A Saint for you Educators – St. John Bosco

Today we remember Saint John Bosco, Priest – (1815 – 1888).- John Bosco had particular concern was for the young in Turin, where, as in so many cities in the 19th century, the industrial revolution was bringing enormous movements of population and consequent social problems, especially for the young men who came there to work. He devoted himself to their care, first of all by means of evening classes, to which hundreds came, and then by setting up a boarding-house for apprentices, and then workshops for their training and education. Despite many difficulties, his enterprise grew, and by 1868 over 800 boys and young men were under his care. To ensure the continuation of his work, he founded a congregation, which he named after St Francis de Sales, and today the Salesians continue his work all over the world. Patron Saint of Educators and Students.

(Thank you to Daylesford Abbey) 

The Church Striving to Change Hearts and Raise Awareness about the Dignity of Women in Bombay

In a church that seems to be so vast and sometimes confusing, it is great to see that it has the courage to speak out and attempt to help change structures, understandings, and hearts to more fully appreciate and respect the dignity of all.  This is a short story that highlights the efforts of the Archdiocese of Bombay to raise awareness about and help influence the culture that has allowed the objectification of women to the extent that gang-rape is prevalent.  Check out the article and the short video for more information by clicking here.

 

Servant of God, Brother Juniper

Servant of God Brother Juniper (1210- 1258) – “Would to God, my brothers, I had a whole forest of such Junipers,” said Francis of this holy friar. We don’t know much about Juniper before he joined the friars in 1210. Francis sent him to establish “places” for the friars in Gualdo Tadino and Viterbo. When St. Clare was dying, Juniper consoled her. He was devoted to the passion of Jesus and was known for his simplicity.

Several stories about Juniper in the Little Flowers of St. Francis illustrate his exasperating generosity. Once Juniper was taking care of a sick man who had a craving to eat pig’s feet. This helpful friar went to a nearby field, captured a pig and cut off one foot, and then served this meal to the sick man. The owner of the pig was furious and immediately went to Juniper’s superior. When Juniper saw his mistake, he apologized profusely. He also ended up talking this angry man into donating the rest of the pig to the friars!

Another time Juniper had been commanded to quit giving part of his clothing to the half-naked people he met on the road. Desiring to obey his superior, Juniper once told a man in need that he couldn’t give the man his tunic, but he wouldn’t prevent the man from taking it either. In time, the friars learned not to leave anything lying around, for Juniper would probably give it away. He died in 1258 and is buried at Ara Coeli Church in Rome.

 

(Thank you to UCatholic)

St. Thomas Aquinas

St. Thomas Aquinas, priest and doctor of the Church, patron of all universities and of students. His feast day is January 28th. He was born toward the end of the year 1226. He was the son of Landulph, Count of Aquino, who, when St. Thomas was five years old, placed him under the care of the Benedictines of Monte Casino. His teachers were surprised at the progress he made, for he surpassed all his fellow pupils in learning as well as in the practice of virtue.

When he became of age to choose his state of life, St. Thomas renounced the things of this world and resolved to enter the Order of St. Dominic in spite of the opposition of his family. In 1243, at the age of seventeen, he joined the Dominicans of Naples. Some members of his family resorted to all manner of means over a two year period to break his constancy. They even went so far as to send an impure woman to tempt him. But all their efforts were in vain and St. Thomas persevered in his vocation. As a reward for his fidelity, God conferred upon him the gift of perfect chastity, which has merited for him the title of the “Angelic Doctor”.

After making his profession at Naples, he studied at Cologne under the celebrated St. Albert the Great. Here he was nicknamed the “dumb ox” because of his silent ways and huge size, but he was really a brilliant student. At the age of twenty-two, he was appointed to teach in the same city. At the same time, he also began to publish his first works. After four years he was sent to Paris. The saint was then a priest. At the age of thirty-one, he received his doctorate.

At Paris he was honored with the friendship of the King, St. Louis, with whom he frequently dined. In 1261, Urban IV called him to Rome where he was appointed to teach, but he positively declined to accept any ecclesiastical dignity. St. Thomas not only wrote (his writings filled twenty hefty tomes characterized by brilliance of thought and lucidity of language), but he preached often and with greatest fruit. Clement IV offered him the archbishopric of Naples which he also refused. He left the great monument of his learning, the “Summa Theologica”, unfinished, for on his way to the second Council of Lyons, ordered there by Gregory X, he fell sick and died at the Cistercian monastery of Fossa Nuova in 1274.

St. Thomas was one of the greatest and most influential theologians of all time. He was canonized in 1323 and declared Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius V.

St. Francis De Sales

Today we remember St Francis de Sales, Bishop & Doctor (1567 – 1622).- He was born near Annécy, (France) studied the law, and was ordained to the priesthood. His first mission was to re-evangelize the people of his home district, who had gone over to Calvinism. Always in danger of his life from hostile Calvinists, he preached with such effectiveness that after four years most of the people had returned to the Church. He was then appointed bishop of Geneva, and spent the rest of his life reforming and reorganizing the diocese, and in caring for the souls of his people by preaching and spiritual guidance.
St Francis taught that we can all attain a devout and spiritual life, whatever our position in society: holiness is not reserved for monks and hermits alone. He wrote that “religious devotion does not destroy: it perfects,” and his spiritual counsel is dedicated to making people more holy by making them more themselves.

(Thank you to Daylesford Abbey)

St. Agnes

St. Agnes († 304) was a Roman girl who was only thirteen years old when she suffered martyrdom for her Faith. Agnes had made a promise, a promise to God never to stain her purity. Her love for the Lord was very great and she hated sin even more than death! Since she was very beautiful, many young men wished to marry Agnes, but she would always say, “Jesus Christ is my only Spouse.”

Procop, the Governor’s son, became very angry when she refused him. He had tried to win her for his wife with rich gifts and promises, but the beautiful young girl kept saying, “I am already promised to the Lord of the Universe. He is more splendid than the sun and the stars, and He has said He will never leave me!” In great anger, Procop accused her of being a Christian and brought her to his father, the Governor. The Governor promised Agnes wonderful gifts if she would only deny God, but Agnes refused. He tried to change her mind by putting her in chains, but her lovely face shone with joy.

He sent her to a house of prostitution to be tempted. The men who saw her there were afraid to touch her because they saw her courage. It is said one man looked at her with lust in his heart and he was struck blind. Agnes was said to have prayed for him and he regained his sight.

At last, she was condemned to death. Even the pagans cried to see such a young and beautiful girl going to death. Yet, Agnes was as happy as a bride on her wedding day. She did not pay attention to those who begged her to save herself. “I would offend my Spouse,” she said, “if I were to try to please you. He chose me first and He shall have me!” Then she prayed and bowed her head for the death-stroke of the sword.

The name Agnes means lamb. Often used as a sign of gentleness and innocence. She died in 304 and is the Patroness of young girls.

(Thank you to UCatholic)

Some wise words from Bishop Soto from Sacramento:

“Caring for the poor is not just something nice the church does; it’s a part of who we are and essential to the church’s saving work.

The Catholic Church lives out this call every day, assisting millions of people every year through social services including food banks, counseling, shelter, and other efforts of Catholic Charities. The current socio-economic situation also calls for more dynamic responses, working at every level of society to create decent jobs, ensure safe and affordable housing, protect immigrant rights, and much more. Last year, CCHD provided over $7.5 million to 230 organizations across the country to do this.”

If you are interested in more of the article, check it out here.

St. Gregory of Nyssa

St. Gregory of Nyssa (b.335  – d. 394) The son of two saints, Basil and Emmilia, young Gregory was raised by his older brother, St. Basil the Great, and his sister, Macrina, in modern-day Turkey. Gregory’s success in his studies suggested great things were ahead for him. After becoming a professor of rhetoric, he was persuaded to devote his learning and efforts to the Church. By then married, Gregory went on to study for the priesthood and become ordained (this at a time when celibacy was not a matter of law for priests).

He was elected Bishop of Nyssa (in Lower Armenia) in 372, a period of great tension over the Arian heresy, which denied the divinity of Christ. Briefly arrested after being falsely accused of embezzling Church funds, Gregory was restored to his see in 378, an act met with great joy by his people.

It was after the death of his beloved brother, Basil, that Gregory really came into his own. He wrote with great effectiveness against Arianism and other questionable doctrines, gaining a reputation as a defender of orthodoxy. He was sent on missions to counter other heresies and held a position of prominence at the Council of Constantinople. His fine reputation stayed with him for the remainder of his life, but over the centuries it gradually declined as the authorship of his writings became less and less certain. But, thanks to the work of scholars in the 20th century, his stature is once again appreciated. Indeed, St. Gregory of Nyssa is seen not simply as a pillar of orthodoxy but as one of the great contributors to the mystical tradition in Christian spirituality and to monasticism itself.

(Thank you to UCatholic)

A Notable Norbertine: Heřman Josef Tyl, O.Praem

Notable Norbertines Series:
Heřman Josef Tyl, O.Praem (1914 – 1993), was born in Cakov (Czec Republic), entered the novitiate of the Premonstratensian (Norbertine) Order, was ordained a priest in 1940 at the Abbey of Teplá, (founded in 1193), and eventually became Prior of his community. In 1942 he was arrested by the Gestapo and survived the concentration camps of Auschwitz (Oswiecim) and Buchenwald.
In 1948 the Communist Regime unleashed a war against churches and religious orders. All assets belonging to Teplá Abbey were nationalized and served as barracks for the Czechoslovak People’s Army for 28 years. Prior Heřman Josef, along with fellow Premonstratensians were arrested and served many years in a communist concentration camp. Although he was deprived of permission to perform religious activities, he managed to encourage and maintain his community secretly. In 1988, the underground religious community secretly elected him Abbot of Teplá.
Once set free, Prior Tyl concentrated his efforts on reviving his community’s spiritual life and in December 1989, Abbot Heřman Josef Tyl served the first mass in his Abbey church, opening a new chapter in the life of the Premonstratensian canons in Teplá. On July 19, 1990, Tepla Abbey was officially returned to the Premonstratensian Order.

(Thank you to Daylesford Abbey)

St. Apollinaris

St. Apollinaris was one of the most illustrious bishops of the second century. Eusebius, St. Jerome, Theodoret, and others speak of him in the highest terms, and they furnish us with the few facts that are known of him. He addressed an “Apology,” that is, a defense, of the Christian religion to the emperor Marcus Aurelius, who, shortly before, had obtained a signal victory over the Quadi, a people inhabiting the country now called Moravia.

One of his legions, the twelfth, was composed chiefly of Christians. When the army was perishing for want of water, the soldiers of this legion fell upon their knees and invoked the assistance of God. The result was sudden, for a copious rain fell, and, aided by the storm, they conquered the Germans. The emperor gave this legion the name “Thundering Legion” and mitigated his persecution.

It was to protect his flock against persecution that St. Apollinaris, who was bishop of Hierapolis in Phrygia, addressed his apology to the Emperor to implore his protection and to remind him of the favor he had received from God through the prayers of the Christians. The date of the death of St. Apollinaris is not known, but it probably occurred before that of Marcus Aurelius, about the year 175.

(Thank you to UCatholic)