Saints

St. Robert Bellarmine and St. Hildegard of Bingen

Bernini
Bellarmine by Bernini

Hildegard_von_Bingen._Line_engraving_by_W._Marshall._Wellcome_V0002761

St. Robert Bellarmine played an important role in the counter-reformation of the Catholic Church. He helped clarify Catholic teachings and orthodoxy and wrote two catechisms, including one for children. He opposed censuring Galileo and urged him to more clearly define his view of the universe as a theory to prevent him from contradicting the rather literal view of Scripture held the time (e.g. that the sun rises, runs is course in the sky and sets in the west - impossible if it is stationery as Galileo posited).

Hildegard of Bingen was a healer and mystic, using medicinals and plants to treat many ailments. She composed liturgical music, including hymns which has survived to this day. Her playfulness, piety and visions attracted much attention and generated resentment in some church leadership though she was eventually declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Benedict XVI.

 


Saint Nicholas of Tolentine

Nicholas
Saint Nicholas of Tolentine was named by his mother in honor of St. Nicholas (December 6th) after intercession to the saint to bear a child.

He was dedicated to the church at an early age and became noted for the sanctity of his life, his preaching and miracles through his intercession.

His frequent requests to pray for the souls in purgatory led to his being named Patron of the Holy Souls.

 

 

 


Saint Fiacre

FiacreSaint Fiacre, patron of gardeners and healers grew medicinal herbs and prayed for healing the afflicted.

Many plants and herbs are still grown for their restorative and medicinal properties and even the peace and beauty of a home garden can bring healing and peace to the weary soul.

Amid the  curious and amusing anecdotes about Fiacre's life, his piety, probity and reputation as a healer shines forth. 

 


The Passion of St. John the Baptist

https://www.vam.ac.uk
https://www.vam.ac.uk
John the Baptist by August Rodin


We can see how lust, greed for power and approval, the need to save face and other vices tempted King Herod who condemned St. John the Baptist to the chopping block. If John was the conscience of the king, the king chose to silence him rather than listen and mend his ways. 

Modern day events are uncomfortably similar. 

As the school year begins and we welcome our teachers back to school today, let us prepare in earnest to help our children form their consciences clearly and not let worldly concerns muffle the voice of the prophet within them.

 

 

 


Tizian_041A copy of this painting by Titian was gifted to the Basilica of the Assumption in Washington, D.C. by Popes Pius XII and John XXIII.

Today our prayer can be one of gratitude to Jesus Christ for his saving power of the cross and resurrection, veneration of Mary as the best of us and reassurance that where she goes, so shall we, and hope and joy in expectation of our own bodily glory in heaven with Mary and all the saints.

 

 


St. Dominic and St. Francis

St. Dominic was said to have dreamed about meeting a beggar on the road who together with himself would do great things for the Church. The next day, Dominic met St. Francis, the beggar - an important encounter between the founders of two important religious communities which would challenge the Church and change it for the better.

Dominic and Francis


St John Vianney

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Honored by France on the bicentennial of his birth with this postage stamp, John Vianney has been a model of patience, purity of heart and self-sacrificing love since his story began to be told. Even during his lifetime, he became renowned for his preaching and his charism as a confessor.

 


Jeremiah or Jonah

When we set out as disciples, we never know whether we'll meet with success like Jonah or opposition, like Jeremiah.

Jonah
Jonah
Jonah
Jeremiah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It isn't always something connected with us, sometimes it's simply due to people's hardness of hearts. It's not always the packaging of the message, nor the tailoring of the information to the target audience, sometimes it's a stiff-necked situation. Nor should we think Jonah a more successful, effective prophet than Jeremiah.

Our witness to Christ is our responsibility. The results are up to Him. Frustrating, perhaps in the short run, but consoling in the long run.

 


St Alphonsus Liguori

Alphonsus
St. Alphonsus' statue in St. Peter's Basilica

 

One I the reasons I think there isn't much philosophy written which is easy to understand is that most philosophers never had to teach CCD!

Alphonsus Liguori was highly educated and from an aristocratic family, but spent much of his life teaching and ministering to the poor of Naples. This may be the reason so much of his writing is accessible and still widely read today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Santiago de Compestela

Today's feast of St. James (the greater), commemorates the first of Jesus' apostles to meet with martyrdom. 

Called James the Greater because he was called by Jesus before James, Son of Alphaeus and to distinguish him from St. James the Just, the cathedral of Santiago (a local corruption of the Latin for St. James) de Compestela containing his relics became a site of pilgrimage from the earliest days of the church. 

James is therefore a patron of pilgrims and is sometimes depicted clothed as one. His immediate readiness to follow Jesus and his courage in defending the faith are examples in every age.

CathedralCathedral of Santiago de Compestela.


The Carmelites and Elijah

Today the church commemorates the Prophet Elijah, a foundational figure for the Carmelite Order. A statue of Elijah on Mt. Carmel depicts Elijah denouncing a prophet of Baal whom he has conquered through the power of the God of Israel.

"And the prophet Elijah stood up, and his word burned like a torch" is inscribed in several languages on the base of the statue. 

Elijah


St. Camillus de Lellis

Founder of the Camillans, an order of priests and brothers who care for the sick even at peril to their own lives. St. Camillus first popularized the sign of his order, The Red Cross, as a symbol for help and protection on the battle field or the bed of illness. Later, the International Red Cross adopted his already popular emblem. 

Camillus


Augustine on Spiritual and Bodily Virginity

 

AugustineThe sanctity of the soul remains even when the body is violated, the sanctity of the body is not lost; and that, in like manner, the sanctity of the body is lost when the sanctity of the soul is violated, though the body itself remains intact. 

City of God, Book I, chapter 16.

Augustine's comments were made during a discussion of the virgin martyrs in the early church who chose martyrdom rather than be sexually violated.

He counsels that victims of sexual abuse should not feel shame since the blame for the sexual transgression is not their own, but rather on the aggressor. 

The mind and will can remain pure and chaste, even in face of non voluntary acts the body is made to perform.


St. Swithun

An English abbot renowned for miracle working and his sanctity of life. Since it rained on the day his relics were translated from outdoors to indoors, the legend grew that it would rain continuously for 40 days if it rained on his feast day. The same is said to be true for sunny weather. Apparently even meteorologists note that the weather pattern in England on this day tends to be rather stable and might be a predictor of weather to come.

He is the patron saint of Winchester Cathedral where a modern shrine stands over his original resting place which was desecrated during the reign of Henry VIII.

Shrine
Swithun