Tag Archives: Franciscan saints and blesseds

Saint Lawrence of Brindisi

St Lawrence of Brindisi.jpg

Lord, for the glory of your name and the salvation of
souls you gave Lawrence of Brindisi courage and right judgment. By
prayers help us to know what we should do and give us the courage to
do it.

Friar Lawrence was a brilliant man when it came to language study, knowledge of the Bible, the ability to preach in several languages, keeping balance in the Capuchin order and skillful in exercising leadership diplomacy. Spiritually he had the gift of tears, tongues and ecstacy. His work for God’s Kingdom was preaching so that Jews and Protestants would be Catholic.

Saint Lawrence had a supreme belief in the Sacrifice of the Mass (taking up to 16 hours to celebrate the Mass on Christmas day in 1610), he advocated the efficacy of Mary’s place in the economy of salvation as a font of mercy, and was a model of Christian virtue. One last interesting, but trivial note for those interested in the Franciscan
way, Friar Lawrence was educated by the Conventuals but joined the Capuchins.
There’s got to be a story there. 

In 1961, Saint Lawrence joined three other Franciscans friars as a
Doctor of the Church (Saints Anthony & Bonaventure and Blessed John Duns
Scotus) though he is the only Capuchin to have this distinction. He is known as the Doctor Apostolicus (the Apostolic Doctor).

Saint Lawrence’s brief biography is found here.

New to me is this Litany of Saint Lawrence of Brindisi.

Saint Bonaventure

St Bonaventure enters OFM FHerrera the elder.jpg

O God, Who did give Thy people blessed Bonaventure as a minister of eternal salvation, we beseech Thee; grant that we may deserve to have him as an intercessor in heaven, whom we had as a teacher of life on earth.

Today, the Church celebrates the feast day of Saint
Bonaventure
. Born and baptized in 1221 as John in Bagnoregio, Tuscany, he had an encounter with Saint Francis of Assisi. John was a very sick child is said to have been brought to Saint Francis who prayed over him and brought him back to health. The pious legend has it that Saint Francis exclaimed “O buona ventura.”The healing wasn’t enough for John to enter the Franciscan order. A man of considerable talent and brilliance, the desire to study led him to the University of Paris where as a layman he completed his Master of Arts by the age of 22. He was regarded as an expert and a popular lecturer in logic and rhetoric. The Franciscans indicate that he enter the fraternity in either 1238 or 1243.By 1256 Bonaventure’s university life was anxiety provoking when lay professors started violently opposing their religious counterparts. In 1257 and not yet 36 years old, Bonaventure was elected minister general of the Franciscans. He was known to keep the unity and direction for the friars at a time that the order was experiencing unrest. Both Saints Bonaventure and Thomas Aquinas were given their doctoral degrees from the University of Paris on 23 October 1257.The saint served the Church as bishop of Albano and as a cardinal.

Bonaventure died in 1274 while participating in the Council of Lyon; he was invited to the council by Pope Gregory X.

As a scholar and thinker with a sterling character, Saint Bonaventure was known to intercede for others before God and richly blessed by God leading others to say that he had escaped original sin. He left the Church a rich written legacy intellectual works and an incredible constellation of high profile students. His The Life of Saint FrancisCommentary on the Sentences of LombardCommentary on the Gospel of Saint Luke, and Itinerarium Mentis ad DeumBreviloquium are his significant works.

Bonaventure was canonized by Pope Sixtus IV and named a Doctor of the Church by Pope Sixtus V.

Saint Thomas Aquinas asked Saint Bonaventure about the source of his teaching; Bonaventure responded, “I study only the crucified one, Jesus Christ.” And so should we.

In your spare time why not read Joseph Ratzinger’s book, Theology of History in St. Bonaventure?

Blessed Junipero Serra


Bl Junipero Serra.jpgMy words that I have put in your mouth, says the Lord, will never be absent from your lips, and your gifts will be accepted on my altar.

God most high, Your servant Junipero Serra brought the gospel of Christ to the peoples of Mexico and California and firmly established the Church among them. By his intercession, and through the example of his apostolic zeal, inspire us to be faithful witnesses of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
An interesting itinerary of Blessed Junipero

Seized by Christ, Saint Padre Pio leads the way for renewal, Pope said

Pope in prayer before St Pio.jpg

As part of the inaugural observances for the Year of the
Priest, Pope Benedict made a pilgrimage to and celebrated the Sacrifice of the Mass Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Graces at San Giovanni Rotondo, resting place of  Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina. In the days following the feast of the
Sacred Heart of Jesus and with devotion to Our Lady in mind, the Pope recalled that the fruit of Padre Pio’s close bond with the Sacred Heart of Christ and His mother, Mary, inspired him to found the House for the Relief of Suffering:  “All his life and his apostolate took place under the maternal gaze of the Blessed Virgin and by the power of her intercession. Even the House for the Relief of Suffering he considered to be the work of Mary, ‘Health of the sick.'”

Pope at Rotondo.jpg

Born Francisco Forgione, at the age 23 the obscure Capuchin Franciscan friar was said to have received the gift of the sacred stigmata. On Saint Pio‘s hands and side the wounds were similar to the stigmata, or the wounds of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, according to Christian belief. The Pope proposed to us another model for priests by giving the example of this friar from Pietrelcina: “A simple man of humble origins, ‘seized by Christ‘ (Phil 3:12) … to make of him an elected instrument of the perennial power of his Cross: the power of love for souls, forgiveness and reconciliation, spiritual fatherhood, effective solidarity with the suffering. The stigmata, that marked his body, closely united him to the Crucified and Risen Christ.”

Relating today’s gospel with the life of Saint Pio, His
Holiness also said to the gathered faithful:

The solemn gesture of calming the stormy sea is clearly a
sign of the lordship of Christ over the negative powers and it induces us to think of His divinity: “Who is He – ask the disciples in wonder -that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mk 4:41). Their faith is not yet steadfast, it is taking shape, is a mixture of fear and trust; rather Jesus trusting abandonment to the Father is full and pure. This is why He sleeps during the storm, completely safe in the arms of God – but there will come a time when Jesus will feel anxiety and fear: When His time comes, He shall feel upon himself the whole weight of the sins of humanity, as a massive swell that is about to fall upon Him. Oh yes, that shall be a terrible storm, not a cosmic one, but a spiritual one. It will be Evil’s last, extreme assault against the Son of God…. In that hour, Jesus was on the one hand entirely One with the Father, fully given over to him – on the other, as in solidarity with sinners, He was
separated and He felt abandoned.

Remaining united to Jesus, [Padre Pio] always had his sights on the depths of the human drama, and this was why he offered his many sufferings, why he was able to spend himself in the care for and relief of the
sick – a privileged sign of God’s mercy, of his kingdom which is coming, indeed, which is already in the world, a sign of the victory of love and life over sin and death. Guide souls and relieving suffering: thus we can sum up the mission of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina: as the servant of God, Pope Paul VI said of him.”

Pio pic gift to Pope.jpg

At one point in his address the Benedict spoke to the
Franciscan friars and those connected with the spiritual groups linked to Saint Pio and anyone else, the Pope affirmed: “The risks of activism and secularization are always present, so my visit was also meant to confirm fidelity to the mission inherited from your beloved Father. Many of you, religious and laity, are so taken by the full duties required by the service to pilgrims, or the sick in the hospital, you run the risk of neglecting the real need: to listen to Christ to do the will of GodWhen you see that you are close to running this risk, look to Padre Pio: In his example, his sufferings, and invoke his intercession, because it obtains from the Lord the light and strength that you need to continue his mission soaked by love for God and fraternal charity.”

Following Mass, the Holy Father led the faithful in the Angelus prayer (the great prayer recalling the Incarnation) calling to mind Padre Pio’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Benedict remarked, “To the intercession of Our Lady and St Pio of Pietrelcina I would like to entrust the Special Year for Priests, which I opened last Friday on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. May it be a privileged opportunity to highlight the value of the mission and holiness of priests to serve the Church and humanity in the third millennium!”

Watch the video clip

Another video explaining more of Padre Pio’s life

Read the papal homily

Read the papal address to priests and youth

Saint Anthony of Padua

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May the sacred solemnity of blessed Anthony, Thy Confessor and Doctor, give joy to Thy Church, O God; that she may ever be defended by spiritual help and deserve to enjoy eternal happiness.

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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