Category Archives: Saints

St Andrew

A later tradition … tells of Andrew’s death at Patras, where he too suffered the torture of crucifixion. At that supreme moment, however, like his brother Peter, he asked to be nailed to a cross different from the Cross of Jesus. In his case it was a diagonal or X-shaped cross, which has thus come to be known as “St Andrew’s cross”.

This is what the Apostle is claimed to have said on that occasion, according to an ancient story (which dates back to the beginning of the sixth century), entitled The Passion of Andrew:

“Hail, O Cross, inaugurated by the Body of Christ and adorned with his limbs as though they were precious pearls. Before the Lord mounted you, you inspired an earthly fear. Now, instead, endowed with heavenly love, you are accepted as a gift.

“Believers know of the great joy that you possess, and of the multitude of gifts you have prepared. I come to you, therefore, confident and joyful, so that you too may receive me exultant as a disciple of the One who was hung upon you…. O blessed Cross, clothed in the majesty and beauty of the Lord’s limbs!… Take me, carry me far from men, and restore me to my Teacher, so that, through you, the one who redeemed me by you, may receive me. Hail, O Cross; yes, hail indeed!”.

Here, as can be seen, is a very profound Christian spirituality. It does not view the Cross as an instrument of torture but rather as the incomparable means for perfect configuration to the Redeemer, to the grain of wheat that fell into the earth.

Here we have a very important lesson to learn:  our own crosses acquire value if we consider them and accept them as a part of the Cross of Christ, if a reflection of his light illuminates them.

It is by that Cross alone that our sufferings too are ennobled and acquire their true meaning.

The Apostle Andrew, therefore, teaches us to follow Jesus with promptness (cf. Mt 4: 20; Mk 1: 18), to speak enthusiastically about him to those we meet, and especially, to cultivate a relationship of true familiarity with him, acutely aware that in him alone can we find the ultimate meaning of our life and death.

Benedict XVI
Audience, June 14, 2006

Image: Fr. Kevin Kim’s

St Catherine of Alexandria

 

“Let all of us who love to honor the martyrs form a great choir and praise the most wise Catherine, for she preached Christ in the stadium and trampled the serpent, despising the art of orators.”

-Kontakion for the feast of Great-Martyr Catherine of Alexandria

 

Are we preaching Christ Jesus everywhere we go?

St Clement of Rome

Clement was a disciple of Ss. Peter and Paul from whom he learned about Jesus and the new Way. Much of what we know about Clement comes from his epistle to the Church at Corinth (an example of pastoral concern and paternal prudence). Yet, our knowledge of Clement comes through the witness of St. Irenaeus spent significant time with the Church at Rome, before serving as bishop of Lyon from approximately AD 177. Irenaeus was a pupil of Polycarp. The Roman Christians chose him as their bishop to succeed Linus and Cletus who briefly held that office before being martyred.

Its antiquity ranks Clement as the first of the great Apostolic Fathers. Tradition holds that after being tried for his faith Clement was exiled to hard labor in the Crimea, where he was believed to have been martyred. His relics were returned to Rome by St. Cyril, who reportedly discovered them on one of his early missionary journeys to the region. The relics were placed in what is now called St. Clement’s church in Rome (now under the direction of the Order of Preachers), where Cyril himself was buried when he died while he and Methodius were in Rome preparing for their mission among the Slavs.

The importance of St. Clement is his understanding of ecclesial authority and the life of the Christian in the face of said authority. As St. Irenaeus says, Clement had “the preaching of the apostles … echoing [in his ears], and their traditions before his eyes.” Is this true for us today? Do we have the preaching of the apostles echoing in my ears, and the traditions of the apostles before my eyes?

St Cecilia

St. Cecilia, one of the venerated Virgin Martyrs of the early Church. Known as the patron saint of church musicians, she is the object of many a poet and has the affection of many even today.

Orpheus could lead the savage race;
And trees unrooted left their place;
Sequacious of the lyre:
But bright Cecilia rais’d the wonder high’r;
When to her organ, vocal breath was giv’n,
An angel heard, and straight appear’d
Mistaking earth for Heav’n. (John Dryden)

St. Rose Philippine Duchesne

St. Rose Philippine Duchesne (1769–1852) was born in Grenoble, France, to a wealthy and prominent family. At the age of 18 she joined the Visitation nuns against the wishes of her family, taking her religious name after St. Rose of Lima and St. Philip Neri. During the anti-religious fervor of French Revolution, the “Reign of Terror,” her convent was shut down. She then took up the work of providing care for the sick, hiding priests from the revolutionaries, and educating homeless children.

When the tensions of the revolution subsided, she rented out her old convent in an attempt to revive her religious order, but the spirit was gone. She and the few remaining nuns of her convent then joined the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (founded in 1800). Since childhood St. Rose Philippine had had a strong desire to be a missionary in the New World, and encouraged by her spiritual father, she wanted to work especially among the Native Americans. Like the Apostles sent by the Lord, she was sent by the Society to go on mission in 1818; she and four nuns traveled across the Atlantic, up the Mississipi river to serve in one of the remotest outposts in the region in St. Charles, Missouri.

The vocation St. Rose had was for a blend of the contemplative life and the missionary life: a contemplative in action, like that of the Society of Jesus. St. Rose Philippine was a hardy pioneer woman ministering in the Midwest during its difficult frontier days. She opened several schools and served the Potawatomi Indians who gave her the name “Quah-kah-ka-num-ad,” meaning, “Woman-who-prays-always.”

St. Rose Philippine followed the example the foundress of the Sacred Heart Society, trusting completely in God with boldness and completeness that would saturate her whole life and mission. Her mission, like that of St Paul, was realized in “the power now at work in us can do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine.” (Ephesians 3:20)

At the age of 83 St. Rose Philippine on this date. She was canonized on July 3, 1988 by St. John Paul II. (edited DG)

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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