St. Benedict

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St. Benedict, Abbot

Forty days after the white dove of Cassino had mounted to heaven, Benedict, her glorious Brother, ascended by a bright path to the blissful abode, where they were to be united for ever. Both of them reached the heavenly country during that portion of the year, which corresponds with the holy Season of Lent. It frequently happens, however, that St. Scholastica’s feast is kept before Lent has begun; whereas St . Benedict’s day, the twenty-first of March, always comes during the Season of penance. God, Who is the Sovereign Master of time, willed that the Faithful, whilst practising their exercises of penance, should always have before their eyes a Saint, whose example and intercession should inspire them with courage.

With what profound veneration ought we not to celebrate the Festival of this wonderful Saint, who, as St. Gregory says, ” was filled with the spirit of all the Just!” If we consider his virtues, we find nothing superior in the annals of perfection presented to our admiration by the Church. Love of God and man, humility, the gift of prayer, dominion over the passions, form him into a master-piece of the grace of the Holy Ghost. Miracles seem to constitute his life: he cures the sick, commands the elements, casts out devils, and raises the dead to life. The spirit of prophecy unfolds futurity to him; and the most intimate thoughts of men are not too distant for the eye of his mind to scan. These superhuman qualifications are heightened by a sweet majesty, a serene gravity, and a tender charity, which shine in every page of his wonderful Life; and it is one of his holiest children who wrote it, St. Gregory the Great. It is this holy Pope and Doctor, who had the honour of telling posterity all the wonders which God vouchsafed to work in his servant Benedict. Continue reading

St. Cuthbert

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St. Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindisfarne, Confessor

A.D. 687.

WHEN the Northumbrians, under the pious King Oswald, had, with great fervour, embraced the Christian faith, the holy bishop St. Aidan founded two monasteries, that of Mailros, on the bank of the Tweed and another in the isle of Lindisfarne, afterwards called Holy Island, four miles distant from Berwick. In both he established the rule of St. Columba; and usually resided himself in the latter. St. Cuthbert 1 was born not very far from Mailros, and in his youth was much edified by the devout deportment of the holy inhabitants of that house, whose fervour in the service of God, and the discharge of the duties of a monastic life, he piously endeavoured to imitate on the mountains where he kept his father’s sheep. It happened one night that, whilst he was watching in prayer, near his flock, according to his custom, he saw the soul of St. Aidan carried up to heaven by angels, at the very instant that holy man departed this life in the isle of Lindisfarne. Serious reflections on the happiness of such a death determined the pious young man to repair, without delay, to Mailros, where he put on the monastic habit, whilst Eata was abbot, and St. Boisil prior. He studied the holy scriptures under the latter, and in fervour surpassed all his brethren in every monastic exercise. Eata being called to govern the new monastery of Rippon, founded by King Alcfrid, he took with him St. Cuthbert, and committed to him the care of entertaining strangers; which charge is usually the most dangerous in a religious state. Cuthbert washed the feet of others, and served them with wonderful humility and meekness, always remembering that Christ himself is served in his members. And he was most careful that the functions of Martha should never impair his spirit of recollection. When St. Wilfrid was made abbot of Rippon, St. Cuthbert returned with Eata to Mailross; and St. Boisil dying of the great pestilence, in 664, he was chosen provost or prior in his place. 1 Continue reading

St. Photina

St. Photina

1st century

Samaritan martyr. According to Greek tradition, Photina was the Samaritan woman with whom Jesus spoke at the well as was recounted in the Gospel of St. John, chapter four. Deeply moved by the experience, she took to preaching the Gospel, received imprisonment, and was finally martyred at Carthage. Another tradition states that Photina was put to death in Rome after converting the daughter of Emperor Nero and one hundred of her servants. She supposedly died in Rome with her sons Joseph and Victor, along with several other Christians, including Sebastian, Photius, Parasceve, Photis, Cyriaca, and Victor. They were perhaps included in the Roman Martyrology by Cardinal Cesare Baronius owing to the widely held view that the head of Photina was preserved in the Basilica of St. Paul’s Outside the Walls.