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Category Archives: Our Beloved Saints and Holy People

ST ERASMUS OF FORMIA, BISHOP AND MARTYR

ST ERASMUS OF FORMIA, BISHOP AND MARTYR

ST ERASMUS OF FORMIA, BISHOP AND MARTYR – FEAST: JUNE 2

Originally from Antioch, St Erasmus (St Elmo) became Bishop of Formia, Campagna, Italy. To lie low during Emperor Diocletian’s persecution of Christians (c. 303), he fled to Mount Lebanon, living a life of prayer and penance. Throughout this time he was miraculously fed by a raven.

The Bishop was tracked down and sent to Diocletian, imprisoned, and freed by an angel. After having converted many more souls he was discovered once more and martyred by being disemboweled. Some sources report that this was done by winding his intestines on a windlass.

“ST ELMO’S FIRE”

St Erasmus is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers and invoked against gastrointestinal illnesses such as cancer and Crohn’s Disease. His intercession is asked by soldiers and sailors, too; the blue static electrical discharges which would sometimes appear on the masts or riggings of their ships (“St Elmo’s Fire”) was seen as a sign of his protection.

PRAYER:

O God, who gladden us each year by the feast of your holy Martyrs, Marcellinus, Peter and Erasmus, graciously grant that, as we rejoice in their merits, we may be inspired by their example. Through our Lord Jesus Christ…

 

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ST PEDRO POVEDA, PRIEST AND MARTYR

ST PEDRO POVEDA, PRIEST AND MARTYR

ST PEDRO POVEDA, PRIEST AND MARTYR – MEMORIAL: JULY 28

Pedro Poveda was born in Linares, (Jaen), southern Spain, in 1874 and was ordained priest in Guadix (Granada) in 1897. It was there that he began apostolic work among the people of the cave district.

Later he was named Canon in the Basilica of Covadonga in the north. From there, in 1911 he founded The Teresian Association, which received pontifical approval in 1924. In Jaen, and later Madrid, he continued to be actively committed to the cause of education and to the disadvantaged in society. He died a martyr for his faith on 28 July, 1936. He was canonised in 2003.

PRAYER:

Lord our God, You gave Your priest Saint Pedro Poveda the gift of encouraging lay Christians in their call to make Christ present in the world, through education and culture; You gave him the grace of sealing his life with martyrdom. Through his intercession grant us the courage to announce the Gospel openly, bearing witness to it and confessing our faith. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

(with ecclesiastical permission)

– from a prayer card

 

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ST BONIFACE OF TARSUS, MARTYR

ST BONIFACE OF TARSUS, MARTYR

Initially, young Boniface was not a Christian. One of her slaves, he lived in sin with the wealthy Roman lady Aglae. She finally commissioned him to find the relics of Christian martyrs in Tarsus and to bring them back to Rome. When he witnessed the torture and killings in the persecution of Christians under Emperor Galerius in Tarsus, he himself was touched and converted. He asked for baptism and henceforth confessed openly to Christianity, whereupon he was martyred in 307 by being thrown into a kettle containing boiling tar.

Aglae, hearing of his martyrdom, became a Christian. In his memory she constructed a church, which today is the Church of St Bonifacio e Alessio. She gave her slaves freedom, distributed her wealth to the poor, and lived in a monastery until her death some twenty years later. St Boniface of Tarsus is a patron invoked against alcohol problems and is one of the Ice Saints. (Since much historical evidence could not be firmly established, St Boniface’s official feast was removed from the revised Saints’ Calendar).

 

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ST CORONA, MARTYR

ST CORONA, MARTYR

St Corona, feast day May 14 (SS Victor and Corona) was a 16-year-old Christian who was martyred for her faith in Damascus in the second century.

St Corona stood up publicly for Victor, a Roman soldier who was being tortured because he had converted to Christianity. For this act she died a horrific death.

She was tied to two palm trunks that had been bent to the ground and when they whipped back up her body was torn to pieces. She is invoked by treasure hunters and people who play the lottery. Recently, her prayers to the Divine Physician are requested by those affected by Covid-19.

 

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SS NEREUS, ACHILLEUS, DOMITILLA THE VIRGIN, AND PANCRATIUS

SS NEREUS, ACHILLEUS, DOMITILLA THE VIRGIN, AND PANCRATIUS

SS NEREUS, ACHILLEUS, DOMITILLA THE VIRGIN, AND PANCRATIUS, MARTYRS – MEMORIAL: MAY 12

The brothers Nereus and Achilleus were eunuchs who served Flavia Domitilla. They were baptised with Domitilla’s mother, Plautilla, by St Peter, and the brothers persuaded Domitilla to consecrate her virginity to God.

Because of this, Aurelian, who had been engaged to her, accused them of being Christians, and they were banished to the isle of Pontia.

THEY WERE ACCUSED OF BEING CHRISTIANS 

To force them to sacrifice to idols, they were scourged and then taken to Terracina where they were beheaded after being racked and burned. Their disciple Auspicius brought their bodies to Rome and they were buried on the Ardeatine Way.

Flavia Domitilla, who had received the veil from blessed Pope Clement, was also banished to Pontia. After a long imprisonment she was taken in chains to Terracina where the judge ordered her lodging set afire.

THE PAGAN JUDGE ORDERED HER LODGING TO BE SET ON FIRE

She and her foster sisters, the virgins Theodora and Euphrosyne, thus died gloriously on the Nones of May in the reign of Trajan. The deacon, Caesarius, buried them.

Pancratius [St Pancras], who was born in Phrygia of a noble family, was baptised at Rome when a boy of fourteen. In the reign of Diocletian and Maximian, he was apprehended, and after he firmly refused to sacrifice to the pagan gods, offered his neck to the executioner and was martyred. A lady named Octavilla secretly buried his body on the Aurelian Way.

PRAYER:

May the holy feast of your Martyrs, Nereus, Achilleus, Domitilla and Pancras, ever comfort us, we beseech you, O Lord, and make us worthy to serve you. Through our Lord Jesus Christ…

From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

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THE ICE SAINTS (11th TO 15th OF MAY)

THE ICE SAINTS (11th TO 15th OF MAY)

The Ice Saints, known in the colder regions of Europe, are: St Mammertus, St Pancras and St Servatius. They are so named because their feast days fall on 11th, 12th and 13th of May (a period also traditionally known as “blackthorn winter”). Some areas add St Boniface of Tarsus and St Sophia (feast days on 14th and 15th of May respectively).

Because of ground frost and frost, already flowering plants can be severely damaged, and large-scale planting is undertaken once the Ice Saints have passed. “Avant Saint Servais, point ete; apres Saint Servais, plus de gelee” – “Before the feast of Saint Servais, no summer; after Saint Servais, no frost.”

 

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ST GEORGE PRECA, PRIEST

ST GEORGE PRECA, PRIEST

ST GEORGE PRECA, PRIEST – MEMORIAL: MAY 9

George Preca was born in Valletta, Malta, on 12th February 1880. Ordained priest at age 26, he began working with young people. Shortly after, he founded the Society of Christian Doctrine, ‘M.U.S.E.U.M.’ (Magister Unitam Sequatur Evangelium Universus Mundus). Initially, the Society was known as ‘Museum’ due to the old building the members met in; the title was then adjusted by St George. A zealous preacher and teacher, he also lead a life of prayer and constant meditation on the Sacred Scriptures.

A LIFE OF PRAYER AND CONSTANT MEDITATION ON THE SACRED SCRIPTURES

On 21st July 1918, St George was enrolled as a Carmelite tertiary and at his profession in September 1919 he chose the name of Fr Franco. Devoted to Our Lady of Good Counsel, he also promoted use of the Miraculous Medal. In 1957 he suggested the use of five ‘Mysteries of Light’ for the private recitation of the Rosary.

St George Preca wrote many books on dogma, morals and spirituality in Maltese, as well as prayer booklets for the lay faithful. He was a great apostle of the Word of God, especially of the Gospel which he used to call ‘The Voice of the Beloved’. He encouraged the faithful to memorise phrases from the Gospel. He movingly preached about death, judgement, heaven and hell. Utterly convinced of God’s justice, he also always emphasised the Lord’s infinite mercy. Many people recount cases of healings wrought by God through St George’s prayers.

George Preca died on 26th July 1962. He was canonised by Pope Benedict XVI.

 

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