Saint Frances of Rome

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Saint Frances of Rome, Widow

The period intervening between the Purification of our Blessed Lady and Ash-Wednesday (when it occurs at its latest date), gives us thirty-six days; and these offer us a Feast of every order of Saint. The Apostles have given us St. Matthias, and St. Peter’s Chair at Antioch; the Martyrs have sent us, from their countless choir, Simeon, Blase, Valentine, Faustinus and Jovita, Perpetua and Felicitas, and the Forty Soldiers of Sebaste, whose Feast is kept tomorrow; the holy Pontiffs have been represented by Andrew Corsini, and Peter Damian, who, together with Thomas of Aquin, is one of the Doctors of the Church; the Confessors have produced Romuald of Camaldoli, John of Matha, John of God, and the angelic prince Casimir; the Virgins have gladdened us with the presence of Agatha, Dorothy, Apollonia, and Scholastica, three wreathed with the red roses of martyrdom, and the fourth with her fair lilies of the enclosed garden (Cant. iv. 12) of her Spouse; and lastly, we have had a Penitent-Saint, Margarite of Cortona. The state of Christian marriage is the only one that has not yet deputed a Saint during this season which is the least rich in Feasts of the whole year. The deficiency is supplied today, by the admirable Frances of Rome. Continue reading

St. Catherine of Bologna

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St. Catherine of Bologna, Virgin and Abbess of the Poor Clares in That City

SHE was born of noble parentage at Bologna, in 1413. Early ardent sentiments of piety seemed to have prevented in her the use of reason. At twelve years of age she was placed in quality of a young maid of honour in the family of the princess Margaret, daughter to Nicholas of Est, marquis of Ferrara. Two years after, upon the marriage of that princess, she found means to recover her liberty, and entered herself in a community of devout ladies of the Third Order of St. Francis, at Ferrara, who soon after formed themselves into a regular monastery, and adopted the austere rule of St. Clare. A new nunnery of Poor Clares being founded at Bologna, St. Catherine was chosen first prioress, and sent thither by Leonardo, abbess of the monastery of Corpus Christi, in which she had made her religious profession at Ferrara. Catherine’s incredible zeal and solicitude for the souls of sinners made her pour forth prayers and tears, almost without intermission, for their salvation. She always spoke to God or of God, and bore the most severe interior trials with an heroic patience and cheerfulness. She looked upon it as the greatest honour to be in anything the servant of the spouses of Christ, and desired to be despised by all, and to serve all in the meanest employments. She was favoured with the gifts of miracles and prophecy: but said she had been sometimes deceived by the devil. She died on the 9th of March, 1463, in the fiftieth year of her age. Her body is still entire, and shown in the church of her convent through bars and glass, sitting richly covered, but the hands, face, and feet naked. It was seen and described by Henschenius, Lassels, and other travellers. Her name was inserted in the Roman Martyrology by Clement VIII., in 1592. The solemnity of her canonization was performed by Clement XI., though the bull was only published by Benedict XIII., in 1724. 1 A book of her revelations was printed at Bologna, in 1511. She also left notes in her prayer-book of certain singular favours which she had received from God. These revelations were published and received their dress from another hand, which circumstance is often as great a disadvantage in such works as if an illiterate and bold transcriber were to copy, from a single defective manuscript, Lycophron, or some other obscure author, which he did not understand. St. Catherine wrote some treatises in Italian, others in Latin, in which language she was well skilled. The most famous of her works is the book entitled, On the Seven Spiritual Arms. See her life in Bollandus, written by F. Paleotti, fifty years after her death. 1

Note 1. Bullar. Roman. t. 13. p. 87.

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume III: March. The Lives of the Saints. 1866. March 9

THE FORTY MARTYRS OF SEBASTE

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THE FORTY MARTYRS OF SEBASTE.

THE FORTY MARTYRS were soldiers quartered at Sebaste in Armenia, about the year 320. When their legion was ordered to offer sacrifice they separated themselves from the rest and formed a company of martyrs. After they had been torn by scourges and iron hooks they were chained together and led to a lingering death. It was a cruel winter, and they were condemned to lie naked on the icy surface of a pond in the open air till they were frozen to death. But they ran undismayed to the place of their combat, joyfully stripped off their garments, and with one voice besought God to keep their Tanks unbroken. “Forty,” they cried, “we have come to combat: grant that forty may be crowned.” There were warm baths hard by, ready for any one amongst them who would deny Christ. The soldiers who watched saw angels descending with thirty-nine crowns, and, while he wondered at the deficiency in the number, one of the confessors lost heart, renounced his faith, and, crawling to the fire, died body and soul at the spot where he expected relief. But the soldier was inspired to confess Christ and take his place, and again the number of forty was complete. They remained steadfast while their limbs grew stiff and frozen, and died

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one by one. Among the Forty there was a young soldier who held nut longest against the cold, and when the officers came to cart away the dead bodies they found him still breathing. They were moved with pity, and wanted to leave him alive in the hope that he would still change his mind. But his mother stood by, and ‘this valiant woman could not bear to see her son separated from the band of martyrs. She exhorted him to persevere, and lifted his frozen body into the cart. He was just able to make a sign of recognition, and was borne away, to be thrown into the flames with the dead bodies of his brethren.

Reflection.—All who live the life of grace are one in Christ. But besides this there are many specialties—of religion, of community life, or at least of aspirations in prayer, and pious works. Thank God if He has bound you to others by these spiritual ties; remember the character you have to support, and pray that the bond which unites you here may last for eternity.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]. March 10.

Today’s Introit: Invocábit me

Introitus
Ps 90:15; 90:16
Invocábit me, et ego exáudiam eum: erípiam eum, et glorificábo eum: longitúdine diérum adimplébo eum.
Ps 90:1
Qui hábitat in adiutório Altíssimi, in protectióne Dei coeli commorábitur.
V. Glória Patri, et Fílio, et Spirítui Sancto.
R. Sicut erat in princípio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculórum. Amen
Invocábit me, et ego exáudiam eum: erípiam eum, et glorificábo eum: longitúdine diérum adimplébo eum.

Introit
Ps 90:15-16
He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will deliver him and glorify him; with length of days I will gratify him.
Ps 90:1
You who dwell in the shelter of the Most High, shall abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
R. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will deliver him and glorify him; with length of days I will gratify him.

INSTRUCTION FOR THE FIRST SUNDAY IN LENT 

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INSTRUCTION FOR THE FIRST SUNDAY IN LENT

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

INVOCABIT

This Sunday is called Invocabit, because the Introit of the Mass begins with this word, which is taken from the ninetieth psalm, wherein we are urged to confidence in God, who willingly hears the prayer of the penitent:

INTROIT He shall call upon me, and I will hear him; I will deliver him, and glorify him; I will fill him with length of days. (Ps. XC. 15-16.) He that dwelleth in the aid of the Most high shall abide under the protection of the God of heaven. (Ps. XC. 1.) Glory be to the Father, etc.

COLLECT O God who dost purify Thy Church by the yearly fast of Lent; grant to Thy household that what we strive to obtain from Thee by abstinence, by good works we may secure. Through our Lord, etc.

EPISTLE (II. Cor. VI. 1-10) Brethren, we exhort you that you receive not the grace of God in vain. For he saith: In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in the day of salvation have I helped thee. Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now, is the day of salvation. Giving no offence to any man, that our ministry be not blamed: but in all things let us exhibit ourselves as the ministers of God; in much patience, in tribulations, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in prisons, in seditions, in labors, in watchings, in fastings, in chastity, in knowledge, in long-suffering, in sweetness, in the Holy Ghost, in charity unfeigned, in the word of truth, in the power of God, by the armor of justice on the right hand, and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report, and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastised, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as needy, yet enriching many; as having nothing, and possessing all things. Continue reading