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Archive for April, 2012

Feastday: April 29

Patron Fire prevention
1347 – 1380

The 25th child of a wool dyer in northern Italy, St. Catherine started having mystical experiences when she was only 6, seeing guardian angels as clearly as the people they protected. She became a Dominican tertiary when she was 16, and continued to have visions of Christ, Mary, and the saints.

St. Catherine was one of the most brilliant theological minds of her day, although she never had any formal education. She persuaded the Pope to go back to Rome from Avignon, in 1377, and when she died she was endeavoring to heal the Great Western Schism.

In 1375 Our Lord give her the Stigmata, which was visible only after her death. Her spiritual director was Blessed Raymond of Capua. St, Catherine’s letters, and a treatise called “a dialogue” are considered among the most brilliant writings in the history of the Catholic Church. She died when she was only 33, and her body was found incorrupt in 1430.

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Feastday: April 28

Patron of Thibodaux, Louisiana; invoked for protection from storms and floods; Seregno, Italy

Valerie is a derivative of Valeria. St. Valeria was an early martyr. She shares her feast day along with her husband St Vitalis, who according to legend, was a soldier who, when the physician St. Ursicinus of Ravenna wavered when faced with death for Christ, encouraged him to stand firm.

The governor accordingly ordered Vitalis to be racked and then buried alive, which was done. His wife, St. Valeria, was set upon by pagans near Milan and died from their brutal treatment. These things are said to have happened during the persecution under Nero, but the second century, under Marcus Aurelius, is a more likely date for their martyrdom.

She was martyred for burying Christian martyrs, and then refusing to sacrifice to the Roman gods. It is said she was from a noble family, and at an early age was baptised. The reigning Pope had commanded the priests of the area to organize nine decurias, each consisting of five men and five virgins. Their duty was to gather the corpses of Christians who had been martyred in the Coliseum (Flavian Amphitheatre) and other places of martyrdom the preceding day.

Their feast day is April 28th.

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Feastday: April 22

Patron saint of bachelors, victims of betrayal and of torture
Died: 178

Alexander (d. 178 AD) was said to be a native of Phrygia, and a physician by profession. Martyr and missionary, a companion of St. Epipodius. Little is known of the background of either Alexander or Epipodius. They were active in Apamea, Phrygia, a center of the Montanist heresy. Preaching there, the two were martyred during the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius.

Epipodius and Alexander are said to have been close friends since childhood. Epipodius is said to have been a confirmed celibate bachelor, though he never joined a religious order. He devoted his time to Christian works and was betrayed to imperial authorities by a servant. Both men were subsequently imprisoned, tortured, and condemned to be devoured by wild beasts in the amphitheatre, and died “neither uttering a groan nor a syllable, but conversing in heart with God.”

In the 6th century, their relics were placed together with those of St. Irenaeus under the altar of the Cathedral St-Jean in Lyon. Miracles were reported at this tomb.

Epipodius is venerated as the patron saint of bachelors, victims of betrayal and of torture. Their feast day is 22 April.

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Feastday: April 21

Patron of sick children; against diseased cattle
Died: 640

Saint Beuno was a 7th-century Welsh holy man and Abbot of Clynnog Fawr in Gwynedd, on the Llyn peninsula. His name may appear in English as Bono or in Latin as Bonus.

Beuno became the guardian and restorer to life of his niece, Saint Gwenffrewi (Winifred). He was relentless with hardened sinners, but full of compassion to those in distress. Before his death at Clynnog “on the seventh day of Easter” he had a wondrous vision.

Beuno’s founded his own community in Wales and performed numerous miracles, among them, restoring St. Winifred’s head after she was beheaded. However, he does seem to have been an effective preacher who evangelized much of North Wales and founded a monastery at Clynnog Fawr (Carnavonshire). His feast day is April 21st.

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Feastday: April 15

482 – 565

 Saint Paternus of Avranches in Normandy (482-565) in Poitiers, Poitou. He was born into a Christian family. His father Patranus went to Ireland to spend his days as a hermit in holy solitude. Because of this, Paternus embraced religious life. He followed his father’s path by becoming a hermit in Wales. He became a monk at the Abbey of Marnes in France.

He founded the monastery in Wales at the great church of Paternus, and became a bishop of that region. He was known for his preaching, charity and mortifications. Before long, he wished to attain the perfection of Christian virtue by a life of penance in solitude. He went into solitude with his fellow monk, Saint Scubilion. The forest of Seicy in the diocese of Coutances was the place he became a hermit.

Together with St Scubilion he evangelized the western coasts and established several monasteries of which he was made the abbot general.

His feast day is April 16.

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Feastday: April 14

Patron of sickness; chronically ill, ice skaters, town of Schiedam

1380 – 1433

Saint Lidwina (Lydwine, Lydwid, Lidwid, Liduina of Schiedam) (March 18, 1380 – Schiedam, April 14, 1433) is a Dutch saint. She is the patroness of sickness. Lydwine was born at Schiedam, Holland, one of nine children of a working man. After an injury in her youth, she became bedridden and suffered the rest of her life from various illnesses and diseases.

Lydwine suffered a fall while ice skating in 1396, when a friend collided with her and caused her to break a rib on the right side. From this injury, she never recovered. An abscess formed inside her body which later burst and caused Lydwine extreme suffering. Eventually, she was to suffer a series of mysterious illnesses. Lydwine heroically accepted her plight as the will of God and offered up her sufferings for the sins of humanity. Some of the illnesses which affected Lydwine were headaches, vomiting, fever, thirst, bedsores, toothaches, spasms of the muscles, blindness, neuritis and the stigmata.

She experienced mystical gifts, including supernatural visions of heaven, hell, purgatory, apparitions of Christ, and the stigmata. After her fall, Lidwina fasted continuously and acquired fame as a healer and holy woman.

Thomas à Kempis wrote a biography of her. Lidwina’s grave became a place of pilgrimage after her death and in 1434, a chapel was built over it. Thomas à Kempis’s publication caused an increase in veneration. In 1615 her relics were taken to Brussels, but in 1871 they were returned to Schiedam. On 14 March 1890, Pope Leo XIII officially canonised Lidwina. She is the patron saint of ice skaters and the chronically ill, as well as the patron saint of the town of Schiedam. Her feast day occurs on 18 March, 14 April, or 14 June, depending on region and tradition.

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Feastday: April 8

1751-1816

Saint Julie Billiart (12 July 1751 – 8 April 1816) was born on 12 July 1751, at Cuvilly, Picardy, Beauvais, Oise, France, the sixth of seven children of Jean-François Billiart and Marie-Louise-Antoinette. She was a French religious leader who founded, and was the first Superior General of, the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.

As a child, playing “school” was Julie’s favorite game. When she was sixteen, to help support her family, she began to teach “for real”. She sat on a haystack during the noon recess and told the biblical parables to the workers. Julie carried on this mission of teaching throughout her life, and the Congregation she founded continues her work.

She attended a little one room school in Cuvilly. She enjoyed all of her studies, but she was particularly attracted to the religion lessons taught by the parish priest. Recognizing something “special” in Julie, the priest secretly allowed her to make her First Communion at the age of nine, when the normal age at that time, was thirteen. She learned to make short mental prayers and to develop a great love for Jesus in the Eucharist.

A murder attempt on her father shocked her nervous system badly. A period of extremely poor heath for Julie began, and was to last for thirty years. For twenty-two of these years she was completely paralyzed.

At this time she was privileged to receive a vision. She saw her crucified Lord surrounded by a large group of religious women dressed in a habit she had never seen before. An inner voice told her that these would be her daughters and that she would begin an institute for the Christian education of young girls. She and a rich young woman founded the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.

At Amiens, the two women and a few companions began living a religious life in 1803. In 1804, Julie was miraculously cured of her illness and walked for the first time in twenty-two years. In 1805, Julie and three companions made their profession and took their final vows. She was elected as Mother General of the young Congregation.

She died peacefully on April 8, 1816 at 64 years of age. Julie was beatified on May 13, 1906, and was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1969. Her feast day is April 8th.

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