Page 1


Saints of the Month: May


Saints of the Month: May

GO TO MARY


Saints of the Month: May Copyright © E. Phang. All Rights Reserved.


Contents Introduction ................................................................................ II Saint Joseph the Worker ....................................................... 3 Saint Athanasius of Alexandria ............................................. 5 Saint James the Lesser ......................................................... 8 Saint Florian ....................................................................... 10 Saint Judith of Prussia ........................................................ 12 Saint François de Laval ...................................................... 14 Saint Rose Venerini ............................................................ 16 Saint Victor Maurus ............................................................ 18 Blessed Karolina Gerhardinger .......................................... 20 Saint Damien of Molokai .................................................... 22 Saint Francis de Geronimo ................................................. 24 Blessed Imelda Lambertini ................................................. 25 Our Lady of Fatima ............................................................. 27 Saint Julian of Norwich ....................................................... 29 Saint Matthias .................................................................... 31 Saint Dymphna ................................................................... 33 Saint Simon Stock .............................................................. 36 Blessed Antonia Mesina ...................................................... 39 Saint Felix of Cantalice ....................................................... 41 Saint Ivo of Kermartin ........................................................ 43 Saint Bernardino of Siena .................................................. 45 Saint Eugène de Mazenod .................................................. 47 Saint Rita of Cascia ............................................................ 50 Saint William of Perth ......................................................... 52 Saint Simeon Stylites the Younger ..................................... 55 Saint Bede .......................................................................... 58 Saint Philip Neri ................................................................. 61


Saint Augustine of Canterbury ........................................... Saint Bernard of Montjoux ................................................. Saint Bona of Pisa ............................................................... Saint Joan of Arc ................................................................. Feast of the Visitation of Our Lady to Saint Elizabeth ....... Saint Petronilla ................................................................... Appendix ....................................................................................

64 66 69 71 73 76 78


Saints of the day for the month of May. For more information see www.gotomary.com

For Our Lady’s intentions

II


Saint Joseph the Worker

Image: Joseph the Carpenter, by Georges de La Tour, 1640s.

T

he 1st of May is the Optional Memorial of Saint Joseph the Worker. He is the patron saint of the Catholic Church, unborn children, fathers, immigrants, workers, employment, explorer, pilgrims, traveller, carpenters, realtors, against doubt and hesitation, and of a happy death. 3


Saints of the Month: May

He was born in Bethlehem in Judea and later lived in Nazareth. He was the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the adoptive father of Jesus. According to Scripture and Tradition, Saint Joseph was known as a virtuous man and a carpenter. Being the husband and father of the Holy Family, he needed to guard, protect and provide for the needs of the Virgin Mary and the Child Jesus. His other feast day is on March 19th. In 1955, Pope Piux XII instituted the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker to commemorate the dignity of work in the eyes of God, giving labourers a model and an intercessor and protector from heaven.

4


Saints of the Month: May

Saint Athanasius of Alexandria

Image: Icon of St Athanasius

T

he 2nd of May is the feast of Athanasius of Alexandria (c. 296–298 – 2 May 373). In Greek his name is Ἀθανάσιος Ἀλεξανδρείας and he is also known as Athanasius the Great, Athanasius the Confessor and Athanasius the Apostolic. He was the 20th bishop of Alexandria. 5


Saints of the Month: May

The following is from Butler’s Lives of the Saints: ATHANASIUS was born in Egypt towards the end of the third century, and was from his youth pious, learned, and deeply versed in the sacred writings, as befitted one whom God had chosen to be the champion and defender of His Church against the Arian heresy. Though only a deacon he was chosen by his bishop to go with him to the Council of NicÌa, in 325, and attracted the attention of all by the learning and ability with which he defended the faith. A few months later, he became Patriarch of Alexandria, and for forty-six years he bore, often well-nigh alone, the whole brunt of the Arian assault. On the refusal of the Saint to restore Arius to Catholic communion, the emperor ordered the Patriarch of Constantinople to do so. The wretched heresiarch took an oath that he had always believed as the Church believes; and the patriarch, after vainly using every effort to move the emperor, had recourse to fasting and prayer, that God Would avert from the Church the frightful sacrilege. The day came for the solemn entrance of Arius into the great church of Sancta Sophia. The heresiarch and his party set out glad and in triumph. But before he reached the church, death smote him swiftly and awfully, and the dreaded sacrilege was averted. St. Athanasius stood unmoved against four Roman emperors; was banished five times; was the butt of every insult, calumny, and wrong the Arians could devise, and lived in constant peril of death. Though firm as adamant in defence of the Faith, he was meek and humble, pleasant and winning in converse, beloved by his flock, unwearied in labors, in prayer, in mortifications, and in zeal for souls. In the year 373 his stormy life closed in peace, rather that his people would have it so than that his enemies were weary of persecuting him. He left to the Church the whole and ancient Faith, defended and explained in writings rich in thought and learning, clear, keen, and stately in expression. He is honored as one of the greatest of the Doctors of the Church. Reflection.—The Catholic Faith, says St. Augustine, is more precious far than all the riches and treasures of 6


Saints of the Month: May

earth; more glorious and greater than all its honors, all its possessions. This it is which saves sinners, gives light to the blind, restores penitents, perfects the just, and is the crown of martyrs.

7


Saints of the Month: May

Saint James the Lesser

Image: Saint James the Lesser

T

he 3rd of May is the feast day of Saint James the Lesser (d. 62.A.D.) He is also known as “the Minor”, “the Little”, “the Less”, or “the Younger.” He is the patron saint of pharmacists and the dying.

8


Saints of the Month: May

The following is from Butler’s Lives of the Saints: St. James the Less, the author of an inspired epistle, was also one of the Twelve. St. Paul tells us that he was favored by a special apparition of Christ after the Resurrection. On the dispersion of the apostles among the nations, St. James was left as Bishop of Jerusalem; and even the Jews held in such high veneration his purity, mortification, and prayer, that they named him the Just. The earliest of Church historians has handed down many traditions of St. James’s sanctity. He was always a virgin, says Hegesippus, and consecrated to God. He drank no wine, wore no sandals on his feet, and but a single garment on his body. He prostrated himself so much in prayer that the skin of his knees was hardened like a camel’s hoof. The Jews, it is said, used out of respect to touch the hem of his garment. He was indeed a living proof of his own words, “The wisdom that is from above first indeed is chaste, then peaceable, modest, full of mercy and good fruits.” He sat beside St. Peter and St. Paul at the Council of Jerusalem; and when St. Paul at a later time escaped the fury of the Jews by appealing to Cæsar, the people took vengeance on James, and crying, “The just one hath erred,” stoned him to death.

9


Saints of the Month: May

Saint Florian

Image: Saint Florian by Francesco del Cossa, 1473

T

he 4th of May is the feast day of Saint Florian (C. 250-304 A.D.) He is the patron saint of Linz, Austria; Krakรณw, Poland; chimneysweeps; firefighters; soap boilers; brewers; drowning victims; Upper Austria; and invoked against floods, fires, and battles. 10


Saints of the Month: May

Saint Florian was a commander in the Roman army that was serving in the modern day Austria. The Emperor Diocletian persecuted Christians during reign which was the same time that Saint Florian served in the army. Saint Florian was part of the firefighting brigade and a Christian in secret. He became well known for saving a town from fire by praying to God and extinguishing the fire with a single throw of a bucket of water. The Emperor was told that Saint Florian did not enforce the ban against Christianity in his territory and was put under investigation. He was then discovered to be Christian. According to one account, his Christianity was discovered after he refused to offer sacrifice to the gods. In another account, he refused to execute a group of Christians. He was then ordered to be put to death. He did not recant his Christian faith and was flayed, scourged and thrown into the river with a millstone attached to his body. His body was retrieved from the water and his relics are now in a church named after him in Krakow, Poland.

11


Saints of the Month: May

Saint Judith of Prussia

Image: Saint Judith of Prussia

T

he 5th of May is the feast day of Saint Judith of Prussia (ca. 1200 – 1260). She is also known as Jutta of Kulmsee, Jutta of Sangerhausen or Jutta of Thuringia. She is the patron saint of Prussia.

12


Saints of the Month: May

She lived in the 13th Century and was born to a wealthy family in Thuringia (now Germany). She wanted to model her life after Saint Elizabeth of Hungary who lived in the previous century. At 15 years old she was married to a man of equal rank and they raised a family. Though they had great wealth, Saint Jutta decided to live in a simple way and share their wealth with the poor. Her husband didn’t agree but eventually gave in and was won over by Jutta’s humility and piety. On a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, her husband died leaving her to take care and raise the children alone. Once they were all grown, she rid herself of her expensive clothes, jewellery and other possessions and joined the Third Order of St Francis and committed herself to taking care of the poor and ill, even though she was mocked for this due to her high rank in society. In the last years of her life, she lived as a hermitess in a simple hut in Prussia where she spent her days in prayer and penance for the conversion of the pagan Prussians. After she died, many miracles attributed to her occurred at her grave.

13


Saints of the Month: May

Saint François de Laval

Image: François de Laval, first bishop of New France (1659-1684). François de Laval.

T

he 6th of May is the feast day of Saint François de Laval (30 April 1623 – 6 May 1708). He is also known as Saint FrancisXavier de Montmorency-Laval, M.E.P.

14


Saints of the Month: May

Saint Francis-Xavier de Montmorency-Laval was born on 1623 to one of France’s most illustrious families and had 7 siblings. His piety was learnt from his mother, and he desired to become a priest and missionary. He was appointed by Pope Alexander VII to be the first Apostolic Vicar of New France (Canada). His territory encompasses all of Canada and the central United States. He came to Quebec in 1659 and the population was only 500 people. He supported missions, built a cathedral dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, taught devotion to Our Lady, founded a seminary and an industrial school, and began the first Catholic school in Canada. To minister his flock he travelled year-round crossing land and water in long journeys. He became Canada’s first Bishop when Quebec became a diocese. He fought the alcohol trade to Indian tribes by outlawing it within his territory and excommunicating those involved with the trade. An Iroquois chief was converted and baptised by him, and became a promoter of the Christian faith and gain converts from local tribes. He is known for his influence and holiness in life.

15


Saints of the Month: May

Saint Rose Venerini

Image: Foundress and pioneer in the education of women

T

he 7th of May is the feast day of Saint Rose Venerini (February 9, 1656 – May 7, 1728). Saint Rose Venerini lived between 1656 and 1728 and was born in Italy to a pious physician and his wife. She was one of four 16


Saints of the Month: May

children and was a gifted and smart child. She consecrated her life to God at the age of 5. At the age of 20 she had to make a decision between marriage and the cloister, and after much prayer, she decided to enter the monastery. After a few months, she had to return home due to the sudden death of her father, after which her brother and mother died as well. She gathered young women around her neighbourhood to pray the rosary. They inspired her to begin a school for instruction and human formation and became Italy’s first public school for girls. This was seen as innovative as teaching catechisms belonged to the clergy. Though there was some resistance, they saw the fruit of her work; the moral improvement of the women taught. Even the Pope attended one of her classes and praised her for her good works. She was eventually asked by governors and cardinals to open schools in their areas. She opened 40 schools across Italy dedicated to education and promotion of women and uplifting the ennobling of society. Her motto was “Educate to save.”

17


Saints of the Month: May

Saint Victor Maurus

Image: By Rielaborazione di Beatrice su foto originale di Giovanni Dall’Orto [Attribution], from Wikimedia Commons

T

he 8th of May is the feast day of Saint Victor Maurus (born 3rd century in Mauretania; died ca. 303 in Milan). He is also known as Victor the Moor and Victor of Milan. He is the patron saint of Varese, Italy; and Ceriano Laghetto, Italy. He was born in Mauretania (North Africa) in a Christian family. He later became a soldier serving the Roman Emperor Maximian. 18


Saints of the Month: May

Victor was a Christian since childhood but this was not widely known until he destroyed an altar to a pagan god. The Emperor was furious and imprisoned and starved him for six days. He then tempted him to recount his faith and offered him riches if he did, but Victor refused. The emperor also had him stretched on the rack and have molten lead poured over his body but Victor remained steadfast in his faith and declared that Roman gods were demons. Victor was beheaded on May 8th 303 AD. The Emperor refused his body to be buried and wanted the wild beasts to consume his body. However, after six days his body was discovered with two beasts protecting his body at his head and foot. The local bishops were given permission to bury the body and a church was erected over Victor’s grave where many miracles occurred.

19


Saints of the Month: May

Blessed Karolina Gerhardinger

Image: By Photo: Andreas Praefcke [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3. 0)], from Wikimedia Commons

T

he 9th of May is the feast day of Blessed Karolina Gerhardinger (20 June 1797 – 9 May 1879). She is also known as Caroline Gerhardinger or Mother Maria Theresa of Jesus. She 20


Saints of the Month: May

is the patron saint of School Sisters of Notre Dame Educators. She was born to a working-class family in Bavaria. At the age of 15, she became a certified teacher. She started a religious order, the Poor School Sisters of Notre Dame dedicated to education. This was done, however, during the time the Bavarian government was closing religious orders. The religious sisters were sent in groups of two and threes into local villages to teach the poor young girls who otherwise would not have been able to assess education. in 1828, the Vatican negotiated the reopening of Bavaria’s religious communities and the sisters moved into a convent. Blessed Karolina took the name of Mary Theresa of Jesus as she was devoted to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. When she died, her Order had grown to 2500 sisters. Pope St John Paul II beatified her in 1985.

21


Saints of the Month: May

Saint Damien of Molokai

Image: A photograph of Father Damien taken shortly before his death

T

he 10th of May is the feast day of Saint Damien Molokai (3 January 1840 – 15 April 1889). He is also known as Saint Damien De Veuster, Pater Damiaan or Heilige Damiaan van Molokai, and was born Jozef De Veuster. He is the patron saint of people with leprosy. 22


Saints of the Month: May

He was a priest from Belgium and belonged to the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. He wanted to be a missionary like Saint Francis Xavier. He was then sent as a missionary to minister in Hawaii, to replace his brother who was unable to go due to illness. The island was suffering from an epidemic of unknown diseases brought by foreigners, including leprosy. The island was quarantined as a leper colony and lepers were sent to the island in exile. The local bishop wanted a priest to minister to the 800 people on the island. However, the bishop also knew that this will be a death sentence for the priest as the disease was highly contagious. He asked the priests for volunteers and Father Damien was the first after serving in Hawaii for nine years. He began his ministry to the lepers in 1873. He built a church on the island and improved the morale and joy among the people. For 15 years he served the Kalaupapa leper colony and in 1889 he died of leprosy at the age of 49. He is known as the martyr of charity and the Apostle to the lepers. He was canonised in the Year of Priests in 2009.

23


Saints of the Month: May

Saint Francis de Geronimo

T

he 11th of May is the feast day of Saint Francis de Geronimo (17 December 1642 – 11 May 1716). He is also known as Francesco de Geronimo or Saint Francis of Girolamo. Born in Naples, Italy, he was the eldest of eleven children and was drawn to God and a life of prayer as a child. At the age of 28, he was ordained a Jesuit priest. He was known for his loud voice and eloquence, and was described as “a lamb when he talks and a lion when he preaches.” He wanted to go for missions to distant lands like his patron Saint Francis Xavier but accepted Naples as his India. He went to country towns and villages to preach in the streets. He converted prisoners of war who were Muslim to Christianity, rescued children who were in dangerous situations, and started a pawn shop for charity. He converted many sinners and was known for his holiness, zeal and as a miracle worker before and after his death. He spent 40 years in apostolic labour in Naples and died from an illness which he suffered greatly from but without complaint.

24


Saints of the Month: May

Blessed Imelda Lambertini

Image: Blessed Imelda Lambertini

T

he 12th of May is the feast day of Blessed Imelda Lambertini (1322 – May 12, 1333). She is the patron saint of First Holy Communicants. Her family was noble and devout living in Bologna Italy. She developed a love for the Holy Mass, the Eucharist and prayer as a child. Spending much time with the Dominican nuns, she requested, at the age of nine, to enter as a postulant. Though her request was accepted, she was not allowed to receive the Eucharist due to her young age. As the feast of the Ascension approached, she begged again to be able to receive the Eucharist. However, she was denied. As the other sisters received the Eucharist, a glowing host was seen suspended in the air above 25


Saints of the Month: May

Blessed Imelda. The priest took this as a sign that she should receive the Eucharist and he ministered it to her. Imelda then remained kneeling in prayer in thanksgiving and the nuns left. When they returned to fetch her she was found lifeless but in the same position. She had died of pure joy after receiving the Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Her body is incorrupt and is kept in Bologna at the Church of San Sigismondo.

26


Saints of the Month: May

Our Lady of Fatima

Image: Virgin of Fatima, in the Church of Santa Maria, Miranda de Ebro, Burgos, Spain.

T

he 13th of May is the feast day of Our Lady of Fatima.

On the 13th of May 1917, Our Lady appeared to three shepherd children while they were with their sheep in Fatima, Portugal. 27


Saints of the Month: May

The three children were Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta. They described her as “brighter than the sun, shedding rays of light clearer and stronger than a crystal goblet filled with the most sparkling water and pierced by the burning rays of the sun.” She told them she was “Our Lady of the Rosary” and taught them to recite the rosary daily, to pray for the conversion of poor sinners, to make sacrifices as penance for the reparation for sin and in honour of Her Immaculate Heart. She prophesied the World Wars, and showed them a vision of Hell, as well as warning them about the spread of ideological errors originating from Russia. She asked that Russia be consecrated to Her Immaculate Heart by the Pope in union with the world’s bishops. She appeared in Fatima every 13th day of the month from May to October that year. In the final apparition, tens of thousands of people witnessed the “Miracle of the Sun” by both believers and unbelievers.

28


Saints of the Month: May

Saint Julian of Norwich

Statue of Julian of Norwich by David Holgate, west front, Norwich Cathedral

T

he 13th of May is the feast day of Saint Julian of Norwich (c. 8 November 1342 – c. 1416). She is also known as Saint Juliana of Norwich. She was an English anchoress, mystic and theologian. She is known for writing the book Revelations of Divine Love in around 1395, which is the first book in the English language 29


Saints of the Month: May

known to have been written by a woman. She was a Benedictine nun living in recluse in Norwich, England. She was struck with an illness when she was 30 that nearly took her life. During the illness, she had visions of Jesus in sixteen separate revelations. The visions stopped when she recovered. Jesus made known the meaning of the revelations fifteen years later, she then wrote about the visions in the book Revelations of Divine Love. She became an anchoress living a solitary life in a cell built into the wall of the church of Saint Julian in Norwich which is not far from London. The Church was in schism during her life, and England was in a war with France. The book brought hope and optimism that God loves and protects with His Providence. Visitors were received in her cell and she gave them guidance in their spiritual life.

30


Saints of the Month: May

Saint Matthias

Saint Matthias

T

he 14th of May is the feast day of Saint Matthias (died c. 80 AD). He was an apostle of Jesus and is the patron saint of alcoholics; carpenters; Gary, Indiana; Great Falls-Billings, Montana; smallpox; tailors; hope; and perseverance.

31


Saints of the Month: May

The following is from Butler’s Lives of the Saints: AFTER our blessed Lord’s Ascension His disciples met together, with Mary His mother and the eleven apostles, in an upper room at Jerusalem. The little company numbered no more than one hundred and twenty souls. They were waiting for the promised coining of the Holy Ghost, and they persevered in prayer. Meanwhile there was a solemn act to be performed on the part of the Church, which could not be postponed. The place of the fallen Judas must be filled up, that the elect number of the apostles might be complete. St. Peter, therefore, as Vicar of Christ, arose to announce the divine decree. That which the Holy Ghost had spoken by the mouth of David concerning Judas, he said, must be fulfilled. Of him it had been written, “His bishopric let another take.” A choice, therefore, was to be made of one among those who had been their companions from the beginning, who could bear witness to the Resurrection of Jesus. Two were named of equal merit, Joseph called Barsabas, and Matthias. Then, after praying to God, Who knows the hearts of all men, to show which of these He had chosen, they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Matthias, who was forthwith numbered with the apostles. It is recorded of the Saint, thus wonderfully elected to so high a vocation, that he was above all remarkable for his mortification of the flesh. It was thus that he made his election sure. Reflection.—Our ignorance of many points in St. Matthias’s life serves to fix the attention all the more firmly upon these two—the occasion of his call to the apostolate, and the fact of his perseverance. We then naturally turn in thought to our own vocation and our own end.

32


Saints of the Month: May

Saint Dymphna

Image: Martyrdom of St. Dymphna and St. Gerebernus by Gerard Seghers (painted between 1603-1651)

T

he 15th of May is the feast day of Saint Dymphna (7th c.) She is also known as Dympna, Dimpna, Dymphnart, and Damnat. She is the patron saint of mental disorders, neurological disorders, runaways, victims of incest, depression, and anxiety. The following is from Catholic Encyclopedia:

33


Saints of the Month: May

Dympna (Dimpna), Saint, virgin and martyr. The earliest historical account of the veneration of St. Dymphna dates from the middle of the thirteenth century. Under Bishop Guy I of Cambrai (1238-47), Pierre, a canon of the church. of Saint Aubert at Cambrai, wrote a “Vita� of the saint, from which we learn that she had been venerated for many years in a church at Gheel (province of Antwerp, Belgium), which was devoted to her. The author expressly states that he has drawn his biography from oral tradition. According to the narrative Dymphna, the daughter of a pagan king of Ireland, became a Christian and was secretly baptized. After the death of her mother, who was of extraordinary beauty, her father desired to marry his own daughter, who was just as beautiful, but she fled with the priest Gerebernus and landed at Antwerp. Thence they went tot the village of Gheel, where there was a chapel of St. Martin, beside which they took up their abode. The messengers of her father however, discovered their whereabouts; the father betook himself thither and renewed his offer. Seeing that all was in vain, he commanded his servants to slay the priest, while he himself struck off the head of his daughter. The corpses were put in sacrophagi and entombed in a cave where they were found later. The body of St. Dymphna was buried in the church of Gheel, and the bones of St. Gerebernus were transferred to Kanten. This narrative is without any historical foundation, being merely avariation of the story of the king who wanted to marry his own daughter, a motif which appears frequently in popular legends. Hence we can conclude nothing from it as to the history of St. Dymphna and the time in which she lived. That she is identical with St. Damhnat of Ireland cannot be proved. There are at Gheel fragments of two simple ancient sarcophagi in which tradition says the bodies of Dymphna and Gerebernus were found. There is also a quadrangular brick, said to have been found in one of the sarcophagi, bearing two lines of letters read as DYMPNA. The discovery of this sarcophagus with the corpse and the brick was perhaps the origin of the veneration. In Christian art St. Dymphna is depicted with a sword in her hand and a fettered devil at her feet. Her feast is 34


Saints of the Month: May

celebrated 15 May, under which date she is also found in the Roman martyrology. From time immemorial, the saint was invoked as patroness against insanity. The Bollandists have published numerous accounts of miraculous cures, especially between 1604 and 1668. As a result, there has long been a colony for lunatics at Gheel; even now there are sometimes as many as fifteen hundred whose relatives invoke St. Dymphna for their cure. The insane are treated in a peculiar manner; it is only in the beginning that they are placed in an institution for observation; later they are given shelter in the homes of the inhabitants, take part in their agricultural labours, and are treated very kindly. They are watched without being conscious of it. The treatment produces good results. The old church of St. Dymphna in Gheel was destroyed by fire in 1489. The new church was consecrated in 1532 and is still standing. Every year on the feast of the saint and on the Tuesday after Pentecost numerous pilgrims visit her shrine. In Gheel there is also a fraternity under her name. J.P. KIRSCH

35


Saints of the Month: May

Saint Simon Stock

Image: Pietro Novelli, Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Carmelite Saints (Simon Stock (standing), Angelus of Jerusalem (kneeling), Mary Magdalene de’Pazzi, Teresa of Avila), 1641 (Museo Diocesano, Palermo.).

T

he 16th of May is the feast day of Saint Simon Stock (1165-1265). He is the patron saint of Bordeaux, France. 36


Saints of the Month: May

The following is from Butler’s Lives of the Saints: SIMON was born in the county of Kent, England, and left his home when he was but twelve years of age, to live as a hermit in the hollow trunk of a tree, whence he was known as Simon of the Stock. Here he passed twenty years in penance and prayer, and learned from Our Lady that he was to join an Order not then known in England. He waited in patience till the White Friars came, and then entered the Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. His great holiness moved his brethren in the general chapter held at Aylesford, near Rochester, in 1245, to choose him prior-general of the Order. In the many persecutions raised against the new religious, Simon went with filial confidence to the Blessed Mother of God. As he knelt in prayer in the White Friars’ convent at Cambridge, on July 16, 1251, she appeared before him and presented him with the scapular, in assurance of her protection. The devotion to the blessed habit spread quickly throughout the Christian world. Pope after Pope enriched it with indulgences, and miracles innumerable put their seal upon its efficacy. The first of them was worked at Winchester on a man dying in despair, who at once asked for the Sacraments, when the scapular was laid upon him by St. Simon Stock. In the year 1636, M. de Guge, a cornet in a cavalry regiment, was mortally wounded at the engagement of Tobin, a bullet having lodged near his heart. He was then in a state of grievous sin, but had time left him to make his confession, and with his own hands wrote his last testament. When this was done, the surgeon probed his wound, and the bullet was found to have driven his scapular into his heart. On its being withdrawn, he presently expired, making profound acts of gratitude to the Blessed Virgin, who had prolonged his life miraculously, and thus preserved him from eternal death. St. Simon Stock died at Bordeaux in 1265. Reflection.—To enjoy the privileges of the scapular, it is sufficient that it be received lawfully and worn devoutly. How, then, can any one fail to profit by a devotion so easy, so simple, and so wonderfully blessed? “He that shall 37


Saints of the Month: May

overcome, shall thus be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels� (Apoc. iii. 5).

38


Saints of the Month: May

Blessed Antonia Mesina

Blessed Antonia Mesina

T

he 17th of May is the feast day of Blessed Antonia Mesina (21 June 1919 – 17 May 1935). She is the patron saint of Nuoro, Orgosolo and rape victims.

39


Saints of the Month: May

She came from a large poor family, the second eldest of ten children who lived on the island of Sardinia in Italy. She left school to help with the family chores when her mother became bedridden. She was referred to by her mother as the “flower of my life�. Antonia joined the Young Women of Catholic Action when she was ten. She was in a forest with a friend gathering firewood on the 17th May 1935 when she was assaulted by a teenage boy who wanted to rape her. Her friend ran for help, while Antonia defended herself. The young man attacked Antonia with dozens of blows with a rock and she died. It was already too late when help arrived. She is considered a martyr of sexual purity and was declared a Blessed by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1987.

40


Saints of the Month: May

Saint Felix of Cantalice

Image: Saint Felix of Cantalice by Peter Paul Rubens\

T

he 18th of May is the feast day of Saint Felix of Cantalice (1515 – 1587). He is the patron saint of Spello. Saint Felix of Cantalice was born in Italy to pious parents. At the age of nine, he was hired out to work for a farmer which he 41


Saints of the Month: May

continued to do so for twenty years. He spent his free time in prayer and had a friend read him the lives of the saints. He joined the Capuchin Franciscans and served as the Order’s official beggar in Rome. His piety and labours he undertook had a great influence over the Roman people, even though he could not read and had no formal study. He encouraged all to live a life of greater virtue regardless if they were peasants or dignitaries. Even men who lead scandalous lives retreated from him, lest he convicts them of their sins. Saint Felix’s apostolate was among the children of the city, where he would give them religious instruction in a simple and with childlike humility. His friend and contemporary was Saint Philip Neri, who declared him to be the Church’s greatest living saint. For 42 years Saint Felix served this way, and died in 1587 at the age of 42 years old and was beatified immediately after his death. He was the first Capuchin Franciscan to be canonised. His body is kept in the church of the Immaculate Conception in Rome under an altar dedicated to him.

42


Saints of the Month: May

Saint Ivo of Kermartin

Image: Saint Ivo portrayed by Rogier van der Weyden (15th century)

T

he 19th of May is the feast day of Saint Ivo of Kermartin (17 October 1253 – 19 May 1303). He is also known as Yvo, Ives, Erwan, Iwan, Youenn, Eozenn or Yves HÊlory. He is the patron saint of Brittany, lawyers, and abandoned children.

43


Saints of the Month: May

Saint Ivo lived between 1253 and 1303 and was born to a noble family in Britanny, France. He studied civil and canon law, philosophy and theology. He practised law in both the civil and ecclesiastical courts. While he was practising, he made sure not to charge the poor when he defended them and would visit them in prison as they await trial. He would settle matters out of court to save litigants money as well as time. He was thus known as the “Advocate of the Poor.� He was a Franciscan Tertiary and wore a hairshirt and fasted regularly. He defended the rights of the Church in court, and eventually became a diocesan judge and was unable to be bribed. He then quit law and joined the priesthood, using the funds that he acquired while working to help build a hospital for the poor and fed them from the harvests of his land. Among his miracles, he was attributed with feeding hundreds from a single loaf of bread.

44


Saints of the Month: May

Saint Bernardino of Siena

Image: Saint Bernardino of Siena by Jacopo Bellini, c. 1450-55

T

he 20th of May is the feast day of Saint Bernadino of Siena (8 September 1380 – 20 May 1444). He is also known as Bernardine. He is the patron saint of advertisers; advertising; Aquila, Italy; chest problems; Italy; Diocese of San Bernardino, California; gambling addicts; public relations personnel; public relations 45


Saints of the Month: May

work; and Bernalda, Italy. The following is from Butler’s Lives of the Saints: IN 1408 St. Vincent Ferrer once suddenly interrupted his sermon to declare that there was among his hearers a young Franciscan who would be one day a greater preacher than himself, and would be set before him in honor by the Church. This unknown friar was Bernardine. Of noble birth, he had spent his youth in works of mercy, and had then entered religion. Owing to a defective utterance, his success as a preacher at first seemed doubtful, but, by the prayers of Our Lady, this obstacle was miraculously removed, and Bernardine began an apostolate which lasted thirty-eight years. By his burning words and by the power of the Holy Name of Jesus, which he displayed on a tablet at the end of his sermons, he obtained miraculous conversions, and reformed the greater part of Italy. But this success had to be exalted by the cross. The Saint was denounced as a heretic and his devotion as idolatrous. After many trials he lived to see his innocence proved, and a lasting memorial of his work established in a church. The Feast of the Holy Name commemorates at once his sufferings and his triumph. He died on Ascension Eve, 1444, while his brethren were chanting the antiphon, “Father, I have manifested Thy Name to men.” St. Bernardine, when a youth, undertook the charge of a holy old woman, a relation of his, who had been left destitute. She was blind and bedridden, and during her long illness could only utter the Holy Name. The Saint watched over her till she died, and thus learned the devotion of his life. Reflection.—Let us learn from the life of St. Bernardine the power of the Holy Name in life and death.

46


Saints of the Month: May

Saint Eugène de Mazenod

Image: St. Eugène de Mazenod

T

he 21st of May is the feast day of Saint Eugene de Mazenod (1 August 1782 – 21 May 1861). He was born as Charles-JosephEugène de Mazenod. The following is from Catholic Encyclopedia:

47


Saints of the Month: May

Bishop of Marseilles, and founder of the Congregation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, b. at Aix, in Provence, 1 August, 1782; d. at Marseilles 21 May, 1861. De Mazenod was the offspring of a noble family of southern France, and even in his tender years he showed unmistakable evidence of a pious disposition and a high and independent spirit. Sharing the fate of most French noblemen at the time of the Revolution, he passed some years as an exile in Italy, after which he studied for the priesthood, though he was the last representative of his family. On 21 December, 1811, he was ordained priest at Amiens, whither he had gone to escape receiving orders at the hands of Cardinal Maury, who was then governing the archdiocese of Paris against the wishes of the pope. After some years of ecclesiastical labours at Aix, the young priest, bewailing the sad fate of religion resulting among the masses from the French Revolution, gathered together a little band of missionaries to preach in the vernacular and to instruct the rural populations of Provence. He commenced, 25 January, 1816, his Institute which was immediately prolific of much good among the people, and on 17 February, 1826, was solemnly approved by Leo XII under the name of Congregation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. After having aided for some time his uncle, the aged Bishop of Marseilles, in the administration of his diocese, Father De Mazenod was called to Rome and, on 14 October, 1832, consecrated titular Bishop of Icosium, which title he had, in the beginning of 1837, to exchange for that of Bioshop of Marseilles. His episcopate was marked by measures tending to the restoration in all its integrity of ecclesiastical discipline. De Mazenod unceasingly strove to uphold the rights of the Holy See, somewhat obscured in France by the pretensions of the Gallican Church. He favoured the moral teachings of Blessed (now Saint) Alphonsus Liguori, whose theological system he was the first to introduce in France, and whose first life in French he caused to be written by one of his disciples among the Oblates. At the same time he watched with a jealous eye over the education of youth, and, in 48


Saints of the Month: May

spite of the susceptibilities of the civil power, he never swerved from what he considered the path of justice. In fact, by the apostolic freedom of his public utterances he deserved to be compared to St. Ambrose. He was ever a strong supporter of papal infallibility and a devout advocate of Mary’s immaculate conception, in the solemn definition of which (1854) he took an active part. In spite of his well-known outspokenness, he was made a Peer of the French Empire, and in 1851 Pius IX gave him the pallium. Meanwhile he continued as Superior General of the religious family he had founded and whose fortunes will be found described in the article on the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Such was the esteem in which he was held at Rome that the pope had marked him out as one of the cardinals he was to create when death claimed him at the ripe age of almost seventy-nine. Cooke, Sketches of the Life of Mgr de Mazenod, Bishop of Marseilles (London and Dublin, 1879); Rambert, Vie de Mgr D. J. E. De Mazenod (Tours, 1883); Ricard, Mgr de Mazenod, évêque de Marseille (Paris, n. d.).

A. G. Morice.

49


Saints of the Month: May

Saint Rita of Cascia

Image: A popular religious depiction of Saint Rita during her partial Stigmata, though historically inaccurate, she is wearing a black Augustinian habit instead of the brown robe and white veil of Monastery of Saint Mary Magdalene from the 13th century.

T

he 22nd of May is the feast day of Saint Rita of Cascia (1381 50


Saints of the Month: May

– 22 May 1457). She was born Margherita Lotti. She is the patron saint of lost and impossible causes, sickness, wounds, marital problems, abuse, and mothers. The following is from Butler’s Lives of the Saints: ST. RITA OF CASCIA, whose feast is celebrated on May 22, was born at Rocca Porena, Italy, about the year 1386, and died at Cascia in the year 1456. Her parents opposed her desire to become a nun, and persuaded her to marry a man who, in a short time, lost his reputation on account of his cruelty. After being converted from his wicked ways, he was murdered by an enemy. Rita’s two sons then resolved to take revenge, but through her prayers they repented. After their death, she applied several times for admission into the Augustinian Convent at Cascia. Repeatedly refused until God Himself cleared away all obstacles, she entered the convent, made her profession and lived the life of a holy and devout Religious for fortytwo years, “a shining example of every Christian virtue, pure as a lily, simple as a dove, and obedient as an angel.” That “God is wonderful in His Saints” is easily proved in the life of St. Rita, and, owing to her great number of miracles, she is often styled “The Saint of the Impossible.”

51


Saints of the Month: May

Saint William of Perth

Image: Rochester Cathedral, stained glass window (late 19th century), Saint William of Perth

T

he 23rd of May is the feast day of Saint William of Perth (died c. 1201). He is also known as Saint William of Rochester. He is the patron saint of adopted children.

52


Saints of the Month: May

The following is from Catholic Encyclopedia: (Or ST. WILLIAM OF ROCHESTER). Martyr, born at Perth; died about 1201. Practically all that is known of this martyr comes from the “Nova legenda Anglie”, and that is little. In youth he had been somewhat wild, but on reaching manhood he devoted himself wholly to the service of God. A baker by trade, he was accustomed to set aside every tenth loaf for the poor. He went to Mass daily, and one morning, before it was light, found on the threshold of the church an abandoned child, whom he adopted and to whom he taught his trade. Later he took a vow to visit the Holy Places, and, having received the consecrated wallet and staff, set out with his adopted son, whose name is given as “Cockermay Doucri”, which is said to be Scots for “David the Foundling”. They stayed three days at Rochester, and purposed to proceed next day to Canterbury, but instead David wilfully misled his benefactor and, with robbery in view, felled him with a blow on the head and cut his throat. The body was discovered by a mad woman, who plaited a garland of flowers and placed it first on the head of the corpse and then her own, whereupon the madness left her. On learning her tale the monks of Rochester carried the body to the cathedral and there buried it. In 1256 the Bishop of Rochester, Lawrence de S. Martino, obtained the canonization of St. William by Pope Innocent IV. A beginning was at once made with his shrine, which was situated in the northeast transept, and attracted crowds of pilgrims. At the same time a small chapel was built at the place of the murder, which was thereafter called Palmersdene. Remains of this chapel are still to be seen near the present St. William’s Hospital, on the road leading by Horsted Farm to Maidstone. On 18 and 19 February, 1300, King Edward I gave two donations of seven shillings to the shrine. On 29 November, 1399, Pope Boniface IX granted an indulgence to those who visited and gave alms to the shrine on certain specified days. St. William is represented in a wall-painting, which was discovered in 1883 in Frindsbury church, near 53


Saints of the Month: May

Rochester, which is supposed to have been painted about 1256-1266. His feast was kept on 23 May. Acta SS., XVII, 268; HORSTMANN, Nova legenda Anglie, II (Oxford, 1901), 457; Archaeologia Cantiana (London, 1858-), III, 108; V, 144; XV, 331; XVI, 225; XVIII, 200; XXIII, passim; XXVII, 97; BLISS AND TWEMLOW, Calendar of Papal Letters, V (London, 1904), 256-7; BRIDGETT in The Month (London, 1891); STANTON, Menology of England and Wales (London, 1887-92), 228, 648; CHALLONER, Britannia Sancta, I (London, 1745), 312.

John B. Wainewright.

54


Saints of the Month: May

Saint Simeon Stylites the Younger

Image: St. Simeon Stylites the Younger (orthodox icon)

T

he 24th of May is the feast day of Saint Simeon Stylites the Younger (521 – May 24, 592). He is also known as Saint Simeon of the Admirable Mountain (Arabic: ‫ مار سمعان العمودي الأصغر‬mār 55


Saints of the Month: May

semʻān l-ʻamūdī l-asghar). The following is from Catholic Encyclopedia: Born at Antioch in 521, died at the same place 24 May, 597. His father was a native of Edessa, his mother, named Martha was afterwards revered as a saint and a life of her, which incorporates a letter to her son written from his pillar to Thomas, the guardian of the true cross at Jerusalem, has been printed. Like his namesake, the first Stylites, Simeon seems to have been drawn very young to a life of austerity. He attached himself to a community of ascetics living within the mandra or enclosure of another pillar-hermit, named John, who acted as their spiritual director. Simeon while still only a boy had a pillar erected for himself close to that of John. It is Simeon himself who in the above-mentioned letter to Thomas states that he was living upon a pillar when he lost his first teeth. He maintained this kind of life for 68 years. In the course of this period, however, he several times moved to a new pillar, and on the occasion of the first of these exchanges the Patriarch of Antioch and the Bishop of Seleucia ordained him deacon during the short space of time he spent upon the ground. For eight years until John died, Simeon remained near his master’s column, so near that they could easily converse. During this period his austerities were kept in some sort of check by the older hermit. After John’s death Simeon gave full rein to his ascetical practices and Evagrius declares that he lived only upon the branches of a shrub that grew near Theopolis. Simeon the younger was ordained priest and was thus able to offer the Holy Sacrifice in memory of his mother. On such occasions his disciples one after another climbed up the ladder to receive Communion at his hands. As in the case of most of the other pillar saints a large number of miracles were believed to have been worked by Simeon the Younger. In several instances the cure was effected by pictures representing him (Holl in “Philotesia”, 56). 56


Saints of the Month: May

Towards the close of his life the saint occupied a column upon a mountain-side near Antioch called from his miracles the “Hill of Wonders”, and it was here that he died. Besides the letter mentioned, several writings are attributed to the younger Simeon. A number of these small spiritual tractates were printed by Cozza-Luzi (“Nova PP. Bib.”, VIII, iii, Rome, 1871, pp. 4-156). There is also an “Apocalypse” and letters to the Emperors Justinian and Justin II (see fragments in P.G., LXXXVI, pt. II, 3216-20). More especially Simeon was the reputed author of a cerain number of liturgical hymns, “Troparis”, etc. (see Pétridès in “Echos d’Orient”, 1901 and 1902). Simeon Stylites III, another pillar hermit, who also bore the name Simeon, is honoured by both the Greeks and the Copts. He is hence believed to have lived in the fifth century before the breach which occurred between these Churches. But it must be confessed that very little certain is known of him. He is believed to have been struck by lightning upon his pillar, built near Hegca in Cicilia. There is a long and dreary life of St. Simeon the Younger by Nicephorus of Antioch, but we learn more from the Life of St. Martha, his mother, and from the Ecclesiastical History of Evagrius. All these have been printed by the Bollandists, Acta SS., May, V, 296-431; fragments of a Biography by Arcadius have been published by Papadopulos Kerameus in Vivantisky Vremennik (1894), 141-150 and 601-604. See also Allatius, De Simeonum scriptis (Paris, 1864), 17-22; Krumbacher, Gesch. der Byzant. Litt. (2nd ed., Munich, 1897), 144-145 and 671; Philotesia P. Kleinert zum 70 Geburtstag (Leipzig, 1907).

Herbert Thurston.

57


Saints of the Month: May

Saint Bede

Image: Cropped portrait from The Last Chapter by J. Doyle Penrose (c. 1902), showing Bede finishing his translation of the Gospel of John on his deathbed)

T

he 25th of May is the feast day of Saint Bede (672/3 – 26 May 735). He is also known as Venerable Bede, and Bede the Venerable. He is the patron saint of English writers and historians; Jarrow, Tyne and Wear, England, San Beda College.

58


Saints of the Month: May

The following is from Butler’s Lives of the Saints: VENERABLE BEDE, the illustrious ornament of the AngloSaxon Church and the first English historian, was consecrated -to God at the age of seven, and intrusted to the care of St. Benedict Biscop at Wearmouth. He became a monk in the sister-house of Jarrow, and there trained no less than six hundred scholars, whom his piety, learning, and sweet disposition had gathered round him. To the toils of teaching and the exact observance of his rule he added long hours of private prayer, and the study of every branch of science and literature then known. He was familiar with Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. In the treatise which he compiled for his scholars, still extant, he threw together all that the world had then stored in history, chronology, physics, music, philosophy, poetry, arithmetic, and medicine. In his Ecclesiastical History he has left us beautiful lives of Anglo-Saxon Saints and holy Fathers, while his commentaries on the Holy Scriptures are still in use by the Church. It was to the study of the Divine Word that he devoted the whole energy of his soul, and at times his compunction was so overpowering that his voice would break with weeping, while the tears of his scholars mingled with his own. He had little aid from others, and during his later years suffered from constant illness; yet he worked and prayed up to his last hour. The Saint was employed in translating the Gospel of St. John from the Greek up to the hour of his death, which took place on Ascension Day, 735. “He spent that day joyfully,” writes one of his scholars. And in the evening the boy who attended him said, “Dear master, there is yet one sentence unwritten.” He answered, “Write it quickly.” Presently the youth said, “Now it is written” He replied, “Good! thou hast said the truth—consummatum est; take my head into thy hands, for it is very pleasant to me to sit facing my old praying-place, and there to call upon my Father.” And so on the floor of his cell he sang, “Glory be to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost;” and just as he said “Holy Ghost,” he breathed his last, and went to the realms above. 59


Saints of the Month: May

Reflection.—”The more,” says the Imitation of Christ, “a man is united within himself and interiorly simple, so much the more and deeper things doth he understand without labor; for he receiveth the light of understanding from on high.”

60


Saints of the Month: May

Saint Philip Neri

Image: Saint Philip Neri

T

he 26th of May is the feast day of Saint Philip Neri (21 July 1515 – 25 May 1595). His full name is Philip Romolo Neri (Italian: Filippo Romolo Neri), and is known as the Third Apostle of Rome. He is the patron saint of Rome, Mandaluyong, US Special Forces, Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, 61


Saints of the Month: May

Piczon Vill, Catbalogan, laughter, humour, and joy. The following is from Butler’s Lives of the Saints: PHILIP was one of the noble line of Saints raised up by God in the sixteenth century to console and bless His Church. After a childhood of angelic beauty the Holy Spirit drew him away from Florence, the place of his birth, showed him the world, that he might freely renounce it, led him to Rome, modelled him in mind and heart and will, and then, as by a second Pentecost, came down in visible form and filled his soul with light and peace and joy. He would have gone to India, but God reserved him for Rome. There he went on simply from day to day, drawing souls to Jesus, exercising them in mortification and charity, and binding them together by cheerful devotions; thus, unconsciously to himself, under the hands of Mary, as he said, the Oratory grew up, and all Rome was pervaded and transformed by its spirit. His life was a continuous miracle, his habitual state an ecstasy. He read the hearts of men, foretold their future, knew their eternal destiny. His touch gave health of body; his very look calmed souls in trouble and drove away temptations. He was gay, genial, and irresistibly winning; neither insult nor wrong could dim the brightness of his joy. Philip lived in an atmosphere of sunshine and gladness which brightened all who came near him. “When I met him in the street,” says one, “he would pat my cheek and say, ‘Well, how is Don Pellegrino?’ and leave me so full of joy that I could not tell which way I was going.” Others said that when he playfully pulled their hair or their ears, their hearts would bound with joy. Marcio Altieri felt such overflowing gladness in his presence that he said Philip’s room was a paradise on earth. Fabrizio de Massimi would go in sadness or perplexity and stand at Philip’s door; he said it was enough to see him, to be near him. And long after his death it was enough for many, when troubled, to go into his room to find their hearts lightened and 62


Saints of the Month: May

gladdened. He inspired a boundless confidence and love, and was the common refuge and consoler of all. A gentle jest would convey his rebukes and veil his miracles. The highest honors sought him out, but he put them from him. He died in his eightieth year, in 1595, and bears the grand title of Apostle of Rome. Reflection.—Philip wished his children to serve God, like the first Christians, in gladness of heart. He said this was the true filial spirit; this expands the soul, giving it liberty and perfection in action, power over temptations, and fuller aid to perseverance.

63


Saints of the Month: May

Saint Augustine of Canterbury

Image: Saint Augustine of Canterbury

T

he 27th of May is the feast day of Saint Augustine of Canterbury (born first third of the 6th century – died probably 26 May 604). The following is from Butler’s Lives of the Saints:

64


Saints of the Month: May

AUGUSTINE was prior of the monastery of St. Andrew on the Cœlian, and was appointed by St. Gregory the great chief of the missionaries whom he sent to England. St. Augustine and his companions, having heard on their journey many reports of the barbarism and ferocity of the pagan English, were afraid, and wished to turn back. But St. Gregory replied, “Go on, in God’s name! The greater your hardships, the greater your crown. May the grace of Almighty God protect you, and give me to see the fruit of your labor in the heavenly country! If I cannot share your toil, I shall yet share the harvest, for God knows that it is not good-will which is wanting.” The band of missionaries went on in obedience. Landing at Ebbsfleet, between Sandwich and Ramsgate, they met King Ethelbert and his thanes under a great oaktree at Minster, and announced to him the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Instant and complete success attended their preaching. On Whit-Sunday, 596, King Ethelbert was baptized, and his example was followed by the greater number of his nobles and people. By degrees the Faith spread far and wide, and Augustine, as Papal Legate, set out on a visitation of Britain. He failed in his attempt to enlist the Britons of the west in the work of his apostolate through their obstinate jealousy and pride; but his success was triumphant from south to north. St. Augustine died after eight years of evangelical labors. The Anglo-Saxon Church, which he founded, is still famous for its learning, zeal, and devotion to the Holy See, while its calendar commemorates no less than 300 Saints, half of whom were of royal birth. Reflection.—The work of an apostle is the work of the right hand of God. He often chooses weak instruments for His mightiest purposes. The most sure augury of lasting success in missionary labor is obedience to superiors and diffidence in self.

65


Saints of the Month: May

Saint Bernard of Montjoux

T

he 28th of May is the feast day of Saint Bernard of Montjoux (ca. 1020 – June 1081). He is also known as Saint Bernard of Menthon. He is the patron saint of mountaineers, skiers, snowboarding, backpacking and the Alps. The following is from Catholic Encyclopedia: Born in 923, probably in the castle Menthon near Annecy, in Savoy; died at Novara, 1008. He was descended from a rich, noble family and received a thorough education. He refused to enter an honorable marriage proposed by his father and decided to devote himself to the service of the Church. Placing himself under the direction of Peter, Archdeacon of Aosta, under whose guidance he rapidly progressed, Bernard was ordained priest and on account of his learning and virtue was made Archdeacon of Aosta (966), having charge of the government of the diocese under the bishop. Seeing the ignorance and idolatry still prevailing among the people of the Alps, he resolved to devote himself to their conversion. For forty two years he continued to preach the Gospel to these people and carried the light of faith even into many cantons of Lombardy, effecting numerous conversions and working many miracles. For another reason, however, Bernard’s name will forever 66


Saints of the Month: May

be famous in history. Since the most ancient times there was a path across the Pennine Alps leading from the valley of Aosta to the Swiss canton of Valais, over what is now the pass of the Great St. Bernard. This pass is covered with perpetual snow from seven to eight feet deep, and drifts sometimes accumulate to the height of forty feet. Though the pass was extremely dangerous, especially in the springtime on account of avalanches, yet it was often used by French and German pilgrims on their way to Rome. For the convenience and protection of travelers St. Bernard founded a monastery and hospice at the highest point of the pass, 8,000 feet above sea-level, in the year 962. A few years later he established another hospice on the Little St. Bernard, a mountain of the Graian Alps, 7,076 feet above sea-level. Both were placed in charge of Augustinian monks after pontifical approval had been obtained by him during a visit to Rome. These hospices are renowned for the generous hospitality extended to all travelers over the Great and Little St. Bernard, so called in honor of the founder of these charitable institutions. At all seasons of the year, but especially during heavy snow-storms, the heroic monks accompanied by their well-trained dogs, go out in search of victims who may have succumbed to the severity of the weather. They offer food, clothing, and shelter to the unfortunate travelers and take care of the dead. They depend on gifts and collections for sustenance. At present, the order consists of about forty members, the majority of whom live at the hospice while some have charge of neighboring parishes. The last act of St. Bernard’s life was the reconciliation of two noblemen whose strife threatened a fatal issue. He was interred in the cloister of St. Lawrence. Venerated as a saint from the twelfth century in many places of Piedmont (Aosta, Novara, Brescia), he was not canonized until 1681, by Innocent XI. His feast is celebrated on the 15th of June. SURIUS, Vl, 358; DORSAZ, Vie d. S. Bernard de Menthon (Paris, 1862); BUTLER, Lives of the Saints, VI, 577; Miscell. Stor. Ital. (1894) xxxi, 341

67


Saints of the Month: May sqq.; ALDEGUIER, Vie de St. Bernard, Apotre des Alpes (Toulouse, 1858).

Barnabas Dieringer.

68


Saints of the Month: May

Saint Bona of Pisa

Image: Saint Bona of Pisa

T

he 29th of May is the feast day of Saint Bona of Pisa (c. 1156–1207). She is the patron saint of travellers, specifically couriers, guides, pilgrims, flight attendants; and Pisa. Saint Bona was born in Pisa, Italy and experienced visions at a

69


Saints of the Month: May

young age. This led her to live a life of penance and fasting. At the age of 10, she dedicated her life to God and became an Augustinian tertiary. When she was 14 she left for her first pilgrimage to Jerusalem, where her father was fighting the crusades at the time. She was captured and wounded by Muslim pirates and imprisoned on her way home and was later rescued by her fellow countrymen. She went ahead to make many pilgrimages and visited the Holy Land many times. She also made the Way of Saint James leading a large pilgrimage group. She had a great devotion to Saint James and had visions of him when she was a child. The Knights of Saint James named her as an official guide. She made the Way of Saint James a total of nine times, but on her tenth trip, she had to return home early due to an illness and died soon after.

70


Saints of the Month: May

Saint Joan of Arc

Image: Joan at the coronation of Charles VII, by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres in 1854, a famous painting often reproduced in works on Joan of Arc.

T

he 30th of May is the feast day of Saint Joan of Arc (6 January c. 1412 – 30 May 1431). In French, her name is Jeanne d’Arc and she is also known as “The Maid of Orléans”. She is the patron 71


Saints of the Month: May

saint of France; martyrs; captives; military personnel; people ridiculed for their piety; prisoners; soldiers, women who have served in the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service); and Women’s Army Corps. The following is from Butler’s Lives of the Saints: AT Domremy, on the Upper Meuse, was born on January 6, 1412, of pious parentage, the illustrious heroine of all time, St. Joan of Arc. Taught by her mother from earliest years to pray each night “O God, save France,” she could not help but conceive that ardent love for her country which later consumed her life. While the English were overrunning the north of France, their future conqueror, untutored in worldly wisdom, was peacefully tending her flock, and learning the wisdom of God at a wayside shrine. But hearing Voices from heaven and bidden by St. Michael, who appeared to her, to deliver her country from the enemy, she hastened to the King and convinced him of her divine mission. Scarcely did her banner, inscribed “Jesus, Mary,” appear on the battlefield than she raised the siege of Orleans and led Charles VII. to be crowned at Rheims. Later, abandoned by her King, she fell into the hands of the English, who gave her a mock trial and burned her as a heretic. But the Maid of Orleans has at last come into her own, for with greater pomp than ever a king was crowned, and amid the acclamations of the whole world, on May 13, 1920, Pope Benedict XV. proclaimed her St. Joan of Arc.

72


Saints of the Month: May

Feast of the Visitation of Our Lady to Saint Elizabeth

Image: “Visitation”, from Altarpiece of the Virgin (St Vaast Altarpiece) by Jacques Daret, c. 1435 (Staatliche Museen, Berlin)

T

he 31st of May is the feast of the Visitation of Our Lady to Saint Elizabeth. 73


Saints of the Month: May

The following is from Butler’s Lives of the Saints: THE angel Gabriel, in the mystery of the Annunciation, informed the Mother of God that her cousin Elizabeth had miraculously conceived, and was then pregnant with a son who was to be the precursor of the Messias. The Blessed Virgin out of humility concealed the wonderful dignity to which she was raised by the incarnation of the Son of God in her womb, but, in the transport of her holy joy and gratitude, determined she would go to congratulate the mother of the Baptist. “Mary therefore arose,” saith St. Luke, “and with haste went into the hilly country into a city of Judea, and entering into the house of Zachary, saluted Elizabeth.” What a blessing did the presence of the God-man bring to this house, the first which He honored in His humanity with His visit! But Mary is the instrument and means by which He imparts to it His divine benediction, to show us that she is a channel through which He delights to communicate to us His graces, and to en, courage us to ask them of Him through her intercession. At the voice of the Mother of God, but by the power and grace of her divine Son in her womb, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost, and the Infant in her womb conceived so great a joy as to leap and exult. At the same time Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost, and by His infused light she understood the great mystery of the Incarnation which God had wrought in Mary, whom humility prevented from disclosing it even to a Saint, and an intimate friend. In raptures of astonishment Elizabeth pronounced her blessed above all other women, and cried out, “Whence is this to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Mary, hearing her own praise, sunk the lower in the abyss of her nothingness, and in the transport of her humility, and melting in an ecstasy of love and gratitude, burst into that admirable canticle, the Magnificat. Mary stayed with her cousin almost three months, after which she returned to Nazareth. Reflection.—Whilst with the Church we praise God for the mercies and wonders which He wrought in this mystery, we ought to apply ourselves to the imitation of 74


Saints of the Month: May

the virtues of which Mary sets us a perfect example. From her we ought particularly to learn the lessons by which we shall sanctify our visits and conversation, actions which are to so many Christians the sources of innumerable dangers and sins.

75


Saints of the Month: May

Saint Petronilla

Image: A fictional portrait of Saint Petronilla.

T

he 31st of May is the feast day of Saint Petronilla (d. 1st century; possibly 3rd century). She is also known as Saint Petronille. She is the patron saint of the dauphins of France; mountain travellers; treaties between Popes and Frankish emperors; and invoked against fever. 76


Saints of the Month: May

The following is from Butler’s Lives of the Saints: AMONG the disciples of the apostles in the primitive age of saints this holy virgin shone as a bright star in the Church. She lived when Christians were more solicitous to live well than to write much: they knew how to die for Christ, but did not compile long books in which vanity has often a greater share than charity. Hence no particular account of her actions has been handed down to us. But how eminent her sanctity was we may judge from the lustre by which it was distinguished among apostles, prophets, and martyrs. She is said to have been a daughter of the apostle St. Peter; that St. Peter was married before his vocation to the apostleship we learn from the Gospel. St. Clement of Alexandria assures us that his wife attained to the glory of martyrdom, at which Peter himself encouraged her, bidding her to remember Our Lord. But it seems not certain whether St. Petronilla was more than the spiritual daughter of that apostle. She flourished at Rome, and was buried on the way to Ardea, where in ancient times a cemetery and a church bore her name. Reflection.—With the saints the great end for which they lived was always present to their minds, and they thought every moment lost in which they did not make some advances toward eternal bliss. How will their example condemn at the last day the trifling fooleries and the greatest part of the conversation and employments of the world, which aim at nothing but present amusements, and forget the only important affair—the business of eternity.

77


Saints of the Month: May

Please see www.gotomary.com for more information.

For Our Lady’s intentions

78

Saints of the Month: May  

Saints of the day for the month of May. See www.gotomary.com for more information or for other months.

Saints of the Month: May  

Saints of the day for the month of May. See www.gotomary.com for more information or for other months.

Advertisement