Today, May 17, we celebrate the life and works of St Rosalia. St Rosalia was born in Palermo, Spain. Even at a young age she knew that God was the way. She turned from earthly desires and focused her life on God. To do this and to ensure she wasn’t tempted by earthly desires, she ran away to hide in a cave. On these cave walls she inscribed the words, “I, Rosalia, daughter of Sinibald, Lord of Roses and Quisquina, have taken the resolution to live in this cave for the love of my Lord, Jesus Christ.” She remained there for all of her life.
She lived a life in constant communion with God and giving all of her praise and glory to Him. She had no desire to return to the world and, to prove to herself that she was passed the point of desiring that which the world offered, she moved her hiding place to Mount Pellegrino, just three miles from where she grew up and had lived as a child. It was almost as if she were showing that she had truly given all of herself to God.
God Bless her and may we be as devote as she was in life.
Today, May 16, we celebrate the life and works of St Olympias. Born to a wealthy noble family of Constantinople, she was orphaned as a child and given to the care of her Theodosia by her uncle. It was expected that she marry into power and, in time, she did, by marrying a prefect. However, she was widowed shortly after. Because she had such money, men were offering her marriage left and right, trying to get ahold of her money, which she refused. Emperor Theodosius simply put her money into a trust until she would reach the age of thirty because she refused his choice for her husband.
That was the time that she turned her attention towards God and began working within the church. By the time that her estate was reestablished in 391, she was already a deaconess and had founded a community with other women much like herself. She did much in her life, including establishing a hospital and orphanage that gave shelter to many of the monks of Nitria.
God Bless her and may we also not look towards our worldly possessions, but towards sharing God’s love with the world.
Today, May 15, we celebrate the life and works of St Dymphna, Patron of those suffering for nervous and mental afflictions. St Dymphna was a young girl born to a noble family. Suffering struck her family when her mother fell ill and passed away. Though she was only fourteen, she took this grief in stride, trying to be there for her father in his pain. Even when he was struck with mental illness because of his grief, she didn’t leave his side, wanting to help him through this. He sent orders out to find a woman of noble birth that resembled his wife, wanting to make himself better by allowing himself to think that she had never died. When one was not readily found, his advisers suggested that he marry his daughter. It was only then that St Dymphna left her father’s side, running away with her confessor and two other friends.
It took time for him to find them, but when he did, he tried to persuade her to join him back in Ireland once more. Fearing that this was a bad idea and that he would do as he was advised, she prayed to God to give her wisdom and turned down his offer.
God Bless her and may we too learn to turn to God in all hours of our lives.
Today, May 14, we celebrate the life and works of St Agnes, patron of the children of Mary. St Agnes was a young girl that knew exactly what it was that she wanted even at a young age and made a promise to God to never stain her purity. She wanted to live her life only for him. She loved him very much and didn’t want sin to touch her life, viewing her body as a temple to God. Many didn’t understand this. They saw the beautiful young woman that she was and wanted nothing more than to have her as their wife. She knew her path and knew that it didn’t involve marrying anyone, but focusing her life on God. In fact, when asked if she would wed them, she would simply respond to her suitors that “Jesus Christ is my only Spouse.”
This didn’t sit well with Procop, the Governor’s son. He wanted her for himself and thought that there was a way to convince her to his side through rich gifts and promises, but she kept refusing him for God. This angered him greatly so he had her brought before his father, claiming her to be a Catholic. His father offered her more wonderful gifts to simply deny God and agree to wed his son. She refused once again. He tried to change her mind by having her thrown in chains. Still, she remained steadfast in her love for God. Next she was sent to a place of sin where he had hoped she would break, but an Angel protected her and she wasn’t touched.
This caused her to be sentenced to martyrdom. Everyone was so sad to see someone so young and beautiful being given this sentence, but St Agnes looked as happy as a bride for she was going to join God in Heaven.
God Bless her and may we also have such joy and desire in our lives to treat our relationship with God in such a high manner.
Today, May 13, we celebrate the life and works of St John the Silent. Born in Nicopolis, Armena, he was a driven by a desire to follow and live and life of religion. He even established his monastery by eighteen. He was so devoted to his beliefs and his work that he quickly grew within the ranks of the church. By the age of twenty-eight, he was appointed to bishop and spent nine years in his office before retiring to Jerusalem to embrace a life that involved living as a hermit.
He had a vision that led him to a monastery of St Sabas. There he asked to be walled up and lived the next seventy-five years as a silent recluse. This was a huge reason behind his name. He was bishop of Colonia in Palestine during those nine years that he was bishop, but it wasn’t, he felt, what God was calling him to do. He sent the rest of his life in silence so he could better hear God’s Words.
God Bless him and may we also have such strength to listen to what God is directing us to do and not look back.
Today, May 12, we celebrate the life and works of St Daniel. St Daniel was an Egyptian that took pity on those Catholics that were being imprisoned in the mines of Cilicia to work as punishment for their belief. He, along with four others with him, went to Caesarea, Palestine to offer comfort to those being enslaved because of their religion. They wanted nothing more than to share a little of God’s love with their brothers being brutalized. They made it no further than the gates of Caesarea before they were apprehended and brought before the governor.
Firmilian, the governor, was a hard man and listened to the city guardsmen accuse these men of being Catholics. He refused to stand for such happening in his city. He sentenced the group to be martyred for their faith as an example of what would happen to any Catholics that came to his city. He would do all within his power to help along the Maximus persecution. All men went bravely to their fates, never once denying their relationship with God.
God Bless him and may we also bravely help those in need, bringing a little light into their lives by sharing God’s love with them.
Today, May 11, we celebrate the life and works of St Brice. St Brice was raised by a well known and quite religious man, St Martin of Tours. However, this had quite an adverse reaction on St Brice. He became extremely vain and held St Martin in contempt. St Martin was patient with him, showing him love and guidance. In time, St Brice apologized to St Martin and asked for his forgiveness. He made an effort to change his life and even succeeded St Martin in becoming bishop of Tours.
However, he reverted to his old way and became lax once more in his duties. For this he was exiled ot Rome where he spent seven years learning and watching. At the end of those seven years he had completely changed his life around and devoted himself fully to God and His mission.
God Bless him and may we also remember that through everything God is always there and will lead us down the right path.
Today, May 10, 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, May 9, we celebrate the life and works of St Victorinus of Pettau. St Victorinus was born in Greece, right near to the borders of the Eastern and Western Empires. This meant that while most spoke Latin extremely well, St Victorinus was far more fluent in Greek. He was a man that traveled and worked for God. He was a Bishop of Pettau, better known today as Styria, Austria, at a point in his life. Much of that life was spent in writing, mostly, as you would guess, in Greek though he did write a few works in Latin. These works have mostly been lost to us today except for two of them.
Because of his works and religion, he was martyred during the persecution and reign of Emperor Diocletian. Even so, his works still live on today. His accomplishments towards furthering the reach of God’s Word and wisdom were successful.
God Bless him and may we spread the Word of God to those that He places in our path.
Today, May 8, we celebrate the life and works of St Peter of Tarantaise. Born in France, St Peter was rather like most young boys in the sense that he had a desire to learn and dedicated himself to his studies because he knew that that was where his future was. He worked hard and at twenty, St Peter joined the Cistercian Order at Bonneveaux with his two brothers as well as his father. He was greatly known for his piety and, in ten years, he was sent to become abbot of Tamie. There he worked hard to ensure others would receive God’s Word and love and he had built a hospice for travelers to use when they came through the area.
In 1142, he was appointed as archbishop of Tarantaise, even though he didn’t want to become such. Even so, he worked hard and dedicated his time and energy towards reforming the diocese, purging the clergy of corrupt and immoral members, aiding the poor, and promoting education. He is also credited with starting the custom of distributing bread and soup the so called May Bread just before the harvest, a custom which endured throughout France until the French Revolution
After 13 years as bishop, he suddenly disappeared. Eventually it was discovered that he was serving as a lay brother in a Cistercian abbey in Switzerland and was convinced to return to Tarantaise and resume his episcopal duties. Trusted as an advisor by popes and kings, he defended papal rights in France and was called upon to assist in bringing about a reconciliation between King Louis VII of France and then Prince Henry II of England.
God Bless him and may we also have such faith to want to serve others as God would want us to.