St. Francis Solanus

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St. Francis Solanus

South American missionary of the Order of Friars Minor; b. at Montilla, in the Diocese of Cordova, Spain, 10 March, 1549; d. at Lima, Peru, 14 July, 1610. His parents, Matthew Sanchez Solanus and Anna Ximenes, were distinguished no less for their noble birth than for their virtue and piety. When Francis was twenty years old, he was received into the Franciscan Order at Montilla, and after his ordination, several years later, he was sent by his superiors to the convent of Arifazza as master of novices. In 1589 he sailed from Spain to the New World, and having landed at Panama, crossed the isthmus and embarked on a vessel that was to convey him to Peru. His missionary labours in South America extended over a period of twenty years, during which time he spared no fatigue, shrank from no sacrifice however great, and feared no danger that stood in the way of evangelizing the vast and savage regions of Tucuman and Paraguay. So successful, indeed, was his apostolate that he has been aptly styled the Thaumaturgus of the New World. Notwithstanding the number and difficulty of the dialects spoken by the Indians, he learned them all in a very short time, and it is said that he often addressed tribes of different tongues in one language and was understood by them all. Besides being engaged in active missionary work, he filled the office of custos of the convents of his order in Tucuman and Paraguay, and later was elected guardian of the Franciscan convent in Lima, Peru. In 1610, while preaching at Truxillo he foretold the calamities that were to befall that city, which was destroyed by an earthquake eight years later, most of the inhabitants perishing in the ruins. The death of St. Francis, which he himself had foretold, was the cause of general grief throughout Peru. In his funeral sermon at the burial of the saint, Father Sebastiani, S.J., said that “Divine Providence had chosen Father Francis Solanus to be the hope and edification of all Peru, the example and glory of Lima and the splendour of the Seraphic Order”. St. Francis was beatified by Clement X, in 1675, and canonized by Benedict XIII, in 1726. His feast is kept throughout the Franciscan Order on the twenty-fourth of July.

“Life of St. Francis Solanus” (New York, 1888); LEO, “Lives of the Saints and Blessed of the Three Orders of St. Francis” (Taunton, 1886), II 509-522; Acta SS., July, V, 847-901.

APA citation. Donovan, S. (1909). St. Francis Solanus. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

MLA citation. Donovan, Stephen. “St. Francis Solanus.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 6. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909.

Transcription. Dedicated to Deacon Philip and Barbara Looby Family of St. Francis Solanus Church, Harrisville, NY.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. September 1, 1909. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.

St. Christina

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St. Christina, Virgin and Martyr

Those who consider the life and the different kinds of martyrdom of this holy Virgin, and do not remember what we said in the preface to these volumes, may easily be tempted to suppose that much of what we relate is impossible, and the work of imagination. But as the whole history is founded on indubitable and unobjectionable testimony, we shall relate her life plainly and faithfully, remembering that God chose this holy Virgin, in preference to innumerable others, to honor and glorify His holy faith among the blind heathen, to confound the tyrants and persecutors of Christendom, and to reveal to the world the wonders of His Omnipotence.

The Saint was a native of Tyro, in Tuscany, where her father Urban, was prefect. He was a sworn enemy to the Christians, and hardly passed a day on which he did not call some one of the faithful into his presence, and doom him to suffering and to death. Christina, who on seeing this, observed at the same time how fearless and happy the Christians were during their torments, was curious to know what kind of men they were, why they were thus persecuted, and what gave them strength to bear so uncomplainingly, nay, so cheerfully, the sufferings they endured. When instructed about all this, the grace of God worked so strongly in her, that she felt an intense desire to be, by means of holy Baptism, numbered among the Christians. She rested not until her desire was fulfilled, and at the age of nine years, she received holy Baptism and with it the name of Christina. Her zeal was greater than could have been expected at her tender age. She secretly took her father’s idols, composed of gold and silver, and breaking them into pieces with the assistance of others, divided them among the poor. Her father, almost beside himself with rage when he was informed of this, resolved to avenge, with his daughter’s blood, the dishonor done to the gods, but not until he had endeavored to win her by kindness from the faith of Christ. Hence he called her to him and all alone with her, urged her, with many manifestations of kindness and at last with menaces, to forsake Christ. Christina, however, said fearlessly: “Do with me whatever you like, my dear father; you can take my life, but the faith of Christ you have no power to tear out of my heart. My Saviour will strengthen me to suffer patiently all that you have threatened.” Scarcely had she spoken these words, when the inhuman father commanded the executioners whom he had called to scourge her most cruelly over her whole body.  Continue reading

St. Liborius

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St. Liborius, Bishop of Mans, Confessor

HE was descended of a noble Gaulish family, and by his innocence and sanctity of life was recommended to the priesthood in the church of Mans. He loved retirement and prayer, never conversed with seculars but on spiritual accounts, and linked himself only with those among the clergy whose actions and words were such as might inspire him more and more with the spirit of his state. His distinguished learning and virtue fixed all eyes upon him, and in 348 he was chosen fourth bishop of Mans. Indefatigable in all the functions of his charge, he prayed and fasted much, and was most attentive in succouring the necessities of the poor, by that means to draw down the blessing of God upon himself and his flock. He built and endowed many new churches in his diocess, and having governed it forty-nine years, died about the year 397. His remains were translated to Paderborn in 836, and he is honoured as patron of that city. See Tillemont, t. 10, p. 307. Fleury, l. 28, n. 61, p. 495. 1

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume VII: July. The Lives of the Saints. 1866. July 23.

Saint Apollinaris of Ravenna

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Saint Apollinaris of Ravenna

First Bishop of Ravenna and Martyr († 79)

When Saint Peter, setting out for Rome, left Antioch after seven years as its spiritual Head, he took with him several of the faithful of that city, among them Apollinaris, a disciple of Jesus Christ. He consecrated him bishop a few years later and sent him to Ravenna as its first bishop.

His first miracle was on behalf of the blind son of a soldier who gave him hospitality when he first arrived in the city of Ravenna. When the apostle told him of the God he had come to preach and invited him to abandon the cult of idols, the soldier replied: Stranger, if the God you preach is as powerful as you say, beg Him to give sight to my son, and I will believe in Him. The Saint had the child brought and made the sign of the cross on his eyes as he prayed. The miracle was instantaneous, to the great amazement of all, and news of it spread rapidly. A day or so later, a military tribune sent for him to cure his wife from a long illness, which again he did. The house of the tribune became a center of apostolic action, and several persons sent their children to the Saint to instruct them there. Little by little a flourishing Christian assembly was formed, and priests and deacons were ordained. The Saint lived in community with the two priests and two deacons.

The idolatrous priests aroused the people against him, as we see the enemies of Saint Paul do in the Acts of the Apostles. He was left half-dead on the seashore, after being severely beaten, but was cared for by the Christians and recovered rapidly. A young girl whom he cured after having her father promise to allow her full liberty to follow Christ, consecrated her virginity to God. It was after this that, in the time of Vespasian, he was arrested and interrogated and again flogged, stretched on the rack and plunged into boiling oil. Alive still, he was exiled to Illyria, east of the Adriatic Sea.

He remained three years in that country, having survived a shipwreck with only a few persons whom he converted. Then he evangelized the various districts, with the aid of his converts. When an idol ceased to speak during his sojourn in one of these regions, the pagans again beat him and threw him and his companions on a ship which took them back to Italy. Soon imprisoned, he escaped but was seized again and for the last time subjected to a flogging. He died on July 23rd of the year 79. His body lay first at Classis, four miles from Ravenna, and a church was built over his tomb; later the relics were returned to Ravenna. Pope Honorius had a church built to honor the name of Apollinaris in Rome, about the year 630. From the beginning the Church has held his memory in high veneration.

Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 8