Tag Archives: Franciscan saints and blesseds

Saint Catherine Vigri of Bologna

Catherine of BolognaToday, the Church and the Franciscans celebrate the memory of Saint Catherine Vigri of Bologna (1413-1463). Catherine was born to an aristocratic family of Bologna; Catherine spent most of her early life in the city of Ferrara as a lady-in-waiting at the court where her father was ambassador. She Catherine received a good education, yet she decided to leave the court to join a community of women in 1426; in the early 1430’s, she and some other members of the group decided to adopt the Rule of St. Clare.

By 1456, she returned to her home city to found a Poor Clare monastery. Catherine was known for her deep union with God and practical wisdom. Her incorrupt body may be viewed the a seated position, reflecting her role as a spiritual teacher. 

Pope Benedict XVI commented on Catherine’s most well-known work, the “Treatise on the Seven Spiritual Weapons” in which she teaches that to combat evil it is necessary: “(1) to be careful always to do good; (2) to believe that we can never achieve anything truly good by ourselves; (3) to trust in God and, for His love, never to fear the battle against evil, either in the world or in ourselves; (4) to meditate frequently on the events and words of Jesus’ life, especially His passion and death; (5) to remember that we must die; (6) to keep the benefits of heaven firmly in our minds, (7) to be familiar with Holy Scripture, keeping it in our hearts to guide all our thoughts and actions.”

Asking for the intercession of Blessed Angela Salawa

Not long ago someone asked me for a prayer to the Secular Franciscan Blessed Angela Salawa.  She read a blog post I did on Blessed Angela and wanted more. Here is a prayer asking for Blessed Angela’s intercession. The translation is from the Polish done by a Capuchin friar friend:

Triune God, I give you glory, praise and love for all the graces, which You willed to bestow upon Blessed Angela Salawa, and I beg You, if it is according to Your will, grant that through her intercession You grant me the grace of ….. of which I humbly beg.  Look upon the spirit of sacrifice and dedication Your servant, Blessed Angela Salawa, had for others and allow her to be my advocate before Thy throne in Heaven.  Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Saint Maximilian Maria Kolbe

Kolbe“No one in the world can change Truth. What we can do and and should do is to seek truth and to serve it when we have found it. The real conflict is the inner conflict. Beyond armies of occupation and the hetacombs of extermination camps, there are two irreconcilable enemies in the depth of every soul: good and evil, sin and love. And what use are the victories on the battlefield if we are ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves?”

A while ago I when I visited the death camps in Poland I had the opportunity to visit the prison cell of Kolbe. Walking into the cell where the saint lived his last days was intense. It was the first time I could connect the dots of how the confrontation of evil and good can happen, and how one can completely follow Christ in a concrete and meaningful way. The sacrifice of this Franciscan priest for the good of a married man and father is a striking example of how we can take up our cross today for the good of another person: be Christ-like.

Saint Bonaventure

San Bonaventura da BagnoregioToday’s feast of the great Franciscan friar, theologian, bishop and Doctor of the Church, Bonaventure of Bagnoregio (1221-1274), ought to be key on anyone’s radar screen is styles him or herself as well-read in theology. Famously he was cured of illness through the intercession of Saint Francis of Assisi. He was well-educated at the University of Paris where he became a popular preacher and teacher of theology and Scripture. For 17 years he guided the Franciscan fraternity and is known as a “second founder” of the Franciscans.

The pope nominated Bonaventure a bishop which he declined only to accept the papal honor of cardinal-bishop of Albano.

Dale M. Coulter wrote a very good appreciative of essay on Bonaventure: “On the Feast Day of St Bonaventure” (First Things online, July 15, 2014). I recommend it if you are serious about the study of sacred theology.

Saint Anthony of Padua

St Anthony UrbinelliThe text is an excerpt of a sermon by Saint Anthony of Padua — “Actions speak louder than words” — which is quite appropriate for us in the Octave of Pentecost.

In 2010 Pope Benedict spoke on Saint Anthony that after re-reading earlier today, I can only recommend it to you again. It is essential reading.

The man who is filled with the Holy Spirit speaks in different languages. These different languages are different ways of witnessing to Christ, such as humility, poverty, patience and obedience; we speak in those languages when we reveal in ourselves these virtues to others. Actions speak louder than words; let your words teach and your actions speak. We are full of words but empty of actions, and therefore are cursed by the Lord, since he himself cursed the fig tree when he found no fruit but only leaves. Gregory says: “A law is laid upon the preacher to practice what he preaches.” It is useless for a man to flaunt his knowledge of the law if he undermines its teaching by his actions.

But the apostles “spoke as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech.” Happy the man whose words issue from the Holy Spirit and not from himself! […]

We should speak, then, as the Holy Spirit gives us the gift of speech. Our humble and sincere request to the Spirit for ourselves should be that we may bring the day of Pentecost to fulfillment, insofar as he infuses us with his grace, by using our bodily senses in a perfect manner and by keeping the commandments. Likewise we shall request that we may be filled with a keen sense of sorrow and with fiery tongues for confessing the faith, so that our deserved reward may be to stand in the blazing splendor of the saints and to look upon the triune God.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT, follows the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, and is an Oblate of Saint Benedict, works as a monastery farmer and a keeper of honey bees. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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