St. Willibrord

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St. Willibrord, First Bishop of Utrecht, Confessor

A.D. 738.

ST. WILLIBRORD was born in the kingdom of Northumberland, towards the year 658, and placed by his virtuous parents, before he was seven years old, in the monastery of Rippon, which was at that time governed by St. Wilfrid, its founder. Wilgis, our saint’s father, retired also into a monastery, afterwards became a hermit, and in his old age founded and governed a small monastery between the ocean and the Humber. He is honoured among the saints in the monastery of Epternac, and in the English calendars. Alcuin has left us an account of his life Willibrord, by carrying the yoke of our Lord with fervour from his infancy, found it always easy and sweet, and the better to preserve the first fruits which he had gathered, made his monastic profession when he was very young. He had made great progress in virtue and sacred learning, when, out of a desire for further improvement, in the twentieth year of his age, he went over into Ireland, with the consent of his abbot and brethren, where he joined St. Egbert or Ecgbright, and the blessed Wigbert, who were gone thither before upon the same errand. In their company our saint spent twelve years in the study of the sacred sciences, and in the most fervent exercise of all virtues. Though his constitution was weak, in fervour and exactness, he outdid the most advanced; he was humble, modest, and of an easy obliging temper; and his whole conduct was regular and uniform. St. Egbert had long entertained an ardent desire of going to preach the gospel to the inhabitants of those unhappy countries, in which barbarism and idolatry still reigned without control, and he had chiefly Friesland or Lower Germany in his eye. But he was diverted from that apostolical design by persons of piety and authority, who engaged him to employ his zealous labours in the islands between Ireland and Scotland, in all which he settled the true manner of celebrating Easter; especially at Hij, where he died a little before Bede wrote his history. St. Egbert is honoured in the English Calendar on the 24th of April. Bede gives a most edifying account of his austere penance, devotion, zeal, and charity. His companion, the holy priest Wigbert, went in the mean time to Friesland; but after staying there two years came back without having met with any prospect of success. This disappointment did not discourage Egbert, and other zealous promoters of this mission; but excited them the more earnestly to solicit the divine mercy with prayers and tears in favour of so many souls, who were perishing eternally. Willibrord, who was then about thirty-one years of age, and had been ordained priest a year before, expressed a great desire to be allowed by his superiors to undertake this laborious and dangerous charge. St. Egbert, by the known zeal and great talents of our saint, and by his cheerfulness, which sufficiently showed him prepared to encounter all difficulties in the prosecution of such a work, doubted not but God had reserved to him the conversion of that nation, and encouraged him in this zealous design. St. Willibrord was joined by St. Swidbert and ten other English monks in this mission. 1
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St. Leonard of Port Maurice

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St. Leonard of Port Maurice
by Emily Mary Shapcote, 1877

St. Leonard, who, on account of his innumerable missions, has received the title of the Apostle of Rome and of Italy, may most justly be called the Apostle of the Most Holy Sacrament and of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He was born at Port Maurice on the 20th December 1673, and was baptised by the name of Paul Jerome. His father, an honourablewell-to-do citizen, was also a God-fearing man, who, in order to shelter his chastity while owner of a little packet-ship, made a vow–which he punctiliously kept–of never permitting a woman to sail therein.

Under the eyes of this pious parent Paul grew up to be a God-fearing youth. At the age of twenty-one he entered the Franciscan Order, already far advanced in virtue and knowledge. Being ordained priest he fell ill, and could find no means of recovery. At this juncture he turned to the Blessed Mother of God, and with most fervent prayer he promised her to devote his life entirely to missionary work, and in this manner to the honour of God and the conversion of sinners, if she would obtain of her Son for him the gift of restored health. His prayer was granted. In a short time after he became so strong and healthy that he was able to undertake any work, however difficult. Continue reading

Mary Assists Her Servants In Purgatory

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Mary Assists Her Servants In Purgatory

Too happy are the servants of this most kind mother, since not only
in this world they are aided by her, but also in purgatory they are assisted and consoled by her protection.

Mary Assists her Servants in Purgatory

Too happy are the servants of this most kind mother, since not only in this world they are aided by her, but also in purgatory they are assisted and consoled by her protection.

For succor being there more needed, because they are in torment and cannot help themselves, so much the more does this mother of mercy strive to help them. Continue reading