Tag Archives: Franciscan saints and blesseds

Saint Giles Mary of Saint Joseph

St Giles Mary of St Joseph.jpgCome, you whom my Father has blessed; I was ill and you consoled me. Anything you did for one of my brothers, you did for me, says the Lord.

God our Father, You kept Brother Giles Mary of Saint Joseph faithful to Christ’s pattern of poverty and humility. With his prayers to give us courage help us to move forward in unselfish charity.
Saint Giles Mary (1729-1812) lived while Napolean Bonaparte was in-charge. He served his friary as the community beggar  for 53 years in humility and peace, in contradistinction to the way power was exercised in Naples at this time. The work of “community beggar” is little known today; the holder of this job was to walk the streets begging for the needs of the poor and then friars, in that order. He was known by the people as the “Consoler of Naples.” He would constantly tell the people, “Love God, Love, God.”
Pope Leo XIII beatified Brother Giles Mary in 1888. The Venerable Servant of God Pope John Paul canonized Blessed Giles Mary of Saint Joseph in 1996. At that time he told the Church that Brother Giles Mary represented “the humility of the Incarnation and the gratuituousness of the Eucharist.”
Not a bad message….

Saint Colette

St Colette.jpg

Let us rejoice
and shout for joy, because the Lord of all things has favored this holy and
glorious virgin with his love.

God, our Father, You set Saint Colette as an
example and leader of evangelical perfection for many virgins. Grant that the
spirit of Saint Francis which she wisely taught and wondrously confirmed by her
holy example may ever abide in us.

Following the death of her parents, Colette,
with permission of the ecclesial authorities remained hidden from the world in
a room next a church where a window allowed her to adore the Blessed Sacrament.
Essentially she adopted an ancient form of religious life as an anchoress.
Colette embraced the rule of the Third Order of St. Francis, desiring to live
in perfect poverty, severe mortification, and constant prayer in order to become
like the Seraphic Father. The life she was graced to live had bountiful
consolations but she faced severe temptations and even corporal abuse from
Satan. Who, by the way, is clearly instrumental in trying to bring the Church to her knees.

Because her life as a Third Order Franciscan an interest developed to
know more about the life of Saint Clare and the early Poor Clare rule where the
ideal was to live in strict observance of the rule of Saint Clare. By this time,
history indicates that even the Poor Clares were a bit economical in living the
life Clare envisioned. Discerning that her call in life was not to take an
active role in re-forming the Poor Clare observance, Colette dismissed the
desires she had entertained. The problem was that these desires resurfaced
time-and-again to the extent that she discovered that God, not the devil, placed
the desire of reform in her heart. Rather boldly God got Colette’s attention by
striking her dumb and blind, until she finally resigned herself to the will of
God, like some notable biblical figures. Acknowledging the will of God, her
speech and her sight were restored.

You know the scenario: God never asks you
to do something without giving the grace to accomplish the task. A spiritual
father given to Colette to guide her spiritual life so that she could what the
Lord required. As preparation, Colette spent four years on before receiving the
blessing of the pope to establish one convent of Poor Clares. In time the
charism Colette proposed was corresponding to women’s desires that in her
lifetime Colette seventeen monasteries were founded under her inspiration. In the USA, the Colettine Poor Clares have a number of monasteries. One foundation that I would like to highlight is the Bethlehem Monastery of the Poor Clares, Barhamsville, VA.

upon grace was given to Colette for saving souls for Christ that in a vision
she saw souls falling into hell more swiftly than the snowflakes in a winter’s
storm. At once she knew her mission.

Saint Colettes’s devotion to the Passion
of Our Lord was evident which enabled her to make sacrifices to do what the
Lord wanted. With her friend, the Dominican, Saint Vincent Ferrer,  she is
considered most responsible for the end of the Great Western Schism when the
Popes resided at Avignon, France between 1378 and 1417. Some Dominicans will likely dispute this claim, but as history is written on this period in Church history, Colette and Vincent seem to more key in papal correction than Saint Catherine of Siena is, but the latter’s influence is no doubt significant. The unity of the Church
was a stake when Colette and Vincent wrote to the Fathers in council at
Constance guiding them on how to deal with John XXIII, Benedict XIII, and
Gregory XII. They proposed the deposing of Benedict XIII in order for a new

Saints Peter Baptist, Paul Miki and companions –the Nagasaki Martyrs

26 Japanese martyrs.JPG.jpegGod, our Father, source of strength for all Your
saints, You led Peter Baptist, Paul Miki, and their companions through the
sufferings of the cross to the joy eternal life. May their prayers give us the
courage to be loyal until death in professing our faith.

Today the Church commemorates
twenty-six martyrs, three  Jesuits
and six Franciscans, crucified in Nagasaki, Japan, on February 5, 1597. Most
were Japanese and most were laypersons and they were among the first martyrs of
a young Church. The names of the martyrs are:

The Franciscans

Fathers Peter Baptist, Martin of the Ascension, Francis Blanco; Seminarian Philip of Jesus; Brothers Gonsalvo Garzia, Francis of St Michael with seventeen native Franciscan Tertiaries

The Jesuits

Seminarians Paul Miki, John Goto, and Brother James Kisai

They were beatified by Pope Urban VIII on September 14, 1627 and canonized by Pope Pius IX on June 8, 1862.

One historical note, to date the Catholic Church in Japan has 410 beatified and/or canonized martyrs.

Saint Joseph of Leonessa

St Joseph of Leonessa.jpgHow beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the man who brings tidings of peace, joy and salvation.

Almighty God, You made Saint Joseph an illustrious preacher of the gospel. Through his prayers inflame us with love and with his zeal for souls that we may serve You alone.
One of my friends, Friar John Paul told me about Francesco Saverio Toppi’s essay on Saint Joseph of Leonessa (1556-1612) where he says about the saint, 
“He had put a lot of time preparing himself for this special assignment [being sent on the Turkish mission]. Among his manuscripts we find page after page on the history and culture of the Moslems and many notes on the languages spoken in Constantinople –Turkish, Greek, Hebrew, German, French and the so-called ‘lingua franca,’ an international dialect used in Mediterranean ports. In view of the post-Tridentine mentality, it is surprising to find among his notes a method of dialoguing with the Moslems, which was far ahead of his times.
“When dealing with the Moslems,” he writes, “one should never start with a discussion of religion. The initiative should be left to them. We must hear them out courteously and attentively when they sing the praises of their own religion, all the while taking mental notes of the weak points of their arguments. Eventually, but with the greatest tact in word and manner, we can reply by pointing out the contradictions inherent in the Islamic faith and moral code.”
This reminds me of the saying, “don’t talk about religion, politics or money at the table.” But I think Joseph is right as far as trying to know what the other thinks. While it might be over-stretching the controlling idea here, but what I see is the proposal of honest friendship being made before telling someone he’s wrong. Not a way to influence others. This method lends itself to a more humane way of approaching the other when one is likely to get a better hearing than if you go into “dialogue” with all guns blazing. There’s a reasonable-ness in listening…. And remember, this proposal was made in the 16th/17th century by a Capuchin, and not a Dominican or Jesuit!

Saint Hyacinth of Mariscotti

Heavenly Father, You inflamed the virgin Saint Hyacinth with the fire of Your love and made her an example of continual mortification. Through her intercession in our behalf grant us the grace to repent of our sins and to abide in Your love.

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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