Category Archives: Oratorian saints and blesseds

Blessed Salvio Huix i Miralpeix

MiralpeixSalvio Huix i Miralpeix was born on December 22, 1877 in Santa Margarida de Vellors in the Diocese of Vic in Catalonia. He was ordained a secular priest in 1903, and four years later entered the Congregation of the Oratory of Vic, the spiritual sons of Saint Philip Neri. At the Vic Oratory he lived for twenty years the Oratorian life of prayer, teaching the Catholic faith and administering the sacraments. He was the Provost of the Vic Oratory when, in 1927, he was nominated bishop of Ibiza; in 1935 he was transferred to the Diocese of Lérida where he was known for his effective apostolic work.

On July 21, 1936, Republican forces broke into the Episcopal palace and Bishop Miralpeix, reluctantly and in order to safeguard his associates, took refuge with friends. Seeing the dangers to which his helpers were exposed, on the night of July 23, he left his hideout and presented himself to the police, revealing his true identity. He was imprisoned at once, together with other prisoners with whom he shared both sufferings and also the joy of secret prayers and Masses, right up to the last moving Holy Communion which proved to be their Viaticum.

At 4:30 am onAugust 5, the prisoners were all of them taken to the local cemetery and shot. The bishop asked that he might be the last to be killed, so as to give absolution and comfort to his companions in martyrdom. Before his arrest, he entrusted his pectoral cross to a friend, asking him to take it to the Holy Father in Rome, for whom he was offering his life and to assure him of his loyalty.

It is said that prior to his arrest he gave his pectoral cross with a friend, asking him to take it to Pope Pius XI, with the message that if it were asked of him, he freely offered his life for the Pope, and to assure him of his complete fidelity to Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church.

Following closely the Oratorian charism, Blessed Salvio Huix-Miralpeix brought the light, warmth and joy of God’s love, which he had found in Saint Philip, into the darkness of chaos and hate. A terrific witness indeed. The initial phases for cause for canonization for Huix-Miralpeix happened between 1947 and 1950 and on July 27, 2011 Pope Benedict signed the decree determining that he was  was a Martyr for the Faith.

The beatification of Bishop Miralpeix (1877-1936), the first Oratorian martyr, along with 521 others, took place in Tarragona, Spain, on Sunday, October 13, 2013. The Oratorian beatus Bishop Miralpeix is added to a growing list of Oratorians who lived the gospel with humanity, intensity and holiness. They show us that conversion is possible.

So far, 1523 souls have been raised to the altar and beatified, 11 have already been named saints.

The text is redacted from what was published by the Oxford Oratorians.

Saint Philip Neri

St Philip Neri.jpg

O God, who never cease to bestow the glory of holiness on the faithful servants you raise up for yourself, graciously grant that the Holy Spirit may kindle in us that fire with which he wonderfully filled the heart of Saint Philip Neri.

Let’s remember the Congregation of the Oratory and the loyal sons of Saint Philip Neri. I am thinking particularly thinking of the Oratories found in Brooklyn (NY), Sparkill (NY), and the new Oratories in Lewiston (ME), Cincinnati (OH) and St Louis (MO).

The life of Saint Philip Neri was known as one of joy. The Apostle to Rome was a provocative witness to holiness and the happiness that results in being close to the Lord.

A sermon by Saint Augustine, “Rejoice in the Lord always,” talks about joy and therefore an apt meditation on Neri.

The Apostle tells us to rejoice, but in the Lord, not in the world. Whoever wishes to be a friend of this world, says Scripture, will be reckoned an enemy of God. As a man cannot serve two masters, so one cannot rejoice both in the world and in the Lord.

Let joy in the Lord prevail, then, until joy in the world is no more. Let joy in the Lord go on increasing; let joy in the world go on decreasing until it is no more. This is said, not because we are not to rejoice while we are in this world, but in order that, even while we are still in this world, we may already rejoice in the Lord.

You may object: I am in the world; if I rejoice I certainly rejoice where I am. What is this? Do you mean that because you are in the world you are not in the Lord? Listen again to the Apostle, speaking now to the Athenians: in the Acts of the Apostles he says this is of God and the Lord our creator: In him we live and move and have our being. If he is everywhere, where is he not? Surely this was what he was exhorting us to realize. The Lord is near, do not be anxious about anything.

This is a great truth, that he ascended above all the heavens, yet is near to those on earth. Who is this stranger and neighbor if not the one who became our neighbor out of compassion?

The man lying on the road, left half-dead by robbers, the man treated with contempt by the priest and the levite who passed by, the man approached by the passing Samaritan to take care of him and help him, that man is the whole human race. When the immortal one, the holy one, was far removed from us because we were mortal and sinners, he came down to us, so that he, the stranger, might become our neighbor.

He did not treat us as our sins deserved. For we are now sons of God. How do we show this? The only Son of God died for us, so that he might not remain alone. He who died as the only Son did not want to remain as the only Son. For the only Son of God made many sons of God. he bought brothers for himself by his blood; he made them welcome by being rejected; he ransomed them by being sold; he honored them by being dishonored; he gave them life by being put to death.

So, brethren, rejoice in the Lord, not in the world. That is, rejoice in the truth, not in wickedness; rejoice in the hope of eternity, not in the fading flower of vanity. That is the way to rejoice. Wherever you are on earth, however long you remain on earth, the Lord is near, do not be anxious about anything.e in the hope of eternity, not in the fading flower of vanity. That is the way to rejoice. Wherever you are on earth, however long you remain on earth, the Lord is near, do not be anxious about anything.

Blessed Sebastian Valfre

Blessed Sebastian Valfre CO.jpg

The Cross received the living Jesus and gave Him back to us dead; the Shroud received the dead Jesus and restored Him to us alive. (Blessed Sebastian speaking of the Shroud of Turin)

The Congregation of the Oratory and devoted faithful liturgically recall Blessed Sebastian Valfre, C.O. (1629-1710), a priest of the Oratory.

Unless you are plugged into the life of the Oratorians, such as the fine men at the Brooklyn Oratory, the New Brunswich, NJ Oratory, or the New York Oratory, Blessed Sebastian Valfre (1629-1710) of the Turin Oratory, is not well known. He was beatified by Pope Gregory XVI in 1834.

Father Sebastian Valfre is remembered for a number of things: he produced a popular Catechism and introduced the Quarant’Ore (the 40 Hours devotion to the Eucharist) to Turin; he cared for the poor and needy; he was a  Spiritual Director to the Piedmontese Royal Family (he tutored the young Victor Amadeus II); he had a great love for the Holy Shroud of Turin and was involved in the foundation of Rome’s Accademia (where diplomats are trained); the feast of the Sacred Heart was first celebrated in Turin for the first time Father Sebastian in 1694.

When Father Sebastian died and his body was laid out in the church, Turin’s citizens wanted to say goodbye to the priest who walked with them through all the joys and difficulties in life for sixty years. Father Sebastian’s legacy was the extroversion of the faith preached by Christ for the dignity of all people: the witness of Christian charity knew no boundaries.

Today, the most important aspect we take away from Sebastian Valfre is the example he gave as a man of prayer and contemplation from which he drew his mission for preaching rooted in his education and authentic spiritual formation.

Saint Francis de Sales

DeSales.jpgO God, who for the salvation of souls willed that the Bishop Saint Francis de Sales become all things to all, graciously grant that, following his example, we may always display the gentleness of your charity in the service of our neighbor.

We honor the gentle giant, pastor of souls, spiritual father of many, author, and Doctor of the Church, Francis de Sales (1567-1622). A brilliant student, he was ordained a priest despite his father’s desires. Francis was a provost of an Oratorian community and later bishop of Geneva and founder. His writings and approach to religious inspired many new forms of religious life.
His Introduction to the Devout Life, first published in 1609, is well known and cherished, reliable, honest, accessible, humane, and a Christian classic. His doctrine is called celestial in that it points a perfect way for ordinary people to enter into communion with God without having to flee the world. You don’t have to be a monk of nun to have a spiritual life!
Saint Francis is the patron saint of journalists, writers, and now social communications for the Church.

Saint Luigi Scrosoppi

The life and works of the members of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri –the Oratorians– is not well known in the USA. There are 8 established Oratories in the USA (and several in formation) but they are generally small communities of priests and brothers with a group of laity who follow in the spirituality of the Oratory. The famous Oratorian at this time, beside Saint Philip, is Blessed John Henry Newman.

Though in Italian (an I hope this changes soon because the world is more than Italian speakers) the website of the Congregation of the Oratory is worth visiting.St Luigi Scrosoppi.jpg

Today, on the Oratorian liturgical ordo, we would recall Saint Luigi Scrosoppi (1804-84). Saint Luigi was an apostle for the good of the poor. By his life and clear witness he taught that we as Christians need to follow closely the mandate of sacred Scripture that care of the poor, the orphan, the widow, and sick are not optional parts of of Christian living; the Eucharist and attentive social concern go hand-in-hand. Clericalism has not place in the Church.
A brief biography of Saint Luigi Scrosoppi may be read here.
Two particular intentions we ought to ask Saint Luigi to beg God for:
  1. the grace of being a Good Shepherd for the newly ordained bishop of the Diocese of Iverea (Italy), the Most Reverend Edoardo Aldo Cerrato; until recently he was the Procurtaor General of the Oratorians;
  2. the grace of being the Good Shepherd for the newly elected Procurator General of the Oratorians, Father Mario Avilés, CO; until recently, Father Mario has been the director of the Oratorian Schools in Pharr, Texas.
On both men may God bestow rich blessings.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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