Mary Mother of GOD
 Friday  Saint of the Day June 09   Quinto Idus Júnii.  
Et álibi aliórum plurimórum sanctórum Mártyrum et Confessórum, atque sanctárum Vírginum.
And elsewhere in divers places, many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.
Пресвятая Богородице спаси нас! Santíssima Mãe de Deus, salva-nos!
  RDeo grátias. R.  Thanks be to God.

40 Days for Life  11,000+ saved lives in 2015
We are the defenders of true freedom.
  May our witness unveil the deception of the "pro-choice" slogan.
 Campaign saves lives Shawn Carney Campaign Director
Please help save the unborn they are the future for the world

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


The saints are a “cloud of witnesses over our head”,
showing us life of Christian perfection is possible.


373 St. Ephrem the only Syrian recognized as a Doctor of the Church; left us hundreds of hymns and poems on the
       faith that inflamed and inspired the whole Church;  Poet, teacher, orator and defender of the faith
see june 18

Oremus. Fac nos, quæsumus, Dómine, sanctórum Mártyrum tuórum Primi et Feliciáni semper festa sectári : quorum suffrágiis protectiónis tuæ dona sentiámus.  Per Dóminum Cristum Jesu Cristi.
     Let us pray. Grant, O Lord, we pray thee : that, as by the prayers of thy blessed Martyrs, Primus and Felician, we do feel the effectual succour of thy protection ; so we may at all times devoutly observe their festival.  Through Our Lord Jesus Christ.

 292 St. Vincent of Agen Martyr deacon in Agen, Gaul (modern France) tortured beheaded after disturbing a pagan ceremony
 373 St. Ephrem the only Syrian recognized as a Doctor of the Church; left us hundreds of hymns and poems on the faith that inflamed and inspired the whole Church;  Poet, teacher, orator and defender of the faith see june 18
 444 Saint Cyril, Archbishop of Alexandria, a distinguished champion of Orthodoxy a great teacher of the Church
 597 St. Columba royal descent 15 years preaching founder, built monastery island of Iona coast of Scotland; monastic rule, poet
717 St. Cummian 8th century Benedictine bishop of Ireland, he traveled to Bobbio, in Italy, and remained as a monk.
1222 Bl. Diana family founded Dominican convent for her, staffed with Diana 4 companions 4 nuns from Rome, 2- Cecilia and Amata
13th v. St. John of Shavta great Georgian hymnographer, philosopher, orator education Gelati Academy monk at Vardzia Monastery
1439 Alexander, Hegumen of Kushtsk, of Vologda, The Monk
1666 BD HENRY THE SHOEMAKER he formed a religious society for tradesmen under  patronage of SS. Crispin and Crispinian.
1837 Anne Mary Taigi Endowed with the gift of prophecy, read thoughts described distant events; Christ revealed to her,
"The humble are always patient, and the patient sanctify themselves. Patience is the best of all penances, and he who is truly patient possesses all earthly treasure, and will receive a heavenly crown."

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

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

St Ephraem the Syrian, Deacon and Doctor of the Church (d. 373)

Prayer to the Most Holy Mother of God
Most Holy Lady, Mother of God, you are the only one completely pure in soul and body,
and you surpass all purity, all virginity and all chastity.

You are the sole dwelling place of all the grace of the Spirit,
and you far surpass the angels in purity and in holiness of soul and body.

Turn your eyes toward me. I am sinful and impure and stained in soul
as well as in body with the passions and pleasures that constitute the weeds of my life.

Set my spirit free from its passions. Sanctify and restrain my thoughts when they race toward adventurism.
Regulate and divert my senses. Shake off the detestable and infamous tyranny of my impure inclinations and passions. Destroy in me the empire of sin. Grant wisdom and counsel to my spirit that is filled with darkness and wretchedness. Help me to correct my faults and failings. Then, set free from the night of sin,
may I be worthy to glorify and exalt you without reserve.
O sole true Mother of the true Light, Christ our God, alone with Him and through Him,
you are blessed and glorified by every visible and invisible creature, now and forever.
Saint Ephraem of Syria, 306-373.  Doctor of Deacons and Poets.

June 9 – Mary, Mother of Grace (France) - St Ephrem, Deacon and Doctor of the Church (d. 373) 
Mary is the ‘objective and subjective cooperatrix’ in Redemption 
 Immediately after the Ascension, the Apostles returned to Jerusalem to prepare for the coming of the Paraclete. "These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus…"

Trusting always in the liturgical tradition of the Church for whom the Easter season is "one single feast day" (extending from Easter to Pentecost), we are able to say that Mary, lex orandi lex credendi (the law of prayer being the law of belief), was at the center of first Christian community's spiritual life.

In Paul VI's declaration, Mary became the Mother of the Church the very moment that the Church was born of the pierced side of the Savior. She "carried" the Church from the time her Son left (Ascension) until the reception of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost) in the same way that she carried her Son Jesus from the Annunciation to Golgotha.

After that, her mission as cooperatrix in the objective Redemption was finished, and her mission of cooperatrix of the subjective Redemption began. Mary's whole journey on earth was leading her to Pentecost, and reached its fulfillment with the Assumption.
 Father Yannick Bonnet

June 8 - Our Lady of Alexandria (Egypt, 4th C.)     
  Every Priestly Vocation Passes through the Heart of the Blessed Virgin
We cannot live, we cannot look at the truth about ourselves without letting ourselves be looked at and generated by Christ in daily Eucharistic Adoration, and the Stabat of Mary, "Woman of the Eucharist," beneath her Son's Cross, is the most significant example of contemplation and adoration of the divine Sacrifice that has been given to us. ...

Lastly, the Holy Mother of God remains an indispensable foundation of the whole of priestly life. The relationship with her cannot be resolved in pious devotional practice but is nourished by ceaseless entrustment to the arms of the ever Virgin of the whole of our life, of our ministry in its entirety. Mary Most Holy also leads us, like John, beneath the Cross of her Son and Our Lord in order to contemplate, with her, God's infinite Love: "He who for us is Life itself descended here and endured our death and slew it by the abundance of his Life" (St Augustine, Confessions, IV, 12).

... Pope St Pius X said: "Every priestly vocation comes from the heart of God but passes through the heart of a mother."
This is true with regard to obvious biological motherhood but it is also true of the "birth" of every form of fidelity to the Vocation of Christ. We cannot do without a spiritual motherhood for our priestly life: let us entrust ourselves confidently to the prayer of the whole of Holy Mother Church, to the motherhood of the People, whose pastors we are but to whom are entrusted our custody and holiness; let us ask for this fundamental support.

Excerpt from Pope Benedict XVI's Message for the Day of Prayer for Priests for the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, May 30, 2008.
Mary's Divine Motherhood
Called in the Gospel "the Mother of Jesus," Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as "the Mother of my Lord" (Lk 1:43; Jn 2:1; 19:25; cf. Mt 13:55; et al.). In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father's eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity.
Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly "Mother of God" (Theotokos).

Catechism of the Catholic Church 495, quoting the Council of Ephesus (431): DS 251.

Our Lady of Mentorella  June 9 - Our Lady "Mother of Grace" (Mentorella, Italy)
The Shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mentorella, about 35 miles from Rome, is considered sacred because of the miraculous conversion of Placid, an officer in the army of Trajan, who was later called Saint Eustace.
He is said to have seen, between the antlers of a stag that he had been hunting, Our Lord crucified.

According to tradition, Saint Benedict (d. 547) lived in a cave behind the Mentorella church for some time before founding the well-known monastery of Subiaco. The statue of Our Lady "Mother of Grace" dates to the twelfth century. It is enshrined in a glass case and set upon the marble baldachino of the main altar.
The Shrine is an important place of pilgrimage and of special devotion to the Blessed Mother of God.
The original church was built by Constantine and consecrated by Pope Saint Sylvester.
597 St Columba, Or Colmcille, Abbot Of Iona
     Since the feast of St Columba is observed throughout Scotland (with a proper Mass), Ireland, Australia and New
      Zealand he is put first herein on this day.

       ORTHODOXY IN CHINA June 9th, 2007 (Byz/Julian Cal.: May 27th, year of the world 7515)
 292 St. Vincent of Agen Martyr deacon in Agen, Gaul (modern France) tortured beheaded after disturbing a pagan ceremony
 297 Primus and Felician Roman patricians; converts to Christianity; relieving poor visiting prisoners; refusing to sacrifice to the public gods; MM first martyrs;  bodies later reburied within walls of Rome (RM)
 311 St. Pelagia of Antioch Roman martyred virgin. She was a disciple of St. Lucian of Antioch
 346 Thekla, Martha and Mary Holy Women Martyrs beheaded during the reign of the Persian emperor Sapor II 
 370 St. Julian Christian sold into slavery in Syria; monk under St. Ephraem
 373 St. Ephrem the only Syrian recognized as a Doctor of the Church; left us hundreds of hymns and poems on the
       faith that inflamed and inspired the whole Church;  Poet, teacher, orator and defender of the faith
see june 18
 444 Saint Cyril, Archbishop of Alexandria, a distinguished champion of Orthodoxy a great teacher of the Church

 594 St. Maximian of Syracuse Benedictine bihop, monk trained by St. Gregory I the Great at St. Andrew’s Abbey in Rome; Aposcrisarius apostolic delegate in Sicily
 597 St. Columba royal descent fifteen years preaching setting up foundations built
world famous monastery island of Iona off the coast of Scotland; developed a monastic rule poet
 598 St. Baithin Abbot cousin of St. Columba
717 St. Cummian 8th century Benedictine bishop of Ireland, also called Cumian or Cummin. He traveled to Bobbio, in Italy, and remained as a monk.

 8th v. Saint Cumian of Bobbio Irish bishop monk  ardent advocate of the Roman observances OSB B (AC)
1222 Bl. Diana family found a Dominican convent in 1222 for her, staffed with Diana four companions four nuns brought from Rome, two - Cecilia and Amata
13 th v. Blessed Diana, Caecilia, and Amata  1st members of Saint Agnes Dominican Convent in Bologna OP VV (AC)
13th v. St. John of Shavta The great Georgian hymnographer, philosopher, orator education at Gelati Academy monk and labored at Vardzia Monastery
1348 Blessed Silvester Ventura age of 40 he joined the Camaldolese at Santa Maria degli Angeli at Florence as a lay brother cook favored with ecstasies heavenly visions, angels were wont to come and cook for him spiritual advice was in great demand, OSB Cam. (AC)
1427 Saint Cyril, Igumen of White Lake
1439 Alexander, Hegumen of Kushtsk, of Vologda, The Monk
1666 BD HENRY THE SHOEMAKER he formed a religious society for his fellow tradesmen under the traditional patronage of SS. Crispin and Crispinian.
1837 Anne Mary Taigi Endowed with the gift of prophecy, read thoughts described distant events; Christ revealed to her,"The humble are always patient, and the patient sanctify themselves. Patience is the best of all penances, andhe who is truly patient possesses all earthly treasure, and will receive a heavenly crown."
ORTHODOXY IN CHINA June 9th, 2007 (Byz/Julian Cal.: May 27th, year of the world 7515)
Orthodoxy arrived in China in 1685. In the first century-and-a-half of its presence in China, it did not attract a large following. It is said that in 1860 there were not more than 200 Orthodox in Beijing, including the descendants of naturalized Russians.

In the second half of the 19th century, however, the Orthodox Church made bigger strides. The Spiritual Mission of the Russian Orthodox Church in Beijing was blessed with scholarly and religious clergy. Numerous translations into Chinese of religious publications were made.

The Boxer Rebellion of 1898-1900, an anti-Western and anti-missionary uprising in China, saw violent attacks on Chinese converts to Christianity. The Orthodox Chinese were among those put to the sword, and in June every year we commemorate the 222 Chinese Orthodox, including Father Mitrophan, who died for their faith in 1900 during the upheavals as remembered on the icon of the Holy Martyrs of China shown above. In spite of the uprising, by 1902 there were 32 Orthodox churches in China with close to 6,000 adherents. The church also ran schools and orphanages.

106 Orthodox churches were opened in China by 1949. In general the parishers of these churches were the Russian refugees, and the Chinese part was about 10, 000 persons. The "cultural revolution" destroyed the young Chinese Orthodox Church almost totally.

The revival of the Orthodox Church in China started in the middle of the 1980s. In Harbin the church in the honour of the Protection of Our Lady was opened first. In 1986 few Russian refugees and the Orthodox Chinese were allowed to pray there.
In 1714 St John, Metropolitan of Tobolsk and All Siberia set off to Peking to head a mission with Archimandrite Hilarion (Lezhaisky).
Through the prayers of the Holy Chinese Martyrs, O Christ God, be merciful unto us and save us.

292 St. Vincent of Agen Martyr deacon in Agen, Gaul (modern France) tortured beheaded after disturbing a pagan ceremony
Agénni in Gállia, pássio sancti Vincéntii, Levítæ et Mártyris, qui, ob Christi fidem, verbéribus diríssime cæsus et gládio decollátus est.
    At Agen in France, the passion of St. Vincent, deacon and martyr.  For the faith of Christ, he was cruelly scourged and then beheaded.
ST VINCENT was a deacon who lived in Gascony, probably towards the end of the third century. Apparently because he interrupted a pagan ceremony, which may have been a druidical feast, he was arrested at Agen and brought before the governor. He was laid flat with his limbs extended, fixed to the ground by four stakes. In that position he was cruelly scourged and then beheaded. His relics were buried at Mas d'Agenais; St Gregory of Tours and Fortunatus of Poitiers testify that in the sixth and seventh centuries many flocked from all parts of Europe in pilgrimage to his tomb.
The facts regarding the martyrdom are quite uncertain, and Father Delehaye is not satisfied that the alleged tragedy at Agen ever occurred. He thinks it possible that the story was elaborated out of some special cult of the great Spanish martyr St Vincent, the nature and origin of which was forgotten. Still the references to the martyr in St Gregory of Tours and Venantius Fortunatus are relatively early. The matter is too intricate to be discussed here.
There are several texts of the passio, for which see the Acta Sanctorum, June, vol. ii; and the BHL., nn. 8621-8625. See for fuller details Delehaye's CMH., p. 312; L. Saltet, “Etude critique de la Passio S. Vincentii Aginensis", in the Revue de Gascogne, 1901, pp. 97-113; Duchesne, Fastes Épiscopaux, vol. ii, pp. 142-144; and the Marchioness de Maillé, Vincent d'Agen et Vincent de Saragosse (1949). See especially Fr B. de Gaiffier in Analecta Bollandiana, vol. lxx (1952), pp. 160-181.
Vincent of Agen, Deacon M (RM)  Deacon Saint Vincent preached the faith in Gascony in Gaul. When he interrupted a Druid feast, he seized at Agen and condemned by the governor. His fate was to be stretched flat on the floor, fixed to the ground by four stakes. In that exposed position he was scourged and then beheaded. Saint Gregory of Tours in the 6th century and Fortunatus of Poitiers in the 7th century recorded that many flocked to Agen from throughout Europe to visit Vincent's tomb (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).
297 Primus and Felician Roman patricians who had converted to Christianity relieving poor visiting prisoners refusing to sacrifice to the public gods MM first martyrs bodies later reburied within walls of Rome (RM)
Noménti in Sabínis, natális sanctórum Mártyrum Primi et Feliciáni fratrum, sub Diocletiáno et Maximiáno Imperatóribus.  Hi gloriósi Mártyres, cum longævam in Dómino vitam duxíssent, et nunc simul pária, nunc singillátim divérsa et exquisíta pertulíssent torménta, ambo tandem felícis pugnæ cursum, a Nomentáno Præside Promóto animadvérsi gládio, consummavérunt.  Ipsórum autem Mártyrum córpora, póstea Romam transláta, in Ecclésia sancti Stéphani Protomártyris, in monte Cælio, honorífice collocáta sunt.
    At Nomento in the Sabine Hills, the birthday of the holy martyrs Primus and Felician, under the emperors Diocletian and Maximian.  These glorious martyrs lived long in the service of the Lord, and endured sometimes together, sometimes separately, various cruel torments.  They were finally beheaded by Promotus, governor of Nomento, and thus happily ended their trial.  Their bodies were afterwards translated to Rome and honorably buried in the Church of St. Stephen the Protomartyr on the Cælian Hill.

THE brothers Primus and Felician were Roman patricians who embraced Christianity and devoted themselves to works of charity, especially to visiting the confessors in prison. In spite of their zeal they escaped persecution for many years, but about the year 297, in the reign of Emperors Diocletian and Maximian, they were arrested. They refused to sacrifice, were imprisoned, and scourged. Afterwards they were conveyed to Nomentum, a town twelve miles from Rome, where they were tried by a magistrate named Promotus. As they remained steadfast they were again tortured. Both were then sentenced to be beheaded. After Primus, who was eighty years of age, had been executed, the judge tried to overcome the constancy of Felician by pretending that his brother had yielded. The confessor, however, was not to be deceived and cheerfully faced death on the same day. Over the burial-place of the two martyrs in the Via Nomentana a church was afterwards built. In 640 Pope Theodore caused their relics to be brought to San Stefano Rotondo, and this translation is said to have been the first instance of the removal of the bodies of martyrs from a church dedicated to them outside the walls of Rome to a basilica within the city.
The passio of these martyrs, printed in the Acta Sanctorum, June, vol. ii, is of the usual legendary character, but they were unquestionably put to death, and buried by their fellow Christians in the place indicated. Their feast is honoured in the earliest text of the Gelasian Sacramentary. When the bodies were translated to Rome by Pope Theodore, a representation of the two saints in mosaic, which is still in existence, was set up behind the spot where their relics were venerated. See CMH., p. 311, and also J. P. Kirsch, Der Stadtrömische christliche Festkalender (1924), pp. 59-60.

The untrustworthy acta of Felician and his 80- year-old brother Primus relate that they were Roman patricians who had converted to Christianity. They devoted themselves to relieving the poor and visiting prisoners. They were arrested. Upon refusing to sacrifice to the public gods, the brothers were imprisoned and scourged. They were brought singly before the judge, Promotus, who tried to convince each that the other had apostatized. After they had been tortured, the brothers were beheaded under Diocletian at Nomentum (12 miles from Rome) A church was built over their tombs on the Via Nomentana. They are of particular interest because they are the first martyrs of whom it is recorded that their bodies were later reburied within the walls of Rome; in 640, Pope Theodore I had the relics taken to the church now called San Stefano Rotondo (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer). In art, these brothers are portrayed at their martyrdom. Felician is nailed to a tree and Primus is forced to swallow molten lead (Roeder)

Primus and Felician were two brothers who were accused of Christianity during the persecution by Diocletian and Maximian, and thrown into irons, which an angel broke, and so freed their limbs.  In the presence of the governor they most earnestly clave to the profession of their faith, and were immediately parted one from the other.  Felician's was the steadfastness which was first tried in divers ways.  They, however, that strove to argue him into sin, when they found that words availed nothing, fastened his hands and feet to a post, and left him to hang there three days without food or drink.  On the fourth day the governor called Primus before him, and said to him : Seest thou how much thy brother is wiser than thou?  He hath obeyed the Emperors, and they have made him honourable.  Thou hast only to follow his example to be made partaker of his honours and favours.  Primus answered him : What hath befallen my brother I know, for an angel hath told me.  God grant that, seeing I have the same will that he hath, I may not be divided from him in uplifting of testimony.  These words raised the wrath of the governor, and to the torments which he had already inflicted on Primus, he added this also, that he had boiling lead put into his mouth, compelling his brother Felician to be present and see it done.  After that, he had them led into the theatre and two lions let loose upon them, in the presence of about twelve thousand people who were gathered together to see the show.  The lions only fawned upon the knees of the Saints, making friends with them with motions of their heads and tails.  This exhibition turned five hundred persons and their households to Christ.  The governor, then, moved beyond all endurance by what had passed, caused Primus and Felician to be beheaded.
Primus et Feliciánus fratres, in persecutióne Diocletiáni et Maximiáni accusáti christiánæ religiónis, in víncula conjiciúntur; quibus solúti, inde eripiúntur ab Angelo.  Mox ad prætórem addúcti, cum christiánam fidem acérrime tueréntur, alter ab áltero distrácti sunt; ac primum várie tentáta est constántia Feliciáni.  Sed, cum suasóres impietátis se posse quidquam verbis profícere desperárent, affíxis stípiti mánibus ejus et pédibus, ipsum sine cibo et potu inde tríduum pendéntem reliquérunt. 
Postrídie ejus diéi, prætor vocátum ad se Primum sic affátur: Vides quanto sit prudéntior, quam tu, frater tuus, qui obsecútus imperatóribus, apud ipsos est honorátus?  Quem si tu quoque imitári volúeris, párticeps eris ejus honóris et gratiæ.  Cui Primus: Qui factum sit fratri meo, cognóvi ex Angelo.  Utinam, quemádmodum sum cum eo voluntáte conjunctíssimus, sic ab eódem ne martyrio disjúngar. 
Quo dicto excánduit prætor, et ad céteros cruciátus, quibus Primum affécit, præsénte jam Feliciáno, liquátum igne plumbum in os ejus jussit infúndi.  Mox utrúmque perdúci ímperat in theátrum, in eósque immítti duos leónis; qui, prostráti ad eórum génua, cápite et cauda ipsis blandiebántur.  Ad id spectáculum cum ámplius duódecim míllia hóminum conveníssent, quingénti cum suis famíliis christiánam religiónem suscepérunt.  Quibus rebus permótus prætor, eos secúri pércuti jussit.

311 St. Pelagia of Antioch Roman martyred virgin. She was a disciple of St. Lucian of Antioch
Apud Antiochíam sanctæ Pelágiæ, Vírginis et Mártyris, quam sancti Ambrósius et Joánnes Chrysóstomus magnis éfferunt láudibus.
    At Antioch, St. Pelagia, virgin and martyr, who has been eulogized by St. Ambrose and St. John Chrysostom.
THE name of St Pelagia stands in the canon of the Ambrosian Mass of Milan, and her praises have been sung by St Ambrose and by St John Chrysostom, who made her the subject of one, or possibly two, of his homilies.
Pelagia was a young Christian girl of fifteen, a native of Antioch and probably a disciple of St Lucian. She was alone in the house when it was surrounded by soldiers sent to arrest her. Well aware that her ultimate fate-whatever it might be-would be preceded by dishonour, she asked leave to withdraw for a little, in order to put on suitable clothing. The permission having been granted, she went upstairs and threw herself from the top of the house. She was killed on the spot; but she had preserved her chastity, which she valued more than her life. St John Chrysostom asserts that she acted under the inspiration of our Lord within her, exhorting her, strengthening her, and casting out her fear.
This is the historical St Pelagia, whose name has been borrowed by later hagiographers, or more truly romance-writers, to graft upon it two entirely different stories. Upon this, see Delehaye, Légendes Hagiographiques (ed. 1927), pp. 186-195. The reality of Pelagia's fate is attested not only by the homily of St John Chrysostom, but also by an entry in the early Syriac Breviarium under October 8. It is on this day also that Pelagia is commemorated in the Hieronymianum, on which consult Delehaye's commentary, p. 546. A second homily on St Pelagia has been attributed to St John Chrysostom, but this is probably not his genuine work; see Franchi de' Cavalieri in Studi e Testi, vol. lxv, pp. 281-303, who has edited the text.
Fifteen when Roman soldiers came to her house to arrest her for being a Christian. Rather than be arrested and risk losing her virginity, she hurled herself from the roof and died. She was greatly praised by St. John Chrysostom, and her name is included in the Eucharistic Prayer in the Ambrosian Mass.

The more historical version tells of Pelagia being a disciple of Saint Lucian. When soldiers were sent to arrest her, asked to be allowed to change her clothes. She went upstairs on that pretext and threw herself from her rooftop in an attempt to escape and avoid defilement. Unfortunately, she died in the process. Saint John Chrysostom, a native of Antioch, wrote two homilies in honor of Pelagia that praised her courage, which he attributes to divine inspiration. She is also remembered in the Ambrosian Canon (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer, White).

Saint Pelagia is generally portrayed being baptized by Saint Nonnus. She may, however, be shown (1) praying before a crucifix in her cell or a cave; (2) as she is discovered by the monks at her death to be a woman; (3) as her body is brought in procession to Jerusalem; or (4) listening to Saint Nonnus preaching (Roeder).  Pelagia is the patroness of actresses and penitents (Roeder).

Pelagia of Antioch VM (RM) (also known as Margarita, Marina)  feast day formerly on October 8, when it is celebrated in the East. There are six saints named Pelagia (which means 'of the sea' as does Marina) entered on the Roman calendar. Some of them may be legendary; others perhaps not. Today's Saint Pelagia was a 15-year-old martyred at Antioch. The stories told of her are pious fiction, which gave rise to a whole series of later tales about Marina, Margaret, Euphrosyne, Eugenia, and others.

The most popular story told about the fictional Pelagia of October 8, nicknamed Margarito or Margaret because of the fineness of her pearls, relates that she was a notoriously licentious dancing-girl or actress at Antioch. During a synod there, she passed Bishop Saint Nonnus of Edessa and caught his attention. He reputedly said, "This girl is a lesson to us bishops. She takes more trouble over her beauty than we do about our souls and our flocks."  The next day she went to hear him preach. His sermon moved her to repentance and baptism. She gave her wealth to Nonnus to distribute to the poor and left Antioch for Jerusalem disguised as a man. She lived as a hermitess in a cave on the Mount of Olives, under the name Pelagius. For the balance of her life she lived in austerity and performed penances. Known as 'the beardless monk,' her sex was not discovered until her death some years later
346 The Holy Women Martyrs Thekla, Martha and Mary were beheaded with a sword during the reign of the Persian emperor Sapor II

370 St. Julian Christian sold into slavery in Syria monk under St. Ephraem
Edéssæ, in Syria, sancti Juliáni Mónachi, cujus præclára gesta sanctus Ephræm Diáconus scripsit.
    At Edessa in Syria, St. Julian, a monk whose memorable deeds have been related by the deacon St. Ephraem.
 A Christian sold into slavery in Syria. He gained his freedom and became a monk under St. Ephraem
Julian of Syria (RM) Saint Julian was a Christian from the West who was sold into slavery in Syria. After he regained his freedom, he became a monk under Saint Ephraem in Mesopotamia (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
373 St. Ephrem the only Syrian recognized as a doctor of the Church left us hundreds of hymns and poems on the faith that inflamed and inspired the whole Church Poet, teacher, orator and defender of the faith
Edéssæ, in Syria, sancti Juliáni Mónachi, cujus præclára gesta sanctus Ephræm Diáconus scripsit.
    At Edessa in Syria, St. Julian, a monk whose memorable deeds have been related by the deacon St. Ephraem.
Mor Ephrem the Syrian, the great poet saint of the Syriac Church, was born in c. A.D. 306 in Nisibis (North-west of Mosul, Iraq). While some late sources claim that his father was a heathen priest who worshiped an idol called Abnil, his own writings affirm that he was raised in a Christian family. (Adv. Haereses, XXVI. "I was born in the way of truth: though my boyhood understood not the greatness of the benefit, I knew it when trial came." Again more explicitly, if we may trust a Confession which is extant only in Greek, "I had been early taught about Christ by my parents; they who begat me after the flesh, had trained me in the fear of the Lord... My parents were confessors before the judge: yea, I am the kindred of martyrs.")

He was ordained deacon in c. A.D. 338 and served the Bishop of Nisibis, Mor Ya`qub, who participated in the Synod of Nicaea (AD 325). He lived as a solitary and apparently never entered into priesthood. After the cession of Nisibis to Persia in AD 363, Ephrem withdrew into the Roman Empire and settled at Edessa where he composed the hymns that survive to this day. Though in the ecclesiastical hirearchy he was just a deacon, he is remembered as a great doctor of the universal Church.

     Ephrem wrote exclusively in Syriac, the Edessene dialect of Aramaic, but his works were translated into Armenian and Greek, and via the latter into Latin and Slavonic. Many works in these languages attributed to him are, however, not genuine. Much of Ephrem's exegetical, dogmatic and ascetic works are in verse form. He wrote several polemical works refuting the heresies of Marcion, Bardaisan, Mani, the Arians and the Anomoeans. He wrote widely regarded biblical commentaries on Genesis and the Diatesseron. His writings extensively employ typology and symbolism. Over 500 genuine hymns survive, of great beauty and insight. His poetry is in two genres: madrãshe (hymns) and memre (verse homilies). After his death, the hymns were arranged into hymn cycles, the most famous of which are those on Faith (including the five 'On the Pearl'), on Paradise and on Nisibis (the second half of which is on the Descent of Christ into Hell). His liturgical poetry had a great influence on Syriac and Greek hymnography. Syriac churches honor him as 'the lyre of the Holy Spirit'.
Mor Ephrem departed to his heavenly abode on 9th of June, A.D. 373. His memory is commemorated in the Syriac Orthodox Church on the first Saturday of the Great Lent.

"I was born in the way of truth: though my childhood was unaware of the greatness of the benefit, I knew it when trial came."
Ephrem (or Eprhaim) the Syrian left us hundreds of hymns and poems on the faith that inflamed and inspired the whole Church, but few facts about his own inspiring life.

Poet, teacher, orator and defender of the faith, Ephrem is the only Syrian recognized as a doctor of the Church. He took upon himself the special task of opposing the many false doctrines rampant at his time, always remaining a true and forceful defender of the Catholic Church.

Born in Nisibis, Mesopotamia, he was baptized as a young man and became famous as a teacher in his native city. When the Christian emperor had to cede Nisibis to the Persians, Ephrem, along with many Christians, fled as a refugee to Edessa. He is credited with attracting great glory to the biblical school there. He was ordained a deacon but declined becoming a priest (and was said to have avoided episcopal consecration by feigning madness!).
He had a prolific pen and his writings best illumine his holiness. Although he was not a man of great scholarship, his works reflect deep insight and knowledge of the Scriptures. In writing about the mysteries of humanity’s redemption, Ephrem reveals a realistic and humanly sympathetic spirit and a great devotion to the humanity of Jesus. It is said that his poetic account of the Last Judgment inspired Dante.
It is surprising to read that he wrote hymns against the heretics of his day. He would take the popular songs of the heretical groups and, using their melodies, compose beautiful hymns embodying orthodox doctrine. Ephrem became one of the first to introduce song into the Church’s public worship as a means of instruction for the faithful. His many hymns have earned him the title “Harp of the Holy Spirit.”
He preferred a simple, austere life, living in a small cave overlooking the city of Edessa. It was here he died around 373.

Comment:    Many Catholics still find singing in church a problem, probably because of the rather individualistic piety that they inherited. Yet singing has been a tradition of both the Old and the New Testament. It is an excellent way of expressing and creating a community spirit of unity as well as joy. Ephrem's hymns, an ancient historian testifies, "lent luster to the Christian assemblies." We need some modern Ephrems—and cooperating singers—to do the same for our Christian assemblies today.

Quote:    Lay me not with sweet spices,    For this honor avails me not,    Nor yet use incense and perfumes,    For the honor befits me not.
    Burn yet the incense in the holy place;    As for me, escort me only with your prayers,    Give ye your incense to God,
    And over me send up hymns.
    Instead of perfumes and spices,    Be mindful of me in your intercessions.  
 (From The Testament of St. Ephrem)

Most historians infer from the lines quoted above that Ephrem was born into a Christian family -- although not baptized until an adult (the trial or furnace), which was common at the time. Other than that little is known about his birth and youth although many guess he was born in the early fourth century in Mesopotamia, possibly in Nisibis where he spent most of his adult life.
"He Who created two great lights, chose for Himself these three Lights,
and set them in the three dark seasons of siege that have been."

Ephrem served as teacher, and possibly deacon, under four bishops of Nisibis, Jacob, Babu, Vologeses, and Abraham. The first three he describes in the hymn quoted above written while Vologeses was still alive. As the verse states, Ephrem did not live in easy times in Nisibis.
"I have chanced upon weeds, my brothers, That wear the color of wheat, To choke the good seed."
     According to tradition, Ephrem began to write hymns in order to counteract the heresies rampant at that time. For those who think of hymns simply as the song at the end of Mass that keeps us from leaving the church early, it may come as a surprise that Ephrem and others recognized and developed the power of music to get their points across.
    Tradition tells us Ephrem heard heretical ideas put into song first and in order to counteract them made up his own hymns. In the one below, his target is a Syrian heretic Bardesan who denied the truth of the Resurrection:
"How he blasphemes justice, And grace her fellow-worker.
For if the body was not raised, This is a great insult against grace, To say grace created the body for decay;
And this is slander against justice, to say justice sends the body to destruction."
    The originality, imagery, and skill of his hymns captured hearts of Christians so well, that Ephrem is given credit for awakening the Church to the important of music and poetry in spreading and fortifying the faith.

   Ephrem's home was in physical as well as spiritual danger. Nisibis, a target of Shapur II, the King of Persia, was besieged by him three times. During the third siege in in 350, Shapur's engineers turned the river out of its course in order to flood the city as Ephrem describes (speaking as Nisibis):
"All kinds of storms trouble me -- and you have been kinder to the Ark: only waves surrounded it,
but ramps and weapons and waves surround me... O Helmsman of the Ark, be my pilot on dry land!
You gave the Ark rest on the haven of a mountain, give me rest in the haven of my walls."
The flood, however, turned the tide against Shapur. When he tried to invade he found his army obstructed by the very waters and ruin he had caused. The defenders of the city, including Ephrem, took advantage of the chaos to ambush the invaders and drive them out.
"He has saved us without wall, and taught us that He is our wall:
He has saved us without king and made us know that is our king:
He has saved us, in each and all, and showed us that He is All."
    In the end, however, Nisibis lost. When Shapur defeated the Roman emperor Jovian, he demanded the city as part of the treaty. Jovian not only gave him the city but agreed to force the Christians to leave Nisibis. Probably in his fifties or sixties at that time, Ephrem was one of the refugees who fled the city in 363.
Sometime in 364 he settled as a solitary ascetic on Mount Edessa, at Edessa (what is now Urfa) 100 miles east of his home.
"The soul is your bride, the body is your bridal chamber..."
In the time before monks and monasteries, many devout Christians drawn to a religious life dedicated themselves as ihidaya (single and single-minded followers of Christ). As one of these Eprhem lived an ascetic, celibate life for his last years.

"The doors of her homes Edessa Left open when she went forth With the pastor to the grave, to die, And not depart from her faith. Let the city and fort and building And houses be yielded to the king; Our goods and our gold let us leave; So we part not from our faith!"

Tradition tells us that during the famine that hit Edessa in 372, Ephrem was horrified to learn that some citizens were hoarding food. When he confronted them, he received the age-old excuse that they couldn't find a fair way or honest person to distribute the food. Ephrem immediately volunteered himself and it is a sign of how respected he was that no one was able to argue with this choice. He and his helpers worked diligently to get food to the needy in the city and the surrounding area.

The famine ended in a year of abundant harvest the following year and Ephrem died shortly thereafter, as we are told, at an advanced age. We do not know the exact date or year of his death but June 9, 373 is accepted by many. Ephrem relates in his dying testament a childhood vision of his life that he gloriousl fulfilled:

"There grew a vine-shoot on my tongue: and increased and reached unto heaven, And it yielded fruit without measure: leaves likewise without number. It spread, it stretched wide, it bore fruit: all creation drew near, And the more they were that gathered: the more its clusters abounded. These clusters were the Homilies; and these leaves the Hymns. God was the giver of them: glory to Him for His grace! For He gave to me of His good pleasure: from the storehouse of His treasures." In His Footsteps:

Has a song ever moved you so much that it changed or challenged your faith or lifestyle -- for good or bad? How do you feel about the music you sing during liturgy? Put your whole heart and soul into the hymns you sing next. Listen to the words and let them speak to you. Prayer:

Saint Ephrem, sometimes we treat the power of song lightly. Help us to open our hearts and souls to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit given us through music. Amen .
Heresy and danger followed him to Edessa. The Arian Emperor Valens camped outside of Edessa threatening to kill all the Christian inhabitants if they did not submit. But Valens was the one forced to give up in the face of the courage and steadfastness of the Edessans (fortified by Ephrem's hymns):

Ephrem of Edessa, Deacon, Doctor (RM) (also known as Ephraem, Ephraim) Born c. 306 in Nisibis (Syria), Mesopotamia; died at Edessa (Iraq) on June 9, 373; declared Doctor of the Church in 1920 by Pope Benedict XV; feast day formerly June 18 and February 1.  Ephrem passed his entire life in his native Mesopotamia (Syria). He was long thought to be the son of a pagan priest, but it is now believed his parents were Christians. He was baptized at eighteen, served under Saint James of Nisibis, became head of his school, and probably accompanied him to the Council of Nicaea in 325.

Syrian sources attribute the deliverance of Nisibis from the Persians in 350 to his prayers, but when in 363 Nisibis was ceded to the Persians by Emperor Jovian, he took residence in a cave near Edessa in Roman territory. Edessa (Urfa in Iraq), the site of a famous theological school, was where he did most of his writing.
Tradition says he visited Saint Basil at Caesarea in 370 and on his return helped alleviate the rigors of the famine of winter 372-73 by distributing food and money to the stricken and helping the poor (one of the jobs of deacons).
Ephraem's fame rests on his writings, above all on his metrical homilies, to be read aloud, and his hymns. The latter in particular were designed for popular use and were didactic in character, often directed against various current heresies (Attwater). He is largely responsible for introducing hymns into public worship. Particularly outstanding are his Nisibeian hymns and the canticles for the seasons. Some of these works can be found at the New Advent Super Site:

    Nisibene Hymns    Hymns on the Nativity of Christ in the Flesh    Hymns for the Feast of the Epiphany    The Pearl (Seven Hymns on the Faith)    Homily on Our Lord    Homily on Admonition and Repentance    Homily on the Sinful Woman

Compositions attributed to him are still much used in the Syrian churches, and his reputation spread to the Greek-speaking world before his death. The English hymns 'Receive, O Lord, in Heaven above/Our prayers' and 'Virgin, wholly marvelous' are translated from Saint Ephraem's Syriac.
He wrote commentaries on a considerable number of books of the Bible, and a personal 'Testament' which seems to have been added to by a later hand. He countered the heretics--especially the Arians and the Gnostics--and wrote on the Last Judgment.

All Saint Ephraem's work is elevated in style, flowery in expression, and full of imagery: even as a theologian he wrote as a poet. He has always been regarded as a great teacher in the Syrian churches and many of his works were early translated into Greek, Armenian, and Latin.
Ephraem was devoted to the Blessed Virgin. He is often invoked as a witness to the Immaculate Conception because of his absolute certainty about Mary's sinlessness. He is quoted by other authors but we lack a critical edition, which has prevented further examination.
He was called 'the Harp of the Holy Spirit,' and proclaimed a doctor of the Church, the only Syrian so honored. He is especially venerated in the Eastern Church (Attwater, Delaney).
In art, Saint Ephraem is a hermit sitting on a column. There may be fiery pillars in heaven above him. He might also by shown (1) in a cave with a book, (2) with a cross on his brow, pointing upwards, or (3) his eyes cast up, full of tears (Roeder).

On St. Ephrem the Syrian "Scepter of the Holy Spirit"
VATICAN CITY, NOV. 28, 2007 ( Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered today at the general audience in Paul VI Hall. The reflection focused on the figure of St. Ephrem the Syrian, fourth-century theologian, poet and musician.

Dear brothers and sisters!
According to general opinion, Christianity is a European religion that has exported the culture of this Continent to other countries. The reality, though, is a lot more complex, as the root of the Christian religion is found in the Old Testament, and therefore in Jerusalem and the Semitic world. Christianity has always nourished itself from its roots in the Old Testament. Also, its expansion during the first centuries was both westward -- toward the Greek-Latin world, where it then inspired the European culture -- and eastward to Persia and India, thus contributing to stimulate a specific culture, in Semitic languages, with its own identity. To show the cultural diversity of the early Christian faith, during last Wednesday's catechesis I talked about a representative of this Christianity, Aphraates the Persian sage, almost unknown to us. Along the same lines I would like to speak today of St. Ephrem the Syrian, born in Nisibis around 306 into a Christian family.
     He was the most important representative of Syriac Christianity, and succeeded in a unique way to reconcile the vocation of the theologian with that of the poet. He was brought up with James, bishop of Nisibis (303-338), and with him he founded the theological school of his town. Once deacon, he completely immersed himself in the life of the local Christian community until 363, the year in which Nisibis fell under Persian rule. Ephrem fled to Edessa, where he continued his activities as a preacher. He died there in 373, after being infected with the plague while attending to the sick.

It is not known with certainty whether he was a monk, but in any case it is certain that he remained a deacon all his life and that he embraced celibacy and poverty. In this way, according to the specific character of his culture, the common and fundamental Christian identity can be seen: faith, hope -- the hope that allows you to live a chaste and simple life putting your faith in the Lord -- and charity, even to the point of giving one's own life to care for the victims of the plague.  St. Ephrem left us a large written theological inheritance. His considerable writings can be grouped into four categories: works written in ordinary prose (his polemical works, or biblical commentaries); works in poetic prose; sermons in verses; and finally the hymns -- undoubtedly Ephrem's most extensive work.

  He is a rich and captivating author for many reasons, but particularly because of his theological profile. The specific character of his work is that theology meets poetry. If we want to get closer to his doctrine, we need to acknowledge that he studied theology through poetry. Poetry allowed him to deepen his theological reflections through paradoxes and images. His theology became both liturgy and music at the same time: he was indeed a great composer and musician.
Theology, reflection on faith, poetry, chanting and the praising of God all complement one another. It is actually from this liturgical character that the divine truth appeared with clarity in Ephrem's theology. During his search for God and in his theology, he followed the path of paradox and symbol. His preference was to use opposing images, because they serve to underline the mystery of God.
I cannot quote much of his work, partly because poetry is difficult to translate, but just to give an idea of his poetic theology I would like to quote parts of two different hymns. First of all, as Advent is almost here, I would like to show you some wonderful images taken from the hymns "On Christ's Nativity." In an inspired tone Ephrem expressed his wonder of the figure of the Virgin Mary:

"The Lord came to her to make himself a servant. The Word came to her to keep silence in her womb. The lightning came to her to not make any noise.  "The shepherd came to her and the Lamb is born, who humbly cries. Because Mary's womb has reversed the roles: The one who created all things wasn't born rich, but poor.  "The Almighty came to her (Mary), but he came humbly. Splendor came to her, but dressed in humble clothes. The One who gives us all things met hunger.
"The One who gives water to everyone met thirst. Naked and unclothed he came from her, he who dresses all things (with beauty)." (Hymn "De Nativitate" 11, 6-8).

To express the mystery of Christ, Ephrem uses a large variety of topics, expressions and images. In one of his hymns he connects Adam (in paradise) with Christ (in the Eucharist) in an effective way:
"It was the cherub's sword, that closed the path to the tree of life. "But for the people, the Lord of this tree gave himself like food at the (Eucharistic) offering. "Eden's trees were given as nourishment to the first Adam. "For us, the gardener of the garden has made himself food for our souls. "In fact we all left Paradise together with Adam, who left it all behind.  "Now that the sword has been removed, from there (on the cross) by the lance we are able to return."

(Hymn 49,9-11).
Ephrem uses two images to speak about the Eucharist: the charcoal or the hot coal, and the pearl. The theme of the hot coal is taken from the prophet Isaiah (cf. 6:6). It is the image of the seraph who takes the hot coal with tongs and simply grazes the lips of the prophet to purify them; the Christian, instead, takes and consumes the hot coal, that is, Christ himself:

"In your bread hides the Spirit that cannot be consumed; In your wine is the fire that cannot be drunk.
"The Spirit in your bread, the fire in your wine: Here is a wonder welcomed by our lips.

"The seraph could not get his fingers close to the hot coal, that could only approach Isaiah's mouth; neither did the fingers take it, nor the lips swallow it; But the Lord granted us the ability to do both things.
"The fire rained down with anger to destroy the sinners, But the fire of grace comes down on the bread and remains there. Instead of the fire destroying man, we ate the fire in the bread and we were revived."
(Hymn "De Fide" 10,8-10).

Here is another example of St. Ephrem's hymns, where he writes of the pearl as a symbol of the richness and beauty of faith:
"My brothers, I put (the pearl) to the palm of my hand, to be able to look at it closely. "I observed it from one side and then the other: It had one only appearance from all sides. "(Such) is the search for the Son, inscrutable, for he is luminous. "In its clarity, I saw the clear one, that does not become opaque; and in its purity, I saw the great symbol of our Lord's body, That is pure. "In its indivisibility, I saw the truth, which is indivisible." (Hymn "On The Pearl" 1, 2-3) .

The figure of Ephrem is still very relevant for the life of the various Christian Churches. In the first place we discover him as a theologian, who began from sacred Scripture and poetically reflected upon the mystery of the redemption of man by Christ, the embodiment of the Word of God.

His theological reflection is expressed with images and symbols taken from nature, from daily life and from the Bible. Ephrem conferred an educational and catechetical character to his poetry and to the hymns for the liturgy; these are theological hymns suitable for performance or liturgical songs. Ephrem uses such hymns to spread the doctrine of the Church at liturgical festivals. Over time the hymns proved to be an extremely effective catechetical instrument for the Christian community.

It is important to underline Ephrem's reflection on the God of creation: Nothing in creation is isolated, and the world is, with sacred Scripture, a Bible of God. By using his freedom wrongly, man overturns the order of the cosmos.

To Ephrem the role of the woman is a relevant one. The way he wrote about women was always prompted by sensibility and respect: The fact that Jesus dwelt in the womb of Mary has enormously raised the woman's dignity. For Ephrem there is no redemption without Jesus, just as there could be no incarnation without Mary. The divine and human dimensions of the mystery of our redemption can already be found in Ephrem's texts; in a poetic way and with scriptural images, he anticipated the theological background and in some ways the language itself of the great Christological definitions from the fifth-century councils.

Honored by the Christian tradition as "scepter of the Holy Spirit," Ephrem opted to be a deacon of his Church for his entire life. It was a decisive and emblematic choice: He was deacon, that is to say, a servant, in the ministry of the liturgy, in his love for Christ -- which was radical -- that he sung of in an unparalleled way, and in charity toward his brothers, whom he taught with rare mastery the knowledge of divine revelation. [Translation by Laura Leoncini]
[After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father greeted pilgrims in six languages. In English, he said:]

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In this week's catechesis we turn to Saint Ephrem, the greatest of the Syriac Fathers and the most renowned poet of the patristic age. Saint Ephrem's theology, deeply grounded in the Scriptures and profoundly orthodox in content, was expressed in poetic language marked by striking paradoxes and vivid imagery.

Through his mastery of poetic symbolism, Ephrem sought to communicate, especially in his Hymns, the mystery of the trinitarian God, the incarnation of the eternal Son born of the Virgin Mary, and the spiritual treasures contained in the Eucharist. His poetry and hymns not only enriched the liturgy; they also proved an important means of catechesis for the Christian community in the fourth century.

Particularly significant is Ephrem's teaching on our redemption by Christ: his poetic descriptions of the interplay of the divine and human aspects of this great mystery foreshadowed the theology and, to some extent, even the language of the great Christological definitions of the councils of the next century. In his life-long service to the Church as a deacon, Saint Ephrem was an example of fidelity to the liturgy, meditation on the mystery of Christ and charitable service to his brothers and sisters.

I am pleased to greet the English-speaking visitors present at today's Audience, especially those from Australia, Canada and the United States. I offer a special welcome to the students from the University of Sunbury, Melbourne; and to the students and staff of the University of Dallas, Texas. I also greet the members of the pilgrimage from the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, led by thei r Archbishop. Upon all of you I cordially invoke an abundance of joy and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ.

[After greeting the pilgrims, he said in Italian:]
December marks World AIDS Day. I remain spiritually close to everyone suffering from this terrible sickness, and to their families, especially those who have lost a loved one. To everyone I give assurances of my prayers.

Furthermore, I wish to exhort all people of good will to increase their efforts to halt the spread of the HIV virus, to combat the disdain which is often directed towards people who are affected by it, and to care for the sick, especially those who are still children.  © Copyright 2007 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana
444 Saint Cyril, Archbishop of Alexandria, a distinguished champion of Orthodoxy and a great teacher of the Church

He came from an illustrious and pious Christian family. He studied the secular sciences, including philosophy, but most of all he strove to acquire knowledge of the Holy Scriptures and the truths of the Christian Faith. In his youth Cyril entered the monastery of Macarius in the Nitreia hills, where he stayed for six years. Theophilus (385-412), the Patriarch of Alexandria, ordained him as a deacon, numbered him among the clergy and entrusted him to preach.

Upon the death of Patriarch Theophilus, Cyril was unanimously chosen to the patriarchal throne of the Alexandrian Church. He led the struggle against the spread of the Novatian heresy in Alexandria, which taught that any Christian who had fallen away from the Church during a time of persecution, could not be received back into it.

Cyril, seeing the futility of admonishing the heretics, sought their expulsion from Alexandria. The Jews appeared a greater danger for the Church, repeatedly causing riots, accompanied by the brutal killing of Christians. The saint long contended with them. In order to wipe out the remnants of paganism, the saint cast out devils from an ancient pagan temple and built a church on the spot, and the relics of the Holy Unmercenaries Cyrus and John were transferred into it. A more difficult struggle awaited the saint with the emergence of the Nestorian heresy.

Nestorius, a presbyter of the Antiochian Church, was chosen in 428 to the see of Constantinople and there he was able to spread his heretical teaching against the dogma about the uncommingled union of two natures in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Nestorius called the Mother of God not the Theotokos, but rather Christotokos or "Birth-giver of Christ," implying that she gave birth not to God, but only to the man Christ. The holy Patriarch Cyril repeatedly wrote to Nestorius and pointed out his error, but Nestorius continued to persevere in it. Then the saint sent out epistles against Nestorianism to the clergy of Constantinople and to the holy emperor Theodosius the Younger (408-450), denuncing the heresy. Cyril wrote also to other Churches, to Pope Celestine and to the other Patriarchs, and even to monks of several monasteries, warning of the emergence of a dangerous heresy.

Nestorius started an open persecution against the Orthodox. In his presence one of his partisans, Bishop Dorotheus, pronounced an anathema against anyone who would call the Most Holy Virgin Mary the Theotokos.

Nestorius hated Cyril and brought out against him every kind of slander and fabrication, calling him a heretic. The saint continued to defend Orthodoxy with all his powers. The situation became so aggravated, that it became necessary to call an Ecumenical Council, which convened in the city of Ephesus in the year 431. At the Council 200 bishops arrived from all the Christian Churches. Nestorius, awaiting the arrival of Bishop John of Antioch and other Syrian bishops, did not agree to the opening of the Council. But the Fathers of the Council began the sessions with Cyril presiding. Having examined the teaching of Nestorius, the Council condemned him as a heretic. Nestorius did not submit to the Council, and Bishop John opened a "robber council", which decreed Cyril a heretic. The unrest increased.
By order of the emperor, Patriarch Cyril of Alexandria and Archbishop Memnon of Ephesus were locked in prison, and Nestorius was deposed.

Soon Sts Cyril and Memnon were freed, and the sessions of the Council continued. Nestorius, not submitting himself to the determinations of the Council, was deprived of priestly rank. By order of the emperor he was sent to the faraway place Sasim in the Libyan wilderness, where he died in grievous torments. His tongue, having blasphemed the Mother of God, was overtaken by punishment -- in it there developed worms. Even Bishop John of Antioch and the remaining Syrian bishops signed the decrees of the Council of Ephesus.

Cyril guided the Alexandrian Church for 32 years, and towards the end of his life the flock was cleansed of heretics. Gently and cautiously Cyril approached anyone, who by their own simpleness and lack of knowledge, fell into false wisdom. There was a certain Elder, an ascetic of profound life, who incorrectly considered the Old Testament Priest Melchizedek to be the Son of God. Cyril prayed for the Lord to reveal to the Elder the correct way to view the righteous one. After three days the Elder came to Cyril and said that the Lord had revealed to him that Melchizedek was a mere man.

Cyril learned to overcome his prejudice against the memory of the great John Chrysostom (November 13). Theophilus, the Patriarch of Alexandria, and uncle of Cyril, was an antagonist of John, and presided in a council in judgment of him. Cyril thus found himself in a circle antagonistic to John Chrysostom, and involuntarily acquired a prejudice against him. Isidore of Pelusium (February 4) repeatedly wrote to Cyril and urged him to include the name of the great Father of the Church into the diptychs of the saints, but Cyril would not agree.

Once in a dream he saw a wondrous temple, in which the Mother of God was surrounded by a host of angels and saints, in whose number was John Chrysostom. When Cyril wanted to approach the All-Holy Lady and venerate her, John Chrysostom would not let him. The Theotokos asked John to forgive Cyril for having sinned against him through ignorance. Seeing that John hesitated, the Mother of God said, "Forgive him for my sake, since he has labored much for my honor, and has glorified me among the people calling me Theotokos." John answered, "By your intercession, Lady, I do forgive him," and then he embraced Cyril with love.

Cyril repented that he had maintained anger against the great saint of God. Having convened all the Egyptian bishops, he celebrated a solemn feast in honor of John Chrysostom.

Cyril died in the year 444, leaving behind many works. In particular, the following ought to be mentioned: commentaries On the Gospel of Luke, On the Gospel of John, On the Epistles of the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians and to the Hebrews; also an Apologia in Defense of Christianity against the Emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363). Of vast significance are his Five Books against Nestorius; a work on the Most Holy Trinity under the title Thesaurus, written against Arius and Eunomios. Also two dogmatic compositions on the Most Holy Trinity, distinguished by a precise exposition of the Orthodox teaching on the Procession of the Holy Spirit. Cyril wrote Against Anthropomorphism for several Egyptians, who through ignorance depicted God in human form. Among Cyril's works are also the Discussions, among which is the moving and edifying Discourse on the Exodus of the Soul, inserted in the Slavonic "Following Psalter".
Today we commemorate the repose of this great Father of the Church. He is also remembered on January 18, the date of his flight from Alexandria.
594 St. Maximian of Syracuse Benedictine bihop, monk trained by St. Gregory I the Great at St. Andrew’s Abbey in Rome Aposcrisarius apostolic delegate in Sicily
Syracúsis, in Sicília, sancti Maximiáni Epíscopi, cujus sanctus Gregórius Papa sæpius méminit.
    At Syracuse in Sicily, Bishop St. Maximian, who is frequently mentioned by Pope St. Gregory.

Benedictine bishop, trained by St. Gregory I the Great at St. Andrew’s Abbey in Rome. He was born on the island of Sicily and went to Rome. There he served as apocrisarius, or ambassador, to Constantinople for Popes Pelagius and St. Gregory. He became the bishop of Syracuse and delegate to Sicily, where he died.

Maximian of Syracuse, OSB B (RM) Born in Sicily; died in Syracuse, 594. Maximian was a monk at Saint Andrew's Abbey on the Coelian Hill in Rome under Saint Gregory the Great. Maximian served as Aposcrisarius in Constantinople to both Pope Pelagius and Gregory the Great. Gregory recalled him to Rome to serve him as minister and, in 591, appointed him bishop of Syracuse and apostolic delegate in Sicily (Benedictines)
597 St. Columba royal descent fifteen years preaching setting up foundations built monastery became world famous island of Iona off the coast of Scotland developed a monastic rule poet
In Ióna, Scótiæ ínsula, sancti Colúmbæ, Presbyteri et Abbátis.
    In the island of Iona in Scotland, St. Columba, priest and confessor.

Born 521 probaly in Donegal Ireland of royal descent he studied at Moville under St. Finnian then in Leinster at the monastery of Clonard under another St. Finnian. He was ordained before he was twenty-five and spent the next fifteen years preaching and setting up foundations at Derry, Durrow, and Kells. Possibly because of a family feud which resulted in the death of 3000 and for which he considered himself partly responsible he left Ireland at 42 and landed on the island of Iona off the coast of Scotland. There he built the monastery which was to become world famous. With SS Canice and Comgall he spread the gospel to the Picts; he also developed a monastic rule which many followed until the introduction of St. Benedicts. He died on Iona and is also known as Colm, Colum and Columcille.

Columba (RM) (also known as Colum, Columbus, Combs, Columkill, Columcille, Colmcille) Born in Garton, County Donegal, Ireland, c. 521; died June 9, 597.

    "Alone with none but Thee, my God,    I journey on my way;    What need I fear when Thou art near,    Oh King of night and day?
    More safe am I within Thy hand    Than if a host did round me stand."    --Attributed to Saint Columba.

"We know for certain that Columba left successors distinguished for their purity of life, their love of God,
and their loyalty to the rules of the monastic life."
--The Venerable Bede.

Ireland has many saints and three great ones: Patrick, Brigid, and Columba.
Columba outshines the others for his pure Irishness. He loved Ireland with all his might and hated to leave it for Scotland. But he did leave it and laid the groundwork for the conversion of Britain. He had a quick temper but was very kind, especially to animals and children. He was a poet and an artist who did illumination, perhaps some of those in the Book of Kells itself. His skill as a scribe can be seen in the Cathach of Columba at the Irish Academy, which is the oldest surviving example of Irish majuscule writing. It was latter enshrined in silver and bronze and venerated in churches.

About the time that Patrick was taken to Ireland as a slave, Columba was born. He came from a race of kings who had ruled in Ireland for six centuries, directly descended from Niall of the Nine Hostages, and was himself in close succession to the throne. From an early age he was destined for the priesthood; he was given in fosterage to a priest. After studying at Moville under Saint Finnian and then at Clonard with another Saint Finnian, he surrendered his princely claims, he became a monk at Glasnevin under Mobhi and was ordained.

He spent the next 15 years preaching and teaching in Ireland. As was the custom in those days, he combined study and prayer with manual labor. By his own natural gifts as well as by the good fortune of his birth, he soon gained ascendancy as a monk of unusual distinction. By the time he was 25, he had founded no less than 27 Irish monasteries, including those at Derry (546), Durrow (c. 556), and probably Kells, as well as some 40 churches.

Columba was a poet, who had learned Irish history and poetry from a bard named Gemman. He is believed to have penned the Latin poem Altus Prosator and two other extant poems. He also loved fine books and manuscripts. One of the famous books associated with Columbia is the Psaltair, which was traditionally the Battle Book of the O'Donnells, his kinsmen, who carried it into battle. The Psaltair is the basis for one of the most famous legends of Saint Columba.

It is said that on one occasion, so anxious was Columba to have a copy of the Psalter that he shut himself up for a whole night in the church that contained it, transcribing it laboriously by hand. He was discovered by a monk who watched him through the keyhole and reported it to his superior, Finnian of Moville. The Scriptures were so scarce in those days that the abbot claimed the copy, refusing to allow it to leave the monastery. Columba refused to surrender it, until he was obliged to do so, under protest, on the abbot's appeal to the High King Diarmaid, who said: "Le gach buin a laogh" or "To every cow her own calf," meaning to every book its copy.

An unfortunate period followed, during which, owing to Columba's protection of a refugee and his impassioned denunciation of an injustice by King Diarmaid, war broke out between the clans of Ireland, and Columba became an exile of his own accord. Filled with remorse on account of those who had been slain in the battle of Cooldrevne, and condemned by many of his own friends, he experienced a profound conversion and an irresistible call to preach to the heathen. Although there are questions regarding Columba's real motivation, in 563, at the age of 42, he crossed the Irish Sea with 12 companions in a coracle and landed on a desert island now known as Iona (Holy Island) on Whitsun Eve. Here on this desolate rock, only three miles long and two miles wide, in the grey northern sea off the southwest corner of Mull, he began his work; and, like Lindisfarne, Iona became a center of Christian enterprise. It was the heart of Celtic Christianity and the most potent factor in the conversion of the Picts, Scots, and Northern English.

Columba built a monastery consisting of huts with roofs of branches set upon wooden props. It was a rough and primitive settlement. For over 30 years he slept on the hard ground with no pillow but a stone. But the work spread and soon the island was too small to contain it. From Iona numerous other settlements were founded, and Columba himself penetrated the wildest glens of Scotland and the farthest Hebrides, and established the Caledonian Church. It is reputed that he anointed King Aidan of Argyll upon the famous stone of Scone, which is now in Westminster Abbey. The Pictish King Brude and his people were also converted by Columba's many miracles, including driving away a water "monster" from the River Ness with the Sign of the Cross. Columba is said to have built two churches at Inverness.

Just one year before Columba's migration to Iona, Saint Moluag established his mission at Lismore on the west coast of Scotland. There are constant references to a rivalry between the two saints over spheres of influence, which are probably without foundation. Columba was primarily interested in Gaelic life in Scotland, while Moluag was drawn to the conversion of the Picts.

While leading the Irish in Scotland, Columba appears to have retained some sort of overlordship over his monasteries in Ireland. About 580, he participated in the assembly of Druim-Cetta in Ulster, where he mediated about the obligations of the Irish in Scotland to those in Ireland. It was decided that they should furnish a fleet, but not an army, for the Irish high-king. During the same assembly, Columba, who was a bard himself, intervened to effectively swing the nation away from its declared intention of suppressing the Bardic Order. Columba persuaded them that the whole future of Gaelic culture demanded that the scholarship of the bards be preserved. His prestige was such that his views prevailed and assured the presence of educated laity in Irish Christian society.

He is personally described as "A man well-formed, with powerful frame; his skin was white, his face broad and fair and radiant, lit up with large, gray, luminous eyes..." (Curtayne). Saint Adamnan, his biographer wrote of him: "He had the face of an angel; he was of an excellent nature, polished in speech, holy in deed, great in counsel...loving unto all." It is clear that Columba's temperament changed dramatically during his life. In his early years he was intemperate and probably inclined to violence. He was extremely stern and harsh with his monks, but towards the end he seems to have softened. Columba had great qualities and was gay and lovable, but his chief virtue lay in the conquest of his own passionate nature and in the love and sympathy that flowed from his eager and radiant spirit.

On June 8, 597, Columba was copying out the psalms once again. At the verse, "They that love the Lord shall lack no good thing," he stopped, and said that his cousin, Saint Baithin must do the rest. Columba died the next day at the foot of the altar. He was first buried at Iona, but 200 years later the Danes destroyed the monastery.
His relics were translated to Dunkeld in 849, where they were visited by pilgrims, including Anglo-Saxons of the 11th century.

Columba died was the same year in which Saint Gregory the Great sent Saint Augustine of Canterbury to convert England.
Perhaps because the Roman party gained ascendancy at the Synod of Whitby, much of the credit that belongs to Saint Columba and his followers for the conversion of Britain has been attributed to Augustine. It should not be forgotten that both saints played important roles.

Saint Columba is also important as patron of the Knights of Saint Columba,
known in the United States as the Knights of Columbus and by other names in various parts of the world.

Like Saint Malachy, whose apocryphal prophecies concerning the succession of popes are universally known, Saint Columba left a series of predictions about the future of Ireland. These were published in 1969 by Peter Blander under the title, The Prophecies of Saint Malachy and Saint Columbkille (4th ed. 1979, Colin Smythe, Gerrards Cross Buckshire).

Unsurprisingly, devotion to Columba is especially strong in Derry. On April 13, the king signed the Catholic Emancipation Act in London. On that same day in Derry, the statue of a Protestant leader of the siege of Derry, which stood on the city walls was smashed apart of its own accord. The destruction of this symbol of dominion was attributed to the intercession of Saint Columba (Anderson, Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Gill, Menzies, Montague, Simpson).

The following legends about Saint Columba are the gentlest things recorded about the heroic and tempestuous abbot who founded Iona. The countryside where he was fathered is Gartan in Donegal, at the ingoing of the mountains and the great lake; a gentle countryside, and more apt a birthplace for the bird than the saint. The life written about 690 by Saint Adamnan, himself an Irishman and an abbot of Iona, is a rugged piece of work: but the deathdays of Saint Columba, and the crowding torches that discovered him dying in the dark before the high altar at midnight on June 9, are one of the tidemarks in medieval prose. The work itself owes much to Adamnan's imagination and more to unreliable sources, but it is a primarily a narrative of the miracles worked through Columba.

In the first story Columba bids his brother monk to go in three days to a far hilltop and wait, "'For when the third hour before sunset is past, there shall come flying from the northern coasts of Ireland a stranger guest, a crane, wind tossed and driven far from her course in the high air; tired out and weary she will fall upon the beach at thy feet and lie there, her strength nigh gone. Tenderly lift her and carry her to the steading near by; make her welcome there and cherish her with all care for three days and nights; and when the three days are ended, refreshed and loath to tarry longer with us in our exile, she shall take flight again towards that old sweet land of Ireland whence she came, in pride of strength once more. And if I commend her so earnestly to thy charge, it is that in the countryside where thou and I were reared, she too was nested.'"

The brother obeyed and all happened as Columba had foretold. "And on his return that evening to the monastery the Saint spoke to him, not as one questioning but as one speaks of a thing past. 'May God bless thee, my son,' said he, 'for thy kind tending of this pilgrim guest; that shall make no long stay in her exile, but when three suns have set shall turn back to her own land.'" And so it happened (Adamnan; also in Curtayne).

The second story recalls how Columba's heart would be touched when he saw a sad child. From time to time he would leave Iona to preach to the Picts of Scotland. "Once he visited a Pictish ruler who was also a druid, or pagan priest. When he was there he noticed a thin little girl with a face like a ghost. He asked who she was and was told that she was just a slave from Ireland. The way it was said seemed to mean: 'Why do you ask such silly questions? Who cares who she is, as long as she brushes and scrubs and does what she is told?'

"Columcille was troubled; he could see plainly that the little girl was miserable. So he asked the druid to give her freedom and he would get her home to Ireland. The druid refused. Columcille went away with a picture of an unhappy little girl in his mind.
"Shortly afterward, the important druid became ill; there was nobody near to tell him what to do to get well so he sent for the Abbot of Iona, who had a great reputation for curing people. Columcille did not leave Iona but sent a message back that he would cure the druid if he let the little girl free.
"The druid was angry and again refused. 'What on earth is he troubling himself for about that little bit of a good-for-nothing?' grumbled the druid as he tossed about in bed. But the messenger had hardly left for Iona with the refusal when the druid got worse; he had much pain and he thought he would die. So he sent off another message to Columcille: 'Yes, you can have the slave-girl, only come and do something for me. I am very bad and will die if you don't come soon.'"
Columcille, however, did not trust the priest, so he sent two of his monks to bring the girl back. When the girl was safe, Columcille set out for the druid's house and cured him of his sickness (Curtayne).

Anther story occurs in May, when Columba set out in a cart to visit the brethren at their work. He found them busy in the western fields and said, 'I had a great longing on me this April just now past, in the high days of the Easter feast, to go to the Lord Christ; and it was granted me by Him, if I so willed. But I would not have the joy of your feast turned into mourning, and so I willed to put off the day of my going from the world a little longer.' The monks were saddened to hear this and Columba tried to cheer them. He blessed the island and islanders and returned in his cart to the monastery.

On that Saturday, the venerable old saint and his faithful Diarmid went to bless a barn and two heaps of grain stored therein. Then with a gesture of thanksgiving, he spoke, 'Truly, I give my brethren at home joy that this year, if so be I might have to go somewhere away from you, you will have what provision will last you the year.'

Diarmid was grieved to hear this again and the saint promised to share his secret. "'In the Holy Book this day is called the Sabbath, which is, being interpreted, rest. And truly is this day my Sabbath, for it is the last day for me of this present toilsome life, when from all weariness of travail I shall take my rest, and at midnight of this Lord's Day that draws n, I shall, as the Scripture saith, go the way of my fathers. For now my Lord Jesus Christ hath deigned to invite me; and to Him, I say, at this very midnight and at His own desiring, I shall go. For so it was revealed to me by the Lord Himself.' At this sad hearing his man began bitterly to weep, and the Saint tried to comfort him as best he might.

"And so the Saint left the barn, and took the road back to the monastery; and halfway there sat down to rest. Afterwards on that spot they set a cross, planted upon a millstone, and it is to be seen by the roadside to this day. And as the Saint sat there, a tired old man taking his rest awhile, up runs the white horse, his faithful servitor that used to carry the milk pails, and coming up to the Saint he leaned his head against his breast and began to mourn, knowing as I believe from God Himself--for to God every animal is wise in the instinct his Maker hath given him--that his master was soon to go from him, and that he would see his face no more. And his tears ran down as a man's might into the lap of the Saint, and he foamed as he wept.

"Seeing it, Diarmid would have driven the sorrowing creature away, but the Saint prevented him, saying, 'Let be, let be, suffer this lover of mine to shed on my breast the tears of his most bitter weeping. Behold, you that are a man and have a reasonable soul could in no way have known of my departing if I had not but now told you; yet to this dumb and irrational beast, his Creator in such fashion as pleased Him has revealed that his master is to go from him.' And so saying, he blessed the sad horse that had served him, and it turned again to its way" (Adamnan; also in Curtayne).

In art, Saint Columba is depicted with a basket of bread and an orb of the world in a ray of light. He might also be pictured with an old, white horse (Roeder). He is venerated in Dunkeld and as the Apostle of Scotland (Roeder) .

THE most famous of Scottish saints, Columba, was actually an Irishman of the UI Néill of the North and was born, probably about the year 521, at Gartan in County Donegal. On both sides he was of royal lineage, for his father Fedhlimidh, or Phelim, was great-grandson to Niall of the Nine Hostages, overlord of Ireland, whilst his mother Eithne, besides being related to the princes of Scottish Dalriada, was herself descended from a king of Leinster. At his baptism, which was administered by his foster father the priest Cruithnechan, the little boy received the name of Coim, Colum or Columba. In later life he was commonly called Colmcille—a designation which Bede derives from cella et Columba, and be his home for the rest of his life and which was to be famous throughout western Christendom for centuries. His kinsman Conall, king of Scottish Dairiada, at whose invitation he may have come to Scotland, made over the land to him. Situated opposite the border between the Picts of the north and the Scots of the south, Iona formed an ideal centre for missions to both peoples. At first Columba appears to have devoted his missionary effort to teaching the imperfectly instructed Christians of Dalriada—most of whom were of Irish descent—but after about two years he turned his attention to the evangelization of the Scotland Picts. Accompanied by St Comgall and St Canice he made his way to the castle of the redoubtable King Brude at Inverness.
That pagan monarch had given orders that they were not to be admitted, but when St Columba upraised his arm to make the sign of the cross, bolts were withdrawn, gates fell open, and the strangers entered unhindered. Impressed by their supernatural powers the king listened to their words and ever afterwards held Columba in high honour. He also, as overlord, confirmed him in the possession of Iona. We know from St Adamnan that two or three times the saint crossed the mountain range which divides the west of Scotland from the east and that his missionary zeal took him to Ardnamurchan, to Skye, to Kintyre, to Loch Ness and to Lochaber, and perhaps to Morven. He is commonly credited, furthermore, with having planted the Church in Aberdeenshire and with having evangelized practically the whole of Pictland, but this has been contested on various grounds. When the descendants of the Dalriada kings became the rulers of Scotland they were naturally eager to magnify St Columba and a tendency may well have arisen to bestow upon him the laurels won by other missionaries from Iona and elsewhere.
Columba never lost touch with Ireland. In 575 he attended the synod of Drumceat in Meath in company with Conall’s successor Aidan, and there he was successful in defending the status and privileges of his Dalriada kinsfolk, in vetoing the proposed abolition of the order of bards, and in securing for women exemption from all military service. He was in Ireland again ten years later, and in 587 he seems to have been regarded as in some way responsible for another battle—this time at Cuil Feda, near Clonard. When not engaged on missionary or diplomatic expeditions his headquarters continued to be at Iona, where he was visited by persons of all conditions, some desiring spiritual or bodily help, some attracted by his reputation for sanctity, his miracles and his prophecies. His manner of life was most austere; and in his earlier life he was apt to be no less hard with others. Montalembert remarked that, “Of all qualities, gentleness was precisely the one in which Columba failed the most”.. But with the passage of time his character mellowed and the picture painted by St Adamnan of his serene old age shows him in a singularly attractive light, a lover of man and beast. Four years before his death he had an illness which threatened to prove fatal, but his life was prolonged in answer to the prayers of the community. As his strength began to fail he spent much time transcribing books. On the day before his death he was copying the Psalter, and had written, “They that love the Lord shall lack no good thing”, when he paused and said, “ Here I must stop let Baithin do the rest”.. Baithin was his cousin whom he had nominated as his successor.
That night when the monks came to the church for Matins, they found their beloved abbot outstretched helpless and dying before the altar. As his faithful attendant Diarmaid gently upraised him he made a feeble effort to bless his brethren and then immediately breathed his last. Columba was indeed dead, but his  influence lasted on, extended until it came to dominate the churches of Scotland, Ireland and Northumbria. For three-quarters of a century and more, Celtic Christians in those lands upheld Columban traditions in certain matters of order and ritual in opposition to those of Rome itself, and the rule Columba had drawn up for his monks was followed in many of the monasteries of western Europe until it was superseded by the milder ordinances of St Benedict.
Adamnan, St Columba’s biographer, had not personally known him, for he was born at least thirty years after his death, but as his kinsman by blood and a successor in the office of abbot at Iona itself, he must have been steeped in the traditions which such a personality could not fail to have created for those who followed in his footsteps. The portrait of Columba left by Adamnan in any case deserves to be quoted. “He had the face of an angel; he was of an excellent nature, polished in speech, holy in deed, great in counsel. He never let a single hour pass without engaging in prayer or reading or writing or some other occupation. He endured the hardships of fasting and vigils without intermission by day and night, the burden of a single one of his labours would seem beyond the powers of man. And, in the midst of all his toils, he appeared loving unto all, serene and holy, rejoicing in the joy of the Holy Spirit in his inmost heart.” And Columba’s prophetical last blessing of the Isle of Iona came true: “ Unto this place, small and mean though it be, great homage shall yet be paid, not only by the kings and peoples of the Scots, but by the rulers of barbarous and distant nations with their peoples. The saints, also, of other churches shall regard it with no common reverence.”
The most important source, but not nearest in point of time, is undoubtedly Adamnan.  J. T. Fowler’s revised edition of 1920 supplies the best text, but Reeves’s text and notes are also valuable, and there is a translation by Wentworth Huyshe (1939). Two Latin lives of Irish origin, neither of them complete, are in the Codex Salmanticensis. They have been printed by the Bollandists, and besides these there are three Irish lives, all of which are described with references by C. Plummer, in Miscellanea Hagiographica Hibernica. Another valuable source is the Ecclesiastical History of Bede. But for a general view of the materials J. F. Kenney’s Sources for the Early History of Ireland should above all be consulted, and also his article in the Catholic Historical Review (Washington, D.C., 1926), pp. 636—644. A notable increase in the number of books and articles devoted to St Columba was no doubt due to the writings of Dr W. D. Simpson (notably The Historical St Columba, 1927, and The Celtic Church in Scotland, 1935), who threw doubt upon the claim made for Columba that he was the true apostle of the north of Scotland. Dr Simpson’s views roused active opposition, on which see P. Grosjean ia the Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xlvi (1928), pp. 197—199 and vol. liv (1936), pp. 408—412; L. Gougaud in Scottish Gaelic Studies, vol. ii (1927), pp. 106—108, and J. Ryan in The Month, October, 1927, pp. 314—320. Cf. Leclercq under "Iona" in DAC., vol. vii, cc. 1425 seq. and Analecta Bollandiana, vol. lv (1937), pp. 96—108; and for how the name I, Y or Hi, became Iooa, see Plummer’s Bede, vol. ii, p. 127.
598 St. Baithin Abbot cousin of St. Columba

Also listed as Comm or Cominus in some lists. Baithin was abbot of Tiree Abbey in Ireland, succeeding St. Columba as abbot of lona in Scotland in 597. He wrote about his saintly cousin and is said to have died on the anniversary of St. Columba's death.

Baithin of Iona, Abbot (AC) (also known as Comin, Cominus) Saint Baithin, first cousin of Saint Columba, succeeded Columba as abbot of Iona. He is said to have died on the anniversary of his cousin's death (Benedictines, Encyclopedia)
717 St. Cummian 8th century Benedictine bishop of Ireland, also called Cumian or Cummin. He traveled to Bobbio, in Italy, and remained there as a monk.

8th v. Saint Cumian of Bobbio Irish bishop monk  ardent advocate of the Roman observances OSB B (AC)

(also known as Cummian, Cummin) Died early 8th century. Saint Cumian was an Irish bishop who in his wanderings through Italy visited and remained in Bobbio as a monk. By this time Bobbio was already a Benedictine abbey; Cumian himself was an ardent advocate of the Roman observances (Benedictines)
1196 St. Richard of Andria Bishop of Andria, Italy and patron of that see known for miracles and his extraordinary sanctity
Andriæ, in Apúlia, sancti Richárdi, qui fuit primus ejúsdem civitátis Epíscopus, et miráculis cláruit.
    At Andria in Apulia, St. Richard, first bishop of that city, who is famed for his miracles.
ALL the records agree that the St Richard who is commemorated on June 9 was an Englishman and that he was the first bishop of Andria in Apulia. His reputed "acts", however, are spurious and the very period at which he flourished is uncertain. Local tradition asserts that he came from Rome to Andria in 453, when Attila was ravaging Italy, that he was elected bishop and that he was one of the three prelates commissioned by Pope St Gelasius I to dedicate the sanctuary on Monte Gargano after the famous vision of St Michael. On the other hand, there is no evidence of the existence of a bishopric at Andria before 1118 and it is certain that the English (Britons?) were still, for the most part, heathen in the fifth century. It seems more reasonable to identify to-day's saint with the Bishop Richard of Andria who attended the third Council of the Lateran in 1179 and who translated the relics of SS. Erasmus and Pontian from Civitella to Andria in 1196. He may possibly have owed his elevation to the episcopate to Pope Adrian IV, himself an Englishman. The remains of St Richard, which had been long lost, were discovered in 1434 with documents testifying to his ancient cultus, and Eugenius IV consented to its revival and continuance. St Richard, or Riccardo, is the principal patron of Andria.
The so-called life of St Richard has been printed by Ughelli, ltalia Sacra, vol. vii, cc. 1248-1255; and see also the Acta Sanctorum, June, vol. ii. In comparatively recent years the whole subject has been soberly discussed by R. Zagaria, San Ricardo nella legenda, nella storia. (1929); and cf. the Analecta Bollandiana, vol. I (1932), pp. 206-207.

He is believed to have been an Englishman appointed to Andria by Pope Adrian IV, who was likewise from England. He attended the third general council of the Lateran in 1179. There was also a legend about an Englishman named Richard who became the first bishop of Andria, appointed by Pope St. Gelasius II.

Richard of Andria B (RM) Born in England; died after 1196. The English Saint Richard became bishop of Andria in Italy. He was known for miracles and his extraordinary sanctity. The date of his life is often erroneously given as 5th century; however, no bishop is recorded in that see prior to the 8th century and the English were not converted before the 7th century (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth)
1222 Bl. Diana family found a Dominican convent in 1222 for her, staffed with Diana four companions four nuns brought from Rome, two - Cecilia and Amata
WHEN St Dominic sought a wider field for the activities of his order in Italy, he made special choice of Bologna because he foresaw that its famous university would provide him with the kind of recruits he desired. A suitable site for a priory was found, but strong opposition was encountered from the powerful d'Andalo family who owned the land. Eventually they yielded to the earnest entreaties of Andalo's only daughter Diana, who from the first coming of the friars had listened eagerly to their preaching. St Dominic privately received her vow of virginity, together with an undertaking that she would enter the religious life as soon as possible. For some time she continued to live at home, rising very early for her devotions and practising penance. She had anticipated being able to persuade her family to found a convent for Dominican nuns which she could enter, but when she broached the subject her father absolutely refused to consider it or to allow her to become a religious. She then took the law into her own hands. On the pretext of paying them a visit she went to the Augustinian canonesses at Roxana and induced them to give her the veil.
As soon as this became known, her family went in force to fetch her, so much violence being employed that one of her ribs was broken in the scuffle. She was taken home and kept in close confinement, but after she had recovered she managed to escape and to return to Roxana. No further attempts seem to have been made to interfere with her. Indeed, Bd Jordan of Saxony so completely won over Andalo and his sons that they helped him to found a small convent for Dominican nuns; and there in 1222, Diana and four companions were installed. As they were quite inexperienced in the religious life, four nuns were obtained from the convent of San Sisto in Rome. Two of these, Cecilia and Amata, are always associated with Diana: they were buried in her tomb and were beatified with her in 1891.
Nothing else is known of Amata, but Cecilia was a member of the noble Roman family of the Cesarini and was a remarkable woman. When she was a girl of seventeen in the convent at the Trastevere before its removal to San Sisto, she had been the first of the nuns to respond to St Dominic's efforts to reform them, and she it was who persuaded the abbess and the other sisters to submit to his rule. Having been the first woman-so, at least, it is said-to receive the Dominican habit, she was well fitted to govern the convent of St Agnes at Bologna in its early days.
Bd Jordan had a special affection for the little community and kept up an active correspondence with Diana. Frequently in his letters he attributes the progress of the order in a great measure to their prayers; his one apprehension is that they may be overtaxing their strength by their austerities. Bd Diana died on January 9, 1236, at about the age of thirty-five. Cecilia survived her by many years and as an old woman dictated her reminiscences of St Dominic. They contain a simple and graphic pen portrait of the holy founder himself.
There is a Latin biography of Bd Diana which will be found printed in the volume of H. M. Cormier, La bse Diane d'Andalo (1892). Bd Jordan's letters were re-edited in 1925 by B. Altaner, Die Briefe Jordans von Sachsen, and there is a French translation of the letters written to Bd Diana, produced by M. Aron in 1924. See also M. C. de Ganay, Les Bienheureuses Dominicaines (1913), pp. 23-48; Procter, Lives of the Dominican Saints, pp. 168-170; and N. Georges, Bd Diana and Bd Jordan (1933).
A member of the d'Andalo family, Diana was born near Bologna Italy, and convinced her father to withdraw his opposition to the founding of a Dominican priory on land he owned in Bologna. Dominic received her vow of virginity, but she was forced to remain at home by her family.
Later she joined the Augustinians at Roxana but was forcibly removed from the convent by her family. She was injured in the struggle but later escaped and returned to Roxana. Sometime later Blessed Jordan of Saxony convinced the family to found a Dominican convent in 1222 for her, staffed with Diana and four companions and four nuns brought from Rome, two of them Cecilia and Amata. Diana died on January 9, and when Cecilia and Amata died, they were buried with her. All three were beatified in 1891. Feast day is June 9th
13 th v. Blessed Diana, Caecilia, and Amata first members of Saint Agnes Dominican Convent in Bologna OP VV (AC)

Beatified in 1891. Diana, Caecilia, and Amata were the first members of Saint Agnes Dominican Convent in Bologna, Italy. They all knew Saint Dominic personally. Little is known of Sister Amata except that she was a good friend of Saint Dominic, who, according to legend, gave her the name Amata ('beloved'). Dominic either sent her to the reformed convent of Saint Sixtus when the nuns left Saint Mary's across the Tiber during a time of drastic reform, or he was instrumental in allowing her to stay there. There was an Amata from whom Dominic cast out seven devils, but it was probably not this Amata.

Caecilia Caesarini was a high-spirited young Roman of an ancient family; she threw her considerable influence into the reform movement at the time Saint Dominic was attempting to get the sisters into Saint Sixtus and under a strict rule. When the saint came to speak to the sisters at Saint Mary's, it was Caecilia (then 17) who urged the prioress to support his cause. She was the first to throw herself at Dominic's feet and beg for the habit and the rule he was advocating, and her hand is evident in the eventual working out of the touchy situation. In 1224, Caecilia and three other sisters from Saint Sixtus, including Amata, went to Saint Agnes in Bologna to help with the new foundation. Sister Caecilia was the first prioress there and proved to be a very strict one.

Caecilia is responsible for relating nearly everything now known about the personal appearance and habits of Saint Dominic. In her extreme old age, she was asked by Theodore of Apoldia to give him all the details of the saint's personality, and all that she could recall of the early days of the order, so that he could record them for posterity. Though nearly 90, her memory was keen and specific. She recalled how Dominic used his hands, the precise shade of his hair, the exact line of his tonsure. If she erred, there were still people alive who could have corrected her, though there was probably no one with her descriptive power left to tell the tale.

Through a woman's eyes, she saw the founder from a different angle than his fellow preachers were apt to see, and remarked on his gentleness with the sisters, and the little touches of thoughtfulness so characteristic of him. While the men who worked with him would recall his great mind and his penances, and appreciate the structural beauty of the order he had founded, Caecilia saw the glow of humanity that so many historians miss.

The most colorful of the three was Sister Diana, the spoiled and beautiful daughter of the d'Andalo and Carbonesi families of Bologna, who lost her heart to the ideal of the Dominicans when listening to Reginald of Orléans preach. She espoused the cause of the friars, who were new in Bologna, and begged her father until she obtained from him the church of Saint Nicholas of the Vineyards, of which he had the patronage.

Having established the brethren, she wanted a convent of the Dominican sisters in Bologna. When Saint Dominic came there on his last journey, she talked with him, and all her worries departed. She knelt at his feet and made a vow to enter the Dominicans as soon as it should be possible to build a convent at Bologna. Saint Dominic, going away to Venice on a trip from which he would only return to die, made sure before leaving that the brethren understood about Diana. Four of the fathers from the community of Saint Nichola were under obedience to see that her convent was built.

In the meantime, Diana's father refused her permission to enter the convent. Stealing a leaf from the life of Saint Clare, she ran away to the Augustinians outside the city. In full armor, her brothers came after he, and Diana was returned, battered but unconvinced, to the paternal home. She nursed a number of broken ribs and several explosive ideas in silence.

The death of Saint Dominic was a great grief to Diana, as she was still living in a state of siege at home, waiting for some action on the question of the new convent. However, she soon acquired a new friend, who was to be her greatest joy in the years of her mortal life--Jordan of Saxony, master general of the order following Dominic. Jordan, as provincial of Lombardy, inherited the job of building the Bologna convent, but his relations with Diana were not to be merely mundane. Their friendship, of which we have the evidence in Jordan's letters, is a tribute to the beauty of all friendship, and a pledge of its place in religious life.

Diana was resourceful. She made another attempt to elope to the convent. This time her family gave up in despair. She remained peacefully with the Augustinians until the new convent was built. In 1223, Diana and several other young women received the Dominican habit from Jordan of Saxony. Diana was the prioress for a time, but perhaps Jordan felt that she was too volatile for ruling others, because, as soon as the sisters came from Saint Sixtus, he established Sister Caecilia as prioress. Diana, who was used to being not only her own boss, but the one who gave orders to others, seems to have made no protest.

If we had the letters written by Diana, we should possess a fascinating picture of the early years of the order and the people who made it what it is. We are indebted to Diana for what we do have of the correspondence, for she carefully saved all of Jordan's letters. They tell us of the progress made by the friars in various lands, and ask her to remind the sisters to pray for the missionaries. Jordan counts the successes when many good novices have come into the order, begging her prayers in the low moments when promising novices leave.

More than this, these are letters of spiritual direction, which should give a pattern to all such correspondence, for they infer that Diana is a willing and energetic Christian who will follow the advice she is given, not simply keep the correspondence going for the joy of it.

Diana died in 1236. She was buried in the convent of Saint Agnes. Her remains were transferred when a new convent was built, and Sister Caecilia--who died 60 years later--was buried near her, along with Sister Amata. The relics were transferred several times, all three together. The head of Blessed Diana was placed in a reliquary near the tomb of Saint Dominic (Benedictines, Dorcy) .
13th v. St. John of Shavta The great Georgian hymnographer, philosopher, orator education at Gelati Academy monk and labored at Vardzia Monastery
queen Tamar

Vardzia Monastery Fresco from
He labored in the 12th and 13th centuries, during the reign of the holy queen Tamar. Few details of his life have been preserved, but we know that he received his education at Gelati Academy, where he studied theology, ancient and Arabic history, philosophy, and literature. He was later tonsured a monk and labored at Vardzia Monastery.

When the Georgian army under the command of Queen Tamar’s husband, Davit Soslan, entered into battle (The Battle of Basiani (ca. 1203)) with the sultan Rukn al-Din, Queen Tamar journeyed to Odzrkhe Monastery to pray for help. Catholicos Tevdore of Kartli and many hierarchs and monastics accompanied her there.
Among them, St. John of Shavta stood out as a wise theologian and philosopher and a brilliant hymnographer.

During the Liturgy at Odzrkhe Monastery a miracle occurred: endowed by God with the gift of prophecy, St. Eulogius the Fool for-Christ fell to his knees, lifted his hands to the heavens and cried out:
“Glory to God! Almighty Christ!…Do not fear the Persians, but rather depart in peace, for the mercy of God has descended upon the house of Tamar!”

Eulogius’s words were clearly a divine revelation. St. John of Shavta turned to Queen Tamar, rejoicing,
“Your Highness! The Almighty has made known to us our victory in the war from the lips of a fool-for-Christ!”

Eulogius confided his secret to St. John: disguised as a fool, he had been concealing his God-given gift. But now it seemed that the gift would become apparent to all, so Eulogius quickly disappeared out of sight to escape the people’s attention.

St. John of Shavta composed his “Hymns to the Theotokos of Vardzia” in thanksgiving for Georgia’s victory in the Battle of Basiani.
He is also recognized as the composer of “Abdul-Messiah,” (Abdul-Messiah: servant of Christ.) a famous ode to the holy queen Tamar.
Our Holy Father John of Shavta lived to an advanced age and was canonized soon after his repose.

<1427 Saint Cyril, Igumen of White Lake
In the world Cosmas born in Moscow of pious parents. In his youth he was left an orphan and lived with his kinsman, the boyar (nobleman) Timothy Vasil'evich Vel'yaminov, in the surroundings of the court of the Great Prince Demetrius Donskoy (1363-1389). Secular life bored the youth. At the request of Stephen of Makhra (July 14), Cosmas was dismissed to the Simonov monastery, where he took vows under Theodore (November 28) with the name Cyril.

Cyril fulfilled his monastic obediences under the guidance of the Elder Michael, who afterwards was Bishop of Smolensk. By night the Elder read the Psalter, and Cyril bowed making prostrations, but at the first ringing of the bell he went to Matins.

He asked the Elder permission to partake of food every second or third day. The experienced Elder did not allow this, but blessed him instead to eat with the brethren, only not to the extent of satiety. Cyril carried out his obedience in the bakery: he carried water, chopped firewood, and distributed bread. When St Sergius of Radonezh came to the Simonov monastery to see his nephew Theodore, he would seek Cyril in the bakery and converse with him about spiritual matters before seeing anyone else.

They transferred Cyril from the bakery to the kitchen. He gazed into the burning fire and told himself, "Beware, Cyril, lest you fall into fire eternal". Cyril toiled for nine years in the kitchen and God granted him such tender emotion, that he was not able to eat the bread he baked without tears, blessing the Lord.

Fleeing the glory of man, he began to act as a fool-for-Christ. As punishment for transgressing against propriety, the Superior of the monastery placed him on bread and water for forty days. Cyril underwent this punishment with joy. But the saint could not conceal his spirituality, and the experienced Elders understood him. Against his will they compelled him to accept ordination to the priesthood. When he was not serving in church, Cyril occupied himself with heavy work. When Theodore was made Archbishop of Rostov, the brethren chose Cyril as archimandrite of the monastery in 1388.

Rich and important people began to visit the monk to hear his guidance. This disturbed the humble spirit of the saint. Despite the entreaties of the brethren, he would not remain as abbot, but secluded himself in his former cell. Even here frequent visitors disturbed him, and he crossed over to old Simonovo.

St Cyril's soul yearned for solitude, and he asked the Mother of God to show him a place conducive for salvation. One night he was reading an Akathist in his cell before the Hodigitria icon of the Mother of God, and had just reached the eighth Kontakion, "Seeing the strange Nativity, let us become strangers to the world and transport our minds to heaven." Then he heard a voice say, "Go to White Lake (Belozersk), where I have prepared a place for you."

There at the desolate and sparsely populated White Lake, he found the place which he had seen in the vision. St Cyril and his companion St Therapon of White Lake and Mozhaisk (May 27), set up a cross and dug a cell in the ground near Mount Myaura at Siversk Lake.

St Therapon soon went to another place, and St Cyril remained where he was. However, he was not able to live in his underground cell for even one year.

Once Cyril, troubled by a strange dream, lay down to sleep under a pine tree, but just as he closed his eyes, he heard a voice cry, "Run, Cyril!" Cyril only just managed to jump away as the pine tree came crashing down. From this pine tree the ascetic made a cross.
Another time Cyril nearly perished from flames and smoke when it cleared away the forest, but God preserved His saint. A certain peasant attempted to burn down the cell of the monk, but as much as he tried, he did not succeed. Then having repented with tears, he confessed his sin to Cyril, who tonsured him into monasticism.

Two monks Cyril loved, Zebediah and Dionysius, came to him from Simonov monastery, and then Nathanael, who afterwards was steward of the monastery. Many began to come to the monk seeking to be tonsured. The holy Elder perceived that his time of silence was ended. In the year 1397 he constructed a temple in honor of the Dormition of the Mother of God.

When the number of brethren had multiplied, the monk gave the monastery a Rule of cenobitic life, which he sanctified by the example of his own life. Thus, no one could talk in church, and no one could leave before the end of services. They also came to venerate the Gospel according to seniority. At meals they sat each at their own place, and there was silence. From the trapeza, each went quietly to his own cell. No one was able to receive either letters or gifts without having shown them to Cyril, nor did anyone write a letter without his blessing.

Money was kept in the monastery treasury, and no one had any personal possessions. They went to the trapeza even to drink water. The cells were not locked, and nothing was kept in them but icons and books. In the final years of Cyril's life, the boyar (nobleman) Roman decided to give the monastery a village and sent the deed. Cyril knew that if the monastery came to possess a village, then the brethren would become concerned about the land, settlements would disrupt the monastic solitude, and so he refused the gift.

The Lord rewarded His saint with the gift of clairvoyance and healing. A certain Theodore desired to enter the monastery, but the Enemy of mankind instilled in him such hatred for Cyril that he could not look at the saint, nor listen to the sound of his voice. He approached Cyril's cell and, seeing his grey hair, he was not able to say a word from shame. The saint said to him, "Don't be sad, my brother, for all are mistaken about me. You alone know the truth and my unworthiness. I am actually a worthless sinner." Then Cyril blessed Theodore, promising that he would not be troubled by such thoughts in the future. From that time Theodore lived at peace in the monastery.

One time there was no wine for Divine Liturgy, and the priest told the saint about this. Cyril ordered a monk to bring him the empty wine vessel, which he opened full of wine. During a time of famine Cyril distributed bread to all the needy and he did not stop, even though the normal reserves hardly sufficed for the brethren. Despite this, the more bread was distributed, the more it increased. The monks then realized that God would provide for their needs, through the prayers of Cyril.

The saint calmed a storm on the lake which threatened the fishermen. He predicted that none of the brethren would die until after his death, despite a plague that would rage. Then many would follow after him.

The saint served his final Divine Liturgy on the day of PentecoHaving giving final instructions to the brethren to preserve love among themselves, Cyril reposed in the ninetieth year of his life on June 9, 1427 on the Feast day of his namesake Cyril, Archbishop of Alexandria. Within a year after the saint's death, more than thirty of the fifty-three brethren died. The monk often appeared to the survivors in dreams to offer advice and guidance.

Cyril loved spiritual enlightenment and he instilled this love in his disciples. In 1635 there were more than two thousand books in the monastery, including sixteen "of the Wonderworker Cyril." Three letters of the monk to Russian princes survive down to our time. They are remarkable specimens of his spiritual instruction and guidance, love, love of peace and consolation.

The veneration of the holy ascetic began not later than 1447-1448. The Life of Saint Cyril was commissioned by Metropolitan Theodosius and Great Prince Basil the Dark. It was written by the Athonite monk Pachomius the Logothete, who dwelt at the Cyrilov monastery in 1462 and met with many eyewitnesses and disciples of Cyril. He learned the most from Martinian (January 12), who had lived with the saint from his youth.

The Monk Kirill (Cyril), Hegumen of Beloezersk, (in the world Kosma) was born in Moscow of pious parents. In his youthful years he was left an orphan and lived with his kinsman, the boyar (nobleman) Timofei Vasil'evich Vel'yaminov, in the surroundings of the court of the GreatPrince Dimitrii Donskoi (1363-1389). Secular life bored the youth. At the request of the Monk Stephan of Makhrisch (+ 1406, Comm. 14 July), Kosma was dismissed to the Simonov monastery, where he took vows under Saint Theodore (+ 1395, Comm. 28 November) -- with the name Kirill. The Monk Kirill fulfilled his monastic obediences under the guidance of the starets (elder) Michael, who afterwards was Bishop of Smolensk. By night the elder read the Psalter, and the Monk Kirill bowed making poklons, but at the first clang of the bell he went to matins. He asked the elder permission to partake of food every 2nd or 3rd day, but the experienced elder did not allow this, but blessed him rather to eat with the brethren, only not to the extent of being full. The Monk Kirill carried out his obedience in the bread-bakery: he carried water, chopped firewood, and distributed bread. When the Monk Sergei of Radonezh came to the Simonov monastery, he then before any others visited and affectionately conversed with the Monk Kirill. They transferred the Monk Kirill from the bread-bakery to the kitchen, and the saint told himself, gazing at the burning fire: "Beware, Kirill, lest thou fall into the fire eternal". The Monk Kirill toiled for nine years in the kitchen and he attained to such tender emotion, that he was not able to eat bread without tears, blessing the Lord. Fleeing the glory of man, the monk at times began to be a fool-for-Christ. In punishment for the transgressing of propriety, the monastery head punished him on bread and water for 40 days; the Monk Kirill underwent this punishment with joy. But the saint could not conceal his spirituality, and the experienced elders understood him and against his will they compelled him to accept the dignity of priest-monk. During free time from services, the Monk Kirill took himself a turn as novice and occupied himself with heavy work. When Saint Theodore was ordained archbishop of Rostov, the brethren in 1390 chose the Monk Kirill as archimandrite of the monastery.

Rich and important people began to visit the monk to hear his guidance. This disturbed the humble spirit of the saint, and he despite the entreaty of the brethren would not remain head of the monastery, but rather secluded himself in his former cell. But even here frequent visitors troubled the monk, and he crossed over to old Simonovo. The soul of the Monk Kirill yearned for quietude, and he prayed the Mother of God to show him a place, conducive for salvation. One time at night, reading as always an akathist before the Hodigetria icon of the Mother of God, he heard a voice: "Go to Beloozero (White Lake), there is the place for thee".

At the Beloezero lakeside, then desolate and sparsely populated, he long went in search of the place, which in the vision was destined for his dwelling. In the surroundings of Mount Myaura at Siversk Lake, he together with his companion the Monk Pherapont (Comm. 27 May), set up a cross and dug up the ground.

The Monk Pherapont soon set off for another place, and the Monk Kirill pursued asceticism in his underground cell not even one year in solitude. One time Saint Kirill, troubled by a strange dream, lay down to sleep under a pine tree, but just hardly as he closed his eyes, he heard a voice: "Run, Kirill!" The Monk Kirill only just managed to jump away, as the pine tree came crashing down. From this pine tree the ascetic made a cross. Another time the Monk Kirill nearly perished from flames and smoke when it cleared away the forest, but God preserved His saint. A certain peasant attempted to burn down the cell of the monk, but as much as he tried, he did not succeed. Then having repented with tears, he confessed his sin to the Monk Kirill, who vowed him into monasticism.

To the monk there came from Simonov monastery the monks Zevedei and Dionysii, beloved by him, and then Nathanael, afterwards steward of the monastery. Many began to come to the monk and asked to be deemed worthy of monasticism. The holy elder perceived, that his time of silence was ended. In the year 1397 he constructed a temple in honour of the Uspenie (Dormition or Repose) of the Mother of God.

When the number of brethren had multiplied, the monk gave for the monastery an ustav (rule) of community-life, which he sanctified by the example of his own life. Thus, in church no one should make conversation, no one ought to leave from it before the end of services; and to the Gospel they came according to the eldest. At refectory meals they sat each at their own place, and in the refectory there was silence. From the refectory each went quietly to his own cell. No one was able to receive either letters or gifts, without having shown them to the Monk Kirill; without his blessing they did not write a letter. Money was kept in the monastery treasury, nor did anyone possess anything personal. Even to drink water they went to the refectory. The cells were not locked, and in them, besides icons and books, nothing was kept. In the final years of the Monk Kirill's life, the boyar (nobleman) Roman decided to gift the monastery with a village and sent off the deed of gift. The Monk Kirill discerned, that if the monastery came to possess a village, then for the brethren it would prompt concerns about the land, settlements would emerge to shatter the monastic quietude, and so he refused the gift.

The Lord rewarded His saint with the gift of perspicacity and healing. A certain Feodor, having entered into the monastery out of love for the monk, and then so hated him, that he could not look at the saint, felt impelled to leave the monastery. He approached the cell of the Monk Kirill and, glancing at his grey hair, from shame he was not able to say a word. The monk said to him: "Sorrow not, my brother, for all are mistaken about me; thou alone knowest the truth and all my unworthiness; I am actually a worthless sinner". Then the Monk Kirill blessed Feodor, and added that he should no more be troubled by such thought. From that time Feodor lived at peace in the monastery.

One time there was no wine for Divine Liturgy, and the sexton told the saint about this. The Monk Kirill gave commands to bring him the empty vessel, which he opened full of wine. During a time of famine the Monk Kirill distributed bread to all the needy, and he did not stop, despite that the normal reserves hardly sufficed for the brethren.

The monk tamed a storm on the lake, which threatened the fishermen, and he predicted that none of the brethren would die until his end, despite that a plague would rage, and afterwards many would follow after him.

The monk did his final Divine-services on the day of the Holy Trinity. Having giving final instructions to the brethren to preserve love amongst themselves, the Monk Kirill blessedly reposed in the 90th year of his life on 9 June 1427 -- on the same-name ("tezoimennie") day of memory with him of Saint Cyril, Archbishop of Alexandria. In the first year after the death of the monk -- from the 53 brethren 30 men died. The monk often appeared to the remaining in dreams with advice and guidance.

The Monk Kirill loved spiritual enlightenment and he brought this love to his disciples. Among the works at the monastery in 1635 there were numbered more than two-thousand books, among them sixteen "of the Wonderworker Kirill". Three letters of the monk to Russian princes, existing down to our time, reveal remarkable specimens of his spiritual instruction and guidance, love, love of peace and consolation.

The all-Russian veneration of the monk began not later than 1447-1448. The Life of Saint Kirill was written, commissioned by Metropolitan Theodosii and GreatPrince Vasilii Vasil'evich, by the priest-monk Pakhomii the Logothete, who dwelt at the Kirillov monastery in 1462 and met with many of the eye-witnesses and disciples of the Monk Kirill, in whose number was also the Monk Martinian (Comm. 12 January), at that time guiding the Ferapontov monastery.
1348 Blessed Silvester Ventura age of 40 he joined the Camaldolese at Santa Maria degli Angeli at Florence as a lay brother cook favored with ecstasies heavenly visions, angels were wont to come and cook for him spiritual advice was in great demand, OSB Cam. (AC)
A CARDER and bleacher of wool by trade, Bd Silvester (whose baptismal name was Ventura) was born near Florence. In middle life he came under the influence of a certain Brother Jordan, and at the age of forty he entered the Camaldolese monastery of St Mary in Florence as a lay-brother. There he was cook. Although he was totally uneducated, he was so liberally endowed with infused wisdom that he was often consulted by learned men, notably by Bd Simon of Cascia, who stated that he had been enlightened by him on at least one hundred abstruse theological points. The prior would frequently seek his advice, as did also the monks, who treasured up many of his wise sayings.
He used to dissuade them from undertaking extraordinary and prolonged penitential exercises as tending to pride; the discipline, he declared, should be taken with moderation, humility and devotion. When a monk told him that he was troubled with carnal thoughts, the holy man made light of it and remarked that it was only what was to be expected; but when another brother acknowledged that he had been murmuring, Silvester took the matter very seriously. He asked how he, a servant of Almighty God, could do such a thing and entreated him to cure himself of that vice in this life, that he might not have to atone for it in eternity.
He never learnt to read; but Silvester had so great a devotion to the Divine Office-which he could hear-that he expressed wonder that the hearts of men could remain unbroken at the sound of words so sweet and so sublime. In accordance with his own prediction, the good lay-brother passed away on the day that a beloved sister of the name of Paula died in the neighbouring convent of St Margaret. He was seventy years of age.
In the Acta Sanctorum, June, vol. ii, will be found a short life of Bd Silvester, translated from the Italian of Fr Zenobius, and also an interesting poem in the original Italian, recounting the more striking features of Bd Silvester's character and history.
Born in Florence, Italy; Silvester was a carder and bleacher of wool by trade. At the age of 40 he joined the Camaldolese at Santa Maria degli Angeli at Florence as a lay brother and served the community as cook. He was favored with ecstasies and heavenly visions, and the angels were wont to come and cook for him. His spiritual advice was in great demand (Benedictines)
1439 Alexander, Hegumen of Kushtsk, of Vologda, The Monk
Born about the year 1371 in Vologda, and in the world he had the name Alexei. He was vowed a monk at the Saviour-Stone (Spaso-Kamenni) monastery by the hegumen Dionysii Svyatogorets (i. e. Dionysii "of the Holy Mountain"), who brought the Athos ustav (rule) to the monastery. Here the Monk Alexander underwent all the aspects of obedience and strict fasting and was granted the dignity of priest-monk. He dwelt constantly at work and prayer. The brethren looked upon him as upon an Angel of God, and this troubled the Monk Alexander. He left the monastery secretly by night and came to the River Syazhem, where there was a thick forest and lake. Here he built himself a cell and lived life in prayer and extreme abstinence. But little by little people began to come to him. The Monk Alexander went from this place to the shore of Lake Kuben, at the mouth of the Kushta rivulet. Here at this time lived the Monk Evphymii (+ c. 1465, Comm. 11 April). Saint Alexander offered him to exchange cells. Saint Evphymii was agreeable and at parting left to the Monk Alexander his cross for blessing. The quiet wilderness was very dear to the Monk Alexander. Going to the lake, he immersed the cross in the water and prayed to God, that he would collect here those zealous of the way of the cross. After some time there came to the Monk Alexander a certain starets (elder), with whom he dwelt for 5 years. When a third brother arrived, the Monk Alexander decided to build a church in honour of the Uspenie (Dormition) of the Most Holy Mother of God. The saint set off to Rostov to Archbishop Dionysii (1418-1425), his former hegumen, who blessed the construction of the temple. One time, in the absence of the Zaozersk prince Dimitrii Vasil'evich the Tatars came, and five of them galloped up to the Kushtsk monastery. The Monk Alexander calmly met them and blessed with the cross. The Tatars fell down as though dead, and they lay senseless for several hours, after which time the Monk Alexander roused them from their numbness by the Name of the Life-Originating Trinity.

Upon the death of prince Dimitrii, his widow princess Maria, -- who quite revered the Monk Alexander, offered in remembrance of her husband a village for the aid of the monastery. One time she came to the monastery and went into the church, where the Monk Alexander, with a bare chest whereon insects made attack, read the Psalter. The monk seemed distressed by her visit and said: "It does not become thee, princess, to look upon our poverty". The princess humbly asked pardon. The monk blessed her, but said: "Nourish thy poverty at home". Having returned, the princess fell sick and came to ask prayers for recovery of health. But the Monk Alexander foresaw her end and said: "Be prepared for this life". Princess Maria died 20 days later.

Upon the monastery floor was gathered wheat. A certain peasant decided to steal a sack, but he was not able to lift it. The monk came upon him and said: "My son, thou dost lift in vain". The surprised thief threw himself at the feet of the saint, asking forgiveness, but the Monk Alexander ordered him to put in more wheat, and having admonished him in future not to take away from others, he blessed him to take the sack and go with God. The forgiven peasant easily shouldered the blessed burden, thanking the magnanimous elder.

Having sensed the nearness of his end, the Monk Alexander said to those dwelling with him: "I weaken, but do ye endure in this place, preserving humility and mutual love". On Sunday he made the Divine Liturgy, and communed the Holy Mysteries. Then on his knees he prayed for himself and for his monastery, and at age 68 he peacefully gave up his spirit to the Lord on 9 June 1439.

According to the last-will instructions of the Monk Alexander, his body was placed at the mid-day side of the altar. A year afterwards there grew over his grave a rowen-berry tree. One time on the feastday of the Uspenie (Dormition) of the MostHoly Mother of God, a peasant child broke off a branch from this tree and suddenly his hand began to hurt. His parents with prayers led their son to the grave of the monk, and he was healed. From that time people began to pick berries from this tree for healing. His disciples built over the grave of the Monk Alexander a warm church in honour of Saint Nicholas and dedicated it on the day of memory of the Monk Alexander. Many of the sick, which they brought to the church, saw the Monk Alexander together with Saint Nicholas, praying together or censing the temple. The sick received healing at the grave of the Monk Alexander of Kushtsk.
1666 BD HENRY THE SHOEMAKER he formed a religious society for his fellow tradesmen under the traditional patronage of SS. Crispin and Crispinian.
HENRY MICHAEL BUCHE- “Good Henry" -has never been beatified nor apparently the object of cultus, but he is commonly referred to as Blessed or Saint. He was a shoemaker by trade at Arlon in Luxembourg, where he formed a religious society for his fellow tradesmen under the traditional patronage of SS. Crispin and Crispinian.
Afterwards, in 1645, when he had migrated to Paris, Henry formed there a similar association the members of which were known as the "Frères Cordonniers". Baron de Renty, who took great interest in it, obtained for him the rights of citizenship and recognition as a master-shoemaker in order that he might be able to accept apprentices and journeymen who wished to follow his rule. It was a strict one. The members rose at five, had prayer in common at stated hours, attended Mass daily, visited prisons and hospitals, and attended an annual retreat. The association grew and prospered: branches were started in other cities, and the tailors established a society for themselves on parallel lines. It would be difficult to overestimate the influence Henry was thus able to exert, both directly and indirectly, over people for whom comparatively little had been done in the past. He died in Paris, on June 9, 1666, and was buried in the cemetery attached to the Hospital of St Gervais in which he had often tended the patients.
The best available account will be found in Hélyot, Histoire des Ordres Monastiques (ed. 1721), vol. viii, pp. 175-184, which quotes an earlier work, J. A. Le Vachet, L'Artisan chrétien, ou la Vie du bon Henri (1670). There is also a notice of Henri Buche in the Biographie nationale (Brussels, 1872), vol. iii, pp. 143-144. It would seem that the Baron de Renty had much to do with drafting the rules of the association which Henry founded.
1837 Anne Mary Taigi, Trinitarian tertiary: Endowed with the gift of prophecy, she read thoughts and described distant events Christ revealed to her, "The humble are always patient, and the patient sanctify themselves. Patience is the best of all penances, and he who is truly patient possesses all earthly treasure, and will receive a heavenly crown."

THERE can have been no more remarkable woman in the Rome of the early nineteenth century than Anne Mary Taigi, the hard-working wife of a domestic servant and the exemplary mother of a large family, who was honoured by three successive popes with their special esteem and whose humble home was the resort of some of the highest personages in church and state--desirous to enlist her intercession, to obtain her advice or to seek enlightenment in the things of God. Anne Mary Antonia Gesualda was born on May 29, 1769, at Siena, where her father carried on business as an apothecary.
Reduced to poverty, the family migrated to Rome, and Anne's parents entered private domestic service, whilst she herself was sent to a community of women who undertook the education of poor children. At the age of thirteen the little girl also became a breadwinner. After working for a short time in silk factories, she became a housemaid in the palace of a noble lady. As she grew to womanhood she developed a love of dress and a thirst for admiration which occasionally led her into peril; that she did not fall into grave sin was due to her good upbringing, and to her marriage in 1790 to Dominic Taigi, a servant in the Chigi palace. Even then the things of the world continued to engross her, but gradually grace began to stir in her heart, she felt the pricks of conscience, and was moved to make a general confession. Her first attempt to open her heart to a priest met with a severe rebuff; but a second was more successful.
She found the spiritual guide she needed in a Servite friar, Father Angelo, who was to continue to be her confessor for many years. He realized from the first that he 'was dealing with an elect soul, and she on her part always regarded the hour she first met him as the date of her conversion. From that time she renounced all vanities, contenting herself with the plainest of clothes, and took no part in worldly amusements unless by her husband's special desire. In prayer she found her chief solace, and her generous desire for external mortifications had to be limited by her confessor to such as were compatible with her duties in life. Her husband was a good man, but narrow and rather cantankerous, and whilst he fully appreciated his wife's good qualities, as far as they affected him and the family, he never understood her heroic efforts to reach a high ideal of renunciation or the divine graces with which they were rewarded. His testimony to her fulfilment of everyday duties is therefore all the more convincing.
Referring to the time when she was already well known Dominic said: "It often happened that upon my return home I found the house full of people. At once she would leave anyone who was there-a great lady, maybe, or a prelate-and would hasten to wait upon me affectionately and attentively. One could see that she did it with all her heart: she would have taken off my shoes if I would have allowed it. In short, she was my comfort and the consolation of all .... Through her wonderful tact she was able to maintain a heavenly peace though we were a great houseful and of very different temperaments--especially when my eldest son Camillus was living with us in his early married days. My daughter-in-law was a disturbing element and always wanted to play the mistress, but the servant of God knew how to keep everyone in his place and she did it with a graciousness that I cannot describe. I often came home tired, moody and cross, but she always succeeded in soothing and cheering me."

 The family Anne had to look after consisted of her seven children, five of whom lived to grow up, and also of her parents. Every morning she gathered them all together for prayers; those who could do so attended Mass, and in the evening all met together again for spiritual reading and for night prayers. She took extraordinary care over the upbringing of her children.
Bd Anne also worked with her needle, sometimes to supplement her husband's earnings, sometimes to be able to assist those poorer than herself, for she was always exceedingly generous and she trained her children to be generous too. It might seem as though domestic cares such as those mentioned above would monopolize the energies of any woman; and yet her family duties did not preclude absorption in mystical experiences of a very high order. Some idea of these can be gleaned from a memoir written after her death by Cardinal Pedicini, to whom she had originally been introduced by her confessor, and who shared with him the responsibility of her spiritual direction for thirty years. It was probably also through him that her virtues and supernatural gifts became known, even during her lifetime. From the time of her conversion God gave her wonderful intimations about His intentions with regard to the dangers that threatened the Church, about future events, and about the hidden things of the faith. They were revealed to her in a "mystical sun", which hovered before her eyes and in which she also saw the iniquity man was continually committing against God: she felt it to be her task to make satisfaction for it and to offer herself as a victim.
Anne would endure agonies of mind and body when wrestling in prayer for the conversion of some hardened sinner. She often read the thoughts and motives of those who visited her, and was thus able to help them in what appeared to be a supernatural way. Amongst others with whom she was in touch may be mentioned St Vincent Strambi, the date of whose death she foretold. In the early years after her conversion Bd Anne Mary had many spiritual consolations and ecstasies, but later, and especially during her last years, she suffered much from the assaults of Satan and spiritual desolation. All these trials, as well as ill-health and calumny, she bore with cheerfulness. She died on June 9, 1837, after seven months of acute suffering, at the age of sixty-eight; and she was beatified in 1920. Her shrine is in the church of St Chrysogonus of the Trinitarians, of which order she was a tertiary member.
The depositions of the witnesses in the process of beatification--of whom her ninety-two year old husband was one--are particularly interesting and valuable as biographical material. Biographies are numerous. One of the earliest was that by Luquet (1854); that written by Fr Callistus (Eng. trans. 1875) was widely circulated, as also was another French life by Fr G. Bouffier. Perhaps the fullest and most satisfactory is that published in Italian by Mgr C. Salotti in 1922, and since translated into German; A. Bessières's French biography, Eng. tr., Wife, Mother and Mystic (1953), is exaggerated and without discrimination. It may be noticed that the prophecies attributed to Anne Mary by earlier writers, particularly that regarding "the three days' darkness" which was to come upon the world, seem to rest upon very insufficient evidence.

Born 1769 at Siena, daughter of a druggist named Giannetti, whose  business failed, she was brought to Rome and worked for a time  as a domestic servant. In 1790 she married Dominic Taigi, a butler of the Chigi family in Rome, and lived the normal life of a married woman of the working class. In the discharge of these humble duties and in the bringing up of her seven children she attained a high degree of holiness. Endowed with the gift of prophecy, she read thoughts and described distant events. Her home became the rendezvous of cardinals and other dignitaries who sought her counsel. She was beatified in 1920.

Blessed Anna Maria Taigi, Matron (AC) Born in Siena, Italy, May 29, 1769; died 1837; beatified in 1920.
Although she was the wife of a Roman working man, Anna Maria was consulted by royalty because she could read souls. Anna Maria Gianetti was the daughter of a druggist, who was soon impoverished and moved his family to Rome, where he was employed as a house servant. She left school at about 13 and learned the trade of wool-winding. Then she became a housemaid to a noble family. In 1970, she married Domenico Taigi, the butler of the nearby Chigi Palace, and began to live the normal life of a married woman of the working class. It was in the discharge of these humble duties that she attained a high degree of holiness, but not without a detour.

After her marriage she began to dress gaily, and then fell into grave sin--adultery with an older man. It was a momentary sin but her conscience tormented her. Worldly distractions brought her no peace.
Shortly, she changed her whole life. Walking through Saint Peter's Square with her husband, Padre Angelo (a Servite Father) gave her a piercing look, which she took as a warning of impending judgment. It is said he had a revelation that a woman would come to him to be directed in the way of sanctity and he knew the woman was Anna Maria when she passed him.
She fell on her knees over Saint Peter's tomb, then sought out a confessional, but the priest sent her away, telling her she was not one of his usual penitents. A few days later she was led to Padre Angelo's confessional and he greeted her, "So you have come at last! Be of good cheer, my child; God loves you and he asks for your whole heart in return." This was the hour of her total conversion to God. Immense joy filled her.
She put away her trinkets and became a tertiary of the Order of the Most Blessed Trinity (with her husband's permission). The day she was accepted, she heard Christ's voice saying she was chosen to convert sinners and console sufferers.
In 14 years, she bore four sons and three daughters. Three children died young. Anna Maria trusted always in the abundance of God. She instructed her children in the Catholic religion and tried to form them according to the divine Model. She was strict but merciful.  She went to daily, early morning Mass and worked far into the night. She took in sewing and washing to provide for her household and the poor. Her house was spotless; her children, well-tended. Rarely did she accept charity. In short, she was a model housewife and mother.
Domenico was not a saint, but a moderately good husband.
He was ill-tempered, but after her death, said, "It is due to her that I corrected some of my faults." He always found his wife up and waiting for him when he returned from work, sometimes at 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. "She was glad of an excuse to spend the quiet hours in prayer." Obedient to her husband, she honored him as the head of the household.

Anna Maria's parents spent their last years in her crowded home. Her father was an invalid, her mother irritable. Domenico testified, "It almost seems that God had given her such parents in order to try her virtue."
She was a good story-teller, merry, easy going, and her husband praised her for her virtues. She rarely dined, but rather served her family. She fasted on Saturday to honor Mary, and on Wednesday for Joseph. She practiced great mortifications on Fridays, in Lent, and on Ember fasts.
Humility and meekness were her favorite virtues. She rejoiced in humiliation and contempt, loved those who hated and spoke ill of her. She was oblivious to praise. Christ revealed to her, "The humble are always patient, and the patient sanctify themselves. Patience is the best of all penances, and he who is truly patient possesses all earthly treasure, and will receive a heavenly crown." This kind of patience entails a gentle forbearance and uncomplaining acceptance of trials.

Her mystical experiences were extraordinary: revelations, visions, rapture, and ecstasies. She had these experiences because she was a saint and not vice versa; because she tried in everything to act in conformity to God's will. Ecstasies often came at inconvenient times. Once while doing housework: "O Lord, leave me in peace! Withdraw thyself and let me get on with my work. Keep the treasures of thy love for consecrated virgins; I am only a poor wife and mother."

She saw thoughts and distant events in a symbolic, miniature sun, in which the hearts of others were revealed. Three popes and innumerable royalty sought her counsel. She also foretold many political and temporal events (Benedictines, S. Delany)

Mary's Divine Motherhood
National Leaders.
That national leaders may firmly commit themselves to ending the arms trade,
which victimizes so many innocent people.

Marian spirituality: all are invited.
Et álibi aliórum plurimórum sanctórum Mártyrum et Confessórum, atque sanctárum Vírginum.
And elsewhere in divers places, many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.
Пресвятая Богородице спаси нас! Santíssima Mãe de Deus, salva-nos!
  RDeo grátias. R.  Thanks be to God.

May, the month of Mary, is the oldest and most well-known Marian month, officially since 1724;

God Bless Mother Angelica 1923-2016

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

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

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

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

  Month by Month of Saintly Dedications

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

May 9 – Our Lady of the Wood (Italy, 1607) 
Months of Dedication
January is the month of the Holy Name of Jesus since 1902;

March is the month of Saint Joseph since 1855;

May, the month of Mary, is the oldest and most well-known Marian month, officially since 1724;
June is the month of the Sacred Heart since 1873;
July is the month of the Precious Blood since 1850;
August is the month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary;
September is the month of Our Lady of Sorrows since 1857;
October is the month of the Rosary since 1868;
November is the month of the Holy Souls in Purgatory since 1888;
December is the month of the Immaculate Conception.

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

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

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

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

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

How do I start the Five First Saturdays? 
Called in the Gospel “the Mother of Jesus,” Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as “the Mother of my Lord” (Lk 1:43; Jn 2:1; 19:25; cf. Mt 13:55; et al.). In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father's eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly Mother of God (Theotokos). 
Catechism of the Catholic Church 495, quoting the Council of Ephesus (431): DS 251.
“The Blessed Virgin was eternally predestined, in conjunction with the incarnation of the divine Word, to be the Mother of God. By decree of divine Providence, she served on earth as the loving mother of the divine Redeemer, an associate of unique nobility, and the Lord's humble handmaid. She conceived, brought forth, and nourished Christ.”
The voice of the Father is heard, the Son enters the water, and the Holy Spirit appears in the form of a dove.
   THE spirit and example of the world imperceptibly instil the error into the minds of many that there is a kind of middle way of going to Heaven; and so, because the world does not live up to the gospel, they bring the gospel down to the level of the world. It is not by this example that we are to measure the Christian rule, but words and life of Christ. All His followers are commanded to labour to become perfect even as our heavenly Father is perfect, and to bear His image in our hearts that we may be His children. We are obliged by the gospel to die to ourselves by fighting self-love in our hearts, by the mastery of our passions, by taking on the spirit of our Lord.
   These are the conditions under which Christ makes His promises and numbers us among His children, as is manifest from His words which the apostles have left us in their inspired writings. Here is no distinction made or foreseen between the apostles or clergy or religious and secular persons. The former, indeed, take upon themselves certain stricter obligations, as a means of accomplishing these ends more perfectly; but the law of holiness and of disengagement of the heart from the world is geeral and binds all the followers of Christ.
Join Mary of Nazareth Project help us build the International Marian Center of Nazareth
There are over 10,000 named saints beati  from history
 and Roman Martyology Orthodox sources

Miracles by Century 100   200   300   400   500   600   700    800   900   1000    1100   1200   1300   1400  1500  1600  1700  1800   1900  Miracles_BLay Saints
Morning Prayer and Hymn    Meditation of the Day    Prayer for Priests    Our Bartholomew Family Prayer List  Here
We are called upon with the whole Church militant on earth to join in praising and thanking God for the grace and glory he has bestowed on his saints. At the same time we earnestly implore Him to exert His almighty power and mercy in raising us from our miseries and sins, healing the disorders of our souls and leading us by the path of repentance to the company of His saints, to which He has called us.
   They were once what we are now, travellers on earth they had the same weaknesses, which we have. We have difficulties to encounter so had the saints, and many of them far greater than we can meet with; obstacles from kings and whole nations, sometimes from the prisons, racks and swords of persecutors. Yet they surmounted these difficulties, which they made the very means of their virtue and victories. It was by the strength they received from above, not by their own, that they triumphed. But the blood of Christ was shed for us as it was for them and the grace of our Redeemer is not wanting to us; if we fail, the failure is in ourselves.
   THE saints and just, from the beginning of time and throughout the world, who have been made perfect, everlasting monuments of God’s infinite power and clemency, praise His goodness without ceasing; casting their crowns before His throne they give to Him all the glory of their triumphs: “His gifts alone in us He crowns.”
“The saints must be honored as friends of Christ and children and heirs of God, as John the theologian and evangelist says: ‘But as many as received him, he gave them the power to be made the sons of God....’ Let us carefully observe the manner of life of all the apostles, martyrs, ascetics and just men who announced the coming of the Lord. And let us emulate their faith, charity, hope, zeal, life, patience under suffering, and perseverance unto death, so that we may also share their crowns of glory” Exposition of the Orthodox Faith

Called in the Gospel the Mother of Jesus, Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as the Mother of my Lord (Lk 1:43; Jn 2:1; 19:25; cf. Mt 13:55; et al.). In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father's eternal Son,  the second person of the Holy Trinity.
Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly Mother of God (Theotokos).
Catechism of the Catholic Church 495, quoting the Council of Ephesus (431): DS 251.
Nine First Fridays Devotion to the Sacred Heart ... From the writings of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
On Friday during Holy Communion, He said these words to me, His unworthy slave, if I mistake not: