Saint Wulfstan, Bishop

19

Saint Wulfstan, pray for us!

Saint Wulfstan (1008-1095) + Bishop and reformer, also called Wulstan and Wolstan. Born at Long-Itch ington, Warwickshire, England, he studied at the abbeys of Evesham and Peterborough, received ordination, and joined the Benedictines at Worcester. Wulfstan served as treasurer of the church at Worcester, was prior of the monastery, and finally was named bishop of Worcester in 1062. After overcoming initial doubts about his ability to hold the office of bishop, he demonstrated such skill after the Norman Conquest that he was the lone bishop to be kept in his post by William the Conqueror (r. l066-l087). For the next three decades, Wulfstan rebuilt his cathedral, cared for the poor, and struggled to alleviate the harsh decrees of the Normans upon the vanquished Saxons. He was canonized in 1203. Feast day: January 19.

REFLECTION: God has entrusted His Church through the Apostles, and through them to the Bishops, from the hands of the Bishops down to priests and deacons. We should follow the hierarchy that God ordained in His Church for through it graces overflow. We should not doubt our superior’s qualifications instead pray for them that they may be qualified for the work and task given them. Hand in hand with them, we can make things happen for God’s greater glory!

PRAYER: Almighty ever-living God, who chose blessed Wulfstan 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. Amen.

Advertisements
Posted in Lives of the Saints | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Saint Margaret of Hungary

18Saint Margaret, the daughter of King Bela IV, champion of Christendom, and Queen Mary Lascaris of Hungary, was offered to God before her birth, in petition that the country would be delivered from the terrible scourge of the Tartars. The prayer having been answered, the king and queen made good their promise by placing the rich and beautiful three-year-old in the Dominican convent at Vesprim. Here, in company with other children of nobility, she was trained in the arts thought fitting for royalty.

St. Margaret was not content with simply living in the house of God; she demanded the religious habit–and received it–at the age of four. Furthermore, she took upon herself the austerities practiced by the other sisters–fasting, hairshirts, the discipline (scourge), and night vigils. She soon learned the Divine Office by heart and chanted it happily to herself as she went about her play. She chose the least attractive duties of the nuns for herself. She would starve herself to keep her spirit humble. No one but St. Margaret seemed to take seriously the idea that she would one day make profession and remain as a sister, for it would be of great advantage to her father if she were to make a wise marriage.

This question arose seriously when St. Margaret was 12. She responded in surprise. She said that she had been dedicated to God, even before her birth, and that she intended to remain faithful to that promise. Some years later her father built for her a convent on the island in the Danube between Buda and Pest. To settle the matter of her vocation, here she pronounced her vows to the master general of the order, Blessed Humbert of the Romans, in 1255, and took the veil in 1261.

Again, when St. Margaret was 18, her father made an attempt to sway her from her purpose, because King Ottokar of Bohemia, hearing of her beauty, had come seeking her hand. He even obtained a dispensation from the pope and approached St. Margaret with the permission. St. Margaret replied as she had previously, “I esteem infinitely more the King of Heaven and the inconceivable happiness of possessing Jesus Christ than the crown offered me by the King of Bohemia.” Having established that she was not interested in any throne but a heavenly one, she proceeded with great joy to live an even more fervent religious life than she had before.

St. Margaret’s royal parentage was, of course, a matter of discussion in the convent. But the princess managed to turn such conversation away from herself to the holy lives of the saints who were related to her by blood–King Saint Stephen, Saint Hedwig, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, and several others. She did not glory in her wealth or parentage, but strove to imitate the saints in their holiness. She took her turn in the kitchen and laundry, seeking by choice much heavy work that her rank might have excused her from doing. She was especially welcome in the infirmary, which proves that she was not a sad-faced saint, and she made it her special duty to care for those who were too disagreeable for anyone else to tend.

St. Margaret’s austerities seem excessive to us of a weaker age. The mysteries of the Passion were very real to her and gave reason for her long fasts, severe scourgings, and other mortifications detailed in the depositions of witnesses taken seven years after her death (of which records are still in existence). Throughout Lent she scarcely ate or slept. She not only imitated the poverty- striken in their manual labor and hunger, but also in their lack of cleanliness–a form of penance at that time. Some of her acts of self-immolation have been described as “horrifying” and verging on fanaticism, and there seems to have been an element of willfulness in her mortifications.

She had a tender devotion to Our Lady, and on the eve of her feasts, St. Margaret said a thousand Hail Mary’s. Unable to make the long pilgrimage to the Holy Land, to Rome, or to any of the other famous shrines of Christendom, the saint developed a plan by which she could go in spirit: she counted up the miles that lay between herself and the desired shrine, and then said an Ave Maria for every mile there and back. On Good Friday she was so overcome at the thoughts of Our Lord’s Passion that she wept all day. She was frequently in ecstasy, and very embarrassed if anyone found her so and remarked on her holiness.

A number of miracles were performed during St. Margaret’s lifetime and many more after her death because St. Margaret had an implicit faith in the power and efficacy of prayer. The princess nun was only 28 when she died. Most of the particulars of her life are recorded in existing depositions of witnesses taken in 1277. Her friends and acquaintances petitioned for her to be acclaimed a saint almost immediately after her death. Among them was her own servant, Agnes, who rightly observed that this daughter of a monarch showed far more humility than any of the monastery’s maids. Although their testimony expressed St. Margaret’s overpowering desire to allow nothing to stand between her and God, the process of canonization was not complete until 1943. The island where her convent stood, called first the “Blessed Virgin’s Isle,” was called “Isle of Margaret” after the saint (Attwater, Attwater2, Benedictines, Bentley, Coulson, Dorcy, Farmer).

Reflection: Wealth and riches are nothing before the Omnipotent God. As the Psalmist says, “In his riches man lacks wisdom.” The reason why Saint Margaret though consecrated before her birth, left everything for seeking God’s glory and not otherwise. If we know how to use them for God and neighbor we are sure of our salvation but if not condemnation in Hell is waiting for us. Let us be like Saint Margaret of Hungary who did not seek for worldly pleasure and prestige of life.

Prayer: O God, the lover and guardian of chastity, by whose gifts Thy handmaid Margaret united the beauty of virginity and the merit of good works, grant we pray, that through the spirit of salutary penance we may be able to recover integrity of soul. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

 

 

Posted in Lives of the Saints | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Saint John Eudes

aug19

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.

Posted in Lives of the Saints | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Saint Dominic De Guzman, Patriarch (Order of Preacher)

aug8.jpg

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.

 

Posted in Lives of the Saints | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

St. Botvid

jul28

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.

Posted in Lives of the Saints | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

St. Pantaleon

jul27.jpg

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.

 

Posted in Lives of the Saints | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blessed Eugene III, Pope

jul8

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.

Posted in Lives of the Saints | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment