Category Archives: Calendar of Saints

July 14: Saint Kateri Tekakwitha

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha
St. Kateri Tekakwitha
[Pronounciation: Gah-deh-lee Deh-gah-quee-tah]

Kateri was born in 1656 near the town of Auriesville, New York, the daughter of a Mohawk warrior. She was baptized by Jesuit missionary Fr. Jacques de Lambertville on Easter of 1676 at the age of twenty. She devoted her life to prayer, penitential practices, and the care of the sick and aged in Caughnawaga near Montreal (where her relics are now enshrined). She incurred the hostility of her tribe because of her faith. She was devoted to the Eucharist, and to Jesus Crucified, and was called the “Lily of the Mohawks.” She died in 1680 and was beatified June 22, 1980 — the first native American to be declared “Blessed.” She was canonized on October 21, 2012.

The Office of Readings
The Second Reading
A reading from Saint of the Day, by Leonard Foley, O.F.M

The blood of martyrs is the seed of saints. Nine years after the Jesuits Isaac Jogues and John de Brebeuf were tortured to death by Huron and Iroquois Native American nations, a baby girl was born near the place of their martyrdom, Auriesville, New York. She was to be the first person born in North America to be beatified. Her mother was a Christian Algonquin, taken captive by the Iroquois and given as wife to the chief of the Mohawk clan, the boldest and fiercest of the Five Nations. When she was four, Kateri lost her parents and little brother in a smallpox epidemic that left her disfigured and half blind. She was adopted by an uncle, who succeeded her father as chief. He hated the coming of the Blackrobes (missionaries), but could do nothing to them because a peace treaty with the French required their presence in villages with Christian captives. She was moved by the words of three Blackrobes who lodged with her uncle, but fear of him kept her from seeking instruction. She refused to marry a Mohawk man and at nineteen finally got the courage to take the step of converting. She was baptized with the name Catherine (“Kateri”), which she took from St. Catherine of Siena, on Easter Sunday.

She was now treated as a slave. Because she would not work on Sunday, she received no food that day. Her life in grace grew rapidly. She told a missionary that she often meditated on the great dignity of being baptized. She was powerfully moved by God’s love for human beings and saw the dignity of each of her people. She was always in danger, for her conversion and holy life created great opposition. On the advice of a priest, she stole away one night and began a two-hundred-mile walking journey to a Christian Native American village at Sault St. Louis, near Montreal.

For three years she grew in holiness under the direction of a priest and an older Iroquois woman, giving herself totally to God in long hours of prayer, in charity and in strenuous penance. At twenty three she took a vow of virginity, an unprecedented act for a Native American woman, whose future depended on being married. She found a place in the woods where she could pray an hour a day and was accused of meeting a man there. Her dedication to virginity was instinctive: She did not know about religious life for women until she visited Montreal. Inspired by this, she and two friends wanted to start a community, but the local priest dissuaded her. She humbly accepted an “ordinary” life. She practiced extremely severe fasting as penance for the conversion of her nation. She died the afternoon before Holy Thursday. Witnesses said that her emaciated face changed color and became like that of a healthy child. The lines of suffering, even the pockmarks, disappeared and the touch of a smile came upon her lips. She was beatified in 1980.

Collect Prayer

O God, who desired the Virgin St. Kateri Tekakwitha to flower among Native Americans in a life of innocence, grant, through her intercession, that when all are gathered into your Church from every nation, tribe and tongue, they may magnify you in a single canticle of praise. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Symbols: lily (a symbol of her purity); a cross (a symbol of her love of Jesus Christ); a turtle (a symbol of her clan).

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Conversion of St. Paul

The Road to Damascus by Brian Doc Reed.
The Road to Damascus by Brian Doc Reed.

“I was going to Damascus, armed with full powers and a commission from the chief priests, and at midday as I was on my way, I saw a light brighter than the sun come down from heaven. It shone brilliantly round me and my fellow travellers. We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Hebrew, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you, kicking like this against the goad.’ Then I said: Who are you, Lord? And the Lord answered, ‘I am Jesus, and you are persecuting me. But get up and stand on your feet, for I have appeared to you for this reason: to appoint you as my servant and as witness of this vision in which you have seen me, and of others in which I shall appear to you. I shall deliver you from the people and from the pagans, to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light, from the dominion of Satan to God, and receive, through faith in me, forgiveness of their sins and a share in the inheritance of the sanctified.’”

Acts 26: 12-18; JB

The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

St. Anselm
St. Anselm of Canterbury (AD 1033-1109) was a Benedictine monk, a philosopher, and the father of scholasticism. He is best known for his ontological proof of God’s existence.

“O Virgin, by whose blessing all nature is blessed!”

“Sky, stars, earth, rivers, day, night, and all things that are meant to serve man and be for his good rejoice because of you, our Lady. Through you they have returned to life; enriched with a new grace that words cannot describe. When they lost the noble purpose of their nature, for which they had been made, of serving and helping those who praise God, they were like dead things. They were crushed, disfigured, and abused by idol worshipers for whom they had not been made. They rejoice now as if they had come to life again. Now they are made beautiful because they serve and are used by those who believe in God.

“A new and priceless grace has made them almost leap for joy. They have not merely felt God himself, their creator, ruling them invisibly from above, but they have seen him visibly within themselves using them in his work of sanctification. These immense benefits have come through the blessed fruit of the blessed womb of the blessed Mary.

“Through the fullness of your grace, the things in the lower world rejoice in the gift of freedom and the things above the world are gladdened by being renewed. Through the one glorious Son of your glorious virginity all the just who died before his life-giving death rejoice that their captivity has been ended, and the angels delight that their half-ruined city is restored. O woman, full and more than full of grace, all creation has received of the overflow of your fullness and its youth has been renewed! O blessed and more than blessed Virgin, through your blessing all creation is blessed. Not only is creation blessed by the creator, but creation blesses its creator.

“God gave to Mary his Son, the Only-begotten of his heart, equal to himself, whom he loved as himself. From Mary he fashioned himself a Son, not another one but the same, so that by nature there would be one and the same Son both of God and of Mary. Every nature is created by God, and God is born of Mary. God created all things and Mary gave birth to God. God himself, who made all things, made himself from Mary. In this way he remade all that he had made. He who was able to make all things out of nothing, when they have been defaced would not remake them without Mary’s help.

“God is, then, Father of all created things and Mary is mother of all that has been recreated. God is Father of the institution of all things and Mary is the mother of the restitution of all things. God begot him through whom all things were made and Mary gave birth to him through whom all things are saved. God begot him without whom nothing at all exists and Mary gave birth to him without whom nothing that exists is good.

“The Lord is indeed with you. For he granted to you that all nature should owe so great a debt to you jointly with himself. ”

Excerpted from the discourses of St. Anselm; from the 8 December Office of Readings – The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Prayer of St. Andrew

The Martyrdom of St. Andrew - Bartolome Esteban Murillo
The Martyrdom of St. Andrew – Bartolome Esteban Murillo

After St. Andrew had hung from his cross for three days, the proconsul who had condemned him to death approached. He ordered that St. Andrew be lowered down and rescued. St. Andrew then recited the following prayer:

“Lord, do not let me come down alive! It is time for you to entrust my body to the earth. You entrusted it to me, and I have borne it so long and watched over it and worked so hard, and now I wish to be discharged of this obedience and relieved of this most burdensome garment. I think of how I have labored to carry its weight, to control its unruliness, to support its weakness, to compel its slow responses. You know, O Lord, how often it has struggled to draw me away from the purity of contemplation and awaken me from the repose of that most sweet stillness, how many and how grave pains it has inflicted on me. O most kind Father, I have resisted the assaults of this body for so long, and with your help I have mastered it. Just and loving Rewarder, I beg of you not to leave it any longer in my care! I give back what you entrusted to me. Commend it to the earth so that I will not have to take care of it, and it will not curb and hamper me, thirsting as I am to come freely to you, the inexhaustible source of life and joy.”

(Thus Augustine.)

The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
From the Book by S. John Damascene On the Orthodox Faith Bk. 4 Ch. 15

Joachim married that most virtuous and praiseworthy woman, Anne. Just as in former times another Anne had, by prayer and promise, born Samuel, although she had been suffering from the affliction of barrenness, similarly, this Anne, by prayer and promise, received from God the Mother of God, so that in the matter of childbearing she was far from being inferior to the other virtuous wives. Therefore Grace, (for that is the meaning of the name, Anne) bore the Queen (for thus is the name, Mary, interpreted), and indeed she was made Queen of all things created since she was the Mother of their Creator.

It was in Joachim’s house near the pool of Bethsaida that Mary opened her infant eyes to the light of this world, and she was presented in the temple as a child. So, planted in the house of God, and nourished by the Holy Spirit, she was made like the olive branches, laden with domestic virtues. So manifestly had her soul been kept from all worldliness and desires of the flesh, so completely had she remained a virgin both in body and in soul, that she was found worthy and prepared to receive God in her breast.

The feast of the presentation of Mary is founded on a pious tradition, originated by two apocryphal gospels which relate that the Blessed Virgin was presented in the temple of Jerusalem when three years old, and that she lived there with other girls and the holy women who had them in their care. Already in the sixth century the event is commemorated in the East and the Emperor Michael Comnenus alludes to it in a constitution of 1166

Saint Anicetus

APRIL 17.

SAINT ANICETUS,

POPE AND MARTYR.

Saint Anicetus
A Pope and Martyr of the second century appears on the Calendar to-day. The Martyrs stand in clusters near our Risen Lord ; they are the Eagles, of which he speaks in his Gospel, as gathering together around their longed-for object. (St. Matth. xxiv, 28.) Anicetus is not the only Pope, whose Martyrdom has to be celebrated during Paschal Time; others will come, adding to our Easter joy. The Saint who claims our attention to-day, is one of those whose holy actions are shrouded in the venerable gloom of the Church ; and yet, his memory will be held in veneration to the end of time, not only as being the eleventh successor of St. Peter, in the See of Rome, but as having imitated him also in holiness of life. St. Polycarp, whose Feast we kept on the twenty-sixth of January, came from Smyrna to Rome, in order to visit him and receive his advice. There have also been transmitted to us one or two instances of the zeal, wherewith he defended the Church against the heresiarchs, Valentine and Marcion. In a word, we know that he was a Martyr ; and that is enough to immortalise his name.

The Church makes the following commemoration of the holy Pontiff.

Anicetus, a Syrian by birth, governed the Church during the reign of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. He passed a decree, which forbade Clerics to nourish their hair. The ordinations, which he held in five Decembers, gave seventeen Priests,four Deacons, and nine Bishops for divers places. His Pontificate lasted eight years, eight months, and twenty -four days. He was crowned with Martyrdom for the Christian Faith, and was buried, on the fifteenth of the Kalends of May (April 17th), in the Cemetery, (afterwards called the Cemetery of Callixtus,) which is on the Appian Way.

Holy Pontiff! who so many long ages ago wast made partaker of the glory of Him. whose Vicar and Martyr thou hadst the privilege to be, — we this day- celebrate thy blessed memory with filial affection. In thee we venerate one of the pillars of the early Church ; and though thy name has been handed down to us, without the history of those holy deeds, which merited for thee a Martyr’s palm, — we at least know that it was dear to the Faithful of the
age in which thou livedst. Now that thou art in heaven, thy zeal for the glory of God is greater than
it was when thou wast on this earth ; pray, then, for the Church of these sad times. Upwards of two hundred Pontiffs have followed thee upon the Chair of Peter ; and Christ has not yet come to judge the world. Assist thy Successor who is our Father ; assist the Flock intrusted to his charge, for the dangers that now threateu us are extreme. Thy Pontificate was during a stormy period ; pray to our Risen Jesus, that he would quell the tempest that is now howling round the Bark of Peter. Beseech him to give us perseverance and courage. Obtain for us that we may fix our hearts on our heavenly country ; so that, when God calls us hence, we may be prepared as thou wast. We are the descendants of the Martyrs ; their Faith is ours ; the Hope that cheered them, must be our consolation.