Tag Archives: Franciscan saints and blesseds

Saint Catherine of Genoa: a life of humility, constant prayer & mystical union, charitable service

St Catherine of Genoa.jpg“Since I began to love, love has never forsaken me. It has ever grown to its own fullness within my innermost heart.” 

Our catechesis today deals with Saint Catherine of Genoa, a fifteenth-century saint best known for her vision of purgatory. Married at an early age, some ten years later Catherine had a powerful experience of conversion; Jesus, carrying his cross, appeared to her, revealing both her own sinfulness and God’s immense love. A woman of great humility, she combined constant prayer and mystical union with a life of charitable service to those in need, above all in her work as the director of the largest hospital in Genoa. Catherine’s writings on purgatory contain no specific revelations, but convey her understanding of purgatory as an interior fire purifying the soul in preparation for full communion with God. Conscious of God’s infinite love and justice, the soul is pained by its inadequate response, even as the divine love purifies it from the remnants of sin. To describe this purifying power of God’s love, Catherine uses the image of a golden chain which draws the soul to abandon itself to the divine will. By her life and teaching, Saint Catherine of Genoa reminds us of the importance of prayer for the faithful departed, and invites us to devote ourselves more fully to prayer and to works of practical charity.

Pope Benedict XVI
summary of Wednesday Catechesis on Saint Catherine of Genoa
Vatican City State, 12 January 2011

Saint Pio of Pietrelcina: rare video footage

Padre Pio the saint.jpg

The blogger at “The Hermeneutic of Continuity,” Father Tim
Finigan, posted a YouTube video clip of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina showing some rare footage. It is a very delightful video of the saint with his Capuchin brothers. Padre Pio is a favorite saint who died in 1968; watching him brings to life a new experience.

Father Tim notes that “At the end, they are obviously teasing him about the camera and he hits the cameraman with his cincture. We see him in the refectory and in the Church, and there are scenes
of his brothers dealing with the massive postbag which he generated.” Finigan also notes the footage of Saint Pio celebrating the Mass.

One thing I notice is that the Capuchin priests all cover their hoods when vested for Mass -as they are supposed to do. Too often covering the hood with an amice is not done not only by Franciscans but the Dominicans; the acolyte serves the Mass with a surplice and hood uncovered. A piece of liturgical observance.

Watch the rare footage of Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina

Saint Elizabeth of Hungary

St Elizabeth of Hungary BBruyn.jpgPraise to the holy woman whose home is built on faithful love and whose pathway leads to God.

Father, You helped Elizabeth of Hungary to recognize and honor Christ in the poor of this world. Let her prayers help us to serve our brothers and sisters in time of trouble and need.


Saint Elizabeth is the patroness of the Third Order Franciscans (the laity and secular priests). Her example of patience and holiness modeled on the good example of the Franciscan friars leads us to be attentive to the poor in our midst.

 In an October address, the Holy Father spoke of today’s saint:

She behaved to her subjects in the same way that she behaved to God. Among the Sayings of the four maids, we find this testimony: “She did not eat any food before ascertaining that it came from her husband’s property or legitimate possessions. While she abstained from goods procured illegally, she also did her utmost to provide compensation to those who had suffered violence.” 

She is a true example for all who have roles of leadership: the exercise of authority, at every level, must be lived as a service to justice and charity, in the constant search for the common good. Elizabeth diligently practiced works of mercy…

Read the entire address Pope Benedict gave on Saint Elizabeth of Hungary on October 20, 2010.

Blessed John Duns Scotus

The Preface for the Mass of Blessed John Duns Scotus

St Albert the Great & Bl John Duns Scotus.jpg

Father, all-powerful and everliving God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
You give the Church great joy as she celebrates the memory of John Duns Scotus, in whom the spirit and ideals of our seraphic father Francis burned brightly and came to light and life.
You led him to see that virtue was of greater value than learning, and taught him the pre-eminence of love over all worldly knowledge.
You chose him to be the subtle unravler of reality, enabling his sharp mind to penetrate more deeply into the mystery  of the depths of your love for us.
He acclaimed the universal primacy of your Son, the masterpiece and perfect manifestation of your eternal love enfleshed in Christ the New Adam, the King of all creation.
You taught him to praise Mary, conceived without sin, untarnished and resplendent in her immaculate beauty, your intended Model for creating us in dignity and goodness.
You instruct us by his teaching and by the holiness of his life, and give protection in answer to his prayers. Therefore, with the angels and all the saints we join in their unending hymn of praise.

Saint Francis of Assisi

St Francis FZurbaran.jpgSaint Francis seems to be a model of holiness for many, many people. Protestants of all flavors, the Muslims and Jews honor dear Francis for a variety of reasons. They’ve met Francis in as many ways as I have.

This morning I am pondering why I love Francis. Preparing for my reception of the sacrament of Confirmation I chose as my “confirmation name” Francis of Assisi because he not only seemed to reasonable guide for life, especially the spiritual life, but I was drawn to him through the stained glass in the parish church, the secular Franciscans were present but more important, the narrative of Saint Francis’ life was verifiably compelling.

Over time I’ve come to know Francis as not only poor, humble, loving, faithful, guru of the human condition but also that he preached what he received from the Lord Himself: the mercy of Christ crucified is real, the truth of faith, hope and love in Christ is the path to salvation, that he preached the reality of knowing who in fact God is (that is, Father, Son, Holy Spirit) and not what he thought, guessed about God. Saint Francis emblematic of the Catholic second chance, that is, one can be given another chance for happiness. So, the real Saint Francis is not the personage hijacked by the lefty-looines who use him to justify all sort of liberalities of theology, Liturgy, social concern and life in the public order. Francis is not the stereotypical garden statue nor is he a man unconcerned with true conversion of life. He’s quite the opposite: he life was a life in Christ firmly rooted in the Mystical Body of Christ –the Church– nourished by the sacraments, most especially the Holy Eucharist.

Friar Charles, OFMCap had this to say about Saint Francis

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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