Mary Mother of GOD 15 Promises of the Virgin Mary to those who recite the Rosary
 Wednesday  Saints   14 Décimo nono Kaléndas Januárii  

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!)


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



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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

Dec 14 - Our Lady of Alba Royale Hungary, 1005
I am the Mother of Ipalnemohuani (VI)

Juan Diego left, and later opened his tilma for the bishop, in the hollow of which he had placed the flowers. And just as all the different precious flowers fell to the floor, the beloved image of the ever-Virgin Mary, the holy Mother of God, became the sign, printed supernaturally on his tilma.

Despite the fact that the evangelization of the Americas had gotten off to a bad start because of the deplorable behavior of the conquistadors, the miraculous events of Guadalupe impelled 9 million Indians to ask for baptism in the 10 years which followed.
Borrowed and adapted from La Dame du Ciel (The Lady from Heaven),
by Jean-Pierre Rousselle and Jean Mathiot, Editions Téqui 2004

And hope confoundeth not: because the charity of God is poured forth in our hearts,
by the Holy Ghost, who is given to us. -- Romans v. 5


December 14 – End of the apparitions at L'Ile Bouchard (France, December 8 -14, 1947) 
 
Our Lady founded a small school of prayer 
 Between December 8 - 14, 1947, at a time when France was heading towards civil war and a likely take over by the communists in the aftermath of World War II, the Virgin Mary appeared to four children in a town called L’Ile Bouchard (near the Loire River). Their names were: Jacqueline Aubry (12), Laura Croizon (8), Nicole Robin (10, Jacqueline’s cousin) and Jeannette Aubry (7, Jacqueline’s sister).

Our Lady—invoked at L’Ile Bouchard as Our Lady of Prayer—gave the children a unique and timely message. Among other things, the Virgin taught them to pray: how to make the sign of the cross, slowly and with great dignity; how to sing or recite the Hail Mary; how to recite "O Mary conceived without sin" and the Magnificat.
  The Virgin Mary actually founded a small of school of prayer during her week-long apparitions. Eucharistic adoration was emphasized when the vision of Our Lady and the angel faded away before the exposed Blessed Sacrament. She also taught them how to praise God, with the words of the Magnificat embroidered on her dress and sung by the faithful at her request.  The Mary of Nazareth Team
 
December 14, 2016
1315 Bd Bonaventure Buonaccorsi; a leader of the Ghibellines and notorious as a desperate character. This Bonaventure was so moved by St Philip’s exhortations to peace and concord that he went to him and accused himself of being a prominent fomenter of disorder and a cause of much misery and injustice. So penitent was he that he asked to be admitted among the Servite friars; even in his lifetime he was known as il Beato, and miracles were reported both before and after his death
1583 Bd Nicholas Factor; His raptures, miracles and visions were so frequent that St Louis Bertrand said he lived more in Heaven than on earth, and among many examples of supernatural knowledge was an announcement of the victory of Lepanto the day after the battle.
1591 St. John of the Cross Carmelite St Teresa of Avila asked him to help
1707 Saint Hilarion, Metropolitan of Suzdal and Yuriev found the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God



Ubédæ, in Hispánia, natális sancti Joánnis a Cruce, Presbyteri et Confessóris, sanctæ Terésiæ in Carmelitárum reformatióne sócii; quem, a Summo Pontífice Benedícto Décimo tértio Sanctis adscríptum, Pius Papa Undécimus Doctórem universális Ecclésiæ declarávit.  Ipsíus tamen festívitas ágitur octávo Kaléndas Decémbris.
    At Ubeda in Spain, the birthday of St. John of the Cross, priest and confessor, and the companion of St. Teresa in the reform of the Carmelites.  Pope Benedict XIII placed him on the list of the saints, and Pope Pius XI declared him a doctor of the universal Church.  His feast, however, is observed on the 24th of November.

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.

December 14 - Our Lady of Alba Royale (Hungary, 1005)   Mary in the Midst of Israel's Waiting (V)
"His dominion is an everlasting dominion" (Dan 7:14)
Israel's and the Blessed Virgin's exceptancy was for a peaceful, humble and just king, but the prophets had also raised the hope of universal salvation, claiming in an incredible way that the king would one day reign without any limits, neither in time nor in space: "Behold, your king comes to you! He is righteous, and having salvation; lowly, and riding on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow will be cut off; and he will speak peace to the nations: And his dominion will be from sea to sea and from the river to the ends of the earth" (Zech 9:9-10).

God's small stone "became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth" (Dan 2:35) and his empire "will be from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth" (Zech 9:10; cf. Mt 21:5). He will lead nations "with an iron scepter" (Ps 2:1-9). "His empire shall stretch from sea to sea, from the river to the limits of the earth" (Ps 72:8). "All kings will do him homage, all nations become his servants" (Ps 72:11). "The government shall be on his shoulder" (Is 9:6), and he will be given "dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed" (Dan 7:9-14).

  251 SS Thyrsus, Leucius and Callinicus The Holy Martyrs miracle involving St Thyrsus
  250 St. Heron Egyptian martyr with Arseinus Dioscorus Isidore
  270 St Spiridion Bishop and Confessor of our Order
  283 St. Justus & Abundius  Martyrs of Spain
 
286
SS Philemon, Apollonius, Arianus and Theotychus Martyrs suffered for Faith in Egypt, at the city of Antinoë
  290 St. Pompeius Bishop of Pavia
         St. Jucundus & companion martyrs
        
St. Drusus Martyr with Zosimus and Theodore in Syria
  378 St. Viator Bishop Bergamo Italy 

451? Ss. Nicasius, Bishop Of Rheims, And His Companions, Martyr
5th v.
  St. Fingar Martyr Cornwall with Phiala sister, and companions
       
St. Matronian Hermit of Milan, Italy 
        St. Nicasius Bishop of Reims martyr sister Eutropia  
  596 St. Agnellus Miracle worker and abbot

 
610 St. Venantius Fortunatus Gallic poet (briefly) bishop of Poitiers
1300 St. Bartholomew Buonpedoni Leper priest Franciscan tertiary; Bd Bartholomew of San Gimignano; this our Lord appeared to him in sleep, and told him that he would win his crown by twenty years of physical suffering rather than by becoming a monk; one of the friars wrote an account of his life and miracles; he retired to the leper-house of Celloli, of which he was made master and chaplain, and though the disease was malignant in him it never incapacitated him from celebrating Mass. He lived thus, in infinite patience and ministering to his fellow sufferers, until December 12, 1300, just twenty years after his leprosy began; He has been called “the Job of Tuscany”, and he is known always in San Gimig­nano as Santo Bartolo
1306 BD CONRAD OF OFFIDA; is said to have had the same guardian angel as St Francis, and to have often conversed with him about the seraphic founder; the chief companion of his life was Bd Peter of Treja, who accompanied him in his preaching journeys and was present in the woods on that Candlemas-day when our Lady appeared to Conrad and laid the Child Jesus in his arms; “marvellous zealot of gospel poverty and of the Rule of St Francis, of so religious a life and so deserving before God that Christ, the Blessed One, honoured him in life and in death with many miracles”.
1315 Bd Bonaventure Buonaccorsi; a leader of the Ghibellines and notorious as a desperate character. This Bonaventure was so moved by St Philip’s exhortations to peace and concord that he went to him and accused himself of being a prominent fomenter of disorder and a cause of much misery and injustice. So penitent was he that he asked to be admitted among the Servite friars; even in his lifetime he was known as il Beato, and miracles were reported both before and after his death
1583 Bd Nicholas Factor; His raptures, miracles and visions were so frequent that St Louis Bertrand said he lived more in Heaven than on earth, and among many examples of supernatural knowledge was an announcement of the victory of Lepanto the day after the battle.
1591 St. John of the Cross Carmelite St Teresa of Avila asked him to help
1707 Saint Hilarion, Metropolitan of Suzdal and Yuriev found the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God

1922-1939  Pope Pius XI Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti declared St John of the Crux a doctor of the universal Church   (1857 - 1939) Italian scholar & pope
He issued the encyclical Quas Primas establishing the feast of Christ the King,
    and took as his papal motto "Christ's peace in Christ's kingdom".

Pius XI fought the two ascendant ideologies of communism and fascism.
Onetime librarian & mountain climber; reorganized Vatican archives.
Nevertheless, Pius XI was hardly a withdrawn and bookish figure.
A man of stature, he possessed an iron will and did not hesitate to assert his position.
December 14 - End of the Apparitions at Ile Bouchard (France, 1947)
Give Me Your Hand to Kiss
The Lady slowly motioned the children to approach, with her right index finger raised chin-high under the right side of her face. Then she slowly gestured to them to come forward and stretched her hand, lowering the arm that she had lifted, palm up. "Give me your hand to kiss," she said.
The young girls weren't afraid anymore. Jacqueline was the first to draw closer, on her tippy toes. The Lady turned her hand over her hand and held it out flat. The oldest girl touched her index finger with her fingertips. Very slowly, the Lady bent her head down as she lifted the girl's fingers to her lips. Toward the second phalanx of the index, middle-finger and ring-finger, she gently placed a silent kiss.
Then it was Nicole's turn. The Lady bent down a little lower. Laura and Jeannette were too short. Spontaneously, Jacqueline picked them from under their arms and held them up, effortlessly, one after the other. All four in their emotion felt both the softness of the skin and the warmth of the Lady's lips from the contact on their right hands.

While leaving the church, first Jacqueline then Laura and Jeannette, realized that a white oval spot remained on their fingers. It was the trace of the kiss. "Let's hurry and show the good sister," said the eldest girl, "she will have to believe us this time." Sadly enough, although they kept looking at the marks on their hand until they reached the school, upon their arrival, the marks faced away one after the other.

The Mysterious Events of L'Ile-Bouchard Mgr. Fiot, L'Ile-Bouchard (December 8-14, 1947), 1951
http://www.ilebouchard.com/archives/fiot/brochure-fiot.htm    



250 St. Heron Egyptian martyr with Arseinus Dioscorus Isidore.
Alexandríæ sanctórum Mártyrum Herónis, Arsénii, Isidóri, et Dióscori púeri.  Horum tres primos Judex, in persecutióne Deciána, cum eos, váriis torméntis dilánians, pari armátos constántia vidéret, tradi ígnibus jubet; Dióscorus vero, multiplíciter flagellátus, divíno nutu ad consolatiónem fidélium dimíssus est.
    At Alexandria, the holy martyrs Heron, Arsenius, Isidore, and the boy Dioscorus.  In the persecution of Decius, the first three were subjected to all the refinements of cruelty by the judge, who, seeing them displaying the same constancy, ordered that they should be cast into the fire.  But Dioscorus, after repeated scourgings, was set free by the intervention of Providence to the great consolation of the faithful.
Dioscorus, a young boy, was scourged and then set free. The others were burned at the stake in Alexandria, Egypt.
251 The Holy Martyrs Thyrsus, Leucius and Callinicus miracle involving St Thyrsus
suffered for Christ under the emperor Decius (249-251) at Caesarea in Bithynia. St Leucius, having reproached the prefect Cumbricius for his unjust persecution of Christians, was executed after being tortured. As soon as his head was cut off, his soul departed to heaven.

St Thyrsus, who was still a catechumen, was nonetheless eager for martyrdom. He was sentenced to cruel tortures and torments after refusing to offer sacrifice to the idols. Citing the words of the Prophet Jeremiah (Jer. 2:27), he ridiculed those who worshiped wood and stone.

The saint's arms and legs were pulled out of their sockets, his eyes were plucked out, and his teeth were shattered with a hammer. He was taken to a heathen temple, where, by his prayers, he toppled a statue of Apollo. Cumbricius was enraged by this, and he ordered that greater torments be devised for the athlete of Christ. He endured them all and died peacefully after making the Sign of the Cross. The pagan priest Callinicus, seeing the bravery and the miracle involving St Thyrsus, believed in Christ and boldly confessed the true Faith, for which he was beheaded.

270 St Spiridion Bishop and Confessor of our Order.
In Cypro natális beáti Spiridiónis Epíscopi, qui unus fuit ex illis Confessóribus, quos Galérius Maximiánus, dextro óculo effósso et sinístro póplite succíso, ad metálla damnáverat.  Hic 
prophetíæ dono et signórum glória ínclitus fuit, et in Nicæno Concílio philósophum éthnicum, Christiánæ religióni insultántem, devícit et ad fidem perdúxit.
    In the island of Cyprus, the birthday of blessed Spiridion, bishop.  He was one of those confessors who were condemned by Galerius Maximian to labour in the mines, after suffering the loss of his right eye and cutting of the sinews of his left knee.  This prelate was renowned for the gift of prophecy and glorious miracles, and in the Council of Nicea he confounded a heathen philosopher, who had insulted the Christian religion, and brought him to the faith.

Although his feast is no longer included either the Carmelite proper or the 2004 edition of the “Martyrologium Romanum”, his name is mentioned in the Byzantine “Synaxaria”. Saint Spiridion was born in Tremithous in Cyprus in 270 AD. Son of a poor family, he had no formal education and earned his living as a shepherd. After the death of his beloved wife, he dedicated himself to the Church and eventually rose to the office of Bishop of Tremithous. During the Maximinian persecutions he was arrested and exiled, but was returned to his see after the coming to power of Constantine. He participated in the Council of Nicea, and died around 348. When the Saracens took the island, the Cypriots opened his grave in order to remove his sacred bones to Costantinople. They found that his body had remained intact, while from the grave emanated a scent of basil, true signs of the sainthood he had shown during his life. When Costantinople fell in 1453, a Corfiot elder, Georgios Kalohairetis, brought him to Corfu, where his three children acquired the Saint's relics as an heirloom. The sacred remains then passed as the dowry of his doughter Asimia into the possession of the Voulgaris family, who placed them in their private church (which was located on the site of the Pallas Cinema). The relics of the Saint were transferred to their present church when, during the fortification of the town, the original church was demolished. The Holy Relics of the St. Spiridion go out on parade in Cyprus four times each year to commemorate times when his powerful intercession was felt. He is considered to be the island's Protector.

ST SPIRIDION, BISHOP OF TREMITHUS
MANY stories are told of this Cypriot saint, who was at the same time a shepherd, married and a bishop. Sozomen, who wrote in the middle of the fifth century, says that an invisible hand stopped a gang of thieves attempting one night to carry off some of his sheep, so that they could neither steal nor make their escape. Spiridion (or better, Spyridon), finding them thus the next morning, set them at liberty by his prayers and gave them a ram, lest they should have been up all night for nothing.

The same historian says that it was the saint’s custom to fast with his family for some days in Lent without eating anything. Once during this time, when he had no bread in his house, a traveller called to rest and refresh himself on the road. Spiridion, having nothing else, ordered some salt pork to be boiled, for he saw the traveller was very tired. Then he invited the stranger to eat. He excused himself, saying that he was a Christian. Spiridion, himself setting the example by way of courtesy, replied that therefore he was quite free to eat; thereby reminding the stranger both that ecclesiastical precepts do not bind unreasonably and that to a Christian no food is in itself forbidden.

St Spiridion was chosen bishop of Tremithus, on the seacoast near Salamis, and thenceforth combined the care of sheep with the care of souls. His diocese was very small and the inhabitant’s poor, but the Christians were regular in their lives; there remained among them some idolaters. In the persecution of Galerius he made a glorious confession of the faith. The Roman Martyrology says he was one of those who lost their right eye, had the left leg hamstrung, and in that state were sent to work in the mines, and (mistakenly) that he was among the bishops at the Council of Nicaea in 325.
There is a legend in the East that on the way to the council he fell in with a party of other bishops, who were alarmed lest the rustic simplicity of Spiridion should compromise the cause of orthodoxy. So they told their servants to cut the heads off the mules of Spiridion and his deacon, which was done. When he prepared to set off before dawn the next day and discovered the crime, Spiridion was not at all discomfited. He told the deacon to put the severed heads upon the bodies, and at once they grew together and the animals lived. But when the sun rose it was found that a mistake had been made in the dark: for the bishop’s white mule had a brown head and the deacon’s brown mule had a white head. During the council a pagan philosopher named Eulogius made an attack on Christianity, and an aged, one-eyed bishop, unpolished in manner and appear­ance, got up to reply to the urbane scoffer. He affirmed the omnipotent God and the incarnation of the Son for the redemption of all people as things beyond proof to be held by faith: did Eulogius believe them, or did he not? After a pause the philosopher was constrained to admit that he did. “Then”, said the bishop, “come with me to the church and receive the sign of faith.” And Eulogius did so, for, he said, words and arguments cannot resist virtue, meaning thereby the power of the Holy Ghost manifested in the unlearned bishop. Later writers identify this bishop with St Spiridion, but without authority. A certain person had deposited for safety in the hands of Spiridion’s daughter Irene something of great value. This he demanded of the bishop after her death; but it was not to be found and nobody knew where it was. Whereupon, it is said, St Spiridion went to the place where his daughter was buried, called her by her name, and asked where she had put the missing article. Then she answered him, giving directions where she had hid it that it might be safer: and it was found there.

Spiridion had very little learning, but he had made the Scriptures his daily study and had learned what respect is due to the word of God. Once when the bishops of Cyprus were assembled together, St Triphyllius, Bishop of Ledra (whom St Jerome commends as the most eloquent man of his time), was preaching a sermon. Mentioning that passage, “Take up thy bed, and walk”, he said “couch” instead of “bed”, thinking that word the more elegant and suitable. St Spiridion objected against this false nicety and attempt to add graces to what was more adorned with simplicity, and asked the preacher whether the word our Lord Himself had used was not good enough for him. *{* The obvious reflection that this rebuke would sometimes apply also to Alban Butler himself is modified by the further reflection that the fashions of the eighteenth century are not ours. But there are not wanting writers and speakers to-day who might with advantage ponder this anecdote.}

 The relics of St Spiridion were translated from Cyprus to Constantinople, and again to Corfu, where they are still venerated. He is the principal patron of the Catholics of Corfu, Zakynthos and Kephalonia.

Besides the relatively early references made to St Spiridion by the historians Socrates and Sozomen, it seems that a life of him was written at the beginning of the seventh century by Leontius of Neapolis. This is preserved to us only in the later adaptation of the Meta­phrast (Migne, PG., vol. cxvi, pp. 417—468). There is also a memorial discourse by Theodore of Paphos (printed in part by Usener, Beiträge zur Geschichte der Legendenliteratur, pp. 222—232, and edited complete in 1901 by S. Papageorgios), but it proves to be in large part simply a plagiarism from an anonymous Life of Bishops Metrophanes and Alexander of Constantinople (see P. Heseler, Hagiographica, 1934). It is also stated that a life of St Spiridion was written in elegiacs by his pupil, Triphyllius of Ledra, but this has not survived. In Byzantine art Spiridion is recognizable by his peculiar shepherd’s cap see, for example, G. de Jerphanion, Let églises rupestres de Cappadoce (1932); and the Byzantinische Zeitschrift for 1910, pp. 29 and 107. See P. Van den Ven, La Légende de S. Spyridon (1953), “beau travail d’édition et de critique “ (Fr F. Halkin).
283 St. Justus & Abundius  Martyrs of Spain.
Eódem die pássio sanctórum Justi et Abúndii, qui, sub Numeriáno Imperatóre et Olybrio Præside, conjécti in ignem, et, cum inde evasíssent illæsi, gládio percússi sunt.
    On the same day, the martyrdom of Saints Justus and Abundius, who were cast into the flames in the time of Emperor Numerian and the governor Olybrius, but escaping all injury, they were smitten with the sword.
Attempts to burn them at the stake failed, so they were beheaded.
286 The Holy Martyrs Philemon, Apollonius, Arianus and Theotychus suffered for the Faith in Egypt, at the city of Antinoe

St Arianus up until his conversion to Christ was a persecutor of Christians, among whom were the martyrs Apollonius and Philemon.
St Apollonius, at first fearing to face the sufferings, asked the pagan musician Philemon to change clothes with him and offer sacrifice to the idols for him. But unexpectedly St Philemon confessed himself a Christian in front of the pagans.

St Apollonius repented and also confessed Christ. After torture, both martyrs were executed. St Philemon's body was hung upon an olive tree, and arrows were shot at him. One struck prefect Arianus in the eye, destroying it. Arianus' injured eye was healed by when he applied dirt taken from Philemon's grave. He repented and was converted to the Christian Faith and baptized together with all his household and bodyguards. Out of love for Christ they voluntarily went to torture and were sentenced to death.

The Martyr Theotychus was the eldest of the guards, and is remembered with the other saints. The Martyrs Philemon and Apollonius died on March 16, 286, and the Martyrs Arrian and Theotychus on March 4, 287. under Diocletian (284-305).
290 St. Pompeius Bishop of Pavia.
Papíæ sancti Pompéji Epíscopi.    At Pavia, St. Pompey, bishop.
He suffered at the hands of Roman officials during the persecutions of the Church in the late third century.
St. Drusus Martyr with Zosimus and Theodore in Syria.
Antiochíæ natális sanctórum Mártyrum Drusi, Zósimi et Theodóri.
    At Antioch, the birthday of the holy martyrs Drusus, Zosimus, and Theodore.
in Antioch. St. John Chrysostom preached on their feast day.
378 St. Viator Bishop Bergamo Italy.
Bérgomi sancti Viatóris, Epíscopi et Confessóris.    At Bergamo, St. Viator, bishop and confessor.
from about 344. He is also traditionally revered as the first bishop of Bergamo and Brescia during the first century, although it is known that he lived in the fourth century.
451? SS. NICASIUS, BISHOP OF RHEIMS, AND HIS COMPANIONS, MARTYR
St. Nicasius Bishop of Reims martyr sister Eutropia
Rhemis, in Gállia, pássio sanctórum Nicásii Epíscopi, ac soróris Eutrópiæ Vírginis, et Sociórum Mártyrum; qui a bárbaris Ecclésiæ hóstibus cæsi sunt.
    At Rheims in France, holy Bishop Nicasius, his sister, the virgin Eutropia, and their companions, martyrs, who were put to death by barbarians hostile to the Church.
and a group of clergy either by the Vandals or the Huns.
AN army of barbarians ravaging part of Gaul plundered the city of Rheims. Nicasius, the bishop, had foretold this calamity to his flock in consequence of 2 visions, and urged them to prepare for the visitation by works of penance. When he saw the enemy at the gates and in the streets, forgetting himself and solicitous only for his spiritual children, he went from door to door encouraging all to patience and constancy. When the people asked him whether they should yield or fight to the end he, knowing that the city must fall, replied, “Let us abide the mercy of God and pray for our enemies. I am ready to give myself for my people.”

Standing at the door of his church, in endeavouring to save the lives of some, he exposed himself to the swords of the infidels, who cut off his head. St Florentius, his deacon, and St Jucundus, his lector, were massacred by his side. His sister, St Eutropia, seeing herself spared in order that hers might be another fate, threw herself upon her brother’s murderer and kicked and scratched him till she too was cut down and killed.

There is a passio incorporated in Flodoard, Historia Remensis ecclesiae, for which see MGH., Scriptores, vol. xiii, pp. 417—420, and other texts in the Analecta Bollandiana, vol. I and vol. v. Consult also Duchesne, Fastes Épiscopaux, vol. iii, p. 81. It seems probable that Nicasius was martyred by the Huns in 451, rather than by the Vandals in 407. 

5th v. St. Fingar Martyr Cornwall with Phiala sister, and companions.
Irish by birth, the martyrs were slain at Hoyle, near Penzance, by pagans.

596 St. Agnellus Miracle worker and abbot.
Neápoli, in Campánia, sancti Agnélli Abbátis, virtúte miraculórum illústris, qui obséssam urbem sæpe visus est Crucis vexíllo ab hóstibus liberáre.
    At Naples in Campania, St. Agnellus, abbot.  Illustrious for the gift of miracles, he was often seen with the standard of the Cross, delivering the city besieged by enemies.
patron of the city of Naples, Italy.
He started his religious career as a hermit then became the abbot of San Gaudioso near Naples.

610 St. Venantius Fortunatus Gallic poet (briefly) bishop of Poitiers
France. Known in full as Venantius Clementianus Fortunatus, he was born in Trevise, near Venice, Italy, and studied at Ravenna. He suffered from some ailment of the eye, but thanks to St. Martin of Tours, he was able to embark upon a pilgrimage in 565 which brought him to Mainz, Cologne, and Trier, Gennany, and to Metz and the Moselle, France. He reached the court of King Sigebert (r. sixth century) at Metz in 566 and there was much praise for his poetry, especially his eulogies. Venantius next journeyed to Verdun, Reims, Soissons, Paris, and finaIly Tours, where he prayed at the tomb of St. Martin. Moving on to Poitiers, he entered into the service of Queen Rodegunda who was now living as a nun, acting as her secretary until her death in August 587. Shortly before his death, he was named bishop of Potiers.
A brilliant poet, considered a transitional figure in literature between the ancient and medieval periods, Venanhus was a prolific writer: six poems on the Cross, including the two famous works Vexilla Regia and Pange Lzngua Gloijosi; eleven books of poems; a metrical life of St. Martin of Tours; the prose lives of eleven Gallic saints, including the Vita Rodegundis; and the elegy DeExcidie Thui'ingiae.

605 St Venantius Fortunatus, Bishop Of Poitiers
Venantius Honorius Clementianus Fortunatus, born near Treviso about 535 and educated at Ravenna, is better known as a poet than as a saint. He was a popular man during his lifetime, admired by King Sigebert and his courtiers as well as by St Radegund and her nuns, and his writings continued to receive in­creasing appreciation up to the time that a sixteenth-century Italian panegyrist said that his heavenly pindaric hymns were enough to make Horace himself feel humble. After that there was a reaction, which helped the formation of a more just estimate. But it can hardly be denied that the popularity of Fortunatus was in a measure due to an obvious human weakness—his desire to please and to be pleased. St Radegund and Abbess Agnes and Duke Lupus deserved the eulogies he addressed to them; such people, as Charibert and Fredegund did not at their best.

Fortunatus left Italy when he was about thirty in order to return thanks at the shrine of St Martin at Tours for his recovery from some eye-trouble. He wrote poems to all the bishops and other distinguished people who entertained him on the road and, his visit to the court of Metz coinciding with the royal wedding, he composed an epithalamium for Sigebert and Brunehilda. At Paris he was particularly impressed by the care with which the clergy sang the Divine Office.

From Tours Fortunatus went to Poitiers, where he settled down, was ordained priest, and formed his lifelong friendship with St Radegund, Abbess Agnes, and the nuns of Holy Cross, for whom he became a sort of factotum and unofficial steward. A constant exchange of letters went on between him, his “mother” Radegund, and his “sister” Agnes, letters that were often accompanied by poems, most of which are lost. The friendship was intimate enough to be playful, and  serious enough to be fruitful. One Lent Fortunatus wrote Radegund a letter in Latin verse in which he asks her not to shut herself up so closely during the peni­tential season: “Even though the clouds have gone and the sky is serene, the day is sunless when you are absent.” He tells her to drink wine and to eat more for the sake of her health, and thanks her for the fruit and dishes she had sent him. “You told me to eat two eggs in the evening: to tell the truth I ate four. I wish I could find my mind always as prepared to submit as my stomach is ready to obey your orders.” And he tells her he sends flowers, roses and lilies, when he can get them.

In 569 the Emperor Justin II sent a relic of the True Cross to the monastery, and we see Fortunatus in another mood. King Sigebert deputed St Euphronius of Tours solemnly to deposit it in Holy Cross (Meroveus of Poitiers, who was no friend of Fortunatus, having refused), and for that occasion Fortunatus wrote the hymn Vexilla regis prodeunt, which we now sing as a Vespers hymn at Passiontide and on feasts of the Cross.

He was at his best as a liturgical poet, and there is another hymn of the Passion of his used in the Roman liturgy, Pange Lingua gloriosi laureain certaminis; the Easter Salve festci dies is also his.

St Radegund died in 587, and Agnes also dying about that time Fortunatus mixed more in public and ecclesiastical affairs, being a welcome guest on all occasions that could be suitably celebrated in verse. He associated particularly with three holy bishops, SS. Felix of Nantes, Leontius of Bordeaux and Gregory of Tours, the last of whom encouraged him to collect and publish his poems. Ten books of them were made public during his life. His more formal works include Lives of St Martin and St Radegund and of several other saints. Sometime about the year 600 he was elected bishop of Poitiers, but governed the see for only a very short time.

Venantius Fortunatus was peculiarly, almost morbidly, alive to the sufferings and hardships of women, as may be seen in his lines on virginity, addressed to the Abbess Agnes, and elsewhere in his works. But this sensitiveness of temperament makes him the more valuable as a recorder of the part played by Christian life and thought in Merovingian Gaul, a part which in its finer manifestations was to a very considerable extent in the hands of women. The usual estimate of Fortunatus personally is that he was “an illustrious personage, a good poet and a great bishop”.

   Not all judgements have been so kind, and adverse critics have asserted that he pushed tact and prudence beyond the border of mean-spiritedness and flattery, and that his guiding principle was to get as much enjoyment out of life as possible. It must be admitted that he seems often rather too anxious to please; but it must also be admitted that, properly understood, to “make the best of both worlds”, is a praiseworthy Christian ambition. No honest way of life is inconsistent with sanctity, and St Venantius Fortunatus was a cultured Roman gentleman of refined taste and rather fastidious habits. His name has not been admitted to the Roman Martyrology but several French and Italian dioceses keep his feast.

Our knowledge of Fortunatus is mainly derived from Gregory of Tours and from the poet’s own writings and correspondence. The best text of these is that edited by Leo and Krusch in MGH., Auctores antiquissimi, vol. iv. For a literary appreciation of his writings it will be sufficient to refer to M. Manitius, Geschichte der lateinischen Literatur des Mittel­alters, vol. i, pp. 170—181, with other references in the succeeding volumes. See also a long article in DAC., vol. v, cc. 1982—1997; DTC., col. vi, cc. 611—614; and DCB., vol. ii, pp. 552-553, in which last article the shortcomings of Fortunatus are perhaps a little unduly emphasized. Text and translation of five lyrics of Venantius in Helen Waddell, Mediaeval Latin Lyrics (1935), pp. 58—67. For the cultus, see Fr B. de Gaiffier in Analecta Bollandiana, vol. lxx (1952), pp. 262—284.

St. Jucundus & companion martyrs
An army of barbarians ravaging part of Gaul plundered the city of Rheims. Nicasius, the Bishop, had foretold this calamity to his flock in consequence of a vision, and urged them to prepare for the visitation by works of penance. When he saw the enemy at the gates and in the streets, forgetting himself and solicitous only for his spiritual children, he went from door to door encouraging all to patience and constancy. When the people asked him whether they should yield or fight to the end he, knowing that the city must fall, replied, "Let us abide the mercy of God and pray for our enemies. I am ready to give myself for my people." Standing at the door of his church, in endeavoring to save the lives of some, he exposed himself to the swords of the infidels, who cut off his head. St. Florentius, his deacon, and St. Jucundus, his lector, were massacred by his side. His sister, St. Eutropia, seeing herself spared in order that hers might be another fate, threw herself upon her brother's murderer and kicked and scratched him till she too was cut down and killed.

St. Matronian Hermit of Milan, Italy
Medioláni sancti Matroniáni Eremítæ.    At Milan, St. Matronian, hermit.
His relics were enshrined in Milan’s church of St. Nazario by St. Ambrose.
1300 St. Bartholomew Buonpedoni; Leper priest; Franciscan tertiary; Bd Bartholomew of San Gimignano; this our Lord appeared to him in sleep, and told him that he would win his crown by twenty years of physical suffering rather than by becoming a monk; one of the friars wrote an account of his life and miracles; he retired to the leper-house of Celloli, of which he was made master and chaplain, and though the disease was malignant in him it never incapacitated him from celebrating Mass. He lived thus, in infinite patience and ministering to his fellow sufferers, until December 12, 1300, just twenty years after his leprosy began; He has been called “the Job of Tuscany”, and he is known always in San Gimig­nano as Santo Bartolo
Born in San Germiniano, Italy, Bartholomew worked as a servant for the Benedictines in Pisa. He became a Franciscan tertiary and at the age of thirty was ordained a priest. He served the village of Peccioli, Italy, until he was discovered to have leprosy. He then ministered to the lepers of the region, serving them for twenty years.

Bartholomew Buonpedo, commonly called Bartolo, was born at Mucchio, near San Gimignano in Tuscany, during the earlier part of the thirteenth century, and was destined by his father for marriage and a secular avocation. But Bartolo had other ideas, and left home to become a servant in the Benedictine abbey of St Vitus at Pisa. He worked in the infirmary and made so good an impression that it was suggested to him that he should take the habit. While he was considering this our Lord appeared to him in sleep, and told him that he would win his crown by twenty years of physical suffering rather than by becoming a monk.

   Having received some training at the monastery, Bartolo, when he was thirty, was ordained priest and appointed to the parish of Peccioli. He had become a tertiary of the Order of St Francis, and he lived and fulfilled his pastoral duties in complete accord with the spirit of that saint. He took into his house a youth Vivaldo (Ubald), who after Bartolo’s death became a hermit and is venerated for his sanctity to this day.

   In 1280 Bd Bartolo was smitten by a disease which was recognized as leprosy, and he remembered what our Lord had told him about twenty years of suffering. Accompanied by the faithful Vivaldo, he retired to the leper-house of Celloli, of which he was made master and chaplain, and though the disease was malignant in him it never incapacitated him from celebrating Mass. He lived thus, in infinite patience and ministering to his fellow sufferers, until December 12, 1300, just twenty years after his leprosy began. He was buried in the Augustinian church of San Gimignano, where towards the end of the century one of the friars wrote an account of his life and miracles. His tomb is still venerated in the same church. He has been called “the Job of Tuscany”, and he is known always in San Gimig­nano as Santo Bartolo. A local feast was approved in 1499 and the cultus was formally confirmed in 1910, the Friars Minor fixing the feast for December 14.

The decree of confirmation of cultus, printed in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, vol. ii (1910), pp. 415—454, contains a relatively full summary of the life of this beatus, and it mentions that Prosper Lambertini (Benedict XIV) considered that the cultus had already been equiva­lently sanctioned in 1499 in virtue of a papal delegation of Alexander VI. Fuller details of Bartolo’s history are given in Wadding, Annales Ordinis Minorum; and in Mazzara, Leggendario Francescano (1680), vol. ii, pt 2, pp. 681—684. See also Leon, Aureole Séraphique (Eng. ed.), vol. iv, pp. 165—169, who appeals more directly to a life by the Augustinian, Fra Giunta, written, it is said, in the fourteenth century. There is a popular life in Italian by E. Castaldi, Santo Bartolo (1928).  

1306 BD CONRAD OF OFFIDA; is said to have had the same guardian angel as St Francis, and to have often conversed with him about the seraphic founder; the chief companion of his life was Bd Peter of Treja, who accompanied him in his preaching journeys and was present in the woods on that Candlemas-day when our Lady appeared to Conrad and laid the Child Jesus in his arms; “marvellous zealot of gospel poverty and of the Rule of St Francis, of so religious a life and so deserving before God that Christ, the Blessed One, honoured him in life and in death with many miracles”.
CONRAD became a friar minor when he was fourteen years old, and was afterwards associated both with the friary founded by St Francis himself at Forano in the Apennines and with the great convent of Alvernia. Before he was ordained priest and became a preacher he was employed for years as cook and questor, and several remarkable stories are told of him.
He is said to have had the same guardian angel as St Francis, and to have often conversed with him about the seraphic founder.

 Throughout his life Conrad had only one religious habit, he always went barefoot, and his love of poverty impelled him to that party in his order which at first was
known as the Spirituals or Zelanti. He was closely associated with Peter John Olivi, and in sympathy with Angelo Clareno and Fra Liberato, the leaders of the “Celestine” hermits; Bd Conrad’s own ideas were more moderate, though he gave credence and circulation to the legend that St Francis had risen from the dead to encourage the Spirituals, having, it was said, been told it by Brother Leo.

But the chief companion of his life was Bd Peter of Treja, who accompanied him in his preaching journeys and was present in the woods on that Candlemas-day when our Lady appeared to Conrad and laid the Child Jesus in his arms. It was said of these two that they were “ two shining stars in the province of the Marches, like dwellers in Heaven; for between them there was such love as seemed to spring from one and the same heart and soul, so that they bound themselves, each to the other, by an agreement that every consolation that the mercy of God might vouch­safe them they would lovingly reveal the one unto the other”. The author of the Fioretti further calls Brother Conrad a “marvellous zealot of gospel poverty and of the Rule of St Francis, of so religious a life and so deserving before God that Christ, the Blessed One, honoured him in life and in death with many miracles”.

When he was sixty-five years old Bd Conrad died while preaching at Bastia, near Assisi, and was buried there. Some years later his relics were carried off to Perugia, and they now rest in the cathedral of that city beside those of Brother Giles. His cultus was confirmed in 1817.

The main outlines of his life are sketched by Bartholomew (Albizzi) of Pisa and other Franciscan chroniclers. See, for example, Mazzara, Leggendario Francescano (1680), vol. ii, Pt 2, pp. 678—681. The biography compiled by B. Bartolomasi as far back as 1807 was published by M. Faloci-Pulignani in the Miscellanea Francescana, vol. xv—xvii, but it tells us very little of Bd Conrad’s relations with the Zelanti, the great point of interest. See, however, the Historisches Jahrbuch for 1882, pp. 648—659, and for 1929, pp. 77—81, as also the Archivum Franciscanum historicum, vol. xi (1918), pp. 366—373. There is an account of Bd Conrad in Leon, Aureole Séraphique (Eng. trans.), vol. iv, pp. 174—177.  

1315 Bd Bonaventure Buonaccorsi; a leader of the Ghibellines and notorious as a desperate character. This Bonaventure was so moved by St Philip’s exhortations to peace and concord that he went to him and accused himself of being a prominent fomenter of disorder and a cause of much misery and injustice. So penitent was he that he asked to be admitted among the Servite friars; even in his lifetime he was known as il Beato, and miracles were reported both before and after his death
In the year 1276 St Philip Benizi came to Pistoia to preside at a general chapter of the Servite Order, and took the opportunity to preach to the people of the place, which was torn by factions. Among his hearers was a man, some thirty-six years old, belonging to the noble Buonaccorsi family, who was a leader of the Ghibellines and notorious as a desperate character. This Bonaventure was so moved by St Philip’s exhortations to peace and concord that he went to him and accused himself of being a prominent fomenter of disorder and a cause of much misery and injustice. So penitent was he that he asked to be admitted among the Servite friars.
  St Philip was naturally a little doubtful about so sudden and complete a change, and tested the aspirant by imposing a public penance: Bonaventure had openly to make reparation for his misdeeds and personally ask the pardon of all whom he had wronged or caused to oppose him. This he did with such thoroughness and goodwill that St Philip took him from Pistoia to Monte Senario to make his novitiate at the headquarters of the order.
   Bonaventure persevered in his good resolutions, and after his profession was joined to St Philip as socius and admitted to the priesthood. For the next few years he was constantly with the prior general, who with the papal legate Cardinal Latino was trying to bring peace to Bologna, Florence and other distracted cities. The spectacle of the reformed Ghibelline going about in the habit of a mendicant friar and preaching brotherly love made a deep impression.

In 1282 Bd Bonaventure was made prior at Orvieto, but on the death of St Philip was called to the side of his successor, Father Lottaringo, and was eventually made preacher apostolic, with a commission to preach missions throughout Italy, which he did with great effect. In 1303 he was made prior at Montepulciano for the second time, and there assisted St Agnes in the foundation of her community of Dominican nuns, whose director he was. From thence he was moved to his native Pistoia, where civil war had again broken out and the Florentines threatened the enfeebled city. By the diffusion of confraternities and of the Servite third order, called Mantellate, Bd Bartholomew endeavoured to bring back the people to a sense of their responsibilities as Christians, and was tireless in his preaching on behalf of peace and civic unity. He died at Orvieto on December 14, 1315, and was buried in the Servite church in the chapel of our Lady of Sorrows as a testimony of the respect in which his brethren held him. This was also testified by the fact that even in his lifetime he was known as il Beato, and miracles were reported both before and after his death. The cultus of Bd Bonaventure Buonaccorsi was confirmed in 1822.

There seems to be no mention of any separate medieval life of Bd Bonaventure, but Poccianti in his Chronicon (1567) provides the outlines of a biography, which is developed by A. Giani, Annales Ordinis Servorum, vol. i, pp. 118 seq. and passim. See also Sporr, Lebensbilder aus dem Servitenorden (1892), p. 621. Further reference should be made to the early volumes of the Monumenta Ordinis Servorum B.M. V., which began to be published in 1892.

1583 Bd Nicholas Factor; His raptures, miracles and visions were so frequent that St Louis Bertrand said he lived more in Heaven than on earth, and among many examples of supernatural knowledge was an announcement of the victory of Lepanto the day after the battle
Vincent Facto was a Sicilian tailor who came to live at Valencia in Spain, where he married a young woman called Ursula, and in 1520 their son, Peter Nicholas, was born. He was a pious child and quick at school, and when he was fifteen his father wanted him to go into the business, but Nicholas heard a call to the religious life and in 1537 joined the Friars Minor of the Observance in his native town. He made rapid progress in his order, and many times asked to be sent on foreign missions, but had to content himself with working for the conversion of the Moors in Spain: he is said twice to have offered to throw himself into a furnace if, on his coming out unhurt, his hearers would receive baptism. But the offer was refused. During the last year of his life Bd Nicholas migrated to the Capuchin Friars Minor at Barcelona, but returned to his own branch after a few months.
“I left those men, who are entirely holy”, he told the Carthusians at La Scala, “to go back to men who are also entirely holy.”
The biographers of Bd Nicholas devote most of their space to accounts of his austerities and of the marvels connected with his name. He used always to take the discipline before celebrating Mass and three times before preaching, and carried his physical mortifications to such a degree that he was delated to the Inquisition for singularity. His raptures, miracles and visions were so frequent that St Louis Bertrand said he lived more in Heaven than on earth, and among many examples of supernatural knowledge was an announcement of the victory of Lepanto the day after the battle.
   He was known and revered by the great ones of Spain from King Philip II downwards, and his personal friends included St Paschal Baylon, St Louis Bertrand and Bd John de Ribera, all of whom gave evidence for his beatification. Among the characteristic stories told of Nicholas, in which there would seem to be
a considerable degree of exaggeration or misunderstanding, are that our Lady through the mouth of a statue once told him to go and celebrate Mass, whereupon he was assisted in vesting by St Francis and St Dominic; that divine love so warmed his heart that cold water into which he plunged became heated almost to boiling-point; and that Satan frequently attacked him in the form of a lion, a bear, a snake and the like. Bd Nicholas Factor died at Valencia on December 23, 1583, and was beatified in 1786.

Long accounts of Bd Nicholas may be found in all the Franciscan chroniclers. For example, in Mazzara’s Leggendario Francescano (1680), he fills pages 718 to 749 in vol. ii, pt 2; and in the Croniche of Leonardo da Napoli, pt 4, vol. ii, more than 120 closely printed pages are devoted to him. The best biography is probably that of G. Alapont, Compendio della Vita del B. Niccolô Fattore, which claims to be based upon the process of beatification and was printed in 1786. A short life in English was included in the Oratorian Series in the middle of the last century, and see also Léon, Auréole Séraphique (Eng. trans.), vol. iv, pp. 178—191. 

1591 St. John of the Cross Carmelite St Teresa of Avila asked him to help
Ubédæ, in Hispánia, natális sancti Joánnis a Cruce, Presbyteri et Confessóris, sanctæ Terésiæ in Carmelitárum reformatióne sócii; quem, a Summo Pontífice Benedícto Décimo tértio Sanctis adscríptum, Pius Papa Undécimus Doctórem universális Ecclésiæ declarávit.  Ipsíus tamen festívitas ágitur octávo Kaléndas Decémbris.
    At Ubeda in Spain, the birthday of St. John of the Cross, priest and confessor, and the companion of St. Teresa in the reform of the Carmelites.  Pope Benedict XIII placed him on the list of the saints, and Pope Pius XI declared him a doctor of the universal Church.  His feast, however, is observed on the 24th of November.

John of the Cross (San Juan de la Cruz) (24 June 1542 – 14 December 1591), born Juan de Yepes Álvarez, was a major figure of the Counter-Reformation, a Spanish mystic, Catholic saint, Carmelite friar and priest, born at Fontiveros, Old Castile.

Saint John of the Cross was a reformer of the Carmelite Order and is considered, along with Saint Teresa of Ávila, as a founder of the Discalced Carmelites. He is also known for his writings. Both his poetry and his studies on the growth of the soul are considered the summit of mystical Spanish literature and one of the peaks of all Spanish literature. He was canonized as a saint in 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII. He is one of the thirty-three Doctors of the Church. When his feast day was inserted into the General Roman Calendar in 1738, it was assigned at first to 24 November, since his date of death was impeded by the then existing octave of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. This obstacle was removed in 1955 and in 1969 his feast day was moved to his date of death, 14 December.


1591 Nov 24, moved to Dec 14 St John Of The Cross- Doctor Of The Church At twenty-one he took the religious habit among the Carmelite friars at Medina, receiving the name of John-of-St-Matthias. After his profession he asked for and was granted permission to follow the original Carmelite rule, without the mitigations approved by various popes and then accepted in all the friaries. It was John’s desire to be a lay brother, but this was refused him. He had given satisfaction in his course of theological studies, and in 1567 he was promoted to the priesthood. The graces, which he received from the holy Mysteries, gave him a desire of greater retirement, for which purpose he deliberated with himself about entering the order of the Carthusians. Miracles
 Born in Spain 1542
John learned the importance of self-sacrificing love from his parents. His father gave up wealth, status, and comfort when he married a weaver's daughter and was disowned by his noble family. After his father died, his mother kept the destitute family together as they wandered homeless in search of work.
These were the examples of sacrifice that John followed with his own great love -- God.

When the family finally found work, John still went hungry in the middle of the wealthiest city in Spain. At fourteen, John took a job caring for hospital patients who suffered from incurable diseases and madness. It was out of this poverty and suffering, that John learned to search for beauty and happiness not in the world, but in God.

After John joined the Carmelite order, Saint Teresa of Avila asked him to help her reform movement. John supported her belief that the order should return to its life of prayer. But many Carmelites felt threatened by this reform, and some members of John's own order kidnapped him. He was locked in a cell six feet by ten feet and beaten three times a week by the monks. There was only one tiny window high up near the ceiling. Yet in that unbearable dark, cold, and desolation, his love and faith were like fire and light. He had nothing left but God -- and God brought John his greatest joys in that tiny cell.

After nine months, John escaped by unscrewing the lock on his door and creeping past the guard. Taking only the mystical poetry he had written in his cell, he climbed out a window using a rope made of stirps of blankets. With no idea where he was, he followed a dog to civilization. He hid from pursuers in a convent infirmary where he read his poetry to the nuns.
From then on his life was devoted to sharing and explaining his experience of God's love.

His life of poverty and persecution could have produced a bitter cynic. Instead it gave birth to a compassionate mystic, who lived by the beliefs that "Who has ever seen people persuaded to love God by harshness?" and "Where there is no love, put love -- and you will find love."  John left us many books of practical advice on spiritual growth and prayer that are just as relevant today as they were then. These books include: Ascent of Mount Carmel Dark Night of the Soul A Spiritual Canticle of the Soul and Bridegroom Christ

Since joy comes only from God, John believed that someone who seeks happiness in the world is like "a famished person who opens his mouth to satisfy himself with air." He taught that only by breaking the rope of our desires could we fly up to God. Above all, he was concerned for those who suffered dryness or depression in their spiritual life and offered encouragement that God loved them and was leading them deeper into faith.

"What more do you want, o soul! And what else do you search for outside, when within yourself you possess your riches, delights, satisfaction and kingdom -- your beloved whom you desire and seek? Desire him there, adore him there. Do not go in pursuit of him outside yourself. You will only become distracted and you won't find him, or enjoy him more than by seeking him within you." -- Saint John of the Cross
In His Footsteps:
 John of the Cross believed it was just as dangerous to get attached to spiritual delights as worldly pleasures. Do you expect to get something -- a good feeling, a sense of God -- from prayer or worship? Do you continue to pray and worship when you feel alone or dry?

Prayer:
 Saint John of the Cross, in the darkness of your worst moments, when you were alone and persecuted, you found God. Help me to have faith that God is there especially in the times when God seems absent and far away. Amen


Founder (with St. Teresa) of the Discalced Carmelites, doctor of mystic theology, born at Hontoveros, Old Castile, 24 June, 1542; d. at Ubeda, Andalusia, 14 Dec., 1591. John de Yepes, youngest child of Gonzalo de Yepes and Catherine Alvarez, poor silk weavers of Toledo, knew from his earliest years the hardships of life. The father, originally of a good family but disinherited on account of his marriage below his rank, died in the prime of his youth; the widow, assisted by her eldest son, was scarcely able to provide the bare necessities. John was sent to the poor school at Medina del Campo, whither the family had gone to live, and proved an attentive and diligent pupil; but when apprenticed to an artisan, he seemed incapable of learning anything. Thereupon the governor of the hospital of Medina took him into his service, and for seven years John divided his time between waiting on the poorest of the poor, and frequenting a school established by the Jesuits. Already at that early age he treated his body with the utmost rigour; twice he was saved from certain death by the intervention of the Blessed Virgin. Anxious about his future life, he was told in prayer that he was to serve God in an order the ancient perfection of which he was to help bring back again. The Carmelites having founded a house at Medina, he there received the habit on 24 February, 1563, and took the name of John of St. Matthias. After profession he obtained leave from his superiors to follow to the letter the original Carmelite rule without the mitigations granted by various popes. He was sent to Salamanca for the higher studies, and was ordained priest in 1567; at his first Mass he received the assurance that he should preserve his baptismal innocence. But, shrinking from the responsibilities of the priesthood, he determined to join the Carthusians.

However, before taking any further step he made the acquaintance of St. Teresa, who had come to Medina to found a convent of nuns, and who persuaded him to remain in the Carmelite Order and to assist her in the establishment of a monastery of friars carrying out the primitive rule. He accompanied her to Valladolid in order to gain practi cal experience of the manner of life led by the reformed nuns. A small house having been offered, St. John resolved to try at once the new form of life, although St. Teresa did not think anyone, however great his spirituality, could bear the discomforts of that hovel. He was joined by two companions, an ex-prior and a lay brother, with whom he inaugurated the reform among friars, 28 Nov., 1568. St. Teresa has left a classical dscription of the sort of life led by these first Discalced Carmelites, in chaps. xiii and xiv of her "Book of Foundations". John of the Cross, as he now called himself, became the first master of novices, and laid the foundation of the spiritual edifice which soon was to assume majestic proportions. He filled various posts in different places until St. Teresa called him to Avila as director and confessor to the convent of the Incarnation, of which she had been appointed prioress. He remained there, with a few interruptions, for over five years. Meanwhile, the reform spread rapidly, and, partly through the confusion caused by contradictory orders issued by the general and the general chapter on one hand, and the Apostolic nuncio on the other, and partly through human passion which sometimes ran high, its existence became seriously endangered.

St. John was ordered by his provincial to return to the house of his profession (Medina), and, on his refusing to do so, owing to the fact that he held his office not from the order but from the Apostolic delegate, he was taken prisoner in the night of 3 December, 1577, and carried off to Toledo, where he suffered for more than nine months close imprisonment in a narrow, stifling cell, together with such additional punishment as might have been called for in the case of one guilty of the most serious crimes. In the midst of his sufferings he was visited with heavenly consolations, and some of his exquisite poetry dates from that period. He made good his escape in a miraculous manner, August, 1578. During the next years he was chiefly occupied with the foundation and government of monasteries at Baeza, Granada, Cordova, Segovia, and elsewhere, but took no prominent part in the negotiations which led to the establishment of a separate government for the Discalced Carmelites. After the death of St. Teresa (4 Oct.,1582), when the two parties of the Moderates under Jerome Gratian, and the Zelanti under Nicholas Doria struggled for the upper hand, St. John supported the former and shared his fate. For some time he filled the post of vicar provincial of Andalusia, but when Doria changed the government of the order, concentrating all power in the hands of a permanent committee, St. John resisted and, supporting the nuns in their endeavour to secure the papal approbation of their constitutions, drew upon himself the displeasure of the superior, who deprived him of his offices and relegated him to one of the poorest monasteries, where he fell seriously ill. One of his opponents went so far as to go from monastery to monastery gathering materials in order to bring grave charges against him, hoping for his expulsion from the order which he had helped to found.

As his illness increased he was removed to the monastery of Ubeda, where he at first was treated very unkindly, his constant prayer, "to suffer and to be despised", being thus literally fulfilled almost to the end of his life. But at last even his adversaries came to acknowledge his sanctity, and his funeral was the occasion of a great outburst of enthusiasm. The body, still incorrupt, as has been ascertained within the last few years, was removed to Segovia, only a small portion remaining at Ubeda; there was some litigation about its possession. A strange phenomenon, for which no satisfactory explanation has been given, has frequently been observed in connexion with the relics of St. John of the Cross: Francis de Yepes, the brother of the saint, and after him many other persons have noticed the appearance in his relics of images of Christ on the Cross, the Blessed Virgin, St. Elias, St. Francis Xavier, or other saints, according to the devotion of the beholder. The beatification took place on 25 Jan., 1675, the translation of his body on 21 May of the same year, and the canonization on 27 Dec., 1726.

He left the following works, which for the first time appeared at Barcelona in 1619.
1. "The Ascent of Mount Carmel", an explanation of some verses beginning: "In a dark night with anxious love inflamed". This work was to have comprised four books, but breaks off in the middle of the third.
 2. "The Dark Night of the Soul", another explanation of the same verses, breaking off in the second book. Both these works were written soon after his escape from prison, and, though incomplete, supplement each other, forming a full treatise on mystic theology.
 3. An explanation of the "Spiritual Canticle", (a paraphrase of the Canticle of Canticles) beginning "Where hast Thou hidden Thyself?" composed part during his imprisonment, and completed and commented upon some years later at the request of Venerable Anne of Jesus.
4. An explanation of a poem beginning: "O Living Flame of Love", written about 1584 at the bidding of Dona Ana de Penalosa.
5. Some instructions and precautions on matters spiritual.
6. Some twenty letters, chiefly to his penitents. Unfortunately the bulk of his correspondence, including numerous letters to and from St. Teresa, was destroyed, partly by himself, partly during the persecutions to which he fell a victim.
7. "Poems", of which twenty-six have been hitherto published, viz., twenty in the older editions, and recently six more, discovered partly at the National Library at Madrid, and partly at the convent of Carmelite nuns at Pamplona.
8. "A Collection of Spiritual Maxims" (in some editions to the number of one hundred, and in others three hundred and sixty-five) can scarcely count as an independent work, as they are culled from his writings.

     It has been recorded that during his studies St. John particularly relished psychology; this is amply borne out by his writings. He was not what one would term a scholar, but he was intimately acquainted with the "Summa" of St. Thomas Aquinas, as almost every page of his works proves. Holy Scripture he seems to have known by heart, yet he evidently obtained his knowledge more by meditation than in the lecture room.
    There is no vestige of influence on him of the mystical teaching of the Fathers, the Aeropagite, Augustine, Gregory, Bernard, Bonaventure, etc., Hugh of St. Victor, or the German Dominican school. The few quotations from patristic works are easily traced to the Breviary or the "Summa". In the absence of any conscious or unconscious influence of earlier mystical schools, his own system, like that of St. Teresa, whose influence is obvious throughout, might be termed empirical mysticism. They both start from their own experience, St. Teresa avowedly so, while St. John, who hardly ever speaks of himself, "invents nothing" (to quote Cardinal Wiseman), "borrows nothing from others, but gives us clearly the results of his own experience in himself and others. He presents you with a portrait, not with a fancy picture. He represents the ideal of one who has passed, as he had done, through the career of the spiritual life, through its struggles and its victories".


His axiom is that the soul must empty itself of self in order to be filled with God, that it must be purified of the last traces of earthly dross before it is fit to become united with God. In the application of this simple maxim he shows the most uncompromising logic. Supposing the soul with which he deals to be habitually in the state of grace and pushing forward to better things, he overtakes it on the very road leading it, in its opinion to God, and lays open before its eyes a number of sores of which it was altogether ignorant, viz. what he terms the spiritual capital sins. Not until these are removed (a most formidable task) is it fit to be admitted to what he calls the "Dark Night", which consists in the passive purgation, where God by heavy trials, particularly interior ones, perfects and completes what the soul had begun of its own accord. It is now passive, but not inert, for by submitting to the Divine operation it co-operates in the measure of its power.
Here lies one of the essential differences between St. John's mysticism and a false quietism.
The perfect purgation of the soul in the present life leaves it free to act with wonderful energy: in fact it might almost be said to obtain a share in God's omnipotence, as is shown in the marvelous deeds of so many saints. As the soul emerges from the Dark Night it enters into the full noonlight described in the "Spiritual Canticle" and the "Living Flame of Love". St. John leads it to the highest heights, in fact to the point where it becomes a "partaker of the Divine Nature". It is here that the necessity of the previous cleansing is clearly perceived the pain of the mortification of all the senses and the powers and faculties of the soul being amply repaid by the glory which is now being revealed in it.
    St. John has often been represented as a grim character; nothing could be more untrue. He was indeed austere in the extreme with himself, and, to some extent, also with others, but both from his writings and from the depositions of those who knew him, we see in him a man overflowing with charity kindness, a poetical mind deeply influenced by all that is beautiful and attractive.
1707 Saint Hilarion, Metropolitan of Suzdal and Yuriev found the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God
 (in the world John) born November 13, 1631 into the family of the lower city priest Ananias. His father, famed for his piety and reading, was one of three candidates for the Patriarchal throne, together with the future Patriarch Nikon (1652-1658).

John entered a monastery in 1653. In 1655, he became founder and builder of the Phlorischev wilderness monastery not far from the city of Gorokhovetsa. In his monastic struggles, the saint wrestled with fleshly passions. When he fell down in exhaustion before the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God beseeching Her help, the Mother of God shielded him with gracious power and calmed his spirit.

Once, when St Hilarion was serving Vespers together with a hierodeacon, robbers burst into the church. They killed the deacon and started to set St Hilarion on fire, asking him where the monastery treasure was hid. They did not believe that there was no gold in the monastery. Overcome by the pain, St Hilarion turned to the wonderworking icon and said, "O All-Pure Virgin Mary, Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ! If they injure me with the fire, I shall no longer have the ability to glorify Thy Son and Thee." Suddenly the robbers heard the shouts of people searching for them, and they fled.

Another time, St Hilarion in passing by the church heard a voice: "I shall glorify thee throughout all the land." He trembled, and going into the vestibule, he found no people there. On the portico he found the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God.
The ascetic fell down before the image with tears and confessed his unworthiness.

Later on, when the saint had begun the construction of a stone church, he was very sad that concerns about the construction and disagreements among the workers were distracting him from prayer. While serving in church with the brethren, he was preoccupied by these thoughts and began to regret undertaking the work. With tears he besought the Mother of God not to abandon him and to deliver him from these worries.

When he finished his prayer, St Hilarion remained alone in church and began again to think about the construction. And so he fell asleep. In a dream the Mother of God appeared to him and said, "Transfer My icon, named the Vladimir, from this hot church and put it in the newly-built stone church, and I shall be your Helper there".

St Hilarion awoke and ordered the large bell to be rung. The monks immediately assembled. All went to the hot church and, having prayed before the icon, solemnly transferred it from the portico into the temple. After serving the all night Vigil, Divine Liturgy and a Molieben, the saint told the brethren of his vision. Then in procession they transferred the icon to the church under construction, where they set it in the midst of the woods. From that time the construction went successfully and was soon completed. The saint wanted to dedicate the temple in honor of the icon, but he it was revealed to him in a vision that the temple was to be consecrated in honor of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos.

In the wilderness monastery he maintained a very strict community rule. In 1694, the saint sent a letter to the Phlorischev monastery in which he reminisced about his own monastic Rule at this monastery: "Under me, a sinner, no one possessed anything of his own, but all was shared in common. Many of you may remember that former cenobitic community. And you also remember that I consigned to the fire those possessions which would destroy that cenobitic community."

On December 11, 1681, the saint was consecrated as Archbishop of Suzdal and Yuriev, and in 1682 he was elevated to the dignity of Metropolitan and remained on the Suzda' cathedra until February 1705. The saint died peacefully on December 14, 1707 and was buried in the Suzdal cathedral in honor of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos. The saint was known for his unceasing concern for the poor. After his death they found only three coins.

The wonderworking Icon of the Mother of God of Vladimir-Phlorischev (August 26) was painted by the renowned iconographer John Chirov in 1464 at Nizhni Novgorod in fulfillment of a vow of John Vetoshnikov.

 Wednesday  Saints   14 Décimo nono Kaléndas Januárii  

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
ewtnmissionaries.com

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 www.40daysforlife.com
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.  arras.catholique.fr


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.

Join Mary of Nazareth Project help us build the International Marian Center of Nazareth
http://www.worldpriest.com/
THE EUCHARIST, A MYSTERY TO BE BELIEVED POST-SYNODAL APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION
SACRAMENTUM CARITATIS OF THE HOLY FATHER BENEDICT XVI
There are over 10,000 named saints beati  from history
 and Roman Martyology Orthodox sources

Miracles by Century 100   200   300   400   500   600   700    800   900   1000    1100   1200   1300   1400  1500  1600  1700  1800   1900  Miracles_BLay Saints
Morning Prayer and Hymn    Meditation of the Day    Prayer for Priests    Our Bartholomew Family Prayer List  Here
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:
'HAVE COMPASSION ON THE HEART OF YOUR MOST HOLY MOTHER WHICH IS COVERED WITH THORNS WITH WHICH UNGRATEFUL MEN PIERCE IT AT EVERY MOMENT, WHILE THERE IS NO ONE TO REMOVE THEM WITH AN ACT OF REPARATION.'

THE GREAT PROMISE
Our Lady then said: 'MY DAUGHTER LOOK AT MY HEART SURROUNDED WITH THORNS WITH WHICH UNGRATEFUL MEN PIERCE IT AT EVERY MOMENT BY THEIR BLASPHEMIES AND INGRATITUDE. YOU, AT LEAST, TRY TO CONSOLE ME, AND SAY THAT I PROMISE TO ASSIST AT THE HOUR OF DEATH WITH ALL THE GRACES NECESSARY FOR SALVATION, ALL THOSE WHO, ON THE FIRST SATURDAY OF FIVE CONSECUTIVE MONTHS GO TO CONFESSION AND RECEIVE HOLY COMMUNION, RECITE FIVE DECADES OF THE ROSARY AND KEEP ME COMPANY FOR A QUARTER OF AN HOUR WHILE MEDITATING ON MYSTERIES OF THE ROSARY, WITH THE INTENTION OF MAKING REPARATION TO ME.'

The Five Reasons
Lucia once asked this question of Our Lord and received as an answer: 'MY DAUGHTER, THE MOTIVE IS SIMPLE, THERE ARE FIVE KINDS OF OFFENCES AND BLASPHEMIES UTTERED AGAINST THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY: (1) BLASPHEMIES AGAINST THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION: (2) BLASPHEMIES AGAINST HER VIRGINITY: (3) BLASPHEMIES AGAINST HER DIVINE MATERNITY: (4) BLASPHEMIES OF THOSE WHO OPENLY SEEK TO FOSTER IN THE HEARTS OF CHILDREN INDIFFERENCE OR EVEN HATRED FOR THIS IMMACULATE MOTHER: (5) THE OFFENCES OF THOSE WHO DIRECTLY OUTRAGE HER IN HOLY IMAGES.'
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, (2) COMMUNION, (3) FIVE DECADES OF THE ROSARY, (4) MEDITATION ON ONE OR MORE OF THE ROSARY MYSTERIES FOR FIFTEEN MINUTES, (5) TO DO ALL THESE THINGS IN THE SPIRIT OF REPARATION TO THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY, and (6) TO OBSERVE ALL THESE PRACTICES ON THE FIRST SATURDAY OF FIVE CONSECUTIVE MONTHS.
(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.
(3) THE ROSARY: The Rosary mentioned here was indicated by the Portuguese word 'terco' which is commonly employed to denote a Rosary of five decades, since it forms a fourth of the full Rosary of 20 decades. This too must recited in a spirit of reparation.
(4) MEDITATION FOR FIFTEEN MINUTES: Here the meditation on one mystery or more is to be made without simultaneous recitation of the Rosary decade. As indicated, the meditation may be either on one mystery alone for 15 minutes, or on all 20 mysteries, spending about one minute on each mystery, or again, on two or more mysteries during the period. This can also be made before each decade spending three minutes or more in considering the mystery of the particular decade. This meditation has likewise to be made in the spirit of reparation to the Immaculate Heart.
(5) THE SPIRIT OF REPARATION: All these acts, as said above, have to be done with the intention of offering reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the offences committed against Her. Everyone who offends Her commits, so to speak, a two-fold offence, for these sins also offend her Divine Son, Christ, and so endanger our salvation. They give bad example to others and weaken the strength of society to withstand immoral onslaughts. Such devotions therefore make us consider not only the enormity of the offence against God, but also the effect of sins on human society as well as the need for undoing these social effects even when the offender repents and is converted. Further, this reparation emphasises our responsibility towards sinners who, themselves, will not pray and make reparation for their sins.
(6) FIVE CONSECUTIVE FIRST SATURDAYS: The idea of the Five First Saturdays is obviously to make us persevere in the devotional acts for these Saturdays and overcome initial difficulties. Once this is done, Our Lady knows that the person would become devoted to Her immaculate Heart and persist in practising such devotion on all First Saturdays, working thereby for personal self-reform and for the salvation of others.