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Saint Walburga


St Walburga Belmont Abbey.JPG

O God, the boundless generosity of your favor is proclaimed by the wonders you have worked in your holy women. As we are taught by your holy virgin Walburga’s example of purity and rejoice in the glory of her miracles, may she be our patron to gain for us your unfailing love.

 

One of the important Benedictine saints in the Church is the 8th century Saint Walburga and yet she is relatively unknown to many outside the world of monks and nuns. Her story is found here. You might find it interesting to note that Saint Walburga’s relative is the Apostle to Germany, Saint Boniface, and her brother was the abbot and later bishop, Saint Wunibald.

 

In Colorado, there is a rather significant monastery of Benedictine nuns under the patronage of today’s saint, The Abbey of Saint Walburga (founded in 1935). The nuns at this monastery are a great group of women who live the monastic life with seriousness and a great of humanity (that is, humor). Most importantly the life they live is attractive to young women which has untold blessings from the Church in Colorado and beyond. Two of the nuns from this abbey serve the Vatican’s monastery, Monastero Mater Ecclesiae at the moment (they’ll be home in just over a year’s time).

 


St Walburga at Belmont Abbey.jpgSince 1857, the Benedictine sisters of Elizabeth, NJ, also claim Saint Walburga as their patron.

 

Also, we should mention the venerable witness of Saint Walburg Monastery in Covington, Kentucky. The sisters there directly descended from Saint Walburga Abbey in Eichstatt, Germany and are celebrating the 150th anniversary of their founding this year.

 

Belmont Abbey’s secondary patron is Saint Walburga. No fewer than two statues, one in the monastery and one in the grotto honor the saint. Plus, the monks honored the saint with a beautiful stained glass window in the Abbey Basilica.

 

The novena prayer to Saint Walburga

 

Holy Walburga, you dwell in the glory of heaven, gazing upon the face of the Triune God in the company of all the saints.  I turn to you, full of trust in the words of Jesus Christ, “Amen, amen I say to you, the one who has faith in me will do the works I do, and greater far than these” (John 14:12).  God has granted you the gift of healing; help me in my need, which I bring before you (mention petition).  Beg God to grant healing, consolation and strength to me and to all those for whom I pray.  Implore Him to let me recognize His love and know His presence, whatever He may have in store for me.

 

Ask this for me through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns in the unity of the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

Saint Polycarp


St Polycarp.jpgFor 86 years I have served Jesus Christ and he has never abandoned me. How could I curse my blessed King and Savior?
 
(a quote from Saint Polycarp used as the Benedictus antiphon)

 

O God, Who does gladden us by the annual solemnity of blessed Polycarp, Thy Martyr and Bishop; mercifully grant that we may rejoice in the protection of him whose heavenly birth we celebrate.

 

 

“Amidst the sweetness he is enjoying from the contemplation of the Word made Flesh, John, the Beloved Disciple, beholds coming towards him his dear Polycarp, the Angel of the Church of Smyrna [Apoc. 2:8], all resplendent with the glory of martyrdom. This venerable Saint has in his soul the fervent love that made him say in the amphitheatre, when asked by the Proconsul to curse his Divine Master: “Six-and-eighty years have I served Him, and He has never done me any wrong; nay, he has laden me with kindness. How could I blaspheme my King, who has saved me?” After having suffered fire and the sword, he was admitted into the presence of this King his Saviour, in reward for the eighty-six years of his faithful service, for the labours he had gone through in order to maintain faith and charity among his flock, and for the cruel death he endured.”

“He was a disciple of St. John the Evangelist, whom he imitated by zealously opposing the heretics, who were then striving to corrupt the faith. In obedience to the command of his holy Master [2 John 1:10], he refused to hold intercourse with Marcion, the heresiarch, whom he called the first-born of Satan. This energetic adversary of the proud sect that denied the mystery of the Incarnation, wrote an admirable Epistle to the Philipians, in which we find these words: Whosoever confesses not that Jesus Christ came in the flesh, is an Antichrist. Polycarp, then, had a right to the honour of standing near the Crib, in which the Son of God shows himself to us in all his loveliness, and clothed in flesh like unto our own. Let us honour this disciple of John, this friend of Ignatius [of Antioch], this Bishop of the Apostolic Age, whose praise was pronounced by Jesus Christ Himself in the Revelations of Patmos. Our Saviour said to him by the mouth of St. John: Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee the crown of life [Apoc. 2: 10]. Polycarp was faithful even unto death, and has received his crown; and whilst we are celebrating the coming of his King among us, he is one of the Saints who assists us to profit by the holy season.”

(From Dom Prosper Guéranger’s The Liturgical Year for the feast of Saint Polycarp (in the old calendar the feast was 26 January), Volume III, translation by the Benedictines of Stanbrook, 1983.)



 

Saint Peter Damian



Legend of St Peter Damian.jpgAll-powerful God, help us to follow the teachings and example of Peter Damian. By making Christ and the service of His Church the first love of our lives, may we come to the joys of eternal light.

 

St Peter Damien was the soul of the “Riforma gregoriana“, which marked the passage from the first to the second millennium and whose heart and driving force was St Gregory VII. It was, in fact, a matter of the application of institutional decisions of a theological, disciplinary and spiritual character which permitted a greater libertas Ecclesiae in the second millennium. They restored the breath of great theology with reference to the Fathers of the Church and in particular, to St Augustine, St Jerome and St Gregory the Great.

 

With his pen and his words he addressed all:  he asked his brother hermits for the courage of a radical self-giving to the Lord which would as closely as possible resemble martyrdom; he demanded of the Pope, Bishops and ecclesiastics a high level of evangelical detachment from honours and privileges in carrying out their ecclesial functions; he reminded priests of the highest ideal of their mission that they were to exercise by cultivating purity of morals and true personal poverty.

 

In an age marked by forms of particularism and uncertainties because it was bereft of a unifying principle, Peter Damien, aware of his own limitations – he liked to define himself as peccator monachus – passed on to his contemporaries the knowledge that only through a constant harmonious tension between the two fundamental poles of life – solitude and communion – can an effective Christian witness develop.

 

(Pope Benedict XVI, Letter to the Camaldolese Order, 20 February 2007)

 

A brief bio of this important Benedictine saint

New Saints

During a public Ordinary Consistory in the Clementine Hall Apostolic Palace on 21 February 2009, Pope Benedict XVI will announce the canonization of the following Blesseds as Saints.

Zygmunt Szczęsny Feliński, bishop, founder of the Congregation of Franciscan Sisters of the Family of Mary;

Arcangelo Tadini, priest, founder of the Congregation of Worker Sisters of the House of Nazareth;

Francis Coll y Guitart, priest of the Order of Friars Preachers (Dominicans), founder of the Congregation of Dominican Sisters of the Annunciation of the BVM;

Joseph Damian de Veuster, priest of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary of the Perpetual Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar;

Bernard Tolomei, abbot, founder of the Congregation of Saint Mary of Monte Oliveto of the Order of Saint Benedict;

Rafael Arnáiz Barón, religious of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance;

Nuno of Saint Mary Álvares Pereira, religious of the Order of Carmelites;

Gertrude (Catherine) Comensoli, virgin, founder of the Institute of Sisters of the Most Blessed Sacrament;

Marie of the Cross (Jeanne) Jugan, virgin, founder of the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Poor;

Catherine Volpicelli, virgin, founder of the Congregation of the Handmaids of Sacred Heart.

The ceremony of Canonization of the Blesseds: Arcangelo Tadini; Bernard Tolomei; Nuno de Santa Maria Álvares Pereira; Gertrude (Caterina) Comensoli e Catherine Volpicelli will be Sunday, 26 April 2009.

 

The ceremony of Canonization of the Blesseds: Zygmunt Szczęsny Feliński; Francisco Coll y Guitart; Jozef Damian de Veuster; Rafael Arnáiz Barón e Marie de la Croix (Jeanne) Jugan will be Sunday, 11 October 2009.

Saints Cyril and Methodius


Saints Cyril and Methodius.JPGAfter this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them on ahead of Him, two by two, into every town and place where He Himself was about to come. And He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.

 

Father, You brought the light of the Gospel to the Slavic nations through Saint Cyril and his brother Saint Methodius. Open our hearts to understanding Your teaching and help us to become one in faith and praise.

 

 

Writing about today’s saints Pope John Paul II said:

 

[Saints Cyril and Methodius made a] generous decision to identify themselves with those peoples’ life and traditions, once having purified and enlightened them by Revelation, make Cyril and Methodius true models for all the missionaries who in every period have accepted Saint Paul’s invitation to become all things to all people in order to redeem all. And in particular for the missionaries who, from ancient times until the present day, from Europe to Asia and today in every continent, have labored to translate the Bible and the texts of the liturgy into the living languages of the various peoples, so as to bring them the one word of God, thus made accessible in each civilization’s own forms of expression.

 

Perfect communion in love preserves the Church from all forms of particularism, ethnic exclusivism or racial prejudice, and from any nationalistic arrogance. This communion must elevate and sublimate every purely natural legitimate sentiment of the human heart. (Slavorum apostoli, 11, 1985)

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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