CONTAINED IN THE CALENDAR OF SPECIAL FEASTS
FOR THE UNITED STATES AND OF SOME
OTHERS RECENTLY CANONIZED.
ST. CLARE OF MONTEFALCO.
ST. LAURENCE OF BRINDISI.
ST. BENEDICT JOSEPH LABRE.
ST. JOHN BAPTIST DE ROSSI.
ST. GABRIEL OF THE SORROWFUL MOTHER.
ST. PHILIP OF JESUS, MARTYR, PATRON OF THE CITY OF MEXICO.
ST. TURRIBIUS ARCHBISHOP OF LIMA.
ST. FRANCIS SOLANO.
ST. JOAN OF ARC.
ST. ROCH, Confessor.
ST. JOHN BERCHMANS, Confessor.
ST. RITA OF CASCIA, Widow.
ST. LEONARD OF PORT MAURICE, Confessor.
ST. JOHN BAPTIST DE LA SALLE, Confessor.
St. Clare was born in 1268, in the little Italian towr
from which she takes her name. Her parents were thoroughly
pious people, in moderate circumstances, to whom
were born two daughters, Johanna, who was the elder, and
the subject of our sketch.
This Saint was born July 22, 1559, and from an early age
showed an inclination for a monastic life. To encourage this
his pious parents placed him in the Franciscan convent at
Brindisi. Being left an orphan when quite young, he went
to Venice, where his uncle, a man of great learning and much
interested in our Saint, was Superior of the College of St.
Mark. When not quite sixteen Laurence was attracted to
the Capuchins, then in their first fervor, and on February 18,
1575, he joined that Order. Applying himself diligently to
study, he became a finished Hebrew scholar. At the close of
his scholastic career he was ordained a priest. So great was
the harvest of souls gained by his preaching that Pope
Clement VIII. called him to Rome to labor for the conversion
of the Jews. His knowledge of the Hebrew text of the
sacred books was of great help to him in his work; conversions
took place in unexpected numbers, and so continued to
increase that soon the name of Blessed Laurence became a
household word throughout Italy. He visited nearly all the
important cities of Italy, everywhere winning souls to God,
and continued this missionary journey until he was recalled
to fill the Chair of Theology. Subsequently he was placed
in charge of the Convent of the Holy Redeemer at Venice,
and afterwards made Superior of the house at Bassano. In
both these positions he showed such great administrative
ability, that in 1590, when barely thirty years of age, he was
chosen Provincial of Tuscany. Three years later he was
elected Provincial of Venice, and returned to that city.
While in a remote part of the province, making his provincial
visit he learned that his uncle, who had befriended him when
an orphan child, was dying at Venice, and, despite the many
difficulties attending the journey, he hurried back to the
good old man's bedside, and he remained there until his
death, when the Saint resumed his provincial visits.
This holy servant of God, the- son of pious parents, was born March 26, 1748, at Amettes, near Boulogne, in France. His uncles, both on his father's and his mother's side, were parish-priests, one at the neighboring village of Erin, and the other at Pesse, which was also quite near Amettes. At the time of our Saint's birth, a pestilence of irreligion was ravaging France, but the simple faith and humble lives of his parents preserved them from its contagion. The love they lavished on Benedict was repaid with affection and obedience; indeed, the latter was a distinguishing trait of the boy's character. At one time the priest in charge of the school which he attended intentionally charged our Saint with a fault he had not committed, in order to test his obedience. The boy declared his innocence; whereon the priest, pretending to be angry, accused him of lying, and sent him out for punishment. Benedict made no further defence, but was preparing to receive his punishment, instead of which he met with words of encouragement and approval. From his childhood, religious instruction always found in our Saint an earnest listener: he served Mass with a devotion that was remarkable, went frequently to confession, and followed with close attention the ceremonies of the various devotions. Even then he was anxious to forsake the world and serve God in solitude. His mother, wishing to discourage what she considered a mere childish fancy, told him he would be likely to suffer for want of proper food; but with a wisdom beyond his years, he answered that the hermits of old lived on roots and herbs, and he could do the same. " But," retorted his mother, " men were stronger then than now." "Ah," replied the Saint, " God's grace is always strong; and if He supported His servants then, why not now?" Meanwhile he would often sleep on the bare floor with a log for his pillow, and frequently denied himself food. At the age of twelve he went to live with his uncle, the priest at Erin, a saintly man, who took upon himself the religious education of the boy, sending him to a neighboring school for his Latin and other studies. Benedict's amiability and docility soon endeared him to his uncle and his teacher, and he was progressing excellently in his studies, when he suddenly evinced a distaste for them which he strove in vain to conquer. Do what he would, he could not revive his old love for his books. One thought filled his mind; one study alone attracted him: how to do God's will, how best to serve Him. His uncle, who had counted on seeing our Saint ordained and assisting him in the care of the parish, was greatly disappointed when Benedict, now about sixteen years old, announced his intention of joining the Trappists, the most rigorous Order in their vicinity. But the good old man was not to worry long, for about this time an epidemic carried off many of the inhabitants of Erin, and among them the faithful pastor, who sacrificed his life for his flock. Sad in heart, Benedict returned home, where he continued his life of self-denial and penance. Finally, it was settled that he should take up his residence with his other uncle at Pesse. It was soon evident, however, that our Saint's heart was set on a religious life; and after staying a few months with his uncle, he, with the consent of his parents, started for La Trappe. Although the distance was more than one hundred and fifty miles, he made the journey on foot, over bad roads and in severe weather, and reached the convent, weary and more than half sick, only to be rejected. He was in rags and half dead from exposure and want of food when he arrived home. Nowise disheartened, he no sooner recovered his strength than he essayed once more to gain admittance to a monastery, but was again refused. Finally, after being rejected five times in all by one or another religious Order, he became convinced that Almighty God willed that he should leave his home and country and journey on foot as a pilgrim to the sanctuaries of Europe. And so he started out. He had no money, nor did he ask for any. His food was bread that was given to him, vegetables, fruit-parings, or any refuse he might find in the street. His clothes were filthy rags, fastened about his waist by knotted ropes. Living this self-imposed penance, separated from society and the charity of those whom he feared might win him from his love for God, he made eleven journeys to the Holy House of Loreto, besides those to other pilgrimages. The Lent of 1783 found him in Rome, sick and worn out by his continued journeyings. On Wednesday of Holy Week, April 16th, his enfeebled body gave way, and he fell fainting on the steps of a church. A butcher who had always taken an interest in the Saint, seeing him in this state, had him borne to his home, where at eight o'clock in the evening, just as the church-bells rang out the Salve Regina, his pure soul passed away, his pilgrimage was ended, and he was at rest in his Father's house. That night the cry rang through Rome, " The Saint is dead." People who shrunk from him living came eagerly to look on his face in death, and the rags which, before, all loathed, were now begged as relics. It is worthy of note that the light of faith was granted one of our earliest American converts, the Rev. John Thayer, a Protestant minister of Boston, while investigating the miracles related of our Saint. Mr. Thayer was in Rome at the time of the Saint's death, and being in the company of some English friends, the alleged miracles were discussed. The Protestants disbelieved them and sneered at them, but a Catholic who was present offered to wager that no one of the company would dare honestly to investigate them. As a Protestant minister, Mr. Thayer felt bound to accept the wager. He began the investigation in good faith, and as his reward he became a Catholic and a priest.
St. John Baptist de Rossi is the first instance in modern
times of the canonization as Confessor of a priest belonging
to no religions Order or Congregation. He was born at
Voltaggio, a little town about fifteen miles north of Genoa,
February 22, 1698. From the first he was distinguished for
his piety and purity. The parish church was his favorite
resort, and thither he would hasten after the early morning
class to serve as many Masses as he could. The gravity and
modesty he showed in holy places struck all who saw him,
and many declared he was like a little angel just come down
from heaven and still full of the vision of God.
When our Saint was ten years old, a wealthy couple of
Genoa visited Voltaggio; attracted by the unaffected piety
and winning ways of the boy, they obtained from his parents
permission to adopt him, and took him to their palace, where
he was treated as their son.
Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother (1838-1861) we have
a child of our own time. He is one of those hidden and
unspectacular saints who arrived at real spiritual greatness
by the constant display of a morale which, soldier-like, would
be satisfied with nothing less than complete victory over
self and the world.
Philip de las Casas was born in the city of Mexico, where his parents settled after setting out for the New World from Illescas, in Spain. They were earnest in all their religious duties and brought up their family piously, two sons entering the Augustinian Order, one to die by the hands of the heathen. Philip at first showed little care for the pious teaching of his parents and the example of his brethren, but at last he, too, resolved to forsake the world, and entered the Reformed Franciscan Convent of Santa Barbara at Pueblo. He was not yet weaned from the world and its vanities, and soon left the novitiate. Grieved at the inconstancy of his son, Alonso de las Casas sent him to the Philippine Islands with a large stock of goods and money to make purchases. In vain did Philip seek to satisfy his heart with pleasure. He could not but feel that God called him to a religious life. Gaining courage by prayer, he entered the Franciscan Convent of Our Lady of the Angels at Manila, and persevered, taking his vows in 1594. His novitiate had produced a great spirit of poverty, obedience, and prayer, and he sought by austerity to atone for the errors of his youth. As infirmarian, Brother Philip of Jesus beheld Our Lord in the person of the sick, and attended them with holy care. The richest cargo that he could have sent to Mexico would not have gratified his pious father as much as the tidings that Philip was a professed friar. Alonso de las Casas obtained from the Commissary of the Order directions that Philip should be sent to Mexico. He embarked on the St. Philip in July, 1596, with other religious. Storms drove the vessel to the coast of Japan, and it was wrecked while endeavoring to enter a port. Amid the storm Philip saw over Japan a white cross, in the shape used in that country, which after a time became blood-red, and remained so for some time. It was an omen of his coming victory. The commander of the vessel sent our Saint and two other religious to the emperor to solicit permission to continue their voyage, but they could not obtain an audience. He then proceeded to Meaco to a house of his Order, to seek the influence of the Fathers there; but the pilot of the vessel by idle boasts had excited the emperor's fears of the Christians, and the heathen ruler resolved to exterminate the Catholic missionaries. In December, officers seized a number of the Franciscan Fathers, three Jesuits, and several of their young pupils. St. Philip was one of those arrested while they were in the choir singing the office. Philip bore with heroic patience the insults of the rabble who assailed the martyrs on their way to prison, and heard with holy joy that sentence of death had been passed on them all. His left ear was cut off, and he offered this first-fruits of his blood to God for the salvation of that heathen land. The martyrs were led through the streets of several towns with inscriptions declaring the cause of their death. The twenty-six at last reached Nangasaki, where crosses had been erected on a high hill near the bay. When St. Philip was led to that on which he was to die, he knelt down and clasped it. exclaiming: " O happy ship! O happy galleon for Philip, lost for my gain! Loss—no loss for me, but the greatest of all gain! " He was bound to the cross, but the rest under him gave way, so that he was strangled by the cords. While repeating the holy name of Jesus he was the first of the happy band to receive the death-stroke, a lance being driven across through his body to the right shoulder, then another to the left, a third stroke being given to assure his death. The Spanish and Japanese Christians who witnessed his triumph caught his blood in their hats and in cloths to preserve as relics. Miracles attested the power before God of these first martyrs of Japan, and Pope Urban VIII. granted permission to say an Office and Mass in their honor, and Pope Pius IX. formally canonized them. The devotion to St. Philip of Jesus in his native city and throughout Mexico has always been very great. A church and a convent of Capuchin nuns are dedicated to him. His feast was in Spanish times kept with great solemnity in New Mexico, Texas, and California, and a settlement in Arizona bore his name. St. Philip died at the age of twenty-five. He is an example to encourage those who falter in the path of God's service; his prayers will aid those who are tempted, and enable them to acquire strength to recover lost ground, and go on with renewed courage in the narrow way of the Cross.
Turribius Alphonsus Mogrobejo 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. A tender devotion to the Blessed Virgin and a love
of the poor marked this boy. He recited the Rosary and
the Little Office every day, and fasted every Saturday in
honor of the Mother of God. As a schoolboy he gave away
his own food to relieve the poor. His life as a student at
Valladolid and Salamanca showed no relaxation from his
early spirit of prayer. 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
Turribius as a master of canon and civil law soon reached
the ears of King Philip II., who made him judge at Granada.
That monarch marked the exalted virtue and ability of Mogrobejo.
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. Turribius
in vain sought to avoid the honor, and wrote a long treatise,
which he forwarded to Rome, to show how irregular it was
to appoint a layman to such a position. The Pope, in reply,
directed him to prepare to receive holy orders and be consecrated.
King Philip was equally deaf to his appeals.
Yielding at last by direction of his confessor, he prepared
by a long retreat to receive minor orders and the subdeaeonship
and deaconship. Then he was ordained priest and
consecrated. He entered 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. The influence of
the holy man was soon felt. St. Turribius then began a
visitation of his vast diccese, which he traversed three times,
his first visitation lasting seven years and his second four.
He held provincial councils, adopting decrees framed with
such wisdom that his regulations were adopted in many
countries. St. Turribius preached, catechized, and confirmed
far and wide; he held diocesan synods, and encouraged
his bishops to do the same. Almost his entire revenues
were bestowed on his creditors, as he styled the poor,
and he bore with intrepid patience the vexatious opposition
raised to many of his reforms, maintaining the liberties of
the Church with apostolical courage. While discharging
with zeal his duties of priest and bishop, he was seized with
a fatal illness during his third visitation, and died on the 23d
of March, in the year 1666, 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"
His holy, austere, and devoted life had made the people
regard him as a saint and a constant benefactor. They
regarded him now as their patron in heaven, and miracles
rewarded their faith. The proofs of his holy life and of the
favors granted through his intercession induced Pope Innocent XL to beatify him, and he was canonized by Pope
Benedict XIII. in the year 1726.
The diocese of Cordova, in Spain, was the birthplace of
(his Saint, who won many thousands of souls to God. From
I lis earliest years he was characterized by a modest behavior,
prudent silence, and edifying meekness. While still very
young he was always able to effect a reconciliation between
the most bitter enemies. Once when he came upon two
Spaniards who were engaged in deadly strife, he threw himself
between them, and kneeling down, prayed with so much
fervor that the fierce combatants sheathed their daggers and
became reconciled to one another.
His education was intrusted to the Jesuit Fathers, but
his desire to follow the poor and humble Jesus in perfect
poverty and humility induced him to enter the Order of St.
Francis. Soon he excelled every one in the house in humility,
obedience, fervor in prayer, and self-denial. Sometimes
he would pass the entire night on his knees before the tabernacle.
If he saw a religious zealous for God's honor and
love, he would say to him: "
Brother, let us see which of us
can show Jesus more proofs of love, fervor, and self-denial
during this week."
At Domremy, on the Upper Meuse, was born on January
6, 1412, of pious parentage, the illustrious heroine of all time,
St. Joan of Arc. Taught by her mother from earliest years
to pray each night "O God, save France," she could not help
but conceive the ardent love for her country which later consumed
her life. While the English were overrunning the north
of F'rance, their future conqueror, untutored in worldly wisdom,
was peacefully tending her flock, and learning the wisdom
of God at a wayside shrine.
The date of the birth of St. Roch can not be determined with exactness, but it is said that he was born about 1295, at Montpellier. His father held a position of power and influence in the city. After the death of his parents, when he was about twenty years of age, the young man had no inclination to take his father's position, but handed over the government to his uncle. He then distributed his wealth to the poor and set out on a journey to Italy. At that time many people were afflicted with the plague, and the young man, dressed as a pilgrim, devoted his time, energy, and prayers to the care of those who had been stricken. Wherever he went the plague disappeared before him, due to the fact that God gave him the power of working miracles in behalf of those who were suffering from the terrible disease. Having contracted the malady himself, from which he recovered in the course of time, the young man went back to his own city in the year 1322. Not wishing to make himself known, he was cast into prison as a spy and died there five years later in the year 1327. When his identity became known from some papers in his possession, he was accorded a public funeral, which was the occasion of numerous miracles. The relics of St. Roch are venerated at Venice, and the Church has established an arch-confraternity in his house. His feast is celebrated on the 16th of August.
St. John Berchmans, whose feast is celebrated August 13,
was born at Diest on the 13th of March, 1599. Having been
blessed by God with good parents, they watched over their
young son during the early years of his life, and endeavored
to form within him a character that would be pleasing in the
sight of God, and loved by men. That God blessed their work
we can learn from those who came in close contact with him
during life. His parish priest, M. Emmerick, observing him
as a little boy of seven years, said that God "would work wonders
in the soul of the child."
St. Rita of Cascia, whose feast is celebrated on May 22,
was born at Rocca Porena in the diocese of Spoleto and the
province of Umbria, Italy, about the year 1386, and died at
Cascia in the year 1456. Being the daughter of parents who
were advanced in years, she met with much opposition when
she made known her intention of becoming a nun. Yielding
to their entreaties, she married a man, who, in a short time,
lost his reputation on account of his cruelty. After converting
him from his wicked ways, he was murdered by an enemy.
Rita's two sons resolved to take revenge, but through her
prayers they repented of their sins and were taken away by
death. Left alone in the world, she applied several times for
admission into the Augustinian Convent at Cascia. Refusal to
receive her followed every application, until God Himself
cleared away all obstacles and she entered the convent, made
her profession and lived the life of a holy and devout Religious
for forty-two years, "a shining example of every Christian virtue,
pure as a lily, simple as a dove, and obedient as an angel."
That "God is wonderful in His saints" is easily proved in
the life of St. Rita. On one occasion Rita requested a rose to
be brought to her from her garden at Porena in the midst of
winter. The rose was found in full bloom. At another time
she asked for a fig, and the same was found. The report of
these wonders spread far and wide, and people flocked to the
convent from all parts of Europe, only to receive in return
for their faith in God through the prayers of Rita many spiritual
and temporal favors.
St. Leonard of Port Maurice was born on the 20th of December, 1676, at Porto Maurizio, Italy. His family name was Casanova. His early studies were made in a Jesuit college in the city of Rome. Knowing that his vocation was to serve God as a Religious, he joined the Riformella, a society similar to the Friars Minor, introduced into Italy by Blessed Bonaventure of Barcelona in 1662. He received the habit in 1697, and after making his novitiate was sent to the principal house at Rome to complete his studies. After his ordination he suffered from ill health for a period of four years, during which time his superiors kept him in a monastery of the Franciscan Observants in his native city. Upon his recovery, he began the work of giving missions, which he continued throughout his life. His first missions were given in his native city. From there he went into Tuscany, and his efforts in recalling sinners to penance were blessed by God with many noted and remarkable conversions. His missionary labors took him to all parts of Italy and the islands, and on many occasions he was compelled to preach outside the churches, on account of the immense crowds of people who came to hear him. He encouraged the people to lead pure and upright lives, and recommended to them in particular the adoration of the most Blessed Sacrament, and the devotion of the Way of the Cross. Besides engaging in the work of the missions, St. Leonard found time to write a great many works, made up mostly of sermons, letters, books on the spiritual life, and devotional works of various kinds for the benefit of priests and people. Viewed from the exterior, we can see that he devoted his entire time to working in the vineyard of the Lord. Prom the interior, we can see him as the true man of God. Severe with himself by fasting, discipline and prayer, he raised himself, through the power of God's grace, to an eminent degree of sanctity. He died in Rome on November 26, 1751. He was beatified by Pius VI and canonized by Pius IX on the 29th of June, 1867. His feast is celebrated on November 26.
The great saint, whose feast is celebrated on May 15, was born at Rheims, France, on the 30th of April, 1651. His parents were very careful about his early training, and insisted that their son should receive a thorough education in which the moral side of it would command the utmost attention. Perceiving that his vocation was to serve God in the Church, the young man prepared himself accordingly, and was ordained to the holy priesthood on the 9th of April, 1678. His life as a priest of God was holy and exemplary in every particular duty that his vocation imposed upon him. His great work in this world was the establishment of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools for the purpose of giving a Christian education to the youth of the land, and uniting the members of the community under a religious rule, the observance of which would make them true followers of Christ. Like other religious communities established by saintly men for the greater honor and glory of God in the world, this particular one has been blessed by God in a special manner, so that in our time the Brothers of this community are thousands in number and the multitude of young men they have prepared for their life's work are an honor to their country, their Church, and their Creator. As the life of St. John Baptist de la Salle was about to close, he invoked the blessing of God on his community and said in regard to himself: "In all things I adore the will of God." He died on Good Friday morning, April 7, 1719, and was canonized by Pope Leo XIII, May 24, 1900.