Saint John Eudes

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Saint John Eudes

Founder of the Congregation of Jesus and Mary (Eudists) and the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity
(1601-1680)

Saint John Eudes, forerunner of devotion both to the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, was born in 1601, some time after France had been torn apart by the revolt of the Huguenots. The rebels were calmed but relegated to western France by King Henry IV, after he himself returned to the Catholic faith. It was in that region that this young Saint spent his childhood, at Argentan in Normandy, and was educated with the Jesuits of Caen. The father of this firstborn of a family of solid and profound virtue, had himself desired the sacerdotal life, and he did not long oppose John’s desire to consecrate himself to God as a priest. At eighteen years of age Saint John had already composed a treatise on voluntary abnegation, which his confessor obliged him to publish. He was ordained in Paris as a member of the recently founded French Oratory of Saint Philip Neri; his teachers there were Fathers de Berulle and de Condren, two unsurpassed spiritual directors. The governing theme of his meditation, his preaching and his writings was the importance of the redemptive Incarnation of the Son of God, through the intermediary of His Immaculate Mother. Controversy was not lacking in those days, when the Mother of God had been relegated to a very secondary if not insignificant role by the reformers, and Saint John did not fear controversy. He chose to study both theology and what we would call debate, as essential preparations for his calling. In those days seminaries were scarce; aspiring future priests themselves sought out the instruction they needed.

At Caen a pestilence broke out and soon decimated the populace, often deprived of spiritual assistance. John Eudes offered to care for them in person, and while the scourge lasted slept outdoors in a field, in an old barrel, to protect his brothers in religion from contagion. In 1639 he was named Superior of the Oratory of Caen by Father de Condren, although the Superior General feared that office could interfere with his missions, from which they hoped for great renovation in western France. Nonetheless, from 1638 until 1642, Saint John, with his brethren in religion, was engaged in preaching missions in the dioceses of Bayeux and Lisieux, where the bishops encouraged him and soon were praising him highly. The fruits of these missions were rich and long-lived. Father Eudes was a follower of Saint Vincent de Paul in his ardent desire to evangelize the poor folk, so long neglected, and it was to the people that the preaching of the Oratorian missionaries was addressed. Their missions lasted for several weeks. Otherwise, said Saint John, we put a bandage on the wound, but do not heal it. Processions, hymns, little religious plays, special conferences for specific groups, organization of leagues against duels and blasphemy, and visits to the sick occupied the missionaries’ very full days.

Saint John Eudes left the Oratory, a Society of priests which he loved sincerely, like other founders who have been in a similar position, because he was called by God to break new ground in establishing a group of priests without religious vows, destined to occupy posts in the new seminaries of France. The Council of Trent had commanded these establishments everywhere, ordaining that priests be formed to head parishes and to establish in each of them a school. Already in 1658 Saint John himself had founded four seminaries in Normandy — at Caen, Coutances, Lisieux and Rouen. Before the Revolution in France, the Eudists had accepted the responsibility for sixteen seminaries or minor seminaries. This required a foundation in depth in theology and all pastoral duties. Some of his former brethren turned against him when he left them, and he met obstacles also when founding in Caen a Congregation of women to raise up poor girls led astray by ignorance or need. The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity founded by Saint John, parent body of the Good Shepherd nuns, have done an immense good in many countries. The Congregation of Jesus and Mary has sent missionary priests to several countries, all over the world. Saint John Eudes, who died in 1680, was beatified in 1909 by Saint Pius X, and canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1925.

Le Vénérable Père Eudes, by Henri Joly (V. Lecoffre: Paris, 1907); Saint Jean Eudes, by Paul Milcent, in Vie Eudiste, quarterly review, No. 8, 1973

Saint Helen

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Saint Helen

Empress
(† 328)

It was the pious boast of the city of Colchester, England, for many ages, that Saint Helen was born within its walls; and though this honor has been disputed, since others say she was born in York, it is certain that she was a British princess. She married a Roman General, Constantius Chlorus, and became the mother of Constantine the Great. She embraced Christianity late in life; but her incomparable faith and piety greatly influenced her son Constantine, the first Christian emperor, and served to kindle a holy zeal in the hearts of the Roman people. Forgetful of her high dignity, she delighted to assist at the Divine Office amid the poor; and by her almsdeeds showed herself a mother to the indigent and distressed.

In her eightieth year she made a famous pilgrimage to Jerusalem, with the ardent desire of discovering the cross on which our Blessed Redeemer had suffered. After many labors, three crosses were found on Mount Calvary, together with the names and the inscription recorded by the Evangelists. The miraculous discovery and verification of the true Cross is still celebrated by the Church on the 3rd of May. The pious empress, transported with joy, built a beautiful Basilica on Mount Calvary to receive the precious relic, sending portions of it also to Rome and Constantinople, where they were solemnly exposed to the adoration of the faithful. She built two other famous churches in Palestine to honor the sacred sites of Our Lord’s life, one at the site of His Ascension, and the other, known as the Basilica of the Nativity, in Bethlehem, which she and her son richly adorned.

Saint Helen’s influence on her son Constantine is recognized by all historians. He always honored her in every way. In the year 312, when Constantine found himself attacked by Maxentius with vastly superior forces, and the very existence of his western empire was threatened, he remembered the crucified Christian God whom his mother Helen worshiped. Kneeling down, he prayed God to reveal Himself as the supreme God, by giving him an otherwise impossible victory. Suddenly at noonday, a cross of fire was seen by his army in the calm and cloudless sky, and beneath it the words, In hoc signo vinces — In this sign thou shalt conquer. By divine command, Constantine made a standard like the cross he had seen, to be borne at the head of his troops. This is the famous banner known as the Roman Labarum. Under this Christian ensign they marched against the enemy and obtained a complete victory.

When past the age of 80, Saint Helen returned from Jerusalem to Rome, dying there in 328.

Reflection: Saint Helen thought it the glory of her life to find the Cross of Christ, and to raise a temple in His honor. Yet many Christians in these days are ashamed to make this life-giving sign publicly, and to confess themselves followers of the Crucified!

Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894); Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 10

The Fathers and Saints Testify to Papal Primacy

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The Fathers and Saints Testify to Papal Primacy

The Eastern Orthodox and Protestant religions reject papal primacy. In an attempt to discredit the historicity of papal primacy, they misrepresent the Fathers and Saints on the issues leaving out the context, full meaning, and full teaching of each authority. This study will answer, explain, and expound on certain quotes used against papal primacy, plus add quotes to prove papal primacy. The point of this study is to demonstrate how to answer cherry-picked quotes taken out of context and to prove that papal primacy was indeed recognized by the early Church.

One ex-Catholic, now Eastern Orthodox, posted the following quotes with the conclusion reading, “The Patristic witness on this point is so clear we need add nothing more to it –the point is settled – St. Peter did not receive any greater dignity or authority than the other Apostles. Already, the fundamental premise of Roman Catholicism is shaken and the edifice totters –if Peter did not have superior authority, Rome cannot have received it from him either.”

The quotes are below and I will follow with the Catholic answer, which, by the way, has already been answered many times by many other Catholics.

St. Ambrose of Milan: “He (St. Peter), then, who before was silent, to teach us that we ought not to repeat the words of the impious, this one, I say, when he heard, ‘But who do you say I am,’ immediately, not unmindful of his station, exercised his primacy, that is, the primacy of confession, not of honor; the primacy of belief, not of rank. This, then, is Peter, who has replied for the rest of the Apostles; rather, before the rest of men….” (Saint Ambrose, The Sacrament of the Incarnation of Our Lord, IV.32-V.34.)

Every Catholic agrees with St. Ambrose because Peter was not yet pope when he made his confession. Peter wasn’t acting pope until Pentecost.

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Saint Agapetus

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Saint Agapetus

Martyr
(† 274)

Saint Agapetus suffered in his youth a cruel martyrdom at Praeneste, now called Palestrina, twenty-four miles from Rome. He had dared to reproach for his cruelty towards the Christians, one of the Emperor Aurelian’s favorites, who immediately gave the order to arrest him. He was flogged with leaden-tipped straps and scorpions; his constancy and his prayer under torture converted five hundred pagans, who declared themselves Christians and were executed at once. The young martyr was thrown into a horrible prison where a celestial vision fortified him. After a second questioning, he was again scourged, then laid upon the rack that his body might be torn with iron nails.

He still lived and was again ordered to sacrifice to Apollo; his refusals won for him still more torments: live coals on his head, suspension by his feet, boiling water poured over him. His courage was superhuman, his answers admirable. Wild beasts in the arena spared him and lay down at his feet, and still more pagans were converted. He was finally beheaded, and his body buried by the Christians, in a field where they found a new tomb prepared as though for his sepulchre. Two churches in Palestrina and others in various places are dedicated to God under his name.

Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 10

INSTRUCTION ON THE TENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

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INSTRUCTION ON THE TENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

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

At the Introit of the Mass pray with the Church for God’s help to guard us against our enemies:

INTROIT When I cried to the Lord, he heard my voice, from them that draw near to me, and he humbled them, who is before all ages, and remains forever. Cast thy care upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee. (Ps. LIV.) Hear, O God, my prayer, and despise not my supplication; be attentive to me, and hear me. Glory etc.

COLLECT O God, who dost manifest Thine almighty. power above all in showing pardon and pity: multiply upon us Thy mercy, that we running forward to the attainment of Thy promises, may be made partakers of Thy heavenly treasures. Through etc.

EPISTLE (I Cor. XII. 2-11 .) Brethren, You know that when you were heathens; you went to dumb idols according as, you were led. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man, speaking by the Spirit of God, saith. Anathema to Jesus. And no man can say: the Lord Jesus, but by the Holy Ghost. Now there are diversities of graces, but the same Spirit; and there are diversities of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but the same God, who worketh all in all. And the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man unto profit. To one, indeed, by the Spirit, is given the word of wisdom: and to another, the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit: to another, faith in one Spirit: to another, the working of miracles: to another, prophecy: to another, the discerning, of spirits: to another, divers kinds of tongues: to another, of speeches. But all these things one and the same Spirit worketh, dividing to every one according as he will. Continue reading