Saint Hyacinth, Confessor

August 17

Today is the feast day of Saint Hyacinth, Ora pro nobis.

 

by Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876

St. Hyacinth, a great ornament of the celebrated Order of Preachers, was born in Poland. He was the son of illustrious parents, who educated him according to the dictates of Christianity. During the years devoted to his studies, he was an example of innocence, piety and industry. His uncle, the bishop of Cracow, appointed him canon in his cathedral, so that he might employ him in the administration of his See. When he left for Rome, on account of troubles at home, he took Hyacinth with him. St. Dominic, so celebrated for his apostolic zeal, and for the miracles he wrought, was there at the time. Hyacinth, observing the wonderful zeal and piety of this holy man and of his companions, felt a growing desire to join them. He and three of his fellow-travelers, who had the same inclination, went to St. Dominic and begged him to receive them into his newly founded Order. The Saint received them willingly, and instructed them how to lead a religious life, to preach in a Christian spirit, and to labor successfully for the spiritual welfare of men. After a few months, the holy founder had so thoroughly imbued them with his spirit, that he did not hesitate, after they had taken their vows, to send them into their native country, to preach the word of God and promote the salvation of souls.

At Cracow, where St. Hyacinth had formerly preached by his edifying life, he now began to preach with words, and God gave them such power, that he reformed the most hardened sinners, induced others to become more zealous in the service of the Almighty, and animated all to be more solicitous for the salvation of their souls. That all this might have a more solid foundation, he gathered a number of spiritual co-operators about him, and having instructed them according to the maxims of St. Dominic, he established a Dominican monastery at Cracow. Hyacinth, who had been chosen superior by the new members, was an example to all. Besides the prescribed fast-days of his Order, he fasted all Fridays and vigils on bread and water. The greater part of the night he passed in fervent prayer, before the Blessed Sacrament. He allowed himself only a very short rest on the bare floor, and scourged himself severely every night. The whole day was occupied with hearing confessions, preaching, visiting the sick, and similar pious exercises.

He had particular devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and to the Blessed Virgin, and never undertook anything before offering his work to God and begging the assistance of His Blessed Mother. She appeared to him once, on the eve of the feast of her Assumption, saying to him: “Be assured, my son, that thou shalt receive everything thou askest from my Son.” The comfort these words afforded the holy man may be easily imagined. He, however, asked only for what was necessary for the salvation of souls. His own and his companion’s pious labors were all directed to the same end. When he thought that he had firmly established religious principles and practices among the inhabitants of Cracow and the whole diocese, he sent his preachers to different places to labor in the same manner. He himself also left Cracow, and it is astonishing how many countries he journeyed through, how many convents he established everywhere: for apostolic laborers, how many souls he converted to the true faith or to a more virtuous life.

To aid his pious endeavors, God gave him power to work miracles, and so great was their number, that he might well be called the Thaumaturgus, or wonder-worker of his age. A miraculous event occurred in Russia, when the Tartars stormed Kiow, where the Saint had founded a church and convent. He was standing at the altar when they entered the city, spreading destruction and desolation around them. After finishing the Holy Sacrifice, the Saint, still in his priestly robes, took the Ciborium containing the Blessed Sacrament, and telling his priests to follow him without fear, he went towards the church door. When passing a large alabaster statue of the Blessed Virgin, before which he had often said his prayers, he distinctly heard a voice saying: “My son Hyacinth, wilt thou leave me here to be at the mercy of my enemies?” The Saint’s eyes filled with tears. “How can I carry thee? ” said he; “the burden is too heavy.” “Only try,” was the response; “my son will assist you to carry me without difficulty.” The holy man with streaming eyes, took the statue and found it so light, that he could carry it with one hand. Thus, carrying the Ciborium in one hand and the statue in the other, he and his companions passed through the enemy unassailed, to the gates of the city. Not finding any soldiers there, they passed on and reached Cracow in safety.

Whether Almighty God made His servants invisible to the Tartars on this occasion, or in some other manner prevented them from harming them, is not known; but it is a fact that they left the city unmolested. When they reached the river over which there was no bridge, nor a boat to convey them across, the Saint, trusting in the power of Him Whom he carried in his right hand, and in the intercession of her whom he held in his left, fearlessly stepped upon the water, and crossed it with dry feet. A similar, and perhaps still greater miracle happened at another time. He was going to Vicegrad to preach, but, on reaching the river, found no vessel which he could use to reach the opposite bank. Spreading his cloak on the water, he sat upon it, and was floated safely across and brought his companions over in the same manner. By this and many other miracles, God glorified His servant even on earth.

For forty years this holy man had labored for the salvation of souls, when, in 1257, it was revealed to him that he should assist, in Heaven, at the triumph of the Blessed Virgin, on the feast of her glorious Assumption. On the feast of St. Mary ad Nives, he was taken sick. On the eve of the Assumption he gave his last instruction to the priests of his Order; after which he prepared for the festival, and, having recited the office of the day, he fixed his eyes on heaven, and said the psalm, “In thee, O Lord, have I hoped,” to the words, “Into thy hands I commend my spirit,” when he calmly expired, at the age of 74. The innocence and chastity which he possessed at the time of his baptism, remained unspotted until the end. After his death, the miracles which the Almighty continued to work through this Saint, were the means of proclaiming to all the world, the sanctity and merits of His blessed servant. (2)

He was canonized by Pope Clement VIII in 1594. A portion of his relics is at the Dominican church in Paris. (4)

Image: Crop of St. Hyacinth, artist:  Ludovico (or Lodovico) Carracci, circa:1594 (7)

Research by REGINA Staff

  1. http://www.catholictradition.org/Saints/saints8-11.htm
  2. http://catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com/St.%20Hyacinth.html
  3. http://sanctoral.com/en/saints/saint_hyacinth.html
  4. http://traditionalcatholic.net/Tradition/Calendar/08-17.html
  5. http://www.nobility.org/2013/08/15/st-hyacinth/
  6. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07591b.htm
  7. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Carracci_Saint_Hyacinth.jpg

 

 

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

August 15

Today is the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary; also called in old liturgical books Pausatio, Nativitas (for heaven), Mors, Depositio, Dormitio S. Mariae.  This feast has a double object: (1) the happy departure of Mary from this life; (2) the assumption of her body into heaven. It is the principal feast of the Blessed Virgin.

Regarding the day, year, and manner of Our Lady’s death, nothing certain is known. The earliest known literary reference to the Assumption is found in the Greek work De Obitu S. Dominae. Catholic faith, however, has always derived our knowledge of the mystery from Apostolic Tradition. Epiphanius (d. 403) acknowledged that he knew nothing definite about it (Haer., lxxix, 11). The dates assigned for it vary between three and fifteen years after Christ’s Ascension. Two cities claim to be the place of her departure: Jerusalem and Ephesus. Common consent favours Jerusalem, where her tomb is shown; but some argue in favour of Ephesus. The first six centuries did not know of the tomb of Mary at Jerusalem.

The belief in the corporeal assumption of Mary is founded on the apocryphal treatise De Obitu S. Dominae, bearing the name of St. John, which belongs however to the fourth or fifth century. It is also found in the book De Transitu Virginis, falsely ascribed to St. Melito of Sardis, and in a spurious letter attributed to St. Denis the Areopagite. If we consult genuine writings in the East, it is mentioned in the sermons of St. Andrew of Crete, St. John Damascene, St. Modestus of Jerusalem and others. In the West, St. Gregory of Tours (De gloria mart., I, iv) mentions it first. The sermons of St. Jerome and St. Augustine for this feast, however, are spurious. St. John of Damascus (P. G., I, 96) thus formulates the tradition of the Church of Jerusalem:

St. Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem, at the Council of Chalcedon (451), made known to the Emperor Marcian and Pulcheria, who wished to possess the body of the Mother of God, that Mary died in the presence of all the Apostles, but that her tomb, when opened, upon the request of St. Thomas, was found empty; wherefrom the Apostles concluded that the body was taken up to heaven.

Today, the belief in the corporeal assumption of Mary is universal in the East and in the West; according to Benedict XIV (De Festis B.V.M., I, viii, 18) it is a probable opinion, which to deny were impious and blasphemous. (1)

Adapted from The Liturgical Year by Abbot Gueranger

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

“Today the Virgin Mary ascended to Heaven; rejoice, for She reigns with Christ forever.” The Church will close Her chants on this glorious day with this sweet antiphon, which resumes the object of the Feast and the spirit in which it should be celebrated.

No other solemnity breathes, like this one, at once triumph and peace; none better answers to the enthusiasm of the many and the serenity of souls consummated in love. Assuredly that was as great a triumph when Our Lord, rising by His own power from the tomb, cast Hell into dismay; but to our souls, so abruptly drawn from the abyss of sorrows on Golgotha, the suddenness of the victory caused a sort of stupor to mingle with the joy of that greatest of days. In presence of the prostrate angels, the hesitating apostles, the women seized with fear and trembling, one felt that the divine isolation of the Conqueror of death was perceptible even to His most intimate friends, and kept them, like Magdalene, at a distance.

Mary’s death, however, leaves no impression but peace; that death had no other cause than love. Being a mere creature, She could not deliver Herself from that claim of the old enemy; but leaving Her tomb filled with flowers; She mounts up to Heaven, flowing with delights, leaning upon Her Beloved (Cant. 8: 5). Amid the acclamations of the daughters of Sion, who will henceforth never cease to call Her Blessed, She ascends surrounded by choirs of heavenly spirits joyfully praising the Son of God. Never more will shadows veil, as they did on earth, the glory of the most beautiful daughter of Eve. Beyond the immovable Thrones, beyond the dazzling Cherubim, beyond the flaming Seraphim, onward She passes, delighting the heavenly city with Her sweet perfumes. She stays not till She reaches the very confines of the Divinity; close to the throne of honor where Her Son, the King of ages, reigns in justice and in power; there She is proclaimed Queen, there She will reign for evermore in mercy and in goodness.

Among the feasts of saints, this is the solemnity of solemnities. “Let the mind of man,” says St. Peter Damian, “be occupied in declaring Her magnificence; let his speech reflect Her majesty. May the Sovereign of the world deign to accept the goodwill of our lips, to aid our insufficiency, to illumine with her own light the sublimity of this day.”

It is no new thing, then, that Mary’s triumph fills the hearts of Christians with enthusiasm. If certain ancient calendars give to this Feast the title of Dormition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we cannot thence conclude that in those times the Feast had no other object than Mary’s holy death; the Greeks, from whom we have the expression, have always included in the solemnity the glorious triumph that followed Her death.

At Rome the Assumption or Dormition of the Holy Mother of God appears in the 7th century to have already been celebrated for an indefinite length of time; nor does it seem to have had any other day than August 15. According to Nicephorus Callistus, the same date was assigned to it for Constantinople by the Emperor Mauritius at the end of the 6th century. The historian notes, at the same time, the origin of several other solemnities, while of the Dormition alone, he does not say that it was established by Mauritius on such a day; hence learned authors have concluded that the Feast itself already existed before the imperial decree was issued, which was thus only intended to put an end to its being celebrated on various days.

At that very time, far away from Byzantium, the Merovingian Franks celebrated the glorification of Our Lady on January 18. However the choice of this day may be accounted for, it is remarkable that the Copts on the borders of the Nile announce on January 28, the repose of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and the Assumption of Her body into Heaven; they, however, repeat the announcement on August 21, and two weeks earlier they, like the Greeks, begin their Lent in honor of the Mother of God.

Some authors think that the Assumption has been kept from apostolic times; but the primitive liturgical documents are silent about it. The hesitation as to the date of its celebration, and the liberty so long allowed with regard to it, seem to point to the spontaneous initiative of divers Churches, owing to some fact attracting attention to the mystery or throwing some light upon it. Of this nature we may reckon the account everywhere spread abroad about the year 451, in which Juvenal of Jerusalem related to the Empress St. Pulcheria and her husband Marcian the history of the tomb which the Apostles had prepared for Our Lady at the foot of Mount Olivet, and which was found empty of its precious deposit. The following words of St. Andrew of Crete in the 7th century show how the solemnity of the Assumption gained ground in consequence of such circumstances. The Saint was born at Damascus, became a monk at Jerusalem, was afterwards Deacon at Constantinople, and lastly Bishop of the celebrated island from which he takes his name; no one then could speak for the East with better authority. “The present solemnity,” he says, “is full of mystery, having for its object to celebrate the day whereon the Mother of God fell asleep; this solemnity is too elevated for any discourse to reach; by some this mystery has not always been celebrated, but now all love and honor it. Silence long preceded speech, but now love divulges the secret. The gift of God must be manifested, not buried; we must show it forth, not as recently discovered, but as having recovered its splendor. Some of those who lived before us knew it but imperfectly; that is no reason for always keeping silence about it; it has not become altogether obscured; let us proclaim it and keep a feast. Today let the inhabitants of Heaven and earth be united, let the joy of Angels and men be one, let every tongue exult and sing Hail to the Mother of God.”

In 1870 an earnest desire was expressed to have the doctrine of Mary’s Assumption defined as a dogma of faith; however, due to the Italian civil war, the Vatican Council was suspended too soon to complete our Lady’s crown. This was accomplished in 1950, by His Holiness, Pope Pius XII. (2)

The Feast of the Assumption of the
Blessed Mother of Our Lord

by Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876 

Three things are today recalled to our memory: the happy departure of Mary, the mother of Jesus, from this world, her glorious entrance into heaven, and her coronation in heaven. Christ, our Lord, did not take His mother with Him when He ascended to heaven, as He had the power to do, but preferred that she should remain on earth a few more years, to be a consolation and an example of virtue to the Christians. The holy mother passed this time, which, according to the opinion of many, lasted twenty-three years, in great holiness, occupied in prayer, meditation on the heavenly mysteries and joys; in the remembrance of all that her beloved Son had done for thirty-three years for the salvation of mankind, and in instructing and encouraging the Christians. She had the great joy of seeing and hearing how the faith in her Divine Son was spreading everywhere among the Jews and the heathens. Her desire to be called away from earth to be re-united to her Son daily increased. God at length heeded her prayer and sent an Angel to announce to her the day of her departure. O! how rejoiced was the heart of Mary at this message! When the day arrived, on which her soul was to go to heaven, not only those Christians who were related to her, and those who knew her were there, but all the apostles, excepting St. Thomas, who were preaching all over the world, were present. 

Mary had requested her Son that they might be there in her last hour. She spoke to all most lovingly, exhorted them to continue in their zeal, assured them of Divine assistance and of her motherly intercession in heaven, and thus bade them farewell. Then Christ Himself, accompanied by numberless holy spirits, appeared to His Blessed Mother, and invited her to enter into the glories of heaven. Mary, filled with an inexpressible joy, repeated the words she had so often uttered: “Be it done unto me according to Thy word;” and then gave her soul into the arms of her Divine Son, in a transport of heavenly love. Her death took place, according to many authentic historians, in the 72nd, or according to others, in the 63rd year of her age. How her loss afflicted the apostles and other Christians, may easily be imagined; but they consoled themselves by her promise to intercede for them and guard them. The glory, with which the soul of the Blessed Virgin was received into heaven, no human tongue can describe, no human understanding comprehend; nor the joy with which she was received, nor the veneration manifested to her by the Saints and other holy spirits. 

Meanwhile, nothing was left undone by the apostles and other Christians, necessary for the burial of so pure, so holy a body as that of the Divine Mother. Kissing it most piously, they embalmed it with spices and most precious ointments, while they praised the glory of the Lord. The angels themselves, it is related by some historians, chanted, during this time, a hymn of praise, which was heard by all present. This was continued, St. Juvenalis, bishop of Jerusalem, writes, until the holy body was interred. The apostles and Christians remained at the tomb for three days, incessantly glorifying the Almighty; and several authors of great reputation testify that the Angels continued singing their hymns of praise during all that time, near the body of their Queen. 

At the end of the three days, St. Thomas came, and the following event will show that it was providential that he was not there before. Inexpressibly grieved that he had not had the honor of being present at the departure of the soul of the Blessed Virgin, he begged the Apostles to open the tomb, that he might, at least, see and honor her sacred remains. The apostles did so, but found not the body, but only the linen with which it had been covered. They all concluded, enlightened from above, that the soul of the Mother of Jesus, which had, immediately on its departure from this world, gone to heaven, had, by especial divine favor, united itself again with her body, which had been thus received in the Eternal Kingdom. And it is this which is commemorated by the festival of this day. 

No Christian can hesitate to believe the ascension of Mary and her reception, in soul and body, into Heaven, if he considers that the Son of God dwelt nine months in her chaste womb. It was surely not meet that her body, which had been unstained by sin, and only used in the service of the Most High, and which had been a dwelling of the Word of God, should decay and become food for worms. The Almighty has preserved the bodies of many of the Saints; who then can suppose that He would allow the body of Mary to corrupt and become dust and ashes? And if the body of the Blessed Virgin were still somewhere upon earth and uncorrupted, it is hardly possible to believe that God would have kept it so long concealed from the knowledge of the church; especially as He has miraculously revealed the resting-place of the bodies of several of His Saints, who were far below the Divine Mother in dignity and holiness. Hence, the belief that the Blessed Mother entered heaven in body and soul, is one which cannot reasonably be doubted by those who profess the Christian faith. It is equally without doubt that the Blessed Virgin was exalted to such glory as no other Saint enjoys ; therefore, it is right to believe that she was crowned Queen of all Saints. 

On earth she was not only far beyond the Saints in the exalted position in which the Almighty placed her when He chose her as the mother of His only Son, but she also immeasurably surpassed them in grace, virtue and merit. How, then, can we think otherwise, than that she is raised far above them all in the kingdom of her Son? The just, according to Holy Writ, shall shine like stars in Heaven. How bright, then, must be the light of her, who-surpassed all the just in fidelity and holiness? “If no eye hath seen, nor ear heard, nor the mind of man hath been able to conceive, what God prepares for all those who love Him,” says St. Bernard, “how can we describe what was prepared for her who gave Him birth, and who loved Him above all others?” King Solomon, wishing to honor his mother, made her sit upon a throne at his right hand. How can a Christian doubt that Jesus Christ, who loved His Mother much more than Solomon loved his, would honor her in like manner? No; all the faithful recognize and honor the Divine Mother, raised as high above all the Saints in heaven, as she surpassed them in all things on earth. “The glory of the Blessed Virgin surpasses that of the other Saints,” says St. Bernard, “as the light of the sun does that of the stars of heaven.” 

“Our greatest comfort should be that, as much as Mary is exalted above all the Saints of heaven, so she is far more solicitous about us than they are.” These are the words of St. Bonaventure. St. Bernard writes, that Mary, the Blessed Virgin, was taken to heaven, to become our intercessor with her Divine Son. The same is written by other Holy Fathers, as St. Irenaeus, St. Ephrem, St. Anselm, St. Gregory Nazianzen and St. John of Damascus, who all confer upon the holy Mother the title of Intercessor, and hence beg her intercession. “We all,” says St. Ephrem, “prostrate ourselves before thee; we all ask thy intercession.” “Why shouldst thou not come to the assistance of us sinners,” says St. Anselm, “as thou hast been so highly exalted in our behalf? We recommend ourselves to thy mercy; watch over us that we may not go to destruction.” The true Church also, agreeing with the holy fathers, in the Holy Mass of yesterday and today, testifies, that the Blessed Virgin was taken into heaven, there to pray for us. Besides, it is well known that the Church often has recourse to the Mother of God as our intercessor with the Most High, in the beautiful hymn of praise, “Salve Regina;” “Hail! holy Queen.” (7)

Image: Crop of Assumption of the Virgin, artist: Peter Paul Rubens, circa 1626. (3)

Research by REGINA Staff

  1. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02006b.htm
  2.  http://www.salvemariaregina.info/SalveMariaRegina/SMR-149/assumption.htm
  3. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Baroque_Rubens_Assumption-of-Virgin-3.jpg
  4. http://www.catholictradition.org/Assumption/assumption.htm
  5. http://www.catholictradition.org/Mary/assumption-world.htm
  6. http://catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com/Assumption.html
  7. http://catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com/Life%20of%20Mary%20Litany.html
  8. http://catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com/The%20Assumption%20by%20St.%20Alphonsus.html
  9. http://catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com/Assumption%20Novena.html
  10. https://www.roman-catholic-saints.com/assumption-of-mary.html
  11. http://sanctoral.com/en/saints/the_assumption_of_the_blessed_virgin_mary.html
  12. https://www.traditioninaction.org/SOD/j086sdAssumption8-15.htm
  13. https://365rosaries.blogspot.com/2011/08/august-15-assumption-of-blessed-virgin.html

 

Saint Eusebius of Rome, Martyr

August 14

Today is the feast day of Saint Eusebius of Rome.  Ora pro nobis.

Saint Eusebius date of birth unknown. He died about 357 (?).   He was a Roman patrician and priest, and is mentioned with distinction in Latin martyrologies. The ancient genuine martyrology of Usuard styles him confessor at Rome under the Arian emperor Constantius and adds that he was buried in the cemetery of Callistus. Some later martyrologies call him a martyr. 

The Church celebrates on this day the memory of Saint Eusebius, who among the Christians of his time distinguished himself by his spirit of prayer and his apostolic virtues. Tradition reports that when he was arraigned, Maxentius, the governor of the Province, interrogated him.  Maxentius was furious at the Saint’s constancy while he was placed on the rack.  Maxentius sentenced him to die by fire at the stake; but his unusual serenity when going to the place of execution caused him to be summoned back to the tribunal, obviously by a particular disposition of Providence.

The Emperor himself being in the region, the governor went to him and told him the prisoner asked to be taken before him. The reason for this request was that there had not been any recent edicts published against the Christians. Saint Eusebius was advanced in age, and the emperor said, after questioning him, What harm is there that this man should adore the God he talks of as superior to all the others? But the brutal Maxentius would not listen, and, like Pilate facing Christ, the Emperor told the persecutors of the accused man to judge the affair themselves. Maxentius therefore sentenced him to be decapitated. Eusebius, hearing the sentence, said aloud, I thank Your goodness and praise Your power, O Lord Jesus Christ, because in calling me to prove my fidelity, You have treated me as one of Yours. His martyrdom occurred towards the end of the third century.

The feast of St. Eusebius is kept on 14 August.  This is one of the cases in which we have clear evidence of the historical existence of a person who was afterwards the object of a certain cultus, though the story subsequently told is quite untrustworthy. Eusebius beyond doubt founded what we may call a parish church in Rome which was known as the “titulus Eusebii”. As founder an annual commemoration Mass was offered for him, which in course of time was regarded as a Mass celebrated in his honor, and in 595 we find that the parish was already referred to as the “titulus sancti Eusebii”.

The church of the Equiline in Rome dedicated to him, said to have been built on the site of his house, is mentioned in the acts of a council held in Rome under Pope Symmachus in 498 (Manai, VIII, 236-237), and was rebuilt by Pope Zacharias. Formerly it had a statio on the Friday after the fourth Sunday in Lent. It once belonged to the Celestines (an order now extinct); Leo XII gave it to the Jesuits. A good picture representing the triumph of Eusebius, by Anton Raphael Mengs, 1759 is on the ceiling. San Eusebio is the title of the cardinal-priest. The title was transferred by Gregory XVI, but restored by Pius IX.

Image: Saint Eusebius of Rome Church, Italy / Lazio / Rome / Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II (5)

Research by REGINA Staff

  1. http://sanctoral.com/en/saints/saint_eusebius.html
  2. http://www.nobility.org/2014/08/14/st-eusebius/
  3. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05615a.htm
  4. http://traditionalcatholic.net/Tradition/Calendar/08-14.html
  5. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:S._eusebio,_int._02_anton_raphael_meng,_gloria_di_s._eusebio_2.jpg

Saint Hippolytus and Saint Cassian, Martyrs

August 13 Today is the feast day of Saints Hippolytus and Cassian.  Orate pro nobis. St. Hippolytus and St. Cassian, Martyrs by Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876 St. Hippolytus, an officer of the body-guard of the emperor Decius, had been born in the darkness of idolatry, but he had become a Christian, with all his … Read more

Saint Radegundes, Queen

August 13

Today is the feast day of Saint Radegundes (Radegonde).  Ora pro nobis.

by Abbot Gueranger

Saint Radegonde, Queen of the Franks († 587; Feast – August 13)

Never was such a booty won as that obtained by the sons of King Clovis in their expedition against Thuringia towards the year 530. Receive this blessing from the spoils of the enemy (1 Kings 30: 26) might they well say on presenting to the Franks the orphan brought from the court of the fratricide prince whom they had just chastised. (St. Radegonde was born about 520 to Berthaire, one of the three kings of Thuringia. St. Radegonde’s uncle, Hermanfried, killed Berthaire in battle, and took Radegonde into his household. After allying with the Frankish King Theuderic, Hermanfried defeated his other brother Baderic. However, having crushed his brothers and seized control of Thuringia, Hermanfried reneged on his agreement with Theuderic to share sovereignty. In 531, Theuderic returned to Thuringia with his brother Clothaire I. Together they defeated Hermanfried, conquered his kingdom, and took St. Radegonde under their care.)

God seemed in haste to ripen the soul of Radegonde. After the tragic death of her relatives followed the ruin of her country. So vivid was the impression made in the child’s heart, that long afterwards the recollection awakened in the Queen and the Saint a sorrow and homesickness which naught but the love of Christ could overcome. “I have seen the plain strewn with the dead and palaces burnt to the ground; I have see women, with eyes dry from very horror, mourning over fallen Thuringia; I alone have survived to weep over them all.”

The licentiousness of the Frankish kings was as unbridled as that of her own ancestors; yet in their land the little captive found Christianity, which she had not hitherto known. The Faith was a healing balm to this wounded soul. Baptism, in giving her God, sanctified, without crushing, her high-spirited nature. Thirsting for Christ, she wished to be martyred for Him; she sought Him on the cross of self-renunciation; she found Him in His poor suffering members; looking on the face of a leper, she would see in it the disfigured countenance of her Savior, and thence rise to the ardent contemplation of the triumphant Spouse, whose glorious face illumines the abode of the saints.

What a loathing, therefore, did she feel when, offering her royal honors, the destroyer of her own country sought to share with God the possession of a heart that Heaven alone could comfort or gladden! First flight, then the refusal to comply with the manners of a court where everything was repulsive to her desires and recollections, her eagerness to break, on the very first opportunity, a bond which violence alone had contracted, prove that the trial had no other effect, as her biographer Baudonivia says, but to bend her soul more and more to the sole object of her love.

Meanwhile, near the tomb of St. Martin, another Queen, St. Clotilde, the mother of the most Christian kingdom, was about to die. Unfortunate are those times when the men after God’s own heart, at their departure from earth, leave no one to take their place; as the Psalmist cried out in a just consternation: Save me, O Lord, for there is now no saint! (Ps. 11: 2) For though the elect pray for us in Heaven, they can no longer fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in their flesh, for His body, which is the Church (Col. 1: 24). The work begun at the Baptistery of Rheims (the baptism of Clovis) was not yet completed; the Gospel, though reigning by faith over the Frankish nation, had not yet subdued its manners. Christ, Who loved the Franks, heard the last prayer of the mother He had given them, and refused her not the consolation of knowing that she should have a successor. St. Radegonde was set free, just in time to prevent an interruption in the laborious work of forming the Church’s eldest daughter; and she took up in solitude the struggle with God, by prayer and expiation, begun by the widow of Clovis.

In the joy of having cast off an odious yoke, forgiveness was an easy thing to her great soul; in her monastery at Poitiers she showed an unfailing devotedness for the kings whose company she had fled. The fortune of France was bound up with theirs; France the cradle-land of her supernatural life, where the Man-God had revealed Himself to her heart, and which she therefore loved with part of the love reserved for her heavenly country. The peace and prosperity of her spiritual fatherland occupied her thoughts day and night. If any quarrel arose among the princes, say the contemporary accounts, she trembled from head to foot at the very thought of the country’s danger. She wrote, according to their different dispositions, to each of the kings, imploring them to consider the welfare of the nation; she interested the chief vassals in her endeavors to prevent war. She imposed on her community assiduous watchings, exhorting them with tears to pray without ceasing; as to herself, the tortures she inflicted on herself for this end are inexpressible.

The only victory, then, that St. Radegonde desired was peace among the princes of the earth; when she had gained this by her struggle with the King of Heaven, her joy in the service of the Lord was redoubled, and the tenderness she felt for her devoted helpers, the nuns of Sainte-Croix, could scarcely find utterance: “You, the daughters of my choice,” she would say, “my eyes, my life, my sweet repose, so live with me in this world, that we may meet again in the happiness of the next.” And they responded to her love. “By the God of Heaven it is true that everything in her reflected the splendor of her soul.” Such was the spontaneous and graceful cry of her daughter Baudonivia; and it was echoed by the graver voice of the historian-Bishop, St. Gregory of Tours, who declared that the supernatural beauty of the Saint remained even in death; it was a brightness from Heaven, which purified while it attracted hearts, which caused the Italian St. Venantius Fortunatus to cease his wanderings, made him a saint and a Bishop, and inspired him with his most beautiful poems.

The light of God could not but be reflected in her, who, turning towards Him by uninterrupted contemplation, redoubled her desires as the end of her exile approached. Neither the relics of the Saints which she had so sought after as speaking to her of her true home, nor her dearest treasure, the Cross of her Lord, was enough for her; she would fain have drawn the Lord Himself from His Throne, to dwell visibly on earth. She only interrupted her sighs to excite in others the same longings. She exhorted her daughters not to neglect the knowledge of divine things; and explained to them with profound science and motherly love the difficulties of the Scriptures. As she increased the holy readings of the community for the same end, she would say: “If you do not understand, ask; why do you fear to seek the light of your souls?” And she would insist: “Reap, reap the wheat of the Lord; for, I tell you truly, you will not have long to do it. Reap, for the time draws near when you will wish to recall the days that are now given you, and your regrets will not be able to bring them back.” And the loving chronicler to whom we owe these sweet intimate details continues: “In our idleness we listened coolly to the announcement; but that time has come all too soon. Now is realized in us the prophecy which says: I will send forth a famine into the land: not a famine of bread, nor a thirst of water, but of hearing the Word of the Lord (Amos 8: 11). For though we still read her conferences, that voice which never ceased is now silent; those lips, ever ready with wise advice and sweet words, are closed. O most good God, what an expression, what features, what manners Thou hadst given her! No, no one could describe it. The remembrance is anguish! That teaching, that gracefulness, that face, that mien, that science, that piety, that goodness, that sweetness, where are we to seek them now?”

Such touching sorrow does honor to both mother and daughters; but it could not keep back the former from her reward. On the morning of the Ides of August 587, while Sainte-Croix was filled with lamentations, an Angel was heard saying to others on high: “Leave her yet longer, for the tears of her daughters have ascended to God.” But those who were bearing St. Radegonde away replied: “It is too late; she is already in Paradise.”

Let us read the liturgical account, which will complete what we have said:

St. Radegonde was the daughter of Berthaire, King of Thuringia. When ten years old she was led away captive by the Franks; and on account of her striking and queenly beauty their kings disputed among themselves for the possession of her. They drew lots, and she fell to the share of Clothaire, King of Soissons. He entrusted her education to excellent masters. Child as she was, she eagerly imbibed the doctrines of the Christian Faith, and renouncing the worship of false gods which she had learned from her fathers, she determined to observe not only the precepts, but also the counsels of the Gospels. When she was grown, Clothaire, who had long before chosen her, took her to wife, and in spite of her refusal, in spite of her attempts at flight, she was proclaimed Queen, to the great joy of all. When thus raised to the throne, she joined charity to the poor, continual prayer, frequent watching, fasting and other bodily austerities to her regal dignity, so that the courtiers said in scorn that the king had married not a Queen, but a nun.

Her patience shone out brightly in supporting many grievous trials caused her by the king. But when she heard that her own brother had been unjustly slain by command of Clothaire, she instantly left the court with the king’s consent, and going to the Blessed Bishop Medard, she earnestly begged him to consecrate her to the Lord. The nobles strongly opposed his giving the veil to her whom the king had solemnly married. But she at once went into the sacristy and clothed herself in the monastic habit. Then, advancing to the altar, she thus addressed the Bishop: “If you hesitate to consecrate me because you fear man more than God, there is One Who will demand an account of my soul from you.” These words deeply touched Medard; he placed the sacred veil upon the Queen’s head, and imposing his hands upon her, consecrated her a deaconess. [In the early Church, before the foundation of the great Religious Orders, a woman could be consecrated to God in two ways: if she were a young maiden, by the Consecration of a Virgin; if she were a widow, or an older marred woman with consent of her husband, by the Consecration of a Deaconess. The title meant merely that she was dedicated to the service of the Church; it had nothing to do with the Sacrament of Holy Orders.] She proceeded to Poitiers, and there founded a monastery of virgins, which was afterwards called “of the Holy Cross.” The splendor of her virtues shone forth and attracted innumerable virgins to embrace a religious life. On account of her extraordinary gifts of divine grace, all wished her to be their superior; but she desired to serve rather than to command.

The number of miracles she worked spread her name far and wide; but she herself, forgetful of her dignity, sought out the lowest and humblest offices. She loved especially to take care of the sick, the needy, and above all the lepers, whom she often cured in a miraculous manner. She honored the Divine Sacrifice of the Altar with deep piety, making with her own hands the bread which was to be consecrated, and supplying it to several churches. Even in the midst of the pleasures of a court, she had applied herself to mortifying her flesh, and from her childhood she had burned with desire of martyrdom; now that she was leading a monastic life she subdued her body with the utmost rigor. She girt herself with iron chains, she tortured her body with burning coals, courageously fixed red-hot plates of metal upon her flesh that it also might, in a way, be inflamed with love of Christ. King Clothaire, bent on taking her back and carrying her off from her monastery, set out for Holy Cross; but she deterred him by means of letters which she wrote to St. Germanus, Bishop of Paris; so that, prostrate at the holy prelate’s feet, the king begged him to beseech his pious Queen to pardon him, who was both her sovereign and her husband.

St. Radegonde enriched her monastery with relics of the Saints brought from different countries. She also sent some clerics to the Emperor Justin and obtained from him a large piece of the wood of Our Lord’s Cross. It was received with great solemnity by the people of Poitiers, and all, both clergy and laity, sang exultingly the hymns composed by Venantius Fortunatus in honor of the Blessed Cross (Vexilla Regis and Pange Lingua, which form part of the Office of Passiontide). This poet was afterwards Bishop of Poitiers; he enjoyed the holy friendship of St. Radegonde and directed her monastery. At length the holy Queen, being ripe for Heaven, was honored a few days before her death by an apparition of Christ under the form of a most beautiful youth; and she heard these words from His mouth: “Why art thou consumed by so great a longing to enjoy My presence? Why dost thou pour out so many tears and sighs? Why comest thou as a suppliant so often to My altars? Why dost thou break down thy body with so many labors, when I am always united to thee? My beautiful pearl! Know that thou art one of the most precious stones in My kingly crown.” In the year 587 she breathed forth her pure soul into the bosom of the heavenly Spouse who had been her only love. St. Gregory of Tours buried her, as she had wished, in the church of St. Mary.

Thine exile is over, eternal possession has taken the place of desire; all Heaven is illumined with the brightness of the precious stone that has come to enrich the diadem of the Spouse. O St. Radegonde, the Wisdom Who is now rewarding thy toils led thee by admirable ways. Thy inheritance, become to thee as a lion in the wood (Jer. 12: 8) spreading death around thee, thy captivity far from thy native land; what was all this but love’s way of drawing thee from the dens of the lions, from the mountains of the leopards (Cant. 4: 8), where idolatry had led thee in childhood? Thou hadst to suffer in a foreign land, but the light from above shone into thy soul, and gave it strength. A powerful king tried in vain to make thee share his throne; thou wert a Queen but for Christ, Who in His goodness made thee a mother to that kingdom of France, which belongs to Him more than to any prince. For His sake thou didst love that land become thine by the right of the Bride who shares the scepter of her Spouse; for His sake, that nation, whose glorious destiny thou didst predict, received without limit all thy labors, thy unspeakable mortifications, thy prayers and thy tears.

O thou, who art ever Queen of France, as Christ is ever its King, bring back to Him the hearts of its people, for in their blind error they have laid aside their glory, and their sword is no longer wielded for God. Protect, above all, the city of Poitiers, which honors thee with a special devotion together with its great St. Hilary. Teach us to seek Our Lord, and to find Him in His Holy Sacrament, in the relics of His Saints, in His suffering members on earth; and may all Christians learn from thee how to love. (1)

Image:Wayside shrine St Radegund in St Nikolai in the community of Ruden – Saint Hemma . (4)

Research by REGINA Staff

  1. http://www.salvemariaregina.info/SalveMariaRegina/SMR-185/Radegonde.htm
  2. http://365rosaries.blogspot.com/2011/08/august-13-saint-radegunde-of-poitiers.html
  3. http://sanctoral.com/en/saints/saint_radegundes.html
  4. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:St_Radegund_-_Bildstock_-_Hl_Hemma.jpg

 

Saint Lawrence, Martyr

August 10

Today is the feast day of Saint Lawrence.  Ora pro nobis.

According to tradition, Lawrence was born at Huesca, Spain.  Saint Lawrence, one of the deacons of the Roman Church, was one of the victims of the persecution of Valerian in 258, like Pope Sixtus II and many other members of the Roman clergy.  At the beginning of the month of August, 258, the emperor issued an edict, commanding that all bishops, priests, and deacons should immediately be put to death (“episcopi et presbyteriet diacones incontinenti animadvertantur” — Cyprian, Epist. lxxx, 1).  This imperial command was immediately carried out in Rome.

When the soldiers of the emperor Valerian arrested Pope Sixtus and his four deacons  while saying Mass in the cemetery of Saint Callistus, and took them off to martyrdom, Lawrence tried to hold Sixtus back, saying, “Where are you going, priest, without your deacon? Where are you going, father, without your son?” Sixtus promised Lawrence they would be reunited within three days.

Because he had charge of the sacred vessels used for saying Mass, Lawrence, fearing these would be confiscated by the State officials, sold them and distributed the money to the poor. A Roman official heard he was selling off the treasures of the Church and, assuming the Church had great wealth, promised he would not harm Lawrence if he handed over the treasures within three days. When Lawrence returned to the official after three days, he was followed by a large crowd of the poor, the blind, the lame and the helpless. “These,” he said, “are the treasures of the Church.”

The prefect replied: How dare you play games with me, miserable one? Is this how you show your contempt for the imperial power?  Christ, whom Lawrence had served, gave him strength in the conflict which ensued. After being placed on the rack, he was stretched on a grill over a slow fire. He joked about his pains. I am roasted enough on this side, he said, perhaps you should turn me over. Soon, his gaze towards heaven, he gave up his soul to God.  This story comes to us from St Ambrose of Milan (340-397).

His fellow Christians buried Lawrence on the Via Tiburtina outside the city walls. About fifty years later in recognition of the reverence in which he was held by the Christians of Rome, the emperor Constantine had a basilica constructed over his tomb. With various modifications made over the centuries, it remains today as the Basilica of San Lorenzo fuori le Mura (St Lawrence outside-the-Walls) and is just one of seven major churches in his honour in the city.   Saint Lawrence continued from his throne in heaven his charity to those in need, granting them, as Saint Augustine says, the smaller graces which they sought, and leading them to the desire of better gifts.

The fact that the name of Lawrence name is included among those commemorated in the Roman Canon (First Eucharistic Prayer) shows the extraordinary reverence in which he was held in the fourth and fifth centuries. In the Veronese Sacramentary, which is a record of the liturgy of Rome in the sixth century, there are prayers for fourteen Masses of St Lawrence and his feast has a vigil before it and an octave following it.  Pope St. Damasus (366-84) wrote a panegyric in verse, which was engraved in marble and placed over his tomb.

Saint Lawrence is regarded as the patron saint of tanners, roasters, chefs, archivists, librarians and treasurers. He is one of the most widely venerated saints in the Catholic world, giving his name even to Lund Cathedral in Sweden, the Basilica in the Escorial Palace in Spain and the St Lawrence River in Canada.

The Escorial Palace, situated at the foot of Mt. Abantos in the Sierra de Guadarrama, was built by King Philip II of Spain to commemorate the victory of Spanish forces over those of King Henry II of France at the Battle of St Quentin, which took place on the feast of St Lawrence on 10 August 1557. To honour the martyr, the entire floor plan of this imposing edifice was laid out in the form of a gridiron, the means by which St Lawrence was martyred.

 

St. Lawrence, Martyr Prayer
O glorious Saint Lawrence, Martyr and Deacon, who, being subjected to the most bitter torments, didst not lose thy faith nor thy constancy in confessing Jesus Christ; obtain in like manner for us such an active and solid faith, that we shall never be ashamed to be true followers of Jesus Christ, and fervent Christians in word and in deed.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.

V. Pray for us, O holy Lawrence,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray:

Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, the grace to quench the flames of our wicked desires, who didst give unto blessed Lawrence power to be more than conqueror in his fiery torments. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

(An indulgence of 300 days, once a day. 1934)

Saint Lawrence

by Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876
The many and high encomiums which were paid to St. Lawrence by the most ancient and illustrious of the holy Fathers of the Church, St. Augustine, St. Ambrose, St. Leo I., St. Maximus and St. Peter Chrysologus, are the surest sign that this Saint has always been considered one of the most famous martyrs who gave their blood for Christ. He was born of Christian parents, in the middle of the third century, at Osca, a city in Aragon. His father’s name was Orentius, his mother’s, Patientia; both are honored as Saints. Such parents gave a holy education to their son. He early evinced, on all occasions, an especial love for God, a fearless constancy in the true faith, and a watchful care over the preservation of his purity. While yet young in years, he went to Rome, and won, by his blameless life, the highest regard of all who came in contact with him. Pope Xystus or Sixtus ordained him deacon. His functions were to serve the Pope at the altar, to take charge of the treasures of the church, and to distribute the revenues which were destined for the maintenance of the sextons and the poor.

A terrible persecution of the Christians took place at the period of which we speak. Pope Sixtus was seized and thrown into the Mamertine prison. Lawrence seeing him, from a distance, dragged along, ran towards him and bitterly weeping, said: “Father, whither are you going without your son? Holy Pontiff, whither are you hastening without your deacon? You have never been wont to offer the holy sacrifice without me, your servant. In what have I displeased you, O my Father? Have you found me unworthy of you and of your sacred service? Prove me now, and see if you have chosen a fit servant in trusting me with the dispensing of the blood of Christ!” This and more said the Saint, desiring to suffer with St. Sixtus for the Lord’s sake. The holy Pope replied: “I do not leave you, my son; but you will have to suffer a great trial. We being old, have not much to endure; but you, strong in your youth, must gain a more glorious victory over the tyrant. Do not weep. In three days, you will follow me. Go now and take care of the treasures of the church that are in your keeping.” Lawrence, comforted by the prophecy of the holy Pope, went immediately and secured the sacred vessels of the altar and the vestments of the priests, distributed among the poor the money which had been collected for them, visited the Christians assembled in different houses and subterranean vaults, exhorted all to constancy, and employed the whole night in deeds of charity and humility. The following day, when the Pope was being led away to execution, the holy Levite approached him again, saying: “Holy Father, do not leave me; for, the treasures which you committed to my care, are all distributed.” The Pope comforted the Saint as he had done the day before, and was led away and ended his life by the sword.

Meanwhile, some of the soldiers, having heard Lawrence speak of treasures, informed the emperor Valerian of the fact, and that tyrant, as avaricious as he was cruel, had Lawrence apprehended, and gave him in charge of Hippolytus, an officer, who placed him in a prison where several malefactors were kept. One of these, Lucilius, had wept so much during his imprisonment, that he had become blind. St. Lawrence, pitying him, advised him to embrace the Christian faith and be baptized, as by that, his sight would be restored. Lucilius followed his advice, and soon after baptism, his sight returned. Hippolytus, touched by the grace of God at this miracle, was converted with his whole household. The next day, the emperor commanded that Lawrence should be brought to him.

The valiant confessor of Christ rejoiced at this message and said to Hippolytus: “Let us go; for two glorious crowns are prepared for you and me.” The emperor asked him who he was, whence he came and where he had concealed the treasures of the church. The first and second questions Lawrence fearlessly answered, saying: “I am a Christian, born in Spain.” To the third he made answer, that if the emperor would allow him a little time, he would gather the treasures and show them to him. Delighted at this, the emperor willingly granted him the desired time, but ordered Hippolytus not to leave his side for a moment, lest he should escape.

The Saint assembled all the poor he could find, and leading them to the tyrant, said: “Behold, these are the treasures of our church.” The emperor, regarding this as an insult, was greatly enraged, and swore by the gods to be revenged. He gave Lawrence over to the prefect with the command to torture him in the most painful manner if he refused to worship the idols. The prefect, who was as cruel as the emperor himself, ordered his lictors to tear off the Saint’s clothes and to lash him, like a vile slave, till his whole body was a mass of blood and wounds. After this, he displayed a great many instruments of torture, with the menace that they would be used upon him, if he longer refused to worship the gods. Lawrence looked unconcernedly upon them, and said: “They cannot frighten me. I have long desired to suffer for the sake of Christ. Your idols are not worthy to be worshipped; they are no gods, and I will never sacrifice to them.” Hardly had these words passed his lips, when the holy man was stretched upon the rack, then raised high in the air and his whole body whipped with scourges on the ends of which were fastened iron stars or spurs. After this, they applied lighted torches to his mangled body. The martyr’s constancy could not be shaken. Turning his eyes heavenward, he only asked for strength to endure.

The prefect, astonished at this heroism, ascribed it to magic, and threatened him with still greater torment. The Saint, full of courage, replied: “Do with me as you like. Sheltering myself beneath the name of Jesus, I do not fear pain. It does not last long.” The tyrant caused him to be beaten, a third time, with such cruelty, that the Saint himself thought he would die. He cried to God: “Take my soul, O Lord, and release it from mortality.” But a voice from Heaven was heard saying: “A still more glorious victory awaits thee.” The people were awestruck at this, but the tyrant said: “Do you hear, Romans, how the demons console this godless man? We, however, will see who is to conquer.” The Saint was scourged again, and it was then that Romanus saw an angel, who consoled the Saint and wiped the perspiration from his brow and the blood from his wounds, by which miracle he was converted. The executioners were tired of torturing, but the Saint was not tired of suffering. Joy and peace beamed from his countenance. The tyrant threatened to torture him through the whole night, if he would not sacrifice to the gods. But the Saint replied: “No night can be more agreeable to me, than the one with which you threaten me. I will never sacrifice to your false gods.” At this answer they beat the Saint’s mouth with stones, and carried him back to prison.

During the night, the prefect endeavored to devise some new way in which he might most cruelly torture Lawrence on the following day, and at last resolved upon roasting him alive. Early on the next day, he ordered the executioners to make an iron bed in the form of a gridiron, put live coals under it, stretch and bind the Saint upon it, and slowly roast him. The command was fulfilled to the great horror of all present. The Saint, however, lay as quietly on the red hot gridiron as if it had been a bed of roses, only saying at intervals: “Receive, O Lord, this burnt-offering as an agreeable fragrance.” His countenance beamed with heavenly joy, and the Christians, who were present, said that a divine light had surrounded him and his body exhaled a sweet odor. After having been burned thus a long time, he turned his eyes towards the prefect and said: “I am sufficiently roasted on one side; turn me over and eat my flesh.” How the tyrant received these words can easily be imagined. The Saint, however, continued to be cheerful and filled with divine consolation. He praised God and thanked Him for the grace vouchsafed him to die for his faith. At last, with his eyes raised to Heaven, he gave his heroic soul into the hands of his Redeemer, on the 10th of August, 258. Many of the heathens, who were present, were converted by this glorious martyrdom to the Faith of Christ. (5)

Image: St. Lawrence Distributing the Treasures of the Church. Bernardo Strozzi. circa 1625. (6)

Research by REGINA Staff

  1. http://www.nobility.org/2013/08/08/st-lawrence/
  2. http://www.catholicireland.net/saintoftheday/st-lawrence-d-258-deacon/
  3. http://www.catholictradition.org/Saints/saints8-6.htm
  4. http://sanctoral.com/en/saints/saint_lawrence.html
  5. http://catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com/St.%20Lawrence.html
  6. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:St._Lawrence_Distributing_the_Treasures_of_the_Church_-_Bernardo_Strozzi_-_Google_Cultural_Institute.jpg

Saint Romanus, Martyr

August 9

Today is the feast day of Saint Romanus.  Ora pro nobis.

According to tradition, Saint Romanus was a soldier in the legion of emperor Valerian in Rome, at the time of the arraignment and interrogation of Saint Lawrence. Seeing the joy and constancy and the absolute silence of that holy martyr during Lawrence’s first torments, Romanus could not understand how a creature of flesh and blood could be thus tormented without opening his mouth to complain. 

Romanus was moved to embrace the Faith, and at that very moment.  Addressing himself to Saint Lawrence, still on the rack, he asked to become a Christian. The Saint was untied and imprisoned, and later was able to respond to the pressing request of the soldier, who brought him in prison the water for his baptism.

Romanus was summoned before the tribunal, for everyone soon learned of his conversion. He said fearlessly and joyfully, there as he had said elsewhere, I am a Christian! He was condemned and beheaded immediately, the day before the martyrdom of Saint Lawrence, on August 9, 258. The body of Saint Romanus was buried by a priest in a cavern on the road to Tibur, but his remains were translated to Lucca, where they are kept under the high altar of a beautiful church which bears his name.

A Roman martyr Romanus is mentioned in the “Liber Pontificalis” (ed. Duchesne, I, 155) with three other ecclesiastics as companions in the martyrdom of St. Lawrence (10 August, 258). There is no reason to doubt that this mention rests upon a genuine ancient tradition. Like St. Lawrence Romanus was buried in the Catacomb of the Cyriaca on the Via Tiburtina.

The grave of St. Romanus is explicitly mentioned in the Itineraries of the seventh century (De Rossi, “Roma sotterranea”, I, 178-9). In the purely legendary Acts of St. Lawrence, the ostiary Romanus is transformed into a soldier, and an account in accordance with this statement was inserted in the historical martyrologies and in the present Roman Martyrology, which latter places his feast on 9 August (cf. Duchfourcq, Les Gesta Martyrum romains”, I, 201).

Dom Prosper Guéranger:
“Fear not, my servant, for I am with you, says the Lord. If you pass through fire, the flame will not hurt you, and the odour of fire will not be in you. I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem you out of the hand of the mighty” (Isaias xliii.; Jeremias xv.). It was the hour of combat, and Wisdom, more powerful than flame, was calling on Laurence to win the laurels of victory presaged by his very name. The three days since the death of Sixtus had passed at length, and the deacon’s exile was about to close: he was soon to stand beside his Pontiff at the altar in Heaven, and never more to be separated from him. But before going to perform his office as deacon in the eternal sacrifice, he must on this Earth, where the seeds of eternity are sown, give proof of the brave faithfulness which becomes a Levite of the Law of Love. Laurence was ready. He had said to Sixtus: “Try the fidelity of the minister to whom you entrusted the dispensation of the Blood of our Lord.” He had now, according to the Pontiff’s wish, distributed to the poor the treasures of the Church, as the chants of the Liturgy tell us on this very morning. But he knew that if a man should give all the substance of his house for love, he will despise it as nothing (Canticles viii. 7), and he longed to give himself as well. Overflowing with joy in his generosity he hailed the holocaust whose sweet perfume he seemed already to perceive rising up to Heaven. And well might he have sung the offertory of this Vigil’s Mass: “My prayer is pure, and therefore I ask that a place be given to my voice in heaven: for my judge is there, and he that knowes my conscience is on high: let my prayer ascend to the Lord” (Job xvi.).

Sublime prayer of the just man which pierces the clouds! Even now we can say with the Church: “His seed will be mighty upon earth,” (Psalms cxi.) the seed of new Christians sprung from the blood of martyrdom; for today we greet the first fruits thereof in the person of Romanus, the neophyte whom his first torments won to Christ, and who preceded him to Heaven. (6)

Image: Saints on South Colonnade, St Peter’s, Rome, Artist:  Sculptor – Lazzaro Morelli; Statue Installed – c.1665-1667, This statue is part of a group of 24 that were placed between September 1662 and March 1667. Height – 3.1 m. (10ft 4in) travertine (3)

Research by REGINA Staff

    1. http://sanctoral.com/en/saints/saint_romanus.html
    2. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13163a.htm
    3. http://www.stpetersbasilica.info/Exterior/Colonnades/Saints/St%20Romanus-99/StRomanus.htm
    4. http://traditionalcatholic.net/Tradition/Calendar/08-09.html
    5. http://gardenofmary.com/august-9-st-romanus-martyr/
    6.  https://inluminefidei.blogspot.com/2020/08/9-august-saint-romanus-martyr.html

Demonios Americanos

¿Alguna vez te has preguntado qué le pasa a un niño sin cuidados en una cultura secular impulsada por el materialismo y vacía de integridad? David tiene ahora 22 años, nació y creció como cristiano nominal en la parte sur de los Estados Unidos.

Cuando era adolescente, entró en el sombrío mundo de lo oculto, a través de un portal en su computadora. Lo que ahí vio David eventualmente lo regresó a los brazos de la Iglesia, a través de un buen sacerdote y una asombrosa parroquia, cuyos nombres no podemos decir para proteger la identidad real de David.

¿Qué puede hacer un sacerdote fiel y el apoyo de una parroquia contra una subcultura juvenile viciosa? Lee la historia.

REGINA: ¿Cómo describirías el hogar en que creciste?

Lo último que supe de mi padre es que aun trabajaba en la construcción. Mi madre trabaja en una fábrica. Se divorciaron cuando yo tenía 15 años. Mi padre era un tirano. Yo vivía constantemente con miedo de él y había peleas constantes entre mis padres. Fue horrible. Tuve muy poca enseñanza religiosa en mi vida. Mis padres no sentían el compromise de ir a la Iglesia. Hice la escuela de Biblia tal vez un verano, pero eso fue todo.

 

 

REGINA: ¿Y la escuela?

Todos los días abusaban de mí. Intenté todo para gustarle a la gente, pero luego de un tiempo me di por vencido. Era pobre y no tenía la mejor higiene. Vestía ropas baratas y era socialmente extraño.

 

REGINA: ¿Qué hacías para divertirte?

Los videojuegos no eran muy atractivos para mí, no podía pagarlos. Otros chicos hablaban de eso siempre. Mi adicción era el internet. En ocasione iba a la escuela habiendo dormido solamente media hora.

REGINA: ¿Tus padres tenían una idea de en qué te estabas metiendo?

No.

REGINA: ¿Crees que se hubieran preocupado si lo hubieran sabido?

Tal vez, pero siempre estaban ocupados en sus cosas. Mi papá estaba viviendo con su novia. Mi mamá estaba tratando de rehacer su vida, viviendo con mi abuela.

REGINA: ¿Cuál fue tu primer contacto con el satanismo? ¿sabías lo que era?

El satanismo es una gran parte de la subcultura Wicca. No sabía realmente que era. Básicamente lo hacíamos porque el Dios cristiano era malo y no se preocupaba por nosotros, eso creíamos.

REGINA: Cuando conociste a las otras personas ¿supiste que habían sido abusados?

Oh sí, todos éramos marginados. Abusados por los compañeros, maestros, padres, etc. Nos sentíamos no queridos, así que estábamos unidos. El acoso era algo frecuente para muchos de nosotros, no para mí, pero era común escuchar sobre él.

REGINA:  ¿Cuánto pasó antes de que conocieras a esa gente en la vida real?

En la escuela nunca fui bueno para hacer amigos.

 

REGINA: ¿Las drogas eran parte de este estilo de vida?

Sí, la gente hablaba sobre fumar marihuana, tomar pastillas, beber. Yo nunca lo hice, pero escuché mucho de eso.

REGINA:  Mencionaste que “estaban expuestos al cybersexo, pornografía, derechos de los homosexuales y luego les decían a todos que los querían” – eso suena a que el sexo es un motivador poderoso para que los adolescentes se involucraran en todo esto.

Sí, ellos son por lo general tímidos o sienten que nadie los quiere en la escuela o la universidad, así que se refugian en salas de chat.

REGINA:  ¿Alguna vez viste evidencia de coerción para tener sexo?

Sí, los chantajes eran comunes. Los chicos trataban a las chicas como si realmente las quisieran, luego guardaban las pantallas con actividad sexual.

REGINA:  ¿Fuiste testigo de que alguno de ellos se involucrara en sexo por dinero? ¿Con adultos?

A veces las chicas se involucraban en eso por tarjetas telefónicas o tarjetas de regalo o en sitios web de sexo. Era común entre chicas de 18 años. A veces las chicas más jóvenes se involucraban románticamente con hombres mayores.

REGINA:  ¿Crees que la prostitución organizada obtiene trabajadoras en estos sitios web?

No me sorprendería.

REGINA:  Mencionaste que hay gente en estos sitios web que convence a las chicas de que “las quieren, que las protegen del cristianismo porque Cristo es el enemigo”. ¿Quiénes son esas personas? ¿Gente mayor?

Sí, el cristianismo es odiado porque se destaca su visión sobre el sexo, la moral y la vida. El cristianismo dice “no, tu no haces las reglas, tienes un Rey celestial que está a cargo”. Todo lo tradicional es visto como basura y de alguna forma malo y que arruinará sus vidas. Muchas veces dicen “Oh no, evita esas cosas de Jesús. Él quiere tenerte controlado y evitar que seas tu mismo”.

 

REGINA:  Pareciera que este estilo de vida de alguna forma hace que la gente se sienta mejor con ellos mismos, y que su forma de vestir y su comportamiento es algún tipo de desafío. ¿Qué rol juega el coraje en todo esto?

Sí, ellos sienten que es su cultura y su hogar. Quieren rebelarse contra sus abusadores. Quieren decir “no nos detendremos por ti, somos mejor que tú”.

REGINA:  Los cultos son típicamente señuelos para que la gente entre y entonces hagan cosas repugnantes para probar su lealtad. ¿Viste algo así?

Sí, la gente joven sacrificaría gustosamente su moral para ser parte del club.

REGINA:  ¿Por qué la cristiandad es el enemigo? ¿Por qué no otras religiones como el Judaísmo, el Islam, etc?

Bueno, para ponerlo tan francamente como pueda, porque el cristianismo -mejor aún, el catolicismo- tiene una postura por la tradición, el honor y la verdad. Estos cultos online tienen una postura hacia la perversión, el egoísmo y las mentiras.

REGINA:  ¿Viste alguna evidencia de organización política, por ejemplo el movimiento LGTB, cuando estuviste involucrado en esta vida?

Sí, matrimonios gay, legalización de las drogas y el aborto. Todo eso era super apoyado.

REGINA: Mencionaste que “hay sitios web llenos de gente de veintitantos años que empezaron a los 13 y tuvieron una educación moderadamente cristiana”. Suena a que estos jóvenes se iniciaron en esto cuando sus padres pagaban por sus computadoras y acceso a internet. ¿Cómo pueden los padres saber si está sucediendo esto?

En la mayoría de los casos es posible verlo. Si sus hijos están vistiendo más oscuro o usando ropa extraña casi toda negra, o hacen cosas sombrías, malvadas que rayan en cosas que dan miedo. Eso es una señal. Su actitud cambia también. Si se vuelvan apáticos a cosas que antes les gustaban, hacia su familia, se vuelven menos sociales, empiezan a perder el interés en la escuela y en el futuro… todo eso son señales de alerta.

REGINA: ¿Cómo deberían reaccionar los padres?

Deber ser amables, amorosos. Hablar con sus hijos, porque si los regañan se van a rebelar.

REGINA: ¿Y qué deben hacer los padres?

Convertir la casa en una especie de monasterio. Quitarles los electrónicos si es necesario, pero no abandonar a sus hijos. Quererlos hasta el cielo.

REGINA:  ¿Qué te hizo dejar esa vida?

La Eucaristía. Por el amor a mi Madre Santísima en mi corazón y el amor a mi Padre en el cielo.

REGINA:  ¿Cómo encontraste a la Iglesia Católica? ¿Qué te llevó a la Fé?

Mi abuelo fue un católico distanciado y yo nunca creí lo que los evangélicos decían, cosas como “sólo di una oración y serás salvo” o “sólo cree”. Eso no era bíblico. Mi Señor dijo “coman mi cuerpo y beban mi sangre” – no coman críticas y chismes. Vi mucho a la Madre Angélica cuando empecé a volverme adolescente, así como “La vida en la roca” (programa de EWTN), así que estaba un poco demasiado mimado para ser evangélico.

REGINA:  ¿Cuál fue la reacción de tus amigos satánicos y de tus padres?

En el punto en que yo regresé a la fe, ya los había perdido a todos. Me volví un poco loco por Cristo y queriendo saber la verdad, así que me dejaron. A mi mamá le pareció bien. Mi papá… ni siquiera sé cómo se siente respecto a esto, ya no hablamos más. Lo amo, pero no puedo forzarlo a que regrese a mi vida. Todo lo que puedo hacer es amarlo.

REGINA:  ¿Cuándo te convertiste? ¿Qué educación religiosa has tenido?

Mentalmente tomé una decisión sobre el asunto medio mes antes de que Benedicto renunciara, pero oficialmente en la Pascua de 2014. Conocía el material del rito de iniciación cristiana para adultos lo suficientemente bien. He estudiado el catecismo, leído buenos libros católicos y visto videos católicos en Youtube. Mi bautizo fue un exorcismo suficiente para mí. Quiero decir, no soy un santo aun, pero estoy en el camino. Espero y rezo.

REGINA: Estás pensando en una vocación religiosa. ¿Qué órdenes has visto?

Me gustan los Jesuitas pero algo me ha preocupado de cómo se dirige la orden. Realmente quisiera ser un simple sacerdote diocesano y propagar la restauración de la fe tradicional y la moral. Pero estoy abierto a cualquier cosa que el Señor quiera que haga, aun si no me gusta, aún si es incómoda. No se puede ir al cielo en cama de plumas.

Oklahoma Black Mass

REGINA is an international Catholic magazine with people on the ground in many countries. In this exclusive interview, we hear from our Oklahoma correspondent about the Satanic activity that’s been happening in Oklahoma City. (Editor’s Note: This article contains graphic descriptions and illustrations which are not suitable for children. Read more on the spread of … Read more

Saints Cyriacus, Largus, and Smaragdus, Martyrs

August 8

Today is the feast day of Saints Cyriacus, Largus, and Smaragdus.  Orate pro nobis.

Saint Cyriacus (also known as Cyriac) was born of a noble patrician family. He embraced the Christian religion and gave all his wealth to the poor. He was ordained a deacon at Rome, under Pope Marcellinus.

Diocletian was emperor at that time, assisted by Maximian. The latter decided to build a beautiful palace for the emperor, with magnificent baths, and made the Christians work at the construction.  Among the new slaves were elderly gentlemen along with clerics and priests. The labor was hard and the food scanty. A Roman nobleman desired to relieve the sufferings of these laborers.  He sent four Christians with alms and encouragements.  These were Saint Cyriacus, Saint Sisinius, Saint Largus and Saint Smaragdus. They pursued their charities at the risk of their lives, and they worked vigorously alongside those who were growing very weak. When Maximian heard of it, he had Saint Sisinius and an old gentleman whom he had helped, decapitated.

Then Emperor Diocletian’s little daughter became possessed by an evil spirit.  No one was able to deliver her from it. To the idolatrous priests who were called, the evil spirit declared that he would leave the girl only when commanded to do so by Cyriacus. He was summoned, and prayed and made the sign of the cross over the girl.  The evil spirit departed. The emperor loved his daughter, therefore he was grateful to the holy deacon.  Emperor Diocletian presented Cyriacus with a house, where he and his companions might serve God unmolested by their enemies.

About this time the daughter of the Persian King Sapor was attacked by a similar malady.   When he heard what Cyriacus had done for Diocletian’s daughter, he wrote to Diocletian , asking him to send the Christian deacon. It was done, and Cyriacus, on foot, set out for Persia. Arrived at his destination, he prayed over the girl and the evil spirit left her. On hearing of this miracle, four hundred and twenty heathens were converted to the Faith. These the saint instructed and baptized, and then set out on his homeward journey.

Returned to Rome, he continued his life of prayer and good works. But when Diocletian soon afterward left for the East, his co-emperor Maximin seized the opportunity to persecute the Christians. One of the first victims was Cyriacus. He was loaded with chains and brought before the judge, who first tried blandishments and promises to induce him to renounce Christ and to sacrifice to the idols, but in vain. Then the confessor of Christ was stretched on the rack, his limbs torn from their sockets.  He was beaten with clubs. His companions shared the same tortures. Finally, when the emperor and the judge were convinced that nothing would shake the constancy of the holy martyrs, they were beheaded. They gained the crown of glory on March 16, 303. 

Their bodies were first buried near the place of their execution on the Salarian Way, but were later removed to the city. An abbey in France, at Altorf in Alsace, possesses relics of Saint Cyriacus and bears his name.  Saint Cyriacus is venerated as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers.

The Fourteen Holy Helpers are a group of saints venerated together in Roman Catholicism because their intercession is believed to be particularly effective, especially against various diseases. This group of Nothelfer (“helpers in need”) originated in the 14th century at first in the Rhineland, largely as a result of the epidemic (probably of bubonic plague) that became known as the Black Death.

 

Image:  crop of Stained-Glass Window, depicting Saint Cyriacus in the Parish Church of Saint Pelagius, Weitnau, Bavaria, Germany. (4)

Research by REGINA Staff

  1. http://www.catholictradition.org/Saints/saints8-5b.htm
  2. http://catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com/St.%20Cyriacus.html
  3. http://sanctoral.com/en/saints/saint_cyriacus_and_his_companions.html
  4. http://zephyrinus-zephyrinus.blogspot.com/2015/08/saints-cyriacus-largus-and-smaragdus.html

 

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