Blessed Joachima

Born into an aristocratic family in Barcelona, Spain, Joachima was 12 when she expressed a desire to become a Carmelite nun. But her life took an altogether different turn at 16 with her marriage to a young lawyer, Theodore de Mas. Both deeply devout, they became secular Franciscans. During their 17 years of married life they raised eight children.

The normalcy of their family life was interrupted when Napoleon invaded Spain. Joachima had to flee with the children; Theodore remained behind and died. Though Joachima re-experienced a desire to enter a religious community, she attended to her duties as a mother. At the same time, the young widow led a life of austerity and chose to wear the habit of the Third Order of St. Francis as her ordinary dress. She spent much time in prayer and visiting the sick.

Four years later, with some of her children now married and younger ones under their care, Joachima confessed her desire to a priest to join a religious order. With his encouragement, she established the Carmelite Sisters of Charity. In the midst of the fratricidal wars occurring at the time, Joachima was briefly imprisoned and later exiled to France for several years.

Sickness ultimately compelled her to resign as superior of her order. Over the next four years she slowly succumbed to paralysis, which caused her to die by inches. At her death at the age of 71 in 1854, Joachima was known and admired for her high degree of prayer, deep trust in God, and selfless charity.


Reflection

Joachima understands loss. She lost the home where her children grew up, her husband, and finally her health. As the power to move and care for her own needs slowly ebbed away, this woman who had all her life cared for others became wholly dependent; she required help with life’s simplest tasks. When our own lives go spinning out of control, when illness and bereavement and financial hardship strike, all we can do is cling to the belief that sustained Joachima: God watches over us always.

From: https://www.franciscanmedia.org/blessed-joachima/

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Saint Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs

Saint Charles Lwanga and Companion Martyrs, pray for us!

One of 22 Ugandan martyrs, Charles Lwanga is the patron of youth and Catholic action in most of tropical Africa. He protected his fellow pages, aged 13 to 30, from the homosexual demands of the Bagandan ruler, Mwanga, and encouraged and instructed them in the Catholic faith during their imprisonment for refusing the ruler’s demands.

Charles first learned of Christ’s teachings from two retainers in the court of Chief Mawulugungu. While a catechumen, he entered the royal household as assistant to Joseph Mukaso, head of the court pages.

On the night of Mukaso’s martyrdom for encouraging the African youths to resist Mwanga, Charles requested and received baptism. Imprisoned with his friends, Charles’s courage and belief in God inspired them to remain chaste and faithful.

For his own unwillingness to submit to the immoral acts and his efforts to safeguard the faith of his friends, Charles was burned to death at Namugongo on June 3, 1886, by Mwanga’s order.

When Pope Paul VI canonized these 22 martyrs on October 18, 1964, he also made reference to the Anglican pages martyred for the same reason.


Reflection

Like Charles Lwanga, we are all teachers and witnesses to Christian living by the examples of our own lives. We are all called upon to spread the word of God, whether by word or deed. By remaining courageous and unshakable in our faith during times of great moral and physical temptation, we live as Christ lived.

From https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saints-charles-lwanga-and-companions/

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Saint Joseph of Leonissa, Priest


Saint Fidelis of Sigmarigen and Saint Joseph of Leonessa | Giovanni Battista Tiepolo” 

Saint Joseph was born at Leonissa in the Kingdom of Naples. As a boy and as a student in early adulthood, Joseph drew attention for his energy and virtue. Offered a nobleman’s daughter in marriage, Joseph refused and joined the Capuchins in his hometown in 1573 instead. Avoiding the safe compromises by which people sometimes undercut the gospel, Joseph denied himself hearty meals and comfortable quarters as he prepared for ordination and a life of preaching.

In 1587, he went to Constantinople to take care of the Christian galley slaves working under Turkish masters. Imprisoned for this work, he was warned not to resume it on his release. He did and was again imprisoned and then condemned to death. Miraculously freed, he returned to Italy where he preached to the poor and reconciled feuding families as well as warring cities which had been at odds for years. He was canonized in 1745.

Reflection

Saints often jar us because they challenge our ideas about what we need for “the good life.” “I’ll be happy when. . . ,” we may say, wasting an incredible amount of time on the periphery of life. People like Joseph of Leonissa challenge us to face life courageously and get to the heart of it: life with God. Joseph was a compelling preacher because his life was as convincing as his words.

From: https://www.franciscanmedia.org

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Saint Edmund Rich, Bishop

Archbishop of Canterbury England, who battled for discipline and justice, also called Edmund of Abingdon. Born in Abingdon, on November 30, 1180. he studied at Oxford, England, and in Paris, France. He taught art and mathematics at Oxford and was ordained. He spent eight years teaching theology and became Canon and treasurer of Salisbury Cathedral. An eloquent speaker, Edmund preached a crusade for Pope Gregory IX and was named archbishop of Canterbury. He became an advisor to King Henry III and presided in 1237 at Henry’s ratification of the Great Charter. When Cardinal Olt became a papal legate with the patronage of King Henry, Edmund protested. A long-lasting feud between Edmund, the king, and his legate led him to resigning his see in 1240. He went to Pontigny, France, where he became a Cistercian. He died at Soissons, on November 16. Edmund was canonized in 1246 or 1247. A hall in Oxford bears his name.

Reflection

Discipline is much necessary in our spiritual life. Its absence makes our life in the Lord dull and lax. Mortification is one of the examples of discipline that the Holy Mother Church recommends. Discipline makes us a better disciples.

Prayer

Almighty and eternal God, who gave your holy Church blessed Edmund as Bishop, grant that what he taught when moved by the divine Spirit may always stay firm in our hearts; and as by your gift we embrace him as our patron, may we also have him as our defender to entreat your mercy. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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Blessed John Henry Newman, Bishop

John_Henry_Newman_by_Sir_John_Everett_Millais,_1st_Bt.jpgBlessed John Henry Newman’s Story

John Henry Newman, the 19th-century’s most important English-speaking Roman Catholic theologian, spent the first half of his life as an Anglican and the second half as a Roman Catholic. He was a priest, popular preacher, writer, and eminent theologian in both Churches.

Born in London, England, he studied at Oxford’s Trinity College, was a tutor at Oriel College, and for 17 years was vicar of the university church, St. Mary the Virgin. He eventually published eight volumes of Parochial and Plain Sermons as well as two novels. His poem, “Dream of Gerontius,” was set to music by Sir Edward Elgar.

After 1833, Newman was a prominent member of the Oxford Movement, which emphasized the Church’s debt to the Church Fathers and challenged any tendency to consider truth as completely subjective.

Historical research made Newman suspect that the Roman Catholic Church was in closest continuity with the Church that Jesus established. In 1845, he was received into full communion as a Catholic. Two years later he was ordained a Catholic priest in Rome and joined the Congregation of the Oratory, founded three centuries earlier by Saint Philip Neri. Returning to England, Newman founded Oratory houses in Birmingham and London and for seven years served as rector of the Catholic University of Ireland.

Before Newman, Catholic theology tended to ignore history, preferring instead to draw deductions from first principles—much as plane geometry does. After Newman, the lived experience of believers was recognized as a key part of theological reflection.

Newman eventually wrote 40 books and 21,000 letters that survive. Most famous are his book-length Essay on the Development of Christian DoctrineOn Consulting the Faithful in Matters of DoctrineApologia Pro Vita Sua—his spiritual autobiography up to 1864—and Essay on the Grammar of Assent. He accepted Vatican I’s teaching on papal infallibility while noting its limits, which many people who favored that definition were reluctant to do.

When Newman was named a cardinal in 1879, he took as his motto Cor ad cor loquitur”—“Heart speaks to heart.” He was buried in Rednal 11 years later. After his grave was exhumed in 2008, a new tomb was prepared at the Oratory church in Birmingham.

Three years after Newman died, a Newman Club for Catholic students began at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. In time, his name was linked to ministry centers at many public and private colleges and universities in the United States.

Pope Benedict XVI beatified Newman on September 19, 2010, at Crofton Park. Benedict noted Newman’s emphasis on the vital place of revealed religion in civilized society, but also praised his pastoral zeal for the sick, the poor, the bereaved, and those in prison. The Liturgical Feast of Blessed John Henry Newman is October 9.

Reflection

John Henry Newman has been called the “absent Father of Vatican II” because his writings on conscience, religious liberty, Scripture, the vocation of lay people, the relation of Church and State, and other topics were extremely influential in the shaping of the Council’s documents. Although Newman was not always understood or appreciated, he steadfastly preached the Good News by word and example.

 

From: https://www.franciscanmedia.org

 

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Blessed Antonio Lucci, Bishop

jul27.1Blessed Antonio studied with and was a friend of Saint Francesco Antonio Fasani, who after Antonio Lucci’s death, testified at the diocesan hearings regarding the holiness of Lucci.

Born in Agnone in southern Italy, a city famous for manufacturing bells and copper crafts, he was given the name Angelo at baptism. He attended the local school run by the Conventual Franciscans and joined them at the age of 16. Antonio completed his studies for the priesthood in Assisi, where he was ordained in 1705. Further studies led to a doctorate in theology and appointments as a teacher in Agnone, Ravello, and Naples. He also served as guardian in Naples.

Elected minister provincial in 1718, the following year he was appointed professor at St. Bonaventure College in Rome, a position he held until Pope Benedict XIII chose Antonio as bishop of Bovino in 1729. The pope explained, “I have chosen as bishop of Bovino an eminent theologian and a great saint.”

His 23 years as bishop were marked by visits to local parishes and a renewal of gospel living among the people of his diocese. He dedicated his episcopal income to works of education and charity. At the urging of the Conventual minister general, Bishop Lucci wrote a major book about the saints and blesseds in the first 200 years of the Conventual Franciscans.

Antonio Lucci was beatified in 1989, three years after his friend Francesco Antonio Fasani was canonized. His Liturgical Feast Day is July 25.

REFLECTION

As Pope Paul VI wrote in 1975, people today “are more impressed by witnesses than by teachers, and if they listen to these it is because they also bear witness” (Evangelization in the Modern World, #41).

PRAYER

Almighty ever-living God, who chose blessed Antonio Lucci to preside as Bishop over your holy people, we pray that, by his merits, you may bestow on us the grace of your loving kindness. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

From: https://www.franciscanmedia.org

 

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Saint Henry, King

SOD-0713-SaintHenry-790x480.jpg

Saint Henry, pray for us!

Saint Henry, surnamed the Pious, Duke of Bavaria, became successively King of Germany and Emperor of the Romans; but not satisfied with a mere temporal principality, he strove to gain an immortal crown, by paying zealous service to the eternal King. As emperor, he devoted himself earnestly to spreading religion, and rebuilt with great magnificence the churches which had been destroyed by the infidels, endowing them generously both with money and lands. He built monasteries and other pious establishments, and increased the income of others; the bishopric of Bamberg, which he had founded out of his family possessions, he made tributary to St. Peter and the Roman Pontiff. When Benedict VIII, who had crowned him emperor, was obliged to seek safety in flight, Henry received him and restored him to his see.

Once when he was suffering from a severe illness in the monastery of Monte Cassino, St. Benedict cured him by a wonderful miracle. He endowed the Roman Church with a most copious grant, undertook in her defense a war against the Greeks, and gained possession of Apulia, which they had held for some time. It was his custom to undertake nothing without prayer, and at times he saw the angel of the Lord, or the holy martyrs, his patrons, fighting for him at the head of his army. Aided thus by the divine protection, he overcame barbarous nations more by prayer than by arms. Hungary was still pagan; but Henry having given his sister in marriage to its King Stephen, the latter was baptized, and thus the whole nation was brought to the faith of Christ. He set the rare example of preserving virginity in the married state, and at his death restored his wife, St. Cunigund, a virgin to her family.

He arranged everything relating to the glory or advantage of his empire with the greatest prudence, and left scattered throughout Gaul, Italy, and Germany, traces of his munificence towards religion. The sweet odor of his heroic virtue spread far and wide, till he was more celebrated for his holiness than for his imperial dignity. At length his life’s work was accomplished, and he was called by our Lord to the rewards of the heavenly kingdom, in the year of salvation 1024. His body was buried in the church of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul at Bamberg. God wished to glorify His servant, and many miracles were worked at his tomb. These being afterwards proved and certified, Eugenius III inscribed his name upon the catalogue of the saints.

REFLECTION

All in all, this saint was a man of his times. From our standpoint, he may have been too quick to do battle and too ready to use power to accomplish reforms. But granted such limitations, he shows that holiness is possible in a busy secular life. It is in doing our job that we become saints.

PRAYER

O God, whose abundant grace prepared Saint Henry to be raised by you in a wonderful way from the cares of earthly rule to heavenly realms, grant, we pray, through his intercession, that amid the uncertainties of this world we may hasten towards you with minds made pure. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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