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Since the 16th-century Catholic piety has assigned entire months to special devotions. Toward the end of the eighteenth century a zealous Jesuit priest, Father Lalomia, started among the students of the Roman college of his Society the practice of dedicating May to Our Lady. The devotion, which others had promoted in a small way, soon spread to other Jesuit Colleges and to the entire Latin church and since that time it has been a regular feature of Catholic life. Continue reading

Saints Philip and James

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Saints Philip and James

(First century)

Philip was one of the first chosen disciples of Christ. On the way from Judea to Galilee Our Lord found Philip, and said, Follow Me. Philip straightway obeyed; and then in his zeal and charity sought to win Nathaniel also, saying, We have found Him of whom Moses and the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth. And when Nathaniel in wonder asked, Can any good come out of Nazareth? Philip simply answered, Come and see, and brought him to Jesus.

Another saying of this Apostle is preserved for us by Saint John. Christ in His last discourse had spoken of His Father; and Philip exclaimed, in the fervor of his thirst for God, Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough! The tradition of the ancients has established that he died a martyr at Hierapolis in Phyrgia. There the remains of a church known to be dedicated to him have been identified, north of the entrance to the great necropolis. His relics were later transported to Rome, to the church of the Holy Apostles.

Saint James the Less (the Younger), author of the canonical Epistle, was the son of Alpheus, the brother of Saint Jude and a cousin of Our Lord, whom he is said to have resembled. Saint Paul tells us that he was favored by a special apparition of Christ after the Resurrection. (I Corinthians 15:7) On the dispersion of the Apostles among the nations, Saint James remained as Bishop of Jerusalem, where the Jews held in such high veneration his purity, mortification, and prayer, that they named him the Just. He governed that church for 30 years before his martyrdom.

Hegesippus, the earliest of the Church’s historians, has handed down many traditions of Saint James’s sanctity. Saint James was a celibate Nazarite consecrated to God; he drank no wine and wore no sandals. He prostrated himself so long and so often in prayer that the skin of his knees was hardened like a camel’s hoof. It is said that the Jews, out of respect, used to touch the hem of his garment. He was indeed a living proof of his own words, The wisdom that is from above is first of all chaste, then peaceable, modest, ready to listen, full of mercy and good fruits. (James 3:17) He sat beside Saint Peter and Saint Paul at the Council of Jerusalem. When Saint Paul at a later time escaped the fury of the Jews by appealing to Caesar, the people took vengeance on James, and crying out, The just one has erred! stoned him to death. During his martyrdom he prayed for his persecutors in the same words pronounced by Jesus: Heavenly Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.

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); Dictionnaire de la Bible, F. Vigouroux (Letouzey et Ané: Paris, 1912), Vol. 5, Philippe, Apôtre; Jacques le Mineur, Apôtre. Vol. 1: (1895), Bartholomew, Apôtre.


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Jeremias lived at the close of the seventh and in the first part of the sixth century before Christ; a contemporary of Draco and Solon of Athens. In the year 627, during the reign of Josias, he was called at a youthful age to be a prophet, and for nearly half a century, at least from 627 to 585, he bore the burden of the prophetic office. He belonged to a priestly (not a high-priestly) family of Anathoth, a small country town northeast of Jerusalem now called Anatâ; but he seems never to have performed priestly duties at the temple. The scenes of his prophetic activity were, for a short time, his native town, for the greater part of his life, the metropolis Jerusalem, and, for a time after the fall of Jerusalem, Masphath (Jeremiah 40:6) and the Jewish colonies of the Dispersion in Egypt (Jeremiah 43:6 sqq.). His name has received varying etymological interpretations (“Lofty is Jahwah” or “Jahweh founds”); it appears also as the name of other persons in the Old Testament. Sources for the history of his life and times are, first, the book of prophecies bearing his name, and, second, the Books of Kings and of Paralipomenon (Chronicles). It is only when taken in connection with the history of his times that the external course of his life, the individuality of his nature, and the ruling theme of his discourses can be understood. Continue reading

St. Peregrine

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St. Peregrine Laziosi

Peregrine Laziosi was born of a wealthy family at Forli, Italy, in 1260. As a youth, he was active in politics as a member of the anti-papal party. During one uprising, which the Pope sent St. Philip Benizi to mediate, Philip was struck in the face by Peregrine. When Philip offered the other cheek, Peregrine was so overcome that he repented and converted to Catholicism. Following the instructions of the Virgin Mary received in a vision, Peregrine went to Siena and joined the Servites. It is believed that he never allowed himself to sit down for thirty years, while as far as possible, observing silence and solitude. Sometime later, Peregrine was sent to Forli to found a new house of the Servite Order. An ideal priest, he had a reputation for fervent preaching and being a good confessor. When he was afflicted with cancer of the foot and amputation had been decided upon, he spent the night before the operation, in prayer. The following morning he was completely cured. This miracle caused his reputation to become widespread. He died in 1345 at the age of eighty-five, and he was canonized by Pope Benedict XIII in 1726. St. Peregrine, like St. Paul, was in open defiance of the Church as a youth. Once given the grace of conversion he became one of the great saints of his time. His great fervour and qualities as a confessor brought many back to the true Faith. Afflicted with cancer, Peregrine turned to God and was richly rewarded for his Faith, enabling him over many years to lead others to the truth. He is the patron of cancer patients.