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Archive for January, 2013

St. Angela MericiFeastday: January 27

Died: 1540

Saint Angela is known for her miracle of recovering back her eyesight after a trip to Holy Land. On the way there she had fallen ill and become blind. Nevertheless, she insisted on continuing her pilgrimage and toured the holy sites with the devotion of her heart rather than her eyes. On the way back she had recovered her sight. This made her realize not to shut her eyes to the needs she saw around her, not to shut her heart to God’s call.

When she was 56, she said “No” to the Pope when she was provided an opportunity to take charge of a religious order of nursing sisters. But Angela knew that nursing was not what God had called her to do with her life.

All around her hometown she saw poor girls with no education and no hope. The only educated women were either those who were rich or nuns. Education and women’s rights for the common class women was far away. Nuns were the best educated women but they weren’t allowed to leave their cloisters.

These girls weren’t being helped by the old ways, so Angela invented a new way. She brought together a group of unmarried women, fellow Franciscan tertiaries and other friends, who went out into the streets to gather up the girls they saw and teach them. These women had little money and no power, but were bound together by their dedication to education and commitment to Christ.

Living in their own homes, they met for prayer and classes. They were so successful in their service that Angela was asked to bring her innovative approach to education to other cities, and impressed many people, including the pope.

Though she turned him down, perhaps the pope’s request gave her the inspiration or the push to make her little group more formal. Although it was never a religious order in her lifetime, Angela’s Company of Saint Ursula, or the Ursulines, was the first group of women religious to work outside the cloister and the first teaching order of women.

It took many years of frustration before Angela’s radical ideas of education for all and unmarried women in service were accepted. Saint Angela Merici reassured her Sisters who were afraid to lose her in death that she shall always be there for them.

She died in 1540, at about seventy years old.

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St. TimothyFeastday: January 26

Saint Timothy was born in Lystra, Lycaenia. His father was a Greek father and mother was Jewish. He joined St. Paul the apostle when Paul preached at Lystra replacing Barnabas, and became Paul’s close friend and confidant.

Paul then circumcised Saint Timothy since he was the son of a Jewess, and he then accompanied Paul on his second missionary journey. When Paul was forced to flee Berea because of the enmity of the Jews there, Timothy remained.

After sometime Saint Timothy was sent to Thessalonica to report on the condition of the Christians there and to encourage them under persecution. This report was later used by Saint Paul to write the his first letter to the Thessalonians when he joined Timothy at Corinth.

Timothy and Erastus were sent to Macedonia. He then went to Corinth to remind the Corinthians of Paul’s teaching, and then accompanied Paul into Macedonia and Achaia. Timothy was with St. Paul when the Apostle was imprisoned at Caesarea and then Rome, and was himself imprisoned but then freed.

According to tradition, he went to Ephesus, became its first bishop, and was stoned to death there when he opposed the pagan festival of Katagogian in honor of Diana. Paul wrote two letters to Timothy, one written about 65 from Macedonia and the second from Rome while he was in prison awaiting execution.

His feast day is January 26.

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St. SebastianFeastday: January 20

Died: 268

Saint Sebastian was born at Narbonne, Gaul. He became a soldier in the Roman army at Rome in about 283. He is known to have encouraged Marcellian and Marcus, under sentence of death, to remain firm in their faith.

Saint Sebastian made numerous converts after that among them were the master of the rolls, Nicostratus, who was in charge of prisoners and his wife, Zoe, a deaf mute whom he cured; the jailer Claudius; Chromatius, Prefect of Rome, whom he cured of gout; and Chromatius’ son, Tiburtius. Chromatius set the prisoners free, freed his slaves, and resigned as prefect.

He was named captain in the praetorian guards by Emperor Diocletian, as did Emperor Maximian when Diocletian went to the East. Neither knew that Sebastian was a Christian. When it was discovered during Maximian’s persecution of the Christians that Sebastian was indeed a Christian, he was ordered executed.

He was shot with arrows and left for dead, but when the widow of St. Castulus (Irene) went to recover his body, she found he was still alive and nursed him back to health. Soon after, Sebastian intercepted the Emperor, denounced him for his cruelty to Christians, and was beaten to death on the Emperor’s orders.

Saint Sebastian was venerated at Milan as early as the time of St. Ambrose and was buried on the Appian Way. He is patron of archers, athletes, and soldiers, and is appealed to for protection against plagues.

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St. FillanFeastday: January 19

Saint Fillan was the son of Feriach and grandson ofthe King of Leinster and his mother was St. Kentigerna Irish princess. He became a monk in his youth and accompanied his mother from Ireland to Scotland where he lived as a hermit near St. Andrew’s monastery for many years.

He was then was elected abbot. He later resigned and resumed his eremitical life at Glendochart, Pertchire, where he built a church and was reknowned for his miracles. His original chapel was up river, slightly northwest of the abbey and adjacent to a deep body of water which became known as St. Fillan’s Pool.

Various legends attribute the most extravagant miracles to him, such as the one in which his prayers caused a wolf that had killed the ox he was using to drag materials to the church he was building, to take the ox’s place.

St. Fillan died on January 19. His feast day is January 19.

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St. Berno of ClunyFeastday: January 13

850 – 927

Saint Berno was the son of a French nobleman named Odon. His father provided shelter to the Benedictine community after the monks had been driven out of their monastery  Saint Bruno assisted his father in helping the monks and after his death gave away his money and entered a Benedictine monastery of Saint Martin.

He was appointed abbot of the monastery of Baume, which he restored both spiritually and materially. He founded the Abbey of Cluny in 910 and governed it. His Abbey went on to become one of Europe’s most important monasteries. He implemented for the new abbey a stricter, modified form of the Benedictine rule.

Under Berno’s successors, Cluny became one of the most influential institutions in medieval Europe. As a center of piety and learning it gave four popes to the Church, and governed over eight hundred other monasteries by the fifteenth century.

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St. TatianaFeastday: January 12

Patron of students

Very little is known about Saint Tatiana. She was born in Rome to a civil servant who secretly practiced Christianity. Her daughter was raised by his faith and she became a deaconess in the church.

She was captured by Emperor Alexander Severus who tried to torture and kill her at various times. Once she was supposed to be sacrificed at the temple when an earthquake came and destroyed the temple. On another occasion she was put in a cage along with a lion in a circus but the lion did not eat her.

She was finally given a death sentence and was beheaded on January 12.

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St. Andre BessetteFeastday: January 6

Beatified By: Pope John Paul II
Canonized By: October 17, 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI

Saint Andre Bassette (born Alfred Bassette) was born in a small town in Qubec to a poor family. He was one of the ten children his parents had and was sick and frail right from his childhood days. As a result he was unable to take up any job for long and kept moving from place to place.

His parents died when he was 12 after which the priest of his parish noticed his great devotion and sent him to the Congregation of Holy Cross in Montreal with a letter saying – “I am sending you a saint.” The brothers at the Holy Cross took him and Alfred entered the novitiate with the name of Brother Andre. He made his final vows on February 2, 1874, at the age of 28.

He was sent to Notre Dame College in Montreal where he served as a porter. In 1904, he surprised the Archbishop of Montreal if he could, by requesting permission to, build a chapel to Saint Joseph on the mountain near the college. The Archbishop refused to go into debt and would only give permission for Brother Andre to build what he had money for. He started building the church with whatever little he had.

His great confidence in Saint Joseph inspired him to recommend this saint’s devotion to all those who were afflicted in various ways. People claimed that they had been cured through the prayers of the good Brother and Saint Joseph, and they were grateful their prayers had been heard. Brother Andre steadfastly refused to take any credit for these cures.

Despite financial troubles, Brother Andre never lost faith or devotion. He had started to build a basilica on the mountain but the Depression had interfered. At ninety-years old he told his co-workers to place a statue of St. Joseph in the unfinished, unroofed basilica. He was so ill he had to be carried up the mountain to see the statue in its new home. Brother Andre died soon after on January 6, and didn’t live to see the work on the basilica completed.

On December 19, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI promulgated a decree recognizing a second miracle at Blessed Andre’s intercession and on October 17, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI formally declared sainthood for Blessed Andre.

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