Saint Liberatus and his Companions

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Saint Liberatus and his Companions

(† 483)

The Arian Vandal king Huneric, in the seventh year of his reign in Africa, published new edicts against the Catholics, and ordered that all their monasteries be demolished. The abbot Liberatus and six monks, Boniface, Servus, Rusticus, Rogatus, Septimus, and Maximus, who were living in a monastery near Capsa, were at that time summoned to Carthage. They were first tempted with great promises, but as they remained constant in their confession of the Trinity and of one Baptism, they were charged with irons and thrown into a dark dungeon.

The faithful by bribing the guards were able to visit the Saints, and did so day and night to be instructed by them. All mutually encouraged one another to suffer for the faith of Christ. The king, learning of this, commanded them to be more closely confined, loaded with heavier irons, and tortured with a cruelty never heard of before that time. Soon after, he condemned them to be put into an old ship and burnt with it at sea. The martyrs walked cheerfully to the shore, indifferent to the insults of the Arians as they passed by. Particular endeavors were used by the persecutors to gain the young monk Maximus; but God, who makes the tongues of children eloquent in His praises, gave him strength to withstand all their efforts. He boldly told them that they would never be able to separate him from his holy Abbot and his brethren, with whom he had borne the labors of a penitential life for the sake of everlasting glory.

An old vessel was filled with dry branches, and the seven martyrs were placed on board and bound tightly to the wood. Fire was put to it several times but went out immediately, and all endeavors to kindle it were vain. The tyrant, in rage and confusion, gave orders that the martyrs’ brains should be dashed out with oars, which was done, and their bodies cast into the sea, whose waves carried them all to the shore. The Catholics interred them honorably in a monastery at Bigua. They suffered in the year 483.

Reflection: Saint Peter wrote: Let it not be as a murderer or a thief, a malefactor or a coveter of other men’s goods that any of you suffer; but if it is for the name of Christian, let him be not ashamed, but glorify God in that name. (First Epistle 4:15-16)

Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).

St. Clare of Montefalco

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St. Clare of Montefalco

Born at Montefalco about 1268; died there, 18 August, 1308. Much dispute has existed as to whether St. Clare of Montefalco was a Franciscan or an Augustinian; and while Wadding, with Franciscan biographers of the saint, contends that she was a member of the Third Order of St. Francis, Augustinian writers, whom the Bollandists seem to favour, hold that she belonged to their order. It seems, however, more probable to say that St. Clare, when she was still a very young girl, embraced the rule of the Third Order of St. Francis (secular), together with her older sister and a number of other pious young maidens, who wore the habit of the Third Order of St. Francis and followed that particular mode of life in community which their piety and fervour suggested. When later, however, they became desirous of entering the religious state in its strict sense, and of professing the three vows of religion, they petitioned the Bishop of Spoleto for an approved rule of life; and, the Third Order of St. Francis (regular) not being then in existence as an approved religious institute, the bishop imposed upon them in 1290 the rule of the Third Order (Regular) of St. Augustine. From her very childhood, St. Clare gave evidence of the exalted sanctity to which she was one day to attain, and which made her the recipient of so many signal favours from God. Upon the death of her older sister in 1295, Clare was chosen to succeed her in the office of abbess of the community at Santa Croce; but it was only in obedience to the command of the Bishop of Spoleto that she could be prevailed upon to accept this new dignity. Kind and indulgent towards others, she treated herself with the most unrelenting severity, multiplying her fasts, vigils, and other austerities to such an extent that at one time her life was even feared for. To these acts of penance she added the practice of the most profound humility and the most perfect charity, while the suffering of her Redeemer formed the continual subject of her meditation.

Shortly after the death of St. Clare, inquiry into her virtues and the miracles wrought through her intercession was instituted, preparatory to her canonization. It was not, however, until several centuries later that she was canonized by Pope Leo XIII in 1881.

APA citation. Donovan, S. (1908). St. Clare of Montefalco. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

MLA citation. Donovan, Stephen. “St. Clare of Montefalco.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.

Saint Hyacinth

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Saint Hyacinth

Missionary Preacher and Thaumaturge
(† 1257)

Saint Hyacinth, named the glorious Apostle of the North, was born of noble parents in Poland, about the year 1185. In 1218, as a Canon of Cracow he accompanied the bishop of that region to Rome. There he met Saint Dominic and soon afterward was one of the first to receive the habit of the Friar Preachers, in a group clothed by the patriarch himself. He became a living copy of his dear master. The church was his only chamber, and the ground his only bed. So wonderful was his progress in virtue that within a year Dominic sent him with a small group to preach and plant the Order in Poland, where he founded two houses.
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