Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of St. Thomas More, Martyr for Jesus Christ

St Thomas More

Saint Thomas More (1478-1535)
Image Courtesy: Thom Ryng

(Franciscan Media) Born in England London, Thomas was the son of  a Judge. As a child, Thomas was sent to St. Anthony’s School according to EWTN where he attended until the age of 13 when he became the  protege of Cardinal  John Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury and Lord Chancellor, here Thomas’ merry character and brilliant intellect attracted the notice of the Archbishop, who sent him to Oxford where he entered at the age of 14 in 1492

While at Oxford, Thomas made friends with William Grocyn and Thomas Linacre, the latter becoming Thomas’s first instructor in Greek, Without ever becoming an exact scholar, Thomas mastered Greek “by an instinct of genius” as witnessed by Pace (De fructu  qui ex doctrina percipitur, 1517) who adds, Thomas’ “eloquence is incomparable and twofold, he speaks with the same facility in Latin as in his own language.”

Besides the classics, Thomas studied French, History and Mathematics, he learned to play the flute and viol. After two years of residence at Oxford, Thomas was recalled to London and entered law school.

Despite Thomas More’s legal and political orientation according to Catholic News Agency he was uncertain in regard to the vocation that he should choose. Earlier in life, Thomas seriously considered joining the ‘Carthusian Monastic Order’ or the ‘Franciscans’ and followed a number of ascetic and spiritual practices throughout his life–such as fasting, abstinence and regular prayer.

In 1504 Thomas was elected to Parliament, he gave up his monastic ambitions–though not disciplined spiritual life, and became engaged, later marrying Jane Colt of Essex, they were very happily married for several years and were blessed by God with four children (Margaret, Elizabeth, Cecilia and a son John) however in 1511 Jane tragically died during childbirth. Following Jane’s death, Thomas later remarried a widow Alice Middleton, who was a very devoted wife and step-mother to Thomas’s children.

Two years earlier in 1509 King Henry VIII acceded to the throne. For years, the King showed a fondness for Thomas, working to further his career as a public servant. Thomas became part of King Henry VIII inner circle, eventually overseeing the English Court system as Lord Chancellor, More even wrote a book as ‘ghost writer’ in King Henry VIII name, defending Catholic doctrine against Martin Luther.

Thomas More’s eventual martyrdom would come as a consequence of King Henry VIII own tragic downfall. King Henry wanted an annulment to Catherine of Aragon, a marriage that Pope Clement VII declared to be valid and indissoluble. In 1532 Thomas resigned as Lord Chancellor refusing to support King Henry VIII efforts to defy Pope Clement and take control of the Church.

In 1534 King Henry VIII declared that every subject of the British Crown would be obligated to swear an oath affirming the validity of his new marriage to Anne Boleyn, refusing to do this would be regarded as Treason to the State.

In April of that same year, a Royal commission summoned Thomas More to force him to take the oath affirming the King’s marriage was valid, when Thomas could not accept the defiance of Pope Clement’s authority on the King’s new marriage, he was taken together with his wife Alice and their children and imprisoned in the Tower of London.

For a year and 3 months Thomas More’s wife and friends attempted to convince him to take the King’s oath and save his life–he refused. Subsequently an Act of Parliament went into effect that declared: King Henry VIII to be ‘the only supreme head on earth of the Church of England.’ Now, members of the Clergy in England were told that if they refused to execute King Henry VIII oath, they would be executed.

In June, Thomas was formally indicted for treason (as was earlier threatened) together with opposing King Henry VIII ‘Act of Supremacy’ in private conversations which Thomas More denied, after his trial he was sentenced to death.

Following Thomas More sentence, he wold argue that ‘King Henry VIII ‘Act of  Supremacy’ was contrary to the Laws of God and His Holy Church–Thomas argued that “no temporal prince” could take away the prerogatives that only belong ed to Saint Peter and his successors according to the words of Jesus Christ.

When Thomas More was told that most of the English Bishops had accepted the King’s Order, More replied that the Saints in heaven did not accept it.

In July, 1535 Thomas More was taken before the Executioner to be beheaded. More in his final words said: “I die the King’s good servant but God’s first.”

After his execution, Thomas’s head was displayed on London Bridge but later returned to his daughter Margaret who preserved it as a Holy relic of her father.

Thomas More was Beatified in 1886 by Pope Leo XIII and Canonized in 1935 by Pope Pius XI

In 2000, Pope Saint John Paul II declared Saint Thomas More, ‘Patron of Political Leaders’ for as supreme diplomat and counselor, Saint Thomas More did not compromise his own moral values in order to please the king, knowing that true allegiance to authority is not blind acceptance of everything that authority wants.

More here from American Catholic

Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, Patron Saint of Christian Youth & Jesuits

Saint Aloysius Gonzaga

Saint Aloysius Gonzaga (1568-1591)
Image: Ruby Lane

(EWTN) Born in Italy Lombardy at the Castle of Castiglione delle Stivieri, Aloysius was the son of Ferdinand Gonzaga, a Prince in the Roman Empire, he was trained from the age of 4 as a Soldier and Courtier (advisor to the throne) according to SQPN and served as a Page in the Spanish Court.

At the age of 8 Aloysius was placed in the Court of Francesco de’Medici in Florence where he remained for two years, going then to Mantua–At the age of 12, Aloysius was put under the spiritual guidance of  St. Charles Borromeo (Feast Day: 04 November) and from him, Aloysius received his First Communion.

In 1581 at the age of 13, Aloysius went with his father to Spain, where he and his brother were made Pages to James the son of Philip II while there, Aloysius made a commitment to himself to become a Jesuit, though he had first considered joining the ‘Discalced Carmelites’ — In 1584 Aloysius returned to Italy subsequent to the death of the Infanta and after much difficulty in securing his father’s consent, renouncing his heritage in favor of his brother–a proceeding which required the approval of the Emperor. Aloysius presented himself to Fr. Claudius Acquaviva who was then General of the Society.

Before the end of Aloysius novitiate, he passed a brilliant public act in Philosophy, having made his philosophical and also mathematical studies before his entrance. Aloysius had in-fact distinguished himself when in Spain by a public examination not only in Philosophy but also Theology at the University of Alcal & Aacuate.

Aloysius made his vows in 1587 immediately after he began his Theological studies–among his Professors were Fr. Vasquez and Fr. Azor. Three years later, while Aloysius was in his 4th yr of Theological studies a famine and pestilence broke out, even though Aloysius was not in the best of health, he devoted himself in caring for the sick–subsequently falling ill himself, he died at the age of just 23 on this date in 1591

In 1621 Aloysius was Beatified by Pope Gregory XV and was Canonized in 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII

More here from Catholic News Agency and here from American Catholic

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Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of St. Paulinus of Nola

St Paulinus of Nova

Saint Paulinus of Nova (354-431)
Image: Daily Catholic

(Franciscan Media) Born in Gaul Burdigala (modern day France Bordeaux) Paulinus came from an illustrious family in the Roman imperial province of Aquitania and he received his literary education from the renowned poet and professor Decimus Magnus Ausonius according to Catholic News Agency becoming a distinguished lawyer and eventually, rising to the rank of Governor in the Italian province of Campania. With Paulinus’ Spanish wife Therasia, he retired at an early age to a life of cultured leisure.

Paulinus and Therasia were subsequently baptized by the Saintly Bishop of Bordeaux and moved into Therasia’s estate–after many childless years, they had a son who died a week following his birth.

This event occasioned their beginning a life of great austerity and charity, giving away much of the Spanish property–possibly as a result of of this example, Paulinus was rather unexpectedly Ordained a Priest at Christmas by the Bishop of Barcelona.

Following this, Fr. Paulinus and his wife moved to Nola (near Naples) he possessed a great love for St. Felix of Nola (Feast Day: 14 January) and spent much effort promoting devotion to this Saint. Fr. Paulinus subsequently gave away most of his remaining property (to the consternation of his relatives) and continued his work with the poor. Supporting a host of debtors, the homeless and other needy people, he lived a monastic life in another part of his home. — By popular demand, Fr. Paulinus was appointed Bishop of Nola and guided that diocese for the next 21 years. His final years were sadden by the invasion of the Huns a nomadic people who were known to have lived in Eastern Europe between the 1st and 7th centuries.

Bishop Paulinus died of natural causes near Naples — During his lifetime Paulinus was looked upon as a Saint and is buried in the Cathedral of Nola pursuant to the Order of Pope Pius X

More here from EWTN and here from American Catholic

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A New Low! Unable to defend himself, Congressman Steve Scalise (R-LA) remains hospitalized in serious condition following last Wednesday’s assassination attempt.


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VIA: National Review Online

Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. Romuald

Saint Romuald (951-1027)
Image: Catholic Online

(CNA) Born in Italy Ravenna into a noble family, Romuald grew up in a luxurious, worldly environment of privilege, where he learned little in the way of self-restraint or spiritual devotion, yet Romuald felt an unusual attraction towards the simplicity of a monastic lifestyle, prompted by the beauty of nature and the experience of solitude.

It was not beauty or tranquility but a shocking tragedy that spurred Romuald to act on his desire for a monastic life–when he was just 20 yrs old, Romuald saw his father Sergius kill one of his relatives in a duel according to Franciscan Media over a dispute concerning some property. Disgusted by this action, Romuald went to the Monastery of St. Apollinaris to do 40 days of prayer and penance for his father.

These 40 days confirmed Romuald’s monastic calling as they became the foundation for the rest of his life but this wouldn’t be lived out at St. Apollinaris, where Romuald’s strict self-discipline brought him into conflict with some of the other Monks. Subsequently Romuald left the Monastery and went to Venice where he would become a Disciple of Hermit Narinus according to eCatholic2000 and would live a life of extraordinary austerity.

Both Romuald and Hermit Narinus went on to encourage the monastic vocation of a Venetian politician Peter Urseolus (he would later be Canonized St. Peter Urseolus Feast Day: 10 January) — When Peter joined a French Benedictine Monastery, Romuald would join him.

In the meantime Romuald’s father Sergius followed his son’s course, repenting of his sins and became a Monk himself — Romuald then decided to return to Italy to help his father after he learned that his father was struggling in his new vocation. Though Romuald’s assistance, Sergius found the strength to persist in a religious life.

After guiding his penitent father Sergius in the way of Salvation, Romuald traveled throughout Italy serving the Church — By 1012, Romuald helped to establish (or reformed) almost 100 Hermitages and Monasteries. When a piece of land called the ‘Camaldoli’ located in the Diocese of Arezzo was granted to Romuald, it would become the site of fiver Hermits  quarters and a Monastery soon thereafter.

Romuald’s  approach to the contemplative life is reminiscent of the early ‘Desert Fathers’ and may be seen in the short piece writing known as his ‘Brief Rule’ which reads as follows:

“Sit in your cell as in Paradise, put the whole world behind you and forget it. Watch your thoughts like a good fisherman watching for fish. The path you must follow is in the Psalms–never leave it.

If you have just come to the Monastery and in spite of your good-will you cannot accomplish what you want, take every opportunity you can to sing the Psalms in your heart and to understand them with your mind and if your mind wanders as you read do not give up, hurry back and apply your mind to the words once more.

Realize above all that you are in God’s presence and stand there with the attitude of one who stands before the Emperor. Empty yourself completely and sit waiting, content with the Grace of God, like the chick who tastes nothing and eats nothing but what his mother brings him.”

Romuald died on this date in his cell/room in 1027 and was Canonized in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII

More here from EWTN and here from American Catholic

Happy Father’s Day To All The Great Dads — God Bless!

Happy Father's Day

A Little Background on Father’s Day – Courtesy of Michelle Malkin

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Today Christians Honor Venerable Matt Talbot

Venerable Matt Talbot

Venerable Matt Talbot (1856-1925)
Image: Catholic Fire

(Franciscan Media) Born in Ireland Dublin, Matt (Matthew) Talbot was born into a poor family with a history of alcoholism and so, Matt took to drinking yet when he was still a child according to SQPN and was considered a hopeless alcoholic by the age of thirteen.

Matt’s father worked on the docks and had a challenging time supporting his family–with just a few years of education, Matt was forced to find employment and obtained work as a Messenger for some liquor merchants, which didn’t help his alcohol addiction, there he began to drink even more excessively for the next 15 years.

When Matt was 28 an incident occurred  that changed his entire life according to Catholic Ireland — For a week, Matt stayed away from work drinking quite heavily, at the end of the week, Matt found himself sober, thirsty but penniless. Confident that his co-workers for whom he often purchased alcohol from would come to his assistance now, Matt stood with his brother near O’Meara’s Pub on the North Strand to meet his friends coming from ‘Pemberton’s’ — the men just passed him in pairs but none stopped to ask the brothers if they would want to join them for a drink. Matt said later that he was “cut to the heart” by this treatment and went home.

Matt’s Mother preparing the midday meal looked up with surprise and exclaimed, “Matt you’re home early and you are sober.” After lunch, Matt turned to his Mother and said, “I’m going to take the pledge.” As Matt left the house his Mother said gently, “God give you strength to keep it.” From there, Matt went to ‘Holy Cross Church’ and according to his own account, went to Confession and took the pledge from Fr. Keane and kept that pledge the rest of his life.

From that time on, Matt attended daily Mass at 5:00 AM in ‘St. Francis Xavier’s Church’ before heading off to work one hour later–Following Matt’s evening meal, he would walk to a Church on the north side of the city where he prayed until it was about time for him to retire and go to bed in order to get up for the next day–this was to avoid the temptation of meeting up with his former buddies, as the effort to stay sober and quell his cravings for a dink was causing him immense suffering.

Every week evening, every Saturday afternoon and every Sunday morning, Matt was in Church–he gave up all of his former drinking companion friends (temptation) and confided only in his Mother — When Fr. John Cullen a Jesuit Priest, founded the ‘Pioneer Total Abstinence Assn’ in 1898 Matt became one of its first members.

From that day with his brother outside O’Meara’s Pub at the age of 28 when Matt’s drinking buddies ignored him and for the next 41 years of his life, Matt never took another drink.

On Sunday’s, Matt attended every Mass, only upon returning to his home at about 2:00 PM would he break his fast since 6:30 PM of the previous evening, the remainder of Matt’s time was spent in prayer, reading the Scriptures and about the lives of the Saints — Matt had also become very charitable with his money, donating what little he had to his neighbors in need and to missions.

On Matt’s way to Mass on ‘Trinity Sunday’ (07 June, 1925) he collapsed and died — Fifty years following his death on the 03 October, 1975 Matt was given the title ‘Venerable’ by Pope Paul VI

More here from Catholic and here from American Catholic