Sunday 24th January 2021

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Catholic Heroes… Blessed Margaret Pole (Plantagenet)

January 19, 2021 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… Blessed Margaret Pole (Plantagenet)

By DEB PIROCH Margaret Pole (1473-1541) was born a princess into the royal Plantagenet family. Her mother died when she was only three. Her father, the Duke of Clarence, some will remember from Shakespeare’s play, Richard III. Margaret’s uncle, Richard III, allegedly murdered the Duke by drowning him in a vat of wine. (Actually, her father was executed for treason against King Henry IV.)These times were dangerous and one’s star rose or fell based on one’s connections. Her first cousins, the little princes, were murdered by King Richard III and walled up in the Tower. After Richard was killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field in the Wars of the Roses, the Tudors took power, beginning with King Henry VII.…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Wenceslaus

January 12, 2021 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes . . . St. Wenceslaus

By DEB PIROCH Good King Wenceslaus, originally a duke, was born in Bohemia, in today’s Czech Republic, during the tenth century. (The former Czechoslovakia was composed of Bohemia, Moravia, and Slovakia; Slovakia is now its own country.) His father was an honorable Christian, but died or was killed in battle when Wenceslaus was only about 13. His mother, Drahomira, was instead a pagan, and had her other son, Boleslaus, raised likewise. In contrast, Wenceslaus was largely cared for by his grandmother, also a saint, St. Ludmila.She and her husband were Bohemia’s first Christian rulers, converted by the famous saints Cyril and, specifically, Methodius, known across Eastern Europe as the “Apostles of the Slavs.” It was St. Ludmila who determined that…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Jean De Brébeuf

January 5, 2021 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… St. Jean De Brébeuf

By DEB PIROCH Perhaps Jean de Brébeuf’s future was inevitable, for he was born in Normandy, France, on the Feast of the Annunciation, 1593. And 29 years later we believe he said his first Mass on that same Feast of the Annunciation, 1622. Thus, perhaps we should not be surprised that he authored the first Canadian Christmas carol, celebrating our Lord’s birth.We don’t know much of Jean’s early life; he was from a well-to-do family and was sickly, thought to have had tuberculosis. However, his health must have improved because three years after Ordination he traveled as a missionary to the New World.His teachers had neglected to note an outstanding ability for languages, which turned out to be indispensable to…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Robert Southwell, SJ

December 22, 2020 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes . . . St. Robert Southwell, SJ

By DEB PIROCH The Burning Babe As I in hoary winter’s night stood shivering in the snow,Surpris’d I was with sudden heat which made my heart to glow;And lifting up a fearful eye to view what fire was near,A pretty Babe all burning bright did in the air appear;Who, scorched with excessive heat, such floods of tears did shedAs though his floods should quench his flames which with his tears were fed.“Alas!” quoth he, “but newly born, in fiery heats I fry,Yet none approach to warm their hearts or feel my fire but I!My faultless breast the furnace is, the fuel wounding thorns,Love is the fire, and sighs the smoke, the ashes shame and scorns;The fuel Justice layeth on, and…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Mary Of Egypt

December 15, 2020 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes . . . St. Mary Of Egypt

By DEB PIROCH There are so many “Marys” in the two millennia of the Church’s history that hearing her name might not trigger an immediate reaction. Yet she is an ancient ascetic dating back to the fourth and fifth centuries.Today as I write this — before you will read the text in The Wanderer — we heard during the Mass readings for the Second Sunday of Advent about John the Baptist, Christ’s cousin who was the voice crying in the wilderness, making straight the way of the Lord. Naturally, falling now in the Church calendar, the words herald the birth of Christ just as John, himself, did.We know that John lived an ascetic way of life and that he baptized…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Francis Of Assisi

December 11, 2020 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… St. Francis Of Assisi

By DEB PIROCH Part 2 Last week’s issue looked at part one of the life of one of the most prized Medieval saints, St. Francis of Assisi. While certainly concerned with morality, and having a good knowledge of Scripture, he was neither priest nor theologian. His primary concerns included poverty and humility. There was no shame, he said, in being poor, because in owning nothing he was imitating our Lord. And he owned nothing. When there was danger of “reform” of his order, he interceded and made sure to put the rule to paper. His love of all, including the poor, was radical, kind, merciful and changed the tenor of his era.We are limited in what we can include about…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Francis Of Assisi

December 8, 2020 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… St. Francis Of Assisi

By DEB PIROCH Part 1 “[Let us imagine] When we come to St. Mary of the Angels drenched with rain, numb with cold, covered with mud and tormented with hunger, and when we knock at the gate the porter . . . enraged, cries, ‘These are importunate rascals, I will treat them as they deserve,’ and rushing out with a knotted stick: seizes us by our cowls, throws us down, rolls us in the snow and beats us with every knot of that stick: If we, thinking of the sufferings of Our Blessed Lord, endure all these things gladly and patiently, bearing them for love of Him, O Brother Leo,…here is Perfect Joy” — Excerpt, St. Francis of Assisi.There are…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Martyrs Of Purity

November 6, 2020 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… Martyrs Of Purity

By DEB PIROCH In these days of liberalized sexuality, the secular population has no concept of the value the chaste soul has before God. It must also be said that there are martyrs to chastity who have died rather than submit to sexual activity or rape, even under the threat of death.Why, you ask, is this the case? The Sixth Commandment forbids adultery, and included under its auspices are that we be “pure in thought and modest in all our looks, words, and actions.” These words from the Baltimore Catechism forbids all “unchaste freedom” and says “sins of impurity are the most dangerous.” This is because they are accompanied by numerous other temptations and “are the most likely to lead…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Agatha, Virgin And Martyr

October 8, 2020 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes . . . St. Agatha, Virgin And Martyr

Catholic Heroes . . .St. Agatha, Virgin And Martyr By DEB PIROCH One of the most highly revered saints from the early days of the founding of the Church is St. Agatha, virgin and martyr (c. 231-251). As such, she is one of seven female saints mentioned in the Canon of the Mass. She came from a wealthy Sicilian family and dedicated her virginity to God at the young age of 15, a vow she was determined to keep even when the district governor, a Roman by the name of Quintianus, was determined to marry her. Despite his attempts, she rejected his proposals and so, knowing her to be a Christian, he denounced her during the persecutions of the Roman…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Hermann Contractus

October 1, 2020 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… Blessed Hermann Contractus

By DEB PIROCH The child earning the nickname “Hermann the Cripple” was born and lived as a cripple in the eleventh century (1013-1054). Many ascribe his diseases to have been spina bifida and cerebral palsy, though some today think it was Lou Gehrig’s disease and another wasting muscle disease. In any case, poor Hermannus could hardly move and was born with a cleft palate as well.As it was felt he would not live more than a few years, his parents asked Benedictine monks in Swabia, Germany, to care for him.It was true that Hermann of Reichenau, another name he is sometimes called after the monastery that cared for him, was greatly handicapped in body. But not in mind — and…Continue Reading