Saints: February 2009 Archives

Saint Anne Line

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A while ago, a friend contacted me and said, "we ought to find out about Anne Line!" She had learned something of her story and wanted to know more. We set out together by car from my house in the southern suburbs and -- after, I'm afraid, a couple of dreadful muddles -- we eventually arrived at Dunmow in Essex on the other side of London, where Anne, who was martyred in 1601, is honored.


She grew up at Dunmow, the daughter of William Heigham, who was a staunch supporter of Calvinist doctrines, and who disowned both her and her brother when they announced their conversion to Catholicism as young adults. Anne married a fellow convert, Roger Line, but their time together was short, as not long after the wedding he was arrested for attending Mass -- at that time a serious offense -- and exiled. He died abroad in 1594.


Anne devoted the rest of her life to harboring priests and making arrangements for them to say Mass. It is thanks to women of her caliber that the Faith was preserved in England, and the risks she took were great. Eventually, she was arrested when she had arranged for Mass to be celebrated by a Jesuit, Father Francis Page, in her house. It was Candlemas Day, 1601. Tried at the Old Bailey, she was hanged on February 27, 1601, affirming her faith and refusing to express regret at having helped a priest.


Today, there are two churches in Essex named after Anne Line -- both modern and very ugly, but with real devotion to the saint. On our little pilgrimage, we visited both of these, met with great friendliness -- cups of tea, warm welcome from clergy and from various parishioners who were about -- and realized that there is a genuine local cult that reflects a real gratitude for the gift of the Catholic Faith that has been passed on to us.


Joanna Bogle

The Women Saints of Britain

Saint Walburga

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St Walburga Belmont Abbey.JPGO 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

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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

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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

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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

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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)

Saint Valentine

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St Valentine baptizing Lucilla.jpgHe that hates his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.


We beseech You almighty God, grant that we who celebrate the heavenly birth of blessed Valentine, Your martyr, may through his intercession be freed from all impending evils.




(The antiphon and prayer for Mass is a far cry from the saccharine sense of the saint we honor today in the secular world.)

Animals focus their attention on their prey. Human beings focus their attention within and, turning towards God, who descends into their being, flee from the world, ceasing to be attached to external objects.


For what they are trying to do is not to lose their concentration amongst the variety of objective things. Prayer is that spiritual means which forbids thought to become dissipated and remain attached to scattered objects.


The images produced by the rational faculty keep us tied to objective things. Prayer liberates us from their gravitational pull, without, however, abolishing them. Humanity reaches out to God and God responds.


Like a Pelican in the Wilderness
Stelios Ramfos

Saint Maron

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Saint Maron.jpgA song of ascents. I raise my eyes toward the mountains. From where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. (Ps. 121:1-2)


February 9th the Maronite Church in Lebanon (and in the diaspora) celebrated the liturgical feast of the founder their Church, Saint Maron. It is commonly known that Saint Maron was a 4th/5th century Syriac Christian monk. Maron moved to the mountains of ancient Syria to what is known today as Lebanon. His spirituality, as would be expected of a monk, was penitential and centered on the sacred Liturgy. Studying the liturgical texts you would notice the influence of semitic forms of thinking, praying and discipline. There is a keen appreciation for Old Testament typology in Maronite theology, spirituality and Liturgy. One clear acknowledgement needs to be made: the monks (indeed, all the disciples of Saint Maron) held to the truth taught by the Council of Chalcedon (AD 451). They even suffered for their orthodox Christian faith.


This is already too much information to introduce you to the fact that in Rome there is a Maronite College founded in the 16th century. Here seminarians and priests of the worldwide Maronite Church come to study the sacred sciences at the heart of the Catholic Church.


In the autumn of 2008 the Diocese of Rome and the Holy See established a parish for the Maronites living in Rome centered at the Maronite College. This news video gives a brief introduction to this new work of the Maronite Church.


ALSO, if you are interested in knowing more about Eastern Christianity, the Catholic Information Service at the Knights of Columbus published a brand new booklet on what the Eastern Christian Churches are, and the place they hold in Christianity. Read Jesuit Father Steven Hawkes-Teeples' work Eastern Christians and Their Churches.


In the USA there are two eparchies (dioceses) of Maronites, The Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brookkyn and Our Lady of Lebanon. Between the two eparches, the Maronite Voice is published.

Saint Theodore Stratelates

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St Theodore Stratelates.jpgWith the word of God as a spear in your hand, in courage of soul and armed with faith, you vanquished the enemy, Theodore, glory of martyrs, with whom you unceasingly pray to Christ God for us all. (Kontakian)

Of note, Saint Theodore's skill was than being a general, as much as that is recognized as important, in the fourth century he was known to have suffered and was beheaded for his faith in Jesus Christ. It was his faith in a person who gave him salvation, a vague idea or an ethic. True to what he confessed with his lips the hagiography shows that Saint Theodore brought the icon of the Virgin with Child frequently to people after the devastation wrought by the Tatars. In other words, Saint Theodore was an instrument of Christ's comfort and healing. May Saint Theodore lead us to Christ.

Here's a brief biography and another one.

St Agatha 2007.jpgO glorious Saint Agatha, through whose intercession in Christ I hope for the restored health of body and soul, hasten to lead me to the true Good, God alone. By your intercession, O blessed Agatha, may I ever enjoy your protection by faithfully witnessing to Christ. You invite all who come to you to enjoy the treasure of communion with the Holy Trinity. Moreover, if it be for God's great glory and the good of my person, please intercede for me with the request of [mention request here].

Saint Agatha, you found favor with God by your chastity and by your courage in suffering death for the gospel. Teach me how to suffer with cheerfulness, uniting myself to Christ crucified with a simplicity and purity of heart. Amen.



Saint Agatha, eloquent witness of Jesus Christ as Savior, pray for us.

Saint Agatha, the martyr who says to Jesus, "possess all that I am," pray for us.

Saint Agatha, concerned with the welfare of all God's children, pray for us.

Saint Agatha, pray for us.


MOC cross.jpgThe Commandery of Saint Peter Nolasco of the Military Order of the Collar of Saint Agatha of Paternò annually observes the liturgical memorial of Saint Agatha in early February by offering the Sacrifice of the Mass with the Rite of Anointing of the Sick for those living with diseases of the breast. The art above was commissioned of Matthew Alderman. The imprimatur is given by Henry J. Mansell, Archbishop of Hartford, 2007. Copyright Paul A. Zalonski.

Saint Blase

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


Jesus Christ cares for the ill and the Church, the sacrament of Christ on earth, continues the mission of Christ of healing by asking God to do the loving thing: to heal the sick according to His holy Will. One of the most ancient and revered customs in the Church, therefore, is the offering of prayer and doing fitting good works for the sick to relieve greatest burdens which afflict the human body and spirit.

The ministry of the Church is not what heals or saves someone because on its own it has no such power; it is the faith in the power of the Lord Jesus whose grace provides comfort to the sick; it is the Lord who heals and it is Holy Spirit which works through human agency. And in all that, we believe that our sufferings are connected to (identified with) the sufferings of Christ for the salvation of sinners. As the Pope said recently, "Jesus suffered and died on the cross for love. In this way He gave meaning to our own suffering, a meaning that many men and women of all ages have understood and made their own, thus experiencing profound serenity even amid the bitterness of harsh physical and moral trials".

Still, it is the will of God that believers should pray for the blessing of good health so that they might engage fully in sharing the knowledge and love of God to the world in which they live. Let's be clear: God wants us to be happy here, right now. It is important to remember that these prayers offered by Christ's faithful people remind us of the Lord's special care and compassion for the sick and infirm and that it is ultimately God's Will that is followed.

Saint Blase was bishop of Sebaste in what is present day Armenia during the fourth century. We know little about his life yet there are numerous accounts which suggest that he practiced medicine before converting to Jesus Christ and becoming a bishop. He is reputed to have miraculously cured a little child who almost died because of a fishbone in the throat.

From about the eighth century to the present, the Church has liturgicall remembered Saint Blase and has been imparted an annual blessing of the sick, especially those who suffer ailments of the throat.

The blessing is typically given by touching the throat of each person with two candles blessed on the preceding day, the feast of the Presentation of the Lord.

The blessing of the throat is imparted by the ordained and in some cases, a lay minister may perform the blessing without making the sign of the cross. If imparted during Mass, it usually follows the homily and general intercessions. Some priests offer the blessing in place of the final blessing of the Mass. BUT the intercession of Saint Blase is not limited to today's liturgical memorial and it is encouraged to request the blessing at other times to those who suffer from illness or diseases of the throat.

The Blessing:

Through the intercession of Saint Blase, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from every disease of the throat and from every other illness: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit.

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]



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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Saints category from February 2009.

Saints: January 2009 is the previous archive.

Saints: March 2009 is the next archive.

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