Saint Maria Bertilla Boscardin

Sr.Maria was beatified by Pope Pius XII in 1952, just 30 years after she died, and made a saint by Pope John XXIII nine years later. 
It was one of the quicker canonisations of modern history. Sometimes many decades or even hundreds of years pass before a person’s life is recognised with sainthood.  Boscardin’s came so swiftly that relatives and some of the patients she cared for were present at her canonisation ceremony. Indeed, her father, Angelo, was asked to provide testimony during the beatification process.
Born into a peasant family, who knew her as Annette, her life in Brendola, which is about 15km (9 miles) southwest of Vicenza, was tough.  She was seen as rather a slow-witted child, mocked by her peers and unkindly nicknamed ‘the goose’ even by the local priest. Her father, a drunkard, was often abusive and violent.
She wanted to become educated but her attendance at school was at times only sporadic because her family required her to work.Her ambition to become a nun was in part to escape from this unhappy childhood.  She was turned down by the first order to which she applied but the Sisters of St Dorothy in Vicenza admitted her to their convent, assigning her the religious name Maria Bertilla.
Her first job was at the order’s large charity hospital inTreviso,where she worked in the kitchen, peeling potatoes.  What she is said to have told the novice-mistress of the convent indicated that she had very low self-esteem but she asked for their help to become a better person.She found her calling after being assigned to work with the children being treated at the hospital, many of whom were suffering from diptheria, and needed constant attention.
One of the doctors at Treviso later testified that many of the children, separated from their families for the first time, arrived at the hospital so agitated that they would cry constantly for several days.But Sister Bertilla, he recalled, “succeeded in rapidly becoming a mother to them all. After two or three hours the child, who was desperate, clung to her, calmly, as to his mother and followed her wherever she went.”
When the First World War spread to Italy in 1915, Bertilla vowed she would make the ultimate sacrifice, if necessary, to care for the wounded.  An entry in her diary read: ‘Here I am, Lord, to do according to your will, under whatever aspect it presents itself, let it be life, death or terror.’As Treviso came under attack following the defeat of the Italian army at the Battle of Caporetto, she is said to have stayed with patients who could not be moved, praying and providing marsala wine for those who needed it.After the war, she was sent to a sanatorium to care for soldiers with tuberculosis. Next she was sent to a seminary to care for survivors of an epidemic.
She was unlucky with her own health, however.  Discovered to have a tumour in her early 20s, after which she underwent surgery, she fell ill again in her early 30s.The cancer had recurred. The only hope of a cure was to have another operation. But she was much weaker this time and died in October, 1922, two weeks after her birthday.Having suffered so much cruelty as a young girl and left home with little sense of self-worth, Maria Bertilla ultimately left a deep impression on those who knew her. 
She was initially buried in Treviso but after crowds regularly gathered at her grave, it was decided to erect a tomb for her in Vicenza. A memorial plaque placed on her tomb described her as “a chosen soul of heroic goodness … an angelic alleviator of human suffering in this place.” The tomb became a pilgrimage site where several miracles of healing were said to have taken place.
A number of churches in the area around Vicenza have been dedicated to Saint Maria Bertilla Boscardin, including one at Via Antonio Federico Ozanam in the west of the city and another in the village of Cagnano, about 40km (25 miles) south of Vicenza, which has a statute of her.

St.Cornelius the Centurion

Cornelius was a Centurion of the Roman cohort stationed at Caesarea, Palestine in the early 1st century.

A Roman pagan, he received the Holy Spirit while listening to the preaching of Saint Peter the Apostle; he sent for Peter who baptized the entire family. He was the first known Gentile convert to Christianity, and the baptism of his whole household points to the first century use of infant baptism. First bishop of Caesarea.

Readings

Now in Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of the Cohort called the Italica, devout and God-fearing along with his whole household, who used to give alms generously to the Jewish people and pray to God constantly. One afternoon about three o’clock, he saw plainly in a vision an angel of God come in to him and say to him, “Cornelius.” He looked intently at him and, seized with fear, said, “What is it, sir?” He said to him, “Your prayers and almsgiving have ascended as a memorial offering before God. Now send some men to Joppa and summon one Simon who is called Peter. He is staying with another Simon, a tanner, who has a house by the sea.” When the angel who spoke to him had left, he called two of his servants and a devout soldier from his staff, explained everything to them, and sent them to Joppa.

The next day, while they were on their way and nearing the city, Peter went up to the roof terrace to pray at about noontime. He was hungry and wished to eat, and while they were making preparations he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something resembling a large sheet coming down, lowered to the ground by its four corners. In it were all the earth’s four-legged animals and reptiles and the birds of the sky. A voice said to him, “Get up, Peter. Slaughter and eat.” But Peter said, “Certainly not, sir. For never have I eaten anything profane and unclean.” The voice spoke to him again, a second time, “What God has made clean, you are not to call profane.”e This happened three times, and then the object was taken up into the sky.

While Peter was in doubt about the meaning of the vision he had seen, the men sent by Cornelius asked for Simon’s house and arrived at the entrance. They called out inquiring whether Simon, who is called Peter, was staying there. As Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said [to him], “There are three men here looking for you. So get up, go downstairs, and accompany them without hesitation, because I have sent them.” Then Peter went down to the men and said, “I am the one you are looking for. What is the reason for your being here?” They answered, “Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, respected by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to summon you to his house and to hear what you have to say.”g So he invited them in and showed them hospitality. The next day he got up and went with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa went with him.

On the following day he entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and, falling at his feet, paid him homage. Peter, however, raised him up, saying, “Get up. I myself am also a human being.” While he conversed with him, he went in and found many people gathered together and said to them, “You know that it is unlawful for a Jewish man to associate with, or visit, a Gentile, but God has shown me that I should not call any person profane or unclean. And that is why I came without objection when sent for. May I ask, then, why you summoned me?” Cornelius replied, “Four days ago at this hour, three o’clock in the afternoon, I was at prayer in my house when suddenly a man in dazzling robes stood before me and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your almsgiving remembered before God. Send therefore to Joppa and summon Simon, who is called Peter. He is a guest in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.’ So I sent for you immediately, and you were kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to listen to all that you have been commanded by the Lord.”

Then Peter proceeded to speak and said, “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him. You know the word [that] he sent to the Israelites as he proclaimed peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all,k what has happened all over Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached, how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.m We are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and (in) Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree. This man God raised (on) the third day and granted that he be visible, not to all the people, but to us, the witnesses chosen by God in advance, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.n He commissioned uso to preach to the people and testify that he is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness, that everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.”

While Peter was still speaking these things, the holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the word. The circumcised believers who had accompanied Peter were astounded that the gift of the holy Spirit should have been poured out on the Gentiles also, for they could hear them speaking in tongues and glorifying God. Then Peter responded, “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people, who have received the holy Spirit even as we have?”q He ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they invited him to stay for a few days. – Acts 10:1-49

St.Paul of the Cross

St. Paul of the Cross,visionary and mystic, was a seeker. He had a questioning heart. He was a man on a lifelong journey of faith that took him inward to the deepest part of his soul and outward as a preacher to the harshest terrains. His heart was attuned to the needs of those suffering around him. That same longing resonates in the hearts of young and old alike today.

Deeply believing that, “The world lives unmindful of the sufferings of Jesus which are the miracle of miracles of the love of God,” St. Paul of the Cross set out to establish a religious order, Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ, Passionists, which would be dedicated to spreading the message of the love of Christ Crucified. He knew this message was imperative in helping those who suffer find hope, healing, compassion, mercy and love. Passionists now have communities on every continent.

Paul was determined to gather companions who would live together in community and promote this new message. It took from 1720 to 1741—twenty-one years of humble service as a hospital chaplain and traveling preacher combined with quiet perseverance in the face of official Church rejection—for Paul to receive his first papal authority to found his religious order, The Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ.

For over 40 years, Paul and his companions, the Passionists, preached the loving memory of the passion and death of Jesus Christ. Paul challenged those who listened to die a mystical death with Christ so as to rise up with Christ to a life of faith and love. The sick and the poor remained special recipients of Paul’s care, but he also preached to the clergy and reminded them of their obligations to serve the neglected. After many years of preaching, teaching and serving the Passionist community as its founder and leader, Paul died in 1775. His feast day is celebrated in the United States on Oct. 20

Blessed Jerzy Popiełuszko

Blessed Jerzy Popiełuszko~Feast Day:October 19

Blessed Jerzy lived his entire life under the brutal soviet regime that had occupied his home of Poland. Born in 1947, after he left school he felt a call to train for the priesthood. The staunchly anti-Catholic soviet regime made him serve his army duties in a special force, aimed to keep young people from becoming a priest. Despite this he persevered and, after becoming a priest, he became heavily involved with fighting for workers’ rights and opposing communism.

As Poland was experiencing a period of martial law, the Catholic Church was the only force that could voice protest comparatively openly, as the regular celebration of Mass gave opportunities for public gatherings in churches, something that could not be done elsewhere without people being arrested.

Fr Popiełuszko used this opportunity to speak out against the Communists’ cruel oppression of the Polish people, workers and Church. His sermons were routinely broadcast by Radio Free Europe, and became famous throughout Poland for their uncompromising stance against the regime. The secret police tried to silence or intimidate him. When those techniques did not work, they fabricated evidence against him; he was arrested in 1983, but soon released on intervention of the clergy and pardoned by an amnesty.

Soon after all this, the secret police decided the best course of action was to assassinate him and, after a failed attempt, they kidnapped him and beat him to death.

In 2009, Blessed Jerzy Popiełuszko was given Poland’s highest honour, the Order of the White Eagle.

The Miracle that led to Blessed Jerzy Popiełuszko’s Beatification

Listen, Father Jerzy, today is September 14, your birthday. So if you are supposed to do something, this is the day!” So prayed Father Bernard Brien beside the bed of a dying man. As soon as the priest left the hospital room, the comatose patient opened his eyes and asked his wife what had happened. A few days later his medical team, after many tests, observed that his widespread cancer had completely disappeared. The doctors were astounded.

Feast of the Inner Life of Mary

In its principal object this feast is identical with the feast of the “Inner Life of Mary”, celebrated by the Sulpicians on 19 October. It commemorates the joys and sorrows of the Mother of God, her virtues and perfections, her love for God and her Divine Son and her compassionate love for mankind. In a subordinate manner, its object is also the physical Heart of Mary, which, being part of her sinless and virginal body, is the symbol and sensible object representing the sentiments and virtues of Mary. The feast originated with Blessed John Eudes as the patronal feast of his congregations of priests and nuns, and was, since 1644, kept at the seminary of Caen on 20 October. The office, which is very beautiful, was composed by Blessed John Eudes in 1641 but its text was not definitely fixed before 1672. In 1647 the date of the feast was changed to 8 February, the feast being solemnized publicly for the first time, with the permission of Bishop Ragny, at the cathedral of Autun on 8 February, 1648, In 1668 Cardinal Vendôme approved the office, and the feast was adopted the same year by the French Franciscans, the Benedictine Nuns of the Perpetual Adoration, and later by a number of dioceses and religious communities, contrary to decrees of the Congregation of Rites prohibiting the feast of the Heart of Mary. The bishops of the Church in France claimed at this period the right to institute new feasts, and to compose offices and new breviaries without consulting the Roman authorities. In 1672 Blessed John Eudes could state that the feast had spread over nearly all France. It was mostly kept on 8 February, but at the Hôtel-Dieu of Quebec (since 1690) on 3 July, and at Saint-Maclou, Rouen, on the Sunday after 22 August (Office pr. 1765; triple of the first class).

The Nuns of Notre Dame de Corbeil (8 February 1787) were the first to obtain papal sanction for the feast from Pius VI (kept on 22 August as a double of the first class with octave). The same pope later approved it for the Carmelites of Saint-Denys (8 Feb.), and for the Nuns of Fontevrault (Sunday after 2 July). On 22 March, 1799, it was granted to the city of Palermo (third Sunday after Pentecost); on 13 Aug., 1805, to the Clerics Regular of the Mother of God; in 1806 to Siena; in 1807 to the Discalced Carmelites; on 2 Sept., 1807, to the Capuchins and Hermits of Saint Augustine for the Sunday after the Octave of the Assumption; on 19 Sept., 1807, to Tuscany. The city of Rome adopted the feast in 1879. In the Society of Jesus it is observed on the Sunday within the Octave of the Assumption. The feast has not yet been extended to the entire Church. It is kept as the patronal feast of the Republic of Ecuador, of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost, of the Society of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and of the Missionary Society of the Heart of Mary on the Sunday after 22 August. The feast is celebrated at Cosenza (Calabria) on 7 February (earthquake, 1783), by the English Benedictines on the first Sunday of May; in the ecclesiastical province of Lemberg on the last Saturday in May; at Bologna, Pescia, Volterra etc., on the second Sunday in July; at Salerno on the last Sunday after Pentecost, etc. The office of Blessed John Eudes, universally used in France for over a hundred years, was finally approved for the Eudists (8 Feb.) in 1861. The office contained in the Appendix of the Roman Breviary was granted on 21 July, 1857; the dioceses of Palermo, Salerno, Catanzaro, etc., use that composed by Père Gallifet in 1726.

The feast of the Archconfraternity of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, refuge of sinners, is celebrated on the Sunday before Septuagesima at Paris, Chartres, Reims, Limoges, Vannes, Nantes, at Lucca in Toscana, in the ecclesiastical province of Saint Louis, Missouri, etc

~Catholic Encyclopedia

St.Peter of Alcantara

Saint Peter of Alcantara was born in Alcantara, Spain in 1499. His father was the Governor of the province and his mother came from a noble family. He was privately tutored and attended the University of Salamanca. After he returned home from university, he joined the Franciscans.

Peter was accepted as a Franciscan Friar of the Stricter Observance in the Friary at Manxaretes Extramadura in 1515.

At the young age of 22, he was sent to found a community of the Stricter Observance at Badajoz.

He was ordained as a priest in 1524 and in 1525 he became Guardian of the friary of St. Mary of the Angels at Robredillo, Old Castile.

He later entered the Order of the reform of the Discarded Friars. By 1538, he was elected the Superior of St. Gabriel province. As the superior, he drew up new constitutions for the order of Stricter Observance, however these were met with resistance. Eventually he resigned from this post.

Peter then began a new life, one of less formal responsibility but one of greater spiritual responsibility. He took up his spiritual cross and preached with great success to the poor. Peter preferred preaching to this group more than any other and he frequently drew inspiration from the Old Testament books. His sermons often concentrated on the topic of on compassion.

When Peter was not preaching, he would spend long periods of time in solitude. From 1553 to early 1555, he spent this time alone in meditation and prayer. Following these two years of solitude, Peter made a pilgrimage to Rome, barefoot the entire way. While in Rome he obtained permission from Pope Julius III to establish friaries, departing on his new mission just before the Holy Father’s death.

Along his way home, Peter established several friaries. These friaries were compelled to follow a strict constitution, mush like the ones he endeavored to impose in St. Gabriel province.

This time, his new constitution contained reforms that proved fruitful and were later adopted across Spain.

Peter was known for frequently experiencing ecstasy, a state where he was entirely consumed with the warmth and light of the Holy Spirit. These euphoric moments were common during his prayer and meditation. Some claim to have witness him levitate.

When he was close to death, Peter took to his knees and prayed. When he was offered water he refused it saying, “Even my Lord Jesus Christ thirsted on the Cross.” Peter died in prayer on October 18, 1562.

Following his death, Peter was beautified by Pope Gregory XV on April 18, 1622. He was subsequently canonized by Pope Clement IX on April 28, 1669.

St. Peter of Alcantara is the patron saint of the Nocturnal Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

St.Ignatius of Antioch

The second Bishop of Antioch, Syria, this disciple of the beloved Disciple John was consecrated Bishop around the year 69 by the Apostle Peter, the first Pope. A holy man who was deeply loved by the Christian faithful, he always made it his special care to defend “orthodoxy” (right teaching) and “orthopraxy” (right practice) among the early Christians. 

In 107, during the reign of the brutal Emperor Trajan, this holy Bishop was wrongfully sentenced to death because he refused to renounce the Christian faith. He was taken under guard to Rome where he was to be brutally devoured by wild beasts in a public spectacle. During his journey, his travels took him through Asia Minor and Greece. He made good use of the time by writing seven letters of encouragement, instruction and inspiration to the Christians in those communities. We still have these letters as a great treasure of the Church today. 

The content of the letters addressed the hierarchy and structure of the Church as well as the content of the orthodox Christian faith. It was Bishop Ignatius who first used the term “catholic” to describe the whole Church. These letters connect us to the early Church and the unbroken, clear teaching of the Apostles which was given to them directly by Jesus Christ. They also reveal the holiness of a man of God who became himself a living letter of Christ. The shedding his blood in the witness of holy martyrdom was the culmination of a life lived conformed to Jesus Christ. Ignatius sought to offer himself, in Christ, for the sake of the Church which he loved. His holy martyrdom occurred in the year 107. 

In his pastoral letters he regularly thanked his brother and sister Christians for their concern for his well being but insisted on following through in his final witness of fidelity: “I know what is to my advantage. At last I am becomŹing his disciple. May nothing entice me till I happily make my way to Jesus Christ! Fire, cross, struggles with wild beasts, wrenching of bones, mangling of limbs-let them come to me, provided only I make my way to Jesus Christ. I would rather die and come to Jesus Christ than be king over the entire earth. Him I seek who died for us; him I love who rose again because of us.” 

Bishop Ignatius was not afraid of death. He knew that it had been defeated by the Master. He followed the Lord Jesus into his Passion, knowing that he would rise with Him in his Resurrection. He wrote to the disciples in Rome: “Permit me to imitate my suffering God … I am God’s wheat and I shall be ground by the teeth of beasts, that I may become the pure bread of Christ.” The beauty of this Eucharistic symbolism in these words reflects the deep theology of a mystic. He was dedicated to defending the true teaching handed down by the Apostles so that the brothers and sisters in the early Christian communities, and we who stand on their shoulders, would never be led astray by false teaching. He urged them to always listen to their Bishops because they were the successors of the Apostles. He died a Martyrs death in Rome, devoured by two lions in one of the cruel demonstrations of Roman excess and animosity toward the true faith. Anticipating this event he wrote these inspired words: 

A letter to the Romans by St Ignatius of Antioch 

“I am God’s wheat and shall be ground by the teeth of wild animals. I am writing to all the churches to let it be known that I will gladly die for God if only you do not stand in my way. I plead with you: show me no untimely kindness. Let me be food for the wild beasts, for they are my way to God. I am God’s wheat and shall be ground by their teeth so that I may become Christ’s pure bread. Pray to Christ for me that the animals will be the means of making me a sacrificial victim for God. No earthly pleasures, no kingdoms of this world can benefit me in any way. I prefer death in Christ Jesus to power over the farthest limits of the earth. He who died in place of us is the one object of my quest. He who rose for our sakes is my one desire. 

The time for my birth is close at hand. Forgive me, my brothers. Do not stand in the way of my birth to real life; do not wish me stillborn. My desire is to belong to God. Do not, then, hand me back to the world. Do not try to tempt me with material things. Let me attain pure light. Only on my arrival there can I be fully a human being. Give me the privilege of imitating the passion of my God. If you have him in your heart, you will understand what I wish. You will sympathize with me because you will know what urges me on. 

The prince of this world is determined to lay hold of me and to undermine my will which is intent on God. Let none of you here help him; instead show yourselves on my side, which is also God’s side. Do not talk about Jesus Christ as long as you love this world. Do not harbor envious thoughts. And supposing I should see you, if then I should beg you to intervene on my behalf, do not believe what I say. Believe instead what I am now writing to you. For though I am alive as I write to you – still – my real desire is to die. My love of this life has been crucified, and there is no yearning in me for any earthly thing. Rather within me is the living water which says deep inside me: “Come to the Father.” I no longer take pleasure in perishable food or in the delights of this world. I want only God’s bread, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, formed of the seed of David, and for drink I crave his blood, which is love that cannot perish. 

I am no longer willing to live a merely human life, and you can bring about my wish if you will. Please, then, do me this favour, so that you in turn may meet with equal kindness. Put briefly, this is my request: believe what I am saying to you. Jesus Christ himself will make it clear to you that I am saying the truth. Only truth can come from that mouth by which the Father has truly spoken. Pray for me that I may obtain my desire. I have not written to you as a mere man would, but as one who knows the mind of God. If I am condemned to suffer, I will take it that you wish me well. If my case is postponed, I can only think that you wish me harm.”