Showing posts with label Saints. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Saints. Show all posts

Friday, July 10, 2015

In Her Footsteps: The Story of Kateri Tekakwitha

EWTN

She is the first Native American woman to be recognized as a saint. Learn about St. Kateri Tekakwitha through the testimonies of those who have been touched by her, including the young boy whose miraculous cure led to her canonization.

Don’t miss “In Her Footsteps: The Story of Kateri Tekakwitha”!

Airs 11 p.m. ET, Saturday, July 11, 2015—exclusively on EWTN!

Find EWTN at www.ewtn.com/channelfinder.


Sunday, October 05, 2014

New Jersey Nun Beatified


East meets West in America’s new Blessed - News excerpt and photo from Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) “It’s interesting that God has chosen to honour a contemplative instead of an activist for the next American to be beatified,” said Bishop Kurt Burnette of the Byzantine Ruthenian Catholic Eparchy of Passaic. He was speaking to Vatican Radio about Sister Miriam Teresa Demjanovich, who was beatified on Saturday in New Jersey.

Born in Bayonne, New Jersey, Sr. Miriam Teresa is the fourth American-born woman to be beatified. However, this is the first time that the Rite of Beatification will take place on U.S. soil. Cardinal Angelo Amato, the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, presided the ceremony, which took place in Newark’s Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart.

The process of investigation was opened in 1945 to investigate the sanctity of Sr. Miriam Teresa’s life. She was raised in the Byzantine Ruthenian Church and taught for a brief period in Jersey City, before entering the convent of the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth in 1925.

Pope Francis approved a miracle attributed to Sr. Miriam Therese when a young boy who lost his eyesight due to macular degeneration was cured after prayers through her intercession. For Bishop Burnette, this miracle along with her profound humility, spirituality and insight are clear signs of God’s confirmation of her sanctity. “I don’t believe we really choose who is going to be canonized, God does,” he concluded.


Read more: Vatican Radio

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Pope declares John XXIII and John Paul II as saints of the Universal Church



News story from RomeReports.com

It's official. Pope Francis has declared John XXIII and John Paul II as saints of the Catholic Church.

Before a crowded square, Card. Angelo Amato presented the decree to elevate the two Popes to the altars. Pope Francis gave his approval through a brief proclamation. 

Afterwards, family members of John XXIII and the woman cured by John Paul II presented the relics of each Pope respectively. 

FULL TEXT OF PROCLAMATION

For the honor of the Blessed Trinity, the exaltation of the Catholic faith and the increase of the Christian life, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and our own, after due deliberation and frequent prayer for divine assistance, and having sought the counsel of many of our brother bishops, we declare and define Blessed John XXIII and John Paul II be saints and we enroll them among the saints, decreeing that they are to be venerated as such by the whole church. In the name of the Holy Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Blessed Angela of Foligno is declared a Saint by Pope Francis



News story from RomeReports.com

The Vatican announced that Blessed Angela of Foligno has been declared a saint by Pope Francis. The 13th century mystic writer was born in Umbria back in 1248. After experiencing a powerful religious conversion, she recorded her journey in a publication titled: 'Book of Visions and Instructions.'   

The Congregation for the Causes of Saints made the official announcement on Friday, but Angela of Foligno was declared a saint by Pope Francis on October 9th, 2013.

Read more: Angela of Foligno

Friday, June 21, 2013

St. Thomas More - Saint of the Day for June 22

Photo by Loci B. Lenar

Saints and Angels - Excerpt from Catholic Online

Feastday: June 22,

St. Thomas More, Martyr (Patron of Lawyers)

St. Thomas More was born at London in 1478. After a thorough grounding in religion and the classics, he entered Oxford to study law. Upon leaving the university he embarked on a legal career which took him to Parliament. In 1505, he married his beloved Jane Colt who bore him four children, and when she died at a young age, he married a widow, Alice Middleton, to be a mother for his young children. A wit and a reformer, this learned man numbered Bishops and scholars among his friends, and by 1516 wrote his world-famous book "Utopia".

He attracted the attention of Henry VIII who appointed him to a succession of high posts and missions, and finally made him Lord Chancellor in 1529. However, he resigned in 1532, at the height of his career and reputation, when Henry persisted in holding his own opinions regarding marriage and the supremacy of the Pope. The rest of his life was spent in writing mostly in defense of the Church.

In 1534, with his close friend, St. John Fisher, he refused to render allegiance to the King as the Head of the Church of England and was confined to the Tower. Fifteen months later, and nine days after St. John Fisher's execution, he was tried and convicted of treason. He told the court that he could not go against his conscience and wished his judges that "we may yet hereafter in heaven merrily all meet together to everlasting salvation." And on the scaffold, he told the crowd of spectators that he was dying as "the King's good servant-but God's first." He was beheaded on July 6, 1535. His feast day is June 22nd. 

Read More: St. Thomas More
 

Friday, May 10, 2013

What is a Canonization?



News excerpt from RomeReports.com

A person is not born a saint. In fact, the process of actually being declared a saint is quite lengthy. It includes an investigation on the life, faith and possible miracles the person interceded in. If they are approved  the candidate becomes canonized, which means being declared a saint.

The process itself is divided into four main stages. The first begins at a local diocese. It's here that a detailed report on the life and virtues of the candidate is prepared before being submitted to the Vatican. If it gets the green light the person is declared a Servant of God. The next phase is being declared 'Venerable.' That happens when historians, theologians and cardinals agree that the candidate's heroic virtues merit that title.

In the third stage the person is declared a Blessed. For that to happen a miracle has to be attributed to his or her intercession. The miracle has to be scientifically inexplicable and it must be approved by scientists and theologians. From that point on, blesseds can be venerated in sites that are connected to their lives. Once a year, their feast day is celebrated.

The fourth and final step requires a second miracle that must happen after the candidate was beatified. If the miracle is approved, the candidate can then be declared a saint.

But before any of this happens, the Pope must first approve the entire process. Once the candidate is officially declared a saint, he or she is recognized as someone who lived an exemplary life that's worthy of the Church's highest honor.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!



A New Springtime for the Church in Ireland: Who is Saint Patrick and Why Does it Matter? - News excerpt from Catholic Online

His story still inspires us for a reason. It needs to be heard once again and written in the lives of contemporary saints for the Third Christian millennium, a new missionary age. Let us pray for the Church of Jesus Christ which St. Patrick helped to plant in Ireland. Let us ask the Lord to heal, restore and revive the whole Catholic Church.

Read More: Who is Saint Patrick and Why Does it Matter?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Saint Rocco: Patron Against all Contagious Diseases

St. Rocco - Photo by Loci B. Lenar

The following excerpt about the life of St. Rocco (1340-1378) is published by St. Bonaventure Church in the booklet, Franciscan Saints Surround Us.

By Fr. Daniel Grigassy, O.F.M.

St. Rocco is venerated by people from Southern Itlay and Sicily. Still their descendents who came to America hold Rocco in high esteem. During his life and after his death, he protected the people from the ravages of a cholera epidemic that swept across Southern Italy. People still turn to St. Rocco for protection against plagues, illnesses, and other dilemmas in life.

Rocco was born of nobility in France. His parents died when he was twenty years old and left him an orphan under the care of an uncle. Soon he decided to distribute his wealth among the poor and join the Secular Franciscan Order. Rocco had a birthmark on the left side of his chest in the form of a red cross. This blemish served to identify him throughout his life. Exchanging the clothes of a nobleman for those of a pilgrim, he departed for Rome to visit the tombs of the Apostles. Along the way Rocco stopped in plague-stricken towns and attended the needs of victims. Legend has it that everywhere he visited, the dreaded scourge of the plague disappeared with his prayer and the sign of a cross. The stained glass window displays such a scene.


St. Rocco Stained Glass Window
Photo by Loci B. Lenar


During his travels Rocco himself contracted the plague. In most images, though not in this stained glass window, he is shown with an open sore on his leg. He did not want to become a burden to anyone, so he left the city and found refuge in a cave, slept on leaves, and drank water from a stream. Legend has it that a dog refused to eat and brought Rocco his own bread to sustain him. One day a nobleman who owned the dog followed him into the woods and discovered Rocco. He brought Rocco to his castle where he was cared for and cured.

St. Rocco is patron against all contagious diseases.

Prayer for St. Rocco's Intercession

The stained glass window can be seen inside of St. Bonaventure Church, 174 Ramsey Street, Paterson, NJ.

Photographs Copyright 2012 Loci B. Lenar
www.Christian-Miracles.com

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Tribute to Saint Kateri Tekakwitha

St. Kateri by Stephn B. Whatley

Artist Stephen B. Whatley - Flickr Photo Sharing!

Mr. Whatley is a talented artist who paints with brillant and colorful strokes of the brush which captivates the viewer. The artist resides in the UK and is recognized internationally for his Christian tributes. The following story about St. Kateri and the new painting is published on his website.

Kateri Tekakwitha (USA, 1656-1680) was canonised in Rome on October 21, 2012 as the first Native American Saint - and on that special day, expressionist artist Stephen B Whatley painted this new tribute; inspired by an array of historic images - including the earliest painting of 1690.

Nancy Wiechec of the Catholic News Service in Washington DC kindly introduced Stephen to St. Kateri's story, in August 2012, through an eloquent feature she had written - and the artist was immediately inspired, enchanted and moved; especially through his great affection for the USA and its people.

Painting iconic tributes to his Catholic faith often on special anniversaries has become a powerful feature of Stephen's work; and he was determined to honour this most humble of Saints - who was rejected by her tribe, through her devotion to her Catholic faith and fled from her native Fonda, NY home to Montreal, Canada.

Miracles of healing through the intercession of St Kateri have been experienced as recently as 2006 which finally convinced the Vatican to recognise her as a Saint; despite the fact that Native Americans have been appealing for this recognition since the 1800s.

A memorial Shrine to Kateri was established in 1938 in Fonda, NY; 200 acres of beautiful woodlands on the north bank of the Mohawk River.

In 1980, Kateri was beatified as the Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha; the first stage toward Sainthood; which has finally come about - bringing joy peace and hope to Americans, Canadians and Catholics worldwide.

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha is known as the patron Saint of American Indians, ecology and the environment.

News of the Canonisation of Kateri Tekakwitha, via BBC News:
www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19996957

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha
October 21, 2012 by Stephen B Whatley
Oil on canvas, 27 x 19.5in/68.6 x 50cm
www.stephenbwhatley.com

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pope to canonize seven new Saints in St. Peter's Square



The video and following news report is from RomeReports.com:

On Sunday, October 21st, the Pope will canonize seven new saints. Four of them are women and three are men. They're all from different countries and lived in different time periods, but they all have one thing in common: they dedicated their lives to communicating the faith in their own unique way.

Among the new saints, are two martyrs: Jacques Berthieu (1838-1896), who was killed in Madagascar and Peter Calungsod, who was killed in the Philippines in 1672.

Two others dedicated their life to teaching education: Carmen Sallés (1848-1911) was a pioneer in women's education and Giovanni Piamarta Battista (1841-1913) taught marginalized youths a marketable trade.

The three other saints offered their pain and suffering to God. Kateri Tekakwitha (1656-1680) was a Native American woman who helped the sick, even as she dealt with her own illness.  Mother Marianne Cope (1838-1918) worked with lepers in Hawaii. Anna Schäffer (1884-1925) was sick most of her adult life. Despite being  bedridden, through her words and letters she inspired people far beyond her native Germany. 


People need to believe in miracles, says woman cured of infection

The following excerpt is from the Catholic News Service:

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Though she had always believed in miracles, Sharon Smith never dreamed she would be the recipient of one.

Her unexplained recovery from a near fatal infection in 2005 was the second miracle that cleared the way for the Oct. 21 canonization of Blessed Marianne Cope.

Smith will present Pope Benedict XVI a relic of Blessed Marianne -- a bone fragment housed in a wooden tau cross, or T-shaped cross that is the symbol of St. Francis, the inspiration of Mother Marianne's congregation.

A native of Syracuse, N.Y., Smith fainted in her home one day in 2005 and woke up two months later in St. Joseph's Hospital, her body perforated by tubes as doctors fought to keep her hydrated and alive. She had been diagnosed with pancreatitis, but the inflammation soon caused an infection so severe, it ate away part of her gastrointestinal tract.

Her doctor told her that July, "Sharon, you're not going to make it," she told
Catholic News Service in Rome Oct.19. She and about 90 others from the Diocese of Syracuse, including Bishop Robert J. Cunningham, came to Rome for the canonization.

Smith recalled that a friend visiting her at the hospital was given a prayer card of Mother Marianne and told to pray for her intercession. Mother Marianne had been beatified by Pope Benedict in May 2005.

"My friends told me they prayed for me the night before they were going to just disconnect me" from the respirator, "and they prayed to Mother Marianne for me," she said.

The next day, "I woke up in the morning and started talking," she said.

Though she could breathe on her own, the infection was still severe.

St. Francis Sister Michaeleen Cabral and other members of the community soon started praying for Blessed Marianne's intercession.


Read More: People Need to Believe in Miracles

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

St. Bonaventure and St. Thomas Aquinas

Stained Glass Window - Photo by Loci B. Lenar

The following excerpt is from Catholic Online:

St. Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Feast day-July 15)
 
St. Bonaventure (Giovanni di Fidanza), known as "the seraphic doctor," was born at Bagnorea in Tuscany, in 1221. He received the name of Bonaventure in consequence of an exclamation of St. Francis of Assisi, when, in response to the pleading of the child's mother, the saint prayed for John's recovery from a dangerous illness, and, foreseeing the future greatness of the little John, cried out "O Buona ventura"-O good fortune!
 
At the age of twenty-two St. Bonaventure entered the Franciscan Order. Having made his vows, he was sent to Paris to complete his studies under the celebrated doctor Alexander of Hales, an Englishman and a Franciscan. After the latter's death he continued his course under his successor, John of Rochelle. In Paris he became the intimate friend of the great St. Thomas Aquinas. He received the degree of Doctor, together with St. Thomas Aquinas, ceding to his friend against the latter's inclination, the honor of having it first conferred upon him. Like St. Thomas Aquinas, he enjoyed the friendship of the holy King, St. Louis.
 
At the age of thirty-five he was chosen General of his Order and restored a perfect calm where peace had been disturbed by internal dissensions. He did much for his Order and composed The Life of St. Francis . He also assisted at the translation of the relics of St. Anthony of Padua. He was nominated Archbishop of York by Pope Clement IV, but he begged not to be forced to accept that dignity. Gregory X obliged him to take upon himself a greater one, that of Cardinal and Bishop of Albano, one of the six suffragan Sees of Rome. Before his death he abdicated his office of General of the Franciscan Order. He died while he was assisting at the Second Council of Lyons, on July 15, 1274.
 
*** 
 
The stained glass window of St. Bonaventure and St. Thomas Aquinas can be seen inside St. Bonaventure Church, 174 Ramsey Street, Paterson, NJ.

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Photograph Copyright 2012 Loci B. Lenar

Friday, October 05, 2012

What can St. Hildegard of Bingen teach us? A look at the life of this future Doctor of the Church



The following excerpt is from RomeReports.com:

October 7th marks the day, St. Hildegard of Bingen will be declared a Doctor of the Catholic Church. The German nun was a  music composer, writer and theologian, who made a mark by talking about her religious visions.

Back in the 12th century, her visions were not always taken seriously.  Eventually she decided to make them public only after getting approval from Pope Eugene III.

They dealt with Redemption, God, humanity, the Church and also with Creation. In fact, one of the drawings that reflects this, shows the relationship between the universe and humans. It's an image that's quite similar to that of Leonardo da Vinci.

Read More: St. Hildegard of Bingen

Review of Motion Picture Regarding this Visionary: Vision: From the Life of Hildegard von Bingen

St. Angela Merici

Photograph by Loci B. Lenar

The following excerpt regarding the life of St. Angela Merici is from the Catholic Encyclopedia:

Foundress of the Ursulines, born 21 March, 1474, at Desenzano, a small town on the southwestern shore of Lake Garda in Lombardy; died 27 January, 1540, at Brescia.

She was left an orphan at the age of ten and together with her elder sister came to the home of her uncle at the neighbouring town of Salo where they led an angelic life. When her sister met with a sudden death, without being able to receive the last sacraments, young Angela was much distressed. She became a tertiary of St. Francis and greatly increased her prayers and for the repose of her sister's soul. In her anguish and pious simplicity she prayed God to reveal to her the condition of her deceased sister. It is said that by a vision she was satisfied her sister was in the company of the saints in heaven.

In 1524, while making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, she became suddenly blind when she was on the island of Crete, but continued her journey to the Holy Places and was cured on her return while praying before a crucifix at the same place where she was struck with blindness a few weeks before. When, in the jubilee year 1525, she had come to Rome to gain the indulgences, Pope Clement VII, who had heard of her great holiness and her extraordinary success as a religious teacher of young girls, invited her to remain in Rome; but Angela, who shunned publicity, returned to Brescia. Finally, on the 25th of November, 1535, Angela chose twelve virgins and laid the foundation of the order of the Ursulines in a small house near the Church of St. Afra in Brescia. Having been five years superior of the newly-founded order, she died.

Her body lies buried in the Church of St. Afra at Brescia. She was beatified in 1768, by Clement XIII, and canonized in 1807, by Pius VII.

The stained glass window can be seen inside St. Bonaventure Church, 174 Ramsey Street, Paterson, NJ.

Visit us on Facebook for updates: facebook.com/pages/Christian-Miraclescom

Photograph Copyright 2012 Loci B. Lenar

Saturday, July 07, 2012

St. María Goretti, a child martyred for defending her virginity



St. María Goretti, a child martyred for defending her virginity

The following excerpt is from RomeReports.com:

At only eleven years old, María Goretti became a martyr for defending her virginity. She was murdered by her neighbor Alessandro Serenelli.

She died on July 6, 1902 after being stabbed fourteen times. On her deathbed she received the sacraments and forgave her murderer while comforting her mother who was at her bedside.

Alessandro Serenelli was sentenced to 30 years in prison. He once saw María Goretti in a dream. He then decided to write a letter apologizing for his actions. He also asked for forgiveness from God and Maria's family.

After his release from prison he converted to Catholicism, he worked as a gardener in a monastery and joined the Franciscan Third Order.

María Goretti was canonized by Pope Pius XII on June 24, 1950.

She had a short life, it was one of a normal girl with a great faith and love for others. She became an extraordinary girl who accepted martyrdom in order to preserve herself.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Benedict XVI officially declares Hildegard of Bingen a Saint



Benedict XVI officially declares Hildegard of Bingen a Saint

Commentary by Loci B. Lenar

In 2011 a DVD about the life of Hildegard von Bingen was released in the USA. Produced in Germany by Zeitgeist Films, Vision was originally released in 2009, but is available to purchase in a DVD format with English subtitles for the U.S. market.

My review of the film can be read at the the following link, Vision: From the Life of Hildegard von Bingen

***

The following excerpt is from Rome Reports.com:

Even though Hildegard of Bingen was already on the list of Catholic saints, she had not been officially canonized. So to remove all doubt, Benedict XVI extended the liturgical cult of St. Hildegard of Bingen, to the Universal Church, which automatically inscribes her in the catalogue of saints.

Hildegard of Bingen was from Germany. She's mostly known for her religious visions and prophecies. She lived in the XI and XII century, but even so, her message is still quite alive. The Pope has talked about her and her message in two general audiences.


Also, in coming months, the Pope is considering declaring her a Doctor of the Church for her high intelligence and feminine sensibility.

St. Hildegard was one of the most active women of her time. She wrote about theology and morals, but also about medicine and science. She even found the time to compose 78 musical pieces.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Who is Saint Patrick?

Saint Patrick Stained Glass Window - Photo by Loci B. Lenar

St. Patrick - Saints and Angels - Catholic Online

The following information is from CatholicOnline:

St. Patrick of Ireland is one of the world's most popular saints. (Feast Day March 17)

Apostle of Ireland, born at Kilpatrick, near Dumbarton, in Scotland, in the year 387; died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, 17 March, 461.

Along with St. Nicholas and St. Valentine, the secular world shares our love of these saints. This is also a day when everyone's Irish.

There are many legends and stories of St. Patrick, but this is his story.

Patrick was born around 385 in Scotland, probably Kilpatrick. His parents were Calpurnius and Conchessa, who were Romans living in Britian in charge of the colonies.

As a boy of fourteen or so, he was captured during a raiding party and taken to Ireland as a slave to herd and tend sheep. Ireland at this time was a land of Druids and pagans. He learned the language and practices of the people who held him.

During his captivity, he turned to God in prayer. He wrote "The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was rosed, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same." "I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain."

Patrick's captivity lasted until he was twenty, when he escaped after having a dream from God in which he was told to leave Ireland by going to the coast. There he found some sailors who took him back to Britian, where he reunited with his family.

He had another dream in which the people of Ireland were calling out to him "We beg you, holy youth, to come and walk among us once more."

He began his studies for the priesthood. He was ordained by St. Germanus, the Bishop of Auxerre, whom he had studied under for years.

Later, Patrick was ordained a bishop, and was sent to take the Gospel to Ireland. He arrived in Ireland March 25, 433, at Slane. One legend says that he met a chieftain of one of the tribes, who tried to kill Patrick. Patrick converted Dichu (the chieftain) after he was unable to move his arm until he became friendly to Patrick.

Patrick began preaching the Gospel throughout Ireland, converting many. He and his disciples preached and converted thousands and began building churches all over the country. Kings, their families, and entire kingdoms converted to Christianity when hearing Patrick's message.
Patrick by now had many disciples, among them Beningnus, Auxilius, Iserninus, and Fiaac, (all later canonized as well).

Patrick preached and converted all of Ireland for 40 years. He worked many miracles and wrote of his love for God in Confessions. After years of living in poverty, traveling and enduring much suffering he died March 17, 461.

He died at Saul, where he had built the first church.

Why a shamrock?

Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Trinity, and has been associated with him and the Irish since that time.

In His Footsteps:  
Patrick was a humble, pious, gentle man, whose love and total devotion to and trust in God should be a shining example to each of us. He feared nothing, not even death, so complete was his trust in God, and of the importance of his mission.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Who was St. Nicholas? The true story of Santa Claus



Who was St. Nicholas? The true story of Santa Claus

The following news reports is from RomeReports.com

December 6 is the feast day of St. Nicholas of Bari, otherwise known as Santa Claus. He was bishop of the city of Myra, in present day Turkey, where he died in the fourth century. When the city was conquered by Muslims, his remains were moved to the Italian city of Bari.
 

When his parents died, he divided his fortune among the poor. Because of his generosity, tradition remembers him as Santa Claus, who every year would deliver gifts to everyone.

He is also the patron saint of Russia, Greece and Turkey.

In Rome, a temple was built in his honor by the year 550. There are currently over 2,000 churches in the world that carry his name.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Soldier-turned-bishop St. Martin of Tours celebrated November 11th

St. Martin of Tours - CNA Photograph

Soldier-turned-bishop St. Martin of Tours celebrated Nov. 11 - Catholic News Agency (CNA)

The photograph and following excerpt regarding St. Martin of Tours is from CNA:

On Nov. 11, the Catholic Church honors St. Martin of Tours, who left his post in the Roman army to become a “soldier of Christ."

Martin was born around the year 316 in modern-day Hungary. His family left that region for Italy when his father, a military official of the Roman Empire, had to transfer there. Martin's parents were pagans, but he felt an attraction to the Catholic faith which had become legal throughout the empire in 313. He received religious instruction at age 10, and even considered becoming a hermit in the desert.

Circumstances, however, forced him to join the Roman army at age 15, when he had not even received baptism. Martin strove to live a humble and upright life in the military, giving away much of his pay to the poor. His generosity led to a life-changing incident, when he encountered a man freezing without warm clothing near a gate at the city of Amiens in Gaul.

As his fellow soldiers passed by the man, Martin stopped and cut his own cloak into two halves with his sword, giving one half to the freezing beggar. That night, the unbaptized soldier saw Christ in a dream, wearing the half-cloak he had given to the poor man. Jesus declared: “Martin, a catechumen, has clothed me with this garment.”

Martin knew that the time for him to join the Church had arrived. He remained in the army for two years after his baptism, but desired to give his life to God more fully that the profession would allow. But when he finally asked for permission to leave the Roman army, during an invasion by the Germans, Martin was accused of cowardice.

He responded by offering to stand before the enemy forces unarmed. “In the name of the Lord Jesus, and protected not by a helmet and buckler, but by the sign of the cross, I will thrust myself into the thickest squadrons of the enemy without fear.” But this display of faith became unnecessary when the Germans sought peace instead, and Martin received his discharge.

After living as a Catholic for some time, Martin traveled to meet Bishop Hilary of Poitiers, a skilled theologian and later canonized saint. Martin's dedication to the faith impressed the bishop, who asked the former soldier to return to his diocese after he had undertaken a journey back to Hungary to visit his parents. While there, Martin persuaded his mother, though not his father, to join the Church.

In the meantime, however, Hilary had provoked the anger of the Arians, a group that denied Jesus was God. This resulted in the bishop's banishment, so that Martin could not return to his diocese as intended. Instead Martin spent some time living a life of severe asceticism, which almost resulted in his death. The two met up again in 360, when Hilary's banishment from Poitiers ended.

After their reunion Hilary granted Martin a piece of land to build what may have been the first monastery in the region of Gaul. During the resulting decade as a monk, Martin became renowned for raising two people from the dead through his prayers. This evidence of his holiness led to his appointment as the third Bishop of Tours in the middle of present-day France.

Martin had not wanted to become a bishop, and had actually been tricked into leaving his monastery in the first place by those who wanted him the lead the local church. Once appointed, he continued to live as a monk, dressing plainly and owning no personal possessions. In this same spirit of sacrifice, he traveled throughout his diocese, from which he is said to have driven out pagan practices.

Both the Church and the Roman Empire passed through a time of upheaval during Martin's time as bishop. Priscillianism, a heresy involving salvation through a system of secret knowledge, caused such serious problems in Spain and Gaul that civil authorities sentenced the heretics to death. But Martin, along with the Pope and St. Ambrose of Milan, opposed this death sentence for the Priscillianists.

Read more: St. Martin of Tours

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pope canonizes Luigi Guanella, a hero of the defense of life




Pope canonizes Luigi Guanella, a hero of the defense of life

The following news is from RomeReports.com:

Italian Luigi Guanella was a champion for the defense of life. Born in 1842, he founded two congregations dedicated to serving those who were disabled and abandoned by their families.

Behind every person he would see a gift from God, which he said, has value in itself. He defended the dignity of the elderly, sick, and the mentally and physically disabled, who were abandoned or badly treated by their families.

Pino Beneditos
San Giuseppe Rehabilitation Center (Italy)

“One day, the bishop of Como showed up because he had to speak with him about their activities, their charitable projects, and Don Guanella was with the mentally disabled, with his 'good kids'. He was playing cards with them and to make them happy he finished the game, but had to leave the bishop in the waiting room.”

He would tell the priests and nuns who followed him to trust in God's help, but to work hard in their lives. The fruits of their labor are obvious. The group includes 700 female religious, 528 male religious, and 265 households spread across Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia.

The miracle that led to his canonization is the healing of William Gleeson from the United States. He suffered a neck injury from skating. His doctors said, he had little hope.

Pino Beneditos
San Giuseppe Rehabilitation Center (Italy)

“The mother, without saying anything to William or the doctors, placed a relic under the pillow, prayed and obtained this miracle: for her son to recover without any problems.”

William is one of thousands of pilgrims who will attend the canonization ceremony. Among them, will also be several handicapped, who receive help from the rehabilitation center founded by Don Guanella.