Wednesday Saints of this Day March 09 Séptimo Idus Mártii.  
     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!)

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

You should understand by now, the angel told her, {1440 St. Frances of Rome  }
that the God who made your body and gave it to your soul as a servant
never intended that the spirit should ruin the flesh and return it to him despoiled.

Day 29 of 40 Days for Life

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.
40 days for Life Campaign saves lives Shawn Carney Campaign Director
Please help save the unborn they are the future for the world

March 9 - Our Lady of Savigny (France, 1112) - Saint Dominic Savio (d. 1857)

Our own evil inclinations are far more dangerous than any external enemies. -- St Ambrose

Abba Kyrillos the Sixth, the 116th Pope of Alexandria.
     The Appearance of the Head of St. John the Baptist Monday, 9th March 2015 --- 30 Amshir 1731.
 368 Caesar von Nazianz der jüngere Bruder von Gregor von Nazianz Arzt am Kaiserhof in
       Konstantinopel unter den Kaisern Konstantius II. und Julian Apostates
 390 St. Pacian  Bishop of Barcelona ecclesiastical discipline Baptism, papal supremacy orthodox
       teachings on penance "My name is Christian, my surname is Catholic."

400 St. Gregory of Nyssa mystic among the three great Cappadocians
705 St. Bosa Bishop of York Benedictine monk praised by St. Bede most unusual merit and sanctity
1440 St. Frances of Rome renowned for her noble family, holy life, and the gift of miracles.
1463 St. Catherine of Bologna experience visions of Christ and Satan, incorrupt healing miracles
1857 Dominic Savio; Bosco wrote Dominic's biography  cheerfulness, friendliness, careful observation,
& good advice
1971 Abba Kyrillos the Sixth, the 116th Pope of Alexandria.

The Consecration of Saint Dominic Savio
Dominic Savio made his First Communion at the age of seven in 1849, and wrote down these resolutions:
1) I will confess very often and I will receive communion every time my confessor permits me.
2) I want to sanctify holy days. 3) My friends will be Jesus and Mary. 4) Death rather than sin.

Don Bosco was traveling through the region in October 1854, and people spoke to him about Dominic.
He was “amazed to discover how the work of Divine Grace had already been accomplished in a boy so young.
On December 8, 1854, when Pope Pius IX proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, Dominic consecrated himself to the Blessed Virgin and renewed the promises of his First Communion:
Mary, I give you my heart, keep it forever. Jesus and Mary always be my friends,
but please, let me die rather than have the misfortune of committing sin.
   His life was so transformed that from that day on, that Don Bosco began to note everything Dominic said and did. The young boy fell ill in 1857 and underwent 10 bloodlettings in 4 days, with the courage of someone much older than his age. On March 9, in agony, he said: Farewell, my dear papa, goodbye! The priest had something more he wanted to tell me, but I can no longer recall what it was ... Oh! How lovely it is what I see ...
With these words, his hands folded across his chest and a smile on his shining face, he breathed his last without making the slightest movement.

His biography was written by Don Bosco, who was unable to evoke Dominic's memory without shedding some tears.
Taken from The Life of Saints (La vie des Saints -
Our Bartholomew Family Prayer List

Acts of the Apostles

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

How do I start the Five First Saturdays?

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

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.

You should understand by now, the angel told her, {1440 St. Frances of Rome  }
that the God who made your body and gave it to your soul as a servant
never intended that the spirit should ruin the flesh and return it to him despoiled.

The light surrounding her guardian archangel was so bright she could read and write at night by it. She described him as full of sweetness, majesty, long curly golden hair that fell over his shoulders, eyes turned heavenward, with a luminous long robe covered with a tunic of white, red, or sky blue.
Her last words were: The Angel has finished his task; he calls me to follow him.

March 9 – Our Lady of Miracles (Treviso, Italy, 1510) - Saint Dominique Savio - Saint Caesarius of Nazianzus 
At the age of twelve, Dominic dedicated his life to the Immaculate
Hoping to become a priest, little Dominic walked 16 kilometers barefoot every day to go to school. His family’s poverty moved the priest of his parish to take him in 1854 to Don Bosco, a priest in the suburbs of Turin (Italy), who was to take a fatherly care of this chosen soul.

On December 8, 1854, while the Catholic world celebrated the proclamation of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin, Dominic dedicated his life to God, and especially his teenage purity.
"God wants me to be a saint," he often told Don Bosco.

Trying to be like Jesus in His mystery of suffering, Dominic took the path of extraordinary penances. But Don Bosco objected. "Your duty as a student is to give constant and joyful service to others.
That is your holiness, nothing else," he declared.

Later, when he proposed to found the Company of the Immaculate, his companions asked him what they must do: "First," he said, "we will love Our Lady with all our heart. We will also ask her to protect us during this life and especially at the hour of our death. Finally, each time there is one of her feasts, we will do everything possible to make it beautiful and we will receive Holy Communion."
Vie de saint-Dominique-Savio (1842-1857)

       The Appearance of the Head of St. John the Baptist Monday, 9th March 2015 --- 30 Amshir 1731.
  The birthday of forty holy soldiers of Cappadocia at Sebaste in Armenia, under the governor Agricolaus, in the time
       of Emperor Licinius,

 310 Urpasian diente in Nikomedia am Kaiserhof
 368 Caesar von Nazianz der jüngere Bruder von Gregor von Nazianz Arzt am Kaiserhof in Konstantinopel unter den
       Kaisern Konstantius II. und Julian Apostates
 390 St. Pacian  Bishop of Barcelona ecclesiastical discipline Baptism, papal supremacy orthodox teachings on penance
       "My name is Christian, my surname is Catholic."
 400 St. Gregory of Nyssa mystic among the three great Cappadocians
 705 St. Bosa Bishop of York Benedictine monk praised by St. Bede most unusual merit and sanctity  
10th v. St. Anthony Hermit of the Benedictine Order
1009 St. Bruno von Querfurt Er wurde an der Domschule in Magdeburg ausgebildet und zum Priester geweiht
1440 St. Frances of Rome  renowned for her noble family, holy life, and the gift of miracles.
1463 St. Catherine of Bologna  experience visions of Christ and Satan, incorrupt healing miracles
1857 Dominic Savio; Bosco wrote Dominic's biography  cheerfulness, friendliness, careful observation, & good advice
1971 Abba Kyrillos the Sixth, the 116th Pope of Alexandria.

Quote: Pope Paul VI’s 1969 Instruction on the Contemplative Life includes this passage:
 To withdraw into the desert is for Christians tantamount to associating themselves more intimately with Christ’s passion, and it enables them, in a very special way, to share in the paschal mystery and in the passage of Our Lord from this world to the heavenly homeland (#1). 
Day 29 of 40 Days for Life
Dear Readers
Families are a sign of God’s love ... and a promise for our future. The family is under much attack. Yet it is the most powerful witness in our culture ... and children praying at a 40 Days for Life vigil are a clear display of that powerful witness.
Of course, parents must decide if attending the vigil is appropriate for their children. But one thing is for sure. People notice kids of all ages on the sidewalk, and that can have a profound impact – both outside and inside the abortion facility.
A scene from Matthew’s gospel speaks volumes. People had brought children to see Jesus, and the disciples tried to turn them away. But Christ said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14).
Today, on the sidewalks outside the abortion centers, it’s the employees inside the buildings who don’t want the kids around.

Here are some examples:
Pensacola, Florida
Several mothers with their young children attend the 40 Days for Life prayer vigil each week. “The manager of the abortion facility kept looking out the door to see if the women and their children had left,” said Ernie in Pensacola, “but the number only grew.”
Several teenagers were there as well. While all the kids were there, volunteers were able to hand resource flyers to every one of the women who entered the abortion center.
“Mothers and their babies are a sign of hope – a sign of hope on display in front of the American Family Planning abortion facility,” Ernie said. “May their presence there be the cause of conversion of all, to the truth of the sacredness of life and the maternal bond.”
St. Louis, Missouri
An eighth grade class joined the 40 Days for Life vigil outside Planned Parenthood in St. Louis.
They’d only been there about ten minutes when a woman drove by and greeted them with a rude gesture.
The class members all grouped together to smile and wave to the woman.
You’d hope that such a display of kindness would have melted her heart … but that didn’t happen. The woman just got angrier – and stayed angry until the traffic light changed to green and she went on about her day.

“Not only did these young hearts embrace the controversy stirred up by their presence with willing hearts,” said Brian, the local leader in St. Louis, “they did so joyfully, full of trust in God's abundant promise that they are blessed in their stand for righteousness and the confrontation they faced because of it.”

Houston, Texas
People of all ages take part in the 40 Days for Life vigil outside Planned Parenthood’s abortion mega-center in Houston. But the facility’s employees especially notice the young ones.
 “We have been somewhat amused by reports that workers complained from inside Planned Parenthood regarding hearing the babies crying when the group of mothers and children were praying outside the building,” said one of the Houston team members. 
But perception is reality. Planned Parenthood may notice the babies … but one potential participant said she only sees older people out there praying!
“That is not just an old man,” the volunteer responded. “That is somebody’s husband, somebody’s father, somebody’s grandfather. Each person’s prayer is unique and reaches out to these girls in a different way. You should come out and join them in prayer!” 
See you on the sidewalk!
Here’s today’s devotional from Carmen Pate of Alliance Ministries.
Day 29 intention
Praise God for His compassion in pardoning our sins and forgiving our transgressions. Give praise that He delights in showing mercy.

Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgressions of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us; and will subdue our iniquities.
— Micah 7:18-19
Reflection from Carmen Pate
Micah had been sent to declare God’s judgment and call the people of Judah to repentance. The people had become spiritually and ethically corrupt.
Prosperity had hardened the rich, the poor were oppressed and the heirs to David's throne were practicing abominations and idolatry.
Is it not easy to see the parallels of God's people in Micah’s day and God's people today in America?
Through Micah, God corrected His people by demanding justice, not burnt offerings and sacrifice. He told them to love mercy, and to walk humbly with their God.

In speaking of Old Testament stories of God’s people turning from God to sin and idolatry, Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10: 11, "Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come."
Many biblical scholars believe God has removed His hedge of protection around our nation in response to our sins of immorality and abortion. Let us cry out in repentance for His mercy once again. And may we honor His faithfulness by doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with our God.
Heavenly Father, eternal, changeless, and faithful Lord, we recognize that we are in need of forgiveness as a nation, for turning our hearts away from you. Hear our prayer of repentance Lord and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We praise you for your tender mercies and your compassion that never fails.
Lord, it is only by Your grace that we can live lives that are just, and merciful. May Your Holy Spirit enable us to walk humbly in Your presence and may You be pleased to restore America so that a generation not yet born may praise you. In the name of Christ Jesus, who has done great things for us, Amen.
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The Appearance of the Head of St. John the Baptist on the thirtieth of the month of Amshir. Monday, 9th March 2015 --- 30 Amshir 1731
On this day we celebrate the commemoration of the appearance of the head of St. John the Baptist. Herod commanded his head to be cut off and brought on a platter and given to Herodias, according to her request. (Mark 6:7-28) It was said that after the feast he regretted the slaying of St. John so he kept the head in his house.

Aritas, the Arabic King, Herod's father-in-law, was enraged because Herod banished his daughter and married the wife of his brother, while his brother was still alive. Aritas instigated a war against Herod in revenge for his daughter. He overcame Herod, dispersed his army and destroyed the cities of Galilee.

When Tiberius Caesar learned that the reason for these wars was the slaying of a prophet, who was great among his people, by Herod, who banished his wife, the daughter of Aritas, the Arabian king, and married his brother's wife, he summoned Herod and Herodias to Rome. Herod hid the head of St. John in his palace and went to Rome. When he arrived there, Tiberius removed him from his position and stripped him of all his possessions and exiled him to Spain where he died.
Herod's palace was ruined and became an example for those who might think of following in his footsteps.

A few years later, two believing men from Homs went to Jerusalem to spend the holy fast (Lent) there. Night fell on them while passing by the ruins of Herod's palace, so they spent the night there. St. John appeared to one of them and told him about his name and the whereabouts of his head and ordered him to take it to his house. When he woke up, the man told this to his friend and they went to the place where the head was buried. They dug and found a sealed pottery vessel.

When they opened that vessel, a sweet aroma spread out of it. They found the holy head, took its blessing and placed it back in the vessel. The man that saw the vision took it to his house. He put it in a safe place and put a candle in front of it. Before his departure, he told his sister about it and she went on doing the same thing.

The head was handed from one person to another until it came to the hand of a follower of Arius who attributed the wonders and miracles that happened through the holy head to the heresy of Arius. The Lord commanded someone to force him out of his house. The place of the head remained unknown until the time of St. Cyril (Kyrillos), Bishop of Jerusalem. St. John appeared to Abba Martianus, Bishop of Homs, in his sleep and told him about the place of the head. He went there and found the head and that was on the thirtieth of the month of Amshir.
The prayers of this saint be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen
310 Urpasian diente in Nikomedia am Kaiserhof
Orthodoxe Kirche: 9. März

Urpasian diente in Nikomedia am Kaiserhof. Als Maximian Gallerius (305-311) die Christen in der Armee und am Hof verfolgte, bekannte sich Urpasian vor dem Kaiser als Christ und gab seine Amtsinsignien zurück. Der Kaiser ließ ihn foltern und lebendig verbrennen. Seine Asche wurde ins Meer geworfen.

 Apud Sebásten, in Arménia, natális sanctórum Quadragínta mílitum Cappadócum, qui, témpore Licínii Imperatóris, sub Præside  Agricoláo, post víncula et cárceres tetérrimos, post cæsas lapídibus fácies, nudi sub dio, frigidíssimo híemis témpore, supra stagnum rigens pernoctáre jussi sunt, ubi gelu constrícta eórum córpora disrumpebántur, ac demum crurifrágio martyrium consummárunt.  Erant autem inter eos nobilióres Cyrion et Cándidus; eorúmque ómnium præcláras glórias sanctus Basilíus aliíque Patres scriptis suis celebrárunt.  Ipsórum porro Mártyrum festívitas sequénti die recólitur.
      At Sebaste in Armenia, under the governor Agricolaus, in the time of Emperor Licinius, the birthday of forty holy soldiers of Cappadocia.  After being chained down in foul dungeons, after having their faces bruised with stones, and being condemned to spend the night naked, in the open during the coldest part of winter, on a frozen lake where their bodies were benumbed and covered with ice, they completed their martyrdom by having their limbs crushed.  The most noteworthy among them were Cyrion and Candidus.  Their glorious triumph has been celebrated by St. Basil and other Fathers in their writings. 
Their feast is kept March 10:  
Martyrs of Armenia Christian soldiers HERE.
368 Caesar von Nazianz der jüngere Bruder von Gregor von Nazianz Arzt am Kaiserhof in Konstantinopel unter den Kaisern Konstantius II. und Julian Apostates
Orthodoxe Kirche: 9. März  Katholische Kirche: 25. Februar
Cäsar wurde im 4. Jahrhundert in Arianz geboren. Er war der jüngere Bruder von Gregor von Nazianz. Er war Arzt am Kaiserhof in Konstantinopel unter den Kaisern Konstantius II. und Julian Apostates. Er verließ aber den Hof, weil er die Wiedereinführung heidnischer Sitten durch Julian nicht mittragen wollte. Er wurde von Kaiser Jovian wieder an den Hof berufen und von Kaiser Valens zum Statthalter von Bithynien ernannt. Er ließ sich, wie es damals üblich war, erst kurz vor seinem Tod 368 taufen.

390 St. Pacian  Bishop of Barcelona ecclesiastical discipline Baptism, papal supremacy orthodox teachings on penance  "My name is Christian, my surname is Catholic."
 Barcinóne, in Hispánia, sancti Paciáni Epíscopi, tam vita quam sermóne conspícui; qui, témpore Theodósii Príncipis, in última senectúte finem vitæ sortítus est.
      At Barcelona in Spain, Bishop St. Pacian, distinguished by his life and preaching.  He ended his career in extreme old age, in the time of Emperor Theodosius.
Spaniard by birth he became bishop in 365. Little is known about his life beyond his extensive writings, which are themselves extant only in part in three letters and a short treatise, Paraenesis ad Poenitentiam. Among the topics he examined in his writings are ecclesiastical discipline, Baptism, papal supremacy, and orthodox teachings on penance against the heresy of Novatianism, which were then flourishing in Spain. He is also remembered for including in one of his letters the phrase Christian us mihi nomen est, catholicos vero cognomen. In De Viris Illustribus, St. Jerome praised Pacian for his eloquence and deep sanctity. Pacian’s son, Flavius Dexter, became a praetorian prefect under the Western Roman Emperor Honorius.

St PACIAN is chiefly remembered through his writings, for very little is known of his history. At some time in his life he married—probably before he became a priest—and his son, Flavius Dexter, was chamberlain to the Emperor Theodosius and captain of the royal bodyguard under Honorius.
St Jerome, who was intimate with Dexter, had the greatest regard for the father, whose eloquence, learning and sanctity he extolled while dedicating to the son his Catalogue of Illustrious Men.

St Pacian lived to old age and was a voluminous writer; but of his many works the only ones which have come down to us are an exhortation to penance, a sermon on baptism and three epistles addressed to a nobleman called Sympronian, who had embraced the Novatian heresy and had sent Pacian a letter in which he censured the Church for allowing repentance and absolution for all sins and also for taking the title of Catholic.

In his reply St Pacian makes the now famous retort: “Chris­tianus mihi nomen: Catholicus vero cognomen. Illud me nuncupat: istud ostendit. Hoc probor: inde significor.”—“My name is Christian, my surname Catholic. The one puts me in a class, the other gives me a character. The second is a testimonial, the first is a label.” Elsewhere he insists that those alone are embraced in the unity of the Church who are united to the chair of St Peter. “To Peter alone did the Lord speak” (Thou art Peter, etc.) “that from him, the one, He might establish unity.”—“Ut ex uno fundaret unum.”

Amongst St Pacian’s lost writings was one entitled Cervulus, directed against an obscene heathen pageant which took place annually at the new year and in which, apparently, Christians sometimes participated. The performance, which centred round a little stag and which is alluded to by St Ambrose and other writers, con­sisted of masquerades in which those who took part were dressed up as wild animals. Like many a modern censor the bishop found that his strictures acted rather as an advertisement, and at the beginning of his treatise on penance he deplores that the chief effect of his censure was to make more people curious to witness the objection­able revels.

A brief account of St Pacian will be found in the Acta Sanctorum, March, vol. ii. See also Bardenhewer’s Patrologie.

Pacian(us) of Barcelona B (RM) Died in Barcelona, Spain, c. 390. Before being raised to the position of bishop of Barcelona in 365 (or 373), the well-born Saint Pacian was a married man. His son Dexter was high chamberlain to Emperor Theodosius, and praefectus-praetorio under Honorius. Pacian wrote much about ecclesiastical discipline. Although most of it is lost, Saint Jerome, who dedicated his catalogue of illustrious men to Pacian, extols his eloquence and learning, and more particularly the chastity and sanctity of his life. Pacian's Exhortation on penance is considered a classic. In the first of his three letters written to Sympronianus against Novatianism occurs the famous saying: "My name is Christian, my surname is Catholic." A sermon on Baptism also survives (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).

(Fourth Century)
     There are many saints whose lives and works inspire us, but about whom we can't learn as much as we would like, because the records are missing.
     One of these is St. Pacian. He had an impressive career as bishop of Barcelona, Spain, in the last two decades of the fourth century. He has left three letters and two sermons, but these are so good we hanker for more.
     Pacian was outstanding enough to merit inclusion in the “who's who” called On Men of Distinction, written by the great fourth-century scholar, St. Jerome. Jerome did not know the bishop personally, but he did know Pacian's son, Flavius Dexter, an officer who served Emperors Theodosius and Honorius. It was to Flavius that Jerome dedicated On Men of Distinction. The author was well informed on the bishop. He praised his personal integrity and simple eloquence, and declared that his way of life was even more illustrious than his works.
     One of Pacian's writings that was not preserved, but about which we know, was his Cervellus. Cervellus (“The Little Stag”) dealt with an immoral pagan New Year's celebration. It was a sort of Mardi Gras centering around a little deer. The pagan participants would wear masks, dress up like animals, and then act like animals (or worse).
     Since this was an ancient and popular observance, Christians sometimes yielded to the temptation to take part. Bishop Pacian was faced with a dilemma that bishops still face today. Should he publicly denounce this immoral rite or not? It was his duty to warn the faithful, but denunciation also gave a “box office” publicity to the Cervellus. If he warned the faithful, he would be fulfilling his duty to save their souls. But the very warning would prompt others, out of curiosity or defiance, to join in the pagan rite, and their souls might thus be lost.
     Well, he did give public warning, and the practice eventually died out. As for the danger of publicity, he simply left this, I suppose, in God's hands. Sometimes we have to tolerate the bad side effects of our good actions.
     Pacian preached clearly on the need to ask God's forgiveness for all our sins. He reminded his flock that when Jesus gave the authority to bind and loose sins to his apostles - and through them to their successors - this authority extended to every sin, slight or serious: “Whether it be great or whether it be small.”
     Yes, there are smaller sins, he said. These, too, can be forgiven in confession. But the venial sins can also be forgiven or atoned for by other means. He doubtless meant prayer, self-denial, etc. This is good for us to remember, especially in Lent: Our Lenten prayers, acts of self-denial (like fasting and abstinence) and almsgiving make up to God for our lesser sins. (Indeed, they can be applied to the sins of the faithfully departed, too, towards the release of their souls in purgatory.) On the other hand, mortal sins (like idolatry, irreverence towards the Blessed Sacrament, murder and illicit sex) can be forgiven only through the sacrament of reconciliation (penance).
     Pacian sensed that some would object (as they do today) to confessing their sins to a priest: “I am embarrassed to confess these grave sins.” The saint answered pointedly, “You were not ashamed to commit the sin, but now are ashamed to confess it?”
     A good comment! We should be embarrassed to confess serious sins. Embarrassment is itself an appropriate act of penance. By undergoing it, we prove to God that we are humble enough to deserve his forgiveness.
     Pacian is best remembered, however, for adopting and clarifying the word “Catholic”. A heretic once rebuked the bishop for his use of the term “the Catholic Church”. St. Pacian replied, “Christian is my name, Catholic my surname. The one name puts me in a class; the other gives me a character. The second is a testimonial; the first is a label.” A Catholic Christian, he went on to explain, is a Christian who follows the correct teaching of the Catholic (i.e. universal) Church.
     This, like much else that Pacian said 17 centuries ago, is still true today. Father Robert F. McNamara
400 Gregory of Nyssa mystic among the three great Cappadocians B (RM)
 Nyssæ deposítio sancti Gregórii Epíscopi, qui sanctórum Basilíi et Emméliæ fílius, et sanctórum item Basilíi Magni ac Petri Sebasténsis Episcopórum et Macrínæ Vírginis frater éxstitit; atque, vita et eruditióne claríssimus, ob fídei cathólicæ defensiónem, sub Ariáno Imperatóre Valénte, civitáte sua pulsus est.
       At Nyssa, the death of St. Gregory, the son of Saints Basil and Emmelia, and the brother of Saints Basil the Great, bishop, and Peter, bishop of Sebaste, and Macrina, virgin.  His life and his great learning brought him fame.  He was driven from his own city for having defended the Catholic faith during the reign of the Arian emperor Valens.
Born at Caesarea, Cappadocia, c. 330-335; died c. 395-400. 

Image of Saint Gregory of Nyssa

St GRECORY of Nyssa, upon whom the seventh general council, the second at Nicaea, bestowed the title of “Father of the Fathers”, was the brother of St Basil the Great, St Peter of Sebastea and St Macrina, and the son of St Basil and St Emmelia, herself the daughter of a martyr.

He was born at Caesarea in Cappa­docia, and must have been left an orphan at an early age for he was brought up by his elder brother Basil and by his sister Macrina. In a letter to his younger brother Peter, Gregory speaks of Basil as “our father and master”, and throughout his life he looked up to him with the greatest affection and veneration. After an excellent education in secular and religious knowledge he became a rhetorician and married a wife called Theosebeia. He had become a reader in the Church, but was led to accept a wholly secular post as professor of rhetoric, a branch in which he excelled. The post was not very congenial he complained that his scholars were more intent upon military than upon academic distinction, and when St Gregory Nazianzen wrote him a sharp letter of reprimand in which he urged him to renounce “that ignoble glory”, as he expressed it, the epistle had the desired effect of bringing the young man back to the sacred ministry. He was promoted to the priesthood, and it has been suggested that he ceased to live with Theosebeia as his wife, but there is no evidence to show this. Celibacy at that date was not a matter of precept for the clergy even in the West, and in any case we do not know whether she still remained under his roof or whether, as some have thought, she joined St Macrina in her convent. St Gregory Nazianzen, who had a great regard for Theosebeia, was wont to refer to her as his friend’s “holy and blessed sister”, and in the eloquent oration which he preached at her funeral he calls her “the boast of the Church and the blessing of our generation.”

In the meantime, his brother Basil, the bishop of Caesarea, was having a hard struggle against heresy and opposition on all sides, and amongst his opponents was his own uncle, the Pontic bishop Gregory. This division in a family otherwise so united seemed a terrible scandal to the younger Gregory, and in hopes of bringing about a reconciliation he devised the extraordinary expedient of forging letters purporting to come from his uncle to Basil tendering the olive branch. Of course the fraud was promptly exposed, and brought upon the real author his brother’s wrathful reprimand, not unmingled, however, with a little amusement. It was apparently at Basil’s suggestion that Gregory was chosen bishop of Nyssa in 372. It was part of his policy to place orthodox prelates on the outposts of his diocese to try to stem the inroads of heresy, and he accordingly consecrated his brother, sorely against Gregory’s desires, to this remote see on the confines of Lower Armenia. As soon as he arrived in Nyssa he was faced with difficulties. The city was a hotbed of Arianism, and one of the emperor’s courtiers had wanted the bishop’s chair for himself or for a friend. Gregory, with the best will in the world, was wanting in tact, and he had not much notion of ruling a province. In the hopes of helping Basil he called a synod of provincial bishops at Ancyra, but as he could not handle the delegates the meeting did more harm than good to Basil’s cause. No wonder then that, when Gregory was suggested to his brother as one of his envoys to Pope St Damasus in Rome, Basil should have negatived the pro­posal, saying that his brother was entirely inexperienced in ecclesiastical affairs and was no diplomatist.

Supported by the Arians, the governor of Pontus, Demosthenes, called a meeting at which a certain Philocares accused Gregory of embezzling church property as well as of irregularity in his election, and soldiers were sent to arrest him. The bishop suffered himself to be led away, but discouraged by the brutality of his gaolers he contrived to escape and reached a place of safety. His enemies pretended that his flight was an evidence of guilt, and St Basil wrote them a strong letter in which he pointed out that the treasurer of the church had entirely acquitted Gregory of any irregularity. However, a synod of Galatian and Pontic bishops deposed him, and he wandered about whilst a usurper took possession of his see until the year 378, when the Emperor Gratian restored him after his lengthy banishment.

His people received him with open arms, but his joy at returning was clouded by the death of St Basil and by that of St Macrina which occurred soon afterwards. Of his sister’s approaching end he had a premonition, and he was able on the after­noon before her death to have a long conversation with her which he afterwards recorded.

From the time of St Basil’s death, Gregory became a man of influence, and a period of great activity opened out for him. He was present at the Council of Antioch which was called to deal with the errors of the Meletians, and the orthodox bishops of the East there assembled sent him on a mission to Palestine and Arabia to remedy the disorders which heresy had caused in the Arabian church. To assist him in his work, the Emperor Theodosius gave him the use of government post-horses and carriages. At the General Council of Constantinople in 381 Gregory occupied an important place. He had come to be regarded as “the common mainstay of the Church”, and to be on Gregory’s side was considered in his day as a proof of orthodoxy. The council, which had been called by the Emperor Theodosius, asserted the faith of Nicaea and strove to put an end to Arianism. At that assembly he seems to have been charged with a kind of inquisitorship over Pontus. Towards the end of his life he paid another visit to Palestine, and was so much shocked by the abuses he found among the pilgrims as well as by the heretical atmosphere to which they were exposed, that he came to the conclusion that pilgrimages under the conditions then prevailing were not a form of devotion to be recommended. In a letter or treatise on those who go to Jerusalem he remarks that pilgrimages form no part of the gospel precept, and adds that he himself derived no benefit from visiting the Holy Places.

Three episcopal sees having been fixed by the Emperor Theodosius as centres of communion in the East, Gregory of Nyssa, Helladius of Caesarea and Otreius of Melitene were the bishops selected. This honour, however, seems to have gained for Gregory the jealousy and ill-will of Helladius, who considered himself his metropolitan and resented being placed on an equality with him. In one of Gregory’s letters he gives a graphic description of the discourtesy with which Helladius had treated him. At Constantinople, on the other hand, he was highly honoured and much consulted. He preached there the funeral orations on St Meletius of Antioch and on the Princess Pulcheria and the Empress Flaccilla. He also delivered a discourse at the enthronization of St Gregory Nazianzen, and, at a much later period, the oration at the dedication of the great church which the prefect Rufinus erected near Chalcedon. Although it is known that he lived to a great age, the exact date of his death is uncertain.

The veneration in which Gregory was held during his life and the even greater esteem with which he was regarded for some time after his death, is not altogether endorsed by modern ecclesiastical writers, who are indisposed to regard him as the main destroyer of Arianism and as the originator of those clauses which the Council of Constantinople inserted into the Nicene Creed. Nevertheless it is certain that he exercised a predominant influence in this the second great oecumenical council, and that his orthodoxy was quite unquestioned, although it may be admitted that he inclined to Universalism and to the theory that all things would be restored in Christ at the last day. The writings of St Gregory show him to be well versed in the pagan philosophers, and he used the teaching of Plato in much the same way that the schoolmen used that of Aristotle. Of Christian teachers he was most influenced by Origen, whose allegorical interpretations of Holy Scripture he largely adopted. His literary works, which were greatly admired for their diction, are valuable for their accurate exposition of the Christian faith and interesting for their intermixture of everyday ideas with elaborate mystical and poetical speculations. Of his voluminous writings the chief are his great Catechetical Discourse, which was an instruction on the Christian faith, two works against Eunomius and Apol­linaris which are the main source from which knowledge of these heresies has been derived, and numerous commentaries on Holy Scripture. On the ascetic side may be mentioned his book on Virginity, a number of sermons on Christian life and conduct, and sundry panegyrics on the saints. His letters, of which about twenty are extant, are natural and charming. Amongst them may be mentioned one which narrates the life and death of St Macrina, one to three ladies in Jerusalem, and one which describes in a truly modern manner the beauties of a house and villa in Galatia where he stayed on a visit. Both he and his brother Basil had an appreciation of the beauties of nature seldom found in the writers of the early centuries.

Our knowledge of the life of St Gregory of Nyssa is derived from many various sources, and more especially from the correspondence of his friends. See the Acta Sanctorum, March, vol. ii; Bardenhewer, Patrology (Eng. trans.) pp. 195—206 Bardenhewer’s larger work on the Fathers which is accessible in French as well as in German and DTC., vol. vi, cc. 1847—1852, etc. There is also an excellent account of Gregory in DCB., vol. ii, pp. 761—768. Recent works on the saint’s thought are H. Urs von Balthasar, Presence et Pénsée (1942), and J. Daniélou, Platonisme et théologie mystique (1944).

This mystic among the three great Cappadocians was probably considerably younger than his brother Basil the Great. Like his brother, Gregory was well educated at Athens in both secular studies and theology, and married Theosebeia. (Gregory Nazianzen had a high opinion about both husband and wife. In his short eulogium of her, Nazianzen says that she rivaled her brothers-in-law who were in the priesthood, and calls her sacred, or one consecrated in God; she may have been a deaconess.) He became a rhetorician and a professor of rhetoric. Later, depressed with his students and at the persuasion of his friends, especially Gregory Nazianzen who exhorted him to turn to the sacred ministry, he was ordained and withdrew to seclusion. He joined his mother, Emmelia and sister, Macrina in Neocaesarea, and entered upon a strict monastic life the first five years after his ordination.
When Basil had become metropolitan of Caesarea and was trying to strengthen the anti-Arian front through the appointment of orthodox bishops, he made Gregory bishop of the neighboring Cappodocian town of Nyssa, Lower Armenia, in 372. When Basil was criticized for nepotism, he declared that it was better that his brother should do honor to the place than that the place should honor his brother.
His see was infested with Arianism. Gregory, a theologian and mystic, a man of learning, was not equal to the practical demands of the bishopric. He was easy-going, tactless, inefficient in monetary matters, and allowed himself to be cheated and deceived to the point that Demosthenes, the governor of Pontus, accused him of stealing Church property and had him imprisoned. He escaped but was deposed by a synod of Galatian and Pontiac bishops in 376.
For several years until the death of Emperor Valens, he had to lead an uncertain, wandering life, "buffeted about like a piece of wood upon the water" (Gregory of Nazianzen). Gregory remained in exile until 378, when Emperor Gratian restored him to the see. In 379, he attended the Council of Antioch, which denounced the Meletian heresy, and was sent by that council to Palestine and Arabia to combat heresy there.

In the year 381, he participated in the second ecumenical Council at Constantinople, where he stood out as an authoritative theologian. The attacked Arianism and eloquently reaffirmed the decrees of the Council of Nicaea. The council called him, "Father of the Fathers" because he was widely venerated as the great pillar of orthodoxy and the great opponent of Arianism.

Influenced by the writings of Origen and Plato, Gregory wrote numerous theological treatises, which were considered the true exposition of the Catholic faith. Among them were his Catechetical Discourse, treatises against Eunomius and Apollinaris, a book On Virginity, and commentaries on the Scriptures.

A good many of his writings survive:  Answer to Eunomius' Second Book   On the Holy Spirit (Against the Followers of Macedonius)   On the Holy Trinity, and of the Godhead of the Holy Spirit
On "Not Three Gods" (To Ablabius)  On the Faith (To Simplicius)  Funeral Oration on Meletius  On the Baptism of Christ (Sermon for the Day of Lights)   Letters  Canonical Epistle to St. Letoius

He surpasses the other Cappadocian fathers in the depth and richness of his philosophy and theology and the appeal of his ascetical works. On the Soul and the Resurrection is in the form of a dialogue with his sister Macrina, and another dialogue, Against Fate, shows what a hold astrology had on people's minds. His ascetical works, such as the Life of Moses, and his sermons on the Song of Songs are well reputed.
One of his letters has a special interest in that it shows that the custom of religious pilgrimage was already being seriously abused at the end of the fourth century. A selection of translated texts from Gregory's mystical writings, under the title From Glory to Glory, was published in 1963. Overall, Gregory's writings are remarkable for depth of thought and lucidity of expression. Of the three 'great Cappadocians'--Basil, Gregory Nazianzen, Gregory of Nyssa--he is the least prolific but the most profound.

Gregory was in Constantinople on several further occasions. At the imperial court his eloquence was so highly esteemed that he was asked to deliver the eulogy for the wife of Theodosius the Great and for his daughter Pulcheria. The last account we have of him relates to his appearance at a synod in Constantinople in 394. Presumably he died soon after this, probably on January 10, the date on which the Greeks have always kept his feast.

Apparently there is some debate about Gregory's relationship with his wife following his episcopal consecration. Some imagine that he continued to cohabit with her. But Saint Jerome testifies that the custom of the eastern churches did not suffer such a thing. She seems to have lived to see him ordained a bishop, and to have died about the year 384; but she professed a state of continency (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Husenbeth, Schamoni).
705 St. Bosa Bishop of York Benedictine monk praised by St. Bede most unusual merit and sanctity
Bosa was a Benedictine monk at Whitby, England, a monastery ruled by St. Hilda. In 678, he was consecrated a bishop by St. Theodore. He was involved in St. Wilfrid's refusal to accept the division of the see of York. Bosa became the bishop in 691, when Wilfrid was exiled by King Aldfrid. St. Bede called Bosa a man of unusual merit and sanctity, "a man beloved of God."

Bosa of York, OSB B (AC) Died 686. Saint Bosa was a Benedictine monk at Whitby, England, under Saint Hilda. In 678, he was consecrated bishop of Deira (the southern half of Northumbria, now Yorkshire) by Saint Theodore, with his see at York, when Saint Wilfrid was driven out by King Egfrid for refusing to accept the division of his see. Wilfrid returned in 686, but Bosa took over the diocese in 691 when Wilfrid was again exiled following a quarrel with King Aldfrid; Bosa ruled it with great holiness and ability until his death. Saint Bede praises Bosa as "a man beloved by God . . . of most unusual merit and sanctity." One of his disciples was Saint Acca, who later followed and succeeded Wilfrid at Hexham (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer).

When St Wilfrid of York had been driven out in consequence of his dissensions with King Egfrid and his diocese was divided into two sees, it was a monk of Whitby, Bosa by name, who was chosen to become bishop of Deira, the southern portion, whilst Eata of Lindisfarne was appointed to Bernicia. They were both consecrated by St Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury, in 678. Bosa, who is described by the Venerable Bede as “beloved by God...a man of singular merit and holi­ness”, made his seat at York, and governed his province wisely and well until his death, being succeeded by St John of Beverley. Bede says that St Acca, for whom he had the greatest regard, had been brought up and trained from boyhood by St Bosa at his school in York, and that he owed much to the example and teaching of this holy master.
All the facts will be found in the text and notes of Plummer’s edition of Bede.
10th v. St. Anthony Hermit of the Benedictine Order.
He was a monk at Froidement, in Franche-Comte, France. Anthony lived in a hermitage there and was known for his sanctity.
Antony of Froidemont, OSB (AC) 10th century. A monk of Luxeuil, Saint Antony became a recluse at Froidemont in Franche-Comté (Benedictines).
1009 Bruno von Querfurt Er wurde an der Domschule in Magdeburg ausgebildet und zum Priester geweiht
Katholische und Evangelische Kirche: 9. März   Orthodoxe Kirche: 19. Juni   Bruno, Sohn des Grafen von Querfurt, wurde 974 geboren.
Er wurde an der Domschule in Magdeburg ausgebildet und zum Priester geweiht. Nach seinem Vorbild Adalbert von Prag beschloß Bruno, Missionar zu werden und ging in ein Kloster nach Rom. Mit den Benediktinern Benedikt und Johannes gründete er eine Einsiedelei bei Ravenna. Von hier gingen Benedikt und Johannes zur Mission nach Polen. Bruno wollte ihnen folgen. Der Papst ernannte ihn 1002 zum Leiter dieser Mission, die vom polnischen König Boleslaw erbeten worden war. Heinrich II., ein Verwandter Brunos, sicherte ihm die Unterstützung des deutschen Reiches zu. Bruno ging aber nicht nach Polen, das inzwischen im Krieg mit Heinrich lag, sondern nach Ungarn und Siebenbürgen. Seine Mitbrüder wurden in ihrer Einsiedelei von Räubern ermordet. 1004 suchte Bruno Heinrich II. auf. Er wurde zum Missionserzbischof geweiht und stiftete die Burgkirche in Quedlinburg. Bruno ging dann gegen den Willen des Kaisers wieder nach Siebenbürgen und dann 1008 nach Kiew. Hier wirkte er als Missionar unter den Petschenegen. Obwohl sich der polnische König wegen seiner Auseinandersetzungen mit Heinrich II. nicht in der Lage sah, die Mission in Preußen zu unterstützen, ging Bruno 1009 nach Preußen, um hier zu missionieren. Schon nach kurzer Zeit wurde er (am 14.2. oder 9.3. 1009) am Braunsberg mit seinen 18 Gefährten von den Preußen erschlagen. Bruno wird auch 2. Apostel der Preußen und - da er als Mönch den Namen Bonifatius angenommen hatte - Bonifatius des Ostens genannt
1440 St. Frances of Rome  widow, renowned for her noble family, holy life, and the gift of miracles.
Romæ sanctæ Francíscæ Víduæ, nobilitáte géneris, vitæ sanctitáte et miraculórum dono célebris.
             At Rome, St. Frances, widow, renowned for her noble family, holy life, and the gift of miracles.

Frances was born in the city of Rome in 1384 to a wealthy, noble family. From her mother she inherited a quiet manner and a pious devotion to God. From her father, however, she inherited a strong will. She decided at eleven that she knew what God wanted for her -- she was going to be a nun. And that's where her will ran right up against her father's. He told Frances she was far too young to know her mind -- but not too young to be married. He had already promised her in marriage to the son of another wealthy family. In Rome at that time a father's word was law; a father could even sell his children into slavery or order them killed.
THE gentle saint who was known first to her fellow-citizens and then to the Church at large as Santa Francesca Romana, St Frances the Roman, possessed to an extraordinary degree the power of attracting the love and admiration of those who came in contact with her. Nor has her charm ended with her death, for she is still honoured by countless souls who seek her intercession and pray before her tomb in Santa Maria Nuova. On her feast day and within its octave, crowds flock to visit Tor de’ Specchi and the Casa degli Esercizi Pu (the successor of the old Palazzo Ponziano), the rooms of which are annually thrown open to the public and every memorial and relic of the saint exhibited.
She was born in the Trastevere district of Rome in 1384, at the beginning of the Great Schism of the West, which was to cause het much grief as well as adversely to affect the fortunes of her family. She did not live to see harmony completely restored. Her parents, Paul Busso and Jacobella dei Roffredeschi, were of noble birth and ample means, and the child was brought up in the midst of luxury but in a pious household. Frances was a precocious little girl, and when she was eleven she asked her parents to allow her to become a nun, only to be met by a point-blank refusal. Her parents, who were excellent people and much attached to her, had quite different plans for their attractive little daughter. Within a year they announced to her that they had arranged to betroth her to young Lorenzo Ponziano, whose position, character and wealth made him a suitable match. After a time Frances withdrew her objections, and the marriage was solemnized when she was barely thirteen. At first she found the new life very trying, although she did her best to please her husband as well as her parents-in-law, and Vannozza, the young wife of Lorenzo’s brother Paluzzo, discovered her one day weeping bitterly. Frances told her of her frustrated hopes, and learnt to her surprise that this new sister of hers would also have preferred a life of retirement and prayer. This was the beginning of a close friendship which lasted till death, and the two young wives strove together henceforth to live a perfect life under a common rule. Plainly dressed they sallied out to visit the poor of Rome, ministering to their wants and relieving their distress, and their husbands, who were devoted to them, raised no objection to their charities and austerities. This life was for a time interrupted by a severe and somewhat mysterious illness to which Frances fell a victim, and whichh er relatives sought to remedy by the aid of magic. We are told that after a year St Alexis appeared to her in a vision. He inquired if she was prepared to die or if she wished to recover. She replied that she had no will but the will of God. The saint then informed her that it was God’s will that she should recover and work for His greater glory, and, after throwing his cloak over her, he disappeared. Her infirmity had disappeared also.

After this the lives of the sisterly pair became even stricter than before, and daily they went to the hospital of Santo Spirito in Sassia to nurse the patients, singling out more particularly those suffering from the most repellent diseases. Their mother-in-law, Donna Cecilia, not unnaturally, was afraid lest they might injure their health, and thought that their avoidance of banquets and entertainments might be misconstrued in society and bring discredit on the family, but her Sons, to whom she appealed, refused to interfere in any way. In 1400 a son was born to Frances, and for a time she modified her way of life to devote herself to the care of little John Baptist (Battista). The following year Donna Cecilia died, and Frances was bidden by her father-in-law take her place at the head of the household. In vain she pleaded that Vannozza was the wife of the elder brother: Don Andrew and Vannozza insisted that she was the more suitable, and she was obliged to consent. She proved herself worthy of this position, discharging her duties efficiently whilst treating her household not as servants but as younger brothers and sisters, and trying to induce them to labour for their own salvation, in all the forty years that she lived with her husband there was never the slightest dispute or misunderstand­ing between them. When she was at her prayers, if summoned by Lorenzo or asked to give orders about the house, she laid all aside to respond to the call of that duty. “It is most laudable in a married woman to be devout”, she was wonton say, “but she must never forget that she is a housewife. And sometimes she must leave God at the altar to find Him in her housekeeping.” Her biographers relate that once when she was reading our Lady’s office a page was sent to fetch her. “Madonna, my master begs you to come to him”, said the lad. She immediately closed the book and went. Three more times this interruption happened; but when at last she opened the book for the fifth time she found the words of the antiphon were written in letters of gold. In addition to the eldest, two other children of Frances are known, a younger boy, Evangelist, and a girl, Agnes; and she allowed no one but herself to look after them during childhood.

Although, like so many other interior souls, Frances was sorely tried all her life by violent, temptations, which in her case sometimes took the form of hideous or enticing visions, and sometimes resembled bodily assaults, still for several years outward prosperity seemed to smile upon her and her family. The first indication of the clouds that were gathering came in the form of a famine and pestilence, mainly the result of the civil wars which were then convulsing Italy. Plague-stricken people were dying in the streets, and disease and starvation decimated Rome. Frances was unremitting in her efforts to relieve the sufferers and, with the help of Vannozza, tried to succour all she came across. Even the plentiful stock of provisions at the Palazzo Ponziano was exhausted at last and the two women went from door to door begging for food for the poor in spite of rebuffs and insults. It was then that she received her father-in-law’s consent to sell her jewels, and she never from that time forth wore any but the plainest dresses.

In 1408 the troops of Ladislaus of Naples, the ally of the antipope, had entered Rome and a soldier of fortune, Count Troja, had been appointed governor. The Ponziani had always supported the legitimate pope, and in one of the frequent conflicts Lorenzo was stabbed and carried home to Frances, to whose devoted nursing he owed his restoration to health. Troja resolved to leave the city after having wreaked his vengeance on the principal papal supporters. Amongst these were the Ponziani, and he not only arrested Vannozza’s husband Paluzzo, but also demanded as a hostage little. Battista but whilst his mother Frances was praying in the church of Ara Coeli the boy was released in circumstances that seemed to be miraculous. Then, in 1410 when the cardinals were assembled at Bologna for the election of a new pope, Ladislaus again seized Rome. Lorenzo Ponziano, who as one of the heads of the papal party went in danger of his life, managed to escape, but it was impossible for his wife and family to follow him. His palace was plun­dered and Battista was taken captive by the soldiers of Ladislaus, though he after­wards got away and was able to join his father. The family possessions in the Campagna were destroyed, farms being burnt or pillaged and flocks slaughtered whilst many of the peasants were murdered. Frances lived in a corner of her ruined home with Evangelist, Agnes and Vannozza, whose husband was still, a prisoner, and the two women devoted themselves to the care of the children and to relieving as far as their means would allow the sufferings of their still poorer neighbours. During another pestilence three years later, Evangelist died. Frances then turned part of the house into a hospital, and God rewarded her labours and prayers by bestowing on her the gift of healing.

Twelve months after the death of Evangelist, as his mother was praying one day, a bright light suddenly shone into the room and Evangelist appeared accom­panied by an archangel. After telling her of his happiness in Heaven he said that he had come to warn her of the impending death of Agnes. A consolation was, however, to be vouchsafed to the bereaved mother. The archangel who accompanied Evangelist was henceforth to be her guide for twenty-three years. He was to be succeeded in the last epoch of her life by an angel of still higher dignity. Very soon Agnes began to fail, and a year later she passed away at the age of sixteen. From that moment, as Evangelist had promised, the angel was always visible to St Frances, though unseen by others. Only when she committed a fault did he fade away for a time, to return as soon as she felt compunction and made confession. The form he took was that of a child of about eight years old. But, weakened by what she had gone through, Frances herself fell a victim to the plague. So ill was she that every hope of recovery was abandoned, but the disease suddenly left her, and she began to regain her health. It was at this time that she had a vision of Hell so terrible that she could never allude to it without tears.

After many delays Pope John XXIII summoned the Council of Constance which was to prepare the healing of the Great Schism, and in that same year 1414 the Ponziani regained their property after being recalled from banishment. Lorenzo was now a broken man and lived in retirement, being tended with the utmost devotion by his faithful wife. It was his great wish to see his son Battista married and settled before his death, and he chose for him a beautiful girl called Mobilia, who proved to have a violent and overbearing temper. She conceived a great contempt for Frances, of whom she complained to her husband and his father, and whom she ridiculed in public. In the midst of a bitter speech she was struck down by a sudden illness, through which she was nursed by the saint. Won by her kindness Mobilia found her contempt turned to love, and thenceforward she sought to imitate her saintly mother-in-law. By this time the fame of the virtues and miracles of St Frances had spread over Rome, and she was appealed to from all quarters, not only to cure the sick but also to settle disputes and heal feuds. Lorenzo, whose love and reverence for her only increased with age, offered to release her from all the obligations of married life provided only that she would continue to live under his roof.

She was now able to carry out a project which had been taking shape in her mind of forming a society of women living in the world and bound by no vows, but pledged to make a simple offering of themselves to God and to serve the poor. The plan was approved by her confessor Dom Antonio, who obtained the affiliation of the congregation to the Benedictines of Monte Oliveto, to which he himself belonged. Known at first as the Oblates of Mary, they were afterwards called the Oblates of Tor de’ Specchi. The society had lasted seven years when it was thought desirable to take a house adapted for a community, and the old building known as Tor de’ Specchi was acquired. Whatever time she could spare from her home duties St Frances spent with the oblates, sharing in their daily life and duties. She never allowed them to refer to her as the foundress, but insisted that all should be subject to Agnes de Lellis who was chosen superioress. Three years later Lorenzo died and was laid beside Evangelist and Agnes; and St Frances announced her intention of retiring to Tor de’ Specchi. On the feast of St Benedict she entered her founda­tion as a humble suppliant and was eagerly welcomed. Agnes de Lellis immediately insisted upon resigning office and Frances had to take her place in spite of her protestations.

Her life was now lived closer than ever to God. Her austerities indeed she could not well increase, for she had long subsisted on dry bread with occasionally some vegetables; she had scourged herself and made use of horsehair girdles and chains with sharp points. But now visions and ecstasies became more frequent, and she sometimes spent whole nights in prayer. One evening in the spring of 1440, though feeling very ill she tried to get back home after visiting Battista and Mobilia. On the way she met her director, Dom John Matteotti, who, shocked at her appearance, ordered her to return at once to her son’s house. It was soon evident that she was dying, but she lingered on for seven days. On the evening of March 9 her face was seen to shine with a strange light: “The angel has finished his task: he beckons me to follow him”, were her last words. As soon as it was known that she was dead, the Ponziani Palace was thronged by mourners and by those who brought their sick to be healed. Her body was removed to Santa Maria Nuova, where the crowds became even greater as the report of miracles wrought there was spread abroad. She was buried in the chapel of the church reserved for her oblates. Her congregation still survives at Tor de’ Specchi, where the oblates carry on educational work; their dress remains that of the Roman noble ladies of the period. St Frances was canonized in it 1608, and Santa Maria Nuova is now known as the church of Santa Francesca Romana.

By far the most important source for the Life of St Frances of Rome is the collection of visions, miracles and biographical details compiled first of all in Italian by John Matteotti and afterwards, with omissions and additions, translated by him into Latin. Matteotti had been the saint’s confessor during the last ten years of her life, but there is no evidence that he had been acquainted with her at an earlier date. The seventeenth-century biography which has been printed under the name of Mary Magdalen Anguillaria, superioress of Tor de’ Specchi, adds little to the materials provided by Matteotti, though it may have incor­porated some new facts from the processes which preceded the canonization. All these sources in a Latin version will be found in the Acta Sanctorum, March, vol. ii. There is a short but very sympathetic life of St Frances in English by Lady Georgians Fullerton published in 1853; and lives in French by Rabory (1884), Rambuteau (1900) and Mrs Berthem-Bontoux (1931), the last a solid but rather prolix work. The Italian text of Matte­otti has been edited by Armellini, but cf M. Pelaez in the Archivio Soc. Pomona di Storia patria, vols. xiv and xv (1891—1892).

Frances probably felt that's what he was doing by forcing her to marry. But just as he wouldn't listen to her, Frances wouldn't listen to him. She stubbornly prayed to God to prevent the marriage until her confessor pointed out, "Are you crying because you want to do God's will or because you want God to do your will?"
She gave in to the marriage -- reluctantly. It was difficult for people to understand her objection. Her future husband Lorenzo Ponziani was noble, wealthy, a good person and he really cared for her. An ideal match -- except for someone who was determined to be a bride of Christ.  Then her nightmare began. This quiet, shy thirteen year old was thrust into the whirl of parties and banquets that accompanied a wedding. Her mother-in-law Cecilia loved to entertain and expected her new daughter-in-law to enjoy the revelry of her social life too. Fasting and scourging were far easier than this torture God now asked her to face.
Frances collapsed from the strain. For months she lay close to death, unable to eat or move or speak.

At her worst, she had a vision of St. Alexis. The son of a noble family, Alexis had run away to beg rather than marry. After years of begging he was so unrecognizable that when he returned home his own father thought he was just another beggar and made him sleep under the stairs. In her own way, Frances must have felt unrecognized by her family -- they couldn't see how she wanted to give up everything for Jesus. St. Alexis told her God was giving her an important choice: Did she want to recover or not?

It's hard for us to understand why a thirteen-year-old would want to die but Frances was miserable. Finally, she whispered, "God's will is mine." The hardest words she could have said -- but the right words to set her on the road to sanctity.
St. Alexis replied, "Then you will live to glorify His Name."
Her recovery was immediate and complete. Lorenzo became even more devoted to her after this -- he was even a little in awe of her because of what she'd been through.
But her problems did not disappear. Her mother-in-law still expected her to entertain and go on visits with her. Look at Frances' sister-in-law Vannozza --happily going through the rounds of parties, dressing up, playing cards. Why couldn't Frances be more like Vannozza?
In a house where she lived with her husband, his parents, his brother and his brother's family, she felt all alone. And that's why Vannozza found her crying bitterly in the garden one day. When Frances poured out her heart to Vannozza and it turned out that this sister-in-law had wanted to live a life devoted to the Lord too. What Frances had written off as frivolity was just Vannozza's natural easy-going and joyful manner. They became close friends and worked out a program of devout practices and services to work together.
They decided their obligations to their family came first. For Frances that meant dressing up to her rank, making visits and receiving visits -- and most importantly doing it gladly.
The two spiritual friends went to mass together, visited prisons, served in hospitals and set up a secret chapel in an abandoned tower of their palace where they prayed together.

It wasn't fashionable for noblewomen to help the poor and people gossiped about two girls out alone on the streets. Cecilia suffered under the laughter of her friends and yelled at her daughters-in-law to stop theirs spiritual practices. When that didn't work Cecilia then appealed to her sons, but Lorenzo refused to interfere with Frances' charity.

The beginning of the fifteenth century brought the birth of her first son, Battista, after John the Baptist. We might expect that the grief of losing her mother-in-law soon after might have been mixed with relief -- no more pressure to live in society. But a household as large as the Ponziani's needed someone to run it. Everyone thought that sixteen-year-old Frances was best qualified to take her mother-in-law's place. She was thrust even more deeply into society and worldly duties. Her family was right, though -- she was an excellent administrator and a fair and pleasant employer.

After two more children were born to her -- a boy, Giovanni Evangelista, and a girl, Agnes -- a flood brought disease and famine to Rome. Frances gave orders that no one asking for alms would be turned away and she and Vannozza went out to the poor with corn, wine, oil and clothing. Her father-in-law, furious that she was giving away their supplies during a famine, took the keys of the granary and wine cellar away from her.  Then just to make sure she wouldn't have a chance to give away more, he sold off their extra corn, leaving just enough for the family, and all but a cask of one. The two noblewomen went out to the streets to beg instead.
Finally Frances was so desperate for food to give to the poor she went to the now empty corn loft and sifted through the straw searching for a few leftover kernels of corn. After she left Lorenzo came in and was stunned to find the previously empty granary filled with yellow corn. Frances drew wine out of their one cask until one day her father in law went down and found it empty. Everyone screamed at Frances. After saying a prayer, she led them to cellar, turned the spigot on the empty cask, and out flowed the most wonderful wine. These incidents completely converted Lorenzo and her father-in-law.
Having her husband and father-in-law completely on her side meant she could do what she always wanted. She immediately sold her jewels and clothes and distributed money to needy. She started wearing a dress of coarse green cloth.
Civil war came to Rome -- this was a time of popes and antipopes and Rome became a battleground. At one point there were three men claiming to be pope. One of them sent a cruel governor, Count Troja, to conquer Rome. Lorenzo was seriously wounded and his brother was arrested. Troja sent word that Lorenzo's brother would be executed unless he had Battista, Frances's son and heir of the family, as a hostage. As long as Troja had Battista he knew the Ponzianis would stop fighting.  When Frances heard this she grabbed Battista by the hand and fled. On the street, she ran into her spiritual adviser Don Andrew who told her she was choosing the wrong way and ordered her to trust God. Slowly she turned around and made her way to Capitol Hill where Count Troja was waiting. As she and Battista walked the streets, crowds of people tried to block her way or grab Battista from her to save him. After giving him up, Frances ran to a church to weep and pray.

As soon as she left, Troja had put Battista on a soldier's horse -- but every horse they tried refused to move. Finally the governor gave in to God's wishes. Frances was still kneeling before the altar when she felt Battista's little arms around her.
Troubles were not over. Frances was left alone against the attackers when she sent Lorenzo out of Rome to avoid capture. Drunken invaders broke into her house, tortured and killed the servants, demolished the palace, literally tore it apart and smashed everything. And this time God did not intervene -- Battista was taken to Naples. Yet this kidnapping probably saved Battista's life because soon a plague hit -- a plague that took the lives of many including Frances' nine-year-old son Evangelista.  At this point, her house in ruins, her husband gone, one son dead, one son a hostage, she could have given up.
She looked around, cleared out the wreckage of the house and turned it into a makeshift hospital and a shelter for the homeless.

One year after his death Evangelista came to her in a vision and told her that Agnes was going to die too. In return God was granting her a special grace by sending an archangel to be her guardian angel for the rest of her life. She would always been able to see him. A constant companion and spiritual adviser, he once commanded her to stop her severe penances (eating only bread and water and wearing a hair shirt). "You should understand by now," the angel told her, "that the God who made your body and gave it to your soul as a servant never intended that the spirit should ruin the flesh and return it to him despoiled."

Finally the wars were over and Battista and her husband returned home. But though her son came back a charming young man her husband returned broken in mind and body. Probably the hardest work of healing Frances had to do in her life was to restore Lorenzo back to his old self.
When Battista married a pretty young woman named Mabilia Frances expected to find someone to share in the management of the household. But Mabilia wanted none of it. She was as opposite of Frances and Frances had been of her mother-in- law. Mabilia wanted to party and ridiculed Frances in public for her shabby green dress, her habits, and her standards. One day in the middle of yelling at her, Mabilia suddenly turned pale and fainted, crying, "Oh my pride, my dreadful pride." Frances nursed her back to health and healed their differences as well. A converted Mabilia did her best to imitate Frances after that.
With Lorenzo's support and respect, Frances started a lay order of women attached to the Benedictines called the Oblates of Mary. The women lived in the world but pledged to offer themselves to God and serve the poor. Eventually they bought a house where the widowed members could live in community.
Frances nursed Lorenzo until he died. His last words to her were, "I feel as if my whole life has been one beautiful dream of purest happiness. God has given me so much in your love." After his death, Frances moved into the house with the other Oblates and was made superior. At 52 she had the life she dreamed of when she was eleven. She had been right in discerning her original vocation -- she just had the timing wrong. God had had other plans for her in between.
Frances died four years later. Her last words were "The angel has finished his task -- he beckons me to follow him."

In Her Footsteps:  Do you have a spiritual friend who helps you on your journey, someone to pray with and serve with? If you don't have one now, ask God to send you such a companion. Then look around you. This friend, like Frances' Vannozza, may be near you already. Try sharing some of your spiritual hopes and desires with those closest to you. You may be surprised at their reaction. (But don't force your opinions on others or get discouraged by lack of interest. Just keep asking God to lead you.)
Prayer:  Saint Frances of Rome, help us to see the difference between what we want to do and what God wants. Help us to discern what comes from our will and what comes from God's desire. Amen

Frances of Rome, Widow (RM) Born in Rome, Italy, 1384; died there, March 9, 1440; canonized 1608 by Pope Paul V; named patroness of motorists by Pope Pius XI.
How can any woman not love Frances of Rome, who taught, "A married woman, even when praising God at the altar, must when needed by her husband or the smallest member of her family, quit God at the altar and find him again in her household affairs."

Saint Frances of Rome has to be my all-time favorite. I love her implicit trust in God: giving away the last food in the family's storeroom to the poor of Rome, trusting God with the life of her son whom He immediately returned to her, never wavering from her faith though society mocked her. She was a loving wife and mother who best exemplifies for me the balance of an active life, prayer, and works of mercy (spiritual and corporal), including the founding of the first home in Rome for abandoned children. She also shows us how to live out the message of Ash Wednesday.
That you can be a saint, In quite a rich home, Is shown by the case Of Saint Frances of Rome.  She had plenty of children, A husband, a cook, A household to manage, A housekeeping book--And they kept her so busy Both up and downstairs She couldn't think when To get on with her prayers.  She no sooner was kneeling Than someone would call-- She thought she would never Get finished at all.  First her husband must see her, Then up came the cook, Then a little boy shouting To please come and look--Then a friend with a very Long story to tell, And a dozen poor people With troubles as well.  And she never lost patience, Or said, "Not at home," And that's why we call her Saint Frances of Rome.

Poem by Marigold Hunt quoted in More Saints for Six O'Clock by Joan Windham (London: Sheed and Ward).
Francesca di Bussi di Broffedeschi lived in the then-aristocratic Trastevere section of Rome in the great Ponziani family palazzo on the via dei Vascellari, now known as the Pia Casa di Ponterotto (Pious House of the Broken Bridge). Today it is a retreat house called the Casa dei SS Spirituali Esercizi (House of Spiritual Exercises) run by 12 fathers for up to 60 male retreatants weekly.
Her father Paolo di Bussi married Giacobella di Broffedeschi. Both were connected to several other great families of wealth, stability, and strong Christian principles. Frances, their first and for a long time only child, was born in their middle years. (She had a younger sister Perna, who lived with her after the death of their parents.) Frances, a beautiful girl, was baptized the day she was born and confirmed at age six in the Church of Saint Agnes in the Piazza Navona. She had a life-long devotion to Saint Agnes. She was close to her doting mother, who breastfed and taught Frances herself contrary to custom.
Frances was a gentle and thoughtful child, naturally devout, happy in a quiet way, but grave rather than gay, undemonstrative, silent under circumstances when most little girls are prone to chatter, and given to self-denial from a very early age. Her mother was pious and purposeful; her father stern. There was little socializing, partly because the prevalent corruption of society was repugnant to their tastes and principles.
The Church of Saint Agnes was their parish, but they more frequently attended the Benedictine Santa Maria Nuovo. Dom Antonio di Monte Savello was both Frances's and Giacobella's confessor and an intimate friend. He restrained Frances's impulse to severe acts of penance in emulation of the martyrdom of Saint Agnes.
From her earliest years, she ate only bread and vegetables and drank only water. Like many pious little girls, she begged to be a nun, but Dom Antonio reminded her that she would need her father's permission. Her father said she was too young to consider a vocation, and bluntly said that he had already promised her hand to Lorenzo di Ponziano, the son of his old friend Andreazzo Ponziano and Cecilia Mellini. She had to accept her father's decision as God's will. She notes that, "Married life is indeed a sacrifice for one who aspires to solitude, contemplation and frequent acts of piety, just as religious life is a sacrifice for those whose natural disposition inclines them to marriage."
In 1396 at age 12, the beautiful Frances married him in the spirit of sacrifice, unprepared for the rounds of festivities surrounding their marriage. She got through the festivities, but collapsed completely almost immediately afterward and nearly died. She was paralyzed and unable to speak.
Frances was ill in bed for a full year--she could not walk or speak and was in constant pain. The Ponzani family thought she was under a diabolical influence and admitted a witch to her room. She recognized the depraved character of her guest and regained her power of speech to oust the witch. Thereupon, she fell into a stupor. In the middle of the night, a bright light shone around her bed and Saint Alexis--a noble Roman whose feast day it was--appeared to Frances in a vision. He asked whether she wanted to live or to die. She eventually responded, "God's will is mine." Saint Alexis then replied, "Then you will live to glorify His Name" and she recovered immediately and completely.
Thereafter, she was reconciled to married life, for she had learned that "marriage need not diminish one's interior grace and that Almighty God is not to be categorically limited in the distribution of His favors to any class or station in life." She also wanted children to give saints to Heaven.
Lorenzo was personable, pleasant, and of unreproachable character. It is said that Frances and Lorenzo lived together for forty years with never a quarrel. Frances was warmly welcomed and lapped in luxury by the Ponziano family, especially by Lorenzo's older brother Paolo (a.k.a. Paluzzo), who was married to Giovanna (a.k.a. Vannozza) di Santa Croce. Frances, however, was baffled by their candid delights in worldly pleasures. Nevertheless, Lorenzo really loved her and would not consciously, much less willfully, have failed to treat her with tenderness.
During her illness, Vannozza nursed her devotedly and they became fast friends. Frances had mistaken Vannozza's natural joyousness for frivolity; now she recognized it not as an impediment to spirituality, but as a quality that gave luster to good deeds and great faith. When Frances learned that Vannozza also had cherished hopes to live as a religious, the two sisters-in-law planned a program of devout practices. Duty to family was their first obligation, including dressing appropriately for their rank, receiving visitors graciously, and assisting in running the household with happy hearts and smiling faces. In free moments they would attend Mass together, pray together in a secluded garden oratory, visit prisons, and serve in the hospitals.
Soon these beautiful, gentle, kind ladies were regarded by the common people as saints. "In their own social circle they quickly acquired imitators."

Almost daily they nursed the sick in the Hospital of Santo Spirito, an 8th century hospice built by Anglo-Saxon kings for Saxon pilgrims. About 1200, Pope Innocent III (who became pope at age 36) converted it into a foundling hospital when some fishermen presented him with dead babies who had been caught in their nets. A turntable installed in the hospital walls provided an alternative to the Tiber River for abandoning unwanted babies. The babies were treated with musical therapy as the foster mothers breastfed them. The hospital, run by Guido of Montepellier's Hospital Brethren, was enlarged to also care for all who needed it.
Frances continued to go to Dom Antonio every Wednesday for confession and communion at the Church of Santa Maria Nuova. On Saturdays she went to the Church of San Clemente for a conference with Fra Michele, a Dominican monk who was an intimate friend of her father-in-law.
Because she loved to entertain, Cecilia Ponziano resented her daughter-in-law for spending so much time in prayer and refusing to dance or play cards. Many of Cecilia's friends began to laugh at Frances, and to turn her piety into ridicule. Lorenzo found his wife too perfect to interfere with her activities as he was advised to do. Both he and her brother-in-law were supportive, though neither appears to have participated with their respective spouses.
Both Frances and Vannozza wore haircloth under their beautiful brocades and velvets, and starved and scourged themselves. Whenever possible Frances slipped into nearby Saint Cecilia's Church for prayer and meditation. Silence, habitual to her since her childhood, became a more and more distinctive trait; she was courteous in conversation, gracious in manner to all she met, but, in so far as she properly could, she avoided chatter with associates which seemed to her purposeless.
Frances was able to see, hear, and feel her guardian angel after her marriage. "At the least imperfection in her conduct . . . she felt the blow of a mysterious hand . . . and every day her virtues and piety increased" (Fullerton). At an early age Frances was aware of the nearness of demonic temptation and danger. The devil was very real to her: he had attacked her physically and spiritually. Her viewpoint concerning a personal devil was one shared with many other great saints, Teresa of Avila among them.
In 1400, Giovanni Battista was born and baptized on his birthday in Saint Cecilia's. Frances insisted on nursing her son herself. Shortly thereafter Paolo di Bussi died and was buried in the Church of Saint Agnes (later his body moved to the Tor di Specchi). Her mother-in-law followed soon after and Frances was asked to assume the duties of lady-of-the-house.
She was a good administrator and a fair employer. She carefully arranged her servants schedules to allow them time to attend Mass, family prayers, and parochial instruction on Sundays and holidays. Mourning was followed by famine and pestilence, so there was no need for entertaining. Frances opened the doors to the poor and needy; no one asking for alms was to be turned away. She also went out among the nearby poor to offer corn, wine, oil, and clothing. Andreazzo, her father-in-law, then took from her the keys to the granary and wine cellar. Fearing that he would give in to her entreaties for additional food for the poor, he sold all the wine and corn the family would not need.
So, she and Vannozza begged door to door for supplies without much luck. She, Vannozza, and a faithful old servant Clara went to the granary to search for stray kernels, and collected a measure after several hours. They were carrying off their cache when Lorenzo entered the granary and found the straw had turned into 40 measures of corn.
Daily she drew wine from the one large cask left in the family cellar until it ran dry. Andreazzo hurled angry, bitter reproaches at her, joined by Lorenzo and Paluzzo. She prayed and said, "Do not be angry; let us go to the cellar; may be through God's mercy, that the cask may be full by this time." And so it was. Thereafter Lorenzo venerated her and encouraged her to follow in every respect the divine inspirations she received.
Earlier miracles included quince falling at her feet out of season; and a particular fish desired by the ill Vannozza miraculously appearing on the bedcover that immediately restored Vannozza to health.
After consulting her spiritual director and receiving permission from her father-in-law, Frances sold all her jewels and clothing, and distributed the money to the poor. From then on she dressed in coarse green cloth and increased her good works and prayer. She was joined by Vannozza, Rita Celli--a devout young friend, and their servant Clara. Even with severe fasts and a stringent schedule, she retained her health. They were later joined by Lucia degli Aspalli, a young matron and kinswoman.
When Giovanni Battista was four years old (Frances, 20), Giovanni Evangelista, "a child of grace and an inheritor of the Kingdom of Heaven," was born. Evangelista was old in sense, small in body, great in soul, resplendent in beauty, angel-like in all his ways. At age three he was endowed with the gift of prophecy, and the faculty of reading the unuttered thoughts of men's hearts. Frances's third child was named Agnes after her favorite saint.
Politically this was a turbulent period of two popes (Rome and Avignon) and the virtual rule of Rome by Ladislas of Naples. The Ponziani and Orsini families were engaged in a battle to end the schism without result. Lorenzo and the rest of the family supported Alexander V, a second anti-Pope, and Louis of France's quest to conquer Naples. Lorenzo was gravely wounded in a street fight and restored to health by the ministrations of his wife.
Soon thereafter, Paluzzo was arrested, then the family was informed that they must surrender nine-year-old Battista to Ladislas' governor or Paluzzo would be killed. She fled into the streets with Battista and ran into Dom Antonio, who told her to go to the Church of Santa Maria d'Aracoeli, which she did. The Count of Traja was awaiting them and she convinced the tearful Battista to go to him. Turning away, she entered the church to weep bitterly before the altar of the Merciful Mother. As soon as she had left, the count had ordered Battista taken away on a horse, but all five that were tried refused to move. So, they took him back to his mother who was still praying.
Political troubles continued when Balthazar Cossa (John XXIII) was elected anti-Pope and Louis d'Anjou succeeded in getting a foothold in Rome. Ladislas attacked and pillaged Rome. The Ponziani palace was marked for demolition. They were about to escape to one of their country estates when their terrified vintners, shepherds, and cattlemen poured into the palace with tales of death and destruction in the countryside. Lorenzo, in convalescent condition, was finally persuaded to flee to a distant province. Soon after his departure their home was invaded, servants tortured and killed, the palace and all its contents demolished, and 13- year-old Battista carried off to Naples. The wreckage was cleared and the family continued to live there.
Famine and pestilence followed. The beautiful child Evangelista died happily convinced that angels had come to accompany him to heaven. Thereafter Frances increased her good works. She and Vannozza turned the destroyed inner banqueting hall into a hospital for the homeless. They were joined by Rita and Lucia, plus two others: Margherita di Montellucci and Giacobella di Biunemonti.
Occasionally Frances went to the family vineyard near the Church of Saint Paul's-Outside-the-Walls to gather grapes and dry vines to supplement the meager supply of firewood and distribute among the poor who were without fuel.
Her nursing skills were supplemented by the gift of healing and skill in making ointments. She brought a dead, unbaptized baby back to life. Many miracles are attributed to her, including a vision of the dead Evangelista, who said:  My abode is with God; my companions are the angels; our sole occupation the contemplation of the Divine perfections,-- the endless source of all happiness. Eternally united with God, we have no will except His; and our peace is as complete as His Being is infinite. He is Himself our joy, and that joy knows no limits. There are nine choirs of angels in heaven, and the higher orders of angelic spirits instruct in the Divine mysteries the less exalted intelligences. If you wish to know my place amongst them, my mother, learn that God, in His great goodness, has appointed it in the second choir of angels, and the first hierarchy of archangels.
While he was speaking, Frances saw that he was not alone; a second celestial figure stood beside him, very like him in build and height, but even more beautiful. Evangelista turned in his direction and said,
This my companion is higher than I am in rank, as he is more bright and fair in aspect. The Divine Majesty has assigned him to you as a guardian during the remainder of your earthly pilgrimage. Night and day by your side, he will assist you in every way. Never amidst the joys of Paradise have I for an instant forgotten you, or any of my loved ones on earth. I knew you were resigned; but I also knew that your heart would rejoice at beholding me once more, and God has permitted that I should thus gladden your eyes.
I have a message for you, Mother--a message from God. He is asking for Agnes. So, before long, she will leave you, too. But the archangel will remain. To the moment of your death he will be ever present in your sight.

The light surrounding her guardian archangel was so bright that she could read and write at night by it. She described him as full of sweetness and majesty, long curly golden hair that fell over his shoulders, eyes turned heavenward, wearing a luminous long robe covered with a tunic of white, red, or sky blue.
Frances collapsed after burying her daughter and was gravely ill for months and had frequent visions of hell. She was only 29.

With Ladislas poisoned by his mistress, and his sister and heir Joanna too preoccupied with a succession of scandalous affairs, Battista was returned to his mother. He had acquired the social and cultural graces of court without losing his piety. Lorenzo, too, returned but was a broken man. He tacitly blamed her for the death of Evangelista and Agnes. When he had left she was strikingly beautiful; now wan and wasted. Through tenderness and patience Frances succeeded in restoring him to normalcy from deep melancholia.
On November 11, 1417, the Western schism ended with the deposition of the two schismatic popes, abdication of Gregory XII, and election of Ottone Colonna as Pope Martin V. Now unmolested the vineyards and stock farms of the Ponziani prospered and their houses restored. Frances began to spend more time with those of her own social class, tending to their problems--perhaps because of her visions of hell.
A former detractor, frivolous Gentilezza, was restored to health by Frances after promising to reform her life. Doctors had given up on her. She persuaded Giovanni Antonio Lorenzi to abandon murderous designs on an erstwhile friend and helped Angelo Savelli to forgive the one who mortally wounded him in a duel. She helped the Benedictine Dom Ippolito to rightly consider his vocation and position, which led him to conversion, confession, and humble service, and eventually to being named prior.
Frances believed her obligations to her family came first and must never be slighted in order to spend more time in prayer or acts of charity. Once while attempting to recite Morning Prayer, she was interrupted four times to handle domestic chores and each time responded cheerfully. When she returned the fourth time, the antiphon was inscribed in gold and remained that way until her death.
Now the miracles associated with her began to have a more mystical character--she received the stigmata in her side, which was known only to Vannozza who dressed it and Dom Antonio, her confessor.
The wound was healed after a vision in which she was transported to Bethlehem and cleansed by the BVM.

Battista married 12-year-old Mabilia Papazunni, also of noble family. Frances had hoped that Mabilia would take on the responsibilities of the household, but she preferred entertaining. Mabilia criticized and ridiculed Frances in public. She dressed immodestly and opulently, and found Frances's green dress obnoxious. Discord entered the family with Mabilia. Frances continued tranquilly to hope for a change in Mabilia's attitude. Mabilia collapsed while railing against her mother-in-law's habits, dress, and standards. When she recovered she acknowledged her sinful pride and was reconciled with Frances. Eventfully, she bore children: Girolamo and Vannozza.
Sensing the deep holiness of his wife, Lorenzo promised Frances complete liberty if she would only agree to always inhabit his house, and, naturally, she agreed. Mabilia took on more responsibilities and freed Frances further to participate in the activities of the Jubilee of 1423 and listen to the great Franciscan preacher Bernardine of Siena.
Frances and her friends approached Dom Antonio regarding establishing an Oblate of Saint Benedict, since its rule did not permit third orders. He went to Dom Ippolito, who was helped by Frances and who obtained approval for the establishment of the Oblates of Mary. The friends prepared for their consecration on the Feast of the Assumption, 1425, with prayer, fasting, and penance. They included Frances, Vannozza, Rita Celli, Agnes Selli, and probably Anastasia di Clarelli, Perna Colluzzi, Caterina Manetti, Frances di Veroli, Giacobella di Brumemonti, Agostina di Viterbo, and Lella Maioli. This was not a solemn vow but an affiliation.
Frances left Rome only once to receive the "Great Pardon" at the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Assisi. She walked there and back accompanied by Vannozza and Rita. Lorenzo and the released Paluzzo objected to this. They miraculously encountered Saint Francis along the way (long dead).
While they were gone Dom Antonio Savelli died. She chose the 33- year-old Dom Giovanni Matteotti as her new confessor. He ordered her to relate her visions to him in minute detail and kept a daily record of all she told him. He became her biographer.  Some of the Benedictines questioned the legitimacy of attaching a secular order to the monastery. So, Frances sought formal recognition from the pope, but there were new political troubles.
Lorenzo was growing feeble. Battista, as a brigadier general, was in constant danger. Vannozza, mortally ill, was tended by Frances and their friends until a soft white mist enveloped her as she breathed her last and a shaft of light slanted toward heaven. She wasn't buried in the Ponziani chapel, but in the Santa Croce family chapel in the Church of Aracoeli.
Frances's ecstasies and prophetic visions came more and more frequently.

She was extremely affected by meditating on our Savior's passion, which she had always present to her mind. At Mass she was so absorbed in God as to seem immoveable, especially after holy communion: she often fell into ecstasies of love and devotion. She had a particular devotion to John the Evangelist, and above all to our Lady.
Seven years after their consecration, Frances invited her friends to dine in her home during Lorenzo's absence and said that they needed to be united in outward as well as interior life. Christ had commanded her to build a spiritual edifice. They selected a house under the spiritual guidance of Dom Ippolito, Dom Giovanni, and Fra Bartolommeo Biondii, a Franciscan monk who was brother-in- law to Agnes Selli and a theologian and orator of exceptional talent.
She refused to use the monies of her family but later accepted the deeds to the vineyard near Saint Paul's-Outside-the- Wall and another known as Porta Portere.
Only the unwed or widowed were to live together, but it still alarmed their parents. The married would visit. The choice fell to the site of the Tor di Specchi (Tower of Mirrors). When the papal bull was finally issued, the congregation was described as that of the Oblates of Tor di Spechhi. The rules were revealed to Frances in a series of visions. These divided the day into periods of work, rest, and prayer, prescribed the manner of dress that was symbolic, etc. Ten oblates moved into the Tor di Specchi on the Feast of the Annunciation and Agnes Selli was chosen as their first superior.
When Lorenzo died peacefully, Frances arranged for Masses to be said for him and settled his estate. She tried to train Battista to take over the management of the agricultural estates. She then applied for admission to the community at Tor di Specchi. Agnes wanted to resign as superior, Frances objected but was overruled by the oblates and Dom Giovanni who commanded her to take charge. On March 25, 1436, she was duly elected Superior.
That night her guardian angel left her and presented the one to take his place, who was even higher in the angelic hierarchy. The newcomer also wore a dalmatic but of more precious tissue; the light surrounding him was more dazzling, and his very glance was sufficient to put demons to flight (while the other had to shake his locks).
He carried three golden boughs from which came golden threads that he wound around his neck or into balls to provide for a mysterious tissue that would be used later on.

When in March 1440 Battista succumbed to a fever, Frances instantly responded. During the day it became apparent that she, too, was ill, nevertheless she insisted on returning on foot and stopping to ask her spiritual director's blessing. He commanded her to return to the palace. In a vision Jesus, surrounded by angels and saints, announced that she would die in seven days. For the next days she resumed her normal prayers. Her deathbed was marred only by an incident wherein she accused her son of wrong dealings and he admitted his guilt.
She died as she finished her vespers. Her last words were: "The Angel has finished his task; he calls me to follow him." The cause for her canonization was introduced almost immediately, but it was not much advanced until the accession of Clement VIII, who had a great devotion to the saint, but he and his successor died before this was accomplished. Paul V (Borghese) decreed her canonisation.

Her husband and children are entombed beneath the pavement of the Ponziani family chapel (now the sacristy) of the Church of Saint Cecilia. The walls have scenes from her life. Her skeletal remains, clad in the habit of the Oblates of the Congregation of Mount Olivet, which she founded, lie exposed in a glass casket in the church with her name, coupled with its original designation of Santa Maria Nuovo. Once every hundred years it is opened to reclothe her body in a fresh habit. This is her father Paolo di Bussi's church.

On her feast day, the priest blesses cars parked outside because she is La Padrona degli Automobilisti, which is odd because she may have left Rome only once to go to Assisi and generally travelled by foot.

She did not live in the Tor di Specchi on the via Teatro di Marcello near the Orsini Palace until after the death of her husband. The chapel of the Tor di Specchi has 20 frescoes, plus the altarpiece, all in perfect condition, depicting the miracles of Saint Frances (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Berthem-Bontoux, Cecchetti, Delaney, Delany, Encyclopedia, Farrow, Fullerton, Gill, Grandi, Husenbeth, Keyes, Martindale, Morton, White, Windham).

In art, Saint Frances is portrayed as a nun with her guardian angel dressed as a deacon by her side. At times the icon may include (1) a monstrance and arrow; (2) a book; or (3) an angel with a branch of oranges near her; or she may be shown (4) receiving the veil from the Christ Child in the arms of the Blessed Virgin (Roeder). She is the patroness of Roman housewives (Roeder) and motorists and automobiles (Farmer).

1440 Franziska von Rome
Katholische Kirche: 9. März
Franziska de Bussi wurde 1384 in Rom geboren. Sie wollte Nonne werden, ihre adligen Eltern verheirateten sie aber 1395 mit dem Adligen Lorenzo de Ponziani. Franziska wurde Mutter von 6 (nach anderen Quellen 4) Kindern. Sie hatte tiefe mystische Erfahrungen (die bekanntesten sind ihre Gesichte von Hölle und Fegefeuer und der drei Himmel), führte zahlreiche Gespräche mit ihrem Schutzengel, war aber auch karitativ tätig. Nachdem ihr Ehemann und ihr Sohn verbannt wurden und ihre anderen Kinder an der Pest starben, gründete sie 1425 die "Compania delle Oblate del Monastero Olivetano di S. Maria Nova", einen Zweig der Benediktineroblaten, die ab 1433 gemeinsam lebten. Nach dem Tod ihres Mannes 1436 trat Franziska in ihre Gemeinschaft ein und wurde nach kurzer Zeit zur Vorsteherin gewählt. Nachdem sie 1433 die Torre de Specchi als Sitz der Gemeinschaft erworben hatte, nannte sie ihr Werk "Nobili Oblati di Tor de' Specchi" (Gemeinschaft der Spiegelturmoblatinnen). Sie starb 1440 und wurde in der Kirche S. Maria Nuova (seit dem 17. Jahrhundert S. Francesca Romana) bestattet. In Italien wird sie Cecolella (Kosename - kleine Franziska) genannt . Sie ist Schutzpatronin der Frauen und der Autofahrer.
1463 St. Catherine of Bologna  experience visions of Christ and Satan, incorrupt healing miracles
 Bonóniæ sanctæ Catharínæ Vírginis, e secúndo Ordine sancti Francísci, quæ vitæ sanctitáte fuit illústris.  Ipsíus autem corpus magno cum honóre ibídem cólitur.
      At Bologna, St. Catherine, virgin, of the Second Order of St. Francis, illustrious for the holiness of her life.  Her body is greatly honoured in that city.
Patron of Artists

John DE’ VIGRI, the father of St Catherine of Bologna, was a lawyer and diplomatic agent to Nicholas d’Este, Marquis of Ferrara. At the request of his patron, he sent Catherine at the age of eleven as maid of honour to young Margaret d’Este, whose studies she shared and whose most intimate companion she became. Amongst other lessons, the two girls worked at Latin, in which language Catherine afterwards wrote several small works. When a marriage was arranged between Margaret and Robert Malatesta she desired to retain her friend in her service, but Catherine had already felt the call to the religious life. Soon after returning home she lost her father, and almost immediately she joined a company of Franciscan tertiaries at Ferrara, who lived a semi-monastic life under the guidance of a woman called Lucy Mascaroni.

Although only fourteen at the time of her admission, Catherine at once aimed at a perfection so exalted as to win the admiration of her sisters. From this early age she was subject to visions, some of which indeed came from God, whilst others were of Satanic origin, as she was afterwards forced to conclude. In order to help others to distinguish between divine visions and the artifices of Satan, Catherine subsequently declared that she had learnt to recognize when it was our Lord who was really deigning to visit her, by the holy light of humility which, at such times, always preceded the rising sun, for, as she went on to explain, “she used to experi­ence at the approach of the Divine Guest a sentiment of respect which would inwardly bow her spirit, or make her outwardly bow her head; or else she would be aware that the origin of her faults, past, present or future, was in herself: she used to consider herself too as the cause of all the faults of her neighbours, for whom she felt a burning charity. And Jesus would enter into her soul like a radiant sunshine. to establish there the profoundest peace.” The Devil then sought to instil into her mind blasphemous thoughts and doubts, the most grievous of which concerned the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. This caused her intense misery, until at last God revealed the whole doctrine to her, and so com­pletely answered her difficulties that her doubts left her forever. He also assured her that if the conscience is pure the effects of the sacrament are independent of sensible fervour, nor do doubts hinder its efficacy, provided no consent is given to them; and, moreover, that those who are patient under such trials gain more by their communions than if they were favoured with spiritual consolation. Probably as the result of all she had gone through, St Catherine became oppressed by a constant and overpowering inclination to sleep, which she regarded as a diabolic temptation, but which may well have been a merciful dispensation to relieve the bodily and mental strain which had preceded. This too passed away and peace settled upon her soul.

She now began to write down an account of her trials and the favours she had received, thinking that it might help others after her death. Not wishing the sisters to see this diary, she used to sew it up in the cushion of a chair, but the others, suspecting that she was doing something of the sort, searched for and found the manuscript. Their indiscretion was soon discovered by Catherine, and taking the leaves she threw them into the oven furnace. This oven was under her special charge, for she was the baker, and at one time, indeed, finding that the glare was injuring her eyes and fearing lest she might become a burden to the community, she mentioned her apprehensions to the superior, who, however, told her to remain at her post and leave her health to God. When she had been baker for a consider­able period, St Catherine became novice-mistress, and it was about this time that she had a remarkable vision which is often represented in art and which may best be described in her own words. Writing of herself in the third person she says:  “She asked permission of her mistress to pass the night of Christmas in the church of the monastery and she obtained it. She went there as soon as she could, with the intention of reciting a thousand Ave Marias in honour of our most Blessed Lady:  and this she really did with all the attention and fervour of which she was capable, and she was occupied in this way till midnight, the hour when it is believed our Saviour was born. At this very hour she saw our Blessed Lady appear, holding in her arms the Infant Jesus, swathed in linen bands as new-born infants commonly are. This kind mother came to her and gave her Son to her. I leave you to picture the joy of this poor creature when she found herself holding the Son of the eternal Father in her arms. Trembling with respect, but still more overcome with joy, she took the liberty of caressing Him, of pressing Him against her heart and of bringing His face to her lips. . . . When the poor creature we speak of dared to move her lips towards the Divine Infant’s mouth, He disappeared, leaving her, however, filled with joy.” Two works she wrote about this time consisted of a series of non-metrical verses on the mysteries of the life of our Lord and of His Mother, which she called a “Rosary”, and which was treasured after her death in her monastery at Bologna, and a treatise on the Seven Spiritual Weapons which was published posthumously and had a great circulation throughout Italy.

Already some years earlier the little community governed by Lucy Mascaroni had embraced the strict Rule of St Clare and had removed to a more suitable building, but it was felt by St Catherine and the more austere sisters that the full regularity of the convent could not be obtained until it should become enclosed. The inhabitants of Ferrara, however, long resisted this innovation, and it was mainly through the prayers and efforts of St Catherine that enclosure was conceded, and finally sanctioned by Pope Nicholas V. Catherine was then appointed superioress of a new convent of strict observance at Bologna, and although she shrank from the office and would have preferred to remain in Ferrara, she received a divine intimation that she was to go and made no further protest. She and the religious who accompanied her were received at Bologna by two cardinals, by the senate and magistrates, and by the entire population, and there they established the convent of Corpus Christi. Despite the strictness of the enclosure, the fame of the sanctity and healing powers of St Catherine, as well as her gifts of prophecy, attracted so many would-be postulants that room could not be found for them all.

After working hard all the week, she would devote the free time she had on Sundays and festivals to copying her breviary, illuminating it with colours. The whole of this breviary, with the figures of our Lord, our Lady and the saints was her work and is still preserved. She also composed a number of hymns and painted several pictures. Three precepts which Catherine practised all her life she was wont to impress upon her daughters. The first was always to speak well of others, the second was to practise constant humility, and the third was never to meddle in matters which were no business of hers. Strict beyond measure with herself, she was most tender to the weaknesses of other people, and when the triennial election of the abbess was pending the only objection that could be urged against her re-election was that the rules lost their force through her kindness. When she was novice-mistress and thought some of the younger sisters were insufficiently fed, she used to beg for eggs (hard-boiled, presumably), which she slipped into their bags after having peeled them and left the shells on her own plate. This caused her to be censured for sensuality at the annual visitation, but she received the reproofs humbly as though they had been deserved.

The saint’s health, which had been failing since before her return to Bologna, ere long broke down altogether. On the first Sunday in Lent of 1463 she was attacked by violent pains, and was obliged to take to her bed, from which she never rose again. On March 9 she rendered up her soul to God, and her passing was so peaceful that the watching sisters did not realize that she was dead until they perceived a sweet fragrance and noticed that her face had become so fresh and beautiful that she looked like a young girl of fifteen who was sleeping. Her body was buried without a coffin and remained in the ground for eighteen days, when it was disinterred, owing to the cures which were reported and to the sweet scent which proceeded from the grave. It was found to be incorrupt, and has ever since been preserved in the chapel of the convent church in Bologna. There the entire body may be seen through glass and behind bars it is in a sitting posture and richly habited, but the face and hands, which are uncovered, are now black with damp and age.
St Catherine is honoured as a patron of artists. The miniatures executed by her, which are still preserved in her convent of Corpo di Cristo at Bologna, are said to have been painted with remarkable delicacy. Two pictures of hers are also still in existence. One is in the Pinacoteca at Bologna, the other in the Academy of Fine Arts at Venice. She was canonized in 1712.

The outlines of St Catherine’s history may be learnt from a short memoir published nearly fifty years after her death by a Franciscan friar, Denis Paleotti, but more completely from the biography of Father J. Grassetti who, though he only wrote in 1610, had access at Bologna to such records as existed concerning her. Both these lives, originally composed in Italian, were printed by the Bollandists (Acta Sanctorum, March, vol. ii) in a Latin trans­lation. It seems regrettable that the most valuable source of first-hand information concern­ing Catherine Vigri has apparently never yet been printed. This is the Specchio d’illumin­azione, a memorial of the saint penned by her fellow religious and subject, Sister Illuminata Bembi, whose manuscript is still preserved in the convent. Most modern biographies depend almost entirely on Grassetti. The most imposing of these is that of J. E. Duver, Vie de. sainte Catherine de Bologne (1905) there is another in French by J. Stiénon du PM (1949). A very useful collection of essays bearing on the subject of Catherine appeared at Bologna in 1912 under the title La Santa nella storia, nelle lettere e nell’ arte. See also Léon, Auréole Séraphique  (Eng. trans., vol. i, pp. 394—437) and Dunbar, Dictionary of Saintly Women, vol. i, pp. 160—161. An English translation of Grassetti was included in the Oratorian Series.
She soon began to experience visions of Christ and Satan, and wrote of her experiences, one of which occurred one Christmas. Through her efforts with Pope Nicholas V, the Poor Clare convent at Ferrara erected an enclosure, and Catherine was appointed Superioress. The reputation of the Community for its holiness and austerity became widespread. She then was appointed Superioress of a new convent in Bologna.
In Lent of 1463, Catherine became seriously ill, and she died on March 9th. Buried without a coffin, her body was exhumed eighteen days later because of cures attributed to her and also because of the sweet scent coming from her grave.
Her body was found to be incorrupt and remains so today in the Church of the Poor Clare convent in Bologna. She was canonized in 1712.

Despite the opportunity to live a noble life at court, St. Catherine eagerly responded to her call to lead the religious life. Her piety, charity, and kindness attracted many to follow her along the road to perfection. The beauty of her life and death encourages us to resolve to live in perfect charity as a Lenten goal.

Catherine of Bologna, Poor Clare V (RM) (also known as Catherine de'Vigri) Born in Bologna, Italy, September 8, 1413; died there on March 9, 1463; name added to the Roman Martyrology by Clement VIII in 1592; canonized 1712 by Clement XI; bull of canonization published by Benedict XIII in 1724.
At age 11, the patrician Catherine de'Vigri became lady-in-waiting to Margherita d'Este at the ducal court of Nicholas III d'Este at Ferrara, where she was given a good education. After Margherita's wedding, Catherine (age 13) joined a sisterhood of virgins in Ferrara, who lived according to the rule of the Franciscan tertiaries. Largely as a result of her efforts, this company formed itself into a convent of Poor Clares.
In 1432 Catherine took solemn vows and soon became mistress of novices. In 1456, she traveled to Bologna to oversee the building of the Poor Clares' Corpus Christi Convent and became abbess of the new foundation. She was an effective novice mistress and superioress. Catherine's incredible zeal and solitude for the souls of sinners made her pour forth unceasing prayers and tears for their salvation.
From an early age Catherine was subject to visions, some of which from their nature and effects she judged to be diabolical temptations, while others were consolatory and for her good. One Christmas she had a vision of the Blessed Virgin with the infant Jesus in her arms, which is reproduced often in art since.
The learned saint recorded her soul's struggles and mystical experiences in a Latin work entitled Manifestations. She also wrote Latin hymns, and composed and painted--including a self- portrait that is really quite good. The transfiguration of her prematurely aged, plain features often observed in her life was even more remarkable after her death. She also had a talent for calligraphy and miniature painting; a breviary written out and ornamented by her still exists at the Bologna convent.
Her life and the occurrences after her death were described by an eyewitness, Blessed Illuminata Bembi:

"Thereupon the grave was prepared and when they lowered the corpse which was not enshrined in a coffin, it exhaled a scent of surpassing sweetness, filling the air all around. The two sisters, who had descended into the grave, out of compassion for her lovely and radiant face covered it with cloth and placed a rough board some inches above the corpse, so that the clods of earth should not touch it. However they fixed it so awkwardly that when the grave was filled up with earth it covered the face and body nevertheless.
"The sisters came to visit the churchyard often, wept, prayed, and read by the grave and always noticed the sweet odor in the air around it. As there were no flowers or herbs near the grave-- nothing but arid earth--they came to believe that it arose from the grave itself.  "Soon miracles occurred, for some who visited the grave in ill health were cured. Therefore the sisters repented that they had interred her without a coffin, and complained to their father confessor.
He a man of sound judgment asked what they wanted to do about it.

"We replied: 'To take her out again, place her in a wooden coffin and rebury her.' He was taken aback by this request it was 18 days after her death and he thought that by now the corpse must be decomposed. We, however, pointed out the sweet odor, and finally he granted permission to disinter her, provided no smell of putrefaction would make itself felt during the digging.  "When we found the body and laid the face free, we found it crushed and disfigured by the weight of the board placed above it. Also, in digging, three of the sisters had damaged it with the spade. So we placed her in a coffin, and made ready for re- interment, but by some strange impulse were driven to place her for some time under the portal.
"Here the crushed nose and the whole face gradually regained their natural form. The deceased became white of color, lovely, intact, as if still alive, the nails were not blackened, and she exhaled a delicious odor. All the sisters were deeply stirred; the scent spread throughout the church and convent, attaching itself to the hands that had touched her, and there seemed to be no explanation for it.
"Now after having been quite pale, she began to change color and to flush, while a most deliciously scented sweat began to pour from her body. Changing from paleness to the color of glowing ember, she shed an aromatic liquid which appeared sometime like clear water and then like a mixture of water and blood.
"Full of wonder and perplexity we called our confessor; the rumor had already spread to the town and he hurried to us accompanied by a learned physician, Maestro Giovanni Marcanova, and they closely observed and touched the body. Others joined them: priests, physicians, laymen." The whole of Italy converged to see her, and her body was placed on a chair in a special chapel behind bars and glass, and to this day is kept there in a mummified condition (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth, Schamoni).
In art, Saint Catherine is a Poor Clare carrying the Christ Child. Sometimes she is shown enthroned with a cross, book, a cross on her breast and bare feet (Roeder). Catherine is the patron of artists (Attwater).
1857 Dominic Savio Bosco John Bosco would write Dominic's biography; known for cheerfulness, friendliness, careful observation, and good advice (RM)

THE year 1950 saw the canonization of a twelve-year-old girl, Mary Goretti, as a martyr and the beatification of a fifteen-year-old boy, Dominic Savio, as a confessor.  The Church has raised several child martyrs to her altars, but the case of Dominic Savio seems to be unique. He was canonized in 1954.

He was born at Riva in Piedmont in 1842, the son .of a peasant, and grew up with the desire to be a priest. When St John Bosco began to make provision for training youths as clergy to help him in his work for neglected boys at Turin, Dominic’s parish-priest recommended him. An interview took place, at which Don Bosco was most deeply impressed by the evidence of grace in the boy’s soul, and in October 1854, when he was twelve, Dominic became a student at the Oratory of St Francis de Sales in Turin.

His own personality apart, Dominic was best remembered at the oratory for the group he organized there. It was called the Company of the Immaculate Conception, and besides its devotional objects it helped Don Bosco in his work by undertaking various necessary jobs, from sweeping the floors to taking special care of boys who for one reason or another were misfits. When the time came, in 1859, for St John Bosco to form the kernel of his now world-wide Salesian congregation, among the twenty-two present were all the original members of the Company of the Immaculate Conception all, that is, except Dominic Savio he had been called to the congregation of Heaven two years before.

Early on at the oratory Dominic prevented a brutal fight with stones between two boys by characteristically direct action. Holding up a little crucifix between them, “Before you fight”, he said, “look at this, both of you, and say, ‘Jesus Christ was sinless, and He died forgiving His executioners; I am a sinner, and I am bled to excess. The treatment seems certainly to have hastened his end. He going to outrage Him by being deliberately revengeful’. Then you can start—and throw your first stone at me.” The rascals slunk away. He was scrupulous in observing the discipline of the house, and some of the wilder spirits did not like it when he expected them to be equally scrupulous. They called him a sneak, and told him to “run and tell Don Bosco”—-thereby showing how little they knew about Don Bosco, who would not tolerate tale-bearing. Likely enough Dominic laughed it off; for he was a ready laugher, and sometimes it got him into trouble with the masters. But if he was no tale-bearer he was a good story-teller, and that endeared him to his companions, especially the younger ones.

It was a specially happy dispensation of Providence that brought Dominic Savio under the care of so moderate and wise a man as St John Bosco: otherwise he might have developed into a young fanatic and spoiled himself by excess. Don Bosco insisted on cheerfulness, on careful attention to daily duties, on joining in the games, so that Dominic would say, “I can’t do big things. But I want all I do, even the smallest thing, to be for the greater glory of God.” “Religion must be about us like the air we breathe; but we must not weary the boys with too many devotions and observances and so forth,” Don Bosco used to say. And, true to that spirit, he forbade Dominic to inflict the least bodily mortification upon himself without express permission. “For”, he said, “the penance God wants is obedi­ence. There is plenty to put up with cheerfully—heat, cold, sickness, the tiresome ways of other people. There is quite enough mortification for boys in school life itself.” Nevertheless he found Dominic shivering in bed one cold night, with all the bed-clothes save one thin sheet thrown off. “Don’t be so crazy,” he said, “You’ll get pneumonia.” “Why should I?” replied Dominic. “Our Lord didn’t get pneumonia in the stable at Bethlehem.”

The most important source for the details of Dominic Savio’s short life is the account written by St John Bosco himself. In writing it he was careful not to set down anything that be could not vouch for, and he was most particularly careful when dealing with the spiritual experiences that were accorded to this boy: such things as supernatural knowledge—of people in need, of their spiritual state, of the future. Or the occasion when Dominic was missing all the morning till after dinner. Don Bosco found him eventually in the choir of the church, standing in a cramped position by the lectern, rapt in prayer. He had been there for about six hours, yet thought that early Mass was not yet over. Dominic called these times of intense prayer “my distractions”. They would sometimes overtake him at play: “It seems as though Heaven is opening just above me. I am afraid I may say or do something that will make the other boys laugh.”

St John Bosco tells us that the needs of England had an important part in this boy’s prayers; and he records “a strong distraction” in which Dominic saw a wide mist-shrouded plain, with a multitude of people groping about in it; to them came a pontifically-vested figure carrying a torch that lighted up the whole scene, and a voice seemed to say, “This torch is the Catholic faith which shall bring light to the English people”. At Dominic’s request Don Bosco told this to Pope Pius IX, who declared that it confirmed his resolution to give great care and attention to England.

Dominic’s delicate health got worse and worse, and in February 1857 he was sent home to Mondonio for a change of air. His complaint was diagnosed as inflammation of the lungs, and according to the practice of the day he was bled, received the last sacraments, and on the evening of March 9 he asked his father to read the prayers for the dying. Towards the end of them he tried to sit up. “Good-bye, father”, he murmured, “the priest told me something But I can’t remember what. Suddenly his face lit up with a smile of intense joy, and he exclaimed, “I am seeing most wonderful things!” He did not speak again.

The cause of the beatification of Dominic Savio was begun in Rome in 1914. It met with some opposition on the ground of his extreme youth. Pope Pius X on the other hand regarded his age as a point in favour of beatification. This view eventually prevailed; but Dominic Savio was not beatified till 1950, sixteen years after the canonization of Don Bosco.

The definitive text of the biography written by St John Bosco is that published at Turin in 1950, edited by Fr B. Ceria. An English translation, by Mary Russell, was published in 1934. Other Italian lives are by Cardinal Salotti (1921) and Don Cojazzi (1934), and among the French ones is A. Auffray’s Un Saint de Quinn ans (1950). There is an excellent short account by Fr John Sexton, issued by the Salesian Press in London in 1950.

Born in Riva, Piedmont, Italy, in 1842; died at Mondonio, Italy, on March 9, 1857; beatified in 1950; canonized in 1954.  Dominic was one of ten children of a peasant blacksmith and a seamstress. He grew up with a desire to be a priest. When Saint John Bosco began to train youths as clergy to help him care for neglected boys at Turin, Dominic's parish priest recommended today's saint. Bosco, who would write Dominic's biography, was impressed upon meeting him.
In October 1854, at the age of twelve, Dominic became a student at the Oratory of Saint Francis de Sales in Turin. He is best known for the group he organized there, called the Company of the Immaculate Conception. In addition to its devotional measures, it handled various jobs, from sweeping the floors to taking special care of boys who were misfits.
Early in his stay at the oratory, Dominic halted a fight with stones between two boys. Holding a crucifix between them he said, "Before you fight, look at this, both of you, and say 'Jesus Christ was sinless, and He died forgiving His executioners; I am going to outrage Him by being deliberately revengeful.' Then you can start- -and throw your first stone at me."
He scrupulously followed the discipline of the house, incurring resentment from some other boys from whom he expected the same behavior. Nevertheless, he never repaid ill-treatment in kind. Bosco's guidance probably curbed Dominic from becoming a young fanatic. He forbade Dominic to perform bodily mortification without his permission, believing that with ". . . heat, cold, sickness (and) the tiresome ways of other people--there is quite enough mortification for boys in school life itself."
He found Dominic shivering in bed one cold night with only a thin sheet. "Don't be crazy. You'll get pneumonia," he said. "Why should I?" replied Dominic. "Our Lord didn't get pneumonia in the stable at Bethlehem."
On one occasion when Dominic was missing from morning until after dinner, Bosco found him in the choir of the church, standing in a cramped position by the lectern, deep in prayer. He had been there for six hours, yet he thought that early Mass was not yet over. Dominic referred to these times of intense prayer as "my distractions."
Bosco reports that in one strong 'distraction,' Dominic saw a wide, mist-shrouded plain, with a multitude of people groping about in it. To them came a pontifically vested figure carrying a torch that lighted up the whole scene, and a voice seemed to say, "This torch is the Catholic faith which shall bring light to the English people."
Bosco reported this to Pope Pius IX at Dominic's request, and the pope said that it confirmed his intention to give attention to England. (You may recall that England became a primary preoccupation of Don Bosco's later life.) Some say this was the impetus for Pope Pius IX to restore a hierarchy to England in 1850.
      Dominic became known for his cheerfulness, friendliness, careful observation, and good advice. Though only a boy, he was blessed with spiritual gifts far beyond his age--knowledge of people in need, knowledge of the spiritual needs of those around him, and the ability to prophesy. Dominic's fragile health worsened, and in 1857, he was sent home to Mondonio for a change of air. He was diagnosed with tuberculosis, and was bled, which probably hastened his death.
He received the last sacraments and asked his father to read the prayers for the dying. Toward the end, he tried to sit up. "Good- bye, Father," he said, "the priest told me something . . . but I can't remember what. . . ." Suddenly he smiled and exclaimed, "I am seeing the most wonderful things!" and died. Soon afterwards John Bosco wrote his vita, which contributed to his canonization. He was the youngest (15 years old) non-martyr to receive official canonization in the history of the Church (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Farmer, White).
Dominic Savio is the patron saint of Pueri Cantors, choirs, choirboys, boys, and juvenile delinquents (White).
1971 Abba Kyrillos the Sixth, the 116th Pope of Alexandria.
On this day also of the year 1971 A.D., the holy and righteous father Abba Kyrillos the Sixth, the one hundred and sixteenth Pope of Alexandria, departed. God has accorded this pure father the gift of working great miracles even after his departure.
His prayers and blessings be with us. Amen.

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!)

Day 29 of 40 Days for Life

40 Days for Life  11,000+ saved lives in 2015
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40 days for Life Campaign saves lives Shawn Carney Campaign Director
Please help save the unborn they are the future for the world.

It is a great poverty that a child must die so that you may live as you wish -- Mother Teresa
 Saving babies, healing moms and dads, 'The Gospel of Life'
May our witness unveil the deception of the "pro-choice" slogan.

Month by Month of Saintly Dedications

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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There are over 10,000 named saints beati  from history
 and Roman Martyology Orthodox sources

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

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


The Five Reasons
From the above, it is easy to see that each of the Five Saturdays can correspond to a specific offence. By offering the graces received during each First Saturday as reparation for the offence being prayed for, the participant can hope to help remove the thorns from Our Lady's Heart.
What Do I Have To Do?
The devotion of First Saturdays, as requested by Our Lady of Fatima, carries with it the assurance of salvation. However, to derive profit from such a great promise of Our Lady, the devotion must be properly understood and duly performed.
The requirements as stipulated by Our Lady are as follows:
(1) CONFESSION: A reparative confession means that the confession should not only be good (valid and licit), but also be offered in the spirit of reparation, in this case, to Mary's Immaculate Heart. This confession may be made on the First Saturday itself or some days before or after the First Saturday within the preceding octave would suffice.
(2) COMMUNION: The communion of reparation must be sacramental duly received with the intention of making reparation. This offering, like the confession, is an interior act and so no external action to express the intention is needed.
(3) THE ROSARY: The Rosary mentioned here was indicated by the Portuguese word 'terco' which is commonly employed to denote a Rosary of five decades, since it forms a fourth of the full Rosary of 20 decades. This too must recited in a spirit of reparation.
(4) MEDITATION FOR FIFTEEN MINUTES: Here the meditation on one mystery or more is to be made without simultaneous recitation of the Rosary decade. As indicated, the meditation may be either on one mystery alone for 15 minutes, or on all 20 mysteries, spending about one minute on each mystery, or again, on two or more mysteries during the period. This can also be made before each decade spending three minutes or more in considering the mystery of the particular decade. This meditation has likewise to be made in the spirit of reparation to the Immaculate Heart.
(5) THE SPIRIT OF REPARATION: All these acts, as said above, have to be done with the intention of offering reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the offences committed against Her. Everyone who offends Her commits, so to speak, a two-fold offence, for these sins also offend her Divine Son, Christ, and so endanger our salvation. They give bad example to others and weaken the strength of society to withstand immoral onslaughts. Such devotions therefore make us consider not only the enormity of the offence against God, but also the effect of sins on human society as well as the need for undoing these social effects even when the offender repents and is converted. Further, this reparation emphasises our responsibility towards sinners who, themselves, will not pray and make reparation for their sins.
(6) FIVE CONSECUTIVE FIRST SATURDAYS: The idea of the Five First Saturdays is obviously to make us persevere in the devotional acts for these Saturdays and overcome initial difficulties. Once this is done, Our Lady knows that the person would become devoted to Her immaculate Heart and persist in practising such devotion on all First Saturdays, working thereby for personal self-reform and for the salvation of others.

Unless Russia is converted, the movement against God and for sin will continue to spread, promoting wars and persecutions, and making the attainment for peace and justice impossible for this world. One means of obtaining Russia's conversion is to practise the Fatima Message. The stakes are so great that to encourage Catholics to practise the devotion of the First Saturdays, Our Lady has assured us that She will obtain salvation for all those who observe the first Saturdays for five consecutive months in accordance with Her conditions.
At the supreme moment the departing person will be either in the state of grace or not. In either case Our Lady will be by his side. If in the state of grace, She will console and help him to resist whatever temptations the devil might put before him in his last attempt to take the person with him to hell. If not in the state of grace, Our Lady will help the person to repent in a manner agreeable to God and so benefit by the fruits of redemption and be saved.

God loves variety. He doesn't mass-produce his saints. Every saint is unique, for each is the result of a new idea.  As the liturgy says: Non est inventus similis illis--there are no two exactly alike. It is we with our lack of imagination, who paint the same haloes on all the saints. Dear Lord, grant us a spirit that is not bound by our own ideas and preferences.  Grant that we may be able to appreciate in others what we lack in ourselves. O Lord, grant that we may understand that every saint must be a unique praise of Your glory. Catholic saints are holy people and human people who lived extraordinary lives.  Each saint the Church honors responded to God's invitation to use his or her unique gifts.   God calls each one of us to be a saint in order to get into heavenonly saints are allowed into heaven. The more "extravagant" graces are bestowed NOT for the benefit of the recipients so much as FOR the benefit of others.
There are over 10,000 named saints beati  from history
 and Roman Martyology Orthodox sources

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Pius IX 1846--1878 • Leo XIII 1878-1903 • Pius X 1903-1914• Benedict XV 1914-1922 • Pius XI 1922-1939 • Pius XII 1939-1958 • John XXIII 1958-1963 • Paul VI 1963 to 1978 • John Paul • John Paul II 10/16/1975-4/2/2005
 Benedict XVI (2005 - 2013) Francis (2013

Cross Not Optional, Says Benedict XVI
Reflects on Peter's "Immature" Faith CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 31, 2008 (
Taking up one's cross isn't an option, it's a mission all Christians are called to, says Benedict XVI.
The Pope said this today before reciting the midday Angelus with several thousand people gathered in the courtyard of the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome.
Referring to the Gospel reading for today's Mass, the Holy Father reflected on the faith of Peter, which is shown to be "still immature and too much influenced by the 'mentality of this world.'”  He explained that when Christ spoke openly about how he was to "suffer much, be killed and rise again, Peter protests, saying: 'God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.'"
"It is evident that the Master and the disciple follow two opposed ways of thinking," continued the Pontiff. "Peter, according to a human logic, is convinced that God would never allow his Son to end his mission dying on the cross.  "Jesus, on the contrary, knows that the Father, in his great love for men, sent him to give his life for them, and if this means the passion and the cross, it is right that such should happen."
Christ also knew that "the resurrection would be the last word," Benedict XVI added.
Serious illness
The Pope continued, "If to save us the Son of God had to suffer and die crucified, it certainly was not because of a cruel design of the heavenly Father.  "The cause of it is the gravity of the sickness of which he must cure us: an evil so serious and deadly that it will require all of his blood. 
"In fact, it is with his death and resurrection that Jesus defeated sin and death, reestablishing the lordship of God."

Popes mentioned in articles of todays Saints

Pope Leo XIII --1550 St. John of God impulsive love embraced anyone in need St. John of God, founder of the Order of Brothers Hospitallers, famed for his mercy to the poor, and his contempt of self.  Pope Leo XIII appointed him as heavenly patron of the sick and of all hospitals.

Popes mentioned in articles of Saints
260 Pontius of Carthage Deacon; graphic account of the life and passion of Saint Cypri

254 St. Lucius I a Roman elected Pope to succeed Pope St. Cornelius
Pope St Gregory VII-- 1123 St. Peter of Pappacarbone Benedictine bishop leadership, care, and wisdom The abbot’s opinion was abundantly justified, for Peter proved himself well among that household of holy men and he remained there for some six years. He was then recalled to Italy, having been released by St Hugh apparently at the request of the archdeacon of Rome, Hilde­brand (who was afterwards Pope St Gregory VII).
Pope St Silvester; -- 803 St. Anselm of Nonantola Benedictine abbot duke
St. Anselm
also received from Pope Stephen III permission to remove to Nonantola the body of Pope St Silvester; and Langobard King Aistulf enriched the abbey with gifts and granted it many privileges it became very celebrated throughout all Italy.
Popes mentioned in articles of Saints

492 ST. FELIX III Pope helped to get the Church in Africa on its feet
492 ST. FELIX III Pope helped to get the Church in Africa on its feet
 Romæ natális sancti Felícis Papæ Tértii, qui sancti Gregórii Magni átavus fuit; qui étiam (ut ipse Gregórius refert), sanctæ Tharsíllæ nepti appárens, illam ad cæléstia regna vocávit.
       At Rome, the birthday of Pope St. Felix III, ancestor of St. Gregory the Great, who relates of him that he appeared to St. Tharsilla, his niece, and called her to the kingdom of heaven.

492 ST FELIX II (III), POPE  483 - 492
Popes mentioned in articles of Saints
468  St. Hilary, Pope from 461-468 guardian of Church unity sent decree to Eastern bishops validating decisions of General Councils Nicaea Ephesus and Chalcedon. Hilary consolidated the Church in Sandi, Africa, and Gaul
731 Saint Pope Gregory II served St Sergius I next 4 popes as treasurer of the Church, then librarian, Held synods to correct abuses, stopped heresy, promoted discipline, morality in religious and clerical life

Popes mentioned in articles of Saints
Benedict VII -- 1011 St. Willigis Bishop missionaries to Scandinavia, founded churches chaplain to Emperor Otto II
On the death of Otto, Willigis became one of the most important and influential people in the empire.
Confirmed by Benedict VII in the right to coronate emperors, Willigis crowned Otto III and later influenced him in favor of abandoning Italy and concentrating his resources north of the Alps. Otto III died young in 1002. The succession was disputed but ended with Willigis crowning Saint Henry II and his wife Saint Cunegund at Paderborn. He then served his third monarch faithfully.

Popes mentioned in articles of Saints
Ordained by Pope Vigilius in 546.  556 St. Maximian of Ravenna Bishop of Ravenna erected St. Vitalis Basilica, which was dedicated in the presence of Emperor Justinian and his wife, Theodora Maximianus of Ravenna B (RM) Born in Pola, Italy, 499; died February 22, 556; feast day formerly February 21. Maximianus was consecrated bishop of Ravenna in 546 by Pope Vigilius.