Saint John Eudes

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SAINT JOHN EUDES, pray for us!

St. John Eudes was born in Normandy, in France and was the oldest son of a farmer. Even as a child, he tried to copy the example of Jesus in the way he treated his family, friends and neighbors.

When he was only nine years old, another boy slapped his face and John felt himself becoming angry. Then he remembered Jesus’ words in the Gospel: ‘to turn the other cheek’ and he did.

John’s parents wanted him to marry and have a family. He gently but firmly made them understand that he wanted to become a priest. He joined the congregation of the Oratory and studied for the priesthood.

After John was a priest, there was plague in Normandy which brought terrible suffering and death. Father Eudes went to help the sick, caring for both their souls and bodies.

Later, he became a well-liked preacher of missions in parishes. In fact, during his lifetime he preached 110 missions.

St. John started many important religious congregations: the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity and the Good Shepherd nuns. He also started the Congregation of Jesus and Mary for priests. This congregation was dedicated to training young men to become good parish priests.

St. John was very devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to the Holy Heart of Mary. He wrote a book about these devotions.

John became sick after he preached an outdoor mission in very cold weather. He never fully recovered and died in 1680.

The Pope called John Eudes the apostle of devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

REFLECTION: When God permits such things, it is a very positive proof that He is thoroughly angry with His people, and is visiting His most dreadful anger upon them. That is why He cries unceasingly to Christians, “Return O ye revolting children … and I will give you pastors according to My own heart”. (Jer. 3:14,15) Thus, irregularities in the lives of priests constitute a scourge upon the people in consequence of sin.
-St. John Eudes

PRAYER: O God, who wonderfully chose the Priest Saint John Eudes to proclaim the unfathomable riches of Christ, grant us, by his example and teachings, that, growing in knowledge of you, we may live faithfully by the light of the Gospel. 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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Saint Dominic De Guzman, Patriarch (Order of Preacher)

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Saint Dominic de Guzman, pray for us !

Dominic was born in Castile in Spain. He was a member of the Guzman family and his mother was a holy woman – Blessed Joan of Aza.

When Dominic was seven, he began to go to school. His uncle who was a priest, guided him all through his school years. After years of study, Dominic became a priest too.

He lived a quiet life of prayer and obedience with other good priests. But God had amazing plans for Dominic. He began a new religious order called the Order of Preachers or “Dominicans,” after St. Dominic.

The Dominicans preached the faith to the people. They helped correct false teachings called heresies.

It all began when Dominic was on a trip through southern France. He realized that some people had formed a group and were going about teaching people things that were not true. This was doing them great harm. St. Dominic felt such pity for all the people who had joined the group and wanted to help them.

The Dominicans conquered that dangerous heresy with prayer, especially by praying the Holy Rosary. Dominic also encouraged the people to be humble and to make sacrifices.

Once someone asked St. Dominic what book he used to prepare his wonderful sermons. “The only book I use is the book of love,” he said. He always prayed to be filled with true love of neighbor. He begged the Dominicans to be devoted to the study of the Bible and to prayer.

No one did more than St. Dominic and his preachers to spread the beautiful practice of saying the Rosary.

St. Dominic was a brilliant preacher, while St. Francis of Assisi was a humble beggar. Yet, they were very close friends. Their two orders of Dominicans and Franciscans helped Christians become holier.

Dominic’s friars opened centers in Paris (in France); Madrid (in Spain); Rome and Bologna (in Italy). He lived to see his order spread to Poland, Scandinavia and Palestine. The friars also went to Canterbury, London, and Oxford (in England).

Dominic died in Bologna (Italy) on August 7, 1221.

His great friend, Cardinal Ugolino of Venice became Pope Gregory IX and a few years later he proclaimed Dominic a saint.

Reflection: “Arm yourself with prayer rather than a sword; wear humility rather than fine clothes.” — St. Dominic de Guzman

Prayer: Wonderful Saintly Founder of the eloquent Order of Preachers and friend of Saint Francis of Assisi, you were a fiery defender of the Faith and a fighter against the darkness of heresy. You resembled a great star that shone close to the world and pointed to the Light which was Christ. Help astronomers to study the stars and admire their wonderful Maker, proclaiming: “Give glory to God in the highest.” Amen.

 

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St. Botvid

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Saint Botvid,pray for us !

Saint Botvid was born in the province of Sudermannland in Sweden and came from a pagan family. Pagans were people who believed in false gods and false teachings. When he went to England, he got converted and became a Christian. Although he was not a priest, he had a great wish to spread the good news of the gospel. He wanted to share the gospel message with his own countrymen and decided to be a lay missionary.

St. Botvid returned to Sweden to work for the Lord there. After many years he decided it would be good to have the Gospel preached in Finland, too. So he bought a Finnish slave and taught him the Catholic religion. He then set the slave free to go back to Finland and take the good news of salvation to his people.

That man repaid the saint for his goodness by a terrible act of ingratitude. St. Botvid set out in a boat to take him across the Baltic sea to Finland. When they went ashore and the saint was asleep, the wicked slave killed Botvid and sailed away with the boat.

When the saint did not return, friends searched for him until they found his body. He died in 1100. St. Botvid is honored as a martyr of charity and as one of the apostles of Sweden.

Reflection: Today we might consider showing our appreciation and gratitude to people who have helped us in so many ways, especially our parents and teachers.

Prayer: O God, who were pleased to give light to your Church by adorning blessed Botvid with the victory of martyrdom, graciously grant that, as he imitated the Lord’s Passion, so we may, by following in his footsteps, be worthy to attain eternal joys. 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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St. Pantaleon

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Saint Panteleon, pray for us !

St. Pantaleon came from Nicomedia, near the Black Sea, in Asia. He was such a famous doctor that Emperor Galerius Maximian asked him to be his own personal doctor. There, at the wicked, pagan court, he got into trouble. Pagans were people who believed in false gods and false teachings. Pantaleon was a Christian, but little by little, he began to follow the bad example of the people around him. He began to agree with the false wisdom praised by the pagans. At last, he committed the great sin of completely giving up his Christian faith.

A holy priest named Hermolaos was very sad to see the famous doctor desert Jesus. He went to him and with his wise, kind words, he made Pantaleon realize what a big sin he had committed. Pantaleon realized he had made a horrible mistake. He hated his sin and joined the Church once more.

To make up for what he had done, he wanted with all his heart to suffer and die for Jesus. He followed Jesus’ example by doing works of charity and by taking care of poor sick people without any charge. He healed many sick people only by prayer.

When Emperor Diocletian began torturing the Christians, Pantaleon at once gave away everything he owned to the poor. Soon afterward, some jealous doctors accused him of being a Christian. He had two choices. He could either give up his religion or he could tell the truth and be put to death. Pantaleon absolutely refused to hurt Jesus anymore. He bravely admitted he was a Christian and no amount of torture could make change his mind.

At the trial he challenged the pagan priest to cure a man who was paralyzed. The called upon their false gods but nothing happened. Then Pantaleon in the name of Jesus cured the man. Many pagans who saw this miracle became Christians. After he was killed for his faith, people showed a strong devotion to this saint. In the East he is called the “great martyr and wonder-worker.”

Reflection: Do I listen to friends or do things that might weaken my faith in Jesus? We pray that the Holy Spirit may guide our hearts and minds.

Prayer: O God, who were pleased to give light to your Church by adorning blessed Panteleon with the victory of martyrdom, graciously grant that, as he imitated the Lord’s Passion, so we may, by following in his  footsteps, be worthy to attain eternal joys. 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 Eugene III, Pope

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Blessed Eugene III, pray for us !

Peter dei Paganelli di Montemagno was born near Pisa in Italy. When Peter grew up, he became a priest and worked in Pisa for a few years. Later, he felt the need to get closer to God and joined the Cistercian monks in Clairvaux in France.

St. Bernard was the superior at the monastery of Clairvaux. His feast day is August 20. Peter respected Bernard and the two soon became good friends. Peter too chose “Bernard” for his religious name and tried to live like the saint.

St. Bernard sent his namesake, Bernard, to become the superior of a monastery in Rome called Tre Fontaine. Then in 1145, Pope Lucius II died and a most unusual thing happened. When the cardinals met at the funeral of the pope, they decided to elect the new pope as quickly as possible. And together they elected Abbot Bernard to be pope. The abbot, who was not a cardinal, did not attend the meeting.

He was shocked when he was told. St. Bernard of Clairvaux was surprised too. He felt sorry for Bernard. He wrote an open letter to the cardinals: “May God forgive you for what you have done,” he said. “You have involved in responsibilities and placed among many people a man who fled them both.”

Accepting God’s will, Bernard chose to be called Pope Eugene III. His time as pope brought him many difficulties. The Roman senate threatened to oppose him if he did not let them keep stolen property.

A man who was earlier sent away from the country went to Pope Eugene and asked forgiveness. But he soon fell back into his old ways. He even joined a group that was directly against the pope. Pope Eugene had to leave Rome a few times because of the dangers surrounding him. One of his fellow monks wrote to St. Bernard of Clairvaux about Pope Eugene: “There is no arrogance or domineering way in him.” St. Antoninus, called Pope Eugene “a great pope with great sufferings.” Pope Eugene died on July 8, 1153 at Tivoli in Italy.

 

Reflection: As Christians, we should be ready to suffer for it is our vocation to suffer not for suffering sake but for the Lord. Our Divine Master had already told us that before the world had hated us it was He who was hated by the world first. Therefore, there is nothing to be worried about when persecutions and hardships comes for by these we glorify God through our perseverance and fortitude.

Prayer: Almighty ever-living God, who chose blessed Eugene III to preside over your whole people and benefit them by word and example, keep safe, we pray, by his intercession, the shepherds of your Church along with the flocks entrusted to their care, and direct them in the way of eternal salvation. 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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Saint Joseph Cafasso

june23.jpgSaint Joseph Cafasso was born into a wealthy family at Castelnuovo d’Asti in northern Italy, near the city of Turin. Four years later, one of his most famous students St. John Bosco (feast day – March 31) was born in the same town. Joseph was born with a deformed spine which crippled him for life. But he had loving parents who were willing to make big sacrifices so Joseph could study in Turin to become a priest.

Joseph met John Bosco and talked to him at the church in 1827 when John was twelve. At that time Joseph was studying at the seminary to become a priest. After they talked, the excited John ran all the way home. “Mom, Mom,” John called, “I met him, I met him!” “Who?” his mother asked. “Joseph Cafasso, mother. He’s a saint, I tell you.” Mrs. Bosco smiled and nodded gently.

In 1833, Joseph was ordained a priest. He began his priestly work and went to an excellent school of theology (religious studies) for priests. When Father Cafasso graduated, he became a theology professor at the college in Turin. He taught many young priests over the years. They could tell that he really loved them.

Father Cafasso was known as the priest who believed in the gentle and loving mercy of God. His kindness gave people courage and hope. He guided many priests, religious and lay people. He helped John Bosco begin his great priestly work with boys and guided him in starting his religious order known as the Salesians. Father Cafasso directed other founders, too.

There were many social needs in Father Cafasso’s time. One of the most urgent was the prison system. Prison conditions were disgusting and he worked hard to improve them. But what most moved Father Cafasso was the custom of hanging in public, prisoners sentenced to death.

Father Cafasso went to them and heard their confessions. He stayed with them, telling them of God’s love and mercy until they died. He helped over sixty prisoners who repented and died in the peace of Jesus. Father Cafasso called them his “hanged saints.”

Father Cafasso also became the pastor of St. Francis Church in 1848. He was a wonderful example for people to follow promoting devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. He also did some great works in the Church. Father Cafasso died on June 23, 1860. His faithful friend, St. John Bosco, preached the homily at his funeral.

Reflection: The life of this saint was marked by kindness and understanding of the people of his time. How do I treat my brothers and sisters?

Prayer: We humbly ask you, almighty God, that at the intercession of  blessed Joseph Cafasso  you may multiply your gifts among us  and order our days in peace. 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.

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Saint Thomas More, Martyr

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Saint Thomas More, pray for us !

St. Thomas More, Martyr (Patron of Lawyers) St. Thomas More was born at London in 1478. After a thorough grounding in religion and the classics, he entered Oxford to study law. Upon leaving the university he embarked on a legal career which took him to Parliament. In 1505, he married his beloved Jane Colt who bore him four children, and when she died at a young age, he married a widow, Alice Middleton, to be a mother for his young children. A wit and a reformer, this learned man numbered Bishops and scholars among his friends, and by 1516 wrote his world-famous book “Utopia”. He attracted the attention of Henry VIII who appointed him to a succession of high posts and missions, and finally made him Lord Chancellor in 1529. However, he resigned in 1532, at the height of his career and reputation, when Henry persisted in holding his own opinions regarding marriage and the supremacy of the Pope. The rest of his life was spent in writing mostly in defense of the Church. In 1534, with his close friend, St. John Fisher, he refused to render allegiance to the King as the Head of the Church of England and was confined to the Tower. Fifteen months later, and nine days after St. John Fisher’s execution, he was tried and convicted of treason. He told the court that he could not go against his conscience and wished his judges that “we may yet hereafter in heaven merrily all meet together to everlasting salvation.” And on the scaffold, he told the crowd of spectators that he was dying as “the King’s good servant-but God’s first.” He was beheaded on July 6, 1535. His feast day is June 22nd.

Reflection: We should not let ourselves be put on moral compromise. If a friend is erring, we should correct them and tell them the truth. And if our faith is at stake, we should hold firm on it no matter what. Our faith should one day be our crowning glory in Heaven. Let us be like Saint Thomas More, who stands up for his faith and for the Church of Jesus Christ unafraid of whatever consequences may come. Lastly, earthly honors are less important than celestial glory !

Prayer: Almighty and merciful God, who brought your Martyr blessed Thomas More to overcome the torments of his passion, grant that we, who celebrate the day of his  triumph, may remain invincible under your protection against the snares of the enemy. 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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