Bl. Sebastian of Aparicio

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Bl. Sebastian of Aparicio

Friar, Order of Friars Minor

Roman martyrology: At Mexico, Sebastian de Aparicio y del Pardo, a Spanish colonist in Mexico shortly after its conquest by Spain, who after a lifetime as a rancher and road builder entered the Order of Friars Minor as a lay brother.

Sebastian’s roads and bridges connected many distant places. His final bridge-building was to help men and women recognize their God-given dignity and destiny.

Sebastian’s parents were Spanish peasants. At the age of 31 he sailed to Mexico, where he began working in the fields. Eventually he built roads to facilitate agricultural trading and other commerce. His 466-mile road from Mexico City to Zacatecas took 10 years to build and required careful negotiations with the indigenous peoples along the way.

In time Sebastian was a wealthy farmer and rancher. At the age of 60 he entered a virginal marriage. His wife’s motivation may have been a large inheritance; his was to provide a respectable life for a girl without even a modest marriage dowry. When his first wife died, he entered another virginal marriage for the same reason; his second wife also died young.

At the age of 72 Sebastian distributed his goods among the poor and entered the Franciscans as a brother. Assigned to the large (100-member) friary at Puebla de los Angeles south of Mexico City, Sebastian went out collecting alms for the friars for the next 25 years. His charity to all earned him the nickname “Angel of Mexico.”

Sebastian was beatified in 1787 and is known as a patron of travelers.

Reflection

According to the Rule of Saint Francis, the friars were to work for their daily bread. Sometimes, however, their work would not provide for their needs; for example, working with people suffering from leprosy brought little or no pay. In cases such as these, the friars were allowed to beg, always keeping in mind the admonition of Francis to let their good example commend them to the people. The life of the prayerful Sebastian drew many closer to God.

Saint Walburge

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Saint Walburge, Virgin, Abbess in England.

SHE 1 was daughter to the holy king St. Richard, and sister to SS. Willibald and Winebald; was born in the kingdom of the West Saxons in England, and educated, in the monastery of Winburn in Dorsetshire, where she took the religious veil. After having passed twenty-seven years in this holy nunnery, she was sent by the abbess Tetta, under the conduct of St. Lioba, with several others, into Germany, at the request of her cousin St. Boniface. 2 Her first settlement in that country was under St. Lioba, in the monastery of Bischofsheim, in the diocess of Mentz. Two years after she was appointed abbess of a nunnery founded by her two brothers, at Heidenheim in Suabia, (now subject to the duke of Wirtemburg,) where her brother, St. Winebald, took upon him at the same time the government of an abbey of monks. This town is situated in the diocess of Aichstadt, in Franconia, upon the borders of Bavaria, of which St. Willibald, our saint’s other brother, had been consecrated bishop by St. Boniface. So eminent was the spirit of evangelical charity, meekness, and piety, which all the words and actions of St. Walburge breathed, and so remarkable was the fruit which her zeal and example produced in others, that when St. Winebald died, in 760, she was charged with a superintendency also over the abbey of monks till her death. St. Willibald caused the remains of their brother Winebald to be removed to Aichstadt, sixteen years after his death; at which ceremony St. Walburge assisted. Two years after she herself passed to eternal rest, on the 25th of February, in 779, having lived twenty-five years at Heidenheim. Her relics were translated, in the year 870, to Aichstadt, on the 21st of September, and the principal part still remains there in the church anciently called of the Holy Cross, but since that time of St. Walburge. A considerable portion is venerated with singular devotion at Furnes, where, by the pious zeal of Baldwin, surnamed of Iron, it was received on the 25th of April, and enshrined on the 1st of May, on which day her chief festival is placed in the Belgic Martyrologies, imitated by Baronius in the Roman. From Furnes certain small parts have been distributed in several other towns in the Low Countries, especially at Antwerp, Brussels, Tiel, Arnhem, Groningue, and Zutphen; also Cologne, Wirtemberg, Ausberg, Christ Church at Canterbury, and other places, were enriched with particles of this treasure from Aichstadt. St. Walburge is titular saint of many other great churches in Germany, Brabant, Flanders, and several provinces of France, especially in Poitou, Perche, Normandy, Burgundy, Lorraine, Alsace, &c. Her festival, on account of various translations of her relics, is marked on several days of the year, but the principal is kept in most places on the day of her death. A portion of her relics was preserved in a rich shrine in the repository of relics in the electoral palace of Hanover, as appears from the catalogue printed in folio at Hanover in 1713. See her life written by Wolfhard, a devout priest of Aichstadt, in the following century, about the year 890; again by Adelbold, nineteenth bishop of Utrecht, (of which diocess Heda calls her patroness;) thirdly, by an anonymous author; fourthly, by the poet Medibard; fifthly, by Philip, bishop of Aichstadt; sixthly, by an anonymous author, at the request of the nuns of St. Walburge of Aichstadt. All these six lives are published by Henschenius. See also Raderus, in Bavaria Sancta, t. 3. p. 4. Gretser, de Sanctis Eystettensibus, &c.

February 25. Rev. Alban Butler. 1866. Volume II: February. The Lives of the Saints

St. Mathias

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St. Mathias, Apostle

The holy apostle Matthias was born in Bethlehem, a city of Judaea. His parents reared him carefully and instructed him in the Commandments and ordinances of God. As soon as Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world, had commenced to preach the Gospel, Matthias was among his hearers, and, taking His teachings deeply to heart, he followed the Divine Master, and was thus admitted among the seventy-two disciples of Christ. He also witnessed most of the miracles which our Saviour wrought during the time of His preaching. It cannot be doubted that Christ, after His resurrection, appeared to him as to others of His disciples, nor that he was present upon the mountain when Christ was so gloriously carried up to heaven. After the ascension of our Lord he repaired, with the apostles and other disciples, into the dining-hall, where they prepared themselves, in obedience to Christ’s command, to receive the Holy Ghost. St. Peter, as the chief of the apostles, rose in the midst of the assemblage and represented to them that one of those men, who had been constant in their attendance on the teachings of Christ, must be chosen in the place of the unhappy Judas. The latter, having betrayed and sold Christ for thirty pieces of silver, had ended his miserable life by hanging himself on a tree, where, his body bursting, had emitted his entrails. The place of this unfortunate traitor, who had been chosen an apostle by Christ, had to be filled and the missing member of the Apostolic College supplied.  Continue reading