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Saint Antoninus, B.C.O.P.

Feast Day: May 10th

 

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    The story of Antonino Pierozzi is that of a great soul in a frail body, and of the triumph of virtue over vast and organized wickedness. His father, Niccolo Pierozzi, had been a noted lawyer, notary to the Republic of Florence. He and his wife Thomassina had their only child baptized as Antonio, but because the saint was both small and gentle people called him by the affectionate diminutive 'Antonino' all his life.

    The world in which he lived was engrossed in the Renaissance; it was a time of violent political upheaval, of plague, wars, and injustice. The effects of the Great Schism of the West, over which Saint Catherine had wept and prayed a generation before, were still tearing Christendom apart when Antoninus was born--in the same year as Cosimo de'Medici. The fortunes of Florence were largely to rest in the hands of these two men.

    There are only a few known details about the early life of Antoninus, but they are revealing ones. He was a delicate and lovable child. His stepmother, worried over his frailty, often gave him extra meat at table. The little boy, determined to harden himself for the religious life, would slip the meat under the table to the cats. Kids!

    From the cradle his inclination was to piety. His only pleasure was to read the lives of saints and other good books, converse with pious persons, or employ himself in prayer. Accordingly, if he was not at home or at school, he was always to be found at Saint Michael's Church before a crucifix or in our Lady's chapel there. He had a passion for learning, but an even greater ardor to perfect himself in the science of salvation. In prayer, he begged nothing of God but His grace to avoid sin, and to do His holy will in all things.

    Antoninus hitched his wagon to the star of great austerity and, at 14, discovered the answer to all his questions in the preaching of Blessed John Dominici, who was then the prior of Santa Maria Novella and later became cardinal-archbishop of Ragusa and papal legate. Antoninus went to speak with the preacher and begged to be admitted to the order.

    At the time, Blessed John was reforming the Dominican priories of the area according to the wishes of Blessed Raymond of Capua. John planned to build a new and reformed house at Fiesole (near Florence), which he hoped to start again with young and fervent subjects who would revivify the order. It had declined under the plague and the effects of the schism. As yet, he had no building in which to house the new recruits.

    Even were the monastery completed, it was to be a house of rigorous observance, and Antoninus looked far too small and frail for such an austere community. John Dominici, not wishing to quench the wick of youthful eagerness, had not the heart to explain all this. He told Antoninus to go home and memorize the large and forbidding book called Decretum Gratiani, supposing that its very bulk would discourage the lad.

    Antoninus, however, was possessed of an iron will. He went home and began to read the book straight through. By the end of the year, he had finished the nearly impossible task set before him, and returned to Blessed John to recite it as requested. There was now no further way to delay his reception into the order, so he was received into the Dominican Order "for the future priory of Fiesole" in 1405 by Blessed John.

    Due to the unsettled state of the Church, the order, and Italian politics, the training of the young aspirants was conducted at several different locations, including Cortona, and, for a time, the regular course of studies could not be pursued. Antoninus, nothing daunted, studied by himself. He was happily associated during these years with several future Dominican saints and beati, including Lawrence of Ripafratta, the novice master; Constantius of Fabriano; Peter Capucci; and his great friend, the artist, Fra Angelico.

    Ordained and set to preaching, Antoninus soon won his place in the hearts of the Florentines. Each time he said Mass, he was moved to tears by the mercy of God, and his own devotion moved other hearts. He was given consecutively several positions in the order. While still very young, he was made prior of the Minerva in Rome (1430). He served the friars in various priories in Italy (including Cortona, Fiesole (1418-28), Naples, Gaeta, Siena, and Florence). As superior of the reformed Tuscan and Neapolitan congregations, and also as prior provincial of the whole Roman province, Antoninus zealously enforced the reforms initiated by John Dominici with a view to restoring the primitive rule. Antoninus became a distinguished master of canon law and assisted popes at their councils. There is evidence that at some point he served as a judge on the Rota. Pope Eugenius IV summoned him to attend the general Council of Florence (1439), and he assisted at all its sessions.

    In 1436, he founded the famous priory of San Marco in Florence with the financial aid of Cosimo de'Medici in buildings abandoned by the Silvestrines. Under his guidance and encouragement, the San Marco's monastery became the center of Christian art. He called upon his old companion, Saint Fra Angelico, and on the miniaturist, Fra Benedetto (Angelico's natural brother), to do the frescoes and the choir books which are still preserved there. He also ensured that an outstanding library was collected.

    Antoninus is still remembered today in the exquisite 'Cloister of Saint Antoninus' with its wide arches and beautiful ionic capitals, designed in the saint's lifetime by Michelozzo for San Marco. In the lunettes of the cloister Bernardino Poccetti and others painted scenes from Antoninus's life. (When Giambologna restored and altered the church of San Marco in 1588, he built for the saint's body a superb chapel.)

    To his horror, Antoninus's wisdom and pastoral zeal made him a natural choice by Pope Eugenius IV for archbishop of Florence in 1446. Although Tabor reports that the pope had first chosen Fra Angelico, whose purity and wisdom had become known when he was painting in Rome. The artist entreated the holy father to choose Fra Antoninus instead, who had done great service by his unworldliness and gentle but irresistible power.

    Antoninus's appointment as bishop was a genuine heartbreak to a scholar who could never find enough time to study; in fact, he had been in Naples for two years reforming the houses of the province when he received word of the nomination and confirmation by the Florentines. For a time he tried to escape accepting the dignity by hiding himself on the island of Sardinia. That did not work. So he tried begging the holy father to excuse him because of his weak physical constitution. The pope would accept no excuses; he commanded Antoninus to proceed immediately to Fiesole under the pain of excommunication for disobedience.

    While he obeyed with trepidation, it was a blessing for the people of Florence that he was consecrated bishop in March 1446; they were not slow in demonstrating their appreciation of their good fortune. He was the 'people's prelate' and the 'protector of the poor' for he discharged his office with inflexible justice and overflowing charity. His love extended to the rich, too. The next year, the dying Pope Eugenius summoned Antoninus to Rome in order to receive the last sacraments from the holy bishop before dying in his arms on February 23, 1447.

    For the remainder of his life, Antoninus combined an amazing amount of active work with constant prayer. He allowed himself very little sleep. In addition to the church office, he recited daily the office of our Lady, and the seven penitential psalms; the office of the dead twice a week; and the whole psalter on every festival. His prayer life allowed him to exhibit an exterior of serenity regardless of the situation. Francis Castillo, his secretary, once said to him, bishops were to be pitied if they were to be eternally besieged with hurry as he was. The saint made him this answer, which the author of his vita wished to see written in letters of gold: "To enjoy interior peace, we must always reserve in our hearts amidst all affairs, as it were, a secret closet, where we are to keep retired within ourselves, and where no business of the world can over enter."

    Because of his reputation for wisdom and ability, Antoninus was often called upon to help in public affairs, civil and ecclesiastical. Pope Nicholas V sought his advice on matters of church and state, forbade any appeal to be made to Rome from the archbishop's judgements, and declared that Antonino in his lifetime was as worthy of canonization as the dead Bernardino of Siena, whom he was about to raise to the altars. Pius II nominated him to a commission charged with reforming the Roman court. The Florentine government gave him important embassies on behalf of the republic and would have sent him as their representative to the emperor if illness had not prevented him from leaving Florence. Yet he also busied himself with the beauty of the chant, and personally attended the Divine Office at his cathedral.

    A distinguished writer on international law and moral theology, his best known work is Summa moralis, which is generally thought to have laid the groundwork for modern moral theology. He was conscious of the new problems presented by social and economic development, and taught that the state had a duty to intervene in mercantile affairs for the common good, and to give help to the unfortunate and needy. He was among the first Christian moralists to teach that money invested in commerce and industry was true capital; therefore, it was lawful and not usury to claim interest on it (combine this information with the fact that he was a staunch opponent of usury). All his many books were of a practical nature, including guidance for confessors (Summa confessionis) and a chronicle of the history of the world.

    His first concern, however, was always for the people of his diocese, to whom he set an example of simple living and inflexible integrity. He preached regularly, made a yearly visitation of all the parishes in the diocese on foot, put down gambling, opposed both usury and magic, reformed abuses of all kinds, and served as the example of Christian charity. Each day he held an audience for anyone who wished to speak with him. No one appealed for his help, material or spiritual, in vain.

    Antoninus was probably best known for his kindness to the poor, and there were many in the rich city of Florence. He pulled up his own flower garden and planted vegetables for the poor. He drove his housekeeper to distraction by giving away even his own tableware, food, clothing, and furniture. He never possessed any small precious objects, such as plates or jewels. His stable generally housed one mule, which he often sold to relieve some poor person. When that happened, some wealthy citizen would buy the animal and offer it as a present to the charitable archbishop. He kept in personal contact with the poor of the city, particularly with those who had fallen from wealth and were ashamed to beg. For their care he founded a society called the "Goodmen of Saint Martin of Tours," who went about quietly doing much-needed charitable work--much in the fashion of our modern Society of Saint Vincent de Paul. His particular establishment now provides for about 600 families.

    His charity did not end with the poor, but also extended to his enemies. A criminal, named Ciardi, who was called before the bishop to answer accusations, attempted to assassinate the archbishop. The saint narrowly escaped the thrust of his poniard, which pierced the back of his chair. Yet Antoninus freely forgave the potential assassin and prayed for his conversion. God answered his prayers so that he had the comfort of seeing Ciardi become a sincere Franciscan penitent.

    When the plague again came to Florence in 1448, it was the saintly archbishop who took the lead in almsgiving and care of the sick. Many Dominicans died of the plague as they went about their priestly duties in the stricken city; sad but undaunted, Antoninus continued to go about on foot among the people, giving both material and spiritual aid. During the earthquakes of 1453-1455, he was similarly self-giving. The example of his own charity led many rich persons to likewise provide for the afflicted.

    Antoninus's was a role model in other ways, too. When he learned that two blind beggars had amassed a fortune, he took the money from them and distributed it to others in dire necessity. Was this an injustice? No, he provided for all the needs of the two for the rest of their lives. The bishop tried to hide his virtue from others and himself, until he would see reflections of them in his flock. By accident he discovered one such flame that he had sparked in a poor, obscure handicraftsman who continually practiced penance. The man spent Sundays and holidays in the churches, secretly distributed to the poor all he earned beyond that needed for subsistence, and kept a poor leper in his home, joyfully serving the ungrateful beggar and dressing his ulcers with his own hands. The leper, increasingly morose and imperious, carried complaints against his benefactor to the archbishop, who, discovering this hidden treasure of sanctity in the handicraftsman, secretly honored it, while he punished the insolence of the leper.

    Cosimo de'Medici, who did not always have compliments for the Dominicans, admitted frankly, "Our city has experienced all sorts of misfortunes: fire, earthquake, drought, plague, seditions, plots. I believe it would today be nothing but a mass of ruins without the prayers of our holy archbishop."

    After 13 years as bishop, Antoninus died surrounded by his religious brothers from San Marco and mourned by the whole city. His whole life was mirrored in his last words, "to serve God is to reign." Pope Pius II assisted at his funeral, when he was buried in San Marco's church. Pius eulogized Antoninus as one who "conquered avarice and pride, was outstandingly temperate in every way, was a brilliant theologian, and popular preacher."

    His hairshirt and other relics were the vehicle for many miracles. It is significant that the canonization of Saint Antoninus was decreed by the short-lived Pope Adrian VI (August 31, 1522, to September 14, 1523), whose ideas for church reform were radical and drastic. His body was found uncorrupted in 1559, when it was translated with pomp and solemnity into a chapel richly adorned by the two brothers Salviati (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Dominicans, Dorcy, Farmer, Husenbeth, Jarrett, Tabor, Walsh).

Born: March 1, 1389 at Florence, Italy

Died: May 2, 1459 at Florence, Italy

Canonized: May 1523 by Pope Adrian VI

Patronage: Fever

Representation: Antonius of Florence is generally portrayed in art as a Dominican bishop with scales. He might be shown (1) weighing false merchandise against the word of God; (2) as a Dominican with a pallium; (3) as a young man giving alms; (4) drifting down a river in a boat; or (5) holding a book in a bag (Roeder). The likeness of the archbishop was recorded by contemporary artists, as in the bust at Santa Maria Novella and a statue at the nearby Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Antonio del Pollaiuolo's painting of him at the foot of the Cross survives at San Marco, as does a series of scenes from his life in its cloister of San Antonino (Farmer) and a portrait by Fra Bartolomeo (Tabor).

 

Commemorations

First Vespers:

Ant. Thou art the praise of virgins, the glory of doctors, a prelate admired by all holy prelates, O Blessed Antoninus: cast thy fatherly eyes on us who likewise sing thy praises, alleluia.

V. Pray for us Blessed Antoninus, alleluia

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ, alleluia

 

Lauds:

Ant. Truly to be glorified is Saint Antoninus, who cured the infirm, who ruled the elements, and who caused even inexorable death to tremble, alleluia

V. The just man shall blossom like the lily, alleluia.

R. And shall flourish forever before the Lord, alleluia.

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. Leader in faith, teacher of piety, luminary of the world, glory of the priesthood, by despising the flesh and clinging to God eternal, thou didst fulfill thine own teaching: O Blessed Antoninus, who with the ascending Christ didst also ascend the heavens, leave us not orphans in this land of exile, alleluia.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Antoninus, alleluia.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ, alleluia.

 

Prayer:

Let us Pray: May we be assisted, O Lord, by the merits of Thy Blessed Confessor and Bishop, Saint Antoninus, that, as we  confess Thee to have been wonderful in him, so we may glory in Thy mercy towards us. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Blessed Albert of Bergamo, C.O.P.

(also known as Albert d'Ogna or Albert the Farmer)

Memorial Day: May 11th

 

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    Albert "the Farmer" was a peasant farmer who followed his pious and industrious father's example. His father taught him many practices of penance and piety that later fructified in a saintly life. At seven, Albert was fasting three days a week, giving the foregone food to the poor. Working at the heavy labor of the fields, Albert learned to see God in all things, and to listen for His voice in all nature. The beauty of the earth was to him a voice that spoke only of heaven. He grew up pure of heart, discreet, and humble--to the edification of the entire village.

    Albert married while still quite young. At first his wife made no objection to the generosity and self-denial for which he was known. When his father died, however, she made haste to criticize his every act and word, and made his home almost unbearable with her shrewish scolding. "You give too much time to prayer and to the poor!" she charged; Albert only replied that God will return all gifts made to the poor.

    In testimony to this, God miraculously restored the meal Albert had given away over his wife's objections. Finally, softened by Albert's prayers, she ceased her nagging and became his rival in piety and charity. She died soon after her conversion, and Albert, being childless, he left his father's farm to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and Rome.

    Stopping at Cremona, Italy, at harvest time, Albert went to work in the fields. He soon earned the name of "the diligent worker." His guardian angel worked beside him in the fields, and, therefore, twice the work was accomplished that might be expected of one man. Weighing in his grain at the end of the day, Albert always received twice as much in wages as the other workers did. Though he gave this to the poor and kept nothing for himself, jealous companions determined to annoy him. Planting pieces of iron in the field where Albert would be working the next day, they watched to see him break or dull his scythe. Miraculously, the scythe cut through iron as it did through the grain, never suffering any harm. In Cremona Albert's poverty was also a witness to a group of heretics there who boasted of their own poverty.

    In all, Albert visited Rome nine times, Santiago de Compostela eight times, and Jerusalem once. He worked his way, giving to the poor every penny he could spare. His pilgrimages were almost unbroken prayer; he walked along singing hymns and chanting Psalms, or conversing on things of God with the people he met along the way.

    Appalled at the suffering of pilgrims who fell ill far from home and the penniless, Albert determined to build a hospital for their use. This he actually accomplished by his prayers and diligent work.

    In 1256, he met the Dominicans. Attracted by the life of Saint Dominic, Albert joined the Brothers of Penance, which later became the Order of Penance of Saint Dominic, and continued his works of charity in his new state. As a lay brother he was closely associated with the religious but lived in the world so that he was able to continue his pilgrimages. At home, he assisted the Dominican fathers in Cremona, working happily in their garden, cultivating the medicinal herbs so necessary at the time, and doing cheerfully all the work he could find that was both heavy and humble.

    Falling very ill, Albert sent a neighbor for the priest, but there was a long delay, and a dove came bringing him Holy Viaticum. When he died, the bells of Cremona rang of themselves, and people of all classes hurried to view the precious remains. It was planned to bury him in the common cemetery, outside the cloister, as he was a secular tertiary, but no spade could be found to break the ground. An unused tomb was discovered in the church of Saint Matthias, where he had so often prayed, and he was buried there. Many miracles were attributed to him after his death, and the farmer- saint became legendary for his generosity to the poor (Benedictines, Bentley, Dominicans, Dorcy, Gill).

Born: Born in Valle d'Ogna (near Bergamo), Italy, in 1214

Died: died in Cremona, Italy, May 7, 1279

Beatified: cultus approved May 9, 1748 by Pope Benedict XIV

Representation: In art, Saint Albert is a farm laborer cutting through a stone with a scythe. He may shown be shown (1) when a dove brings him the viaticum, or (2) with a dove, Host, and censer near him (Roeder). Albert is the patron of bakers and day-laborers, and is venerated in Cremona, Bergamo, and Ogna (Roeder).

 

Commemorations

 

First Vespers:

Ant.  Come, O daughters of Jerusalem, and behold a Martyr with a crown wherewith the Lord crowned him on the day of solemnity and rejoicing, alleluia, alleluia

V. Pray for us, Blessed Albert alleluia

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ, alleluia.

 

Lauds:

Ant. Perpetual light will shine upon Thy Saints, O Lord, alleluia, and an eternity of ages, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

V. The just man shall blossom like the lily, alleluia.

R. And shall flourish forever before the Lord, alleluia

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. In the city of the Lord the music of the Saints incessantly resounds: there the angels and archangels sing a canticle before the throne of God, alleluia.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Albert, alleluia

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. alleluia

 

Prayer:

Let us Pray: O God , who wast pleased that Blessed Albert, Thy Confessor, should shine with singular sanctity in a lowly condition of life, grant that we may so tread in his footsteps as to be worthy to obtain his reward. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

1475, Convent of Jesus de Averio, Portugal

Blessed Jane of Portugal, V.O.P.

Memorial Day: May 12th

 

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    Joanna, a child of many prayers, was born heiress to the throne of her father, King Alphonsus V, at a time when Spain and Portugal had divided the colonial wealth of the earth between them. Her sickly brother Juan was born three years later, and soon after this their mother, Queen Elizabeth of Coimbra, died. Joanna was left to the care of a wise and pious nurse, who cultivated the child's natural piety. By age five the little princess had exceeded her teacher in penitential practices. She fasted and prayed, rose at night to take the discipline, and wore a hairshirt under her glittering court apparel.

    Although Joanna would not inherit the throne of Portugal while her brother was alive, a wise marriage would do much to increase her father's power. Accordingly, he began early to arrange for her marriage. Joanna, whose knowledge of court intrigue was as good as his own, skillfully escaped several proposed matches. She had treasured the desire to enter the convent, but, in view of her father's plans, her desires met with violent opposition. She was flatly refused for a long time; finally, her father gave his reluctant consent, but he withdrew it again at her brother's insistence.

    She was regent of Portugal when her father and brother went to war against the Moors, and when they defeated the Moors in 1471, her father, in the first flush of victory, granted her request to take the veil. Joanna and one of her ladies-in-waiting had long planned to enter the Dominican cloister at Aveiro, which was noted for its strict observance. But when her father finally gave consent for her to enter religion, he did not allow her to enter that Dominican convent. She had to go to the nearby royal abbey of the Benedictines at Odivellas. Here she was besieged by weeping and worldly relatives who had only their own interests at heart. After two months of this mental torture, she returned to the court.

    The rest of Joanna's life is a story of obedience and trials. Her obligations of obedience varied. She was required to bend her will to a wavering father, who never seemed able to make a decision and abide by it; to bishops, swayed by political causes, who forced her to sign a paper that she would never take her solemn vows; and to doctors, who prescribed remedies that were worse than the maladies they tried to cure. The trials came from a jealous brother, from ambitious and interfering relatives, from illness, and from cares of state.

    After 12 years of praying and hoping, Joanna finally received the Dominican habit at Aveiro in 1485. Once, she was deprived of it by an angry delegation of bishops and nobles, and, at another time, her brother tore the veil from her head. Despite the interruptions of plague, family cares, and state troubles, Joanna lived an interior and penitential life. She became an expert at spinning and weaving the fine linens for the altar, and busied herself with lowly tasks for the love of God. She used all her income to help the poor and to redeem captives.

    Her special devotion was to the Crown of Thorns, and, in early childhood, she had embroidered this device on her crest. To the end of her life she was plagued by the ambition of her brother, who again and again attempted to arrange a marriage for her, and continually disturbed her hard-won peace by calling her back to the court for state business.

    On one of these trips to court, Joanna was poisoned by a woman--a person she had rebuked for leading an evil life. The princess lived several months in fearful pain, enduring all her sufferings heroically. She died, as it says in an old chronicle, "with the detachment of a religious and the dignity of a queen," and with the religious community around her (Benedictines, Delaney, Dorcy).

Born: Born in Lisbon, Portugal, 1452

Died: died at Aveiro, Portugal, in 1490

Beatified: April 4, 1693 by Pope Innocent XII (cultus confirmed)

 

Commemorations

First Vespers:

Ant. This is a wise Virgin whom the Lord found watching, who took her lamp and oil, and when the Lord came she entered with Him into the marriage feast, alleluia.

V. Pray for us Blessed Jane, alleluia.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ, alleluia.

 

Lauds:

Ant. Come, O my chosen one, and I will place my throne in thee, for the King hath exceedingly desired thy beauty, alleluia.

V. Virgins shall be led to the King after her, alleluia.

R. Her companions shall be presented to Thee, alleluia.

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. She has girded her loins with courage and hath strengthened her arm; therefore shall her lamp not be put out forever, alleluia

V. Pray for us Blessed Jane, alleluia

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ, alleluia

 

Prayer:

Let us Pray: O god who amidst royal delights and the allurements of the world didst strengthen Blessed Jane, Thy Virgin, with unshaken constancy, grant, through her intercession, that Thy faithful may despise all earthly things, and aspire always to the things of heaven through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Blessed Imelda Lambertini, V.O.P.

Memorial Day: May 13th

 

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    One of the most charming legends in Dominican hagiography is that of little Imelda, who died of love on her first Communion day, and who is, by this happy circumstance, patroness of all first communicants.

    Tradition says that Imelda was the daughter of Count Egano Lambertini of Bologna. Her family was famous for its many religious, including a Dominican preacher, a Franciscan mother foundress, and an aunt of Imelda's who had founded a convent of strict observance in Bologna.

    Imelda was a delicate child, petted and favored by her family, and it was no surprise that she should be religious by nature. She learned to read from the Psalter, and early devoted herself to attending Mass and Compline at the Dominican church. Her mother taught her to sew and cook for the poor, and went with her on errands of charity. When Imelda was nine, she asked to be allowed to go to the Dominicans at Val di Pietra. She was the only child of a couple old enough not to hope for any more children; it was a wrench to let her go. However, they took her to the convent and gave her to God with willing, if sorrowing, hearts.

    Imelda's status in the convent is hard to discern. She wore the habit, followed the exercises of the house as much as she was allowed to, and longed for the day when she would be old enough to join them in the two things she envied most--the midnight Office and the reception of Holy Eucharist. Her age barred her from both. She picked up the Divine Office from hearing the sisters chant, and meditated as well as she could.

    It was a lonely life for the little girl of nine, and, like many another lonely child, she imagined playmates for herself--with this one difference--her playmates were saints. She was especially fond of Saint Agnes, the martyr, who was little older than Imelda herself. Often she read about her from the large illuminated books in the library, and one day Agnes came in a vision to see her. Imelda was delighted. Shut away from participation in adult devotions, she had found a contemporary who could tell her about the things she most wanted to know. Agnes came often after this, and they talked of heavenly things.

    Her first Christmas in the convent brought only sorrow to Imelda. She had been hoping that the sisters would relent and allow her to receive Communion with them, but on the great day, when everyone except her could go receive Jesus in the Eucharist, Imelda remained in her place, gazing through tears at the waxen figure in the creche. Imelda began to pray even more earnestly that she might receive Communion.

    When her prayer was answered, spring had come to Bologna, and the world was preparing for the Feast of the Ascension. No one paid much attention to the little girl as she knelt in prayer while the sisters prepared for the Mass. Even when she asked to remain in the chapel in vigil on the eve of the feast, it caused no comment; she was a devout child. The sisters did not know how insistently she was knocking at heaven's gate, reciting to herself, for assurance, the prayer that appeared in the Communion verse for the Rogation Days: "Ask and it shall be given to you, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you."

    The door was opened for Imelda on the morning of the Vigil of the Ascension. She had asked once more for the great privilege of receiving Communion, and, because of her persistence, the chaplain was called in on the case. He refused flatly; Imelda must wait until she was older. She went to her place in the chapel, giving no outward sign that she intended to take heaven by storm, and watched quietly enough while the other sister went to Communion.

    After Mass, Imelda remained in her place in the choir. The sacristan busied herself putting out candles and removing the Mass vestments. A sound caused her to turn and look into the choir, and she saw a brilliant light shining above Imelda's head, and a Host suspended in the light. The sacristan hurried to get the chaplain.

    The chaplain now had no choice; God had indicated that He wanted to be communicated to Imelda. Reverently, the chaplain took the Host and gave it to the rapt child, who knelt like a shining statue, unconscious of the nuns crowding into the chapel, or the laypeople pushing against the chapel grille to see what might be happening there.

After an interval for thanksgiving, the prioress went to call the little novice for breakfast. She found her still kneeling. There was a smile on her face, but she was dead.

    The legend of Blessed Imelda is firmly entrenched in Dominican hearts, though it is difficult now to find records to substantiate it. She may have been eleven, rather than ten when she died. The convent where she lived has been gone for centuries and its records with it.

    Several miracles have been worked through her intercession, and her cause for canonization has been under consideration for many years. As recently as 1928 a major cure was reported of a Spanish sister who was dying of meningitis. Other miracles are under consideration. The day may yet come when the lovable little patroness of first communicants can be enrolled in the calendar of the saints (Benedictines, Dominicans, Dorcy).

Born: Born in Bologna, Italy, in 1322

Died: died on the Feast of the Ascension, May 13, 1333

Beatified: cultus confirmed in 1826 by Pope Leo VII

Patronage: named patron of first communicants by Pope Pius X.

Representation: In art, Imelda is a very young Dominican novice, kneeling before the altar with a sacred Host appearing above her. She is venerated at Bologna and Valdipietra (Roeder).

 

 

Commemorations

First Vespers:

Ant. This is a wise Virgin whom the Lord found watching, who took her lamp and oil, and when the Lord came she entered with Him into the marriage feast, alleluia.

V. Pray for us Blessed Imelda, alleluia.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ, alleluia.

 

Lauds:

Ant. Come, O my chosen one, and I will place my throne in thee, for the King hath exceedingly desired thy beauty, alleluia.

V. Virgins shall be led to the King after her, alleluia.

R. Her companions shall be presented to Thee, alleluia.

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. She has girded her loins with courage and hath strengthened her arm; therefore shall her lamp not be put out forever, alleluia

V. Pray for us Blessed Imelda, alleluia

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ, alleluia

 

Prayer:

Let us Pray: O Lord Jesus Christ, who didst receive into heaven the blessed virgin Imelda, wounded with the burning love of Thy charity, and wonderfully sustained by an immaculate host, grant us through her intercession to approach the holy table with a like fervor of charity, that we may long to be dissolved, and to be with Thee. Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.

Blessed Giles of Portugal, C.O.P.

Memorial Day: May 14th

    So many romantic legends intertwine themselves with the story of Blessed Giles that it is difficult to see the man himself. His life, even stripped of its legend, however, is the story of the triumph of grace in the human soul.

    He was the son of Rodrigues de Vagliaditos, governor of Coimbra under King Sancho the Great. From his childhood, Giles was destined for the priesthood for which he studied at Coimbra. He was ordained at an early age, but with no good intention, for he saw in the priesthood only a chance to wield power. His father's influence gained for him a number of rich benefices, which he used sinfully for power and pleasure.

    Being a brilliant student, he advanced rapidly in his chosen field of medicine, an art that was at the time often linked with necromancy or black magic. He neglected his priestly duties and seemed bent only on the pleasures of life.

   Thoroughly irreligious and pleasure-seeking young man, set out for Paris to work for higher degrees in medicine. On the advice of a stranger he met on the way, he went to Toledo instead and became a student of the black arts. According to one story, he met the devil and signed a contract with him, in which he promised his soul in return for a universal knowledge of medicine. Thereupon he spent seven years in bondage to his evil master, learning all his arts.

    Having gained the highest degrees in medicine, Giles went to Paris and became a successful physician. At the peak of worldly success, he began to have horrible visions. He saw himself in a cemetery of a monastery of which he enjoyed the revenues. There he saw a specter who carried a skull and an hourglass. The specter knocked at one and then another of the tombs, calling out, "Arise, faithful monk!" At each summons another fearful specter appeared, until at one tomb there was no answer.

    "Giles," he called. "What--not there?" He poised the hourglass and murmured, "There are yet a few sands to run!" After this fearful vision, says the legend, Giles repented of his misspent life, destroyed his magic books and potions, and set out in haste for Coimbra on foot.

    At Palencia he met the friars of the newly founded Order of Preachers. He was still troubled by diabolical attacks, but they helped him to make his peace with God. Joining them, he spent seven years in terrible penance, after which Our Lady returned to him the fateful scroll he had signed with Satan.

    It is known that Giles had spent his youth badly, and that after entering the Dominicans he did fervent penance. By nature he was witty and charming, and he found the silence hard to keep. Actual violence to his natural disposition was necessary to make him into the humble and reserved religious he later became.

    Blessed Giles occupied several positions of authority in the order, including provincial of Portugal, and his medical skill proved to be a blessing in the care of his sick brethren. He made a practice of going about the dormitories, cleaning up the students' rooms while they were at class. His heroic penance did much to undo the scandal he had caused in his early years.

    Giles was sent back to Portugal after his early training, and his preaching was noteworthy, even in that age of renowned preachers. He founded a number of monasteries and did much to establish the Dominicans in Portugal. His last years were filled with visions and ecstasies. He lived to be very old, regarded by all but himself as a very great saint (Benedictines, Dorcy).

Born: Born 1185 at Vaozela

Died: 1265 of natural causes

Beatified: May 9, 1748 by Pope Benedict XIV (cultus confirmed)

 

Commemorations

 

First Vespers:

Ant.  Come, O daughters of Jerusalem, and behold a Martyr with a crown wherewith the Lord crowned him on the day of solemnity and rejoicing, alleluia, alleluia

V. Pray for us, Blessed Giles alleluia

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ, alleluia.

 

Lauds:

Ant. Perpetual light will shine upon Thy Saints, O Lord, alleluia, and an eternity of ages, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

V. The just man shall blossom like the lily, alleluia.

R. And shall flourish forever before the Lord, alleluia

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. In the city of the Lord the music of the Saints incessantly resounds: there the angels and archangels sing a canticle before the throne of God, alleluia.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Giles, alleluia

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. alleluia

 

Prayer:

Let us Pray: We humbly implore Thy mercy, O God, that as through its promptings Thou didst cause Blessed Giles to return to the way of holiness and justice, so Thou wouldst transfer us from the slavery and death of sin into life and perfect liberty. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Blessed Andrew Abellon, C.O.P.

Memorial Day: May 17th

    Blessed Andrew was born near the world-famous shrine of Mary Magdalen. His entire life was centered around the shrine, and it is greatly due to his efforts that devotion to the great penitential has become so well established.

    As a young man, Andrew may have heard the stirring sermons of Saint Vincent Ferrer, who was at that time preaching in France. Perhaps the purity and penitential zeal for which this great preacher was renowned gave the young Andrew the pattern for his own life. He soon demonstrated his choice of purity and penance by joining the Dominicans in his home town. After a happy and holy novitiate, he made his profession and was ordained. In a few years, a preacher and a guide for souls, he turned his attention to the neglected shrine of Saint Mary Magdalen.

    This rugged and penitential region of France had been honored from the time of the Apostles as the chosen retreat for Mary Magdalen, who did penance there for the sins of her youth. From earliest days, it had been a place of pilgrimage, but had no definite arrangements for the care of pilgrims, nor any way of supplying their spiritual needs. In Blessed Andrew's time, Dominican fathers from Saint-Maximin had taken over the spiritual care of the pilgrims as a mission work, but without financial help, and in the face of great trials.

    Seeing the need of a permanent foundation at the shrine, Andrew set about creating one. He interested the queen in his project, and obtained enough money from her to build a monastery, which was a gem of architecture as well as a source of spiritual power. Andrew had studied art before his entry into the order, and he used his talents in building, beautifully and permanently, whatever he was called upon to do.

    A lover of great beauty in the physical order, Andrew was the same in the spiritual. He was famous as a confessor, and his wise government as prior gave help to the spiritual growth of the new convent. A practical man as well as deeply spiritual, Andrew established two mills near the shrine that would provide the people with a means of earning a living while remaining there. Quite naturally, a priest who interested himself in the welfare of the people to this extent could hope for great influence with them, and this he had, both at Saint Maximin and at Aix, where an altarpiece he painted may still be seen.

    After his death, Blessed Andrew was buried in the Church of the Magdalen. His tomb soon became a place of pilgrimage; his help especially was sought in the cure of fevers (Benedictines, Dominicans, Dorcy).

Born: 1375 at Saint Maximin, Provence, France

Died: May 15, 1450 at Aix-en-Provence, France of natural causes; buried in the Church of the Magdalen; his tomb became known as a site of miraculous cures.

Beatified:1902 (cultus confirmed) by Pope Leo XIII

Patronage: against fever

Prayers/Commemorations

First Vespers:

Ant. Strengthen by holy intercession, O Andrew, confessor of the Lord, those here present, have we who are burdened with the weight of our offenses may be relieved by the glory of thy blessedness, and may by thy guidance attain eternal rewards.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Andrew.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Lauds:

Ant. Well done, good and faithful servant, because Thou hast been faithful in a few things, I will set thee over many, sayeth the Lord.

V. The just man shall blossom like the lily.

R. And shall flourish forever before the Lord.

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock..

V. Pray for us. Blessed Andrew.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Prayer:

Let us Pray: O God, who didst enable Blessed Andrew, Thy Confessor, to preach the gospel of peace by word and deed, make us, we beseech Thee through his intercession, to receive Thy law with a perfect heart and fulfill it by holy deeds. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Pascal Times

First Vespers:

Ant.  Come, O daughters of Jerusalem, and behold a Martyr with a crown wherewith the Lord crowned him on the day of solemnity and rejoicing, alleluia, alleluia

V. Pray for us, Blessed Andrew  alleluia

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ, alleluia.

 

Lauds:

Ant. Perpetual light will shine upon Thy Saints, O Lord, alleluia, and an eternity of ages, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

V. The just man shall blossom like the lily, alleluia.

R. And shall flourish forever before the Lord, alleluia

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. In the city of the Lord the music of the Saints incessantly resounds: there the angels and archangels sing a canticle before the throne of God, alleluia.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Andrew, alleluia

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. alleluia

 

Prayer:

Let us Pray: O God, who didst enable Blessed Andrew, Thy Confessor, to preach the gospel of peace by word and deed, make us, we beseech Thee through his intercession, to receive Thy law with a perfect heart and fulfill it by holy deeds. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayer

 

God of all truth, you chose Blessed Andrew to preach the gospel of peace and to promote the regular life. By the help of his prayers may we devote ourselves to proclaiming the faith and bearing the yoke of Christ with fidelity. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. - General Calendar of the Order of Preachers

[Blessed Columba of Rieti]

Blessed Columba of Rieti, V.O.P.

Memorial Day: May 20th

 

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    Blessed Colomba of Rieti is always called after her birthplace, though she actually spent the greater part of her life away from it. Her celebrity is based -- as it was even in her lifetime -- mainly on two things: the highly miraculous nature of her career from its very beginning, and her intense devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. She was one amongst a number of saintly Dominican women who seem to have been expressly raised up by God in protest against, and as a sharp contrast to, the irreligion and immorality prevalent in Italy during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. These women, nearly all of the Third Order, had an intense devotion to St. Catherine of Siena, and made it their aim to imitate her as nearly as possible. Many seculars, men as well as women, shared this devotion, amongst these being Ercole I, Duke of Ferrara, who had a deep admiration for Colomba and for some other holy Dominican religious, her contemp oraries, the most notable of whom were Blessed Osanna of Mantua and Blessed Lucy of Narni.

 

    For the latter Ercole's veneration was so great that he never rested until he had got her to come with some of her nuns to live in Ferrara, where he built her a convent and where she died after many troubles. She began when quite a girl to practice austere penances and to subsist almost entirely on the supernatural food of the Holy Eucharist, and continued this for the greater part of her life. At nineteen she joined the Dominican Tertiaries, of whom there were many in town, though still living at home; and she soon won the veneration of her fellow townspeople by her personal holiness as well as by some miracles that she worked. But Colomba was not destined to remain in Rieti. In 1488 she left home and went to Perugia, where the inhabitants received her as a saint, and in the course of time built her the convent of St. Catherine, in which she assembled all the Third Order Dominicanesses, who desired her as superior in spite of her youth. In 1494, when a terrible plague was raging in Perugia, she offered herself as victim for the city. The plague was stayed, but Colomba herself was struck down by the scourge. She recovered only to save her sanctity severely tried by widely spread calumnies, which reached Rome, whence a commission was sent to examine into her life. She was treated for some time as an imposter, and deposed from her office of prioress; but finally her innocence triumphed.

 

    In 1495 Alexander VI, having heard of Colomba's holiness and miracles from his son the Cardinal Caesar Borgia, who had been living in Perugia, went himself to the city and saw her. She is said to have gone into ecstasy at his feet, and also to have boldy told him of all personal sins. The pope was fully satisfied of her great sanctity, and set the seal of approval on her mode of life. In the year of 1499 she was consulted, by authorities who were examining into the manner, concerning the stigmata of Blessed Lucy of Narni, and spoke warmly in favor of their being genuine, and of her admiration for Blessed Lucy's holiness. Her relics are still venerated at Perugia, and her feast is kept by her order on 20 May.

 

Born: February 2, 1467 at Rieti, Umbria, Italy as Angelella Guardagnoli

Died: May 20, 1501 at Perguia, Italy of natural causes; at the moment of her death, her friend, Blessed Osanna Andreasi, saw Columba's soul as a radiance rising to heaven; the whole city turned out for her funeral, which was paid for by the city fathers

Beatified: February 25, 1625 by Pope Urban VIII

Patronage: against sorcery; against temptation and Perugia, Italy

Representation: Dominican tertiary receiving the Eucharist from a hand reaching down from heaven; Dominican tertiary receiving the Eucharist from an angel; Dominican tertiary with a dove, lily, and book; Dominican tertiary with a wreath of roses, cross, lily, and rosary

Prayers/Commemorations

First Vespers:

Ant. This is a wise Virgin whom the Lord found watching, who took her lamp and oil, and when the Lord came she entered with Him into the marriage feast, alleluia.

V. Pray for us Blessed Columba, alleluia.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ, alleluia.

 

Lauds:

Ant. Come, O my chosen one, and I will place my throne in thee, for the King hath exceedingly desired thy beauty, alleluia.

V. Virgins shall be led to the King after her, alleluia.

R. Her companions shall be presented to Thee, alleluia.

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. She has girded her loins with courage and hath strengthened her arm; therefore shall her lamp not be put out forever, alleluia

V. Pray for us Blessed Columba, alleluia

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ, alleluia

 

Prayer:

Let us Pray: O God, who wast pleased that Blessed Columba, Thy Virgin, graced with the spotless white of purity and innocence, should shine with heavenly radiance, grant, we beseech Thee that through her intercession serving Thee here with pure minds, we may deserve to enjoy the brightness of Thy glory in heaven. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Saint Servatius, Bishop & Confessor,

Protector of the Dominican Order

also know as Servas; Servatus; Servais

Feast Day: May 22nd

 

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    Saint Servatius was of noble birth, and he was renewed alike for his learning and sanctity. He became Bishop of Tongres in Belgium, which then formed part of Gaul, and in that capacity assisted at the Council of Sardica, where he strenuously defended the Catholic Faith against the Arians. He likewise stoutly resisted these heresies at the Council of Rimini, and labored to prevent the ill consequences which threatened the Church through their frauds and the weakness of the Bishops. Being sent by the tyrant Magnentius, together with Saint Maximin, Bishop of Treves, as ambassador to the Emperor Constantius, he was honorably entertained by Saint Athanasius at Alexandria.

 

    Saint Gregory of Tours states that Saint Servatius foretold the invasion of Gaul by the Huns and implored the Divine mercy by watching. fasting, prayers and many tears to avert so great a calamity from the flock entrusted to his care. For this intention he undertook a penitential pilgrimage to the tomb of Saint Peter in Rome. As he was weeping and praying there, the Prince of the Apostles appeared to him and thus addresses him: "Wherefore dost thou importune me? The Lord has decreed that the Huns should enter Gaul and lay it waste in a terrible manner. Take my counsel, therefore; lose no time; set thy house in order, prepare thy grave, make ready a clean winding-sheet. Behold , thou shalt depart this life and shalt not witness the evils which the Huns are to bring upon Gaul, as the Lord our God hath spoken."

 

    The holy Bishop, therefore returned in all haste to  his diocese, and with many tears imparted the sad tidings to his heart-broken flock. "Holy Father , do not abandon us," they exclaimed; "Good Shepherd, forget us not." Very shortly afterwards he fell ill, as Saint Peter had foretold, and closed his saintly life by a holy death on May 13th, 384 A.D., after an episcopate of thirty-seven years. It is recorded that when all the country round was white with snow his tomb at Maestricht always remained free from it until the time a church was raised over his holy remains.

 

     Saint Servatius was declared Protector of the Dominican Order in consequences of the following circumstances.  In the fourteenth century the Church and the Order of Preachers  were suffering bitter persecution from the schismatical Emperor, Lewis of Bavaria. Learning  that the General Chapter was convoked to meet in his dominions , at the city of Cologne, 1330, A.D., this prince secretly plotted the death of the capitular Fathers. They had just assembled, when Saint Servatius appeared in a dream to one of their number, a very holy religious, warned him of the danger which threatened himself and his brethren , and bade them to flee to Maestricht. This they accordingly did, thus escaping the snares which had been laid for them. And though their coming to Maestricht was wholly unexpected, God disposed the hearts of the inhabitants to receive them with the utmost kindness.

 

    In gratitude for this providential intervention, the Fathers decreed that the festival of Saint Servatius should henceforth be celebrated in the Order to the end of time. But, as it was at first instituted only under the rite of  a Feast of the Three Lessons, the great increase of festivals of higher rank caused it, after the lapse of years, to fall into disuse. To preserve the memory of so great a benefit, the Fathers, therefore, obtained permission from Pope Leo XII that the festival of Saint Servatius should be henceforth celebrated throughout the entire Order with the rank of a Totum Duplex, or Greater Double.   

 

Born: Armenia, unknown date

Died: May 13th 384 at Tongres, Belgium of fever

Canonized: Pre- Congregation

Patronage: against foot problems, against lameness, against leg problems, against mice/rats,  against rheumatism, success

Representation: bishop holding a key and accompanied by an angel meeting burghers at a city gate, bishop holding a key in one hand while placing his crozier on a dragon, bishop reading desk where nearby sits a shield with three wooden shoes, bishop with three wooden shoes, man striking water with a staff, pilgrim sleeping in the sun while an eagle fans him

                                                                        Prayer

Graciously hear these our prayers, we beseech Thee, O Lord, while we offer to Thee in this soleminity of Blessed Servatius, Thy Confessor and Bishop, that as he deserved to do Thee worthy service, so, through his merits and intercession, Thou wouldst mercifully absolve us from all our sins. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Text and Prayer: A Sister of the Congregation of St. Catherine of Siena (1909). Short Lives of the Dominican Saints. London, United Kingdom: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & CO. LTD.

 

Feast of the Translation of our Holy Father Saint Dominic

Memorial Day: May 24th

 

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    The body of the holy patriarch, Saint Dominic, had been laid to rest, according to his own desire, in the Church of Saint Nicholas at Bologna, beneath the feet of his Brethren, and, in spite of continual prodigies and Divine favors granted to the faithful who prayed day and night at his tomb, his children allowed the sacred deposit to remain under the plain flagstone originally laid over it and took no steps for obtaining his canonization. Lest they should be thought to be seeking their own emolument under the appearance of piety, the Friars even broke and threw away the votive offerings brought by the people and would not permit any exterior marks of devotion to be exhibited. It was necessity which at length compelled them to undertake the first translation of the sacred relics. The ever-increasing numbers of the Community obliged them to enlarge the Convent, and to pull down the old church and build a new and more spacious one. To do this the tomb of Saint Dominic would have to be disturbed. They accordingly applied for the requisite permission to Pope Gregory IX., who was no other than the Saint’s old friend, Cardinal Ugolino. He joyfully granted the petition, at the same time administering a sharp rebuke to the Friars for their long negligence.

    The solemn translation accordingly took place on Whit-Tuesday, May 24, 1233 A.D., during the General Chapter, which was held that year at Bologna. The Pope wished to have attended in person, but, being prevented from doing so, he deputed the Archbishop of Ravenna to represent him, in company with a number of other distinguished prelates. Three hundred Friars Preachers from all countries assembled to assist at this function, not without a secret fear on the part of some as to the state in which the sacred remains might be found, as they had long been exposed to rain and heat, owing to the dilapidated condition of the church. The opening of the tomb took place before daybreak, in the presence of Blessed Jordan, then Master-General of the Order, and the fathers of the Chapter, together with the Bishops, Prelates and Magistrates who were to assist at the ceremony. All stood round in silence while the Procurator, Father Rodolph of Faenza, raised the stone. Hardly had he begun to remove the earth and mortar that lay beneath an extraordinary odor became perceptible , which increased in power and sweetness as they dug deeper, until at length, when the coffin appeared and was lifted out of the grave , the whole church was filled with the perfume as though from the burning of some rich and precious gums. The bystanders knelt on the pavement, shedding tears and emotion as the lid was raised, and the exposed to their eyes.

    It was the Master- General who raised the body of his beloved father and reverently laid it in a new coffin. The faithful were then admitted, and the Archbishop of Ravenna sang the Mass of the day, while the fragrance diffused from the open coffin flooded the whole of the sacred edifice. Blessed Jordan in his circular letter to the Order thus described the solemn function: “As the choir intoned the Introit, ‘Receive the joy of your glory, giving thanks to God, who was called you to the celestial kingdom,’ the Brethren in their gladness of heart took the words as if spoken from heaven. The trumpets sounded, the people displayed a countless multitude of tapers; and, as the procession moved along, there everywhere resounded the words, ‘Blessed be Jesus Christ!” He goes on to speak of the vast number of miraculous graces which were poured forth both before and after the ceremony. ‘Sight “he says , “was granted to the blind, power of walking to the lame, soundness to the paralyzed, speech to the dumb…..I myself saw Nicholas, an Englishman, who had long been paralyzed, leaping at this solemnity.”

    The coffin was then laid in the marble tomb prepared for it. But eight days later, to satisfy the devotion of some distinguished persons who had not been present on the previous occasion. The holy remains were again exposed to view. Then it was that Blessed Jordan, taking the sacred head between his hands, kissed it, while tears of tenderness flowed from his eyes; and, so holding it, he desired all the fathers of the Chapter to approach and gaze at it for the last time. One by one they came and kissed the venerable relics. All were conscious of the same extraordinary fragrance; it remained on the hands and clothes of those who touched or came near the body. Nor was this the case merely when the grave was first opened. The tomb remained unclosed for fifteen days, during which interval it was guarded by officers appointed by the city magistrates; and all this times the same exquisite odor was sensible to all who visited the spot; and Flaminius, who lived three hundred years later, thus writes (1527 A.D.): “This divine odor adheres to the relics even to the present day.”

    A second translation of Saint Dominic’s relics took place in the year 1267 A.D., when the holy body was removed to amore richly ornamented tomb. This translation, like the first, was made at a time of the General Chapter; and the head of the Saint, after being devoutly kissed by the Brethren and several Bishops who were present, was exposed to the veneration of the people from a lofty stage erected outside the Church of Saint Nicholas. The tomb was again opened in 1383 A.D., when apportion of the head was placed in a silver reliquary, in order the more easily to satisfy the devotion of the faithful. Finally, 1469 A.D., the remains of the Saint were deposited in the magnificently sculptured shrine in which they now rest, which is regarded as the masterpiece of Nicholas Pisano.

Prayer

O God, who has vouchsafed to enlighten Thy Church by the merits and teachings of Thy blessed Confessor, our Holy Father, Saint Dominic, grant at his intercession that it may never be destitute of temporal help, and may always increase in spiritual growth. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Text and Prayer: A Sister of the Congregation of St. Catherine of Siena (1909). Short Lives of the Dominican Saints. London, United Kingdom: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & CO. LTD.

 

Commemorations

The commemoration of Saint Dominic which is made daily in the Office, is today omitted in favor of the following:

First Vespers:

Ant. O great Father, Saint Dominic, at the hour of death take us to thyself and while here regard us always graciously. (P.T. Alleluia.)

V. Pray for us Blessed Dominic, (P.T. Alleluia.)

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. (P.T. Alleluia.)

 

Lauds:

Ant. The body of a virgin, the mind of a martyr, the labors of an apostle, have at the end of thy course purchased for thee, O Mendicant of Christ, the reward of life. (P.T. Alleluia.)

V. The just man shall blossom like the lily. (P.T. Alleluia.)

R. And shall flourish forever before the Lord. (P.T. Alleluia.)

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. O light of the Church, doctor of patience, ivory of chasity, freely hast thou dispensed the water of wisdom: herald of grace, unite us to the blessed. (P.T. Alleluia.)

V. Pray for us Blessed Dominic, (P.T. Alleluia.)

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. (P.T. Alleluia.)

 

Prayer:

Let us Pray: O God, who didst vouchsafe to enlighten Thy Church by the merits and teachings of Blessed Dominic, Thy Confessor and our Father, grant through his intercession, that it may never be destitute of temporal help, and may always increase in spiritual growth. through Christ our Lord. Amen.

[Blessed Maria Bagnesi]

Blessed Maria Bartholomew Bagnesi, V.O.P.

Memorial Day: May 28th

 

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    Marietta was a beautiful and appealing child, with big eyes and a constant smile. Because she was tiny, she was always called Marietta, rather than Mary. Her mother neglected her when she was a baby, leaving her to the casual care of others, and the little girl was often hungry and cold. She never protested, but was always gay and charming, and she was the special darling of her sister, who was a Dominican nun.

    The sisters made quite a pet of the little girl, and she ran through the cloisters unhampered, singing for the sisters from the throne of the community-room table. What brought about her utter disgust with marriage is hard to tell. When her father proposed that she marry an eligible young man, she reacted with horror. She had been managing the household since the death of her mother, and her father felt that having a home of her own would be the best thing in the world for her. When he suggested this, Marietta fell into a faint, and she remained in that condition for days. When she recovered, she could not stand up, and had to be put to bed.

    At this point a strange interlude brings, which can only be explained by the fact that God does not operate in the same fashion we do. Marietta's father was fond of quack doctors, and quacks of the 16th century were really fantastic. Without protest the girl endured all the weird and frightful treatments they devised, suffering more from the treatments than she ever had from the malady. Today her ailment would probably be diagnosed as some type of spastic nerve malady. Packing her in mud and winding her in swaddling bands until she, according to her own account, "felt like a squashed raisin" could not have helped anything but the quack doctor's purse. The ailments continued unabated for 34 years.

    Marietta had hoped to be a nun; four of her sisters were already in the convent. Because such a life was, of course, impossible for an invalid, her father attempted to better her spirits by having her accepted into the Third Order. A priest came from Santa Maria Novella and received her into the order in 1544, but he excused her from the obligation of saying the Office because of the desperate nature of her illness. When he came the following year, she made her profession. For a little while after her profession, Marietta was able to get out of bed and could even walk a little. She could see and enjoy the beauties of the city. The she fell ill again and went back to bed; this time she had asthma, pleurisy, and a kidney ailment.

    The doctors continued their experimentation through all the years of her life. A mystic, who sometimes conversed with the angels, saints, and devils, Marietta was suspected by the neighbors of being in league with the devil. Her protests that "she had seen him all right but he wasn't a friend of hers," fell on deaf ears; they obtained permission to have her exorcised. Her confessor left her; he was afraid of becoming involved. Another priest who came to her, mostly out of curiosity, stayed on as her confessor and directed her strange and troubled path for 22 years.

    Marietta's little room became a sort of oratory, and troubled people came there to find peace. She had an unusually soothing effect on animals; several pet cats made her the object of their affection. One of them used to sleep on the foot of her bed, and if she became sick during the night would go out to find someone to care for her. Once, when the cat felt that Marietta was being neglected, it went out and fetched her a large cheese. The cats, according to the legend, did not even glance at the songbirds that she had in a cage beside the bed.

    Marietta's spiritual life is hard to chronicle against such an odd background. In her last years, she was in almost constant ecstasy. The chaplain said Mass in her room, and she went to confession daily. She never discussed the sorrowful mysteries, because she could not do so without crying, but she often talked with great animation and a shining face, about the glorious mysteries. Once she was raised out of her bed in ecstasy. She shared her visions with another mystic, the Carmelite, Mary Magdalen de Pazzi. Because of her devotion to Saint Bartholomew, she added his name to her own, and usually used it instead of her family name (Benedictines, Dorcy).

 

Born: August 15, 1514 at Florence, Italy

Died: May 28, 1577 at Florence, Italy of natural causes

Beatified: July 11, 1804 by Pope Pius VII

Patronage: loss of parents, sick people, victims of abuse

 

Prayers/Commemorations

First Vespers:

Ant. This is a wise Virgin whom the Lord found watching, who took her lamp and oil, and when the Lord came she entered with Him into the marriage feast. (P.T. Alleluia.)

V. Pray for us Blessed Mary Bartholomew (P.T. Alleluia.)

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ (P.T. Alleluia.)

 

Lauds:

Ant. Come, O my chosen one, and I will place my throne in thee, for the King hath exceedingly desired thy beauty, (P.T. Alleluia.)

V. Virgins shall be led to the King after her. (P.T. Alleluia.)

R. Her companions shall be presented to Thee. (P.T. Alleluia.)

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. She has girded her loins with courage and hath strengthened her arm; therefore shall her lamp not be put out forever, alleluia

V. Pray for us Blessed Mary Bartholomew . (P.T. Alleluia.)

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. (P.T. Alleluia.)

 

Prayer:

Let us Pray: O God, the lover of souls, who in Blessed Mary Bartholomew, Thy Virgin, didst unite wonderful endurance of illness with equal innocence of mind, grant , that we who are afflicted according to our deserts may be refreshed with the comfort of Thy grace. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Blessed William Arnaud, O.P. & Companians, M.M.

"Martyrs of Toulouse"

Memorial Day: May 29th

 

Profile

    Nothing is known about William's early life. In 1234, he and two other Dominicans were commissioned as inquisitors by Pope Gregory IX to combat Albigensianism in Languedoc, France. He and his companions were driven out of Toulouse, Narbonne, and several other towns by the heretics.

    With him on the preaching mission were a fellow Dominican, Bernard of Rochefort; the Franciscans, Steven of Narbonne and Raymond of Carbonier, and two unnamed others; the Benedictine, Prior Raymond; the clerks, Bernard Fortanier and Admer; and the Dominican lay brother, Garcia d'Aure; and Peter the Notary. There were others who worked with him through the long and difficult years in Toulouse, but these were the ones who died in the martyrdom of Avignonet.

    After the death of Saint Dominic, the party of Count Raymond of Toulouse rose to power again. In a short time it regained possession of Toulouse and several armed strongholds nearby. When William Arnaud and his companions came into the vicinity, they found every gate closed against them. None of the cities under the command of Raymond's troops would allow them to come in, and, by order of the heretic commander, the citizens of Toulouse were forbidden under pain of death to supply the inquisitor's party with any food. They took refuge in a farmhouse outside of Avignonet and preached around the countryside for some time. Because they had some measure of success, the heretics intensified their efforts to entrap and kill the inquisitors.

    The members of the commission realized that they were only one step from death. They might have escaped and gone safely to some other part of the country had they chosen to do so. Instead, they remained where obedience had assigned them, and at the end of May 1242, they were given a heavenly warning that they were about to receive the crown of martyrdom. William was absent from the rest of the group when the plot was formed to kill them. Being told of a vision of martyrdom by one of the brothers, he hurried back to rejoin his group. The heretics completed their plans to massacre the entire party.

    Scheming carefully, they set the scene at the country castle of one of the wealthy members of their group. In order to make sure of getting the inquisitors into the trap, they sent word to William that a confirmed heretic of his acquaintance wished to abjure his heresy and return to the faith.

    Knowing well that it was a trap, William still could not refuse to go. He and his eleven companions went, on the evening of the Ascension, May 28, to the castle of Count Raymond VII of Toulouse. The soldiers of Raymond were concealed in the great hall. They fell upon the helpless group and killed all but four of the members. These four were taken out by friends who had know about the plot and hurried to the church.

    William Arnaud and Steven of Narbonne were murdered in the sanctuary of the church as they sang the Te Deum. This was a crime almost unparalleled in medieval times when the right of sanctuary was one of the few strongholds against barbarism. The bodies of the martyrs were thrown into a deep ravine, and rocks were rolled down on them. During the night, some hours after the martyrdom, bright lights radiating from the bodies of the martyrs brought the faithful to gather up the relics.

    The church of Avignonet was placed under interdict because of the sacrilege, and for 40 years no Mass was said there. The doors remained closed. Finally, when the interdict was lifted, the bells rang of themselves, according to legend, to let people know that Avignonet was once more a member of the living Church.

    There is a striking footnote to this story of martyrdom. Shortly after the interdict was lifted, there appeared one day on the steps of the church a fairly large statue of the Blessed Virgin. Who had put it there has never been discovered. It is difficult to see how anyone in such a small town could have successfully concealed a statue of that size, for small towns are notoriously poor places to hide secrets. The statue appeared on the steps in broad daylight, yet no one saw it being placed there. The people took it as a sign that they were forgiven for their part in the outrage, and also as a sign that they should rebuild the devotion to Our Lady, which the Dominicans had preached. The statue was named "Our Lady of Miracles," and they petitioned for a special feast in honor of their own Miracle lady.

    Until very recently, a beautiful little ceremony was held in the Church of Our Lady of Miracles on every May 28. It was a night ceremony, in memory of the night martyrdom of William Arnaud and his companions, and it was called "The Ceremony of the Vow." Carrying lighted candles, the people proceeded across the entire width of the church on their knees, praying for forgiveness for the people who committed the massacre (Benedictines, Delaney, Dorcy).

Born: ?

Died: 1242

Beatified: Pius IX confirmed their cult in 1866

Patronage: Blessed William Arnaud is invoked by people who suffer from neuralgia, in memory of a miracle of healing which he performed on one of the sisters of Prouille (Dorcy).

 

Prayers/Commemorations

First Vespers:

Ant. The souls of the Saints who followed in the footsteps of Christ rejoice in heaven: and because for love of Him they poured out their blood, therefore shall they reign forever with Christ.

V. Pray for us, Blessed William with thy companions.

R. That we may be worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Lauds:

Ant. These are the Saints, who for love of God despised the threats of men: the holy Martyrs triumph with the angels in the kingdom of heaven. O how precious is the death of the Saints, who constantly assist before the Lord and are not separated one from another!

V. Wonderful is God

R. In His Saints

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. God will wipe every tear from the eyes of the Saints: and mourning there will be no more, neither weeping nor any sorrow because the former things have passed away.

V. Pray for us, Blessed William with thy companions.

R. That we may be worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Prayer

Let us Pray: O God, for the sake of whose love and through zeal in defending the faith Blessed William and his companions succumbed to the swords of the wicked, grant, we pray Thee, that by their intercession we, constant in faith, may ever love Thee with our whole soul. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Pascal Time

First Vespers:

Ant.  Come, O daughters of Jerusalem, and behold a Martyr with a crown wherewith the Lord crowned him on the day of solemnity and rejoicing, alleluia, alleluia

V. Pray for us, Blessed William with thy companions, alleluia

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ, alleluia.

 

Lauds:

Ant. Perpetual light will shine upon Thy Saints, O Lord, alleluia, and an eternity of ages, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

V. The just man shall blossom like the lily, alleluia.

R. And shall flourish forever before the Lord, alleluia

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. In the city of the Lord the music of the Saints incessantly resounds: there the angels and archangels sing a canticle before the throne of God, alleluia.

V. Pray for us, Blessed William with thy companions, alleluia

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. alleluia

 

Prayer

Let us Pray: O God, for the sake of whose love and through zeal in defending the faith Blessed William and his companions succumbed to the swords of the wicked, grant, we pray Thee, that by their intercession we, constant in faith, may ever love Thee with our whole soul. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Blessed Andrew Franchi, B.C.O.P

Memorial Day: May 30th

 

Profile

    Blessed Andrew was born into the noble dei Franchi Boccagni family. He entered the Dominican Order at Pistoia about 1351, when the Italian peninsula was still under the shadow of the plague and was deeply involved in fratricidal wars. Another theory has it that he entered at Florence in 1348, which was the year the plague reached its peak. Whichever date he entered, he did so to give attention to his immortal soul, at a time when the world around him was apparently falling to pieces.

    Andrew proved to be a good religious and an able administrator. He served as prior in three convents while still quite young. In 1378, he was appointed bishop of Pistoia, an office he filled with distinction and holiness for 23 years.

    It is written of Andrew that he devoted himself to the poor, and spent his revenues to relieve their misery and to rebuild the ruined churches. He had a great personal devotion to Our Lady, to the Holy Childhood, and to the Three Holy Kings. As bishop, he lived a life of extreme simplicity, retaining his religious habit, and as much as he could of the rule. A year before his death, he resigned his office and retired to die at his old convent of Pistoia (Benedictines, Dorcy).

Born: Born in Pistoia, Italy, in 1335

Died: died 1401

Beatified: Benedict XV in 1921 declared him Blessed

 

Prayers/Commemorations

First Vespers:

Ant. Strengthen by holy intercession, O Andrew, confessor of the Lord, those here present, have we who are burdened with the weight of our offenses may be relieved by the glory of thy blessedness, and may by thy guidance attain eternal rewards.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Andrew.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Lauds:

Ant. Well done, good and faithful servant, because Thou hast been faithful in a few things, I will set thee over many, sayeth the Lord.

V. The just man shall blossom like the lily.

R. And shall flourish forever before the Lord.

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock..

V. Pray for us. Blessed Andrew.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Prayer:

Let us Pray: O God, who wast pleased that Blessed Andrew, Confessor and Pontiff, should excel by piety and doctrine in preaching Thy word  and in the duties of a good shepherd, grant that through his intercession combating courageously in Thy service, we may be worthy thereby to gather abundant fruit. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Pascal Times

First Vespers:

Ant.  Come, O daughters of Jerusalem, and behold a Martyr with a crown wherewith the Lord crowned him on the day of solemnity and rejoicing, alleluia, alleluia

V. Pray for us, Blessed Andrew  alleluia

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ, alleluia.

 

Lauds:

Ant. Perpetual light will shine upon Thy Saints, O Lord, alleluia, and an eternity of ages, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

V. The just man shall blossom like the lily, alleluia.

R. And shall flourish forever before the Lord, alleluia

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. In the city of the Lord the music of the Saints incessantly resounds: there the angels and archangels sing a canticle before the throne of God, alleluia.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Andrew, alleluia

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. alleluia

 

Prayer:

Let us Pray: O God, who wast pleased that Blessed Andrew, Confessor and Pontiff, should excel by piety and doctrine in preaching Thy word  and in the duties of a good shepherd, grant that through his intercession combating courageously in Thy service, we may be worthy thereby to gather abundant fruit. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Blessed Alphonsus Navarette & Companions, MM.O.P.

Memorial Day: June 1st

 

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    Dominicans were the first missionaries to Japan, and 1530 is given as the date of their martyrdom. However, no conclusive proof exists regarding their names or number, and Saint Francis Xavier rightly holds the title of apostle to this island kingdom.

 

    Following in Xavier's footsteps came other missionaries, and, for about 40 years, they worked with great results among the people. Then, in the closing years of the century, persecution flared, and the blood of martyrs cried out with a louder voice than that of the preachers.

 

    Ferdinand took the Augustinian habit in Mentilla, and in 1603, was sent to Mexico, and thence to Japan in 1605 as vicar provincial. He worked at Osaka with great success until his capture and execution en route to Omura.

 

    The first Dominican to die in the great persecution was Alphonsus Navarrete. When Alphonsus was very young, he gave up his inheritance to enter the Dominican Order in Valladolid and, after he had completed his studies, was sent to the Philippine missions. The great persecution had just begun in Japan. The year before Alphonsus left Spain, a group of 26 Christians, including many Franciscans and three Japanese Jesuits, were crucified in Nagasaki.

 

    Despite the dangers, the Dominicans, who had been excluded from Japan for several years, yearned to go into the perilous mission field. Alphonsus in particular, after a trip to Europe to recruit missionaries in 1610, begged to be allowed to go to Japan. In the following year his offer was accepted and he was sent as superior of the missionary band. During the short interval of peace, they began their work, and, during six years of growing danger, they instructed the people and prepared them for the dreadful days to come.

 

    The missionary career of Alphonsus was brief, and it was always overshadowed by the threat of death that beset the Christians in that unhappy country. However, in the few years of his apostolate, his accomplishment was immeasurable. Like his Divine Master, he went about teaching and baptizing the people. He is called the "Vincent de Paul of Japan," because it was he who first began the tremendous task of caring for the abandoned babies there. He anticipated the work of the Holy Childhood Society by gathering up the homeless waifs and providing for their support from money he begged of wealthy Spaniards.

 

    The warning bell of the great persecution was sounded with the martyrdom in Omura of two priests, a Franciscan and a Jesuit. Alphonus Navarrete and his Augustinian companion Ferdinand went to Omura with the intention of rescuing the relics of the martyrs and consoling the Christians. They were captured on the way, and with a young native catechist, were beheaded. Their bodies were thrown into the sea.

 

    Five years later, on the hill of the holy martyrs of Nagasaki, more than 50 Christians sealed their faith with their blood. Some of the martyrs were beheaded, some were burned at the stake. In the group were nine Jesuits, including the famous Father Charles Spinola, nine Franciscans, and nine Dominicans, among whom were the Blesseds Alphonsus de Mena, Angelo Orsucci, and Hyacinth Orphanel. Louis Bertrand, a nephew of the saint of that same name, perished in the same persecution.

 

    Thousands of Japanese Christians, from tiny children to old grandparents, died amid terrible torments in the profession of their faith. The anger of the persecutors was turned against all priests, brothers, and catechists, tertiaries, and Rosarians, and they made fearful attempts to stamp out all traces of the hated religion in the country. Pope Pius IX, in 1867, solemnly beatified 205 of the martyrs, among whom were 59 Dominicans of the first and third orders and 58 members of the Rosary Confraternity. Although all did not die at the same time nor place, they are listed under the name of Alphonsus Navarrete, who was the first to die (Benedictines, Dorcy).

 

Born: Various dates in the sixteenth century

Died: died the most terrible torments in Japan in 1617

Beatified: Pius IX beatified them in 1867

 

 

Prayers/Commemorations

First Vespers:

Ant. The souls of the Saints who followed in the footsteps of Christ rejoice in heaven: and because for love of Him they poured out their blood, therefore shall they reign forever with Christ.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Alphonsus with thy companions.

R. That we may be worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Lauds:

Ant. The souls of the Saints, who for love of God despised the threats of men: the holy Martyrs triumph with the angels in the kingdom of heaven. O how precious is the death of the Saints, who constantly assist before the Lord and are not separated one from another!

V. Wonderful is God

R. In His Saints

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. God will wipe every tear from the eyes of the Saints: and mourning there will be no more, neither weeping nor any sorrow because the former things have passed away.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Alphonsus with thy companions.

R. That we may be worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Prayer

Let us Pray: O God, who dost rejoice us with the triumph of Blessed Alphonsus and his companions, grant us, we beseech Thee, by their merits and intercession, like constancy in faith and efficacy in action. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Pascal Time

First Vespers:

Ant.  Come, O daughters of Jerusalem, and behold a Martyr with a crown wherewith the Lord crowned him on the day of solemnity and rejoicing, alleluia, alleluia

V. Pray for us, Blessed Alphonsus with thy companions, alleluia

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ, alleluia.

 

Lauds:

Ant. Perpetual light will shine upon Thy Saints, O Lord, alleluia, and an eternity of ages, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

V. The just man shall blossom like the lily, alleluia.

R. And shall flourish forever before the Lord, alleluia

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. In the city of the Lord the music of the Saints incessantly resounds: there the angels and archangels sing a canticle before the throne of God, alleluia.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Alphonsus with thy companions, alleluia

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. alleluia

 

Prayer

Let us Pray: O God, who dost rejoice us with the triumph of Blessed Alphonsus and his companions, grant us, we beseech Thee, by their merits and intercession, like constancy in faith and efficacy in action. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Blessed Sadoc & Companions, MM.O.P.

Memorial Day: June 2nd

 

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    Saint Dominic's dreams of converting the Tartars found realization in his sons. Missionaries did, in fact, go to the North during his lifetime, and many more were sent out by Blessed Jordan of Saxony. The more settles tribes of Poland and Hungary readily accepted the Gospel, and the North was not long in blooming with Dominican convents. But, in the thirteenth century, the restless millions of the East were riding down upon the fertile plains of Central Europe. Wild Tartar tribes soon destroyed what has been done for their more peaceful relatives, and scarcely a missionary survived to preach his message of peace to them.

   

    Paul of Hungary and his band of ninety died as martyrs, probably in 1241. They were popularly honored as saints from earliest times. Soon to follow was the group headed by Blessed Sadoc, which had its headquarters at Sandomir, in Poland. So tragic was the early history of the Dominicans in Poland that, even in that martyred country, it is remembered. Polish Dominicans today wear a red cincture to recall the martyred hundreds who shed their blood that Poland might receive the light of truth.

 

    Blessed Sadoc was a student at the university of Bologna when he met Saint Dominic and was received unto the Order.  Being himself a Slav, he was eager to go to the North to preach the word of God. This he was given a chance to do when he and Paul of Hungary were given charge of the northern mission band. He soon accumulated a number of eager young students and novices, and proceeded to Poland with them. On his first night in the mission field, so say the old chronicles, the devil appeared to Sadoc and reproached him for disturbing his works: "And with such children as these," he said bitterly, pointing to the young novices. With such as these, Sadoc did make havoc with the kingdom of evil: he won many souls to God, and, in Sandomir, he soon had the satisfaction of seeing a large community working for the glory of God.

 

    In 1260, the Tartars made a fresh invasion into Poland and attacked Sandomir. Blessed Sadoc and his community had assembled for midnight Matins when they received warning of their approaching deaths. A novice, reading the martyrology for the following day, was amazed to see, lettered in gold across the pages of the martyrology, the words: " At Sandomir, the passion of forty-nine martyrs." On investigation, it was discovered that it was not merely a novice's mistake, but an actual warning which they understood to be from heaven.

 

    They spent the day in preparation for death. During the singing of the "Salve Regina," after Compline, the Tarttars broke into the church and the slaughter began. One novice, terrified at the thought of death, fled to the choir loft to hide, but hearing his brothers singing, he realized that they were going off to heaven without him, and he returned to the choir to die with the others.

 

    From this martyrdom came the customs of singing the "Salve Regina" at the deathbed of a Dominican-priest, sister, or brother. It is fitting that a life dedicated to God and Our Lady should end thus, with the battle cry "HAIL HOLY QUEEN!" echoing up from this valley of tears to be joined by the voices of Dominicans in heaven, who can now see forever the clement, loving, and sweet Virgin Mary.

 

Born: Various years within the Thirteenth century

Died: died 1260

Beatified: Their cult was confirmed in 1807 by Pope Pius VI

 

Prayers/Commemorations

First Vespers:

Ant. The souls of the Saints who followed in the footsteps of Christ rejoice in heaven: and because for love of Him they poured out their blood, therefore shall they reign forever with Christ.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Sadoc with thy companions.

R. That we may be worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Lauds:

Ant. These are the Saints, who for love of God despised the threats of men: the holy Martyrs triumph with the angels in the kingdom of heaven. O how precious is the death of the Saints, who constantly assist before the Lord and are not separated one from another!

V. Wonderful is God

R. In His Saints

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. God will wipe every tear from the eyes of the Saints: and mourning there will be no more, neither weeping nor any sorrow because the former things have passed away.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Sadoc with thy companions.

R. That we may be worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Prayer

Let us Pray: May the clement and loving Virgin Mary, Thy Mother, O Lord Jesus, show Thee unto us after this our exile, she whom Blessed Sadoc and his companions, unceasingly hailing amidst the hostile, assaults of infidels, merited from Thee the longed-for palm of martyrdom. Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.

 

Pascal Time

First Vespers:

Ant.  Come, O daughters of Jerusalem, and behold a Martyr with a crown wherewith the Lord crowned him on the day of solemnity and rejoicing, alleluia, alleluia

V. Pray for us, Blessed Sadoc with thy companions, alleluia

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ, alleluia.

 

Lauds:

Ant. Perpetual light will shine upon Thy Saints, O Lord, alleluia, and an eternity of ages, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

V. The just man shall blossom like the lily, alleluia.

R. And shall flourish forever before the Lord, alleluia

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. In the city of the Lord the music of the Saints incessantly resounds: there the angels and archangels sing a canticle before the throne of God, alleluia.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Sadoc with thy companions, alleluia

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. alleluia

 

Prayer

Let us Pray: May the clement and loving Virgin Mary, Thy Mother, O Lord Jesus, show Thee unto us after this our exile, she whom Blessed Sadoc and his companions, unceasingly hailing amidst the hostile, assaults of infidels, merited from Thee the longed-for palm of martyrdom. Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.

   [holy card of the Martyrs of China]

Blessed Peter Sanz, B., & Companions, MM.O.P.

(also known as Peter Sans i Jordá, and Martyrs of China)

Memorial Day: June 3rd

 

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    The viceroy of Peking wrote this about the five martyrs that included Peter Sanz: "What are we to do with these men? Their lives are certainly irreproachable; even in prison they convert men to their opinions, and their doctrines so seize upon the heart that their adepts fear neither torments nor captivity. They themselves are joyous in their chains. The jailors and their families become their disciples, and those condemned to death embrace their religion. To prolong this state is only to give them the opportunity of increasing the number of Christians."

Peter Sanz was among the first group of martyrs in Tonkin, which also included Bishop Francis Serrano, Father Joachim Royo, Father John Alcober, and Father Francis Diaz.

    Peter Sanz was professed a Dominican at Lerida when he was 18 (1697). He was ordained in 1704, volunteered for the Chinese missions, and was sent to Manila, The Philippines, in 1713. After studying the language for two years, he entered China where he spent 31 years evangelizing the Chinese before he was captured. In 1730, he was nominated vicar apostolic of Fukien and titular bishop of Mauricastro. When a renewed persecution of Christians flared up in 1746, he was accused of breaking the laws by converting thousands to Christianity by a man to whom he had refused to lend money, according to one account.

    The five men, bound together by their vows and their work, were brought more closely together during their imprisonment at Foochow. Fathers Serrano, Alcober, and Diaz were captured first, and tortured to reveal the whereabouts of Bishop Sanz. They did not break down, but the bishop and Father Royo, hearing about the torture, surrendered in the hope of sparing their brothers' suffering, says another account.

    The five priests were dragged in chains to the emperor's court, where they were subjected to frightful torments. All of them, with a catechist named Ambrose Kou, were sentenced to death in December 1746. During the long imprisonment, a Dominican, Father Thomas Sanchez, managed to see them. He brought them some clothes and a little money, and all the news he could find.

    On May 25, 1747, Bishop Sanz was beheaded at Fu-tsheu. Even the pagans were impressed with his gentle demeanor as he was led out to die, and a fellow prisoner who had been converted in prison, followed him closely through the mob, openly proclaiming his sanctity. As the headsman prepared to swing the axe, the venerable bishop looked at him and said, "Rejoice with me, my friend; I am going to heaven!"

    "I wish I were going with you!" blurted out the unhappy man.

    Laying his head upon the block, the bishop preached his last sermon: "If you want to save your soul, my friend, you must obey the law of God!" Pagan friends of the priests scurried through the crowd, gathering up the relics which they saved for the Christians. Many of these people, including the executioner, were later baptized.

    On October 20, 1747, after the death of Sanz, word arrived that Father Serrano was had been appointed titular bishop of Tipsa and coadjutor to Blessed Peter Sanz. At that point, he and the others were summarily executed at Fukien (Benedictines, Delaney, Dorcy).

Born: September 22, 1680 in Ascó, Catalonia, Spain

Died: beheaded on May 26, 1747 in Fuzou, China

Beatified: May 14, 1893 by Pope Leo XIII

 

Prayers/Commemorations

First Vespers:

Ant. The souls of the Saints who followed in the footsteps of Christ rejoice in heaven: and because for love of Him they poured out their blood, therefore shall they reign forever with Christ.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Peter with thy companions.

R. That we may be worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Lauds:

Ant. These are the Saints, who for love of God despised the threats of men: the holy Martyrs triumph with the angels in the kingdom of heaven. O how precious is the death of the Saints, who constantly assist before the Lord and are not separated one from another!

V. Wonderful is God

R. In His Saints

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. God will wipe every tear from the eyes of the Saints: and mourning there will be no more, neither weeping nor any sorrow because the former things have passed away.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Peter with thy companions.

R. That we may be worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Prayer

Let us Pray: O God, who to spread the faith in the heathen nations didst endow the Bishop Peter and his companions, Thy Blessed Martyrs, with equal constancy and charity, grant us , we beseech Thee, through their example and intercession, to persevere constantly in Thy faith. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

 

Pascal Time

First Vespers:

Ant.  Come, O daughters of Jerusalem, and behold a Martyr with a crown wherewith the Lord crowned him on the day of solemnity and rejoicing, alleluia, alleluia

V. Pray for us, Blessed Peter with thy companions, alleluia

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ, alleluia.

 

Lauds:

Ant. Perpetual light will shine upon Thy Saints, O Lord, alleluia, and an eternity of ages, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

V. The just man shall blossom like the lily, alleluia.

R. And shall flourish forever before the Lord, alleluia

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. In the city of the Lord the music of the Saints incessantly resounds: there the angels and archangels sing a canticle before the throne of God, alleluia.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Peter with thy companions, alleluia

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. alleluia

 

Prayer

Let us Pray: O God, who to spread the faith in the heathen nations didst endow the Bishop Peter and his companions, Thy Blessed Martyrs, with equal constancy and charity, grant us , we beseech Thee, through their example and intercession, to persevere constantly in Thy faith. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 Blessed James Salomonio (Salomone), C.O.P. 

Memorial Day: June 5th

 

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    In a little chapel in Forli, built as a tomb for honored dead, there are three Dominicans laid in close proximity. One side is occupied by Blessed Marcolino of Forli. The center position is held by Carino of Balsamo, the assassin of saint Peter Martyr, whose long penance and popular holiness are now under consideration for his possible beatification; the third place is that of Blessed James of Saomomio, who was the spiritual director of Carino.

 

    James was born in Venice, in 1231, the only child of noble parents. His father died when he was very small, and his mother became a Cistercian nun, leaving him to the care of his grandmother. She did well by her orphaned grandson, and James became a good and studious boy who responded eagerly to any spiritual suggestions. Under the direction of a Cistercian monk, he learned to meditate, and on the monk's counsel, James  became a Dominican at the convent of Sts. John and Paul, in Venice, as soon as he was old enough. He gave most of his money to the poor, and arrived at the convent with just enough left to buy a few books. Seeing that one of the lay brothers there was in need of clothing, he gave his small sum to the lay brother and entered empty-handed.

 

    James wore the Dominican habit with dignity and piety, if not with any worldly distinction, for sixty-six years. he was humble and good and obedient, and there was nothing spectacular about his spirituality. He was well-known for his direction of souls, but he fled even from the distinction this work brought him.

 

    Even his retiring habits did not protect him, for the people of Venice beat a path to his door. In self -defense, he transferred to another house, that of Forli. This was a house of strict observance and very poor. Nothing could suit him better. For the remainder of his life he worked and prayed in Forli, going out to visit the sick in the hospitals and spending long hours in the confessional. His charity to the poor and the sick gave him the name " Father of the Poor." He is represented in art surrounded by a horde of petitioners of this sort..

 

Born: 1231 at Venice, Italy

Died: March 31,1314 of cancer at Forli, Italy; buried in the chapel at Forli

Beatified: He was beatified in 1526 by Clement VII

Patronage: invoked against cancer

Representation: Dominican surrounded by a horde of petitioners; Dominican with a staff and book and the Christ-child over his heart; Dominican holding a heart with the letters "IHS" on it

 

Prayers/Commemorations

First Vespers:

Ant. Strengthen by holy intercession, O James, Confessor of the Lord, those here present, that we who are burdened with the weight of our offenses may be relieved by the glory of thy blessedness, and may by thy guidance attain eternal rewards.

V. Pray for us, Blessed James.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Lauds:

Ant. Well done, good and faithful servant, because Thou hast been faithful in a few things, I will set thee over many, sayeth the Lord.

V. The just man shall blossom like the lily.

R. And shall flourish forever before the Lord.

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock..

V. Pray for us. Blessed James.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Prayer:

Let us Pray: O God, who dost rejoice us on the annual festival of Blessed James, Thy Confessor, mercifully grant that we may imitate the deeds of him whose feast we celebrate. through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Pascal Time

First Vespers:

Ant.  Come, O daughters of Jerusalem, and behold a Martyr with a crown wherewith the Lord crowned him on the day of solemnity and rejoicing, alleluia, alleluia

V. Pray for us, Blessed James with thy companions, alleluia

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ, alleluia.

 

Lauds:

Ant. Perpetual light will shine upon Thy Saints, O Lord, alleluia, and an eternity of ages, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

V. The just man shall blossom like the lily, alleluia.

R. And shall flourish forever before the Lord, alleluia

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. In the city of the Lord the music of the Saints incessantly resounds: there the angels and archangels sing a canticle before the throne of God, alleluia.

V. Pray for us, Blessed James with thy companions, alleluia

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. alleluia

 

Prayer:

Let us Pray: O God, who dost rejoice us on the annual festival of Blessed James, Thy Confessor, mercifully grant that we may imitate the deeds of him whose feast we celebrate. through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Blessed Diane, Blessed Cicely & Blessed Amata, V V.O.P.

Memorial Day: June 9th

 

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    Diana, Caecilia, and Amata were the first members of Saint Agnes Dominican Convent in Bologna, Italy. They all knew Saint Dominic personally. Little is known of Sister Amata except that she was a good friend of Saint Dominic, who, according to legend, gave her the name Amata ('beloved'). Dominic either sent her to the reformed convent of Saint Sixtus when the nuns left Saint Mary's across the Tiber during a time of drastic reform, or he was instrumental in allowing her to stay there. There was an Amata from whom Dominic cast out seven devils, but it was probably not this Amata.

    Caecilia Caesarini was a high-spirited young Roman of an ancient family; she threw her considerable influence into the reform movement at the time Saint Dominic was attempting to get the sisters into Saint Sixtus and under a strict rule. When the saint came to speak to the sisters at Saint Mary's, it was Caecilia (then 17) who urged the prioress to support his cause. She was the first to throw herself at Dominic's feet and beg for the habit and the rule he was advocating, and her hand is evident in the eventual working out of the touchy situation. In 1224, Caecilia and three other sisters from Saint Sixtus, including Amata, went to Saint Agnes in Bologna to help with the new foundation. Sister Caecilia was the first prioress there and proved to be a very strict one.

    Caecilia is responsible for relating nearly everything now known about the personal appearance and habits of Saint Dominic. In her extreme old age, she was asked by Theodore of Apoldia to give him all the details of the saint's personality, and all that she could recall of the early days of the order, so that he could record them for posterity. Though nearly 90, her memory was keen and specific. She recalled how Dominic used his hands, the precise shade of his hair, the exact line of his tonsure. If she erred, there were still people alive who could have corrected her, though there was probably no one with her descriptive power left to tell the tale.

    Through a woman's eyes, she saw the founder from a different angle than his fellow preachers were apt to see, and remarked on his gentleness with the sisters, and the little touches of thoughtfulness so characteristic of him. While the men who worked with him would recall his great mind and his penances, and appreciate the structural beauty of the order he had founded, Caecilia saw the glow of humanity that so many historians miss.

    The most colorful of the three was Sister Diana, the spoiled and beautiful daughter of the d'Andalo and Carbonesi families of Bologna, who lost her heart to the ideal of the Dominicans when listening to Reginald of Orléans preach. She espoused the cause of the friars, who were new in Bologna, and begged her father until she obtained from him the church of Saint Nicholas of the Vineyards, of which he had the patronage.

    Having established the brethren, she wanted a convent of the Dominican sisters in Bologna. When Saint Dominic came there on his last journey, she talked with him, and all her worries departed. She knelt at his feet and made a vow to enter the Dominicans as soon as it should be possible to build a convent at Bologna. Saint Dominic, going away to Venice on a trip from which he would only return to die, made sure before leaving that the brethren understood about Diana. Four of the fathers from the community of Saint Nichola were under obedience to see that her convent was built.

    In the meantime, Diana's father refused her permission to enter the convent. Stealing a leaf from the life of Saint Clare, she ran away to the Augustinians outside the city. In full armor, her brothers came after he, and Diana was returned, battered but unconvinced, to the paternal home. She nursed a number of broken ribs and several explosive ideas in silence.

    The death of Saint Dominic was a great grief to Diana, as she was still living in a state of siege at home, waiting for some action on the question of the new convent. However, she soon acquired a new friend, who was to be her greatest joy in the years of her mortal life--Jordan of Saxony, master general of the order following Dominic. Jordan, as provincial of Lombardy, inherited the job of building the Bologna convent, but his relations with Diana were not to be merely mundane. Their friendship, of which we have the evidence in Jordan's letters, is a tribute to the beauty of all friendship, and a pledge of its place in religious life.

    Diana was resourceful. She made another attempt to elope to the convent. This time her family gave up in despair. She remained peacefully with the Augustinians until the new convent was built. In 1223, Diana and several other young women received the Dominican habit from Jordan of Saxony. Diana was the prioress for a time, but perhaps Jordan felt that she was too volatile for ruling others, because, as soon as the sisters came from Saint Sixtus, he established Sister Caecilia as prioress. Diana, who was used to being not only her own boss, but the one who gave orders to others, seems to have made no protest.

    If we had the letters written by Diana, we should possess a fascinating picture of the early years of the order and the people who made it what it is. We are indebted to Diana for what we do have of the correspondence, for she carefully saved all of Jordan's letters. They tell us of the progress made by the friars in various lands, and ask her to remind the sisters to pray for the missionaries. Jordan counts the successes when many good novices have come into the order, begging her prayers in the low moments when promising novices leave.

    More than this, these are letters of spiritual direction, which should give a pattern to all such correspondence, for they infer that Diana is a willing and energetic Christian who will follow the advice she is given, not simply keep the correspondence going for the joy of it.

    Diana died in 1236. She was buried in the convent of Saint Agnes. Her remains were transferred when a new convent was built, and Sister Caecilia--who died 60 years later--was buried near her, along with Sister Amata. The relics were transferred several times, all three together. The head of Blessed Diana was placed in a reliquary near the tomb of Saint Dominic (Benedictines, Dorcy).

 

Born: twelfth century

Died: thirteenth century

Beatified: Pope Leo XIII confirmed their cult in 1891

Prayers/Commemorations

First Vespers:

Ant. Ye prudent Virgins, prepare your lamps: behold the Bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to meet him. (P.T. Alleluia.)

V. Pray for us, Blessed Diane with thy companions. (P.T., Alleluia.)

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. (P.T., Alleluia.)

 

Lauds:

Ant. The kingdom of heaven will be like to ten virgins, who receiving their lamps went forth to meet the bridegroom and the bride. (P.T., Alleluia.)

V. Virgins shall be led to the King after her. (P.T., Alleluia.)

R. Her companions shall be presented to Thee. (P.T., Alleluia.)

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. She has girded her loins with courage and hath strengthened her arm; therefore shall her lamp not be put out forever. (P.T., Alleluia)

V. Pray for us Blessed Diane with thy companions. . (P.T. Alleluia.)

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. (P.T. Alleluia.)

 

Prayer:

Let us Pray: O God, who dist endow Thy Blessed Virgin Diane with admirable fortitude of spirit, and didst give her Blesseds, Cecilia and Amata as companions in treading the path of evangelical perfection, grant that we may be strengthened in difficulties by their example and protected by their help in adversity. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Blessed John Dominici, B.C.O.P.

Memorial Day: June 10th

 

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    John is an example of the triumph of spirit over difficulty, and an indication that God can use any type of instrument He chooses, if He has a certain work to be done. John was almost rejected by the Dominicans because he had such a severe speech defect that the superior felt he would never be able to preach--a real impediment in the Order of Preachers.

    The saint was born into a poor Florentine family. His early years were noted for piety. In fact, if anyone came looking for him, his mother would say, "Go and look in the church. He spends most of his time there." He had a special love for the Dominican church of Santa Maria Novella, and he haunted it from early morning to late at night. It was not a surprise to anyone when, at the age of 17, he decided to enter the Dominican order.

    Here several difficulties presented themselves. John had no background of education, which was absolutely necessary in an order of scholars. To make matters worse, he had the speech defect. Some of the fathers felt that he should support his parents, although they protested that this should not stand in the way of their son's vocation. It was two years before John was allowed to begin his novitiate at Santa Maria Novella. The order soon discovered the treasure they had. John excelled in theology and Sacred Scripture, and so he was sent, with the other superior students, to finish his studies in Paris.

    Now he was face to face with the difficulty that his superiors had seen from the beginning. An ordained priest, member of a preaching order, he must fulfill his vocation by preaching. His superiors attempted to forestall any embarrassment by assigning him work in the house. John felt that the intervention of heaven was required, so with the utmost simplicity he prayed to Saint Catherine of Siena, who had just died, to cure him. The impediment disappeared, and John joyfully began to preach. He became one of the most famous Dominican preachers.

    In 1392, after years of successful missionary work in all the cities of Italy, John was appointed vicar-provincial of the Roman province. It was a task that, both intellectually and spiritually, called for a giant.

    The plague had cut into the order with such devastating effect that regular life barely existed. The convent of Santa Maria Novella had lost 77 friars within a few months; other convents were in even worse condition. The mortality had been higher among the friars than anywhere else, because they had gone quite unselfishly to the aid of the stricken people. However, this misfortune had left the order perilously understaffed, and there were a good many members who believed quite sincerely that the conditions of the time called for a mitigated observance of the rule. Many of the houses were already operating in this fashion. It was to be the principal work of Blessed John Dominici to right this condition, and bring back the order to its first fervor.

    He began his work with a foundation at Fiesole. Before he had even erected the new convent, four young men received the habit, one of whom was Antoninus--future saintly archbishop of Florence. Two years later, two of the most gifted young artists in Italy, whom history would know as Fra Angelico and his brother, Fra Benedetto, received the habit. With these and other earnest young men, John Dominici set about the difficult work of building anew an order that had suffered a diminution of its original fervor. Soon the house at Fiesole,and others modeled upon it, could be described, as the first houses of the order were, the "homes of angels."

    Difficult days were in preparation for John Dominici. He was appointed cardinal in 1407, named archbishop of Ragusa, and chosen as confessor to the pope. Due to schism, there were two claimants to the papacy. The situation grew even worse when, after another election, no less than three powerful men claimed to have been lawfully elected pope.

    Largely through the diplomacy and wise counsel of John Cardinal Dominici, the rival claimants to the papal throne agreed to withdraw their claims, and the groundwork was laid for the election of a new and acceptable candidate. At this time, John Dominici publicly renounced his cardinalate, thus indicating to the enemies who accused him of political ambition that he cared nothing for honors in this world.

    John was preaching in Hungary against the heresies of John Hus at the behest of the pope when he died. He was buried in the Church of Saint Paul the Hermit in Buda. Many miracles were worked at his tomb before it was destroyed by the Turks (Benedictines, Dorcy).

Born: 1356 at Florence, Italy

Died: June 10, 1419 of a fever at Buda, Hungary; buried in the Church of Saint Paul the Hermit in Buda; his tomb became noted for miracles, and was briefly a pilgrimage point; it was destroyed by the Turks

Beatified: 1832 (cultus confirmed); 1837 (beatified) by Pope Gregory XVI

Prayers/Commemorations

First Vespers:

Ant. Strengthen by holy intercession, O John, Confessor of the Lord, those here present, that we who are burdened with the weight of our offenses may be relieved by the glory of thy blessedness, and may by thy guidance attain eternal rewards.

V. Pray for us, Blessed John.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Lauds:

Ant. Well done, good and faithful servant, because Thou hast been faithful in a few things, I will set thee over many, sayeth the Lord.

V. The just man shall blossom like the lily.

R. And shall flourish forever before the Lord.

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock..

V. Pray for us. Blessed John.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Prayer:

Let us Pray: O God, the giver of charity, who dist strengthen Blessed John, Confessor and Bishop, in the work of preserving the unity of the Church and establishing regular discipline, grant, through his intercession, that we may be of one mind and perform our actions in Christ Jesus our Lord, who with Thee liveth and reigneth world without end. Amen.

 

Pascal Time

First Vespers:

Ant.  Come, O daughters of Jerusalem, and behold a Martyr with a crown wherewith the Lord crowned him on the day of solemnity and rejoicing, alleluia, alleluia

V. Pray for us, Blessed John with thy companions, alleluia

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ, alleluia.

 

Lauds:

Ant. Perpetual light will shine upon Thy Saints, O Lord, alleluia, and an eternity of ages, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

V. The just man shall blossom like the lily, alleluia.

R. And shall flourish forever before the Lord, alleluia

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. In the city of the Lord the music of the Saints incessantly resounds: there the angels and archangels sing a canticle before the throne of God, alleluia.

V. Pray for us, Blessed John with thy companions, alleluia

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. alleluia

 

Prayer:

Let us Pray: O God, the giver of charity, who dist strengthen Blessed John, Confessor and Bishop, in the work of preserving the unity of the Church and establishing regular discipline, grant, through his intercession, that we may be of one mind and perform our actions in Christ Jesus our Lord, who with Thee liveth and reigneth world without end. Amen.

Blessed Stephen Bandelli, C.O.P.

Memorial Day: June 12th

 

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    Stephen Bandelli was born into a noble family. Little is known of his early years except that he applied for admission to the Dominicans in his hometown and received the habit while still very young.

    Stephen earned a degree in canon law and a master's degree in theology, and lectured at the University of Pavia. He was a man of superior intellect and a careful student. Tradition holds that he was "another Saint Paul," and that his sermons were effective in bringing many Christians to a more fervent life and many sinners back into the fold. Aside from this, one reads only the traditional assurances--that he was prayerful, penitential, had a spirit of poverty, was charitable, and was a model religious.

    When Stephen died, he was buried in the Dominican church of Saluzzo. Many miracles were worked at his tomb, and the citizens of Saluzzo invoked him, in 1487, when the town was attacked by one of their neighbors. Their preservation was attributed to Stephen's intercession, as it was claimed that he had appeared in the sky above them while they were fighting. An annual feast was kept there in his honor for many years (Benedictines, Dorcy).

Prayers/Commemorations

First Vespers:

Ant. Strengthen by holy intercession, O Stephen, Confessor of the Lord, those here present, that we who are burdened with the weight of our offenses may be relieved by the glory of thy blessedness, and may by thy guidance attain eternal rewards.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Stephen.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Lauds:

Ant. Well done, good and faithful servant, because Thou hast been faithful in a few things, I will set thee over many, sayeth the Lord.

V. The just man shall blossom like the lily.

R. And shall flourish forever before the Lord.

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock..

V. Pray for us. Blessed Stephen.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Prayer:

Let us Pray: O God who, to recall the erring faithful to the way of salvation, didst make Blessed Stephen, Thy Confessor, an illustrious preacher of the Gospel, grant through his merits and intercession, that being freed from all sin we may ever run in the path of Thy commandments. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Pascal Time

First Vespers:

Ant.  Come, O daughters of Jerusalem, and behold a Martyr with a crown wherewith the Lord crowned him on the day of solemnity and rejoicing, alleluia, alleluia

V. Pray for us, Blessed Stephen with thy companions, alleluia

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ, alleluia.

 

Lauds:

Ant. Perpetual light will shine upon Thy Saints, O Lord, alleluia, and an eternity of ages, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

V. The just man shall blossom like the lily, alleluia.

R. And shall flourish forever before the Lord, alleluia

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. In the city of the Lord the music of the Saints incessantly resounds: there the angels and archangels sing a canticle before the throne of God, alleluia.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Stephen with thy companions, alleluia

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. alleluia

 

Prayer:

Let us Pray: O God who, to recall the erring faithful to the way of salvation, didst make Blessed Stephen, Thy Confessor, an illustrious preacher of the Gospel, grant through his merits and intercession, that being freed from all sin we may ever run in the path of Thy commandments. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Blessed Hosanna of Mantua, V.O.P.

(also known as Osanna)

Memorial Day: June 20th

 

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    Osanna Andreassi was the daughter of the wealthy patrician Andreasio. She experienced visions from her early childhood, but kept the experiences to herself. At the age of six, she saw the Child Jesus carrying a cross and wearing a crown of thorns. He told her that He has a special love of children and purity. She was so impressed, as we all would be, that she immediately consecrated her entire life to God.

    Osanna begged her father to allow her to learn to read so that she might be able to pray the Divine Office. He refused her request because it was a waste for a woman who was expected simply to raise a family. Osanna couldn't explain why she wanted to learn; she couldn't reveal her plans to him. When she was 14 and knew that he was arranging a marriage for her, she furtively went to the Dominican church and received the habit of its tertiaries. When she appeared at home in her religious garb, she explained that she had made a vow and must wear it until she had fulfilled her promise.

    Now, this should not be understood as condoning deceit, but it served God's purpose. Her pious father accepted her explanation for a time. As the months passed he began to suspect what had happened. He had already refused to give her permission to enter the convent, and he was displeased that she should try to live as a tertiary in his own home. Eventually, his father's heart melted and he allowed Osanna to continue her routine of prayer, penance, and charity for the rest of her life. She was not professed until a few months before her death forty-two years later.

    After the early death of both her parents, Osanna spent her fortune in the service of the poor. Her house became a center for people to discuss spiritual matters, for the needy and the sick, for the wealthy and the noble.

    It is said that like Saint Catherine, she miraculously learned to read. One day she saw a piece of paper with two words and said, "Those words are 'Jesus' and 'Mary.'" From that time she could read anything pertaining to spiritual matters. By the same sort of favor, she also learned to write.

    At age 28 (1477), Osanna received the mark of the wound in Jesus' side, caused by a long nail. For the next year various of the sacred wounds would appear, including the crown of thorns. Others saw them only on Wednesdays, Fridays, and during Holy Week, but it appears that they were visible to her and caused both pain and joy.

    At this time Osanna felt the need for a spiritual director and prayed for one with wisdom, patience, and understanding. She found him during Mass when an interior voice said to her, "That's the one you need, the one who is saying Mass." Osanna thought he was too young, but, upon meeting him in the confessional a few days later, all doubts were erased.

    Before her death, the soul of Blessed Columba of Rieti, another Dominican tertiary, appeared to her and told Osanna to prepare for death (Benedictines, Dorcy).

Born: January 17, 1449 at Mantua, Italy

Died: 1505 of natural causes

Beatified: November 24, 1694 Pope Innocent XII (cultus confirmed)

Representation: In art, Osanna is a Dominican tertiary wearing a crown of thorns, surrounded by rays of light (not the halo of a saint), a lily, a broken heart with a crucifix springing from it, the devil under her feet, two angels (one with a lily, one with a cross). This is similar to the image of Saint Catherine of Siena, who has a halo. Osanna is the patroness of school girls (Roeder).

 

Prayers/Commemorations

First Vespers:

Ant. This is a wise Virgin whom the Lord found watching, who took her lamp and oil, and when the Lord came she entered with Him into the marriage feast.

V. Pray for us Blessed Hosanna

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ

 

Lauds:

Ant. Come, O my chosen one, and I will place my throne in thee, for the King hath exceedingly desired thy beauty.

V. Virgins shall be led to the King after her.

R. Her companions shall be presented to Thee.

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. She has girded her loins with courage and hath strengthened her arm; therefore shall her lamp not be put out forever, alleluia

V. Pray for us Blessed Hosanna

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Prayer:

Let us Pray: Graciously hear us, O God, our Savior, that as we rejoice in celebrating the memory of Blessed Osanna, Thy Virgin, so we may be perfected by an affection for piety and devotion. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Blessed Innocent V., P.C.O.P.

Memorial Day: June 22nd

 

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    Peter of Tarentaise was barely 10 years old when he was admitted to the Dominican Order by Blessed Jordan of Saxony as a boy-novice and sent to Paris to study. Like Saint Thomas Aquinas, Blessed Ambrose of Siena, and other luminaries of the 13th century, he fell under the masterly tutelage of Saint Albert the Great.

    He received his master's degree in theology in 1259, then he taught for some years in Paris, where he contributed a great deal to the order's reputation for learning. He wrote a number of commentaries on Scripture and the Commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, but he devoted most of his time to the classroom. He soon became famous as a preacher and theologian, and in 1259, with a committee including his friend Thomas Aquinas, composed a plan of study that is still the basis of Dominican teaching.

    At age 37, Peter began the long years of responsibility in the various offices he was to hold in his lifetime as prior provincial of France. He visited on foot all Dominican houses under his care, and was then sent to Paris to replace Thomas Aquinas at the University of Paris. Twice provincial, he was chosen archbishop of Lyons in 1272 and administered the affairs of the diocese for some time, though he was never actually consecrated for that see.

    The next year Peter was appointed cardinal-archbishop of Ostia, Italy, while still administering the see of Lyons. With the great Franciscan, Saint Bonaventure, assumed much of the labor of the Council of Lyons to which Saint Thomas was hastening at the time of his death. To the problems of clerical reform and the healing of the Greek schism the two gifted friars devoted their finest talents. Before the council was over, Bonaventure died, and Peter of Tarentaise preached the funeral panegyric.

    In January 1276, Peter was with Blessed Pope Gregory X when the latter died at Arezzo. The conclave was held in the following month. On January 21, 1276, Peter of Tarentaise received every vote except his own. With a sad heart, he left the seclusion of his religious home to ascend the Fisherman's Throne as Pope Innocent V.

    The reign of the new pope, which promised so much to a harassed people, was to be very brief. But, imbued with the spirit of the early apostles, he crowded a lifetime into the short space given him.

    He instigated a new crusade against the Saracens and began reforms in the matter of regular observance. He actually succeeded in solving many of the questions of the Greek schism and in establishing a short-lived truce. He struggled to reconcile the Guelphs and Ghibellines, restored peace between Pisa and Lucca, and acted as mediator between Rudolph of Hapsburg and Charles of Anjou. He restored the custom of personally assisting at choral functions with the canons of the Lateran, and he inspired all with the love that animated his heart.

    Had the measures begun by Innocent V had time to be fully realized, he might have accomplished great good for the Church; he did at least open the way for those who were to follow him. Death stopped the hand of the zealous pope when he had reigned only five months. Like his friends Saint Thomas and Saint Bonaventure, he was untouched by the honors and dignity with which he had been favored, and death found him exactly what he had been for more than 40 years--a simple, humble friar (Benedictines, Delaney, Dorcy).

 

Born: 1245 at Tarentaise, Burgundy, France as Petrus a Tarentasia

Papal Ascension: 1276

Died: 1277 at Rome of natural causes

Beatified: cult was confirmed by Leo XIII in 1898

Prayers/Commemorations

First Vespers:

Ant. Strengthen by holy intercession, O Innocent, Confessor of the Lord, those here present, that we who are burdened with the weight of our offenses may be relieved by the glory of thy blessedness, and may by thy guidance attain eternal rewards.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Innocent.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Lauds:

Ant. Well done, good and faithful servant, because Thou hast been faithful in a few things, I will set thee over many, sayeth the Lord.

V. The just man shall blossom like the lily.

R. And shall flourish forever before the Lord.

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock..

V. Pray for us. Blessed Innocent.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Prayer:

Let us Pray: O God, who dist make Blessed Innocent, Confessor and Pope, adorned with the gifts of knowledge and prudence, a promoter of peace and unity, grant us, through his intercession, a relish for heavenly things, and oneness of accord in the pursuance of all good. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Image:B Benedikt XI.jpg

Blessed Pope Benedict XI, P.C.O.P.

Memorial Day: July 7th

 

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    Nicholas Boccasini was born into a poor family of which we know little else, though there are several different traditions concerning it. One claims that his father was a poor shepherd. Another that he was an impoverished nobleman. Whichever he was, he died when Nicholas was very small, and the little boy was put in the care of an uncle, a priest at Treviso.

    The child proved to be very intelligent, so his uncle had him trained in Latin and other clerical subjects. When Nicholas was ten, his uncle got him a position as tutor to some noble children. He followed this vocation until he was old enough to enter the Dominican community at Venice in 1254. Here, and in various parts of Italy, Nicholas spent the next 14 years, completing his education. It is quite probable that he had Saint Thomas Aquinas for one of his teachers.

    Nicholas was pre-eminently a teacher at Venice and Bologna. He did his work well according to several sources, including a testimonial from Saint Antoninus, who said that he had "a vast store of knowledge, a prodigious memory, a penetrating genius, and (that) everything about him endeared him to all." In 1295, he received the degree of master of theology.

    The administrative career of Nicholas Boccasini began with his election as prior general of Lombardy and then as the ninth master general of the Order of Preachers in 1296. His work in this office came to the notice of the pope, who, after Nicholas had completed a delicate piece of diplomacy in Flanders, appointed him cardinal in 1298.

    The Dominicans hurried to Rome to protest that he should not be given the dignity of a cardinal, only to receive from the pope the mystifying prophecy that God had reserved an even heavier burden for Nicholas. As papal legate Nicholas traveled to Hungary to try to settle a civil war there.

    Boniface VIII did not always agree with the man he had appointed cardinal-bishop of Ostia and dean of the sacred college. But they respected one another, and in the tragic affair that was shaping up with Philip the Fair of France, Cardinal Boccasini was to be one of only two cardinals who defended the Holy Father, even to the point of offering his life.

    Philip the Fair, like several other monarchs, discovered that his interests clashed with those of the papacy. His action was particularly odious in an age when the papal power had not yet been separated completely from temporal concerns.

    The French monarch, who bitterly hated Boniface, besieged the pope in the Castle of Anagni, where he had taken refuge, and demanded that he resign the papacy. His soldiers even broke into the house and were met by the pope, dressed in full pontifical vestments and attended by two cardinals, one of whom was Cardinal Boccasini. For a short time it looked as though the soldiers, led by Philip's councilor William Nogaret, might kill all three of them, but they refrained from such a terrible crime and finally withdrew after Nicholas rallied the papal forces and rescued Boniface from Anagni.

    Cardinal Boccasini set about the difficult task of swinging public opinion to the favor of the pope. Successful at this, he stood sorrowfully by when the pontiff died, broken-hearted by his treatment at the hands of the French soldiers. On October 22, 1303, at the conclave following the death of Boniface, the prophesied burden fell upon the shoulders of the cardinal-bishop of Ostia, who took the name Benedict XI.

    The reign of Benedict XI was too short to give him time to work out any of his excellent plans for settling the troubles of the Church. Most of his reign was taken up with undoing the damage done by Philip the Fair. He lifted the interdict on the French people that had been laid down by his predecessor and made an uneasy peace with Philip. He worked to reconcile warring parties in Europe and the Church and to increase spirituality. His reign, short though it was, was noted for its leniency and kindness.

    There are few personal anecdotes regarding Benedict, but at least one worth telling. Once, during his pontificate, his mother came to the papal court to see him. The court attendants decided that she was too poorly dressed to appear in the presence of the Holy Father, so they dressed her up in unaccustomed finery before allowing her to see her son. Benedict, sensing what had happened, told them he did not recognize this wealthy woman, and he asked them where was the little widow, pious and poorly dressed, whom he loved so dearly.

    Benedict XI died suddenly in 1304. He had continued to the end with his religious observances and penances. Some people believed that he had been poisoned, but there has never been any evidence that this was the case. Many miracles were performed at his tomb, and there were several cures even before his burial (Benedictines, Delaney, Dorcy).

Born: Born in Treviso, Italy, 1240

Papal Ascension: 1303

Died: died in Perugia, Italy, April 25, 1304

Beatified: beatified by Pope Clement XII in 1736

Representation: In art, Pope Benedict wears a Dominican habit and papal tiara, while holding the keys. He is venerated in Perugia (Roeder).

 

Prayers/Commemorations

First Vespers:

Ant. Strengthen by holy intercession, O Benedict, Confessor of the Lord, those here present, that we who are burdened with the weight of our offenses may be relieved by the glory of thy blessedness, and may by thy guidance attain eternal rewards.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Benedict.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Lauds:

Ant. Well done, good and faithful servant, because Thou hast been faithful in a few things, I will set thee over many, sayeth the Lord.

V. The just man shall blossom like the lily.

R. And shall flourish forever before the Lord.

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock..

V. Pray for us. Blessed Benedict.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Prayer:

Let us Pray: O God who, by the grace of Thy benediction didst raise Blessed Benedict , Thy Pontiff, to heaven, sanctify Thy people, we beseech Thee, with a new benediction and through his prayers and merits defend them by Thy power from all threatening evils. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

[Saint John of Cologne]

Saint John of Cologne & Companions, MM.O.P.

Feast Day: July 9th

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    The Reformation gained its foothold in the Netherlands in opposition to the Catholicism of the Spanish princes of the country--not primarily for religious, but rather for political reasons. Anti-Spanish and Calvinist soldiers banded together into lawless armies of pirates, and, unpaid and disillusioned, foraged for themselves in the seaports, looking for plunder.

    Reproached by the clergy, they turned on the Church and one band of pirates led by the Gueux laid siege to the city of Gorkum, capturing it in June 26, 1572 after a struggle. For reprisal-- because of the city's determined defense--they gathered all members of the clergy in Gorkum into one miserable prison and set about taking revenge on the priests for their own grievances against the Spanish crown.

    The priests were tortured, subjected to all kinds of indignities, and offered their freedom if they would abjure Catholic teaching on the Eucharist and the primacy of the pope. Angered by the endurance of the priests, the Calvinist increased their abuses. Some of the religious were very old and infirm, but one and all, even to an aged Augustinian who was so weak he could barely stand, they bore their martyrdom with patience and sweetness for ten terrible days.

    They were repeatedly asked to deny the Real Presence, and just as repeatedly refused, which brought on more and more dreadful tortures. When they continued to refuse, despite a letter from Prince William of Orange ordering their release and protests from the magistrates of Gorkum, they were thrown half-naked into the hold of a ship on July 6, and taken to another city to be killed in the presence of a Protestant nobleman, Admiral Luney, a man noted for his hatred of Catholicism.

    After being exhibited to the curious townspeople (who paid to see the spectacle) and subjected to every type of torture, the 19 priests and religious were hanged in an old barn at deserted Ruggen Monastery on the outskirts of Briel. Stripped of their habits and made, like their Master, "the reproach of men and the outcast of the people," they benefited by their Christ-like sufferings and deaths. Their bodies, mutilated before or after death, were callously thrown into a ditch. The 19 martyrs included eleven Franciscans (called Recollects), two Premonstratensians, one Dominican, one canon regular of Saint Augustine, and four secular priests.

    Two of those who died had led less than holy lives, but by their heroic constancy in the hour of trial blotted out the stains that might otherwise have kept them out of heaven. Sadly, there should have been 20 martyrs of Gorkum. One, who weakened and was released after he had denied the Real Presence, lived but 24 hours to enjoy his wretched freedom.

    The other 19 gloriously went to heaven. The scene of the martyrdom soon became a place of pilgrimage, where all the Christian world reverenced the men who were so courageously obedient until death. Accounts of several miracles, performed by their intercession and relics, were used for their beatification and published by the Bollandists. Most of their relics are kept in the Franciscan church at Brussels to which they were secretly conveyed from Briel in 1616. Below are the names of the martyrs and the stories that I could find:

* Adrian Beanus, O. Praem.

* Adrian van Hilvarenbeek

* Fr. Andrew Wouters, OFM, was a priest at Heinot near Dortrecht. He led a scandalous life, but when the Calvinists tried to compel him to renounce the Catholic faith, he expiated his past by a brave confession, was imprisoned at Briel with the others and hanged.

* Fr. Antony van Hoornaer, OFM

* Fr. Antony van Weert, OFM

* Fr. Antony van Willehad, OFM, from Denmark

* Cornelius van Wyk (near Utrecht), OFM, was born at Dorestat near Utrecht. He took the Franciscan habit at Gorkum as a lay brother.

* Fr. Godefried of Mervel, OFM, was a painter and the custos of the Franciscan house at Gorkum.

* Fr. Godrey van Duynsen, native of Gorkum, was captured with Leonard Vechel and Nicholas Jannsen in Gorkum and sent to Briel, the Netherlands, where they were hanged. Previously, he had been the rector of a school in Paris.

James Lacops, O. Praem., was a native of Oudenarden, Flanders. He was a Norbertine at Middelburg and in 1566 apostatized, wrote, and preached against the Church. Then he repented, returned to his abbey, and was martyred by the Calvinists.

* Fr. Jerome Weerden, OFM, was born in Werden, the Netherlands, in 1522. He spent several years in Palestine as a Franciscan missionary. Jerome was a powerful preacher against Calvinism and at the time of his capture was the vicar of the friary of Gorkum under Saint Nicholas of Pieck.

* Fr. John van Hoornaer, OFM

* John van Oosterwyk, OSA, was a native of the Netherlands who joined the Augustinians at Briel. He was the director and confessor of a community of Augustinian nuns at Gorkum when the town was taken by the Calvinists.

* John of Cologne, OP, was a Dominican religious of his convent in Cologne, Germany who performed the duties of a parish priest in Horner, the Netherlands. When he heard of the plight of the poor priests captured in Gorkum, he left the relative safety of his parish and entered Gorkum in disguise to render whatever assistance he could. Several times he entered the city to dispense the sacraments, and to bring consolation to the priests who were being cruelly tortured. Eventually, he also was taken prisoner and subjected to torture.

* Leonard Vechel (Veehel, Wegel, Wichel), the elder pastor at Gorkum, was born in Bois-le-Duc, Holland. He studied in Louvain, where he earned a great reputation in his theological studies under the celebrated Ruard Tapper, was ordained, and became a parish priest at Gorkum known for his uncommon zeal, piety, eloquence, and learning. He had a remarkable ability to solve difficult problems. He tenderly cared for the poor, especially those that were sick, giving of himself as well as of his substance. He reproved vice without respect of persons, but his meekness and patience disarmed many who had been long deaf to remonstrations. He was in active opposition to Calvinism. He and his assistant Nicholas Jannsen Poppel of Welde, Belgium, were among those seized by a Calvinist mob at Gorkum.

* Fr. Nicholas Janssen Poppel (van Heeze), OFM, a native of Heeze, Brabant, from which he derived the name Nicasius van Heeze, was an associate pastor to Vechel. He was captured with his pastor, Leonard Vechel, and Godrey van Duynsen.

* Fr. Nicholas Pieck--Nicholas was the guardian of the Observant Franciscan house at Gorkum. This eminent, 38-year-old preacher was a native of the Netherlands who studied at Louvain and made missionary activities among the Calvinists his life's work. He had an intense zeal for holy poverty and mortification, yet his constant cheerfulness rendered piety and penance itself amiable. He is known for repeating, "We must always serve God with cheerfulness." Fr. Pieck had often expressed an earnest desire for martyrdom, but considered himself unworthy for that honor. He and four other priests were among the first seized when Calvinist forces opposed to the Spanish rule seized the town in June.

* Peter of Assche, OFM, from near Brussels, Belgium, was a Franciscan lay brother at Gorkum.

* Fr. Theodore van der Eem, OFM, from Amersfoort.

        (Benedictines, Delaney, Dorcy, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Husenbeth).

       

Born: Born in Germany in the 16th century

Died: burned, beaten, hanged and mutilated in 1572 at Gorkum, Holland

Canonized: Pope Pius IX canonized them in 1867.

Representation: elevating the Eucharist as he wears a rope around his neck

Prayers/Commemorations

First Vespers:

Ant. Scattering the proud in the strength of Thy arm, O Lord, Thou hast regarded the humility of Thy servants: and behold all generations will call them blessed.

V. Pray for us , Blessed John with thy companions

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Lauds:

Ant. The Lord God of Israel hath visited and wrought the redemption of His servants: He hath glorified their names forever and hath raised up a horn of salvation for us.

V. Wonderful is God.

R. In his Saints.

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. The Lord hath exalted His humble servants and received them into holy tabernacles, being mindful of His mercy.

V. Pray for us, Blessed John with thy companions.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Prayer:

Let us Pray: O God, who hast crowned with eternal laurels, for their glorious combat for the faith , Thy Blessed Martyrs, John and his companions: grant through their merits and intercession that we may so strive here on earth as to merit to be crowned with them in heaven. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

[Saint Ignatius Delgado]

Blessed Ignatius Delgado, Blessed Dominic Henares, O.P. & Companions, MM.

Memorial Day: July 11th

"This stranger, who was introduced clandestinely into the kingdom, spends his life in the study of things of the heart and in meditation on what is incomprehensible...(From the death sentence of Bishop Ignatius Delgado.)"

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    Continuing the saga of the martyrs of Tonkin, nearly a hundred years after the death of Blessed Peter Martyrs Sanz and companions, two more Dominicans bishops died for the faith . They were Bishop Ignatius Delgado and Bishop Dominic Henares. With them a tertiary catechist died, Francis Chien, and the group (beautified in 1900 by Pope Leo XIII) also includes a Spanish priest, Joseph Fernandez, Father Augustine Schoeffler of the Paris Foreign Mission Society, who was a Dominican Tertiary, and twenty-one native confraternity members.

   

    Of the early years of these martyrs we know little. Both were born in Spain, Bishop Delgado in 1762 and Bishop Henares three years later. From the sentence of condemnation itself we learn that Bishop Delgado had labored for nearly fifty years in Tonkin, which argues that he must have been a resourceful man as well as a zealous one. In 1838 the two bishops and the catechist were captured, in a persecution recently stirred up by the mandarin. The prelates and a young priest had been hidden in the village of Kien-lao, and were accidentally betrayed by a little child who was cleverly questioned by a pagan teacher searching for the foreigners. Alarmed at the sudden activities, the captors of Bishop Delgado put him into a small cage which was locked around him, and then put into jail with criminals.

    Communism had made us familiar with the type of questioning that Bishop Delgado had to face. A copy of his trial, which still existed a few years ago, showed that he answered truthfully and fearlessly where he himself was concerned, but that no amount of questioning or torture could make him reveal the whereabouts of his companions. A young priest in another place had taken to his heels when the alarm of the bishop's arrest was heard, and was still at large. There was no proof that Bishop Henares had been caught, nor the catechists who worked with him. So Bishop Delgado, an old man of seventy six, endured the tortures rather than give any clue as to where they might be found.

 

    The death sentence was passed on Bishop Delgado, and he was left in the open cage under the summer sun, to exist in misery until it should please the mandarin to kill him. Pagans jeered at him and threw waste in his face, and he was deprived of even the simplest necessities. Worn out by suffering but still silent as to his companions' whereabouts, he died of dysentery before the mandarin was ready to behead him. The enraged solders cut off his head when they found that he had died, and threw the remains into a swift river. Fisherman promptly set about the dangerous business of rescuing the relics.

 

    Bishop Henares was captured with a companion at the same time as Bishop Delgado. He had hidden himself in a boat, and the nervousness of the boatmen gave him away. Five hundred soldiers were detached to bring in the two "dangerous" criminals, the bishop and his catechist, Francis Chien. They too were questioned endlessly, and kept apart from Bishop Delgado. Two weeks after the death of the first bishop, the second was led out and beheaded in company with this catechist.

 

    The relics of all three martyrs were recovered in  part, and were honorably buried by the next Dominicans to come on the scene- Bishop Hermosilla and his companions, who would, as they knew, also be the next to die.

 

    We have no information of the twenty-one members of the Confraternity of the Rosary who was honored with the three martyrs of 1838, nor about the Spanish Father Fernandez. Father Augustine Schoeffler of the Paris Foreign Mission Society should likewise hold a place of honor among Dominicans, as he was a Tertiary. Many of the records of these brave men were lost or deliberately destroyed, and many of them- we hope- may still be found in various neglected spots which war and trouble have caused to be overlooked.

 

Born: Spain: Bishop Ignatius Delgado (November 23, 1761 at Villafeliche, Spain), Dominic Henares (December 19, 1765 at Baena, Spain)

Died:  July 12, 1838 of hunger and exposure in Vietnam (Ignatius Delgado), beheaded on June 25, 1838 in Vietnam (Dominic Henares, Francis Chien), Companions- various dates and unknown causes

Beatified: May 27, 1900 by Pope Leo XIII

 

Prayers/Commemorations

First Vespers:

Ant. The souls of the Saints who followed in the footsteps of Christ rejoice in heaven: and because for love of Him they poured out their blood, therefore shall they reign forever with Christ.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Ignatius & Blessed Dominic with thy companions.

R. That we may be worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Lauds:

Ant. These are the Saints, who for love of God despised the threats of men: the holy Martyrs triumph with the angels in the kingdom of heaven. O how precious is the death of the Saints, who constantly assist before the Lord and are not separated one from another!

V. Wonderful is God

R. In His Saints

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. God will wipe every tear from the eyes of the Saints: and mourning there will be no more, neither weeping nor any sorrow because the former things have passed away.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Ignatius & Blessed Dominic with thy companions.

R. That we may be worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Prayer

Let us Pray: O God, who has designed to water the lands of the Annamites with the blood of Thy Blessed Bishops Ignatius and Dominic and their companions: grant by the intercession of such great martyrs that those regions may flourish with the true religion. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Blessed James of Voragine, B.C.O.P.

also known as Giacomo da Varazze

    Memorial Day: July 13th

 

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    James of Voragine has been beatified by the Church for the sanctity of his life. He lives in secular history for quite a different reason-he was a creative genius of his age. His so-called Golden Legends, which has enjoyed a circulation of nearly seven centuries, is only one of several projects which in his time, as in ours, are a tribute to the versatility of the man and the zeal of a saint.

 

    Little is recorder of the childhood of James. He entered the order, in Genoa, and soon was known both for his virtue and for a singularly alert and practical mind. Tradition says that James was the first to translate the Bible into Italian. Whether this is true or not, it is ample evidence that he was a good scholar.

   

    As Prior, provincial, and later Arch-Bishop, James gained a reputation for strict observance, heroic charity, and sound good sense. He was a builder where war had wrecked, a peace maker where others sowed trouble. He must of had a contagious zeal, for the wealthy gave to him as readily as the poor begged from him, and under his hand ruined churches and hospitals were built again, the sick and poor were cared for , and order was restored. He was a genius at getting things done; and , fortunately his whole heart was bent on doing for the glory of God.

 

    Like others of his calling and training, James was first of all a preacher. For those many who could not read, one of the chief means of instruction was sermons which took their key note from the feast of the day. The saints, the stories of their live and examples of their virtues , became as much part of a Christians life as the people around him. The collection of stories - later called The Golden Legend - started as a series of sermons prepared by James for the various festival of the saints. Since he preached in Italian, rather than in Latin, his sermons had immense popular appeal, and they were rapidly copied by other preachers into all the languages of Europe. The Golden Legend  was , next to the Bible, the most popular book of the middle ages.

 

    James was rigorous in his observance of the Dominican Rule, which is of itself enough to canonize him. He had also the good sense to make use of changing trends to further the work of God. Today he would be using the radio, the press, the movies, and television; then he used what his century had to offer- sermons in the vernacular, religious drama, and music. How much present day drama and music owed to him, it would be impossible to say. There is an amusing story told of his efforts to fight fire with fire. He organized a troop of jugglers and acrobats from the student novices of  San Eustorgio, in Milan, who were to mingle entertainment with doctrine in an effort to combat the indecency of the secular theater. This was one scheme which left no lasting effect on the order, but it does serve to show that James was a man of his times, alert to the changing needs of a fast moving world, and whole heartedly determined to win the world to the truth of the One Holy Catholic Faith by any honest means that came to hand.

 

    Purity, poverty and charity were the outstanding virtues of this man whom the Church has seemed fit to enroll among Her blesseds. He will always be recognized in Dominican history as a man of many and peculiar gifts, who consecrated his talents to God, and, in trading with them , gained heaven.                

 

Born: c.1230 at Varezze (modern Voragine), diocese of Savona, Italy (near Genoa)

Died: July 13, 1298

Beatified: 1816 by Pope Pius VII

 

Prayers/Commemorations

First Vespers:

Ant. Strengthened by holy intercession, O James, Confessor of the Lord, those here present , that we who are burdened the weight of our offenses. Maybe relieved by the glory of thy blessedness, and may thy guidance attain eternal rewards.

V. Pray for us, Blessed James.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ

 

Lauds:

Ant. Well done, good and faithful servant, because thou hast been faithful in a few things, I will set thee over many, saith the Lord.

V. The just man shall blossom like the lily.

R. And shall flourish forever the Lord.

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock.

V. Pray for us, Blessed James.

R. That we may be made worthy of the Promises of Christ.

 

Prayer

Let us Pray: O God, who didst make Blessed James, Confessor and Bishop, a glorious preacher of the truth and  a peace maker, grant us, through his intercession, that we may love peace and truth, and come at length to Thee in whom are perfect peace and pure truth. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

[Blessed Ceslas holy card]

Blessed Ceslaus Odrowatz of Poland, C.O.P.

Memorial Day: July 17th

 

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    Ceslaus Odrowatz was a near relative, probably a brother, of Saint Hyacinth, and shared with him the apostolate of Northern Europe. Little is known of his youth. He was born in the ancestral castle and educated with Saint Hyacinth, by his uncle, a priest of Cracow.

    Both young men became priests and, being well-known for their holiness, were chosen to be canons in the cathedral chapter in Cracow. When their uncle received an appointment as bishop of Cracow, the two young priests accompanied him on his trip to Rome, where he would be consecrated.

    It was in Rome that the two zealous young priests first heard of the work of Saint Dominic. The order was then only four years old, and its eager members had penetrated to almost all parts of Christendom and were pushing into the lands of the Tartars and the Mohammedans.

    The new bishop strongly desired that some of the friars should come to Poland. Since Saint Dominic was then in Rome, they went to him for missionaries. Dominic was deeply regretful that he had no friars who were able to speak the languages of the North. However, he was much drawn to the bishop's two young nephews, and promised to make them Dominican apostles if they would remain with him.

    After their novitiate training, Hyacinth and Ceslaus went home. Ceslaus went to Prague, and other parts of Bohemia, where he founded convents of Friar Preachers and also established a group of nuns. Then he went to Silesia, where he founded the convent of Breslau that was to become his center of activities. He also acted as the spiritual director for duchess Saint Hedwig of Poland.

    The life of Blessed Ceslaus, like that of Saint Hyacinth, is a record of almost countless miracles, of unbelievable distances travelled on foot through wild and warlike countries, and of miracles of grace. He cured the sick and the maimed, raised the dead to life, and accomplished wonders in building convents. His most remarkable miracle was the raising to life of a boy who had been dead for eight days.

    In 1241 the Tartars swooped down upon the Christian kingdoms and laid waste the labor of centuries. Blessed Ceslaus was in Breslau at the time the Tartars laid siege to the city. He and his community fasted and prayed incessantly that the city would be saved, and when the cause looked darkest, Ceslaus mounted the ramparts with a crucifix in his hand. While the Tartars gazed in astonishment, a huge ball of fire descended from heaven and settled above him. Arrows of fire shot out from the heavenly weapon, and the Tartars fled in terror, leaving the city unmolested.

Our Lady came to receive the soul of Blessed Ceslaus, who had been tireless in preaching her glories (Benedictines, Dorcy).

Born: c.1180 at Cracow, Poland

Died: July 16, 1242

Beatified: August 27, 1712 by Pope Clement XI (cultus confirmed)

 

Prayers/Commemorations

First Vespers:

Ant. Strengthened by holy intercession, O Ceslaus, Confessor of the Lord, those here present , that we who are burdened the weight of our offenses. Maybe relieved by the glory of thy blessedness, and may thy guidance attain eternal rewards.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Ceslaus.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ

 

Lauds:

Ant. Well done, good and faithful servant, because thou hast been faithful in a few things, I will set thee over many, saith the Lord.

V. The just man shall blossom like the lily.

R. And shall flourish forever the Lord.

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Ceslaus.

R. That we may be made worthy of the Promises of Christ.

 

Prayer

Let us Pray: O God, who dist endow Blessed Ceslaus with virginal purity and burning zeal for the salvation of souls, and didst render him wonderful to diverse peoples and nations for the holiness of his deeds and the propagation of the faith, grant, we beseech Thee by his intercession, that we may be ever steadfast in the faith , and be enabled, through the gift of Thy mercy, to come at length to Thee, who alone art the author and giver of eternal salvation. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Saint Mary Magdalen, Protectress of the Order

Feast Day: July 22nd

 

Mary Magdalen is a model of contemplation, and is thus a suitable proctectress for an Order whose end is the salvation of souls by the preaching of the truths contemplated

 

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    Mary Magdalen, a sister of Lazarus and of Martha, of Bethany, was a notorious sinner in Jerusalem. Moved by the preaching of Jesus, she did public penance. She went openly into the house of the Pharisee with whom Jesus was sitting at table, threw herself at His feet, anointed them with precious ointment, washed them with her tears, and wiped them with her hair. Jesus, knowing her contrite heart, forgave her her sins (Luke 7:37, 38), and from that time forward she became the most zealous and faithful of the women who were disciples of Our Lord. She followed Him, always ministered unto Him of her substance (Luke 8:3), and when He died was standing under the cross.


Epistle: Canticle 3:2-5; 8:6,7

    I will rise and will go about the city; in the streets and the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth; I sought him and I found him not. The watchmen who keep the city found me: Have you seen him whom my soul loveth? When I had a little passed by them, I found him whom my soul loveth. I held him; and I will not let him go till I bring him into my mother's house, and into the chamber of her that bore me. I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes and the harts of the fields, that you stir not up, nor awake my beloved till she please. Put me as a seal upon thy heart, as a seal upon thy arm, for love is strong as death; jealousy as hard as hell; the lamps thereof are fire and flame. Many waters cannot quench charity, neither can the floods drown it; if a man should give all the substance of his house for love, he shall despise it as nothing.

    The soul that, following the direction of the watchmen, that is, the priests, teachers, and rulers of the Church, seeks Jesus, He goes to meet, gives Himself up to, takes up His abode in, with all His love, with all His treasures. The soul which has found Christ for delight forgets all outward things, and no longer has love or joy but for and in Christ. How should it be otherwise? What can be wanting to him who truly possesses Christ? This love for Him Who loved us unto death shows itself by outward acts that are heroic. So Mary Magdalen loved Jesus. Follow her example.

Gospel: Luke 7:36-50

    At that time: One of the Pharisees desired Jesus to eat with him. And He went into the house of the Pharisee, and sat down to meat. And behold a woman that was in the city, a sinner, when she knew that He sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, and standing behind, at His feet, she began to wash His feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head, and kissed His feet, and anointed them with the ointment. And the Pharisee, who had invited Him, seeing it, spoke within himself, saying: This man, if He were a prophet, would know surely who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth Him, that she is a sinner. And Jesus answering, said to him: Simon, I have somewhat to say to thee. But he said: Master, say it. A certain creditor had two debtors, the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And whereas they had not wherewith to pay, he forgave them both. Which, therefore, of the two loveth him most? Simon answering, said: I suppose that he to whom he forgave most. And He said to him: Thou hast judged rightly. And turning to the woman, He said unto Simon: Dost thou see this woman? I entered into thy house, thou gavest Me no water for My feet; but she with tears hath washed My feet, and with her hairs hath wiped them. Thou gavest Me no kiss; but she, since she came in, hath not ceased to kiss My feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint; but she with ointment hath anointed My feet. Wherefore I say to thee: Many sins are forgiven her, because she hath loved much. But to whom less is forgiven, he loveth less. And He said to her: Thy sins are forgiven thee. And they that sat at meat with Him began to say within themselves: Who is this that forgiveth sins also? And He said to the woman: Thy faith hath made thee safe, go in peace.

    Magdalen, who had sinned openly, openly did penance. In like manner, he who has given public scandal must seek to make amends for it by public good example.

    Magdalen confessed her sins, says Saint Ambrose, not with words, but with abundant tears of penitence. To tell her sins to Christ, the All-knowing, was not necessary; but what a confession was there in the posture of humiliation, and in the tears that flowed from the contrite sinner. Would you obtain forgiveness? Confess with contrition, like Magdalen.

    The words, "Thy faith hath made thee safe," denote a faith active as love. Faith and love are in truth never separated, for he only truly believes who also loves; and he only loves according to God's will who believes in Him. Therefore believe in truth, love, and show your love by earnest hatred of every sin, by flying from occasions of sin, by fighting against your passions, by change of your life, and by humble confession, and as true as God lives you will be saved, as was Magdalen; the peace of God will enter into your heart.
 

Commemorations

First Vespers:

Ant. O Mary of exalted merit, who first of mortals merited to behold the true Sun in His rising, obtain that He may gladden us with thee by the sight of His glory in heaven.

V. Mary hath chosen the better part.

R. Which shall not be taken from her.

 

Lauds:

Ant. O lamp of the world and shining jewel, who by announcing the resurrection of Christ dist merit to be made an apostle to the Apostles, O Mary Magdalen, be for us ever a pious intercession at the throne of God, who hath chosen thee.

V. Many sins are forgiven her.

R. Because she hath loved much.

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. In those days a woman who was a sinner in the city, when she knew that Jesus was at table in the house of Simon the leper, took an alabaster box of precious ointment: and standing behind at the feet of the Lord Jesus with her tears she began to wash His feet and with the hair of her head to wipe them, and she kissed His feet , and anointed them with the ointment.

V. Mary hath chosen the better part.

R. Which shall not be taken away from her.

 

Prayer

Let us Pray: Grant, O most merciful Father, that as Blessed Mary Magdalen, through the love she bore Our Lord Jesus Christ above all things, gained the pardon of her sins, so likewise may she obtain by Thy tender eternal happiness for us. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Prayers

 

We beseech Thee, O Lord, that we may be helped by the intercession of blessed Mary Magdalen, at whose prayers Thou didst raise up again to life her brother Lazarus, who had been dead for four days. Who livest, and reignest, for ever and ever. Amen.
 

O most loving Jesus, give me an earnest will to forsake all evil, and to return to Thee, my chief good, to repent of my sins out of true love, to guard against them for the future, to shun the occasion by which I have hitherto been enticed into sin, and by the practice of good works to redeem the time lost. Grant me this, O Jesus, by Thy bitter passion and death, and through the intercession of the holy penitent Magdalen. Amen.
 

Readings

When Mary Magdalen came to the tomb and did not find the Lord's body, she thought it had been taken away and so informed the disciples. After they came and saw the tomb, they too believed what Mary had told them. The text then says: "The disciples went back home," and it adds: "but Mary wept and remained standing outside the tomb."

We should reflect on Mary's attitude and the great love she felt for Christ; for though the disciples had left the tomb, she remained. She was still seeking the one she had not found, and while she sought she wept; burning with the fire of love, she longed for him who she thought had been taken away. And so it happened that the woman who stayed behind to seek Christ was the only one to see him. For perseverance is essential to any good deed, as the voice of truth tell us: "Whoever perseveres to the end will be saved."

from a homily by Pope Saint Gregory the Great

Blessed Jane of Orvieto, V.O.P.

Memorial Day: July 23rd

 

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    One of the stigmatists of the Order who deserves to be better known is Blessed Jane of Orvieto, whose marvel-filled life was the edification of Umbria in the latter half of the thirteenth century. Jane was born near Orvieto, in 1264, and both parents died when she was very small. Left to the care of casual neighbors, the little girl gre up with a special reliance of her guardian angel. She was a pious and intelligent child, , spending her time in prayer , even when very young.

 

    Since it was necessary for her to earn her living , Jane studied dressmaking and became proficient at it. For several years she worked at this trade , prayerful and happy and undisturbed about her future. However, she had a number of unhappy experiences on the street on her way to work, for young men were attracted by her beauty.  It became apparent to her that she must make some public declaration of her intentions if she wanted any peace.  She decided to enter the Third Order of St. Dominic.  Dressed in the habit of the mantellate, she would be safe from rude remarks and from any misunderstandings.

 

    Jane's friends opposed her plans, because they had already helpfully chosen a husband for her, and were trying to arrange a meeting of Jane and the man they had selected.  Because of her youth, the Dominicans delayed in accepting her.  Only after a long period of prayer and fasting was she able to win the privilege of putting on the Third Order habit and living with the other members of the Tertiary chapter.  Once a member of the Order she so much desired , she set her goal at the highest sanctity and worked at attaining it.  She prayed all morning and part of the afternoon, leaving herself only time to do enough work to care for her few needs and some alms to give the poor.  She soon reached a remarkable state of prayer; she participated bodily in whatever she was contemplating.  Her director learned not to say anything that would send her into ecstasy until he was through instructing her.  Once he mentioned the martyrdom of Catherine of Alexandria and said piously, "Arise, O blessed Catherine," and Jane arose, in ecstasy, and remained suspended in the air for an hour.  If he talked about the Crucifixion her arms would go out in the form of a cross, and she would rise in the air like a figure on a crucifix.  On Good Fridays she experienced the terrible agony of the Passion, and one could hear her bones cracking and see the bloody sweat.  She received the stigmata, but it was not always visible. 

 

    Along with her remarkable life of prayer, Jane had to contend with physical pain.  Once she was cured of a serious illness by a miraculous appearance of our Lord on the cross.  He appeared to her in the midst of a bright light and gave her a cup of wine to drink.  She obediently drank it, and she was instantly cured.  Another time, when she was too ill to go to church to receive Communion , Our Lady came and brought the Holy Child to her.

 

    One of Jane's principal crosses was the lack of privacy.  The whole town knew about her ecstasies.  As soon as she fell into one, people came running to look.  Jane tired to persuade the prioress to keep them out, but the prioress was interested herself, and saw no reason why anybody should object to being watched if they were not doing anything wrong.  Jane wept with embarrassment when people asked for her blessing, and assured them over and over that she was not a saint but a wicked sinner, a diagnosis which nobody believed but herself.

 

    Blessed Jane died, in 1306, and was buried in the Third Order cemetery in Orvieto.  The following year her body was transferred to the chapel of the Three Kings, and many prodigies occurred at that time, giving impetus to the process for beatification, which, however, was not completed until more than 400 years later, in 1754.

 

Born: c.1264 at Carniola, near Orvieto

Died: 1306

Beatified: September 11, 1754 by Pope Benedict XIV (cultus confirmed)

 

Prayers/Commemorations

First Vespers:

Ant. This is a wise Virgin whom the Lord found watching, who took her lamp and oil, and when the Lord came she entered with Him into the marriage feast

V. Pray for us Blessed Jane

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ

 

Lauds:

Ant. Come, O my chosen one, and I will place my throne in thee, for the King hath exceedingly desired thy beauty

V. Virgins shall be led to the King after her

R. Her companions shall be presented to Thee

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. She has girded her loins with courage and hath strengthened her arm; therefore shall her lamp not be put out forever

V. Pray for us Blessed Jane

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ

 

Prayer:

Let us Pray: O God, who didst plentifully add of Thy heavenly gifts to the singular purity and fervent love of Blessed Jane, Thy Virgin, grant that we may so imitate her virtues as to be ever pleasing to Thee, by the chastity of our lives and the purity of our affections. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Blessed Augustine Fangi of Biella, C.O.P.

Memorial Day: July 24th

 

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    Miracles around the tomb of Augustine of Biella led to his beatification in 1878, after he had long been forgotten by everyone, except the residents of the little town at the foot of the Alps where he lived. His is another example of a life noted for piety and regularity, but quite unremarkable for unusual events or venturesome projects.

    Augustine's father was a member of the Fangi family, who were wealthy and noble, and, because of this, he had planned a secular career for his son. But when the Dominicans came to Biella, his plans were changed, for Augustine was completely charmed by their way of life and begged to be admitted. He entered, while quite young, the new convent that the Dominicans had built at Biella.

    Augustine's had a reputation for penance, even at a time when people were not as squeamish as they are today. Not only did he inflict harsh penances upon himself, he also bore with patience whatever pain and annoyance life granted him gratuitously. At one time he was required to undergo a surgical operation without, of course, any anaesthetic. He did so without making the slightest outcry. In fact, he said afterwards that his mind was so intensely focused on something else that he hardly noticed what was being done to him. His mind was on that "something else" most of the time, for he prayed continually.

    In 1464, Augustine was made prior at Soncino. Several of his best known miracles were performed there. At one time, a deformed child, who had died without baptism, was restored to life, by Augustine's prayer, long enough to be baptized. At another time, when he was passing down the street, he met a little boy who was crying bitterly, because he had broken a jug of wine. Augustine gathered up the shards and put them back together again. Then, with a prayer, he refilled the jug and handed it back to the startled child. Still another time, through his intercession, a woman was delivered from possession of five devils.

    Augustine spent his last ten years in the convent in Venice, and he died there on the Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene. He was buried in a damp place. Forty years later, on the occasion of some repairs to the church, his coffin, found floating on water, was opened. His body and habit were still intact. This did much to promote interest in his cause. Nevertheless, it was more than three centuries before he was finally beatified (Benedictines, Dorcy).

Born: at Biella, Italy, 1430

Died: feast of Saint Mary Magdalen 1493 at Venice, Italy; in the 1530s, workmen found his coffin floating in the water that had seeped into the burial chamber - when opened, Augustine's body and clothing were found to be incorrupt

Cultus Confirmed: in 1872 by Pope Pius IX

Beatified: in 1878 by Pope Leo XIII

 

Prayers/Commemorations

First Vespers:

Ant. Strengthened by holy intercession, O Augustine, Confessor of the Lord, those here present , that we who are burdened the weight of our offenses. Maybe relieved by the glory of thy blessedness, and may thy guidance attain eternal rewards.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Augustine.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ

 

Lauds:

Ant. Well done, good and faithful servant, because thou hast been faithful in a few things, I will set thee over many, saith the Lord.

V. The just man shall blossom like the lily.

R. And shall flourish forever the Lord.

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Augustine.

R. That we may be made worthy of the Promises of Christ.

 

Prayer

Let us Pray: Grant us, we beseech Thee, O Lord Jesus, by the merits and imitation of the Blessed Augustine, Thy confessor, so to subdue by penance the desires of the flesh as always to increase in Thy grace and knowledge. Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.

Blessed Antony Della Chiesa, C.O.P.

Memorial Day: July 28th

 

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    Antony was born into the nobility, the family of the Marquis della Chiesa, and a collateral ancestor of Pope Benedict XV. He was well educated. Showing a taste early in life for he things of God, he grew up with the hope of becoming a religious. His father, who was a man of some importance, opposed this wish. Not until Antony was 22 was he able to make the break with his family and enter the monastery at Vercelli.

    Here he distinguished himself for both sanctity and learning. Being a good preacher, he was for some years the companion of Saint Bernardine of Siena, in his missionary journeys through Italy. Antony was prior at the friaries of Como, Savona, Florence, and Bologna.

    Antony gives us a picture of one who followed the Dominican life perfectly, managing, most of the time, to escape public notice. There is in his life very little of the glamorous or the unusual. He kept the rule, was a good superior, and a just administrator. Shunning applause, he was always serene.

    The legends mention that he was particularly devoted to Our Lady, which is something one takes for granted in a Dominican, and that he conversed with her, in ecstasy, several times. He had the gift of reading hearts and was a sought-after director of souls. He also healed many sick people with his blessing. However, if any miracles are ordinary ones, these may be so described; they could be given as typical of most of early Dominicans.

    At one time, Antony was on a ship that was captured by pirates, but at his prayer, the pirates spared the passengers and brought them safely to land. One of the very few things of unusual nature that in Antony's life is a legend told of him when he was prior of Savona. It makes a lovely ghost story, and it also provides food for thought.

    According to the story, Antony was praying one night in the church. Disturbed by the sound of horses hooves clattering on the flagstones outside, he went to see who could possibly be there at such a late hour. There were several horsemen, all mounted on black horses. He addressed them, but received no answer. Thinking that they might be foreigners, he tried several languages, and still there was no response.

    Aware, then, that something was wrong, he commanded them in the name of the Lord to tell him who they were and where they were going. They said that they were devils, and that they were on their way to meet the soul of a dying sinner, a usurer, and escort him to hell. "I will pray for him," said Antony. The demons laughed and told him he was too late. "Then at least come back and tell me whether you succeed or not," said the prior.

    A short while later, the group returned, and they had succeeded. They held the unhappy usurer captive, and, while the prior watched in horror, they bore him off. The man was screaming. The next day, the usurer's relatives came to arrange an elaborate funeral. "You would do much better to have Masses said for yourselves and other poor sinners," he said.

    Antony died at Como and was buried there in the Dominican church Miracles at his tomb led to his beatification (Benedictines, Dorcy).

Born: in San Germano, near Vercelli, the Piedmont, Italy, in 1395;

Died: Como, Italy, January 22, 1459;

Beatified: 1819 by Pope Pius VII

 

Prayers/Commemorations

First Vespers:

Ant. Strengthened by holy intercession, O Antony, Confessor of the Lord, those here present , that we who are burdened the weight of our offenses. Maybe relieved by the glory of thy blessedness, and may thy guidance attain eternal rewards.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Antony.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ

 

Lauds:

Ant. Well done, good and faithful servant, because thou hast been faithful in a few things, I will set thee over many, saith the Lord.

V. The just man shall blossom like the lily.

R. And shall flourish forever the Lord.

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Antony.

R. That we may be made worthy of the Promises of Christ.

 

Prayer

Let us Pray: O God , who didst inflame Blessed Antony, Thy Confessor, with divine love, enkindle in our hearts, we beseech Thee, through his intercession, the fire of Thy charity that loving Thee upon earth, we may rejoice with everlasting joy in heaven. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Blessed Mannes de Guzman, C.O.P.

Memorial Day: July 30th

 

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    None of the early historical writers of the Order fail to mention Blessed Mannes. His stock was not the least noble among the grandees of Catholic Spain. His parents were Felix Guzman and Jane of Aza, in whose veins also ran some of the best blood of Old Castile. On both sides Mannes could count brave defenders of his country. But what was of infinitely greater importance to him were the holy lives of his own immediate family. His father was a splendid type of the Christian gentleman. His mother has been raised to the honors of the altar under the name of Blessed Jane. His eldest brother, Anthony, became a model priest, who devoted his life to the care of souls, the welfare of the poor, and the aid of the sick, and died with a great reputation for sanctity. Dominic, the youngest and perhaps the only other child, became the founder of the Friars Preacher. He is canonized. Surely this is a record of which any one might well be proud.(1)

    Blessed Mannes first saw the light of day in the ancestral castle, Caleruega, Old Castile. The date of his birth can only be estimated from that of Saint Dominic (1170), than whom, we are told, he was a number of years older. Like Anthony, he chose the ecclesiastical state at an early age. Of his ordination to the priesthood and where he made his studies we know nothing. However, Spain was most likely the theater of both. The earlier writers of the Order, while reticent about these things, all tell us that he was of a retiring disposition, and much given to prayer and contemplation.(2)

    Yet an apostolic zeal evidently burned in his breast. Almost immediately after the return to Spain of the Right Rev. Didacus (or Diego) de Azebes (often called de Azevedo), bishop of Osma, whom Saint Dominic had accompanied to Rome, Mannes set out for France. From the bishop he learned the need of missionaries in Languedoc, where Dominic had been left to combat the errors of the Albigenses. Possibly de Azebes, for he was a saintly prelate, suggested that Mannes should also take up this work. At any rate, we find him with his younger brother before the close of 1207. From this time the two men, for they were cast in the same spiritual mold, toiled hand in hand for nearly ten years that they might free the Church of southern France from the poison and turmoil of heresy, and restore it to its former peace and beauty.

    Not once in all this time did Mannes take a vacation, or pay a visit to his native land, which he loved none the less because he had dedicated himself to the service of God. He felt that his place was where religion needed his attention so sadly. His zeal was tireless; his efforts unceasing. Perhaps on no other did Dominic depend so much. Doubtless, if the full truth were known, history would have to associate Mannes more closely with the saint's success, as well as give him more credit for the part he played in the conversion of the Albigenses. No danger or hardship could cause him to falter in his labors. He was a splendid preacher. Like Dominic, he intermingled prayer with his sermons and instructions. By his shining virtues and mortified life he wielded a stronger influence for good, whether among the faithful or those who had wandered from the path of truth, than by his eloquence.

    One of Blessed Mannes' most striking traits seems to have been his humility. He knew not the meaning of the word pride or jealousy. The one thing he sought was the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Although older in years, he obeyed his brother as a dutiful son does the will of his father. When Saint Dominic established his Order, Mannes was among the first to place himself under his standard, and to receive the habit. Thus we find him among the "sixteen" zealous men whom God selected as the foundation stones on which to build the Order of Friars Preacher. One would be perfectly safe in the assertion that, when (August 15, 1217) the chosen little band took their religious vows on bended knees before the patriarch, not one of them entered into the ceremony with a better heart, or in more of a spirit of self-sacrifice, than Blessed Mannes.

    This event took place in the conventual church of the Dominican Sisters, Prouille, southern France. The annals of Prouille are very explicit in the matter. From their statement and that of Father John of Navarre about the time of his entrance into the Order, which he made in his testimony to the holy life of Dominic to the papal commission appointed to examine the saint's cause for canonization, it would seem that the sixteen brethren had taken their vows at Saint Romanus', Toulouse, after Innocent III sanctioned the foundation of the Order. However, after its confirmation by Honorius III, Dominic had them renew their profession. Such was his love for Prouille, around which so much of his work centered, that he chose this place for the ceremony, and as the point of their departure for the various countries to which he sent them.(3)

    Blessed Mannes was chosen as one of those who were to start a house of the new Order in Paris. He had six companions -- Matthew of France, who was the superior; Bertrand of Garrigue, so called from the place of his birth, a little town in southern France;(4) Lawrence of England; the two Spaniards, John of Navarre and Michael de Fabra; and Oderic of Normandy. The last mentioned has the distinction of being the Order's first lay brother. They travelled in two parties. That composed of Mannes, Michael, and Oderic reached their destination first, September 12, 1217, being the day of their arrival in the great French capital.

    For a while the fathers were obliged to live in a house near Notre Dame Hospital, in the center of the city. But their zeal, eloquence, and model lives soon won them many friends. Among these was John de Barastre, a celebrated master of the University of Paris, dean of Saint Quentin, and a royal chaplain. The noted ecclesiastic had established a hospice for strangers near the gate of the city called "Porte d'Orleans." The hospice bore the name of Saint James. This he now conferred on the homeless Friars Preacher, and they took possession of it August 6, 1218.(5) It became the famed Saint James' Convent and Studium, than which none is more celebrated in the Order.

    Thus Blessed Marines was one of the founders of this well-known institution, which played a conspicuous part in the history of the University of Paris. His sermons are said to have borne rich fruit in the French capital, for he had a splendid gift of oratory. Besides, he was endowed with an extraordinary personal magnetism; while his kindly, open, and friendly disposition exercised a strong influence over souls. Few could resist his appeals for a better life.

    Just when the subject of this sketch left Paris, where he was much beloved, the writers do not tell us. But it is known that Saint Dominic himself sent him from there to Madrid, Spain; and from this we can form a most reasonable conjecture as to the time when Mannes returned to his native land, which he does not appear to have seen since 1207. While in Spain in connection with affairs of his Order, Dominic found Peter of Madrid organizing some pious ladies for a religious community in that city. The saint gave them the habit, admitted them to their vows, and started the construction of a convent for them. This was early in 1219. From Spain he made his way to Paris. While in this city, which he reached before the middle of the same year, he evidently appointed Blessed Mannes to take charge of the sisters in Madrid, and sent him to the Spanish capital; for we find him there shortly afterwards.(6)

    Several things, no doubt, conspired to bring about the choice of Mannes for this position. He was growing old, and long years of hard missionary labor must have begun to tell upon his strength. He was a most spiritual, devout, and prudent man, which recommended him for such a charge. His disposition led him to prefer a quiet, retired life, in which he could give himself more to prayer and contemplation, to one of activity among the people. Besides, his practical turn of mind rendered him a suitable person to superintend the temporal affairs of the sisters, whose cloistered state made this difficult for themselves. The holy man called their convent Saint Dominic of Silos, which he doubtless did because his own brother was named after the Cistercian abbot.

    From Madrid Blessed Mannes attended the second general chapter of the Order, which was held at Bologna in 1221. Through him, on his return, Saint Dominic sent a letter to the youthful community of Spanish sisters, which is of no little interest because it is the only authentic writing of the saint which has survived the ravages of time. In it he tells them, briefly, of the joy it gave him to hear, through his brother Mannes, of their piety and of the completion of their convent. Both the one and the other are largely due to Mannes' exertions. He is, therefore, constituted their ecclesiastical superior, with almost plenary powers(7)

    Very probably the holy man held this position the rest of his days, for we find no record of him elsewhere. With this work, we doubt not, he combined no little preaching in and around Madrid. At times perhaps his confrères took his place at the sisters' convent, while he labored in more distant localities. His life as a religious is said ever to have been edifying to his brethren and useful to his fellow man. Some place his death in 1230. Others say that he died about this time ("circiter 1230").

    But the Année Dominicaine informs us that Roderic "de Cerrate," a Spanish Dominican of the thirteenth century, states (in his Vitae Sanctorum) that, after Saint Dominic's canonization, Mannes went to Caleruega and persuaded the people to erect a church in honor of his brother; that he told them a modest edifice would do for the time being, for Dominic would see that a larger one should be built later; and that this prophecy was fulfilled some thirty years later.(8) This would make the holy Friar Preacher die, at the earliest, in 1234 or 1235. It would also explain how he came to be buried in the Church of Saint Peter attached to the Cistercian monastery near Gumiel de Izan. The monastery is not far from the birthplace of Dominic and Mannes, whose ancestors were laid to rest in its temple of prayer. Most probably, therefore, Mannes became sick while engaged in this work of piety, died with the Cistercians, and was buried in their church, for the simple reason that his own Order had no house in that part of Spain.

    During life the missionary bad been considered a saintly man and a perfect imitator of the virtues of his brother, Saint Dominic. Not long after his death, miracles began to be wrought at his tomb in such numbers that it became a place of pilgrimage. Because of this his relics were transferred to a more honorable place. Strange to say, Father Chrysostom Henriquez, a Cistercian writer, (in his Menologium Cistersiense) represents the Friar Preacher as a Cistercian. However, this author has been criticized more than once for inaccuracies and carelessness. Not only did Dominican writers correct him in this instance; for Mamachi, who says that Henriquez could not have read the epitaph on Blessed Mannes' tomb, informs us that another Cistercian author, Father Angelus Manrique, states most positively (in his Annales Cistercienses) that he was a Dominican and a brother of Saint Dominic Guzman.(9)

    Reports of the cures obtained through intercession to the man of God soon became widespread. Devotion towards him grew particularly pronounced throughout Spain. In the Diocese of Osma, and especially around Caleruega, he was considered one of the popular saints. More than once petitions for at least his beatification were forwarded to Rome. Although these were not acted upon, the veneration in which Mannes was held rather waxed stronger than decreased with the course of time. For this reason, some six hundred years after his death, the former Camaldolese monk, Mauro Cappellari, who ascended the throne of Peter in 1831 under the name of Gregory XV1, beatified him, and granted his office and mass to the Order of Preachers. July 30 was set apart as his feast day.

Born: in Calaruega, Burgos, Spain

Died: at Saint Peter's Monastery, Gumiel d'Izan, near Calaruega, in 1230 (there is a possibility that he may not have died until 1235)

Beatified: cultus approved by Pope Gregory XVI in 1834.

 

Prayers/Commemorations

First Vespers:

Ant. Strengthened by holy intercession, O Mannes, Confessor of the Lord, those here present , that we who are burdened the weight of our offenses. Maybe relieved by the glory of thy blessedness, and may thy guidance attain eternal rewards.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Mannes.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ

 

Lauds:

Ant. Well done, good and faithful servant, because thou hast been faithful in a few things, I will set thee over many, saith the Lord.

V. The just man shall blossom like the lily.

R. And shall flourish forever the Lord.

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Mannes.

R. That we may be made worthy of the Promises of Christ.

 

Prayer

Let us Pray: O God , who by Thy wonderful providence didst guide Blessed Mannes , Thy confessor, into the way of perfection, direct our actions by that same gracious mercy, that we amy seek to do what Thou commandest and to attain to what Thou hast promised. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

NOTES

1. Acta Sanctorum, XXXV (first vol. for August), 383, Nos. 128 ff; 383384; 440, No. 429; 547, No. 39; ALBERTI, fol. 179; Année Dominicaine, VII (July 30), 819 ff; BALME (Francis, O. P.) -- LELAIDIER (Paul, O. P.), Cartulaire de Saint Dominique, 11, 379, and 111, 79 ff; BZOVIUS, XIII, col. 306; CASTILLO, p. 54; FRACHET, de, p. 67; GUIDONIS (Gui), Bernard, O. P., Historia Fundationis Monasterii Pruliani (in Dom Edmond Martène's Collectio Amplissima); MALVENDA, pp. 176 ff; MAMACHI, pp. 373, 494, and appendix, col. 365; MORTIER, op. cit., I, 29, 90, 104; PIO, col. 14; QUETIF-ECHARD, I, 16, 37.
  It must have been through some oversight, or mishap, that Marchese failed to mention Blessed Mannes in his Sagro Diario Domenicano. The early writers, as a rule, believed that Saint Dominic had only two brothers, and that he had no sisters. Yet the Lives of the Brethren (Vitae Fratrum -- Reichert ed., p. 67) tell us that two of his nephews entered the Order and led holy lives. Similarly, Father John Anthony Flaminio (in his Vita Sancti Dominici -- quoted by Acta Sanctorum, XXXV, 384, N. 134), and Galvanus della Fiamma (in his Chronica Ordinis Praedicatorum -- quoted by Mortier, op. cit., I, 2) tell us that Saint Dominic had a sister, and perhaps another brother. (Ed. note).

2. See Vitae Fratrum, by Gerard de Frachet, and almost any of the works mentioned in note 1.

3. There was formerly no little discussion about where the first sixteen disciples of Saint Dominic made their religious profession. Touron says they made it at Saint Romanus', Toulouse, in 1216; and the testimony of John of Navarre leaves no doubt but that he made his first profession there. Mortier (op. cit., I, 90) says they renewed their vows at Prouille. This was on August 15, 1217, after the Order's confirmation by Honorius III. Mamachi (page 409) speaks of the difficulty caused by the apparent contradiction between the testimony of John of Navarre and the Annals of Prouille, in de Percin's Monumenta Conventus Tolosani. It seems quite certain that Dominic, on his return from Innocent III in 1216, took his little clientele to Prouille that they might deliberate on the choice of a rule for the proposed Order in the quiet of that secluded and devotional spot. The saint certainly had a strong affection for Prouille. Possibly Blessed Mannes loved the place but little less. In any case, he was there for all the events we have mentioned; for he was one of his brother's earliest and most faithful co-laborers. (Ed. note).

4. This man is often called Bertrand of Garrigua because of the Latinized name of Garrigue. (Ed. note).

5. MORTIER, op. cit., I, 91; FLEURY, op. cit., XVI, 436 ff.

6. BALME-LELAIDIER, op. cit., II, 240, 379.

7. Ibid., III, 79. The original of even this letter can no longer be found. Father Ferdinand de Castillo, who discovered it, translated it into Spanish. From this language it has been translated back into Latin. See page 78 of the volume noted at the beginning of this note. The editors of the Cartulaire de Saint Dominique think this letter was written at the general chapter of 1220. But for reasons that will appear in the sketch of Peter of Madrid we think as stated in the text. (Ed. note).

8. Année Dominicaine, VII (July 30), 822. See also MAMACHI, p. 14.

9. MAMACHI, p. 373. The blessed's name is spelled in various ways by the different writers. Mames, Mannes, Manes, and Mamertus are all found. Mamertus is certainly a latinization of it. If it were Manes, most likely the Spanish tilde should be used over the n. Castillo, himself a Spaniard, always spells it Mannes; and this we have adopted, for it seems to be the correct name. In regard to Father Chrysostorn Henriquez, who inserted Blessed Mannes in his Menologium Cistersiense as a Cistercian, it should be noted here that the Catholic Encyclopedia (VII, 219-220) has an article on that able writer which shows that Abbot Claud Chalemot, another historian of the same order, reproaches Henriquez for omitting the names of a number of Cistercians and for putting others in his Menology who never belonged to the order. (Ed. note).

Blessed Augustine of Lucera, B.C.O.P.

Memorial Day: August 3rd

 

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    Augustine was born into a wealthy family who provided him with an excellent education. At 18, he and an Italian friend headed to the Dominican novitiate in France. Near Pavia, Italy, they were attacked by enemies of his family, who left the bodies of the two boys in the snow by the side of the road. Augustine was badly injured; his friend died. When he recovered from his injuries, Augustine continued to the novitiate. Augustine spent most of his life battling heresy: In his native Dalmatia, he fought the Manichæen heresy; in Sicily, Islam; in Hungary both. In every situation in which he found himself, Augustine gave proof of his virtue and good judgment. When Cardinal Boccasini came to Hungary as legate, he noted the wisdom and tact of his brother Dominican, and when he himself ascended the papal throne as Benedict XI, he appointed Augustine bishop of Zagreb in Croatia in 1303.

    This diocese was in chaos when Augustine assumed the cathedra. His three predecessors had all tried, but failed, to repair the ravages of heresy, plague, and schism. The new bishop began by reforming the clergy. He finished building the cathedral and made a complete visitation of his diocese. His work was to bring him into violent conflict with the government, but, spiritually, he restored the entire see during his episcopacy.

    Several charming miracles are related about Augustine. The river water of Zagreb was unfit to drink, so the Dominican fathers asked Augustine to pray for a new supply. At his prayer a fountain sprang up in the yard of the convent, abundantly supplying their needs. Another time he planted a tree in a little village and the leaves turned out to have healing properties. On one occasion, when Bishop Augustine was dining with Benedict XI, the pope, feeling that a missionary bishop must eat well to preach well, had a dish of partridge set before Augustine, who never ate meat. Because he did not want to offend the pope, he prayed for a resolution to the situation. The legend says that God turned the partridges into fish!

    Augustine was transferred from Zagreb to Lucera (Nocera), Sicily. Here he continued his holy government, using his characteristic gentleness and his gift of healing. He promoted devotion to Saints Dominic, Thomas Aquinas, and Peter Martyr--all brother Dominicans. Feeling that he was near death, he returned to the Dominican convent in Nocera to die among his brethren. Under his statue in the cathedral of Nocera is the legend, "Sanctus Augustine Episcopus Lucerinus Ordinis Praedicatorum," an indication of the veneration in which he is held (Benedictines, Dorcy).

Born: in Trau, Dalmatia, c. 1260-1262

Died: 1323

Beatified: cultus reconfirmed by Pope Clement XI in 1702

 

Prayers/Commemorations

First Vespers:

Ant. Strengthened by holy intercession, O Augustine, Confessor of the Lord, those here present , that we who are burdened the weight of our offenses. Maybe relieved by the glory of thy blessedness, and may thy guidance attain eternal rewards.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Augustine.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ

 

Lauds:

Ant. Well done, good and faithful servant, because thou hast been faithful in a few things, I will set thee over many, saith the Lord.

V. The just man shall blossom like the lily.

R. And shall flourish forever the Lord.

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Augustine.

R. That we may be made worthy of the Promises of Christ.

 

Prayer

Let us Pray: O God , who wast pleased to provide for Thy Church in Blessed Augustine, Thy Confessor and Bishop, an example of a good shepherd, mercifully grant, through his intercession, that we may be found worthy to be placed in Thy pasture forever. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

ST. DOMINIC FULL IMAGE PLAIN

Feast of our Holy Father Saint Dominic, C.O.P.

Feast Day: August 4th

 

"A man who governs his passions is master of his world. We must either command them or be enslaved by them. It is better to be a hammer than an anvil."

- Saint Dominic

 

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    Founder of the Order of Preachers, commonly known as the Dominican Order; born at Calaroga, in Old Castile, c. 1170; died 6 August, 1221. His parents, Felix Guzman and Joanna of Aza, undoubtedly belonged to the nobility of Spain, though probably neither was connected with the reigning house of Castile, as some of the saint's biographers assert. Of Felix Guzman, personally, little is known, except that he was in every sense the worthy head of a family of saints. To nobility of blood Joanna of Aza added a nobility of soul which so enshrined her in the popular veneration that in 1828 she was solemnly beatified by Leo XII. The example of such parents was not without its effect upon their children. Not only Saint Dominic but also his brothers, Antonio and Manes, were distinguished for their extraordinary sanctity. Antonio, the eldest, became a secular priest and, having distributed his patrimony to the poor, entered a hospital where he spent his life minis ministering to the sick. Manes, following in the footsteps of Dominic, became a Friar Preacher, and was beatified by Gregory XVI.

    The birth and infancy of the saint were attended by many marvels forecasting his heroic sanctity and great achievements in the cause of religion. From his seventh to his fourteenth year he pursued his elementary studies tinder the tutelage of his maternal uncle, the archpriest of Gumiel d'lzan, not far distant from Calaroga. In 1184 Saint Dominic entered the University of Palencia. Here he remained for ten years prosecuting his studies with such ardour and success that throughout the ephemeral existence of that institution he was held up to the admiration of its scholars as all that a student should be. Amid the frivolities and dissipations of a university city, the life of the future saint was characterized by seriousness of purpose and an austerity of manner which singled him out as one from whom great thin might be expected in the future. But more than one he proved that under this austere exterior he carried a heart as tender as a woman's. On one occasion he sold his books, annotated with his own hand, to relieve the starving poor of Palencia. His biographer and contemporary, Bartholomew of Trent, states that twice he tried to sell himself into slavery to obtain money for the liberation of those who were held in captivity by the Moors. These facts are worthy of mention in view of the cynical and saturnine character which some non-Catholic writers have endeavoured to foist upon one of the most charitable of men. Concerning the date of his ordination his biographers are silent; nor is there anything from which that date can be inferred with any degree of certainty. According to the deposition of Brother Stephen, Prior Provincial of Lombardy, given in the process of canonization, Dominic was still a student at Palencia when Don Martin de Bazan, the Bishop of Osma, called him to membership in the cathedral chapter for the purpose If assisting in its reform. The bishop realized the importance to his plan of reform of having constantly before his canons the example of one of Dominic's eminent holiness. Nor was he disappointed in the result. In recognition of the part he had taken in converting its members into canons regular, Dominic was appointed sub-prior of the reformed chapter. On the accession of Don Diego d'Azevedo to the Bishopric of Osma in 1201, Dominic became superior of the chapter with the title of prior. As a canon of Osma, he spent nine years of his life hidden in God and rapt in contemplation, scarcely passing beyond the confines of the chapter house.

    In 1203 Alfonso IX, King of Castile, deputed the Bishop of Osma to demand from the Lord of the Marches, presumably a Danish prince, the hand of his daughter on behalf of the king's son, Prince Ferdinand. For his companion on this embassy Don Diego chose Saint Dominic. Passing through Toulouse in the pursuit of their mission, they beheld with amazement and sorrow the work of spiritual ruin wrought by the Albigensian heresy. It was in the contemplation of this scene that Dominic first conceived the idea of founding an order for the purpose of combating heresy and spreading the light of the Gospel by preaching to the ends of the then known world. Their mission having ended successfully, Diego and Dominic were dispatched on a second embassy, accompanied by a splendid retinue, to escort the betrothed princess to Castile. This mission, however, was brought to a sudden close by the death of the young woman in question. The two ecclesiastics were now free to go where they would, and they set out for Rome, arriving there towards the end of 1204. The purpose of this was to enable Diego to resign his bishopric that he might devote himself to the conversion of unbelievers in distant lands. Innocent III, however, refused to approve this project, and instead sent the bishop and his companion to Languedoc to join forces with the Cistercians, to whom he had entrusted the crusade against the Albigenses. The scene that confronted them on their arrival in Languedoc was by no means an encouraging one. The Cistercians, on account of their worldly manner of living, had made little or no headway against the Albigenses. They had entered upon their work with considerable pomp, attended by a brilliant retinue, and well provided with the comforts of life. To this display of worldliness the leaders of the heretics opposed a rigid asceticism which commanded the respect and admiration of their followers. Diego and Dominic quickly saw that the failure of the Cistercian apostolate was due to the monks' indulgent habits, and finally prevailed upon them to adopt a more austere manner of life. The result was at once apparent in a greatly increased number of converts. Theological disputations played a prominent part in the propaganda of the heretics. Dominic and his companion, therefore, lost no time in engaging their opponents in this kind of theological exposition. Whenever the opportunity offered, they accepted the gage of battle. The thorough training that the saint had received at Palencia now proved of inestimable value to him in his encounters with the heretics. Unable to refute his arguments or counteract the influence of his preaching, they visited their hatred upon him by means of repeated insults and threats of physical violence. With Prouille for his head-quarters, he laboured by turns in Fanjeaux, Montpellier, Servian, Béziers, and Carcassonne. Early in his apostolate around Prouille the saint realized the necessity of an institution that would protect the women of that country from the influence of the heretics. Many of them had already embraced Albigensianism and were its most active propagandists. These women erected convents, to which the children of the Catholic nobility were often sent-for want of something better-to receive an education, and, in effect, if not on purpose, to be tainted with the spirit of heresy. It was needful, too, that women converted from heresy should be safeguarded against the evil influence of their own homes. To supply these deficiencies, Saint Dominic, with the permission of Foulques, Bishop of Toulouse, established a convent at Prouille in 1206. To this community, and afterwards to that of Saint Sixtus, at Rome, he gave the rule and constitutions which have ever since guided the nuns of the Second Order of Saint Dominic.

Saint Dominic

A 14th-century manuscript of the Speculum Historiale by Vincent of Beauvais, a prolific Dominican friar, depicts two scenes from the life of Saint Dominic, founder of the Roman Catholic Dominican order. In the upper picture he is selling his possessions to help the poor during a famine. In the lower picture, he is shown in the robes of a Dominican friar watching heretical books being cast into the fire.

    The year 1208 opens a new epoch in the eventful life of the founder. On 15 January of that year Pierre de Castelnau, one of the Cistercian legates, was assassinated. This abominable crime precipitated the crusade under Simon de Montfort, which led to the temporary subjugation of the heretics. Saint Dominic participated in the stirring scenes that followed, but always on the side of mercy, wielding the arms of the spirit while others wrought death and desolation with the sword. Some historians assert that during the sack of Béziers, Dominic appeared in the streets of that city, cross in hand, interceding for the lives of the women and children, the aged and the infirm. This testimony, however, is based upon documents which Touron regards as certainly apocryphal. The testimony of the most reliable historians tends to prove that the saint was neither in the city nor in its vicinity when Béziers was sacked by the crusaders. We find him generally during this period following the Catholic army, reviving religion and reconciling heretics in the cities that had capitulated to, or had been taken by, the victorious de Montfort. it was p-bbly I September, 1209, that Saint Dominic first came in contact with Simon de Montfort and formed with him that intimate friendship which was to last till the death of the brave crusader under the walls of Toulouse (25 June, 1218). We find him by the side of de Montfort at the siege of Lavaur in 121 1, and again in 1212, at the capture of La Penne d'Ajen. In the latter part of 1212 he was at Pamiers labouring, at the invitation of de Montfort, for the restoration of religion and morality. Lastly, just before the battle of Muret. 12 September, 1213, the saint is again found in the council that preceded the battle. During the progress of the conflict, he knelt before the altar in the church of Saint-Jacques, praying for the triumph of the Catholic arms. So remarkable was the victory of the crusaders at Muret that Simon de Montfort regarded it as altogether miraculous, and piously attributed it to the prayers of Saint Dominic. In gratitude to God for this decisive victory, the crusader erected a chapel in the church of Saint-Jacques, which he dedicated, it is said, to Our Lady of the Rosary. It would appear, therefore, that the devotion of the Rosary, which tradition says was revealed to Saint Dominic, had come into general use about this time. To this period, too, has been ascribed the foundation of the Inquisition by Saint Dominic, and his appointment as the first lnquisitor. As both these much controverted questions will receive special treatment elsewhere in this work, it will suffice for our )resent purpose to note that the Inquisition was in operation in 1198, or seven years before the saint took part in the apostolate in Languedoc, and while ie was still an obscure canon regular at Osma. If he was for a certain time identified-with the operations of the Inquisition, it was only in the capacity of a theologian passing upon the orthodoxy of the accused. Whatever influence he may have had with the judges of that much maligned institution was always employed on the side of mercy and forbearance, as witness the classic case of Ponce Roger.

    In the meantime, the saint's increasing reputation for heroic sanctity, apostolic zeal, and profound learning caused him to be much sought after as a candidate for various bishoprics. Three distinct efforts were made to miss him to the episcopate. In July, 1212, the chapter of Béziers chose him for their bishop. Again, the canons of Saint-Lizier wished him to succeed Garcias de l'Orte as Bishop of Comminges. Lastly, in 1215 an effort was made by Garcias de l'Orte himself, who had been transferred from - Comminges to Auch, to make him Bishop of Navarre. But Saint Dominic absolutely refused all episcopal honours, saying that he would rather take flight in the night, with nothing but his staff, than accept the episcopate. From Muret Dominic returned to Carcassonne, where he resumed his preaching with unqualified success. It was not until 1214 that he returned to Toulouse. In the meantime the influence of his preaching and the eminent holiness of his life had drawn around him a little band of devoted disciples eager to follow wherever he might lead. Saint Dominic had never for a moment forgotten his purpose, formed eleven years before, of founding a religious order to combat heresy and propagate religious truth. The time now seemed opportune for the realization of his plan. With the approval of Bishop Foulques of Toulouse, he began the organization of his little band of followers. That Dominic and his companions might possess a fixed source of revenue Foulques made him chaplain of Fanjeaux and in July, 1215, canonically established the community as a religious congregation of his diocese, whose mission was the propagation of true doctrine and good morals, and the extirpation of heresy. During this same year Pierre Seilan, a wealthy citizen of Toulouse, who had placed himself under the direction of Saint Dominic, put at their disposal his own commodious dwelling. In this way the first convent of the Order of Preachers was founded on 25 April, 1215. But they dwelt here only a year when Foulques established them in the church of Saint Romanus. Though the little community had proved amply the need of its mission and the efficiency of its service to the Church, it was far from satisfying the full purpose of its founder. It was at best but a diocesan congregation, and Saint Dominic had dreamed Of a world-order that would carry its apostolate to the ends of the earth. But, unknown to the saint, events were shaping themselves for the realization of his hopes. In November, 1215, an ecumenical council was to meet at Rome "to deliberate on the improvement of morals, the extinction of heresy, and the strengthening of the faith". This was identically the mission Saint Dominic had determined on for his order. With the Bishop of Toulouse, he was present at the deliberations of this council. From the very first session it seemed that events conspired to bring his plans to a successful issue. The council bitterly arraigned the bishops for their neglect of preaching. In canon X they were directed to delegate capable men to preach the word of God to the people. Under these circumstances, it would reasonably appear that Dominic's request for confirmation of an order designed to carry out the mandates of the council would be joyfully granted. But while the council was anxious that these reforms should be put into effect as speedily as possible, it was at the same time opposed to the institution of any new religious orders, and had legislated to that effect in no uncertain terms. Moreover, preaching had always been looked upon as primarily a function of the episcopate. To bestow this office on an unknown and untried body of simple priests s seemed too original and too bold in its conception to appeal to the conservative prelates who influenced the deliberations of the council. When, therefore, his petition for the approbation of his infant institute was refused, it could not have been wholly unexpected by Saint Dominic.

Returning to Languedoc at the close of the council in December, 1215, the founder gathered about him his little band of followers and informed them of the wish of the council that there should be no new rules for religious orders. Thereupon they adopted the ancient rule of Saint Augustine, which, on account of its generality, would easily lend itself to any form they might wish to give it. This done, Saint Dominic again appeared before the pope in the month of August, 1216, and again solicited the confirmation of his order. This time he was received more favourably, and on 22 December, 1216, the Bull of confirmation was issued.

Saint Dominic spent the following Lent preaching in various churches in Rome, and before the pope and the papal court. It was at this time that he received the office and title of Master of the Sacred Palace, or Pope's Theologian, as it is more commonly called. This office has been held uninterruptedly by members of the order from the founder's time to the present day. On 15 August, 1217, he gathered the brethren about him at Prouille to deliberate on the affairs of the order. He had determined upon the heroic plan of dispersing his little band of seventeen unformed followers over all europe. The result proved the wisdom of an act which, to the eye of human prudence at least, seemed little short of suicidal. To facilitate the spread of the order, Honorius III, on 11 Feb., 1218, addressed a Bull to all archbishops, bishops, abbots, and priors, requesting their favour on behalf of the Order of Preachers. By another Bull, dated 3 Dec., 1218, Honorius III bestowed upon the order the church of Saint Sixtus in Rome. Here, amid the tombs of the Appian Way, was founded the first monastery of the order in Rome. Shortly after taking possession of Saint Sixtus, at the invitation of Honorius, Saint Dominic begin the somewhat difficult task of restoring the pristine observance of religious discipline among the various Roman communities of women. In a comparatively short time the work was accomplished, to the great satisfaction of the pope. His own career at the University of Palencia, and the practical use to which he had put it in his encounters with the Albigenses, as well as his keen appreciation of the needs of the time, convinced the saint that to ensure the highest efficiency of the work of the apostolate, his followers should be afforded the best educational advantages obtainable. It was for this reason that on the dispersal of the brethren at Prouille he dispatched Matthew of France and two companions to Paris. A foundation was made in the vicinity of the university, and the friars took possession in October, 1217. Matthew of France was appointed superior, and Michael de Fabra was placed in charge of the studies with the title of Lecturer. On 6 August of the following year, Jean de Barastre, dean of Saint-Quentin and professor of theology, bestowed on the community the hospice of Saint-Jaques, which he had built for his own use. Having effected a foundation at the University of Paris, Saint Dominic next determined upon a settlement at the University of Bologna. Bertrand of Garrigua, who had been summoned from Paris, and John of Navarre, set out from Rome, with letters from Pope Honorius, to make the desired foundation. On their arrival at Bologna, the church of Santa Maria della Mascarella was placed at their disposal. So rapidly did the Roman community of Saint Sixtus grow that the need of more commodious quarters soon became urgent. Honorius, who seemed to delight in supplying every need of the order and furthering its interests to the utmost of his power, met the emergency by bestowing on Saint Dominic the basilica of Santa Sabina.

Saint Dominic

    Towards the end of 1218, having appointed Reginald of Orléans his vicar in Italy, the saint, accompanied by several of his brethren, set out for Spain. Bologna, Prouille, Toulouse, and Fanjeaux were visited on the way. From Prouille two of the brethren were sent to establish a convent at Lyons. Segovia was reached just before Christmas. In February of the following year he founded the first monastery of the order in Spain. Turning southward, he established a convent for women at Madrid, similar to the one at Prouille. It is quite probable that on this journey he personally presided over the erection of a convent in connexion with his alma mater, the University of Palencia. At the invitation of the Bishop of Barcelona, a house of the order was established in that city. Again bending his steps towards Rome he recrossed the Pyrenees and visited the foundations at Toulouse and Paris. During his stay in the latter place he caused houses to be erected at Limoges, Metz, Reims, Poitiers, and Orléans, which in a short time became centres of Dominican activity. From Paris he directed his course towards Italy, arriving in Bologna in July, 1219. Here he devoted several months to the religious formation of the brethren he found awaiting him, and then, as at Prouille, dispersed them over Italy. Among the foundations made at this time were those at Bergamo, Asti, Verona, Florence, Brescia, and Faenza. From Bologna he went to Viterbo. His arrival at the papal court was the signal for the showering of new favours on the order. Notable among these marks of esteem were many complimentary letters addressed by Honorius to all those who had assisted the Fathers in their vinous foundations. In March of this same year Honorius, through his representatives, bestowed upon the order the church of San Eustorgio in Milan. At the same time a foundation at Viterbo was authorized. On his return to Rome, towards the end of 1219, Dominic sent out letters to all the convents announcing the first general chapter of the order, to be held at Bologna on the feast of the following Pentecost. Shortly before, Honorius III, by a special Brief, had conferred upon the founder the title of Master General, which till then he had held only by tacit consent. At the very first session of the chapter in the following spring the saint startled his brethren by offering his resignation as master general. It is needless to say the resignation was not accepted and the founder remained at the head of the institute till the end of his life.

    Soon after the close of the chapter of Bologna, Honorius III addressed letters to the abbeys and priories of San Vittorio, Sillia, Mansu, Floria, Vallombrosa, and Aquila, ordering that several of their religious be deputed to begin, under the leadership of Saint Dominic, a preaching crusade in Lombardy, where heresy had developed alarming proportions. For some reason or other the plans of the pope were never realized. The promised support failing, Dominic, with a little band of his own brethren, threw himself into the field, and, as the event proved, spent himself in an effort to bring back the heretics to their allegiance to the Church. It is said that 100,000 unbelievers were converted by the preaching and the miracles of the saint. According to Lacordaire and others, it was during his preaching in Lombardy that the saint instituted the Militia of Jesus Christ, or the third order, as it is commonly called, consisting of men and women living in the world, to protect the rights and property of the Church. Towards the end of 1221 Saint Dominic returned to Rome for the sixth and last time. Here he received many new and valuable concessions for the order. In January, February, and March of 1221 three consecutive Bulls were issued commending the order to all the prelates of the Church-. The thirtieth of May, 1221, found him again at Bologna presiding over the second general chapter of the order. At the close of the chapter he set out for Venice to visit Cardinal Ugolino, to whom he was especially indebted for many substantial acts of kindness. He had scarcely returned to Bologna when a fatal illness attacked him. He died after three weeks of sickness, the many trials of which he bore with heroic patience. In a Bull dated at Spoleto, 13 July, 1234, Gregory IX made his cult obligatory throughout the Church.

   

Saint Dominic by Fra Angelico

The life of St. Dominic was one of tireless effort in the, service of god. While he journeyed from place to place he prayed and preached almost uninterruptedly. - His penances were of such a nature as to cause the brethren, who accidentally discovered them. to fear the effect upon his life. While his charity was boundless he never permitted it to interfere with the stern sense of duty that guided every action of his life. If he abominated heresy and laboured untiringly for its extirpation it was because he loved truth and loved the souls of those among whom he laboured. He never failed to distinguish between sin and the sinner. It is not to be wondered at, therefore, if this athlete of Christ, who had conquered himself before attempting the reformation of others, was more than once chosen to show forth the power of God. The failure of the fire at Fanjeaux to consume the dissertation he had employed against the heretics, and which was thrice thrown into the flames; the raising to life of Napoleone Orsini; the appearance of the annals in the refectory of Saint Sixtus in response to his prayers, are but a few of the supernatural happenings by which God was pleased to attest the eminent holiness of His servant. We are not surprised, therefore, that, after signing the Bull of canonization on 13 July, 1234, Gregory IX declared that he no more doubted the saintliness of Saint Dominic than he did that of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.

Born: 1170 at Calaruega, Burgos, Old Castile

Died: August 6,  1221 at Bologna

Beatified: July 13, 1234 by Pope Gregory IX at Rieti, Italy

Patronage: astronomers; astronomy; prelature of Batanes-Babuyanes, Philippines; diocese of Bayombong, Philippines; Dominican Republic; falsely accused people; scientists

Representation: chaplet, Dominican carrying a rosary and a tall cross; Dominican holding a lily; Dominican with dog and globe; Dominican with fire; Dominican with star shining above his head; rosary; star

Commemorations

First Vespers:

Ant. The follower of poverty has passed to the throne, the leader to the scepter, the victor to the crown: death gives way to life, labor to rest, and present sorrow to gladness.

V. Pray for us, Blessed father Dominic

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Lauds:

Ant. The body of a virgin, the mind of a martyr, the labors of an apostle, have at the end of thy course purchased for thee, O Mendicant of Christ, the reward of life.

V. The just man shall blossom like the lily.

R. And shall flourish forever before the Lord.

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. O light of the Church, doctor of patience, ivory of chastity, freely hast thou dispensed the water of wisdom: herald of grace, unite us to the blessed.

V. Pray for us Blessed Dominic,

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Prayer:

Let us Pray: O God, who didst vouchsafe to enlighten Thy Church by the merits and teachings of Blessed Dominic, Thy Confessor and our Father, grant through his intercession, that it may never be destitute of temporal help, and may always increase in spiritual growth. through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Commemorations during the Octave of Saint Dominic

 

First Vespers:

Ant. The follower of poverty has passed to the throne, the leader to the scepter, the victor to the crown: death gives way to life, labor to rest, and present sorrow to gladness.

V. Pray for us, Blessed father Dominic

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Lauds:

Ant. Blessed be the Redeemer of all, who in providing for the salvation of men gave Saint Dominic to the world.

V. The just man shall blossom like the lily.

R. And shall flourish forever before the Lord.

V. The just man shall flourish like the palm tree in the house of the Lord.

R. He shall be multiplied like a cedar of Lebanon.

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. O great Father, Saint Dominic, at the hour of death take us to thyself, and while here regard us always graciously.

V. Pray for us, Blessed father Dominic

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Prayer:

Let us Pray: O God, who didst vouchsafe to enlighten Thy Church by the merits and teachings of Blessed Dominic, Thy Confessor and our Father, grant through his intercession, that it may never be destitute of temporal help, and may always increase in spiritual growth. through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

 

Prayers

The Chaplet of Saint Dominic :"A Cry of Anguish"

Said on a normal Rosary

 

LARGE BEADS: "O Spem Miram"

 

V. O Wonderful hope, which thou gavest to those who wept for thee, at the hour of thy death, promising after thy departure, to be helpful to thy brethren!

 

R. Fulfill, O Father , what thou hast said, and help us by thy prayers.

 

V. O thou who dist shine illustrious by so many miracles wrought on the bodies of the sick, bring us the help of Christ to heal our sick souls.

 

R. Fulfill, O Father , what thou hast said, and help us by thy prayers.

 

V. Glory Be...

 

R. Fulfill, O Father , what thou hast said, and help us by thy prayers.

 

V. Pray for us blessed Father Dominic

 

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Let us Pray: O God, who hast enlightened Thy Church by the eminent virtues and preaching of blessed Dominic, Thy confessor and our Father, mercifully grant that by his prayers it may never lack temporal help, and may ever increase in all spiritual good. Through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

 

SMALL BEADS:

 

Holy father, cast thy mind

On the work thy hands designed;

In the Judge's presence stand

For thy poor and lowly band.

 

V. Pray for us, O holy Father, Saint Dominic

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Let us Pray: O God, whose property it is always to have mercy and to spare, we humbly beseech Thee, that we who spoil the works of Thy glory by our sins and are justly afflicted for what we have done, may, by the merits and intercession of Blessed Dominic, Thy confessor and Father, be comforted in our trials, and ever obey Thy divine will. Through Jesu Christ , Thy Son. Amen.

 

Readings

    Dominic possessed such great integrity and was so strongly motivated by divine love, that without a doubt he proved to be a bearer of honor and grace. And since a joyful heart animates the face, he displayed the peaceful composure of a spiritual man in the kindness he manifested outwardly and by the cheerfulness of his countenance.

    Wherever he went he showed himself in word and deed to be a man of the Gospel. During the day no one was more community-minded or pleasant toward his brothers and associates. During the night hours no one was more persistent in every kind of vigil and supplication. He seldom spoke unless it was with God, that is, in prayer, or about God; and in this matter he instructed his brothers.

    Frequently he made a special personal petition that God would deign to grant him genuine charity in caring for and obtaining the salvation of men. For he believed that only then would he be truly a member of Christ, when he had given himself totally for the salvation of men, just as the Lord Jesus, the Savior of all, had offered himself completely for our salvation. So, for this work, after a lengthy period of careful and provident planning, he founded the Orders of Friars Preachers.

    In his conversations and letters he often urged the brothers of the Order to study constantly the Old and New Testaments. He always carried with him the gospel according to Matthew and the epistles of Paul, and so well did he study them that he almost knew them from memory.

    Two or three times he was chosen bishop, but he always refused, preferring to live with his brothers in poverty. Of him Pope Gregory IX declared: "I knew him as a steadfast follower of the apostolic way of life. There is no doubt that he is in heaven, sharing in the glory of the apostles themselves."


from various writings on the history of the Order of Preachers

Blessed Jane of Aza, Mother of Saint Dominic

Memorial Day: August 6th

 

Profile

    Devotion to Our Lady was typical of medieval Spaniards, as indeed of any Christian of the time. But the devotion to Mary bequeathed by Saint Dominic to his children was something more than ordinary , and in the natural course of events it could come from only one source-his own mother. her name, the scanty records tell us, was Jane of Aza, and neither the date of her birth nor that of her death is known with certainty. Not being of great material importance , she made little impression on history; but the print of her personality will be seen for all time on the order founded by her son. Dominic must have had a very tender love for his mother to make him turn so constantly, trustingly, instinctively to Our Lady in all the troubles and joys of his later life.

   

    Legend relates that before the birth of Dominic, Blessed Jane beheld a vision in which she saw her son , running as a swift  greyhound through the world, bearing in his mouth a torch with which he illumined the world (The son became the founder of the Order of Preachers, known as the Dominicans thus the prophetic dream was fulfilled as the Dominican friars took the light of the gospel throughout the world. They became known as the Dogs of the Lord.  In Latin the word Dominican would be Domini Canes, literally Dogs of the Lord). It was for her to fan and shelter that flame at its very kindling, and to teach this child of predilection the prayers he would say with such rich results for a lifetime of saintly action. Not only was it Jane who first taught her son the words of the Hail Mary- that key with which he unlocked heaven for so many souls - but it was she that gave to him the living example of Christian womanhood. If in later years his sons were to cherish such a chivalrous love for the gracious Queen of Heaven, much of it was due to the reverential awe and tender love with which this truly Christian lady inspired her three priest-sons. to every priest, his own mother is the personification of all that is good and lovable in woman; she is the ideal to inspire him, the lighthouse to beckon him, and the living picture of the Mother of the first Priest. It could have been no different for Dominic. Where else would he , brought up amid the scenes of war and the mans world of thee university, see in action the ideals of womanly purity, gentleness, and never failing help that he was to cherish as the attributes of his heavenly Queen?

   

    History is silent regarding events in the Life of Blessed Jane. probably there were no great events to record. As the wife of the Castellan of Calaruega, a fortress castle on the border of Christian Spain, she would have led a life filled with the monotony of small things.  Tradition relates that her two older sons, Anthony and Manez, were already preparing for the priesthood when Dominic was born. She named her youngest son for Saint Dominic of Silos, at whose shrine she was frequent pilgrim . Knowing that her solider/husband expected their third son to carry on the family name and fortunes, Jane seems still to have cherished for him the goal of the priesthood. Very likely Dominic- and we - owe to his understanding Mother the fortune that placed a book in his hands instead of a sword.

   

    Pope Leo XII beatified Jane of Aza in 1828. Devotion to her has persisted through the centuries despite the poverty of records. The mother of three priest,  one of whom died a death of heroic charity and two who were raised to altars of the Church, can safely be judged to have been not only a valiant woman but also a saintly one.  Her picture, as that of any mother, can best be seen reflected in her sons.

 

Born: in Aza, Unknown date

Died: about 1202 in Calaroga

Beatified: Pope Leo XII in 1828 approved her cultus

 

 

Prayers/Commemorations

First Vespers:

Ant. Come, O my chosen one, and I will place my throne in thee, for the King hath exceedingly desired thy beauty,

V. Pray for us, Blessed Jane

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Lauds:

Ant. She hath opened her hands to the needy, her palms she hath extended to the poor: fortitude and beauty are her vesture, and she shall rejoice on the last day.

V. God has chosen her , and preferred her.

R. He maketh her to dwell in His tabernacle

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. She hath girded her loins with courage, and hath strengthened her arm: she hath tasted and seen , for her occupation is good: her lamp shall not be put out in the night.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Jane

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Prayer:

Let us Pray: O God, who didst wonderfully make known to Blessed Jane, Thy handmaid, the grace of the heavenly calling of her son, Dominic, we beseech Thee that, imitating her and the son thus  foreshown her, we may, be the loving intercession of them both, receive everlasting rewards. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Blessed John of Salerno, C.O.P.

Memorial Day: August 9th

 

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    Although Father Touron failed to give a sketch of this distinguished Friar Preacher in his First Disciples of Saint Dominic, it is certain that he belonged to them, and that he was an outstanding character in the noble galaxy. Some authors say that John was a scion of the noted Guana family, and connected with the Norman princes who long reigned over the former kingdoms of Naples and Sicily. Whilst they do not give the date of his birth, practically all hold that he first saw the light of day at Salerno, some thirty miles south of Naples; that he studied at the University of Bologna; and that he entered the Order in that educational center. With one or two exceptions who give this honor to Blessed Reginald of Orleans, the writers maintain he received the habit from Saint Dominic himself. The year 1219 is the date assigned for the ceremony.(1)

    Evidently John was then a man of mature years, for he was soon placed at the head of twelve other confrères sent to establish the Order in Florence. A few date this commission in 1219; but 1220 is the time ordinarily given. The choice of him for superior in so important a city confirms the statement that his rare virtue, which he had practised from early youth, made a strong impression on Saint Dominic. Although very small of stature, the future blessed possessed a mighty mind and a courage that nothing could awe. Doubtless these qualities also appealed to the patriarch, who seemed to judge of the characters ' of men almost by intuition, for an able, fearless leader was needed in Florence. Dominic and John are said to have been intimate, trustful friends-no doubt, a relationship born of grace. That the saint formed a correct estimate of his young disciple is shown by the fact that our blessed soon became one of the most influential Friars Preacher in Italy.

    A curious story is told about the first house of the fathers at Florence. It was built, so it would seem, by one Deodate del Dado (possibly a merchant) who wished to make restitution for his dishonesty by devoting it to religious purposes. Situated in the "plain of Ripoli", two or three miles from the city limits, on the way to Arezzo, it was better suited for a contemplative order than for one of the apostolic character of Saint Dominic's. Mamachi thinks another community had occupied it.(2) Be that as it may, it was free when the builder beard of the wonderful preaching of the holy man from Caleruega, in Bologna. So he hurried to that city, attended one of the saint's sermons, and then offered the place to him. Some writers say that the proffer was accepted at once, and the delighted donor accompanied the first missionaries back to Florence.

    When the fathers arrived at the hermitage of Ripoli, land saw its lonely, remote location, some of them likely wondered if their prayerful, mortified superior might intend to sacrifice the active side of their institute, which they had seen brought so prominently to the fore in Bologna, to the retired and cloistered side. They did not have long to wait before learning his views. Although the house was small, John of Salerno felt that it would suffice for a start. The first few days he spent in setting the place in order. Then he called the community together, and made known his plan of action. The life of a Friar Preacher, he said, is that of an energetic apostolate. They had come to humble Hipoli, not for their own sakes, but for the spiritual welfare of the faithful in the Province of Tuscany. The work would commence on the morrow, and every man would be expected to do his duty.

    Day by day the little handful of soul harvesters left their hemitage at an early hour, in bands of two, that they might preach the word of God in Florence or elsewhere. In all things the diminutive superior, with a great mind and magnanimous soul, set the example, as well as led the way, which he would have the others follow. They assembled the people in churches, public squares, market places, open plains -- wherever they could procure an audience. In the evening, unless too far away, they returned to their quiet abode for prayer and meditation.

    Proud, cultivated Florence was stirred to the very core by the eloquence and zeal of the new religious, in whose lives there seemed to be naught of the worldly. The effect of their sermons was enhanced by the patience with which they trudged afoot back and forth between Ripoli and the city. They were on every tongue-in every mind. Their preaching was discussed in public, no less than in private. Repentant Deodate seems to have taken care of their secluded home while they were absent, as well as to have contributed towards their maintenance. No doubt he was happy in the realization that his work of amends bore such rich fruit.

    Among the band of missioners, men of God though they all were, John of Salerno shone especially for his oratory, virtue, and quest for souls. None of them appeared quite so heroic as he. Whilst his example, fatherly government, and kindly admonition ever urged his confrères on in their exertions, his fine judgment and tact won the confidence of the faithful. All this combined with his superb scholarship and rare devotion to bring him the affection of the archbishop, John di Velletri, together with that of the vast majority of the diocesan clergy. Indeed, our Friar Preacher had every qualification for a perfect superior and a successful fisherman of men. Thus it is no matter for wonder that he was retained at the helm of his Order in one of Italy's most beautiful cities, yet ever a maelstrom of political intrigue.

    Saint Dominic is said to have been so impressed with the reports of the good' effected by his brethren in Florence that he paid them at least one visit, and was delighted with their fervor and zeal.(3) Their benefactor, Deodate, seems to have lived less than a year after they settled in his hermitage. His death deprived them of their principal source of support. This misfortune, together with the fatigue of walking back and forth each day between the city and the "plain of Ripoli," caused the Florentines to obtain permission for them to use the hospice of Saint Pancratius, which stood at the side of the church of the same name within the municipal limits, until a more suitable place could be obtained for them. John of Salerno gladly acceded to the proposal, -and moved his community thither at once, for this more convenient location would be of great aid to his confr6res in their work.

    From Saint Pancratius' the fathers were soon transferred to Saint Paul's. There, however, as was but natural, objections against their presence were raised by the clergy stationed at that church. John and his companions, while continuing their labors, bore all difficulties with admirable patience. Fortunately, no doubt in answer to their prayers, providence came to their aid. A Father Foresio, rector of Santa Maria Novella, touched by their virtue, zeal, and forbearance, offered them his church, together with the buildings attached to it, on condition that they would pay a moderate allowance each year for his support. Our blessed, in his capacity as superior, gratefully accepted the generous proffer. Cardinal Ugolino, the papal legate whom we have so often seen in the ro^le of a friend of the Order, and Archbishop di Velletri warmly approved of the project.

    Santa Maria Novella passed into the hands of the Friars Preacher, November 8, 1221.(4) Thus John of Salerno became the founder of the great convent at Florence, which was destined to become one of the most historic and beautiful in a religious institute renowned for its learning and deeds, as well as for its cultivation of the artistic. Many noted clergymen were trained and educated there. Not a few of Italy's most famed painters, sculptors, and architects were employed there. It is still an object of delightful study for artists from every part of the world. Because of its exquisite decorations, Michael Angelo was wont to call it "The Bride."

    Florence had become one of the strongholds of the new Manicheans in Italy, whence their evil influence spread throughout Tuscany. They hesitated at nothing for the propagation of their destructive principles. In the subject of our sketch they met with a relentless foe. Day and night he opposed them, whether by deed or word. Never was he known to quail before their threats or attacks. His fearless action and preaching not only produced the most salutary effects, but even won for him the name of "hammer of heretics."(5) He must ever rank high amongst those brave Friars Preacher who helped to free the Italian Peninsula from the dangers of Manicheanism and Albigensianism.

    The persuasive eloquence of the man of God combined with the odor of his sanctity and the fire of his zeal to draw many and brilliant subjects into his Order. They came from numerous places, but especially from Florence, Prato, and Pistoia. Among them was the noted Hugh of Sesto, a canon at Saint Paul's who had led the opposition to the fathers at that church. Others who should not be omitted were: Roderic, a canon at Saint Peter's; James Rabacante, who later succeeded John of Salerno as prior of Santa Maria Novella; Ottavente di Nerli; Roger Calcagni, who became the first papal inquisitor at Florence and bishop of Castro; Father Buoninsegna, a martyr at Antioch who is commonly called blessed; Ambrose of Rimini, a celebrated preacher who became bishop of his native city; Thomas Morandi, honored with the miter of Fano; and Aldobrandini Cavalcanti, entrusted with the charge of the Diocese of Orvieto. We might mention more, but those given above suffice to show the character of those whom the early disciple brought into his institute.

    Blessed John had a special gift for governing others. He seemed to read dispositions almost as he would read a book. In all things he showed himself a father, brother, friend, and servant to those under his charge. He dominated their wills by kindness, quickened their zeal by his own, directed them along the path of perfection by his example and gentle words. The love which he bore them merited the affection which they gave him.

    Whatever he did, the man of God was doubtless guided by the lessons which he had received from Saint Dominic. He had lived under the patriarch at Bologna, had met him in Florence, and of course bad come in contact with him at the general chapter of 1221. Some writers say he was the saint's travelling companion on several apostolic journeys; but this statement seems doubtful.(6) However, such was his love for the Order's founder that he no sooner received word of his serious illness than he started in all haste for Bologna, where he arrived just in time to receive the dying man's last blessing and the assurance that he would be more helpful to the infant institute in heaven than he could be on earth. Such is the importance which one saint attaches to the word of another, that we are justified in believing those of Dominic must have acted as an inspiration for Blessed John of Salerno the rest of his life.

    God enriched the soul of this early disciple with many choice graces. One of the things which greatly aided him in the spiritual direction of others, whether in his Order or without it, was the faculty often accorded him of reading their consciences. Many a time did he make known to his penitents sins which they had forgotten. This gift, quite naturally, increased his influence; and he was careful to use it only for the spiritual betterment of those who sought his aid. Not a few miracles were also attributed to him, but these he did all in his power to conceal.

    There is an adage which tells us that the ways of God are not the ways of man. Rare is it that providence does not permit even the most faithful servants of Christ to be tried in the crucible of temptation; but, as Saint Paul assures us, the temptation is always accompanied with the grace necessary to overcome it. So it was with John of Salerno. There were those who sought to lead him from the path of virtue. Yet his resistance not merely saved him from sin; it issued unto his greater glory before God and man. It made him "the good odor of Christ" even unto the conversion of those who thirsted for his ruin.

    Among our Friar Preacher's notable works for the benefit of religion in Tuscany must be placed the establisbment of the first community of Dominican Sisters in the province. These he started in the hermitage of Ripoli, built by Deodate del Dado, sometime after the fathers had left it. He had great faith in the prayers of these holy women, and trusted to their intercession as an aid to the success of his work and that of his confrères. In later years, because the neighborhood of Florence became infested with brigands, these sisters moved into the city. There they divided into two communities. One of them retained the old title of Ripoli, while the other took the name of Saint Dominic. Both long continued to edify the Florentines by their saintly lives and to bring blessings on the Church of the municipality by their perpetual orisons.

    So labored on Blessed John of Salerno until the end of his useful life. Father John Caroli and other earlier writers speak of his toil and his heroic virtue in terms of the highest praise. They tell how he was loved and venerated, how his confr~res mourned his death, and how the people of Florence turned out in a body for his funeral; but they give us no further indication of its date than to say that it happened after many years of faithful labor ("quumque inultis jam annis . . . . . laborasset"). In the light of this assertion that he surrendered his pure soul to God in Florence after long years of constant service, one can not accept the statement of those later authors who say that he died in 1225. As a matter of fact, the Année Dominicaine assures us that Gregory IX, who ascended the papal throne in March, 1227, entrusted him with some reformation work in the Diocese of Chiusi, which he brought to a happy termination.(7) The same publication, by way of guess, places the holy man's death in the thirties of the thirteenth century. Yet it is just as probable that it occurred in the following decade.

    Our blessed was buried with great honor in the Church of Santa Maria Novella, where his tomb immediately became a place of pilgrimage for the faithful. A number of miracles were attributed to him. It would seem that there were several translations of his relies, one of which doubtless took place when his body was removed from the old church to the new. On these occasions the faithful of the city and neighboring places came in immense crowds to pay honor to one whom they held in deep veneration. The last, and possibly the most notable, ceremony of the kind took place on February 18, 1571. At this time his relics were placed in a tomb and chapel specially dedicated to his memory. Pius VI, who reigned from 1775 to 1799, officially ratified the immemorial cult to John, permitted his Order to say mass and the divine office in his honor, and appointed August 9 for his feast day.

 

Born: c.1190 at Salerno, Italy

Died: 1272 of natural causes; buried at the church of Saint Maria Novella in Florence, Italy; relics translated several times, the last being on February 18,1571

Beatified:1783 by Pope Pius VI (cultus confirmed)

 

Commemorations

First Vespers:

Ant. Strengthened by holy intercession, O John, Confessor of the Lord, those here present , that we who are burdened the weight of our offenses. Maybe relieved by the glory of thy blessedness, and may thy guidance attain eternal rewards.

V. Pray for us, Blessed John.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ

 

Lauds:

Ant. Well done, good and faithful servant, because thou hast been faithful in a few things, I will set thee over many, saith the Lord.

V. The just man shall blossom like the lily.

R. And shall flourish forever the Lord.

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock.

V. Pray for us, Blessed John.

R. That we may be made worthy of the Promises of Christ.

 

Prayer

Let us Pray: O God , who for the increase of the faith didst make Blessed John, Thy Confessor , a noble preacher of Thy word; grant us, through his intercession, that what we believe with the heart unto justice we may confess with the mouth unto salvation. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Prayers

 

God of truth, for the spread of the faith you made Blessed John a renowned preacher of your word. By the help of his prayers may we confess with our mouths unto salvation what we believe with our hearts unto justice. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

- General Calendar of the Order of Preachers

NOTES

1. Acta Sanctorum, XLIII (third vol. for September), 626 ff; ALBERTI, fol. 198 ff ; Année Dominicaine VIII (August), 477 ff ; BZOVIUS (Bzowski), XIII, col. 334-335; CASTILLO, pp. 100-102, 136-137; MALVENDA, pp. 312-317, 392-395; MAMACHI, 203, 269, 545, 604-606, 634-635, 660; MARCHESE, I, 262 ff; MORTIER, I, 201; PIO, col. 59. This sketch is taken principally from ALBERTI (who, like the Acta, gives John Caroli's Beati Joannis Salurtani Vita), the Année Dominicaine, and MAMACHI.

2. Page 603.

3. There is considerable speculation as to how often Saint Dominic visited Florence, and the dates of his sojourns there.

4. See also BROWN, J. Wood, The Dominican Church of Santa Maria Novella at Florence, p. 48.

5. MORTIER, I, 201.

6. The date given for our blessed's entrance into the Order, his labors in and around Florence, and the many other companions Dominic is said to have had incline one to question this statement.

7. VIII, 484.

Image:Odrowaz.jpg

Apparition of the Virgin and Child to Saint Hyacinth

 

Saint Hyacinth, C.O.P.

Feast Day: August 17th

 

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    Saint Hyacinth, whom ecclesiastical writers are rightly wont to call the apostle of the north and one of the wonder-workers of his century, was of the house of the Odrowaz, counts of Konski, an old and noble Polish family. Some of his ancestors enjoyed palatine rights. To his line also belonged a number of military officers whose bravery and patriotism more than once proved their country's bulwark against invasions by barbarian hordes. His great-grandfather, Saul Odrowaz, defeated the enemy in several bloody engagements. The saint's grandfather, Saul Odrowaz, who gained an enviable reputation for courage by his martial exploits in the twelfth century, had two sons. Ivo, the younger, studied for the ministry, filled the office of chancellor for the king of Poland, became bishop of Cracow, and died with a great reputation for sanctity. Eustachius, the elder, married a lady whose piety ranked with her birth. God seems to have blessed their union with a fine family. Hyacinth, of whom we now write, was the eldest. According to the more common opinion he first saw the light of day in 1185. His birthplace was the Castle of Lanka, Kamin, in Silesian Poland, now a part of Prussia. The next sketch will be of a younger brother, or at least a near relative, Blessed Ceslas.(1)

    Almost from the cradle, nature seemed to have disposed Hyacinth to virtue. His parents not only studiously fostered this happy disposition, but also used great care to procure for their son teachers who would protect his innocence. In this way, he was so well grounded in his religious duties that he passed through his higher studies at Cracow, Prague, and Bologna, without tarnish to his pure soul. Doubtless his model life had not a little to do in helping him to win the admiration of both his professors and fellow-students. God also blessed him with, a splendid mind. Thus, through diligent study, at Bologna he obtained the degree of doctor in canon law and theology.(2)

    From Italy the future apostle returned to Cracow, whose bishop, Blessed Vincent Kadlubek, received him as a blessing sent by heaven for the good of his diocese. Father Hyacinth was at once appointed one of the canons at the cathedral, and soon afterwards became a member of the diocesan council. In this way, he not only took his part in the administration of the affairs of the great diocese; he was also a source of much consolation to the aged and saintly bishop. In whatever he undertook, or was entrusted to his care, the young priest showed rare prudence and ability. Furthermore, he 'was zealous and pious.(3)

    However manifold were his duties, the future Friar Preacher did not permit them to interfere with his good works, or to dampen his spirit of prayer, or to lessen his practice of recollection. None were more punctual or exact in the recitation of the divine office by the canons. He mortified himself in many ways. He visited the hospitals regularly, and the sick found in him a sympathetic comforter. A friend to the poor, he distributed his income among them; for he felt that money received through the Church could not be devoted to a better or more advantageous use.(4)

    While Hyacinth was thus employed, edifying the clergy and people of the diocese, Bishop Kadlubek determined to resign his see that he might have more time to prepare to meet his God. This was in 1218. The Rev. Ivo Odrowaz, chancellor of Poland and uncle of Hyacinth, was then selected as Blessed Vincent's successor. The bishop elect went to Rome in regard to his appointment. No doubt the journey was urged by King Leszek, the Right Rev. Vincent Kadlubek himself, and the cathedral chapter of Cracow, if not even by many of the hierarchy of Poland. On the one hand, the resigning prelate enjoyed too great a reputation for Honorius III readily to consent to his laying down the reigns of authority; on the other, the Polish authorities were not only content that the holy man should be allowed the rest he craved, but also anxious that the Diocese of Cracow should have as its head the one whom they judged the best fitted to take his place.(5)

    Ivo Odrowaz took with him to Italy Saint Hyacinth and Blessed Ceslas. Both of them, because of their zeal, piety, good judgment, and learning, were among the most influential clergymen of the diocese. Doubtless, therefore, the bishop elect chose them that he might have the advantage of their counsel and knowledge. In the episcopal retinue were also Henry of Moravia and Herman of Germany -- a fact, which, in spite of some contrary opinions, seems to prove that they, too, stood high in the ecclesiastical circles of Cracow. The Journey appears to have assumed the added character of a pilgrimage. But, in the light of subsequent events, one is justified in the belief that it was guided by a special providence.(6)

    At Rome the little band met the Right Rev. Henry von Guttenstein, bishop of Prague. They also soon came in contact with Saint Dominic, the report of whose miracles resounded throughout the capital of Christendom, especially that of raising young Napoleon Orsini to life, which he had just performed. This was in 1218. The two bishops were so pleased with the holy man and his disciples that they besought him to establish his Order in Poland and Bohemia, where they held out every hope of great good that could be accomplished. This was precisely in line with Dominic's wishes. Yet he felt that he should first attend to the needs of the countries nearer at hand; and his confrères were not yet sufficient in number to supply all demands. Another difficulty was the fact that none of those who had until then joined the new institute knew aught of the Polish or Bohemian languages and customs. The saint, therefore, urged the two dignitaries to wait until he should be better able to comply with their wishes.(7)

    Henry von Guttenstein seems to have been content with this promise. But Ivo Odrowaz pressed his case, for he wanted the missionaries without delay. He declared that he would protect them, nay, be a father to them, and that they would be as well cared for in Poland as in their own native lands. No one, he insisted, knew the needs of his diocese better than himself. They were extreme, and could not be met any too soon.

    This appeal touched the saint's heart. Perhaps God suggested a new idea to him. "Bishop," he then said, "if you will let me have some of the virtuous young priests with you, I trust your wishes may be soon fulfilled. I will give them the habit; and I hope that, with the assistance of heaven, they will in a very short time be sufficiently drilled in the religious life to undertake the apostolic activities of the Order. Then I will turn them over to you. There is no doubt but that they will do in Poland what a number of my confr6res are accomplishing in Italy, France, Spain, and elsewhere."

    The suggestion pleased Cracow's bishop. He spoke of it to those who had come with him -- Hyacinth, Ceslas (both his nephews), Henry, and Herman. While, he said, his natural affections and personal interests disposed him to retain them about himself, he felt that he would render the country a great service by sacrificing them to the new Order, if they should like to join it. As it happened, all four of them had been no less impressed by Saint Dominic than Bishop Odrowaz himself. The holy man's spirit had gained possession of their souls. Accordingly, the four, filled with the hope and desire of laboring as Friars Preacher, decided to enter the Order. They received the habit from the founder at Santa Sabina's on the Aventine Hill.(8)

    Father Touron places this event about March, 1218. Others say that it took place a year later; while some assign it to 1220.(9) The precise date, although important, is of less consequence than the fact that the calling of the four men seems certainly to have come from heaven. They had already been thoroughly formed, trained, and educated for the priesthood, and had had no little experience. This now stood them in good stead; for through this, the grace of God, and the masterful guidance of Dominic, they made marvellous progress in their preparation for their new life. The saint kept his promise to the bishop of Cracow. He did not wait until they had made a year's novitiate. When he felt that they were prepared for the work of the Order, he used the extraordinary power given him by Honorius III, and permitted them to take their vows. Then he sent them, perhaps with a few others, to the field of labor which had been determined for them.(10)

    Possibly nowhere does a reflection, which often occurs to the reader of Saint Dominic's history, present itself with greater force than in connection with Saint Hyacinth and his companions. How could the founder of the Friars Preacher prepare men in so short a time to announce the word of God with extraordinary success, while such a training, in the natural course of things, requires years? None of those mentioned in this sketch, though they were educated men, had been specially drilled in sacred oratory, or distinguished themselves by their eloquence. Yet, after the few months spent in the novitiate at Santa Sabina's, their preaching was all but resistless, and drew immense crowds wherever it was known that they were to appear.

    To the writer at least it appears that such a phenomenon can not be accounted for in any natural way, even though, as must be admitted, Saint Dominic possessed a marvellous personal magnetism, and was endowed with rare gifts for inspiring others with his enthusiasm. The only satisfactory explanation of the fact is that the great and sudden change was the work of grace. Like the apostles of old, after the day of Pentecost, they were different men.

    Hyacinth, who was then thirty-three years of age, received the appointment of head of the little missionary band. Whether or not Bishop Ivo Odrowaz remained at Rome until the new Friars Preacher made their religious profession, as Father Touron thinks, they did not form a part of his episcopal train on the return journey.(11) Taking another course, they passed through the territory of the former Republic of Venice into Carinthia, and founded a convent at Friesach, in the northern part of that duchy. The Most Rev. Eberhard von Truchsen, archbishop of Salzburg, received them all the more cordially because he had met Saint Dominic at the fourth Lateran council, Rome, in 1215, and had asked him for some of his disciples. Doubtless it was at the archbishop's request that the house was established at Friesach.(12)

    During his six months' stay in Carinthia Saint Hyacinth really began his wonderful career. People flocked in enormous numbers to hear his sermons. He gave the habit of the Order to many, among whom were not a few clergymen. Then, with the powers conferred on him by Dominic, he instituted Father Herman of Germany superior of the house; for, as Polish historians tell us, he was a man of exemplary life, as well as possessed of great zeal, prudence, and oratorical ability.(13)

    Hyacinth, Ceslas, Henry, and some others now continued their way towards Cracow in accordance with their promise. However, they labored as they passed through Styria, Austria, Moravia, and Silesia. The report of their sanctity and eloquence had preceded them in all these places. As Father John Croiset, S. J., correctly states, the fervor of their preaching was such that the people everywhere soon recognized that the new religious institute was composed of truly apostolic men.(14)

    By this time our saint's extraordinary life was fairly under way. Not in Cracow only, but throughout his native land word was scattered abroad of the wonderful things that God effected through his ministry. Thus, as he passed through Poland, immense crowds met him with every expression of joy and esteem; and it could easily be seen that it was the ambassador of Christ, not the nobleman, whom they sought to honor. In his well-balanced humility, Hyacinth, who had not been used to such things in his younger years, referred it all to God, of whom he was only an agent.

    At Cracow itself, the bishop, his clergy, and crowds of every station in life received the former canon of the cathedral as an envoy from heaven. In accordance with the request sent by Honorius III, they left nothing undone in order to facilitate the Friar Preacher's mission. God blessed his sermons from the start. Enmities, pride, and rivalries were laid aside. Sinners gave up their evil ways. Those who had long neglected their religious duties began to hear mass and receive the sacraments. Cracow soon became a different city. Bishop Ivo Odrowaz must have taken a keen spiritual pride in his nephew, as well as have been thoroughly convinced that his vocation was divine.

    It must be admitted, writes Adrian Baillet, that such marvellous effects were the work of God rather than that of man. It is impossible to write a sketch of Hyacinth's life that would be worth the while without playing the part of the hagiographer, no less than that of the historian. Indeed, however appealing his words and the example of his saintly life, there can be little doubt but that his labors would have been far less fruitful in good, had they not been supported by the gift of miracles. Writers of history mention many of these, which gave great éclat to his apostolate from the start.(15)

    However, as the saint himself ever sought to cover them under the cloak of humility, we shall follow his example, and mention only those marvels which are so connected with some trait or fact of his life that they can not be omitted without obscuring the course of his missions. Suffice it here to say that he was not content to tear up the cockle which the enemy had sown in with the Lord's good grain. He ever sought to stabilize his work by the introduction of religious practices in the place of the vices against which he waged incessant war. This is what he accomplished in the city and diocese of Cracow, where even many of the high-born were soon so changed that they became models of docility.

    While Hyacinth was engaged in this work of reformation, the bishop, his cathedral chapter, and the magistrates of the city acted in concert to bestow the Church of the Holy Trinity in Cracow on the Order, erect a convent, and furnish it with the necessaries for a religious community. Large as was the house, it was soon filled with ardent subjects. Trained under his care, and filled with his spirit, they extended the work of reform with signal success to the furthermost parts of Poland.(16)

    Among those whom the apostle of the north received into the Order at Cracow was a noted Roman doctor, James Crescenzi, whom an uncle, Cardinal Gregory Crescenzi, had brought from Italy in the capacity of secretary and counsellor when appointed papal legate to Bohemia and Poland. Hyacinth's sermons so won the admiration of this young ecclesiastic, and fired his zeal, that he decided to become a Friar Preacher. He felt that in no other life could he more surely save his own soul, or do more for the extension of the kingdom. of Christ on earth. The cardinal legate, while he naturally disliked to lose the assistance of his kinsman, was too pious a man to interfere with his vocation. As a zealous preacher Father Crescenzi attained no little reputation.(17)

    Dominic's promise to Bishop von Guttenstein of Prague had not yet been fulfilled. When, therefore, the convent of Cracow was well on its feet, Hyacinth sent Ceslas, Henry of Moravia, and others to establish themselves in Bohemia.(17a) He himself continued his, work through the provinces of Poland, where God sanctioned his efforts with frequent wonders. Everywhere he met with the same success that had crowned his toil in Cracow.

    Requests for Friars Preacher came in from various places. For this reason, Hyacinth founded a convent at Sandomir, capital of a palatinate of the same name in Little Poland. He built another at Plock, on the Vistula and in the old Polish Province of Warsaw. At both these houses he gave the habit to many whom his preaching, saintly life, and miracles won to the Order. Thus, like that in Cracow, they became centers from which the entire kingdom was supplied with missionary workers.(18)

    It is in the Province of Warsaw that we first see the holy man walking on water dryshod. The account of the miracle is found in the bull of canonization by Clement VIII. While on his way, with three companions, to preach at Vissegrad, he found the Vistula in such a state of flood that the boatmen did not dare to undertake to cross it. In his strong faith, and unwilling to disappoint the people, he offered a prayer to heaven, made the sign of the cross, urged his confrères to follow him, and began to walk on the waves as if they were solid earth. As they were afraid to imitate his example, he returned to the bank. There he took off his cloak, spread it on the water, and said in a most confidential tone: "In the name of Christ our Lord, brothers, do not fear. Come on. This mantle will serve you as a bridge."

    Not only did the three missionaries obey; all four passed over the raging stream as though it bad been the smoothest road. This marvellous occurrence happened in plain view of many in Vissegrad. One may thus easily imagine the effect his preaching had on the people of the town. It was one of the outstanding miracles brought up at the time of the saint's canonization.(19)

    Hyacinth had drunk in deeply the spirit of Dominic. Like the founder of his Order, he ever dreamed of new spiritual conquests for the Church and more souls to be saved. When, therefore, religion was renewed in Poland, leaving his confrères to continue the good work there, he wended his way towards the remoter and more barbarous north. There he knew were vast numbers either still buried in the darkness of idolatry, or adherents of the eastern schism. No distance, no peril, no hardship, no lack of comfort or climatic condition could dampen the ardor of the zeal which consumed him, so Iono, as there was hope of extending the kingdom of Christ. He was ready joyously to suffer any and everything for God and the spiritual welfare of his fellow man.

    From Poland the apostle took a number of Friars Preacher on this journey. Heaven blessed their endeavors with many conversions. Wherever he saw a prospect of permanent good he began a convent, and left some of his confrères to spread the light of the Gospel. Often he was left alone on his peregrinations. Although he was ignorant of the languages spoken by the various peoples in whose midst he came, he preached without an interpreter, and was understood as though he spoke their own tongues. It was like a renewal of the apostolic age. Miracles, so to express it, walked in his footsteps. While they did not always bring conversions, they at least combined with his sweet character to protect the ambassador of Christ and to make him loved.

    Among the convents which the leading citizens of Pomerania, Prussia, and other places along the shores of the Baltic Sea had Hyacinth erect for them were several that became noted centers of spiritual activity. Such, for instance, was that at Kammin, on the Oder. Another was the convent of Przemysl, on the San. Kulm, Elbing, Königsberg, and Dantzic also had their great houses of Friars Preacher, which furnished many missionaries for the Lord's vineyard. Nor must we forget the one situated on the island of Rügen, out in the Baltic Sea, just off the mainland of Prussia. All these, and more, were the fruit of the toil of the apostle of the north.(20) That in Dantzic, as we shall soon see, has a beautiful and interesting bit of history attached to it.

    To not a few of our readers, no doubt, it will be a surprise to learn that, when Saint Hyacinth went to Prussia, he found worship of the devil broadcast. Despite edicts against the impious and sacrilegious practice, myriads, who were still sunk in the darkness of idolatry, tenaciously clung to their idols, adored them with incense, and even honored them with abominable sacrifices. Others had tried to enlighten and convert these benighted people, but failed. Our Friar Preacher undertook the task, and succeeded. Here again, in the beginning, miracles were his most effective weapon against the powers of evil. Wonderful cures of the sick first won him the confidence and affection of the barbarians. Then by his sermons and instructions he not only led them to destroy their temples and burn their idols, but also to embrace the true faith. It was a glorious achievement.

    That this good work, so happily begun, might be rendered durable by a thorough instruction of the people, the saint asked the duke of Pomerania for a piece of land on the River Vistula, not far from its mouth. It was almost an island; and in this secluded spot Hyacinth wished to erect a convent, whose members should devote themselves to further enlightenment of those just rescued from idolatry. At first, the duke told him that the place was not suited to his purpose, for it was practically abandoned, and inaccessible. The fathers, said the prince, would be able to effect greater good, were they located more within reach of those who needed their assistance so sadly.

    But Hyacinth not merely held his ground, and won his point; he predicted that on this deserted spot would rise one of the most important cities in the north. This actually happened; for, about 1295, Przemyslaw, king of Poland, started there the present Dantzic, so well known for its commerce and manufactures.(21) It is worthy of notice that, when, in the sixteenth century, the Lutherans gained possession of Dantzic, while they either destroyed all the other Catholic churches in the city, or converted them to their own or profane uses, they respected the one established by our saint. In 1739, when Father Touron published his book, the Dominicans still served the sacred edifice, but as a parochial church. They remained there until the expulsion of the religious orders from the German Empire.

    The success of Hyacinth and his disciples, their zeal, their holy lives, and the religious observance they established in their houses of prayer were a source of the keenest delight and interest to Gregory IX. To this fact, besides the testimony of historians, we have that of the Pontiff himself in the many bulls he sent to the Friars Preacher. In a brief (of 1231), addressed to the princes of Pomerania and other places in the north, he tells of the joy given him by the conversion of so many by the labors of these missionaries, and exhorts the leaders of society in those parts to be ever docile to the teachings of the fathers, that all may be permanently brought under the sweet yoke of Christ.(22)

    Had Saint Hyacinth ceased from toil after his accomplishments in Pomerania and Prussia, he would still be one of the greatest missionaries the world has ever seen. But his thirst for the glory of God and the salvation of souls seemed insatiable. No sooner had he firmly established the missions of which we have just spoken, than he buried himself deeper in the northern forests. Denmark, Sweden, Gothland, Norway, and most likely Finland now became the scenes of his activity. Our Lord continued to follow him with the gift of miracles, which he did not hesitate to use in confirmation of his strong sermons against sin, idolatry, and superstition, as well as in favor of the Church of Christ.(23)

    Success again crowned his efforts. But the holy man seems to have moved with greater rapidity here than in his former spheres of labor. Perhaps it was because he felt age creeping upon him, while the world was large, and he still looked for other fields of spiritual conquest. However, for he always had an eye to the future, Hyacinth took good care to build convents in those outskirts of civilization, and to people them with fervent religious who could carry on the good work, when he should have passed to other parts.

    Here we must pause in the historical part of our story, and consider a striking trait of Hyacinth's character, which should not be overlooked, but to which we have hitherto scarcely called attention. It is his spirit of humility, prayer, penance, and mortification. The more God blessed his efforts, the more he prayed and sought to sink himself in self-annihilation. Like Saint Paul, he wished the glory of all that he did to be given to heaven. Like Paul also, he chastised his body, and brought it into subjection, lest, while he preached to others, he himself should become a castaway.

    It should not be forgotten that these travels, through which we have traced the apostle, were all made on foot. He nearly always slept on the bare earth, or a bard board. Frequently, even in the frozen regions of the furthest north, he was overtaken by night during his journeys, and compelled to use the snow for a bed. One marvels how he stood it. Withal, he slackened not in the observance of his rule, or in his practice of penance and mortification.

    From the extreme northwest of Continental Europe the man of God retraced his steps eastward, and passed into Little Russia. There, too, he made many conversions, the most noteworthy and helpful of which was that of Daniel, king of Ruthenia and an ardent adherent of the schismatical Greek Church.(24) There can be no doubt but that the bringing of this sovereign into the true Catholic faith aided immensely in the work of converting his subjects, even if he did suffer politics to lead him back into his former way of error. Yet, it would seem, only an apostle like Hyacinth could have succeeded so happily with the Ruthenians; for obstinate schism, frightful moral corruption, and extreme ignorance prevailed among them. However, his patience and zeal triumphed over these obstacles. The night he gave largely to prayer; the day he spent in preaching, catechetical instruction, and the confessional.

    Rome had given the apostolic man every faculty for his missions, which he did not hesitate to use for the good of souls. He never lost any time. Thus, as God always came to his assistance with miracles, he could accomplish in the course of a few months what would take years for others to do. His stay in the country of King Daniel was not long. Yet he built a convent in Lemberg (or Leopold), on the Peltew, and another in Haliez, on the Dniester. Both of these houses not only became the parent of others; they also sent forth numerous missionaries to preach the faith far and wide. Many of them crowned their lives with glorious martyrdom. Some also were made the first bishops in dioceses afterwards established by the Holy See in places which the subject of our narrative won for the true fold.(25)

    Our readers might fancy that surely the Friar Preacher's zeal had reached its surfeit by this timeif we may use the expression, it was just getting a good start. From Little or Red Russia he passed eastward to the shores of the Black Sea or Euxine Sea. Thence he made his way southward into the numerous islands of the Grecian Archipelago in the Aegean Sea, that lies between Greece and Asia Minor. Later he proceeded north again, and entered ancient Muscovy which was called by the names of both Great and Black Russia.

    What fruits Hyacinth reaped from these missionary exploits it would be hard to say, for we have no authorities from whom to draw on this part of his life. Father Touron himself does not tell us. But we can rest assured that the saint did all in his power to bring souls to God and His Church. One may readily imagine, yet not easily portray, the hardships he encountered on these journeys, as well as the difficulties he must have experienced in his efforts against the superstitions, errors, and evil ways in which these barbarous peoples had been sunk for some centuries.

    Most likely our missionary left the Grecian Archipelago for Great or Black Russia on instructions from Rome, where the keenest anxiety prevailed to bring the Christians of that part of the north into communion with the Holy See. Be that as it may, he found there a medley of pagans, Mohammedans, and schismatic Greeks. Although they had a bishop, the Catholics were few in number, and without influence. They neither possessed a place of public worship, nor dared to make open profession of their faith. The situation fired Hyacinth's zeal. Even though it had been hard even to civilize these northern hordes, he felt that it would not be impossible to convert them, if he could only bring their sovereign, Vladimir, into the Church.(26) Redoubling his prayers and penances, therefore, the Friar Preacher sought to obtain an interview with the prince, either between themselves, or in the presence of the court, on affairs of the soul. It was a useless attempt. Education, schism, politics, and the influence of Vladimir's counsellors combined to thwart every request for such a meeting. In none of his missions had the ambassador of Christ met with so strong an opposition. Another would have followed the advice of our Lord, shaken the dust of Russia off his feet, and gone to seek some more promising field of labor.(27) Hyacinth did not lose courage. Probably in obedience to the Holy See, he resolved to undertake what seemed an impossibility; that is, to obtain permission to preach to the Catholics publicly.

    It was as much in acknowledgment of the saint's eminent virtues, which none could but see, as in consequence of his incessant solicitations, that the prince eventually granted him even this favor. Hyacinth now began not only to preach, but also, as was his wont in such cases, to, confirm his teaching by miracles. The report of these soon brought crowds of pagans, Mohammedans, and schismatic Greeks to his sermons. It goes without saying that the few Russian Catholics and their bishop were more than delighted. Although the others doubtless went to hear him more out of curiosity than out of any desire to learn the truth, the grace of God began at last to enkindle the light of faith in many Souls. Amy number of pagans became Christians, while not a few others gave up their schism in order to be received into the bosom of the Catholic Church.

    As soon as such conversions, which included persons from every walk in life, justified it, our Friar Preacher began to stabilize his work, and to make preparations for its continuance, by the erection of a convent in Kiev (or Kieff), at that time the capital of both Russias. Then, with the assistance of confrères sent to him from elsewhere, he received subjects from among his converts and prepared them to perpetuate his apostolate.

    Meanwhile, the saint continued his mission of spreading the light of the faith. One day, as he passed along the banks of the Borysthenes, now called the Dnieper, he beheld a crowd of people, bareheaded and on their knees before an oak tree, on an island in the river. Ile knew at once that they were pagans engaged in their idolatrous prayers and sacrifices. Under an impulse of charity, as there was no boat at hand, he confidently crossed over the arm of the stream which separated him from them, treading on the water as though it were solid earth.(28) So extraordinary a spectacle not only caused these benighted people to receive the messenger of Christ with joy, but also prepared them to listen to his instructions. Indeed, before he left them, they made a pyre of their idols, felled the oak which they had considered sacred, because the throne of their false deity, and embraced Christianity.

    The many conversions effected by our Friar Preacher and his confrères caused Prince Vladimir no little uneasiness. He was a headstrong member of the Russian or Greek schismatical Church, over which his position as leader of his dukedom gave him practically unlimited authority. The numbers embracing the Catholic faith made him fear a decrease of power in matters both spiritual and temporal. This was an erroneous notion, of course. Yet it led him to revoke the permission he had given to preach, and to begin a bitter persecution of the Church in order to undo the good work which the saint had accomplished. In this he was ardently abetted by politicians and schismatical clerics who had closed their eyes to the light.

    But Hyacinth and his co-laborers were not to be frightened by hardships. They were ready to seal their faith with their blood, and continued to preach the truths which bad been confirmed by many miracles. Like the apostles, with Peter at their bead, they declared: "We ought to obey God, rather than man."(29) Divine punishment was not slow in coming upon the leaders in this persecution. The early historians are one in the opinion that the unspeakable calamity which soon befell Kiev was a chastisement of it. Unawares a large army of Tartars, who spread terror through Europe in the thirteenth century, laid siege to the city. It was defended with heroism. Still, in the end, it was taken by assault, pillaged, and reduced to ashes.

    The missionaries were saved by a miracle. While the barbarians were engaged in the sack of Kiev and the butchery of its inhabitants, after the city had been captured, Saint Hyacinth, carrying a ciborium in one hand, and in the other a heavy alabaster statue of the Blessed Virgin which had appealed to him for protection, conducted his community in safety to the banks of the Dnieper. There he told them to follow him. He led the way, and they all walked dryshod across the waters of the deep river, which then protected them from the fury of the Tartars. All the Polish historians are one in recording this marvellous fact, although some of the later writers confuse it with the similar crossing of the Vistula mentioned earlier in our sketch.(30)

    A circumstance, which is recorded in connection with this miracle, renders it all the more remarkable. It is said that the footprints of the saint remained on the water, even after he had crossed the river; and that, when the stream was calm, they could be seen for centuries afterwards. Be it as it may, it is certain that, when the cause of the man of God was up for canonization, four hundred and eight witnesses were rigidly examined on this very matter, and they all attested on oath that they bad seen these footprints with their own eyes; which, they said, the natives of the country call "the way of Saint Hyacinth." The comment of the learned Jesuit editors of the Acts of the Saints (Acta Sanctorum) on this point is well worthy of reproduction. They tell us:

Possibly the remaining of the footprints [of Saint Hyacinth] on the waters of the Dnieper, which are also said to be still seen on the water of another river, will appear incredible to some. But, as says our Father Peter Ribadeneyra (Flores Sanctorum, Part II -- Vita Sancti Hyacinthi --, page 418), nothing is impossible to God. Although this miracle appears most singular and stupendous, it is not beyond His power. Since, therefore, we know that the arm of the Lord is not shortened, and numerous witnesses have given sworn testimony that they have seen these footprints, we advisedly admit this marvel, however extraordinary it is.(31)

    The Friars Preacher at Cracow claim that they have the statue of our Blessed Lady which Hyacinth carried away from Kiev. Some historians, however, say that he left it at the convent in Halicz, which was built in 1234, and that it was taken to Lemberg in 1414, when the archiepiscopal see was transferred thither from the former city. Be this as it may, the saint, for he was provincial in all those northern parts, placed at Halicz the youngest of the religious whom he brought from Kiev. The others he sent to preach in different places. Then he continued his way to Poland, delivering sermons in the various towns along his route.(31a)

    It was in 1241 when he reached Cracow on this return journey. He was then in the fifty-sixth year of his age. For nearly two years he now remained at the Convent of the Holy Trinity, possibly in part to rest his body after so many arduous labors, and in part to refresh his soul in the greater quiet of the cloister. He was rejoiced to find that the number of missionaries, largely through the ardor of Father James Crescenzi, bad much increased since he left the place, and that the spirit of regularity which he had established there continued to flourish. He was edified, as well as gave edification. All regarded him as a model after whom to pattern their lives. Even during this retirement, for his zeal and charity ever urged him on to help others, he preached to the faithful, and consoled the afflicted, whether spiritually or physically.

    It was apparently at this time that a distinguished lady, named Clementina, who lived at Kosczieliecz, some miles distant from Cracow, invited the Friar Preacher to preach to her vassals on Saint Margaret's day. When he arrived at the village, on the eve of the feast, he found all the crops destroyed by a storm of wind and hail. Nothing bad been spared. To make matters worse, those who were prepared for an abundant harvest would now be unable to seed their fields for the ensuing year. Great want confronted everyone. The kindly lady who had invited him mingled her tears of sorrow with those of her dependents.

    A less sad spectacle would have sufficed to move Hyacinth to besiege heaven for the performance of a miracle to relieve suffering. But here he saw an opportunity of reaching the hearts of sinners by the unexpected. He persuaded the poor people to spend the night in prayer, and to have confidence in the fatherly goodness of God. His own supplications blended with theirs. To the surprise and happiness of all, when the sun rose the next morning, every sign of disaster had disappeared. The grain was in as good condition as before the storm. Quite naturally, the holy man's sermon bore rich fruit among these poor people.(32)

    Two other miracles, which, it would seem, belong to this period of his career, we may mention as illustrating the general course of our saint's life. As he entered the cathedral of Cracow to preach, a distressed mother placed before him two blind children who had been born without even eyes. The man of God made the sign of the cross over them, and at once both became normal.(33)

    In the same city there lived a distinguished man and his wife, who, like Elcana and Anna (I Kings, Chapter 1), had no children. This circumstance rendered their married life unhappy, for they had no natural heir to whom they could leave their fortune. In her sorrow, the wife, Madam Felicia Gruszouska, went to Hyacinth to beg his prayers that God might bless her with a son. Having made his usual sign of the cross over her, he told the lady to be of good cheer, for heaven would give her a male heir who would be the progenitor of many bishops and princes. History proved the truth of his prophecy.(34)

    The houses which the saint himself founded, or caused to be built by others, in Poland and the northern countries (especially in the two Russias) were divided into two historical provinces, of which he is justly considered the father. A Polish historian, who wrote his life from reliable sources, is quite positive in his declaration that the subject of our narrative long governed all these convents in the capacity of provincial; and this statement is substantiated by an ancient document in the priory of Lemberg.(35)

    Some writers of the seventeenth century, it is true, do not accept this conclusion. But the argument on which they base their stand tends rather to refute their opinion. They tell us that his missionary journeys and engagements would not have permitted him to attend to the duties of a provincial. On the contrary, however, it was precisely the rapidity with which he passed from place to place that enabled him to visit so many monasteries scattered in such widely separated localities. Almost any other man would have been appalled by the very thought of the endless travel the position necessitated.

    As a matter of fact, after somewhat less than two years spent in Cracow and its vicinity, the tireless Friar Preacher started on another tour of the north and extreme northwest, where he had either established, revived, or strengthened the faith. Sweden, Denmark, and the other countries, through which we have traced him, were not forgotten. Everywhere his memory was still treasured. His presence aided his own confrères, no less than the faithful. Through his preaching new members were added to the convents, and the fold of Christ was increased. Possibly some other religious houses rose along his path.

    Hyacinth was a character to whom Saint Dominic would hardly have failed to reveal his wish to consecrate himself to missionary work among a people then known as Cumans. They were a wandering race, who seem to have made their principal habitat in a stretch of country extending from northeastern Hungary and Roumania into adjacent parts of Russia. A desire to bring this people into the fold of Christ was inherited by more than one of the early disciples of the founder of the Friars Preacher. Father Paul of Hungary (chosen by Dominic himself for this apostolate) and his companions had already sown the seed of faith there. Thither Hyacinth also turned his mind on his return from the missionary tour described in the preceding paragraph. Possibly he resigned his provincialship for that purpose.(36)

    With his usual zeal he began to toil hand in hand with his confrères. But, as he saw there was no special need of his labor in those parts, because of the number engaged in the mission, he soon cast about for some more distant center of action. The Tartars had driven him from Kiev, and largely destroyed the fruits of his labor in that part of Russia, where everything yielded to their arms. Why not, therefore, thought the saint, carry the sword of the cross into their own country? With the permission of his superiors, he now made his way to the very strongholds of this barbarous and warlike people. We are told that, through his miracles and holy life, he converted several thousand of them to the Christian faith.

    Father Michael Pio tells us that a prince of Tartary was among Hyacinth's converts, and that this leader, together with a number of his followers, attended the first council of Lyons (1245), and was baptized there.(37) No proof of this statement can be found in the history of the council. On the contrary, we know that it considered measures for repressing the ceaseless and bloody incursions of these barbarians into Europe -- particularly Poland, Russia, and Hungary. It is true that, in 1248, ambassadors of the great Tartar sovereign visited the French king, Saint Louis, in the Island of Cyprus. They said that their khan had become a Christian, and had sent them to offer assistance against the Saracens, who were no less enemies of the Tartars than of the Christians. The letter of the Tartar sovereign was given to Father Andrew de Longjumeau, O. P., to read; for he had been a papal envoy to Tartary, was acquainted with one of the ambassadors, and knew their language.(38)

    This fact, recorded both in ecclesiastical history and in the Life of Saint Louis, shows that Christianity was preached to these fearless barbarians, before whom the world trembled, prior to 1248. It is also proof that Hyacinth was neither the first nor the only Friar Preacher who labored for their salvation. Writers generally suppose that he was alone on this mission. Yet rarely did the sons of Saint Dominic take long journeys without companions. In any case, however, it seems certain that he remained longer among these intractable people than any of his confrères. Doubtless, too, for he was a man whose tireless zeal God ever supported with miracles, he made more conversions among them than any other.

    Our Friar Preacher traversed a large portion of the immense stretches of Tartar territory. Then he made his way to the old Kingdom of Thibet, and continued his course northeast to Cathay, or the uppermost part of China. Everywhere the apostolic man preached redemption and salvation through Christ crucified. Everywhere he strove with all his might to revive the spark of faith which missionaries had enkindled there in the early centuries, but which war, persecution, paganism, and time bad combined to extinguish. Ambassadors of Christ, who traversed these regions in after times, found traces of Catholicity still in existence.

    Our readers, we can but fancy, have marvelled at the prodigious labors and travelling of Saint Hyacinth, although we have given only a meager account of them. They extended over a period of nearly forty years, and carried him through a large part of Europe and Asia. Doubtless, if they were recorded in detail, and in proper sequence, they would be found infinitely more stupendous than we have painted them. He alone could have told them as they should be recounted. Yet it possibly never entered his mind to leave posterity any information on his life. The one thing that engaged his thoughts was, after saving his own soul, to help those of others, to make God known, and to extend the kingdom of Christ. The same idea filled the minds of the confrères who were often his companions in labor. In this way, it was only through the scanty records discovered in cities and the early convents that historians have been able to tell us the little we do know about him. Still perhaps never was there a life which should be more completely written than that of Saint Hyacinth Odrowaz.

    From the east the missionary made his way back to Poland, travelling and preaching as he had done on the outward journey. Soon we find him again in Red Russia, where his efforts seem to have borne as much fruit as they had done in his younger days. Among the conversions he now made was that of Prince Coloman (or Koloman) and his wife, Princess Salomea. Not merely did the saint bring them out of schism into the Church; through his guidance they were led to the practice of heroic virtue.(39)

    At this period of his life, he gave practically all his attention to Volhynia, Podolia, and Lithuania. The people flocked in enormous numbers to hear the sermons of the Friar Preacher. Convents arose under his influence. That at Vilna, then the capital of the Duchy of Lithuania, became the chief house of a large Dominican province, whose members labored most earnestly for the spread or preservation of the faith in the northern parts which he had evangelized. The repute of Hyacinth's sanctity, zeal, goodness of heart, self-sacrifice in behalf of religion, and what he had done for the Church, combined with the consequent love and veneration in which he was held not only to spur these religious on in their labors, but also to render the people more responsive to their efforts.

    It is no wonder that the Catholics among the Slavonic races look upon Saint Hyacinth as the apostle of their various countries. In Poland especially he is as deeply loved as Saint Patrick in Ireland. No doubt this veneration has contributed not a little towards maintaining the inhabitants of that country true to the faith. The influence of his labors in Russia may be seen from the mere fact that, from 1320 to 1439, all the bishops of Kiev were taken from the Order of Preachers. There were six of them in succession.(40)

    In the three provinces mentioned in the last paragraph, but one, our Friar Preacher travelled four thousand leagues (that is, some twelve thousand miles) afoot. Then he returned to Cracow. This was in 1257. He was then in the seventy-second year of his age, and broken down by ceaseless toil. So he wished to end his days where he had begun his glorious career. The arrival of the holy man was an occasion of universal joy. Both the convent and the city received him with open arms. All classes, because of his sanctity and what he had done for religion in the diocese, called him their guardian angel. King Boleslaw V and his wife, Queen Cunegunda, held him in the highest esteem. Through his spiritual direction of their souls, they led such model Christian lives that his majesty has come down in history under the name of "Boleslaw the Chaste."(41)

    Everyone had absolute confidence in the saint's goodness of heart and power of miracles. An example of this is shown in Princess Przybislauska, a pious lady, who sent her only son to ask him to preach at Zernitz, not far from Cracow. Hyacinth consented, and said that he would start for the place in a short while. When on his way home, the young man accidentally fell into the River Raba, and was drowned. On reaching the stream, our Friar Preacher found the princess almost in despair over the loss of her child, who had been taken from the water. Moved to compassion, the saint said a prayer. Then, taking the youth by the hand, he commanded him to rise, and gave him to his mother.(42) This was perhaps the holy man's last miracle.

    The great missioner knew perfectly well that not only were his days of labor over, but also that he was near the end of life's journey. Like Saint Paul, he welcomed the dissolution of his body; for then his soul would be united to God, whom he had served so long, so faithfully, and with so much good to others. His communion with our Lord and our Blessed Lady were more intimate and tender than ever. Historians tell us of his great devotion to the Mother of God, and assure us that he received many of his greatest blessings through her.(43) Now he placed himself under her protection in an especial manner. His last illness was not long. On August 14, 1257, he called the community of the Holy Trinity, Cracow, to his bedside. Then he addressed them somewhat after this fashion.

    "My dear brothers, the time has come at last, when I must leave you. God calls me, and I must go to Him. Do not be sad, for I only go to join Christ our Lord. I have always loved you on earth. I will not cease to love you in heaven. Continue to strive to prepare a place for yourselves there; for you know our Saviour never refuses such a blessing to those who are faithful to grace, and persevere in His service until the end. That which our holy father, Saint Dominic, bequeathed to me I leave to you.

    "Love one another. Be exact in the observance of the rules of the Order. Everything in it is important; for the smallest matters are so many aids to perfection. Love and practise poverty, charity, and obedience. Remember that your vocation requires that you ever labor for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Be always eager to preach, and zealous in the propagation of the Order unto the end that more souls may be brought to love and serve God."

    Weak as he was, Saint Hyacinth attended the matins, and perhaps prime and tierce, of the divine office in choir on the morning of August 15. Then, because unable himself to offer up the holy sacrifice, he attended the community mass, after which he received communion at the foot of the altar. It was also the viaticum for him. Indeed, the prior, thinking that he was in the agony of death, gave him extreme unction in the same place. The holy man was anxious to die there. But his confrères persuaded him to let them carry him to his cell, where he died a few hours later in transports of love, while saying the psalm: "In thee, O Lord, have I hoped. Let me never be confounded. Deliver me in thy justice." He retained perfect consciousness until the end.(44)

    The Blessed John Prandota, then bishop of Cracow, went to the church of the Friars Preacher just as soon as he heard of the death, in order to pay his last respects to one whom he regarded as a saint and treasured as a friend. Indeed, not only the city but even the entire diocese of Cracow was cast down by sorrow, which was equally felt by rich and poor, high-born, freeman, and serf.(45)

    Miracles began at once to be wrought at the saint's grave. From Poland they gradually extended throughout the Christian world, as the faithful had recourse to him in prayer. During life he had been called a wonder-worker. After death the many marvels effected through his intercession gave him a still more just title to this name. We can not undertake to write of all those given by historians, or proved in the course of his canonization. The merest outline of them would require as much or more space than is given to this sketch. Page after page in large folio is taken up with them in the Acts of the Saints.(46) Suffice it to reproduce the epilogue of the learned editors of the Acts to their treatise on the great Friar Preacher, where they say:

We have given the foregoing facts, dear candid reader, for the contemplation of the devout and for the glory of the holy man of God, Saint Hyacinth. His every act was consecrated to the propagation or maintenance of divine truth, or to enkindling devotion in the hearts of the faithful. These facts are drawn from original and authentic sources used in the process of the saint's canonization. We have been very brief in the presentation of the miracles effected by him, lest a complete list of them, because it would be exceedingly long, should prove tiresome to many. Yet we have sought to include enough of them to give a good idea of this extraordinary man, and to show how God was ever with him. In fine, though in as short a space as possible, we have endeavored to do him a justice which can but redound to the glory of the Almighty.

In the cause of brevity, for instance, we omitted visions and apparitions of Saint Hyacinth at various times to different sick persons. We counted thirty-six of these from the original documents used for his canonization. Similarly, and for the same purpose, we passed over thirty witnesses to his sanctity and holy life in general. We felt justified in this course, for the reason that fathers of his Order and other men, who are absolutely trustworthy, and are described in the process of his canonization, mention almost innumerable prodigies performed by the blessed servant of God for the spiritual welfare of the faith. These marvels are in addition to those given in writing and universally sworn to by the witnesses called for his canonization, as recorded in our pages. In other words, we largely confined ourselves to miracles juridically attested. Yet we trust that we have left out nothing that might add materially to a knowledge of the saint's life, character, and virtue.(47)

    One may consider the practical, lively faith of the Poles, whether in the home land or in others, as a perpetual miracle of Saint Hyacinth. In no small measure they owe it to him. To that keen faith we must attribute the magnificent institutions of learning, charity, benevolence, and the like, as well as the churches, monasteries, and similar edifices, in which Poland abounds, and in which it has found expression. All these are filled with the spirit which the people largely derived from him. They simply thrill with love and gratitude for him. This true spirit of Catholicity, we must remember, has been preserved undiminished for centuries through wars of every kind, division, hardships, persecution, and every sort of oppression-the like of which the world has seen few parallels. We have here, it would seem, the greatest miracle of the zealous apostle's life. At least, it has contributed more to the glory of God, the good of the Church, and the salvation of souls than any miracle he performed.

    Throughout the northern countries our saint found paganism, or idolatry, or atheism, or moral corruption, or schism, or superstition. In some places there was a mingling of all these evils. He soon learned from experience that they were often largely a result of ignorance, for his converts were ever ashamed of their former error. Accordingly, the holy man left nothing undone that the people might be enlightened. This was one of the reasons why he was so careful to establish houses of his Order wherever he could. Like Saint Dominic, through a special gift from heaven, he soon prepared those whom he clothed with the religious habit to carry on the work of instruction. His was a pre-eminently constructive genius.

    How well he laid his foundations, and how thoroughly he trained those whom he received into the Order, may be seen from what we have now to relate. Not a few of them died a martyr's death. Several became bishops in those northern lands. Indeed, for two hundred years after lie had ended his earthly career, subjects of the convents lie founded continued to be chosen for the miter. Among his immediate disciples thus honored we may mention one Father Vitus, whom Mindowe, duke of Lithuania, had appointed bishop of his duchy. After the murder of Mindowe, the prince's eldest son, Vaisvilkas, began a persecution of the Catholic religion, and compelled the holy prelate to leave the country. He retired to the Convent of the Holy Trinity, Cracow, where he died before Saint Hyacinth. Bzovius (or Bzowski) claims that miracles were wrought at Vitus' tomb.(48)

    Enormous numbers of apostolic Friars Preacher, in fact, went forth from Saint Hyacinth's convents or schools, both before and after his death, to spread the light of the Gospel, or to die for the faith, far and wide. As has been noticed, bulls of Gregory IX and Innocent IV give eloquent testimony to the ardent zeal and extensive labors of those who toiled in Hyacinth's own time.(49)

    His confrères in the north, in concert with the Polish sovereigns and grandees, began to urge the saint's canonization shortly after his death. Still, owing to distance, slow and difficult communications, wars, the death of various Popes, and other tantalizing causes of delay, the case dragged along for more than two hundred years. Finally Lutheranism, with its condemnation of the cult and invocation of saints, and the danger with which it threatened Poland, aroused the zeal of Sigismund I and his successors on the throne. By them, rather than by some of the Polish hierarchy, was Hyacinth's cause then ardently advocated. The people at large were most anxious to see him elevated to the honors of the altar.

    Clement VII beatified the great missionary, and granted his office and mass to the Friars Preacher and all the dioceses of Poland. This was in 1527. The Holy Father could hardly have given the northern Catholics greater joy. In 1543, the Most Rev. Peter Gamrat, archbishop of Gnesen, having had a chapel erected in the Dominican Church of the Holy Trinity, Cracow, for the purpose, the first translation of Hyacinth's relics took place. It was an occasion of gala, not for the city and diocese only, but for the entire country as well. In 1583 there was a second solemn translation of his relics, under the supervision of the Right Rev. Peter Miszkowski, bishop of Cracow. At this time, they were exposed on the altar of Archbishop Gamrat's chapel for the veneration of the enormous crowds who flocked to the sacred edifice for the event.

    The cup of spiritual joy for all the Catholics in northern Continental Europe, not less than that for those of the Polish tongue, was finally filled by the formal canonization of the saint. This took place on April 17, 1594, under Clement VIII. It was not without reason that the papal bull for the occasion declared that the miracles performed by Hyacinth were "almost countless." It is quite possible that the multiplicity of these wonders, together with the extraordinary character of many of them, was in part the cause of the long delay in according Hyacinth so signal an honor; for Rome, in her usual prudence, wished to have them thoroughly examined before she placed on them the seal of her sanction.

    However that may be, the action of Clement VIII met with universal favor. Prayers of gratitude rose to heaven everywhere. Poland and the Order of Preachers, as was but natural, outdid the rest of the world in their solemn celebration of the event. Other marvels now added to the renown of the new saint. In consequence of all this, February 1, 1625, Urban VIII extended his feast to practically the entire Church, with the rank of a duplex, and set August 16 as the day for its observance; but it has lately been transferred to the seventeenth of the same month. As a crowning glory of the Friar Preacher, Hyacinth was finally declared a patron saint of the Polish Church and people.

 

Born: 1185 at Lanka Castle, Kamin, Silesia, Poland

Died: August 15, 1257 at Krakow, Poland of natural causes; relics at Paris, France

Canonized: April 17,1594 by Pope Clement VIII

Patronage: Poland

 

Prayers/Commemorations

First Vespers:

Ant. Hyacinth, the great preacher, instructed many unto justice: he subjected to the laws of Christ different peoples of the nations.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Hyacinth.

R. That we may be made worthy of the Promises of Christ.

 

Lauds:

Ant. he preached the word of God in every nation, to give the knowledgeof salvation to his people for the remission of their sins.

V. The just man shall blossom like the lily

R. And shall flourish forever before the Lord

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. O Blessed Hyacinth, fair flower of the Order of Preachers, imbue us with thy sweet fragrance whilst we sing thy merits.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Hyacinth.

R. That we may be made worthy of the Promises of Christ.

 

Prayer:

O God who didst make Blessed Hyancith, Thy Confessor, conspicuous among different peoples of the nations for the holiness of his life and the glory of his miracles, grant that, by his example, we may amend our lives and be defended by his help in all adversities. through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

NOTES

1. Acta Sanctorum, XXXVII (third vol. for August), 309 ff; ALBERTI, fol. 175 ff; BZOVIUS (Bzowski), XIII, passim; CASTILLO, pp. 103 ff, FLAVIGNY, Comtesse de, Saint Hyacinthe et Ses Conpagnons; LONGINUS (Dlugosz), John, Historia Polonica, Book 6; MALVENDA, pp, 216 ff; MAMACHI, pp. 580 ff; MARCHESE, IV, 389 ff; PIO, col. 38 ff; SEVERINUS, Father, O. P., of Cracow, De Vita, Miraculis, et Actis Canonizationis Sancti Hyacinthi -- cited in Acta, as above; STANISLAUS, Father, O. P., of Cracow, manuscript Vita Sancti Hyacinthi.

2. SEVERINUS, Father, O. P., of Cracow, Vita Sancti Hyacinthi, Book 1, Chap. III.

3. LONGINUS (Dlugosz), John, Historia Polonica, Book 6.

4. SEVERINUS, as in note 2.

5. LONGINUS, as in note 3. See also Gams' Series Episcoporum (p. 349), who says that Bishop Kadlubek resipned in 1218, but that his resignation was not accepted until 1222. He also says that Ivo Odrowaz was appointed bishop in 1218. Possibly he was at first made coadjutor. (Ed. note).

6. LONGINUS, as in note 3. Father D. A. Mortier, O. P., speaks of this in his Vies des Maîtres Généraux de L'Ordre des Frères Prêcheurs, I, 119-120. (Ed. note).

7. BZOVIUS, XIII, col. 270.

8. BAILLET, Adrian, Vies des Saints -- August 16; BZOVIUS, as in note 7; FLEURY, Claud, Histoire Ecclésiastique, XVI, 498; LONGINUS, as in note 3. In placing Hyacinth's reception of the habit and novitiate at Santa Sabina's we simply follow Touron and others. Yet this statement raises a question as to the time he entered the Order; for the community was not transferred from San Sisto to Santa Sabina until after 1218, the year Touron says he received the habit. (Ed. note).

9. Some, following Father Echard (Scriptores Ordinis Praedicatorum, 1, 20), place this event in 1220. But this seems too late. (Ed. note).

10. Acta Sanctorum, XXXVII, 313, No. 19; BAILLET, as in note 8.

11. Some authors say nothing about Bishop Odrowaz staying in Rome until Hyacinth, Ceslas, and the others made their religious profession. Others make the same statement as Father Touron. Practically all agree that the new Friars Preacher returned north by a different route from that which the bishop took. (Ed. note).

12. Acta Sanctorum, XXXVII, 313, No. 21.

13. ALBERTI, as in note 1, and cited in Acta Sanctorum, XXXVII, 340; BZOVIUS, XIII, col. 543. Some authors do not think that Herman was left at Friesach; but Touron's opinion seems to be the one more commonly accepted.

14. Les Vies des Saints, Saint Hyacinth, August 16.

15. Acta Sanctorum, XXXVII, 315; BAILLET, as in note 8.

16. ALBERTI, as in note 1.

17. BZOVIUS, XIII, col. 317. In his Hommes Illustres de l'Ordre de Saint Dominique (I, 270 ff), Touron gives a sketch of Father Crescenzi. (Ed. note).

17a. Some authors say Blessed Ceslas went to Prague from Friesach; and that a Father Jerome, not Henry of Moravia, went with him. (Ed. note).

18. Acta Sanctorum, XXXVII, 341, No. 9.

19. Ibid., XXXVII, 309, No. 3, and 333, No. 118; Bullarium Ordinis Praedicatorum, V, 512 ff.

20. BZOVIUS, XIII, col. 430. It is when we think of the destruction of these and other religious houses, that we realize the venom of the early Lutherans. (Ed. note).

21. Dictionaire Historique, under the word Dantzich.

22. Bullarium Ordinis Praedicatorum, 1, 34; RAYNALDO, Oderic, Annales Ecclesiastici, Anno 1231, No. 42. Father Mortier (see note six), op. cit., I, 216, also speaks of the interest which Gregory IX took in Hyacinth's work. (Ed. note).

23. BZOVIUS, XIII, col. 419.

24. Ibid., col. 317. But Bzovius thinks that Father James Crescenzi brought King Daniel into the Church. Be that as it may, the Italian Friar Preacher was one of the most zealous, eloquent, and efficient missionaries under Hyacinth's direction. He was a very superior man in every way. (Ed. note).

25. Ibid., col. 415.

26. Ibid.

27. Matthew, X, 14; Mark, VI, 11; Luke, IX, 5.

28. BZOVIUS, XIII, as in note 25. He performed the miracle of walking on water several times in the course of his life. (Ed. note).

29. Acts, V. 29.

30. Acta Sanctorum, XXXVII, 317, No. 43; MATHIAS of Miechow, Historia Poloniae (?), Book 3, Chap. XIII; STANISLAUS, Father, O. P., of Cracow, Vita Sancti Hyacinthi, as in note 1.

31. Acta Sanctorum, XXXVII, 316, No. 38; BZOVIUS, as above; SEVERINUS, Father, O. P., of Cracow, as in note 2.

31a. As will be seen, some seem disposed to deny that Hyacinth was ever provincial. However, there seems to be little or no reason for doubting the fact; for it is the common opinion, and his acts show provincial power. In fact, although it is nowhere stated, one feels like believing that the Province of Poland must have been established in 1221, with Hyacinth at its head; and that the general chapter of 1228 merely divided it into the provinces of Poland and Denmark, instead of erecting the two. Just when Hyacinth ceased to be provincial we do not know. (Ed. note).

32. Acta Sanctorum, XXXVII, 317, No. 44; SEVERINUS, Father, O. P., of Cracow, op. cit., Book I, chap. 14. Father Touron seems to place this miracle later in Hyacinth's life than some writers. (Ed. note).

33. Acta Sanctorum, XXXVII, Nos. 47-48.

34. Ibid., No. 46. Touron seems to place this miracle and the one mentioned in the preceding paragraph a few years earlier than some other writers. (Ed. note).

35. SEVERINUS, Father, op. cit., Book 1, Chap. V.

36. BZOVIUS, XIII, col. 415, 419.

37. PIO, col. 41.

38. DUCHESNE, Andrew, Histoire des Papes jusqu'd Paul V, p. 348; FLEURY, op. cit., XVII, 432.

39. BZOVIUS, XIII, col. 419.

40. See Gams' Series Episcoporum, p. 348. Evidently because of lack of documents the learned Benedictine mentions no bishop at Kiev before 1320, although it must have been a diocese at an earlier date. No doubt some of its earlier ordinaries were Friars Preacher. (Ed. note).

41. BZOVIUS, XIII, col. 307, 486.

42. Acta Sanctorum, XXXVII, 318, No. 49; SEVERINUS, Father, op. cit.,

Book, 1, Chap. XIV.

43. Acta Sanctorum, XXXVII, 315, No. 31.

44. Ibid.,319, No. 52.

45. Ibid., 320, No. 57.

46. Ibid., 344 ff.

47. Ibid., 379.

48. BZOVIUS, XIII, col. 629.

49. Bullarium Ordinis Praedicatorum, 1, 237, and passim.

Blessed Aimo Taparelli, C.O.P.

Memorial Day: August 18th

 

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    Aimo was one of the few inquisitors in the Piedmont who lived to die in peace at about 100 years of age. One of his first tasks on assuming the office was to give honorable burial to two of his predecessors, who had been martyred. Why is it that we only seem to think of the cruelties of the Inquisition, but rarely of the wrongs of the opposing forces? Could it be that we assume that representatives of the holy Catholic Church will always act like angels?

    In any case, Aimo, scion of the counts of Lagnasco, became a Dominican in his hometown at an early age. He was a good student and made such rapid strides in his studies that he was asked to teach at the University of Turin. Much of his life was spent preaching and teaching.

    He served for a time as confessor at the court of Blessed Amadeus of Savoy, but did not like that life. So, he was offered the even less attractive position of inquisitor-general of Lombardy and Liguria when he was 71 years old. He replaced Blessed Bartholomew Cerverio, who had just been martyred.

    It had taken all the strength of the young and vigorous, 46-year- old Bartholomew to hold such a position; therefore, Aimo went to the Piedmont with considerable misgivings. Nevertheless, he seems to have been a great success in the difficult office. He converted many of his listeners by the sincerity and sweetness of his preaching. His example was a beacon of hope to the Catholics of the area, who had sometimes been embarrassed by the affluence of Church authorities and the obvious poverty of the heretics.

    One of Aimo's first acts was to arrange for the relics of Blessed Anthony of Pavoni to be brought home to Savigliano and interred in the Dominican church there (Benedictines, Dorcy).

Born: in Savigliano, Piedmont, Italy, c. 1395

Died: 1495

Beatified: cultus confirmed in 1856 by Pope Pius IX

Prayers/Commemorations

First Vespers:

Ant. Strengthened by holy intercession, O Aimo, Confessor of the Lord, those here present , that we who are burdened the weight of our offenses. Maybe relieved by the glory of thy blessedness, and may thy guidance attain eternal rewards.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Aimo.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ

 

Lauds:

Ant. Well done, good and faithful servant, because thou hast been faithful in a few things, I will set thee over many, saith the Lord.

V. The just man shall blossom like the lily.

R. And shall flourish forever the Lord.

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Aimo.

R. That we may be made worthy of the Promises of Christ.

 

Prayer

Let us Pray: Almighty and merciful God, whom to serve is to reign, through the merits and intercession of Blessed Aimo, Thy Confessor, whom Thou didst make an illustrious defender of the faith, grant that, by faithfully keeping Thy commandments while on earth, we may merit to enjoy a reign eternal with him in heaven. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Blessed Emily Bicchieri, V.O.P.

Memorial Day: August 19th

 

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    Direct ancestor of thousands of Dominican sisters, who today are engaged in all the active charities of the Order, was Blessed Emily Bicchieri. She built the first convent for conventual Third Order Sisters in 1256.

 

    Emily was born in 1238, the fourth of seven daughters. Before her birth, her mother was privileged to see in a dream something of the future work of her daughter. She saw a magnificent church-one that she had never seen before-and a beautiful young girl wearing white robes and a veil with a wreath of white roses. Around the young woman gathered other girls, all dressed in the same fashion, and, as the good woman watched, enthralled by the beauty of the scene, they formed into a procession and marched singing around the church. An old Dominican to whom she related the dream explained to her it concerned the child she was bearing, and that this child, a daughter, would be a saint.

 

    Emily grew up among her sisters and received, for that time, a good education. They were all taught to read and embroider, and Emily very early developed a talent for seeking out the poor and the troubled, using her talents to relieve miseries. She was her father's favorite, in spite of the fact that she emptied her purse as fast as he could fill it. While her three older sisters were concerning themselves about making advantageous marriages, she was already planning her future, she would be a nun-just what kind, she did not know.

 

    When Emily was seventeen, the first and the greatest grief of her life came to her- her father died. She had been his constant companion for several years, and she had dreaded breaking the news to him that she wanted to enter a convent. However, faced with death, he had quite easily given her the permission she desired, and, after his estate was settled and her mother provided for, Emily set about accomplishing her desire. Her portion of the sizeable estate she used to build a convent for sisters of the Third Order Conventual of Saint Dominic. It is not known that any such institution existed before her time, but it must have been both in mind of Saint Dominic and in the plans of his successors, because the Dominican fathers of Vercelli enthusiastically supported her in her project.

 

    The papal brief authorizing the new foundation, the Convent of Saint Margaret, bears the date 1256. On the feast of Saint Michael, Emily and her companions- who now numbered more than thirty-were dressed for their bridal day in white gowns, with veils and wreaths of white roses. Emily's mother, coming into the church for the first time to attend the ceremony, was amazed to see the details of her dream worked out in actuality. The young aspirants were questioned concerning their intentions, and then were taken out and dressed in the Dominican Habit. A Dominican nun from the Second Order has been appointed by the Cardinal to train in the tradition of the Order, and their novitiate began.

 

    It was perhaps inevitable that the band of young novices would recognize Emily as their natural superior. She had all the qualities of leadership that one hopes for in a superior, as well as being the foundress of the convent. Consequently, when the borrowed novice mistress completed her work and saw them all professed, Sister Emily, in spite of her youth, was unanimously named superior. She was called "Mother Emily," which was a great trial to her.

 

    We wish that we knew more about this interesting household. We know that it was designed for good works as well as prayer, which indicates that the cloister was not strict as it was in the Second Order houses of the time, though even Second Order nuns traveled considerably in the late thirteenth century. One of the differences, and it may well be one of the principal differences, between the Convent of St. Margaret and the Second Order foundations, was that Blessed Emily's house had no lay sisters; all the sisters were of the same category and shared in the work of the house. The Divine Office was said, though we do not know whether the sisters rose at midnight Matins. Blessed Emily herself discouraged the contact with seculars which was to bring so many religious houses to ruin, and set up her horarium so that the sisters would have time and privacy for the life they were expected to lead. The rich gifts that she and the other sisters received from friends and relatives were promptly given out to those who came seeking help at the alm's gate.

 

    Blessed Emily was not spared the agonies of spiritual doubt. Anxious as she was to receive Holy Communion frequently, the practice at the time was to go only rarely to the altar rail. Overly conscientious about her small faults, and battered about by the opinions of people less fervent that she was, she entered upon a long period of worry. Finally, our Lord Himself came to relieve her of it, and assured her that it was much more pleasing to Him for her to receive Him through love than for her to abstain from receiving through fear of unworthiness.

 

    One of the convent tasks that Blessed Emily particularly enjoyed was that of infirmarian. This gave her the double joy  of helping the sick and of mortifying herself. Once, in the exercise of this office, she had to make a difficult choice. It was Christmas Day, the time when she wanted with all her heart to receive Communion. There were three very sick sisters in the infirmary, and one of them could not be left alone. Emily had to remain with her during Mass, only hurrying out to receive her Lord and rushing back again, without time for the long thanksgiving that she felt the  occasion demanded. However, as she came back to the infirmary and glanced at the three sick sisters, she acted on divine inspiration and said to them, " I am not alone, my sisters; see. I bring Jesus to bless you." Whereupon, our Lord chose that moment to cure the three sick sisters. They promptly rose up and joined in the celebration of the feast. On another day, Emily arrived in the chapel too late for Communion. Sad and regretful, she knelt in prayer. An angel came and gave her Holy Communion, miraculously.

 

    Emily had always been a devotee of mortification. She made use of the usual medieval methods of conquering self-fastings, disciplines, hairshirts- and added others as she thought of them. Her special devotion was to the Holy Crown of Thorns. This famous relic had been brought from the Holy Land in the year that Emily was born, and, although she could hardly have seen it, she must have heard a great deal about it. She meditated often on it and on the terrible pain that it caused our Lord. One day she bravely asked our Lord to let her share this pain, and He granted this request. The stigmata of the crown of thorns was impressed on her head for three days of intolerable suffering, and during that time she was visited by several of the saints associated with our Lord's Passion. At the end of three days, the pain disappeared, but she retained her great devotion to the Crown of Thorns all her life.

 

    Blessed Emily was a strict superior, but a beloved one. Many times she saved her sisters from grief of one kind or another by her parents in their behalf, and her corrections were so gentle that they had great power over the culprit.

 

    At least twice Our Lady is said to have come to see Blessed Emily, both times to teach her prayer. Miracles were worked by the prayers of the Blessed on the occasion of a disastrous flood, and also when a fire broke out inside the convent. She cured many sick people by her prayers, but she was always embarrassed at this sort of thing, as though she had somehow committed a fault.

 

Born: in Vercelli, Italy, c. 1238

Died: She died in1314 after a half century of prayer and good works in the convent which she had founded.

Beatified: She was beatified in 1769 by Pope Clement XIV

 

Prayers/Commemorations

First Vespers:

Ant. This is a wise Virgin whom the Lord found watching, who took her lamp and oil, and when the Lord came she entered with Him into the marriage feast.

V. Pray for us Blessed Emily

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ

 

Lauds:

Ant. Come, O my chosen one, and I will place my throne in thee, for the King hath exceedingly desired thy beauty.

V. Virgins shall be led to the King after her.

R. Her companions shall be presented to Thee.

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. She has girded her loins with courage and hath strengthened her arm; therefore shall her lamp not be put out forever.

V. Pray for us Blessed Emily

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ

 

Prayer:

Let us Pray: O God who, who didst give unto Blessed Emily, Thy Virgin, grace to despise all earthly things, grant through her merits and intercession that, despising all perishable allurements, we may love Thee with our whole heart. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Blessed James of Mevania, C.O.P.

(Also known as James Bianconi; James of Bevagna; Jacobus de Blanconibus de Mevania)

Memorial Day: August 23rd

 

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    Very early in life, prodigies surrounded Blessed James, for on the day of his birth three brilliant stars, each containing the image of a friar preacher, appeared in the sky over Bevagna. Children ran through the streets crying : "To the schools! To the schools! behold the new masters heaven is sending us !" The three preachers were later understood to be James, Blessed Ambrose of Siena, and St. Thomas Aquinas.

 

    James was given a good education and was carefully trained in the ways of holiness. The power of his prayers was seen early. When still a small child, he brought about peace between two quarreling families. At the age of sixteen, he met the Dominicans. Two friars had come to preach in his native city during Lent. Deciding, after much prayer, that God was calling him to the Dominican apostolate, he went home with the two missioners and began his novitiate.

 

    The early promises of his great learning were well fulfilled. In and age that shone with the brilliance of Albert, Thomas and Bonaventure, the preaching of James of Bevagna was still remarkable. He was particularly gifted at reconciling enemies and bringing peace to warring families and cities.

 

    James was very severe with himself, particularly in the matter of poverty. On one occasion, his mother, shocked at the poor condition of the habit he was wearing, gave money to buy a new one. As he wanted very much more to get a crucifix for his cell, he did so. His mother reminded him that the money was given for clothing. James replied with the text, "Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ," assuring her that this was the garment he had bought with her gift.

 

    At another time, praying before the same crucifix, James was overcome with a sense of his own unworthiness and begged of God some sign that his soul was to be saved. Blood gushed from the hands and side of the figure on the cross, and a voice from heaven told him that his token of God's favor would reassure him. Some of the miraculous blood was preserved for more than two centuries. Kept at the tomb of Blessed James, it worked many miracles, but it was stolen by heretics.

 

    Forewarned of the hour of his death, James was assured that Our Lady would come to meet him, because he had often sacrificed to adorn her altars. She came at the time foretold, and James went happily with her into the presence of God.

 

Born: Bevagna in Umbria, Italy in 1220

Died: 1301 at Mevania, Italy of natural causes

Beatification: 1400 (Cultus confirmed) by pope Boniface IX; again on May 18, 1672 (cultus confirmed) by Pope Clement X

 

Prayers/Commemorations

Merciful God, the sure hope of eternal salvation, you gave Blessed James courage. Show the same mercy to us that being washed in the blood of our Redeemer we may be counted among the sheep at your right hand for ever. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever.

-General Calendar of the Order of Preachers

First Vespers:

Ant. Strengthened by holy intercession, O James, Confessor of the Lord, those here present , that we who are burdened the weight of our offenses. Maybe relieved by the glory of thy blessedness, and may thy guidance attain eternal rewards.

V. Pray for us, Blessed James.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ

 

Lauds:

Ant. Well done, good and faithful servant, because thou hast been faithful in a few things, I will set thee over many, saith the Lord.

V. The just man shall blossom like the lily.

R. And shall flourish forever the Lord.

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock.

V. Pray for us, Blessed James.

R. That we may be made worthy of the Promises of Christ.

 

Prayer

Let us Pray: O God, who by the miraculous sprinkling of Thy Blood didst strengthened Blessed James, Thy Confessor, with a sure confidence of his eternal salvation, enlarge the samebowels of mercy towards us, that, being marked with the sign of our redemption we may be counted amongst the sheep at Thy right hand forever. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Image:Sta Rosa de Lima por Claudio Coello.jpg

Saint Rose of Lima, V.O.P.

Feast  Day: August 30th

 

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    At her confirmation in 1597, she took the name of Rose, because, when an infant, her face had been seen transformed by a mystical rose. As a child she was remarkable for a great reverence, and pronounced love, for all things relating to God. This so took possession of her that thenceforth her life was given up to prayer and mortification. She had an intense devotion to the Infant Jesus and His Blessed Mother, before whose altar she spent hours. She was scrupulously obedient and of untiring industry, making rapid progress by earnest attention to her parents' instruction, to her studies, and to her domestic work, especially with her needle.

    After reading of St. Catherine she determined to take that saint as her model. She began by fasting three times a week, adding secret severe penances, and when her vanity was assailed, cutting off her beautiful hair, wearing coarse clothing, and roughening her hands with toil. All this time she had to struggle against the objections of her friends, the ridicule of her family, and the censure of her parents. Many hours were spent before the Blessed Sacrament, which she received daily.

    Finally she determined to take a vow of virginity, and inspired by supernatural love, adopted extraordinary means to fulfill it. At the outset she had to combat the opposition of her parents, who wished her to marry. For ten years the struggle continued before she won, by patience and prayer, their consent to continue her mission.

    At the same time great temptations assailed her purity, faith, and constance, causing her excruciating agony of mind and desolation of spirit, urging her to more frequent mortifications; but daily, also, Our Lord manifested Himself, fortifying her with the knowledge of His presence and consoling her mind with evidence of His Divine love. Fasting daily was soon followed by perpetual abstinence from meat, and that, in turn, by use of only the coarsest food and just sufficient to support life.

    Her days were filled with acts of charity and industry, her exquisite lace and embroidery helping to support her home, while her nights were devoted to prayer and penance. When her work permitted, she retired to a little grotto which she had built, with her brother's aid, in their small garden, and there passed her nights in solitude and prayer. Overcoming the opposition of her parents, and with the consent of her confessor, she was allowed later to become practically a recluse in this cell, save for her visits to the Blessed Sacrament.

    In her twentieth year she received the habit of St. Dominic. Thereafter she redoubled the severity and variety of her penances to a heroic degree, wearing constantly a metal spiked crown, concealed by roses, and an iron chain about her waist. Days passed without food, save a draught of gall mixed with bitter herbs. When she could no longer stand, she sought repose on a bed constructed by herself, of broken glass, stone, potsherds, and thorns. She admitted that the thought of lying down on it made her tremble with dread. Fourteen years this martyrdom of her body continued without relaxation, but not without consolation. Our Lord revealed Himself to her frequently, flooding her soul with such inexpressible peace and joy as to leave her in ecstasy four hours. At these times she offered to Him all her mortifications and penances in expiation for offences against His Divine Majesty, for the idolatry of her country, for the conversion of sinners, and for the souls in Purgatory.

    Many miracles followed her death. She was beatified by Clement IX, in 1667, and canonized in 1671 by Clement X, the first American to be so honored. Her feast is celebrated 30 August. She is represented wearing a crown of roses.

Born:1586 at Lima, Peru as Isabel

Died: August 24, 1617 at Lima, Peru

Beatified: April 15, 1668 by Pope Clement IX

Canonized: April 2, 1671 by Pope Clement X

Representation: anchor; crown of flowers; crown of roses; Holy Infant; roses; Dominican tertiary holding roses; Dominican tertiary accompanied by the Holy Infant

Patronage: against vanity; Americas; Central America; embroiderers; florists; gardeners; India; Latin America; Lima, Peru; needle workers; New World; people ridiculed for their piety; Peru; Philippines; diocese of Santa Rosa, California; South America; vanity; Villareal Samar, Phillipines; West Indies

           

Prayers/Commemorations

First Vespers:

Ant. Blessed art thou of thy God, O Rose, in every tabernacle of Jacob: because in every nation which shall hear thy name, the God of Israel shall be magnified on account of thee.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Rose.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ

 

Lauds:

Ant. O sweet-scented Rose, diffusing everywhere the odor of virtue, make us sharers of the light and sweetness which thou enjoyest.

V. Virgins shall be led to the King after her.

R. Her companions shall be presented to Thee.

 

Second Vespers:

Ant. Thou art the glory of Jerusalem, the joy of Israel, the honor of our people. O Rose thou hast done valiantly, and thy heart hath been strengthened.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Rose.

R. That we may be made worthy of the Promises of Christ.

 

Prayer

Let us Pray: Almighty God, the giver of all good thing, who wast pleased that Blessed Rose, early watered by the dew of Thy grace, should blossom in the Indies with the beauty of virginity and patience, grant unto us, Thy servants, that running after the fragrance of her sweetness, we may be found worthy to become the good odor of Christ. Who with Thee liveth and reigneth world without end. Amen.

Readings

 

Lord, increase my sufferings, and with them increase Your love in my heart.

Saint Rose of Lima

Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven.

Saint Rose of Lima

Our Lord and Savior lifted up his voice and said with incomparable majesty: "Let all men know that grace comes after tribulation. Let them know that without the burden of afflictions it is impossible to reach the height of grace. Let them know that the gifts of grace increase as the struggles increase. Let men take care not to stray and be deceived. This is the only true stairway to paradise, and without the cross they can find no road to climb to heaven."

When I heard these words, a strong force came upon me and seemd to place me in the middle of a street, so that I might say in a loud voice to people of every age, sex and status: "Hear, O people; hear, O nations. I am warning you about the commandment of Christ by using words that came from his own lips: We cannot obtain grace unless we suffer afflictions. We must heap trouble upon trouble to attain a deep aprticipation in the divine nature, the glory of the sons of God and perfect happiness of soul."

"If only mortals would learn how great it is to possess divine grace, how beautiful, how noble, how precious. How many riches it hides within itself, how many joys and delights! No one would complain about his cross or about troubles that may happen to him, if he would come to know the scales on which they are weighed when they are distributed to men."

from the writings of Saint Rose of Lima