St. Marcellus

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St. Marcellus, Pope and Martyr

A.D. 310.

ST. MARCELLUS was priest under Pope Marcellinus, whom he succeeded in 308, after that see had been vacant for three years and a half. An epitaph written on him by Pope Damasus, who also mentions himself in it, says that by enforcing the canons of holy penance, he drew upon himself the contradictions and persecutions of many tepid and refractory Christians, and that for his severity against a certain apostate, he was banished by the tyrant Maxentius. 1 He died in 310, having sat one year, seven months, and twenty days. Anastatius writes, that Lucina, a devout widow of one Pinianus, who lodged St. Marcellus when he lived in Rome, after his death converted her house into a church, which she called by his name. His false acts relate, that among his other sufferings, he was condemned by the tyrant to keep cattle in this place. He is styled a martyr in the sacramentaries of Gelasius I. and St. Gregory, and in the Martyrologies ascribed to St. Jerom and St. Bede, which, with the rest of the Western calendars, mention his feast on the sixteenth of January. His body lies under the high altar in the ancient church, which bears his name, and gives title to a cardinal in Rome; but certain portions of his relics are honoured at Cluni, Namur, Mons, &c. 1
God is most wonderful in the whole economy of his holy providence over his elect: his power and wisdom are exalted infinitely above the understanding of creatures, and we are obliged to cry out, “Who can search his ways?” 2 We have not penetration to discover all the causes and ends of exterior things, which we see or feel. How much less can we understand this in secret and interior things, which fall not under our senses? “Remember that thou knowest not his work. Behold he is a great God, surpassing our understanding.” 3 How does he make every thing serve his purposes for the sanctification of his servants! By how many ways does he conduct them to eternal glory! Some he sanctifies on thrones; others in cottages; others in retired cells and deserts; others in the various functions of an apostolic life, and in the government of his church. And how wonderfully does he ordain and direct all human events to their spiritual advancement, both in prosperity and in adversity! In their persecutions and trials, especially, we shall discover at the last day, when the secrets of his providence will be manifested to us, the tenderness of his infinite love, the depth of his unsearchable wisdom, and the extent of his omnipotent power. In all his appointments let us adore these his attributes, earnestly imploring his grace, that according to the designs of his mercy, we may, make every thing, especially all afflictions, serve for the exercise and improvement of our virtue. 2

Note 1. Damasus, carm. 26.
Note 2. Job. xxxvi. 23.
Note 3. Ib.

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

Our Lady of Prompt Succor

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Our Lady of Prompt Succor,
a Patroness for Americans

Marian T. Horvat

The cities and towns of Europe often have a particular devotion to Our Lady. Through the ages she manifested herself under a particular title and expressed her desire to be invoked under a different name. A shrine with that particular image would become a pilgrimage site as Our Lady worked miracles for the people of the vicinity.

Our Lady Prompt Succor Shrine in New Orleans

In the United States, we have fewer such marvels, and unfortunately the small number of miraculous statues that exist is not widely known, even among Catholics. A unique title and devotion that Our Lady chose for our country – certainly deserving of more recognition – is that of Our Lady of Prompt Succor, patroness of the city of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana. A Mass in her honor is said every January 8 to commemorate a great miracle she worked on behalf of the city in the Battle of New Orleans of 1815.

On that occasion, the Ursuline sisters made a vow to Our Lady of Prompt Succor to have a solemn high Mass offered each year on January 8 if she would give victory to the vastly outnumbered American forces. The favor was granted, and for the past 195 years without exception the promised Mass has been celebrated in gratitude for Our Lady’s intercession in that critical battle.

How Our Lady chose to come to Louisiana under this new title is one story. Her miraculous intervention in the Battle of New Orleans in 1815 is another. Both deserve to be told and retold.  Continue reading

St. Maurus

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St. Maurus, Abbot

AMONG the several noblemen who placed their sons under the care of St. Benedict, to be brought up in piety and learning, Equitius, one of that rank, left with him his son Maurus, then but twelve years old, in 522. The youth surpassed all his fellow monks in the discharge of monastic duties, and when he was grown up, St. Benedict made him his coadjutor in the government of Sublaco. Maurus, by his singleness of heart and profound humility, was a model of perfection to all the brethren, and was favoured by God with the gift of miracles. St. Placidus, a fellow monk, the son of the senator Tertullus, going one day to fetch water, fell into the lake, and was carried the distance of a bow-shot from the bank. St. Benedict saw this in spirit in his cell, and bid Maurus run and draw him out. Maurus obeyed, walked upon the waters without perceiving it, and dragged out Placidus by the hair, without sinking in the least himself. He attributed the miracle to the prayers of St. Benedict; but the holy abbot, to the obedience of the disciple. Soon after that holy patriarch had retired to Cassino, he called St. Maurus thither, in the year 528. Thus far St. Gregory, Dial. l. 2. c. 3, 4. 6. 1 Continue reading