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Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. Apollinaris, Martyr for Jesus Christ

St ApollinarisSaint Apollinaris –Image Courtesy: Jesus Caritas Est

(Franciscan Media) According to tradition, Saint Peter sent Apollinaris to Italy Ravenna as its first Bishop — his ministry of the Good News was so successful and miracles conducted soon attracted attention of the local officials, as Apollinaris won many converts to the Christian faith according to Catholic News Agency while at the same time, his words and works brought upon the fury of the Pagan people who beat him merciless on several occasions.

During one such beating Apollinaris was cut with knives and scalding hot water poured over his wounds, he then subsequently was expelled and put on a ship to Greece.

In Greece, Apollinaris continued his ministry of the Good News of Jesus Christ but once again as before, he met resistance from the Greek Pagans and after another cruel beating, Apollinaris was evicted and sent back to Italy.

When Roman Emperor Vespasian (9 AD – 79 AD) issued a decree of banishment against the Christians, Apollinaris was kept hidden for some time but as he was leaving, passing through the gates of the city, he was attacked and savagely beaten again. — Apollinaris lived for 7 days after, foretelling that the persecutions would increase but that the Church would ultimately triumph.

More here from American Catholic and here from Bartleby.com

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Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of St. Mary MacKillop, Australia’s First Saint

St Mary MacKillop

Saint Mary MacKillop (1842-1909)
Image: Catholic Online

(Franciscan Media) Born in Australia Melbourne, Mary was the eldest child of Alexander and Flora MacKillop poor Scottish immigrants–Alexander had studied for the Priesthood according to SQPN but was never Ordained. Mary was educated in private schools and bu her father. To help support her family which struggled financially, Mary worked as a ‘Nursery Governess’ while in her teens, together with tutoring and teaching–subsequently Mary established a ‘Seminary for Young Ladies’ in her home.

Mary felt called to a religious life but felt obligated to continue Teaching to help support her family, however a scandal caused by a jealous and corrupt education official, caused Mary to resign her teaching position and to leave the school without guilt with the support of her family. –Mary and her sister moved to South Australia Penola, there they met Fr. Julian Tennison-Woods in 1860 who became Mary’s spiritual director. Together they founded a new community of Women, ‘The Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart’ (becoming known as the Josephite Sisters) its members were to staff schools, especially for poor children, orphanages and do other charitable work.

As the ‘Josephite Sisters’ grew so did Mary’s problems. Fr. Julian Tennison-Woods proved unreliable in many way and his responsibilities for the direction of the ‘Josephite Sisters’ were removed. Meanwhile, Mary had the support of some local Bishop’s as she and her Sisters went out their work but the Bishop in South Australia, aging and relying on others for advice, briefly excommunicated Mary, charging her with disobedience and dispensed 50 of Mary’s Sisters from their vows. — In truth, the Bishop’s quarrel was about power and who had authority over whom? The Bishop ultimately rescinded his Order of excommunication.

Mary had insisted that the ‘Josephite Sisters’ should be governed by an elected mother answerable to Rome and not to the local Bishop — There was also a dispute whether or not the ‘Josephite Sisters’ should own property. In the end, Rome proved to be Mary’s best source of support. After a long wait, official approval of the ‘Josephite Sisters’ and how it was to be governed came from Pope Leo XIII

Despite Mary’s struggles with Church authorities, she along with her Sisters were able to offer social services that few, if any government agencies in Australia could. The ‘Josephite Sisters’ served both Protestants and Catholics alike. They worked among the indigenous (aborigines) Australians, they taught in schools and orphanages together with serving unmarried mothers.

Finances, or the lack thereof was a continual worry but the Sister’s who sought charity door-to-door, were bolstered by faith and conviction that their struggles were merely opportunities to draw closer to God.

By the time that Mary was approaching the twilight, the ‘Josephite Sisters’ were thriving. Mary passed away in 1909 in Sydney of a stroke. In 1995 Mary was Beatified by Pope Saint John Paul II and was Canonized in 2010 by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI becoming the first Saint of Australia.

More here from American Catholic and here from Sisters of St. Joseph

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VIA: Washington Times

Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. Camillus de Lellis, Patron Saint of Nurses

St CamillusSaint Camillus de Lellis (1550-1614) — Image: Catholic Online

(CNA) Born in Italy Naples, Camillus mother died during his infancy and his father, a former military officer who neglected him according to Franciscan Media died six years later.

Camillus followed in his father’s footsteps, serving in the armies in Venice and Naples and developing a gambling addiction which led to him ‘losing his shirt’ and impoverished in his mid-20s resulting in him having to do menial labor for the Franciscans–In February 1575 Camillus resolved to change his life and soon thereafter sought to join the religious order.

A wound in one leg (that was seen as incurable) however kept Camillus from becoming a Franciscan, after this rejection, he traveled to Rome and worked for 4 yrs in Hospice care. Committed to a life of prayer and penance, Camillus wore a hair shirt and received spiritual direction from St.Philip Neri (Feast Day: 26 May)

Grieved by the quality of service being given to the sick, Camillus decided to form an association of Catholics ‘Congregation of the Servants of the Sick’ — Today Order of St.Camillus who would provide them with both physical and spiritual care–Camillus subsequently would study for the Priesthood and was Ordained in 1584

Members of Fr. Camillus de Lellis order, worked in hospitals, prisons and in the homes of those afflicted by disease–in 1586 Fr. Camillus de Lellis Order received Papal approval and received official recognition and confirmed as a religious order in 1591 In addition to their traditional vows of poverty, charity and obedience, the new religious order took a vow of unfailing service to the sick.

Fr.Camillus de Lillis himself suffered physical ailments throughout his life–his leg wound never healed properly over the course of some five decades, in addition to which he suffered sores and severe kidney trouble but he is said to have spent time with the sick even while unable to walk–crawling from bed-to-bed.

The Founder of the Order of St. Camillus lived to assist at a general chapter of his Order in Rome in 1613 and to make a last visitation of many of their hospitals. Learning that he himself was incurably ill, Fr. Camillus de Lillis said:

“I rejoice in what has been told to me. We should go into the House of the Lord.”

Fr. Camillus de Lillis receiving the Eucharist for the final time declared:

“O Lord, I confess I am the most wretched of sinners, most undeserving of your favor but save me by your infinite goodness. My hope is placed in your divine mercy through your precious blood.”

After giving his final instructions to his fellow Ministers of the Sick, Fr. Camillus de Lillis died in July 1614 in Italy Genoa — In 1742 he was Beatified and Canonized just 4 years later by Pope Benedict XIV

Saint Camillus de Lillis was subsequently named along with Saint John of God (Feast Day: 08 March) as one of the two main co-patrons of Nurses and Nursing Associations by Pope Pius XI in 1930

More here from Order of St. Camillus and here from Butler Lives of Saints

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