Friday Saint of the Day February 13 Idibus Februárii.
Saint Rabia al-Adawiyya shows path to God
From her life and from the lives and teachings of all saints whether they be Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian or Jew,
one does not need to hurt others or set store by worldly possessions or rituals in order to reach God.
February 13 – Death of Sister Lucia of Fatima (2005)
The people whom St. Giles Mary of St. Joseph met on his begging rounds nicknamed him the “Consoler of Naples.”
“Love God, love God” was his characteristic phrase as he gathered food for the friars sharing his bounty with poor—all the while consoling the troubled and urging everyone to repent.
The charity which he reflected on the streets of Naples
was born in prayer and nurtured in the common life of the friars.
“When we die, we will come to understand how close to us were the Savior, the Mother of God, and all of the Saints,
how they would be tolerant towards us in our weakness, and how they answered our prayers.”
† 1950 Archbishop Seraphim of Bulgaria
Our Bartholomew Family Prayer List Here
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
The bullet of the assassination attempt is enshrined in Mary’s crown
The Portuguese Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints made the following comment after the death of Sister Lucia (at 97), which occurred at the convent in Coimbra, Portugal:
"We know that a profound friendship existed between Pope John Paul II and Sister Lucia."
"They met several times and for Pope John Paul II it was always a moment of great spirituality. The Pope said that the Virgin Mary saved him from the attempt on his life at Saint Peter's Square on May 13, 1981. Fatima and the shepherds occupied a special place in his heart," he added.
To thank the Virgin for saving his life on May 13, 1981, the Pope visited Fatima exactly a year later, on May 13, 1982. The bullet that wounded him was enshrined in the crown of the statue of the Virgin of Fatima.
Sister Lucia died on February 13, 2005, surrounded by her sisters of the convent. She would have turned 98 on March 22, 2005. Saint John Paul II met with her on the three visits he made to the Shrine of Fatima, in 1982, 1991, and on May 13, 2000 (for the beatification of the little shepherds Jacinta and Francisco).
The Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH) Last Sermon1st v St. Agabus Jewish convert to the faith noted as a prophet Martyr 1 of 72 disciples mentioned
by St. Luke
250 Fusca V and Maura MM (RM)
259 St. Polyeuctus Roman martyr of Greek parentages put to death in Armenia His Acts are
extant beauty and poignancy
303 St. Benignus Martyr of Todi, in Umbria
St. Lezin French bishop member of the Frankish aristocracy
389 Castor First monk of Germany
400 St. Martinian Hermit of Caesarea Palestine
512 Stephen of Lyons B (RM) Bishop
550 St. Modomnoc Irish bishop bees followed him disciple of St. David of Wales
590 St Stephen of Rieti Abbot admirable sanctity despised all things for the love of heaven extreme
poverty privation of all conveniences of life In his agony angels seen surrounding him conducting soul to bliss
616 ST LICINIUS, OR LESIN, BISHOP OF ANGERS by the example of his severe and holy life and by miracles which were wrought through him he succeeded in winning the hearts of the most hardened and in making daily conquests of souls for God.
690 St. Huno Monk priest of Ely, England
7th v. St. Dyfnog Welsh confessor of the Caradog family
703 Ermengild of Ely wholly devoted to God, OSB, Widow
790 Aimo of Meda founded the convent of Saint Victor
St. Julian of Lyons Martyr of Lyons, France
801 Rabi'a al-'Adawiyya Sufi One of the most famous Islamic mystics
859 St. Gosbert Benedictine bishop friend of St. Angsar
1006 Fulcran of Lodève B (AC) Penitent bishop
1009 Gilbert of Meaux B Bishop of Meaux
1237 Blessed JORDAN of Saxony noted for his charity to the poor from an early age brought Saint Albert the Great
into the Order Spiritual director of Blessed Diana d'Andalo
1309 Blessed Beatrix of d'Ornacieux mystical experiences
1327 AH Sufi Saint Hazrat Syed Malik Mohammed Alam 1327 AH (1907) Sain Gudri Shahi r.a. the blessings of the Friend [God] descended upon him with the words "come here" the teachings of Sain Gudri Shahi, [that is,] noble character, humility and social understanding were such that they affected everyone who came into contact with him
1458 Blessed Christina of Spoleto, Penitent
1469 BD EUSTOCHIUM OF PADUA, VIRGIN Apparitions and many miracles are said to have followed and a celestial
fragrance proceeded from the place of sepulture.
1494 Bl. Archangela Girlani Carmelite mystic ecstasies and levitation miracles
1589 St. Catherine de Ricci miracles the "Ecstacy of the Passion" she was mystically scourged & crowned with thorns
1812 St. Giles Mary of St. Joseph “Consoler of Naples.” served 53 years at St. Paschal’s Hospice in Naples various roles cook porter most often as official beggar for that community
1816 Bl. John Lantrua of Triora Franciscan martyr of China
1818 Blessed Paul Lieou Chinese martyr
1859 Blessed Paul Loc Vietnam Martyr M (AC) Born in An-nhon Cochin-China
† 1950 Archbishop Seraphim of Bulgaria: endowed by God with a soul unusual for its sensitivity and love for others.
1327 AH Sufi Saint Hazrat Syed Malik Mohammed Alam 1327 AH (1907) Sain Gudri Shahi r.a. the blessings of the Friend [God] descended upon him with the words "come here" the teachings of Sain Gudri Shahi, [that is,] noble character, humility and social understanding were such that they affected everyone who came into contact with him
You may have heard it said that ''God can be found by searching for Him''.
After hearing a bit of the life and search of Hazrat Syed Malik Mohammed Alam, also known as Sain Gudri Shahi or Saeenji, you may learn that for a human being nothing is impossible. In his search for God, Sufi Saint Hazrat Syed Malik Mohammed Alam (who was born in 1207 AH. 1788 AD. in Shahpura, Punjab; now Pakistan) spent sixty years of his life, barefooted, in the jungles of India, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Arabia. During this pilgrimage of sixty years, he performed Haj seven times and visited a multitude of holy places and shrines.
Eventually the blessings of the Friend [God] descended upon him with the words "come here". It was at the suggestion of his Murshid, Hazrat Pir [shaykh] Mustufa of Baghdad that he go to Ajmer.
"Your spiritual share is in Ajmer at the shrine of Hazrat Khwaja Moin Uddin Hasan Chishti"
Saeenji came to Ajmer and spent the remaining sixty years of his life, wearing a long jute coat and a Gudri (Patched shawl) across his shoulder. He became known as Gudri Shah, the King of Patches.
This is how the Gudri Shahi Sufi Order came into existence.
When Sain Gudri Shah received the spiritual blessings of Hazrat Khwaja Moin Uddin Hasan Chishti, he became so identified with the Great Saint that those with spiritual insight were unable to separate the two, unsure as to whose manifestation they were witnessing. He has a soul [spiritual] relation, with Hazrat Khwaja Moin Uddin Hasan Chishti. He obtained the Uwesia Nisbat (alliance) of Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Hasan Chishti, and is as expressed by Hazrat Shah Wali Ullah while referring to saints, in his work, Altaf Ul Qudus;''They may be connected through their longing and anxiety or in the same spirit as Uways Ul Qarni''
The universality of the teachings of Sain Gudri Shahi, [that is,] noble character, humility and social understanding were such that they affected everyone who came into contact with him. Men and women from all walks of life joined his holy assembly and benefited from his spiritual blessings.His concern for his mureeds [disciples] can be understood from the following story.
He was in the last few days of his long life and was surrounded by his mureeds, who were employed in different walks of life. He enquired, "what day is it today?" They replied ''Sir, it is Friday.'' He was so obviously thinking of the convenience of his mureeds, for whom Sunday was not a working day, when he said, in symbolic language, ''Not Friday. Let it be Sunday''. So, on Sunday, the 10th of Ramzan, [Ramadan] in the year 1327 AH / 1907 AD, at the age of 120 years, he died, showing that even death cannot take away the lovers of God without their permission.
His practical teachings of love and the controlling of Nafs (Self) [ego] have warmed the heart and minds of people. He often said:
"Control your Nafs and see the manifestation of God."
He always consoled people and was always sensitive to their feelings and needs. At times, people offered him things. He would accept and after a period of time, when he saw a person in need, he would bestow that same gift on them.
He chose to be buried near the Chillah of Hazrat Khwaja Moin Uddin Hasan Chishti, overlooking Anasagar Lake, Ajmer. He had chosen this spot in his lifetime and now a beautiful white marble shrine marks the place of his eternal rest and his eternal relationship with Khwaja Sahib, in an area included within the premises of the Chillah Sharif of Khwaja Sahib.
His shrine is a place of pilgrimage and each year on the 9th & 10th of Ramadan. His Urs or anniversary of his death is celebrated according to the Chishti Tradition.
Meeting of the Saints walis (saints of Allah)
Great men covet to embrace martyrdom for a cause and principle. So was the case with Hazrat Ali. He could have made a compromise with the evil forces of his time and, as a result, could have led a very comfortable, easy and luxurious life. But he was not a person who would succumb to such temptations. His upbringing, his education and his training in the lap of the holy Prophet made him refuse such an offer.
An elderly Shia pointed out that during his pre-Partition childhood it was quite common to find pictures and portraits of Shia icons in Imambaras across the country.
Baba Farid Sufi 1398 miracle, Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki renowned Muslim Sufi saint scholar miracles 569 A.H. [1173 C.E.] hermit gave to poor, Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti greatest mystic of his time born 533 Hijri (1138-39 A.D.) , Hazrat Ghuas-e Azam, Hazrat Bu Ali Sharif, and Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia 1236-1325 welcomed people of all faiths from all walks of life Sufi Saint Hazrath Khwaja Syed Mohammed Badshah Quadri Chisty Yamani Quadeer (RA)
After praising, and thanking Allah he said:
"O People, lend me an attentive ear, for I know not whether after this year, I shall ever be amongst you again. Therefore listen to what I am saying to you very carefully and TAKE THESE WORDS TO THOSE WHO COULD NOT BE PRESENT HERE TODAY.
O People, just as you regard this month, this day, this city as Sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you. Remember that you will indeed meet your LORD, and that HE will indeed reckon your deeds. ALLAH has forbidden you to take usury (interest), therefore all interest obligation shall henceforth be waived. Your capital, however, is yours to keep. You will neither inflict nor suffer any inequity. Allah has Judged that there shall be no interest and that all the interest due to Abbas ibn 'Abd'al Muttalib (Prophet's uncle) shall henceforth be waived...
Beware of Satan, for the safety of your religion. He has lost all hope that he will ever be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things.
O People, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women, but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under Allah's trust and with His permission. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers. And it is your right that they do not make friends with any one of whom you do not approve, as well as never to be unchaste.
O People, listen to me in earnest, worship ALLAH, say your five daily prayers (Salah), fast during the month of Ramadan, and give your wealth in Zakat. Perform Hajj if you can afford to.
All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not, therefore, do injustice to yourselves.
Remember, one day you will appear before ALLAH and answer your deeds. So beware, do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.
O People, NO PROPHET OR APOSTLE WILL COME AFTER ME AND NO NEW FAITH WILL BE BORN. Reason well, therefore, O People, and understand words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the QURAN and my example, the SUNNAH and if you follow these you will never go astray.
All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly. Be my witness, O ALLAH, that I have conveyed your message to your people".
1st v St. Agabus Jewish convert to the faith noted as a prophet Martyr 1 of 72 disciples mentioned by St. LukeThe martyr died for the faith in the city of Antioch.
Antiochíæ natális sancti Agábi Prophétæ, de quo beátus Lucas in Actibus Apostólicis scribit.
At Antioch, the birthday of St. Agabus, prophet, of whom mention is made by St. Luke in the Acts of the Apostles.
He was a Jewish convert to the faith, noted as a prophet. Agabus predicted a famine in the Roman Empire and probably Paul's imprisonment. Agabus was unable to dissuade Paul from going to Jerusalem.
Agabus the Prophet (RM) 1st century Jewish-Christian prophet from Jerusalem came to Antioch and predicted a famine throughout the Roman Empire (Acts 11:28-29), which actually occurred in 49 AD during the reign of Emperor Claudius. He is probably the same Agabus who predicted Paul's imprisonment in Jerusalem (Acts 21:10ff). According to tradition, he died a martyr at Antioch.A Carmelite legend has led to his being usually represented in art robed in the Carmelite habit and holding the model of a church (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia).
Fusca V and Maura MM (RM)
Rav énnæ sanctárum Fuscæ Vírginis, ejúsque nutrícis Mauræ; quæ, Décio imperánte, multa sub Quinctiáno Præside perpéssæ, demum, gládio transfíxæ, martyrium consummárunt.
At Ravenna, in the time of Emperor Decius and the governor Quinctian, the Saints Fusca, virgin, and Maura, her nurse. They endured many afflictions, but were finally transfixed with a sword, and thus ended their martyrdom.
Saint Fusca was a 15-year-old girl who was martyred with her nurse, Maura, at Ravenna under Decius (Benedictines, Encyclopedia). In art these saints are recognized as a young girl and her nurse each pierced with a sword. They are venerated in Ravenna, Italy (Roeder).
St. Polyeuctus Roman martyr of Greek parentages put to death in Armenia
His Acts are extant beauty and poignancy ( as recorded
Melitínæ, in Arménia, sancti Polyéucti Mártyris, qui in persecutióne Décii multa passus, martyrii corónam adéptus est.
At Meletine in Armenia, in the persecution of Decius, St. Polyeuctus, who, after many sufferings, obtained the crown of martyrdom.
THE city of Melitene in Armenia, which was a station of Roman troops, is illustrious for the large number of its martyrs. Of these the foremost in rank was Polyeuctus, a Roman officer of Greek parentage. White still a pagan he made friends with a zealous Christian named Nearchus who, when news of persecution reached Armenia, prepared himself to lay down his life for his faith. His only regret was that Polyeuctus was still a heathen, but he had the joy of winning him over to the truth and of inspiring him with an eager desire to die for the Christian religion. Polyeuctus openly declared himself a Christian, and was apprehended and condemned to cruel tortures. When the executioners were tired of tormenting him, they began to argue and persuade him to renounce Christ. The tears and entreaties of his wife Paulina, of his children and of his father-in-law might well have shaken a less resolute man. Polyeuctus, however, strengthened by God, only grew firmer and received the death sentence with joy. On the road to execution he exhorted the bystanders to renounce their idols, and spoke so eloquently that many were converted. He was beheaded during the persecution of Decius or Valerian.
There is good and indeed convincing evidence of the martyrdom of one St Polyeuctus at Melitene a church is known to have been dedicated to him there before 377. His name is entered on January 7, as suffering at Melitene in the Syriac Martyrology of the fourth century, and the same entry occurs on the same day in the “Hieronymianum”. At the same time, we can by no means trust the accuracy of the history assigned to the martyr in his “acts”. The elements of romance, utilized by Corneille in his tragedy Polyeucte, are unmistakable. The Greek text of the acts was first published entire by B. Aubé, Polyeucte dans l’histoire (1882). An Armenian version has been translated by F. C. Conybeare in his book, The Apology and Acts of Apollonius . . (1894).
An official in the Roman provincial government in the East, he was put to death in Armenia during the persecution launched by Emperor Valerian. His Acts are extant, as recorded by Metaphrastes, and are well known for their beauty and poignancy. Polyeuctus’ martyrdom was the subject of a play by Pierce Corneille in the seventeenth century.
Polyeuctus of Melitene M (RM) Died January 10, c. 250-259. Saint Polyeuctus, a wealthy Roman officer, was martyred at Melitene, Armenia, under Valerian. His acta, as given by Metaphrastes, are as touching as any in early Christian literature. His friend Nearchus was so zealous in his desire to lay down his life for Christ when he heard the Christian persecution was to reach the outposts of the Empire, that Polyeuctus was converted to the faith and openly professed it. He was, of course, captured and condemned to be tortured. When his tormentors were weary, they turned to argumentation to persuade him to apostatize. Most men would have been moved by the distress of their families. But tears and protestations of his wife Paulina, his children, and his father-in-law Felix were insufficient move this new Christian. Finally the sentence of death was passed by the judge, which Polyeuctus greeted with such cheerfulness and joy that many were converted as he travelled to the place of his beheading.
The Christians buried him in Melitene. Nearchus gathered his blood in a cloth, and afterwards wrote his acta. The Greeks keep his festival very solemnly, and all the Latin martyrologies mention him. Saint Euthymius often prayed in a famous church of St. Polyeuctus at Melitene. The stately church bearing his name in Constantinople, under Justinian, the vault of which was covered with plates of gold, in which it was the custom for men to make their most solemn oaths, as is related by Saint Gregory of Tours. The same author informs us, in his history of the Franks, that the kings of France confirmed their treaties by the name of Polyeuctus.
Saint Jerome's Martyrology and the most ancient Armenian calendars place Polyeuctus's feast on January 7; while the Greeks celebrate in on January 9. Nevertheless, his feast is marked on February 13 in the ancient martyrology, which was sent from Rome to Aquileia in the eighth century, and which is copied by Ado, Usuard, and the Roman Martyrology. Corneille has used some elements of the martyr's story in his tragedy Polyeucte (Benedictines, Husenbeth).
303 St. Benignus Martyr of Todi, in Umbria
Italy. He was executed during the persecutions conducted by Emperor Diocletian.
At Todi in Umbria, St. Benignus, priest and martyr, who would not cease spreading the Christian faith. In the reign of Emperors Diocletian and Maximian he was taken by the pagans, suffered various tortures, and finally reached the perfection of his priestly office with the honour of martyrdom.
Tudérti, in Umbria, sancti Benígni, Presbyteri et Mártyris; qui, Diocletiáni et Maximiáni Imperatórum témpore, cum fidem Christiánam verbo et exémplo propagáre non desísteret, ab idolórum cultóribus captus est, ac, váriis afféctus supplíciis, sacerdotále munus honóre martyrii cumulávit. http://www.breviary.net/martyrology/mart02/mart0213.htm
Saint Benignus of Dijon (3rd century) (in French, Saint Bénigne) was a martyr honored as the patron saint and first herald of Christianity of Dijon (Divio), an old city in the territory of the Gallic tribe of the Lingones (civitas Lingonum, Langres). It is an historical fact that Benignus suffered martyrdom in a persecution of the 3rd century and was publicly honored as a martyr. His feast falls on November 1; his name stands under this date in the so-called Martyrology of St. Jerome (ed. Rossi-Duchesne; cf. Acta SS., November, I1, 138).
Early in the 6th century no particulars concerning the person and life of Benignus were known at Dijon. He may have been a missionary priest from Lyon, martyred at Epagny under Aurelian, near Dijon, in the late 2nd century.
According to Gregory of Tours the common people reverenced his grave; but Bishop Saint Gregory of Langres (507 or 507-539 or 540) wished to put an end to this veneration, because he believed the grave to belong to a heathen. Having learned in a vision at night that the burial spot (once a large Roman cemetery) was that of the holy martyr Benignus, he had the tomb in which the sarcophagus lay restored, and he build a basilica over it. A larger church was built by its abbot William of Volpiano for his Cluniac monastery at the site. Benignus' church and tomb have survived an earthquake in 1280 and the French Revolution. His sarcophagus can still be seen in the crypt under the cathedral at Dijon.
About this date there was a sudden appearance of Acts of the martyrdom of the saint, which were brought to Dijon by a pilgrim on the way to Italy (Gregor. Tur., De gloriâ martyrum, I, li; Migne P.L., LXXI, 752). These accounts have no historical basis; according to them St. Polycarp of Smyrna had sent Benignus as a missionary to Dijon, where he had labored as a priest and had finally died a martyr. For some unknown reason his death is placed in the persecution under Aurelian (270-275). The author had not noticed that the sending by Polycarp and the martyrdom under Aurelian are chronologically irreconcilable. Louis Duchesne has proved that these "Acts" belong to a whole group of legends which arose in the early years of the sixth century and were intended to describe the beginnings of Christianity in the cities of that region (Besançon, Autun, Langres, Valence). They are all falsifications by the same hand and possess no historical value.
|St. Julian of Lyons
Martyr of Lyons, France unknown
Some traditions report that he was martyred in Nicomedia.
Lugdúni, in Gállia, sancti Juliáni Mártyris. At Lyons in France, St. Julian, martyr.
Castor First monk of Germany (Encyclopedia).
400 St. Martinian Hermit of Caesarea Palestine manifesting the gift of miracles
ST MARTINIAN THE HERMIT
MARTINIAN was born at Caesarea in Palestine during the reign of Constantius. At eighteen he retired to a mountain called “The Place of the Ark”, where he lived for twenty-five years as a hermit. His so-called Life contains many stories of more than doubtful authenticity. According to them, a woman of Caesarea called Zoe, hearing his sanctity much extolled, undertook the part of temptress. She pretended that she was a poor woman wandering in the desert late at night, and nearly at death’s door. By this pretext she persuaded Martinian to let her remain that night in his cell. Towards morning, she threw aside her rags, showing her best clothes, and going in to Martinian told him that she was a lady of Caesarea and possessed large estates and a plentiful fortune which she offered him—together with herself. To induce him to abandon his solitary life, she quoted instances of Old Testament saints who were rich and married. He listened to her words and consented in his heart to her suggestion. However, as he was then expecting some visitors who were coming to receive his blessing, he told her that he would go to meet them on the road and dismiss them. He started out with that intention but, being touched with remorse, he speedily returned to his cell, where he made a great fire and thrust his feet into it. The pain was so intense that he could not help crying out, and the woman hearing the noise ran in and found him writhing in anguish on the ground with his feet half burnt. When he saw her, he exclaimed, “Ah, if I cannot bear this weak fire, how can I endure that of Hell?” This example brought Zoe to repentance, and she begged him to put her in the way of securing her salvation. He sent her to Bethlehem, to the convent of St Paula, in which she lived in penitence.
For seven months Martinian was unable to rise from the ground, hut as soon as his legs were healed he retired to a rock surrounded by water on every side, to be secure from danger and occasions of sin. Here he lived, exposed to all the winds of heaven, and without ever seeing any human being except a boatman who brought him twice a year biscuit, fresh water and twigs wherewith to make baskets. Six years he lived there, and then one day he saw a ship wrecked close to his island. All on board perished except one girl who, floating on a plank, cried out for help. Martinian went down and saved her life, but as he feared the danger of living on the same mountain with her, he resolved to leave her there with his provisions to await the boatman’s coming in two months’ time. She chose to spend the rest of her life on the rock in imitation of his penitential example and he, trusting himself to the waves and to God, swam to the mainland and travelled to Athens, where he made a happy end at the age of about fifty. Though not mentioned in the Roman Martyrology, St Martinian was greatly venerated in the East, particularly at Constantinople.
There is much reason to doubt the very existence of Martinian. The legend summarized above will be found in the Acta Sanctorum, February, vol. ii. See also Rabbow, “Die Legende des Martinian” in Wiener Studien, vol. xvii (1895), pp. 253—293, who prints the Greek text; and cf. Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xv (1896), pp. 346—347. Rabbow has shows among other things that the Metaphrast’s revision of the legend has borrowed from the Buddhistic romance of Barlaam and Joasaph. A German translation of the story has been made by H. Lietzmann in his Byzantinische Legenden, pp. 53—62.
He started his life as a recluse on a site called the Place of the Ark at eighteen. Zoe, a woman of evil reputation, came upon him and tried to seduce him. Martinian not only resisted her advances by putting his feet in a fire, but converted her and counseled her to become a nun at Bethlehem. Martinian was quite elderly when he went to Athens, where he died.
Martinian the Hermit (AC) (also known as Martinian of Caesarea). Recluse near Caesarea, Palestine, who put his feet in the fire and another time jumped into the sea to escape from the so-called weaker sex. You may ask how this all came about. Martinianus retired to the 'place of the Ark' near his hometown of Caesarea when he was about 18. He lived for 25 years among holy solitaries practicing penance and the virtues, and manifesting the gift of miracles.
The harlot Zoë, hearing of his sanctity and inspired by the devil, determined to pervert him. She pretended to be a poor woman, lost and helpless in the desert late at night, and prevailed upon Martinianus to allow her to spend the night with him in his cell. About dawn she tossed aside her beggar's rags and donned her city finery. Zoë told him that she offered herself and all her wealth and estates to him. She also appealed to the Old Testament saints who were wealthy and married, and urged him to abandon his purpose.
It seems that Martinianus may have assented in his heart for he did not send her away immediately. He was expecting certain people to call upon him for a blessing and instructions but told her to wait. He intended to dismiss his guests, but was touched with remorse. Returning speedily to his cell he built a fire and stuck his feet into it. Hearing his scream of pain, Zoë ran to him. "If I cannot bear this weak fire, how can I endure the fire of hell?"
This example excited Zoë to sentiments of grief and repentance. She asked Martinianus's help in finding the way to salvation. Thus, she entered the convent of Saint Paula in Bethlehem, where she lived in continual penance, lying on the floor and consuming only bread and water.
It took nearly 7 months for Martinianus's legs to heal. When he was able to rise from the ground, he retired to a rock surrounded by water on every side to be secure from the approach of danger and all occasion of sin. Here he lived exposed to the elements and seeing no one except a boatman who brought him supplies twice annually.
After six years on the rock, he one day spied a ship wrecked at the bottom of his rock. All on board had perished except for one girl, who cried out for help. He rescued her but, fearing temptation of living alone with her for two months until the boatman came again, resolved to leave her and his provisions. She freely chose to live out her days on the rock in imitation of Martinianus.
He threw himself into the sea to shun all danger of sin, swam to the mainland, and travelled through many deserts to reach Athens, where he lived out the rest of his life. Martinianus's name does not appear in the R.M., but does occur in the Greek Menaea. Some have questioned whether this story is entirely fictitious (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).
Saint Martinian's emblem is a dolphin, standing on a rock in the sea (Roeder).
Modomnoc Irish bishop bees followed him disciple of St. David of Wales
6th v. ST Modomnoc One of his duties was to look after the bees, said by some to have become bishop of Ossory.
THE Irish martyrologies, and notably that of Oengus the Culdee (c. 804), are of great service in giving some idea of the nature of the popular appeal made by the saints they commemorate. The eulogium of St Modomnoc (“ Dominic”) takes this form: “In a little boat, from the east, over the pure-coloured sea, my Domnoc brought—vigorous cry—the gifted race of Ireland’s bees.” Modomnoc is said to have belonged to the Irish royal line of the O’Neils and to have left his native land for Wales with the object of perfecting himself in learning and acquiring greater religious fervour. Here he came under the direction of St David, who esteemed him highly. One of his duties was to look after the bees, and a picturesque but apocryphal legend states that when Modomnoc returned to Ireland the bees insisted on following him—swarming on the ship—and that he was thus the means of introducing bees into Ireland. In any case, with or without bees, St Modomnoc returned to his own country and settled at a place called Tipra-Fachtna, now called Tibraghny in County Kilkenny, near the river Suir. He is said by some to have become bishop of Ossory.
No formal ancient life of St Modomnoc in Latin or Irish is now known to exist, but references to him occur in the Life of St David and elsewhere. Plummer, Miscellanea Hagiograph. Hibern., p. 217, notes that an Oxford manuscript preserves a short account in Irish of the bringing of the bees, and the notes on the Félire tell us that the quantity he brought was “the full of his belt”. Giraldus Cambrensis also makes reference to the story. Cf. Wade-Evans, Life of St David (1923), p. 104.
Sometimes called Domnoc or Dominic, he was a member of the royal Irish family of O’Neil and ended his years as a hermit at Tibraghny in Kilkenny When Modomnoc returned to Wales after studying with St. David, swarms of bees left Scotland to follow him, thus supposedly being introduced to Ireland.
Modomnoc O'Neil B (AC) (also known as Domnoc, Dominic, Modomnock) Died c. 550. The story goes that Modomnoc, descended of the Irish royal line of O'Neil, had to leave Ireland to train for the priesthood, since he was a student before the creation of the great Irish monasteries. He crossed the English Channel to be educated under the great Saint David at Mynyw (Menevia, now Saint David's) Monastery in Wales. All the pupils had to work in the fields, garden, or in building, in addition to attending to their studies.
Modomnoc was given charge of the bees and he loved it. And so did everyone else--they all loved honey, but few like taking charge of the hives. Modomnoc liked the bees almost more than he liked their honey. He cared for them tenderly, keeping them in straw skeps in a special sheltered corner of the garden, where he planted the kinds of flowers best loved by the bees.
Every time they swarmed, he captured the swarm very gently and lovingly and set up yet another hive. He talked to the bees as he worked among them and they buzzed around his head in clouds as if they were responding. And, of course, they never stung him.
At the end of summer, they gave him loads and loads of honey, so much that Modomnoc needed help carrying it all inside. The monks never seemed to run out of honey for their meals or making mead to drink. The good Modomnoc thanked God for his success, and he also thanked the bees.
He would walk among the skeps in the evening and talk to them, and the bees, for their part, would crowd out to meet him. All the other monks carefully avoided that corner of the monastery garden because they were afraid of being stung.
As well as thanking the bees, Modomnoc did everything he could to care for them in cold and storm. Soon his year's of study ended, and Modomnoc had to return to Ireland to begin his priestly ministry. While he was glad to be returning home, he knew he would be lonely for his bees. On the day of his departure, he said good- bye to David, the monks, and his fellow students. Then he went down to the garden to bid farewell to his bees.
They came out in the hundreds of thousands in answer to his voice and never was there such a buzzing and excitement among the rows and rows of hives. The monks stood at a distance watching the commotion in wonder, "You'd think the bees knew," they said. "You'd think they knew that Modomnoc was going away."
Modomnoc resolutely turned and went down to the shore and embarked the ship. When they were about three miles from the shore, Modomnoc saw what looked like a little black cloud in the sky in the direction of the Welsh coast. He watched it curiously and as it approached nearer, he saw to his amazement that it was a swarm of bees that came nearer and nearer until finally it settled on the edge of the boat near him. It was a gigantic swarm--all the bees from all the hives, in fact. The bees had followed him!
This time Modomnoc did not praise his friends. "How foolish of you," he scolded them, "you do not belong to me but to David's monastery! How do you suppose the monks can do without honey, or mead? Go back at once, you foolish creatures!" But if the bees understood what he said, they did not obey him. They settled down on the boat with a sleepy kind of murmur, and there they stayed. The sailors did not like it one bit and asked Modomnoc what he intended to do.
He told them to turn the boat back for Wales. It was already too far for the bees to fly back, even if they wanted to obey him. He could not allow his little friends to suffer for their foolishness. But the wind was blowing the boat to Ireland and when they turned back, the sail was useless. The sailors had to furl it and row back to the Welsh coast. They did it with very bad grace, but they were too much afraid of the bees to do anything else.
David and the monks were very surprised to see Modomnoc coming back and looking rather ashamed. He told them what had happened. The moment the boat had touched land again, he bees had made straight for their hives and settled down contentedly again. "Wait until tomorrow," advised the abbot, "but don't say farewell to the bees again. They will be over the parting by then."
Next morning, the boat was again in readiness for Modomnoc and this time he left hurriedly without any fuss of farewell. But when they were about three miles from the shore, he was dismayed to see again the familiar little black cloud rising up over the Welsh coast. Everyone recognized the situation and the sailors turned back to shore immediately.
Once more the shamefaced Modomnoc had to seek out David and tell his story. "What am I to do?" he pleaded. "I must go home. The bees won't let me go without them. I can't deprive you of them. They are so useful to the monastery."Some say that he became a hermit at Tibraghny in Kilkenny and later bishop (Benedictines, Curtayne).
David laughed and said, "Modomnoc, I give you the bees. Take them with my blessing. I am sure they would not thrive without you anyhow. Take them. We'll get other bees later on for the monastery."
The abbot went down to the boat and told the sailors the same story. "If the bees follow Modomnoc for the third time, take them to Ireland with him and my blessing." But it took a long time and a great deal of talking to get the sailors to agree to this. They did not care who had the bees as long as they weren't in their boat. Bees, they explained, were the kind of passengers they never wanted. If they gave trouble on the boat and no one could sail it, they might all be drowned. Anything but bees, they said. Wild animals, okay; bee, no.
The abbot assured the sailors that the bees would give no trouble as long as Modomnoc was around. The sailors asked, if that were so, why the bees did not obey Modomnoc's command to return to the monastery. After much back and forth, the sailors were finally persuaded into starting out again.
For the third time the boat set sail, Modomnoc praying hard that the bees would have the sense to stay in their pleasant garden rather than risking their lives at sea. For the third time he saw the dreaded little black cloud rising up in the distance, approaching nearer and nearer until he saw it was the same swarm of bees again. It settled on the boat once more. This time it did not turn back. Modomnoc coaxed his faithful friends into a sheltered corner of the boat, where they remained quietly throughout the journey, much to the sailors' relief.
When he landed in Ireland, he set up a church at a place called Bremore, near Balbriggan, in County Dublin, and here he established the bees in a happy garden just like the one they had in Wales. The place is known to this day as "the Church of the Beekeeper."
Lugdúni, in Gállia, sancti
Stéphani, Epíscopi et Confessóris.
Stephen of Lyons was active in converting the Arian Burgundians to the Catholic faith (Benedictines).
590 Stephen of Rieti, Abbot of admirable sanctity despised all things for the love of heaven extreme poverty, and a privation of all the conveniences of life In his agony angels were seen surrounding him to conduct his happy soul to bliss (RM)Lugdúni, in Gállia, sancti Stéphani, Epíscopi et Confessóris.
At Lyons in France, St. Stephen, bishop and confessor.
Pope St Gregory the Great in his writings speaks several times of this holy man “whose speech was so rude, but his life so cultured”, and he quotes an instance of his patience. Prompted by the Devil, a wicked man burnt down his barns with the corn that constituted the whole means of subsistence of the abbot and his household. “Alas,” cried the monks, “alas, for what has come upon you!” “Nay,” replied the abbot, “say rather, ‘Alas, for what has come upon him that did this deed’, for no harm has befallen me.” St Gregory also relates that eyewitnesses testified that they saw angels standing beside the saint on his death-bed,and that these angels afterwards carried his soul to bliss—whereupon the watchers were so awe-stricken that they could not remain beside his dead body.
Beyond what St Gregory tells us in one of his homilies (Migne, PL., vol. lxxvi, cc. 1263— 1264) and in his Dialogues, iv, 19 (Migne, PL., vol. lxxvii, c. 352), we know practically nothing of St Stephen of Rieti..
Stephen was an abbot at Rieti whom Saint Gregory the Great in Dialogues, c. 19, describes as "rude of speech but of cultured life." He was a man of admirable sanctity, who despised all things for the love of heaven. He shunned all company to employ himself wholly in prayer. So wonderful was his patience, that he looked upon them as his greatest friends and benefactors, who did him the greatest injuries, and regarded insults as his greatest gain. He lived in extreme poverty, and a privation of all the conveniences of life. His barns, with all the corn in them, the whole subsistence of his family, were burned down by wicked men. He received the news with cheerfulness, grieving only for their sin by which God was offended.In his agony angels were seen surrounding him to conduct his happy soul to bliss (Benedictines, Husenbeth).
|St. Lezin French bishop
member of the Frankish aristocracy 7th century
he gave up worldly Concerns and entered the Church. Known for his sanctity, he later became bishop of Angers.
616 ST LICINIUS, OR LESIN, BISHOP OF ANGERS by the example of his severe and holy life and by miracles which were wrought through him he succeeded in winning the hearts of the most hardened and in making daily conquests of souls for God.
Licinius was born of a family closely allied to the French kings about the year 540. He grew up a handsome youth with charming manners and high principles, and when he was twenty his father took him to the court of his cousin, King Clotaire I. Here he signalized himself by his valour, by his chivalrous qualities and even more by his piety, for he fulfilled his Christian duties with exactitude and fervour. Fasting and prayer were constant practices with him and his heart was always upraised to God. King Chilperic was greatly attached to him and made him count of Anjou. Overruled by the wishes of his friends, he consented to take a wife, but his betrothed was seized with leprosy on the eve of the marriage. Licinius was so much affected by this that he resolved to carry out a design he had formerly entertained of entirely renouncing the world. This he did in 580; he became a priest and entered a religious community, where he led a very austere life.
When Audouin, Bishop of Angers, died, the people, remembering the equity and the clemency with which Licinius had ruled them when he was civil governor, clamoured to have him return as their pastor. The clergy seconded their appeal, and Licinius accepted, though unwillingly. Thereafter his time and his substance were devoted to feeding the hungry, comforting and releasing prisoners, and curing the souls and bodies of his people. Although he was careful to keep discipline in his diocese, he was more inclined to indulgence than to rigour, imitating the tenderness which our Lord Jesus Christ showed to sinners, By his strong and persuasive eloquence, by the example of his severe and holy life and by miracles which were wrought through him he succeeded in winning the hearts of the most hardened and in making daily conquests of souls for God. He renewed his own spirit of devotion by frequent periods of recollection and desired to lay down his bishopric so as to retire into solitude. The bishops of the province refused to listen to such a proposal, and Licinius therefore submitted to their will, spending the rest of his life in the service of his flock, although, in his later years, he suffered from continual infirmities.
The Life of St Licinius (BHL., n. 4957) cannot deserve confidence, for the author pretends to be almost a contemporary but it is certain that he did not write until more than a hundred years afterwards. The more favourable views expressed in-a paper by J. Demarteau in Mélanges Godefroid Kurth are criticized in the Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xxviii (5909), p. 106. There is, however, no reason to doubt the existence of St Licinius or his episcopate or the reverence in which he was held. Duchesne, Fastes Épiscopaux (vol. ii, p. 354), while treating the life as a very suspicious document, points out that a letter was written to Licinius in 601 by Pope Gregory the Great and that he is also mentioned in the will of St Bertram, Bishop of Le Mans, which is dated March 27, 616.
v. St. Dyfnog Welsh confessor of the Caradog family
He was venerated in Clwyd, Wales.
Dyfnog (AC) Dyfnog was a Welsh saint of the family of Caradog. He was formerly held in local veneration in Denbighshire (Benedictines).
St. Huno Monk priest of Ely, England
who aided St. Aetheldreda. Attending her in her last hours, Huna became a hermit in the Fens.
Huna of Ely, OSB Monk (AC) Died c. 690. Saint Huna was a monk-priest of Ely under Saint Etheldreda, whom he assisted in her last moments and buried. Soon afterwards, he retired to a hermitage at Huneya in the Fens, where he died. His relics were translated to Thorney Abbey, where they were venerated from at least the 11th century (Benedictines, Farmer).
|703 Ermengild of Ely
wholly devoted to God, OSB, Widow (AC)
(also known as Ermenilda, Erminilda)
703 ST ERMENGILD, OR ERMENILDA, ABBESS OF ELY, WIDOW
ST ERMENGILD, or Ermenilda, was the daughter of King Ercombert of Kent and his wife, St Sexburga. She married Wulfhere, King of the Mercians, and by her zeal and piety did much to influence him to spread the Christian faith in his dominions. She was the mother of St Werburga and also of Coenred, who subsequently became a monk in Rome. When King Wulfhere died in 675, Ermengild went to join her mother, who was then building an abbey at Minster on Sheppey. She received the veil at the monastery of Milton to which the isle belonged and was under the rule of her mother until St Sexburga retired to Ely to be under her sister, St Etheldreda. Ermengild then became abbess of Minster, but after a few years she also resigned and retired to Ely, where her daughter St Werburga was a nun and where Sexburga had by now succeeded as abbess. Ermengild followed St Sexburga so that Ely had the distinction of being ruled in quick succession by three abbesses of royal race, closely related to each other and all of them saints. It is unlikely that St Werburga was ever abbess of Ely.
Bede, William of Malmesbury and Thomas of Ely contribute the principal materials for this rather complicated history, but there is also an Anglo-Saxon fragment, printed in Cockayne’s Anglo-Saxon Leechdoms, vol. iii, p. 430, which fills in certain details. See also Stanton’s Menology, pp. 67—68.
The daughter of King Erconbert and Saint Sexburga, Erminilda was herself a queen, for she married Wulfhere, King of Mercia, and used her powerful influence to remove the remaining pockets of idolatry in a land which had been the last stronghold of Anglo-Saxon paganism. By her virtuous example and unwearied kindness she won the hearts of her subjects; she had great pity on all in distress, and throughout her life she bore her witness as a Christian queen.
Like her mother before her, the saintly Sexburga, the widowed Queen of Kent and abbess of Minster in Sheppey, she desired to be wholly devoted to God. On Wulfhere's death Erminilda joined her mother and succeeded her as abbess when her mother moved to Ely.
Later, Erminilda, too, migrated to the abbey of Ely, which was the center of a flourishing community, had the unusual distinction of having as its first abbesses a succession of three queens; for, before Sexburga, her sister, Queen Ethelreda had held the office. Erminilda was the mother of Saint Werburga, and so this royal succession of Christian witness was carried into the fourth generation.
In a primitive age these noble and saintly women by their selfless and devoted lives set before their people a high example of Christian service, and their gracious and ennobling influence had a far-reaching effect upon the period in which they lived. They are counted among the saints of England and take their place among the most faithful and distinguished followers of our Lord (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Gill).
|790 Aimo of Meda
founded the convent of Saint Victor (PC)
also known as Aimonius) Saint Aimo founded the convent of Saint Victor at Meda in the archdiocese of Milan, Italy (Benedictines).
St. Gosbert Benedictine bishop friend of St. Angsar
Gosbert was the bishop of Osnabruck, Germany.
Gosbert of Osnabruck, OSB B (AC) Died c. 859. Fourth bishop of Osnabruck and a disciple of Saint Ansgar. His was a particularly laborious episcopate (Benedictines).
Wiho von Osnabrück, Gosbert und Adolf Orthodoxe Kirche: 13. Februar - Wiho
Katholische Kirche: 13. Februar - Adolf, Gosbert und Wiho
Wiho wurde in Friesland geboren und in Utrecht (an der Schule Gregors) ausgebildet. Karl der Große setzte ihn als ersten Bischof in Osnabrück ein. Wiho starb wohl 804.
In Osnabrück wird seiner gemeinsam mit seinen Nachfolgern Gosbert und Adolf gedacht. Gosbert war Schwede, er wurde 832 von Ansgar und Ebbo von Reims zum Bischof für die schwedische Mission geweiht, mußte aber 845 aus Schweden fliehen und wurde Bischof von Osnabrück. Er starb am 13.2.874.
Adolf (Gedenktag 30.6.) wurde um 1185 in Tecklenburg geboren. Er war Zisterzienser und wurde 1216 zum Bischof von Osnabrück geweiht. Hier führte er mehrere Reformen durch. Er starb am 30.6.1224.
|1006 Fulcran of Lodève
B (AC) Penitent bishop
of Lodève, Languedoc, Fulcran was famous for his energetic rule. He was consecrated in 949 and ruled his diocese for more than a half century (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
|1009 Gilbert of Meaux
B Bishop of Meaux (Encyclopedia).
1237 JORDAN of Saxony
[portrait of Blessed Jordan] noted for his charity to the poor from an early
Also known as Gordanus; Giordanus; Jordanus de Alamaia
Saxon noble. Received a pious upbringing, and was noted for his charity to the poor from an early age. Educated in Germany, and received his masters degree in theology at the University of Paris. Joined the Order of Preachers in 1220 under Saint Dominic himself. Prior-provincial of the Order in Lombardy in 1221. Succeeded Dominic as master-general of the Order in 1222. Under his administration, the Order spread throughout Germany, and into Denmark.
A noted and powerful preacher; one of his sermons brought Saint Albert the Great into the Order. Wrote a biography of Saint Dominic. His writings on Dominic and the early days of the Order are still considered a primary sources. Spiritual director of Blessed Diana d'Andalo.
Born c.1190 at Padberg Castle, diocese of Paderborn, Westphalia, old Saxony; rumoured to have been born in Palestine while his parents were on a pilgrimage, and named after the River Jordan, but this is apparently aprochryphal
drowned 1237 in a shipwreck off the coast of Syria while on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land
Beatified 1825 (cultus confirmed) by Pope Leo XII
Blessed Beatrix of d'Ornacieux mystical experiences, O. Cart. V (AC)
Died November 25; cultus confirmed 1869. Beatrix was one of the founders of the Carthusian Esmue convent. For many years she had remarkable mystical experiences as well as diabolical persecutions (Benedictines).
1309 BD BEATRICE OF ORNACIEU,
Beatrice’s devotion to the Holy Eucharist was also very great, and this not merely in receiving communion and in her rapt attention at Mass, but she also seems to have been one of the pioneers in realizing the treasure of graces which is opened to those who do honour to our Lord’s abiding presence in the tabernacle. Praying before the Blessed Sacrament for the release of her brother who had been taken prisoner, she had a wonderful vision of our Saviour bearing the glorious marks of the five wounds; which appears to be an early example of the Eucharistic Christ, so well known in the representation commonly called “the Mass of St Gregory”. Our Lord, she believed, assured her that her prayer was granted, and she learnt at a later date that at that precise moment her brother in a distant land had succeeded in making his escape. But Beatrice was afterwards sent with two other sisters to Eymeu, near Valence, to make a new foundation. This residence was eventually found unsuitable, and the community after a while returned to Parménie; but Bd Beatrice refused to give in to hardships and died there on November 25, 1309 (or 1303). Her remains were later brought to Parménie, not, it was believed, without many miraculous incidents attending the translation. In that neighbourhood she seems always to have been venerated as a saint, and her cultus was confirmed in 1869.
See C. Le Couteulx, Annales Ordinis Cartusiensis, vol. v, pp. 5—23. There are lives in French by Bellanger (1874) and Chapuis (1900); and see Histoire Littéraire de France, vol. xx, pp. 315—319.
Blessed Christina of Spoleto, Penitent (AC)
Born near Lake Lugano, 1435; died in Spoleto, Italy, 1458; cultus confirmed 1834. Christina Camozzi (wrongly called Visconti by some) was the daughter of a physician. After a few years of frivolity, Christina embraced a life of extreme bodily mortification leading to her death at age 23 (Benedictines).
1458 BD CHRISTINA OF SPOLETO
CHRISTINA is supposed to have been a member of the Visconti family of Milan and was remarkable for her extraordinary religious precocity. When she was little more than five, she was already leading a life of prayer and mortification. When she was ten her parents began to speak about arranging a marriage for her: she opposed the idea because she wished to become a nun, but they persisted, as they desired heirs. The contention had lasted two years and she was just twelve when, realizing that she was about to be forced into the marriage, she escaped with a young servant girl. Christina assumed the habit of the Hermitesses of St Augustine, and the two girls wandered about for years, having no fixed abode and living on what they could. When she was about twenty Christina made a pilgrimage to Assisi, and passing by way of Spoleto she went to lodge with a holy woman called Galitia. After visiting Assisi she became separated from her friend, who had left the church after paying her devotions, whereas Christina had spent the whole night there in prayer. Next day, Christina hunted everywhere for her companion: she searched Assisi and all the neighbouring towns, but in vain. Returning to Spoleto, she joined the staff of a hospital and spent some months nursing the sick. All this time she never relaxed her rather sensational mortifications. Then she again met her former hostess and friend, Galitia, who persuaded her to stay with her for a little; while she was there Christina was taken with fever, of which she died at the age of twenty-two. Numerous miracles of healing were reported as having, taken place at her tomb and elsewhere by her intercession.
The story here epitomized is that which the Bollandists of the seventeenth century have taken over from the Augustinian historiographer, Cornelius Curtius, and have printed in the Acta Sanctorum, February, vol. ii. Later investigation, however, has shown that it is almost pure romance. There was undoubtedly a very holy penitent named Christina, who died at Spoleto on February 13, 1458, after spending three or four years in austerities the recital of which makes the modern reader shudder. But this Christina was in no way connected with the illustrious Visconti family. Her name was Augustina Camozzi, and she was the daughter of a worthy physician who lived near Lake Lugano. As a girl she led a rather disorderly and very tempestuous’ life in the world, but died at the age of twenty-three or so after making expiation by the austerest penance.
The facts have been cleared up by M. E. Motta in the Bolletino storico della Svizzera italiana, vol. xv (1873), pp. 85—93. Cf. also the Analecta Bollandiana, vol. Xiii (1894), p. 411, and xxxviii (1920), pp. 434—435.
| 1469 BD EUSTOCHIUM OF PADUA,
VIRGIN Apparitions and many miracles are said to have followed and a celestial
fragrance proceeded from the place of sepulture.
THERE are few stories in the records of hagiography more curious than that of Bd Eustochium. It should be said at the outset that her cultus seems never to have received the formal approbation of the Holy See, though her Life has more than once been written and she is to this day liturgically honoured at Padua. Her very birth forms a sad memorial of a period at which terrible scandals were rife in the cloister as well as in the outside world. She was the daughter of a nun who had been seduced by a profligate, and she was actually born within the convent in which she eventually died. The community which connived at such irregularities was afterwards dispersed by the bishop’s orders and was replaced by sisters from a more observant foundation. The little Lucrezia, to use the name by which she was christened, showed in her childhood signs of being beset by certain influences of a strongly poltergeist type, and she was believed to be possessed. She was, however, sent to school at San Prosdocimo, the convent in which she had been born, but her conduct was in every way edifying, and when she was somewhat older she sought to be received there as a novice. The majority of the new community were much opposed to her admission among them, for the story of her birth was well known. However, with the bishop’s approval, the habit was eventually given her, and she took the name of Eustochium. Hardly had her noviceship begun when the strangest symptoms manifested themselves. Normally she was the most gentle, obedient and kindly of beings, full of fervour and observant of every rule, but now at not infrequent intervals her character seemed to undergo a complete transformation. She became stubborn, rude and subject to violent outbursts of temper. Whether this was due to one of those strange dissociations of personality with which modern psychological studies have made us familiar it would be difficult to say, but it was attributed then to diabolical possession.
In any case the treatment of the afflicted girl was probably not very judicious. It terminated in a blood-curdling scene in which the novice was seized with the most horrible convulsions, shrieking, howling and eventually snatching up a knife when an attempt was made to restrain her. She was treated as mad people were commonly treated in that age, and for several days she was kept tied up to a pillar. During these paroxysms, which recurred from time to time, she seems sometimes to have inflicted severe injuries upon herself which were said to have been caused by the devil which possessed her. Though a period of calm succeeded, Eustochium was still regarded with hostility and suspicion, and when the abbess fell ill of a malady for which the doctors were unable to account, Eustochium was believed to have poisoned her by diabolical or magical practices in revenge for having been kept tied up. The story of what was happening got abroad in the town, and a mob gathered round the convent who clamoured that she should be surrendered to them that they might burn her for a witch. The bishop decided that she must be kept prisoner in one of the cells and that she should be allowed nothing but bread and water, passing the alternate days without any food at all. This treatment seems to have continued for three months. Fortunately the abbess recovered, but in spite of the efforts of her confessor, who declared Eustochium to be perfectly innocent, the feeling of the community against her was so strong that she was treated as an outcast. No one would speak to her or have anything to do with her. Efforts were made to persuade her to leave the convent of her own accord, for she had as yet taken no vows. Friendly help was promised and a marriage portion offered if she would accept a husband, but Eustochium, when quite herself, believed that God had called her to serve Him in religion and refused to consent.
For a long time the paroxysms continued to return at intervals. Under their influence, to the horror of the sisters, Eustochium clambered or was transported to a beam high up in the roof where a false step would have meant instant destruction; she was lifted into the air and then let fall like a stone she was found in her cell divested of all her garments, with marks of violence on her throat and on her limbs she took a knife and gashed herself with cuts from which she lost great quantities of blood; but none the less as soon as these spasms passed, she became the same gentle, obedient unresentful creature, ready to sacrifice herself in any work of charity for those who treated her so harshly. Eventually, at the end of four years, she was allowed to take her vows, and by degrees she gained the good will and in fact the reverence of all her fellow nuns. She spent her last days bedridden, in much physical suffering, and died at the age of twenty-six on February 13, 1469. In preparing the body for burial the name of Jesus was found cauterized, it would seem, upon her breast. Apparitions and many miracles are said to have followed and a celestial fragrance proceeded from the place of sepulture. Three and a half years later, by order of the very bishop who had been instrumental in her cruel imprisonment, her body was transferred to a more honourable resting-place. Though buried without a coffin, it was found perfectly incorrupt, as if it had just been borne to the grave.
Fantastic as this story may appear, it rests upon good contemporary evidence. A short sketch was compiled and made public by Peter Barozzi, who in 1487 became bishop of Padua, where Eustochium eighteen years earlier had ended her days. Fuller biographies were later on printed by G. M. Giberti (1672) and C. Salio (1734) but the most reliable is undoubtedly that of the well-known Jesuit historian Giulio Cordara, which first appeared in 1765. Cordara explains that he based his whole narrative upon a manuscript relation, drawn up by the priest Jerome Salicario, who was confessor to the community during all the period of Eustochium’s residence as a nun and who had himself taken a leading part in the proceedings. This relation was still preserved at San Prosdocimo and was entrusted to Fr Cordara for the purpose of his biography. A somewhat fuller account than that here printed may be found in The Month for February, 1926, entitled A Cinderella of the Cloister by Fr Thurston.
|1494 Bl. Archangela
Girlani Carmelite mystic ecstasies and levitation miracles.
She was born in Trino, in northern Italy, in 1460, baptized Eleanor. Though planning to become a Benedictine nun, she was thwarted in her desire by her horse - the animal refused to carry her to the convent. She then became a Carmelite in Parma, Italy, taking the name Archangela, being professed in 1478. Named prioress of the convent, Archangela founded a new Carmel in Mantua. She was gifted with ecstasies and levitation and was reported to have performed miracles. Archangela died on January 25,1494, and her cult was confirmed in 1864.
Blessed Archangela Girlani, OC V (AC) Born in Trino, Monferrato, Italy, 1461; died 1494; cultus confirmed 1864. Archangela became a Carmelite in Parma and, at the request of the Gonzagas, was sent to found a new Carmel at Mantua. She was its first prioress, a living pattern of perfection (Benedictines).
1494 BD ARCHANGELA GIRLANI, VIRGIN
ELEANOR GIRLANI was born at Trino in northern Italy in the year 1460, and from earliest childhood showed herself intensely serious and devout. She went to the neighbouring Benedictine convent of Rocca delle Donne for her education, but found that her people came to see her too often and that the discipline observed by the nuns was not strict enough. Being bent on consecrating herself to God, and her father refusing his consent, she implored the intervention of the Marquess of Monferrato. In the end her father yielded, but only on condition that she took the veil in the Benedictine house already mentioned. We are told that every preparation had been made for celebrating her entry into religion there with great solemnity. The marquess himself was present in state, and the procession set out, but when the horse which Eleanor was riding had gone but a little way it stood stock still and nothing could make it advance further. In the end the company dispersed, and Eleanor returning home was met soon afterwards by a Carmelite friar who gave her a glowing account of the edifying life led by the nuns of his order at Parma. Taking Archangela as her name in religion, the girl entered there on her seventeenth birthday and took her vows a year later, in 1478.
It is strange to read that very shortly afterwards she was made prioress. How soon exactly we are not told, but since she was sent at the request of the Gonzagas to found a new Carmelite convent at Mantua, where she died, and had raised this new community to a state of great perfection before she was taken from them, the delay in advancing her to the office of superior cannot have been long. We probably must attribute a great deal of this precipitancy to her social position. As appears plainly from the records of the religious houses of women in the early middle ages, a princess or great lady who took the veil and proved herself to be reasonably observant and virtuous was almost always elected abbess as soon as a vacancy occurred. This practice seems to have lingered on through later centuries. In Archangela’s case the deference paid to rank does not seem to have been misplaced. She was the model of every religious virtue, most austere in her practice of penance, charitable to all and possessed of a marvellous spirit of prayer. Many times, we are told, she was found in her cell rapt in ecstasy and raised several yards from the ground. On one occasion an ecstasy in which she was completely insensible to outward impressions lasted more than twenty-four hours. When, owing to inundations, the convent at Mantua was threatened with absolute starvation, she fell on her knees in prayer and straightway an unknown person came to the gate bringing an adequate supply of provisions.
Certain strange happenings were recorded after her death, which occurred on January 25, 1494, of which the most interesting perhaps is the pear tree tradition. Shortly after her arrival at Mantua Mother Archangela had planted a pear tree in the convent garden. Now it was believed that the tree always produced as many blossoms, and in due course as many pears, as there were sisters in the community. What is more, if a pear fell off, this was a certain indication that one of the community would die within the year. The prioress herself, as long as she was in charge, always, when a pear fell, exhorted her community to make a good preparation for death, seeing that they none of them knew for whom the warning was intended. It is also averred that the same marvel continued for many years, long after Bd Archangela’s death. Her cultus was confirmed in 1864.
It is difficult to form any idea of the value of the evidence upon which these and similar details connected with the life of Bd Archangela are based. They may be read in a tiny booklet written by the Abbe Albarei from notes supplied by a Piedmontese Dominican. It bears the Carmelite device of cross and stars, and is entitled Notice sup la Vie de la bse. Archangela Girt oni (Poitiers, 1865).
1589 St. Catherine de Ricci miracles the "Ecstacy of the Passion" she was mystically scourged and crowned with thorns.
St. Catherine was born in Florence in 1522. Her baptismal name was Alexandrina, but she took the name of Catherine upon entering religion. From her earliest infancy she manifested a great love of prayer, and in her sixth year, her father placed her in the convent of Monticelli in Florence, where her aunt, Louisa de Ricci, was a nun. After a brief return home, she entered the convent of the Dominican nuns at Prat in Tuscany, in her fourteenth year. While very young, she was chosen Mistress of Novices, then subprioress, and at twenty-five years of age she became perpetual prioress. The reputation of her sanctity drew to her side many illustrious personages, among whom three later sat in the chair of Peter, namely Cerveni, Alexander de Medicis, and Aldo Brandini, and afterward Marcellus II, Clement VIII, and Leo XI respectively.
She corresponded with St. Philip Neri and, while still living, she appeared to him in Rome in a miraculous manner.
She is famous for the "Ecstacy of the Passion" which she experienced every Thursday from noon until Friday at 4:00 p.m. for twelve years. After a long illness she passed away in 1589.
Catherine dei Ricci, OP V (RM)
Born in Florence, Italy, April 23, 1522; died in Prato (near Florence), February 2, 1590; beatified by Clement XII in 1732; canonized in 1747 by Benedict XIV; feast day formerly February 2.
Alexandrina dei Ricci was born of a patrician family, but Catharine Bonza died leaving her motherless in her infancy. She was trained in virtue by a very pious godmother. The little girl took Our Lady as her mother and had for her a tender devotion. The child held familiar conversations with her guardian angel, who taught her a special manner of saying the rosary and assisted her in the practice of virtue.
As soon as Alexandrina was old enough to go away from home (age 6 or 7), she was sent to the convent school of Monticelli, where her aunt, Louisa dei Ricci, was the abbess. Besides learning her lessons for which she was sent, the little girl developed a great devotion to the Passion. She prayed often before a certain picture of Our Lord, and at the foot of a crucifix, which is still treasured as "Alexandrina's crucifix." Returning from the monastery when her education was completed according to the norm for girls, she turned her attention to her vocation.
In her plans to enter a monastery of strict observance, she met with great opposition from her father Peter. She loved the community life that had allowed her to serve God without impediment or distraction. She continued her usual exercises at home as much as she was able, but the interruptions and dissipations that were inseparable from her station, made her uneasy.
Finally, Peter allowed her to visit St. Vincent's convent in Prato, Tuscany, which had been founded by nine Third Order Dominicans who were great admirers of Savonarola. Alexandrina begged to remain with them; however, her father took her away, promising to let her return. He did not keep his promise, and the girl fell so ill that everyone despaired of her life. Frightened into agreement, her father gave his consent; Alexandrina, soon recovering, entered the convent of Saint Vincent.
In May 1535, Alexandrina received the habit from her uncle, Fr. Timothy dei Ricci, who was confessor to the convent. She was given the name Catherine in religion, and she very happily set about imitating her beloved patron. Lost in celestial visions, she was quite unaware that the sisters had begun to wonder about her qualifications for the religious life: for in her ecstasies she seemed merely sleepy, and at times extremely stupid. Some thought her insane. Her companions did not suspect her of ecstasy when she dozed at community exercises, spilled food, or broke dishes.
Neither did it occur to Sister Catherine that other people were not, like herself, rapt in ecstasy. She was about to be dismissed from the community when she became aware of the heavenly favors she had received. From then on there was no question of dismissing the young novice, but fresh trials moved in upon her in the form of agonizing pain from a complication of diseases that remedies seemed only to aggravate. She endured her sufferings patiently by constantly meditating on the passion of Christ, until she was suddenly healed. After her recovery, she was left in frail health.
Like Saint John of Egypt and Saint Antony, Catherine met Philip Neri in a vision while he was still alive and in Rome. They had corresponded for a long time and wanted to meet each other but were unable to arrange it. Catherine appeared to Philip in a vision and they conversed for a long time. Saint Philip, who was also cautious in giving credence to or publishing visions, confirmed this. This blessed ability to bilocate, like Padre Pio, was confirmed by the oaths of five witnesses. Also like those desert fathers, Antony and John, she fasted two or three times weekly on only bread and water, and sometimes passed an entire day without taking any nourishment.
Like Saint Catherine of Siena, she is said to have received a ring from the Lord as a sign of her espousal to him--a mysterious ring made of gold set with a diamond, invisible to all except the mystic. Others saw only a red lozenge and a circlet around her finder.
Sister Catherine was 20 when she began a 12-year cycle of weekly ecstasies of the Passion from noon each Thursday until 4:00 p.m. each Friday. The first time, during Lent 1542, she meditated so heart-rendingly on the crucifixion of Jesus that she became seriously ill, until a vision of the Risen Lord talking with Mary Magdalene restored her to health on Holy Saturday.
She received the sacred stigmata, which remained with her always. In addition to the five wounds, she received, in the course of her Thursday-Friday ecstasies, many of the other wounds which our Lord suffered. Watching her face and body, the sisters could follow the course of the Passion, as she was mystically scourged and crowned with thorns. When the ecstasy was finished, she would be covered with wounds and her shoulder remained deeply indented where the Cross had been laid.
Soon all Italy was attentive and crowds came to see her. Skeptics and the indifferent, sinners and unbelievers, were transformed at the sight of her. Soon there was no day nor hour at which people did not come, people in need and in sin, people full of doubt and tribulation, who sought her help, and, of course, the merely curious. Because of the publicity that these favors attracted, she and her entire community asked our Lord to make the wounds less visible, and He did in 1554.
Her patience and healing impressed her sisters. While still very young, Catherine was chosen to serve the community as novice- mistress, then sub-prioress, and, at age 30, she was appointed prioress in perpetuity, despite her intense mystical life of prayer and penance. She managed the material details of running a large household were well, and became known as a kind and considerate superior. Catherine was particularly gentle with the sick. Troubled people, both within the convent and in the town, came to her for advice and prayer, and her participation in the Passion exerted a great influence for good among all who saw it. Three future popes (Cardinals Cervini later known as Pope Marcellus II, Alexander de Medici (Pope Leo XI), and Aldobrandini (Pope Clement VIII)) were among the thousands who flocked to the convent to beseech her intercession.
Of the cloister that Catherine directed, a widow who had entered it observed: "If the world only knew how blessed is life in this cloister, the doors would not suffice and the thronging people would clamber in over all the walls."
A contemporary painting of Catherine attributed to Nardini (at the Pinacoteca of Montepulciano) shows a not unattractive, though relatively plain woman. Her eyes protrude a bit too much and her nose is too flared to account her a classic beauty, but she possessed high cheekbones, dark hair, widely spaced eyes, and full lips. Her mein is that of a sensitive woman who has experience pain and now has compassion.
Catherine's influence was not confined within the walls of her convent. She was greatly preoccupied by the need for reform in the Church, as is apparent from her letters, many of them addressed to highly-placed persons. This accounts, too, for her reverence for the memory of Savonarola, who had defied the evil-living Pope Alexander VI and been hanged in Florence in 1498. Saint Catherine was in touch with such contemporary, highly-orthodox reformers as Saint Charles Borromeo and Saint Pius V.
After Catherine's long and painful death in 1589, many miracles were performed at her tomb. Her cultus soon spread from Prato throughout the whole of Italy and thence to the whole world. The future Pope Benedict XIV, the "devil's advocate" in Catherine's cause for canonization, critically examined all relevant claims. As in the case of her younger contemporary, Saint Mary Magdalene de'Pazzi, canonization was not granted because of the extraordinary phenomenon surrounding her life, but for heroic virtue and complete union with Christ (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Dorcy, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Husenbeth, Schamoni, Walsh).
ST CATHERINE DEI RICCI, VIRGIN
THIS saint was born in 1522 into a well-known Florentine family, and at her baptism was called Alexandrina. She took the name of Catherine at her religious clothing, when she was thirteen, in the Dominican convent of St Vincent at Prato, of which her uncle, Father Timothy dei Ricci, was director. Here for two years she suffered agonizing pain from a complication of diseases which remedies seemed only to aggravate; but she sanctified her sufferings by her exemplary patience, which she derived in great part from constant meditation on the passion of Christ. Catherine while still very young was chosen novice-mistress, then sub-prioress, and in her thirtieth year was appointed prioress in perpetuity. The reputation of her holiness and wisdom brought her visits from many lay people and clergy, including three cardinals, each of whom afterwards became pope.
Something similar to what is related by St Augustine about St John of Egypt happened to St Philip Neri and St Catherine dei Ricci. They had exchanged a number of letters, and although they never met in the body she appeared to him and talked with him in Rome— without ever having left her convent at Prato. This was expressly stated by St Philip Neri, who was always most cautious in giving credence to or publishing visions, and it was confirmed by the oaths of five witnesses.
Catherine is famous, even in a greater degree than other mystics who have been similarly privileged, for her extraordinary series of ecstasies in which she beheld and enacted in their order the scenes which preceded our Saviour’s crucifixion. These ecstasies seem always to have followed the same course. They began when she was twenty years old in February 1542, and they were renewed every week for twelve years continuously. Naturally they occasioned much talk, crowds of devout or curious people sought to visit the convent. The recollection of the community was interfered with, and the inconveniences resulting were only the more acutely felt when in 1552 she was herself elected prioress. Earnest supplication was made by all the nuns at her request that these manifestations might cease, and in 1554 they came to a end. While they lasted they exhibited several features which are unusual in such cases. Catherine uniformly lost consciousness at midday every Thursday and only came to herself twenty-eight hours afterwards, at four o’clock on the Friday afternoon. One interruption, however, occurred in this state of rapture. Holy communion was regularly brought to her in the morning, and she became sufficiently conscious of the outer world to receive it with intense devotion, but almost immediately afterwards she again became entranced, resuming her contemplation of the scenes of the Passion at exactly the point where she had left off. Catherine had ecstasies at other times, and during these she usually remained quite passive, her eyes fixed on heaven. But in her weekly Passion-ecstasy her body moved in conformity with our Lord’s own gestures and movements as she witnessed them in contemplation. For instance, when He was arrested in the garden she held out her hands as if to be bound, she stood majestically upright to represent His fastening to the pillar for the scourging, she bent her head as though to receive the crown of thorns, and so on. What is an even more unusual feature in such experiences, she would often take occasion from the particular sufferings of Jesus Christ to address exhortations in the midst of her ecstasy to the sisters who were standing around, which she did, says one of her biographers, “with a knowledge, loftiness of thought and eloquence not to be expected from a woman, and especially from a woman neither learned nor literary.”
That Catherine was favoured with the stigmata, the wounds in hands, feet and side, as well as~the crown of thorns, was also commonly asserted, and depositions to this effect submitted in the process of beatification. Strangely enough the impression made upon those who professed to have seen the stigmata seems in each case to have been different. Some beheld the hands pierced right through and bleeding, others saw the wound-marks shining with so brilliant a light that it dazzled them, others again perceived only “ healedrup wounds, red and swollen, with a black spot in the centre, round which the blood seemed to circulate “. This remarkable diversity in the accounts of the witnesses is if possible still more pronounced in the descriptions given of that mystical phenomenon for which St Catherine is more especially famous, the ring, said to have been given her by Christ in token of His spiritual espousals with this His handmaid. On Easter day 1542 our Saviour, we are told, appeared to her radiant with light, and then drawing from His own finger a gleaming ring He placed it upon the forefinger of her left hand, saying, “My daughter, receive this ring as pledge and proof that thou dost now, and ever shalt, belong to me.”
In the Positio super Virtutibus, a printed summary of evidence issued, as is always now done in such cases, for the convenience of the consultors who have to pronounce upon the question of the heroic virtue of any candidate for beatification, the statements made concerning Catherine’s mystic espousals occupy a great deal of space. The promoter of the faith (popularly known as “the Devil’s Advocate”) at the time when the cause was brought before the Congregation of Rites was the famous Prosper Lambertini, even better known afterwards as Pope Benedict XIV. The question of St Catherine’s ring attracted his particular attention, and he made several criticisms which were replied to in detail by the postulator of the cause. St Catherine, as we have seen, was born in 1522 and died in 1590; unfortunately it was only in 1614 that the first juridical examination of witnesses took place in connection with the cause of beatification. As the ring had originally become manifest in April 1542, it was practically impossible that any of the nuns who had formed part of the community when this wonder first occurred could be living to give evidence in 1614, seventy-two years afterwards. But the phenomenon showed itself at least intermittently throughout Catherine’s life and, apart from written and second-hand testimony, some few witnesses were able to give an account of what they themselves had seen. Their evidence gives the impression of being somewhat conflicting.
Perhaps the most valuable testimonies produced in the beatification process were two written documents, one a letter of the Dominican Father Neri, dated 1549, that is seven years after the mystic espousals, the other a few notes made by Catherine’s special friend and nurse in her illness, Sister Mary Magdalen Strozzi. The former recounts the apparition of our Lord on Easter Sunday and remarks particularly that the ring was placed on the index finger of her left hand. After which he goes on:
Within a fortnight of Easter, the true ring, that is to say the ring of gold with its diamond, was seen by three very holy sisters at different times, each of them being over forty-five years of age. One was Sister Potentiana of Florence, the second Sister Mary Magdalen of Prato [this was Mary Magdalen Strozzi, who left the manuscript account of her beloved Mother Catherine], the third Sister Aurelia of Florence, so the superiors of our province have ascertained.
A command was laid upon [Catherine] by her superior to ask a favour of Jesus Christ and by Him the favour was granted that all the sisters saw the ring, or at least a counterfeit presentment of it, in this sense, that for three days continuously, i.e. the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of Easter week, all the sisters beheld on the finger beside the long finger of the left hand, and in the place where she said the ring was, a red lozenge (quadretto) to represent the stone or diamond, and similarly they saw a red circlet around the finger in place of the ring, which lozenge and circlet Catherine averred she had never seen in the same way as the sisters, because she always beheld the ring of gold and enamel with its diamond. Also the ring was seen in this way as a reddening of the flesh throughout the whole of Ascension day 1542, and also on the day of Corpus Christi, when it was accompanied by a most wonderful perfume which was perceived by all.* [* Positio super Virtutibus Summarium, p. 352. Cf. Responsio ad animadversiones, p. 79.]
Father Neri also goes on to remark that this reddening of the finger could not have been due to any paint or dye, for on Corpus Christi day, as he relates, Catherine was brought into the church that the governor of the city might see this red circlet. But all traces of it disappeared in his presence, though immediately afterwards it showed itself again to the nuns.
Regarding Father Neri’s statement that three of the elder nuns were privileged to see the real ring of gold and red enamel, it is curious that no confirmation of this seems to be found in Sister Mary Magdalen Strozzi’s own notes, though she is one of the three sisters mentioned. What she does make perfectly clear is that for three days after Easter there was a red circle round Catherine’s finger, which she describes as a ring “ between skin and skin “, corresponding closely to what Dr Imbert-Gourbeyre tells of Marie-Julie Jahenny that her finger looked as if a red coral ring had been buried in the flesh. Again, Sister Mary Magdalen’s notes give a curiously touching impression of her solicitude lest Catherine had become the dupe of some wile of the Devil. She went to the confessor about it, and together they made experiments with cinnabar and other pigments, but they found they could produce nothing in the least like the reddening on Catherine’s finger. Then Sister Mary Magdalen went to Catherine herself, and seems frankly to have told her doubts and scruples. These abnormal manifestations, she urged, were contrary to the spirit and traditions of the convent and were very dangerous to humility and to that desire for self-effacement which was so important in the religious life. Catherine agreed, and was delighted to let her do anything she pleased in order to get rid of the mark. She only blamed herself, and begged pardon for being the cause of so much trouble and disquiet of mind among the rest of the community. So Sister Mary Magdalen put the finger into her mouth to find if the red mark had any taste, and also left it to steep in water, and then tried to wash out the mark with soap—all, of course, without any effect. On the other hand, Catherine declared quite simply that she saw on her finger a gold ring set with a pointed diamond, and could see nothing else. “I have to take it on faith”, she said to her friend, “when you tell me that you perceive simply a red mark.” The fact that St Catherine continually saw the ring and its stone with her bodily eyes, and could not see the circle of red is also definitely mentioned in the. letter of Father Neri in 1549.
The facts are very puzzling. There is apparently overwhelming evidence that at certain times the marks of a red circle and lozenge showed themselves on Catherine’s finger in a way that could be perceived by all. It also appears to be certain that she always with her bodily eyes saw on that finger a gold ring set with a diamond, but one cannot feel satisfied that the testimony recorded is sufficient to establish the fact that the gold ring was really seen by any others beside herself. There are so many well-attested instances of a radiance shining from the faces, hands and garments of mystics when rapt in ecstasy that we may readily agree that this is likely to have happened in the case of Catherine’s finger. If so, casual witnesses may very well have persuaded themselves that in the midst of this radiance they discerned the gold ring and the diamond of which they had previously heard mention. One nun expressly said that such a bright light came from the finger that she could not see what kind of ring encircled it.
St Catherine dei Ricci died after a long illness at the age of sixty-eight on February 2, 1590. The extraordinary phenomena of which some account has just been given have tended to distract attention from other features of her life. She was distinguished by “a magnificent psychological and moral healthiness” and like so many other contemplative saints she was a good administrator in carrying out the duties of her house and office, who was never happier than when looking after the sick, and exercised an influence well beyond the walls of her convent and her city. Net the least interesting of her characteristics was her reverence for the memory of Jerome Savonarola, to whose heavenly intercession she attributed the recovery of her health in 1540. St Catherine was canonized in 1747.
It will be sufficient to refer the English reader to the Life of St Catherine de’ Ricci, by F. M. Capes (1905). The most authentic sources of information are, of course, the depositions of the witnesses in the process of beatification a copy of the Summarium de Virtutibus is in the British Museum. Several selections from the saint’s lively letters have been published in Italian and French. “Tokens of espousal” are studied in Fr Thurston’s collected papers, The Physical Phenomena of Mysticism (1952).
St. Giles Mary of St. Joseph “Consoler of Naples.” served 53 years at St.
Paschal’s Hospice in Naples various roles cook porter most often as official
beggar for that community
In the same year that a power-hungry Napoleon Bonaparte led his army into Russia, Giles Mary of St. Joseph ended a life of humble service to his Franciscan community and to the citizens of Naples. Francesco was born in Taranto to very poor parents. His father’s death left the 18-year-old Francesco to care for the family. Having secured their future, he entered the Friars Minor at Galatone in 1754. For 53 years he served at St. Paschal’s Hospice in Naples in various roles, such as cook, porter or most often as official beggar for that community.
“Love God, love God” was his characteristic phrase as he gathered food for the friars and shared some of his bounty with the poor—all the while consoling the troubled and urging everyone to repent. The charity which he reflected on the streets of Naples was born in prayer and nurtured in the common life of the friars. The people whom Giles met on his begging rounds nicknamed him the “Consoler of Naples.” He was canonized in 1996.
Comment: People often become arrogant and power hungry when they try to live a lie, for example, when they forget their own sinfulness and ignore the gifts God has given to other people. Giles had a healthy sense of his own sinfulness—not paralyzing but not superficial either. He invited men and women to recognize their own gifts and to live out their dignity as people made in God’s divine image. Knowing someone like Giles can help us on our own spiritual journey.
Quote: In his homily at the canonization of Giles, Pope John Paul II said that the spiritual journey of Giles reflected “the humility of the Incarnation and the gratuitousness of the Eucharist” (L'Osservatore Romano 1996, volume 23, number 1).
Blessed Paul Lieou martyr M (AC).
beatified in 1900. A Chinese layman, Paul was martyred by strangulation for his faith (Benedictines).
Bl. John Lantrua of Triora Franciscan martyr of China
He was born at Triora, in Liguria, Italy, in 1760, and became a Franciscan at the age of seventeen. John volunteered for the Chinese missions. After working in China with great success from 1798, he was arrested, imprisoned, and strangled on February 7. John was beatified in 1900
Blessed John Lantrua, OFM M (AC) Born in Triora, Liguria, Italy, 1760; died in China, 1816; beatified in 1900. John joined the Franciscans when he was 17. He could have continued to live a happy little life as the guardian of Velletri near Rome, but instead he volunteered for the Chinese missions though he knew a fierce persecution was raging. He arrived in China in 1799 and worked with success in spite of many obstacles. Eventually, he was seized and martyred by strangulation at Ch'angsha Fu (Benedictines).
|1859 Blessed Paul
Loc Vietnam Martyr M (AC) Born in An-nhon Cochin-China
in 1831; died in Saigon, 1859; beatified 1909. Shortly after his ordination to the priesthood, Paul was beheaded for the faith (Benedictines).
|† 1950 Archbishop
Seraphim of Bulgaria He was endowed by God with a soul unusual for its sensitivity
and love for others.
The glorification of Vladyka Seraphim (Sobolev), which took place in the Cathedral Church of the Dormition of the Most-holy Theotokos in Sofia, Bulgaria, was celebrated by His Grace Photius, Bishop of Triaditsa, leader of the Bulgarian Old-calendar Orthodox Church, on 12/25 and 13/26 February, 2002, the anniversary of the righteous Archpastor’s repose († 1950). The following is a slightly abridged account of the saint’s life.
Archbishop Seraphim, in the world Nikolai Borisovitch Sobolev, was born in Ryazan. His mother Maria Nikolaevna was a deeply religious person given to fervent prayer. She bore eleven children, most of whom died at an early age. She especially loved her little daughter Vera, an Angel from Heaven. Vera was unlike her peers, and from infancy showed remarkable spiritual potential: she loved God, often prayed, and showed remarkable kindness toward everyone. When she was three years old, her older brother Vasya contracted a fatal disease. Hearing the news, everyone in the family was grief-stricken. Suddenly and unexpectedly, little Vera said “Mama, give me a little tea to drink.” After drinking her tea, she turned the little cup over on its saucer and solemnly announced, “Mama, Vasya will get well, but I shall catch the disease and die.” That is exactly what happened. When the dying Vera saw her relatives weeping bitterly over her, the little three-year-old gently comforted them, saying, “Why should you be crying? You should be praying to God.” Then, like an Angel, she peacefully departed to the Lord. Her mother grief was boundless. She fervently implored God to comfort her with another child that would remind her of Vera. And lo, three years later, in 1881, little Kolya was born. He was endowed by God with a soul unusual for its sensitivity and love for others.
[Like Vera,] Kolya was different from his peers. Affectionate and sympathetic toward others’ pain, the little boy had a nature serious beyond his years. After graduating from the religious school in 1900, he enrolled in the Ryazan Seminary; thereafter he continued his religious studies at the St. Petersburg Theological Academy (1904-1908). Here in 1907, his final year, he was tonsured a monk taking the name Seraphim in honor of the great miracle worker of Sarov.
Fervent, grace-filled love for the Savior animated and inspired the young Nikolai Sobolev from his earliest years, profoundly permeating his being and becoming the moving force for his entire life. Later, Vladyka was to write in his homilies, “The entire purpose of and joy in our life rests in our love for God, in our love for Christ [as shown] by our keeping His Divine Commandments.”
Even before monastic tonsure, Nikolai Sobolev, ever faithful to that love for Christ, strove to avoid giving any manner of offense to the Savior, Who had shed His precious Blood for us. Setting out on his monastic path, the young monk Seraphim intensified his spiritual struggle, [subjecting himself to] strict fasting, and striving in ceaseless prayer. The Savior’s words “…for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me…” (John 14: 30), profoundly touched his soul, and became the foundation for his constant internal activity. He carefully protected his heart from any sin, no matter how tiny, and daily prayed the words of the Psalmist, “Create in me a clean heart, O God." (Ps: 50:12 [KJV 51:10]); in that spiritual struggle, he would always sense God’s grace-filled help.
Vladyka Seraphim greatly valued the instructions and good examples provided to him by his contemporaries, luminaries of piety of the great Russian land.
Before he had accepted monastic tonsure, he visited the famous pastor of Kronstadt, Archpriest Fr. John Sergiev, several times.
Especially significant was his visit in the Spring of 1907, when he and a friend were present while Fr. John served in the St. Andrew Cathedral in Kronstadt. He had already said goodbye to Fr. John, and was walking past the High Place in the principal Altar, when the great righteous one, hurrying from a side-chapel toward him like one moved by some special, grace-filled inspiration, stopped him and, putting his hands cross-wise on the head of the future Vladyka, stated, “May God’s blessing rest upon you.”
At those words, it was as if a fiery spark moved through Nikolai’s body, and his entire being was filled with a great incomparable joy that remained with him for the entire day.
Later, after he was assigned assistant inspector of the religious school in Kaluga, he would often go to Optina Hermitage, where he confessed before Elders Joseph and Barsanophius, and where Fr. Anatoly (Potapov), who nourished particular love for him, became his spiritual director.
From his earliest years of education at the seminary, reading of patristic literature and the lives of the saints of God became his favorite activity. He would call the lives of the saints grace-filled rain that refreshes, encourages, and brings joy to the soul. Vladyka would say, “Reading the lives of the saints, it was as if I found myself in Heaven.”
Eleven times over the course of his life, he read, with undiminished zeal and compunction of heart, the entire 12-volume collection of the Lives of the Saints compiled by Holy Hierarch St. Dimitry of Rostov. Cultivating in the depths of his soul fervent love for the holy saints of God, he would constantly call upon them in prayer. In his teachings and homilies, he would often cite shining examples from their holy and God-pleasing lives. Vladyka would say to his spiritual children,
“When we die, we will come to understand how close to us were the Savior, the Mother of God, and all of the Saints, how they would be tolerant towards us in our weakness, and how they answered our prayers.”
Vladyka Seraphim especially loved the Most-pure Mother of God. He loved to reflect on her exalted virtues, emphasizing that they were all the fruits of Divine grace, poured out abundantly upon her on account of her great spiritual struggles. He would speak animatedly about the profound humility of the Mother of God, who had marvelously served the Divine order and who had made possible the Incarnation of the Son of God. Vladyka fervently prayed to her daily, asking for her prayerful intercession.
Scattered about his manuscripts one may find a multitude of short prayers to the Lord, to the Heavenly Queen, and to the worthy ones of God. “O Lord, help!” “O Mother of God, my joy, bless me to successfully begin [this] work. Cause me to rejoice,” “O my Savior, do not abandon me!: Vladyka loved to say “The Lord is near; if you let Him, He will immediately respond.”
While still a young hieromonk, the Lord made Vladyka, who was always of such a prayerful disposition, worthy to have grace-filled spiritual gifts, something that became evident to those around him. Thus, in 1909, when Fr. Seraphim was appointed to teach at the Pastoral Theological School in the city of Zhitomir, the school’s director, Archimandrite Gavriil (Voyevodin) – someone later to become a neomartyr – perceived the grace-filled fruits of spiritual struggle possessed by the young monk, and affectionately called him “Avvotchka” [an affectionate diminutive for Abba, Father – Ed.].
From early childhood, Vladyka had possessed unusual humility. One of the top students in school, and distinguished in the Seminary and the Academy for his excellent compositions, he always manifested exceptional modesty. Subsequently, his spiritual life developed and improved in him that fundamental Christian virtue. In all his works and endeavors, and with a profound sense of personal unworthiness, he sought God’s help, and he sincerely ascribed all of his successes to God alone.
Thus in the very beginning of the manuscript of his most important work, written to oppose the heresy of Sophianism, a work displaying the full depth of his Theological erudition, is Vladyka’s handwritten note, “O Lord, O Mother of God, O My Guardian Angel, O St. Nicholas the Worthy One, O St. Seraphim of Sarov, I do not place my hope in my own powers; I feel that I am a dull-witted person. Help me to thoroughly criticize the teachings of Fr. Bulgakov. O Lord, fulfill in me Thy words, “My strength is made perfect in weaknesses…” (II Corinthians 12: 9).
Vladyka loved to talk most of all about humility – in his homilies, his religious talks and in his instructions. He taught, «Humility is the anchor of salvation, the foundation of all Christian virtues.” When Vladyka would talk in Church about the spiritual life, it was as if his words would lift his listeners up to Heaven, and would light within their hearts the flame of Divine grace. Once, during a Divine Service at which he was serving, a certain little girl exclaimed, “Vladyka, you smell of Paradise!” Thus, through the lips of a babe was uttered that which is so difficult to express in words. And more than once, after his homily on Forgiveness Sunday, before the eyes of the amazed flock, people who had been fighting for years would embrace, and with contrite hearts would ask forgiveness of one another.
What gave this unusual spiritual power to Vladyka’s homily was that it was the fruit of his personal religious experience, based on ascetic works, which Archbishop Seraphim knew so remarkably well.
Vladyka was someone of a gentle, meek disposition. According to his own words, what would distress him most were the distressing words he said to his neighbor, even if they absolutely had to be said. That good shepherd possessed unusual love for his neighbor. The most amazing thing was that the more sorrows he had, the greater love he showed forth to others. That true and sincere love poured forth from his grace-filled heart without any coercion. He would say to his spiritual children:
“You have to see in your brother an Angel, and you have to look upon his sin as a sickness.” “You need to distinguish the sinner from the sin. You can hate the sin, but we must love and take pity on the person.” “According to the Psalmist, the only ones we can hate are the enemies of God.” (See Psalm 138: 21-22 [KJV Ps. 139: 21-22]).
Archbishop Seraphim poured out his love on everyone equally. He sincerely loved Tsar Boris, the last Tsar of Bulgaria. Whenever they met, Vladyka would not only bless him, but also would embrace and kiss him. However, it was with the same love and sincere compassion that he would also kiss the poor before the church, generously sharing with them his extremely meager funds.
And what loftiness of soul he would manifest toward his enemies! After all, despite Vladyka’s angelic manner of life, many bore him ill will. He always replied to their evil toward him with fervent prayer for them and, on commemorating them at the Proskomedia, would take out three particles for each of them. Even on his deathbed, when Vladyka regained consciousness and saw someone who had pained him all his life, he mustered all of his strength to embrace him, and then again lapsed into unconsciousness. It was something so natural and sincere, that it amazed all who were present.
Vladyka Seraphim’s simple candor would rise up to grace-filled heights. He would teach, “To maintain artlessness, to maintain candor, means to not allow yourself any artificiality in anything, to comport yourself before others as you do before God … To become artless: in that rests a changed life. That is the ‘change…wrought by the right hand of the Most High…’(Psalm 76: 11). Then you will not perish, for simple artlessness is humility, and God rests His grace upon the humble, as [He does] upon the Altar Table.” Vladyka often repeated St. John of Kronstadt’s words, “Less complicated philosophizing, and more simple candor.”
Archbishop Seraphim was not avaricious in any way. He lived primarily on kind people’s offerings. Until the end of his life, he rented a little, spare, apartment bereft of the most elemental conveniences. He did not have any attachment to material things, and when one of the poor would ask for some clothing, he would give away everything he had at hand. He would say, “I am burdened by material things; they weigh upon my soul.”
Vladyka often amazed people by his prescience and perspicacity, but he would keep [that gift] hidden except when necessary for the good of his neighbors’ souls. Sometimes while confessing members of his flock, he would lead them toward repentance by reminding them of sins they had forgotten. Frequently, Vladyka answered questions that were on the minds of people with whom he was talking. When they would express their amazement, he would smile and say, “It was a coincidence.”
A year before his end, he often spoke about it, and before his death he accurately foretold the day of his departure into eternity. Already gravely ill and confined to his bed, before the opening of his Holy Protection Monastery, he would give out instructions about how it was to be set up, describing the exact location of each room. And when the surprised nuns asked Vladyka how he knew everything without ever having been there, he replied with a smile, “Oh, really?”
Vladyka Seraphim’s grace-filled, radiant person was truly angelic in appearance. He would always bring in with him unusual peace and quiet. More than one, his spiritual children saw him bathed in light not of this world. That was the manner in which he also appeared after his death to one of his spiritual children, a monk who was weeping over him. Vladyka said to him, “Why are you weeping? After all, I have not died, I am alive!”
Living a life of spiritual struggle, Vladyka had already, at a young age, achieved angelic chastity and purity. From his youth, he strove after them: he imposed upon himself a strict fast, eating but once a day, and strictly obeyed all of the patristic rules of spiritual struggle in the battle with nascent thoughts of physical passions.
While still in Russia, living in unceasing spiritual struggle, and showing restraint in all things, Vladyka contracted tuberculosis, which worsened markedly after his transfer to Bulgaria. Upon learning that his condition was almost hopeless and that he might be near death, his only regret was that he was departing this life without having achieved the dispassion he so desired. However, in answer to his spiritual struggle, the Lord granted to His chosen one both help and consolation. Once, with child-like frankness, Vladyka poured out his sorrow before the Lord: “O Lord, Jesus Christ, You are already calling me to Yourself, while I have not yet cleansed myself of the passions!” Then he wept bitterly. Suddenly, he heard an internal voice, as if from Christ Himself, saying “You will never fall away from Me; you will always be faithful to Me.” After those words, an inexpressible heavenly blessedness filled his entire being. From that moment, he freed himself of the passions, and grew even more firmly strengthened in grace.
Because of his angelic chastity, Vladyka Seraphim was endowed by the Lord with the gift of spiritual sight, the ability to penetrate into the depths of God-revealed truths. Vladyka would often say, “Orthodox theology is directly proportional to chastity.” All of his theological works were the fruit of his grace-endowed sight.
Vladyka was the last bishop abroad to have been consecrated in Russia, on the eve of the White Army’s departure from Crimea. His consecration to the episcopate took place on the day of the Protection of the Most-holy Theotokos, 1/14 October 1920, in the Cathedral church in Simferopol. The consecration was performed by Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky), who had known Fr. Seraphim as a student in the Theological Academy and who greatly valued his zealous service to the Church. It was a source of great comfort to the young bishop that by the unfathomable will of God, a great Russian Holy Icon was present in the church during his consecration: the Miraculous Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God, the “Icon of the Sign” that was later to become the Indicator of the Path for the Russian Diaspora.
In assuming the hierarchical rank, Vladyka Seraphim was profoundly aware of the full responsibility attendant to serving as a bishop, and the archpastor’s duty “to be a grace-filled light for the world and a firm bulwark for all Orthodox Christians.” [Archbishop Seraphim (Sobolev). Homilies, Sofia, 1944, p. 3.]. Throughout his life, he was ruled by that sense of duty and responsibility before the Holy Church. Aware of the prevalent apostasy of our times that threatened the Orthodox Faith, he labored a great deal in the field of hierarchical service to preserve the Orthodox Faith in all its purity. Following the dictates of his archpastoral conscience, he unstintingly and without compromise denounced any deviation from Orthodox truth, any transgression in the realm of dogma and Church canons. Thus, his priceless theological works appeared. Through them, he would answer troubling questions that affected in one way or another not only the Russian Diaspora, but the entire Catholic [Soborny/Conciliar] Orthodox Church.
Having dedicated his entire life to Christ and the defense of the purity of Holy Orthodox, Vladyka Seraphim was always steadfast, straightforward, and courageous. While yet a student of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy, during student assemblies he alone protested against revolutionary resolutions made by the students. In Sofia, Vladyka waged a courageous battle with Russian émigré Masonic organizations, whose active members brought him much grief and troubles through their actions and slander.
At a Conference of Russian scholars held in Sofia in 1930, he publicly condemned those scholars who considered it unnecessary to maintain the Orthodox Faith as the foundation of their scholarly opinions.
In 1935, in his major Theological work The New Teaching About Sophia, the Holy Wisdom of God, he zealously served the Holy Orthodox Church by denouncing the Sophianist Heresy, held by Fr. S. Bulgakov and Fr. Pavel Florensky. In it, he showed himself to possess great knowledge and understanding of patristic teachings and Orthodox tradition. [Publication of Archbishop Seraphim’s books was financed by Stoyan Velichkov, a manufacturer who on more than one occasion had personally experienced the righteous Vladyka’s prayerful assistance.] At a clergy-laity Sobor of the Russian Church Abroad held in 1938, he gave several brilliant talks in defense of Holy Orthodoxy, including one directed against the ecumenical movement. Attending the Sobor was the young Bishop John of Shanghai, now glorified by the Holy Church; he voted in support of Vladyka’s lecture with both hands.
(…) In 1943, scrupulously watching for the slightest deviation from Orthodox patristic theology, he published his work Distortion of Orthodox Truth in Russian Theological Thought. In 1944, for the some of Vladyka’s homilies were published for the first time.
Vladyka Seraphim also showed his zealous dedication to and unwillingness to compromise in the defense of, Orthodox truth, at a Moscow Conference in 1948. Taking to heart all of the questions troubling the Holy Church, he prepared three lectures from among the four topics offered for consideration: against the ecumenical movement, about the new and old calendars, and about the Anglican hierarchy. Vladyka Seraphim considered the Conference resolution with respect to the new calendar unsatisfactory, and he expressed his dissatisfaction in a “special opinion” (which unfortunately was not mentioned in the Conference Proceedings). In his talk in opposition to ecumenism, he emphasized the idea that the presence of Orthodox representatives at ecumenical conferences even as observers was a deviation from Holy Orthodoxy.
And like awarding a crown for his uncompromising service to the Holy Orthodox Church, the Lord made Archbishop Seraphim worthy of a righteous repose on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, 13/26 February, 1950.
Over 50 years have passed since the death of the worthy hierarch, and an unending stream of people continues to come to his grave in the Russian Church of St. Nicholas in Sofia. In faith, they ask his help, and they receive it. Thus the words of the Lord have been fulfilled in him, “Them that honor me I will honor.” (I Kings 2: 30 [KJV I Samuel 2: 30]).