Saint Gerard Majella

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Saint Gerard Majella

Redemptorist Coadjutor Brother
(1726-1755)

Saint Gerard Majella is known as a Thaumaturge, a Saint who works miracles not just occasionally, but as a matter of course. It has been said that God raises up not more than one every century. He was born in Italy at Muro Lucano, south of Naples, in 1726. As a child of five, when he would go to pray before a statue of the Virgin with her Child, the Infant Jesus regularly descended to give him a little white bun. He took it home and naively told his mother, when she asked him, where he obtained it. His sister was sent to the church to observe in secret, and saw the miracle for herself. He wanted very much to receive Holy Communion at the age of seven and went to the Communion railing one day with the others; but the priest, seeing his age, passed him up; and he went back to his place in tears. The following night, Saint Michael the Archangel brought him the Communion he so much desired.
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St. Hedwiges

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St. Hedwiges, or Avoice, Duchess of Poland, Widow

From her exact life extant in Surius, and D’Andilly, Saints Illustr. See also Chromer, Hist. l. 7, 8; Dlugoss, Hist. Polonicæ, l. 6 et 7, and F. Raderus, Bavaria Sancta, t. 1, p. 147.

A.D. 1243.

THE FATHER of this saint was Bertold III. of Andechs, marquis of Meran, count of Tirol, and prince (or duke) of Carinthia and Istria, 1 as he is styled in the Chronicle of Andechs, and in the life of St. Elizabeth of Hungary. 2 Her mother was Agnes, daughter of the count of Rotletchs. St. Hedwiges had three sisters and four brothers. Her eldest sister, Agnes, was married to Philip Augustus, king of France; Gertrude, the second, to Andrew, king of Hungary, by whom she had St. Elizabeth; the third was abbess of Lutzingen in Franconia. As to her brothers, Bertold died patriarch of Aquileia, and Elebert, bishop of Bamberg: Henry and Otho divided between them their father’s principalities, and became renowned generals. St. Hedwiges, by a distinguishing effect of the divine mercy in her favour, was from her cradle formed to virtue by the example and lessons of her devout mother, and of those that were placed about her. In her infancy she discovered no marks of levity, and all her inclinations were turned to piety and devotion. She was placed very young in the monastery of Lutzingen, in Franconia, and only taken thence, when twelve years old, to marry Henry, Duke of Silesia, descended of the dukes of Glogau in that country; to which match she only consented out of compliance with the will of her parents. In this state, by the fidelity with which she acquitted herself of all her respective duties towards God, her husband, her children, and her family, she was truly the courageous woman described by the wise man, 3 who is to be sought from the utmost boundaries of the earth: making it her study in all things only to please God, and to sanctify her own soul and her household, she directed all her views and actions to this great end. With her husband’s free consent she always passed holydays, fast-days, and all seasons of devotion in continence. She bore her husband three sons, Henry, Conrad, and Boleslas; and three daughters, Agnes, Sophia, and Gertrude. After the birth of her sixth child, she engaged her husband to agree to a mutual vow of perpetual continence, which they made in presence of the bishop of the place; from which time they never met but in public places. Her husband faithfully kept this vow for thirty years that he lived afterwards; during which time he never wore any gold, silver, or purple, and never shaved his beard; from which circumstance he was surnamed Henry the Bearded; and so he is constantly called by Dlugoss, Chromer, and other Polish and German historians. 1 Continue reading

Saint Teresa of Avila

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Saint Teresa of Avila

Virgin, Reformer of the Carmelite Order
(1515-1582)

By their fruits you will know them, says Our Lord of those who claim to be His followers. The fruits which remain of the life, labors and prayer of Saint Teresa of Avila bear to her virtue a living and enduring testimony which none can refuse to admit. She herself wrote her life and many other celebrated spiritual works, and much more can still be said of this soul of predilection, whose writings and examples have led so many souls to high sanctity.

Born in 1515 in the kingdom of Castile in Spain, she was the youngest child of a virtuous nobleman. When she was seven years old, Teresa fled from her home with one of her young brothers, in the hope of going to Africa and receiving the palm of martyrdom. Brought back and asked the reason for her flight, she replied: I want to see God, and I must die before I can see Him. She then began, with her same brother, Rodriguez, to build a hermitage in the garden, and was often heard repeating: Forever, forever! She lost her mother at the age of twelve years, and was led by worldly companions into various frivolities. Her father decided to place her in a boarding convent, and she obeyed without any inclination for this kind of life. Grace came to her assistance with the good guidance of the Sisters, and she decided to enter religion in the Carmelite monastery of the Incarnation at Avila. Continue reading