Mary Mother of GOD 15 Promises of the Virgin Mary to those who recite the Rosary

 Tuesday  Saints of this Day December  13 Idibus Decémbris    
Et álibi aliórum plurimórum sanctórum Mártyrum et Confessórum, atque sanctárum Vírginum.
And elsewhere in divers places, many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.
Пресвятая Богородице спаси нас! (Santíssima Mãe de Deus, salva-nos!)

Mary Mother of GOD

Nine First Fridays Devotion to the Sacred Heart
From the writings of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

December 13 - Our Lady of the Holy Chapel (Paris, France)
I am the Mother of Ipalnemohuani (V)

Our Bartholomew Family Prayer List

Acts of the Apostles

Nine First Fridays Devotion to the Sacred Heart From the writings of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

How do I start the Five First Saturdays?

Mary Mother of GOD 15 Promises of the Virgin Mary to those who recite the Rosary

Dr. Aste Tonsmann eyes on the tilma book "El Secreto de sus Ojos"
The Lady from Heaven ordered him to go to the top of the little hill, pick the different kinds of flowers growing there, gather them together and bring them back to her. Cuauhtlatoatzin (Juan Diego-'Singing Eagle') followed her orders and came upon an amazing sight: multitudes of magnificent flowers in full bloom were growing there in mid-winter.
He picked and gathered them all and put them in his tilma.
Then he brought them to the Blessed Virgin who took them in her hands and said, "My humblest and dearest son, these different flowers are the proof, the sign to take to the bishop. In my name, tell him that he is to see in these flowers my desire and my will. You are my messenger; in you I place my absolute trust. I strictly order you to open your tilma and show what you are carrying in the presence of the bishop alone. You will tell him everything: how I told you to climb the hill up to the top and pick the flowers.
Tell him everything you saw and admired so that you can convince the parish priest about what needs to be done so that the House of God, which I have asked for will be built."
Excerpt and adapted from La Dame du Ciel (The Lady from Heaven),
by Jean-Pierre Rousselle and Jean Mathiot, Editions Téqui 2004

Pope Benedict XVI to The Catholic Church In China {whole article here }
The saints “a cloud of witnesses over our head”, showing us life of Christian perfection is possible.

Let us understand that God is a physician, and that suffering is a medicine for salvation,
not a punishment for damnation.  -- St Augustine

 1837 Venerable Herman of Alaska, Wonderworker of All America Synaxis of the First Martyrs of the American land.
 110 St Antiochus the island and town of S. Antioco
 284 St. Philip's Fast Nativity  + Martyrs Eustratius, Auxentius, Eugene, Mardarius, and Orestes at Sebaste
 304 St Lucy of Syracuse Virgin-martyr VM (RM)
Ss Eustratius Auxentius Eugene Mardarius Orestes The Holy Martyrs in Armenia (5)
 549 St. Columba of Terryglass Celtic & British
7th v. St. Edburga A Benedictine nun of Lyminge, Kent, England
 669 St. Autbert Bishop of Canbrai-Arras, France A patron of monasteries
 669  St. Jodoc (Josse) Confessor honoree by miracles both before and after his death
8th v.St. Einhildis & Roswinda Benedictine Nuns monastery of Hohenburg, in Alsace

720 St. Otilie, virgin born blind, rejected by Lord Adalric, reared by abesses, baptized at 12 by Saint Erhard of
       Regensburg (Bishop of Bavaria) and immediately gained her sight.

10th v. St Arsenius of Latros many miracles even after death
1077 Saint Arcadius of Vyazma and Novy Torg relics of St Arcadius miracles of healing
11th c. St. Arcadius, monk of Novotorsk
1130 St. Elizabeth Rose abbesse foundress convent of Sainte Marie du Rozoy
13th v. Saint Mardarius, Hermit of the Kiev Caves
1562 Blessed John Marinoni joined Saint Cajetan founder of Theatines
8-10th c. St. Arsenius of Latros
             Venerable Nicodemus of Romania
1659 St. Gabriel, patriarch of Serbia
1671 BD ANTONY GRASSI; he possessed the gift of reading consciences, not merely in generalities but in specific actions of which he could have no natural knowledge; As he grew older his prescience, both of the future and of events at a distance, increased, and were frequently used both for consolation and warning in his dealings with the many who came to him. 
1837 Venerable Herman of Alaska, Wonderworker of All America
1857 St. Innocent, bishop of Cherson
1896 St. Gabriel, bishop of Imeretia Georgia
1920 New Hieromartyr Alexander priest and Martyr John
1937 New Hieromartyrs Vladimir, Alexander, Jacob priests
1938 New Hieromartyr Nicolos priest
1941 New Hieromartyr Emilian priest
Father Alexander Schmemann: In Memoriam: Father Alexander's vision shaped the structure and life of the Orthodox Church in America as well as St. Vladimir's Seminary. His works informed and infuriated, transformed and influenced the life of the whole Orthodox community in America and beyond.
Where the Holy Spirit Breathes December 13 - OUR LADY OF THE HOLY CHAPEL (Paris, France)
Where the Holy Spirit breathes, any contamination whatsoever is removed.
Therefore the human nativity of the only Son left the Virgin all-pure.

Saint Cyril of Jerusalem

December 13 - Our Lady of the Holy Chapel (Paris)   Mary in the Midst of Israel's Waiting (IV)
'The Spirit of the Lord shall rest on him" (Is 11:2)
Like all Israel, Mary meditated on the figure of "God's chosen One" (Is 42:1), "the Messiah" (Ps 2:2), who must come and receive the anointing of the Lord: "The Spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord" (Is 11:2).
"He will be just, humble, and a friend to the poor: he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither decide after the hearing of his ears; but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and decide with equity for the humble of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; and with the breath of his lips shall he kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins" (Is 11:3-5). "He will not cry, nor lift up his voice" (Is 42:2). "A bruised reed will he not break, and a dimly burning wick will he not quench: he will bring forth justice in truth" (Is 42:3) and his "power and justice (will abound) to the skies" (Ps 71:6).

110 St Antiochus; martyr;  By profession a doctor;  the island and town of S. Antioco Sardinia is named for him
In Sulcitána ínsula, apud Sardíniam, pássio sancti Antíochi, sub Hadriáno Imperatóre.
    At Sardinia, in the island of Sulci, the martyrdom of St. Antiochus, under Emperor Hadrian.

   The patron-saint of the capital, Cagliari, is St Ephysius, Sant’Efisio. Born in Palestine in the third century, he moved to Rome. There, under the Emperor Diocletian, he was made Governor of Sardinia. Converted to Christ here, in 303 he was arrested, tortured and beheaded. He is feasted on 15 January and also on the first Sunday in May. This is in memory of his saving of the town from the plague in 1656. There is a procession with thousands of people from all over the island dressed in beautiful traditional costumes. The procession with decorated wagons heads for the nearby village of Pula, where St Ephysius was martyred, and where stands an eleventh-century church in his honour.
   The most ancient church in Cagliari is dedicated to Sts Cosmas and Damian (SS. Cosimo and Damiano), and dates back to the fifth century. It is one of the most ancient and important churches in the whole of the western Mediterranean.

    Proceeding clockwise around the island from Cagliari in the south, on the south-west coast we find the island and town of S. Antioco, which is named after St Antiochus (+ 110). By profession a doctor he suffered under the Emperor Hadrian and is celebrated on 13 December.
   In the west of the island, other ancient churches of the Orthodox Christian period include the fifth century domed church of St John of Sinis (S. Giovanni di Sinis). This is situated on the promontory of San Marco near Oristano.
   Other nearby churches include that of St Sabina at Silanus and north of Oristano, towards the town of Sassari in the north-west, is St Pietro di Sorres, probably the earliest example of Sardinian Romanesque.

   Then there is the church of the Holy Trinity at Saccargia just outside Sassari. Dating from the early twelfth century, it preserves Orthodox frescoes.
   In the north-east of the island in the town of Olbia there is an eleventh century church dedicated to the town’s patron saint, St Simplicius. He was martyred in the fourth century by being buried alive and is remembered on 15 May.
   On the east coast there is the
very beautiful, eleventh century church of S. Maria Navarresa.
305 The Holy Martyrs in Armenia Eustratius, Auxentius, Eugene, Mardarius, and Orestes (the Five Companions)
In Arménia pássio sanctórum Mártyrum Eustrátii, Auxéntii, Eugénii, Mardárii et Oréstis, in persecutióne Diocletiáni.  Ex ipsis Eustrátius, primum sub Lysia, deínde Sebáste, sub Agricoláo Præside, una cum Oréste exquisítis torméntis cruciátus, in fornácem missus réddidit spíritum; Oréstes autem, in stratum férreum ignítum pósitus, migrávit ad Dóminum; céteri apud Arábracos, sævíssimis agitáti supplíciis, sub Lysia Præside, diversímode martyrium consummárunt.  Eórum córpora, póstea Romam transláta, in Ecclésia sancti Apollináris honorífice collocáta sunt.
    In Armenia, the martyrdom of the holy martyrs Eustratius, Auxentius, Eugene, Mardarius, and Orestes, in the persecution of Diocletian.  Eustratius was the first subjected alone to barbarous torments under Lysias.  Then he was conducted to Sebaste, where he was tortured together with Orestes under the governor Agricolaus, and being cast into a furnace, yielded up his soul; but Orestes being laid on a bed of heated iron, rendered his soul unto God.  The others were made to endure most grievous torments among the Arabraci, under the governor Lysias, and fulfilled their martyrdom in different ways.  Their relics were afterwards carried to Rome and placed with due honours in the church of St. Apollinaris.
suffered for Christ under the emperor Diocletian (284-305) at Sebaste, in Armenia.
Among the first Christians imprisoned and undergoing torture at that time was St Auxentius, a presbyter of the Arabian Church. One of those who witnessed the steadfastness of the Christians was the noble military commander St Eustratius, the city prefect of Satalios, and archivist of the province. He was secretly a Christian, and when he openly confessed his faith, he was subjected to torture. They beat him, and put iron sandals studded with sharp nails on his feet, then forced him to march to the city of Arabrak.
Witnessing the arrival of St Eustratius in Arabrak, one of the common people, St Mardarius, confessed that he was also a Christian like St Eustratius. He was arrested and cast into prison. Holes were drilled in his ankles, and ropes were passed them. He was suspended upside down, then heated nails were hammered into his body. He died a short time later. To him is attributed the prayer "O Master Lord God, Father Almighty ..." (which is read at the end of the Third Hour).
As for St Eugene, they ripped out his tongue, they cut off his hands and feet, and then they beheaded him with a sword. St Auxentius was also arrested and beheaded. The young soldier St Orestes confessed himself a Christian and stood trial for this "crime." He was sentenced to be stretched out upon a red-hot iron bed, and became frightened when he approached it. Encouraged by St Eustratius, he made the Sign of the Cross and got onto the heated bed, where he surrendered his soul to God.
St Eustratius was sentenced to be burned alive on December 13. As he was being led to his death, he prayed aloud ("I magnify Thee exceedingly, O Lord, for Thou hast regarded my lowliness..."). This prayer is still read at the Saturday Midnight Office.

“IN Armenia”, says the Roman Martyrology, “the passion of the holy martyrs Eustratius, Auxentius, Eugenius, Mardarius and Orestes, during the persecution under Diocletian. Of these, Eustratius, first of all under Lysias and then at Sebastea under the governor Agricolaus, was together with Orestes subjected to cruel torments, and being cast into a furnace gave up the ghost. Orestes, however, was laid upon a fiery metal plate, and so passed to the Lord. The others, having suffered the cruelest punishments from the governor Lysias at Arabraca, achieved martyrdom in various ways. Their bodies were afterwards translated to Rome and honorably buried in the church of St Apollinaris.”
   St Eustratius was an Armenian of good family, and St Orestes a soldier who was converted by the sight of his fortitude under torture. St Eugenius was his servant, and Mardarius and Auxentius two friends who had interceded for him. Their relics are still venerated in the church of Sant’ Apollinare. The passio of St Eustratius is a good example 
of how such documents were interpolated and expanded for didactic and edificatory ends: the martyr is made to argue at great length with the magistrate, discussing passages from Plato and the poets in support of their arguments.
There is a late Greek passio which has been printed in Migne, PG., vol. cxvi, pp. 468—505. It has been pointed out that the mention of a will or testament in this account shows a dependence on the story of the forty martyrs of Sebastea (March so). Consult also Delehaye, Les passions des martyrs . . . (1921), pp. z66—z68, and Zeitschrift f. kath. Theologie, 1894, pp. 291—292. Reference is not infrequently made to this group in Byzantine literature under the name of “the five saints”. Fragments of the passio have been found in a ninth-century handwriting, but we have no guarantee that there were five martyrs who bore these names or that they suffered in the persecution of Diocletian. An Armenian version of the passio is printed in Vitae et Passiones Sanctorum, published at Venice in 1874, vol. i, pp. 435—475.  

304 Lucy of Syracuse VM (RM)
Syracúsis, in Sicília, natális sanctæ Lúciæ, Vírginis et Mártyris, in persecutióne Diocletiáni.  Hæc nóbilis Virgo, cum eam lenónes, quibus, jubénte, Paschásio Consulári, trádita erat ut a pópulo castitáti ejus illuderétur, dúcere vellent, nullátenus per illos movéri pótuit, nec fúnibus ádditis, nec boum jugis plúrimis; deínde vero, picem, resínam ac fervens óleum nil læsa súperans, tandem, gládio in gútture percússa, martyrium consummávit.
    At Syracuse in Sicily, the birthday of St. Lucy, virgin and martyr, in the persecution of Diocletian.  By order of the proconsul Paschasius, she was delivered to profligates, that her chastity might be insulted by the people; but when they attempted to lead her away they were not able to move her, either with ropes or by means of many yoke of oxen.  Then having hot pitch, resin, and burning oil applied to her body without being injured, she finally had a sword driven through her throat, and thus completed her martyrdom.
The Swedish have a sweet tradition that they have handed down to us. In Sweden, December 13 is one of the shortest days of the year and so the Swedes celebrate a festival of light (which is appropriate because the root for 'Lucy' in Latin means 'light'). On this day the youngest daughter in celebrating households, dressed in white, wearing a crown of lit candles, wakes the rest of the family with coffee, rolls, and a special song.
The acta of St. Lucy are unreliable, but charming. Lucy was indeed a real martyr, as attested by an early inscription to her discovered in the cemetery of St. John in Syracuse. Thus, she still has the honor of being named in the Canon of the Mass.
THE English bishop St Aldhelm of Sherborne at the end of the seventh century celebrated St Lucy both in prose and verse, but unfortunately the “acts” on which he relied are a worthless compilation. They relate that Lucy was a Sicilian, born of noble and wealthy parents in the city of Syracuse, and brought up in the faith of Christ. She lost her father in infancy, and she was yet young when she offered her virginity to God. This vow, however, she kept a secret, and her mother, Eutychia, pressed her to marry a young man who was a pagan. Eutychia was persuaded by her daughter to go to Catania and offer up
prayers to God at the tomb of St Agatha for relief of a haemorrhage from which she suffered. St Lucy accompanied her, and their prayers were answered. Then the saint disclosed her desire of devoting herself to God and bestowing her fortune on the poor, and Eutychia in gratitude left her at liberty to pursue her inclinations. Her suitor was very indignant, and in his anger accused her before the governor as a Christian, the persecution of Diocletian then being at its height. When Lucy remained resolute the judge commanded her to be exposed to prostitution in a brothel; but God rendered her immovable, so that the guards were not able to carry her thither. Then attempt was made to burn her, but this also was unsuccess­ful. At length a sword was thrust into her throat.

Though the acta of St Lucy, preserved in various recensions both Latin and Greek, are quite unhistorical, her connection with Syracuse and her early cultus admit of no question. She was honoured at Rome in the sixth century amongst the most illustrious virgin martyrs whose triumphs the Church celebrates, and her name was inserted in the canon of the Mass both at Rome and Milan. Possibly on account of her name, which is suggestive of light or lucidity, she was invoked during the middle ages by those who suffered from eye-trouble, and various legends grew up, e.g. that her eyes were put out by the tyrant, or that she herself tore them out to present them to an unwelcome suitor who was smitten by their beauty. In either case they were miraculously restored to her, more beautiful than before.

In the cemetery of St John at Syracuse an inscription (fourth or early fifth century) referring to St Lucy has been found, upon which see P. Orsi in the Römische Quartalschrift, vol. ix (1895), pp. 299—308. A letter of Pope Gregory the Great proves that in his time dedications were made to her in Rome. See also CMH., p. 647 ; DAC., vol. ix, cc. 2616- 2618; and G. Goyau, Sainte Lucie (1921). There were many folklore usages connected with her day, December 13, including the saying “ Lucy-light, the shortest day and the longest night”. See Bächtold-Stäubli, Handwörterbuch des deutschen Aberglaubens, vol. v, cc. 1442-1446. She is often represented carrying her two eyes upon a dish. See Künstle, Ikonographie, vol. ii, and Drake, Saints and their Emblems; as also Dunbar, A Dictionary of Saintly Women, vol. i, pp. 469—470. The enthusiasm evoked by the story of St Lucy is curiously attested by Sigebert of Gembloux who wrote a Latin poem of 1400 lines in her honour, which was printed by E. Dümmler in 1893. The reference to St Aldhelm is to his De laudibus virginitatis; see Aldhelmi Opera, ed. R. Ehwald in MGH., Auct. antiquiss., vol. xv (1919), in prose, pp. 293—294, in verse, lines 1779—1841.

According to the legends, she was born in Syracuse, Sicily, the daughter of noble and wealthy parents, and was raised a Christian. Her father died while she was a child. She made a secret vow of virginity, but her mother pressed her to marry a pagan. Her mother suffered from a hemorrhage, and Lucy convinced her to pray at the tomb of Saint Agatha. When her mother was cured, and Lucy told her of her desire to give her fortune to the poor and devote her life to God.
The man Lucy was to have married became angry, and he denounced her as a Christian to the governor during the persecutions of Diocletian. Lucy remained loyal to her faith, and the judge ordered that she be made a prostitute in a brothel. Miraculously, however, the guards found themselves physically unable to carry her there. They attempted to burn her but the flames made no impression on her. Finally, she was killed with a sword thrust into her throat.
Other legends hold that she tore out her own eyes to discourage a suitor who admired them, or that they were gouged out by the judge; her eyes were then miraculously restored to her, even more beautiful then before. She was one of the most illustrious virgin martyrs honored in Rome during the 6th century. St. Lucy's relics are preserved in Venice, and a partially incorrupt body is alleged to be hers (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, White).
St. Lucy is represented as a maiden with her eyes in a dish, on a book, or in a shell. Sometimes she is shown (1) holding a burning lamp; (2) with a lamp and a sword; (3) with a flaming horn; (4) with oxen and men trying to drag her; or (5) with a gash in her neck or sword imbedded in it (This is told of several virgin martyrs, including Cecilia, with whom she is often confused.)
She was one of the most popular saints of the Middle Ages and, thus, is patronesses of a wide variety including: cutlers, glaziers, notaries, peddlers, saddlers, servant girls, scribes, tailors, and weavers. She is invoked against blindness, eye diseases, fire, infection, hemorrhage, and sore throat (Roeder, White). She may have become protectress against diseases of the eyes because her name suggests light.
Saint Lucy was born in Syracuse, Sicily during the reign of Diocletian. She distributed her wealth to the poor, and made a vow of virginity. Since she refused to marry him, a rejected suitor denounced her to the prefect Paschasius as a Christian, and she was arrested. She was sentenced to be defiled in a brothel, but with God's help she preserved her purity. Then the pagans attempted to burn her alive, but she was not harmed by the fire. Finally, she was killed by a sword thrust to the throat.
The name Lucy (Lucia) is derived for the Latin word for light (lux), and so she is often invoked for afflictions of the eyes. There is a tradition that she was blinded by her torturers, and the church of San Giovanni Maggiore in Naples even claims to possess her eyes. Today's saint should not be confused with St Lucy of Campania (July 6).
Lucy's name means "light", with the same root as "lucid" which means "clear, radiant, understandable." Unfortunately for us, Lucy's history does not match her name. Shrouded in the darkness of time, all we really know for certain is that this brave woman who lived in Syracuse lost her life in the persecution of Christians in the early fourth century. Her veneration spread to Rome so that by the sixth century the whole Church recognized her courage in defense of the faith.
Because people wanted to shed light on Lucy's bravery, legends grew up. The one that is passed down to us tells the story of a young Christian woman who had vowed her life to the service of Christ. Her mother tried to arrange a marriage for her with a pagan. Lucy apparently knew that her mother would not be convinced by a young girl's vow so she devised a plan to convince her mother that Christ was a much more powerful partner for life. Through prayers at the tomb of Saint Agatha, her mother's long illness was cured miraculously. The grateful mother was now ready to listen to Lucy's desire to give her money to the poor and commit her life to God.
Unfortunately, legend has it, the rejected bridegroom did not see the same light and he betrayed Lucy to the governor as a Christian. This governor tried to send her into prostitution but the guards who came to take her way found her stiff and heavy as a mountain. Finally she was killed. As much as the facts of Lucy's specific case are unknown, we know that many Christians suffered incredible torture and a painful death for their faith during Diocletian's reign. Lucy may not have been burned or had a sword thrust through her throat but many Christians did and we can be sure her faith withstood tests we can barely imagine.
Lucy's name is probably also connected to statues of Lucy holding a dish with two eyes on it. This refers to another legend in which Lucy's eyes were put out by Diocletian as part of his torture. The legend concludes with God restoring Lucy's eyes.
Lucy's name also played a large part in naming Lucy as a patron saint of the blind and those with eye-trouble.
Whatever the fact to the legends surrounding Lucy, the truth is that her courage to stand up and be counted a Christian in spite of torture and death is the light that should lead us on our own journeys through life.
In Her Footsteps:
Lucy is the patron saint of the blind. Braille is an important means of communication for those with visual impairment or blindness. Support the teaching of braille in schools and learn about it yourself by calling your local chapter of the National Federation of the Blind.
Saint Lucy, you did not hide your light under a basket, but let it shine for the whole world, for all the centuries to see. We may not suffer torture in our lives the way you did, but we are still called to let the light of our Christianity illumine our daily lives. Please help us to have the courage to bring our Christianity into our work, our recreation, our relationships, our conversation -- every corner of our day. Amen
7th v. St. Edburga A Benedictine nun of Lyminge, Kent, England
 She continued the tradition of monastic life and was a model of sanctity.

720 St. Otilie, virgin born blind, rejected by Lord Adalric, reared by abesses, baptized at 12 by Saint Erhard of Regensburg (Bishop of Bavaria) and immediately gained her sight.
In território Argentoraténsi sanctæ Othíliæ Vírginis; In the territory of Strasbourg,
Saint Odilia, (circa 660 - 720; Ottilia, Othilia, Otilie, Adilia, Odile; Virgin and Abbess,
patron of the vision, eye disease and eye problems, and opticians) the patron saint of Alsace and Strasbourg, was according to legend the daughter of Lord Adalric, a leader of the Alemanni, and first duke of Alsace; her mother was Bereswind (Berchsind), said to be the niece of St Leodegarius. They lived at Obernheim in the Vosges Mountains, about 20 miles south of Strasburg (eastern France), at the foot of the hill of Hohenburg or Altitonia.
For years they had no children but finally, in answer to their prayers they had a child. They had hoped to have a son, but Adalric’s joy turned to rage when he realized his child was not only female, but blind. He felt humiliated and ordered the child to be killed, or at least to be taken away and left to die. At the same time he had it proclaimed with trumpets that the duchess had given birth to a stillborn child. Bereswind’s faithful nurse took the baby and nursed it as her own at Scherweiler. About a year later, the child was given to the convent of Baume-les-Dames (Palma), near Besancon, in Franche Compte, or by some variants of the legend, she floated down the river to Beaume in a chest.
At twelve, she was baptised by Saint Erhard of Regensburg (then Bishop of Bavaria), abbot of the newly built monastery of Eberheim-Munster. Odilia miraculously gained her sight and looked steadily at Erhard, who said, "So, my child, may you look at me in the kingdom of heaven."
Adalric and Bereswind had several other children, and when their eldest son Hugh was grown up, he located his sister and without asking his father’s permission, brought her home. The Duke was so angry that he struck and killed the brother; but horrified at his own violence, he accepted his daughter and did penance for his crime. Her personal beauty, and her father's wealth and power, began to attract many rich suitors. A nun from England became a servant to attend to Odilia and when her parents planned a marriage for her with a German duke, she fled her home and crossed the Rhine. In 686, Adalric found her one day carrying meal in an earthen dish, under her cloak, to make food for the poor. Since he had already begun to give alms and endowments for the good of his soul, he gave Odilia his castle of Hohenburg, with all its lands and revenues, that she might make it into a nunnery (modern Odilienburg/Mont Sainte-Odile).
The hill of Hohenburg rises over 2,000 feet abruptly from the valley of the Rhine. It had a pre-Christian wall around it, still called the heathen wall, and there was a plateau on top, on which the monastery was built. Within ten years the place had a hundred and thirty nuns, amongst whom were the three daughters of her brother Adelard, St Eugenia, her successor, St Attala, abbess of St Stephen's at Strasburg, and St Gundelind. There Odilia served her Lord, governed a large community, and gave relief to every sort of suffering.
In the 7th and 8th centuries there were frequent pilgrimages to Hohenburg, but Odilia's hill was so high and steep that very few of the pilgrims managed to climbed to seek her hospitality; so at the foot of the mountain and with the approval of her community, she founded the Odilienberg monastery at Niedermunster. There she entertained such numbers of pilgrims that very soon the two chapels which Adalric had built were too small that she begged him to build a large church, which he did in 690. Olilia’s parents both died shortly afterwards. Then she died December13, 720 and was buried in a chapel near the convent church on the Odilienberg. The tomb where once Odilia's body originally lay was evidently destroyed in 1793. In recent times, an abbey has been founded by a new Benedictine congregation at Sankt Ottilien, between Munich and Augburg.
Odilia shares the same feast day, December 13th , as Saint Lucy, while her shrine on the Odilienburg is still a celebrated place of pilgrimage, visited by devout pilgrims and those afflicted with blindness or other eye diseases. She also gave her name to the Guild of St Odilia (Consulting Opticians) early this century. In art, she is frequently depicted as an abbess with a book on which are two eyes. She can therefore be easily distinguished from Saint Lucy, who is shown much younger and with two eyes on a plate.
Some eye conditions cannot be helped by operations, medicines, or eyeglasses. Although the invoked stories of Odelia and the other saints of the eyes may be the consequence of both fact and fiction, this still provides the hope of a miraculous cure for some believing patients.
There lived in the time of King Childeric II a Frankish lord of Alsace named Adalric, married to a lady named Bereswindis. To them was born, near the end of the seventh century, at Obernheim in the Vosges Mountains, a daughter who was blind from her birth. This was a matter first of irritation and then of unreasoning fury to Adalric; he regarded it as a personal affront to himself and a reflection on the honour of his family, in which such a misfortune had never happened before. In vain did his wife try to persuade him that it was the will of God, decreed in order that His almighty power might be made manifest in the child.
   Adalric would have none of it, and insisted that the babe should be slain. Bereswindis was able at length to turn him from this crime, but only on condition that the child should be sent away and nobody told to whom it really belonged. She fulfilled the first part of this condition, but not the second, confiding the baby and its history to a peasant woman who had formerly been in her service. When this woman’s neighbours asked awkward questions, Bereswindis arranged for her and all her family to go away and live at Baume-les-Dames, near Besançon, where there was a nunnery in which the girl in due course could be brought up.
Here she lived until she was twelve, without, for reasons not explained, ever been baptized. Then St Erhard, a bishop at Regensburg, was warned in a vision that he was to go to the convent at Baume, where he would find a young girl who had been born blind; her he was to baptize, giving her the name of Odilia, and she would receive her sight. St Erhard thereupon consulted St Hidulf at Moyenmoutier, and together they went to Baume. They found the girl and baptized her, giving her the name of Odilia (Ottilia, Othilia, Odile), and when he had anointed her head St Erhard touched her eyes with the chrism and at once she could see.
Odilia continued to serve God in the convent, but the miracle of which she had been the subject and the progress she now made in studies raised up the jealousy of some of the nuns and they began to indulge in petty persecution. So Odilia sent a letter to her brother Hugh, of whose existence she had been told, asking him to do for her whatever his kind heart should suggest. St Erhard meanwhile had acquainted Adalric with his daughter’s recovery, and that unnatural parent was more angry than ever, flatly refusing Hugh’s request to have Odilia home and forbidding the mention of her name. Hugh nevertheless sent for her, and it so happened that he was standing with his father on a neighbouring hill when Odilia arrived in a wagon, surrounded by a crowd of people.
When Adalric heard who it was and how she came to be there, he raised his heavy staff and with one blow stretched Hugh dead at his feet. In his remorse he turned to his daughter and was as affectionate to her as he had before been cruel. Odilia lived at Obernheim with a few companions who joined her in her devotions and charitable works among the poor. After a time her father wanted to marry her to a German duke, whereupon she fled from home and, when she was closely pursued, a cliff-face at the Schlossberg, near Freiburg in Breisgau, opened to admit and conceal her. To get her home again Adalric promised her his castle of Hohenburg (now called the Odilienberg) to turn into a monastery, and here she became abbess. Finding that the steepness of the mountain was a discouragement and inconvenience to pilgrims she founded an auxiliary convent lower down on the eastern side, called Niedermünster, with a hospice attached.

It is said of the holy foundress that some time after the death of her father she received a supernatural assurance that her prayers and penances had released him from the state of Purgatory, and that St John the Baptist appeared to her and indicated the site and dimensions for a chapel which she wished to build in his honour. Other supernatural visitations and a number of miracles are also attributed to her. After ruling the convent for many years St Odilia died on December 13, about 720.
Such, in brief, is the legend of St Odilia about whose life the truth is as elusive as the popular veneration of the saint is definite. Her shrine and her abbey were the objects of a great devotion throughout the middle ages; they were favoured by the emperors from Charlemagne to Charles IV, and among those who were drawn to Hohenburg by devotion were St Leo IX, while he was still bishop of Toul, and, it is said, King Richard I of England.
The pilgrimage was no less popular among the common people, and St Odilia was venerated as the patroness of Alsace before the sixteenth century. Tradition pointed to a spring as having been by her miraculously called from the rock for the convenience of the nuns and their pilgrims, and its waters were (and are) used for bathing unhealthy eyes while invoking the intercession of the once blind saint. The same custom is observed by pilgrims to the Odilienstein in Breisgau, where the rock opened to receive her. After undergoing many vicissitudes the shrine of St Odilia and the remains of her monastery came into the possession of the diocese of Strasburg, and since the middle of last
century the Odilienberg has again become a place of pilgrimage. Her relics are preserved in the chapel of St John the Baptist, a medieval building on the site of the one above referred to as built by St Odilia herself: it is now more commonly called by her name.

The text of what has been proved to be a tenth-century Life of St Odilia has been edited by W. Levison in MGH., Scriptores Merov., vol. vi (1q13), pp. 24—50; and cf. Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xiii (1894), pp. 5—32 and 113—121. But even here in the judgement of Levison hardly anything can be accepted as reliable history. At the same time St Odilia continues to be one of the most popular saints not only in Alsace but also in Germany and France. There is a considerable literature concerning her, of which an idea may be formed from the references in Potthast, Wegweiser, vol. ii, p. 1498, and in DAC., vol. xii (1936), CC. 1921—1934. Much information may be gleaned from different volumes of the Archiv f. elsässische Kirchengeschichte, as for example an article in vol. viii, pp. 287—316 on “Das Odilienlied in Lothringen”. For the most part the devotional lives of St Odilia, such for example as that of H. Welschinger in the series “Les Saints”, are historically unreliable. This last even treats as a serious document the forgery of Jerome Vignier, which was exposed by L. Havet in the Bibliothèque de l’École des Chartes, for 1885. On St Odilia in art see Künstle, Ikonographie, vol. ii, pp. 475—478, and C. Champion, Ste Odile (1931). At the time of the battles of Verdun during World War I, St Odilia became very celebrated in France through the attribution to her of a completely apocryphal prophecy. It was again current, though less widely, during 1939—1945. 

669 St. Autbert Bishop of Canbrai-Arras, France A patron of monasteries
Cameráci, in Gállia, sancti Authbérti, Epíscopi et Confessóris.
    At Cambrai in France, St. Aubert, bishop and confessor.
he founded the abbey of St. Vedast, or Vaast, among others. Also called Aubert, he developed the monastic communities of Hainault and Flanders, Belgium.

A LIFE of St Aubert (Autbertus) was written at the beginning of the eleventh century (which is sometimes, but probably wrongly, attributed to St Fulbert of Chartres), but it is so inadequate that the four pages which Alban Butler devotes to the saint are made up chiefly of vague generalities and more or less irrelevant historical notes. Nothing at all is known of St Aubert until he came to the see of Cambrai in 633 or later. When about the year 650 the unknown hermit St Gislenus set about establishing a monastery near Mons, attempts were made to prejudice the bishop against him. St Aubert refused to judge him unseen, and as the result of an interview gave him every encouragement and eventually consecrated his church. Among those studying for the priesthood at Cambrai was a young man called Landelin, who ran away to live a wild and dissolute life. He came back penitent, and was so well handled by St Aubert that he became a monk, founded monasteries, and is named as a saint in the Roman Martyrology.
The name of St Aubert is associated with the undertaking of the monastic life by a number of distinguished lay-people at this time, such as St Vincent Madelgarius and his family and St Amalburga, the mother of St Gudula. More certain is his presence at the translation of the relics of St Fursey to Péronne by St Eligius about 650. Aubert’s own burial-place was in St Peter’s church at Cambrai, where was afterwards an abbey of canons regular which bore his name.
The Latin life mistakenly ascribed to Fulbert is printed in full by Ghesquière, Acta Sanctorum Belgii, vol. iii, pp. 529—564. A collection of miracles will be found in the Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xix (1900), pp. 198—212. On the confusion which has arisen between Autbert, Bishop of Cambrai, and Audebert, Count of Ostrevant, see the Analecta Bollandiana, vol. li (1933) pp. 99—116. 
669  St. Jodoc (Josse) withdrew from secular life and, it is said, was ordained priest in Ponthieu. After a pilgrimage to Rome he eventually settled as a hermit at Runiacum near the mouth of the Canche, later called after him, Saint-Josse; Confessor honoree by miracles both before and after his death
In pago Pontívo, in Gállia, sancti Judóci, Presbyteri et Confessóris.
    In the parts of Ponthieu in France, St. Judoc, priest and confessor.

JUDOC was a son of Juthaël, King of Armorica (Brittany), and brother of that Judicaël who has a cultus in the diocese of Quimper. The Chronicle of Saint­-Brieuc says of Judicaël that “Terror of his name alone was sufficient to keep evil men from violence, for God, who watched over him without ceasing, had made him brave and mighty in battle; it happened more than once that with the aid of the Almighty he was able to put whole troops of the enemy to flight by the strength of his sword-arm alone”. About this King Dagobert I at Paris had rather different views, and he sent St Eligius to try and restrain his turbulent neighbour, to whom the foundation of the abbey of Paimpont is attributed.

About the year 636 Judoc withdrew from secular life and, it is said, was ordained priest in Ponthieu. After a pilgrimage to Rome he eventually settled as a hermit at Runiacum near the mouth of the Canche, later called after him, Saint-Josse. Here he died about the year 668. We are told that his body was not buried in the earth and that it remained incorrupt; moreover, the surprising circumstance is added that his hair, beard and nails continued to grow with such luxuriance that his successors in the hermitage had to cut them from time to time,

It is said that Charlemagne gave this hermitage at Saint-Josse-sur-Mer to Alcuin as a hospice for cross-Channel travellers, and that Alcuin sometimes stayed there. According to the tradition of the New Minster (Hyde) at Winchester, St Judoc’s relics were brought there, about 901, and this translation was commemo­rated on January 9. The saint’s name figures in half-a-dozen old English calendars, and he is mentioned in the Roman Martyrology. Chaucer’s Wife of Bath swears “by God and by Seint Joce”.

One early Latin life of St Judoc, dating from the beginning of the ninth century, has been printed by Mabillon, vol. ii, pp. 542—547. There are, however, others of later date, notably that of Isembard, a monk of Fleury, and that of Florentius of Saint-Josse-sur-Mer, which have probably contributed more to the relatively wide diffusion of this popular legend. The monograph of J. Trier, Der hi. Jodocus; sein Leben und seine Verehrung (1924) is not exhaustive as regards sources, nor wholly reliable ; see on this the Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xliii (1925), pp. 193—194. For a sermon on St Josse by Lupus of Ferrières, see W. Levison, in the Festschrift Walter Goetz (1927). The cult of St Judoc was widespread:  churches were dedicated in his honour even in the Tirol (Fink, Kirchenpatrozinien Tirols, 1928). Consult also Duine, Memento, p. 49, and Van der Essen, Etude critique sur les saints mérovingiens, pp. 411—413. The treatment of St Judoc in art is discussed by Kunstle, Ikonographie, vol. ii, pp. 330—331; and the folk-lore aspects in Bächtold-Stäubli, Handwörterbuch des deutschen Aberglaubens, vol. iv, cc. 70 1—703. For the resting-place of the saint’s relics, see Fr P. Grosjean in Analecta Bollandiana, vol. lxx (1952), p. 404.

Those Britons who, flying from the swords of the English-Saxons, settled in Armorica in Gaul, upon the ruins of the Roman empire in those parts formed themselves into a little state on that coast till they were obliged to receive the laws of the French. Judicaël, commonly called Giguel. eldest son of Juthaël, became king of Brittany about the year 630. This prince soon after renounced this perishable crown to labor more securely for the acquisition of an incorruptible one, and retired into the monastery of St. Meen, in the diocese of St. Malo, where he lived in so great sanctity as to be honored after his death with the title of the Blessed Judicaël. When he resigned the crown be offered it to his younger brother Jodoc, called by the French Josse But Jodoc had the same inclinations with his elder brother However, to consult the divine will, he shut himself up for eight days in the monastery of Lammamiont, in which he had been brought up, and prayed night and day with many tears that God would direct him to undertake what was most agreeable to him, and most conducive to his divine honor and his own sanctification. He put an end to his deliberation by receiving the clerical tonsure at the hands of the bishop of Avranches, and joined a company of eleven pilgrims who purposed to go to Rome. They went first to Paris, and thence into Picardy in 636, where Jodoc was prevailed upon by Haymo, duke of Ponchieu, to fix upon an estate of his, which was at a sufficient distance from his own country, and secure from the honors which there waited for him.
   Being promoted to priest's orders, he served the duke's chapel seven years, then retired with one only disciple named Vurmare, into a woody solitude at Ray, where he found a small spot of ground proper for tillage, watered by the river Authie. The duke built them a chapel and cells, in which the hermits lived, gaining by the tillage of this land their slender subsistence and an overplus for the poor. Their exercises were austere penance, prayer, and contemplation. After eight years thus spent here they removed to Runiac, now called Villers-saint-Josse, near the mouth of the river Canche, where they built a chapel of wood in honor of St. Martin. In this place they continued the same manner of life for thirteen years; when Jodoc having been bit by an adder, they again changed their quarters, the good duke who continued their constant protector, having built them a hermitage, with two chapels of wood, in honor of SS. Peter and Paul.
  The servants of God kept constant enclosure, except that out of devotion to the princes of the apostles, and to the holy martyrs, they made a penitential pilgrimage to Rome in 665. At their return to Runinc they found their hermitage enlarged and adorned, and a beautiful church of stone, which the good duke had erected in memory of St. Martin, and on which he settled a competent estate. The duke met them in person on the road, and conducted them to their habitation.
   Jodoc finished here his penitential course in 669, and was honoree by miracles both before and after his death. Winoc and Arnoc, two nephews of the saint, inherited his hermitage, which became a famous monastery, and was one of those which Charlemagne first bestowed on Alcuir in 792. It stands near the sea, in the diocese of Amiens, follows the order of St. Bennet, and the abbot enjoys the privileges of count. It is called St. Josse-sur-mer. St. Jodoc is mentioned on this day in the Roman Martyrology. See the life of this saint written in the eighth century; Cave thinks about the year 710. It is published with learned notes by Mabillon, Act Ben. t. 2, p. 566 Gall. Chr. Nov. t. 10, pp. 1289, 1290.
8th v.St. Einhildis & Roswinda Nuns of the Benedictine monastery of Hohenburg, in Alsace, France  
St. Roswinda was the sister of St Ottilia. St. Einhildis was abbess of Niedermunster, near Hohenburg.

10th v. St Arsenius of Latros many miracles even after death
the son of rich, illustrious and pious parents, was born at Constantinople. He was mad Patrician and General of the Cibyrra military Theme (the Byzantine Empire was divided into 29 Themes, or districts). Once, when he was traveling by sea with his soldiers, a storm arose and the ships sank. Of all the soldiers only St Arsenius was saved. After this he became a monk, and he mortified his flesh by fasting, vigil and hardships.
Later, he came to a certain place on Mount Latros, in Asia Minor. There he killed a poisonous viper by his prayer and the Sign of the Cross, and then he settled in the nearby Kelliboria monastery on the north side of the mountain, where he was chosen igumen. From the monastery St Arsenius went to a cave, where he repelled wild beasts by prayer. The brethren of the monastery asked him to return to them. He did go back, but did not live with the other monks. He lived alone in a small cell, and for six days of the week he neither ate any food, nor would he converse with anyone.
Finally, St Arsenius attained such perfection that he was fed by an angel. He was also granted the grace to perform miracles. He could stir bitter water with his staff and change it into sweet water. After performing many other miracles, he called the brethren to him and gave them his final instructions.
After advising them to put aside all worldly cares and vanities, St Arsenius surrendered his soul to God. The saint continued to work miracles even after his death.

1077 Saint Arcadius of Vyazma and Novy Torg relics, glorified by miracles of healing
from the city of Vyazma of pious parents, who from childhood taught him prayer and obedience. The gentle, perceptive, prudent and good youth chose for his ascetic feat of being a fool-for-Christ. He lived by alms, and slept wherever he found himself, whether in the forest, or on the church portico.
His blessed serenity and closeness to nature imparted to the figure of young Arcadius a peculiar spiritual aspect and aloofness from worldly vanity. In church, when absorbed in prayer, St Arcadius often wept tears of tenderness and spiritual joy. Though he seldom spoke, his advice was always good, and his predictions were fulfilled.
An experienced guide, St Ephraim the Wonderworker of Novy Torg (January 28), helped the young ascetic to avoid spiritual dangers while passing through the difficult and unusual exploit of foolishness. After this the people of Vyazma witnessed several miracles, worked through the prayers of Blessed Arcadius, but the saint fled human fame and traveled along the upper Tvertsa River. Here St Arcadius shared the work with his spiritual guide St Ephraim, and with him founded a church and monastery in honor of the holy Passion-Bearers Boris and Gleb (May 2).
Entering into the newly-built monastery, St Arcadius became a monk and took upon himself the exploit of full obedience to his spiritual Father, St Ephraim. St Arcadius never missed Liturgy and he was always the first to appear for Matins together with his spiritual guide. After St Ephraim's repose (January 28, 1053), St Arcadius continued to pursue asceticism in accord with the last wishes of his Elder, dwelling in prayer, fasting and silence.
After several years, he also fell asleep in the Lord (December 13, 1077).
In 1594, a chapel dedicated to St Arcadius was built in one of the churches of Vyazma. A combined celebration of Sts Arcadius and Ephraim was established by Metropolitan Dionysius in the years 1584-1587. The relics of St Arcadius, glorified by miracles of healing, were uncovered on June 11, 1572, and on July 11, 1677, they were placed in a stone crypt of Sts Boris and Gleb cathedral in the city of Novy Torg (New Market). In 1841, the left side chapel of Sts Boris and Gleb cathedral church was dedicated in honor of St Arcadius. The solemn celebration of the 300th anniversary of the uncovering of the holy relics of St Arcadius took place in the city of Novy Torg in July of 1977. Also commemorated August 14 June 11 (Transfer of his relics).
1130 St. Elizabeth Rose Benedictine abbesse foundress convent of Sainte-Marie-du-Rozoy Courtenay, Loiret, France.
13th v. Saint Mardarius, Hermit of the Kiev Caves
lived as an ascetic in the Far Caves during the thirteenth century. In his Troparion and Kontakion he is called "non-covetous," and by the inscription over his relics, "without a cell." In the Seventh Ode of the Service of the Synaxis for the Fathers of the Far Caves (August 28) he is mentioned together with St Ammon (October 4), and he is called a "zealot of poverty." He was buried in the Far Caves. His memory is celebrated also on August 28 and on the second Sunday of Great Lent.

1562 Blessed John Marinoni joined Saint Cajetan, founder of Theatines refused the archbishopric of Naples (AC)
Born in Venice, Italy, in 1490; died in Naples in 1562; cultus approved in 1762. Blessed John was a canon of St. Mark's Cathedral in Venice, who joined Saint Cajetan, the founder of the Theatines. He was a ubiquitous preacher, but the crucified Christ was the exclusive theme of his sermons. He refused archbishopric of Naples, the city in which he died (Benedictines).

This servant of God is the last in order of date of official veneration to be included in Alban Butler’s text and is one of the few beati (whether officially or popularly so called) admitted by him into his work. The cultus of Bd John was authorized by Pope Clement XIII in 1762, so that Butler must have written the notice of him to be added to the second edition.

   Francis Marinoni was the third and youngest son of a good family of Bergamo, but was born at Venice in 1490. Having entered the ecclesiastical state, he served among the clergy of St Pantaleon’s church; and when he was ordained priest became chaplain, and afterwards superior, of the hospital for incurables at Venice. He was called thence to be a canon in the church of St Mark, where his life was the edification of his colleagues and of the whole city. Out of a desire of serving God more effectively he resigned his benefice and in 1528 joined the clerks regular called Theatines. He made his profession in 1530, being then forty, under the eyes of their founders, St Cajetan and Mgr Caraffa, and on this occasion changed his first name for John.

When St Cajetan was called from Venice to found the house of clerks regular of St Paul at Naples he took Marinoni with him. In that city he never ceased to preach the word of God with admirable simplicity and fruitfulness, and was chosen several times superior of his community, which he maintained in a perfect spirit of apostolic charity and zeal. Both by his prayers and by his exhortations in the pulpit and confessional he was an instrument of salvation to many. When St Cajetan came back to Naples in 1543 Bd John was his right-hand man in the establishment of montes pietatis, benevolent pawnshops for the help of the poor, in the city and its neighbourhood. He refused the office of archbishop of Naples, and died there on December 13, 1562, ministered to by St Andrew Avellino, who wrote an account of his former novice-master.

See a biography by J. L. Bianchi, Ragguaglio della vita del B. Giovanni Marinoni (1763), and another sketch by J. Silos, republished in view of the beatification in 1762.

1671 BD ANTONY GRASSI; he possessed the gift of reading consciences, not merely in generalities but in specific actions of which he could have no natural knowledge; As he grew older his prescience, both of the future and of events at a distance, increased, and were frequently used both for consolation and warning in his dealings with the many who came to him. 

VINCENT GRASSI, of Fermo in the Italian province of the Marches, was a gentleman of pious life with a great devotion to our Lady of Loreto. When he died in i6oz his son Antony was ten years old, and the boy inherited his father’s devotion while he improved his piety into holiness. As a schoolboy he got into the habit of frequenting the local church of the Oratorian fathers, and there he met Father Flaminio Ricci, a personal disciple of St Philip Neri, who determined the boy’s vocation and encouraged him therein. Accordingly, in spite of some spirited opposition from his mother, Antony when he was seventeen joined the community at the Oratory. He was a keen student and entered the congregation bearing the reputation of a “walking dictionary “, and soon acquired the good grasp of scrip­tural and theological science that he already had of the classics and philosophy. The Oratory at Fermo was the third founded during the lifetime of St Philip Neri, and in the atmosphere of his gracious spirit Bd Antony was formed as a Christian priest. For some years he was tormented by scruples, but these left him entirely from the hour that he celebrated his first Mass, and thenceforward an imperturbable serenity was his notable characteristic. “I have never seen him put out”, said Father Mazziotti, s.j., and Cardinal Facchinetti of Spoleto testified to the same effect.

In 1621, when he was twenty-nine and had been some years a priest, a thing happened which left an indelible mark on Father Grassi: a small scar on his body but a profound impression on his soul. He was kneeling at prayer in the church of the Holy House at Loreto when he was struck by lightning. Such an experience is of sufficient rarity to make his account of it of great interest.

I felt shaken and as though I were outside myself; and it seemed to me that my soul was separated from my body and that I was in a swoon.

Then I was roused by a great crash, like thunder, and I opened my eyes and found that I had fallen head-first down the steps. I saw bits of stone on the floor and the air was filled with a smoke so thick that it seemed like dust. I thought that plaster must have fallen from the ceiling, but on looking up I saw that it was undamaged. Then I saw that a piece of skin had been ripped off one of my fingers, and I remembered a story I had heard of a priest at Camerino who was killed by lightning, on whose body there was no mark except some skin off his hand. So when I saw my finger I thought that I too was going to die. And a sort of heat burning my inside made me feel yet more like it, and when I tried to move my legs there was no feeling in them. I was afraid that that scorching heat would reach my heart and kill me. I was helpless, and lay without moving on the steps, thinking that if I could not die in the Oratory I should at any rate do so in a sanctuary of the Mother of God. Then someone bent over me, and I told him I could not move; he called for help and a chair was brought and I was put in it, when I fainted again. But I was conscious that my head and arms and legs were dangling uselessly, and my sight and speech had failed, though my hearing was acute. I knew someone was suggesting the holy names of Jesus and Mary to me.

When he recovered full consciousness Father Grassi still thought he was going to die, and asked for extreme unction. The doctor recommended that it should  be given, but that Father Grassi be first carried to his lodging. “Then I made the discovery that if we believe death to be close at hand we become quite indifferent to this world and know all earthly things to be emptiness…After this they gave me some soup, and I passed a quiet night.”
    He recovered in a few days, when he found that his underclothes had been scorched: these were given to the Loreto church as a thank-offering. He also states that the shock completely cured him of acute indigestion. A more important result was that henceforward Father Grassi felt that his life belonged to God in a very special manner. Not a day was allowed to pass without his making a special act of thanksgiving for his preservation, and every year he made a pilgrimage to Loreto with the same intention.
Shortly after this happening Bd Antony asked for and received faculties to hear confessions, which for the remainder of his life was one of his most notable activities. He brought to it the same simplicity as to everything else: listening to the penitent’s accusation, saying a few words of exhortation, imposing a penance and giving absolution.
He preferred not to give direction or to suggest rules of life or to give advice on anything not directly bearing on the matter of the confession. At the process of his beatification convincing testimony was given that he possessed the gift of reading consciences, not merely in generalities but in specific actions of which he could have no natural knowledge.
In 1635 Bd Antony was elected superior of the Fermo Oratory, an office that he filled with such satisfaction to his brethren that they re-elected him every three years till the end of his life.
He used to say that in forming an estimate of a person care should be taken not to regard a single action or trait alone but the whole of them, in which more good than bad would generally be found. He was, accordingly, a very gentle superior, and when he was asked why he did not show more severity replied, “I do not think I should know how. Is this the way?” and assumed a sham air of authoritarian pomposity. In the same way he neither practised nor recommended unusual bodily austerities. When some inquisitive person asked him if he wore a hair shirt he replied that he did not, because he had learnt from St Philip that it is better to begin with spiritual mortification. “Humbling the mind and will”, he said, “is more effective than a hair-shirt between your skin and your clothes.”
This did not mean that he was easy-going; on the contrary, he insisted on the following of the Oratorian constitution ad litteram and maintained his community at a very high level of observance and efficiency by his personal example and by quiet encouragement and reproof. His quietness extended to his own voice, and loud speech he would not tolerate. His playful admonition, “If you please, Father, only a few inches of voice”, was quite enough.

Bd Antony’s influence extended beyond his own house; Archbishop Gualtieri of Fermo said he could not bear to think of losing him, and Cardinal Facchinetti of Spoleto and Cardinal Emilio Altieri (afterwards Pope Clement X) used frequently to seek his counsel on both spiritual and administrative matters. When food riots took place at Fermo in 1649 it was Father Grassi who tried to mediate between the cardinal-governor and the people, and was nearly shot by the mob for his pains. At all times he had a great concern for the good of his native town and its people. Nothing would induce him to make social or ceremonial engagements, but he would go out at any time of the day or night to visit the sick or dying or anyone else who needed his services. As he grew older his prescience, both of the future and of events at a distance, increased, and were frequently used both for consolation and warning in his dealings with the many who came to him. 

As he approached his eightieth year Bd Antony had the humiliation of the failure of some of his faculties. He had to give up preaching because, owing to the loss of teeth, he could not make himself understood, and then to cease hearing confessions. But he was still as active as ever in intent, especially when there was any chance of reclaiming a sinner. But after a fall downstairs Bd Antony was confined to his room, and at the end of November 1671 he had to take to his bed. He died a fortnight later, Archbishop Gualtieri having come every day himself to give him Holy Communion. Almost his last acts were to reconcile two fiercely quarrelling brothers and to restore the sight of Father Remigio Leti sufficiently to enable him to celebrate Mass, which he had not been able to do for nine years. Numerous miracles were attributed to the intercession of Antony Grassi, but owing to civil disturbances and other causes his beatification was not achieved until the year 1900.

Father Antony’s life was written by his devoted friend and disciple Fr Cristoforo Antici, and very shortly after death an official enquiry into his virtues and reputed miracles was begun by the archbishop of Fermo, Mgr Gualtieri, who knew him well and held him in much veneration. The printed documents of the process of beatification are still accessible. In 1901 Lady Amabel Kerr published a detailed biography for English readers under the title A Saint of the Oratory; see, too, E. I. Watkin, Neglected Saints (1955).
1837 Venerable Herman of Alaska, Wonderworker of All America
A spiritual mission was organized in 1793 with volunteers from the monks of the Valaam Monastery. They were sent to preach the Word of God to the native inhabitants of northwestern America, who had come under the sovereignty of Russia only ten years before. St Herman was one of the members of this mission.
St Herman came from a family of merchants of Serpukhov, a city of the Moscow diocese. His name before he was tonsured, and his family name are not known. There is a possibility, however, that his baptismal name was Gerasimus. He had a great zeal for piety from his youth, and he entered monastic life at sixteen. (This was in 1772, if we assume that Herman was born in 1756, although sometimes 1760 is given as the date of his birth.) First he entered the Trinity-Sergius Hermitage which was located near the Gulf of Finland on the Peterhof Road, about 15 versts (about 10 miles) from St Petersburg. He also spent time at at Sarov, where he first met Fr Nazarius, who became his Elder at Valaam. Later, St Herman followed him to Sanaxar where St Theodore (February 19) was their igumen.
While at the St Sergius Hermitage, Father Herman was healed by the Mother of God after an abcess appeared on the right side of his throat under his chin. The swelling grew rapidly, disfiguring his face. It became difficult for him to swallow, and the odor was unbearable. In this critical condition Father Herman awaited death. He did not appeal to the physicians of this world, but locking his cell he fell before an lcon of the Queen of Heaven. All night long, with fervent tears, he prayed that he might be healed. Then he took a wet towel and wiped the face of the Most Holy Theotokos with it. Then he covered the swelling with this towel. He continued to pray until he fell asleep from sheer exhaustion on the floor. In a dream he saw the Virgin Mary healing him.
When Herman awoke in the morning, he found to his great surprise that he was fully healed. The swelling had disappeared, even though the abscess had not burst, leaving only a small mark as a reminder of the miracle. Physicians to whom this healing was described did not believe it, arguing that it was necessary for the abscess to have either burst of its own accord or to have been cut open. But the words of the physicians were the words of human experience, for where the grace of God operates there the order of nature is overcome. Such occurrences humble human reason under the strong hand of God's mercy.
For five or six years Father Herman continued to live in the St Sergius Hermitage, and then he transferred to the Valaam Monastery, which was widely scattered on the large islands in the waters of the great Lake Ladoga. He came to love the Valaam haven with all his soul, as he came to love its unforgettable Superior, the pious Elder Nazarius, and all the brethren. He wrote to Father Nazarius later from America, "Your fatherly goodness to me, the lowly one, will never be erased from my heart. Neither the terrible, impassable Siberian wilderness, nor the dark forests, nor the rapids of the great rivers, nor the mighty ocean can quench these feelings. In my mind I imagine my beloved Valaam, looking to it beyond the great ocean." He praised the Elder Nazarius in his letters as,"the most reverend, and my beloved father." (Batushka) and he called the monks of Valaam "my beloved and dearest brethren." He called the place where he lived in America, desolate Spruce Island, "New Valaam." As we can see, he always remained in spiritual contact with his spiritual homeland, for as late as 1823, that is after living in America for almost thirty years, he wrote letters to the successor of Father Nazarius, lgumen Innocent.
Father Barlaam, later lgumen of Valaam, and a contemporary of Father Herman, who was tonsured by Father Nazarius, wrote of Father Herman.
"Father Herman went through the various obediences here, and being ‘well disposed toward every thing’ was in the course of events sent to Serdobol to oversee there the work of quarrying marble. The brethren loved Father Herman, and impatiently awaited his return from Serdobol. Recognizing the zeal of the young hermit the wise Elder, Father Nazarius, blessed him to live in the wilderness. This wilderness was in the deep forest about a mile from the monastery. To this day this place has retained the name 'Herman's Field.' On holy days, Father Herman returned to the monastery from the wilderness. At Little Vespers he would stand in the choir and sing in his pleasant tenor the responses with the brethren from the Canon, 'O Sweetest Jesus, save us sinners. Most Holy Theotokos, Save us,' and tears would fall like hail from his eyes."
In the second half of the eighteenth century the borders of Holy Russia expanded to the north. In those years Russian merchants discovered the Aleutian Islands which formed in the Pacific Ocean a chain from the eastern shares of Kamchatka to the western shares of North America. With the opening of these islands there was revealed the sacred necessity to illumine with the light of the Gospel the native inhabitants. With the blessing of the Holy Synod, Metropolitan Gabriel gave to the Elder Nazarius the task of selecting capable persons from the brethern of Valaam for this holy endeavor. Ten men were selected, and among them was Father Herman. The chosen men left Valaam for the place of their great appointment in 1793. The members of this historical mission were: Archimandrite Joseph (Bolotoff), Hieromonks Juvenal, Macarius, Athanasius, Stephen and Nectarius, Hierodeacons Nectarius and Stephen, and the monks Joasaph, and Herman.
As a result of the holy zeal of the preachers the light of the evangelic sermon quickly poured out among the sons of Russia, and several thousand pagans accepted Christianity. A school for the education of newly-baptized children was organized, and a church was built at the place where the missionaries lived. But by the inscrutable providence of God the general progress of the mission was unsatisfactory. After five years of very productive labor, Archimandrite Joasaph, who had just been elevated to the rank of bishop, was drowned with his party. (This occurred on the Pacific Ocean been Kamchatka and the Aleutian Islands. The ship, Phoenix, one of the first sea-going ships built in Alaska, sailed from Okhotsk carrying the first Bishop for the American Mission and his party. The Phoenix was caught in one of the many storms which periodically sweep the northern Pacific, and the ship and all hands perished together with Bishop Joasaph and his party.) Before this the zealous Hieromonk Juvenal was granted the martyr's crown. The others died one after another until in the end only Father Herman remained. The Lord permitted him to labor longer than any of his brethren in the apostolic task of enlightening the Aleutians.
In America Father Herman chose as his place of habitation Spruce Island, which he called New Valaam. This island is separted by a strait about a mile and a quarter wide from Kodiak Island on which had been built a wooden monastery for the residence of the members of the mission, and a wooden church dedicated to the Resurrection of the Savior. (New Valaam was named for Valaam on Lake Ladoga, the monastery from which Father Herman came to America. It is interesting to note that Valaam is also located on an island, although, this island is in a fresh water lake, whereas, Spruce Island is on the Pacific Ocean, although near other islands and the Alaskan mainland.)
Spruce Island is not large, and is almost completely covered by a forest. Almost through its middle a small brook flows to the sea. Herman selected this picturesque island for the location of his hermitage. He dug a cave out of the ground with his own hands, and in it he lived his first full summer. For winter there was built for him a cell near the cave, in which he lived until his death. The cave was converted by him into a place for his burial. A wooden chapel, and a wooden house to be used as a schoolhouse and a guest house were built not too distant from his cell. A garden was laid out in front of his cell. For more than forty years Father Herman lived here.
Father Herman himself spaded the garden, planted potatoes and cabbage and various vegetables in it. For winter, he preserved mushrooms, salting or drying them. He obtained salt from sea water. It is said that a wicker basket in which the Elder carried seaweed from the shore, was so large that it was difficult for one person to carry. The seaweed was used for fertilizing the soil. But to the astonishment of all, Father Herman carried a basket filled with seaweed for a long distance without any help at all. By chance his disciple, Gerasimus, saw him one winter night carrying a large log which normally would be carried by four men; and he was bare footed. So the Elder worked, and everything that he acquired as a result of his immeasurable labors was used to feed and clothe orphans, and also for books for his students.
His clothes were the same for winter as for summer. He did not wear a shirt; instead he wore a smock of deer skin, which he did not take off for several years at a time, nor did he change it, so that the fur in it was completely worn away, and the leather became glossy. Then there were his boots or shoes, cassock, an ancient and faded cassock (riasa) full of patchwork, and his klobuk. He went everywhere in these clothes, and at all times; in the rain, in snowstorms, and during the coldest freezing weather. In this, Father Herman followed the example of many Eastern Ascetic Fathers and monks who showed the greatest concern for the welfare and needs of others. Yet, they themselves wore the oldest possible clothes to show their great humility before God, and their contempt for worldly things.
A small bench covered with a time-worn deerskin served as Father Herman's bed. He used two bricks for a pillow; these were hidden from visitors by a skin or a shirt. There was no blanket. Instead, he covered himself with a wooden board which lay on the stove. This board Father Herman, himself called his blanket, and he willed that it be used to cover his remains; it was as long as he was tall. "During my stay in the cell of Father Herman," writes the creole Constantine Larionov, "I, a sinner, sat on his 'blanket'-and I consider this the acme of my fortune!" ('creole' is the name by which the Russians referred to the children of mixed marriages of native Indians of Alaska, Eskimo and Aleuts with Russians.)
On the occasions when Father Herman was the guest of administrators of the American Company and in the course of their soul-saving talks he sat up with them until midnight. He never spent the night with them, but regardless of the weather he always returned to his hermitage. If for some extraordinary reason it was necessary for him to spend the night away from his cell, then in the morning the bed which had been prepared for him would be found untouched; the Elder not having slept at all. The same was true in his hermitage where having spent the night in talks, he never rested.
The Elder ate very little. As a guest, he scarcely tasted the food, and remained without dinner. In his call his dinner consisted of a very small portion of a small fish or some vegetables.
His body, emaciated as a result of his labors, his vigils, and fasting, was crushed by chains which weighed about sixteen pounds. These chains are kept to this day in the chapel.
Telling of these deeds of Father Herman, his disciple, the Aleut lgnaty Aligyaga, added, "Yes, Apa led a very hard life, and no one can imitate his life!" (Apa, Aleutian word means Elder or grandfather, and it is a name indicative of the great affection in which he was held).
Our writing of the incidents in the life of the Elder deal, so to speak, with the external aspects of his labor. "His most important works," says the Bishop Peter, "were his exercises in spiritual endeavor in his isolated cell where no one saw him, but outside the cell they heard him singing and celebrating services to God according to the monastic rule." This witness of the Bishop is supported by the following answers of Father Herman, himself, "How do you manage to live alone in the forest, Father Herman? Don't you ever become lonesome?" He answered, "No I am not there alone! God is here, as God is everywhere. The Holy Angels are there. With whom is it better to talk, with people, or with Angels? Most certainly with Angels."
The way in which Father Herman looked upon the natives of America, how he understood his own relations with them, and how he was concerned for their needs he expressed himself in one of his letters to the former administrator of the colony, Simeon Yanovsky.
He wrote, "Our Creator granted to our beloved homeland this land which like a newly-born babe does not yet have the strength for knowledge or understanding. It requires not only protection, because of its infantile weakness and impotence, but also his sustenance. Even for this it does not yet have the ability to make an appeal on its own behalf. And since the welfare of this nation by the Providence of God, it is not known for how long, is dependent on and has been entrusted into the hands of the Russian government which has now been given into your own power, therefore I, the most humble servant of these people, and their nurse (nyanka) stand before you in their behalf, write this petition with tears of blood. Be our Father and our Protector. Certainly we do not know how to be eloquent, so with an inarticulate infant's tonque we say: Wipe away the tears of the defenseless orphans, cool the hearts melting away in the fire of sorrow. Help us to know what consolation means."
The Elder acted the way he felt. He always interceded before the governors in behalf of those who had transgressed. He defended those who had been offended. He helped those who were in need with whatever means he had available. The Aleuts, men, women and children, often visited him. Some asked for advice, others complained of oppression, others sought out defense, and still others desired help. Each one received the greatest possible satisfaction from the Elder. He discussed their mutual difficulties, and he tried to settle these peacefully. He was especially concerned about reestablishing understanding in families. If he did not succeed in reconciling a husband and wife, the Elder prevailed upon them to separate temporarily. The need for such a procedure he explained thus, "it is better to let them live apart, or believe me, it can be terrible if they are not separated. There have been incidents when a husband killed his wife, or when a wife destroyed her husband."
Father Herman especially loved children. He made large quantities of biscuits for them, and he baked cookies (krendelki) for them; and the children were fond of the Elder. Father Herman's love for the Aleuts reached the point of self-denial.
A ship from the United States brought to Sitka Island, and from there to Kodiak Island, a contagious disease, a fatal illness. It began with a fever, a heavy cold, and difficult respiration, and it ended with chills; in three days the victim died. On the island there was neither a doctor nor medicine. The illness spread rapidly through the village, and then throughout the nearby areas. The disease affected all, even infants. The fatalities were so great that for three days there was no one to dig graves, and the bodies remained unburied. An eyewitness said, "I cannot imagine anything more tragic and horrible than the sight which struck me when I visited an Aleutian 'Kazhim'. This was a large building, or barracks, with dividing sections, in which the Aleuts lived with their families; it contained about 100 people. Here some had died, their cold bodies lay near the living; others were dying; there were groans and weeping which tore at one's soul."
"I saw mothers over whose bodies cold in death crawled a hungry child, crying and searching in vain for its food...My heart was bursting with compassion! It seemed that if anyone could paint with a worthy brush the full horror of this tragic scene, that he would have successfully aroused fear of death in the most embittered heart." Father Herman, during this terrible sickness which lasted a whole month, gradually dying out towards the end, visited the sick, never tiring. He admonished them in their fear, prayed, brought them to penance, or prepared them for death. He never spared himself.
The Elder was concerned in particular for the moral growth of the Aleuts. With this end in mind a school was built for children-the orphans of the Aleuts. He himself taught them the Law of God and church music. For this same purpose he gathered the Aleuts on Sunday and Holy Days for prayer in the chapel near his cell. Here his disciple read the Hours and the various prayers while the Elder himself read the Epistle and Gospel. He also preached to them. His students sang, and they sang very well. The Aleuts loved to hear his sermons, gathering around him in large numbers. The Elder's talks were captivating, and his listeners were moved by their wonderous power. He himself writes of one example of the beneficial results of his words.
"Glory to the holy destinies of the Merciful God! He has shown me now through his unfathomable Providence a new occurence which I, who have lived here for twenty years had never seen before on Kodiak. Recently after Easter, a young girl about twenty years of age who knows Russian well, came to me. Having heard of the Incarnation of the Son of God and of Eternal Life, she became so inflamed with love for Jesus Christ that she does not wish to leave me. She pleaded eloquently with me. Contrary to my personal inclination and love for solitude, and despite all the hindrances and difficulties which I put forward before accepting her, she has now been living near the school for a month and is not lonesome."
"I, looking on this with great wonder, remembered the 'words of the Savior: that which is hidden from the wise and learned is revealed to babes." (Matt. 11:25)
This woman lived at the school until the death of the Elder. She watched for the good conduct of the children who studied in his school. Father Herman willed that after his death she was to continue to live on Spruce Island. Her name was Sophia Vlasova.
Yanovsky writes about the character and the eloquence of the talks of the Elder in this way:
"When I met Father Herman I was thirty years old. I must say that I was educated in the naval corps school; that I knew many sciences having read extensively. But to my regret, the Science of sciences, that is the Law of God, I barely remembered the externals - and these only theoretically, not applying them to life. I was a Christian in name only, but in my soul and in reality, I was a freethinker. Furthermore, I did not admit the divinity and holiness of our religion, for I had read through many atheistic works. Father Herman recognized this immediately and he desired to reconvert me. To my great surprise he spoke so convincingly, wisely - and he argued with such conviction- that it seemed to me that no learning or worldly wisdom could stand one's ground before his words. We conversed with him daily until midnight, and even later, of God's love, of eternity, of the salvation of souls, and of Christian living. From his lips flowed a ceaseless stream of sweet words! By these continual talks and by the prayers of the holy Elder the Lord returned me completely to the way of Truth, and I became a real Christian. I am indebted for all this to Father Herman he is my true benefactor."
"Several years ago," continues Yanovsky, "Father Herman converted a certain naval captain G. to Orthodoxy from the Lutheran Faith. This captain was well educated. Besides many sciences, he was well versed in languages. He knew Russian, English, German, French, Italian and also some Spanish. But for all this he could not resist the convictions and proofs of Father Herman. He changed his faith and was united to the Orthodox Church through Chrismation. When he was leaving America, the Elder said to him while they were parting, "Be on guard, if the Lord should take your wife from you then do not marry a German woman under any circumstance. If you do marry a German woman, undoubtedly she will damage your Orthodoxy." The Captain gave his word, but he failed to keep it. The warning of the Elder was prophetic. Indeed, after several years the Captain's wife did die, and he married a German woman. There is no doubt that his faith weakened or that he left it; for he died suddenly without penance."
Further on Yanovsky writes, "Once the Elder was invited aboard a frigate which came from St Petersburg. The Captain of the frigate was a highly educated man, who had been sent to America by order of the Emperor to make an inspection of all the colonies. There were more than twenty-five officers with the Captain, and they also were educated men. In the company of this group sat a monk of a hermitage, small in stature and wearing very old clothes. All these educated conversationalists were placed in such a position by his wise talks that they did not know how to answer him. The Captain himself used to say, 'We were lost for an answer before him.'
"Father Herman gave them all one general question: 'Gentlemen, What do you love above all, and what will each of you wish for your happiness?' Various answers were offered ... Some desired wealth, others glory, some a beautiful wife, and still others a beautiful ship he would captain; and so forth in the same vein. 'It is not true,' Father Herman said to them concerning this, 'that all your various wishes can bring us to one conclusion - that each of you desires that which in his own understanding he considers the best, and which is most worthy of his love?' They all answered, 'Yes, that is so!' He then continued, 'Would you not say, Is not that which is best, above all, and surpassing all, and that which by preference is most worthy of love, the Very Lord, our Jesus Christ, who created us, adorned us with such ideals, gave life to all, sustains everything, nurtures and loves all, who is Himself Love and most beautiful of all men? Should we not then love God above every thing, desire Him more than anything, and search Him out?' "
All said, "Why, yes! That's self-evident!" Then the Elder asked, "But do you love God?" They all answered, "Certainly, we love God. How can we not love God?" "And I a sinner have been trying for more than forty years to love God, I cannot say that I love Him completely," Father Herman protested to them. He then began to demonstrate to them the way in which we should love God. "if we love someone," he said, "we always remember them; we try to please them. Day and night our heart is concerned with the subject. Is that the way you gentlemen love God? Do you turn to Him often? Do you always remember Him? Do you always pray to Him and fulfill His holy commandments?" They had to admit that they had not! "For our own good, and for our own fortune," concluded the Elder, "let us at least promise ourselves that from this very minute we will try to love God more than anything and to fulfill His Holy Will!" Without any doubt this conversation was imprinted in the hearts of the listeners for the rest of their lives.
"in general, Father Herman liked to talk of eternity, of salvation of the future life, of our destinies under God. He often talked on the lives of the Saints, on the Prologue, but he never spoke about anything frivolous. It was so pleasant to hear him that those who conversed with him, the Aleuts and their wives, were so captivated by his talks that often they did not leave him until dawn, and then they left him with reluctance;" thus witnesses the creole, Constantine Larionov.
Yanovsky writes a detailed description of Father Herman. "I have a vivid memory," he said, "Of all the features of the Elder's face reflecting goodness; his pleasant smile, his meek and attractive mien, his humble and quiet behavior, and his gracious word. He was short of stature. His face was pale and covered with wrinkles. His eyes were greyish-blue, full of sparkle, and on his head there were a few gray hairs. His voice was not powerful, but it was very pleasant." Yanovsky relates two incidents from his conversations with the Elder. "Once," he writes, "I read to Father Herman the ode, 'God,' by Derzhavin. The Elder was surprised, and entranced. He asked me to read it again. I read it once more, "Is it possible that a simple, educated man wrote this?" he asked. "Yes, a learned poet," I answered. "This has been written under God's inspiration," said the Elder.
"On another occasion I was relating to him how the Spanish in California had imprisoned fourteen Aleuts, and how the Jesuits (actually Franciscans) were forcing all of them to convert to Catholicism. But the Aleuts would not agree under any circumstances, saying, 'We are Christians.' The Jesuits argued, 'That's not true, you are heretics and schismatics. If you do not agree to accept our faith then we will torture all of you to death.' Then the Aleuts were placed in prisons two to a cell. That evening, the Jesuits came to the prison with lanterns and lighted candles. Again they tried to persuade two Aleuts in the cell to accept the Catholic Faith. 'We are Christians,' the Aleuts replied, 'and we will not change our Faith.' Then the Jesuits began to torture them, at first the one while his companion was a witness. They cut off one of the joints of his feet, and then the other joint. Then they cut the first joint on the fingers of his hands, and then the other joint. Then they cut off his feet, and his hands. The blood flowed, but the martyr endured all and firmly repeated one thing: "I am a Christian.' He died in such suffering, due to a loss of blood. The Jesuit also promised to torture his comrade to death the next day.
But that night an order was received from Monterey stating that the imprisoned Aleuts were to be released immediately, and sent there under escort. Therefore, in the morning all were sent to Monterey with the exception of the dead Aleut. This was related to me by a witness, the same Aleut who had escaped torture, and who was the friend of the martyred Aleut. I reported this incident to the authorities in St Petersburg. When I finished my story, Father Herman asked, 'What was the name of the martyred Aleut?' I answered, 'Peter. I do not remember his family name.' The Elder stood reverently before an icon, made the Sign of the Cross and said, "Holy New Martyr Peter, pray to God for usl"
In order to express the spirit of Father Herman's teaching, we present here a quotation from a letter that was written by his own hand.
"The empty years of these desires separate us from our heavenly homeland, and our Love for these desires and our habits clothe us, as it were, in an odious dress; it is called by the Apostle 'the external (earthy) man.' (I Cor. 15:47). We who are wanderers in the journey of this life call to God for aid. We must divest ourselves of this repulsiveness, and put on new desires, and a new love for the coming age. Thus, through this we will know either an attraction or a repulsion for the heavenly homeland. It is possible to do this quickly, but we must follow the example of the sick, who wishing for desired health, do not stop searching for means of curing themselves. But I am not speaking clearly."
Not desiring anything for himself in life; long ago when he first came to America having refused, because of his humility, the dignity of hiero-monk and archimandrite; and deciding to remain forever a common monk, Father Herman, without the least fear before the, powerful, strove with all sincerity for God. With gentle love, and disregarding the person, he criticized many for intemperate living, for unworthy behavior, and for oppressing the Aleuts. Evil armed itself against him and gave him all sorts of trouble and sorrow. But God protected the Elder. The Administrator of the Colony, Yanovsky, not having yet seen Father Herman, after receiving one of those complaints, had already written to St Petersburg of the necessity of his removal. He explained that it seemed that he was arousing the Aleuts against the administration. But this accusation turned out to be unjust, and in the end Yanovsky was numbered among the admirers of Father Herman.
Once an inspector came to Spruce Island with the Administrator of the Colony N. and with company employees to search through Father Herman's call.
This party expected to find property of great value in Father Herman's call. But when they found nothing of value, an employee (of the American Company), Ponomarkhov, began to tear up the floor with an axe, undoubtedly with the consent of his seniors. Then Father Herman said to him, "My friend, you have lifted the axe in vain; this weapon shall deprive you of your life." Some time later people were needed at Fort Nicholas, and for that reason several Russian employees were sent there from Kodiak; among them was Ponomarkhov; there the natives of Kenai cut off his head while he slept.
Many great sorrows were borne by Father Herman from evil spirits. He himself revealed this to his disciple, Gerasim. Once when he entered Father Herman's cell without the usual prayer he received no answer from Father Herman to any of his questions. The next day Gerasim asked him the reason for his silence. On that occasion Father Herman said to him, "When I came to this island and settled in this hermitage the evil spirits approached me ostensibly to be helpful. They came in the form of a man, and in the form of animals. I suffered much from them; from various afflictions and temptations. And that is why I do not speak now to anyone who enters into my presence without prayer." (It is customary among devout laymen, as well as clergy, to knock and say,"Through the prayers of our holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us." After hearing the response, "Amen," one would enter and venerate the icon in the room and say a prayer before greeting the host).
Herman dedicated himself fully for the Lord's service; he strove with zeal solely for the glorification of His Most Holy Name. Far from his homeland in the midst of a variety of afflictions and privations Father Herman spent several decades performing the noblest deeds of self-sacrifice. He was privileged to receive many supernatural gifts from God.
In the midst of Spruce Island down the hill flows a little stream into the sea. The mouth of this stream was always swept by surf. In the spring when the brook fish appeared the Elder raked away some of the sand at its mouth so that the fish could enter, and at their first appearance they rushed up the stream'. His disciple, lgnaty, said, "it was so that if 'Apa' would tell me, I would go and get fish in the streaml" Father Herman fed the birds with dried fish, and they would gather in great numbers around his call. Underneath his cell there lived an ermine. This little animal can not be approached when it has had its young, but the Elder fed it from his own hand. "Was not this a miracle that we had seen?" said his disciple, lgnaty. They also saw Father Herman feeding bears. But when Father Herman died the birds and animals left; even the garden would not give any sort of crops even though someone had willingly taken care of it, lgnaty insisted.
On Spruce Island there once occurred a flood. The inhabitants came to the Elder in great fear. Father Herman then took an icon of the Mother of God from the home where his students lived, and placed it on a "laida" ( a sandy bank) and began to pray. After his prayer he turned to those present and said, "Have no fear, the water will not go any higher than the place where this holy icon stands" (Compare Job 38:11). The words of the Elder were fullfilled. After this he promised the same aid from this holy icon in the future through the intercessions of the Most Immaculate Queen. He entrusted the icon to his disciple, Sophia; in case of future floods the icon was to be placed on the "laida."
At the request of the Elder, Baron F. P. Wrangel wrote a letter to a Metropolitan - his name is not known - which was dictated by Father Herman. When the letter was completed and read, the Elder congratulated the Baron upon his attaining the rank of admiral. The Baron was taken aback. This was news to him. It was confirmed, but only after an elapse of some time and just before he departed for St. Petersburg.
Father Herman said to the administrator Kashevarov from whom he accepted his son from the font (during the Sacrament of Baptism), "I am sorry for you my dear 'kum.' It's a shame, the change will be unpleasant for you!" In two years during a change of administration Kashevarov was sent to Sitka in chains.
Once the forest on Spruce Island caught fire. The Elder with his disciple, Ignaty, in a thicket of the forest made a belt about a yard wide in which they turned over the moss. They extended it to the foot of the hill. The Elder said, "Rest assured, the fire will not pass this line." On the next day according to the testimony of lgnaty there was no hope for salvation (from the fire) and the fire, pushed by a strong wind, reached the place where the moss had been turned over by the Elder. The fire ran over the moss and halted, leaving untouched the thick forest which was beyond the line.
The Elder often said that there would be a bishop for America; this at a time when no one even thought of it, and there was no hope that there would be a bishop for America;this was related by the Bishop Peter and his prophecy was fulfilled in time.
"After my death," said Father Herman, "there will be an epidemic and many people shall die during it and the Russians shall unite the Aleuts." And so it happened; it seems that about a half a year after his passing there was a smallpox epidemic; the death rate in America during the epidemic was tremendous. In some villages only a few inhabitants remained alive. This led the administration of the colony to unite the Aleuts; the twelve settlements were consolidated into seven.
"Although a long time shall elapse after my death, I will not be forgotten," said Father Herman to his disciples. "My place of habitation will not remain empty. A monk like myself who will be escaping from the glory of men, will come and he will live on Spruce Island, and Spruce Island will not be without people."
(This prophecy has now been fulfilled in its entirety. Just such a monk as Father Herman described lived on Spruce Island for many years; his name was Archimandrite Gerasim, who died on October 13, 1969. This monk took on himself the responsibility of taking care of the Chapel under which at first was buried the Elder Herman. Metropolitan Leonty soon after his elevation to the primacy of the Russian Orthodox Church in America made a pilgrimage to Spruce Island, and the grave of Herman.)
The creole Constantine, when he was not more than twelve years old, was asked by Father Herman, "My beloved one, what do you think; this chapel which they are now building, will it ever stand empty?" The youngster answered, "I do not know, 'Apa." "And indeed," said Constantine, "I did not understand his question at that time, even though that whole conversation with the Elder remains vivid in my memory." The Elder remained silent for a short time, and then said, "My child remember, in time in this place there will be a monastery."
Father Herman said to his disciple the Aleut lgnaty Aiigyaga, "Thirty years shall pass after my death, and all those living on Spruce Island will have died, but you alone will remain alive. You will be old and poor when I will be remembered." And indeed after the death of Father Herman thirty years passed when they were reminded of him, and they began to gather information and facts about him; on the basis of which was written his life. "It is amazing," exclaims lgnaty, "how a man like us could know all this so long before it happened! However, no, he was no ordinary man! He knew our thoughts, and involuntarily he led us to the point where we revealed them to him, and we received counsel from him!"
"When I die," said the Elder to his disciples, "you will bury me alongside Father Joasaph. You will bury me by yourself, for you will not wait for the priest! Do not wash my body. Lay it on a board, clasp my hands over my chest, wrap me in my 'mantia' (the monk's outer cloak), and with its wings cover my face and place the 'kiobuk' on my head. (The 'klobuk' is the monastic head-dress.) If anyone wishes to bid farewell to me, let them kiss the Cross. Do not show my face to anyone..."
The time of the Elder's passing had come. One day he ordered his disciple, Gerasim, to light a candle before the icons, and to read the Acts of the Holy Apostles. After some time his face glowed brightly and he said in a loud voice, "Glory to Thee, O Lord!" He then ordered the reading to be halted, and he announced that the Lord had willed that his life would now be spared for another week. A week later again by his orders the candies were lit, and the Acts of the Holy Apostles were read. Quietly the Elder bowed his head on the chest of Gerasim; the cell was filled with a pleasant smelling odor; and his face glowed, and Father Herman was no more! Thus in blessedness he died, he passed away in the sleep of a righteous man in the 81st year of his life of great labor, the 25th day of December, 1837. (According to the Julian Calendar, the 13th of December 1837, although there are some records which state he died on the 28th of November, and was buried on the 26th of December).
Those sent with the sad news to the harbor returned to announce that the administrator of the colony Kashevarov had forbidden the burial of the Elder until his own arrival. He also ordered that a finer coffin be made for Father Herman, and that he would come as soon as possible and would bring a priest with him. But then a great wind came up, a rain fell, and a terrible storm broke. The distance from the Harbor to Spruce Island is not great - about a two hour journey - but no one would agree to go to sea in such weather. Thus it continued for a full month and although the body lay in state for a full month in the warm house of his students, his face did not undergo any change at all, and not the slightest odor emanated from his body. Finally through the efforts of Kuzma Uchilischev, a coffin was obtained. No one arrived from the Harbor, and the inhabitants of Spruce Island alone buried in the ground the remains of the Elder. Thus the words which Herman uttered before his death were fulfilled. After this the wind quieted down, and the surface of the sea became as smooth as a mirror.

One evening from the village Katani (on Afognak) was seen above Spruce Island an unusual pillar of light which reached up to heaven. Astonished by the miraculous appearance, experienced elders and the creole Gerasim Vologdin and his wife, Anna, said, "it seems that Father Herman has left us," and they began to pray. After a time, they were informed that the Elder had indeed passed away that very night. This same pillar was seen in various places by others. The night of his death in another of the settlements on Afognak was seen a vision; it seemed as though a man was rising from Spruce Island into the clouds.
The disciples buried their father, and placed above his grave a wooden memorial marker. The priest on Kodiak, Peter Kashevarov, says, "I saw it myself, and I can say that today it seems as though it had never been touched by time; as though it had been cut this day."
Having witnessed the life of Father Herman glorified by his zealous labors, having seen his miracles, and the ful- fillment of his predictions, finally having observed his blessed falling-asleep, "in general all the local inhabitants" witnesses Bishop Peter, "have the highest esteem for him, as though he was a holy ascetic, anti are fully convinced thdt he has found favor in the presence of God."
In 1842, five years after the passing away of the Elder, Innocent, Archbishop of Kamchatka and the Aleutians, was near Kodiak on a sailing vessel which was in great distress. He looked to Spruce Island, and said to himself, "if you, Father Herman, have found favor in God's presence then may the wind change!" It seems as though not more than fifteen minutes had passed, said the Bishop, when the wind became favorable, and he successfully reached the shore. In thanksgiving for his salvation, Archbishop Innocent himself conducted a Memorial Service over the grave of the ever-memorable Elder Herman.
In 1970, the Orthodox Church in America glorified the monk Herman as the Venerable Herman of Alaska, Wonderworker of All America
At Moulins in France, the birthday of St. Jane Frances Fremiot de Chantal.
Molíni, in Gállia, item natális sanctæ Joánnæ-Francíscæ Frémiot de Chantal Víduæ, quæ Ordinis Sanctimoniálium Visitatiónis sanctæ Maríæ fuit Institútrix; ac, nobilitáte géneris, vitæ sanctimónia, quam in quadruplíci statu constánter duxit, et miraculórum dono illústris, a Cleménte Décimo tértio, Pontífice Máximo, in Sanctárum númerum reláta est.  Sacrum ejus corpus Annésium, in Sabáudia, translátum fuit, et solémni pompa in prima sui Ordinis Ecclésia tumulátum.  Ipsíus autem festum duodécimo Kaléndas Septémbris ab univérsa Ecclésia Clemens Papa Décimus quartus celebrári mandávit.
 At Moulins in France, the birthday of St. Jane Frances Fremiot de Chantal, widow, foundress of the Nuns of the Visitation of St. Mary, distinguished by the nobility of her birth, by the holiness she constantly displayed in four different states of life, and by the gift of miracles.  She was placed among the saints by Clement XIII.  Her holy body was taken to Annecy in Savoy and buried with great pomp in the first church of her order.  By order of Clement XIV, her feast is kept by the whole Church on the 21st of August.

Father Alexander Schmemann: In Memoriam: Father Alexander's vision shaped the structure and life of the Orthodox Church in America as well as St. Vladimir's Seminary. His works informed and infuriated, transformed and influenced the life of the whole Orthodox community in America and beyond.
His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah

Twenty five years have passed since the repose of Father Alexander Schmemann. Father Alexander's vision shaped the structure and life of the Orthodox Church in America as well as St. Vladimir's Seminary. His works informed and infuriated, transformed and influenced the life of the whole Orthodox community in America and beyond.
Reading his works now, I am impressed not only by his vision, but by how far the Church has come over the past fifty years since Father Alexander came to the United States from France. No longer is lay non-participation in the Eucharist the norm, a huge transformation. No longer is it questioned that the liturgical texts are a primary access to the Mind of the Church. The liturgy in the OCA is universally served in English, or the language of the local community where necessary. No longer is the OCA a Slavic ghetto of ex-Uniates; it has become a truly catholic community based on faith rather than ethnic and family tradition. No longer is it canonically isolated; it is fully in communion with all the other Orthodox Churches. Great numbers of the clergy, many of whom are converts to Orthodoxy, are well educated with master's degrees in divinity or theology. These were some of the main issues with which Father Alexander dealt.
There are still more issues, however, which remain unresolved. The question of the so-called "diaspora" and the role of the Ecumenical Patriarchate is a key issue, which not only Father Alexander but many others courageously addressed. The OCA's autocephaly remains unaccepted by Constantinople, though its canonicity is unquestioned. Most of all, his vision of a united American Orthodox Church, embracing all Orthodox Christians under a single hierarchy, fully autocephalous and engaged with the contemporary social and cultural milieu, remains unfulfilled.
Father Alexander delineated some of the key challenges that the Orthodox Church must face in its mission in this culture. One such challenge is secularization: the reduction of Orthodoxy to a compartmentalized religious form fulfilling people's "religious needs," while their overall worldview remains defined by "the world." Father Alexander wrote against this sellout to secularization, and it is one of the greatest impacts on how we do mission in our culture.
Another central issue is the relationship of monasticism to the mission of the Orthodox Church in this culture. At the time of Father Alexander's death, monasticism was very minimal in North America. The larger men's monasteries were primarily outside the canonical churches, and some were riddled with scandal. Others preserved external forms, but they sorely lacked elders with profound spiritual maturity. Still others were barely nascent, or even experimental in their forms and expression. Monasticism was entirely marginal to the life of the Orthodox community in America (except perhaps in the Russian Church Abroad). Elder Ephraim's communities were not even planned. Father Alexander took a rather dim view of monasticism, undoubtedly because of its spiritual shallowness and external religiosity, as well as his knowledge of the corruption just under the surface of so many communities. He rejected the pharisaical externalism that is such an easy temptation for monasticism, the anti-intellectualism and arrogant elitism, all of which were part of the corruption of monasticism in Romanov Russia. Some say that his attitude was a carry-over from the rivalry between white and black clergy imbedded in the Russian ecclesiastical community. My opinion is that he would have agreed entirely with St. Ignatiy Brianchaninov, that where monasticism is in line with the Gospel it is healthy and constructive. Where it is formal and external, it is useless.
Since Father Alexander's death, the Orthodox Church in America has suffered a crisis in vision. Father Alexander had provided that vision and direction, but no successors have arisen to his role of leadership. We have to ask the question, Where do we go from here? There is consensus that there is a crisis in vision and leadership. Given the foundation of Father Alexander's work, what will bring us back to a unified vision and direction as we strive to do the work of mission as the Orthodox Church in America? We must first examine the past few years, and evaluate the con¬text we have to address, before trying to answer this question.

Where do we go from here?
The mission of the Orthodox Church in North America has come a long way over the past forty years, with the formation of SCOBA, the autocephaly of the OCA, the influx of converts and translation of the services, the reconciliation of the Ukrainian Churches in North America with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the relative autonomy of the Antiochian Archdiocese, and the healing of the schism between ROCOR and the Russian Mother Church. The face of the Orthodox Church has changed dramatically, with the publication of literature, the education of clergy to better minister to the people, and the establishment of monasticism on a broad scale. But the question, and the point of judgment and hence the crisis, is, Where do we go from here?
We cannot make light of any of the remarkable developments of the past years. But we are faced with an ever changing social and political situation which is leaving our churches in a rather strange predicament. The old established social institutions -- the Protestant churches which were the ethnic churches of American culture -- are changing so rapidly that they have lost their Christian vision and validate all sorts of immorality. They have lost their status as defining elements in American culture and morality, and have are fast becoming post-Christian, dying on the vine. The new Evangelical and Pentecostal churches are attracting large crowds, but there is little staying power. People usually remain members for no more than three years. These churches have a lot of excitement and entertainment, but the experience is often very shallow and unsatisfying. They emphasize the Bible, but preach an oversimplified and distorted Calvinism or some other strange idea, and are blown about by every wind of doctrine. Fundamentalism means either dispensationalism, Calvinism or whatever the preacher has been reading that week. The Roman Catholic Church is being battered by these same social currents, and hangs onto its orthodoxy by the strength of the papacy alone, whose authority is steadily declining in the American scene. There is theological, liturgical, and spiritual chaos. And on top of that is the ever growing New Age conglomeration of syncretisms.

Then, you have us.
To paraphrase Father Thomas Hopko, from the inside, the Orthodox Church seems absolutely crazy. Until you look at the churches outside. Then we seem to be the paragon of stability. Orthodoxy in America has been shielded by its ethnicism and inherent conservatism from some of these social trends. It was even the most rapidly growing denomination in the country for a while. But, as the Church becomes indigenous in this country, it is encountering and has to deal with the culture at large. It can no longer hide under the dark veils of mystical antiquity and languages incomprehensible even to the faithful. Babushka watches Pat Robertson and Mother Angelica. Yaya watches Benny Hinn. Our people are now well educated and sophisticated businessmen, no longer non-English speaking immigrants. And thousands of converts have flooded the churches across the jurisdictional spectrum, each with his own baggage.
On one hand, the liturgy remains the same -- though substantially in English -- and there is no interest in changing it or the theology behind it. Church life remains the same, with festivals, bible studies, and dance and choral groups. Things are comfortable. But if we are going to go beyond where we are now, we are going to have to change. Not the liturgy or other services: they are a given. No one is interested in a reformation or Vatican II for Orthodoxy. Not even the day to day life of the parish or diocese will change. What must change is our fundamental attitude about who we are and what we are doing, and how we go about doing it. It is a question of vision and of mission.
For too long, we have been concerned about simply maintaining "our" church, serving "our" people, focusing on the services and on social events. But we have sorely neglected the core of the Gospel: to bring the good news to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to give sight to the blind and to raise the fallen. We have served mostly ourselves, and anyone who wants to join us -- but not "Them." This is not what our Lord Jesus Christ has given us to do. He has commissioned us to "Go into all the world, preach the Gospel to every nation, baptizing them ... teaching them to observe all I have commanded." Our vision has been constricted, and our mission has been curtailed into something self-serving. We are so concerned about our own visions and missions, consisting of the petty little agendas of our organizations, that we ignore the underlying mission of the Gospel. It is no wonder that there are multiple parallel jurisdictions. We have lost sight of the thing that really unifies us: the vision and mission of the Gospel.
So what is the Gospel? What is the Good News that we have for people? We have lots of news for people, and lots of invitations, but they are not necessarily very good.
The Gospel is not that Orthodoxy is the True Religion and all the rest are false. The Gospel is not that they can become born-again Russians, Ukrainians, Greeks, Syrians, Serbs or what have you. It is not that they can come help us pay the mortgage. It is not that they can support our position against the Others -- like the OCA vs. the Ecumenical Patriarchate, or Antioch vs. Jerusalem, or God only knows what. It is not that they can come join some enclave of a foreign culture and even be (more or less) accepted.

The Only Agenda: The Gospel
If we are really Orthodox, we should be able to preach the Gospel better than anyone else, because we have it in an undistorted form. So what is it?
First and foremost that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead, trampling death by death and giving life to those in the tombs. It is the message of the Resurrection, the victory of Jesus Christ over death and hell. It is the Good News that the Kingdom of God is present, here and now, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, and you can be baptized into it, commune of its grace, and be filled with new life. It is this that we constantly celebrate in church, in the services, in the cycles of feasts and fasts. And what does it do for us? It heals our souls, and raises us up from despair, and enables us to deal with any obstacle that comes in our way.
The good news of the "Orthodox" Gospel is that we are free from the destructive perversions of the Gospel which pervade the religious presuppositions of our post-Christian ex-Protestant culture. We don't preach that God is a harsh judge waiting to damn us to hell for the least transgression. How often do we say in the Liturgy, "For You are a good God and the lover of mankind," or "You are a God of mercy and compassion and love for mankind." This is Good News. We don't preach that we are inescapably predestined to be saved or damned, and there is not a thing we can do about it, either way. And we don't preach that being a Christian is about going to heaven when we die. What do we say? As St John Chrysostom said, "For You have brought us up to heaven and endowed us with your kingdom which is to come." Here and now, not just when we're dead. And we don't need to forget those who have gone before us, but we have continual remembrance of them, because in Christ they are alive with the same life with which we also live.
We celebrate the Sunday of Orthodoxy, but it needs to be a real celebration of the integrity of the Gospel message. The triumph over iconoclasm has an essential point of faith: by His Incarnation, Jesus Christ sanctified matter. We can paint a picture of God Incarnate, and experience His Presence in and through venerating the icon. We can partake of His life by eating the bread and wine of His Body and Blood; we are immersed into His life in Baptism, anointed with the Holy Spirit in Chrismation, and made part of His Body. The world itself, matter, is sanctified by Christ's Coming, and becomes a means of communion with God. And we ourselves, in this body, in this life, here and now, are sanctified and made holy, partakers of the life of God. Salvation is about life here and now, not "fire insurance" for after death! In Christ, all things are made new. "For He has brought us up to heaven, and endowed us with His Kingdom which is to come." This is Good News!
A Call to Repentance
So what do we need to do? We need to focus on this life-giving message of the Gospel, which is what the Church, its life and services, are about anyway. We need to surrender to Christ, and put aside our self-serving agendas. Only then can we come together to do the work of Christ: to draw all people to Him. We need to learn the Scripture, so that we can live it. We need to serve the poor and those in need without regard to who they are or whether they are "ours." In short, we need to love our neighbor as our self. In other words, it is time that we accepted the responsibility to incarnate the message of Christ at all costs. It is time we grew up.
Orthodoxy in North America has come a long way. Our forefathers in the Faith have laid a foundation for us to build upon. It is here that we can be encouraged and informed by the vision of Father Alexander Schmemann, and others. We have a lot of work to do and we have a long way to go. We must repent of the sins and attitudes which have distorted the life of our Church here, and then tear down the obstacles we have erected to fulfilling the mission of the Gospel.
We have to repent of ethnic phyletism. This includes convertism as well. I do not mean that our communities will not have their own traditional flavors -- in more ways than one! We have to rejoice in our diversity; but not at the expense of our unity and cooperation. We can't let any human barriers get in the way of the Gospel: language, culture, social or economic status, race, or anything else. When we let any human category exclude others from the Church, we sell out Christ, as the Jews did who refused to let Gentiles enter the Church.
We have to repent of the exclusiveness that leads us into sectarianism and self-enclosure in our own little self-satisfied groups. This attitude is alien to the Catholic mind, which presupposes a holistic vision of the faith and community of the Church. This means authentic encounter with non-Orthodox Christians in a spirit of humility and openness, not insecurity and arrogance. Exclusivist sectarianism is not the vision of the Catholic Church of the Roman Empire that embraced hundreds of cultures and united them in Christ. It doesn't matter what the rituals look like if we do not have a Catholic vision. If we are not Catholic, we are not Orthodox.
We have to assert that we are not in diaspora. We have been here for many generations, and our churches are consecrated to last until the Second Coming. We are Americans and Canadians, with heritages to be proud of. We rejoice in our communion with the Churches of the Old World, but we are Orthodox Christians here and now, and we need to govern our own affairs and elect our own bishops and primate. The Fathers have taught us that as Christians we can have no abiding earthly country. We are citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Orthodox churches can only be organized canonically on the basis of local territorial boundaries. We have to end the parallel jurisdictions, which fundamentally distort the life and mission of the Church. The most important canonical objection the Orthodox have against the Papacy is its assertion of universal jurisdiction, without territorial boundaries. Yet we have fallen into the same heresy, as virtually every national Orthodox church has jurisdiction outside its territorial borders, like in America. Just look at a phone book. We have to remind our hierarchs that there is no such thing as "universal jurisdiction" in the Orthodox Church, so if we are to continue to consider ourselves within the Apostolic Tradition, things must change.
Repentance not only entails recognizing and admitting the sin. It is not fulfilled until the sin is overcome, not to be repeated. This means that we have to reorganize the life of the Church in North America, with one synod of all the Orthodox bishops, under one primate elected by them. This is the only way to bring an end to the confusion and competition between the jurisdictions, all of whom are doing the same thing, but are captive to foreign nationalistic agendas. The mission of the Church in America must not be held hostage to the agendas of patriarchs and synods thousands of miles away in different cultures and nations. If they could be convinced relinquish their tight hold on their American cash cows, they might find our financial support of them to increase.
Still more important, however, is the critical need to repent of our self-serving agendas, which reinforce parochial and jurisdictional isolation and competition. If we could focus on the needs of the local community around us, and not just on ourselves and our institutions, every financial need and every personnel shortage would resolve itself. We must simply open our doors and hearts to those in need: those held by the poverty of loneliness and isolation, as well as financial need; those suffering from addictions and abuse; the thousands of children needing a safe place to go after school; the women -- the widows of our age, from loss or divorce -- left abandoned and in poverty barely able to survive. To minister to them is to preach the Gospel in words far stronger than any rhetoric. To receive them in love incarnates the Gospel, and fulfills the church as the Body of Christ -- for "they will know you are my disciples by how you love one another" (cf. John 13 : 35).
On a more subtle level there is another temptation which demands our repentance. Too often we reduce the life of the Church to the services, to the cult, to religion. Those of us who are priests and concerned with the integrity and beauty of the services are especially prone to this. The Church is not the services. The Church is not the Eucharist. The Eucharist constitutes and fulfills the Church, but it is there to constitute and fulfill the entire life of the whole community, its good works of charity and self-denial, the self-offering of the faithful to those in need. But if these things are forgotten, what does the Eucharist consecrate and fulfill? It simply becomes a ritual act to fulfill the "religious needs" of the people.
Father Alexander Schmemann drew a sharp distinction between religion and faith. How easy it is to be religious -- to focus on the external dimensions of the life of the church, its services, rules, disciplines, aesthetics, structure. But if these become ends in themselves, rather than expressions and supports to a life of faith manifest in works of charity, then our trust in these things is in vain and we are hypocrites, "having the form of religion but denying its power." As one abbot recently said, "its hard not to be a Pharisee when you look like one!" It is not the forms that are the problem, but rather, our attitude towards them and the focus of our life as a Christian community. We are called to "do the one without neglecting the other."
The reduction of faith to observance of religious forms is a foundational element of secularization. The forms divorced from their content become meaningless, or at best nostalgic reminders of bygone days. They can thus be compartmentalized or discarded, having no real impact on how we live our lives. The only way to fight secularization is to emphasize that faith is about how we live our life: not only the remembrance of God, but how we treat other people, for how we treat our neighbor is the criterion of how we love God. In this way, our faith is not relegated to an hour or so on Sunday morning. Rather, it impacts every encounter with another person, and every relationship we have.
Our communion with our neighbor is the criterion of our faith. The agendas of power and money, organizations and institutions, by which we isolate ourselves from our neighbors, are ultimately distractions from our real vocation as the Church. Our real calling is the mission given us by Christ, the work of Christ himself: "to preach the good news to the poor, to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to captives and the recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord" (Luke 4 : 18). Then our religion will be true and authentic: "Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world" (James 1 : 27).
Eucharistic Life: Thanksgiving with Joy
As Father Alexander would remind us, the most essential elements of the Christian life are joy and thanksgiving. When we live a life of faith, overcoming our selfishness by self-denial, doing the works of charity for which we have been recreated in Christ, we can have no other attitude but joy, and we offer all things to God in a sacrifice of thanksgiving. We sin and fall short -- but repenting we find joy. We have to bear our cross, whatever it may be; but "behold, through the cross, joy has come into all the world!" We have great and diverse elements within our communities; but we can rejoice in the unity of the Spirit, as one Body. What is our vocation as the Church but to be witnesses to the world of Christ's resurrection, to heal by our love, and to raise the whole world as an offering of thanksgiving to God? Then all our life, as persons and as community, is transformed into a Eucharistic celebration of joy, an anticipation of the Presence of Christ in His Kingdom.
-- This article was first published in Divine Ascent, the journal of the Monastery of St. John of San Francisco, No. 10, Summer 2005. More of Metropolitan Jonah's writings will be posted as they become available.

 Tuesday  Saints of this Day December  13 Idibus Decémbris  

Pope Francis  PRAYER INTENTIONS FOR  December 2016
Universal: End to Child-Soldiers.
That the scandal of child-soldiers may be eliminated the world over.
Evangelization: Europe  That the peoples of Europe may rediscover the beauty, goodness, and
truth of the Gospel which gives joy and hope to life.

God Bless Mother Angelica 1923-2016

On Death and Life
"Man Needs Eternity -- and Every Other Hope, for Him, Is All Too Brief"
Пресвятая Богородице спаси нас!    (Santíssima Mãe de Deus, salva-nos!)
We are the defenders of true freedom.
  May our witness unveil the deception of the "pro-choice" slogan.
40 days for Life Campaign saves lives Shawn Carney Campaign Director
Please help save the unborn they are the future for the world

It is a great poverty that a child must die so that you may live as you wish -- Mother Teresa
 Saving babies, healing moms and dads, 'The Gospel of Life'

"Man Needs Eternity -- and Every Other Hope, for Him, Is All Too Brief"
It Makes No Sense Not To Believe In GOD 
Every Christian must be a living book
wherein one can read the teaching of the gospel

Jesus brings us many Blessings
The more we pray, the more we wish to pray. Like a fish which at first swims on the surface of the water, and afterwards plunges down, and is always going deeper; the soul plunges, dives, and loses itself in the sweetness of conversing with God. -- St. John Vianney

  Month by Month of Saintly Dedications

The Rosary html Mary Mother of GOD -- Her Rosary Here
Mary Mother of GOD Mary's Divine Motherhood: FEASTS OF OUR LADY
     of the Virgin Mary to those who recite the Rosary

May 9 – Our Lady of the Wood (Italy, 1607) 
Months of Dedication
January is the month of the Holy Name of Jesus since 1902;
March is the month of Saint Joseph since 1855;
May, the month of Mary, is the oldest and most well-known Marian month, officially since 1724;
June is the month of the Sacred Heart since 1873;
July is the month of the Precious Blood since 1850;
August is the month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary;
September is the month of Our Lady of Sorrows since 1857;
October is the month of the Rosary since 1868;
November is the month of the Holy Souls in Purgatory since 1888;
December is the month of the Immaculate Conception.

In all, five months of the year are dedicated to Mary.
The idea of dedicating months came from Rome and promotion of the month of Mary owes much to the Jesuits.

Pray that the witness of 40 Days for Life bears abundant fruit, and that we begin again each day to storm the gates of hell until God welcomes us into the gates of heaven.

If you seek patience, you will find no better example than the cross. Great patience occurs in two ways:
either when one patiently suffers much, or when one suffers things which one is able to avoid and yet does not avoid.
Christ endured much on the cross, and did so patiently, because when he suffered he did not threaten;
he was led like a sheep to the slaughter and he did not open his mouth.-- St. Thomas Aquinas

  We begin our day by seeing Christ in the consecrated bread, and throughout the day we continue to see Him in the torn bodies of our poor. We pray, that is, through our work, performing it with Jesus, for Jesus and upon Jesus.
The poor are our prayer. They carry God in them. Prayer means praying everything, praying the work.
We meet the Lord who hungers and thirsts, in the poor.....and the poor could be you or I or any person kind enough to show us his or her love and to come to our place.
Because we cannot see Christ, we cannot express our love to Him in person.
But our neighbor we can see, and we can do for him or her what we would love to do for Jesus if He were visible.
-- Mother Teresa
My God, I believe, I adore, I trust and I love Thee.  I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not love Thee.  O most Holy trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore Thee profoundly.
 I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the Tabernacles of the world,  in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference by which He is offended,
and by the infite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

I beg the conversion of poor sinners,  Amen Fatima Prayer, Angel of Peace
Mary's Divine Motherhood
Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI { 2013 } Catholic Church In China { article here}
1648 to1930 St. Augustine Zhao Rong and 120 Companions Christianity arrived in China by way of Syria -- 600s.
        Depending on China's relations with outside world,
Christianity for centuries was free to grow or forced to operate secretly.

How do I start the Five First Saturdays? 
Called in the Gospel “the Mother of Jesus,” Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as “the Mother of my Lord” (Lk 1:43; Jn 2:1; 19:25; cf. Mt 13:55; et al.). In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father's eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly Mother of God (Theotokos). 
Catechism of the Catholic Church 495, quoting the Council of Ephesus (431): DS 251.
“The Blessed Virgin was eternally predestined, in conjunction with the incarnation of the divine Word, to be the Mother of God. By decree of divine Providence, she served on earth as the loving mother of the divine Redeemer, an associate of unique nobility, and the Lord's humble handmaid. She conceived, brought forth, and nourished Christ.”
The voice of the Father is heard, the Son enters the water, and the Holy Spirit appears in the form of a dove.
   THE spirit and example of the world imperceptibly instil the error into the minds of many that there is a kind of middle way of going to Heaven; and so, because the world does not live up to the gospel, they bring the gospel down to the level of the world. It is not by this example that we are to measure the Christian rule, but words and life of Christ. All His followers are commanded to labour to become perfect even as our heavenly Father is perfect, and to bear His image in our hearts that we may be His children. We are obliged by the gospel to die to ourselves by fighting self-love in our hearts, by the mastery of our passions, by taking on the spirit of our Lord.
   These are the conditions under which Christ makes His promises and numbers us among His children, as is manifest from His words which the apostles have left us in their inspired writings. Here is no distinction made or foreseen between the apostles or clergy or religious and secular persons. The former, indeed, take upon themselves certain stricter obligations, as a means of accomplishing these ends more perfectly; but the law of holiness and of disengagement of the heart from the world is geeral and binds all the followers of Christ.

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There are over 10,000 named saints beati  from history
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We are called upon with the whole Church militant on earth to join in praising and thanking God for the grace and glory he has bestowed on his saints. At the same time we earnestly implore Him to exert His almighty power and mercy in raising us from our miseries and sins, healing the disorders of our souls and leading us by the path of repentance to the company of His saints, to which He has called us.
   They were once what we are now, travellers on earth they had the same weaknesses, which we have. We have difficulties to encounter so had the saints, and many of them far greater than we can meet with; obstacles from kings and whole nations, sometimes from the prisons, racks and swords of persecutors. Yet they surmounted these difficulties, which they made the very means of their virtue and victories. It was by the strength they received from above, not by their own, that they triumphed. But the blood of Christ was shed for us as it was for them and the grace of our Redeemer is not wanting to us; if we fail, the failure is in ourselves.
   THE saints and just, from the beginning of time and throughout the world, who have been made perfect, everlasting monuments of God’s infinite power and clemency, praise His goodness without ceasing; casting their crowns before His throne they give to Him all the glory of their triumphs: “His gifts alone in us He crowns.”
“The saints must be honored as friends of Christ and children and heirs of God, as John the theologian and evangelist says: ‘But as many as received him, he gave them the power to be made the sons of God....’ Let us carefully observe the manner of life of all the apostles, martyrs, ascetics and just men who announced the coming of the Lord. And let us emulate their faith, charity, hope, zeal, life, patience under suffering, and perseverance unto death, so that we may also share their crowns of glory” Exposition of the Orthodox Faith

Called in the Gospel the Mother of Jesus, Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as the Mother of my Lord (Lk 1:43; Jn 2:1; 19:25; cf. Mt 13:55; et al.). In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father's eternal Son,  the second person of the Holy Trinity.
Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly Mother of God (Theotokos).
Catechism of the Catholic Church 495, quoting the Council of Ephesus (431): DS 251.
Nine First Fridays Devotion to the Sacred Heart ... From the writings of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
On Friday during Holy Communion, He said these words to me, His unworthy slave, if I mistake not:
I promise you in the excessive mercy of my Heart that its all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on nine first Fridays of consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they will not die under my displeasure or without receiving their sacraments, my divine Heart making itself their assured refuge at the last moment.
Margaret Mary was inspired by Christ to establish the Holy Hour and to pray lying prostrate with her face to the ground from eleven till midnight on the eve of the first Friday of each month, to share in the mortal sadness.
He endured when abandoned by His Apostles in His Agony, and to receive holy Communion on the first Friday of every month. In the first great revelation, He made known to her His ardent desire to be loved by men and His design of manifesting His Heart with all Its treasures of love and mercy, of sanctification and salvation.
He appointed the Friday after the octave of the feast of Corpus Christi as the feast of the Sacred Heart; He called her the Beloved Disciple of the Sacred Heart, and the heiress of all Its treasures. The love of the Sacred Heart was the fire which consumed her, and devotion to the Sacred Heart is the refrain of all her writings. In her last illness she refused all alleviation, repeating frequently: What have I in heaven and what do I desire on earth, but Thee alone, O my God, and died pronouncing the Holy Name of Jesus.
With regard to this promise it may be remarked: (1) that our Lord required Communion to be received on a particular day chosen by Him; (2) that the nine Fridays must be consecutive; (3) that they must be made in honor of His Sacred Heart, which means that those who make the nine Fridays must practice the devotion and must have a great love for our Lord; (4) that our Lord does not say that those who make the nine Fridays will be dispensed from any of their obligations or from exercising the vigilance necessary to lead a good life and overcome temptation; rather He implicitly promises abundant graces to those who make the nine Fridays to help them to carry out these obligations and persevere to the end; (5) that perseverance in receiving Holy Communion for nine consecutive First Firdays helps the faithful to acquire the habit of frequent Communion, which our Lord eagerly desires; and (6) that the practice of the nine Fridays is very pleasing to our Lord He promises such great reward, and all Catholics should endeavor to make nine Fridays.
How do I start the Five First Saturdays? by Fr. Tom O'Mahony.
On July 13,1917, Our Lady appeared for the third time to the three children of Fatima an showed them the vision of hell and made the now - famous thirteen prophecies. In this vision Our Lady said that 'GOD WISHES TO ESTABLISH IN THE WORLD DEVOTION to Her Immaculate Heart and that She would come TO ASK FOR THE COMMUNION OF REPARATION ON THE FIRST SATURDAYS...'  Eight years later, on December 10, 1925, Our Lady did indeed come back. She appeared (with the Child Jesus) to Lucia in the convent of the Dorothean Sisters in Pontevedra.
The Child Jesus spoke first:


The Five Reasons
From the above, it is easy to see that each of the Five Saturdays can correspond to a specific offence. By offering the graces received during each First Saturday as reparation for the offence being prayed for, the participant can hope to help remove the thorns from Our Lady's Heart.
What Do I Have To Do?
The devotion of First Saturdays, as requested by Our Lady of Fatima, carries with it the assurance of salvation. However, to derive profit from such a great promise of Our Lady, the devotion must be properly understood and duly performed.
The requirements as stipulated by Our Lady are as follows:
(1) CONFESSION: A reparative confession means that the confession should not only be good (valid and licit), but also be offered in the spirit of reparation, in this case, to Mary's Immaculate Heart. This confession may be made on the First Saturday itself or some days before or after the First Saturday within the preceding octave would suffice.
(2) COMMUNION: The communion of reparation must be sacramental duly received with the intention of making reparation. This offering, like the confession, is an interior act and so no external action to express the intention is needed.