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St. Thomas GarnetFrom catholic.org

Feastday: June 23
1575 – 1608

Saint Thomas Garnet was a English Jesuit martyr. He was born in Southwark, England, and studied for the priesthood at St. Omer, France, and Valladolid, Spain. He is the nephew of the Jesuit Henry Garnet.

Initially ordained as a secular priest, he joined the Jesuits in 1604 and worked to advance the Catholic cause in Warwick until his arrest in 1606.

He was exiled after months of torture but returned in 1607 and was soon arrested. He was hanged at Tyburn.

Beatified in 1929, he was canonized in 1970 and is included among the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.

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St. Thomas MoreFrom catholic.org

Feastday: June 22
Patron of Lawyers
Died: 1535

St. Thomas More was born at London in 1478. After a thorough grounding in religion and the classics, he entered Oxford to study law. Upon leaving the university he pursued a legal career which took him to Parliament.

In 1505, he married his beloved Jane Colt who bore him four children, and when she died at a young age, he married a widow named Alice Middleton, to be a mother for his young children.

By 1516 wrote his world-famous book “Utopia”. He attracted the attention of Henry VIII who appointed him to a succession of high posts and missions, and finally made him Lord Chancellor in 1529. However, he resigned in 1532, at the height of his career and reputation, when Henry persisted in holding his own opinions regarding marriage and the supremacy of the Pope.

The rest of his life was spent in writing mostly in defense of the Church. In 1534, with his close friend, St. John Fisher, he refused to render allegiance to the King as the Head of the Church of England and was confined to the Tower. Fifteen months later, and nine days after St. John Fisher’s execution, he was tried and convicted of treason. He told the court that he could not go against his conscience and wished his judges that “we may yet hereafter in heaven merrily all meet together to everlasting salvation.” And on the scaffold, he told the crowd of spectators that he was dying as “the King’s good servant-but God’s first.”

He was beheaded on July 6, 1535. His feast day is June 22nd. He is known as the patron of lawyers.

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St. AliceFeastday: June 15

Saint Alice was born at Shaerbeck, Brussels. At the age of seven, she entered a Cistercian convent named Camera Sanctae Mariae, and she remained there for the rest of her life.

The Cistercian community was inspired by her spirit of humility. However, at an early age, she contracted leprosy and had to be isolated. The disease caused Aleydis intense suffering, and eventually she became paralyzed and was afflicted with blindness.

Alice’s greatest consolation came from reception of the Holy Eucharist, although she was not allowed to drink from the cup because of the danger of contagion.

Known for visions and ecstasies, she died in 1250. Devotion to her was approved in 1907 by Pope Pius X.

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St. HermengildFeastday: April 13

Patron of Seville, Spain
Died: 586

Saint Hermengild was the Prince of Visigothic Spain, and martyr. He was the son of Leovigild the Visigoth, king of Spain, and was raised as an Arian. He fell out with his father in 579, then revolted the following year.

During his rebellion, he converted from Arian Christianity to Roman Catholicism. His wife, Indegundis, converted him from that heresy, which brought about his disinheritance by Leovigild and his defeat at Seville, Spain, by his father.

When Hermenegild refused to accept Arianism, he was axed to death. He was martyred on April 13, 586. His feast is now confined to local calendars.

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Feastday: October 13

Saint Edward was born in Islip, England to King Ethelred III and his wife Emma who was the daughter of the Duke of Normandy. He was sent to Normandy in 1013 with his mother when the Danes under the leadership of Canute invaded England. Canute then married his mother Emma after the death of King Ethelred in 1016 and himself became the King.

Saint Edward however remained in Normandy and was brought up a Norman but returned to England in 1042 after the death of his step brother (son of Canute and Emma) to become the king of England.

He married Godwin’s daughter Edith in 1044. His reign was a peaceful one characterized by his good rule and remission of odious taxes, but also by the struggle, partly caused by his natural inclination to favor the Normans.

Saint Edward had brought with him Robert of Jumieges when he returned to England and whom he named Archbishop of Canterbury in 1051.

Edward faced difficulties from Godwin’s sons (Harold and Tostig) to determine his successor as Edward was childless. Edward however name Harold his successor and banished Tostig to Europe.

After this Edward became more interested in religious affairs and built St. Peter’s Abbey at Westminster, where he is buried. His piety gained him the surname “the Confessor”. He died in London on January 5, and he was canonized in 1161 by Pope Alexander III. His feast day is October 13.

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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 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-Fran├žois 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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