Saint of the day 20150324

24 March


SAINT CATHARINE OF SWEDEN

Virgin

(1330 + 1381)

        St. CatharineE was daughter of Ulpho, Prince of Nericia in Sweden, and of St. Bridget. The love of God seemed almost to prevent in her the use of her reason. At seven years of age she was placed in the nunnery of Risburgh, and educated in piety under the care of the holy abbess of that house.

        Being very beautiful, she was, by her father, contracted in marriage to Egard, a young nobleman of great virtue; but the virgin persuaded him to join with her in making a mutual vow of perpetual chastity. By her discourser he became desirous only of heavenly graces, arid, to draw them down upon his soul more abundantly, he readily acquiesced in the proposal.

        The happy couple, having but one heart and one desire, by a holy emulation excited each other to prayer, mortification, and works of charity.

        After the death of her father, St. Catharine, out of devotion to the Passion of Christ and to the relics of the martyrs, accompanied her mother in her pilgrimages and practices of devotion and penance.

        After her mother’s death at Rome, in 1373, Catharine returned to Sweden, and died abbess of Vadzstena, or Vatzen, on the 24th of March in 1381.

        For the last twenty-five years of her life she every day purified her soul by a sacramental confession of her sins.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]




Other saints: Saint Macartan (- 506)

He was a convert from paganism and a companion of St Patrick, who made him bishop of Clogher in 454. He is the patron saint of the diocese.

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Saint of the day 20150323

23 March


SAINT TURIBIUS of MONGROVEJO 

Archbishop of Lima 

(1538-1606)

        Turibius Alphonsus Mongrovejo, whose feast the Church honors on April 27th, was born on the 6th of November, 1538, at Mayorga in the kingdom of Leon in Spain. Brought up in a pious family where devotion was hereditary, his youth was a model to all who knew him. All his leisure was given to devotion or to works of charity. His austerities were great, and he frequently made long pilgrimages on foot.

        The fame of Turibius as a master of canon and civil law soon reached the ears of King Philip II., who made him judge at Granada. About that time the see of Lima, in Peru, fell vacant, and among those proposed Philip found no one who seemed better endowed than our Saint with all the qualities that were required at that city, where much was to be done for religion. He sent to Rome the name of the holy judge, and the Sovereign Pontiff confirmed his choice. Turibius in vain sought to avoid the honor. The Pope, in reply, directed him to prepare to receive Holy Orders and be consecrated. Yielding at last by direction of his confessor, he was ordained priest and consecrated.

        He arrived at Lima in 1587, and entered on his duties. All was soon edification and order in his episcopal city. A model of all virtue himself, he confessed daily and prepared for Mass by long meditation. St. Turibius then began a visitation of his vast diocese, which he traversed three times, his first visitation lasting seven years and his second four. He held provincial councils, framing decrees of such wisdom that his regulations were adopted in many countries. Almost his entire revenues were bestowed on his creditors, as he styled the poor.

        While discharging with zeal his duties he was seized with a fatal illness during his third visitation, and died on the 23d of March, 1606, at Santa, exclaiming, as he received the sacred Viaticum: “I rejoiced in the things that were said to me: ‘We shall go into the house of the Lord.'”

        The proofs of his holy life and of the favors granted through his intercession induced Pope Innocent XI to beatify him, and he was canonized by Pope Benedict XIII in the year 1726.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]




St Turibius of Mongrovejo (1538 – 1606)

He was born in Spain in about 1538 and studied law at the university of Salamanca. He was named bishop of Lima in 1580 and sailed to America. Full of apostolic zeal, he traversed his gigantic diocese three times, generally on foot, baptizing, teaching and confirming the natives. He assembled many synods and councils to make the Church strong, organised, and above all holy; and he strongly defended the rights of the natives, who were Spanish citizens according to the law but who were nevertheless being oppressed by the colonists and the provincial governors. He died in Lima on 23 March 1606. See the articles in WIkipedia and the Catholic Encyclopaedia.

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Saint of the day 20150321

21 March


SAINT BENEDETTA CAMBIAGIO FRASSINELLO 

(1791 – 1858)

        Saint Benedetta Cambiagio Frasinello was born on 2 October 1791 in Langasco (Genoa) Italy; she died on 21 March 1858 in Ronco Scrivia in Liguria. She was wife, religious and foundress. She let the Holy Spirit guide her through married life to the work of education and religious consecration. She founded a school for the formation of young women and also a religious congregation, and did both with the generous collaboration of her husband. This is unique in the annals of Christian sanctity. Benedetta was a pioneer in her determination to give a high quality education to young women, for the formation of families for a “new Christian society” and for promoting the right of women to a complete education.

Call to marriage, then to religious life

        From her parents Benedetta received a Christian formation that rooted in her the life of faith. Her family settled in Pavia when she was a girl. When she was 20 years old, Benedetta had a mystical experience that gave her a profound desire for a life of prayer and penance, and of consecration to God. However, in obedience to the wishes of her parents, in 1816, she married Giovanni Frassinello and lived married life for two years. In 1818, moved by the example of his saintly wife, Giovanni agreed that the two should live chastely, “as brother and sister” and take care of Benedetta’s younger sister, Maria, who was dying from intestinal cancer. They began to live a supernatural parenthood quite unique in the history of the Church.

Congregation founded by wife, who is supported by her husband

        Following Maria’s death in 1825, Giovanni entered the Somaschi Fathers founded by St Jerome Emiliani, and Benedetta devoted herself completely to God in the Ursuline Congregation of Capriolo. A year later she was forced to leave because of ill health, and returned to Pavia where she was miraculously cured by St Jerome Emiliani. Once she regained her health, with the Bishop’s approval, she dedicated herself to the education of young girls. Benedetta needed help in handling such a responsibility, but her own father refused to help her. Bishop Tosi of Pavia asked Giovanni to leave the Somaschi novitiate and help Benedettain her apostolic work. Together they made a vow of perfect chastity in the hands of the bishop, and then began their common work to promote the human and Christian formation of poor and abandoned girls of the city. Their educational work was of great benefit to Pavia. Benedetta became the first woman to be involved in this kind of work. The Austrian government recognized her as a “Promoter of Public Education”.

        She was helped by young women volunteers to whom she gave a rule of life that later received ecclesiastical approval. Along with instruction, she joined formation in catechesis and in useful skills like cooking and sewing, aiming to transform her students into “models of Christian life” and so assure the formation of families.

Benedictine Sisters of Providence

        Benedetta’s work was considered pioneering for those days and was opposed by a few persons in power and by the misunderstanding of clerics. In 1838 she turned over the institution to the Bishop of Pavia. Together with Giovanni and five companions, she moved to Ronco Scrivia in the Genoa region. There they opened a school for girls that was a refinement on what they had done in Pavia.

        Eventually, Benedetta founded the Congregation of the Benedictine Sisters of Providence. In her rule she stressed the education of young girls. She instilled the spirit of unlimited confidence and abandonment to Providence and of love of God through poverty and charity. The Congregation grew quickly since it performed a needed service. Benedetta was able to guide the development of the Congregation until her death. On 21 March 1858 she died in Ronco Scrivia.

        Her example is that of supernatural maternity plus courage and fidelity in discerning and living God’s will.

        Today the Benedictine Nuns of Providence are present in Italy, Spain, Burundi, Ivory Coast, Peru and Brazil. They are at the service of young people, the poor, the sick and the elderly. The foundress also opened a house of the order in Voghera. Forty years after the death of Benedetta, the bishop separated this house from the rest of the Order. The name was changed to the Benedictines of Divine Providence who honour the memory of the Foundress.

        She was canonized by John Paul II on May 19, 2002.

– Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana




Other saints: Saint Enda (- 530)

He founded a monastery on the pagan island of Aran Mor in Galway Bay, which remained a centre for sanctity and learning for the next 300 years. See the article in the Catholic Encyclopaedia.

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Saint of the day 20150320

20 March


Saint Joseph Bilczewski

Bishop 

(1860-1923)

        Blessed Archbishop Joseph Bilczewski was born April 26, 1860 in Wilamowice near Kęty, inthe present day Diocese of Bielsko Żywiec, then part of the Diocese of Krakow. Having finished elementary school at Wilamowic and Kęty, he attended high school at Wadowice receiving his diploma in 1880. On July 6, 1884 he was ordained a priest in Krakow by Cardinal Albino Dunajewski. In 1886 he received a Doctorate in Theology from the University of Vienna. Following advanced studies in Rome and Paris he passed the qualifying exam at the Jaghellonic University of Krakow. The following year he became professor of Dogmatic Theology at the John Casimir University of Leopoli. He also served as Dean of Theology for a period of time prior to becoming Rector of the University. During his tenure at the University, he was appreciated as a professor by his students and also enjoyed the friendship and respect of his colleagues. He arduously dedicated himself to scientific work and, despite his young age, acquired notoriety as a learned man. His extraordinary intellectual and relational abilities were recognized by Francis Joseph, the Emperor of Austria, who presented Monsignor Joseph to the Holy Father as a candidate for the vacant Metropolitan See of Leopoli. The Holy Father, Leo XIII responded positively to the Emperor’s proposal and on December 17, 1900 he named the forty year old Monsignor Joseph Bilczewski, Archbishop of Leopoli of the Latin Rite.

        Given the complex social, economic, ethnic and religious situation, care for the large diocese required of the Bishop a deep commitment and called for great moral effort, strong confidence in God, and a faith enlivened by a continual contact with God.

        Archbishop Joseph Bilczewski became known for his abundant goodness of heart, understanding, humility, piety, commitment to hard work and pastoral zeal which sprung from his immense love for God and neighbor.

        Upon taking possession of the Archdiocese of Leopoli he spelled out very clearly his pastoral plan which can be summed up in the words “totally sacrifice oneself for the Holy Church”. Among other things he pointed out the need for the development of devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament and frequent reception of Holy Communion.

        A particular form of pastoral action of Archbishop Bilczewski were the pastoral letters and appeals addressed to the priests and the faithful of the Archdiocese. In them he spoke of the problems of faith and morals of the time as well as of the most pressing issues of the social sphere. He also explained devotion to the Eucharist and to the Sacred Heart in them and the importance of religious and moral formation of children and youth in the family and in school. He taught for the Church and for the Holy Father. Above all, he took great care to cultivate many holy priestly vocations. He saw the priest as first and foremost a teacher of faith and an instrument of Christ, a father for the rich as well as for the poor. Taking the place of Christ on Earth, the priest was to be the minister of the Sacraments and for this reason his whole heart had to be dedicated to the celebration of the Eucharist, in order to be able to nourish the people of God with the body of Christ.

        He often exhorted the priests to adoration of the most Blessed Sacrament. In his pastoral letter devoted to the Eucharist he invited the priests to participate in the priestly associations: The Association for Perpetual Adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament and the Association of Aid to Poor Catholic Churches whose goal was to rejuvenate the zeal of the priests themselves. He also dedicated a great deal of care to the preparation of children and to full participation in the Mass, desiring that every Catechesis would lead children and youth to the Eucharist. Archbishop Joseph Bilczewski promoted the construction of churches and chapels, schools and day-care centers. He developed teaching to help enable the growth in the instruction of the faithful. He materially and spiritually helped the more important works which were springing up in his Archdiocese. His holy life, filled with prayer, work and works of mercy led 18 to his meriting great appreciation and respect on the part of those of various faiths, rites and nationalities present in the Archdiocese. No religious or nationalistic conflicts arose during the tenure of his pastoral work. He was a proponent of unity, harmony and peace. On social issues he always stood on the side of the people and of the poor. He taught that the base of social life had to be justice made perfect by Christian love. During the First World War, when souls were overtaken with hate and a lack of appreciation of the other, he pointed out to the people the infinite love of God, capable of forgiving every type of sin and offense. He reminded them of the need to observe the commandments of God and particularly that of brotherly love. Sensitive to the social questions regarding the family and youth, he courageously proposed solutions to problems based on the love of God and of neighbor. During his 23 years of pastoral service he changed the face of the Archdiocese of Leopoli. Only his death on the 20th of March 1923 could end his vast and far-sighted pastoral action.

        He was prepared for death and accepted it with peace and submission as a sign of God’s will, which he always considered sacred.

        He left this world having enjoyed a universal recognition of holiness. Wanting to rest among those for whom he was always father and protector, in accord with his desires, he was buried in Leopoli in the cemetery of Janów, known as the cemetery of the poor.

        Thanks to the efforts of the Archdiocese of Leopoli the process for his beatification and canonization was initiated. The first step was concluded on December 17, 1997 with the declaration of the life of heroic virtue of Archbishop Joseph Bilczewski by The Holy Father, Pope John Paul II. In June 2001, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints recognized as miraculous the fact of the rapid lasting and unexplainable “quo ad modum” healing through the intercession of Archbishop Bilczewski of the third degree burns of Marcin Gawlik, a nine year old boy, thus opening the way for his beatification.

        The beatification took place in the Diocese of Leopoli on the 26th of June 2001 during Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Visit to the Ukraine.

        He was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on October 23, 2005 at Rome.



– Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana



Saint of the day 20150318

18 March


ST. CYRIL OF JERUSALEM

Bishop and Doctor of the Church

(+386)

        Cyril was born at or near the city of Jerusalem, about the year 315. He was ordained priest by St. Maximus, who gave him the important charge of instructing and preparing the candidates for Baptism. This charge he held for several years, and we still have one series of his instructions, given in the year 347 or 318. They are of singular interest as being the earliest record of the systematic teaching of the Church on the creed and sacraments, and as having been given in the church built by Constantine on Mount Calvary. They are solid, simple, profound; saturated with Holy Scripture; exact, precise, and terse; and, as a witness and exposition of the Catholic faith, invaluable.

        On the death of St. Maximus, Cyril was chosen Bishop of Jerusalem. At the beginning of his episcopate a cross was seen in the air reaching from Mount Calvary to Mount Olivet, and so bright that it shone at noonday. St. Cyril gave an account of it to the emperor; and the faithful regarded it as a presage of victory over the Arian heretics.

        While Cyril was bishop, the apostate Julian resolved to falsify the words of Our Lord by rebuilding the Temple at Jerusalem. He employed the power and resources of a Roman emperor; the Jews thronged enthusiastically to him and gave munificently. But Cyril was unmoved. ” The word of God abides,” he said; “one stone shall not be laid on another.” When the attempt was made, a heathen writer tells us that horrible flames came forth from the earth, rendering the place inaccessible to the scorched and scared workmen. The attempt was made again and again, and then abandoned in despair. Soon after, the emperor perished miserably in a war against the Persians, and the Church had rest.

        Like the other great bishops of his time, Cyril was persecuted, and driven once and again from his see; but on the death of the Arian Emperor Valens he returned to Jerusalem. He was present at the second General Council at Constantinople, and died in peace in 386, after a troubled episcopate of thirty-five years.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]




St Cyril of Jerusalem (315 – 386)

He was born in 315 of Christian parents and succeeded Maximus as bishop of Jerusalem in 348. He was active in the Arian controversy and was exiled more than once as a result. His pastoral zeal is especially shown in his Catecheses, in which he expounded orthodox doctrine, holy Scripture and the traditions of the faith. They are still read today, and some of the Second Readings of the Office of Readings are taken from them. He died in 386. He is held in high esteem by both the Catholics and the Orthodox, and he was declared a Doctor of the Church by the Pope in 1883. See the articles in the Catholic Encyclopaedia and Wikipedia.

Other saints: St Edward the Martyr (962 – 978)

He was the eldest son of King Edgar of the English, and on Edgar’s death in 975 the kingship was contested, with some supporting Edward’s claim and others supporting his much younger half-brother Æthelred (known to history as ‘Ethelred the Unready’). Edward was chosen as king and was crowned by his main clerical supporters, Archbishops Dunstan and Oswald of Worcester.
  The great nobles of the kingdom quarrelled, and civil war almost broke out. The nobles took advantage of Edward’s weakness to dispossess the Benedictine reformed monasteries of lands and other properties which King Edgar had granted to them. Edward was murdered at Corfe Castle on 18 March 978 in circumstances which are not altogether clear.
  His body was reburied with great ceremony at Shaftesbury Abbey early in 980. In 1001 his remains were moved to a more prominent place in the abbey, probably with the blessing of his half-brother King Æthelred. Edward was already reckoned a saint by this time.

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Saint of the day 20150317

17 March


SAINT PATRICK

Bishop, Apostle of Ireland

(c. 385-461)

        If the virtue of children reflects an honor on their parents, much more justly is the name of St. Patrick rendered illustrious by the innumerable lights of sanctity with which the Church of Ireland shone during many ages, and by the colonies of Saints with which it peopled many foreign countries; for, under God, its inhabitants derived from their glorious apostle the streams of that eminent sanctity by which they were long conspicuous to the whole world. St. Patrick was born towards the close of the fourth century, in a village called Bonaven Taberniæ, which seems to be the town of Kilpatrick, on the mouth of the river Clyde, in Scotland, between Dumbarton and Glasgow. He calls himself both a Briton and a Roman, or of a mixed extraction, and says his father was of a good family named Calphurnius, and a denizen of a neighboring city of the Romans, who not long after abandoned Britain, in 409. Some writers call his mother Conchessa, and say she was niece to St. Martin of Tours.

        In his sixteenth year he was carried into captivity by certain barbarians, who took him into Ireland, where he was obliged to keep cattle on the mountains and in the forests, in hunger and nakedness, amidst snow, rain, and ice. Whilst he lived in this suffering condition, God had pity on his soul, and quickened him to a sense of his duty by the impulse of a strong interior grace. The young man had recourse to Him with his whole heart in fervent prayer and fasting; and from that time faith and the love of God acquired continually new strength in his tender soul. After six years mspent in slavery under the same master, St. Patrick was admonished by God in a dream to return to his own country, and informed that a ship was then ready to sail thither. He went at once to the sea-coast, though at a great distance, and found the vessel; but could not obtain his passage, probably for want of money. The Saint returned towards his hut, praying as he went; but the sailors, though pagans, called him back and took him on board. After three days’ sail they made land, but wandered twenty-seven days through deserts, and were a long while distressed for want of provisions, finding nothing to eat. Patrick had often spoken to the company on the infinite power of God; they therefore asked him why he did not pray for relief. Animated by a strong faith, he assured them that if they would address themselves with their whole hearts to the true God He would hear and succor them. They did so, and on the same day met with a herd of swine. From that time provisions never failed them, till on the twenty-seventh day they came info a country that was cultivated and inhabited.

        Some years afterwards he was again led captive, but recovered his liberty after two months. When he was at home with his parents, God manifested to him, by divers visions, that He destined him to the great work of the conversion of Ireland. The writers of his life say that after his second captivity he travelled into Gaul and Italy, and saw St. Martin, St. Germanus of Auxerre, and Pope Celestine, and that he received his mission and the apostolical benediction from this Pope, who died in 432. It is certain that he spent many years in preparing himself for his sacred calling. Great opposition was made against his episcopal consecration and mission, both by his own relatives and by the clergy. These made him great offers in order to detain him among them, and endeavored to affright him by exaggerating the dangers to which he exposed himself amidst the enemies of the Romans and Britons, who did not know God. All these temptations threw the Saint into great perplexities; but the Lord, Whose will he consulted by earnest prayer, supported him, and he persevered in his resolution. He forsook his family, sold his birthright and dignity, to serve strangers, and consecrated his soul to God, to carry His name to the ends of the earth. In this disposition he passed into Ireland, to preach the Gospel, where the worship of idols still generally reigned. He devoted himself entirely to the salvation of these barbarians. He travelled over the whole island, penetrating into the remotest corners, and_ such was the fruit of his preachings and sufferings that he baptized an infinite number of people. He ordained everywhere clergymen, induced women to live in holy widowhood and continence, consecrated virgins to Christ, and instituted monks. He took nothing from the many thousands whom he baptized, and often gave back the little presents which some laid on the altar, choosing rather to mortify the fervent than to scandalize the weak or the infidels. He gave freely of his own, however, both to pagans and Christians, distributed large alms to the poor in the provinces where he passed, made presents to the kings, judging that necessary for the progress of the Gospel, and maintained and educated many children, whom he trained up to serve at the altar. The happy success of his labors cost him many persecutions.

        A certain prince named Corotick, a Christian in name only, disturbed the peace of his flock. This tyrant, having made a descent into Ireland, plundered the country where St. Patrick had been just conferring confirmation on a great number of neophytes, who were yet in their white garments after Baptism. Corotick massacred many, and carried away others, whom he sold to the infidel Picts or Scots. The next day the Saint sent the barbarian a letter entreating him to restore the Christian captives, and at least part of the booty he had taken, that the poor people might not perish for want, but was only answered by railleries. The Saint, therefore, wrote with his own hand a letter. In it he styles himself a sinner and an ignorant man; he declares, nevertheless, that he is established Bishop of Ireland, and pronounces Corotick and the other parricides and accomplices separated from him and from Jesus Christ, Whose place he holds, forbidding any to eat with them, or to receive their alms, till they should have satisfied God by the tears of sincere penance, and restored the servants of Jesus Christ to their liberty. This letter expresses his most tender love for his flock, and his grief for those who had been slain, yet mingled with joy because they reign with the prophets, apostles, and martyrs. Jocelin assures us that Corotick was overtaken by the divine vengeance.

        St. Patrick held several councils to settle the discipline of the Church which he had planted. St. Bernard and the tradition of the country testify that St. Patrick fixed his metropolitan see at Armagh. He established some other bishops, as appears by his Council and other monuments. He not only converted the whole country by his preaching and wonderful miracles, but also cultivated this vineyard with so fruitful a benediction and increase from heaven as to render Ireland a most flourishing garden in the Church of God, and a country of Saints.

        Many particulars are related of the labors of St. Patrick, which we pass over. ‘in the first year of his mission he attempted to preach Christ in the general assembly of the kings and states of all Ireland, held yearly at Tara, the residence of the chief king, styled the monarch of the whole island, and the principal seat of the Druids, or priests, and their paganish rites. The son of Neill, the chief monarch, declared himself against the preacher; however, Patrick converted several, and, on his road to that place, the father of St. Benignus, his immediate successor in the see of Armagh. He afterwards converted and baptized the Icings of Dublin and Munster, and the seven sons of the king of Connaught, with the greatest part of their subjects, and before his death almost the whole island. He founded a monastery at Armagh; another called Domnach-Padraig, or Patrick’s Church; also a third, named Sabhal-Padraig; and filled the country with churches and schools of piety and learning, the reputation of which, for the three succeeding centuries, drew many foreigners into Ireland. He died and was buried at Down in Ulster. His body was found there in a church of his name in 1185, and translated to another part of the same church.

        Ireland is the nursery whence St. Patrick sent forth his missionaries and teachers. Glastonbury and Lindisfarne, Ripon and Malmesbury, bear testimony to the labors of Irish priests and bishops for the conversion of England. Iona is to this day the most venerated spot in Scotland. Columban, Fiacre, Gall, and many others evangelized the “rough places” of France and Switzerland. America and Australia, in modern times, owe their Christianity to the faith and zeal of the sons and daughters of St. Patrick.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]




St Patrick (385 – 461)

He was born in Roman Britain around the end of the 4th century, and died in Ireland about the middle of the 5th century. As a missionary bishop, he endured many hardships and faced opposition even from his friends and fellow Christians. Nevertheless, he worked hard to conciliate, to evangelize, and to educate local chieftains and their families. He is remembered for his simplicity and pastoral care, for his humble trust in God, and for his fearless preaching of the gospel to the very people who had enslaved him in his youth. See the articles in Wikipedia and the Catholic Encyclopaedia.

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Saint of the day 20150316

16 March


SAINT ABRAHAM, Hermit 

(+ c. 360)

and SAINT MARY

(+ c. 355)

        Abraham was a rich nobleman of Edessa. At his parents’ desire he married, but escaped to a cell near the city as soon as the feast was over. He walled up the cell-door, leaving only a small window through which he received his food. There for fifty years he sang God’s praises and implored mercy for himself and for all men. The wealth which fell to him on his parents’ death he gave to the poor.

        As many sought him for advice and consolation, the Bishop of Edessa, in spite of his humility, ordained him priest. St. Abraham was sent, soon after his ordination, to an idolatrous city which had hitherto been deaf to every messenger. He was insulted, beaten, and three times banished, but he returned each time with fresh zeal. For three years he pleaded with God for those souls, and in the end prevailed. Every citizen came to him for Baptism.

        After providing for their spiritual needs he went back to his cell more than ever convinced of the power of prayer. His brother died, leaving an only daughter, Mary, to the Saint’s care. He placed her in a cell near his own, and devoted himself to training her in perfection. After twenty years of innocence she fell, and fled in despair to a distant city, where she drowned the voice of conscience in sin. The Saint and his friend St. Ephrem prayed earnestly for her during two years. Then he went disguised to seek the lost sheep, and had the joy of bringing her back to the desert a true penitent. She received the gift of miracles, and her countenance after death shone as the sun.

        St. Abraham died five years before her, about 360. All Edessa came for his last blessing and to secure his relics.



Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]