Tag Archives: saint

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

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This is the generation which seeks the face of the God of Jacob.

O God, who crowned with the gift of true faith Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton’s burning zeal to find you, grant by her intercession and example that we may always seek you with diligent love and find you in daily service with sincere faith.

Saint Elizabeth Ann was responsible for the Catholic school system in the USA, and many of the Catholic hospitals. She was the first US saint. How good it would be if a revival of vocations to the Sisters of Charity. Right now, the Sisters of Charity are on the verge of vanishing.

The saint and his bear: Saint Seraphim of Sarov



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Several years ago I was introduced to the figure of Saint Seraphim of Sarov ((1759-1833). He was a monk, priest, hermit and ascetic. He was known for his wisdom and humanity. In the Orthodox church he held the title of “startsy,” that is, a charismatic elder (in the strict sense of the word) “anointed” by the Holy Spirit with the gifts of prophesy, healing, discernment of God’s will. Saint Seraphim, you might say, was a spiritual father.

There is a story about Saint Seraphim that gives an interesting side to the man. It reads something to this effect,

“Two nuns from a
certain convent once came to visit Saint Seraphim. Suddenly a bear lumbered
unexpectedly out of the woods and frightened the visitors with his appearance.
“Misha,” – said the saint, – “why do you frighten the poor orphans! Go back and
bring us a treat, otherwise I have nothing to offer to my guests.” Hearing
these words, the bear went back into the woods, and two hours later he tumbled
into the holy elder’s cell and gave him something covered with leaves. It was a
fresh honeycomb of purest honey. Father Seraphim took a piece of bread from his
bag, gave it to the bear, pointed to the door – and the bear left immediately.”

I wonder if Saint Seraphim is invoked by those who have troubled bears? I am sure his guidance would be helpful.

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The Holy Innocents

Today’s feast of The Holy Innocents has renewed meaning with the recent tragedy involving the death of 20 children in Newtown, CT on December 14. The entrance antiphon for Mass is rather startling (as is the Collect): “The innocents were slaughtered as infants for Christ; spotless, they follow the Lamb and sing for ever: Glory to you, O Lord.”


So many violations of human dignity come to mind. Most notable resonances of recent days are the Newtown children, but there are also the countless of children aborted daily, the merciless killing of the elderly, sick, immigrants, and the list can go on. There is much work to protect human life.

Christmastide is filled with opportunities to recall those who died for Christ: Saint Stephen, the Holy Innocents, Saint Thomas Becket, CT little ones. The 16th century Coventry Carol, was sung as part of a pageant demonstrating chapter 2 of Matthew’s Gospel where Herod kills male children under the age of two. The unknown author captures the scene perfectly, and even today it has a poignant message.

The Most Reverend Peter A. Rosazza published this editorial on his Facebook page:

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On December 28th
our church commemorates the massacre of the Holy Innocents by King Herod
shortly after the birth of Jesus. The Magi disturbed Herod when they asked him
where they could find the new-born King since they had been led by his star to
Jerusalem. Herod, jealous of his power, sent soldiers to kill all baby boys two
years of age and younger in Bethlehem and its surroundings. Some scholars
estimate the number at approximately twenty-eight.

Just two weeks earlier, on
December 14th, another massacre of innocents occurred. As we know, eight boys
and twelve girls, between the ages of six and seven, along with six women, were
executed by twenty-year old Adam Lanza who had first killed his own mother. The
principal of the school another woman ran toward him and were killed in the
process.

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Saint John the Evangelist


St John on a 12th c MS.jpgToday we honor the Apostle who likely knew the Lord’s
mind and heart the best. Typically, Holy Church uses Scripture to bring us into
the sacred Liturgy but today the entrance antiphon is taken from the other leg
of the Magisterium, that of tradition to orient our prayer and belief. We are
told,


This is John, who reclined on the Lord’s breast at supper, the blessed
Apostle, to whom celestial secrets were revealed and who spread  the words of life through all the
world.

With the Church we pray,

O God, who through the blessed Apostle John
have unlocked for us the secrets of your Word, grant, we pray, that we may
grasp with proper understanding what he has so marvelously brought to our
ears.

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Saint Lucy

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May the glorious intercession of the Virgin and Martyr Saint Lucy give us a heart, we pray, O Lord, so that we may celebrate her heavenly birthday in this present age.

Saint Lucy’s life is rather obscure now with the passage of time and the lack of accurate records from her period in history. She died c. 304 during the time of Diocletius. Since Saint Gregory the Great added Lucy’s name to the Roman Canon in the 6th century we hear her name with other virgin martyrs.

Remembering liturgical history, the liturgical memorial of Saint Lucy was commemorated on the shortest day of the year on the Julian calendar. The meaning of “Lucy” is drawn from the Latin word “lux,” light, hence Lucy illumines our path to Christ; her light shines in the darkness.

Today, December 13, is no longer the shortest day of the year with the least amount of light but we retain the memorial of Lucy, a woman linking us to the Lord through the light of her life of virtue.

Hagiography points us in a direction:

Light is beautiful to look upon; for as Ambrose says: it is the nature of light that all graciousness is in its appearance. Light also radiates without being soiled; no matter how unclean may be the place where its beams penetrate, it is still clean. It goes in straight line, without curvature, and traverses the greatest distances without losing its speed. Thus we are shown that the blessed virgin Lucy possessed the beauty of virginity without trace of corruption; that she radiated charity without any impure love; her progress toward God was straight and without deviation, and went far in God’s works without neglect or delay.

Blessed James of Voragine
The Golden Legend

Lucy’s courage, like that of Saint Agatha’s (to whom she prayed for her mother’s conversion), Saint Barbara and the other virgin-martyrs is a key reminder that we ought to focus our attention on the Lord in a single-minded manner.

I’d like to remember those who live with physical blindness, particularly my late maternal great aunt Bea and uncle Walter. They were such good examples of courage. Just as it is said that Saint Lucy’s eyesight was restored before her death, may those who lived in blindness see clearly the beauty of the Lord.

And, prayers ought to rise up for the Xavier Society for the Blind in NYC.

Prior posts in 2010 and 2011.

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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