The beginning of our Lenten Journey.....
Blessed are you, O Lord our God, the all-holy one, who gives us life and all things. As we go about our lives, the press of our duties and activities often leads us to forget your presence and your love. We fall into sin and fail to live out the responsibilities that you have entrusted to those who were baptized into your Son.
In this holy season, help us to turn our minds and hearts back to you. Lead us into sincere repentance and renew our lives with your grace. Help us to remember that we are sinners, but even more, help us to remember your loving mercy.
As we live through this Ash Wednesday, may the crosses of ashes that mark our foreheads be a reminder to us and to those we meet that we belong to your Son. May our worship and prayer and penitence this day be sustained throughout these 40 days of Lent. Bring us refreshed and renewed to the celebration of Christ's resurrection at Easter.
We ask this through your Son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen.
St. Agnes of Prague (Agnes of Bohemia)
Canonized by Pope John Paul II, November 12, 1989
She built a Franciscan hospital on land donated by her brother, King Wenceslaus I. She later built a Franciscan friary, and in 1234, Poor Clare convent of Saint Saviour in Prague (in modern Czech Republic) with the aid of five nuns sent by St. Claire of Assisi herself. Agnes entered the convent of Saint Saviour herself on Pentecost Sunday 1234, eventually became its abbess, and spent 50 years in the cloister. Agnes was always free with her wealth in service of the poor. She had the gifts of healing and prophecy, and was given to ecstasies. Though they never met, she and St. Claire of Assisi kept up an extensive correspondence for two decades, and some of the letters have survived to today.
First letter from St. Claire of Assisi to St. Agnes of Prague......
".....Therefore, most beloved sister, or should I say, Lady worthy of great respect:
because You are the spouse and the mother and the sister of my Lord Jesus
Christ, and have been adorned resplendently with the sign of inviolable virginity
and most holy poverty: Be strengthened in the holy service which You have
undertaken out of an ardent desire for the Poor Crucified, Who for the sake of all
of us took upon Himself the Passion of the Cross and delivered us from the
power of the Prince of Darkness to whom we were enslaved because of the
disobedience of our first parents, and so reconciled us to God the Father....."
Born: 1858 in Philadelphia, PA
Died: March 3, 1955 of natural causes at the motherhouse of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, 1663 Bristol Pike, Bensalem, Pennsylvania, USA 19020
Daughter of the extremely wealthy railroad entrepreneurs and philanthropists Francis Anthony and Emma (Bouvier) Drexel. She was taught from an early age to use her wealth for the benefit of others; her parents even opened their home to the poor several days each week. Katharine's older sister Elizabeth founded a Pennsylvania trade school for orphans; her younger sister founded a liberal arts and vocational school for poor blacks in Virginia. Katharine nursed her mother through a fatal three-year illness before setting out on her own; Emma died in 1883.
Interested in the condition of Native Americans, during an audience in 1887, she asked Pope Leo XIII to send more missionaries to Wyoming for her friend, Bishop James O'Connor. The pope replied, "Why don't you become a missionary?"
She visited the Dakotas, met the Sioux chief, and began her systematic aid to Indian missions, eventually spending millions of the family fortune. Entered the novitiate of the Sisters of Mercy. Founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored, now known simply as the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA in 1891. Advised by Mother Frances Cabrini on getting the Order's rule approved in Rome. She received the approval in 1913.
By 1942 she had a system of black Catholic schools in 13 states, 40 mission centers, 23 rural schools, 50 Indian missions, and Xavier University in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, the first United States university for blacks. Segregationists harassed her work. Following a heart attack, she spent her last twenty years in prayer and meditation. Her shrine at the motherhouse was declared a National Shrine in 2008.
"It is a lesson we all need -- to let alone the things that do not concern us. He (God) has other ways for others to follow Him; all do not go by the same path. It is for each of us to learn the path by which He requires us to follow Him, and to follow Him in that path." --St. Katharine Drexel
"The patient and humble endurance of the cross whatever nature it may be is the highest work we have to do. Oh, how far I am at 84 years of age from being an image of Jesus in his sacred life on earth!" - Mother Katharine Drexel
By the power of the Holy Spirit, Casimir burned with a sincere and unpretentious love for almighty God. So rich was his love and so abundantly did it fill his heart, that it flowed out from his inner spirit toward his fellow men. As a result, nothing was more pleasant, nothing more desirable for him, than to share his belongings, and even to dedicate and give his entire self to Christ's poor, to strangers, to the sick, to those in captivity, and to all who suffer. To widows, orphans, and the afflicted, he was not only a guardian and patron but a father, son, and brother.
He actively took up the cause of the needy and unfortunate and embraced it as his own; for this reason the people called him the patron of the poor. Though the son of a king and descendant of a noble line, he was never haughty in his conversation or dealings with anyone, no matter how humble or obscure.
He always preferred to be counted among the meek and poor of spirit, among those who are promised the kingdom of heaven, rather than among the famous and powerful men of this world. - from a biography of St. Casimir written by a contemporary
(Prayer attributed to St. Casimir)
Sing to Mary
Sing, my soul, her praises due!
All her feasts,
Her actions worship
With heart's devotion true.
When St Kieran was 30 he went to Rome to learn about the new religion, Christianity. He became a bishop there. Upon his return to Ireland 20 years later, Kieran met St. Patrick. Saint Kieran became one of the first twelve Bishops of Ireland consecrated by St. Patrick, and is honored as the first Irish-born saint. He was held in high esteem by his peers, one of which said of Kieran: "He was a lamp, blazing with the light of wisdom." Apart from his studies, Kieran also had a great capacity for friendship with other leaders of the early Irish church. He would later mentor, befriend, and tutor many of the founders of the great Catholic Church in Ireland.
St. Kieran, pray for us!
d. 1240, buried in the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, Italy
Born to the nobility. One of the first 12 followers of St. Francis of Assisi, and first priest in the Franciscan Order. Sylvester once sold Francis stone to rebuild a church. A short while later, he saw Francis and Bernard of Quintavalle distributing Bernard's wealth to the poor. Sylvester complained that he had been poorly paid for the stone, and asked for more money. Francis obliged. But the handful of money soon filled Sylvester with guilt. He sold his possessions, began a life of penance, and joined Francis' community. A holy and prayerful man, Sylvester travelled with Francis, and became his advisor. It was Sylvester and Clare who answered Francis' query with the response that he should serve God by going out to preach rather than by devoting himself to prayer. In a city involved in a civil war, Francis ordered Sylvester to drive the devils out. At the city gate Sylvester cried out: "In the name of almighty God and by virtue of the command of his servant Francis, depart from here, all you evil spirits." Peace returned to the city.
Father God, through the intercession of the your humble servant, Sylvester of Assisi, may we draw closer to You.
In Jesus, Your Son. Amen.
Martyrs, d. 203 in Carthage, North Africa
St. Perpetua... was born to a noble pagan family. Well-educated. Convert to Christianity. Wife and mother. Martyred with her maid, friend and fellow convert, St. Felicity. Perpetua, unwilling to renounce Christianity, comforted her father in his grief over her decision, "It shall happen as God shall choose, for assuredly we depend not on our own power but on the power of God." Perpetua's last words were to her brother: "Stand fast in the faith and love one another."
St. Felicity....Lay-woman, convert. Maid, friend, and fellow convert of St. Perpetua. Felicity was pregnant. (It was against the law for pregnant women to be executed. To kill a child in the womb was shedding innocent and sacred blood.) Two days before her martyrdom, Felicity gave birth to a healthy girl who was adopted and raised by one of the Christian women of Carthage.
Saints Perpetua and Felicity, watch over all mothers and children who are separated from each other because of war or persecution. Show a special care to mothers who are imprisoned and guide them to follow your example of faith and courage. Amen.
b. 1495 in Portugal, d. 1550 in Granada, Spain.
Juan grew up working as a shepherd in the Castile region of Spain. He led a wild and misspent youth, and traveled over much of Europe and north Africa as a soldier in the army of Charles V, and as a mercenary. Fought through a brief period of insanity. Peddled religious books and pictures in Gibraltar, though without any religious conviction himself. In his 40′s he received a vision of the Infant Jesus who called him John of God. To make up for the misery he had caused as a soldier, he left the military, rented a house in Granada, Spain, and began caring for the sick, poor, homeless and unwanted. He gave what he had, begged for those who couldn't, carried those who could not move on their own, and converted both his patients and those who saw him work with them. Friend of Saint John of Avila, on whom he tried to model his life. John founded the Order of Charity and the Order of Hospitallers of Saint John of God.
"Labor without stopping; do all the good works you can while you still have the time." - St. John of God
Saint John of God, help us to act out of love as soon as we feel the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Help us learn to fight the little voices in our heads and hearts that give us all sorts of practical reasons to wait or delay in our service of God. Amen.
One of ten children of a blacksmith and seamstress. Protege of St. John Bosco. Altar boy at age 5. At 12, he entered the Oratory School preparatory to becoming a priest. Well-liked and pious, his health forced him to give up his dream of the priesthood. He died at age 15; his dying words: "What beautiful things I see!"
His birthplace is now a retreat house for teenagers; the home where he grew up in Morialdo is now a retreat house for children. The final house in which he lived is the home in Mondonio where the Savio family moved when he was 10, and where he eventually died. Here you can see his father's metal shop, and his mother's tailoring shop. His tomb is in the basilica of Mary, Help of Christians in Turin, Italy, not far from the tomb of his mentor, teacher and biographer, St. John Bosco.
Prayer to St. Dominic Savio....
Dear Saint Dominic, you spent your short life totally for love of Jesus and His Mother. Help youth today to realize the importance of God in their lives. You became a saint through fervent participation in the sacraments, enlighten parents and children to the importance of frequent confession and Holy Communion. At a young age you meditated on the sorrowful Passion of Our Lord. Obtain for us the grace of a fervent desire to suffer for love of Him.
We desperately need your intercession to protect today's children from the snares of the world. Watch over them and lead them on the narrow road to Heaven. Ask God to give us the grace to sanctify our daily duties by performing them perfectly out of love for Him. Remind us of the necessity of practicing virtue especially in times of trial.
Saint Dominic Savio, you who preserved your Baptismal innocence of heart, pray for us.
Raised in an educated and intellectual family with no faith, but who apparently went through some of the motions since she received her first Communion on Christmas 1829 at age twelve. She had a conversion experience, came to the faith and felt a call to religious life by hearing the Lenten sermons of the Dominican Henri Lacordaire at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, France.
- prayer in honor of Saint Marie Eugenie...
Father of all Goodness, You revealed to Marie Eugenie the mystery of Your Holiness. In her rediscovered faith, You made her understand that all honor and glory are given You by a humanity restored in Jesus Christ. Send us the fullness of Your Holy Spirit! May He make us adorers in Spirit and in Truth! And may peoples of all tongues, races and nations become but one, to the praise of Your Glory, forever and ever. Amen.
Martyred 859 at Cordoba, Spain.
Well educated. Priest. Head of an ecclesiastical school. Worked to comfort and support Christian martyrs and their survivors during Islamic persecutions. Arrested several times for his faith.
Saint Eulogius, pray for us, that we may be ever mindful that all our gifts come from God, that we not be prideful, but willing always to follow His lead. Amen.
Great advocate of the poor and orphans.
Canonized by Pope John Paul II, May 16, 2004
Joined the Franciscans at Voghera, Italy as a young man, but developed severe health problems and returned to his family. Studied under Saint John Bosco at Turin, Italy, was present at Saint John's death, and was cured of his illness during Saint John's funeral.
Studied at the seminary in Tortona, Italy. While still a layman and student, he opened San Luigi House at San Bernardino in 1893, a home for the poor, homeless and abandoned. Ordained on 13 April 1895.
Founded the Hermits of Divine Providence congregation, the Ladies of Divine Providence, and an orphanage in Rome, Italy in 1899. Under the patronage of Pope Saint Pius X, he founded the Little Missionaries of Charity. Constructed the Marian shrine at Tortona, a site that became a rallying point for people during times of political unrest. To administer the houses of his congregations, Luigi traveled the world, visiting houses in Wales, Brazil, the United States, and throughout Italy.
"Without prayer nothing good is done. God's works are done with our hands joined, and on our knees. Even when we run, we must remain spiritually kneeling before Him." -Luigi Orione
Born to the Italian nobility. Received into the Franciscans by St. Francis of Assisi himself. Deacon. Appointed by Saint Francis to introduce the Franciscans into England in 1224. With eight associates he established houses in Canterbury and London, then a school for friars in Oxford. Friend of King Henry III. Helped prevent civil war between Henry and Earl Marshall. Known for his personal piety and his strict adherence to the Franciscan Rule, especially on the matter of poverty.
Almighty God, You called Blessed Agnellus of Pisa
to become a Franciscan Friar, and to spread the foundation of the Order.
Grant, through his intercession, that the Greyfriars of Britain and Ireland
persevere in the Gospel love, spread Gospel truth, and inspire vocations.
This we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
German. b.895, d. 968
Daughter of Count Dietrich of Westphalia and Reinhild of Denmark ; she was raised by her grandmother, abbess of the Eufurt. In 913, Matilda left the abbey, and married King Henry the Fowler of Saxony (Henry I), who had received an annulment from a previous marriage. Queen of Germany. Mother of Otto, Holy Roman Emperor; Henry the Quarrelsome, Duke of Bavaria; Saint Bruno the Great, Archbishop of Cologne, Germany; Gerberga, wife of King Louis IV of France; Hedwig, mother of Hugh Capet. Founded several Benedictine abbeys. Well known throughout the realm for her generosity, she taught the ignorant, comforted the sick, and visited prisoners. Betrayed by Otto after Henry's death when he falsely accused her of financial mismanagement.
Heavenly Father, Matilda was a good and devout queen mother on earth. We thank you for her example to her children and others, but we also thank you for our Queen Mother in heaven, Blessed Virgin Mary. We pray for their intercession that all mothers may seek their example. Amen.
Though she considered a religious vocation from an early age, her ill health kept any house from taking her. She married Antony LeGras, an official to the queen, in 1611. Widowed in 1625. Spiritual student of St. Vincent de Paul. With St. Vincent, she founded the Daughters of Charity in 1642, receiving Vatican approval in 1655. Served as the superior of the Daughters of Charity until her death.
O God, You inspired Saint Louise to strive for perfect charity, and so attain Your Kingdom at the end of her pilgrimage on earth. Strengthen us through her intercession that we may advance rejoicing in the way of love and service to our brothers and sisters. Amen.
Photo: Movilla Abbey. Founded by St. Finian in the year, 540.
Disciple of Saint Columba. (St. Columba is one of the three great Saints of Ireland, along with St. Brigid & St. Patrick). St. Finian founded a church and monastery at Innisfallen, Ireland. Monk at Clonmore, Ireland. Abbot of Swords Abbey near Dublin, Ireland. In his later years he retired to Clonmore to spend his last days as a prayerful monk. He was called Lobhar (the Leper) because he briefly contracted leprosy when he miraculously cured a young boy of the disease.
Prayer to St.Finian...
Heavenly Father, You gave St.Finian to be a minister for
eternal salvation to your people. Grant we beseech you that we who had him
on earth as a teacher maybe worthy to have him as our advocate in heaven.
Holy Finian, I entrust to you my most pressing concerns
(mention intention..........................) and ask your intercession.
Through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.
"Happy St. Patrick's Day!"
Born between 387-390, Died between 461-464.
Kidnapped from the British mainland around age 16, and shipped to Ireland as a slave. Sent to the mountains as a shepherd, he spent his time in the field in prayer. After six years of this life, he received had a dream in which he was commanded to return to Britain; seeing it as a sign, he escaped. He studied in several monasteries in Europe. Priest. Bishop. Sent by Pope Celestine to evangelize England, then Ireland, during which his chariot driver was Saint Odran, and Saint Jarlath was one of his spiritual students. In 33 years he effectively converted Ireland. In the Middle Ages Ireland became known as the Land of Saints, and during the Dark Ages its monasteries were the great repositories of learning in Europe, all a consequence of Patrick's ministry.
St. Patrick's Breastplate Prayer...
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.
I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth with His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.
I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In the predictions of prophets,
In the preaching of apostles,
In the faith of confessors,
In the innocence of holy virgins,
In the deeds of righteous men.
I arise today, through
The strength of heaven,
The light of the sun,
The radiance of the moon,
The splendor of fire,
The speed of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of the sea,
The stability of the earth,
The firmness of rock.
I arise today, through
God's strength to pilot me,
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and near.
I summon today
All these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel and merciless power
that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul;
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me an abundance of reward.
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.
b. 315, d. 386
Doctor of the Church.
Raised a Christian in Jerusalem. Well educated, especially in religion. Priest, ordained by St. Maximus. A great teacher of catechumens, Cyril's instructions are still source documents for the Church's early teachings. Bishop of Jerusalem in 348. Exiled three times by the Arians, usually on some trumped up charge like selling church furniture, but actually on theological grounds. Attended the Council of Seleucia in 359. Attended the Council of Constantinople in 381.
"Children of justice, follow John's exhortation: "Make straight the way of the Lord." Remove all obstacles and stumbling blocks so that you will be able to go straight along the road to eternal life. Through a sincere faith prepare yourselves so that you may be free to receive the Holy Spirit. My brothers, this is truly a great occasion. Approach it with caution. You are standing in front of God and in the presence of the hosts of angels. The Holy Spirit is about to impress his seal on each of your souls. You are about to be pressed into the service of a great king. And so prepare yourselves to receive the sacrament. The gleaming white garments you are about to put on are not the preparation I am speaking of, but rather the devotion of a clean conscience."
- from a catechetical instruction by Saint Cyril of Jerusalem to those preparing for baptism and confirmation.
Descendant of the house of David. Layman. Builder by trade; traditionally a carpenter, but may have been a stone worker. Earthly spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Foster father of Jesus Christ. Visionary who was visited by angels. Noted for his willingness to immediately get up and do what God told him to do.
Prayer to St. Joseph for Protection...
Gracious St. Joseph, protect me and my family from all evil as you did the Holy Family. Kindly keep us ever united in the love of Christ, ever fervent in the imitation of the virtue of our Blessed Lady, your sinless spouse, and always faithful in devotion to you. Amen. St. Joseph, pray for us!
634-687, somewhere in the British Isles.
Orphaned at an early age. Shepherd. Received a vision of St. Aidan of Lindisfarne entering heaven; the sight led Cuthbert to become a Benedictine monk at age 17 at the monastery of Melrose, which had been founded by Saint Aidan. Spiritual student of Saint Boswell. Prior of Melrose in 664.
Due to a dispute over liturgical practice, Cuthbert and other monks abandoned Melrose for Lindisfarne. There he worked with Saint Eata. Prior and then abbot of Lindisfarne until 676. Hermit on the Farnes Islands. Bishop of Hexham, England. Bishop of Lindisfarne in 685. Friend of Saint Ebbe the Elder. Worked with plague victims in 685. Had the gift of healing and prophecy. Evangelist in his diocese, often to the discomfort of local authorities both secular and ecclesiastical. Presided over his abbey and his diocese during the time when Roman rites were supplanting the Celtic, and all the churches in the British Isles were brought under a single authority.
Benedicta received the jewel of good christian formation from her devout parents. Always a devoted youngster, she received the gift of a profound mystical experience at age twenty, which left her with the desire to pursue a vocation as a religious. However, her parents preferred strongly that she marry. Benedicta bowed to their wishes, and married Giovanni Frassinello, in 1816. They lived together for two years as man and wife. In 1818, the couple agreed to live together chastely, dedicated to God. At this same time, they took Benedicta's younger sister Martha into their home to nurse her through her final fight with cancer. When Martha died, in 1825, the two entered religious orders, Benedicta joining the Ursuline Congregation, and Giovanni the order founded by St Jerome Emiliani.
Eventually, Benedicta was able to found the Congregation of the Benedictine Sisters of Providence. The guiding charism of her order is their focus on the education of young girls and confidence in and abandonment to God in the living out of their vows. After correctly predicting the time of her death, Benedicta died peacefully in Ronco Scrivia at her motherhouse, on March 21 1858. St. Benedicta, pray for us!
5th Century. Sister of St. Patrick.
St. Darerca is the patron of Valentina Island in Ireland, pictured in photo.
Darerca was married to Conis and she was the mother of 19 children, 10 of whom became bishops, 3 who are saints as well. She was a miracle worker and said to have the gift of prophecy. Not much else is known about her history. She died in the 5th century and is patron of Valentina Island in Ireland.
St. Darerca of Ireland, pray for us!
b.1538, Spain. d.1606, Peru.
Nobility. Lawyer. Professor of law at Salamanca, Spain. Ordained in 1578 at age 40. Archbishop of Lima, Peru. Founded the first seminary in the Western hemisphere. Fought for the rights of the natives against the Spanish masters. Organized councils and synods in the New World.
through the apostolic work of Saint Toribio
and his unwavering love of truth,
you helped your Church to grow.
May your chosen people continue to grow in faith and holiness.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen. "
St. Toribio, pray for us!
Born: 985 in Capua, Italy
Died: 1080 in Bucchianico, Italy of natural causes.
Monk at Monte Cassino Abbey. Spiritual director of a convent at Capua, Italy, a house founded by princess Aloara. Known as a miracle worker. A dispute developed between the princess and Aldemar's abbot; she wanted him to stay, the abbot wanted him back at Monte Cassino. To escape the dispute, Aldemar moved to Boiana, Italy but fled after some one involved in the argument tried to kill him. He founded a monastery at Bocchignano, Italy which became the motherhouse for several area monasteries.
The annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary by Gabriel the Archangel that she was to be the Mother of God (Luke 1), the Word being made flesh through the power of the Holy Spirit. The feast probably originated about the time of the Council of Ephesus, c.431, and is first mentioned in the Sacramentary of Pope Gelasius (died 496). The Annunciation is represented in art by many masters, among them Blessed Fra Angelico, Hubert Van Eyck, Jan Van Eyck, Ghirlandajo, Holbein the Elder, Lippi, Pinturicchio, and Del Sarto.
"O God, who willed that your Word
should take on the reality of human flesh
in the womb of the Virgin Mary,
grant, we pray,
that we, who confess our Redeemer to be God and man,
may merit to become partakers even in his divine nature.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen."
...Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!
English Martyr. 1556-1586.
Pressed to death on Good Friday, March 25, 1586 at York, England.
Daughter of Thomas and Jane Middleton, a candle maker and the Sheriff of York for two years. Raised Anglican. Married to John Clitherow, wealthy butcher and chamberlain of the city of York, on July 8, 1571. Converted to Catholicism around 1574. Imprisoned several times for her conversion, for sheltering priests (including her husband's brother), and for permitting clandestine Masses to be celebrated on her property. During her trial in Tyburn on March 14, 1586, she refused to answer any of the charges for fear of incriminating her servents and children; both her sons became priests, her daughter a nun.
"God be thanked, I am not worthy of so good a death as this." - Margaret Clitherow, when advised of her sentence.
St. Margaret Clitherow, pray for us!
b. 676 in Damascus, Syria.
John spent most of his life in the monastery of St. Sabas, near Jerusalem, and all of his life under Muslim rule, indeed, protected by it. He was born in Damascus, received a classical and theological education, and followed his father in a government position under the Arabs. After a few years he resigned and went to the monastery of St. Sabas.
He is famous in three areas. First, he is known for his writings against the iconoclasts, who opposed the veneration of images. Paradoxically, it was the Eastern Christian emperor Leo who forbade the practice, and it was because John lived in Muslim territory that his enemies could not silence him. Second, he is famous for his treatise, Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, a summary of the Greek Fathers (of which he became the last). It is said that this book is for Eastern schools what the Summa of Aquinas became for the West. Thirdly, he is known as a poet, one of the two greatest of the Eastern Church, the other being Romanus the Melodist. His devotion to the Blessed Mother and his sermons on her feasts are well known.
"The saints must be honored as friends of Christ and children and heirs of God, as John the theologian and evangelist says: 'But as many as received him, he gave them the power to be made the sons of God....' Let us carefully observe the manner of life of all the apostles, martyrs, ascetics and just men who announced the coming of the Lord. And let us emulate their faith, charity, hope, zeal, life, patience under suffering, and perseverance unto death, so that we may also share their crowns of glory" - St. John of Damascus
St. John of Damascus, pray for us!
Papal Ascension, 432. Died, 440.
Chosen 44th Pope in 432. Approved the results of the Council of Ephesus. Corresponded extensively with Saint Augustine of Hippo. Fought Nestorianism and Pelagianism. Restored several Roman basilicas including Saint Peter's and Saint John Lateran. He built the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, dedicated to Mary the Mother of God. Defended the supremacy of the pope over local bishops,and over Illyria which the emperor wanted to transfer to the control of Constantinople. Pope St. Sixtus III, pray for us!
6th Century Wales.
Daughter of Saint Brychan of Brecknock. When Saint Gwynllyw asked for her hand in marriage, Brychan refused. Gwynllyw kidnapped the girl, and the two started a violent life on the run. Mother of Saint Cadoc of Llancarvan who eventually convinced Gwynllyw and Gladys to give up their violent ways, and follow a religious calling. Nun at Newport, Monmouthshire, Wales. Late in life she became a hermitess in rural Wales.
Sixth daughter of a shoemaker. Grew up in Vienna, Austria. Worked as a sales clerk. Nurse. Joined the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity (Hartmannschwestern) in 1914, taking the name Restituta after an early Church martyr. Worked for twenty years as a surgical nurse, beginning in 1919. Known as a protector of the poor and oppressed. Vocal opponent of the Nazis after Anschluss, the German take over of Austria. Sister Restituta hung a crucifix in every room of a new hospital wing. The Nazis ordered them removed; Restituta refused. She was arrested by the Gestapo in 1942. Sentenced to death on 28 October 1942 for "aiding and abetting the enemy in the betrayal of the fatherland and for plotting high treason"; Martin Bormann decided that her execution would provide "effective intimidation" for other opponents of the Nazis. She spent her remaining time in prison caring for other prisoners; even the Communist prisoners spoke well of her. She was offered her freedom if she would abandon her religious community; she declined. Martyr. (beheaded on 30 March 1943 at Vienna, Austria).
Born: 1411 in Forli, Italy
Joined the Servite Order in 1448, and became a Bible expert. Though he was noted by his brothers for his love of contemplative silence, he became one of the greatest Servite preachers, preaching missions throughout southern Italy and the Papal States, always on the theme of repentance; Pope Sixtus IV referred to him as the Apostolic Preacher. Served several years as vicar-general of his Order.
Oh God, who didst impart to Blessed Bonaventure, the Confessor, the grace of recalling sinners to repentence, grant we bessech thee, through his merits and intercession, that we may also weep over our sins, so that, renewed in heart and will, we may serve thee faithfully until death. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.