St. Sylvester Gozzolini

St. Sylvester Gozzolini, Abbot of Osimo

[Institutor of the Sylvestrin Monks.] THIS saint was born of a noble family at Osimo or Osmo, about fourteen miles from Loretto in 1177. He studied the laws and theology at Bologna and Padua, and being instituted to a canonry at Osimo made prayer, pious reading, and the instruction of others his whole employment. His zeal in reproving vice raised him enemies, and his bishop, whom he admonished of certain neglects to the discharge of his office, declared himself his persecutor. These trials served to purify the heart of the servant of God, and prepared him for the grace of the pure love of God. The sight of the carcass of a man who had been admired in his life-time for his beauty and great accomplishments, completed his abhorrence and contempt of this treacherous world, so that, deploring its scandals and blindness, he left the city privately, and retired into a desert thirty miles from Osimo, being then forty years old. To satisfy the importunity of others, in 1231, he built a monastery upon Monte Fano, two miles from Fabriano, in the marquisate of Ancona. In this house he settled the rule of St. Bennet without any mitigation: and, in 1248, obtained of Innocent IV., who was then at Lyons, the confirmation of his institute. He lived to found twenty-five monasteries in Italy, and leaving his disciples heirs of his double spirit of penance and prayer, departed to the Lord on the 26th of November in 1267, being ninety years old. God was pleased to work several miracles at his tomb, and his name is inserted in the Roman Martyrology. See his life by Fabrini, fourth general of his Order, in Breve Chron. della Congreg. de Monachi Sylvestrini; and Helyot, Hist. des Ordres Relig. t. 6, p. 170.

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

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St. Peter of Alexandria

St. Peter, Bishop of Alexandria, Martyr

A.D. 311.

EUSEBIUS 1 calls this great prelate the excellent doctor of the Christian religion, and the chief and divine ornament of bishops; and tells us that he was admirable both for his extraordinary virtue, and for his skill in the sciences, and profound knowledge of the holy scriptures. In the year 300 he succeeded Theonas in the see of Alexandria, being the sixteenth archbishop from St. Mark; he governed that church with the highest commendation, says the same historian, during the space of twelve years, for the nine last of which he sustained the fury of the most violent persecutions carried on by Dioclesian and his successors. Virtue is tried and made perfect by sufferings; and Eusebius observes that the fervour of our saint’s piety and the rigour of his penance increased with the calamities of the church. That violent storm which affrighted and disheartened several bishops and inferior ministers of the church, did but awake his attention, inflame his charity, and inspire him with fresh vigour. He never ceased begging of God for himself and his flock necessary grace and courage, and exhorting them to die daily to their passions, that they might be prepared to die for Christ. The confessors he comforted and encouraged by word and example, and was the father of many martyrs who sealed their faith with their blood. His watchfulness and care were extended to all the churches of Egypt, Thebais or Upper Egypt, and Lybia, which were under his immediate inspection. Notwithstanding the activity of St. Peter’s charity and zeal, several in whom the love of this world prevailed, basely betrayed their faith, to escape torments and death. Some, who had entered the combat with excellent resolutions, and had endured severe torments, had been weak enough to yield at last. Others bore the loss of their liberty and the hardships of imprisonment, who yet shrank at the sight of torments, and deserted their colours when they were called to battle. A third sort prevented the inquiries of the persecutors, and ran over to the enemy before they had suffered any thing for the faith. Some seeking false cloaks to palliate their apostacy, sent heathens to sacrifice in their name, or accepted of attestations from the magistrates, setting forth that they had complied with the imperial edict, though in reality they had not. These different degrees of apostacy were distinctly considered by the holy bishop, who prescribed a suitable term of public penance for each in his canonical epistle. 2 1 Continue reading

St. Leonard of Port Maurice

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St. Leonard of Port Maurice

Preacher and ascetic writer, b. 20 Dec., 1676, at Porto Maurizio on the Riviera di Ponente; d. at the monastery of S. Bonaventura, Rome, 26 Nov., 1751. The son of Domenico Casanova and Anna Maria Benza, he joined after a brilliant course of study with the Jesuits in Rome (Collegio Romano), the so- called Riformella, an offshoot of the Reformati branch of the Franciscan Order [see FRIARS MINOR, II, B, (2)]. On 2 October, 1697, he received the habit, and after making his novitiate at Ponticelli in the Sabine mountains, he completed his studies at the principal house of the Riformella, S. Bonaventura on the Palatine at Rome. After his ordination he remained there as lector (professor), and expected to be sent on the Chinese missions. But he was soon afterwards seized with severe gastric haemorrhage, and became so ill that he was sent to his native climate of Porto Maurizio, where there was a monastery of the Franciscan Observants (1704). After four years he was restored to health, and began to preach in Porto Maurizio and the vicinity. When Cosimo III de’ Medici handed over the monastery del Monte (that on San Miniato near Florence, also called Monte alle Croci) to the members of the Riformella, St. Leonard was sent hither under the auspices and by desire of Cosimo III, and began shortly to give missions to the people in Tuscany, which were marked by many extraordinary conversions and great results. His colleagues and he always practised the greatest austerities and most severe penances during these missions. In 1710 he founded the monastery of Icontro, on a peak in the mountains about four and a quarter miles from Florence, whither he and his assistants could retire from time to time after missions, and devote themselves to spiritual renewal and fresh austerities. Continue reading

Instructions for the Twenty-Fourth Sunday After Pentecost

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Instructions for the Twenty-Fourth Sunday After Pentecost

The Church’s Year
By Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine’s

REMARK The Mass of this Sunday is always the last, even if there are more than twenty-four Sundays after Pentecost; in that case the Sundays remaining after Epiphany, which are noticed in the calendar, are inserted between the twenty-third and the Mass of the twenty-fourth Sunday.

The Introit of the Mass is the same as that said on the twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost.

COLLECT Quicken, we beseech Thee, 0 Lord, the wills of Thy faithful: that they, more earnestly seeking after the fruit of divine grace, may more abundantly receive the healing gifts of Thy mercy. Thro’.

EPISTLE (Col. I. 9—14.) Brethren, We cease not to pray for you, and to beg that you may be filled with the knowledge of the will of God, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding: that you may walk worthy of God, in all things pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God: strengthened with all might according to the power of his glory, in all patience and long-suffering with joy, giving thanks to God the Father, who hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light; who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love, in whom we have redemption through his blood, the remission of sins.

EXPLANATION In this epistle St. Paul teaches us to pray for our neighbor, and to thank God especially for the light of the true, only saving faith. Let us endeavor to imitate St. Paul in his love and zeal for the salvation of souls, then we shall also one day partake of his glorious reward in heaven. Continue reading