October -- The Holy Rosary
Queen of the most Holy Rosary, in these times of such brazen impiety, manifest thy power with the signs of thine ancient victories, and from thy throne, whence thou dost dispence pardon and graces, mercifully regard the Church of thy Son, His Vicar on earth, and every order of the clergy and laity who are sorely oppressed in the mighty conflict. Do thou, who art all powerful vanquisher of all heresies, hasten the hour of mercy, even though the hour of Godâ€™s justice is every day provoked by the countless sins of men. For me who am the least of persons, standing before thee in supplication, do thou obtain the grace I need to live righteously upon the earth and to reign among the just in heaven, the while in company with all faithful Christians throughout the world, I salute thee and acclaim thee as Queen of the most holy Rosary: Queen of the most holy Rosary, pray for us!. Amen.
Sunday -- The Holy Trinity
Praise to you, O Lord, who in the beginning created us in freedom.
Praise to you, O Lord, who endowed us with reason and free will.
Praise to you, O Just Father, who in your love has desired to have us for your very own.
Praise to you, O Holy Son, who for our salvation did put on a human body like ours.
Praise to you, O Spirit of Life, who has enriched us with your gifts.
Praise to you, O Lord, who has brought us to know your divinity.
Praise to you, Lord, who has made us worthy to join with the angels in praising you.
From every mouth, let praise rise up to you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
On the heights and in the depths, let there be praise to the Holy Trinity, on earth and in heaven, from beginning to the end of time, world without end. Amen.
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Monday -- The Holy Spirit
We beseech Thee, O Holy Spirit, descend with Thy light and consolation into our souls; enlighten out understanding, and consecrate the hearts which Thou hast sanctified as Thy temples. O Holy Spirit, come and bring us Godâ€™s blessings and peace; console us and all the afflicted; encourage and strengthen the weak; instruct and support the wavering ; arouse sinners to penance, and enkindle in their cold hearts the fire of divine love and filial confidence in Thee, that all men, in peace and joy, may thankfully praise and adore Thee, together with the Father and the Son, one God, world without end. Amen.
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Tuesday -- The Holy Angels
Bless the Lord, all you His angels. You who are mighty in strength and do His will, intercede for me at the throne of God. By your unceasing watchfulness protect me in every danger of soul and body. Obtain for me the grace of final perseverance, so that after this life I may be admitted to your glorious company and with you may sing the praises of God for all eternity. All you holy angels and archangels, thrones and dominations, principalities and powers and virtues of heaven, cherubim and seraphim, and especially you, my dear guardian angel, intercede for me and obtain for me the graces and favors I need while on this journey in life. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be. Amen.
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Wednesday -- St. Joseph
O blessed Joseph, faithful guardian of my Redeemer, Jesus Christ, protector of thy chaste spouse, the virgin Mother of God, I choose thee this day to be my special patron and advocate and I firmly resolve to honor thee all the days of my life. Therefore I humbly beseech thee to receive me as thy client, to instruct me in every doubt, to comfort me in every affliction, to obtain for me and for all the knowledge and love of the Heart of Jesus, and finally to defend and protect me at the hour of my death. Amen
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Thursday -- Holy Eucharist
Lord Jesus Christ, you gave us the Eucharist as the memorial of Your suffering and death. May our worship of this Sacrament of Your Body and Blood help us to experience the salvation You won for us and the peace of the Kingdom where You live with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.
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Friday -- The Sacred Passion
O Jesus! Heavenly Physician, raised aloft on the Cross to heal our wounds with Thine, remember the bruises which Thou didst suffer and the weakness of all Thy Members which were distended to such a degree that never was there pain like unto Thine. From the crown of Thy Head to the Soles of Thy Feet there was not one spot on Thy Body that was not in torment, and yet, forgetting all Thy sufferings, Thou didst not cease to pray to Thy Heavenly Father for Thy enemies, saying: "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." Through this great Mercy, and in memory of this suffering, grant that the remembrance of Thy Most Bitter Passion may effect in us a perfect contrition and the remission of all our sins. Amen.
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Saturday -- The Blessed Virgin Mary
The Magnificat, Prayer of the Blessed Virgin Mary
My being proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit finds joy in God my savior, For he has looked upon his servant in her lowliness; all ages to come shall call me blessed. God who is mighty has done great things for me, holy is his name; His mercy is from age to age on those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm; he has confused the proud in their inmost thoughts. He has deposed the mighty from their thrones and raised the lowly to high places. The hungry he has given every good thing, while the rich he has sent empty away. He has upheld Israel his servant, ever mindful of his mercy; Even as he promised our fathers, promised Abraham and his descendants forever. (Lk 1:46-55)
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St. Therese of the Child Jesus -- October 1
St. Theresa, often called the Little Flower, was born in Normandy, France, in 1873. She was the youngest of the five daughters born to Louis and Zelie Martin. Theresa was a very lively, lovable little girl. Her father called her his "little queen." Yet she could be too sensitive and irritable. In the story she wrote of her life, she tells how the Infant Jesus helped her overcome this weakness. It was Theresa's great desire to enter the Carmelite convent where two of her sisters were already nuns. But since she was only fifteen, permission was not granted. Theresa felt sure that Jesus wanted her to spend her life loving him alone. She kept praying and asking the superior to admit her. She even dared to ask Pope Leo XIII himself to grant her heart's desire. And finally she was allowed to enter. Although she was only fifteen, Theresa did not expect to be babied. "Obedience, prayer and sacrifice" were her program. She had a thirst to suffer for love of God. Theresa had the spiritual courage of a real heroine. "May Jesus make me a martyr of the heart or of the body--or better, both!" she wrote. And she meant it. In winter she suffered from the bitter cold and dampness of her plain bedroom. There were other kinds of sufferings, too. Whenever she was humiliated, she would offer her pain to her beloved Jesus. She would hide her hurts under a smile. She told Jesus to do with her whatever was his will. Sister Theresa tried hard to be humble. She called her great confidence in God her "little way" to holiness. She always had a burning desire to become a saint. The young nun wanted to find a "short cut," an "elevator," to take her quickly to sanctity. So she looked in the Bible, and found the words, "Whoever is a little one, come to me." When she lay dying, she could say: "I have never given the good God anything but love, and it is with love that he will repay. After my death, I will let fall a shower of roses. I will spend my heaven doing good on earth." The Little Flower died on September 30, 1897. She was proclaimed a saint by Pope Pius XI in 1925. St. Theresa taught us her "little way. " Yes, it is a small and yet a great thing to offer our small sacrifices joyfully to Jesus throughout each day.
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Guardian Angels -- October 2
Today we celebrate God's messengers who protect us human beings. We see them throughout the Bible. Angels delivered messages from God, protected people from dangers and rescued them. The New Testament Acts of the Apostles tells in chapter 12 how St. Peter was led out of prison by an angel. The belief that we each have a guardian angel has been common to Christians for many centuries. The picture of a guardian angel that we often see is an angel protecting a little child as he or she walks over a small bridge. In 1608, Pope Paul V added today's feast to the calendar of saints and celebrations. It is very encouraging to know and believe that we each have an angel guarding and protecting us. Our guardian angel is a gift from our loving God. We can say this brief prayer as often as we would like to throughout the day:
Angel of God,
my guardian dear,
to whom God's love entrusts me here.
Ever this day be at my side,
to light and guard,
to rule and guide. Amen.
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St. Gerard of Brogne -- October 3
Gerard was born at the end of the ninth century in France. His family was wealthy, but Gerard was not proud. In fact, he was known because of his friendly, kind ways. After a hunting trip, he and his friends returned to his estate tired and hungry. After he invited the others inside for refreshments and rest, he left. Gerard went out and slipped into a little chapel that was on his property. He prayed for a long time. His tired body seemed rested and he forgot all about his hunger. The idea occurred to Gerard that if people only realized the joy of praying, they would be so much more willing to pray. Then he thought about the monks who spend their life praising God. Imagine how privileged they are, he thought. He prayed over the possibility of a religious vocation and joined the monastery of Saint-Denis. Gerard loved the life he had chosen and after studies became a priest. He had been a monk for eleven years when he was given permission to start a monastery on his own property at Brogne. The monastery flourished but Gerard felt there was too much activity and excitement. He built himself a little hermitage next to the church. He lived there quietly and alone. But he was not allowed to stay in peace for very long. His superiors asked Gerard to visit the monasteries in Flanders and Normandy. The monks needed some guidance and help in becoming more fervent. This work took Gerard on many journeys for some twenty years. All of his life Gerard lived a strict life filled with sacrifices. He did this because he wanted to show Jesus that he loved him. He showed that love by willingly offering little acts of self-denial. When he knew his life on earth was nearly over, he asked to be able to return to his little hut back in Brogne. He was given permission to do that. Gerard died peacefully on October 3, 959. Gerard shows us by his life that happiness comes from God. We can ask St. Gerard of Brogne to help us look into our hearts to see if we are full of the love of Jesus.
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St. Francis of Assisi -- October 4
Francis was born around 1181. As a young man in his Italian hometown of Assisi, he loved parties and good times. He was handsome and rich, so he bought himself the finest clothes and spent money freely. Francis had no desire to study or to learn his father's business--he just wanted to have fun. After two illnesses and other adventures, Francis realized that he was wasting precious time. He became aware that he should be serving Jesus. He began by praying more and making sacrifices to grow strong in spirit. Once he kissed a horrible-looking leper, while giving him money. Often he gave his clothes and money to the poor. He served the sick in hospitals. Still he felt he must do more. He fasted and began to go around in rags to humble himself. It is not hard to imagine how his former rich friends must have looked at him now! His father was so angry that he beat him and locked him up at home. Francis bore all this suffering for love of Jesus. When his father took everything from him in disgust, Francis put all his trust in his Father in heaven. He said that he was married to "Lady Poverty" and he began to live as a beggar. He had no shelter. His food was what kind people gave him. Everywhere he went, he urged people to stop sinning and return to God. Soon many men began to realize how close to God this poor man was, and they became his disciples. That is how the great Franciscan order of priests and brothers began. They helped the poor and sick and preached everywhere. Even after the order had spread all over Italy, Francis insisted that they should not own anything. He wanted the friars to love poverty as he did. St. Francis had the power of working miracles and even of making birds and animals obey him! As a reward for his great love, Jesus gave him his own wounds in his hands and feet. The humble Francis tried to hide them. Toward the end of his life, he became very sick. He was told he would live only a few more weeks. Then he exclaimed, "Welcome, Sister Death!" He asked to be laid on the ground and covered with an old habit. Then he urged his brothers to love God, to love being poor, and to obey the Gospel. "I have done my part," he said. "May Jesus teach you to do yours." Francis died on October 3, 1226. He was proclaimed a saint a short time later by Pope Honorius III. St. Francis wanted to be happy more than anything in life. He found happiness when he made Jesus the center of his life. We can ask St. Francis to show us what is really valuable in our lives and what is not.
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St. Faustina -- October 5
Born in 1905 in the village of Glogowiec near Lodz, Sister Faustina was the third of ten children. From a very tender age, Faustina was notable in her habits of prayer, her fastidious work, obedience, and her concern for the poor. For her schooling, she received not quite three years of elementary school and later became a domestic servant as a teenager. At the age of 20, she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in which, as Sister Maria Faustina, she spent 13 years. While a seemingly simple and monotonous life, Sister Faustina had an exceptionally profound union with God. Even from her earliest childhood, she desired to become a saint, and she consistently worked with Jesus for the salvation of lost souls, even to the extent of offering her life as a sacrifice for poor sinners. As such, she was given the grace of much suffering, as well as numerous mystical graces. To Sister Faustina, Jesus said, â€œIn the Old Covenant I sent prophets wielding thunderbolts to my people. Today I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My Merciful Heart.â€ This simple, though trusting religious, was to be trusted with one of Godâ€™s most amazing declarations! Racked and broken by tuberculosis, and from the many sufferings that she bore in the sacrifice for sinners, Sister Faustina died October 5, 1938 at the young age of 33, the same age as our Lord when He died. In 1993, on the first Sunday after Easter, in St. Peterâ€™s Square in Rome, Pope John Paul II declared her on of the community of the Blessed. In his statement to his General Audience, the Holy Father said, â€œGod has spoken to us through the spiritual wealth of Sister Faustina Kowalska. She left to the world the great message of Divine Mercy and an incentive to complete self surrender to the Creator. God endowed her with singular grace that enabled her to experience His mercy through mystical encounter and by a special gift of contemplative prayer. Blessed Sister Faustina, thank you for reminding the world of that great mystery of Divine Mercy; that â€˜startling mystery,â€™ that inexpressible mystery of the Father, which today every individual and the whole world need so very much.â€ Sister Faustina has been canonized in Rome on the first Sunday after Easter, now forever known as Divine Mercy Sunday, April 30, 2000 by the Holy Father John Paul II. She is the first saint of the new millennium.
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Blessed Marie Rose Durocher -- October 6
Eulalie Durocher was born in 1811 in Quebec, Canada. She was the tenth of eleven children. Eulalie's mother died when she was eighteen. Her brother, the pastor of a parish in Beloeil, invited his younger sister to his parish. She became a lay apostle. She took charge of the household duties for her brother, the priest. She also started the first parish sodality in Canada. The thirteen years she was involved in the life of the Church and the parish were preparing her for a special work for God. In 1843, when Eulalie was thirty-two, the bishop of Montreal asked her to begin a very special mission. Eulalie started a new religious order of women called the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. Their particular work for Jesus would be to educate the poorest and most neglected children. Eulalie became Mother Marie Rose. Others followed this generous woman. They, too, believed in the importance of educating children for the love of Jesus. Mother Marie Rose lived only six years after her congregation began. However, she helped her sisters from heaven because the community continued to grow and open new convents. They started a mission in America, too. They went to Oregon in 1859. Today the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary are spread throughout the world. Mother Marie Rose Durocher was declared "blessed" by Pope John Paul 11 on May 23, 1982. We can thank Blessed Marie Rose for the sacrifices she made to educate children. When we are tempted to "take it easy" at school, we can ask her to give us the will power to try our very best.
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Our Lady of the Rosary -- October 7
It was St. Dominic in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries who encouraged everyone to say the Rosary. St. Dominic was greatly saddened by the spread of a terrible heresy called Albigensianism. With the members of his new Order of Preachers, he was trying his best to destroy this dangerous heresy. He begged the Blessed Virgin for help, and it is said that she told him to preach devotion to the Holy Rosary. St. Dominic obeyed and he was very successful in stopping the heresy. The Holy Rosary is a simple devotion which can be practiced by all people--old and young, learned and unlearned. It can be said anywhere, at any time. While we say the Our Father, ten Hail Marys and Glory to the Father, we think about great moments in the lives of Jesus and Mary. In this way, we grow closer and closer to Jesus and his Blessed Mother. We learn to imitate their holy lives. Mary is very pleased when we say the Holy Rosary often and well. She used to say it with St. Bernadette when she appeared to her at Lourdes. The three little children of Fatima learned from Mary the power of the Rosary. Mary taught them that the Rosary obtains graces and saves sinners from hell. A Dominican pope, Pius V, established today's feast. It is to show our gratitude to Mary for a military victory over the Turks at Lepanto on October 7, 1571. Let us acquire the beautiful habit of saying the Rosary every day.
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St. Simeon -- October 8
Holy Simeon lived in the first century. In Luke's Gospel, chapter two, Joseph and Mary bring Jesus ton Temple in Jerusalem. That is where they meet Simeon. The holy man had waited patiently for the Lord to grant him a request: he wanted to live to see the Messiah, the Savior of the world. But he did not know who that person would be, or when and if his prayer would be fulfilled. The young couple from Nazareth approached him with their baby. He looked into the eyes of the Child and felt a burst of joy in his heart. His eyes glowed. He lifted Jesus into his arms, then held him up and prayed: "Now, my God, I can die in peace. I have seen with my own eyes the world's salvation. You have prepared this for all your people." Mary and Joseph looked at one another. They were silently amazed. Then the old man turned to Mary. His eyes became sad as he said softly, " Your own soul will be pierced by the sword." Mary did not understand what this meant, and she prayed to God for courage. Holy Simeon had received his request from God. He remained in joyful thanksgiving as the couple and their baby left. We can ask St. Simeon to give us some of his trust in God. We can also ask him to help us be patient when our prayers are not answered as quickly as we desire.
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St. John Leonardi -- October 9
Born in 1541, John became a pharmacist in Lucca, Italy. When he was twenty-five, John felt the call to become a priest. He began studies and was ordained in 1572. He spent his time teaching children the faith and training catechists. His active ministry also took him to hospitals and prisons. Several young men in Lucca gathered around Father John and helped him with his wonderful works. Eventually, this group was to become a new religious congregation of priests. They were called the Clerks of the Mother of God. Father Leonardi was given a church as his headquarters in Lucca. His followers took care of the spiritual needs of the people in their new parish. Father Leonardi moved to Rome where his good friend St. Philip Neri lived. St. Philip was his spiritual director. Father Leonardi's work was hard at times because of all the political and spiritual turmoil in Europe. But St. Philip believed in Father Leonardi and in the good his congregation of priests was doing. St. Philip gave him his own house in Rome. It was called "St. William of Charity." With the building came St. Philip's cat. St. John gladly took care of it. St. John Leonardi and his priests made a strong religious impact on the people of Italy. The order was officially recognized by Pope Clement VIII in 1595. Their founder died of the plague on October 9, 1609, while ministering to victims of the disease. He was proclaimed a saint by Pope Pius XI in 1938. This saint teaches us to recognize that human beings require spiritual as well as physical care. We can ask St John Leonardi to remind us to pay attention to the needs of our souls as well as our bodies.
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Eleven Martyrs of Almeria, Spain -- October 10
The Spanish civil war began in 1936. It has been described as a struggle between atheism and belief in God. The particular object of persecution was the Catholic Church. In three years, 12 bishops; 4,184 priests, 2,365 monks and 300 nuns died for the faith. Today we celebrate eleven of those martyrs- two bishops, a diocesan priest, seven Brothers of the Christian Schools, and a young lay woman. The bishops were from Almeria and Gaudix, Spain. The seven Brothers of the Christian Schools were teachers at St. Joseph College in Almeria. Father Pedro Castroverde was a well-known scholar and founder of the Teresian Association. Victoria Diez Molina belonged to the Teresians. She had found a spiritual treasure in the way this group prayed and lived their Christian responsibilities. Victoria was a teacher in a country school and was very active in her parish. All eleven martyrs chose to die for Jesus rather than give up their Catholic faith. Brother Aurelio Maria, soon to be killed, was the director of St. Joseph College. He said ,"What happiness for us if we could shed our blood for the lofty ideal of Christian education. Let us double our fervor so to become worthy of such an honor." Bishop Medina of Gaudix said: "We have done nothing to deserve death. But I forgive you so that the Lord will also forgive us. May our blood be the last shed in Almeria." Bishop Ventaja of Almeria had many opportunities to flee the country. He chose instead to remain with his suffering people, his suffering Church. Father Castroverde, the Teresian founder, wrote in his diary, "Lord, may I think what you want me to think. May I desire what you want me to desire. May I speak as you want me to speak. May I work as you want me to work." He was killed on July 28, 1936. Victoria Molina was jailed on August 11, 1936. She and seventeen others were led to an abandoned mine shaft and to their death. Victoria comforted the others and said, "Come on, our reward is waiting for us." Her last words were, "Long live Christ the King." Pope John Paul 11 proclaimed these martyrs "blessed" on October 10, 1993. We can ask these eleven heroes of God to give us their courage. We could make the prayer of Blessed Pedro Castroverde our own:
Lord, may I think what you want me to think.
May I desire what you want me to desire.
May I speak as you want me to speak.
May I work as you want me to work.
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St. Kenneth -- October 11
This saint, who is sometimes called St. Canice or Kenny, lived in the sixth century. He was born in Ireland and is famous in both Ireland and Scotland. His father was a bard, that is, a professional singer of ballads and stories in song. As a young man, Kenneth went to Wales to study for the priesthood. St. Cadoc was his teacher. After he became a priest, he went to visit Rome. He then returned to Ireland to study at the school of St. Finnian. Kenneth became good friends with three other Irish saints--Kieran, Corngall and Columba. After preaching throughout Ireland, St. Kenneth went with St. Columba to Scotland on a mission to the pagan King Brude. When this king angrily seized his sword to strike the two missionaries, it is said that St. Kenneth made the sign of the cross, and a miracle took place. The king's hand was suddenly paralyzed, and the saints were saved. St. Kenneth and St. Columba were always close friends. Once Columba was sailing with some companions. Kenneth was far away in his monastery in Ireland. Suddenly he became aware that Columba was in great danger at sea. He jumped up from the dinner table and ran to church to pray for his beloved friend. Out at sea, Columba cried to his frightened companions: "Don't be afraid! God will listen to Kenneth. Right now he is running to church with only one shoe on to pray for us!" And as he said, they were saved. St. Kenneth started several monasteries and converted many nonbelievers. He became famous for his zealous preaching of the Gospel. Even more, he became well-known for the perfect way in which he himself practiced the teachings of Jesus. St. Kenneth knew how to make the best of a situation. His good humor won him many friends and helpers in preaching the Good News. We can ask St. Kenneth to show us how to be as good and cheerful a friend as he was.
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St. Felix & St Cyprian -- October 12
Felix and Cyprian were African bishops who lived in the fifth century. They suffered with over 4,900 martyrs in the terrible persecution by the Vandals. Huneric, the Vandal king, drove these Christians into exile in the Libyan desert. They were treated with great cruelty by the Moors. A holy bishop named Victor used to try to help the poor Christians who had been shut up in a horrible prison. They were packed in without sufficient air or light. He wrote the story of their courage and their sufferings. Bishop Victor says that when they were ordered into exile in the terrible desert, they came out of that prison singing hymns. Other Christians burst into tears at the sight of their great courage. Even women and children went with them to exile and death. The story is told of Bishop St. Felix. He was so old and so crippled that someone said to the Vandal king ,"You might just as well leave him here to die." But King Huneric cruelly answered, "If he cannot ride a horse, he can be dragged by oxen." In the end, they decided to tie the brave old bishop to a donkey and he was carried off to die in the desert. We also celebrate St. Cyprian. This bishop lived two centuries after St. Cyprian of Carthage who is honored on September 16. Today's Cyprian risked his own life to take care of as many prisoners as he could. He spent all his time and strength, plus everything he owned, to assist them. At last, he, too, was arrested and sent into exile. There he also died a martyr from the cruel treatment reserved for Christians. The martyrs gave up all they had, even life itself, to keep their faith in God. We can ask today's martyrs for the gift of their joyful generosity.
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Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima -- October 13
OCTOBER 13, 1917: The Miracle of the Sun was proof of the Divine origin of the apparitions and reaffirmed the seriousness of God's message of salvation for the world. This great supernatural event could not be mistaken for anything other than what it was. After each of the three previous apparitions in July, August, and September, the children said that the Lady had promised to perform a miracle on October 13, 1917. As a result, the whole country was waiting eagerly for the anticipated miracle. Despite the torrential rains that were plaguing Fatima, tens of thousands of people were making the pilgrimage to the remote village in Portugal. Lucia's mother, who did not believe in the apparitions, ordered her daughter to go to confession, "because if there is no miracle we will all be killed." Lucia replied, "I will go with you if you wish, but not because I am afraid. The Lady will keep her word." By the morning of October 13, a vast multitude of believers and unbelievers gathered in the Cova da Iria. Despite the driving winds and pouring rain, the spirits of the pilgrims were undaunted as they waited with excitement for the promised miracle in the swamped and muddy pasture. The crowd, which was so great that little Jacinta began to cry, pressed in on the seers from every direction. Impassioned cries for the children's intercession followed them every step of the way. When they finally reached the holmoak tree, Lucia and Francisco placed Jacinta between them for her protection. Lucia began to recite the Rosary and cried out suddenly, "Put down your umbrellas everyone." She said to Jacinta and Francisco, "Kneel down, Our Lady is coming. I have seen the flash." Lucia again inquired of the Queen of Heaven, "What do you want of me?" "I am the Lady of the Rosary. I would like a chapel built here in my honor. Continue to pray the Rosary everyday. The war will end soon and the soldiers will return to their homes." Then Lucia asked, "I have many petitions, will you grant them?" "Some yes, others no. People must amend their lives and ask pardon for their sins." As Our Lady continued, her face became very grave, "Offend not Our Lord anymore, for He is already much offended." Lucia asked, "Do you want anything else from me?" Our Lady answered, "I desire nothing more." As she left the three children, Our Lady opened her hands, which radiated a bright light. Then, as she rose from their sight, she pointed towards the sun and the light beaming from her hands made the sun appear even brighter. Lucia then cried out, "There she goes, there she goes! Look at the sun!" As Lucia cried out these words the most incredible miracle ever imagined took place. The sun had taken on a pale appearance, similar to the moon, but in an extraordinary color. "We could look at the sun with ease, it did not bother at all. It seemed to be continually fading and glowing in one fashion, then another. It threw shafts of light one way and another, painting everything in different colors, the people, the trees, the earth, and even the air. But the greatest proof of the miracle was the fact that the sun did not bother the eyes," testified an eyewitness. "At a certain point, the sun stopped its play of light and then started dancing. It stopped once more and again started dancing until it seemed to loosen itself from the skies and fall upon the people. It was a moment of terrible suspense." Another eyewitness said, "The sun cast different colors, yellow, blue and white. It trembled constantly. It looked like a revolving ball of fire falling upon the people." As the sun seemed ready to crash into the earth, the throng of people gathered cried out in terror, "We shall all be killed! We shall all be killed!" Others cried out to Our Lady to save them and made Acts of Contrition. The Miracle had brought them to their knees, begging for God's forgiveness and mercy. At last the sun ascended back into the sky and returned to its normal position. After the frightening experience, the crowd was filled with relief. Despite the heavy rains and the muddy conditions, everyone noticed that their clothing, and the entire Cova da Iria, was completely dry. The children, however, were unaware of all that had taken place. During the spectacular phenomenon of the sun, the three shepherd children had experienced a vision of the Holy Family. They saw St. Joseph holding the Child Jesus, as they were blessing the whole world by making the Sign of the Cross. As this occurred, Our Lady appeared in the blue and white robes of Our Lady of the Rosary. Lucia alone was granted another vision, that of seeing Our Lord as the Divine Redeemer, dressed in red, blessing the world. Our Lady was beside Him, now clothed in the purple robes of Our Lady of Sorrows. Finally, the Blessed Mother appeared again to Lucia wearing the brown robes of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, offering the Brown Scapular for the salvation of the world. Afterward, the children were besieged by the mass of people who had witnessed the Miracle. Some had persistent questions, while others grabbed at their clothing in hopes of obtaining a relic. The village of Fatima was located within the diocese of Leiria, Portugal. The Bishop of Leiria stated that those who witnessed the events of this great day were fortunate. "This phenomenon, which no astronomical observatory registered, was not natural. It was seen by people of all classes, members of the Church, and non-Catholics. It was seen by reporters of the principal newspapers and by people many miles away." This great supernatural event could not be mistaken for anything other than what it was. The Miracle of the Sun was proof of the Divine origin of the apparitions and reaffirmed the seriousness of God's message of salvation for the world.
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St. Callistus I -- October 14
This great pope and martyr lived in the first part of the third century. He was once a young slave in Rome, who got into serious trouble. His master, a Christian, had put him in charge of a bank. Somehow, Callistus lost the money deposited with him by other Christians. In fear, he ran away from Rome. He was caught, after jumping into the sea to try to get away. His sentence was a terrible one: he was chained and put to hard labor in a mill. From this punishment Callistus was released, only because his creditors hoped he could get some of their money back. But once again he was arrested, this time for having gotten into a fight. He was sent to the mines of Sardinia. When the emperor freed all the Christians who had been condemned to those mines, Callistus was freed, too. From that time on, things began to go better for him. Pope St. Zephrinus came to know and trust the freed slave. He placed him in charge of the public Christian cemetery in Rome. This cemetery is now named after St. Callistus himself. Many popes were buried in it. Callistus proved himself worthy of the pope's confidence in him. St. Zephrinus not only ordained him a priest, but also made him his friend and advisor. Later on, St. Callistus himself became pope. Some people complained because he showed too much mercy to sinners. However, the holy pope ruled that even murderers could be admitted to communion after they had done penance for their sin. This great pope always defended the true doctrine of Jesus. He ended his life in 222 with a glorious martyrdom. Fear can lead us to run away from the responsibility of our words and actions. We can ask St. Callistus for courage to admit and make up for our mistakes.
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St. Teresa of Avila -- October 15
Teresa was born in Avila, Spain, on March 28, 1515. As a little girl in her parents' rich home, Teresa and her brother Rodrigo loved to read the lives of the saints and martyrs. It seemed to them that the martyrs got to heaven an easy way. The two children set out secretly to go to the land of the Moors. As they walked along, they prayed that they might die for Christ. But they had not gotten far when they met an uncle. He took them back to their worried mother at once. Next the children decided to be hermits in their garden. This didn't work out either. They could not get enough stones together to build their huts. St. Teresa herself wrote down these amusing stories of her childhood. The fact is that when she grew to be a teenager, however, she changed. Teresa read so many novels and foolish romances that she lost much of her love for prayer. She began to think more of dressing up to look pretty. But after she recovered from a bad illness, Teresa read a book about the great St. Jerome. Then and there, she made up her mind to become a bride of Christ. As a nun, Teresa often found it hard to pray. Besides that, she had poor health. Teresa wasted time every day in long, foolish conversations. But one day, in front of a picture of Jesus, she felt great sorrow that she did not love God more. She started then to live for Jesus alone, no matter what sacrifice had to be made. In return for her love, the Lord gave St. Teresa the privilege of hearing him talk to her. She learned to pray in a marvelous way, too. St. Teresa of Avila is famous for having opened new Carmelite convents. These convents were filled with sisters who wanted to live holy lives. They made many sacrifices for Jesus. Teresa herself gave them the example. She prayed with great love and worked hard at the convent tasks. St. Teresa was a great leader and true lover of Jesus and his Church. She died in 1582 and was proclaimed a saint by Pope Gregory XV in 1622. She was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI in 1970. When we ever need a little "spiritual push" to pray at Mass with more love, we can ask St. Teresa. We can ask her to help us keep our minds on our prayers, She will also show us how to love St. Joseph as she did.
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St. Margaret Mary -- October 16
Margaret Mary lived in the seventeenth century. She is the famous French nun to whom Jesus showed his Sacred Heart. As a child, she was a happy little girl who loved the nuns at school. But when she was eleven, she became very sick. It was four years before she was well again. Her father had died, and an aunt had moved into their home. This aunt and her husband made Margaret Mary and her mother suffer very much. Almost every day, the teenager would hide in the garden to cry and pray. What hurt her most was seeing her mother get hurt. Yet Margaret Mary grew to love good times. A few years later, she was considering marriage. Her mother wanted her to marry and so did her relatives. They were worried about her, especially when she brought beggar children into the garden to try to teach them. Margaret Mary hesitated a while, neither marrying nor entering the convent. At last she decided on the convent. She joined the Visitation sisters and was a kind, humble sister. Often she made others impatient since she was slow and clumsy. But she was dear to Jesus. He began to appear to St. Margaret Mary to show her how much he loves us all. Jesus wanted her to spread devotion to his Sacred Heart. It was a very hard thing to do. Many people thought Margaret Mary had not really seen Jesus at all. Some were angry with her for trying to spread the new devotion. This brought her great suffering. Yet she did her best to carry out the Lord's wish. Jesus blessed her hard work and pain. Today, this wonderful devotion to the Sacred Heart is practiced all over the world. Our Lord made great promises to St. Margaret Mary for those who are devoted to his most Sacred Heart. Some of these promises are: "I will comfort them in all their afflictions. I will establish peace in their homes. I will bestow abundant blessings on all their undertakings. I will bless every place where a picture of my Heart shall be displayed and honored." The greatest promise Jesus made is this: "My divine Heart shall be the safe refuge in the last moment to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Friday for nine months in a row." We can ask St. Margaret Mary to help us understand the importance of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
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St. Ignatius of Antioch -- October 17
St. Ignatius of Antioch has been well-known since earliest times. He was born in the year 50. St. Jerome and St. John Chrysostom both thought of his tomb as near the city gates of Antioch. Ignatius was the third bishop of Antioch. This is the city where St. Peter labored before he moved to Rome. It is also the city where followers of Jesus were first called Christians. Ignatius was condemned to death during the reign of Emperor Trajan. He was led from Antioch to the center of Roman cruelty--the amphitheater. Although he journeyed to Rome under military guard, Ignatius stopped in Smyrna and Troas. From each of those cities, he wrote letters to the Christian communities. In this way, he used the same methods of preaching the Good News as the great St. Paul. One of the letters Ignatius wrote from Troas was to St. Polycarp, a fellow bishop, who is also a martyr. We celebrate his feast on February 23. When the beloved Ignatius arrived in Rome, he joined the brave Christians who waited in prisons. The day came when the bishop was pushed out into the amphitheater. Two fierce lions devoured him. He left the beautiful witness of Christian life and his letters. St. Ignatius died around 107. The next time we feel overwhelmed by an unpleasant situation, we can go to St. Ignatius of Antioch. He will show us how to turn problems into opportunities, the way he did.
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St. Luke -- October 18
It is generally believed that Luke was a gentile doctor. He was a good, kind man who came to know the Lord from the great apostle Paul. After he had become a Christian, he went everywhere with Paul. Luke was a great help to him in spreading the faith. The Bible calls Luke "the beloved physician." St. Luke is the author of two books in the Bible: the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. Although he did not meet Jesus while the Lord was on this earth, he wanted to write about him for new converts. So he talked to those who had known Jesus. He wrote down all that they had seen the Lord do and heard him say. It is believed that Luke learned some important information from the Blessed Virgin Mary herself. Mary would have been the person who could describe the details of the angel Gabriel's appearance to her at the Annunciation. Mary could have best told about the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem and the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt. Luke also wrote the story of how the apostles began to teach the message of Jesus after he went back to heaven. It is in Luke's book, The Acts of the Apostles, that we learn how the Church began to grow and spread. St. Luke is the patron saint of doctors. We are not sure when or where Luke died. He is one of the four evangelists, or Gospel writers. Luke's Gospel speaks especially of God's mercy for people who are sorry for their sins. Sometimes we become afraid because of our sins and mistakes. We can ask St. Luke to show us how to have confidence in the merciful Jesus, as he did.
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St. Isaac Jogues, St. John De Brebeuf & Companions -- October 19
Over three hundred years ago, six Jesuit priests and two holy laymen, all from France, died as martyrs here in North America. These eight men were martyred between 1642 and 1649. They were a group of the bravest and most daring missionaries in the New World. They risked everything they had to bring Christ to the native people. After much hard work, they converted many of the Huron tribe. But the Iroquois, bitter enemies of the Hurons, put them all to death. St. John de Brebeuf had tuberculosis. He was so sick in France that he could not even teach many classes. Yet he became a marvelous, valiant apostle. His courage amazed the fierce Iroquois as they tortured him to death. St. Isaac Jogues was tortured by the Mohawks, but was freed by the Dutch. He went back to France, but as soon as he could, he returned to North America. Father Jogues was killed with a tomahawk by the Bear Clan of the Mohawks. St. Anthony Daniel had just finished celebrating Mass for his Huron converts when the Iroquois attacked the village. The Christian Indians begged him to try to escape. But Father Daniel stayed. He wanted to baptize all those who were crying to him for Baptism before they would be killed. The Iroquois burned him to death in his little chapel. St. Gabriel Lallemont was tortured to death with St. John de Brebeuf. St. Charles Garnier and St. Noel Chabanel were both killed with tomahawks. St. Charles was first shot by an Iroquois musket during a surprise attack, but he still tried to crawl to help a dying man. He was killed by a hatchet blow. Father Chabanel had found life very hard, but had made a vow to stay in North America. He was killed by a Huron traitor. The two lay helpers, Rene Goupil and John Lalande, were both killed with tomahawks. So it was that these heroes of Christ gave their lives for the native people of North America. After their death, new missionaries were able to convert almost every tribe that the martyrs had known. These brave men, often called the North American martyrs, were proclaimed saints in 1931 by Pope Pius XI. Many sins committed today offend the dignity of human beings. We can ask these martyrs to share with us their great love and respect for people. We can ask them to give us their great "missionary hearts.
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St. Paul of the Cross -- October 20
Paul Danei of Ovada, Italy, was born into a family of merchants in 1694. He was a good Christian and practiced his faith. When he was nineteen, Paul decided to become a soldier. After a year he left the army. During the summer of 1720 Paul had some kind of a spiritual experience. He had three visions of starting a new religious order. He couldn't imagine what was happening, so he went to his bishop for guidance. The bishop investigated and believed that the visions were real. He told Paul to go ahead with his special call. He should do what he was being told in the visions to do. Paul spent forty days in prayer and penance. During that time he wrote a rule that he and the followers of his new congregation could base their style of life on. Paul was joined by his brother John and two other young men. Paul and John were ordained priests by Pope Benedict XIII in 1727. Ten years later, the first Passionist monastery was started. Pope Clement XIV approved the new order. He also approved the rule a short time later. Besides the three vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, Paul of the Cross added a fourth vow. devotion to the Passion of Christ. By 1747, the Passionists had three monasteries. They were preaching parish retreats throughout Italy. When he died in 1775, Paul of the Cross was starting a congregation of Passionist nuns. He was proclaimed a saint by Pope Pius IX in 1867. We all need help when it comes to focusing our minds on spiritual things. We will profit by thinking about the Passion and death of Jesus. We can thank the Lord for all that he suffered for us. That is what Paul of the Cross and his religious order do. We can ask St. Paul of the Cross to help us deepen our appreciation for the sufferings of Jesus.
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St. Hilarion -- October 21
Hilarion lived in the fourth century. He was an unbelieving teenager when he left his home in Palestine. He was on his way to Egypt to go to school. There he learned about the Christian faith, and soon he was baptized. Hilarion was only about fifteen at the time. His conversion started him out on a glorious journey leading him closer to God. Before long, he was off to visit the famous St. Anthony in the desert. (We celebrate his feast on January 17.) Hilarion wanted to be alone to serve Jesus, whom he had just come to love. Hilarion stayed two months with St. Anthony, but it was not quiet enough there for him. Many people came to St. Anthony for help. Hilarion could not find the peace he was looking for, so he left. After giving everything he had to the poor, he went into the wilderness to live as a hermit. Hilarion had to battle many temptations. At times it seemed to him as if none of his prayers were heard at all. Yet he did not let these temptations stop him from praying even harder. After twenty years in the desert, the holy man worked his first miracle. Soon many people began coming to his hut to beg his help. Several men asked him to let them stay with him to learn from him how to pray and do penance. In his great love for God and people, the saint invited them to stay. But finally, when he was sixty-five, he began to travel. He went from one country to another in search of peace and quiet. However, the fame of his miracles of mercy always brought crowds of visitors. A few years before his death in 371, Hilarian at last felt that he was truly alone with God. He was eighty years old when he died. When we think that people and circumstances get in the way of our relationship with God, we can pray to St. Hilarion. He will show us how to find the Lord, even in the midst of noise and confusion.
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Blessed Timothy Giaccardo -- October 22
Joseph Giaccardo was born on June 13, 1896, in Narzole, Italy- His parents were hard-working farm people. Joseph acquired good habits from them. They loved their Catholic Faith which he learned from them too. Joseph prayed to Jesus in the Eucharist and to Mary. He had a little statue of Mary on a ledge in his room. Joseph became a regular Mass server. That is how he met a young priest who came to help at St. Bernard's Church. The priest was about to begin a wonderful new religious order, the Society of St. Paul. His name was Father James Alberione. Joseph liked him very much. Father Alberione was impressed with Joseph too. He guided Joseph in the spiritual life. The boy entered the seminary in Alba to study for the priesthood. In 1917, though still a seminarian, Joseph asked his bishop for permission to leave the seminary. He wanted to join Father Alberione's new order. The bishop reluctantly permitted Joseph to enter the Society of St. Paul. Joseph professed his vows in 1920. He chose the name "Timothy" after the best-loved disciple of St. Paul. Father Timothy was ordained two years later, the first priest in Father Alberione's new congregation. The order had just been started in 1914. Father Timothy's particular vocation as a Pauline priest was to be a media apostle. He wrote, edited, printed and distributed the Word of God. He performed many responsible tasks with courage and humility. Some people did not understand the apostolate of the Society of St. Paul and the Daughters of St. Paul. They wondered how priests, brothers and sisters could be publishers. How could they use media as their tools for communicating the Good News? Father Timothy helped people to understand the marvelous vocation of the Paulines. He also was a great teacher of the priests and religious who were led to this new apostolate. He served the Lord in northern Italy and in Rome. he became Father Alberione's closest associate. In fact, Father Alberione himself called Blessed Timothy "most faithful of the faithful." But he was not going to be the successor of the Pauline Founder, as Father Alberione had hoped. Father Timothy became very ill with leukemia. He died on January 24, 1948 at the age of forty-nine. He was proclaimed "blessed" by Pope John Paul 11 on October 22, 1990. We can ask Blessed Timothy to inspire us to chose media wisely. We can pray:
"Blessed Timothy, teach me to use media wisely.
Teach me to live wisely as you did.
Teach me to love the Word of God and the Eucharist as you did.
Teach me to love Mary as you did. Amen."
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St. John Capistrano -- October 23
St. John Capistrano was born in Italy in 1386. He was a lawyer and governor of the city of Perugia. When enemies of the city threw John into prison, he started to think about the real meaning of life. John's political enemies were not in a hurry to release him. He had plenty of time to realize that what mattered most was the salvation of his soul. So when he was miraculously set free, John entered a Franciscan monastery. He was thirty at the time. For John, life as a poor friar was a big change. He had to sacrifice his independence for the love of Jesus. And he tried with all his heart to do this. After he became a priest, John was sent out to preach. He and his former novice master, St. Bernardine of Siena, spread devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus everywhere. John preached throughout Europe for forty years. All who heard him were moved to love and serve the Lord better. An outstanding moment in the life of this saint came at the battle of Belgrade. The Turks had made up their minds to conquer Europe and to wipe out the Church of Jesus. The pope sent St. John Capistrano to all the Christian kings of Europe to beg them to unite to fight the mighty Turkish army. The kings obeyed this poor, barefoot friar. He stirred up their love of God and their courage with his fiery words. But even though a big army of Christians came to fight Mohammed 11 and his Turks, it looked as though they would lose. The enemy army was much bigger. Then it was that the saint himself, though he was seventy years old, ran to the front lines and encouraged the men to keep fighting. Holding his crucifix up high, this thin, small old man kept crying, "Victory, Jesus, victory!" And the Christian soldiers felt full of more courage than ever. They fought until the enemy ran away in fear. St. John Capistrano died a short time later, on October 23, 1456. He was proclaimed a saint in 1724. Just one person can do great things: the person who is on God's side. We can ask St. John Capistrano to share with us some of his enthusiasm and courage to do what is right.
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St. Anthony Claret -- October 24
Anthony was born in Spain in 1807. It was the same year that Napoleon invaded the country. Perhaps that was a "hint" of the exciting events that would follow Anthony through life. He became a priest in 1835 and was assigned to his home parish. Later he went to Rome and worked to help the missions. He joined the Jesuits as a novice, but his health failed. He returned to Spain and became a pastor. Father Anthony knew that the whole world was a mission field. He had the heart of a missionary. He was a dedicated preacher in his parish. He gave conferences to priests. Father Anthony was convinced of the power of the printed word. He wrote at least 150 books. His most well-known book, The Right Way, has reached millions of people. Some people did not understand the value of Father Anthony's initiatives. His success and his zeal threatened them. Perhaps the opposition was permitted by the Lord so that this energetic priest could visit the Canary Islands in 1848. He spent a year there preaching the Good News. Then he returned to Catalonia, Spain, and his preaching ministry there. In 1849, Anthony started a new religious order called the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. They are known as Claretians. Queen Isabella II of Spain thought highly of St. Anthony. She suggested that he was the best person to become archbishop of Santiago, Cuba. His apostolate in Cuba turned out to be an exciting seven years. Archbishop Anthony visited parishes, speaking out against social evils, especially slavery. He blessed marriages and baptized children. He was a reformer and had enemies. He received death threats often but did not stop his wonderful work until he was recalled to Spain in 1857. During Anthony's priesthood he was head of a seminary in Madrid. He established the school of St. Michael to foster arts and literature and even tried to start a school of agriculture. He went to Rome to help prepare for the First Vatican Council in 1869 and died in 1870. St. Anthony Mary Claret was declared a saint by Pope Pius XII in 1950. We can ask St. Anthony Claret to give us a missionary heart. We can pray for people all over the world, especially those who are suffering and poor. We can also help the missions by giving some of our spending money to the missions.
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Blessed Richard Gwyn -- October 25
Richard was a Welshman who lived in the sixteenth century. Queen Elizabeth I ruled England and Wales. Because most people in Wales were still Catholic, the queen and her officials tried to crush the faith by cruel laws. Priests or people who were loyal to the Holy Father were put in prison. They were often tortured and killed. Richard became a Catholic after he had finished college and had become a teacher. Before long, he was a hunted man. He escaped from jail once and a month later was arrested again. "You will be freed," he was told, "if you will give up the Catholic faith." Blessed Richard absolutely refused. He was brought to a non-Catholic church by force. He upset the preacher's whole sermon by clanking his chains loudly. Furious, the officials put him in the stocks for eight hours, and many came to abuse and insult him. More time in prison and torture sessions followed. The queen's men wanted him to give them the names of other Catholics, but Richard would not. At his trial, men were paid to lie about him, as one of them admitted. The men on the jury were so dishonest that they asked the judge whom he wanted them to condemn. After Blessed Richard was sentenced to death, his wife and baby were brought to court. "Do not imitate your husband," the poor woman was told. In disgust, she bravely snapped, "If you want more blood, you can take my life with my husband's. If you give more money to your witnesses, they will surely find something to say against me, too." As Blessed Richard was being martyred, he cried out in terrible pain: "Holy God, what is this?" One of the officials mockingly answered, "An execution of her majesty, the queen." "Jesus, have mercy on me!" exclaimed the martyr. Then he was beheaded. The beautiful religious poems Blessed Richard wrote in prison are still in existence. In them, he begged his countrymen of Wales to be loyal to the Catholic faith. Blessed Richard died a martyr in 1584. He was proclaimed "blessed" by Pope Pius XI in 1929. We can greatly admire Blessed Richard for his bravery. And we can be amazed by his willingness to suffer for what he believed in. We can ask Blessed Richard to make us as strong in our convictions as he was.
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St. Evaristus -- October 26
St. Evaristus lived in the second century. He was from a Jewish family in Bethlehem. They were living in Greece at the time of their son's birth. Evaristus was brought up in the Jewish religion. His father was so pleased with the boy's virtue and knowledge that he sent him to the best teachers. Evaristus became a Christian when he grew older. So great was his love for his new faith that he decided to become a priest. At Rome, where he performed his ministry, everyone grew to admire and love him. So it was that when the pope was martyred, Evaristus was chosen to take his place. He felt he was completely unworthy of being pope, but God knew better. These were times of persecution for the Church. Such bad lies were spread about the Catholic faith that the Romans thought nothing of putting Christians to death. Every man who became pope was almost certain of being arrested. For about eight years, Pope St. Evaristus ruled the Church. His zeal was so great that the number of believers grew larger every day. At last, however, he was captured. The jailers were amazed to see the joy on the holy old man's face as he was led to prison. St. Evaristus thought himself very privileged to have been found worthy to suffer and die for Jesus. No better gift could have been given him than his martyrdom. Pope St. Evaristus died in 107. If we find ourselves taking our Catholic faith for granted, we can pray to Pope St. Evaristus. We can ask him to fill our hearts with his great love for Jesus and the Church.
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Blessed Contardo Ferrini -- October 27
Contardo was born in 1859. His father was a teacher of mathematics and physics. Mr. Ferrini began very early to teach his little son his own love for study. As a young man, Contardo could speak many languages besides Italian. He did very well in every school and college he went to. His great love for study and for his Catholic faith made his friends nickname him their own "St. Aloysius." (St. Aloysius Gonzaga was a young Jesuit saint known for the goodness and generosity of his life.) It was Contardo who first started clubs for college students to help them become good Christians. When he was twenty-one, he was offered a chance to study at the University of Berlin in Germany. It was hard for him to leave his home in Italy, but he was happy to meet devout Catholics at the university. He wrote down in a little book what he felt the first time he received the sacrament of Reconciliation in a foreign land. It thrilled him to realize that the Catholic Church is really the same everywhere a person goes. By the next year, Contardo was trying to decide whether he should become a priest or a monk, or whether he should marry. He kept asking himself just what he should do. As it turned out, he took a vow to give himself only to God. He lived that vow as a lay person; he never became a priest or brother. He went on teaching and writing. He tried always to become a more perfect Christian. While enjoying his favorite sport of mountain-climbing, he would think of God, the Creator of all the beauty he saw. People noticed that there was something different about Professor Ferrini. Once when he had passed by with his usual warm smile, someone exclaimed, "That man is a saint!" Contardo Ferrini died of typhoid fever on October 17, 1902. He was only forty-three years old. He was declared "blessed" by Pope Pius XII in 1947. We can offer prayers for lay apostles so that they may be able to do much good. We pray that they may feel the loving support of God's people who profit from their good example.
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St. Simon & St. Jude -- October 28
These two apostles of Jesus are honored on the same day. St. Simon was called "the zealous one" because he had so much devotion to the Jewish law. Once he had been called by the Lord to be an apostle, he gave his heart and his energy to preaching the Gospel. With the other apostles, he received the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost. Then it is believed that he went to Egypt to preach the faith. Afterward he went to Persia with the apostle St. Jude, and the two of them were martyred there. St. Jude is sometimes called Thaddeus, which means "the brave one." It was he who asked the Lord a famous question at the Last Supper. Jesus had said ,"He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him." And St. Jude wanted to know: "Lord, how is it that you are about to manifest yourself to us and not to the world?" Jesus gave him the answer "If anyone love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our abode with him." St. Jude is sometimes called the saint of "desperate or impossible cases." People pray to him when things seem hopeless. Often God answers their prayers through the intercession of this beloved apostle. These two apostles had very different personalities, but each was greatly loved by the Lord. We can ask St. Simon and St. Jude to show us how to accept ourselves and use our gifts for the spread of Jesus' work.
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St. Narcissus -- October 29
Narcissus lived in the second and early part of the third centuries. He was an old man when he was made bishop of Jerusalem. Narcissus was an excellent bishop. Everyone admired his virtues-everyone except people who chose to live evil lives. Three enemies of the saint accused him of a terrible crime. One said: "May I die by fire if it is not true!" The second said ,"May I be wasted away by leprosy if it is not true." The third said ,"May I be struck blind if it is not true." Yet no one believed their lie. The people had seen Narcissus' good life. They knew the kind of person he was. Although no one believed the wicked story, Narcissus used it as an excuse to go off to live in the desert. His whole trust was in God, whom he had served so lovingly. And God showed that the story of those men was absolutely false. Narcissus returned to be bishop of Jerusalem, to the great joy of his people. Although he was even older, he seemed to be more zealous than ever. In fact, he seemed stronger than ever, too, for a few years. Then he became too weak to carry on. He begged God to send him a bishop to help out. Our Lord sent him another saint, Alexander of Cappadocia. With great love and zeal, they ruled the diocese together. Narcissus lived to be over 116 years old. He died in the year 215. God never abandons those who trust in him. We might worry over what people say about us. That is when we can ask St. Narcissus to teach us his secret for remaining peaceful.
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St. Alphonsus Rodriguez -- October 30
This Spanish saint was born in 1553. He took over the family business of buying and selling wool when he was twenty-three. Three years later, he got married. God sent him and his wife Mary two children. But many sufferings now came to Alphonsus. Business began to be bad, his little daughter died and then his wife. Now this businessman began to think of what God might have in mind for him. He had always been a devout Christian. But from then on, he prayed, did penance, and received the sacraments more than he had ever done. When he was nearly forty, Alphonsus' son died, too. Despite his great sorrow, he prayed and asked God for the gift of trust. Alphonsus soon asked to be admitted into the Society of Jesus. However, he was told that he must study first. So he went back to school. Little boys made fun of him. He had to beg for his food, because he had given his money to the poor. At last, he was accepted as a brother and was made door-keeper at a Jesuit college. "That brother is not a man--he is an angel!" his superior said of him years later. Priests who knew him for forty years never heard him say or do anything wrong. His kindness and obedience were known to all. Once, all the chairs in the house, even the chairs from the bedrooms, had been used for a Forty Hours Devotion. By mistake, Brother Alphonsus' chair was not returned until the following year. Yet he never mentioned the fact to anyone. During his long life, St. Alphonsus had to conquer very strong temptations. Besides that, he had physical pains. Even as he lay dying, he spent a half hour in terrible agony. Then, just before he died, he was filled with peace and joy. He kissed his crucifix and looked lovingly at his fellow religious. He died in 1617 with the name of Jesus on his lips. St. Alphonsus Rodriguez taught many wonderful lessons with his life. Very important is the way he took whatever events the Lord permitted. He never lost hope. We can go to St. Alphonsus Rodriguez to ask the Lord to give us the gift of trust.
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St. Foillan -- October 31
Foillan was an Irish monk who lived in the seventh century. His two brothers have also been declared saints. They were some of the many zealous Irish apostles. They left their homeland to help other countries that had fewer priests than Ireland. Sts. Foillan, Fursey and Ultan went to England first. They established a monastery in Burgh Castle. From this spot, they did missionary work among the East Angles. When invaders of the land robbed the monastery of everything it had, Sts. Foillan and Ultan decided to preach the Gospel in France. Their other brother, St. Fursey, had already worked as a missionary and had died there. King Clovis II welcomed the two holy missionaries as he had welcomed their brother before them. Foillan was given land by Blessed Itta and her daughter. St. Gertrude asked him to preach to the nuns of the convent over which she was abbess. He did so, and had great influence on them. He also did missionary work among the people. In fact, St. Foillan is a well-remembered Irish saint in Europe. One day, after celebrating Mass for St. Gertrude and her nuns, Father Follian set out on a journey with three companions. They were going to see his brother Ultan, who was preaching in another area. While passing through a forest, they were attacked by a band of robbers and killed. Their bodies were not found for about two and a half months. Then St. Gertrude had St. Foillan buried with honor in the abbey he had started. We all realize that we have to die some day. We can ask St. Foillan to help us in the hour of our death. St. Foillan will show us how to offer up all our sufferings to Jesus.
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