Monday, July 31, 2017

Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola

File:St Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) Founder of the Jesuits.jpg
St. Ignatius of Loyola by Peter Paul Rubens (+1640AD).

Today is the feast of the great founder of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuit Order, St. Ignatius Loyola (+1556).

His was a remarkable life -- a soldier converted while wounded by reading the lives of the saints in his convalescence; founded the Jesuits in 1540 with the approval of Pope Paul III; wrote the magnificent Spiritual Exercises; founded the Roman College -- all of this Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, for the greater glory of God.  At his death in Rome in 1556AD, his order had over a thousand members, 76 houses, 12 provinces, and had members in modern countries including Brazil, India, and Japan in the missions there.

St. Ignatius of Loyola is buried in the Church of the Gesu in Roma, one of the prototypes of the Baroque Church.  He is buried in the left transept in a chapel that was the work of the great Baroque artist Andrea Pozzo (+1709AD)

Church of the Gesù, Rome.jpg
"Church of the Gesù, Rome" by Alessio Damato - File:Chiesa gesu facade.jpg (cropped). Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

"Lazio Roma Gesu1 tango7174" by Tango7174 - Own work. Licensed under GFDL via Wikimedia Commons

The facade and interior of the Gesu in Rome, ItalySt. Ignatius is buried in the left transept.

You might visit the official site of that Church, which does have a virtual tour: Chiesa del Gesu, Roma, Italia

I might add, too, that one of the books that helped bring about his conversion was none other than the Golden Legend by Blessed Jacobus de Voragine, OP: Catholic Saints Info: The Golden Legend, by Blessed Jacobus de Voragine

For more information: Catholic Saints Info: St. Ignatius of Loyola

and: Old Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Ignatius of Loyola

I leave you with some music composed by a spiritual son of St. Ignatius, and a missionary to the Jesuit South American Reductions, Domenico Zipoli, SJ (+1726AD), in honor of St. Ignatius:

Live well!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Feast of St. Martha

Johannes (Jan) Vermeer - Christ in the House of Martha and Mary - Google Art Project.jpg
Christ in the House of Mary and Martha by Jan Vermeer, ca. 1655.

Today is the feast of St. Martha, a disciple of Christ, and famous for her asking Our Lord to send Mary to help her in the kitchen, this from the Gospel of St. Luke, Chapter 10: "38 In one of the villages he entered during his journey, a woman called Martha entertained him in her house. 39 She had a sister called Mary; and Mary took her place at the Lord’s feet, and listened to his words. 40 Martha was distracted by waiting on many needs; so she came to his side, and asked, Lord, art thou content that my sister should leave me to do the serving alone? Come, bid her help me. 41 Jesus answered her, Martha, Martha, how many cares and troubles thou hast! 42 But only one thing is necessary; and Mary has chosen for herself the best part of all, that which shall never be taken away from her. "

St. Martha should be much more famous for her words of Faith in John 11:27: "Yes, Lord, she told him, I have learned to believe that thou art the Christ; thou art the Son of the living God; it is for thy coming the world has waited."

By longstanding tradition, St. Martha is the sister of St. Lazarus, and the Mary mentioned above is St. Mary Magdalene, whose feast we celebrated a week ago.

As you might expect, St. Martha is a patroness and example to those who cook and keep house!

File:Saint martha.jpg
St. Martha pictured in the Flemish Isabella Breviary, 1497AD.

The Golden Legend of Blessed Jacobus de Voragine (+1298AD), Dominican Archbishop of Genoa, presents details of the later life of St. Martha as expressed by some Provencal traditions:
Golden Legend: St. Martha

There are some splendid customs associated with the Feast of St. Martha, about which you may read here: Fisheaters: Feast of St. Martha

For more:
Old Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Martha

Catholic Saints Info: St. Martha

Live well!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


This day, 26 July, marks the Feast on which we recall, celebrate, and invoke the intercession of the parents of the Blessed Mother, Sts. Anne and Joachim.  Traditionally, this day focuses most especially on St. Anne, grandmother of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.  I shall revisit St. Joachim on his traditional observance.

The Education of the Virgin by Rubens, ca. 1626AD.  St. Anne & St. Joachim are with a young St. Mary.

This site presents a short summary of information on St. Anne, the patron saint of Grandparents; note particularly the interesting notes regarding Canada!  Catholic Saints Info: St. Anne

Here is a beautiful text of St. John Damascene (+749AD) from that Patron Saint site:
"Joachim and Anne, how blessed a couple! All creation is indebted to you. For at your hands the Creator was offered a gift excelling all other gifts: a chaste mother, who alone was worthy of him. Joachim and Anne, how blessed and spotless a couple! You will be known by the fruit you have borne, as the Lord says: “By their fruits you will know them.” The conduct of your life pleased God and was worthy of your daughter. For by the chaste and holy life you led together, you have fashioned a jewel of virginity: she who remained a virgin before, during, and after giving birth. She alone for all time would maintain her virginity in mind and soul as well as in body. Joachim and Anne, how chaste a couple! While leading a devout and holy life in your human nature, you gave birth to a daughter nobler than the angels, whose queen she now is."

Also, for more on St. Anne:
Old Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Anne

Finally, this link goes the Golden Legend of Blessed Jacobus de Voragine (+1298), Dominican Archbishop of Genoa, and compiler of hagiography, with an account of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, which certain involved St. Anne, along with St. Joachim:
Golden Legend: Nativity of Our Lady


Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré 
["Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre in Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre, Quebec, Canada" by Didier Moïse. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons]

On this feast of St. Anne, the mother of Our Lady, and grandmother of Our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ, let us recall on of the great churches in honor of this great saint-- the Basilica of St. Anne-de-Beaupré in the Canadian province of Quebec.  This Basilica just celebrated the 350th anniversary of the location being a center of devotion to St. Anne in 2008.  Here is a link to the official site of the Basilica:
Basilica of St. Anne de Beaupre

The magnificent statue of St. Anne with her daughter, the Blessed Virgin, at the Basilica.

The Old Catholic Encyclopedia gives an account of the founding of the Basilica:
"Devotion to Saint Anne, in Canada, goes back to the beginning of New France, and was brought thither by the first settlers and early missionaries. The hardy pioneers soon began to till the fertile soil of the Beaupré hillside; in the region which now forms the parish of Sainte Anne de Beaupré the first houses date from the year 1650. Nor was it long before the settlers built themselves a chapel where they might meet for Divine worship. One of their number, the Sieur Etienne Lessard, offered to give the land required at the spot which the church authorities should find suitable. On 13 March, 1658, therefore, the missionary, Father Vignal, came to choose the site and to bless the foundation of the proposed chapel which, by general consent, was to be dedicated to St. Anne. The very day the Saint showed how favourably she viewed the undertaking by healing Louis Guimont, an inhabitant of Beaupré, who suffered terribly from rheumatism of the loins. Full of confidence in St. Anne, he came forward and placed three stones in the foundations of the new building, whereupon he found himself suddenly and completely cured of his ailment.
This first authentic miracle was the precursor of countless other graces and favours of all kinds. For two centuries and a half the great wonder-worker has ceaselessly and lavishly shown her kindness to all the sufferers who from all parts of North America flock every year to Beaupré to implore her help. The old church was begun in 1676, and used for worship until 1876, when it was replaced by the present one, opened in October of that year. This last was built of cut stone, by means of contributions from all the Catholics of Canada. The offerings made by pilgrims have defrayed the cost of fittings and decoration. It is two hundred feet long, and one hundred wide, including the side chapels. Leo XIII raised it to the rank of a minor basilica 5 May, 1887; on 19 May, 1889, it was solemnly consecrated by Cardinal Taschereau, Archbishop of Quebec. It has been served by the Redemptorists since 1878. On either side of the main doorway are huge pyramids of crutches, walking-sticks, bandages, and other appliances left behind by the cripples, lame, and sick, who, having prayed to St. Anne at her shrine, have gone home healed."  [cf., Old Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Anne de Beaupre]

The current Basilica, built in 1926 after the original was destroyed by fire, boasts several significant relics of St. Anne, and remains a popular place of pilgrimage [this blogger went on his honeymoon there].

Here is a link to the local municipality: Ville de Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre

Live well!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Feast of St. James the Greater and St. Christopher

Guido Reni - Saint James the Greater - Google Art Project.jpg
Image of St. James the Greater by Guido Reni.

Today is the great feast day of the Apostle, St. James the Greater, and also the feast of the famous patron of travelers, St. Christopher.  On such an occasion, we should say something, at least briefly, on each.

St. James the Greater was one of the twelve Apostles chosen by our Divine Lord, a son of Zebedee and Salome (cf.  Matthew 27:56Mark 15:4016:1).  He was, further, the brother of St. John the Evangelist, the Beloved Apostle.

The following account from the Old Catholic Encyclopedia sums up St. James and his ministry rather well:
"The Galilean origin of St. James in some degree explains the energy of temper and the vehemence of character which earned for him and St. John the name of Boanerges, "sons of thunder" (Mark 3:17); the Galilean race was religious, hardy, industrious, brave, and the strongest defender of the Jewish nation.
When John the Baptist proclaimed the kingdom of the Messias, St. John became a disciple (John 1:35); he was directed to "the Lamb of God" and afterwards brought his brother James to the Messias; the obvious meaning of John 1:41, is that St. Andrew finds his brother (St. Peter) first and that afterwards St. John (who does not name himself, according to his habitual and characteristic reserve and silence about himself) finds his brother (St. James). The call of St. James to the discipleship of the Messias is reported in a parallel or identical narration by Matthew 4:18-22Mark 1:19 sq.; and Luke 5:1-11. The two sons of Zebedee, as well as Simon (Peter) and his brother Andrew with whom they were in partnership (Luke 5:10), were called by the Lord upon the Sea of Galilee, where all four with Zebedee and his hired servants were engaged in their ordinary occupation of fishing. The sons of Zebedee "forthwith left their nets and father, and followed him" (Matthew 4:22), and became "fishers of men".
St. James was afterwards with the other eleven called to the Apostleship (Matthew 10:1-4Mark 3:13-19Luke 6:12-16Acts 1:13). In all four lists the names of Peter and Andrew, James and John form the first group, a prominent and chosen group (cf. Mark 13:3); especially Peter, James, and John. These three Apostles alone were admitted to be present at the miracle of the raising of Jairus's daughter (Mark 5:37Luke 8:51), at the Transfiguration (Mark 9:1Matthew 17:1Luke 9:28), and the Agony in Gethsemani (Matthew 26:37Mark 14:33). The fact that the name of James occurs always (except in Luke 8:519:28Acts 1:13 — Greek Text) before that of his brother seems to imply that James was the elder of the two. It is worthy of notice that James is never mentioned in the Gospel of St. John; this author observes a humble reserve not only with regard to himself, but also about the members of his family.
Several incidents scattered through the Synoptics suggest that James and John had that particular character indicated by the name "Boanerges," sons of thunder, given to them by the Lord (Mark 3:17); they were burning and impetuous in their evangelical zeal and severe in temper. The two brothers showed their fiery temperament against "a certain man casting out devils" in the name of the Christ; John, answering, said: "We [James is probably meant] forbade him, because he followeth not with us" (Luke 9:49). When the Samaritans refused to receive Christ, James and John said: "Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them?" (Luke 9:54; cf. 9:49)." [Cf., Old Catholic Encyclopedia: St. James the Greater]

St. James, after the Passion and Resurrection of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, preached the Gospel of Christ, and was finally beheaded at the order of Herod Agrippa in 42 or 44AD.  This webpage gives a good overview of the saint: Catholic Saints Info: St. James the Greater

For more on the customs associated with this great feast, you might check out: Fisheaters: Feast of St. James the Greater

Image of St. James under the title of "Matamoros" -- a great patron of the Reconquista of Spain from the Muslims -- from the Cathedral of Cordoba.
[By Marshall Henrie - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0]

The site most associated with St. James the Greater now is, of course, the site of relics in Compostela in Galicia, Spain.  The great Shrine of Santiago de Compostella is one of the great pilgrimage sites in all Christendom.  Indeed, the great Camino, or pilgrimage, is still a popular way to arrive at the holy site.  The authenticity of the relics of Compostella is attested to by Pope Leo XIII in his Bull, "Omnipotens Deus," of 1 November, 1884.  Here is a link to the site of the great Cathedral at Compostella: Catedral de Santiago, Espana

Image of St. Christopher, circa 1588, by Simon Pereyns, from the Cathedral of Mexico City.
[By Simon Pereyns, Flemish painter.(Life time: Amberes, c. 1530 - México, c. 1600) - Original publication: Mexico City Immediate source:, PD-US]

Today we also celebrate the feast of St. Christopher, about whom we know a great deal less.  He was a martyr of Lycia in Asia Minor who suffered for the Christian Faith in 250AD, during the savage persecution of Decius.  The Old Catholic Encyclopedia gives an account of his legend: Old Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Christopher  Likewise, this site provides some information: Catholic Saints Info: St. Christopher

St. James the Greater and St. Christopher, pray for us!

Live well!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Feast of St. Mary Magdalene, Apostle to the Apostles

Mary Magdalene reading by Piero di Cosimo

Today is the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene -- the "apostle to the Apostles" as she is known, for it was she that brought word of the Resurrection to the Apostles.

This Old Catholic Encyclopedia notes: "In the New Testament she is mentioned among the women who accompanied Christ and ministered to Him (Luke 8:2-3), where it is also said that seven devils had been cast out of her (Mark 16:9). She is next named as standing at the foot of the cross (Mark 15:40Matthew 27:56John 19:25Luke 23:49). She saw Christ laid in the tomb, and she was the first recorded witness of the Resurrection."

Pope St. Gregory the Great said of her: "When Mary Magdalen came to the tomb and did not find the Lord’s body, she thought it had been taken away and so informed the disciples. After they came and saw the tomb, they too believed what Mary had told them. The text then says: “The disciples went back home,” and it adds: “but Mary wept and remained standing outside the tomb.” We should reflect on Mary’s attitude and the great love she felt for Christ; for though the disciples had left the tomb, she remained. She was still seeking the one she had not found, and while she sought she wept; burning with the fire of love, she longed for him who she thought had been taken away. And so it happened that the woman who stayed behind to seek Christ was the only one to see him. For perseverance is essential to any good deed, as the voice of truth tell us: 'Whoever perseveres to the end will be saved.'" (From the Catholic Saints Info Page, linked below).

File:Basilique de Vézelay Narthex Tympan central 220608.jpg
Her relics are associated with the Abbey of Vezelay, in France, pictured above.

The official website of the abbey cane by found here: La basilique de Vezelay

For more:
Old Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Mary Magdalene

Catholic Saints Info: St. Mary Magdalene

This site, in particular, has information on customs associated with this feast:
Fisheaters: Feast of St. Mary Magdalene

Last year, Pope Francis changed the status of the Memorial of St. Mary Magdalene to that of a full feast in the ordinary calendar: Vatican Radio: 10 June 2016: Commemoration of St. Mary Magdalene raised to a feast

Live well!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Martyrs of Revolution: the Carmelites of Compiegne

Today is the feast of the Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne, France, who were put to death during the French Revolution on this day in the year 1794AD at the tail end of the Reign of Terror.

These blessed Carmelite martyrs were executed for their faithfulness to the Catholic Faith and their religious vows in the face of the demonic and militantly secularist French Revolutionary government of the Reign of Terror.

God chooses the weak, and makes them strong.  These little sisters were not broken by the fury and malice of that Revolution.

Their names:

They were beatified in 1906 by Pope St. Pius X.

For more:
Catholic Saints Info: Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne

Old Catholic Encyclopedia: Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne

The Martyrs of Compiegne by Newkirk

Their story was made into a novella, in 1931, by Gertrude von le Fort, entitle The Song at the Scaffold; a liberetto by Georges Bernanos; and based on the Bernanos text, an Opera by Francis Poulenc, Dialogues of the Carmelites in 1957.

The closing scene of the Opera by Poulenc -- the execution of the sisters -- is moving, indeed.  They sing a haunting version of the Salve Regina as, one by one, they are guillotined.  There is some introduction before the sound of the guillotine begins -- and it is heart wrenching to hear the voices dwindle to one, and then none:

Live well!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Pietro Novelli Our Lady of Carmel and Saints.JPG
Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saints, Pietro Novelli

Today is the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and seems a good moment to recall the history of this feast and the particular place the mountain, Mount Carmel, had in the Scriptures.

The following is the account of the Old Catholic Encyclopedia on today's feast:

"This feast was instituted by the Carmelites between 1376 and 1386 under the title 'Commemoratio B. Marif Virg. duplex' to celebrate the victory of their order over its enemies on obtaining the approbation of its name and constitution from Honorius III on 30 Jan., 1226 (see Colvenerius, 'Kal. Mar.', 30 Jan. 'Summa Aurea', III, 737). The feast was assigned to 16 July, because on that date in 1251, according to Carmelite traditions, the scapular was given by the Blessed Virgin to St. Simon Stock; it was first approved by Sixtus V in 1587. After Cardinal Bellarmine had examined the Carmelite traditions in 1609, it was declared the patronal feast of the order, and is now celebrated in the Carmelite calendar as a major double of the first class with a vigil and a privileged octave (like the octave of Epiphany, admitting only a double of the first class) under the title 'Commemoratio solemnis B.V.M. de Monte Carmelo'. By a privilege given by Clement X in 1672, some Carmelite monasteries keep the feast on the Sunday after 16 July, or on some other Sunday in July. In the seventeenth century the feast was adopted by several dioceses in the south of Italy, although its celebration, outside of Carmelite churches, was prohibited in 1628 by a decree contra abusus. On 21 Nov., 1674, however, it was first granted by Clement X to Spain and its colonies, in 1675 to Austria, in 1679 to Portugal and its colonies, and in 1725 to the Papal States of the Church, on 24 Sept., 1726, it was extended to the entire Latin Church by Benedict XIII. The lessons contain the legend of the scapular; the promise of the Sabbatine privilege was inserted into the lessons by Paul V about 1614. The Greeks of southern Italy and the Catholic Chaldeans have adopted this feast of the "Vestment of the Blessed Virgin Mary". The object of the feast is the special predilection of Mary for those who profess themselves her servants by wearing her scapular (see CARMELITES)."

File:Caiobadner - mount carmel.JPG
Mount Carmel, in modern Israel.

Mount Carmel itself was the site of Elijah challenging the pagans, as we read in 1 Kings 18:

"After many days, the word of the Lord came to Elias, in the third year, saying: Go, and show yourself to Achab, that I may give rain upon the face of the earth. 2 And Elias went to show himself to Achab, and there was a grievous famine in Samaria. 3 And Achab called Abdias the governor of his house: now Abdias feared the Lord very much. 4 For when Jezabel killed the prophets of the Lord, he took a hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty and fifty in caves, and fed them with bread and water. 5 And Achab said to Abdias: Go into the land unto all fountains of waters, and into all valleys, to see if we can find grass, and save the horses and mules, that the beasts may not utterly perish. 6 And they divided the countries between them, that they might go round about them: Achab went one way, and Abdias another way by himself. 7 And as Abdias was in the way, Elias met him: and he knew him, and fell on his face, and said: Are you my lord Elias? 8 And he answered: I am. Go, and tell your master: Elias is here. 9 And he said: What have I sinned, that you would deliver me, your servant, into the hand of Achab, that he should kill me? 10 As the Lord your God lives, there is no nation or kingdom, whither my lord has not sent to seek you: and when all answered: He is not here: he took an oath of every kingdom and nation, because you were not found. 11 And now you say to me: Go and tell your master: Elias is here. 12 And when I have gone from you, the Spirit of the Lord will carry you into a place that I know not: and I shall go in and tell Achab; and he, not finding you, will kill me: but your servant fears the Lord from his infancy. 13 Has it not been told you, my lord, what I did when Jezabel killed the prophets of the Lord; how I hid a hundred men of the prophets of the Lord, by fifty and fifty in caves, and fed them with bread and water? 14 And now you say: Go and tell your master: Elias is here: that he may kill me. 15 And Elias said: As the Lord of hosts lives, before whose face I stand, this day I will show myself unto him. 16 Abdias therefore went to meet Achab, and told him: and Achab came to meet Elias. 17 And when he had seen him, he said: Are you he that troubles Israel? 18 And he said: I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father's house, who have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and have followed Baalim.  19 Nevertheless send now, and gather unto me all Israel, unto Mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, who eat at Jezabel's table. 20 Achab sent to all the children of Israel, and gathered together the prophets unto mount Carmel. 21 And Elias coming to all the people, said: How long do you halt between two sides? If the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people did not answer him a word. 22 And Elias said again to the people: I only remain a prophet of the Lord: but the prophets of Baal are four hundred and fifty men. 23 Let two bullocks be given us, and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it upon wood, but put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under it. 24 Call on the names of your gods, and I will call on the name of my Lord: and the God that shall answer by fire, let him be God. And all the people answering, said: A very good proposal. 25 Then Elias said to the prophets of Baal: Choose you one bullock and dress it first, because you are many: and call on the names of your gods; but put no fire under. 26 And they took the bullock, which he gave them, and dressed it: and they called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying: O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered: and they leaped over the altar that they had made. 27 And when it was now noon, Elias jested at them, saying: Cry with a louder voice: for he is a god; and perhaps he is talking, or is in an inn, or on a journey; or perhaps he is asleep, and must be awaked. 28 So they cried with a loud voice, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till they were all covered with blood. 29 And after midday was past, and while they were prophesying, the time had come of offering sacrifice, and there was no voice heard, nor did any one answer, nor regard them as they prayed. 30 Elias said to all the people: Come unto me. And the people coming near unto him, he repaired the altar of the Lord, that was broken down: 31 And he took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob to whom the word of the Lord came, saying: Israel shall be your name. 32 And he built with the stones an altar to the name of the Lord: and he made a trench for water, of the breadth of two furrows, round about the altar. 33 And he laid the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid it upon the wood. 34 And he said: Fill four buckets with water, and pour it upon the burnt offering, and upon the wood. And again he said: Do the same the second time. And when they had done it the second time, he said: Do the same also the third time. And they did so the third time. 35 And the water run round about the altar, and the trench was filled with water. 36 And when it was now time to offer the holocaust, Elias, the prophet, came near and said: O Lord God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Israel, show this day that you are the God of Israel, and I your servant, and that according to your commandment I have done all these things. 37 Dear me, O Lord, hear me: that this people may learn that you are the Lord God, and that you have turned their heart again. 38 Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the holocaust, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. 39 And when all the people saw this, they fell on their faces, and they said: The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God. 40 And Elias said to them: Take the prophets of Baal, and let not one of them escape. And when they had taken them, Elias brought them down to the torrent Cison, and killed them there."

Later, of course, the first members of the Carmelite order lived on this mountain in the 12th century.  There patroness is Our Lady, Mother of God, under the title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death!

Live well!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Feast of St. Maria Goretti

29kb jpg holy card, artist unknown

Today is a feast day of a recent martyr for the virtue of holy purity, St. Maria Goretti (+1902), of Nettuno, Lazio, Italy.  She is such a splendid example of purity in our profoundly impure and immodest age -- she was willing even to die rather than consent to grave sin.  She not only showed the fortitude of her chastity in the face of an attack, but she also forgave her attacker on her very deathbed.  Here we have purity and charity in heroic form, and all of this in a girl of a tender 12 years of age.  God, indeed, chooses the weak and makes them strong.

This provides a link with a bit of information about St. Maria Goretti:
Catholic Saints Info: St. Maria Goretti

Here is the website of the site of his relics in Nettuno, Italy: Basilica of Our Lady of Grace and St. Maria Goretti

From that site, we have a splendid excerpt from the 1950AD homily of Pope Pius XII delivered on the occasion of her canonization -- this in the presence of her mother and repentant murderer:

"It is well known how this young girl had to face a bitter struggle with no way to defend herself. Without warning a vicious stranger burst upon her, bent on raping her and destroying her childlike purity. In that moment of crisis she could have spoken to her Redeemer in the words of that classic, The Imitation of Christ: “Though tested and plagued by a host of misfortunes, I have no fear so long as your grace is with me. It is my strength, stronger than any adversary; it helps me and give me guidance.” With splendid courage she surrendered herself to God and his grace and so gave her life to protect her virginity. The life of a simple girl – I shall concern myself only with highlights – we can see as worthy of heaven. Even today people can look upon it with admiration and respect. Parents can learn from her story how to raise their God-given children in virtue, courage, and holiness; they can learn to train them in the Catholic faith so that, when put to the test, God’s grace will support them and they will come through undefeated, unscathed, and untarnished. From Maria’s story carefree children and young people with their zest for life can learn not to be led astray by attractive pleasures which are not only ephemeral and empty but also sinful. Instead they can fix their sights on achieving Christian moral perfection, however difficult that course may prove. With determination and God’s help all of us can attain that goal by persistent effort and prayer. Not all of us are expected to die a martyr‘s death, but we are all called to the pursuit of Christian virtue. So let us all, with God’s grace, strive to reach the goal that the example of the virgin martyr, Saint Maria Goretti, sets before us. Through her prayers to the Redeemer may all of us, each in his own way, joyfully try to follow the inspiring example of Maria Goretti who now enjoys eternal happiness in heaven."

This blogger's family has a particular devotion to St. Maria Goretti, having both a first class relic, and a daughter bearing the name of Marie in her honor.

St. Maria Goretti, pray for us!

Live well!