have indulged in more amusements than !? Well, and what is the result? — nothing but bitterness and fear. Dear Philip, do not despise me, for I speak from my heart. I ask your pardon for all the scandal that I may have given you and I protest that whatever evil I may have spoken about anyone, I now retract it and beg of you to forget it all, and to pray for me that God may forgive me likewise.

Probably much of this self-accusatory tone. was due to the sensitiveness of conscience which developed in the noviceship, but there must have been a certain relative frivolity in the years which preceded, and his friends, we are told, used in playful exaggeration to call him il damerino, “the ladies’ man“. As a consequence the call of God does not seem to have been at once attended to even when it was clearly heard. Before his very promising career as a student was completed he fell dangerously ill, and he promised if he recovered to enter religion; but when he was restored to health he took no immediate step to carry his purpose into effect. After the lapse of a year or two he was again brought to death’s door by an attack of laryngitis, or possibly quinsy, and he renewed his promise, having recourse in this extremity to a relic of the Jesuit martyr St Andrew Bobola, just then beatified. Once more he was cured, miraculously as he believed, and he made application to
enter the Society of Jesus. But though he was accepted, he still delayed—after all, he was not yet seventeen—possibly because he doubted whether God was not calling him to a more penitential life than that of the Society. Then his favourite sister died during an outbreak of cholera, and so, stricken with a sense of the precarious nature of all earthly ties, he at last, with the full approval of his Jesuit confessor, made choice of the Passionists. Thus in September 1856 he entered their noviceship at Morrovalle, where he was given the name in religion of Brother Gabriel-of-our-Lady-of-Sorrows.

The rest of Gabriel’s career is simply a record of an extraordinary effort to attain perfection in small things. His brightness, his spirit of prayer, his charity to the poor, his consideration for others, his exact observance of every rule, his desire (constantly checked by wise superiors) to adopt forms of bodily mortification which were beyond his strength, his absolute submission in all matters in which he could practise obedience evidently made an ineffaceable impression upon all who lived with him. Their testimony in the process of his beatification is most con­vincing. It was a life of continual self-surrender, but the most charming feature of the whole was the cheerfulness with which the offering was made. Naturally there is not much to chronicle in such an existence. But as an illustration of the simple means—simple except for the weariness of the endless renewal of such acts of self-repression—by which heroic sanctity may be reached, the following may be quoted from one of his biographies:  He was always eager to do more bodily penance, and for a long time, to take a single example, he asked permission to wear a chain set with sharp points. Leave was refused, but he still begged for it with modest persistence. His director replied, “You want to wear the little chain!? I tell you what you really ought to have is a chain on your will—yes, that is what you need. Go away, don’t speak to me about it.” And he retired deeply mortified. Another time when he was asking leave for the same thing, “Well, yes,” I said, “wear it by all means; but you must wear it outside your habit and in public, too, that all may see what a man of great mortification you are.” Though stung to the quick, he wore it as I directed besides, to satisfy his thirst for penances, I made fun of him before his companions but he accepted all in silence, and did not even ask to be dispensed from thus becoming a laughing stock.

After only four years spent in religion, in the course of which Brother Gabriel had given rise to the expectation of great and fruitful work for souls once the priesthood had been attained, symptoms of tuberculous disease manifested them­selves so unmistakably that from henceforth he had to be exempted, very much against his will, from all the more arduous duties of community observance. Patience under weakness and bodily suffering, and a ready submission to the restrictions imposed by superiors upon his ardent nature, became the keynote of his effort after perfection. Young and old were indescribably impressed by the example which he gave, but he himself shrank from any soft of favourable notice, and not long before his death he succeeded in securing the destruction of all his private notes of the spiritual favours which God had bestowed upon him. He passed away in great peace in the early morning of February 27, 1862, at Isola di Gran Sasso in the Abruzzi. St Gabriel-of-our-Lady-of-Sorrows was canonized in 1920.

See N. Ward, Life of Gabriel of our Lady of Sorrows (1904) ; Anselmi de Ia Dolorosa, Vida de San Gabriel de la Virgen Dolorosa (1920); Lettere & San Gabriele della Addolorasa (1920) and C. Hollobough, St Gabriel, Passionist (1923).
O angelic young Gabriel, who, by your ardent love for Jesus Crucified and your compassion for Our Lady of Sorrows, were on earth a mirror of innocence and an example of every virtue; we turn to you full of confidence to implore your aid. Oh! How many evil things and afflictions, O how many dangers, assail our young people from every side, seeking to make them lose the faith. You, who lived always a life of faith, who amongst the temptations of the world maintained purity and virginity; turn your eyes to us, cast us a compassionate and pitying glance! Help us obtain the grace to persevere in faith; we invoke your name; we cannot doubt the efficaciousness of your patronage!
Confident of your help, we pray, O Sweet Saint, to obtain this particular grace for the greater glory of God and for the good of souls (here mention your request). Finally, obtain for us from Jesus Christ Crucified, through Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, resignation and peace so that we might always live the Christian life, throughout all the times of this present life, so that we might one day be happy with you in the presence of our Heavenly Father. Amen 
Adapted from www.geocities.com/saintgabrielpassionist/prayers

1862 St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows  (1838-1862 ) 
Born in Italy into a large family and baptized Francis, he lost his mother when he was only four years old. He was educated by the Jesuits and, having been cured twice of serious illnesses, came to believe that God was calling him to the religious life. Young Francis wished to join the Jesuits but was turned down, probably because of his age, not yet 17. Following the death of a sister to cholera, his resolve to enter religious life became even stronger and he was accepted by the Passionists.
Upon entering the novitiate he was given the name Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows.
Ever popular and cheerful, Gabriel quickly was successful in his effort to be faithful in little things. His spirit of prayer, love for the poor, consideration of the feelings of others, exact observance of the Passionist Rule as well as his bodily penances—always subject to the will of his wise superiors— made a deep impression on everyone.
   His superiors had great expectations of Gabriel as he prepared for the priesthood, but after only four years of religious life symptoms of tuberculosis appeared. Ever obedient, he patiently bore the painful effects of the disease and the restrictions it required, seeking no special notice. He died peacefully on February 27, 1862, at age 24, having been an example to both young and old.

Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows was canonized in 1920.
Comment:    When we think of achieving great holiness by doing little things with love and grace, Therese of Lisieux comes first to mind. Like her, Gabriel died painfully from tuberculosis. Together they urge us to tend to the small details of daily life, to be considerate of others’ feelings every day. Our path to sanctity, like theirs, probably lies not in heroic doings but in performing small acts of kindness every day.

Francis Possenti, the 11th of thirteen children of the lawyer Sante Possenti, was raised in a wealthy family that was both pious and cultured. His mother died when he was only four years old, and his father had just been appointed the registrar of Spoleto.
He was so inordinately vain and innocently, but passionately, devoted to worldly pleasures, that his friends referred to him as il damerino ('the ladies' man'). Before he finished school at the Jesuit college at Spoleto, he fell dangerously ill, and he promised that if he recovered, he would enter religious life. Upon his recovery, however, he did not act immediately upon his promise. Sure, he joined the Jesuits at age 17 but delayed entering the novitiate.

A year or two later, when he fell ill again, he renewed his promise. Once again he recovered. This time he fulfilled his vow and astonished everyone when he announced that he was entering the Passionist Order at Morovalle near Macerata immediately upon his graduation in 1856.
   
His religious life was one of love throughout--joyous love made all the sweeter by the penances prescribed by his rule, which he fulfilled to the letter. There was nothing extraordinary about him except his fidelity to prayer, his love of mortification, and his joyfulness of spirit.

He was ordained, but, at the age of 23, just after finishing his studies, he was stricken with tuberculosis and died at age 24. Through his intercession it is believed that Saint Gemma Galgani was cured of spinal tuberculosis (Attwater, Benedictines, Butler, Delaney, Encyclopedia, White).

Gabriel is the patron saint of students, particularly those in colleges and seminaries (acting as a model to them), of the clergy, and of young people involved in Catholic Action in Italy (White).

1867 St Francis Xavier Seelos NO; mission preaching.
was born in Fussen, Germany, in 1819. Expressing his desire for the priesthood since an early age, he entered the diocesan seminary of Augsburg after completing his studies in philosophy. Upon learning of the charism and missionary activity of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, he decided to join and go to North America. He arrived in the United States on April 20, 1843, entered the Redemptorist novitiate and completed his theological studies, being ordained a priest on December 22, 1844. He began his pastoral ministry in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he remained nine years, working closely as assistant pastor of his confrere St. John Neumann, while at the same time serving as Master of Novices and dedicating himself to mission preaching. In 1854, he returned to Baltimore, later being transferred to Cumberland and then Annapolis, where he served in parochial ministry and in the formation of the Redemptorist seminarians. He was considered an expert confessor, a watchful and prudent spiritual director and a pastor always joyfully available and attentive to the needs of the poor and the abandoned. In 1860, he was a candidate for the office of Bishop of Pittsburgh. Having been excused from this responsibility by Pope Pius IX, from 1863 until 1866 he became a full-time itinerant missionary preacher. He preached in English and German in the states of Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin. He was named pastor of the Church of St. Mary of the Assumption in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he died of the yellow fever epidemic caring for the sick and the poor of New Orleans on October 4, 1867, at the age of 48 years and nine months. The enduring renown for his holiness which the Servant of God enjoyed occasioned his Cause for Canonization to be introduced in 1900 with the initiation of the Processo Informativo . On January 27, Your Holiness declared him Venerable, decreeing the heroism of his virtues.
1869 St. John Vianney Patron of priests ordained 1815
In vico Ars, diœcésis Bellicénsis, in Gállia, natális sancti Joánnis Baptístæ-Maríæ Vianney, Presbyteri et Confessóris, in parochiáli múnere obeúndo insígnis, quem Pius Papa Undécimus in Sanctórum númerum rétulit; ipsíus festum quinto Idus mensis hujus agéndum indíxit, eúmque ómnium parochórum cæléstem Patrónum constítuit.
    In the village of Ars, in the diocese of Belley, France, the birthday of St. John Baptist-Mary Vianney, priest and confessor, renowned for his devotion as a parish priest.  Pope Pius XI placed him in the number of the saints, ordered that his feast should be observed on the 9th day of this month, and appointed him as the heavenly patron of all parish priests.
St. John Vianney, Priest (Patron of priests) Feast day - August 4 Universally known as the “Cure of Ars), St. John Mary Vianney was ordained a priest in 1815. Three years later he was made parish priest of Ars, a remote French hamlet, where his reputation as a confessor and director of souls made him known throughout the Christian world. His life was one of extreme mortification.

Accustomed to the most severe austerities, beleaguered by swarms of penitents, and besieged by the devil, this great mystic manifested a imperturbable patience. He was a wonderworker loved by the crowds, but he retained a childlike simplicity, and he remains to this day the living image of the priest after the heart of Christ.

He heard confessions of people from all over the world for the sixteen hours each day. His life was filled with works of charity and love. It is recorded that even the staunchest of sinners were converted at his mere word. He died August 4, 1859, and was canonized May 31, 1925.

John Baptist Vianney (Curé d'Ars), Priest (RM) Born at Dardilly (near Lyons), France, on May 8, 1786; died at Ars, August 4, 1869; beatified on January 8, 1905, by Pope Pius IX; canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1925; in 1929, he was declared the principal patron of parish priests.
We cannot comprehend the power that a pure soul has over God.
It is not the soul that does God's will, but God who does the soul's will. -- Saint John Vianney.
Without his iron-will, it is very unlikely that John Baptist Vianney would have been ordained. He was the son of a small farmer near Lyons and raised during the French Revolution and its aftermath. He had to take his First Communion in secret when he was 13, because the Church was still being persecuted. By the time this shepherd on his father Matthew's farm reached age 18 and decided that he was being called to the priesthood, open worship was again permitted. Unfortunately, John's father could not afford to send him to school for the proper education.
Two years later he managed to get into the presbytery-school of the Abbé Balley in the neighboring village of Ecully, but he had trouble keeping up with the others because he had received so little previous education (a single year when he was nine). John was sure of his goal, so he persisted.

Though a seminarian, through an error he was drafted into the army in 1809. He was ordered to report to the depot in Loyons on October 26, 1809, but two days after receiving the order he was hospitalized and his company left him behind. On January 5, while still convalescing, he was ordered to report to Roanne for another draft the following day. They left without him, because he had stopped to pray in the church. He tried to catch up with them at Renaison, although the only military equipment he had was a knapsack .

While he was resting at the approach to the mountains of Le Forez, a stranger suddenly appeared, picked up his knapsack, and ordered him to follow. He found himself in a hut near the remote mountain village of Les Noës. The stranger was a deserter from the army, one of many hiding in the woods and hills of the area. Vianney saw that the situation was compromising, and reported himself to the mayor of the commune. Monsieur Fayot was both humane and sensible; he pointed out to John that he technically was already a deserter, and that of two evils the lesser was to remain in refuge where he was. The mayor found Vianney a place in his own cousin's home, where John remained in hiding in a stable for 14 months. Several times he was nearly found by the gendarmes, once even feeling the point of a sword between his ribs as it was thrust about in the hay.

He was able to return home when Napoleon granted amnesty to all deserters in 1810 on the occasion of his marriage to the Archduchess Marie-Louise. The following year he was tonsured, then spent a year studying philosophy at the minor seminary at Verrières. In 1813, John entered the major seminary at Lyons. He never did master Latin; thus, it he was called "the most unlearned but the most devout seminarian in Lyons." In fact, his scholarship was so bad that he dropped out after the first term, was privately tutored by Abbé Balley, and then failed the seminary examinations. In spite of that, his reputation for goodness and holiness was so strong that the vicar general allowed him to take minor orders on July 2, 1814, and to be ordained to the priesthood the following year, saying, "The Church wants not only learned priests but, even more, holy ones."

He spent the next years as curate to Abbé Balley at Ecully until his mentor died in 1817. Early in 1818 he was appointed as the parish priest of the tiny village of Ars-en-Dombes (population: 230). He stayed there until he died 41 years later, and his effect was extraordinary.

Ten years of patience, good example, and the mysterious outpouring of Divine grace transformed Ars from apathy into a village thriving with Christian spirit. He began personally visiting every household under his care and provided a regular catechism class for children.
More important were his offering of a personal example of purity and fervor and his boldly attack on the widespread evils of drunkenness, profanity, immodesty, and slackness in attending Mass and otherwise observing the Sabbath.
He had no fear of uttering from the pulpit words and expressions that offended God in order to ensure there was no misunderstanding as to what he was denouncing. He was constantly aware of his responsibility for the souls of his parishioners and gradually there was conversion because his severity in the pulpit was matched by his extraordinary insight and power of conversion in the confessional.
His flock would say, Our pastor is a saint and we must obey him.

Two miracles helped the curé to gain the attention of his people.
In 1824, John Vianney encouraged Catherine Lassagne and Benedicta Lardet to open a free school for girls and three years later this became an institution known as La Providence, a shelter for orphans and deserted children.
No one was ever turned away from its doors and at times there were as many as 60 people living there, so that the alms on which it depended for its existence were not always sufficient. One time the cook had only a few pounds of flour, but thanks to the prayers of Vianney, she made ten 20-pound loaves out of them.
On another occasion a loft that had been almost empty was found to be full of wheat.

Soon the humble Curé d'Ars, whose reputation for holiness was augmented by reports of these miracles, was attracting penitents from all parts of Europe. A shrine he built to Saint Philomena became a place of pilgrimage. So great was his insight into people's problems that by 1855 the number of his visitors was said to be 20,000 annually, and a special railroad booking office had to be opened in Lyons. Of course, Vianney's success prompted jealousy among some of his brother priests, who accused him of being over-zealous, ignorant, a charlatan, and mentally deranged and began spreading slanderous lies about him. These proved to be without foundation, and their bishop, Monsignor Devie, answered them, I wish, gentlemen, that all my clergy had a touch of the same madness.

The number of visitors also meant a work day that would have crushed those with less spiritual strength. During the winter months, Vianney spent up to 12 hours daily in the confessional; in the summer this increased to 16 hours. It could take a half-hour for him to move from the church to the rectory because of the density of the crowd seeking his blessing and asking his prayers. He slept a bare four hours nightly and would go before sunrise to hear the confessions of those who were already awaiting him in the church.

Countless people testified that Vianney was gifted with a remarkable ability to read souls, discernment of spirits, and prophecy. The instructions that he gave were often short but they had all the power and insight of his saintliness. His utter simplicity moved many. His discouraged fussy piety and gave pithy advice. The archbishop of Auch said that Vianney had told him, Love your clergy very much. And what more was necessary?

It is remarkable to consider that this man had desired to become a Carthusian and live in quiet contemplation, yet in following God's plans for him, he drew many back to God and the Church. Three times he left Ars in search of solitude, but returned each time to aid the sinners who sought him in ever-increasing numbers. The last time required the diplomacy of the bishop to get him to return.

In 1852, Bishop Chalandon of Belley made Vianney an honorary canon of the chapter. He was invested almost by force and never again wore the mozzetta. Indeed, he sold it for the 50 francs needed for some charitable purpose. The French government in 1855 made him a knight of the Legion of Honor. John Vianney was amazed. Suppose I die, he mused, and God says, ‘Away you go. You have already been rewarded. So he refused to have the medal even pinned on his old cassock.

When the last sacraments were brought to him on his deathbed by Bishop Chalandon, John Vianney said, “How sad it is to receive holy communion for the last time. He died at 2:00 a.m. as a thunder storm shook the heavens; nature itself was upset at his passing (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Walsh).

Two short, very edifying, sermons on temptation by Saint John Vianney, who was often subjected to diabolical attacks over a 30- year period
We Are Nothing in Ourselves
Temptation is necessary to us to make us realize that we are nothing in ourselves.
Saint Augustine tells us that we should thank God as much for the sins from which He has preserved us as for those which He has had the charity to forgive us. If we have the misfortune to fall so often into the snares of the devil, we set ourselves up again too much on the strength of our own resolutions and promises and too little upon the strength of God. This is very true.
When we do nothing to be ashamed of, when everything is going along according to our wishes, we dare to believe that nothing could make us fall. We forget our own nothingness and our utter weakness. We make the most delightful protestations that we are ready to die rather than to allow ourselves to be conquered. We see a splendid example of this in Saint Peter, who told our Lord that although all others might be scandalized in Him, yet he would never deny Him.
Alas! To show him how man, left to himself, is nothing at all, God made use, not of kings or princes or weapons, but simply of the voice of a maidservant, who even appeared to speak to him in a very indifferent sort of way. A moment ago, he was ready to die for Him, and now Peter protests that he does not even know Him, that he does not know about whom they are speaking. To assure them even more vehemently that he does not know Him, he swears an oath about it. Dear Lord, what we are capable of when we are left to ourselves!
There are some who, in their own words, are envious of the saints who did great penances.
They believe that they could do as well. When we read the lives of some of the martyrs, we would, we think, be ready to suffer all that they suffered for God; the moment is shortlived, we say, for an eternity of reward. But what does God do to teach us to know ourselves or, rather, to know that we are nothing? This is all He does: He allows the devil to come a little closer to us. Look at this Christian who a moment ago was quite envious of the hermit who lived solely on roots and herbs and who made the stern resolution to treat his body as harshly. Alas! A slight headache, a prick of a pin, makes him, as big and strong as he is, sorry for himself. He is very upset. He cries with pain. A moment ago he would have been willing to do all the penances of the anchorites--and the merest trifle makes him despair!
Look at this other one, who seems to want to give his whole life for God, whose ardor all the torments there are cannot damp. A tiny bit of scandal mongering...a word of calumny...even a slightly cold reception or a small injustice done to him...a kindness returned by ingratitude...immediately gives birth in him to feelings of hatred, of revenge, of dislike, to the point, often, of his never wishing to see his neighbor again or at least of treating him coldly with an air which shows very plainly what is going on in his heart. And how many times is this his waking thought, just as it was the thought that almost prevented him from sleeping? Alas, my dear brethren, we are poor stuff, and we should count very little upon our good resolutions!
Beware If You Have No Temptations
   Whom does the devil pursue most? Perhaps you are thinking that it must be those who are tempted most; these would undoubtedly be the habitual drunkards, the scandalmongers, the immodest and shameless people who wallow in moral filth, and the miser, who hoards in all sorts of ways. No, my dear brethren, no, it is not these people. On the contrary, the devil despises them, or else he holds onto them, lest they not have a long enough time in which to do evil, because the longer they live, the more their bad example will drag souls into Hell. Indeed, if the devil had pursued this lewd and shameless old fellow too closely, he might have shortened the latter's life by fifteen or twenty years, and he would not then have destroyed the virginity of that young girl by plunging her into the unspeakable mire of his indecencies; he would not, again, have seduced that wife, nor would he have taught his evil lessons to that young man, who will perhaps continue to practice them until his death.
 
If the devil had prompted this thief to rob on every occasion, he would long since have ended on the scaffold and so he would not have induced his neighbor to follow his example. If the devil had urged this drunkard to fill himself unceasingly with wine, he would long ago have perished in his debaucheries, instead of which, by living longer, he has made many others like himself. If the devil had taken away the life of this musician, of that dancehall owner, of this cabaret keeper, in some raid or scuffle, or on any other occasion, how many souls would there be who, without these people, would not be damned and who now will be.
Saint Augustine teaches us that the devil does not bother these people very much;
on the contrary, he despises them and spits upon them.
"So, you will ask me, who then are the people most tempted? They are these, my friends; note them carefully. The people most tempted are those who are ready, with the grace of God, to sacrifice everything for the salvation of their poor souls, who renounce all those things which most people eagerly seek. It is not one devil only who tempts them, but millions seek to entrap them."
   We are told that Saint Francis of Assisi and all his religious were gathered on an open plain, where they had built little huts of rushes. Seeing the extraordinary penances which were being practiced, Saint Francis ordered that all instruments of penance should be brought out, whereupon his religious produced them in bundles. At this moment there was one young man to whom God gave the grace to see his guardian angel.
   On the one side he saw all of these good religious, who could not satisfy their hunger for penance, and, on the other, his guardian angel allowed him to see a gathering of eighteen thousand devils, who were holding counsel to see in what way they could subvert these religious by temptation. One of the devils said: 'You do not understand this at all. These religious are so humble; ah, what wonderful virtue, so detached from themselves, so attached to God! They have a superior who leads them so well that it is impossible to succeed in winning them over. Let us wait until their superior is dead, and then we shall try to introduce among them young people without vocations who will bring about a certain slackening of spirit, and in this way we shall gain them.'
   A little further on, as he entered the town, he saw a devil, sitting by himself beside the gate into the town, whose task was to tempt all of those who were inside. This saint asked his guardian angel why it was that in order to tempt this group of religious there had been so many thousands of devils while for a whole town there was but one--and that one sitting down. His good angel told him that the people of the town had not the same need of temptations, that they had enough bad in themselves, while the religious were doing good despite all the traps which the Devil could lay for them.
   The first temptation, my dear brethren, which the devil tries on anyone who has begun to serve God better is in the matter of human respect. He will no longer dare to be seen around; he will hide himself from those with whom heretofore he had been mixing and pleasure seeking. If he should be told that he has changed a lot, he will be ashamed of it! What people are going to say about him is continually in his mind, to the extent that he no longer has enough courage to do good before other people. If the devil cannot get him back through human respect, he will induce an extraordinary fear to possess him that his confessions are not good, that his confessor does not understand him, that whatever he does will be all in vain, that he will be damned just the same, that he will achieve the same result in the end by letting everything slide as by continuing to fight, because the occasions of sin will prove too many for him.
   Why is it, my dear brethren, that when someone gives no thought at all to saving his soul, when he is living in sin, he is not tempted in the slightest, but that as soon as he wants to change his life, in other words, as soon as the desire to give his life to God comes to him, all Hell falls upon him?
   Listen to what Saint Augustine has to say: 'Look at the way,' he tells us, 'in which the devil behaves towards the sinner. He acts like a jailer who has a great many prisoners locked up in his prison but who, because he has the key in his pocket, is quite happy to leave them, secure in the knowledge that they cannot get out. This is his way of dealing with the sinner who does not consider the possibility of leaving his sin behind. He does not go to the trouble of tempting him. He looks upon this as time wasted because not only is the sinner not thinking of leaving him, but the devil does not desire to multiply his chains. It would be pointless, therefore, to tempt him. He allows him to live in peace, if, indeed, it is possible to live in peace when one is in sin. He hides his state from the sinner as much as is possible until death, when he then tries to paint a picture of his life so terrifying as to plunge him into despair.
   'But with anyone who has made up his mind to change his life, to give himself up to God, that is another thing altogether.'

  While Saint Augustine lived in sin and evil, he was not aware of anything by which he was tempted. He believed himself to be at peace, as he tells us himself. But from the moment that he desired to turn his back upon the devil, he had to struggle with him, even to the point of losing his breath in the fight. And that lasted for five years. He wept the most bitter of tears and employed the most austere of penances: 'I argued with him,' he says, 'in my chains. One day I thought myself victorious, the next I was prostrate on the earth again. This cruel and stubborn war went on for five years. However, God gave me the grace to be victorious over my enemy.'
You may see, too, the struggle which Saint Jerome endured when he desired to give himself to God and when he had the thought of visiting the Holy Land. When he was in Rome, he conceived a new desire to work for his salvation. Leaving Rome, he buried himself in a fearsome desert to give himself over to everything with which his love of God could inspire him. Then the devil, who foresaw how greatly his conversion would affect others, seemed to burst with fury and despair. There was not a single temptation that he spared him. I do not believe that there is any saint who was as strongly tempted as he. This is how he wrote to one of his friends:
    'My dear friend, I wish to confide in you about my affliction and the state to which the devil seeks to reduce me. How many times in this vast solitude, which the heat of the sun makes insupportable, how many times the pleasures of Rome have come to assail me! The sorrow and the bitterness with which my soul is filled cause me, night and day, to shed floods of tears. I proceed to hide myself in the most isolated places to struggle with my temptations and there to weep for my sins. My body is all disfigured and covered with a rough hair shirt. I have no other bed than the naked ground and my only food is coarse roots and water, even in my illnesses. In spite of all these rigors, my body still experiences thoughts of the squalid pleasures with which Rome is poisoned; my spirit finds itself in the midst of those pleasant companionships in which I so greatly offended God. In this desert to which I have condemned myself to avoid Hell, among these somber rocks, where I have no other companions than the scorpions and the wild beasts, my spirit still burns my body, already dead before myself, with an impure fire; the Devil still dares to offer it pleasures to taste. I behold myself so humiliated by these temptations, the very thought of which makes me die with horror, and not knowing what further austerities I should exert upon my body to attach it to God, that I throw myself on the ground at the foot of my crucifix, bathing it with my tears, and when I can weep no more I pick up stones and beat my breast with them until the blood comes out of my mouth, begging for mercy until the Lord takes pity upon me. Is there anyone who can understand the misery of my state, desiring so ardently to please God and to love Him alone? Yet I see myself constantly prone to offend Him. What sorrow this is for me! Help me, my dear friend, by the aid of your prayers, so that I may be stronger in repelling the devil, who has sworn my eternal damnation.'
   These, my dear brethren, are the struggles to which God permits his great saints to be exposed. Alas, how we are to be pitied if we are not fiercely harried by the devil!  According to all appearances, we are the friends of the devil: he lets us live in a false peace, he lulls us to sleep under the pretense that we have said some good prayers, given some alms, that we have done less harm than others. According to our standard, my dear brethren, if you were to ask, for instance, this pillar of the cabaret if the devil tempted him, he would answer quite simply that nothing was bothering him at all. Ask this young girl, this daughter of vanity, what her struggles are like, and she will tell you laughingly that she has none at all, that she does not even know what it is to be tempted.
   There you see, my dear brethren, the most terrifying temptation of all, which is not to be tempted.
   There you see the state of those whom the devil is preserving for Hell. If I dared, I would tell you that he takes good care not to tempt or torment such people about their past lives, lest their eyes be opened to their sins.
   The greatest of all evils is not to be tempted because there are then grounds for believing that the devil looks upon us as his property and that he is only awaiting our deaths to drag us into Hell.   Nothing could be easier to understand.
  
Just consider the Christian who is trying, even in a small way, to save his soul. Everything around him inclines him to evil; he can hardly lift his eyes without being tempted, in spite of all his prayers and penances. And yet a hardened sinner, who for the past twenty years has been wallowing in sin, will tell you that he is not tempted! So much the worse, my friend, so much the worse! That is precisely what should make you tremble--that you do not know what temptations are. For to say that you are not tempted is like saying the devil no longer exists or that he has lost all his rage against Christian souls.
  
'If you have no temptations,' Saint Gregory tells us, 'it is because the devils are your friends, your leaders, and your shepherds. And by allowing you to pass your poor life tranquilly, to the end of your days, they will drag you down into the depths.'
   Saint Augustine tells us that the greatest temptation is not to have temptations because this means that one is a person who has been rejected, abandoned by God, and left entirely in the grip of one's own passions.

In art, John Vianney is depicted as a little old priest in a black cassock, standing with folded hands and his head tilted to one side, smiling. His emblem is so indistinct that he can really only be identified by his face, which is similar in type to that of Saint Bernardino of Siena (Roeder).

1869 St John Vianney
   The beauty of holiness will not be gainsaid, and from time to time some more than usually resplendent example forces the admiration of the whole world. Such were The Little Flower and The holy Curé of Ars. And of these two the popularity of M. Vianney is the more remarkable, because the halo of sentimentality, with which undisciplined devotees or unscrupulous exploiters can so easily surround Seur Thérése, is far less easily fitted to his head. His face alone is a difficulty, for little can be done by way of getting superficial appeal out of a man whose exterior appearance is that of a sanctified Voltaire. And the life of a country curé in France is no less, even if no more, unfamiliar to the average Englishman or American than the inside of a Carmelite convent.
  The world into which John Mary Baptiste Vianney was born, at Dardilly, near Lyons, on May 8, 1786, was not an undisturbed one. When he was three the Revolution began and two years later Dardilly found itself saddled with a
constitutional priest, so the little John and his parents had to assist in secret at the Mass of any fugitive loyal priest who came to the neighbourhood.
   While the Terror was going on, no less at Lyons than at Paris and elsewhere, he was learning to be a herd-boy, shepherding the cattle and sheep of Matthew Vianney's farm in the meadows on either side of the little river Planches. He was a quiet, well-behaved and religious child, who urged his companions to be good and would always rather
play at church than at games, though he had skill at quoits, which they played for sous.
   He made his first communion, in secret, when he was thirteen, and very shortly after Mass could be offered again in public at Dardilly.  Five years later he broached to his father his project of becoming a priest.  But the good man was unwilling; he could not afford to educate his son, having already had to provide for other members of the family, and could not spare him from the work of the farm, and it was not till he was twenty that John Mary could get permission to leave home for the neighbouring village of Ecully, where the Abbé BaIley had established a
presbytery-school.
  His studies were a source of great trouble to him; he had little natural aptitude and his only schooling had been a brief period at the village school opened at Dardilly when he was nine.  Latin above all he found such difficulty in mastering that for a time he and his teacher were discouraged. In the summer of 1806 he made a pilgrimage on foot, over sixty miles and begging his food and shelter on the way, to the shrine of St John Francis Regis at La Louvesc, to implore God's assistance in this unforeseen obstacle. On his return he found his studies no easier, but the deadly disease of discouragement was gone. He was further strengthened by the sacrament of confirmation the following year.  On this occasion he took the name of Baptist and this grace came at the right moment, for another and very serious trial was at hand.  Through his name not having been entered on the roll of exempt ecclesiastical students, John Mary Vianney was conscripted for the army. In vain M. Bailey tried to get the matter put right, in vain Matthew Vianney tried to get a substitute for his son; he had to report at the depot in Lyons on October 26, 1809. Two days later he was taken ill and sent to hospital, and his draft for the army in Spain left without hint. On January 5, being barely convalescent, he was ordered to report at Roanne for another draft on the morrow, and, having gone into a church to pray, arrived only after it had gone.  However, he was given his movement-order and set out to catch up the draft at Renaison, having still no military acoutrements but his knapsack (it carried the saint's halo rather than the marshal's baton). John made but poor progress and while he was resting at the approach to the mountains of Le Forez a stranger suddenly appeared, picked up the knapsack, and peremptorily ordered him to follow; he was too tired to do aught but obey, and presently found himself in a hut near the remote mountain village of La Noes. He now learned that the stranger was a deserter from the army, and that many more such were hiding in the woods and hills around.  ohn did not know what to do; he saw at once that his situation was compromising, and after a few days reported himself to the mayor of the commune. M. Fayot was an humane official and a sensible man; he pointed out to John that he was already technically a deserter, and that of two evils the lesser was to remain in refuge where he was; and found him a lodging in the house of his own cousin. His hiding-place was in a stable under a hay-loft.  For fourteen months John Mary (known as Jerome Vincent) was at La Noës, persevering with his Latin, teaching the children of his hosts and working on their farm, and earning their love and respect; several times he was nearly taken by gendarmes, once feeling the point of a sword between his ribs as it was thrust about in the hay of the loft. In March 1810 the emperor, on the occasion of his marriage with the Archduchess Marie-Louise, had proclaimed an amnesty for all defaulters, and early in the following year, on his brother volunteering to join up before his time as a substitute, John Mary was able to return home, a free man.
In 1811 he received the tonsure and at the end of the following year was sent for a year's philosophy to the petit séminaire at Verrières.  His career there was anything but distinguished, but he plodded on humbly and doggedly, and in the autumn of 1813 went to the grand séminaire at Lyons. Here all the instruction and studies were in Latin and, although the authorities recognized his quality and made special provision and allowances for him, John Mary made no headway at all.  At the end of the first term he left the seminary to be coached privately by M. Bailey at Ecully, and after three months presented himself for examination. In his viva he lost his head and broke down; the examiners could not accept him for ordination but recommended him to try another diocese.  M. Bailey went off at once to see the Abbé Bochard, one of the examiners, and he agreed to come with the rector of the seminary and interview Vianney privately. After this interview, which was satisfactory, they went to put the case of “the most unlearned but the most devout seminarian in Lyons before the vicar general, who was governing the diocese in the archbishop's absence.  M. Courbon asked one question: Is M. Vianney good ? He is a model of goodness, was the reply. Very well. Then let him be ordained. The grace of God will do the rest. On July 2, 1814, John Mary Vianney received the minor orders and subdiaconate, and returned to Ecuily to continue his studies with M. Bailey. In June 1815 he received the diaconate (five days after the battle of Waterloo), and on August 12 the priesthood. He offered his first Mass the following day, and was appointed curate to M. Bailey, to whose clear-sightedness and perseverance is due, under God, the fact that St John Mary Vianney ever attained to the priesthood.
The Church wants not only learned priests but, even more, holy ones, the vicar general of Lyons had said at his ordination, and Mgr Simon, Bishop of Grenoble, had seen in the Abbé Vianney a good priest. The things that a priest must know he did know: but not necessarily from text-books. Moral theology, for example. When M. Bochard cross-examined him on difficult cases, his replies were explicit and accurate: for the Abbé Vianney was a saint and he had common sense; and moral casuistry is sanctified common sense.  A few months after his appointment to Ecully he received his faculties to hear confessions; his first penitent was his own rector, and very soon the run on his confessional was noticeable. Later on the hearing of confessions was to take up three-quarters of his time. Quietly, rector and curate began to have a holy competition in austerity, rather after the manner of monks in the Thebaid; the curé denounced his vicaire to the vicar general for exceeding all bounds, while M. Vianney retorted by accusing the rector of excessive mortifications. M. Courbon laughed, and said the people of Ecully were lucky to have two such priests to do penance for them. In 1817, to the infinite sorrow of his pupil, M. Bailey died, and early in the following year the Abbé Vianney was made parish-priest of Arsen-Dombes, a remote and neglected place of 230 souls, in every sense of the word  a hole.
There has been a good deal of exaggeration of the debased spiritual state of Ars at the time when M. Vianney took it in hand (just as there has been of the ignorance of the good man himself).  It seems to have been in just about the same state as many English villages in the third quarter of the twentieth century: little definite immorality and malicious wickedness, but little true religion and love of God; the greatest scandal at Ars was probably the deadly scandal of ordinary life. For the rest, there were several exemplary Christian families, including that of the mayor, and the lady of the manor, Mlle M. A. C. Gamier des Garets (Mlle d'Ars), was sincerely, if rather fussily, pious. The new curé (he was really at that time only a chaplain to a sort of chapel-of-ease) not only continued but redoubled his austerities, especially the use of a cruel discipline, and for the first six years of his incumbency lived on practically nothing but potatoes, seeking to make himself a sacrifice for the shortcomings of his feeble flock. The evil spirits of impurity and drunkenness and dishonesty and indifference are not cast out but by prayer and fasting, and if the people of Ars would not pray and fast for themselves, well, then their pastor must do so for them.
When he had personally visited every household under his care and provided a regular catechism-class for the children, he set to work in earnest to make a real conversion of Ars, by personal intercourse, in the confessional, and by laboriously and carefully prepared sermons which he delivered naturally, but not quietly.{Did M. le Curé preach long sermons? asked Mgr Convert of gaffer Dremieux. Yes, long ones, and always on Hell...There are some who say there is no Hell. Ah well! He believed in it.}

The people were too sunk in religious indifference and material preoccupations to be amenable to quietness and moderation; moreover, in those days Jansenisin was still something more than a memory and had left its backwash in the methodà and teaching of orthodox but rigorist directors and theologians. Consequently it is not  surprising to find that the Curé of Ars was very strict indeed. There were too many taverns in the village, where money was wasted, drunkenness encouraged, evil talk not reprehended: first the two near the church were shut, for lack of enough business; then two more; seven new ones were opened in succession, but each one had to close. He waged relentless war against blasphemy, profanity and obscenity, and was not afraid to utter from the pulpit the words and expressions that offended God, so there should be no mistake as to what he was talking about.
For eight years and more he struggled for a proper observance of Sunday: not merely to get everybody to Mass and Vespers, but to abolish work which at times was done on Sunday without a shadow of necessity. Above all he set his face against dancing, maintaining that it was of necessity an occasion of sin to those who took part, and even to those who only looked on; to those who took part in it, whether publicly or privately, he was merciless: they must give it up entirely and keep to their resolution, or absolution was refused them. M. le Curé waged this battle, and the associated engagement of modesty in clothes, for twenty-five years; but he won in the end. {Over the arch of the chapel of St John the Baptist in the parish-church he had painted the words:
Sa tete fut le prix d'une danse! The Head was the price of a dance!}
In 1821 the district of Ars was made a succursal parish, and in 1823 it became part of the revived diocese of Belley. This was an occasion for slanderous attacks on M. Vianney (whose reforming zeal naturally made enemies for him) and his new bishop. Mgr Devie, sent the dean to enquire what it was all about; but the bishop soon learned to have confidence in the Curé of Ars and later offered him an important parish elsewhere which he refused only after a good deal of hesitation.  In the meanwhile the reputation of his holiness and achievements was also becoming known, and he was asked to give several parochial missions, when his confessional was always besieged. In 1824 there was opened at Ars by the enterprise of the curé a free school for girls, run by Catherine Lassagne and Benedicta Lardet, two young women of the village whom he had sent away to a convent to be trained.  From this school sprang, some three years later, the famous institution of La Providence, a shelter for orphans and other homeless or deserted children, neither babies on the one hand nor adolescent girls on the other being turned away.
Not a halfpenny was accepted from the inmates, even from girls who could pay, and neither Mlle Lassagne, Mlle Lardet, nor any other helper received any salary; it was a charity, run on alms, and its final end the saving of souls. At times there were sixty people thus being provided for, and the curé was hard put to it to support such a family. On one occasion the loft was found full of wheat under circumstances that clearly indicate a miracle, and on another occasion the cook testified to making ten 20 lb. loaves from a few pounds of flour, at the prayer of M. Vianney. Such works as these slowly and surely brought about a change of heart among his parishioners, and visitors noticed and commented on their orderly appearance and good behaviour; and it was the personal influence and example of the man himself that moved them in the first place: "Our curé is a saint and we must obey him." "We are no better than other people, but we live close to a saint" Some of them doubtless never got beyond that, to
It is the will of God, we must obey Him, still they persevered obeying the curé precisely because he was a good man.
And he, while his people were slowly and painfully coming back to a Christian life, was being the object of manifestations which would appear to be nothing less than a persecution by the Devil himself, as M. Vianney believed them to be.
    There  is in history no other record of seemingly diabolical
infestation so long, so varied, and so cogent; the phenomena ranged from noises and voices to personal violence and the unexplained burning of the saint's bed, and continued intermittently from 1824 for over thirty years, both by day and night, sometimes under conditions in which they were observed by others beside the sufferer. It is not an exaggeration to say he took it as all part of the day's work. You must get very frightened, the Abbé Toccanier said to him. One gets used to everything, my friend, was the reply. The grappin and I are almost mates.
    Not only was the Curé of Ars subjected to supernatural persecution but he also suffered from attacks which, were it not for the infected state of human nature, would be labelled unnatural. Some of the less worthy and less discerning among his brother priests, remembering only his lack of education and formal training, listening perhaps to idle gossip, certainly unable to recognize sanctity when they saw it, criticized his ill-judged zeal, his ambition, his presumption; he was even a quack and an impostor.
Poor little Curé of Ars! he commented, What don't they make him do and say! They are preaching on him now and no longer on the gospel. But they did not stop at verbal criticism and sacristy tittle-tattle: they delated him to the bishop of Belley. The curé refused to take any action, nor after enquiry did Mgr Devie; but having heard a priest apply the adjective mad to M. Vianney, he referred to it before his clergy assembled at their annual retreat and added, Gentlemen, I wish that all my clergy had a small grain of the same madness.
Another of the astonishing circumstances of the Abbé Vianney's incumbency of Ars was its becoming a place of pilgrimage even during his lifetime: and that not to the shrine of his dear little St Philomena”, which he had set up, but to himself. No doubt curiosity had its share in starting it, for miracles of loaves and visits of the Devil cannot be kept quiet, but it gathered strength and volume and continued because people wanted the spiritual direction of the village priest in his confessional. This steady stream of penitents, the pilgrimage, was what chiefly upset his myopic clerical critics: some of them even forbade their people to go to him.
People from afar began to consult him so early as 1827 from 1830 to 1845 the daily visitors averaged over three hundred; at Lyons a special booking-office was opened for Ars, and 8-day return tickets issued-one could hardly hope to get a word with the curé in less. For him this meant not less than eleven or twelve hours every day in the confessional in winter, and anything up to sixteen in summer; nor was he content with that: for the last fifteen years of his life he gave an instruction every day in the church at eleven o'clock. Simple discourses, unprepared-he had no chance to prepare them-which went to the hearts of the most learned and the most hardened. Rich and poor, learned and simple, good and bad, lay and cleric, bishops, priests, religious, all came to Ars, to kneel in the confessional and sit before the
catechism-stall. M. Vianney did not give long instructions and directions to his penitents; a few words, a sentence even, but it had the authority of holiness and not infrequently was accompanied by supernatural knowledge of the penitent's life: how many times, for example, he was able to correct the number of years since a penitent had last been to confession, or remind him of a sin which he had forgotten. `Love your clergy very much'“”, was all he said to me, said the Archbishop of Auch; Love the good God very much, to the superior general of a teaching institute; What a pity What a pity! he would murmur at each accusation, and weep at the tale of sin. This people came hundreds of miles and waited sometimes twelve hours on end, or had to attend in the church day after day, before they could be heard; and by these simple means numberless conversions were made.
At first the rigour with which the curé treated his own flock was extended to outsiders; but with advancing years came greater experience of the needs and capabilities of souls and deeper insight into moral theology, and pity, kindness and tenderness modified his severity. He discouraged people from encumbering themselves with a multiplicity of little devotions. The rosary, the Angelus, ejaculatory prayer, above all, the Church's liturgy, these he recommended. Private prayer, he would say, is like straw scattered here and there: if you set it on fire it makes a lot of little flames. But gather these straws into a bundle and light them, and you get a mighty fire, rising like a column into the sky: public prayer is like that.  There were no affected attitudes, no `ohs ` and 'ahs'  no sighs and transports about M. Vianney; when most interiorly moved he simply smiled-or wept.

Reference has been made to his power of reading souls, and his knowledge of the hidden past and of future events was no less remarkable than his more formal miracles. None of these things can be brought within the charge of uselessness, a criticism so easily and so thoughtlessly made at the marvels attributed to some of the saints; but the Abbé Vianney's prophecies did not relate to public affairs but to the lives of individuals and were directed to their personal help and consolation.
On one occasion he made the interesting admission that hidden things seemed to come to him by way of memory. He told the Abbé Toccanier that,
I once said to a certain woman, `So it is you who have left your husband in hospital and who refuse to join him.'  `How do you know that?` she asked, `I've not mentioned it to a soul.' I was more surprised than she was; I imagined that she had already told me the whole story.
The Baroness de Lacomblé, a widow, was troubled by the determination of her eighteen-year-old son to marry a girl of fifteen. She determined to consult the Curé of Ars, whom she had never met. When she went into the church it was crowded to the doors and she despaired of ever getting a word with him; suddenly he came out of his confessional, went straight up to her and whispered, Let them marry. They will be very happy!
A servant-girl was warned by him that a great peril awaited her in Lyons; a few days later the memory of this warning enabled her to escape from the hands of a murderer of girls, at whose trial she subsequently gave evidence.
To Mgr Ullathorne, Bishop of Birmingham, he in 1854 said with great conviction,
I believe that the Church in England will recover her former greatness.
He stopped a strange girl in his church one day. `Is it you who have written to me, my child.? Yes, M. l'abbé. `Very well. You must not worry. You will enter the convent all right. You will hear from the reverend mother in a few days.
And it was so:  nor had he communicated with the abbess concerned.
Mile Henry, a shopkeeper at Chalon-sur-Saône, came to ask M. Vianney to pray for the cure of her sick aunt. He told her to go back home at once, for
while you are here you are being imposed on! She returned accordingly and found her assistant making free with the stock; and the aunt recovered.
The numerous miracles of bodily healing reported of the Curé of Ars were mostly attributed by him to the intercession of St Philomena, and his first demand of those that sought them was fervour of faith: something of the faith by which he himself was enabled miraculously to provide money and goods when one or other of his charities was in straits. But the schoolmaster of Ars, echoing the well-known words about St Bernard, saw where was the greatest miracle of all: The most difficult, extraordinary and amazing work that the Curé did was his own life.  And every day after the noon Angelus, when he left the church to go to the presbytery to eat the food brought in from La Providence, there was a manifestation of recognition, love and respect for his goodness. It sometimes took him over twenty minutes to cross that dozen yards. The sick in soul and body knelt to ask his blessing and his prayers: they seized his hands, they tore pieces from his cassock. It was one of his hardest mortifications:  What misguided devotion!  he exclaimed at it.
It is not surprising that as time went on M. Vianney longed more and more for solitude and quiet. But there is more to it than that: every one of his forty-one years at Ars was spent there against his own will; all the time he had to fight his personal predilection for the life of a Carthusian or Cistercian.  He left the village three times,
ran away in fact, and in 1843, after a grave illness, it needed the diplomacy of the bishop and of M. des Garets to get him to return.
In 1852 Mgr Chalandon, Bishop of Belley, made M. Vianney an honorary canon of the chapter; he was invested almost by force and never again put on his mozzetta, which indeed he sold for 50 francs which he required for some charitable purpose.
Three years later well-meaning but insensitive officials obtained for him further recognition in the form of a civil decoration: he was made a knight of the Imperial Order of the Legion of Honour. But with this he positively refused to be invested, and no persuasion could induce him to have the imperial cross pinned to his cassock, even for a moment.
What if, when death comes, I were to appear with these toys and God were to say to me: `Begone! You have had your reward!` I can't think why the emperor has sent it to me, he added, unless it is because I was once a deserter!
In 1853 M. Vianney made his last attempt at flight from Ars. It is a moving story, of the old and worn-out priest cajoled back to his presbytery on behalf of the numerous poor sinners who were unable to do without him.
He imagined he was doing the will of God by going away, said Catherine Lassagne in innocent surprise. And it may well have been the will of God that his servant should now have some few years of repose and peace, to practise that contemplation which had already borne fruit in some of the highest experiences of ecstasy and vision.
It is not impossible that Bishop Chalandon should have been mistaken in not allowing him to resign his cure. But such a possibility was not one which M. Vianney would entertain; he devoted himself to his ministry more assiduously than ever. In year 1858-1859 over 100,000 pilgrims visited Ars; the curé was now a very old man of seventy-three, and the strain was too much. On July 18 he knew the end was at hand, and on the 29th he lay down on his bed for the last time:
It is my poor end. You must send for M. le curé of Jassans, he said.
Even now he sent for several souls to kneel by his bed and finish their confessions. As the news spread people flocked into Ars from all sides: twenty priests accompanied the Abbé Beau when he brought the last sacraments from the church.
It is sad to receive holy communion for the last time, murmured the dying priest. On August 3 the Bishop of Belley arrived in haste, and at two o'clock in the morning of the 4th, amid a storm of thunder and lightning, the earthly life of the Curé of Ars came to a gentle end.
   St John Mary Baptist Vianney was canonized by Pius XI in 1925. 
The same pope made him principal patron-saint of the parochial clergy throughout the world in 1929. 
Mgr Abbe Francis Trochu's, Life of the Curé d'Ars (1928) has been founded upon a careful study of the evidence submitted in the process of beatification and canonization, and is likely for a long time to hold the field. It clears up a number of points left obscure by such earlier biographers as the Abbé Monnin (1899) and Joseph Vianney (1911), and both in its bibliographical introduction and in the footnotes it provides full details concerning the sources which have been utilized. There is an English translation by Dom E. Graf (O.S.B.) pf St. Marys Abbey, Buckfast -- 1953; A volume in Italian of over 800 pages, Ars e il suo curato, by A. M. Zecca (1929), is not so much a biography as an agreeable record of the impressions of a pilgrim visiting Ars. Among slighter sketches that of H. Ghéon, translated by F. J. Sheed, The Secret of the Curé dArs, deserves special commendation. See also Trochu, L'ame du Curé d'Ars (1929), and Autour du Curé d'Ars (1950); and the saint's sermons, edited in 4 volumes by M. A. Delaroche (1925)
1870 St. Anthony Mary Claret archbishop Cuba prophet miracle-worker; performed miraculous cures and had gifts of prophecy
[Antonio Maria Claret y Clara] (Spanish, priest, retreat master, missionary, founder of the Congregation of Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary [commonly called Claretians] and of the Teaching Sisters of Mary Immaculate, archbishop in Cuba, confessor to queen of Spain, prophet and miracle-worker, preacher of 10,000 sermons, author of 200 works, spread devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady, d. 1870 in a French Cistercian monastery at age 63)

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

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

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

As the son of a weaver, Antony became a weaver himself and in his free time he learned Latin and printing. At the age of 22 he entered the seminary at Vich, Catalonia, Spain, and was ordained in 1835. After a few years he began to entertain the idea of a Carthusian vocation but it seemed beyond his strength, so he travelled to Rome to join the Jesuits with the idea of becoming a foreign missionary. Ill health, however, caused him to leave the Jesuit novitiate and he returned to pastoral work at Sallent in 1837. He spent the next decade preaching parochial missions and retreats throughout Catalonia.
During this time he helped Blessed Joachima de Mas to establish the Carmelites of Charity.
He went to the Canary Islands and after 15 months there (1848-49) with Bishop Codina, Anthony returned to Vich. His evangelical zeal inspired other priests to join in the same work, so in 1849 he founded the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (the Claretians), dedicated to preaching missions. The Claretians have spread far beyond Spain to the Americas and beyond.
In 1850, Queen Isabella II, appointed him archbishop of Santiago, Cuba. The people of this diocese were in a shocking state, and Claret made bitter enemies in his efforts to reform the see--some of whom made threats on his life. In fact, he was wounded in an assassination attempt against his life at Holguin in 1856, by a man angered that his mistress was won back to an honest life.

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

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

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

He is the patron saint of weavers; and of savings and savings banks, a result of his opening savings banks in Santiago in an effort to help the poor (White).
1879 St. Bernadette Mary appeared to Bernadette 18 times and spoke with her above a rose bush in a grotto called Massabielle dressed in blue and white with a rosary of ivory and gold
Nivérnis, in Gállia, sanctæ Maríæ-Bernárdæ Soubirous, Vírginis, e Congregatióne Sorórum a Caritáte et Institutióne Christiána, Lapúrdi, adhuc juvénculæ, iterátis apparitiónibus Immaculátæ Dei Genitrícis Maríæ recreátæ; quam Pius Papa Undécimus, inter sanctas Vírgines adscrípsit.
    In the city of Nevers in France, St. Mary Bernard Soubirous of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity, also called the Christian Institute.  She was favoured with frequent apparitions and conversations at Lourdes with Mary Immaculate, the Mother of God.  In 1933 her name was added to the roll of holy virgins by Pope Pius XI.
St. Bernadette patron saint of shepherds
1879 ST BERNADETTE, VIRGIN
THE story of the appearings of our Blessed Lady at Lourdes has already been told here in connection with the feast now kept throughout the Western church on February II. But on the anniversary of the death of the humble intermediary through whom the message of Heaven was communicated to the world, a few words must be said regarding this chosen soul, whose merits were known to God, but hidden for the most part from the eyes of her fellow men.
She was born on January 7, 1844, the oldest of a family of six, and though christened Marie Bernarde, was known to the family and neighbours by the pet name of Bernadette. The father was by trade a miller, and in 1844 he rented a mill of his own, but thrift and efficiency were not the distinguishing virtues of either Francis Soubirous or his wife, Louise Casterot, then still in her teens and eighteen years younger than husband. Bernadette was always a most delicate girl, afflicted with asthma and her other ailments, and the fact that she was one of the sufferers in the cholera epidemic of 1854 cannot have helped to make her more robust.
Meanwhile the family was gradually sinking into dire poverty, which probably had for one result that Bernadette’s education, even in a measure her religious education, was sadly neglected. At the date of the first apparition (February 11, 1858) the family were living in the dark airless basement of a dilapidated building in the rue des Petits Fosses. The child herself, though fourteen years of age, had not yet made her first communion and was regarded as a very dull pupil, but she was notably good, obedient and kind to her younger brothers and sisters, in spite of the fact that she was continually ailing.
The apparitions and the popular excitement which accompanied them did eventually have some effect in relieving the destitution of the Soubirous family, for people interested themselves to find work for the father but for Bernadette, apart from the spiritual consolation of these visions, which had come to an end in less than a couple of months, they left a heavy load of embarrassment from the ceaseless and indiscreet questionings which allowed her no peace. People wanted to cross-examine her about the three secrets our Lady had imparted, they wanted to press money upon her, they wanted to interview her at all sorts of hours, they wanted her to bless them or their sick folk, they even tried to cut pieces from her dress.
It was a strange form of ordeal, but for a sensitive child, and Bernadette even at eighteen was no more than a child, it was in truth a martyrdom. As a measure of protection, she was after a while taken to reside with the nuns at the hospice (1861— 1866), but even there there were often visitors who could not be denied. Sister Victorine, to whose charge she was specially confided, has recorded how “she nearly always shrank from the task of replying to the questions of those who came to see her, if only on account of the fatigue which these conversations entailed. Every effort of this sort told upon her chest and was liable to bring on a bad attack of asthma. When I took her down to the parlour, I used to see her come to a standstill near the door, and the tears, big heavy drops, welled up into her eyes— ‘Come’, I would say to her, ‘be brave’. Then she wiped away the tears, came into the room, bade a pleasant welcome to her visitors and answered everything she was asked, without a hint of impatience at their importunate questions or showing irritation when her word was doubted.”
Earlier than this, in 1859, the year after the apparitions, we have a singularly interesting account left by an English non-Catholic visitor of the impression Bernadette made upon people who had come prepared to find nothing but hysteria or imposture. The account is taken from a contemporary entry in a diary. The writer says

I ought before this to have spoken more particularly of the little girl herself. She was a pretty-looking child, 14 years of age [she was in reality 15-1/2], with large, dreamy eyes, and a quiet, sedate demeanour, which added some years to her appearance and seemed altogether unnatural in so small a figure. She welcomed us with the air of one long accustomed to receive strangers, and bid us follow her into an upper room of the humble cottage attached to her father’s mill. Two bright, happy little urchins—her brothers—were playing about and seemed no way abashed at our entrance. . . . The child offered us seats, while she herself stood by the window and answered briefly the questions I put to her, but volunteered very few remarks of her own. . . . We offered her a small donation, which she politely refused, nor would she allow us to give anything to her little brothers—and we were assured that neither the parents, nor their child, although very poor, will ever receive anything from strangers. . . . We certainly left her in the conviction that we had been talking with a most amiable little girl, and one superior to her age and station, both in manner and education and whatever may be the true account of the apparition, as far as the girl herself is concerned, we feel quite convinced of the sincerity of her faith in it.

Protestant visitors seem to have shown delicacy and consideration by comparison with some of the Catholic ecclesiastics who came to converse with Bernadette. Here is an example left on record by a certain curé who spent a day at Lourdes in January 1860, and who seemed to think that by his interest in the apparitions he was rendering a service to the poor girl herself and to the Church at large. He summoned the child, though he had been told she was poorly and suffering from a nasty cough, to come to him at his hotel through howling wind and pelting rain, and after cross-questioning her for the best part of two hours about the apparitions, the fountain, and the Blessed Virgin’s three secrets, the interview according to his own volunteered statement ended as follows

“My child, I must have quite worn you out with my questions. Please accept these three louis d’or to remunerate you for your trouble.”—” No, monsieur, I cannot take anything.”
Here Bernadette expressed herself with an energy which showed that I had deeply wounded her self-respect. I tried to press the money upon her, but her silence, eloquent both of the pain she felt and of suppressed indignation, made it clear to me that I could insist no further. So I replaced the coins in my purse, and I went on:
“My child, will you show me the medals you wear in our Lady’s honour?”
—“ They are at home. They took them from me to lay upon some sick people, and they cut the string from which they all hung.”
“Well, will you let me see your rosary?”
Bernadette took out her simple rosary with a medal at the end of it.
“Now will you not let me have this rosary? I will give you the price of it directly.”—“No, monsieur, I have no wish either to give you my rosary, or to sell it to you.”
“Oh, but I should so much like to have some souvenir of you. I have come such a long way to see you. You really ought to let me have your rosary.”
In the end she surrendered it. I clutched this heavenly booty upon which the child’s tears had fallen more than once and which had been the instrument of so many grateful and heartfelt prayers in the presence of Mary herself, for Bernadette had fingered this rosary again and again when the apparition had kept count upon a rosary of her own in the grotto of Massabielle. It seemed to me then, it seems to me now, and it always will seem to me, that in this I possess a treasure of great price.
“Will you permit me, my child, to refund you the cost of the rosary Please accept this small coin.”—“No, monsieur, I will buy myself.”  But even this was not the climax. The curé’s account of the interview continues another with my own money.”
thus:

“My child, will you let me show you my scapular? I wonder if yours is made the same way.”—“No, monsieur, mine is a double one.”
“Show it me.” Bernadette modestly fishes up one end of her scapular, which is, as she said, made with double strings.
“God be praised, my daughter. Now I know a very pious soul who would esteem it such a happiness to possess half your scapular. As you see, it can easily be divided.”—“Oh, but please   —“ As a great favour will you not give me half of it ? There will be plenty left, for you will still have a whole scapular.” “Monsieur, would you be willing to cut in two the rosary I have just given you?”—“No.” “Well, I cannot divide my scapular either.”
I understood that I had to give way and must press the matter no further. I told the child that I would give her my blessing, and she received it, kneeling on both knees, with all the reverence of an angel.

If Bernadette, then sixteen years old, was not tingling with indignation all over, she must already have reached a very high stage of virtue, or of resignation to the peculiar form of trial by which her soul was to be purified. Everything we know of her points to the fact that she was an exceptionally sensitive child. In 1864 she offered herself, under advice, to the sisters of Notre-Dame de Nevers. Attacks of illness postponed her departure from Lourdes, but in 1866 she was allowed to join the novitiate in the mother-house of the order. Separation from her family and from the grotto cost her much, but with her fellow-novices at Nevers she was gay, while remaining still the humble and patient child she had always been. Her ill-health continued, so that within four months of her arrival she received the last sacraments and by dispensation was permitted to take her first vows. She recovered, however, and had strength enough to act as infirmarian and afterwards as sacristan, but the asthma from which she suffered never lost its hold, and before the end came she! suffered grievously from further complications.
Characteristic of Bernadette were her simplicity of a truly child-like kind, her peasant “sanity”, and her self-effacement. She likened herself to a broom “Our Lady used me. They have put me back in my corner. I am happy there, and stop there.”   But even at Nevers she had sometimes to resort to little stratagems to avoid “publicity”. Though her heart was always centred in Lourdes, she had no part in the celebrations connected with the consecration of the basilica in 1876. The abstention seems to have been in large measure her own voluntary choice she preferred to efface herself. But who shall say how much the deprivation cost her? There are few words more pathetic than the cry of Bernadette from her cell at Nevers: “Oh! sije pouvais voir sans être vue.” “Ohl if only I could see without being seen.” The conjecture suggests itself strongly that one of Bernadette’s “secrets” must have been this, that she was never of her own free will to do anything which would attract to herself the notice of other people.
Bernadette Soubirous died on April 16, 1879; she was thirty-five years old. In 1933 she was canonized, and she now appears in the Church’s official records as St Mary Bernarda: but in the hearts and on the lips of the faithful she is always St Bernadette.
Apart from the sworn testimonies of witnesses printed in the process of beatification, the most reliable evidence we possess concerning St Bernadette is probably that collected by Fr L. J. M. Cros in his Histoire de Notre-Dame de Lourdes (3 vols., 1925-1927). Numerous biographies exist in many languages. One of the earliest was that of Henri Lasserre (very unreliable), one of the latest that of Fr H. Petitot, The True Story of St Bernadette (1949). Other widely-read accounts are Mgr Ricard’s La vraie Bernadette (1896), a reply to Emile Zola; Bernadette Soubirous, by Jean Barbet, who wrote largely from local knowledge La confidente de L’Immaculée (1921), by a nun of Nevers (Eng. trans.); and Abbé J. Blazy’s life (Eng. trans., 1926). A very popular novel by Franz Wend, Song of Bernadette (1942), was criticized by Dora Bede Lebbe in The Soul of Bernadette (1947). Other popular biographies are those by F. Parkinson Keyes, Sublime Shepherdess (1940), and Mrs M. C. Blanton, Bernadette of Lourdes (1939). But for a sensitive and reliable summary Fr C. C. Martindale’s C.T.S. booklet cannot be bettered. For further particulars of the interviews with St Bernadette quoted above, see The Month, June 1924, pp. 526—535, and July 1924, pp. 26—36.
On April 16, 1879, Bernadette -- or Sister Marie - Bernard, as she was known within her order -- died in the Sainte Croix (Holy Cross) Infirmary of the Convent of Saint-Gildard. She was thirty-five.
Born into a humble family which little by little fell into extreme poverty, Bernadette had always been a frail child. Quite young, she had already suffered from digestive trouble, then after having just escaped being a victim of the cholera epidemic of 1855, she experienced painful attacks of asthma, and her ill health almost caused her to be cut off for ever from the religious life. When asked by Monsignor Forcade to take Bernadette, Louise Ferrand, the Mother Superior of the Sisters of Nevers, replied: "Monsignor, she will be a pillar of the infirmary".

At least three times during her short life-time, she received the last Sacraments. She was gradually struck by other illnesses as well as asthma: among them, tuberculosis of the lung and a tubercular tumor on her right knee. On Wednesday, April 16, 1879, her pain got much worse. Shortly after eleven she seemed to be almost suffocating and was carried to an armchair, where she sat with her feet on a footstool in front of a blazing fire. She died at about 3.15 in the afternoon.

The civil authorities permitted her body to remain on view to be venerated by the public until Saturday, April 19. Then it was "placed in a double coffin of lead and oak which was sealed in the presence of witnesses who signed a record of the events". Among the witnesses were "inspector of the peace, Devraine, and constables Saget and Moyen".

The nuns of Saint-Gildard, with the support of the bishop of Nevers, applied to the civil authorities for permission to bury Bernadette's body in a small chapel dedicated to Saint Joseph which was within the confines of the convent. The permission was granted on April 25, 1879, and on April 30, the local Prefect pronounced his approval of the choice of the site for burial. Immediately they set to work on preparing the vault. On May 30, 1879, Bernadette's coffin was finally transferred to the crypt of the chapel of Saint Joseph. A very simple ceremony was held to commemorate the event.

Additional Info:
St. Bernadette was born at Lourdes, France. Her parents were very poor and she herself was in poor health. One Thursday, February 11, 1858, when she was sent with her younger sister and a friend to gather firewood, a very beautiful Lady appeared to her above a rose bush in a grotto called Massabielle.
The lovely Lady was dressed in blue and white. She smiled at Bernadette and then made the sign of the cross with a rosary of ivory and gold. Bernadette fell on her knees, took out her own rosary and began to pray the rosary. The beautiful Lady was God's Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. She appeared to Bernadette seventeen other times and spoke with her.
    She told Bernadette that she should pray sinners, do penance and have a chapel built there in her honor. Many people did not believe Bernadette when she spoke of her vision. She had to suffer much. But one day Our Lady told Bernadette to dig in the mud. As she did, a spring of water began to flow. The next day it continued to grow larger and larger. Many miracles happened when people began to use this water. When Bernadette was older, she became a nun. She was always very humble. More than anything else, she desired not to be praised. Once a nun asked her if she had temptations of pride because she was favored by the Blessed Mother. "How can I?" she answered quickly. "The Blessed Virgin chose me only because I was the most ignorant." What humility!

St. Bernadette Soubirous 1879 Famed visionary of Lourdes, baptized Mary Bernard. She was born in Lourdes, France, on January 7, 1844, the daughter of Francis and Louise Soubirous. Bernadette, a severe asthma sufferer, lived in abject poverty. On February 11, 1858, she was granted a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary in a cave on the banks of the Gave River near Lourdes. She was placed in consider able jeopardy when she reported the vision, and crowds gathered when she had futher visits from the Virgin, from February 18 of that year through March 4.The civil authorities tried to frighten Bernadette into recanting her accounts, but she remained faithful to the vision.

On February 25, a spring emerged from the cave and the waters were discovered to be of a miraculous nature, capable of healing the sick and lame. On March 25, Bernadette announced that the vision stated that she was the Immaculate Conception, and that a church should be erected on the site. Many authorities tried to shut down the spring and delay the construction of the chapel, but the influence and fame of the visions reached Empress Eugenie of France, wife of Napoleon Ill, and construction went forward.
Crowds gathered, free of harassment from the anticlerical and antireligious officials. In 1866, Bernadette was sent to the Sisters of Notre Dame in Nevers. There she became a member of the community, and faced some rather harsh treatment from the mistress of novices. This oppression ended when it was discovered that she suffered from a painful, incurable illness. She died in Nevers on April 16,1879, still giving the same account of her visions. Lourdes became one of the major pilgrimage destinations in the world, and the spring has produced 27,000 gallons of water each week since emerging during Bernadette's visions. She was not involved in the building of the shrine, as she remained hidden at Nevers. Bernadette was beatified in 1925 and canonized in 1933 by Pope Pius XI.

 Bernadette Soubirous V (RM) (also known as Mary Bernarda Soubirous)
Born in Lourdes, France, January 7, 1844; died in Nevers, France, on April 16, 1879; canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1933; also honored on February 18 in France.
Marie Bernarde (called Bernadette by family and friends) Soubirous, was the oldest of six children born to the impoverished miller François Soubirous, and his much-younger wife, Louise Casterot. The family lived in the basement of a damp building in the rue des Petits Fossés after her father rented a mill of his own. Bernadette was not a strong child; the dampness of their home and the vestiges of the cholera she contracted in 1854 aggravated the asthma and other ailments from which the young girl suffered.
"I am the Immaculate Conception"
  At age 14, she was considered to be ailing, undersized, of pleasant disposition, sensitive, and a slow student -- even stupid -- but was a kind, helpful and obedient child.
On February 11, 1858, the teenaged Bernadette was collecting scraps of wood on the bank of the River Gave when she was initially granted a vision of the Blessed Virgin, who did not identify herself at first.
For the next six months Bernadette saw a light-enhaloed female form of indescribable beauty, near a cave in the Massabielle cliff. In total, Bernadette had 18 visions of the Virgin Mary at the grotto, which principally concerned prayer and penance.
 
Bernadette showed people the grotto in which the BVM appeared. Most of them mocked her but from February 18 until March 4, Bernadette continued to see and talk with Our Lady every day. The clerical and civic officials who subjected Bernadette to numerous interrogations found her to be veracious and completely disinterested in self-advancement.
People followed Bernadette. The saw the girl fall into ecstasy; they heard her speak, but they saw nothing. The unknown 'lady' said to Bernadette: "I wish to see people here"; "Pray for sinners"; "Tell the priests I wish to have a chapel here"; "Processions are to come here"; "Go, drink from the spring and wash in its water."

In obedience to this last injunction, the saint dug with her hands into the earth of the grotto, and there gushed forth a spring, unknown until that day--February 25, that for years has yielded 27,000 gallons weekly. Cures effected by drinking of the water mobilized pilgrimages of thousands which streamed to the grotto.

By March 4, about 200,000 people were accompanying Bernadette to the site. When Bernadette begged the lady for a name on March 25, she replied three times using the local dialect: "I am the Immaculate Conception--" a name that the girl did not understand because word of the definition had not yet reached the people of Lourdes.
The last vision occurred on July 16, the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
The Church met these beginnings of the Lourdes pilgrimages with great reserve, almost with hostility. In part this was because after the appearances ceased, there was an epidemic of copycat visionaries and morbid religiosity in the district, which increased the reserved attitude of the church authorities towards Bernadette's experiences.

But Lourdes became a symbol. In an age in which the existence of or at all events the possibility of knowing a supra-mundane God was denied, a permanent medical bureau had to be opened in Lourdes, which has collected, with the help of thousands of physicians of all creeds, an immense documentation of professionally attested, inexplicable cures.
 
Bernadette's simplicity and integrity were never questioned. Although the publicity that accompanied her visions had helped her father to find work, Bernadette gained little more than the spiritual consolation of a few months. For some years she suffered greatly from the suspicious disbelief of some and the tactless enthusiasm and insensitive attentions of others; these trials she bore with impressive patience and dignity. She resided with the nuns at the hospice for five years (1861-1866) in order to escape the publicity, but people sought her out even there. 
In 1866 Bernadette joined the Sister of Notre-Dame at Saint Gildard in Nevers, France; she had wished for entrance two years earlier but had been prevented by bad health. She was happy with the nuns. Her health remained fragile, and she was given the last sacraments within four months of her arrival; she was allowed to take her first vows through a special dispensation. She recovered, however, and worked first as an infirmarian and later as a sacristan.
Here she was more sheltered from trying publicity, but not from the 'stuffiness' of the convent superiors nor from the tightening grip of asthma. "I am getting on with my joy," she would say. "What is that?" someone asked. "Being ill," was the reply.

The nuns, disappointed by the simplicity of this child of nature, in whom they had expected to find a second Teresa of Ávila or another Catherine of Siena, made the peasant girl feel bitterly the scant esteem in which they held her; and even her superiors, with the aim of protecting the visionary of Lourdes from the sin of pride, were not sparing in humiliations.


With the excuse that she was a "stupid, good-for-nothing little thing," her profession was continually delayed. God gave to the despised creature, who was punished for 13 years because of her visions, the strength to say: "You see, my story is quite simple. The Virgin made use of me, then I was put into a corner. That is now my place. There I am happy and there I remain."

Thus, she lived out her self-effacing life, dying at the age of 35 as did Saint Benedict Labre. The events of 1858 resulted in Lourdes becoming one of the most important pilgrim shrines in the history of Christendom, ending with the consecration of the basilica in 1876. But Saint Bernadette took no part in these developments; nor was it for her visions that she was canonized, but for the humble simplicity and religious trust that characterized her whole life (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Sandhurst, Schamoni, Trochu, Walsh, White).
Saint Bernadette is the patron saint of shepherds (White).

1889 Bl. Mary Teresa de Soubiran care of working girls orphans; Eucharistic adoration; enjoyed mystical gifts of a high order (Benedictines). 
(1835-1889)
Blessed Mary-Teresa de Soubiran (AC)  Born in Castelnaudary, Carcassonne, France, in 1834; died in 1889; beatified in 1946. Though she was born into nobility, Mary-Teresa wished to become a Carmelite. Her uncle, who was a priest, convinced her to found a béguinage instead in 1855. At that time she took the name Mary-Teresa. In order to attain her apostolic ends more fully, she transformed the béguinage into the Institute of Mary Auxiliatrix with the approval of her bishop. The jealousy of a manipulative sister led to Mary-Teresa being driven from her congregation and deprived of her property. Instead of giving up, in 1868, Mary-Teresa sought refuge in the Institute of Our Lady of Charity in which she was permitted to take vows and in which she persisted until her death. Only then was the truth of her situation revealed. Mary-Teresa also enjoyed mystical gifts of a high order (Benedictines).

Most women saints have been foundresses of religious orders. Their lives were not without drama, but it was not usually the sort of drama that would hit the headlines of the daily papers. The case of Blessed Mary Teresa de Soubiran was an exception. She was the victim of a melodrama that rivaled some of our soap operas. Mary Teresa de Soubiran was born into an old noble family of southern France in 1835. Her family upbringing was rather strictly religious; but that didn't matter to her, for she felt called anyway to the "hidden life" of a contemplative nun.

A priest-uncle, Canon Louis de Soubiran, ignored her preference for the cloistered life, and induced her instead to found a convent of Beguines. Beguines were almost more a pious society than a religious order. Their very liberal rule of life allowed each member to retain her own property, and even the vows of chastity and obedience were temporary rather than once-and-for-all. Mary Teresa accepted this assignment, but during the nine years it lasted she succeeded in making the rule stricter. The members eventually gave up their property, opened an orphanage, and began to devote themselves to nighttime adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. In 1863 Mother Soubiran worked these ideas into a new rule, and in 1864 she and some of her sisters opened a new convent in Toulouse, where they could follow the new lifestyle. By now they had extended their program to include the care of working girls as well as orphans; and Eucharistic adoration was scheduled not just once a month but every night. Mother Teresa called the order the "Society of Mary Auxiliatrix." By 1868 Pope Pius IX had granted it the initial approval.
Soon afterward, the troubles began.  In 1868 Mother Teresa received a novice known as Mother Mary Frances. A capable woman, Mary Frances was chosen assistant mother-general in 1871. Five years older than the foundress, she now argued persuasively in favor of a vast program of expansion. As a result, the community spent beyond its means, and Mother Mary Frances announced that their financial position was close to bankruptcy, and she blamed it on the foundress. The upshot of it was that the sisters voted to expel Mary Teresa from the sisterhood she had established.

Cast out but still desirous of remaining a religious, Mother Mary Teresa asked for admission into another order. The Visitation nuns refused her, as did the Carmelites. Finally she was allowed to take her vows in 1877 as a member of the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd. They engaged in rescue work in Parish. Thus the exiled nun banished from her thoughts - though not from her prayers - the religious community that she had originated.

Meanwhile, Mother Mary Frances had done everything possible to efface the memory of the foundress from the Society of Mary Auxiliatrix. Mary Teresa did not live to see the reaction that set in. She died of tuberculosis on June 7, 1889, completely resigned to her situation, yet foretelling that there would be a change within a year.  By 1890 the Society was so weakened and Mother Frances had proved so domineering and unstable that, faced by the opposition of her nuns, she resigned her office and left the order. After her death in 1921, it was learned that when she entered the community, Mother Frances concealed the fact that she was a married woman and that her husband was still living. That meant that she had never really been a nun, much less a Mother superior, for her vows would have been invalid. Consequently, her actions as superior had also been invalid - including her expulsion of Mother Teresa. And by the same token, Mother Teresa's membership in the order she founded had continued without interruption until her death, since her exclusion had been illegal!
We know that God is just, but it helps every now and then to see Him come to the rescue of those who have patiently suffered injustices. Meanwhile, in Blessed Mary Teresa's case, what a scenario!--Father Robert F. McNamara

1892 ST ANTONY PUCCI a member of a religious order, the Servants of Mary, spent most of his life and achieved holiness as a parish priest and miracles of healing took place at his grave

THIS saint, though a member of a religious order, the Servants of Mary, spent most of his life and achieved holiness as a parish priest. He was born of peasant stock at Poggiole, near Pistoia, in 1819; he was the second of seven children and was christened Eustace. As a boy his kind and gentle disposition was noticeable, as was his industry and willingness to help, especially in his parish church, of which his father was sacristan. Nevertheless, when Eustace’s inclination to become a Servite had been finally confirmed during a pilgrimage to the shrine of our Lady at Bocca, Pucci senior and his wife opposed their son’s resolution (he was their eldest boy), and it was not till he was eighteen, in 1837, that he entered the Servite priory of the Annunciation at Florence. He took the names of Antony Mary.

During his early years as a religious Brother Antony showed those qualities of frankness and of steadiness in face of difficulties that were to distinguish him all his life. Prayer and obedience were his first concern, and after them study. He was ordained in 1843, and less than a year later was appointed curate of St Andrew’s church in Viareggio. In 1847, when still only 28, he became parish priest there. Viareggio is a seaside town—a fishing-port with a ship-building yard, but chiefly a holiday resort—and here Father Antony remained for the rest of his days.

Father Antony’s flock called him “II curatino”, which can’t be translated into English; but it means that he was “a grand little man, who was equally loved and respected. It has been said of him that he was before his time in recognizing the need for organization, and organizations, in a parish. But he never forgot that these things are but means to an end, and that end the life of divine charity; and that the living example of love must come from the father of the flock. He was the father and therefore the servant of all: the sick, the aged, the poor, all in trouble or distress, came to him, and he served them without stint. This selflessness was never more apparent than when Viareggio was visited by two bad epi­demics, in 1854 and in 1866; and one of the fruits of Father Antony’s love for the young was his inauguration of a seaside nursing-home for children—something quite new in those days. To the religious instruction of children he devoted much thought and work, emphasizing that what is done in church and school must be begun and finished in the home. Nor were his concerns bounded by the limits of his parish: in his enthusiasm for the conversion of the heathen Father Antony was one of the pioneers in Italy of the work of the A.P.F. and of the Holy Childhood Society.

St Antony Pucci died on January 14, 1892 at the age of 73; his passing was greeted with an outburst of grief in Viareggio, and miracles of healing took place at his grave. He was beatified in 1952, and canonized in 1962 during the Second Vatican Council.  See the decree of beatification in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, vol. xliv (1952) ; and Un apostolo della Carità (1920), by a Servite.

1894 St. Conrad of Parzham Franciscan mystic lay brother Marian devotions gift of prophecy read people’s hearts
SEE http://www.lngplants.com/Saint_of_the_DayApril21.html#1894_St._Conrad_of_Parzham_Franciscan
Born Carl Birndorfer in Parzham, Bavaria, Germany, on December 22, 1818, he became a Capuchin lay brother in 1849.
For more than thirty years, Conrad served as porter or doorkeeper of the shrine of Our Lady of Altotting, and he was known for his Marian devotions.
Conrad had the gift of prophecy and of reading people’s hearts. He died in Altotting on April 21. He was canonized in 1934.
1893 Fr. Charles of St. Andrew; the saint of Mount Argus; received by Blessed Dominic Barberi, Passionist; Due to his poor mastery of the English language, he was never a formal preacher and he never preached missions. Rather he very successfully dedicated himself to spiritual direction, especially through the sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession). The fame of his virtue was such that great crowds of people would gather at the monastery to seek his blessing. There are also numerous testimonies to the outstanding miraculous cures that he worked to the extent that even during his lifetime he was known as a miracle worker.

Fr. Charles of St. Andrew, known in secular life as John Andrew Houben, was born on 11 December 1821 in Munstergeleen, in the diocese of Ruremond (Holland), the fourth of eleven children. He was baptized the same day with the name John Andrew. He received his First Communion on 26 April 1835 and the sacrament of Confirmation on 28 June in the same year. He began his formal education in Sittard and then in Broeksittard. In 1840 he had to interrupt his studies to enter the military. It was during this latter period that he first heard about the Congregation of the Passion. At the end of his military service he completed his studies and requested to be admitted to the Congregation. He was received by Blessed Dominic Barberi, Passionist, and he entered the novitiate in the Belgium city of Ere, near Tournai on 5 November 1845. In December of that same year he was vested with the Passionist religious Habit and was given the name of Charles of St. Andrew. Having completed the canonical year of novitiate he professed First Vows on 10 December 1850. At the conclusion of his studies he was ordained a priest by Bishop Labis, the ordinary of Tournai.

Immediately he was sent to England where the Passionists had founded three monasteries and it was here that, for a period of time, he undertook the ministry of vice-master of novices in the monastery of Broadway. He also did parochial ministry in the parish of St. Wilfred and neighboring areas until 1856 when he was transferred to the newly established monastery of Mount Argus, on the outskirts of Dublin.

Blessed Charles Houben lived almost the remainder of his life in this retreat and was greatly loved by the Irish people to point that they referred to him ­ a native of Holland ­ as Father Charles of Mount Argus. He was a particularly pious priest. He was outstanding in exercising obedience, in the practice of poverty, humility and simplicity and to an even greater degree, to devotion to the Passion of the Lord.

Due to his poor mastery of the English language, he was never a formal preacher and he never preached missions. Rather he very successfully dedicated himself to spiritual direction, especially through the sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession). The fame of his virtue was such that great crowds of people would gather at the monastery to seek his blessing. There are also numerous testimonies to the outstanding miraculous cures that he worked to the extent that even during his lifetime he was known as a miracle worker.

Precisely because of this fame that extended throughout all of Great Britain as well as in America and Australia that in 1866, in order to afford him some rest, he was transferred to England where he lived for a time in the communities at Broadway, Sutton and London. There he ministered as usual and there too, inside and outside the monastery, he was sought by the faithful, both Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
He returned to Dublin in 1874 where he remained until his death that took place at dawn on 5 January 1893.
During his very solemn funeral that was attended by people from all of Ireland there was definite proof of the popular devotion that had surrounded him throughout his life. In a newspaper of the time we read: "Never before has the memory of any man sparked an explosion of religious sentiment and profound veneration as that which we observed in the presence of the mortal remains of Father Charles." The Superior of the monastery wrote to his family: "The people have already declared him a saint."

The cause of his Beatification and Canonization was introduced on 13 November 1935, and on 16 October 1988, His Holiness John Paul II proceeded with the beatification of the one whom everyone called the saint of Mount Argus.

The miracle that led to his canonization was obtained through his intercession on behalf of Mr. Adolf Dormans of Munstergeleen, the birthplace of the Blessed. The diocesan inquiry super miro was also undertaken in the diocese of Roermond (Holland) from 6 November 2002 until 19 February 2003 at which time the validity of the miracle was recognized by a Decree from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on 7 November 2003.

The medical consulta was convoked on 24 November 2005 and following the investigation of the matter, the members unanimously expressed that the cure of Mr. Dormans of "perforated, gangrenous appendicitis with generalized peritonitis that was multi-organically compromising and included extenuating and prolonged agony" was "not scientifically explainable".

The theologian consultors, in the particular Congress of 21 February 2006 and the Ordinary Congregation of Cardinals and Bishops of 12 December 2006 also gave their unanimous approval of the supernatural aspect of the said healing.

The Decree concerning the miracle was given in the presence of the Holy Father, Benedict XVI on 21 December 2006.

1897 Saint Therese of Lisieux Since her death she has worked innumerable miracles one of the patron saints of the missions the Little Flower of Jesus, born at Alençon, France, 2 January, 1873; died at Lisieux 30 September, 1897.
Generations of Catholics have admired this young saint, called her the "Little Flower", and found in her short life more inspiration for own lives than in volumes by theologians.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Therese continued to worry about how she could achieve holiness in the life she led.
She didn't want to just be good, she wanted to be a saint. She thought there must be a way for people living hidden, little lives like hers. "I have always wanted to become a saint. Unfortunately when I have compared myself with the saints, I have always found that there is the same difference between the saints and me as there is between a mountain whose summit is lost in the clouds and a humble grain of sand trodden underfoot by passers-by. Instead of being discouraged, I told myself: God would not make me wish for something impossible and so, in spite of my littleness, I can aim at being a saint. It is impossible for me to grow bigger, so I put up with myself as I am, with all my countless faults. But I will look for some means of going to heaven by a little way which is very short and very straight, a little way that is quite new.
    " We live in an age of inventions. We need no longer climb laboriously up flights of stairs; in well-to-do houses there are lifts. And I was determined to find a lift to carry me to Jesus, for I was far too small to climb the steep stairs of perfection. So I sought in holy Scripture some idea of what this life I wanted would be, and I read these words: "Whosoever is a little one, come to me." It is your arms, Jesus, that are the lift to carry me to heaven. And so there is no need for me to grow up: I must stay little and become less and less."

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

     When an antagonist was elected prioress, new political suspicions and plottings sprang up. The concern over the Martin sisters perhaps was not exaggerated. In this small convent they now made up one-fifth of the population. Despite this and the fact that Therese was a permanent novice they put her in charge of the other novices.
   Then in 1896, she coughed up blood. She kept working without telling anyone until she became so sick a year later everyone knew it. Worst of all she had lost her joy and confidence and felt she would die young without leaving anything behind. Pauline had already had her writing down her memories for journal and now she wanted her to continue -- so they would have something to circulate on her life after her death.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

   In art, St. Thérèse is a Discalced Carmelite holding a bouquet of roses or with roses at her feet. She is the patron saint of foreign missions (due to her prayers for and correspondence with missions), all works for Russia, France, florists and flower growers (White); aviators, and, in 1944, was named copatroness of France with Saint Joan of Arc (Delaney).
1898 Charbel Makhlouf the Maronite, Hermit After his death many favors and miracles were claimed through his intercession in heaven. (RM)
(also known as Sharbel)
Born at Béqaa-Kafra, Lebanon, in 1828; died at Annaya, 1898; beatified during Vatican Council II in 1965; canonized 1977.

Charbel left the following prayer:
    Father of truth, behold your son who makes atoning sacrifice to you. Accept the offering: he died for me that I might have life.
  
Éditions Magnificat
Joseph Zaroun Makhlouf was the son of a Catholic Lebanese mule driver, who died when Joseph was in early childhood. He was raised by his uncle, who was displeased by the boy's early devotion to prayer and solitude. At the age of 23, Joseph went secretly to the monastery of Our Lady of Mayfug, a house of the Maronite Baladite order. When he was admitted to the order in 1851 he took the religious name Charbel--a 2nd century Antiochean martyr. In due course, Charbel made his solemn vows in 1853 and, in 1859, he was ordained to the priesthood, thus becoming what is known as a 'hieromonk.' This practice is more common in Roman rather than Eastern traditions.

Father Charbel traversed the divide between East and West in other ways as well. For example, one of his favorite books was the Imitation of Christ.

He lived the life of a model monk in the monastery of St. Maro at Annaya (Gibail) for 15 years--singing office in choir and working in the monastic vineyards and olive orchards with strict obedience and personal self-denial. He wished, however, to more closely imitate the Desert Fathers. To do this, in 1875, he took a hermitage near St. Peter and St. Paul.

For the next 23 years he lived an ascetic life. His home consisted of four tiny rooms and a chapel, which were shared with three others. For all these years Charbel spoke to another monk only when it was absolutely necessary. He ate but one meal of vegetables daily. He tasted no meat. He drank no wine, save a drop at the Eucharist. He ate no fruit. He also undertook four annually periods of fasting. He refused to touch money.

Instead of a bed Charbel Makhlouf had used a duvet filled with dead leaves, on top of which he used a goatskin for cover. His pillow was a piece of wood. When anyone came to inhabit the three other rooms, Charbel placed himself under obedience to them. He recited his office at midnight. During these 23 years, more and more people came to ask his counsel, prayers, and blessing.

Thus in the 19th century Father Charbel Makhlouf--along with a few other saintly men--had tried to live again the austere life of the desert fathers of the early church. He belonged to the Christian body known as Maronites, a group which traces its name back to Saint Maro, a friend of Saint John Chrysostom. This group of Christians, most of whom still live in Lebanon, have been united to the Western Church since the 12th century, thus bringing into Western Christendom traditions of great value that might readily have been forgotten. These traditions are ones of enormous self- discipline, and few have exemplified them better than Charbel Makhlouf.

After 23 years of this ascetic life, Charbel had a paralyzing stroke just before the consecration while celebrating the Eucharist in his chapel, and died eight days later on Christmas Eve. After his death many favors and miracles were claimed through his intercession in heaven. Today his tomb is visited by large numbers of people, not only Lebanese Maronites and not only Christians

It was also necessary for the Roman authorities to investigate the phenomenon of a kind of "bloody sweat" that flowed from his body during the period up to 1927 and again in 1950. Some months after his burial, the body was fresh and incorrupt and was placed in a new coffin, where a reddish perspiration flowed and caused the monks to change his clothes twice weekly. In 1927, the patriarch initiated an enquiry and the body was reburied. In 1950, after liquid was observed on the wall of the tomb, the body was found fresh and incorrupt again. Instantaneous cures and miraculous healings were claimed, some of whose beneficiaries are non- Christian. The body was reburied under concrete. This extraordinary phenomenon provides a modern, verifiable account of the types of events frequently claimed for Medieval saints (such as Enero) and frequently disregarded as superstitious (Attwater, Bentley, Farmer).
19th v. Sitka Icon of the Mother of God Located at the Cathedral of St Michael the Archangel in Sitka, Alaska; Miracles have been attributed to her gaze
One of the most revered Icons in North America: the Sitka Mother of God.
   This Icon has been attributed to a famous Iconographer, Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky (1758-1826), a protégé of the Empress Catherine II who was instructed at the Academy of Arts in St Petersburg, Russia. In addition to being a great portrait painter, Borovikovsky also painted many of the Icons for the Cathedral of the Kazan Icon in St Petersburg.
   Painted in the style of the Kazan Mother of God Icon, on canvas, the Sitka Mother of God Icon is 36 x 17½ inches in size. An exceptionally beautiful and detailed riza of silver covers the Icon of the Theotokos and Christ child, and the Image of God the Father blessing from above.
   The Cathedral received the Icon as a gift from the laborers of the Russian American Company in 1850, two years after the Cathedral was completed. Even with their meager wages, these men generously made their contribution to the Church.
   Miracles have been attributed to the Sitka Mother of God Icon over the years. It is believed that the gaze of the eyes of the Theotokos have led to the restored health of those who prayed before the Icon.
   Because of the peaceful gaze of the Theotokos, the Icon has been described as a "pearl of Russian ecclesiastical art of ineffable gentleness, purity and harmony." And "...the most beautiful face of the Mother of God with the Divine Child in her arms is so delicately and artistically done that the more one looks at it the more difficult it is to tear one’s gaze away."
   Originally part of the main Iconostasis at the Cathedral of St Michael the Archangel in Sitka, Alaska, the Icon is now permanently located on the far left side of the Iconostasis in a special place of honor.