Blessed Charles de Foucauld will become SAINT. The Pope approved the miracle attributed to his intercession.
In addition to St Bede and St Philip Neri, the Church recalls the memory of St Alban, the first Christian martyr of Britain, today. The list of saints commemorated on any given days is always interesting and worth our time in knowing and praying for their assistance.
The Byzantine Church recalls Alban’s memory today while the Latin Church will claim him on June 22. The year of his death is disputed.
The entry for Alban’s life reads thusly for one of the typicons:
“Our venerable father, Alban, protomartyr of the English.
Since the island of Britain was under Roman rule, Diocletian’s persecution accounts for Alban’s martyrdom some time around 287.
Alban, of Latin-Briton stock, gave shelter to a fleeing Christian priest. After hearing his guest describe his belief in Christ, Alban requested baptism. When soldiers traced the priest to Alban’s house, they discovered Alban dressed in the priest’s clothes. This enabled the priest to escape, but gave the authorities an excuse to execute Alban.
He was beheaded on a hill outside a town now known as St Albans in Hertfordshire. A monastery was founded on the site in the 8th century and became a famous Benedictine abbey. (NS)
On the liturgical calendar of the Church in Poland today is Blessed Celestyna Faron, IHM (1913 – 1942) a Religious Sister of the Congregation of the Little Sister Servants of the Immaculate Conception. Within the Congregation she served variously as a teacher and catechist. In history she was known as Katarzyna Stanisława Faron 24 April 1913 born in Zabrzez, Malopolskie, [southern] Poland and died on Easter morning, 9 April 1944 in the Auschwitz concentration camp.
Blessed Celestyna’s biography reveals that before her first profession of vows, she wrote to the Mother General saying, “Through my vows I long to belong entirely to Jesus Christ as a total sacrificial offering. I always desire to walk the way of love and devotion so that I can approach the Immaculate Lamb.”
Faron is remembered for her charity and courage, even in the face of death. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II with other 107 other Polish Martyrs of World War II on 13 June 1999. The collective feast day of the martyrs is 12 June.
The Little Sister Servants of the Immaculate Conception published this brief reflection on Blessed Celestyna AND there is this biographical note on the Blessed which includes some witnesses on the Blessed making her person better known.
I didn’t know about Blessed Celestyna until this morning when my friend Bill brought her to my attention.
As a side note, the Little Sister Servants of the Immaculate Conception (USA) have several witnesses of holiness from their ranks: 5 sisters who cause for canonization is being studied, in addition to the founder Blessed Edmund Bojanowski and Blessed Celestyna. Let’s pray for Edmund and Celestyna’s canonization.
May Blessed Celestyna intercede for us before the Throne of Grace asking for the gifts of charity, courage, poverty of spirit and the ability to sacrifice ourselves for the Lord of Life. Blessed Celestyna, pray for us.
Today we remember St. Phocas the Gardener. He is the patron of farmers, fieldworkers, agriculture, and gardeners. He was a man connected to his land and to his neighbor, and who understood ecology in the deep sense of not living just for oneself but for all. He was both a bishop and a simple farmer, and he devoted everything he grew to be given to the poor.
He is also the patron of hospitality. When soldiers came looking for him to execute him for being a Christian, he welcomed them with open arms, and practicing the command of Christ to love one’s enemies, he fed them and treated them as Christ himself. The soldiers did not realize that their host was the same Phocas they were to execute, and St. Phocas promised them that he would help them find their target.
When Phocas revealed himself to them, they were reluctant to kill him. Phocas, however, refused to fight them or to hinder their duty, and instead invited the soldiers to do what they were there to do, offering his neck. For this he was martyred.
St. Phocas is also the patron of sailers. There is an old sailing custom whereby at each meal, a portion is set aside called ‘St. Phocas portion.’ This portion is sold and the money collected is donated to the poor whenever port is reached. In this way, Phocas’ love for strangers, enemies, the poor, the land, and his neighbors continued to extend even past his death.
Holy Phocas, pray for us!
thanks to In Communion
The liturgical memorial of St. Rita of Cascia (1381-1457) is today. Several years ago when I was visiting a friend in Italy we visited the Benedictine monks at Norcia and by surprise, we were taken to Cascia to venerate the relics of St. Rita and imbibe the monastic house. At that time I didn’t really have a devotion to St. Rita even though her personal narrative is quite interesting; only recently two friends, independent of one another, told me of St Rita’s love and affection for honey bees. As a beekeeper I am always looking for divine intercession as I care for the bees.
Due various things in her life, Rita eventually became an Augustinian nun giving witness to the meaning of forgiveness, prayer, humility, patience, and perseverance. She dedicated her life to heroic charity and penance as she closely united herself and her life of deep suffering to Christ. Notice in the image that Rita has something in her forehead. While praying before a crucifix, St. Rita mystically received a thorn in her forehead (stigmata) from Jesus’ Crown of Thorns.
St. Rita is the patron saint of impossible causes, difficult marriages, abuse victims, and honey bees. Can we model St. Rita’s perseverance today?