St. Isabel

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St. Isabel, Virgin

THIS holy princess was daughter of Lewis VIII. king of France, and Blanche of Castile, and only sister to St. Lewis. She was born in 1225, and lost her father when she was but two years old. She was trained up in the purest maxims of religion, and in the heroic practice of all virtues, and attained so perfect a knowledge of the Latin tongue that she often corrected the compositions of her chaplains in that language. Her character, from her infancy, was a combination of every eminent virtue, and her whole life, from thirteen years of age, was almost, one continued course of prayer, reading, and working. At that age she took a resolution to consecrate her virginity to God, and always shunned all vain amusements, and, as much as obedience to the queen would permit, all ornaments of dress. A match was proposed between her and the young Conrad, the emperor’s eldest son; and her mother, St. Lewis, and the pope joined in persuading her, for the public good of the church and state, to accept so advantageous an offer. But she considered matters in another light, alleged the consecration she had made of herself to another state, and answered the pope in a letter, that it was something much greater to be the last among the virgins who are consecrated to the divine service, than to be an empress, and the first woman in the world.  Continue reading

Month of the Seven Sorrows of Mary

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Month of the Seven Sorrows of Mary

The month of September is dedicated to the Seven Sorrows of Mary. Devotion to the sorrows of the Virgin Mary dates from the twelfth century, when it made its appearance in monastic circles under the influence of St. Anselm and St. Bernard. The Cistercians and then the Servites undertook to propagate it. It became widespread in the fourteenth and especially the fifteenth centuries, particularly in the Rhineland and Flanders, where Confraternities of the Sorrowful Mother sprang up. It was in this context that the first liturgical formularies in her honor were composed. A provincial council of Mainz in 1423 made use of these in establishing a “Feast of the Sorrows of Mary” in reparation for Hussite profanations of her images. Continue reading

St. Aidan

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St. Aidan, or Ædan, Bishop of Lindisfarne, Confessor

WHEN the holy king Oswald 1 desired the bishops of Scotland to send him a person honoured with the episcopal character to preach the faith to his Anglo-Saxon pagan subjects, and plant the church among them, the first person who came was of a rough austere temper, and therefore could do little good, and being soon forced to return home again, he laid the fault on the rude indocile dispositions of the English. Hereupon the Scottish clergy called a synod to deliberate what was best to be done. Aidan, who was present, told the prelate, on his blaming the obstinacy of the English, that the fault lay rather in him, who had been too harsh and severe to an ignorant people, who ought first to be fed with the milk of milder doctrine, till they should be able to digest more solid food. At this discourse the whole assembly turned their eyes upon him, as one endued with prudence, the mother of other virtues; and he was appointed to the great and arduous mission. 1 Continue reading

Saint Raymund Nonnatus

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Saint Raymund Nonnatus, Confessor

Catalonia was the native country of St. Raymund who, to the astonishment of the Physicians, was born after his mother’s death. As soon as he was old enough to comprehend how early he had become an orphan, he chose the Queen of Heaven as his mother, and to his last day, called her by no other name. When he had studied for some time with great success, his father, fearing the youth would enter a Religious Order, sent him into the country to take care of a farm. Raymund obeyed, and found there also opportunity to serve God. He became very fond of solitude and therefore chose for his occupation the care of the sheep, in order to gain more time for prayer and meditation.  Continue reading

SS. Felix and Adauctus

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SS. Felix and Adauctus, Martyrs

ST. FELIX was a holy priest in Rome, no less happy in his life and virtue than in his name. Being apprehended in the beginning of Dioclesian’s persecution, he was put to cruel torments, which he suffered with admirable constancy, and was at length condemned to lose his head. As he was going to execution he was met by a stranger, who, being a Christian, was so inflamed at the sight of the martyr, and the lively prospect of the glory to which he was hastening, that he was not able to contain himself, but cried out aloud: “I confess the same law which this man professeth; I confess the same Jesus Christ; and it is also my desire to lay down my life in this cause.” The magistrates hearing this, caused him forthwith to be seized, and the martyrs were both beheaded together about the year 303. The name of this latter not being known, he was called by the Christians Adauctus, because he was joined to Felix in martyrdom. These holy martyrs are commemorated in the Sacramentary of St. Gregory the Great, and many ancient calendars. F. Stilting the Bollandist asserts the authenticity of their acts, t. 6, Augusti, p. 548. 1

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume VIII: August.
The Lives of the Saints. 1866.