Saint Dorothy

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Saint Dorothy

Virgin and Martyr
(† 304)

Saint Dorothy was a young virgin celebrated already in Caesarea of Cappadocia, where she lived, for her angelic virtue. Her parents are believed to have been martyred before her in the Diocletian persecution; thus, when the Governor Sapricius came to Caesarea and called her to appear before him, he sent this child of martyrs to the eternal home where they were waiting for her.

She explained that the God she adored was majestic — above all emperors, who were mortal, and their gods, none of whom created either heaven or earth. She was stretched upon the rack, and offered honors if she would consent to sacrifice, or death if she refused. And they waited. She asked why they delayed to torture her; they were expecting she might cede out of fright. She said to them, Do what you have to do, that I may see the One for whose love I fear neither death nor torments, Jesus Christ. She was asked, Where is this Christ? and she replied: As Almighty He is everywhere, but for weak human reason we say that the Son of God has ascended into heaven, to be seated at the right hand of the Almighty Father. It is He who invites us to the garden of His delights, where at all times the trees are covered with fruits, the lilies are perpetually white, the roses ever in their freshness. If you believe me, you too will search for the true liberty, and will labor to earn entry into the garden of God’s delights. She was then placed in the custody of two women who had fallen away from the faith, in the hope that they might pervert her; but the fire of her own heart rekindled the flame in theirs, and led them back to Christ. Continue reading

Pope Clement IV

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Pope Clement IV

(GUIDO LE GROS).

Born at Saint-Gilles on the Rhone, 23 November, year unknown; elected at Perugia 5 February, 1265; d. at Viterbo, 29 November, 1268. After the death of Urban IV (2 October, 1264), the cardinals, assembled in conclave at Perugia, discussed for four months the momentous question whether the Church should continue the war to the end against the House of Hohenstaufen by calling in Charles of Anjou, the youngest brother of St. Louis of France, or find some other means of securing the independence of the papacy. No other solution offering itself, the only possible course was to unite upon the Cardinal-Bishop of Sabina, by birth a Frenchman and a subject of Charles. Guido Le Gros was of noble extraction. When his mother died, his father, the knight Foulquois, entered a Carthusian monastery where he ended a saintly life. Guido married, and for a short time wielded the spear and the sword. Then devoting himself to the study of law under the able direction of the famous Durandus, he gained a national reputation as an advocate. St. Louis, who entertained a great respect and affection for him, took him into his cabinet and made him one of his trusted councillors. His wife died, leaving him two daughters, whereupon he imitated his father to the extent that he gave up worldly concerns and took Holy orders. Continue reading

The Holy Martyrs of Japan

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The Holy Martyrs of Japan

(† 1597)

When Saint Francis Xavier came to Japan, this empire was totally plunged in paganism; forty years later, there were more than two hundred thousand Christians, most of them animated with all the fervor of the primitive Church. The jealous demon soon raised up a persecution; a confraternity of martyrdom was at once formed, the object of which was to die for Christ. The pursuits were terrible but only served to bring into light the marvels of the holy Faith. The first martyrs were twenty-six in number: six Franciscans, three Jesuits and seventeen lay Christians, among whom were three young altar boys who had joined the confraternity.

A pious Jesuit, crucified, made a touching sermon from the heights of his glorious pulpit, to the pagans surrounding him: At the point where you see me now, he said, I do not think any of you could believe me capable of betraying the truth. Now I declare to you, there is no other means of salvation but the Christian religion! I forgive the authors of my death, I beg them to receive Baptism. Continue reading

St. Philip of Jesus

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St. Philip of Jesus

Martyr, Patron of the City of Mexico.

PHILIP DE LAS CASAS was born in the city of Mexico. Brought up piously, Philip at first showed little care for the pious teaching of his parents, but at last resolved to enter the Reformed Franciscan Convent of Santa Barbara at Pueblo. He was not yet weaned from the world and soon left the novitiate. Grieved at the inconstancy of his son, de las Casas sent him to the Philippine Islands on a business errand. In vain did Philip seek to satisfy his heart with pleasure. He could not but feel that God called him to a religious life. Gaining courage by prayer, he entered the Franciscan Convent of Our Lady of the Angels at Manila, and persevered, taking his vows in 1594. The richest cargo that he could have sent to Mexico would not have gratified his pious father as much as the tidings that Philip was a professed friar. Alonso de las Casas obtained from the Commissary of the Order directions that Philip should be sent to Mexico. He embarked on the St. Philip in July, 1596, with other religious. Storms drove the vessel to the coast of Japan, and it was wrecked while endeavoring to enter a port. Amid the storm Philip saw over Japan a white cross, in the shape used in that country, which after a time became blood-red, and remained so for some time. It was an omen of his coming victory. The commander of the vessel sent our Saint and two other religious to the emperor to solicit permission to continue their voyage, but they could not obtain an audience.  Continue reading

Saint Agatha

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Saint Agatha

Virgin and Martyr
(† 251)

Saint Agatha was born in Sicily of rich and noble parents, a child of benediction from the first, for she was promised to her parents before her birth, and consecrated from her earliest infancy to God. In the midst of dangers and temptations she served Christ in purity of body and soul, and she died for love of chastity. Quintanus, who governed Sicily under the Emperor Decius, had heard the rumor of her beauty and wealth, and he made the laws against the Christians a pretext for summoning her from Palermo to Catania, where he was at the time. O Jesus Christ! she cried, as she set out on this dreaded journey, all that I am is Thine; preserve me against the tyrant.

And Our Lord did indeed preserve one who had given herself so utterly to Him. He kept her pure and undefiled while she was imprisoned for a whole month under charge of an evil woman. He gave her strength to reply to the offer of her life and safety, if she would but consent to sacrifice to the gods, Christ alone is my salvation! When Quintanus turned from passion to cruelty, and cut off her breasts, Our Lord sent the Prince of the Apostles to heal her. She told the elderly gentleman who appeared to her that she was Christian and desired no treatment, for her Lord could cure her by a single word. He smiled, identified himself as Saint Peter, and said: It is in His name that you will be healed. And when he disappeared, she saw that her wounds were healed and her flesh made whole. But when she was rolled naked upon potsherds, she asked that her torments might be ended. Her Lord heard her prayer and took her to Himself. Continue reading