St. Thomas of Villanova

St. Thomas of Villanova, Archbishop

Among the many Saints, celebrated on account of their virtues and miracles, who adorned the Catholic Church at a period when a great number of heretics revolted against her, one of the most famous was St. Thomas of Villanova. He was born 1488, in Castile, and received his surname from the city where he was educated. His parents were very pious, and besides possessing other virtues, they distinguished themselves by their liberality to the poor. Thomas followed closely in their footsteps, and even in his childhood gave all he could to the poor. The bread given him for his breakfast he laid by and gave it to the needy. More than once he took off his own coat and gave it to some poor man whom he met, and when reproved for it he said: “He to whom I gave it, needed it more than I.” The same he did with his shoes and other garments. His devotion to the Blessed Virgin was so great and so constant, that he was called the child of Mary. But notwithstanding his piety and devotion he applied himself so earnestly to his studies at Alcala, that he had hardly reached the age of twenty-six years, when he was appointed to teach philosophy and theology. He kept his purity and innocence unspotted in numberless dangers, making use of the same means that preserved other Saints in similar circumstances. While he was engaged in his studies, he lost his father, and inherited from him, among other property, a large house, which he changed into a hospital.  Continue reading

St. Maurice and His Companions

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St. Maurice and His Companions, Martyrs

From the authentic account of their martyrdom, compiled a hundred and fifty years after it happened, by St. Eucherius, bishop of Lyons, who quotes their acts, and the relation of Isaac, the holy bishop of Geneva. This last-mentioned prelate received the particulars of this history of these martyrs from Theodore, bishop of Octodurum, (in whose diocess they had suffered,) who assisted at the council of Aquileia in 381, and must have seen persons who had been eye-witnesses, or at least lived upon the spot when the inhuman butchery was committed. The gravity and sanctity of St. Eucherius are set off by the modest simplicity of his style in this piece, which is acknowledged a sincere and incontestable history by Ruinart, (Acta sincera, p. 290.) Tillemont, Baillet, and all Catholic critics. This account is perfectly conformable to the Acts of these martyrs which were common in that country in the fifth, nay, says Mosheim, in the fourth century, as appears from certain circumstances related from them by the author of the life of St. Romanus, who wrote before the close of the fifth century. The same is confirmed from the title of a sermon of St. Alcimus Avitus, written about the year 490, preserved among his works, though the sermon itself be lost. (Op. Sirmondi, t. 2.) The truth of this history is nevertheless attacked by some Protestant historians. The minister Dubordier raised the contest, and was followed by Hottinger; Moyle exerted more erudition and subtilty in the same controversy, and Dr. Gilbert Burnet (Præf. in Lactant. de Mort. Persec. &c.) retailed his objections with greater confidence than strength. Continue reading