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Archive for November, 2012

Feastday: November 25

St. Catherine of Alexandria(282-305) was Virgin and Martyr. She was born in Alexandria, Egypt to a noble family. Her father wad the pagan King Costus and mother Queen Sabinella, who governed Alexandria.

Though raised a pagan, she became an ardent Christian in her teenage years, having received a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ. It is believed that she converted to Christianity through the vision.

The Royal Emperor Maxentius offered Catherine a royal marriage if she would deny her Faith. Her refusal landed her in prison. While in prison, and while Maxentius was away, Catherine converted Maxentius’ wife and two hundred of his soldiers to Chirstianity. He had them all put to death. Catherine was likewise condemned to death. She was put on a spiked wheel, and when the wheel broke, she was beheaded.

She is venerated as the patroness of philosophers and preachers. St. Catherine’s was one of the voices heard by St. Joan of Arc. Her feastday is November 25.

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Feastday: November 24

Today is the feast for all the Martyrs of Vietnam also called the Martyrs of Annam who were slain at various times from 1798 until 1861. A Portuguese missionary arrived in Vietnam, once called Annam, Indo-China, Cochin-China, and Tonkin, in 1533. An imperial edict in Vietnam forbade Christianity, and it was not until 1615 that the Jesuits were able to establish a permanent mission there, in the central region of the country.

In 1627, a Jesuit went north to establish another mission. By the time this missionary, Father Alexander de Rhodes, was expelled from the land. In 1630, he had baptized 6,700 Vietnamese. In that same year the first Christian martyr was beheaded, and more were executed in 1644 and 1645 .

Father Rhodes returned to Vietnam but was banished again in 1645. He then went to Paris, France, where the Paris Seminary for Foreign Missions was founded. Priests arrived in Vietnam, and the faith grew.

In 1833, all Christians were ordered to renounce the faith, and to trample crucifixes underfoot. For a brief period in 1841 the persecution abated as France threatened to intervene with warships. However, in 1848, prices were placed on the heads of the missionaries by a new emperor. Two priests, Father Augustin Schoffier and Father Bonnard, were beheaded as a reĀ­sult. In 1855, the persecution raged, and the following year wholesale massacres began.

Thousands of Vietnamese Christians were martyred, as well as four bishops and twenty-eight Dominicans. It is estimated that between 1857 and 1862, 115 native priests, 100 Vietnamese nuns, and more than 5,000 of the faithful were martyred. Convents, churches, and schools were razed, and as many as 40,000 Catholics were dispossessed of their lands and exiled from their own regions to starve in wilderness areas. The martyrdoms ended with the Peace of 1862, brought about by the surrendering of Saigon and other regions to France and the payment of indemnities to France and Spain.

Pope John Paul II canonized 117 Martyrs of Vietnam on June 19,1988.

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Feastday: November 18

Died: 1852
Canonized By: Pope John Paul II

St. Rose Philippine Duchesne was born in Grenoble, France in 1769. She was a Catholic nun and French American Saint. She joined the convent of the Visitation nuns when she was 19 without the knowledge of her parents. Later after the convent was shut she was accepted into the order of the Society of the Sacred Heart.

She was the founder of the first house of the Society of Sacred Heart in America. She spent the latter half of her life in US service and taking care of people.

In 1818, when she was forty-nine years old, she was sent to the United States where she founded a boarding school for daughters of pioneers near St. Louis and opened the first free school west of the Missouri. At the age of seventy-one, she began a school for Indians, who soon came to call her “the woman who is always praying”.

Her biographers have also stressed her courage in frontier conditions, her singlemindedness in pursuing her dream of serving Native Americans, and her self-acceptance. She died on November 18, 1852 at the age of 83 in St Charles, Missouri.

She was beatified by Pope Pius XII in 1940 and canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1988.

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Feastday: November 17

Patron of sick children, sick people, shoemakers, and swans

St Hugh of Lincoln was the son of William, Lord of Avalon. He was born at Avalon Castle in Burgundy and was raised and educated at a convent at Villard-Benoit after his mother died when he was eight.

He was professed at fifteen, ordained a deacon at nineteen, and was made prior of a monastery at Saint Maxim. While visiting the Grande Chartreuse with his prior in 1160. It was then he decided to become a Carthusian there and was ordained. After ten years, he was named procurator and in 1175 became Abbot of the first Carthusian monastery in England.

His reputation for holiness and sanctity spread all over England and attracted many to the monastery. He admonished Henry for keeping Sees vacant to enrich the royal coffers. Income from the vacant Sees went to the royal treasury. He was then named bishop of the eighteen year old vacant See of Lincoln in 1186 – a post he accepted only when ordered to do so by the prior of the Grande Chartreuse. Hugh quickly restored clerical discipline, labored to restore religion to the diocese, and became known for his wisdom and justice.

He was one of the leaders in denouncing the persecution of the Jews that swept England, 1190-91, repeatedly facing down armed mobs and making them release their victims.

While attending a national council in London, he was stricken with an unnamed illness and died two months later at the Old Temple in London on November 16. He was canonized twenty years later, in 1220, the first Carthusian to be so honored.

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Feastday: November 11

759 – 826

Theodore was born at Constantinople in Bithynia. He became a novice at a monastery established by his father on his estate at Saccudium near Constantinople, where he was sent to study by Plato his uncle, who had become abbot of Saccudium.

Theodore was ordained in 787 at Constantinople after which he returned to Saccudium and succeeded Plato as abbot. He and Plato denounced the action of Emperor Constantine VI in leaving his wife and marrying Theodota, because of which he was exiled to Thessalonica.

He encouraged learning in the arts, founded a school of calligraphy, and wrote a rule for the monastery that was adopted in Russia, Bulgaria, Serbia and even on Mount Athos.

When he opposed the appointment of a layman, Nicephorus, to succeed Tarasius, who had died in 806 as patriarch of Constantinople by Emperor Nicephorus I, Theodore was imprisoned by the emperor and later exiled to Princes’ Island with Plato and Archbishop Joseph of Thessalonica, Theodore’s brother..

Theodore returned on the emperor’s death in 811 and was reconciled to Patriarch Nicephorus in a common fight against the iconoclasm of Emperor Leo V the Armenian. When Nicephorus was banished, Theodore became the leader of the Orthodox and was himself banished in 813 to Mysia by Leo.

He endured great hardships the three years he was in prison there and he was transferred to Smyrna and put in the custody of an iconoclast bishop who wanted him beheaded and treated him with great harshness. Released on the murder of Leo in 820, he was again faced with a renewed iconoclasm under Emperor Michael the Stammerer, who refused to restore him as abbot or to restore any of the orthodox bishops to their Sees.

Theodore left Constantinople and visited monasteries in Bithynia, founded a monastery on Akrita for many of his monks who had followed him, and died there on November 11. Many of his letters, treatises, sermons, and hymns are still existent. His feast day is November 11.

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Feastday: November 10

Died: 461

St. Leo the Great(400-461) was born in Tuscany, Italy. He was the Bishop of Rome and Pope from 440 till his death in 461. As deacon, he was dispatched to Gaul as a mediator by Emperor Valentinian III.

He persuaded Emperor Valentinian to recognize the primacy of the Bishop of Rome in an edict in 445. The doctrine of the Incarnation was formed by him in a letter to the Patriarch of Constantinople, who had already condemned Eutyches.

At the Council of Chalcedon this same letter was confirmed as the expression of Catholic Faith concerning the Person of Christ.

He is best remembered for his encounter with Attila the Hun, at the very gates of Rome persuading him to turn back. When the Vandals under Genseric occupied the city of Rome, he persuaded the invaders to desist from pillaging the city and harming its inhabitants.

He died in 461, leaving many letters and writings of great historical value. Leo’s letters and sermons reflect the many aspects of his career and personality, including his great personal influence for good, and are invaluable historical sources. His rhythmic prose style, called cursus leonicus, influenced ecclesiastical language for centuries.

His feast day is November 10th.

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Feastday: November 4

Patron of learning and the arts.
Died: 1584

Saint Charles was the son of Count Gilbert Borromeo and Margaret Medici, sister of Pope Pius IV. He was born at the family castle of Arona on Lake Maggiore, Italy on October 2. He received the clerical tonsure when he was twelve and was sent to the Benedictine abbey at Arona for his education.

In 1559 his uncle was elected Pope Pius IV and the following year, named him his Secretary of State and created him a cardinal and administrator of the see of Milan.

He served as Pope Pius’s legate on numerous diplomatic missions and in 1562, was instrumental in having Pius reconvene the Council of Trent, which had been suspended in 1552.

Saint Charles played a leading role in guiding and in fashioning the decrees of the third and last group of sessions. He was ordained a priest in 1563, and was consecrated bishop of Milan the same year.

He instituted radical reforms despite great opposition, with such effectiveness that it became a model see. He put into effect, measures to improve the morals and manners of the clergy and laity, raised the effectiveness of the diocesan operation, established seminaries for the education of the clergy, founded a Confraternity of Christian Doctrine for the religious instruction of children and encouraged the Jesuits in his see.

He founded a society of secular priests, Oblates of St. Ambrosein 1578, and was active in preaching, resisting the inroads of protestantism, and bringing back lapsed Catholics to the Church.

He died at Milan on the night of November 3-4, and was canonized in 1610. He was one of the towering figures of the Catholic Reformation, a patron of learning and the arts, and though he achieved a position of great power, he used it with humility, personal sanctity, and unselfishness to reform the Church, of the evils and abuses so prevalent among the clergy and the nobles of the times. His feast day is November 4th.

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