Sunday, August 7, 2011

Saints Days this Week (August 8 -13)

During this week, the Church celebrates the feasts of: St. Dominic (August 8), St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (August 9), St. Lawrence (August 10), St. Clare (August 11), St. Jane Frances Chantel (August 12), St. Pontian (August 13), and St. Hippolytus (August 13).

St. Dominic de Guzman received a vision from Our Lady who showed him a wreath of roses, representing the rosary. She told him to say the rosary daily, teach it to all who would listen, and eventually the true faith would win out. Dominic is often credited with the invention of the rosary; it actually pre-dates him, but he certainly spread devotion to it, and used it to strengthen his own spiritual life.

St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) was both Jewish and Catholic.  She took the vows of a Carmelite nun in 1934 was assigned to Echt, Netherlands in 1938. When the Nazis invaded the Netherlands, she and her sister Rose, also a convert to Catholicism, were captured and sent to the concentration camp at Auschwitz where they died in the ovens like so many others.

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. Martyrdom of St. Lawrence. Rome. c.1600.
On Wednesday, August 10, we will celebrate the feast of Saint Lawrence, a deacon of the Roman Church who was martyred during the persecution of Valerian in 258. Tradition tells us that Saint Lawrence's martyrdom was particularly painful: He was roasted on a gridiron.

Lawrence was commanded to appear for his execution, and to bring along the treasure with which he had been entrusted by the pope. When he arrived, the archdeacon was accompanied by a multitude of Rome‘s crippled, blind, sick, and indigent. He announced that these were the true treasures of the Church.

Over time, accounts of Lawrence's martyrdom took on new details, and even some generally reliable sources report that, halfway through his torture, Saint Lawrence supposedly said, "Flip me over; I'm done on this side." While almost certainly not literally true, this story contains a spiritual truth, illustrating the strength of Saint Lawrence's faith, which was shared by the martyrs of the early Church. Even in the face of great physical pain and certain death, they could remain filled with joy, because they knew that they were standing up for Christ.

St. Clare
St. Clare -  After hearing Saint Francis of Assisi preach in the streets, Clare confided to him her desire to live for God, and the two became close friends.
She eventually took the veil from Saint Francis at the Church of Our Lady of the Angels in Assisi, Italy.
Clare founded the Order of Poor Ladies (Poor Clares) at San Damiano, and led it for 40 years. Everywhere the Franciscans established themselves throughout Europe, there also went the Poor Clares, depending solely on alms, forced to have complete faith on God to provide through people; this lack of land-based revenues was a new idea at the time. Clare’s mother and sisters later joined the order, and there are still thousands of members living lives of silence and prayer.

An interesting tidbit: Her rapport with animals was so dramatic that her cat demonstrated an uncanny understanding of her wishes and used to bring things to her when she was too ill to rise

The icon of St. Clare is by Terence Nelson - his note on it reads, in part:As in her life, St. Clare devoutly holds the monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament in protection of the monastery. At her feet are cats, symbolizing the contemplative life. Consistent with Franciscan love of nature, a sparrow nests in the colonnade, “Even the sparrow has found a home ... where she may have her young – a place near your altar, O Lord Almighty, my King and my God.” (Psalm 84:3)

St. Jane Frances Chantel was born in 1572. She became a widow at twenty-eight, with four children. The broken-hearted baroness took a vow of chastity. In all her prayers she besought God to send her a guide and God, in a vision, showed her the spiritual director He held in reserve for her.
During Lent, 1604, she visited her father at Dijon, where St. Francis de Sales was preaching at the Sainte Chapelle. She recognized in him the mysterious director who had been shown her, and placed herself under his guidance.  She knew that God was calling her to found the Congregation of the Visitation.

Her reputation for sanctity was widespread. Queens, princes, and princesses flocked to the reception-room of the Visitation. Wherever she went to establish foundations, the people gave her ovations. "These people", she would say confused, "do not know me; they are mistaken". Her body is venerated with that of St. Francis de Sales in the church of the Visitation at Annecy. She was beatified in 1751, canonized in 1767, and 21 August was appointed as her feast day.

St. Pontain: Son of Calpurnius. 18th pope in 230. Ended the schism of Hippolytus and reconciled the schismatics with the Church. Exiled with Saint Hippolytus by emperor Maximinus Thrax to Sardinia and sentenced to work in the mines, he abdicated the papacy on 28 September 235 so a new man could lead the Church. 

The Martyrdom of St. Hippolytus
St. Hippolytus:
The Martyr Saint Hippolytus of Rome (c. 170- c. 236) was a disciple of 
The Martyr Saint Irenaeus of Lyon (c. 130-202), who was a disciple of 
The Martyr Saint Polycarp of Smyrna (c. 69-81 to c. 155-167), who was a disciple of 
The Apostle and Evangelist Saint John the Theologian, who was a disciple of 
Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Saint Hippolytus, the last of Greek-speaking fathers in Rome, is believed to have been a soldier converted to Christ. Martyred for assisting at the burial of some his martyred charges.

Due to a clerical error, Hippolytus was inadvertently listed as two people, Hippolytus of Rome and Hippolytus of Porto, on some calendars. The second entry had the feast day of 22 August. This problem was corrected in the calendar revision of 1969.

The Catholic Encyclopedia
Holy Comforter Parish Newsletter

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