Today, November 13, we celebrate the life and works of St Gratia. St Gratia spent much of his young life at sea, fishing and bringing in food for others as well as trade. However, one day when he was around thirty, he went into a church in Venice and heard a sermon that reached out to him and spoke to him. Right then he knew that his life was changed and he wouldn’t return to a life as a fisherman. He was determined to enter that order and was accepted as a lay-brother at Monte Ortono.
There he was employed in the gardens and worked hard to earn the respect of the whole convent. It didn’t take long before they all saw in him something. He was sent to St Christopher in venice where he became friar. People claimed to see a light over his door every night and miracles were were performed in his presence. One such miracle occurred happened when the church was being repaired. While he was working, they received water all summer even though it was extremely dry. It stayed fresh and clean even when the sea got into it.
God Bless him and may we also follow God’s plan that can change our lives in a mere moment.
Today, November 12, we celebrate the life and works of St Conrad of Constance. St Conrad was born to a wealthy and prestigious family and was son of Count Heinrich of Altdorf. Because of his high rank in society, he was taught in a cathedral school and later ordained there. It was after his education came to an end that he was offered the esteemed position of provost of the Constance cathedral. He spent much of his time focusing on what was important for the school and furthering the education of those that desired to be taught.
Years later he was appointed Bishop of Constance. With this honor, he worked hard for the people. He avoided the political world and focused on what needed to be done for the Catholicism. He built many churches and gave away all of the money that he inherited to the church, the poor, and fixing the buildings and such that were in need.
God Bless him and may we also focus on what’s important in our lives, our churches, and in God’s plan for us.
Today, November 11, we celebrate the life and works of St Agnes of Assisi. Born in Assisi, she was the youngest daughter of Count Favorino Scifi and Countess Hortulana as well as the sister of St Clare. When St Clare left the family to join a Franciscan order, Agnes did so as well sixteen days later at the Benedictine cloister of St Angelo. However, their father was furious over having lost one daughter to religion and sent armed men to retrieve St Agnes and bring her back. She was badly beaten by these men, but St Clare was able to rescue her from being returned home.
After their acceptance by St Francis, they were placed in St Damien where they were joined by other noblewoman of Assisi that looked towards them as inspiration in their own lives. It was here that St Agnes reached perfection in her religious life and was named abbess of the church. In years to come she was sent to Poor Clares in Monticelli, near Florence. It was there that she showed her dedication to St Clare’s ideals and her desire to help those in need. Shortly after she established St Clares in Mantau, Padua, and Venice.
God Bless her and may we also have such passion to help others.
Today, November 10, we celebrate the life and works of St Cecilia, patron of music. In the fourth century there appeared to the world a religious romance between St Cecilia and her husband, Valerian. St Cecilia was a young woman of Rome that cherished the Lord and her relationship with Him. She was to wed a man and wanted to do all that she could to protect herself from those that would take advantage of her and the fact that she was a virgin. So she prayed daily for God to watch over her and ensure that no one touched her.
When she and Valerian wed, she told him that there was a secret that she would tell him as long as he swore to never tell another person. He promised her and so she told him that there was an angel that forever watched over her and ensured that no one touched her. He asked her to show him this angel. Her reply was that he needed to believe in the one God and be baptized. Right away he went and was baptized by Pope Urban. When he returned, he found her praying in their room. There, beside her, was an angel with flaming wings holding two crowns of roses and lilies. He gave each of them a crown before disappearing.
Valerian’s brother came into the room shortly after and, after smelling these flowers that were not in season, asked what had happened. He, too, was told the same thing and baptized. Valerian and his brother worked daily after that to bury the maytyrs that the prefect persecuted before they too became martyrs themselves. St Cecilia spent her time preaching and praying, converting 400 people that were then baptized. When the prefect heard about this, she was arrested and tortured, though no matter what they did, their tactics didn’t seem to hurt her. Eventually, she was martyred, but not before spending her final days in prayer and preaching the Word.
While this story has no grounds in history, it shows the power of what faith and having the strength of not only love bound by God, but family as well can do for those around us. God Bless them and may we have such strength in our own lives.
Today, November 9, we celebrate the life and works of St Demetrian. Born in Sika, Cyprus, he actually had not planned on devoting his life to religion in the beginning. He was man that wanted a family and all that came with that including a good job. However, when his wife died, he felt that dream lost and devoted himself to God. He became a monk at St Anthony’s Monastery when he was ordained. He served loyally with his mind set on one thing; his devotion to God and doing all that he could for his brothers and sisters. He was an abbot there for 40 years before God showed him where his path would lead.
Despite his objections, he was named and given the position of bishop of Khytri. He was bishop for many years, using his power as bishop to help others. This included obtaining the release of Catholic captives that were to be sold as slaves during the Saracen raid.
God Bless him and may we also turn our eyes toward doing what is right and what God has planned for us.
Today, November 8, we celebrate the life and works of St Catherine of Alexandria, Patron of philosophers and preachers. Born to a royal family in Alexandria, she was actually converted to Catholicism through a vision, she knew that it was her place to say something against those that were persecuting her people. She wanted to show them light in the darkness that had become their world with those wanting any that professed their faith to pay for such. She stood up to Maxentius, the man that was persecuting the Catholics, denouncing him and all that he stood for. For this, he sought to punish her by martyring fifty of those that followed her.
For her, though, he offered a royal marriage, wanting to save the noble blood that ran in her veins. She refused because he wanted her to denounce her faith, to turn her back on God. She wouldn’t do it. This landed her in prison. Maxentius made the mistake of thinking that she wouldn’t do anything while she was imprisoned and went away for a time. During such, she spent her time in prison talking to others; the guards, the queen. She wanted to share the Word of God with them. She managed to convert Maxentius’ wife and two hundred of his soldiers before she was martyred herself.
God Bless her and may we find such joy in sharing the Word of God as she did in her lifetime.
Today, November 7, we celebrate the life and works of St Rose Philippine Duchesne. St Rose was Grenoble, France. She always knew she wanted to help people, which led to her joining the Society of the Sacred Heart. She spent many years focusing on France and the surrounding area when she was given the request to go to the United States. She gladly went, seeing it as being God’s will for her life.
There, in St Louis, is where she settled. She spent much of her time focusing on the children and those in need of kindness and education. She opened a boarding school for the daughters of the pioneers there in St Louis and three other schools west of Missouri. It was later, about 30 years later, that she finally achieved one of her dreams and opened a school for Native American children.
She taught them and became known as “the woman who is always praying”. It was her dream in life to bring God and education to those in need, especially the Native Americans that were being treated in less of a favorable light than most in the time.
God Bless her and may we also follow the path that has been set before us, spreading God’s love to all we meet.
Today, November 6, we celebrate the life and works of St Hilda. St Hilda was born of royal blood. In fact, she was the daughter of the king of Northumbria, England. She didn’t care about her royal blood aside from the fact that it would allow her to reach more people to spread the Word of God. She worked hard to learn all that she could and focus that to a life dedicated to Him.
At the age of thirty three, she followed her sister to the Chelles Monastery in France. However, at the request of Si Aidan, she returned to her homeland and become abbess of Hartlepool. She took that job joyously and focused on training others to follow in her footsteps, including five bishops.
God Bless her and may we also dedicate ourselves to passionately to the life that God has planned for us.
Today, November 5, we celebrate the life and works of St Anastasius XIX. St Anastasius was originally a monk named Radla. He served much of his earlier days and adulthood as a missionary in Hungary, working with the duke’s son, St Stephen to reach the Magyars. He took over the abbey there that was established by the duke and his wife. He worked hard with the new king of Hungary to reach his people, wanting to ensure that they were taken care of and understanding when it comes to what the new king believed and would use to rule them.
Pope Slyvester II saw all that was happening and recognized St Stephen as the king of Hungary. He sent a crown to him through St Anastasius. It was around the same time that St Anastasius was appointed as Archbishop of Hungary for his work with the Magyars.
God Bless him and may we also focus on the work that God has designed for us.
Today, November 4, we celebrate the life and works of St Barlaam. St Barlaam was actually born under the name of Alexis in Novgorod which can be found in Russia. He came from a wealthy family, but such things never mattered to him. His life was focused on his family and faith. When his parents died, he ran away to the Volga river to become a hermit, wanting to separate himself from the world and focus on his spiritual growth.
Many came to join him, other pilgrims seeking the same solitude and focus that he was offering. So many came that he had to find a monastery. It was then that he took the name Barlaam.
God Bless him and may we also turn to God in our times of both need and happiness.