Tag Archives: saint

Blessed Mary Elizabeth Hesselblad

ME Hesselblad.jpgThe Sisters of Saint Birgitta honor their second foundress, “Bridget the Second,” the woman who restored the Order of the Most Holy Savior, Blessed Mary Elizabeth Hesselblad. Her liturgical feast celebrated today.

Blessed Mary Elizabeth immigrated to the USA and converted to Catholicism through a Jesuit at Georgetown University. In time she felt called to refound the ancient order first founded by the Swedish saint Bridget, the Order of the Most Holy Saviour in the mid-14th century. The order is a semi-contemplative order of nuns officially approved by the Holy See on 7 July 1940, though it came together in 1911. The nuns run retreat houses and have some ecumenical work with the Protestant communities.
The Order of the Most Holy Saviour is a fascinating part of our Catholic ecclesial history in that the order of nuns and priests were part of a double monastery dedicated to the Lord’s passion. The chaplains were under the rule of the abbess. The nuns have foundations in different parts of the world while there is one priory of monks in Oregon and they don’t actively collaborate with the nuns.
Mother Mary Elizabeth taught, “We must nourish a great love for God and our neighbors; a strong love, an ardent love, a love that burns away imperfections, a love that gently bears an act of impatience, or a bitter word, a love that lets an inadvertence or act of neglect pass without comment, a love that lends itself readily to an act of charity.”
Video part II
The Bridgettines have a convent and retreat house in Darien, CT (in the Diocese of Bridgeport).
In addition to Blessed Mary Elizabeth Hesselblad, the Church raised up and bestowed the title of blessed on Mother Mary Riccarda Beauchamp Hambrough, Mother Mary Catherine Flannagan and Sister Mary Magdalen  Moccia on 21 October 2011.
Blessed Mary Elizabeth, pray for us.
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Saint Charles Lwanga and companions


The Church honors Saint Charles Lwanga, and his companions, today, who were burned at the stake for belief in Jesus Christ. They were the embodiment of a real love for God and his people. 

The Ugandan martyrs died because they refused to renounce his Christianity. Their death was also the result of the anger of a king who made sexual advances on Charles and others who refused. They were serious about the Christian faith. It was on this date in 1886, the solemnity of the Ascension that Charles and 21 others were killed.

The Church through the Servant of God Pope Paul VI canonized the Uganda Martyrs in 1964; they were beatified in 1920.

Here is a commentary by Father Barron on Saint Charles wherein he discusses the saint’s legacy, spiritual and societal.

Saint Charles is the patron saint of the African Catholic Youth Action. May he and his companions be our guide in living the Christian faith in times of difficulty.

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Saint Justin Martyr

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O God, who through the folly of the Cross wondrously taught Saint Justin the Martyr the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ, grant us, through his intercession, that, having rejected deception and error, we may become steadfast in the faith.

We typically tell the narrative of Saint Justin Martyr, the second century orator, in these terms: Justin was among the first Christians to use his brain. Well, not really. But we do say that by the age of 30 Justin confessed faith in Jesus Christ as Messiah and began to use his philosophical training to explain what the Christian movement means to the believer, and why would want to be a Christian as opposed to being a pagan (i.e., an unbeliever) or an adherent to Judaism. His conversion was from paganism and not Judaism. 

Justin was well-eduacted man who later worked as a teacher first in Ephesus and later in Rome. His school of debate in Rome was followed by many in Rome which led to his death by beheading. This great apologist (defender of the faith, that is, one who gave reasons for our hope) is what we need today. The extant works by or about him are the Apologies, Dialogues with Trypho and the Acts.

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Connecticut retreat house has a saint’s severed arm

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Saints in Connecticut. Relics point to Jesus Christ.

Litchfield County Times’ reporter Tom Breen published his “Catholic Retreat Near Mystic Features Severed Arm of Medieval Saint” on May 25, 2013. He writes on the first class relic of Saint Edmund of Canterbury, a renowned English archbishop, in a Mystic, CT, retreat house by the same name.

The infrastructure of holiness rests, in part, with the witness to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Saints, for those who are Catholic, are men and women who know they are sinners, who have been forgiven, and who know what it means to live the sacred Scriptures. Specifically, they point to Christ as Messiah and say that it is in fact possible for all of us to be saints.

The Church has venerated, not worshiped saints and their relics. As reliable witnesses, the saints to this day point to Jesus. By the second century Christians would pray in the places where the martyrs were buried and/or where they were killed. A human contact is necessary for all of us.

The practice of offering Mass upon the tombs of the saints became normal; when the Christian community expanded, the practice of praying with the saints followed. Devotion ensued and Connecticut has a verifiable saint to honor.

Saint Edmund of Canterbury’s feast day is November 16.

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Saint Joan of Arc

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O God, you have chosen Saint Joan of Arc to defend her country against the invading enemy. Through her intercession, grant that we may work for justice and live in peace.

Saint Joan of Arc (1412 – 1431) was canonized in 1920 by Pope Benedict XV and made the patron saint of France and soldiers. She’s known to be from the peasant class but of a devoted family near to the province of Lorraine. Her own life of sanctity began with the awareness, it is said, of recognizing the voices of Saints Michael, Catherine and Margaret. The heavenly messengers told the young Joan to help the king reconquer his kingdom. 

For some it was a precocious act, but Joan commanded her own army at the age of 17 winning several military battles. She faced bigoted political and churchmen and were all-too-willing to let Joan hang out to dry when she was captured by the Burgundians and who they sold her to the English enemies of France.

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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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