Saints: August 2009 Archives

Blessed Jeanne Jugan

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Today is the liturgical memorial of Blessed Jeanne Jugan (Sister Mary of the Cross), a relatively unknown sister here in the USA unless you you've met them begging for money to sustain their life and work. She is soon to be canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on October 11th.

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The congregation of sisters founded by Blessed Jeanne, The Little Sisters of the Poor, are an exceptional group of women who dedicated themselves to doing small things for the poor for the sake of the Gospel: be humble, i.e., be little in order to be close to the humble and making the poor happy is everything. It was the spirituality of Saint John the Baptist: I must decrease and He must increase. Jugan was very much influenced by Saint John Eudes because in him she saw a path that corresponded to her heart: we must be other Christs on earth and to go to Jesus through Mary. Jugan called together women to serve poor elderly women, a work of charity that Jeanne had done for her own conversion since she was a young woman. Not only did Jeanne address the physical needs of the women she served, but she also attended to the spiritual ones too. The Little Sisters take a 4th vow of being hospitable: showing mercy to our poor brothers and sisters.

Here in Connecticut the Little Sisters of the Poor are located in Enfield but there was a time that they had a house in New Haven. Sadly, the New Haven community closed when the health care politics got to be too much for the sisters to handle.

When I am visiting the local Catholic cemetery I make it a point to visit the graves of the Little Sisters who died in New Haven. For me it is a way being grateful for the work and witness of the sisters in New Haven.

Watch the video clip of a recent first vows profession ceremony...

Among the recent books about Blessed Jeanne are:

We beseech Thee, O Lord our God, grant us to revere with unceasing devotion the glorious victories of Thy holy Martyrs Saints Margaret Clitherow, Anne Line and Margaret Ward; may we at least honor with our lowly homage those whose praises we cannot sing worthily.

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Saint Margaret Middleton was born in York in 1556, lived there all her life, and died there on 25 March 1586. At 15, she married a butcher, John Clitherow, and three years later became a Catholic. Imprisoned for her non-attendance at church, she taught herself to read and later ran a small school for her own and her neighbours' children. Her husband remained Protestant, but allowed her to hide priests in their house. In 1586, the secret hiding places were discovered, and Margaret was put on trial. She refused to plead, for which the punishment was being crushed to death.

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Saint Anne Heigham was born at Dunmow (Essex) around 1565, and was hanged at Tyburn on 27 February 1601. In her teens, she became a Catholic and was disinherited, and in 1585 married Roger Line, also a disinherited convert, who was subsequently imprisoned then exiled for his faith, leaving her destitute. She taught and embroidered, and also kept house for priests. After a large number of people had been seen gathering at her house for Mass, she was arrested, tried and condemned to death.

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Saintt Margaret Ward was born at Congleton (Cheshire), but entered into the service of a family in London. She was arrested after assisting a priest escape from prison, but refused under severe torture to reveal his hiding place or to renounce her faith. She was tried at the Old Bailey, and executed on this day in 1588. All three are remembered for their resourcefulness, for their loyalty, for their outstanding courage, and for the service they rendered the Church during dangerous times in aiding the ministry of priests.   (Liturgy Office, Bishops of England & Wales)

For more on these 3 English Martyrs see this entry.

In the Diocese of Bridgeport, those who prepare for the major seminary at Saint John Fisher Seminary, Stamford, call to mind the martyrdom of these women saints daily as their statues surround the altar.  May Saints Margaret, Anne and Margaret, pray for us!!!

Martyrdom St John Baptist ASpinello.jpgBlessed is the man who endures temptation: for when he has been tried, he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him.

We beseech Thee, O Lord, may the holy festival of Saint John the Baptist, Thy Precursor and Martyr, obtain for us help unto salvation.

Saint Augustine of Hippo

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St Augustine PPRubens.jpgO blest teacher, light of holy Church, blessed Augustine thou lover of God's law, plead with the Son of God for us.

O almighty God, hearken to our supplications, and by the intercession of blessed Augustine, Thy Confessor and Bishop, graciously grant the effect of Thy wonted mercy to those who hope in Thy loving-kindness.

St Augustine, whom we are commemorating today, has some marvellous thoughts about the invitation found in Psalm 105[104]: "Quaerite faciem eius semper - constantly seek his face" (v. 3). 

He points out that this invitation is not only valid for this life but also for eternity. The discovery of "God's Face" is never ending. The further we penetrate into the splendour of divine love, the more beautiful it is to pursue our search, so that "amore crescente inquisitio crescat inventi - the greater love grows, the further we will seek the One who has been found" (Enarr. in Ps 105[104]: 3; CCL 40, 1537).

This is the experience to which, deep down, we too aspire. May the intercession of the great Bishop of Hippo obtain it for us! May the motherly help of Mary, the Star of Evangelization whom we now invoke with the prayer of the Angelus, obtain it for us. (Pope Benedict XVI, 28 August 2005, Angelus)

Saint Monica

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St Monica BGozzoli.jpgGive unto her of the fruit of her own hands, and let her works praise her in the gates, alleluia.

O God, the comforter of the sorrowful and the salvation of them that hope in Thee, Who had merciful regard to the pious tears of blessed Monica in bringing about the conversion of her son Augustine: grant us by their united intercession to grieve over our sins and obtain Thy merciful pardon.

Saint Bartholomew

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Almighty and everlasting God, Who has given us this day a reverent and holy joy in the feast of Thy blessed Apostle Bartholomew, we beseech Thee, grant unto Thy Church ever to love that which he believed and to preach that which he taught.

The historical facts regarding the Apostle Bartholomew are murky: his real name is unknown, he's not mentioned in the Fourth Gospel and only curiously listed in the Synoptics but is closely connected with Nathaniel and Philip, where he preached the Gospel after the Pentecost is speculated, the manner of his death is obscure and even his relics are "thought by some" to be in Rome in a church named for him. But some of the relics are in Frankfurt and others in Canterbury. Regardless of all this, the Church honors Bartholomew as an apostle of Jesus Christ who gave his life for the Good News.We honored him in a liturgical memorial for ages and we continue to do so today asking for his intercession before the Throne of Grace

Today let us offer a prayer for the Church in Armenia and for Francis Cardinal George, archbishop of Chicago whose titular church in Rome is Saint Bartholomew on the Island and for tanners.

Saint Pius X, pope

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St Pius X 2.jpgYes, Lord; you know that I love You.

Father, to defend the Catholic faith and to make all things new in Christ, You filled Saint Pius X with heavenly wisdom and apostolic courage. May his example and teaching lead us to the reward of eternal life.

Today we pray for first communicants and pilgrims through the intercession of Saint Pius X.

The Wiki article on Saint Pius
The Holy See's page on Saint Pius

Saint John Eudes

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St John Eudes.jpg...that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.

Father, you chose the priest John Eudes to preach the infinite riches of Christ. By his teaching and example help us to know You better and live faithfully in the light of the gospel.

Some info on Saint John Eudes

Father Mark writes about Saint John Eudes' spousal union with Blessed Virgin Mary

A link to the spirituality of Saint John Eudes  

Saint Roch (Roque, Rocco)

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O blessed Saint Roch, patron of the sick, have pity on those who lie upon a bed of suffering. You power was so great when you were in this world, that by the sign of the cross, many were healed of their diseases. Now that you are in heaven, your power is not less. Offer, then to God our sighs and tears and obtain for us that health we seek through Christ our Lord.

A native of Montpellier (France) who after the death of his parents and giving his money to the poor, he went to Rome on pilgrimage. At the time of his stay in Italy (c. 1348) it was the time of the Black Plague. A mysterious mark on his chest in the formed of cross identified him and by the sign of the cross did Roch heal the sick. Having cared for the plague victims Roch caught the sickness himself. Thinking he'd retire alone to forest near Piacenza to prepare for his own death a dog became his companion, licking his wounds and providing food. The saint recovered his health. Returning to Montpellier he was not recognized and imprison as a spy. At his death in 1378, the mark of the cross on his chest alerted the people to Roch's identity. Members of the Council of Constance asked Saint Roch to spare them from the plague and indeed it was lifted.

Saint Roch is a famous patron of those living with the severe sickness as he was called upon in his lifetime and after during the plague. The iconography associated with Saint Roch includes a dog, a pilgrim's robe and staff.

Update (8/17): My friend Father Matthew Mauriello is the pastor of Saint Roch's Church, Greenwich, CT. The Greenwich Times ran a story on the procession he led on the saint's feast day. Read about it here and watch the slide show.
St Jane Frances Chantal.jpgLord, You chose Saint Jane Frances to serve You both in marriage and in religious life. By her prayers help us to be faithful in our vocation and always to be light to the world.

Saint Jane Frances once said: "There is no danger if our prayer is without words or reflection because the good success of prayer dependsd neither on words nor on study. It depends upon the simple raising of our minds to God, and the more simple and stripped of feeling it is, the surer it is."

Let me recommend two monasteries of the Order of the Visitation of Mary, one of the first federation and the other of the second: Georgetown Visitation Monastery and the Visitation of Tyringham.

Note: In the US this memorial is moved from August 18 to today; in other parts of the world Saint Jane's feast is December 12.

Saint Philomena

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St Philomena.jpgAugust 11th is also Saint Philomena's liturgical feast day but today is also a day to honor the name of Philomena and her place in our Church. Recently, a news item appeared about her.

Growing up in New Haven, CT I knew many of Italian Catholic women named for Saint Philomena. Across the street from Portsmouth Abbey (Portsmouth, RI) there's a school that's under the patronage of this saint. The connections are many more. One has to say that some 'people' think Philomena didn't exist in the same way they think Saint Christopher didn't exist. What historical proof does one need to prove a person's existence? For someone who never existed in the scientific minds, Philomena has had some prominent people take an interest in her with a  sanctuary (Italy) and a shrine (USA).

A little known fact is that Saint John Vianney, Saint Peter Julian Eymard, Saint Bartolo Longo and Saint Damian de Vuester had a special love for Philomena; Vianney even attributes the conversion of Ars to her intercession.  He built a shrine to Saint Philomena and composing a litany in honor of her. 

Pray the Litany to Saint Philomena and the Novena Prayer to the saint.

Saint Lawrence

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Thou hast crowned him with glory and honor, O Lord. And hast set him over the works of Thy hands.

Lawrence the Deacon performed a pious  act by giving sight to the blind through the sign of the Cross, and bestowed upon the poor the riches of the Church. (Vigil Magnificat Antiphon)

We beseech Thee, almighty God, grant us to quench the flames of our vices, even as Thou gavest blessed Lawrence grace to overcome his fiery torments.

The saintly deacon was asked by the Roman Prefect to hand over the Church's wealth. needing three days to do so, he gathered  thousands of lepers, blind and sick people, the poor, the widows and orphans and the elderly and presented them to the Prefect. Angry, the Prefect killed Lawrence slowly by roasting him on a gridiron. Saying to his torturers, "I am done on that side, turn me over," died with a prayer for Rome's conversion to Christ on his lips. The has honored Lawrence with texts for Mass and the Divine Office thinking very highly of his witness to Christ and service to the Church.
St John-Mary Vianney2.jpgSing the God of awesome wisdom
Who has chosen for his own
Those of ev'ry age and nation
To hold fast to God alone
Through all changing styles and customs,
Hearts that only Christ enthrone.

In a faithless time of torpor,
John Vianney loved the Lord,
Preached the truth with ceaseless fervor,
Led his flock by deed and word,
And by his example fearless
Caused our God to be adored.

Lovingly he coaxed the sinner
To submit to Jesus' way;
In humility and patience
To his Lord he knelt to pray
And, obedient to his calling,
Lived his teaching ev'ry day.

To the Trinity give glory,
Father, Son, and Paraclete:
Those on earth with those in heaven
Joining in one anthem sweet:
As the saints on earth gave witness,
Let us each our course complete!

87 87 87
James Michael Thompson (c) 2009, World Library Publications
St John-Mary Vianney.jpg

"O my God, come to me, so that You may dwell in me and I may dwell in you."

Father of mercy, you made Saint John Vianney outstanding in his priestly zeal and concern for your people. By his example and prayers, enable us to win our brothers and sisters to the love of Christ and come with them to eternal glory.

Pope Benedict's letter proclaiming the Year of the Priest for the 150th year of Saint John Vianney's death

A Litany in Honor of Saint John Vianney

A brief biography of Vianney

Saint Peter Julian Eymard

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Lord God, You kept Saint Peter faithful to Christ's pattern of poverty and humility. May his prayers help us to live in fidelity to our calling and bring us to the perfection You have shown us in Your Son.

A short biography of Saint Peter Julian, the founder of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament

A list of resources on The Apostle of the Blessed Sacrament

The Holy Maccabees

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holy maccabees.jpgThe very hairs of your head are all numbered. Therefore do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.

May this fraternal crown of Thy Martyrs gladden us, O Lord, that so our faith may be strengthened and we may be comforted by the prayers of many intercessors.

The Wisdom of God's own seven pillars are all, a seven-branched lamp that shine with the Light Divine, Great Martyrs that were before the Martyrs, O all-wise Maccabees, with them pray that the God of all to whom we who now sing your praises may be saved. (Kontakion, tone 2)

(Some will be surprised to see a group of Jewish martyrs inserted in the Roman Liturgy. But it ought not be too surprising. Today a commemoration in the Roman Missal (1962) is that of these holy martyrs. The honoring of the Holy Maccabees is not a liturgical memorial that is found in the current sacramentary because the beloved Liguori is now on August 1. One can hope that the Holy Maccabees will be observed on the Novus Ordo calendar again! On the former liturgical calendar August 1 observed the Holy Maccabees as St Alphonse was celebrated on August 2. As a point of ecclesial comparison, the Orthodox Church maintains today as dedicated to these 7 Jewish Martyrs.

The Christian churches, east and west, honor the witnesses to God because of the steadfastness these people demonstrated for the revealed faith. In the face of persecution they lived and hoped according to the Law and the Fathers. That is, these 7 brothers refused to worship pagan gods and to break the kosher dietary laws; once they accepted the reality of who God was there was no turning away from Him, even at the threat of death. Therefore, the presence of the Jewish Martyrs on the Christian liturgical calendar signify recognition of the righteousness of many before the birth of Christ who are justly recognized as saints for the incredible faith. As they are models for the Jews they also are models for Catholics and Orthodox to live the faith with vigor. It's rather significant that Saint Ambrose of Milan spoke of the Maccabean martyrs in his work, On Jacob and the blessed life.)

Saint Alphonsus Liguori

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You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men.

Father, you constantly build up your Church by the lives of your saints. Give us the grace to follow Saint Alphonsus in his loving concern for the salvation of men, and so come to share his reward in heaven.

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 August 2009.

Saints: July 2009 is the previous archive.

Saints: September 2009 is the next archive.

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