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Sanctoral

  • Sts. Cosmas and Damian

    September 26, 2008 - 1:00am
    Sts. Cosmas and Damian

    Saints Cosmas and Damian were twins born to Christian parents in Arabia, in the third century. They lived in the region around the border between modern day Turkey and Syria. They were physicians who were renowned for their skill as well as their refusal to charge for their services.

    Their charity and Christian witness won many converts to the faith and earned them a place of prominence in the Christian communites of Asia Minor. Therefore, when the Diocletian persecutions began in the latter half of the third century they were of some of the first to be sought out for execution.

    In 287, they were captured and ordered to deny their faith in Christ. They refused and underwent a series of tortures, including Crucifixion, from which, miraculously, they remained unscathed. The torturers, weary of what they realized was the impossible task of forcing apostasy from their mouths, finally beheaded them both.

    They are invoked in the Canon of the Mass and the Litany of Saints.

  • St. Hermann Contractus

    September 25, 2008 - 1:00am
    St. Hermann Contractus

    Born February 18, 1013, at Altshausen (<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Swabia), St. Hermann Contractus was born crippled and unable to move without assistance.  It was an immense difficulty for him to learn to read and write, however he persisted and his iron will and remarkable intelligence were soon manifested.

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    Upon discovering the brilliance of his son’s mind, his father, Count Wolverad II, sent him at the age of seven to live with the Benedictine monks on the island of Reichenau in Southern Germany.

     

    He lived his entire life on the island, taking his monastic vows in 1043.

     

    Students from all over Europe flocked to the monastery on the island to learn from him, yet he was equally as famous for his monastic virtues and sanctity.

     

    Hermann chronicled the first thousand years of Christianity, was a mathematician, an astronomer, and a poet and was also the composer of the Salve Regina and Alma Redemptoris Mater – both hymns to the Virgin Mary.

     

    He died on the island on September 21, 1054.

  • Blessed Anton Martin Slomshek

    September 24, 2008 - 1:00am
    Blessed Anton Martin Slomshek

    Anton Martin Slomshek who was born November 26, 1800 at <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Ponikva, Slovenia is the first Slovenian to be beatified.

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    Slomshek is known as a great educator, largely responsible for the nearly 100% literacy rate among Slovenians, a remarkable turn around from the very poor state of the nation's educational levels at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

     

    In the late 18th and early 19th century, the Slovenian education system had been crippled by the Austrian empire's suppression of their native language and culture. This left them without their own schools, texts and magazines and newspapers.

     

    As bishop, Anton Martin Slomshek reformed the schools in Slovenia, and rebuilt the education system, giving it Catholicism and Slovene history as a foundation.  He wrote many textbooks, began a weekly review, and wrote many books and essays concerning whatever questions he considered relevant to the intellectual needs of his people.

     

    He founded a society for the spread of Catholic literature, an organization responsible in large part for making possible the rejuvenation of the Catholic cultural base of the Slovenian nation.

     

    He was known as a simple and humble man, possessed with a childlike purity, and was loved by his priests and his flock.

     

    Blessed Anton once remarked, "When I was born, my mother laid me on a bed of straw, and I desire no better pallet when I die, asking only to be in the state of grace and worthy of salvation."

     

    Blessed Anton died September 24, 1862 in Maribor, Slovenia and was beatified September 19, 1999 by Pope John Paul II.

  • St. Pio of Pietrelcina

    September 23, 2008 - 1:00am
    St. Pio of Pietrelcina

    On Sept. 23, the Catholic Church remembers the Italian Franciscan priest St. Pio of Petrelcina, better known as “Padre Pio” and known for his suffering, humility and miracles.

    The man later known by these names was originally named Francesco Forgione, born to his parents Grazio and Maria in 1887. His parents had seven children, two of whom died in infancy. They taught the five surviving children to live their faith through daily Mass, family prayer of the rosary, and regular acts of penance.

    Francesco had already decided at a young age to dedicate his entire life to God. At age 10, he felt inspired by the example of a young Capuchin Franciscan, and told his parents: “I want to be a friar – with a beard.” Francesco’s father spent time in America, working to finance his son’s education so he could enter the religious life.

    On Jan. 22, 1903, Francesco donned the Franciscan habit for the first time. He took the new name Pio, a modernized Italian form of “Pius,” in honor of Pope St. Pius V. He made his solemn vows four years later, and received priestly ordination in the summer of 1910. Shortly after, he first received the Stigmata – Christ’s wounds, present in his own flesh.

    Along with these mystical but real wounds, Padre Pio also suffered health problems that forced him to live apart from his Franciscan community for the first six years of his priesthood. By 1916 he managed to re-enter community life at the Friary of San Giovanni Rotondo, where he lived until his death. He handled many duties as a spiritual director and teacher, covering for brothers drafted into World War I.

    During 1917 and 1918, Padre Pio himself briefly served in a medical unit of the Italian army. He later offered himself as a spiritual “victim” for an end to the war, accepting suffering as a form of prayer for peace. Once again, he received the wounds of Christ on his body. They would remain with him for 50 years, through a succession of global conflicts.

    Against his own wishes, the friar’s reputation for holiness, and attending miracles, began to attract huge crowds. Some Church officials, however, denounced the priest and had him banned from public ministry in 1931. Pope Pius XI ended the ban two years later, and his successor Pius XII encouraged pilgrimages to Padre Pio’s friary.

    Known for patient suffering, fervent prayer, and compassionate spiritual guidance, Padre Pio also lent his efforts to the establishment of a major hospital, the “Home to Relieve Suffering.”

    Padre Pio died in 1968, and was declared a saint in 2002. Three years after his death, Pope Paul VI marveled at his simple and holy life in an address to the Capuchin Order.

    “A worldwide following gathered around him ... because he said Mass humbly, heard confessions from dawn to dusk and was – it is not easy to say it – one who bore the wounds of our Lord,” Pope Paul explained. “He was a man of prayer and suffering.”

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