SAINT OF THE DAY: 30 APRIL, 2013

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Saint Joseph Benedict Cottolengo
Founder
(1786-1842)

Saint Joseph Benedict Cottolengo was born in 1786 at Bra in Piedmont, Italy. As a secular priest in Turin, he showed a special concern for the sick poor, receiving them into a small house.

This Little House of Divine Providence, the Piccola Casa, as he called it, was the beginning of an entire city of more than 7,000 poor persons, orphans, sick and lame, retarded, penitents, served by several religious Orders.

These were distinguished by their names and their religious habits, each group being dedicated to a specific work they were assigned to do. And of this Piccola Casa, as it is still called, one can say what Saint Gregory Nazienzen said in his funeral eulogy of his friend Saint Basil’s large hospital: Go a little way outside the city and se, in this new city storehouses of piety, the common treasure of the owners, where a surplus of wealth has been laid up, where sickness is borne with patience, misfortune is considered happiness, and compassion is efficaciously practiced.

For this ever more pressing work, the Saint founded fourteen religious communities which today are still very widespread, especially in Italy.

Among them were some which were purely contemplative; the life of prayer its members led was destined to draw down upon the others the blessing of heaven, thus completing by a spiritual work of mercy the corporal works exercised there.

These religious prayed in particular for those who have the greatest need of assistance, the dying and the deceased.

The Saint trusted totally in the infinite kindness of God, and as one of his friends said, he had more confidence in God than did the entire city of Turin.

When he was asked about the source of his revenues, he answered, Providence sends me everything.

Confidence in God did not, however, cause him to cross his arms and observe.

He slept only a few hours, often on a chair or bench, and then returned to his daily labor, work and prayer. But Saint Joseph Benedict was exhausting his strength.

In 1842, the doctors decided that he should go to visit his brother in Chieri.

When he entered the carriage, one of the Sisters cried out in tears: Father, you are sick; what will become of us? Be at peace, he answered. When I am in heaven, where one can do everything, I will help you more than now I do. I will hold to the cloak of the Mother of God and keep my eyes fixed on you. Do not forget what I, a poor old man, say to you today!

A few days later, on April 30, 1842, death came.

The final word of this great Saint was that of the Psalm: I rejoiced when it was said unto me, Let us go unto the House of the Lord!

Saint Joseph Benedict was canonized by Pope Pius XI, March 19, 1934.

READING OF THE DAY: 30 APRIL, 2013

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“Jesus said to his disciples: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.

Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.

You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’

If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I.

And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe.

I will no longer speak much with you, for the ruler of the world is coming.

He has no power over me, but the world must know that I love the Father and that I do just as the Father has commanded me.

Get up, let us go.” -John 14:27-31a.

COMMENTARY ON READING OF THE DAY: 29 APRIL, 2013

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Commentary of the day provided by :
Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus (1873-1897), Carmelite, Doctor of the Church
Autobiography of a soul, Manuscript A, 2r°- 3r° (trans. Ronald Knox)

“In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places”

I had always wondered why it was that God has his preferences, instead of giving each soul an equal degree of grace… Jesus has been gracious enough to teach me a lesson about this mystery, simply by holding up to my eyes the book of nature.

I realised, then, that all the flowers he has made are beautiful; the rose in its glory, the lily in its whiteness, don’t rob the tiny violet of its sweet smell, or the daisy of’ its charming simplicity.

I saw that if all these lesser blooms wanted to be roses instead, nature would lose the gaiety of her spring tide dress-there would be no little flowers to, make a pattern over the countryside.

And so it is with the world of souls, which is his garden. He wanted to have great Saints, to be his lilies and roses, but he has made lesser Saints as well; and these lesser ones must be content to rank as daisies and violets, lying at his feet and giving pleasure to his eye like that.

Perfection consists simply in doing his will, and being just what he wants us to be.

This, too, was made clear to me: that our Lord’s love makes itself seen quite as much in the simplest of souls as in the most highly gifted, as long as there is no resistance offered to his grace.

After all, the whole point of love is making yourself small; and if we were all like the great Doctors who have shed lustre on the Church by their brilliant teaching, there wouldn’t be much condescension on God’s part, would there, about coming into hearts like these?

But no, he has created little children, who have no idea what’s going on and can only express themselves by helpless crying: he has made the poor savages, with nothing better than the natural law to live by; and he is content to forget his dignity and come into their hearts too – these are the wild flowers that delight him by their simplicity.

It is by such condescension that God shows his infinite greatness.

The sun’s light that plays on the cedar-trees plays on each tiny flower as if it were the only one in existence; and in the same way our Lord takes a special interest in each soul, as if there were no other like it.

READING OF THE DAY: 29 APRIL, 2013

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“Jesus said to his disciples: “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”

Judas, not the Iscariot, said to him, “Master, (then) what happened that you will reveal yourself to us and not to the world?”

Jesus answered and said to him, “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.

Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me.

I have told you this while I am with you.

The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name–he will teach you everything and remind you of all that (I) told you.” -John 14:21-26.

SAINT OF THE DAY: 29 APRIL, 2013

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SAINT CATHERINE OF SIENA
Virgin and Doctor of the Church
Co patron of Europe – Feast in Europe
(1347-1380)

Catherine, the daughter of a humble tradesman, was raised up to be the guide and guardian of the Church in one of the darkest periods of its history, the fourteenth century.

As a child, prayer was her delight. She would say the “Hail Mary” on each step as she mounted the stairs, and was granted in reward a vision of Christ in glory.

When but seven years old, she made a vow of virginity, and afterwards endured bitter persecution for refusing to marry.

Our Lord gave her his heart in exchange for her own, communicated her with his own hands, and stamped on her body the print of his wounds.

At the age of fifteen she entered the Third Order of St. Dominic, but continued to reside in her father’s shop, where she united a life of active charity with the prayer of a contemplative Saint.

From this obscure home the seraphic virgin was summoned to defend the Church’s cause. Armed with Papal authority, and accompanied by three confessors, she travelled through Italy, reducing rebellious cities to the obedience of the Holy See, and winning hardened souls to God.

In the face well-nigh of the whole world she sought out Gregory XI. at Avignon, brought him back to Rome, and by her letters to the kings and queens of Europe made good the Papal cause.

She was the counsellor of Urban VI., and sternly rebuked the disloyal cardinals who had part in electing an antipope.

Long had the holy virgin foretold the terrible schism which began ere she died.

Day and night she wept and prayed for unity and peace. But the devil excited the Roman people against the Pope, so that some sought the life cf Christ’s Vicar.

With intense earnestness did St. Catherine beg our Lord to prevent this enormous crime. In spirit she saw the whole city full of demons tempting the people to resist and even slay the Pope.

The seditious temper was subdued by Catherine’s prayers; but the devils vented their malice by scourging the Saint herself, who gladly endured all for God and his Church.

She died at Rome, in 1380, at the age of thirty-three.

READING OF THE DAY: 28 APRIL, 2013

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“When Judas had left them, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.

(If God is glorified in him,) God will also glorify him in himself, and he will glorify him at once.

My children, I will be with you only a little while longer.

You will look for me, and as I told the Jews, ‘Where I go you cannot come,’ so now I say it to you.

I give you a new commandment: love one another.

As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.

This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” -John 13:31-33a.34-35.

SAINT OF THE DAY: 28 APRIL, 2013

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Saint Gianna Beretta Molla
(1922-1962)

Gianna Beretta was born in Magenta (Milan) October 4, 1922.

Already as a youth she willingly accepted the gift of faith and the clearly Christian education that she received from her excellent parents.

As a result, she experienced life as a marvellous gift from God, had a strong faith in Providence and was convinced of the necessity and effectiveness of prayer.

She diligently dedicated herself to studies during the years of her secondary and university education, while, at the same time, applying her faith through generous apostolic service among the youth of Catholic Action and charitable work among the elderly and needy as a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

After earning degrees in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Pavia in 1949, she opened a medical clinic in Mesero (near Magenta) in 1950.

She specialized in Pediatrics at the University of Milan in 1952 and there after gave special attention to mothers, babies, the elderly and poor.

While working in the field of medicine-which she considered a “mission” and practiced as such-she increased her generous service to Catholic Action, especially among the “very young” and, at the same time, expressed her joie de vivre and love of creation through skiing and mountaineering.

Through her prayers and those of others, she reflected upon her vocation, which she also considered a gift from God.

Having chosen the vocation of marriage, she embraced it with complete enthusiasm and wholly dedicated herself “to forming a truly Christian family”.

She became engaged to Pietro Molla and was radiant with joy and happiness during the time of their engagement, for which she thanked and praised the Lord.

They were married on September 24, 1955, in the Basilica of St. Martin in Magenta, and she became a happy wife.

In November 1956, to her great joy, she became the mother of Pierluigi, in December 1957 of Mariolina; in July 1959 of Laura.

With simplicity and equilibrium she harmonized the demands of mother, wife, doctor and her passion for life.

In September 1961 towards the end of the second month of pregnancy, she was touched by suffering and the mystery of pain; she had developed a fibroma in her uterus.

Before the required surgical operation, and conscious of the risk that her continued pregnancy brought, she pleaded with the surgeon to save the life of the child she was carrying, and entrusted herself to prayer and Providence.

The life was saved, for which she thanked the Lord.

She spent the seven months remaining until the birth of the child in incomparable strength of spirit and unrelenting dedication to her tasks as mother and doctor.

She worried that the baby in her womb might be born in pain, and she asked God to prevent that.

A few days before the child was due, although trusting as always in Providence, she was ready to give her life in order to save that of her child: “If you must decided between me and the child, do not hesitate: choose the child – I insist on it. Save him”.

On the morning of April 21, 1962, Gianna Emanuela was born.

Despite all efforts and treatments to save both of them, on the morning of April 28, amid unspeakable pain and after repeated exclamations of “Jesus, I love you. Jesus, I love you», the mother died.

She was 39 years old.

Her funeral was an occasion of profound grief, faith and prayer.

The Servant of God lies in the cemetery of Mesero (4 km from Magenta).

“Conscious immolation», was the phrase used by Pope Paul VI to define the act of Blessed Gianna, remembering her at the Sunday Angelus of September 23, 1973, as: “A young mother from the diocese of Milan, who, to give life to her daughter, sacrificed her own, with conscious immolation”. The Holy Father in these words clearly refers to Christ on Calvary and in the Eucharist.

Gianna was beatified by Pope John Paul II on April 24, 1994, and officially canonized a saint on May 16, 2004.

Gianna’s husband Pietro and their last child, Gianna, were present at the canonization ceremony.

(SOURCE: Libreria Editrice Vaticana…yes…THE VATICAN LIBRARY….you can blink now….)

SAINT OF THE DAY: 27 APRIL, 2013

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Saint Zita
(c. 1212 – 27 April 1272; also known as Sitha or Citha)
Patron saint of maids and domestic servants.
(She is often appealed to in order to help find lost keys.)

Saint Zita was born in Tuscany in the village of Monsagrati, not far from Lucca where, at the age of 12, she became a servant in the Fatinelli household.

For a long time, she was unjustly despised, overburdened, reviled, and often beaten by her employers and fellow servants for her hard work and obvious goodness.

The incessant ill-usage, however, was powerless to deprive her of her inward peace, her love of those who wronged her, and her respect for her employers.

By this meek and humble self-restraint, Zita at last succeeded in overcoming the malice of her fellow-servants and her employers, so much so that she was placed in charge of all the affairs of the house.

Her faith had enabled her to persevere against their abuse, and her constant piety gradually moved the family to a religious awakening.

Zita often said to others that devotion is false if slothful.

She considered her work as an employment assigned to her by God, and as part of her penance, and obeyed her master and mistress in all things as being placed over her by God.

She always rose several hours before the rest of the family and employed in prayer a considerable part of the time which others gave to sleep.

She took care to hear mass every morning with great devotion before she was called upon by the duties of her station, in which she employed the whole day, with such diligence and fidelity that she seemed to be carried to them on wings, and studied when possible to anticipate them.

One anecdote relates a story of Zita giving her own food or that of her master to the poor.

On one morning, Zita left her chore of baking bread to tend to someone in need. Some of the other servants ensured the Fatinelli family was aware of what happened; when they went to investigate, they claimed to have found angels in the Fatinelli kitchen, baking the bread for her.

St. Betina Zita died peacefully in the Fatinelli house on April 27, 1272.

It is said that a star appeared above the attic where she slept at the moment of her death.

She was 60 years old, and had served and edified the family for 48 years.

By her death, she was practically venerated by the family.

After one hundred and fifty miracles wrought in the behalf of such as had recourse to her intercession were juridically proven, she was canonized in 1696.

Her body was exhumed in 1580, discovered to be incorrupt, but has since become mummified. St. Zita’s body is currently on display for public veneration in the Basilica di San Frediano in Lucca.

Her feast day in the Roman Catholic Church is April 27.

To this day, families bake a loaf of bread in celebration of St. Zita’s feast day.

Soon after Zita’s death a popular cult grew up around her, centring on the church of St Frigidian in Lucca.

This was also joined by prominent members of the city.

Pope Leo X sanctioned a liturgical cult within the church in the early 16th century, and was confirmed Immemorial[disambiguation needed] upon her canonization.

In 1748, Pope Benedict XIV added her name to the Roman Martyrology.

During the late medieval era, her popular cult had grown throughout Europe.

In England she was known under the name Sitha, and was popularly invoked by maidservants and housewives, particularly in event of having lost one’s keys, on when crossing rivers of bridges.

Images of St. Zita may be seen in churches across the south of England. The church of St Benet Sherehog in London had a chapel dedicated to her, and was locally known as St. Sithes.

However, despite her popularity at this time, the cult was not an official one.

READING OF THE DAY: 27 APRIL, 2013

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“Jesus said to his disciples: “If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

Philip said to him, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”

Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip?

Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.

How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?

The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own.

The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.

Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves.

Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.

And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.” -John 14:7-14.

READING OF THE DAY: 26 APRIL, 2013

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“Jesus said to his disciples: «Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me.

In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.

If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.

Where (I) am going you know the way.”

Thomas said to him, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?”

Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life.

No one comes to the Father except through me.” -John 14:1-6.