Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of St. Anthony of Egypt

St Anthony of EgyptSt. Anthony of Egypt –Image: Bishop’s Conference of Indonesia

(Franciscan Media) The life of Anthony will remind many people of Saint Francis of Assisi (Feast Day: 04 October) at the age of 20, Anthony was so moved by the Gospel message:

“…Go sell what you have and give to the poor
and you will have treasure in heaven and come follow me.” —Mark 10:21

 Anthony did just that with his large inheritance. Anthony is different from Francis, in that most of Anthony’s life was spent in solitude–Seeing the world completely covered in snares and gave the Church and the world the witness of solitary asceticism, great personal sacrifice and prayer but no Saint is antisocial and Andrew drew many people to himself for spiritual healing and guidance.

By the time Anthony was 54 he replied to many requests and founded sort of a Monastery of scattered cells–Again like Francis, Anthony had great fear of ‘stately buildings and well laden tables.’

At 60, Anthony hoped to be a martyr in the renewed Roman persecution of 311, fearlessly exposing himself to danger, while providing moral and material support to those imprisoned–By the time Anthony turned 88 he was the Arian heresy–the denial of the Divinity of Jesus Christ that took the Church centuries to recover.

More here from Catholic News Agency

Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of St. Berard and Companions, Martyrs for Jesus Christ

Saint Berard and CompanionsSt. Berard & Companions — Martyrs of the Franciscan Order
Images: 365 Rosaries

(Franciscan Media) Preaching the Gospel is often dangerous work. Leaving ones home, adjusting to new cultures and languages is difficult enough but martyrdom caps all the other sacrifices.

In 1219 with the blessings of St. Francis, Berard departed Italy with Peter, Adjute, Accurs, Odo and Vitalis to minister in Morocco–Enroute in Spain, Vitalis became ill and commanded the other Friars to continue their mission without him.

The Friars tried ministering in Seville, then in Muslim lands but made no converts, they continued on to Morocco where they ministered in the marketplace, they were subsequently apprehended and ordered to leave the country–they refused. When they began ministering again an exasperated Sultan ordered them executed.

After enduring severe beatings and declining various bribes of power, riches and position to renounce their Christian faith, the Friars replied:

“We despise all those things for the sake of Christ.”

St Berard and...

The five Friars were beheaded by the Sultan himself on the 16 January, 1220 becoming the first Franciscan martyrs.

When St. Francis learned of their deaths he exclaimed, “Now I can truly say that I have five Friars Minor.” Their relics were brought to Portugal where they prompted a young Augustinian Canon–Anthony of Padua to join the Franciscans and set off for Morocco the following year.

The five Friars of the Franciscan Order martyred for Jesus Christ were Canonized in 1481 by Pope Sixtus IV after many miracles had occurred through their intercession.

At first glance, the story of the five Franciscan Friars martyrs reads as if these brave and holy men failed in their mission–they failed to convert many and only succeeded in achieving death for their cause, however the fire of evangelism and missionary work that was lit by their martyrdom has forever changed the Franciscan Order as well as the world.

We look at the brave sacrifices of these five Friars, offering thanks. We are inspired to move courageously and single minded purpose to pursue the truth of our faith living as witnesses to the love of Jesus Christ.

More here from 365 Rosaries

Related: Defenders of Christendom –Roman Catholic

Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of St. Paul The Hermit

Saint Paul the HermitSaint Paul the Hermit (233-345) Image Courtesy: Catholic Tradition

(uCatholic) Paul the Hermit reportedly was born in Egypt where he was orphaned at 15 yrs of age, a learned and devout young man.

During the persecution of Decius in Egypt in the year 250, Paul was forced to hide in a home of a friend. Fearing a brother-in-law would betray him, he fled to a cave in the desert, his plan, was to return when the persecution ended but the sweetness of a solitude life and heavenly contemplation convinced him to stay–Paul went on to live in the cave for the next 90 years.

A nearby spring gave Paul drinking water, a palm tree furnished him clothing and nourishment, after 21 years of solitude, a raven began bringing him half of a loaf of bread each day.

Without knowing what was happening in the world, Paul prayed the world would be a better place.

Saint Anthony of Egypt (Feast Day-17 January) attests to Paul’s holy life and death, tempted by thought that no one had served God in the wilderness longer than he, Anthony was led by God to find Paul and acknowledge him as a man, more perfect than himself–the raven that day brought a whole loaf of bread instead the usual half. As Paul predicted, Anthony would return to bury his friend.

Thought to have been about 112 when he died, Paul is known as the ‘First Hermit’ his feast day is celebrated in the East, he’s also commemorated in the Coptic and Armenian rites of the Mass.

More here from Franciscan Media

Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of St. Gregory Nazianzen, The Theologian

St Gregory NazianzenSaint Gregory Nazianzen –Image Courtesy: Scribbles of a Catholic Girl

(Franciscan Media) After Gregory’s baptism in 360 he lived the quiet life in solitude according to Catholic Culture later he gladly accepted his friend St. Basil invitation to join him in a newly found monastery.

The tranquility Gregory found at the monastery was broken when Gregory’s father, a Bishop needed his help in his diocese and estate–It seems that Gregory reluctantly agreed to become a Priest, was ordained and with some hesitation accepted the responsibility, skillfully avoiding a schism that threatened when his own father made compromises with Arianism.

At the age of 41 Gregory was chosen ‘Suffragan Bishop of Caesarea’ and at once, came into conflict with Valens, the Emperor who supported the Arians, which denied the divinity of Jesus Christ–An unfortunate by-product of the conflict was the cooling of the friendship of two Saints.

Basil his Archbishop, sent Gregory to a miserable and unhealthy town on the border of unjustly creating divisions in the diocese–Basil reproached Gregory for not going to his See.

When protection of Arianism ended with the death of Valens, Gregory was called to rebuild the faith in the great See of Constantinople, which had been under Arian teachers for three decades.

Retiring and sensitive, Gregory dreaded being drawn into the whirlpool of corruption and violence. Gregory first stayed at a friend’s home which became the only Orthodox Church in the city–In such surroundings, he began delivering the great sermons on the Trinity for which he was famous. In time, Gregory did rebuild the faith in the city but at the cost of great suffering, slander, insults and even personal violence–an interloper, even attempted to take-over his Bishopric.

Gregory’s last days were spent in solitude and austerity, writing religious poetry–some of it autobiographical of great depth and beauty, acclaimed simply as ‘The Theologian’ his writings merited for him the title of ‘Doctor of the Church.’

Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of St. Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers — Heroic Defender of the Faith

St-Hilary-and-St-MartinSaint Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers Confers Minor Orders on Saint Martin
Image Courtesy:
Scribbles of a Catholic Girl

(Franciscan Media) The staunch defender of the Divinity of Jesus Christ, was a gentle and courteous man, devoted to some of the greatest theology on the Trinity and was like his master being labeled a ‘Distributor of the Peace’ in a very troubled period of the Church, his holiness was lived out in both scholarship and controversy–he was Bishop of Poitiers in France.

Hilary raised a pagan, converted to Christianity when he met his God of nature in the scriptures, his wife was still living when he was chosen, against his will, to be the Bishop of Poitiers in France and was soon taken up with battling  what became to scourge of the 4th century–Arianism, which denied the Divinity of Jesus Christ.

This heresy spread rapidly, St. Jerome said: ‘The world groaned and marveled to find that it was Arian.’ When Emperor Constantius, ordered all of the Bishops of the West to sign a ‘Condemnation of Athanasius’ the greatest defender of the faith in the East, Hilary refused and was banished from France to far off Phrygia (in modern day Turkey) eventually he was called the ‘Athanasius of the West.’

While writing in exile, Hilary was invited by some semi-Arians (hoping for reconciliation) to a council the Emperor called to counteract the ‘Council of Nicea’ but Hilary predictably defended the Church and when he sought public debate with the heretical bishop who had exiled him, the Arians dreading the meeting and its outcome, pleaded with the Emperor to send this troublemaker back home–Hilary was welcomed by his people.

  • A favorite motto of of Saint Hilary was: “Ministros veritatis decet vera proferre.” — “Servants of the truth ought to speak the truth.”

Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys, Founder Sisters of Congregation of Notre Dame

St MarguetiteSt. Marguerite Bourgeoys (1620-1700) Image Courtesy: Catholic Online

(Vatican) Marguerite, born the 6th of 12 children in France Troyes, she lost her Mother when she was just 19 yrs old.

The following year in a course of a procession held on the 07 October in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, Marguerite had an unforgettable experience–her eyes resting on a statue of the Blessed Virgin, at that moment, she felt inspired to withdraw from the world and to consecrate herself to the service of God and with that unchanging fidelity to what she believed God’s will to be for her, an allegiance that characterized her life thenceforth, she set about to discern her vocation.

Marguerite registerd at once as a Member of the ‘Congregation of Troyes’ an association of young ladies devoted to the charitable work of teaching children in the poor districts of the town. While still engaged in this, she learned about the foundation of ‘Ville Marie’ (present day Montreal) in 1642 and at that time, believed it was a first call to missionary life.

This calling was rendered concrete in 1652 when she was introduced to Monsieur de Maisonneve, founder and Governor of the French settlement who was in search of someone who would volunteer her services for the gratuitous instruction of the French-Indian children, according to Franciscan Media when Marguerite arrived, the colony numbered 200 with a hospital and Jesuit Mission Chapel.

Soon after starting the school, Marguerite realized her need for co-workers, returning to France Troyes, she recruited a friend–Catherine Crolo and two other young Women. In 1667 they added classes at their school. A second trip back to France three years later, resulted in 6 more young Women and a Letter form King Louis XIV, authorizing the school–the Congregation of Notre Dame was established in 1676

Marguerite established a school for Indian girls in Montreal–At the age of 69, she walked from Montreal to Quebec, in response to the Bishop’s request to establish a community of her Sister’s in that city.

At the time she passed away (12 January, 1700) Marguerite was referred to as the ‘Mother of the Colony’ acknowledged for her holiness.

The educative and apostolic effort of Marguerite Bourgeoys, continues through the commitment of the members of the community that she founded–More than 2,600 Sisters of the ‘Congregation de Notre Dame’ work in fields of action, according to the needs of time and place — from school, to college or university, in the promotion of the family, parish and diocesan endeavors, they’re on mission in Canada, the United States, Japan, Latin America, Cameroon and most recently, they have established a house in France.

On the 12 November, 1950 Pope Pius XII beatified Marguerite, she was Canonized by Pope John Paul II on the 31 October, 1982 giving the Canadian Church, its first Woman Saint.

Related: Marguerite Bourgeoys Museum, Montreal Canada

Today Christians Honor Blessed William Carter, Martyred for Jesus Christ

Bl William Carter

Bl. William Carter –Image: A Catholic Prayer@Twitter

(Franciscan Media) Born in London, William Carter entered the printing business at an early age. For many years he worked as an apprentice to well known Catholic printers–one of who served a prison sentence for persisting in Catholicism. William also served prison time for printing ‘lewd (Ie Catholic) pamphlets’ as well as possessing books upholding Catholicism.

Even more, William offended public officials by publishing works that aimed to keep Catholics firm in their faiths. Officials that searched William’s house found various vestments and suspect books and were even able to extract information from William’s distraught wife–Over the next 18 months, William remained in prison, tortured and subsequently learning of his wife’s death.

William was eventually charged with printing and publishing the ‘Treatise of Schisme’ which allegedly incited violence by Catholic and which was said to have been written by a traitor who addressed to traitors.

While William calmly placed his trust in God, the jury met for only 15 minutes before finding him guilty–William made his final confession to a Priest who was being prosecuted along side of him, hanged, drawn and quartered the following day.

In 1987 he was beatified by Pope John Paul II

More here from Catholic Online

Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of St. Gregory of Nyssa

St Gregory of NyssaSt. Gregory of Nyssa (330-395) –Image: 1 Timothy 3:15@Twitter

(Franciscan Media) The son of two Saints, Basil the Elder and Emilia of Caesarea young Gregory was raised by his older brother St. Basil the Great and sister, Marcinia in modern day Turkey.

Gregory’s success in his studies, suggested that great things were ahead for him. After becoming a professor of rhetoric, he was persuaded to devote his learning and efforts to the church.

By then married, Gregory went on to study for the Priesthood and become Ordained–that was at a time when celibacy was not a matter of law for priests.

Gregory was elected Bishop of Nyssa in 372, a period of great tension over the Arianism heresy , which denied the Divinity of Jesus Christ. Arrested after being falsely accused of embezzling Church funds, Gregory was restored to his See in 378, an act met with great joy.

It was after the death of Fr. Gregory’s beloved brother Basil, that Gregory really came into his own. Gregory wrote with great effectiveness against Arianism and other questionable doctrines, gaining a reputation as a defender of orthodoxy.

Gregory was subsequently sent on missions to counter other heresies and held a position of prominence at the ‘Council of Constantinople’ his fine reputation stayed with him for the rest of his life but over the centuries it gradually declined as the authorship of his writings became less-and-less certain but thanks to the work of scholars in the 20th century, his stature is once again appreciated.

Indeed, St. Gregory of Nyssa is seen not simply as a pillar of orthodoxy but as one of the great contributors to the mystical tradition in Christian spirituality and to monasticism itself.

More here on St. Gregory of Nyssa from EWTN

Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. Adrian of Canterbury

St Adrian

Saint Adrian of Canterbury (635-710) Image Courtesy: EBK

(uCatholic) Though St. Adrian turned down a papal request to become Archbishop of Canterbury England, Pope Vatalian, accepted the rejection on the condition that Adrian serve as the Holy Father’s assistant and advisor, Adrian accepted but ended up spending most of his life and doing most of his worl in Canterbury.

Born in Libya Cyrenaica according to Catholic News Agency Adrian was serving as an Abbot in Italy when the new Archbishop of Canterbury appointed him Abbot of the Monastery of Saint’s Peter and Paul in Canterbury. Thanks to his leadership skills, the faculty became one of the most important centers for learning, attracting many outstanding scholars from far and wide and produced numerous future Bishops and Archbishops–students reportedly learned Greek and Latin, speaking Latin as their own native languages.

Adrian taught at the school for 40 yrs, died there and was buried in the Monastery. Several hundred years later when reconstruction was being done, Adrian’s body was discovered in an incorrupt state, as word spread people flocked to his tomb which became famous for miracles–Rumor had it, that young schoolboys in trouble with their masters, made regular visits there.

More here from Franciscan Media

Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. Angela of Foligno

Blessed Angela Foligno

St. Angela of Foligno (1248-1309) Image Courtesy: Saints & Martyrs

(Franciscan Media ) Some Saints show marks of holiness very early–Not Angela. Born of a leading family in Italy Foligno, she became immersed in the quest for wealth and social position and later as a wife and mother, she continued this life of distraction.

Around the age of 40, Angela recognized the emptiness of her life and sought God’s help in the ‘Sacrament of Penance’ her Franciscan Confessor helped her to seek God’s pardon for her previous life and to dedicate herself to prayer and the works of charity.

Shortly after Angela’s conversion, her husband and children died–selling most of her possessions, she subsequently entered the ‘Secular Franciscan Order’ and became absorbed in meditating on Jesus Christ and in serving the poor of Foligno as a nurse and beggar for their needs, other Women joined her in the religious community.

At Angela’s Confessor’s advice, she wrote her ‘Book of Visions and Instructions’ in it, she recalled some of the temptations she suffered after her conversion–she also expresses her thanks to God, for the incarnation of Jesus Christ. 

This book and her life earned Angela the title ‘Teacher of Theologians’ in 1693 she was Beatified and Canonized by Pope Francis on the 09 October, 2013

More here on Angela of Foligno — Vatican