St. Euphrasia

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St. Euphrasia, Virgin

ANTIGONUS, the father of this saint, was a nobleman of the first rank and quality in the court of Theodosius the younger, nearly allied in blood to that emperor, and honoured by him with several great employments in the state. He was married to Euphrasia, a lady no less illustrious for her birth than virtue, by whom he had only one daughter and heiress, called also Euphrasia, the saint of whom we treat. After her birth, her pious parents, by mutual consent, engaged themselves by vow to pass the remainder of their lives in perpetual continency, that they might more perfectly aspire to the invisible joys of the life to come; and from that time they lived together as brother and sister, in the exercises of devotion, alms-deeds, and penance. Antigonus died within a year, and the holy widow, to shun the importunate addresses of young suitors for marriage, and the distraction of friends, not long after withdrew privately, with her little daughter, into Egypt, where she was possessed of a very large estate. In that country she fixed her abode near a holy monastery of one hundred and thirty nuns, who never used any other food than herbs and pulse, which they took only after sun-set, and some only once in two or three days; they wore and slept on sackcloth, wrought with their hands, and prayed almost without interruption. When sick, they bore their pains with patience, esteeming them an effect of the divine mercy, and thanking God for the same: nor did they seek relief from physicians, except in cases of absolute necessity, and then only allowed of ordinary general remedies, as the monks of La Trappe, do at this day. Delicate and excessive attention to health nourishes self-love and immortification, 1 and often destroys that health which it studied anxiously to preserve. By the example of these holy virgins, the devout mother animated herself to fervour in the exercises of religion and charity, to which she totally dedicated herself. She frequently visited these servants of God, and earnestly entreated them to accept a considerable annual revenue, with an obligation that they should always be bound to pray for the soul of her deceased husband. But the abbess refused the estate, saying: “We have renounced all the conveniences of the world, in order to purchase heaven. We are poor, and such we desire to remain.” She could only be prevailed upon to accept a small matter to supply the church-lamp with oil, and for incense to be burned on the altar. 1 Continue reading

ANNI SACRI by Pius XII

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ANNI SACRI

ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XII ON A PROGRAM FOR COMBATTING
ATHEISTIC PROPAGANDA THROUGHOUT THE WORLD TO THE VENERABLE BRETHREN THE PATRIARCHS, PRIMATES,ARCHBISHOPS, BISHIOPS, AND OTHER ORDINARIES
IN PEACE AND COMMUNION WITH THE APOSTOLIC SEE

The Holy Year, which is in the course of passing, has already furnished Us with more than one reason for joy and consolation. To Rome, whence the light of the Gospel teaching radiates since the origins of the Church, multitudes of the faithful have streamed from all parts of the world. They have come to the See of Peter not only to redeem their own faults, but also to expiate the sins of the world and implore the return of society to God, from Whom alone can come true peace of heart, civil concord and the well-being of nations.

2. And We know that these first groups of pilgrims form the vanguard of those who will come more frequently and in greater numbers during the favorable season. Therefore, the hope is warranted that from this still more salutary and abundant fruits will be harvested. Nevertheless, if these sights have given Us gentle comfort, reasons are not lacking for the anxiety and anguish which grieve Our paternal heart. And in the first place, although war has almost everywhere ceased, nevertheless, the longed-for peace has not come – a stable and solid peace which might happily solve the many and ever-increasing reasons for discord. Many nations are still opposed to each other; and as confidence lessens an armaments race begins, leaving the hearts of all overcome by fear and trepidation.
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