Traditional Catholic Calendar 2019
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Tuesday, October 1, 2019
: St. Remigius, EC
Tuesday, October 1, 2019

SAINT REMIGIUS
Bishop
(533)

Saint Remi or Remigius was born in the middle of the fifth century, of noble and pious parents. His mother, Saint Celine, had borne two other sons before him; the eldest, Saint Principius, became the twelfth bishop of Soissons, and the second was the father of Saint Lupus, thirteenth bishop of the same see. Saint Remi was given to his parents many years later, miraculously; a blind hermit named Montanus, afflicted by the state of religion in the churches of Gaul, was told three times, supernaturally, to advise his worthy parents that they would have a son who would be the light of the Francs, and would bring these new conquerors out of the idolatry in which they were plunged.

The child born to them in fulfillment of the prediction, was at the age of twenty-two years acclaimed Archbishop of Rheims, despite his humble doubts as to his competence. He was unusually tall, his countenance manifested a blend of majesty and serenity; his bearing was gentle, humble, and retiring. He was learned and eloquent, and his pity and charity were boundless. In his labors he knew no weariness. His body was the outward expression of a noble and holy soul, breathing the spirit of meekness and compunction. The archbishop received the gift of miracles. When a great fire was threatening the city of Rheims with total ruin, by his presence he arrested it; he faced it with a crucifix and made the sign of the cross, and the flames retired as he advanced. He resurrected a young woman, and his fame continued to increase.

For His predestined servant, God had a particular and great work in store. The south of France was in the hands of Arians, and in the last years of the 5th century the pagan Franks were wresting the north from the Romans. But Saint Remigius was loved by Clovis, the fifth of the Merovingian kings. The king was converted and baptized by him in 496, after winning the famous battle of Tolbiac, to fulfill a promise he had made to adopt the religion of his Christian wife if he repulsed the invading armies. A very large army of invaders, which had cast all of France into panic, fled in disarray when the small army of Clovis attacked, and their leader was slain.

Clovis had married the noble Christian maiden known to us as St. Clotilda, and these three acting concertedly gained virtually the entire nation to the Christian religion. The army was baptized at the same time as Clovis, by Saint Remi and his assistants. The Saint threw down the altars of the idols, built churches, and appointed bishops. He silenced the Arians and presided at the Catholic First Council of Orleans. Eventually he converted so many that he left France a Catholic kingdom; its king was also the first crowned son of the Church, and at that time the only one. Ever since Saint Remi, Catholic France has rejoiced in its title of eldest daughter of the Church.

After an episcopate of seventy-four years, the longest on record, Saint Remi died in 533, leaving to France his famous Testament, predicting God's graces of predilection for this blessed kingdom, as long as its Heads remained faithful to Him, with the most severe chastisements if the contrary ensued. The prophecy has already been fulfilled three times, as the nation's Catholic historians affirm, for the three royal dynasties.

Reflection: Few men have had such natural advantages and such gifts of grace as Saint Remi, and few have done so great a work. Learn from him to comport yourself amid the world's praise, as well in its scorn, with a lowly and chastened heart.


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Wednesday, October 2, 2019
: Holy Guardian Angels
Wednesday, October 2, 2019

HOLY GUARDIAN ANGELS

God does not abandon to what we call "chance," any of His creatures. By His essence and providence He is everywhere present; not a sparrow falls to the ground, nor a hair from our heads, without His consent. He is not content, however, with assisting His creation daily and at every moment, with sustaining His handiwork, which without His continuous support would return to dust. His divine and infinite Love, not only maintaining the existence which He gives and perpetuates in living beings, has charged His Holy Angels with the ministry of watching and safeguarding each one of His rational creatures.

The Angels, divided into nine hierarchies, have varied obligations. Their intelligence and prudence are penetrating like the beam of a lighthouse; so it appears even when we compare it to the best of human intelligences, which are like the light of a little candle in contrast. An Angel, visualizing an end to be attained, sees instantly the means necessary to achieve it, whereas we must pray, study, deliberate, inquire, and choose during many phases of effort, in order to reach our proposed ends.

Kingdoms have their Angels assigned to them; dignitaries of the Church and of the world have more than one Angel to guide them; and every child who enters into the world receives a Guardian Angel. Our Lord says in the Gospel: "Beware lest you scandalize any of these little ones, for their Angels in heaven behold the face of My Father." Thus the existence of Guardian Angels is a dogma of the Christian faith, based on Holy Scripture itself.

Reflection: This being so, what should our respect be for that holy and sure intelligence, ever present at our side? And how great should our solicitude be, lest, by any act of ours, we offend those eyes which, without losing the divine vision, are ever turned upon poor creatures in all their ways!


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Thursday, October 3, 2019
: St. Theresa of the Child Jesus, V
Thursday, October 3, 2019

SAINT THÉRÈSE of the CHILD JESUS
Carmelite
(1873-1898)

Few Saints have aroused so much admiration and enthusiasm immediately after their death; few have acquired a more astonishing popularity everywhere on earth; few have been so rapidly raised to the altars as was this holy young Carmelite. Marie Françoise Thérèse Martin, known as the Little Flower of Jesus, was born January 2, 1873 at Alençon in Normandy, France, of very Christian parents. The Martins, who lost four of their little ones in early infancy or childhood, regarded their children as gifts from heaven and offered them to God before their birth. Thérèse was the last flower of this blessed stem, which gave four Sisters to the Carmel of Lisieux, still another to the Visitation of Caen. The five sisters were left without their mother, a victim of cancer, when Thérèse was only four years old; but her two oldest sisters were of an age to take excellent care of the household and continue the Christian character formation of the younger ones, which their mother had initiated. Their saintly father was soon to see his little flock separated, however, when one after the other they left to enter religious life. He blessed each one and gave them all back to God, with humble gratitude to God for having chosen his daughters.

From childhood Thérèse had manifested a tender piety which her naturally lively temperament could not alter. Her mother's death affected her profoundly, however, and at the age of nine she was visited with a severe trial in the form of an illness the doctors could not diagnose, and which seemed incurable. She was instantly restored to her ordinary good health by the Virgin Mary, in answer to her desolate sisters' prayers; Thérèse saw Her statue become animated, to smile at her with an ineffable tenderness as she lay on her bed of suffering.

Before the age of fifteen Thérèse already desired to enter the Carmel of Lisieux, where her two eldest sisters were already nuns; a trip to Rome and a petition at the knees of the Holy Father Leo XIII gave her the inalterable answer that her Superiors would regulate the matter. Many prayers finally obtained an affirmative reply to her ardent request, and four months after her fifteenth birthday she entered Carmel with an ineffable joy. She could say then, "I no longer have any desire but to love Jesus even to folly."

She adopted flowers as the symbol of her love for her Divine Spouse and offered all her little daily sacrifices and works as rose petals at the feet of Jesus. Divine Providence gave to the world the autobiography of this true Saint, whose little way of spiritual childhood was described in her own words in her Story of a Soul. She could not offer God the macerations of the great soldiers of God, only her desires to love Him as they had loved Him, and to serve Him in every way possible, not only as a cloistered nun, but as a missionary, a priest, a hero of the faith, a martyr. She chose "all" in spirit, for her beloved Lord. Later she would be named patroness of missions. Her spirituality does not imply only sweetness and light, however; this loving child of God passed by a tunnel of desolate spiritual darkness, yet never ceased to smile at Him, wanting to serve Him, if it were possible, without His even knowing it.

When nine years had passed in the Carmel, the little flower was ready to be plucked for heaven; and in a slow agony of consumption, Thérèse made her final offering to God. She suffered so severely that she said she would never have believed it possible, and could only explain it by her desire to save souls for God. She died in 1897, was beatified in 1923 and canonized in 1925. And now, as she foretold, she is spending her heaven in doing good upon earth. Countless miracles have been attributed to her intercession.


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Friday, October 4, 2019
: St. Francis of Assisi, C
Friday, October 4, 2019

SAINT FRANCIS of ASSISI
Founder of the Franciscan Orders
(1182-1226)

Saint Francis, the son of a merchant of Assisi, was born in the year 1182 in a poor stable, his birth already prophesying the Saint who would preach poverty to a world seduced by luxury. Though chosen by God to be for the world a living manifestation of Christ's poor and suffering life on earth, in his youth he was generous, always of equal humor, and much appreciated by his friends; he was fond of splendors, fine clothing, and good company, and easily won the affection of all who knew him. More than once various holy persons foretold for him a future of glory, but in veiled terms. Francis did not understand these predictions, and supposed he would become the leader of a large militia.

The military life he had adopted ended when Jesus told him he was destined to fight another kind of combat, one against the demon and sin; that the grandeurs predicted were spiritual, not temporal - and to return home. He became inspired with a great esteem for poverty and humiliation. The thought of the Man of Sorrows, who had nowhere to lay His head, filled him with holy envy of the poor, and constrained him to renounce the wealth and the worldly station which he had come to abhor. One day, while on horseback, he met a leper begging alms who inspired him with repugnance, and he took a path to avoid him. Then, repenting, he turned his horse around and returned to embrace him and give him a generous alms, as was his custom for all beggars. He continued on his way, but looked back, and nowhere on the plain could the stranger be seen, though there were no trees, no refuges anywhere. He was from that day a completely transformed person.

He decided to use his wealth to care for the poor and the sick, and dedicate himself in person to the same works. When he prayed one day in the little chapel to do only what God willed of him, the Saviour spoke again to him, repeating three times the mysterious words: "Go, Francis, and repair My house which is falling into ruin." He then undertook to repair the old church of San Damiano where he had heard these words, retiring for refuge to a grotto. He was regarded as a fool by the people, when he returned to the city in the clothing of a poor beggar. This was indeed the folly of the Cross.

Francis renounced his heritage definitively, to beg thereafter his daily sustenance and what he needed for the repair of the church, and left the city singing the praises of God. He repaired two other churches. The love of God which was burning brightly in the poor man of Assisi began to give light and warmth to many others also, and it was not long before several came to join him. One of them was a very wealthy man of Assisi, the second a Canon of the Assisi cathedral, and the third the now Blessed Brother Gilles. They adopted the absolute poverty of Francis, and the foundations of the Franciscan Order were laid. They were first called the "penitents of Assisi." No counsels could make Francis change his resolution to possess nothing at all. God revealed to him then that he was to found a religious Order.

Pope Innocent III, when Francis with his first twelve companions journeyed to Rome, after first rebuffing them, recognized him as the monk God showed him in a vision, supporting on his shoulders the Church of Saint John Latran, which was growing decrepit. He received the profession of Francis and his twelve companions, and in 1215 they were formally constituted as a religious Order, which then spread rapidly throughout Christendom.

In 1216, Saint Francis after assembling his religious, sent them out to preach in France, Spain, England and Germany, where they established monasteries, lasting proofs of the efficacy of their missions. A second general Chapter was held in 1219 on the feast of Pentecost, and the little Brothers gathered from all over the world at Saint Mary of the Angels, the church which Francis and his first twelve disciples had received only nine years earlier. Cabins of reeds and tents were put up all over the countryside. The Cardinal who visited them exclaimed, with tears in his eyes, "O Brother, truly this is the camp of the Lord!" They were more than 5,000 in number. Saint Francis exhorted his brethren: "My Brothers, above all, let us love the Holy Church; let us pray for her exaltation, and never abandon poverty. Is it not written, 'Trust in the Lord, and He Himself will sustain you' "?

Francis, after visiting the Orient in a vain quest for martyrdom, spent his life like his Divine Master - now in preaching to the multitudes, now amid the desert solitudes in fasting and contemplation. His constant prayer was "My God and my All!" During one of these retreats on Mount Alverno, he received on his hands, feet, and side the imprints of the five wounds of Jesus. With the cry, "Welcome, sister Death!" he passed to the glory of his God, October 4, 1226, at the age of 44 years.

Reflection: The prayer of Saint Francis, "My God and my All!" explains both his poverty and his wealth.


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: Abstinence
Friday, October 4, 2019

Saturday, October 5, 2019
: St. Placid & Companions, MM
Saturday, October 5, 2019

SAINT PLACID
Martyr
(515-541)

Saint Placid was born in Rome, in the year 515, of a patrician family, and at seven years of age was taken by his father to the Benedictine monastery of Subiaco, recently founded, to be educated. At thirteen years of age he followed Saint Benedict to a new foundation at Monte Cassino, where he grew up in the practices of a wonderful austerity and innocence of life.

He had scarcely completed his twenty-first year when he was chosen to found a monastery at Messina, in Sicily, upon some estates which had been given by his father to Saint Benedict. He spent four years in building that monastery. There miracles made him known, and it was said that his humility was so perfect and had such charm, that it earned for him the affection of all. He could not see a poor man without hastening to aid him. One day he cured all the sick of the island at the same time, when they were brought and assembled before him for his benediction.

The fifth year spent by the monks in Messina had not yet ended when a band of Saracen pirates who had already killed a great many persons, burnt everything to the ground in 541. They then put to a lingering death not only Placid and thirty monks who had joined him, but also his two brothers, Eutychius and Victorinus, and his holy sister Flavia, who had come to visit him. The entire flotilla of the invaders perished when these barbarians left the island, amid a sudden storm; although they had a hundred ships and were 16,800 in number, not one ship or passenger survived. A religious who had escaped notice wrote to Saint Benedict an account of the massacre, after burying the martyrs. Saint Placid was the first Benedictine martyr, and the monastery of Messina, which was rebuilt not long afterwards, was henceforth known by his name.

Reflection: Adversity is the touchstone of the soul, because it makes manifest the degree of its virtue. One act of thanksgiving when matters go wrong, is worth a thousand thanks when all things please us.


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Sunday, October 6, 2019
Sunday, October 6, 2019

: St. Bruno, C
Sunday, October 6, 2019

SAINT BRUNO
Founder of the Order of the Chartreuse or Carthusian Order
(1030-1101)

Saint Bruno was born in Cologne in about the year 1030, of an illustrious family. He was endowed with rare natural gifts, which soon shone with outstanding brilliance in Paris, though he was studying among other gifted young men. Ordained at Cologne, his native city, he became a Canon of its cathedral, and then was a Canon at Rheims, where the direction of studies in theology was entrusted to him. He already had a very strong distaste for honors, and a great desire for the life of contemplation.

On the death of the excellent Gervais, Archbishop of Rheims, the region fell for a time into evil hands, and Bruno, who had resisted the decay of religion, became the object of a persecution. He stood firm and called for a papal legate; a council was assembled at Autun, of which Bruno was the soul, and the intruder at Rheims was repulsed, to die later in total obscurity. Bruno was not yet forty years old, but all desired that he assume the charge of the see; yet he could not bring himself to accept this honor. He retired from Rheims, and resolved to forsake the world definitively, to live a life of retirement and penance. Others joined him in retreat, desiring the pursuit of perfection, according to the means Christ prescribed. If you will be perfect, go, sell all that you have and give it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me. (Matthew 19:21) Saint Bruno aspired to a desert and, inspired by God, looked towards the Alps of the east.

With six companions, four priests and two laymen, Saint Bruno applied to Hugh, Bishop of Grenoble, who led them to a wild solitude called the Chartreuse. There they lived in poverty, self-denial, and silence, each apart in his own cell, meeting only for the worship of God, and employing themselves in copying books. From the name of the solitude the Order of Saint Bruno was called the Carthusian Order. Six years later, Urban II called Bruno to Rome, that he might benefit from his counsel. Bruno tried to live there as he had lived in the desert; but the echoes of the great city disturbed his solitude, and, after refusing high dignities, he finally obtained, by force of persuasion, the permission of the Pope to resume his monastic life, this time in Calabria, with only a few companions. There he lived, in humility and mortification and great peace, until his blessed death occurred, in the arms of his faithful monks, in 1101.

Reflection: "O everlasting kingdom," said Saint Augustine; "kingdom of endless ages, whereon rest untroubled light and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, where the souls of the Saints are in rest, and everlasting joy crowns their heads, where sorrow and sighing have fled away! When shall I come and appear before God?"


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Monday, October 7, 2019
: Holy Rosary
Monday, October 7, 2019

OUR LADY of the ROSARY
(Commemorating the Victory of Lepanto)
(1571)

In thanksgiving for the victory of Lepanto, an ancient stronghold of Greece and a modern port of that nation, Saint Pius V in 1571 instituted an annual feast in honor of Our Lady of Victory. Two years later, Gregory XIII changed this title to Our Lady of the Rosary; in 1740, Clement XII extended the feast to the universal Church.

We have related in the life of Saint Pius V the victory of Lepanto; here we will speak of the Rosary itself, granted to Saint Dominic by Our Lady Herself in the thirteenth century, with promises of the greatest blessings for those who recite it well. The Rosary of fifteen decades affords a simple means of meditation on the principal mysteries of our holy Religion, and a means of drawing closer to the Saviour through the intercession of the One to whom He never refuses anything. One can also say the chaplet of five decades, since the fifteen are divided into three groups of five: The Joyful, the Sorrowful, and the Glorious Mysteries of the life of Christ.

On the crucifix, one recites the Credo or Apostles' Creed, which the Apostles themselves composed at the first Council of Jerusalem, before their definitive separation, thereby resolving the question of what exactly should be taught to the neophytes. By it we honor the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity and express our faith in the Church established by God; in the Communion of the faithful, whether living or deceased; in the pardon of sins, the general resurrection at the end of the world, and eternal life.

Before each decade, the Pater or Our Father, taught by our Saviour Himself when His Apostles asked how they should pray, includes three petitions for the glory of God in heaven: May His Name be sanctified, rendered holy in the sight of all nations; may His Kingdom come - the interior reign of God which renders Him the Sovereign governing every heart and mind by His love - this, while we await Christ's own final return as visible King of His Church and all creation; thirdly, may His Will be accomplished on earth, to perfection, as it is in heaven. There follow four petitions for ourselves and our salvation. We ask, under the general term of "our daily bread," that God provide for all our needs, both spiritual and material; we beg His forgiveness for our sins, in the same measure we have forgiven our neighbor's offenses, real or imaginary. And we implore to be spared temptation or to be delivered from succumbing to it and all other evils that would separate us from God.

In the Ave Maria or Hail Mary, we repeat the words of the Angel Gabriel to Mary (Luke 1:18), repeated and augmented by Saint Elizabeth at the Visitation (Luke 1:42), adding the invocation of the Church for Her aid at the present moment and at the formidable hour of our death.

After each decade, we add the Gloria Patri or Doxology, to honor the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity.

The Joyful Mysteries: The Annunciation, the Visitation, the Nativity of Jesus, the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, the Finding of Jesus in the Temple.

The Sorrowful Mysteries: The Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, the Scourging at the Pillar, the Crowning with Thorns, the Carrying of the Cross, the Crucifixion and Death of Jesus.

The Glorious Mysteries: The Resurrection, the Ascension, the Descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles, the Assumption of Mary, the Crowning of the Blessed Virgin in Heaven.

Can one imagine a more perfect prayer than the Holy Rosary of the Queen of Heaven, the Blessed Virgin and Mother Mary? It would require large volumes or even an entire library to narrate the graces and miracles that have been obtained by its humble recitation.


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Tuesday, October 8, 2019
: St. Bridget, Vid
Tuesday, October 8, 2019

SAINT BRIDGET of SWEDEN
Widow
(1302-1373)

Saint Bridget was born into the Swedish royal family in the year 1302, the daughter of very virtuous Christian parents. More than one prophetic episode attended the birth of Bridget, "whose voice would be heard with admiration by the entire world," according to a bishop of her country. Curiously, for three years she said not a word, then began to speak with facility and clarity, like persons of mature years. At the age of seven, after her mother had died, she beheld the Mother of God, who presented her with a beautiful crown. She became sober, modest, candid, humble, and peaceful. At the age of ten she saw Our Lord as He was on the Cross, and she began to meditate constantly on the mysteries of the Passion, while occupying herself exteriorly with needlework.

In obedience to her father, she was married to Prince Ulpho of Sweden. Saint Bridget became the mother of eight children, four boys and four girls, one of whom, Saint Catherine of Sweden, is honored as a Saint. Their four sons died young, two during one of the crusades. After some years she and her husband separated by mutual consent; he entered the Cistercian Order, where he died thirty years before his holy spouse. After his death, her life became still more austere; for her guide she had a celebrated Doctor of Theology, a Canon of the cathedral of Linkoeping. Severe for herself, Saint Bridget remained gentle for the poor and nourished twelve persons every day, serving them herself; she established hospices for the sick and the convalescent. She founded the Order of the Holy Saviour for sixty nuns, at the Abbey of Wastein or Wadstena in Sweden.

Saint Bridget received a series of sublime revelations, all of which she scrupulously submitted to the judgment of her confessor. During a famous pilgrimage which she made to Rome at the command of her Lord, He dictated to her the "Fifteen Prayers of Saint Bridget," in honor of His Passion. Saint Bridget also went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land with her daughter, Saint Catherine, and amid the very scenes of the Passion was further instructed in the sacred mysteries. She died in Rome, after her return from this pilgrimage, in 1373.

Reflection: Saint Bridget appreciated in an extraordinary way the grace of the Sacrament of Penance. "Is confession a matter of much time or expense?" asks Saint John Chrysostom. "Is it a difficult and painful remedy? Without cost or hurt, this medicine is ever ready to restore you to perfect health."


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Wednesday, October 9, 2019
: Sts. Dionysius, E, Rusticus & Eleutherius, MM
Wednesday, October 9, 2019

SAINT DIONYSIUS the AREOPAGITE
First Bishop of Athens and of Paris
and his Companions, Martyrs
( ca. 117)

Of all the Roman missionaries sent into Gaul, Saint Dionysius or Denys the Areopagite, converted by Saint Paul in Athens, carried the Faith farthest into the west, fixing his see at Paris. France claims him as one of her greatest glories.

He was a highly educated philosopher of Greece, and one of the nine archontes or leaders of the city of Athens, a counselor, as some say, if not the Head of the Athenian senate. He was born in the year 9 of the Christian era, and had traveled to Heliopolis in Egypt to learn mathematics and astrology. There he saw for himself, in his early twenties, the eclipse of the sun contrary to all the laws of nature, which occurred at the death of the Son of God. His teachers could not explain it to him otherwise than as a sign of changes in divine matters. In his letters to Saint Polycarp he says himself that the astrologer he questioned had answered him rather by divine inspiration than by any natural knowledge. And he himself had cried out: "Either the God of nature is suffering, or the entire mechanism of the world is going to be destroyed to return to its ancient state of chaos!" Already he was being prepared for his conversion twenty years later, which is related by Saint Luke in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter seven.

Through Saint Paul, the see of Athens was established with Saint Denys as its first bishop, and this flock, which he extended through the entire region, became one of the most considerable of Greece. He made a number of journeys outside Greece and was present when the Apostles were assembled at the Dormition and glorious Assumption of the Mother of God. He wrote of Her, and he became a friend of Saint John, Her guardian. He corresponded with Saint Timothy, Saint Titus, Saint Polycarp and others of the Apostles' successors. It appears that it was after a conversation with Saint John the Apostle that Saint Denys, already in his late sixties, determined to go to the Occident to preach to the idolaters of that region. He left Saint Publius as his successor in Athens, and departed for Rome with Eleutherius and Rusticus. Pope Saint Clement of Rome confirmed this enterprise, and added to the group at least ten more priests, all of whom are now listed among the Saints. The authors of the oriental church are steadfast in asserting, with Roman tradition, that it was Saint Denys the Areopagite, converted by Saint Paul, who was sent to Gaul. Others have thought Saint Denys was a fourth century missionary, but this theory cannot be credited, as the Bollandists explain at length.

Through him and his disciples, whom he sent to evangelize various districts, the sees of Rouen, Chartres, Evreux, Verdun, and Beauvais were established. With his two original companions, Eleutherius and Rusticus, Saint Denis went to Paris, where he built four oratories. The first baptized Christian, who received them into his house, was decapitated, denounced to a Roman official by his own pagan wife, as an accomplice of their three guests. The three missionaries were imprisoned and chained in such a way as to suffer torture, then flogged while they blessed God. Other torments were devised, but God preserved the bishop, at this time nearly 100 years old. They were finally beheaded on Montmartre; a large group of Christians, who wept on this occasion, as well as others of the city and the entire region, were also massacred. The wife of the first Parisian Christian and martyr was converted and died with the others. Their joint martyrdom occurred about the year 117.


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Thursday, October 10, 2019
: St. Francis Borgia, C
Thursday, October 10, 2019

SAINT FRANCIS BORGIA
General of the Jesuits
(1510-1572)

Saint Francis Borgia, named for Francis of Assisi at his birth in 1510, was placed under the tutelage of his uncle, Archbishop of Saragossa, after the death of his mother when he was ten years old. Soon he had to go to the court of Spain, as he was destined to be one of the great lords of that nation. There he remained Christian, modest and virtuous. His noble and beautiful appearance soon brought upon him snares which he succeeded in escaping, setting for himself regimes of prayer and study to escape from the dangers. He wore a hair shirt, and never would enter into any of those games of chance which cause the loss not only of money but of time, the spirit of devotion, and peace of soul. The Empress arranged for him to marry Eleanor de Castro of Portugal, who like himself was very pious. They were blessed with eight children, five sons and three daughters, who continued to practice the virtue of their parents.

Having become the Duke of Gandia after his father's death, he became one of the richest and most honored nobles in Spain. In 1539, there was laid upon him the sad duty of escorting the mortal remains of his once beautiful sovereign, the Empress Isabella, who had died still young, to the royal burial ground at Granada. The coffin had to be opened for him, that he might verify the body before it was placed in the tomb; and so unrecognizable, so astonishing a sight met his eyes that he vowed never again to serve any earthly sovereign, subject to so drastic and terrible a change.

It was many years before he could follow the call of his Lord; the emperor named him Captain-General of Catalonia, and sent him to bring to justice a group of bandits who had ravaged the countryside. The poor found in him strong protection against oppression. Vices were banished by his ordinances; he endowed poor girls and assisted families ruined by misery and reversals; he delivered debtors from prisons by paying what they owed. He was in effect the very Christian Viceroy of the Emperor. Saint Francis was relieved of this duty when he asked the Emperor, after the death of his father, to return and govern his subjects at Gandia. In Gandia he again did much public good; he built monasteries, founded hospitals, helped the poor in every possible way. But suddenly, his wife was taken from him. He was told by God that this loss was for both his and her own advantage, and amid his tears he offered his own life and that of his children, if that would please the Eternal Master.

After making a retreat according to the Exercises of Saint Ignatius, under Blessed Peter Favre, he made the vows of a Jesuit privately until he could see to the establishment of his children. When he went to Rome with one of them, it was rumored he would be made a cardinal like two of his brothers. But he wished to avoid all dignities, and succeeded in doing so by leaving Rome as soon as possible. Saint Ignatius made him his Vicar General for Spain, Portugal, and the East Indies, and there was scarcely a city of Spain and Portugal where he did not establish colleges or houses of the Company of Jesus. At the death of Saint Ignatius two years later, the Order chose him to be its General. Then his journeys became countless; to narrate them all would be an impossibility.

The Turks were threatening Christendom, and Pope Saint Pius V commissioned two cardinal-legates to go and assemble the European Christian princes into a league for its defense. The holy Pope chose Francis to accompany one of the Cardinals and, worn out as he was, the Saint obeyed at once. The fatigues of the embassy exhausted what little life was left to him. Saint Francis died in the same year as Saint Pius V, happy to do so in the service of God and the Church, when he returned to Rome in October, 1572.

Reflection: Francis Borgia learned the value of earthly grandeurs at the funeral of Queen Isabella. Do the deaths of friends teach us anything about what awaits us also?


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Friday, October 11, 2019
: Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Friday, October 11, 2019

The DIVINE MATERNITY of MARY

When Mary of Nazareth conceived in Her womb the Word of God, that conception was the effect of the fullness of Her grace, and of an action of the Holy Spirit which occurred in Her soul first of all, thereby making of Her flesh a tabernacle and a sanctuary. The dignity of the Mother of God is Her great sanctity, it is the incomparable grace which raises Her above all the Angels, the grace in which She was predestined and created for this glorious purpose. By the acts of Her blessed Maternity, She bordered on divinity while remaining entirely human. In this way She seems to exhaust, as it were, the power of God - the fullness of the grace accorded Her cannot be surpassed. It is easier for us to conceive of the greatness of Mary, however, when we consider Her maternity of the Mystical Body, the Church, which like Herself is entirely human, and composed of persons who are very far indeed from being what our Saviour was, a Divine Person incarnate.

We understand better what Mary is for the Church by listening to Saint Louis Mary de Montfort, Apostle of the Cross and of the Rosary of Our Lady. As Mary was necessary for God in the Incarnation of the Word, so She is necessary for Him to sanctify souls and bring about their likeness to Christ, and She is much needed by us, in our great infirmity:

"The Holy Ghost gives no heavenly gift to men which He does not have pass through Her virginal hands...; such is the sentiment of the Church and its holy Fathers. Mary, being altogether transformed into God by grace and by the glory which transforms all the Saints into Him, asks nothing, wishes nothing, does nothing contrary to the eternal and immutable Will of God. When we read then in the writings of Saints Bernard, Bernardine, Bonaventure and others, that in heaven and on earth everything, even God Himself, is subject to the Blessed Virgin, they mean that the authority which God has been well pleased to give Her is so great that it seems as if She had the same power as God; and that Her prayers and petitions are so powerful with God that they always pass for commandments with His Majesty, who never resists the prayer of His dear Mother, because She is always humble and conformed to His Will. If Moses, by the force of his prayer, stayed the anger of God against the Israelites in a manner so powerful that the most high and infinitely merciful Lord, being unable to resist him, told him to let Him alone that He might be angry with and punish that rebellious people, what must we not, with much greater reason, think of the prayer of the humble Mary, the worthy Mother of God, which is more powerful with His Majesty than the prayers and intercessions of all the Angels and Saints both in heaven and on earth?"

"The sin of our first father has spoiled us all, soured us, puffed us up and corrupted us... The actual sins which we have committed, whether mortal or venial, pardoned though they may be, have nevertheless increased our concupiscence, our weakness, our inconstancy and our corruption, and have left evil remains in our souls... We have nothing for our portion but pride and blindness of spirit, hardness of heart, weakness and inconstancy of soul, revolted passions, and sicknesses in the body... Let us say boldly with Saint Bernard that we have need of a mediator with the Mediator Himself, and that it is the divine Mary who is most capable of filling that charitable office. It was through Her that Jesus Christ came to us, and it is through Her that we must go to Him. If we fear to go directly to Jesus Christ, our God, whether because of His infinite greatness or because of our vileness, or because of our sins, let us boldly implore the aid and intercession of Mary, our Mother. She is good, She is tender, She has nothing in Her that is austere and forbidding, nothing too sublime and too brilliant... She is so charitable that She repels none of those who ask Her intercession, no matter how great sinners they have been; for, as the Saints say, never has it been heard, since the world was the world, that anyone has confidently and perseveringly had recourse to our Blessed Lady and yet been repelled." (True Devotion to Mary)


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: Abstinence
Friday, October 11, 2019

Saturday, October 12, 2019
: Feria
Saturday, October 12, 2019

Sunday, October 13, 2019
Sunday, October 13, 2019

: St. Edward, King, C
Sunday, October 13, 2019

SAINT EDWARD III
King of England, Confessor
(1001-1066)

Saint Edward, son of King Ethelred, whose kingdom of England fell to the Danish invaders, was unexpectedly raised to the throne of England in 1041, at the age of forty years. God had shown Edward to a pious bishop in a vision, as England's King, anointed by Saint Peter: "Behold the one who will be King through My favor; he will be cherished by heaven, agreeable to men, terrible to his enemies, loving to his subjects, very useful to the Church of God." The English people, tired of being governed by a foreign domination, decided in 1041 to reinstate the surviving son of their legitimate sovereign, and under the leadership of three noblemen, succeeded in crowning Edward on Easter Sunday of the year 1042. Edward had spent twenty-seven years of his forty in exile in Normandy, in the palace of his maternal uncle.

When he was raised to the throne, the virtues of his earlier years, simplicity, gentleness, humility and a tender charity, but above all his angelic purity, shone with new brightness. By a rare inspiration of God, though he married to content his nobles and people, he preserved perfect chastity in the wedded state. So little did he set his heart on riches, that three times when he saw a servant robbing his treasury, he let him escape, saying the poor man needed the gold more than he. He loved to stand at his palace-gate, speaking kindly to the poor beggars and lepers who crowded about him, and many of whom he healed of their diseases. The people rejoiced in having a Saint for their king.

Long wars had brought the kingdom to a sad state, but Edward's zeal and sanctity soon wrought a great change. His reign of twenty-four years was one of almost unbroken peace. He undertook only one war, which was victorious, to reinstate Malcolm, legitimate king of Scotland. The country grew prosperous, the ruined churches rose again under his hand, the weak lived secure, and for ages afterwards men spoke with affection of the "laws of good Saint Edward." The holy king delighted in building and enriching churches; Westminster Abbey was his last and noblest work.

He had a particular devotion to the holy Apostles Saint Peter and Saint John the Evangelist, and had made a promise never to refuse an alms asked in the name of the latter. One day when he had no money with him, a poor man reached out his hand in the name of the Apostle, and the king gave him a valuable ring he was wearing. Some time later, Saint John appeared to two pilgrims returning from the Holy Land. He gave them a ring and said: "Take it to the king; he gave it to me one day when I asked for an alms in the habit of a pilgrim. Tell him that in six months I will visit him and take him with me, to follow the unblemished Lamb." The King received it from them after hearing their relation of this incident, and broke into tears. And Edward did indeed die six months later, on January 5, 1066. Many miracles occurred at his tomb. In 1102 his body was exhumed and found intact and flexible, with its habits perfectly preserved also, appearing to be new. He was canonized in 1161 by Pope Alexander III.


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Monday, October 14, 2019
: St. Callistus I, PM
Monday, October 14, 2019

SAINT CALLISTUS I
Pope and Martyr
(223)

Early in the third century, it was to Callistus, then a deacon, that Pope Saint Zephyrinus confided the government of the clergy, as well as the creation and maintenance of the Christian cemeteries, which at that time were the catacombs of Rome. At the death of the Sovereign Pontiff, Callistus succeeded him as Head of the Church.

It is he who made obligatory for the entire Church, the fast of the Ember Days which the Apostles had instituted, to bring down blessings on each season of the year. During his time, the Christians began to build churches, which though destroyed during the various persecutions, were eventually rebuilt. Among the catacombs owed to his government, is the one on the Appian Way which bears his name. Many precious memories are conserved there; in it are found the tomb of Saint Cecilia, the crypts of several popes, and paintings which attest the perfect conformity of the primitive Faith with that of the present-day Church.

During the pontificate of Saint Callistus, several very striking conversions occurred among the very officers of the persecuting emperor Alexander Severus. At one time an officer, his family and household, forty-two persons in all, were baptized by the Pope on the same day. Many others asked him for Baptism; among them a Senator and sixty-eight persons of his household, and a guardian of the saintly Pope, whose name was Privatus, after the prayers of the Holy Father had cured him of an ulcer. All these new Christians were martyred, and their heads were exposed at the various gates of Rome to discourage any who would propagate the Faith of Christ in that city. Despite the continuing pursuits and his constant solicitude for all the churches, Saint Callistus found the means to have a diligent search made by fishermen for the body of a priest of his clergy, which had been cast into the Tiber after his martyrdom. When it was found he was filled with joy, and buried it with hymns of praise.

During the persecution Saint Callistus was obliged to take shelter in the poor and populous quarters of the city. The martyred priest, Calipodius, appeared to him soon afterwards, saying: "Father, take courage; the hour of the reward is approaching; your crown will be proportionate to your sufferings." Soon afterwards he was discovered there, and the house was guarded by soldiers who received the order to allow no food to enter it for several days. And Saint Callistus was martyred in his turn. With a rock suspended from his neck, he was thrown from a window into a well on October 14, 223. The priest Asterius recovered and buried his body in the catacomb named for Calipodius. A week later Asterius too was arrested and thrown into the Tiber. The Christians interred this martyr also.

Reflection: In the mortal remains of a Christian, we see what has been the temple of the Holy Ghost, and which still is precious in the sight of God, who will watch over it and one day raise it up in glory to shine forever in His kingdom. May our actions bear witness to our belief in these truths.


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Tuesday, October 15, 2019
: St. Teresa of Avila, V
Tuesday, October 15, 2019

SAINT TERESA of AVILA
Virgin, Reformer of the Carmelite Order
(1515-1582)

"By their fruits you will know them," says Our Lord of those who claim to be His followers. The fruits which remain of the life, labors and prayer of Saint Teresa of Avila bear to her virtue a living and enduring testimony which none can refuse to admit. She herself wrote her life and many other celebrated spiritual works, and much more can still be said of this soul of predilection, whose writings and examples have led so many souls to high sanctity.

Born in 1515 in the kingdom of Castile in Spain, she was the youngest child of a virtuous nobleman. When she was seven years old, Teresa fled from her home with one of her young brothers, in the hope of going to Africa and receiving the palm of martyrdom. Brought back and asked the reason for her flight, she replied: "I want to see God, and I must die before I can see Him." She then began, with her same brother, Rodriguez, to build a hermitage in the garden, and was often heard repeating: "Forever, forever!" She lost her mother at the age of twelve years, and was led by worldly companions into various frivolities. Her father decided to place her in a boarding convent, and she obeyed without any inclination for this kind of life. Grace came to her assistance with the good guidance of the Sisters, and she decided to enter religion in the Carmelite monastery of the Incarnation at Avila.

For a time frivolous conversations there, too, checked her progress toward perfection, but finally in her thirty-first year, she abandoned herself entirely to God. A vision showed her the very place in hell to which her apparently light faults would have led her, and she was told by Our Lord that all her conversation must be with heaven. Ever afterwards she lived in the deepest distrust of herself. When she was named Prioress against her will at the monastery of the Incarnation, she succeeded in conciliating even the most hostile hearts by placing a statue of Our Lady in the seat she would ordinarily have occupied, to preside over the Community.

God enlightened her to understand that He desired the reform of her Order, and her heart was pierced with divine love. The Superior General gave her full permission to found as many houses as might become feasible. She dreaded nothing so much as delusion in the decisions she would make in difficult situations; we can well understand this, knowing she founded seventeen convents for the Sisters, and that fifteen others for the Fathers of the Reform were established during her lifetime, with the aid of Saint John of the Cross. To the end of her life she acted only under obedience to her confessors, and this practice both made her strong and preserved her from error. Journeying in those days was far from comfortable and even perilous, but nothing could stop the Saint from accomplishing the holy Will of God. When the cart was overturned one day and she had a broken leg, her sense of humor became very evident by her remark: "Dear Lord, if this is how You treat Your friends, it is no wonder You have so few!" She died October 4, 1582, and was canonized in 1622.

The history of her mortal remains is as extraordinary as that of her life. After nine months in a wooden coffin, caved in from the excess weight above it, the body was perfectly conserved, though the clothing had rotted. A fine perfume it exuded spread throughout the entire monastery of the nuns, when they reclothed it. Parts of it were later removed as relics, including the heart showing the marks of the Transverberation, and her left arm. At the last exhumation in 1914, the body was found to remain in the same condition as when it was seen previously, still recognizable and very fragrant with the same intense perfume.

Reflection: The devotion of Saint Teresa of Avila to Saint Joseph, virginal father of Jesus, is proverbial. She said she had never asked anything of him without receiving what she requested. In the eighteenth century the Carmelite churches named for him numbered over one hundred and fifty. Let us imitate this holy Foundress and invoke Saint Joseph for our needs, both spiritual and temporal.


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Wednesday, October 16, 2019
: St. Hedwig, Vid
Wednesday, October 16, 2019

SAINT HEDWIG
Duchess of Poland and Widow
(1243)

Saint Hedwig was the wife of Henry, Duke of Silesia and Poland, and the mother of six children. To one of her sisters, married to the King of Hungary, was born the future Saint Elizabeth of Hungary; another was the wife of Philip-Augustus of France, and the third, Abbess of a celebrated monastery at Lutzingen. Saint Hedwig led a humble, austere, and holy life amid all the pomp of her royal state. While still young, she and her spouse made a solemn vow of chastity, ratified by their bishop. Her house was a school of piety and good order; with Duke Henry she built the large monastery of Trebnitz, where she placed nuns of the Order of Citeaux.

Inspired by these holy examples, the Secretary of State of the Duke and Duchess left the court and dedicated all his wealth to the construction of a Cistercian monastery, which he then entered, to spend there the rest of his life.

Saint Hedwig attended to the needs of all the monasteries and the hermits of the region, visiting them herself and taking them clothing, food and all she judged necessary. She visited prisoners and saw that they did not suffer from the cold or from lack of light. She cared for the poor and served them herself in her residence. On Holy Thursday she washed the feet of several lepers, remembering the lessons of Our Saviour. She fasted often and walked barefoot in the snow when she prayed; she slept on the ground.

Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament was the keynote of her life. She considered it her very great privilege to supply the bread and wine for the Sacred Mysteries, and each morning would attend as many Masses as were celebrated. After the death of her husband in 1238, she retired to the Cistercian convent of Trebnitz, where she lived under obedience to her daughter Gertrude, abbess of that monastery, growing day by day in holiness, until God called her to Himself in the year 1243. She was canonized twenty-four years later, by Pope Clement IV. This Pontiff, during the ceremony of her canonization, asked God through her intercession to cure a girl who was blind, and the cure was immediately effected. Saint Hedwig is buried in the church of Trebnitz.


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Thursday, October 17, 2019
: St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, V
Thursday, October 17, 2019

SAINT MARGARET MARY ALACOQUE
Virgin, Apostle of the Sacred Heart
(1647-1690)

Saint Margaret Mary, a soul of divine predilection, was born at Terreau in Burgundy, on July 22, 1647. During her infancy she showed a wonderfully sensitive revulsion to the very idea of sin, and while still a young child always recited the entire Rosary every day. She lost her father at the age of eight years, and her mother placed her with the Poor Clares. She was often sick and for four years was bedridden, losing almost entirely the use of her members. She made a vow to Our Lady to become one of Her daughters if She cured her, and was suddenly entirely well.

She was of a gay temperament and her heart became easily attached to human affections. God began her purification when the charge of her mother's house was confided to persons who reduced the family to a sort of servitude. Margaret Mary turned to God for strength and consolation when she was accused of various crimes she had not committed. In short, the Saint of the Sacred Heart learned to suffer for Christ, with patience, what innocence can suffer in such situations.

She desired to be a religious, but her mother could not bear to hear a word of that desire. Finally God came to her assistance through a Franciscan priest, who told her brother that he would answer to God for the vocation of his sister. In 1671 she entered the Order of the Visitation of Mary, at Paray-le-Monial, and was professed the following year. She followed all the practices of the monastery in perfect obedience, spending as much time as she could in the chapel with her Lord. After sanctifying her by many trials, Jesus appeared to her in numerous visions, displaying to her His Sacred Heart, sometimes burning as a furnace, and sometimes torn and bleeding on account of the coldness and sins of men. "Behold this Heart which has so loved men, and been so little loved by them in return!"

In 1675, she was told by Our Lord that she, with the aid of Father Claude de la Colombiere of the Society of Jesus, was to be His instrument for instituting the feast of the Sacred Heart, and for spreading that devotion everywhere. This was not accomplished without great sufferings. The good Jesuit did all in his power to make known and loved the Heart of Jesus, but when it seemed all obstacles were about to disappear, his credit diminished, and his Superiors sent him to England. He returned to France exhausted and soon died.

Saint Margaret Mary was for a time Mistress of Novices, and in this office exercised a true apostolate, working to win for the Heart of Jesus the hearts of the young girls who were aspiring to religious consecration. She was persecuted when she sent one of them home, not having seen in her the indications of a genuine vocation; the family attempted to have her deposed. She remained in the charge but was deprived of Holy Communion on the First Friday of the month. This practice was one of Our Lord's specific requests; for souls who communicate nine First Fridays in succession, He promised the most wonderful graces. The demons also persecuted her visibly; nonetheless her entire Community was finally won over to devotion to the Divine Heart.

Saint Margaret Mary died at the age of forty-two years, on October 17, 1690, and everywhere was heard in the city: "The Saint is dead! The Saint is dead!" She was beatified in 1864 by Pope Pius IX, and canonized in 1920 by Pope Benedict XV.

Reflection: Love for the Sacred Heart especially honors the Incarnation, and makes the soul grow rapidly in humility, generosity, patience, and union with its Beloved.


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Friday, October 18, 2019
: St. Luke, Ev
Friday, October 18, 2019

SAINT LUKE
Evangelist
( First Century)

Saint Luke, a physician at Antioch and a painter, was also an excellent rhetorician in Greek, his native language. He became a disciple of Saint Paul, the Apostle's fellow-worker and his faithful friend during his two imprisonments, and is best known to us as the historian of the New Testament acts of both Christ and the Apostles. Though not an eye-witness of Our Lord's life, the meticulous Evangelist diligently gathered information from those who had followed or listened to Jesus of Nazareth, and wrote, as he tells us, all things in order. His command of Greek is much admired. Saint Clement of Alexandria, Saint Jerome and Saint Thomas Aquinas state that it is he who translated Saint Paul's famous Epistle to the Hebrews, written in the language of the Jerusalem Christians, into the admirable Greek which we presently possess as the only ancient version.

The Acts of the Apostles were written by the Evangelist as a sequel to his Gospel, bringing the history of the Church down to the first imprisonment of Saint Paul in Rome, in the year 64. The humble historian never names himself, but by his occasional use of "we" instead of "he" or "they", we are able to detect his presence in the scenes of Saint Paul's life which he describes. We thus find that he sailed with Paul and Silas from Troas to Macedonia, where he remained behind, apparently, for seven years at Philippi. Finally, after remaining near Saint Paul during the time he was imprisoned in Palestine, he accompanied him, still a prisoner, when he was transported to Rome. Thus he shared the shipwreck and perils of that memorable voyage, narrated in Chapter 27 of Acts - which book no Christian should fail to read, along with the four Gospels. He then narrates the two years of Saint Paul's first imprisonment, ending in his liberation.

There his narrative ends, but from Saint Paul's Epistles we learn that Saint Luke was his faithful companion to the last. His paintings of Our Lady are still conserved with care in a number of places in Europe. Saint Luke certainly learned from the Mother of Christ Herself, the story of the Annunciation, the Visitation, and the Angelic mission to the shepherds of Bethlehem. After the martyrdom of the Apostle to the Gentiles, Saint Epiphanus says that Saint Luke preached in Italy, Gaul, Dalmatia and Macedonia. Others say he went to Egypt and preached in the Thebaid, the region of the Fathers of the desert. Saint Hippolyte says he was crucified in Greece. His mortal remains were transferred to the Church of the Apostles, built by Constantine the Great at Constantinople, with those of Saint Andrew and Saint Timothy. Some of his relics remain in the Greek monastery of Mount Athos.


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: Abstinence
Friday, October 18, 2019

Saturday, October 19, 2019
: St. Peter of Alcantara, C
Saturday, October 19, 2019

SAINT PETER of ALCANTARA
Franciscan Priest, Reformer
(1499-1562)

Saint Peter was born in 1499 near the Portuguese border of Spain. While still a youth of sixteen, he left his home at Alcantara and entered a convent of Discalced Franciscans near Valencia. He rose quickly to high posts in the Order, as a guardian, a definitor, and then Superior of the Province of Saint Gabriel. But his thirst for penance was still unappeased, and in 1539, being then forty years old, he founded the Congregation of Saint Joseph of the "Strict Observance," to conserve the letter of the Rule of Saint Francis. He suffered great tribulations to conserve that Rule in its integrity. Eventually Saint Peter himself, the year before his death, raised it to the status of a province under obedience to the Minister General of the entire Seraphic Order. The Reform he instituted has since been extended even to the farthest Orient and the Indies; it is believed God ordained that it repair the ravages to the faith of the sixteenth century.

The modesty of Saint Peter remains proverbial in the Franciscan Order; never did he raise his eyes to look at the non-essentials of his interior life with God. His fast was constant and severe; he lived perpetually on bread and water alone, even during his illnesses. He devised a sort of harness to keep him upright on his seat during the short hour and a half of sleep which he took every day, for forty years. He acknowledged to Saint Teresa of Avila that this mortification was the one which cost him the most. The cells of the friars of Saint Joseph resembled graves rather than dwelling-places. That of Saint Peter himself was four and a half feet in length, so that he could never lie down; his sackcloth habit and a cloak were his only garments; he never covered his head or feet. In the bitter winter he would open the door and window of his cell in order that, by closing them again, he might be grateful for the shelter of his cell. Among those whom he guided to perfection we may name Saint Teresa, who fully appreciated this remarkable director. He read her soul, approved her spirit of prayer, and strengthened her to carry out her reforms.

Everywhere he could do so, he planted crosses, for the Passion of Our Lord was engraved in his heart. Wherever they were to be placed, even on mountains, and however heavy they might be, he went to the destined sites carrying them on his shoulders. From these heights he would then preach the mysteries of the Cross, afterwards remaining in prayer there. Shepherds saw him several times in the air, at the height of the highest trees of the forests. Never did he go anywhere except on foot, even in his old age. He was often seen prostrated before a large crucifix, shedding torrents of tears; and he was found in ecstasy once at the height of the traverse of a crucifix. Saint Peter died at the age of sixty-three, repeating with the Psalmist, "I rejoiced when it was said unto me, let us go unto the house of the Lord!" The date was October 18, 1562; he was kneeling in prayer.

Reflection: If men do not go about barefoot now, nor undergo sharp penances as Saint Peter did, there remain many ways of trampling on the spirit of the world; and Our Lord teaches them, when He finds in souls the necessary courage.


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Sunday, October 20, 2019
Sunday, October 20, 2019

: St. John Cantius, C
Sunday, October 20, 2019

SAINT JOHN CANTIUS
Priest
(1403-1473)

Saint John was born at Kenty in Poland in 1403. He studied philosophy and theology at the University of Cracow with great intelligence, industry, and success, while his modesty and virtue drew all hearts to him. After earning his degrees, he was appointed to the Chair of Theology at the university. He inflamed his hearers with the desire of every kind of piety, no less by his deeds than by his words. He was ordained a priest and was for a short time in charge of a parish, where he manifested great concern for the poor, at his own expense. At the University's request, he resumed the professor's Chair and taught there until his holy death.

He found a poor man on the snow one day, dying of hunger and cold; he clothed him in his own frock and took him to the rectory, to eat at his table. Afterwards, for many years, every professor of the College of Varsovie was obliged, once every year, to invite a poor man to dine with him.

He made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, preaching along the way to the Turks, and hoping for the grace of martyrdom. He went four times to Rome to visit the tombs of the Apostles and pay honor to the Holy See, desiring thereby to be spared the pains of purgatory. He always traveled on foot, carrying his own effects. Robbed one day by bandits, he forgot he had a few gold pieces sewn into his cloak; he soon remembered and called them back to give them to his benefactors. They were so astonished they refused to accept the offering, and even returned to him what they had taken.

Saint John Cantius wrote on the walls of his residence some verses which showed the horror he had for the vice of backbiting or detraction, talking without cause of our neighbor's faults. He slept very little and often spent entire nights praying before a crucifix. After his classes he went to pray before the Blessed Sacrament in a church. Before his death, he gave absolutely everything he still had to the poor. He died in 1473, at the age of seventy-six years. The purple robe which he had worn as a Doctor was religiously conserved and always given to the venerable Head of the School of Philosophy on the day of his reception; and a promise was required of the teachers there, to imitate the virtues of this beloved Saint. He is a patron of both Poland and Lithuania; Clement XIII canonized him in 1767.

Reflection: He who orders all his doings according to the Will of God may often be spoken of by the world as simple, even stupid; but in the end he wins the esteem and confidence even of the world itself.


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Monday, October 21, 2019
: St. Hilarion, Ab
Monday, October 21, 2019

SAINT HILARION
Patriarch of the Solitaries of Palestine
(372)

Saint Hilarion was born of pagan parents near Gaza, and was converted while studying grammar in Alexandria. He renounced games, the theater and all the vain amusements of young people, to attend the reunions of his fellow Christians. He desired to see the great Saint Anthony in the desert and went to Egypt, where he remained near him for two months. He carefully observed everything in his life and conduct - his affability, his gentleness towards others and his severity towards himself, then returned to Palestine with a few solitaries to settle his affairs. His father and mother had both died, and he kept nothing of his heritage for himself. At this time he was only fifteen years old.

Despite his youth and delicate health, he retired to a desert; he practiced severe mortification, tempted continually by the demons expending all their efforts to make him abandon this life of total renouncement. He redoubled his austerities, tilled the ground and, following the example of the Egyptian monks, made baskets of reeds and willow branches. He lived first in a cabin of reeds, then in one of clay, so low and narrow that it seemed more like a tomb than a lodging for a young man. He learned all of Holy Scripture by heart and repeated it with admirable devotion. When thieves approached him one day he told them he did not fear them, because he had nothing to lose, and death did not alarm him since he was ready to die. They were so touched by his answers they promised him to abandon their life of pillage.

He soon began to work miracles by his prayers, and visitors made their way to his former solitude. Several remained nearby to become his disciples, and thus gave rise to the monastic life in Palestine, of which Hilarion is regarded as the founder. Saint Anthony esteemed him highly, sometimes wrote him letters, and sent to him the sick persons who came to him from Syria, telling them they had no need to make so long a journey. Saint Hilarion was a master exorcist and healer of all illnesses, but he refused all remuneration for his assistance, saying to his visitors from the city that they were better placed than he to distribute in alms the money they were offering him. Frequently the scattered solitaries of Palestine came to him to listen to his instructions, and he also visited them. The pagans too gathered around him. His exhortations to abandon idolatry were so powerful that on one occasion a group of Saracens promised to convert, asking him to send them a priest to baptize them and establish a church. One day, accompanied by three thousand persons who were following him, he blessed the vine of a solitary who received him. The vine furnished a triple harvest and all in the crowd were well nourished.

Saint Hilarion found his solitude transformed into a city, and decided at the age of sixty-five to go elsewhere. His Palestinian disciples attempted to change his mind without success, and taking with him only forty monks, he set out for Egypt on foot. Saint Anthony had recently died, and he wished to visit the places where he had dwelt. After spending some time in Egypt, he went with only two religious to a village a few days' distance from Babylon. He remained only a short time there also, afterwards going elsewhere, and everywhere assisting those who had recourse to his prayers. In Sicily he delivered a demoniac, and then a crowd came to surround him once again. In Dalmatia he worked still more miracles, and saved a city from being engulfed by tidal waves raised by an earthquake. These traditions are still alive in the regions where he passed. He tried many times to live unknown but never could succeed.

Saint Hilarion died in 372 on the island of Cyprus, at the age of seventy years. His last words were: "Go forth, my soul; why dost thou doubt? Nigh seventy years hast thou served God, and dost thou fear death?" His body was found incorrupt some time afterwards, and was transported to Palestine to his original monastery. Saint Jerome was his original biographer.


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Tuesday, October 22, 2019
: Feria
Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Wednesday, October 23, 2019
: Feria
Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Thursday, October 24, 2019
: St. Raphael the Archangel
Thursday, October 24, 2019

SAINT RAPHAEL the ARCHANGEL

This holy Archangel identified himself to the exiled Jew Tobias as "one of the Seven who stand before God" (Tob. 12:15). His name means the healing of God, and he is thought to be the Angel who came down and agitated the water of the pool of Bethsaida in Jerusalem. The sick, who always lay around the pool, strove to be the first to enter the water afterwards, because that fortunate one was always cured. We read of this in the story of the paralytic cured by Jesus, who had waited patiently for thirty-eight years, unable to move when the occasion presented itself. (Cf. John 5:1-9)

Saint Raphael is best known through the beautiful history of the two Tobias, father and son, exiled to Persia in the days of the Assyrian conquest in the eighth century before Christ. In their story, the Archangel plays the major role.

The father Tobias was a faithful son of Jacob and was old and worn out by his manifold good works; for many years he had assisted his fellow exiles in every possible way, even burying the slain of Israel during a persecution by Sennacherib, and continuing this practice despite the wrath that king manifested towards him. Having been stripped of all his possessions, he desired to have his son recover a substantial sum of money he had once lent to a member of his family in a distant city. He needed a companion for the young Tobias. God provided that guide in the Archangel Raphael, whom the son met providentially one day, in the person of a stranger from the very area where he was to go, in the country of the Medes. Raphael to all appearances was a young man like himself, who said his name was Azarias (Assistance of God). Everything went well, as proposed; the young Tobias recovered the sum and then was married, during their stay in Media, to the virtuous daughter of another relative, whom Providence had reserved for him.

All aspects of this journey had been thorny with difficulties, but the wise guide had found a way to overcome all of them. When a huge fish threatened to devour Tobias, camped on the shores of the Tigris, the guide told him how to remove it from the water, and the fish expired at his feet; then remedies and provisions were derived from this creature by the directives of Azarias. When the Angel led Tobias for lodging in the city of Rages, to the house of his kinsman Raguel, father of the beautiful Sara, the young man learned that seven proposed husbands had died on the very day of the planned marriage. How would Tobias fare? The Angel reassured him that this would not be his own fate, and told him to pray with his future spouse for three nights, that they might be blessed with a holy posterity. Sara was an only daughter, as Tobias was an only son, and she was endowed with a large heritage.

During the absence of the young Tobias, his father had become blind when the droppings of a pigeon had fallen into his eyes. When the two travelers returned after an extended absence, which had cost his mother many tears, the young Tobias was deeply grieved to find his father unable to see him and his new daughter-in-law. But Raphael told the son how to cure his father's blindness by means of the gall of the fish; and after the remedy had proved efficacious, all of them rejoiced time in their blessings.

When Tobias the son narrated his story and told his father that all their benefits had come to them through this stranger, both father and son wished to give Azarias half of the inheritance. Raphael declined and revealed his identity, saying he was sent to assist the family of the man who had never failed to obey and honor the blessed God of Israel. Raphael, before he disappeared, said to the family: "It is honorable to reveal and confess the works of God. Prayer is good, with fasting and alms, more than to lay up treasures, for alms deliver from death and purge away sins, and cause the giver to find mercy and life everlasting... When thou didst pray with tears and didst bury the dead, and didst leave thy dinner to hide the dead by day in thy house, and bury them by night, I offered thy prayer to the Lord. And because thou wast acceptable to God, it was necessary that trials prove thee... I am the Angel Raphael, one of the seven who stand before the Lord."


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Friday, October 25, 2019
: Sts. Chrysanthus & Daria, MM
Friday, October 25, 2019

SAINT CHRYSANTHUS and SAINT DARIA
Martyrs
(284)

Chrysanthus was the son of a Roman senator, born in Egypt. While still young he went with his father to Rome, where his superior intelligence was quickly appreciated. Convinced of the vanity of idol-worship, he undertook every means at his disposition to learn the truth and deliver his soul from the doubts afflicting him. An elderly gentlemen was pointed out to him as a sage, and Chrysanthus went to him with his questions. The old man, who was a Christian, had no difficulty in opening the eyes of the young neophyte; Chrysanthus instantly embraced the truth with ardor and became an apostle.

His father, at first astonished, became irritated and decided to bring his son back from what he called his superstitions and errors. No means were effectual for this purpose. Thus, influenced by his associates, the father locked him in his palace and sent a courtesan to seduce his purity.

When the first one did not succeed, others were commissioned for the infamous task, and finally a vestal virgin, priestess of an idol regarded as the empire's bulwark, attempted every artifice to corrupt the young Christian. Instead, she herself became the conquest of grace. The two Christians saw themselves united by the bonds of faith, hope and charity, and determined to add to these holy chains those of a virginal marriage. This decision brought about liberty for Chrysanthus and gave him the means to continue his preaching of Christ. Many conversions among the officers of the Roman society with which he was already familiar, were the fruit of the apostolate of the young spouses, including that of the tribune Claudius, with his household and seventy soldiers.

But complaints began to be addressed to the prefect of Rome, who arrested the young couple. After enduring torments, Chrysanthus was shut up in the Mamertine prison, and Daria was sent to a house of ill fame. But the Lord watched over both of them as He had done over many others, and they surmounted their trials, intact and pure. To be done with them, the irritated emperor had them buried alive. It appears this torment was chosen in order to inflict on Daria the death reserved for unfaithful vestals. The principal relics of Chrysanthus and Daria are in the Abbey of Saint Avold in the diocese of Metz.


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: Abstinence
Friday, October 25, 2019

Saturday, October 26, 2019
: St. Evaristius, PM
Saturday, October 26, 2019

SAINT EVARISTUS
Pope and martyr
(108)

Saint Evaristus succeeded Saint Anacletus on the throne of Saint Peter, elected during the second general persecution, under the reign of Domitian. That emperor no doubt did not know that the Christian pontificate was being perpetuated in the shadows of the catacombs. The text of the Liber Pontificalis, says of the new pope:

"Evaristus, born in Greece of a Jewish father named Juda, originally from the city of Bethlehem, reigned for thirteen years, six months and two days, under the reigns of Domitian, Nerva and Trajan, from the Consulate of Valens and Veter (96) until that of Gallus and Bradua (108). This pontiff divided among the priests the titles of the city of Rome. By a constitution he established seven deacons who were to assist the bishop and serve as authentic witnesses for him. During the three ordinations which he conducted in the month of December, he promoted six priests, two deacons and five bishops, destined for various churches. Evaristus received the crown of martyrdom. He was buried near the body of Blessed Peter in the Vatican, on the sixth day of the Calends of November (October 25, 108). The episcopal throne remained vacant for nineteen days."

The Bollandists explain two passages of this text as follows: Saint Anacletus had ordained twenty-five priests for the city of Rome; Saint Evaristus completed this institution by settling the boundaries of each of these titles, and filling the vacancies which probably occurred during the persecution of Diocletian. As for the decree by which he ordains that seven deacons make up the cortege of the bishop, we find in the first epistle of Saint Anacletus a text which helps us to grasp and better perceive the discipline of the early Church. There existed amid the diverse elements which composed it in its first years, proud minds, envious souls, ambitious hearts which could not bear the yoke of obedience, and who by their revolts and incessant detraction fatigued the patience of the Apostles. The deacons were to be the Pope's guards against their ill-intentioned projects.

It was at the same time as Saint Ignatius, the illustrious bishop of Antioch, that Pope Saint Evaristus gave his life by martyrdom. The acts of his martyrdom are lost, but we perceive that the same faith, heroism and devotion united the churches of the East and of the West. He is often represented with a sword because he was decapitated, or with a crib, because it is believed that he was born in Bethlehem, from which his father migrated.

Reflection: The disciples of the apostles, by assiduous meditation on heavenly things, were so rapt by foreshadowings of the life to come, that they seemed no longer to inhabit this world. If Christians esteem and set their hearts on earthly goods and lose sight of eternity, they are no longer animated by the spirit of the primitive Saints and have become children of this world, slaves to its vanities and to their own irregular passions. If we do not correct this disorder of our heart and conform our interior life, with its decisions and propensities, to the spirit of Christ, we cannot be heirs to His promises.


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Sunday, October 27, 2019
Sunday, October 27, 2019

: Christ the King
Sunday, October 27, 2019

CHRIST THE KING
(Last Sunday of October)


Pope Pius XI, in instituting the feast of the Kingship of Christ, desired to make solemn proclamation of the social dominion of our Lord Jesus Christ over the world. Christ, the King of souls and consciences, of intellects and will, is also the King of families and cities, peoples and nations. He is King of the whole universe. As Pius XI showed in his Encyclical Quas Primas of December 11, 1925, secularism is the direct denial of this Kingship of Christ. By organizing social life as if God did not exist it leads to the apostasy of the masses and the ruin of society.


The whole of today's Mass and Office are a solemn assertion of the universal royalty of Christ against the great heresy of our days which is secularism. Occurring as it does on the last Sunday of October, towards the end of the liturgical year and just before the feast of All Saints, the feast of the Kingship of Christ appears as the crowing glory of all the mysteries of the life of Christ and as an anticipation in time, of the external royalty which He exercises over all the elect in the glory of heaven. The great reality of Christianity is the Risen Christ reigning in all the glory of His victory among the elect, who are the fruits of his triumph.


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Monday, October 28, 2019
: Vigil of Sts. Simon & Jude, App
Monday, October 28, 2019

Tuesday, October 29, 2019
: Sts. Simon & Jude, App
Tuesday, October 29, 2019

SAINTS SIMON and JUDE
Apostles and Martyrs
( First Century)

Simon was a simple Galilean, a brother of Jesus, as the ancients called one's close relatives - aunts, uncles, first cousins; he was one of the Saviour's four first cousins, with James the Less, Jude and Joseph, all sons of Mary, the wife of Alpheus, or Cleophas, either name being a derivative of the Aramaic Chalphai. The latter was the brother of Saint Joseph, according to tradition. All the sons of this family were raised at Nazareth near the Holy Family. (See the Gospel of Saint Matthew 13:53-58.) Simon, Jude and James were called by Our Lord to be Apostles, pillars of His Church, and Joseph the Just was His loyal disciple.

Saint Simon the Zealot or the Zealous, was the name this Apostle bore among the twelve. He preached in Egypt, Mauritania (Spain), and Lybia, leaving behind him the fertile hills of Galilee, where he had been engaged in the healthful cultivation of the vineyards and olive gardens. He later rejoined his brother, Saint Jude, in Persia, where they labored and died together. At first they were respected by the king, for they had manifested power over two ferocious tigers who had terrorized the land. With the king, sixty thousand Persians became Christians, and churches rose over the ruins of the idolatrous temples.

But the ancient enemy, who never sleeps, rose up, and when the two went elsewhere the pagans commanded them to sacrifice to the sun. Both Apostles, just before that time, had seen Our Lord amid His Angels. Simon said to Jude, "One of the Angels said to me, I will take you out of the temple and bring the building down upon their heads. I answered him, Let it not be so; perhaps some of them will be converted." They prayed for mercy for the people and offered their lives to God. Saint Simon told the crowd that their gods were only demons, and ordered them to come out of the statues, which they did, revealing themselves under hideous forms. But the idolaters fell on the Apostles and massacred them, while they blessed God and prayed for their murderers.

Saint Jude has left us a short but powerful epistle, written after the death of his brother James, bishop of Jerusalem, and addressed to the new Christians being tempted by false brethren and heretics.

Reflection: Zeal is an ardent love which makes a man fearless in defense of God's honor, and earnest to make known the truth at all costs. If we desire to be children of the Saints, we must be zealous for the Faith.


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Wednesday, October 30, 2019
: Feria
Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Thursday, October 31, 2019
: Vigil of All Saints
Thursday, October 31, 2019

: Fast
Thursday, October 31, 2019

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