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Re: Saints of the Day
« Reply #440 on: May 10, 2011, 12:39:25 PM »
St. Damien of Molokai
(1840-1889)



When Joseph de Veuster was born in Tremelo, Belgium, in 1840, few people in Europe had any firsthand knowledge of leprosy (Hansen's disease). By the time he died at the age of 49, people all over the world knew about this disease because of him. They knew that human compassion could soften the ravages of this disease.

Forced to quit school at age 13 to work on the family farm, Joseph entered the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary six years later, taking the name of a fourth-century physician and martyr. When his brother Pamphile, a priest in the same congregation, fell ill and was unable to go to the Hawaiian Islands as assigned, Damien quickly volunteered in his place. In May 1864, two months after arriving in his new mission, Damien was ordained a priest in Honolulu and assigned to the island of Hawaii.

In 1873, he went to the Hawaiian government's leper colony on the island of Molokai, set up seven years earlier. Part of a team of four chaplains taking that assignment for three months each year, Damien soon volunteered to remain permanently, caring for the people's physical, medical and spiritual needs. In time, he became their most effective advocate to obtain promised government support.

Soon the settlement had new houses and a new church, school and orphanage. Morale improved considerably. A few years later he succeeded in getting the Franciscan Sisters of Syracuse, led by Mother Marianne Cope (January 23), to help staff this colony in Kalaupapa.

Damien contracted Hansen's disease and died of its complications. As requested, he was buried in Kalaupapa, but in 1936 the Belgian government succeeded in having his body moved to Belgium. Part of Damien's body was returned to his beloved Hawaiian brothers and sisters after his beatification in 1995.

Damien was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on October 11, 2009.

When Hawaii became a state in 1959, it selected Damien as one of its two representatives in the Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol.


Comment:

Some people thought Damien was a hero for going to Molokai and others thought he was crazy. When a Protestant clergyman wrote that Damien was guilty of immoral behavior, Robert Louis Stevenson vigorously defended him in an "Open Letter to Dr. Hyde."

Quote:

During the beatification homily, Pope John Paul II said: "Holiness is not perfection according to human criteria; it is not reserved for a small number of exceptional persons. It is for everyone; it is the Lord who brings us to holiness, when we are willing to collaborate in the salvation of the world for the glory of God, despite our sin and our sometimes rebellious temperament."

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Re: Saints of the Day
« Reply #441 on: May 11, 2011, 01:58:52 PM »
St. Ignatius of Laconi
(1701-1781)



Ignatius is another sainted begging brother.

He was the second of seven children of peasant parents in Sardinia. His path to the Franciscans was unusual. During a serious illness, Ignatius vowed to become a Capuchin if he recovered. He regained his health but ignored the promise. A riding accident prompted him to renew the pledge, which he acted on the second time; he was 20 then. Ignatius’s reputation for self-denial and charity led to his appointment as the official beggar for the friars in Cagliari. He fulfilled that task for 40 years; he was blind the last two years.

While on his rounds, Ignatius would instruct the children, visit the sick and urge sinners to repent. The people of Cagliari were inspired by his kindness and his faithfulness to his work. He was canonized in 1951.

Comment:

Why did the people of Cagliari support the friars? These followers of Francis worked hard but rarely at jobs that paid enough to live on. Under these conditions St. Francis allowed them to beg. The life of Ignatius reminds us that everything God considers worthwhile does not have a high-paying salary attached to it.

Quote:

"And I used to work with my hands, and I [still] desire to work; and I firmly wish that all my brothers give themselves to honest work. Let those who do not know how [to work] learn, not from desire of receiving wages for their work but as an example and in order to avoid idleness. And when we are not paid for our work, let us have recourse to the table of the Lord, seeking alms from door to door" (St. Francis, Testament).

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Re: Saints of the Day
« Reply #442 on: May 12, 2011, 12:37:16 PM »
Sts. Nereus and Achilleus
(1st century)


Devotion to these two saints goes back to the fourth century, though almost nothing is known of their lives. They were praetorian soldiers of the Roman army, became Christians and were removed to the island of Terracina, where they were martyred. Their bodies were buried in a family vault, later known as the cemetery of Domitilla. Excavations by De Rossi in 1896 resulted in the discovery of their empty tomb in the underground church built by Pope Siricius in 390.

Two hundred years after their death, Pope Gregory the Great delivered his 28th homily on the occasion of their feast. “These saints, before whom we are assembled, despised the world and trampled it under their feet when peace, riches and health gave it charms.”

Comment:

As in the case of many early martyrs, the Church clings to its memories though the events are clouded in the mists of history. It is a heartening thing for all Christians to know that they have a noble heritage. Our brothers and sisters in Christ have stood in the same world in which we live—militarist, materialist, cruel and cynical—yet transfigured from within by the presence of the Living One. Our own courage is enlivened by the heroes and heroines who have gone before us marked by the sign of faith and the wounds of Christ.

Quote:

Pope Damasus wrote an epitaph for Nereus and Achilleus in the fourth century. The text is known from travelers who read it while the slab was still entire, but the broken fragments found by De Rossi are sufficient to identify it: “The martyrs Nereus and Achilleus had enrolled themselves in the army and exercised the cruel office of carrying out the orders of the tyrant, being ever ready, through the constraint of fear, to obey his will. O miracle of faith! Suddenly they cease from their fury, they become converted, they fly from the camp of their wicked leader; they throw away their shields, their armor and their blood-stained javelins. Confessing the faith of Christ, they rejoice to bear testimony to its triumph. Learn now from the words of Damasus what great things the glory of Christ can accomplish.”

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Re: Saints of the Day
« Reply #443 on: May 13, 2011, 02:09:57 PM »
Our Lady of Fatima


Between May 13 and October 13, 1917, three Portuguese children received apparitions of Our Lady at Cova da Iria, near Fatima, a city 110 miles north of Lisbon. (See February 20 entry for Blessed Jacinta and Francisco Marto). Mary asked the children to pray the rosary for world peace, for the end of World War I, for sinners and for the conversion of Russia. The third visionary, Lucia dos Santos, became a Carmelite nun and died in 2005 at the age of 97.

Mary gave the children three secrets. Since Francisco died in 1919 and Jacinta the following year, Lucia, who later became a Carmelite nun, revealed the first secret in 1927, concerning devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The second secret was a vision of hell.

Pope John Paul II directed the Holy See's Secretary of State to reveal the third secret in 2000; it spoke of a 'bishop in white' who was shot by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows into him. Many people linked this to the assassination attempt against Pope John Paul II in St. Peter's Square on May 13, 1981.

The feast of Our Lady of Fatima was approved by the local bishop in 1930; it was added to the Church's worldwide calendar in 2002. Sister Lucia died in 2005 at the age of 97.


Comment:

The message of Fatima is simple: Pray. Unfortunately, some people—not Sister Lucia—have distorted these revelations, making them into an apocalyptic event for which they are now the only reliable interpreters. They have, for example, claimed that Mary's request that the world be consecrated to her has been ignored. Sister Lucia has agreed that Pope John Paul II's public consecration in St. Peter's Square on March 25, 1984, fulfilled Mary's request. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith prepared a June 26, 2000, document explaining the “third secret” (available at www.vatican.va).

Mary is perfectly honored when people generously imitate her response “Let it be done to me as you say” (Luke 1:38). Mary can never be seen as a rival to Jesus or to the Church's teaching authority, as exercised by the college of bishops united with the bishop of Rome.


Quote:

“Throughout history there have been supernatural apparitions and signs which go to the heart of human events and which, to the surprise of believers and non-believers alike, play their part in the unfolding of history. These manifestations can never contradict the content of faith, and must therefore have their focus in the core of Christ's proclamation: the Father's love which leads men and women to conversion and bestows the grace required to abandon oneself to him with filial devotion. This too is the message of Fatima which, with its urgent call to conversion and penance, draws us to the heart of the Gospel” (The Message of Fatima, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, June 26, 2000).

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Re: Saints of the Day
« Reply #444 on: May 13, 2011, 02:10:44 PM »
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Re: Saints of the Day
« Reply #445 on: May 14, 2011, 12:13:15 PM »
St. Matthias



According to Acts 1:15-26, during the days after the Ascension, Peter stood up in the midst of the brothers (about 120 of Jesus’ followers). Now that Judas had betrayed his ministry, it was necessary, Peter said, to fulfill the scriptural recommendation: “May another take his office.” “Therefore, it is necessary that one of the men who accompanied us the whole time the Lord Jesus came and went among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day on which he was taken up from us, become with us a witness to his resurrection” (Acts 1:21-22).

They nominated two men: Joseph Barsabbas and Matthias. They prayed and drew lots. The choice fell upon Matthias, who was added to the Eleven.

Matthias is not mentioned by name anywhere else in the New Testament.

Comment:

What was the holiness of Matthias? Obviously he was suited for apostleship by the experience of being with Jesus from his baptism to his ascension. He must also have been suited personally, or he would not have been nominated for so great a responsibility. Must we not remind ourselves that the fundamental holiness of Matthias was his receiving gladly the relationship with the Father offered him by Jesus and completed by the Holy Spirit? If the apostles are the foundations of our faith by their witness, they must also be reminders, if only implicitly, that holiness is entirely a matter of God’s giving, and it is offered to all, in the everyday circumstances of life. We receive, and even for this God supplies the power of freedom.

Quote:

Jesus speaks of the apostles’ function of being judges, that is, rulers. He said, “Amen, I say to you that you who have followed me, in the new age, when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory, will yourselves sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matthew 19:28).

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Re: Saints of the Day
« Reply #446 on: May 18, 2011, 06:05:01 AM »
St. Paschal Baylon


Feast day: May 17
1540-1592

Franciscan lay brother and mystic. Born to a peasant family at Torre Hermosa, in Aragon, on Whitsunday, he was christened Pascua in honor of the feast. According to accounts of his early life, Paschal labored as a shepherd for his father, performed miracles, and was distinguished for his austerity. He also taught himself to read. Receiving a vision which told him to enter a nearby Franciscan community, he became a Franciscan lay brother of the Alcantrine reform in 1564, and spent most of his life as a humble doorkeeper. He practiced rigorous asceticism and displayed a deep love for the Blessed Sacrament, so much so that while on a mission to France, he defended the doctrine of the Real Presence against a Calvinist preacher and in the face of threats from other irate Calvinists. Paschal died at a friary in Villareal, and was canonized in 1690. In 1897 Pope Leo XIII declared him patron of all eucharistic confratemities and congresses. Since 1969, his veneration has been limited to local calendars.
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Re: Saints of the Day
« Reply #447 on: May 25, 2011, 06:32:38 AM »
St. David I of Scotland

Feast day: May 24
c. 1080-1153

David, the youngest son of Scotland’s virtuous queen, (Saint) Margaret, succeeded his brother to the Scottish throne in 1124. David’s friend, (Saint) Aelred, abbot of the English monastery of Rievaulx, was later to recount David’s religious devotion and his generosity to the poor. From his riches he also endowed the founding of several dioceses and many monasteries. David was to express profound remorse for an ill-conceived and ill-fated invasion of England he had ordered on behalf of his niece. He also suffered the sorrow of the premature death of his only son. On Friday, May 22, 1153, as David was nearing death, he received the anointing of the sick and Viaticum, after which he devoted himself to reciting the Psalms with those at his bedside. The next day, the king told those urging him to take a rest from his devotions, “Let me rather think about the things of God, so that my spirit may set out strengthened on its journey from exile to home. When I stand before God’s tremendous judgment seat, you will not be able to answer for me or defend me.” He thus continued with his prayers. David died at dawn on Sunday, May 24.



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