Tag Archives: saints

St Lydia

St LydiaSaint Lydia Purpuraria (1st century) is famous for the mention in Acts 16 for her work with selling purple material (hence, her name which means purple seller), used for for expensive Roman clothing.

Lydia was born at Thyatira (Ak-Hissar), a town in Asia Minor. She met Paul on his second missionary journey in ca. AD50. Lydia became Paul’s first convert at Philippi and he baptized her with her household in the Gaggitis River –called the Angst River. Paul with his companions stayed at her home in Philippi. Thus, it is her home that becomes the first church in Europe.

The Orthodox recall her memory liturgically on May 20.

For most Catholics praying to Saint Lydia for her intercession would be very novel. But what she models for us is not new. In his 1995 Letter to Women, Saint John Paul II wrote “In this vast domain of service, the Church’s two-thousand-year history, for all its historical conditioning, has truly experienced the ‘genius of woman’; from the heart of the Church there have emerged women of the highest calibre who have left an impressive and beneficial mark in history.” Right, Lydia’s genius is instructive and worthy of our consideration for knowing the desires of her heart: she was a business woman, she lived the virtue of hospitality, a leader of people, and a follower of Jesus Christ.

Let us ask Lydia to guide all women, indeed, all Christians, in their responding sacrificially to the holy desires of the heart.

Saint Maria Skobtsova of Paris

St Maria of ParisToday, the 71st anniversary of the transitus (the death) of Saint Maria Skobtsova of Paris (1891-1945). She was Latvian by birth. Saint Maria is an Orthodox nun who was killed in the Ravensbrück concentration camp, along with her son, Yuri. Saint Maria Skobtsova is known as the Orthodox Dorothy Day, or the Orthodox Woman of the Beatitudes.

Jim Forrest writes, “She was certain that there was no other path to heaven than participating in God’s mercy. As she wrote: “The way to God lies through love of people. At the Last Judgment I shall not be asked whether I was successful in my ascetic exercises, nor how many bows and prostrations I made. Instead I shall be asked did I feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and the prisoners. That is all I shall be asked. About every poor, hungry and imprisoned person the Savior says ‘I’: ‘I was hungry and thirsty, I was sick and in prison.’ To think that he puts an equal sign between himself and anyone in need…. I always knew it, but now it has somehow penetrated to my sinews. It fills me with awe.”

A short biography of her: “Mother Maria of Paris: Saint of the Open Door” by Jim Forest

A few icons of Saint Maria of Paris

A page of links relating to her and her co-workers

Saint Hugh of Lincoln

St Hugh of Lincoln“Saint Hugh’s primary emblem is a white swan, in reference to the story of the swan of Stowe which had a deep and lasting friendship with the saint, even guarding him while he slept. The swan would follow him about, and was his constant companion while he was at Lincoln. Hugh loved all the animals in the monastery gardens, especially a wild swan that would eat from his hand and follow him about and yet the swan would attack anyone else who came near Hugh.”

Hugh is a 12th century monk, priest and bishop of Lincoln. The monk-bishop is a reformer. One reform was that the priests needed to live at the parishes they were assigned and to minister to the sick and the needy. He is the patron saint of sick children, sick people, shoemakers, and swans. Hugh is the first Carthusian to be canonized.

Saint Peregrine Laziosi

St PeregrineOn this feast of Saint Peregrine, the Church prays:

Eternal Father, I wish to honor St. Peregrine, and I give Thee thanks for all the graces Thou hast bestowed upon him. I ask Thee to please increase grace in my soul through the merits of this saint, and I commit the end of my life to him by this special prayer, so that by virtue of Thy goodness and promise, St. Peregrine might be my advocate and provide whatever is needed at that hour. Amen

A biography of the Saint that asks God to cure cancer:

Today, May 16, we celebrate the feast of Saint Peregrine Laziosi (1260-1345), priest, and patron saint of those suffering with cancer, AIDS, and other serious diseases. Saint Peregrine was miraculously cured during his lifetime of cancer, through his devotion to the suffering Jesus on the Cross. Saint Peregrine is a reminder of the gracious love and healing of a personal relationship with Jesus. He is invoked today to intercede in the healing and comfort of those struggling against disease.

Peregrine Laziosi was born into a wealthy family at Forli, Italy. He spent a worldly youth active in politics, and was originally a member of the anti-papal party —a strongly anti-Catholic movement in Italy. During one uprising, Peregrine struck Saint Philip Benizi, who had been dispatched by the Pope to bring peace, in the face. When Philip offered the other cheek to his young attacker, Peregrine was so overcome that he repented and converted immediately to Catholicism.

Shortly thereafter, Peregrine received a miraculous vision from Our Blessed Mother, in which she instructed him to journey to Siena, Italy, and join the Servite Order there. He left his wealth and status and did as Mary instructed, joining the Servites. Once a Servite, Peregrine imposed strict penances on himself as reparation for his earlier actions, including the observation of strict silence and solitude, and refusal to sit down. It is believed that Peregrine stood for approximately 30 years, which eventually led to illness.

After his training and ordination, he was assigned to his hometown, Forli, and there founded a new house of the Servite Order. He was a gifted preacher, and brought many to the faith. He was similarly a patient, gentle, and respected confessor, and many traveled a great distance to meet with him in the confessional. When not interacting with others or preaching, he maintained his vow of silence.

Saint Peregrine eventually developed difficulty with his circulation, likely due to his constant standing, which led to cancer of the foot. This aggressive cancer began spreading up his leg, and with no cure possible, his doctors scheduled an amputation of the limb. Saint Peregrine spent the night before his surgery in fervent prayer before the crucified Christ. As he drifted off to sleep while praying, he experienced a vision of Jesus, coming off the Cross, and touching the afflicted area. The next morning, when he awoke, his cancer had been completed cured. Saint Peregrine went on to live another 20 years, serving the Lord and his community.

Peregrine died at the age of 85, and was canonized by Pope Benedict XIII. He reminds us of the miraculous grace of conversion and healing that is possible through Our Lord. An adamant opponent to the Church, Saint Peregrine became a powerful preacher, leading many to the faith. He turned to the Lord, and was richly rewarded. How might we experience conversion today?

Saint Peregrine, thou hast given us an example to follow; as a Christian thou wert steadfast in love; as a Servite thou wert faithful in service; as a penitent thou humbly acknowledgedst thy sin; afflicted thou borest suffering with patience. Intercede for us, then, with our Heavenly Father so that we steadfast, humble and patient may receive from Christ Jesus the grace we ask.

Saint Casimir

St CasimirTwo saints in a row –Saint Katharine Drexel yesterday and Saint Casimir today–we hear in the opening prayer the theme of holiness and justice. On the surface this is nothing new, nor ought it be surprising. Lent is a time of conversion and a reorientation toward acts of charity. Scripture exhort us to live in this manner, and the saints give good example. How is your orientation toward the universal call to holiness and charity?

From the life of Saint Casimir written by an contemporary

By the power of the Holy Spirit, Casimir burned with a sincere and unpretentious love for almighty God that was almost unbelievable in its strength. So rich was his love and so abundantly did it fill his heart, that it flowed out from his inner spirit toward his fellow men. As a result nothing was more pleasant, nothing more desirable for him, than to share his belongings, and even to dedicate and give his entire self to Christ’s poor, to strangers, to the sick, to those in captivity and all who suffer. To widows, orphans and the afflicted, he was not only a guardian and patron but a father, son and brother. One would have to compose a long account to record here all his works of love and dedication for God and for mankind. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine or to express his passion for justice, his exercise of moderation, his gift of prudence, his fundamental spiritual courage and stability, especially in a most permissive age, when men tend to be headstrong and by their very natures inclined to sin.

Daily he urged his father to practice justice throughout his kingdom and in the governance of his people; and whenever anything in the country had been overlooked because of human weakness or simple neglect, he never failed to point it out quietly to the king.

He actively took up the cause of the needy and unfortunate and embraced it as his own; for this reason the people called him the patron of the poor. Though the son of a king and descendant of a noble line, he was never unapproachable in his conversation or dealings with anyone, no matter how humble or obscure.

He always preferred to be counted among the meek and poor of spirit, among those who are promised the kingdom of heaven, rather than among the famous and powerful men of this world. He had no ambition for the power that lies in human rank and he would never accept it from his father. He was afraid the barbs of wealth, which our Lord Jesus Christ spoke of as thorns, would wound his soul, or that he would be contaminated by contact with worldly goods.

Many who acted as his personal servants or secretaries are still alive today; these men, of the highest integrity, who had personal knowledge of his private life, testify that he preserved his chastity to the very end of his life.

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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