SS. Vitalis and Agricola

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SS. Vitalis and Agricola, Martyrs

ST. AMBROSE informs us that Agricola was a gentleman of Bologna, whose behaviour in the world had engaged the affection of the idolaters amongst whom he lived. Vitalis, his slave, learned from him the Christian religion, and first received the crown; for the servant and the freeman are one and the same thing in Christ, nor is there any difference from their condition in their reward. They were both seized, probably in the year 304, and Vitalis first put to the torture. He ceased not to praise God so long as he had the use of his tongue; and seeing no part of his body left which was not covered with wounds and blood, he prayed Jesus Christ to receive his soul, and to bestow on him that crown which his angel had shown him. His prayer was no sooner ended than he gave up the ghost. Agricola’s execution was deferred out of a cruel compassion, that time and the sight of the sufferings of his faithful servant might daunt his resolution. But he was animated and encouraged by such an example. Whereupon the affection of the judges and people was converted into fury; and the martyr was hung on a cross, and his body pierced with so many huge nails that the number of his wounds surpassed that of his limbs. The bodies of the martyrs were laid in the burial place of the Jews. St. Ambrose flying from the arms of the tyrant Eugenius, came to Bologna in 393, and there discovered these relics. He took to himself some of the blood that was found in the bottom of the grave, and the cross and nails which were the instruments of Agricola’s martyrdom. Juliana, a devout widow of Florence, invited him to dedicate a church she had built in that city, and begged of him this treasure, which he was not able to refuse her, and the value of which he much extols to her three daughters, bidding them receive with respect these presents of salvation, which were laid under the altar. See St. Ambrose, Exhort. ad Virginit. c. 1, 2. St. Gregory of Tours, l. de Glor. Mart. c. 44. 1

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume XI: November.
The Lives of the Saints. 1866. November 4.

St. Charles Borromeo

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St. Charles Borromeo, Archbishop and Cardinal

The great and holy Charles Borromeo is justly accounted one of the most celebrated Saints that lived in the sixteenth century, and who, by their virtues and the miracles they performed, made the Catholic Church glorious in the very face of her enemies. Charles was born of very illustrious parents, in 1538, at the castle of Arona, fourteen miles from Milan. A bright light which shone above the castle at the time of Charles’ birth, and which, sending its rays afar off, continued for over two hours, was doubtless a sign of the great virtue and holiness with which this new-born child would ornament and illuminate the Church of Christ.

Charles, even in childhood, evinced great inclination for the religious state, as he imitated at home everything he saw the priests do at Church. In later years, when he began his studies, he served as a model of virtue to every one. His purity he kept inviolate amidst the greatest dangers; no one ever heard him speak an unchaste word, and if others said anything that in the least offended his ear, he immediately withdrew, and carefully avoided all frivolous, idle or disobedient youths. Continue reading

St. Martin de Porres

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St. Martin de Porres

Dominican Coadjutor Brother
(1579-1639)

Blessed Martin de Porres was born in Lima, Peru in 1579, during the days when Spanish noblemen and many adventurers were still in the land, fascinated by the lure of the gold and silver which abounded there. He was the natural son of one of these and a young Indian woman. It was not long before his dark complexion caused his father to be ashamed of him and his mother, and to abandon them. Later the father would regret his too rapid decision, and take Martin under his protection.

The young boy often heard himself referred to as a half-breed, and all his life long, his profound humility saw in himself only the magnanimity of God amid the inadequacy of his origins. When his mother could not support him and his sister, Martin was confided to a primary school for two years, then placed with a surgeon to learn the medical arts. This caused him great joy, though he was only ten years old, for he could exercise charity to his neighbor while earning his living. Already he was spending hours of the night in prayer, a practice which increased rather than diminished as he grew older. Until his death he would flagellate himself three times every night, for his own failings and for the conversion of pagans and sinners. Continue reading

INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE FOURTH RESUMED SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY

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INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE FOURTH RESUMED SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY

The Church’s Year
By Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine

[The Introit of the Mass as on the preceding Sunday.]

COLLECT O God, who knowest us to be set in the midst of so great perils, that because of the frailty of our nature we cannot stand; grant to us health of mind and body, that those things which we suffer for our sins, we may by Thy aid overcome. Through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord &c.

EPISTLE (Romans XIII. 8-10.) Brethren, owe no man anything, but to love one another; for he that loveth his neighbor hath fulfilled the law. For thou shalt not commit adultery; thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not bear false witness; thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is comprised in this word: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. The love of our neighbor worketh no evil. Love, therefore, is the fulfilling of the law.
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