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Updated: 5 years 47 weeks ago

St. Lawrence

Wed, 08/10/2011 - 00:00

St. Lawrence was a third-century deacon and martyr in the Church of Rome. Nothing is known of his early life; as a young man, his honesty and faith prompted Pope St. Sixtus II to place him in charge of distributing Church funds to the poor.

During the persecution ordered by the Emperor Valerian in the year 257, Pope Sixtus and several other Christians were arrested and put to death. [The feast of St. Sixtus and his companions is celebrated on August 7.]

Knowing that he himself would soon suffer the same fate, Lawrence gathered together all the Church’s money and gave it away to the poor; he even sold the sacred liturgical vessels to increase the sum. Hearing of this, the prefect (a public official, equivalent to a mayor) of Rome imagined the Christians possessed a vast treasure, and he demanded Lawrence turn it over to him. The deacon agreed, asking only for three days to gather it together; he then assembled a large number of the poor, the sick, and widows and orphans. When the prefect arrived, Lawrence stated, “Here is the Church’s treasure.” The angry official then ordered Lawrence’s immediate execution.

Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

Tue, 08/09/2011 - 00:00

Edith Stein was born in Breslau, Germany, (now Wroclaw, Poland) on 12 October 1891, the youngest of eleven children of a devout Jewish family. She died in the Auschwitz gas chamber on 9 August 1942, having been sent to the death camp when she refused to deny her Jewish heritage.

In 1916 she completed her doctoral dissertation in philosophy at the University of Gottingen, under the mentorship of the famed founder of phenomenology, Edmund Husserl. On January 1, 1922, Edith Stein was baptized Catholic, taking the name Teresa.

On 14 October 1933, at age 42, Edith Stein entered the Carmelite Convent in Cologne and took the religious name, Teresa Benedicta a Cruce — Teresa, Blessed of the Cross — reflecting her special devotion to the Passion of Christ, Teresa of Avila, and John of the Cross.

In 1933, she sought help from the Vatican for her Jewish community. Her life and writings focused on the mystery of joy in suffering, of victory in failure, and of dying and rising with Christ.

In July of 1942, Sister Teresa, along with her sister Rosa, were sent to the concentration camp at Theresianstadt, Germany, where she died in the gas chambers of Auschwitz on 9 August 1942 and was proclaimed a saint on 11 October 1998 by Pope John Paul II:

For the honor of the Blessed Trinity, the exaltation of the Catholic faith and the fostering of the Christian life, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and our own, after due deliberation and frequent prayers for the divine assistance, and having sought the counsel of our brother bishops, we declare and define that Bl. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Edith Stein, is a saint and we enroll her among the saints, decreeing that she is to be venerated in the whole Church as one of the saints. In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Other Saints We Remember Today

Vigil of St. Lawrence

St. Romanus (258), Martyr, Roman soldier converted by St. Lawrence

St. Marcellinus, Priest, and St. Peter, Exorcist (304), Martyrs

St. Dominic

Mon, 08/08/2011 - 00:00

The founder of the Dominican Order, St. Dominic (1170-1221), was born in Spain, where he was well educated in preparation for the priesthood. Dominic was ordained in 1206, and when his bishop, Diego, was appointed a papal emissary to the Albigensians, Dominic was chosen to accompany him. The Albigensians were a heretical group in southern France who believed that all created matter is evil; they rejected Church teachings and lived simple, ascetical lives. Their lifestyle won them the sympathy of the common people, and the Church’s efforts to counteract their influence had previously been unsuccessful.

Bishop Diego and Dominic took a new approach; they prepared carefully for their debates with Albigensians, and themselves lived very simply. Upon Diego’s death, Dominic became the leader of an effort to convert the heretics through preaching, even though the Church had previously relied on the exercise of military force by the authorities to overcome the Albigensians.

In 1215 Dominic organized the Order of Preachers: a religious body of men living a simple lifestyle and dedicated to combating heresy by preaching a message of love and forgiveness. The Order was approved by Rome in 1216, several years after the establishment of the Franciscans. (St. Dominic and St. Francis of Assisi are closely united in a number of legends, and their Orders have often cooperated closely.) St. Dominic continued traveling, preaching, and working to strengthen his Order until his death in 1221.

Other Saints We Remember Today

St. John Vianney (the Cure of Ars) (1859), Priest, Patron of parish priests

Sts. Cyriacus, Deacon, Patron against eye diseases, Largus & Smaragdus (4th Century)

The Fourteen Holy Helpers

St. Sixtus II and Companions (Martyrs)

Sun, 08/07/2011 - 00:00

Many early Christians were martyred by the Roman Empire, including the third-century Pope St. Sixtus and several other members of the Church of Rome. Sixtus was elected Bishop of Rome (Pope) in 257; that same year the Emperor Valerian issued a decree forbidding Christians to hold assemblies (thereby making it impossible for them to celebrate Mass legally).

Twelve months after his election, Sixtus was arrested while addressing a gathering of Christians in a cemetery outside Rome (for the early Church could not yet legally possess its own buildings). Four deacons were also arrested, including St. Lawrence (August 10).

Sixtus and his companions were put to death by the sword; Roman Christians buried him in the nearby cemetery of St. Callistus (named after another Bishop of Rome who was himself martyred in 222). St. Sixtus was one of the most venerated martyrs of the early Roman Church.

Other Saints We Remember Today

St. Cajetan (1547), Priest, Founder of the Theatines

St. Donatus (362), Bishop, Martyr

Transfiguration of Our Lord

Sat, 08/06/2011 - 00:00

Jesus Christ took three of His disciples, Peter, James, and John, up on a mountain, where Moses and Elijah appeared and Jesus was transfigured before them; His face and clothes becoming white and shining as light, and a voice came out of heaven saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; listen to Him” (Mk 9:2-13; Mt 17:1-13; Lk 9:28-36).

On August 6th, the Church celebrates the Transfiguration of the Lord as a major feast day. The Transfiguration is a theophany — a manifestation of God — showing Christ’s divinity through the display of His uncreated, divine light. This dates back to before 1000 A.D. in the Eastern Catholic Church.

It was not widely accepted in the Western Church until 1457 when Callistus III instituted it in remembrance of the victory gained over the Turks at Belgrade on July 22, 1456. News of the declaration reached Rome on August 6th, and the date of the Feast of the Transfiguration was set as a thanks offering.

Other Saints We Remember Today

Sts. Sixtus II, Pope, Felicissimus & Agapitus (258), Martyrs

Dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary Major

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 00:00

Dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary Major (Our Lady of the Snows), Rome in 435 on the Esquiline Hill.

Today the Church celebrates the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary Major. The Basilica is the first church in Rome dedicated to Mary the Mother of God. Founded by Pope Liberius in the 4th century, it was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin by Pope St. Sixtus III around 435.

It is also called Santa Maria ad Nives (St. Mary of the Snow) because a miraculous snow fell upon the area in summer in the exact outline of the building. Around the same time, a patrician named John had a vision of the Virgin requesting the building of the church, and he donated the money to build it.

The Holy Manger of Bethlehem is on display in a large subterranean chapel in the church. Saints Jerome and Paula devoutly touched this presumed relic when it was still in Bethlehem.

Lessons

1. The month of August is dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Today is a special day to honor Mary the Mother of God. Pray that she will intercede for your intentions and those of your loved ones.

2. Pray a prayer of consecration, or dedication, to Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. As in her Magnificat, she refers all to the Lord. Ask her to hold you in her Heart in union with the Heart of her Son, her and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Other Saints We Remember Today

St. Emygdius (304) Bishop, Martyr, invoked against earthquakes

St. John Vianney (the Cure of Ars)

Thu, 08/04/2011 - 00:00

St. John Mary Vianney (1786-1859), the patron saint of parish priests, was the son of a French farmer. As a boy, he desired to be a priest, but it seemed this would be prevented by academic difficulties; however, John overcame this obstacle with the help of a tutor. He was considered a devout but otherwise unpromising candidate for the priesthood. After being ordained, he was assigned to the small town of Ars, many of whose residents were indifferent to the faith.

The Curé d’Ars (Vianney’s title as pastor) immediately began enduring severe fasts, many sleepless nights, and other hardships as a form of prayer for his people. He became known as a simple but effective preacher, and stories of miraculous events and powers began to circulate regarding him; Ars and the surrounding countryside soon experienced a great spiritual revival. (Not everyone appreciated him. Several women had him say Mass for a “special intention” for some fourteen years. Their unmentioned intention was that he be transferred to a different parish.)

John Vianney was best known as a confessor. Many times he spent up to sixteen hours a day in the confessional, and he had the supernatural gift of knowing exactly what to say to penitents, reminding them of sins they had forgotten or were afraid to confess. Thousands of people from all over France flocked to his church, arousing the envy and opposition of some of the neighboring priests.

It’s said that the devil himself would often torment Vianney at night, sometimes physically beating him, but the saint would not give up his efforts to save souls. Eventually the Curé began to wear out from his rigorous lifestyle. Three times he tried to leave Ars for the solitude and peace of a monastery, but the people wouldn’t allow it. St. John Vianney remained at the parish until his death in 1859.

Other Saints We Remember Today

St. Dominic (1221), Priest, Founder of the Dominican Order

St. Lydia

Wed, 08/03/2011 - 00:00

Saint Lydia was born in Thyatira, a town famous for its dye works. She was a seller of purple dye and was St. Paul’s first convert at Philippi. The following is from the Acts of the Apostles:

And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, one that worshipped God, did hear: whose heart the Lord opened to attend to those things which were said by Paul. And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying: If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us. – Acts 16:14-15

She and her entire household were baptized, which probably included young children. Thereafter, Paul made his home with her while in Philippi.

St. Eusebius of Vericelli

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 00:00

The fourth-century bishop Eusebius of Vercelli (ca. 283-371) was born in Sardinia and raised in Rome; he served as a priest there for some years, and was appointed Bishop of Vercelli, a town in northern Italy, in 340. Eusebius devoted himself to the care of the people; he was especially concerned with improving the sanctity and brotherhood of the clergy, so that they might provide the laity with a good example. He was a leader in the fight against the heresy of Arianism, which wrongly denied the divinity of Jesus. The pope sent Eusebius to the emperor to ask for a council which would end the Arian controversy; however, as Eusebius had feared, the Arians gained the upper hand, and with the emperor’s support they rejected Eusebius’s demand that the Nicene Creed be accepted as a statement of Church teaching.

Because of his opposition to Arianism, Eusebius was sent into exile for six years, spending time in Palestine, Asia Minor, and Egypt, and suffering much abuse from the local Arians. Upon the election of a new emperor in 361, Eusebius was released and allowed to return to Vercelli. He worked closely with St. Athanasius of Egypt and St. Hilary of Poitiers to reduce the influence of Arianism, and he approved the Church’s policy of leniency toward those bishops who had wavered in their support of the faith. St. Eusebius’s final years were peaceful, and he died after a long period of service marked by a courageous defense of the teachings of the Church.

Other Saints We Remember Today

St. Peter Julian Eymard (1868), Priest, Founder of Servants of the Blessed Sacrament

St. Alphonsus Liguori (1787), Bishop, Doctor, Patron of confessors, moral theologians

St. Stephen I (257), Pope, Martyr

Our Lady of the Angels

St. Alphonsus Liguori

Mon, 08/01/2011 - 00:00

St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) was a rising young lawyer in Naples, but losing an important case prompted him to forsake the law and to become a priest instead. Alphonsus soon gained a reputation as a great preacher (though he later claimed that all his sermons could be understood by even the simplest person in the congregation). Alphonsus founded a congregation of priests known as the Redemptorists, a group of missionaries intended especially for work in rural areas. In 1748 he published a famous work on moral theology (a subject on which he is considered a master); he also wrote many other works intended to foster Christian faith.

In 1762, Alphonsus was appointed bishop of a small Italian diocese where he insisted upon simple preaching and a dignified and unhurried celebration of the Eucharist by his priests. Difficulties within his diocese and religious order caused him great suffering and disappointment, but he remained faithful to God and died peacefully in 1787. St. Alphonsus was especially known for his belief that sinners should be treated with patience and moderation, instead of being threatened or condemned.

Other Saints We Remember Today

7 Holy Macabees (150 B.C.), Martyrs

St. Peter in Chains (6th Century)

Sts. Faith, Hope, and Charity (2nd Century), Martyrs

St. Ignatius of Loyola

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 00:00

One of the greatest figures of the sixteenth century, St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) was born in Spain and served as a soldier as a young man. During a long recovery from a wound suffered in battle, he began reading the Lives of the Saints as a way of combating boredom. Deeply moved by what he read, he underwent a profound spiritual conversion, and decided to devote his life to the service of God. After a year of seclusion, Ignatius went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem; he then spent ten years studying, beginning with Latin grammar among the schoolboys of Barcelona (a humbling experience) and concluding with a Master of Arts degree from the University of Paris.

While in Paris, he became the leader of a group of seven students (one of whom became known as St. Francis Xavier); this group eventually journeyed to Rome and offered its services to the pope. Ignatius (at the age of forty-seven) and some of the others were ordained priests, and spent their time on various assignments from the Holy Father. In 1540 Ignatius’ group was officially established as the Society of Jesus. In addition to the regular vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, the Jesuits (as they were commonly known) made a special vow of obedience to the pope.

Ignatius spent the remaining sixteen years of his life in Rome, where he established a constitution for his Order and directed its activities and growth throughout Europe. Beginning under his leadership, the Society of Jesus became one of the leading forces of Church renewal and resurgence during the Catholic Reformation. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises (a guide for retreat masters and retreatants) are still in use today, and he can rightly be considered one of the greatest spiritual geniuses in the Church’s history.

St. Peter Chrysologus

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 00:00

St. Peter Chrysologus (ca. 406-450) was a fifth-century bishop and teacher; he was given the nickname “Chrysologus” (“golden speech”) because of his eloquence, but aside from a collection of homilies, none of his writings have survived. At a young age, Peter was appointed bishop of the city of Ravenna in Italy, where he worked tirelessly to overcome Church abuses and religious controversies. Eutyches, a heretical bishop who had been deposed for denying the humanity of Christ, sought assistance from a number of other bishops, including Peter.

The saint instead upheld the Church’s official teaching and the authority of the pope, and urged Eutyches to reconcile himself with the Church. Peter devoted himself to his writings and to instructing his people through his sermons, which were short, simple, and designed to relate the teachings of the gospel to daily life. St. Peter Chrysologus died around 450, and in 1729 he was declared a Doctor (an eminent and reliable teacher) of the Church.

Other Saints We Remember Today

Sts. Abdon and Sennen (303), Martyrs under the persecution of Diocletian

St. Martha

Fri, 07/29/2011 - 00:00

Martha, Mary, and Lazarus were numbered among Jesus’ closest friends. Martha and her family lived in Bethany, a small town outside Jerusalem, and Jesus and the Apostles often visited their home. One legend states that Lazarus was very wealthy and influential, and that he and his sisters provided considerable practical and financial support to the early Church, especially after Jesus’ return to Heaven. (Indeed, the legend states that the house in which the Last Supper was held actually belonged to Lazarus.)

Martha is well known because of Jesus’ gentle reprimand to her when she complained that her sister had left her to do the household tasks by herself: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her” (Lk 10:41-42).

In effect, Jesus was inviting her to discover what her sister had already learned: hearing the Word of God, and living it, is more important than any earthly consideration. Martha truly learned this lesson, for when her brother Lazarus died, in spite of her grief, she made a great profession of faith: “I have come to believe that You are the Messiah, the Son of God, the One Who is coming into the world” (Jn 11:27). Jesus then raised Lazarus to life, even as His own death was approaching. Because of her ministry to Christ (described in Luke 10:38-42), St. Martha is considered a patroness of homemakers and those actively engaged in the service of the needy.

Other Saints We Remember Today

Sts. Felix (365), Pope, Simplicitus, Faustinue, and Beatrice (304), Martyrs

St. Samson (Bishop of Dol)

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 00:00

St. Samson was born in Wales around the year 485 and is considered one of the greatest missionaries to come from the British Isles. At the age of seven, his parents dedicated him to the service of God in gratitude for his birth after a long period of childlessness. He was enrolled under St. Illtud at his monastery at Llanwit, Glamorgan; when he reached manhood Samson was ordained deacon and priest by Illtud himself. This caused considerable envy among a number of the monks, and two nephews of Illtud attempted to murder Samson, who therefore left the community to live as a hermit on the island of Caldey off the coast of Pembrokeshire.

Samson’s father Amon and his uncle Umbrafel joined him on the island after Amon had recovered from a serious illness, having received the last rites from his son. When the Abbot Piro died, Samson succeeded him, but resigned after a trip to Ireland and resumed his eremitical life in Wales with his father and two others.

After a time, Samson went to Cornwall where he was consecrated bishop as well as abbot of St. Dubricius Monastery. He then traveled throughout Cornwall, working as a missionary, founding monasteries and churches, and gathering many followers for Christ. He crossed the Channel to continue his missionary activities in Brittany. There he was given some land on which to build a monastery; this site in time became the town of Dol, which became the spiritual center of Brittany.

Sensing that the end of his earthly life was near, Samson undertook a journey throughout the whole region of Neustria, moving slowly from parish to parish, often stopping to preach or to celebrate the Divine Office. His missionary activities throughout Britain and Brittany ended only with his death around the year 565.

During his life and after his death many miracles were attributed to St. Samson. Some of his relics, including an arm and a crosier, were acquired in the 10th century by King Athelstan of Wessex for his monastery at Milton Abbas in Dorset, which is why St. Samson’s feast is kept in many places in England. St. Samson’s name is still greatly revered throughout Brittany and Wales.

Other Saints We Remember Today

Sts. Nazarius & Celsus (68), Martyrs, Sts. Victor I (198), Pope and Martyr, and Innocent I (417), Pope

Saints Natalia, Aurelius, Liliosa, Felix, and George, Martyrs

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 00:00

At the beginning of the Moslem rule in Cordova, Spain, during the 8th century, Christians were allowed to practice their Faith; later, however, when the domination became complete, the Mohammedan leaders began a systematic persecution of the Christians. One of the most prominent martyrs of the day was the Archbishop of Toledo, St. Eulogius, who also wrote a Memorial of the martyrs who suffered before him, among whom were those we honor today.

Natalia was a converted Moslem and her husband Aurelius was the son of an Arab and a Spanish woman. They conformed to Moslem customs outwardly but practiced their Christian faith in secret. One day Aurelius happened to see a Christian patiently enduring the scorn of the populace and the fierce blows of the whip for having publicly confessed his faith. This worked a dramatic change in Aurelius: from that moment on, he and his wife began to live their Christian faith openly. After setting aside enough money to take care of their daughter’s future, they distributed the rest of their possessions to the poor, and gave themselves over to penance and devotion.

Their example proved to be an inspiration for a relative of Aurelius named Felix, who had apostatized from the Church, and his wife Liliosa who had been practicing her faith in secret. Now, Felix returned to the Church and both gave up all pretense of dissembling. All four began to visit and minister to the Christians who were in prison.

It did not take long before all four of these dedicated servants of God were arrested and themselves thrown into prison. Also arrested with them was a beggar named George, who belonged to the monastery of St. Sabas in Jerusalem and had toured Egypt and Europe in search of alms for his house. Since he could not be accused of the same crime as the others “apostasy from the Moslem faith.” George in order to obtain martyrdom insulted Mohammed to the Cadi’s face. Thus, when the first four were condemned to death by beheading, George was also included. On July 27, 852, these saintly followers of Christ achieved the martyrdom they so avidly sought.

Lessons

1. The most important thing a husband or wife can do for their spouse is to help them achieve salvation. These two couples understood that Christ and His Church had to come first in their lives, even though they knew full well that open profession of their faith would ultimately cost them their earthly lives. The heavenly crown they won for themselves far surpasses any suffering they had to endure on earth. So too may we all remember the glory that awaits us when we find ourselves in the midst of trials and persecution.

2. The monk George openly sought martyrdom — not something that most people would do. Natalia, Aurelius, Felix, and Liliosa tried to live in a Moslem society while remaining undercover Christians, but they finally realized that they could hide their faith in Christ no longer. If we ever find ourselves in the position where it would be more expedient to hide our faith, may we pray for the courage to profess it openly and face the consequences with courage and conviction. Our Lord tells us, “Everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven” (Mt 10:32-33).

Other Saints We Remember Today

St. Pantaleon (305), Martyr; invoked against lung disease, for doctors and the medical profession

St. Celestine I (432), Pope

Saints Joachim and Anne (Parents of Mary)

Tue, 07/26/2011 - 00:00

The Gospels of Matthew and Luke trace Jesus’ genealogy, but neither of them mention the Virgin Mary’s parents by name, nor is there any reference to them elsewhere in the New Testament. A second-century apocryphal (unofficial) writing, the Protoevangelium of James , professes to give an account of Mary’s birth, and it is the source of the names Joachim and Anne. The accuracy of this tradition can be questioned, since many early legends relied more on religious enthusiasm than on historical fact, and since this particular story seems to be deliberately modeled on the Old Testament account of the previously childless Hannah’s bearing of the future prophet Samuel (1 Sm chapter 1).

What can be said is that Mary’s parents, regardless of whether or not their names were actually Joachim and Anne, must have been God-fearing persons who provided an atmosphere which nourished Mary’s perfect love and humility. Joachim and Anne can also be considered the patron saints of grandparents; though they may have never met their grandson Jesus while on earth, they played an important, behind-the-scenes role in preparing for the coming of His Kingdom.

St. James (Apostle)

Mon, 07/25/2011 - 00:00

James, the son of Zebedee and the brother of St. John, is called St. James the Greater (so as to distinguish him from the other Apostle named James — a cousin of Jesus). Like their father, James and John were fishermen in Galilee. Soon after Jesus called Peter and Andrew (themselves fishermen and brothers) as His followers, He saw James and John mending their fishing nets; when He summoned them, they left their father Zebedee behind and became His disciples.

Though James and John deserve credit for their decisiveness in following Christ, this characteristic sometimes manifested itself as impetuousity and as a sudden temper. For instance, when a Samaritan town refused to receive Jesus, the two brothers wanted Christ to punish it by calling down fire from Heaven (Lk 9:51-56). It was perhaps for reasons such as this that Jesus gave them the title “sons of thunder.” On another occasion their mother Salome tried to ensure places of honor in Jesus’ Kingdom for her sons; this did not sit well with the other Apostles, and Jesus patiently explained that they did not know what they were asking (Mt 20:20-28). Along with Peter and John, James was a member of the inner group of Apostles; these three witnessed the raising to life of Jairus’ daughter, and also Jesus’ Transfiguration and the Agony in the Garden. After Christ’s Resurrection, St. James was one of the more visible leaders of the early Christian community in Jerusalem, and he was the first of the Apostles to be martyred. In 44 A.D. King Herod Agrippa had James killed by the sword to please the Jewish opponents of Christianity (Acts 12:1-2).

Other Saints We Remember Today

St. Christopher (250), Martyr; Patron of travelers

Saints John Boste, George Swallowell, and John Ingram, Martyrs

Sun, 07/24/2011 - 00:00

These three servants of God all died for the Faith near Durham, England, in 1594 and are known as the Durham Martyrs.

John Boste was born about 1544, educated at Queen’s College, Oxford, and became a fellow there. At the age of 22 he joined the Catholic Church with the intention of becoming a priest. In 1580 he was ordained at Rheims, France, and returned to England the next year. He ministered to the Catholics of northern England with such zeal and success that the Earl of Huntington, then Lord President of the North, wanted to capture him more than any other priest in his jurisdiction.

Eventually he was betrayed and captured near Durham. He was sent to the Tower of London where he was tortured so severely on the rack that he was crippled for the rest of his life. Sent back to Durham for trial when he could not be induced to give any incriminating information, he showed himself throughout to be “resolute, bold, joyful, and pleasant.” He induced his fellow martyr, George Swallowell, a converted Protestant minister who had recanted the Faith through fear, to repent and once again profess his Faith, giving him absolution publicly in court.

Condemned to death, we have an eyewitness account that states John Boste recited the Angelus while mounting the ladder and was executed with great brutality: he was hanged only partially and then cut down so that, standing on his feet, he could be cruelly butchered alive. A few days later, George Swallowell was martyred at Darlington.

John Ingram was another priest who was condemned at the same time at Durham. Educated at New College, Oxford, he became a Catholic and went on to Rheims and Rome where he received the priesthood in 1589. In 1592, he was sent to minister to the Catholics in Scotland. At the end of 1593, he was arrested and transported to the Tower of London. Though undergoing excruciating tortures he steadfastly refused to betray his friends, even writing letters of encouragement to his fellow prisoners. Finally, two days after the death of John Boste, he was hanged, drawn, and quartered at Gateshead for his priesthood.

Other Saints We Remember Today

St. Charbel Makhlouf (1898), Priest, hermit

Vigil of St. James the Greater (42), Apostle, Patron of Spain

St. Christina of Bolsena (307), Virgin, Martyr, Patron of millers and archers

St. Christina the Admirable or “the Astonishing” (1224), Virgin

Blessed Cunegard (1292), Virgin, Queen, Abbess, Patron of Poland and Lithuania

St. Bridget (Religious Foundress)

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 00:00

St. Bridget of Sweden (1303-1373) was a religious foundress noted for combining a life of mysticism with charitable activities in the secular world. Beginning at the age of seven, she had visions of the crucified Lord; at the age of fourteen, she was married to Ulf Godmarsson, a Swedish nobleman. They had eight children, including a daughter who was herself later canonized a saint (St. Katherine of Vadstena), and a son (Charles) who was a notorious sinner and a source of great anguish to his mother later in life.

In 1335, Bridget was appointed principal lady-in-waiting to the queen of Sweden; while at court, she tried to bring about the moral conversion of the royal family. Though not fully successful at this, the king did grant her some land and buildings to use as a monastery for women. After her husband died in 1344, Bridget devoted herself to establishing a religious order for women (the Order for the Holy Savior, or “Bridgettines”). The year 1350 was designated a “Year of Jubilee,” and Bridget decided, in spite of the Black Death which was then ravaging Europe, to make a pilgrimage to Rome. She spent the remainder of her life there, caring for the poor and sick, giving outspoken advice to popes on contemporary affairs, writing many works describing her mystical experiences, and carrying on the work of her order, in spite of opposition and financial difficulties. While on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Bridget experienced shipwreck and received news of her son’s death after a dissolute life. These events contributed to her own death, following her return to Rome in 1373. Her daughter Katherine completed her work by obtaining official approval for the Bridgettine Order from Rome.

Other Saints We Remember Today

St. Apollinaris (of Ravenna) (79), Bishop and Martyr; disciple of St. Peter

St. Liborius (4th Century), Bishop

St. Mary Magdalene

Fri, 07/22/2011 - 00:00

Our knowledge of St. Mary Magdalene, one of Christ’s most devoted followers, is based entirely on the Gospels, which portray her as a disciple of Jesus and as one of the women who followed and ministered to Him in Galilee (Luke 8:1-2). She was from Magdala, a small town on the northern edge of the Sea of Galilee. According to tradition, she may have been a prostitute; what is known is that she began following Jesus after He had cast out seven devils from her (this might indicate actual demonic possession, or perhaps refer to severe mental or psychological illness).

After her conversion, Mary Magdalene became a devoted follower of Christ. It is believed that she was the woman who anointed the Lord’s feet with costly perfume prior to His passion and death (John 12:1-8), and was present at His crucifixion. On Easter Sunday morning Mary Magdalene and two others discovered the Lord’s tomb to be empty. St. Mark’s Gospel states that it was to her that the risen Christ appeared (16:9), and St. John adds that she was given a message to deliver to the Apostles (20:11-18). Mary was not believed at first, but her persistence prompted Peter and another disciple to investigate for themselves, thus discovering the truth of the Resurrection.

The mission of St. Mary’s Parish is to proclaim and celebrate our salvation through Jesus Christ,our pilgrimage to the Father’s Kingdom enlivened by the Holy Spirit. Our Catholic faith community is nourished by our sacramental life, especially the Sunday celebration of the Eucharist. With Mother Mary as our model, we demonstrate our faith through worship, education, vocations and service.