Monday 24th November 2014

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Catholic Heroes… St. Cecilia

November 18, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Catholic Church has thousands of saints. For the last two millennia, people of great holiness, exemplifying heroic virtue, have been honored as saints, members of the Church Triumphant in Heaven giving honor and glory to God. Some have been formally declared saints by the Church, while others have been so honored from the beginnings of the Church, such as Cosmas and Damian, Philomena, and Perpetua and Felicity. Like Saints Cosmas and Damian, and like Perpetua and Felicity, St. Cecilia is remembered in the Roman Canon. In the second half of the First Eucharistic Prayer, she is memorialized along with three other martyred virgins: “Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, and Cecilia.” There is little written historical evidence of Cecilia,…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Frances Xavier Cabrini

November 11, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN Since the United States is a relatively new country compared to the rest of the world, we do not have as many canonized saints as do France, Italy, or Spain. Elizabeth Ann Seton (died 1821) was the first person born in the United States to be canonized, although she lived many years after Kateri Tekakwitha (died 1680) who was canonized in October 2012. St. Frances Xavier Cabrini was the first U.S. citizen to be canonized when Pope Pius XII elevated her to sainthood in 1946. Not surprisingly, Frances Cabrini was born into a large family in Sant’ Angelo Lodigiano, Lombardy, in northern Italy. Her father, Agostino, was a farmer and her mother, Stella, stayed at home to…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Engelbert

November 4, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN History is often broken into three periods: Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the Modern Era. The Middle Ages consists of the time between the fifth century with the fall of the Roman Empire and the 15th century, close to the time of the Protestant Reformation. With the fall of the Roman Empire, the lands were subjected to raids from other lands. The Visigoths invaded and settled Spain. The Franks did the same in France. While the Vandals destroyed much of Spain and Gaul, the Slavs moved into central Europe, and the Lombards turned to Italy. To protect the people as well as the lands, the feudal system developed in which the nobles would fight the raiders while…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Wolfgang

October 28, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN October 31 has come to be yet another Christian holy day corrupted by our secular society. All Hallows Eve, Halloween, is now celebrated with emphasis on evil and horror. Corn mazes with frightening objects around the corner, haunted houses to terrify even the bravest of persons, glorification of vampires, and decorations of death and witches — these are some of the things that have replaced processions honoring the saints of our Catholic history. October 31 can be remembered for another infamous occurrence in history. It was on that date in 1517 that Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Germany, where the largest collection of holy relics was kept.…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Anthony Mary Claret

October 21, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN St. Anthony Mary Claret has something in common with at least three other saints. Like St. Peter Claver, he was born in northeastern Spain — over 200 years later. Like St. Pio of Pietrelcina, when he heard Confessions, he frequently could read the souls of the penitents, asking them about a sin that they had not confessed. Finally, like St. Damien of Molokai, he traversed a mountainous terrain through tropical rain forests — in his case, to serve the people of Cuba. Born to Juan and Josefa Claret on December 23, 1807, Anthony was a devout child. As the fifth of seven children, he received an elementary education along with a religious formation that brought him to…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Ignatius Of Antioch

October 14, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN Who are the fathers of the Church? They were holy men of God; most were bishops, although some were priests and one man, St. Justin the Martyr, was a layman. They lived primarily in the first three centuries of Christianity, but one of the fathers died in 750, generally considered the end of the Church fathers’ era. They are regarded as “fathers” because of their holiness, their orthodoxy, their development of the understanding of Church doctrine, and the approval of the Church. The list includes such well-known men as St. Augustine of Hippo, St. Athanasius, St. Polycarp, St. Clement, and St. Ignatius of Antioch, whose feast is celebrated on October 17. As with most saints of his…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Denis, Patron Of France

October 7, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN On the hill of Montmartre, the French have built a Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Sacré-Coeur de Paris. Since 1885, this church has held perpetual adoration; the practice began before construction on the church was completed in 1914. As tourists quietly walk through the church to admire the beautiful mosaics and woodwork, high above on the altar — more than 40 feet above the floor — is the monstrance holding the Sacred Host. Around the outer walls are various side chapels where Confessions are heard in various languages throughout each day. The church was begun in 1875 — almost 100 years after the French Revolution — on the hill which is about one and a half miles…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Therese of Lisieux, The Little Flower

September 30, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN As you drive into Lisieux, France, from Caen on highway D613, you can see clearly the Basilica of Lisieux — it dominates the landscape rising high above the hills and other buildings. A little to the north is the cathedral where Therese received her sacraments and where her family dedicated an altar. A little farther north is the quaint home where she grew up. A two-story building with two outbuildings and a lovely garden, it boasts a replica of the bench with Therese and her father sitting together, in memory of the moment her father gave her permission to join the Carmelites. During the mid-19th century in the village of Alençon, there were two pious youths, Louis…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Saints Cosmas And Damian

September 23, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the last book of the Old Testament, 2 Maccabees, we read of the mother who stood by her seven sons, encouraging them to hold true to the law of their fathers and not give in to the attempts of Antiochus IV Epiphanes to get them to abandon their faith by eating the flesh of a swine (chapter 7). One by one she witnessed the barbaric killing of her seven sons before she also died. This passage of Sacred Scripture contains passages supporting four important doctrines of the Catholic Church: 1) prayer for the dead; 2) the merits of the martyrs; 3) the intercession of the saints; and 4) the resurrection of the dead. This history of…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Joseph Of Cupertino

September 16, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN Now that the school year has begun, students — especially Catholic students — will find recourse to their favorite patron saint of studying. Some may choose St. Thomas Aquinas or St. Augustine of Hippo. For those students who find it difficult to retain what they read and write about it, perhaps this saint will encourage them: St. Joseph of Cupertino. He was frequently called the village idiot. However, by God’s Providence, he became not only a priest but one of the most amazing levitating saints in the history of the Church. Joseph was born in Cupertino, a village about ten miles southeast of Rome, on June 17, 1603. His father had contracted so many debts that he…Continue Reading