Sunday, October 15, 2017

SAINT BARBATUS OF BENEVENTO

St. Barbatus of Benevento
Major shrine The Duomo of Benevento, where his relics have been preserved beneath the main altar since 1687

Feast day: February 19
Patron of Benevento
Birth: 610 Cerreto Sannita, Italy
Death: On 19 February 682, s. Barbato


Bishop of Benevento, Italy. He was born in Italy about 612 and was ordained in Marcona. Sent to Benevento, Barbatus evangelized and converted many. When the city was put under siege by Byzantine Emperor Constans II in 663, Barbatus predicted that the assault would end. When peace came, Barbatus was named bishop of Benevento. He attended the Council of Constantinople in 680. lie died in Benevento on February 29.


Saint Barbatus of Benevento Italian: San Barbato  also known as Barbas, was a bishop of Benevento from 663 to 682. He succeeded Hildebrand in this capacity. He assisted in a church council called by Pope Agatho in Rome in 680 and in 681 attended the Third Council of Constantinople against the Monothelites.
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He was born in the village of Vandano, near Cerreto Sannita, then part of the Duchy of Benevento, toward the end of the papacy of Gregory the Great. At that time, Benevento had recently in 590 been captured by Arian Lombards from the Trinitarian Romans.

He received a Christian education, and spent a good deal of time studying the Christian scriptures. He took holy orders as soon as allowed to do so, and was immediately employed by the local bishop as a preacher, a task for which he had considerable talent. Shortly thereafter, he was made the curate of St. Basil's Church in nearby Morcone. The parishioners there objected to Barbatus' remarking upon their falling short of the Christian ideal, and persecuted him to quiet him. He continued in the same vein, causing these same people to slander his character. He was eventually obliged to cease his charitable works because of these slanders.

He later returned to Benevento, where he was welcomed back by those who remembered him from earlier. At the time, the people of Benevento still practiced paganism, including veneration of a golden viper and a local tree, and also held games to which Barbatus strongly objected. The local Lombard prince, Romuald I son of the Arian Lombard King Grimoald I, was himself seriously involved in these activities. Barbatus regularly preached against them only to be ignored.

Later, he told the people of the city the great trials they would soon suffer at the hands of the East Roman Emperor Constans II and his army, who shortly thereafter landed in the area and laid siege to Benevento. The people, in their fear, renounced the practices Barbatus had criticized. He then cut down the tree the locals had worshipped, and melted the viper into a chalice for use in the church. As Barbatus had foretold, the siege ended with the defeat of Constans.

It is also believed by several parties that Barbatus was himself directly responsible for a more practical form of resistance to Constans. In 1903 the foundations of the Temple of Isis were discovered close to the Arch of Trajan in Benevento, and many fragments of fine sculptures in both the Egyptian and the Greco-Roman style belonging to it were found. They had apparently been used as the foundation of a portion of the city wall, reconstructed in 663 under the fear of an attack by Constans, the temple having been destroyed by order of Barbatus to provide the necessary material

The presiding bishop of Benevento, Hildebrand, died during the siege. After the withdrawal of the invaders, Barbatus was made bishop on March 10, 633. Barbatus took advantage of his new position and quickly destroyed the remaining pagan religious artifacts hidden by the prince and the local population. In 680, he assisted in a council held by Pope Agatho, and took part in the sixth general council held in Constantinople in 681 regarding the Monothelites. He died shortly after the end of the council, at roughly seventy years of age.



He is recorded in the Roman Martyrology as one of the chief patrons of the city of Benevento. The relics of St. Barbato Montevergine rest partly in the Cathedral of Benevento, where they were pinned by Cardinal Orsini in the year 1687.

It is now remembered and celebrated on February 19 and is also the patron of Benevento, Cicciano, Castelvenere, Casalattico and Valle dell'Angelo. On this day, to Castelvenere, his hometown, there is the traditional "Day of Thunder", a competition between three pyrotechnic disabled firemen.

SAINT AUXIBIUS

St. Auxibius


Feast day: February 19
Death: 1st century

Bishop ordained by St. Paul.  St. Paul appointed him the bishop of Soil, on Cyprus.

 Its first bishop was St. Auxibius, whose name occurs in the "Roman Martyrology" on 19 February; he is said to have been baptized by John Mark, the companion of St. Barnabus, and to have had for successors another Auxibius, his disciple, and his brother Themistagoras.

BLESSED ALVAREZ OF CORDOBA

Bl. Alvarez of Corova (Dominican)
Blessed Alvarez of Cordoba.
Priest


Feast day: February 19

Birth: 1350 Zamora, Spain

Died 19 February 1430  Cordoba, Spain

Beatified 22 September 1741, Saint Peter's Basilica, Papal States by Pope Benedict XIV

Alvarez was born in either Lisbon, Portugal, or Cordova, Spain. He entered the Dominican convent at Cordova in 1368. He became known for his preaching prowess in Spain and Italy, was confessor and adviser of Queen Catherine, John of Gaunt's daughter, and tutor of King John II in his youth. He reformed the court, and then left the court to found a monastery near Cordova. There the Escalaceli (ladder of heaven) that he built became a center of religious devotion. By his preaching and contemplation of the Lord’s Passion he spread the practice of the Way of the Cross throughout the West. He successfully led the opposition to antipope Benedict XII (Peter de Luna), and by the time of his death was famous all over Spain for his teaching, preaching, asceticism, and holiness. His cult was confirmed in 1741.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

BLESSED WILLIAM HARRINGTON

Bl. William Harrington


Feastday: February 18
Birth: 1566
Death: 1594


  Martyr of England. Born at Mt. St. John, Yorkshire, he studied for the priesthood after meeting St. Edmund Campion and was ordained at Reims, France, in 1592. William returned to England to work in the English mission. Arrested in London in 1593 for being a priest, he was hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn.

   English martyr; b. 1566; d. 18 February, 1594. His father had entertained Campion at the ancestral home, Mount St. John, early in 1581. Though the family did not persevere in the Faith, the youngest son never forgot Campion's example. He went abroad, first the seminary at Reims, then to the Jesuits at Tournai (1582-1584) and would have joined the order had not his health broken down and forced him to keep at home for the next six or seven years. In February, 1591, however, he was able to return once more to Reims, and, having been ordained, returned at midsummer 1592. Next May he fell into the hands of the persecutors, and nine months later suffered at Tyburn, after having given proofs of unusal constancy and noblemindedness in prison, at the bar, and on the scaffold. It was, we may suspect, this very heroism, which induced a posthumous calumniator, Friswood or Fid Williams, an apostate of evil life, to say that he had had a child by her before he was a priest  If the charge had stood alone, it might have been difficult to refute it now. Fortunately for us, Fid had joined to it many other base and certainly untenable accusations, both against him and also against the rest of the clergy and the whole Catholic body. Her assertions must therefore be everywhere suspected, and in Harrington's case entirely rejected, as Father Morrisclearly proves. It is also noteworthy considering the frequency with which foul accusations were made in those days.

Blessed William Harrington was beatified in 1929 by Pope Pius XI. His Feast Day is 18 February. He is also venerated on 22 November as one of the Martyrs of England, Scotland and Wales and on 29 October as one of the Martyrs of Douai.

SAINT THEOTONIUS

St. Theotonius



Feast day: February 18

Birth: 1088 Gonfeo, Spain
Death: Coimbra, Portugal February 18, 1162

Augustinian canon and royal advisor. Born in , in 1088, he studied at Coimbra, Portugal, and served for a time as archpriest of Viseu. After undertaking a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and the Holy Land, he returned home and entered the Augustinian Canons at Coimbra. He held a trusted position as advisor to King Alfonso I Henriquez of Portugal ( 1128-1181) and was a dedicated opponent of all forms of royal corruption. Theotonius rebuked the queen for an adulterous affair and refused a bishopric from her.


St. Theotonius co-founder of the Order of Canons Regular of the Holy Cross, was the first Saint of the Order and of Portugal. He was born in Ganfei northern Portugal around the year 1082 into a wealthy and pious family. His father, Oveca , and his mother, Eugenia, were the first to instruct him in the faith. His uncle Dom Cresconio, Abbot of the Benedictine monastery near Tuy, was his first teacher. (The title "Dom" was used for both nobility and clerics.) When Dom Cresconio became bishop of Coimbra in 1092, he took the ten year old Theotonius  with him and entrusted his further education to the care of a young seminarian, Tello, who was later to be the principle founder of the Order.

After the death of Bishop Cresconio in 1098, Theotonius went to Viseu, where another uncle of his named Teodorico was Prior of the Cathedral Chapter of Sancta Maria. During the time of preparation for the priesthood, Theotonius exercised the lower ministries with great diligence and piety. It is mentioned expressly that he did not intrude himself into the priestly ministry, but let himself be called by the Church. Holy Orders were conferred upon him sometime before the year 1109, by the Bishop of Coimbra. The young priest was appointed a canon of the Cathedral Chapter of Viseu, which was a college of clerics who served as advisors to the Bishop.
Priesthood

As a priest, St. Theotonius fulfilled his duties with admirable fidelity. In Viseu, he dedicated himself principally to the ordinary care of souls. He avoided luxury, pride, ambition and the pleasures of the world. He even denied himself things that were permissible, such as a bed, a bench, or even a footstool in his room upon which he might rest or sit down. His conduct with women was especially discreet, avoiding any imprudent familiarity. His holiness, especially his moral purity, was universally acknowledged by all the populace of Viseu, both noble and common, both men and women.

After the death of his uncle around the year 1112, the young priest, now thirty years old, accepted – though not without reluctance – the office of the Prior  of the Cathedral Chapter of Viseu at the request of the people of Viseu and of the Bishop of Coimbra. Queen Teresa of Portugal and her husband, a Count of Portugal, with the consent of the clergy and at the urging of the people, often sought to restore the episcopal See of Viseu and have Dom Theotonius appointed Bishop, but he always refused. Being a more contemplative soul, the office of superior was already a great burden to him, and a bishopric would have been even more onerous.

Hence, after only a short time, in an effort to flee such honors he resigned his office as Prior of the Cathedral Chapter and embarked on his first pilgrimage to the Holy Land in around the year 1116. After he returned to Portugal, he resumed his work as a priest and Chapter member in Viseu, but refused to take up again the office of Prior. His priestly life was distinguished by a great love for the Mother of God, in whose honor he celebrated the Holy Mass every Saturday. He also was generous towards both the poor and the Poor Souls in Purgatory. Every Friday he celebrated a Holy Mass for the Poor Souls at the chapel of St. Michael followed by a procession to the cemetery; many noble families also participated and donated very large sums to the priest, which Theotonius quietly distributed to the poor.

Having no human respect, Theotonius was fearless in rebuking sinful behavior. In one instance, the now widowed queen was attending Holy Mass celebrated by Dom Theotonius. She was accompanied by Count Ferdinand, and the nature of their scandalous relationship had become well-known. Theotonius' sermon, though not naming them, was unmistakably directed at their conduct. They got the message and left in shame. On another occasion, Dom Theotonius was about to begin Holy Mass when the queen had a message sent asking him to say the Mass quickly. He replied simply that there was another Queen in heaven, far more noble, for whom he ought to say the Mass with the greatest reverence and devotion. If the queen did not wish to stay, she was free to leave, but he would not rush. Upon receiving this response, Dona Teresa stayed for the Holy Mass and afterwards with sincere contrition acknowledged her fault, asking Theotonius for a penance.
Second Pilgrimage to Jerusalem

St. Theotonius made a second pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 1126. Throughout his stay, especially at Calvary, he meditated, prayed and wept. He relived the mysteries of the life of Jesus from His birth to His Passion, death and Resurrection, visiting the principal holy places. His great devotion to the Passion would later be a great influence on the Order of the Holy Cross. While in Jerusalem, he stayed with the fervent young community of the Canons Regular of the Holy Sepulchre. The religious there, edified by his piety, asked him to join their Order. Theotonius responded: "Brothers, I would gladly stay here, but I have commitments in my own land. I shall go back to Portugal, but I hope, by the grace of God, to return again to Jerusalem to finish my days of pilgrimage here on earth." The return was never to be, for God had a great mission awaiting His humble servant in Portugal.
Founding of the Order of Canons Regular of the Holy Cross

On his return to Portugal, Dom Theotonius first went to Coimbra where he met his former teacher, the now Archdeacon Tello. Dom Tello had gathered ten other men with the intention of founding a new monastery. They needed only one more to complete the number of the twelve Apostles. Though he was reluctant to abandon his plans to enter the Canons Regular of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, Dom Tello argued that he was needed more in the West, where religious life was degenerating. After praying and reflecting, Theotonius saw in this invitation the will of God. Therefore he disposed of his inheritance, giving one third to the poor, one third to the diocese, and one third for the needs of the new monastery.

The cornerstone of the Holy Cross Monastery was laid on the vigil of Saints Peter and Paul, June 28, 1131. Work advanced quickly being subsidized by the king, the bishop of Coimbra and the most distinguished families of the city. On Ash Wednesday, February 24, 1132 (then also the feast of St. Matthias), in the presence of the king and a great multitude of people, the bishop gave the habit of St. Augustine to the new Canons Regular. They were now a total of seventy-two, for sixty candidates had since joined the original twelve founders. That same day, the chapter for electing the Prior took place.

While Dom Theotonius suggested Dom Tello would be the natural choice for Prior, Dom Tello in a serene, but inflamed discourse proposed Dom Theotonius for election. The assembly approved the latter proposal with enthusiasm and unanimity, against the will of Theotonius, who at first refused, claiming to have neither the human qualities nor the virtues required for such an important office. In the end, seeing God's own will in the will of his brothers, he accepted in obedience the task confided to him. Nevertheless, Dom Tello continued to play the more active role of Martha, administering most of the practical, material concerns of the monastery, whereas Dom Theotonius became the contemplative, spiritual leader and guide of his brethren. In his humility, he never accepted the title of Abbot nor the episcopal insignia which went with his office.

His first biographer, a contemporary religious of the community, says that while others praise many things in him, such as his humility, his sanctity, and the ardor of his faith, the one virtue which most impressed him was the strong bond of charity that united Theotonius with the brethren. Like the Good Shepherd he treated his flock with kindness, honor, and respect. He ruled without pride and corrected with moderation, paternal affection and good judgment. If he saw that one of his religious was overly distraught over some correction, the Prior made it a point to soothe him with words of friendship before the day was over. Like a wise superior he did not limit himself solely to a negative approach, but by word and example led his community to the practice of virtue. He urged his brothers that inasmuch as they had left the world in body, they should leave it also in spirit and devote themselves to the pursuit of virtue. He was solicitous and gentle towards the sick, but accepted no special treatment when he himself was sick. He became also renowned for his insistence that the Divine Office be reverently and precisely prayed, refusing to allow it to be hurried.

During the period following the establishment of the first monastery, the first king of Portugal, Dom Alfonso Henriques, was at this same time militarily reclaiming the territory of Portugal from the Moors. The Order of the Holy Cross was entrusted with the mission of re-evangelizing the territories. In some parts the evangelization was entirely new because they had been cut off from Christianity for so long. To accomplish this task, the Order was given churches and properties to establish monasteries. St. Theotonius sent groups of Canons to preach and instruct the people. In 1140, the Moors attacked the Castle of Leiria. The Canons who were there to evangelize were captured and martyred for their faith. This was but one incident among many where the Canons gave their lives for the faith. During this same year, St. Theotonius consecrated the entire country of Portugal to St. Michael the Archangel.

King Alfonso held St. Theotonius in profound veneration for his virtues and was also keenly aware of how much the Order and its Prior could contribute toward the unity of the new-born nation. This royal affection for the "Cruzios" (Holy Cross priests) would never be lacking. The king himself became a member of the Third Order and publicly received the linen surplice of the Canons Regular from the hands of Dom Theotonius. Dom Alfonso chose him as his confessor and spiritual director, confiding to him all the difficult endeavors he undertook, with absolute certainty that they would be successful if they had the support and prayers of the holy Prior. The biographer asserts, "Every time the king undertook great things, he would always come to the servant of God and very intently recommended his person and soul to the prayers of the Saint. Theotonius, for his part, loved the king with such tenderness that he seemed more solicitous for the king than for himself."
But Theotonius was not blind to the faults of the king and was quick to correct him. When Dom Alfonso took the city of Seville from the Moors, his soldiers in the midst of a vast plunder took captive as well a race of Christians called "Mozarabs" who were subjected under the Muslims, more than a thousand men, not counting their wives and children. According to the rules of war, Dom Alfonso took them as slaves.

As soon as he heard this, Theotonius was moved with deep compassion and he, who never departed from the cloister, burning in the zeal of faith, went out to meet the King and the whole army and said, "O King and all noble men who are sons of Holy Mother Church, do you subject your brothers to the condition of slaves and servant girls? By doing this you sin against the Lord your God!" Hearing these words, everyone received them with a contrite heart and they came down from their horses and reverently kissed Dom Theotonius' hand as they promised to free the captives. Many of those freed stayed close to the monastery, adding themselves to the number of the poor who were daily helped by the Holy Cross fathers. He further founded, within the monastery, a hospice to receive pilgrims and the sick, whom he himself along with the other brothers served.
Gifts of healing and expelling demons

Already during Dom Theotonius' life, many miracles and extraordinary facts were attributed to him. When the queen Dona Mafalda's life was in danger during childbirth, he was called to her bedside, and with a blessing saved both her and the life of the child. King Alfonso was also cured from a persistent and life-threatening fever through the blessing of the Saint.

Several episodes of exorcism are also mentioned in the life of St. Theotonius. One instance concerned a lay brother of the monastery who claimed to see a black figure continuously shooting arrows at him. The man would point to its shadow on the wall, but no other brother could see it. When Theotonius came to visit him, he was relieved so long as the Prior remained with him. Finally, St. Theotonius told the man to repent of the sin of adultery into which he had fallen, for this was the reason why the devil tormented him.

On another occasion, a pious Canon was grievously tried by the devil. One day while St. Theotonius was seated in the Church, he saw the brother being tormented by the demon. He went to his aid, held his right hand and addressed the devil saying, "Depart, unclean spirit, in the Name of Jesus Christ, and by the power of the Holy Spirit I command you to disturb the servant of God no longer." And so it was. The contemporary biographer adds that very often he had seen sick brethren restored to health through the intercession and prayers of Theotonius.
Preparing for Death

When Dom Theotonius had been Prior of the monastery of the Holy Cross for twenty years, his strength began to fail. He was seventy years old and felt the need to prepare for his final departure, no longer for the earthly Jerusalem, but for the heavenly. He called the members of the community together and informed them of the weaknesses that affected him and his great desire to prepare himself better for the final encounter with God. His wish was respected and his nephew, Dom John Theotonius, was chosen as his successor. He was to rely frequently on the wise counsels of his uncle. Free from the duties of prior, Dom Theotonius spent his time in continual prayer and reading. Besides the normal prayers of the community, he prayed the entire Psalter (150 Psalms) every day. When he was not praying, he occupied himself with the simplest chores, such as sweeping the corridors. During this period, he intensified correspondence with St. Bernard of Clairvaux who, as a token of great friendship, offered him his own staff which became miraculous. It is said that many who suffered from headaches or any other infirmity were healed if they had the honor of touching it.
Final Passing and Glory

On his deathbed, he gave his final counsel to his brothers. "My children," he said, "consider it as if you had embraced the religious life and state this very day." All the brothers were gathered about him filled with grief, and he consoled the mournful assembly. His first biographer recounts, "As he gave us his abundant blessing…he joyfully beheld the approach of death. We saw him rise up for the encounter with a joyful countenance. So it was that we did not doubt, on account of the joy of his smiling countenance, that the holy angels were there present. His face did not grow pallid, but was filled with a dignity and gravity that made us clearly understand that he was not dying, but going away; changing his friends, as it were, but not forsaking them."

Just before his death "there appeared a great circle of stars which filled the cloister, and the rays of the stars fell about him to the admiration of all." It was Friday, February 18th, 1162, when he gave up his spirit; he was in his eightieth year. The brothers took his body to the church where he lay for two days, with a large, continuous flow of people accompanying him with prayers, psalms and spiritual hymns. The whole city of Coimbra concurred that he was one of the blessed and had gone straight to heaven. The King was taken by such a great grief that his face lost its color. It is told that he said, "His soul will be in Heaven before his body is in the tomb."

St. Theotonius was held in such great veneration and so many were the graces obtained by his intercession that many, beginning with the king himself, urged for his canonization. The process was one of the fastest in the history of the Church. On the first anniversary of his death, February 18, 1163, he was canonized by the Provincial Council of Portuguese bishops in Coimbra. The canonization was approved and confirmed shortly thereafter by Pope Alexander III. More than 360 years after his death, the body of St. Theotonius was exhumed and found to be intact. Fifty years later it was again exhumed and showed signs of decay, though it still exuded a sweet fragrance.

Monday, August 14, 2017

SAINT SIMON

St. Simon

St. Simeon, Bishop of Jerusalem, Martyr

       

A.D. 116.


Feastday: February 18


 St. Simeon, amidst the consolations of the Holy Ghost and the great progress of the church, had the affliction to see two heresies arise within its bosom, namely, those of the Nazareans and the Ebionites; the first seeds of which, according to St. Epiphanius, appeared at Pella. The Nazareans were a sect of men between Jews and Christians, but abhorred by both. They allowed Christ to be the greatest of the prophets, but said he was a mere man, whose natural parents were Joseph and Mary: they joined all the ceremonies of the old law with the new, and observed both the Jewish Sabbath and the Sunday. Ebion added other errors to these, which Cerenthus had also espoused, and taught many superstitions, permitted divorces, and allowed of the most infamous abominations. He began to preach at Cocabe, a village beyond the Jordan, where he dwelt; but he afterwards travelled into Asia, and thence to Rome. The authority of St. Simeon kept the heretics in some awe during his life, which was the longest upon earth of any of our Lord’s disciples. But, as Eusebius says, he was no sooner dead than a deluge of execrable heresies broke out of hell upon the church, which durst not openly appear during his life.


ST. SIMEON was the son of Cleophas, otherwise called Alpheus, brother to St. Joseph, and of Mary, sister of the Blessed Virgin. He was therefore nephew both to St. Joseph and to the Blessed Virgin, and cousin-german to Christ. Simeon and Simon are the same name, and this saint is, according to the best interpreters of the holy scripture, the Simon mentioned, 1 who was brother to St. James the Lesser, and St. Jude, apostles, and to Joseph of José. He was eight or nine years older than our Saviour. We cannot doubt but he was an early follower of Christ, as his father and mother and three brothers were, and an exception to that of St. John, 2 that our Lord’s relations did not believe in him. Nor does St. Luke 3 leave us any room to doubt but that he received the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost with the Blessed Virgin and the apostles; for he mentions present St. James and St. Jude, and the brothers of our Lord. Saint Epiphanius relates, 4 that when the Jews massacred St. James the Lesser, his brother Simeon reproached them for their atrocious cruelty. St. James, bishop of Jerusalem, being put to death in the year 62, twenty-nine years after our Saviour’s resurrection, the apostles and disciples met at Jerusalem to appoint him a successor. They unanimously chose St. Simeon, who had probably before assisted his brother in the government of that church.
  In the year 66, in which SS. Peter and Paul suffered martyrdom at Rome, the civil war began in Judea, by the seditions of the Jews against the Romans. The Christians in Jerusalem were warned by God of the impending destruction of that city, and by a divine revelation 5 commanded to leave it, as Lot was rescued out of Sodom. They therefore departed out of it the same year, before Vespasian, Nero’s general, and afterwards emperor, entered Judæa, and retired beyond the Jordan to a small city called Pella; having St. Simeon at their head. After the taking and burning of Jerusalem, they returned thither again, and settled themselves amidst its ruins, till Adrian afterwards entirely razed it. St. Epiphanius  and Eusebius  assure us, that the church here flourished extremely, and that multitudes of Jews were converted by the great number of prodigies and miracles wrought in it.

SAINTS MAXIMUS, ALEXANDER, CLAUDIUS, CUTIAS, AND PRAEPEDIGNA

St. Maximus


Feastday: February 18
Death: 295

Martyr with Alexander, Claudius, Cutias, and Praepedigna. Nothing can be documented about their sufferings under Emperor Diocletian.

BLESSED MARTIN

Bl. Martin


Feastday: February 18

Martyr of China, a native Chinese who sheltered Blessed John Peter Neel. Martin was beheaded and beatified in 1909.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

SAINTS. LUCIUS, CLASSICUS, FRUCTULUS, MAXIMUS, RUTULUS, SECUNDINUS, AND SILVANUS.

Sts. Lucius, Classicus, Fructulus, Maximus, Rutulus, Secundinus, and Silvanus.


 Born  Africa

Died North Africa

Canonized Pre-Congregation

Feastday: February 18
Death: unknown

Group of Christians who were martyred together in Africa, date unknown. No other information has survived except seven of their names Classicus, Fructulus, Maximus, Rutulus, Secundinus, and Silvanus.

BLESSED JOHN PIBUSH

Bl. John Pibush


Feastday: February 18
Death: Hanged on 18 February 1601 at Saint Thomas’s Waterings, Camberwell, England

English martyr, born in Thirsk, Yorkshire. He went to Reims and was ordained in 1587. Returning to England in 1589, John was arrested at Gloucestershire in 1593 and kept in prison in London. He escaped but was recaptured and then tried and condemned. He was executed at Southwark. His beatification took place in 1929.

According to Gillow he was probably a son of Thomas Pibush, of Great Fencott, and Jane, sister to Peter Danby of Scotton. He came to Reims on 4 August, 1580, received minor orders and subdiaconate in September, and diaconate in December, 1586, and was ordained on 14 March, 1587. He was sent on the English mission on 3 January, 1588-9, arrested at Morton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, in 1593, and sent to London, where he arrived before 24 July. The Privy Council committed him to the Gatehouse at Westminster, where he remained a year. He was then tried at the Gloucester Assizes under 27 Eliz., c. 2, for being a priest, but not sentenced, and was returned to Gloucester gaol, whence he escaped on 19 February 1594-5. The next day he was recaptured at Matson and taken back to Gloucester gaol, whence he was sent to the Marshalsea, London, and again tried under the same statute at Westminster on 1 July, 1595. He was sentenced to suffer the penalties of high treason at St. Thomas's Waterings, and in the meantime was to be returned to the Marshalsea. However, by the end of the year he was in the Queen's Bench prison, where he remained for more than five years. The sentence was carried out after one day's notice.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

SAINTS LEO AND PAREGORIUS

Sts. Leo & Paregorius

   

Feastday: February 18
Death: 260

Martyrs of Patara in Lycia. Paregorius was martyred first, and when Leo protested a pagan festival near Paregorius' grave, he was martyred.

SAINT GERTRUDE CATERINA COMENSOLI


St. Gertrude Caterina Comensoli

Feastday: February 18
Born January 18, 1847 Bienno, Brescia
Died February 18, 1903Bergamo, Italy

Beatified October 1, 1989,  by John Paul II
Canonized April 26, 2009, by Benedict XVI




Gertrude Comensoli, born Catherine, was an Italian who was canonized in 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI. Saint Gertrude was born in Bienne, Valcamonica, then under the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia.Catherine grew up in a family with ten brothers and sisters, of which only three females survived: Bartolomea, Cristina and Catherine precisely.She received her First Communion in 1867 and joined the Society of St. Angela Merici.On December 15, 1882, decided to found, with Francesco Spinelli, the Institute of the Sisters Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament which was also the origin of the Sisters Sacramentine and taking the name Sister Gertrude.On 1 November 1894, opened a house of nuns in Castelnuovo Bocca d'Adda and in the same year in the province of Lodi.Gertrude died February 18, 1903, on 1 October 1989 was proclaimed Blessed by Pope John Paul II, February 26, 2009 was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI, who gave evidence at the solemn ceremony of April 26, 2009.




Saint Geltrude Comensoli was born on January 18, 1847 in Bienno, Italy. Her name at birth was Caterina, and she was one of 10 children in the family, though only 3 of the girls, including her survived. When she was seven years old, she felt an urge to receive her First Communion, and so she dressed in her mother's black shawl and secretly received the Eucharist. She felt a “heavenly” feeling and swore to love Jesus as long as she lived.

As a child she was mature and wise beyond her years, exhibiting a great devotion to the Eucharistic Jesus. While still young, she organized the Guard of Honor among some of the girls she knew, under the motto: "Jesus, loving You and making others love You". This motto became the foundation of her work in life.

In 1862, she left her family and joined the Sisters of Charity, founded by St. Bartolomea Capitanio in Lovere, Brescia. It was not meant to be, however as she contracted a serious illness and was dismissed from the Institute. After she regained her health, her family was in a poor financial position, and she left her village and became a domestic servant of Rev. G. B. Rota, a parish priest of Chiari. A few years later, he became the Bishop of Lodi. Later, she served in the household of the Countess Fe

-Vitali. Towards the end of 1876 she reaffirmed her dedication to Jesus and wrote a strict personal rule of life, to which she remained faithful.

On the Feast of Corpus Christi in 1878, she made the vow of chastity that she had originally taken on the morning of her secret Communion, perpetual. While still serving as a domestic servant, Caterina also worked to educate the children of San Gervasio, Bergamo, instructing them in the Catholic faith and virtuous living.

Caterina lived a life of copious prayer, mortification, meditation, and works of charity. She grew closer to the Lord, and sought a way to live the life dedicated to the Eucharist that she had longed for her entire life. She confided in the Bishop of Bergamo, Mgr. Speranza, who was in Bienno visiting the Fé-Vitali’s. He gave her his assurance that she was following the will of God through her plans.

In 1880, she traveled to Rome with the Fé-Vitali’s, and was able to gain an audience with Pope Leo XIII, where she discussed her plans to establish a religious institute devoted to the adoration of the Eucharist. Pope Leo encouraged her to also work toward the education of young female factory workers as well. Encouraged by this charge, on December 15, 1882, Caterina and two of her friends founded the Congregation of the Sacramentine Sisters of Bergamo with the first adoration hour of the Blessed Sacrament. Two years later to the day, on December 15, 1884 she took the name of Sister Geltrude of the Blessed Sacrament.

The Sisters of the Congregation were advised by the new Bishop of Bergamo, Mgr. Camillo Guindani to abandon their first motherhouse in order to move to Lodi. Mgr. Rota, Bishop of Lodi, generously offered them a house in Lavagna di Comazzo, which temporarily became their new Mother House. After many obstacles were overcome, Mgr. Rota issued a Decree on September 8, 1891, granting the Institute canonical recognition. On March 28, 1892, Mother Geltrude returned with the Congregation to Bergamo. By this time, she had instituted perpetual public Eucharistic Adoration and had inspired the same love of the Eucharist among the members of her congregation.

On February 18, 1903, Mother Geltrude died, bowing her head towards the church where Eucharistic Adoration was proceeding. Those who knew her instantly called for her official sainthood. On August 9, 1926, her body taken from the cemetery of Bergamo to the Mother House of the Institute she established and placed in a chapel next to the Church of Adoration. On October 1, 1989, Pope John Paul II beatified her. She was canonized on April 26, 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI. Her feast day is February 18. 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

SAINT FLAVIAN OF CONSTANTINOPLE


St. Flavian of Constantinople

Patriarch of Constantinople, Martyr
Died 449
Hypaepa, Lydia, Asia Minor

Feast day: February 18



Patriarch of Constantinople from 446 or 447, succeeding St. Proclus. Refusing to give Em­peror Theodosius II a bribe upon becoming patriarch and making the emperor's sister Pulcherius a deaconess, Flavian received hostile treat­ment from the imperial court. Flavian also started the condemnation of Eutyches, who began the heresy of Monophysitism. This led to his being deposed and exiled at the so-called "Robber Synod" at Ephesus in 449, whereupon the famous "Tome" of dogmatic letters of Pope Leo I the Great was ignored. Appealing to the Pope, Flavian was beaten so mercilessly that he was mortally wounded and died three days later in exile. He was proclaimed a saint and martyr by the Council of Chalcedon in 451.


              St Flavian was a priest of distinguished merit, and treasurer of the church of Constantinople, when he succeeded St. Proclus in the archiepiscopal dignity in 447. The eunuch Chrysaphius, chamberlain to the emperor Theodosius the Younger, and a particular favourite, suggested to his master, a weak prince, to require of him a present, out of gratitude to the emperor for his promotion. The holy bishop sent him some blessed bread, according to the custom of the church at that time, as a benediction and symbol of communion. Chrysaphius let him know that it was a present of a very different kind that was expected from him. St. Flavian, an enemy to simony, answered resolutely that the revenues and treasure of the church were designed for other uses, namely, the honour of God and the relief Of his poor. The eunuch, highly provoked at the bishop's refusal, from that moment resolved to contrive his ruin. Wherefore, with a view to his expulsion, he persuaded the emperor, by the means of his wife Eudoxia, to order the bishop to make Pulcheria, sister to Theodosius, a deaconess of his church. The saint's refusal was a second offence in the eyes of the sycophants of the court. The next year Chrysaphius was still more grievously offended with our saint for his condemning the errors of his kinsman Eutyches, abbot of a monastery of three hundred monks, near the city, who had acquired a reputation for virtue, but in effect was no better than an ignorant, proud, and obstinate man. His intemperate zeal against Nestorius for asserting two distinct persons in Christ threw him into the opposite error, that of denying two distinct natures after the incarnation.

In a council, held by St. Flavian in 448, Eutyches was accused of this error by Eusebius of Dorylaeum, his former friend, and it was there condemned as heretical, and the author was cited to appear to give an account of his faith. On the day appointed in the last summons he appeared before the council, but attended by two of the principal officers of the court, and a troop of the imperial guards. Being admitted and interrogated on the point in question, that is, his faith concerning the incarnation; he declared that he acknowledged indeed two natures before the union, but after it only one. To all reasonings and authority produced against his tenet, his reply was that he did not come thither to dispute, but to satisfy the assembly what his faith was. The council, upon this, anathematized and deposed him, and St. Flavian pronounced the sentence, which was subscribed by thirty-two bishops and twenty-three abbots, of which last eighteen were priests. Eutyches said privately to his guards that he appealed to the bishops of Rome, Egypt, and Jerusalem; and in a letter he wrote to St. Leo, to complain of his usage in the council, he endeavoured to impose on the pope. But his holiness being informed of the state of the affair by St. Flavian, wrote to him an ample declaration of the orthodox faith upon the point, which was afterwards read, and inserted in the acts of the council of Chalcedon, in which the errors of Eutyches were solemnly condemned. Chrysaphius, however, had interest enough with the weak emperor to obtain an order for a re-examination of the cause between St. Flavian and Eutyches in another council. This met in April 449, consisting of about thirty bishops, one-third whereof had assisted at the late council. St. Flavian being looked on as a party, Thalassius, Bishop of Caesarea, presided in his room. After the strictest scrutiny into every particular, the impiety of Eutyches and the justice of our saint's proceedings clearly appeared. St. Flavian presented to the emperor a profession of his faith, wherein he condemned the errors of both Eutyches and Nestorius, his adversaries pretending that he favoured the latter.

Chrysaphius, though baffled in his attempts, was still bent on the ruin of the holy bishop, and employed all his craft and power to save Eutyches and destroy Flavian. With this view he wrote to Dioscorus, a man of a violent temper, who had succeeded St. Cyril in the patriarchal see of Alexandria, promising him his friendship and favour in all his designs if he would undertake the defence of the deposed abbot against Flavian and Eusebius. Dioscorus came into his measures; and, by their joint interest with the empress Eudoxia, glad of an opportunity to mortify Pulcheria, who had a high esteem for our saint, they prevailed with the emperor to order a council to be called at Ephesus, to determine the dispute. Dioscorus was invited by the emperor to come and preside in it, accompanied with ten metropolitans and other bishops, together with the archimandrite, or abbot Barsumas, a man strongly attached to Eutyches and Dioscorus. The like directions were sent to the other patriarchs. St. Leo, who was invited, though late, sent legates to act in his name, Julius, Bishop of Puteoli, Renatus, a priest, who died on the road, Hilarius, a deacon, and Dulcitius, a notary. He sent by them a learned letter to St. Flavian, in which he taxes the ignorance of Eutyches in the holy scriptures, and explains the Catholic doctrine against that heresiarch, which he also did by other letters.

The false council of Ephesus, for the violences therein used commonly. called the Latrocinale, was opened on the 8th of August, in 449, and consisted of one hundred and thirty bishops, or their deputies, from Egypt and the East. Eutyches was there, and two officers from the emperor with a great number of soldiers. Every thing was carried on, by violence and open faction, in favour of Eutyches, by those officers and bishops who had espoused his party and formed a cabal. The pope's legates were never suffered to read his letters to the council. The final result of the proceedings was to pronounce sentence of deposition against St. Flavian and Eusebius. The pope's legates protested against the sentence. Hilarius, the deacon, cried out aloud, "contradicitur," opposition is made; which Latin word was inserted in the Greek acts of the synod. And Dioscorus no sooner began to read the sentence but he was interrupted by several of the bishops, who, prostrating themselves before him, besought him, in the most submissive terms, to proceed no further in so unwarrantable an affair. Upon this he starts up and calls aloud for the imperial commissioners, Elpidius and Eulogius, who, without more ado, ordered the church doors to be set open; upon which Proclus, the proconsul of Asia, entered surrounded with a band of soldiers, and followed by a confused multitude, with chains, clubs, and swords. This struck such a terror into the whole assembly that when the bishops were required by Dioscorus and his creatures to subscribe, few or none had the courage to withstand his threats, the pope's legates excepted, who protested aloud against these violent proceedings—one of whom was imprisoned; the other, Hilarius, got off with much difficulty, and came safe to Rome. St. Flavian, on hearing the sentence read by Dioscorus, appealed from him to the holy see, and delivered his acts of appeal in writing to the pope's legates, then present. This so provoked Dioscorus that, together with Barsumas and others of their party, after throwing the holy bishop on the ground, they so kicked and bruised him that he died within a few days, in 449, not at Ephesus, as some have said by mistake, but in his exile at Epipus, two days' journey from that city, situated near Sardes in Lydia, as Marcellinus testifies in his chronicle.

The council being over, Dioscorus, with two of his Egyptian bishops, had the insolence to excommunicate St. Leo. But violence and injustice did not triumph long. For the emperor's eyes being opened on his sister Pulcheria's return to court, whom the ambition of Chrysaphius had found means to remove in the beginning of these disturbances, the eunuch was disgraced and soon after put to death; and the empress Eudoxia obliged to retire to Jerusalem. The next year the emperor died, as Cedrenus says, penitent; and Pulcheria, ascending the throne in 450, ordered St. Flavian's body to be brought with great honour to Constantinople, and there magnificently interred among his predecessors in that see. St. Leo had, upon the first news of these proceedings, wrote to him to comfort him, as also to Theodosius, Pulcheria, and the clergy of Constantinople in his defence. The general council of Chalcedon declared him a saint and martyr, and paid great honours to his memory, in 451. The same council honourably restored Eusebius of Dorylaeum to his see. Pope Hilarius, who had been St. Leo's legate at Ephesus, had so great a veneration for the saint that he caused the martyrdom to be represented in Mosaic work, in the church which he built in ho our of the holy cross. The wicked Dioscorus was condemned by the council of Chalcedon in 451, and died obstinate and impenitent in the Eutychian heresy, and his other crimes, in his banishment at Gangres, in 454.

It was the glory of St. Flavian to die a martyr of the mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God. This is the fundamental article of the Christian religion, and, above all other mysteries, challenges our most profound homages and constant devotion. In it hath God displayed, in the most incomprehensible manner, the astonishing immensity of his power, mercy, wisdom, and love, the contemplation of which will be the sweet occupation of angels and saints to all eternity. The servants of God on earth find their greatest delight in meditating on this great mystery, and in profound adoration and transports of love, honouring, praising, and glorifying their divine Saviour, and studying to put on his spirit by the constant union in mind and heart, or of their thoughts and affections, with him. But as the incarnation is the mystery of the unfathomed humility of a God to heal the wound of our pride, it is only by humility, and the annihilation of creatures in our hearts, that we can be disposed to contemplate or honour it with fruit. The dreadful fall and impenitence of Eutyches, after he had renounced the world with a view to give himself to God, were owing to the fatal sin of a secret pride.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

SAINT COLMAN OF LINDISFARNE


St. Colman of Lindisfarne



Feast Day: February 18

Born . 605 Ireland
Died 18 February 675 Ireland

Saint Colman was Bishop of Lindisfarne from 661 until 664
 England, a disciple of St. Columba. He was born in Connaught, Ireland. At the Synod of Whitby Colman defended the Celtic ecclesiastical practices against St. Eilfrid and St. Agilbert. When King Oswy introduced the Roman rites, Colman refused to accept the decision and led a group of Irish and English monks to the Isle of Innishboffin, near Connaught. In time he moved the English monks to Mayo. Colman was praised by Blessed Alcuin and St. Bede.


Colman was a native of the west of Ireland and had received his education on Iona. He was probably a nobleman of Canmaicne. Colman succeeded Aidan and Finan as bishop of Lindisfarne.Colman resigned the Bishopric of Lindisfarne after the Synod of Whitby called by King Oswiu of Northumbria decided to calculate Easter using the method of the First Ecumenical Council instead of his preferred Celtic method.

Later tradition states that between the years 665 AD and 667 AD, St. Colman founded several churches in Scotland before returning to Iona. However, there are no seventh-century records of such activity by him. From Iona he sailed for Ireland, settling at Inishbofin in 668 AD[5] where he founded a monastery. When Colman came to Mayo he brought with him half the relics of Lindisfarne, including the bones of St. Aidan and a part of the true cross. This was reputed to be in Mayo Abbey until its vanishment during the Reformation in 1537.

Colman was stepping into a landscape that had been decimated by the plague of 664-665 AD. He may have been reviving an earlier church on the island or one in the area in central Connacht where Mag Éo was founded later. On Inishbofin a rift occurred between the Irish and the English ‘because in summer the Irish went off to wander on their own around places they knew instead of assisting at harvest, and then, as winter approached, came back and wanted to share whatever the English monks had gathered.’

What was the reason for their intermittent absence? Earlier commentators suspected that the two nations came from different agricultural backgrounds and that the Irish intermittently removed themselves from the island with the monastery’s livestock for the purpose of ‘booleying’, a form of transhumance. It is also possible that the Irish visited their kinsfolk on the mainland. Returning to the island in Winter, they helped to consume the fruits of the Saxons' labours. This situation inevitably led to tensions within the community. Disputes arose between the Saxon and Irish monks after a short time. Colman brought his Saxon followers onto the mainland and founded a monastery for them at "Magh Eo" - the Plain of Yew Trees, subsequently known as "Mayo of the Saxons".

SAINT CHARALAMPIAS

St. Charalampias



Feast Day: February 18

Death: 203

Martyr of Magnesia, in Asia Minor, with companions. He was a priest taken in the persecution of Emperor Septimius Severus. He was martyred with two soldiers and three women. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

BLESSED AGATHA LIN


St. Agatha Lin
Chinese martyr.

Feast Day: February 18

Birth: 1817

Death: 1858

 She was born in 1817 at Ma-Tchang, China. A teacher at a Christian school, Agatha was beheaded for the faith in Mao-kin on January 28, 1858.