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Category Archives: Our Beloved Saints and Holy People

ST ANTONIUS OF FLORENCE – HOLY FROM A VERY EARLY AGE

ST ANTONIUS OF FLORENCE – HOLY FROM A VERY EARLY AGE

ST ANTONIUS OF FLORENCE, BISHOP AND CONFESSOR – FEAST DAY: MAY 10

Born at Florence of good parents, Antonius even as a child showed signs of great sanctity. At sixteen, he entered the Dominicans and from then on his reputation for outstanding virtue grew.

He became a Dominican Friar

His observance of abstinence and chastity was very strict. He was called Antonius the Counsellor because of his skill in that work. Eugene IV appointed him Archbishop of Florence, but Antonius only accepted reluctantly and out of respect for the authority of the Apostolic See.

He accepted reluctantly

As archbishop, he was eminently prudent, pious, and charitable, and full of gentleness and priestly zeal. He had a thorough, self-taught knowledge of most of the sciences, and wrote many learned books on them. He died on the sixth of the Nones of May in 1459. Adrian VI entered his name on the list of saints.

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Roman Breviary, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

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ST HEDWIG – SHE SERVED THE POOR ON BENDED KNEES

ST HEDWIG – SHE SERVED THE POOR ON BENDED KNEES

Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in; naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. (Matthew 25:34-36)

ST HEDWIG, WIDOW – FEAST DAY: OCTOBER 16

Hedwig, notable for her royal birth, was the maternal aunt of St Elizabeth, daughter of the King of Hungary. She was given in marriage to Henry, Duke of Poland, and she brought up her children in the fear of God. To serve God more fully, she persuaded her husband that they should make a vow of continence. After his death, she took the habit at the Cistercian monastery at Trebnitz, and there she devoted herself to contemplation and delighted to assist at the Divine Office and Mass.

She possessed extraordinary strength of soul

Distinguished by the noblest virtues, by the strictest penance, by the gravity of her counsels and candour of soul, she became an outstanding example of religious piety. It was her custom to voluntarily subject herself to all the others and to do the more menial chores, to serve the poor on bended knees and to wash and kiss the feet of lepers. Her patience and strength of soul were extraordinary, as was shown upon the death of her son Henry, Duke of Silesia, who was killed in battle by the Tartars. Renowned by the fame of her miracles, especially after her death, Clement IV added her to the number of the saints.

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

 

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AFTER FIRST COMMUNION SHE GAINED MORE SELF-CONTROL AS SHE DEEPENED HER UNDERSTANDING OF GOD: ST ELIZABETH OF THE TRINITY

AFTER FIRST COMMUNION SHE GAINED MORE SELF-CONTROL AS SHE DEEPENED HER UNDERSTANDING OF GOD: ST ELIZABETH OF THE TRINITY

She had a terrible temper as a child

On 16th October, Pope Francis celebrated a Mass of Canonisation, giving the church some new saints. One of these is St Elizabeth of the Trinity. She was born in 1880 in the military base at Avord in France. Her father was a Captain. St Elizabeth was baptised in the chapel of the military base. Sadly, her father died when St Elizabeth was seven years old and the family moved to Dijon. St Elizabeth had a terrible temper as a child, but after receiving her First Holy Communion she was able to gain more self-control as she deepened her understanding of God.

She gained an understanding of the Most Holy Trinity

She also gained a profound understanding of the Most Holy Trinity, which she cultivated in ardent devotion. St Elizabeth started to visit the sick, sing in the church choir and taught religion to the young people who worked at the local factories. As she grew older, St Elizabeth became interested in entering the Discalced Carmelite Order, though her mother was very much against this. St Elizabeth declined marriage from several men because of the desire that she had for religious life.

A fulfilled life of selfless, loving service

St Elizabeth entered the Dijon Carmel in 1901. She said, “I find Him everywhere while doing the washing as well as while praying.” Realising that she had become very ill, she also said: “I think in heaven my mission will be to draw souls by helping them to go out of themselves in order to cling to God by a wholly simple and loving movement, and to keep in the great silence within which will allow God to communicate Himself to them and transform them into Himself.” Her spirituality is considered to be remarkably similar to that of her contemporary St Therese of Lisieux, who was also in Carmel. The two saints shared a zeal for the salvation of souls. St Elizabeth died at the young age of 26, having contracted Addison’s disease. Though her death was painful, St Elizabeth gratefully accepted her suffering as a gift from God. Her last words were: “I am going to Light, to Love, to Life.”

St Elizabeth of the Trinity, pray for us.

– From: Spiritual Thought From Fr Chris, 2016

 

 

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ST MARIA MICAELA DESMAISIERES – SHE WORKED WITH SEX WORKERS

ST MARIA MICAELA DESMAISIERES – SHE WORKED WITH SEX WORKERS

“A STORY OF DECEPTION, SHAME, ABUSE AND ECONOMIC HARDSHIP”

[On August 24] one of the Saints remembered by the Church is St Maria Micaela Desmaisieres. She was born in 1809 in Madrid, Spain. Her father was a high-ranking officer in the Spanish army and her mother was lady-in-waiting to the Spanish Queen, Maria Luisa de Parma. St Maria’s life unfolded in the circles of the Spanish and French nobility. She spent most of her young life accompanying her brother, the Spanish Ambassador Diego, to the Royal Palaces, parties, social gatherings and horse riding which were the order of the day for her.

During these years, St Maria was also searching to find the direction she should be going in later life. She loved to spend time before the Blessed Sacrament and it was here that she felt called to give herself to works of charity. At the age of 35, St Maria volunteered to work in the St John of God Hospital in Madrid, helping those who were sick. It was here that she met a prostitute, the only daughter of a banker, and listened to her story of deception, shame, abuse and economic hardship. St Maria then resolved to devote her life to the rescue and rehabilitation of prostitutes. She established a shelter where prostitutes could come for help and respond in a charitable way to their needs. On one occasion St Maria entered a brothel to rescue a girl held there against her will. Whilst there she was insulted and stoned, but St Maria left with the girl and then looked after her.

Eventually, St Maria moved out of her family house because she was now being slandered, defamed and threatened for her work with prostitutes. Her socialite friends avoided her now and she was told by so many that her work was hopeless and that she should stop. St Maria asked other women to help her in her work and in 1856 a congregation was formed known as the Sisters Adorers, Servants of the Most Blessed Sacrament and Charity. These sisters balanced adoration of the Blessed Sacrament with their work of redeeming prostitutes and girls at risk. After a few years these sisters had established ten houses in Barcelona, Valencia and Burgos. In 1860 Pope Pius IX approved the sisters as a Religious Institute of Pontifical Rights.

When a cholera epidemic broke out where she was living, St Maria refused to leave and stayed behind to nurse those women who were dying. She herself contracted cholera and died on 24th August 1865 at Valencia. St Maria was canonised a saint in 1934. Today her sisters also work in South America and Asia.

At the centre of St Maria’s spiritual and charitable life was her devotion to the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Another great saint, Francis of Assisi, said, “What wonderful majesty! What stupendous condescension! O sublime humility! That the Lord of the whole universe, the Son of God, should humble Himself like this under the form of a little bread, for our salvation. In this world I cannot see the Most High Son of God with my own eyes, except for His Most Holy Body and Blood.”

– From: Spiritual Thought From Fr Chris, August 2016

 

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ST JOHN OF THE CROSS – HIS WISH WAS TO BE TO BE DESPISED FOR JESUS’ SAKE

ST JOHN OF THE CROSS – HIS WISH WAS TO BE TO BE DESPISED FOR JESUS’ SAKE

Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven. (Mt 5:11,12a)

ST JOHN OF THE CROSS, CONFESSOR AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH – FEAST DAY: DECEMBER 14

John of the Cross was born of pious parents at Hontiveros in Spain, and from his very infancy was dear to the Virgin Mother of God. When he was fifteen years old and fell into a well, the hand of the same Mother of God lifted him out and he escaped unharmed. As a young man, he offered himself as a servant to the sick poor in the hospital of Medina del Campo.

Then he entered the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, where, under obedience, he was ordained a priest and followed the primitive rule. But, burning with ardour to promote a stricter discipline, he was divinely given as a companion to St Teresa, who considered him among the purest and most excellent souls at that time adorning the Church of God, that she might restore the primitive observance of the Carmelite Order among his brethren.

In this work, after he had laboured zealously and suffered much, he was asked by Christ what reward he desired for so many labours. He replied: “Lord, to suffer and to be despised for you.” He wrote many books of mystical theology abounding with heavenly wisdom. Finally, at Ubeda, most patiently enduring a dreadful malady, he fell asleep in the Lord in the year 1591, in the forty-ninth year of his age. Pius XI, after consulting the Congregation of Sacred Rites, declared him a Doctor of the universal Church.

St John of the Cross, pray for us.

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

 

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ST LAWRENCE JUSTINIAN – RENOWNED FOR THE GIFT OF TEARS, PROPHECY AND OF HEALING

ST LAWRENCE JUSTINIAN – RENOWNED FOR THE GIFT OF TEARS, PROPHECY AND OF HEALING

But I chastise my body, and bring it into subjection: lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway. (1Co9:27)

ST LAWRENCE JUSTINIAN, BISHOP AND CONFESSOR – FEAST DAY: SEPTEMBER 5

Lawrence was born at Venice of the illustrious family of the Giustiniani. He was distinguished from his youth by his marvellous zeal for chastising his body and spurning the enticements of the world, as well as the marriage arranged for him by his mother. He was received into the Congregation of the Canons of St George, in Alga. He was made bishop of his native city by Eugenius IV, but changed nothing of his accustomed mode of life. He never ceased to relieve the needs of the poor, even burdening himself with debt, trusting in Divine Providence which always aided him with unlooked-for help.

He built many monasteries for nuns and composed rules for a more perfect way of life. He was an outstanding example of Christian humility, and was most zealous in reforming the discipline and morals of the clergy, thus earning from the popes the title, Glory of Prelates. He became the first Patriarch of Venice, the title having been transferred there from the city of Grado. Renowned for the gift of tears, of prophecy and of healing, he also wrote books noted for heavenly doctrine and piety, although he had very little real scholarship. He fell asleep in the Lord on the eighth of January, but his feast is celebrated on the day on which the man of God was raised to the episcopal chair.

St Lawrence Justinian, pray for us.

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

 

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ST RAYMOND NONNATUS – THE SAINT WHO WAS CALLED “NOT BORN”

ST RAYMOND NONNATUS – THE SAINT WHO WAS CALLED “NOT BORN”

ST RAYMOND NONNATUS, CONFESSOR – FEAST DAY: AUGUST 31

Raymond was surnamed Nonnatus [not born] because he was brought into the world contrary to the common law of nature, in that he was removed from the side of his dead mother. He rejected childish amusements and the attractions of the world and so applied himself to piety that all admired the mature virtue of the boy.

He had a very great love for the Mother of God, to whom he continually and earnestly prayed. He entered the order which bore the title of the Order of Ransom, or Mercy, for the redemption of captives, and he vigilantly guarded the virginity which he had already consecrated to the Blessed Virgin. He was outstanding in the practice of the other virtues, especially in charity towards the Christians who were spending a wretched life under the yoke of pagans.

Gregory enrolled him among the cardinals, but the man of God, shrinking from all ostentation in that dignity, was always most steadfast in religious humility. At Cardona, stricken with his last illness and fortified with the sacraments of the Church, he passed to the Lord on the last Sunday in August, in the year 1240.

St Raymond Nonnatus, pray for us.

 

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