Category Archives: Saints

St Sylvester

silvester-pope

St Thomas Becket

becketLet the trumpet resound, Thomas the martyr,
so that the vine of Christ may be free.

Out of the chaff was sifted this corn
And else the church had been forlorn;
To God’s grange now wert thou borne, [i.e. carried]
O martyr Thomas, O martyr Thomas, O martyr Thomas.

In London was born this martyr, truly;
He held the primacy of Canterbury,
To whom we sing devoutly:
O martyr Thomas, O martyr Thomas, O martyr Thomas.

(image of the icon from St Louis Abbey)

St Peter Canisius

canisiusSaint Peter Canisius

Pray for us, pray for Germany.

St Ambrose

st-ambroseWe come today to the feast of the greatest Archbishop of Milan, Saint Ambrose. He served at a time when Milan was the center of the Empire. We know historically that Ambrose was elected bishop when he was still a catechumen (not yet baptized). The faithful had a suspicion that the excellent civil servant would prove to be most competent churchman: in theology and sacred Liturgy, in administration, and a holy and sincere Christian. Saint Benedict recommends his hymns in the Rule and traditionally think that the “Te Deum” hymn is ascribed to him.

Born of a noble Roman family in Gaul around the year 340, Ambrose studied in Rome and served the imperial government at Sirmium. In 374, elected bishop of Milan, and ordained on this date. Saint Ambrose died April 4, 397. The Pope proclaimed Saint Ambrose a Doctor of the Church in 1298; he is honored as the patron saint of beekeepers and candle makers, because of the honeyed words of his preaching.

The image here of the saint hangs at Newark Abbey (Newark, NJ).

Ambrose’s civil experience as governor allowed him the skill of knowing how “to talk to power.” When the Emperor Theodosius had 7,000 Thessalonians slaughtered over the assassination of their governor, he excommunicated him for his horrendous crime – and made it stick, bringing Theodosius to repentance.

As a theologian, Bishop Ambrose wrote about the incarnation of the Son of God:

“And the Word was with God . This that he said is to be understood thus: The Word was just as was the Father; since He was together with the Father, He was also in the Father, and He was always with the Father. […] It is of the Word to be with the Father; it is of the Father to be with the Word, for we read that the Word was with God. So if, according to your opinion, there was a time when He was not, then, according to your opinion, He too was not in the beginning with whom was the Word. For through the Word I hear, through the Word I understand that God was. For, if I shall believe that the Word was eternal, which I do believe, I cannot doubt about the eternity of the Father, whose Son is eternal.” (The Sacrament of the Incarnation of our Lord (III, 15-18, from the Vatican web site)

Blessed Charles Eugène de Foucauld

foucauld-french-stamp-1959From a biographic note:

Born to an aristocratic family; orphaned by age six, he and his sister Mary were raised by their grandfather. Studied at Jesuit schools in Nancy and Paris, France from 1872 to 1875. Entered the Saint-Cyr Military Academy in 1876. Joined the 4th Hussar regiment; in 1880 his unit was sent to Setif, Algeria. He was discharged from the service in March 1881 for misconduct, and moved to Evian, France. During the Revolt of Bon Mama in South Oran two months later, Charles re-enlisted, and fought for the eight months of the rebellion. He became so fascinated with the Arabs that he met that when he could not obtain a leave of absence to study them, he resigned his commission.

He spent 15 months learning Arabic and Hebrew, and then travelled into Morocco. In May 1885 he received the Gold Medal of the French Geographic Society for his work. He explored Algeria and Tunisia from September 1885 through January 1886, returning to Paris in February to work on his book Reconnaissance au Maroc, which was published in 1888. He lived very simply, sleeping on the floor, spending hours each day in prayer at home and in church. Pilgrim to the Holy Lands from November 1888 to February 1889, and spent much of the rest of 1889 in spiritual retreats.

On 16 January 1890 he joined the Trappist monks at the monastery of Notre Dames-des-Neiges, taking the name Brother Marie-Alberic; he moved to the monastery of Akbes, Syria in June. Sent to study in Rome in October 1896, but after three months it became obvious that his heart, head and spirit were elsewhere, and he was released from his vows.

He made multiple pilgrimages through the Holy Lands on foot before returning to France to study for the priesthood. Ordained on 9 June 1901 at Viviers. He moved to the Oran region near Morocco in late 1901 to establish a base and found an order to evangelize Morocco. In 1902 he began a program of buying slaves in order to free them. In 1904 he began evangelizing nomadic Tauregs in the area of south and central Sahara. Translated the Gospels into the language of the Tauregs. In November 1908 he translated Tauareg poetry to French, and he spent years compiling a Taureg lexicon. In March 1909 he succeeded in founding the Union of Brothers and Sisters of the Sacred Heart to evangelize the French colonies in Africa. Killed when caught in the middle of combat between French forces and Arab insurrectionists.

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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