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Archive for July, 2012

Feastday: July 29

Patron of cooks

The story of Martha is nicely told in the gospel of Luke. Martha welcomes Jesus and his disciples into her home and immediately goes to work to serve them. Hospitality is paramount in the Middle East and Martha believed in its importance. Imagine her frustration when her sister Mary ignores the rule of hospitality and Martha’s work in order to sit and listen to Jesus. Instead of speaking to her sister, she asks Jesus to intervene. Jesus’ response is not unkind, which gives us an idea of his affection for her. He observes that Martha is worried about many things that distract her from really being present to him. He reminds her that there is only one thing that is truly important — listening to him. And that is what Mary has done.

In Martha we see ourselves – worried and distracted by all we have to do in the world and forgetting to spend time with Jesus. It is, however, comforting to note that Jesus loved her just the same.

The next visit shows how well Martha learned this lesson. She is grieving the death of her brother with a house full of mourners when she hears that Jesus has just come to the area. She gets up immediately and leaves the guests, leaves her mourning, and goes to meet him.

Her conversation with Jesus shows her faith and courage. In this dialogue she states clearly without doubt that she believes in Jesus’ power, in the resurrection, and most of all that Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus tells her that he is the resurrection and the life and then goes on to raise her brother from the dead.

Our final picture of Martha in Scripture is the one that sums up who she was. Jesus has returned to Bethany some time later to share a meal with his good friends. In this home were three extraordinary people. We hear how brother Lazarus caused a stir when was brought back to life. We hear how Mary causes a commotion at dinner by annointing Jesus with expensive perfume. But all we hear about Martha is the simple statement: “Martha served.” She isn’t in the spotlight, she doesn’t do showy things, she doesn’t receive spectacular miracles. She simply serves Jesus.

We know nothing more about Martha and what happened to her later. According to a totally untrustworthy legend Martha accompanied Mary to evangelize France after Pentecost.

Martha is the patron saint of servants and cooks.

 

 

 

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Feastday: July 28

Patron against illness
1910 – 1946

She was born as Annakkutty (little Anna) in Kudamaloor, a village in Kottayam district, Kerala, India to Joseph and Mary Muttathupadathu. She was baptized on 27 August 1910 at Saint Mary’s Church in Kudamaloor under the patronage of Saint Anna. Anna’s mother died when she was young, so her maternal aunt raised her.

In 1916 Anna started her schooling in Arpookara. In 1923 Anna was badly burned on her feet when she fell into a pit of burning chaff. This accident left her permanently disabled.

Anna joined the Franciscan Clarist Congregation. She arrived at the Poor Clares convent at Bharananganam on Pentecost 1927. She received the postulant’s veil on 2 August 1928 and took the name Alphonsa.

On 19 May 1930 she received her religious habit at Bharananganam. Three days later she resumed her studies at Changanacherry, while working as a temporary teacher at the school at Vakakkad. On 11 August 1931 she joined the novitiate. Anna took her permanent vows on 12 August 1936. Two days later she returned to Bharananganam from Changanacherry.

She taught elementary school, but was often sick and unable to teach. In December 1936, it is claimed that she was cured from her ailments through the intervention of Blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara, but on 14 June 1939 she was struck by a severe attack of pneumonia, which left her weakened.

On 18 October 1940, a thief entered her room in the middle of the night. This traumatic event caused her to suffer amnesia and weakened her again. Her health continued to deteriorate over a period of months. She received extreme unction on 29 September 1941. The next day it is believed that she regained her memory, though not complete health. Her health improved over the next few years, until in July 1945 she developed a stomach problem that caused vomiting.

She died on 28 July 1946, aged 35. She is buried at Bharananganam, Kerala in the Diocese of Palai.

Her tomb in Bharananganam has become a pilgrimage site as miracles have been reported by some faithful. The miracle attributed to her intercession and approved by the Vatican for the canonization was the healing of the club foot of an infant in 1999.

 

 

 

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Feast day: July 22

St. Mary Magdalene ¬†was well known as a sinner when she first saw Our Lord. She is called “the Penitent”. St. Mary was given the name ‘Magdalene’ because, though a Jewish girl, she lived in a Gentile town called Magdalene, in northern Galilee, and her culture and manners were those of a Gentile. She was very beautiful and very proud, but after she met Jesus, she felt great sorrow for her evil life.

When Jesus went to supper at the home of a rich man named Simon, Mary came to weep at His feet. Then with her long beautiful hair, she wiped His feet dry and anointed them with expensive perfume. Some people were surprised that Jesus let such a sinner touch Him, but Our Lord could see into Mary’s heart, and He said: “Your faith has made you safe; go in peace.” From then on, with the other holy women, Mary humbly served Jesus and His Apostles.

When Our Lord was crucified, she was there at the foot of His cross, unafraid for herself, and thinking only of His sufferings. No wonder Jesus said of her: “She has loved much.”

After Jesus’ body had been placed in the tomb, Mary went to anoint it with spices early Easter Sunday morning. Not finding the Sacred Body, she began to weep, and seeing someone whom she thought was the gardener, she asked him if he knew where the Body of her beloved Master had been taken. But then the person spoke in a voice she knew so well: “Mary!” It was Jesus, risen from the dead! He had chosen to show Himself first to Mary Magdalene, the repentant sinner.

Fourteen years after Our Lord’s death, St. Mary was put in a boat by the Jews without sails or oars – along with Sts. Lazarus and Martha, St. Maximin (who baptized her), St. Sidonius (“the man born blind”), her maid Sera, and the body of St. Anne, the mother of the Blessed Virgin. They were sent drifting out to sea and landed on the shores of Southern France, where St. Mary spent the rest of her life as a contemplative in a cave known as Sainte-Baume. She was given the Holy Eucharist daily by angels as her only food, and died when she was 72. St. Mary was transported miraculously, just before she died, to the chapel of St. Maximin, where she received the last sacraments.

 

 

 

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Feastday: July 21
Died: 290

Saint Victor of Marseilles was a Christian Martyr. He is venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church.

According to legend, Victor was a soldier in the Roman army at Marseilles when he was hailed before the prefects, Asterius and Eutychius, who sent him to Emperor Maximian for his exhortations to Christians to be firm in their faith in the face of an impending visit by the Emperor.

He was dragged through the streets, racked, imprisoned (he converted three guards, Alexander, Felician, and Longinus while in prison). He was again tortured after the guards were beheaded when it was discovered he had converted them to Christianity.

When he refused to offer incense to Roman God Jupiter, he was crushed in a millstone and beheaded. His tomb became one of the most popular pilgrimage centers in Gaul.

In the 4th century, Saint John Cassian built a monastery over the site where the bodies had been buried in a cave, which later became a Benedictine Abbey and minor Basilica. This is St Victor’s Abbey (Abbaye Saint-Victor).

Saint Victor’s feast day, along with St’s Longinus, Alexander and Felician, is celebrated on July 21. Saint Victor is the patron saint of Tallinn, the capital of Estonia

 

 

 

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Feastday: July 15

980 – 1015

St. Vladimir I, 956-1015, Grandson of St. Olga and illegitimate son of Sviastoslav, grand duke of Kiev, and his mistress, Malushka. Vladimir’s father was the prince Sviatoslav of the Rurik dynasty. He was given Novgorod to rule by his father.

Civil war broke out between his half-brothers Yaropolk and Oleg. Yaropolk made himself ruler by defeating and killing Oleg, and when he captured Novgorod, Vladimir was forced to flee to Scandinavia in 977.

Vladimir returned with an army and captured Novgorod and defeated and slew Yaropolk at Rodno in 980. Vladimir was now sole ruler of Russia, notorious for his barbarism and immorality.

After his conquest of Kherson in the Crimea in 988, he became impressed by the progrerss of Christianity and approached Eastern Emperor Basil II about marrying the emperor’s daughter Ann. He was converted, reformed his life and married Anne.

On his return to Kiev, he invited Greek missionaries to Russia, let his people to Christianity, borrowed canonical feacures from the West and built schools and churches. His later years were troubled by rebellions led by the sons of his first marriages, although two sons by Anne, SS Romanus and David became martyrs.

In 1014 he was obliged to march against his rebellious son Yaroslav in Novgorod, fell ill on the way and died at Beresyx, Russia. He is patron of the Russian Catholics. Feastday July 15.

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Feastday: July 14

1029 – 1093

Ulrich was born at Regensburg in Bavaria (formerly also known as Ratisbon) in early 1029. His parents were Bernhold and Bucca, niece of Bishop Gebhard II of Regensburg.

He became a page at the court of Empress Agnes but opted for the religious life. He was ordained a deacon by his uncle, Bishop Nidger of Freising, and became Archdeacon and provost of the Cathedral.

When he found that his position had been filled while he was on a pilgrimage to Rome and Jerusalem, he became a Benedictine monk at Cluny in 1052. He was ordained, was named chaplain to the nuns at Mareigny, but resigned when he lost the sight of an eye and then returned to Cluny.

He served as Prior at Peterlingen, was founding Friar of Ruggersberg Priory, but returned to Cluny, when he opposed Bishop Burchard of Lausanne for his support of Henry IV against the Pope. He was founding Abbot of the monastery at Zell in the Black Forest and of a convent at nearby Bollschweil.

He became totally blind in 1091 and died two years later, on July 10, 1093 at Augsburg. He was the author of Consuetudines cluniacences, on the liturgy and the direction of monasteries and novices. He was buried in the cloister, but three years later his body was brought into the church.

His feast was celebrated for the first time on 14 July 1139, and 14 July remains his feast day.

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Feastday: July 8

Aquila was a Jewish tentmaker. He and his wife Prisca or Priscilla were forced to leave Rome when Emperor Claudius forbade Jews to live there. They went to Corinth, where St. Paul lived with them during his stay there and may have converted them to Christianity. They accompanied Paul to Ephesus and remained there. Paul stayed with them on his third missionary journey.

They then returned to Rome, where there house was also used as a church and then went back to Ephesus. They were a first century Christian missionary couple described in the New Testament and traditionally listed among the Seventy Disciples. They lived, worked, and traveled with the Apostle Paul, becoming his honored, much-loved friends and coworkers in Christ Jesus.

They suffered martyrdom in Asia Minor, according to the Roman Martyrology but a tradition has them martyred in Rome. Their feast day is July 8th.

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