Saint Laurence O’Toole

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Saint Laurence O’Toole

Archbishop of Dublin, Martyr
(1125-1180)

Saint Laurence was the son of the king of Leinster in Ireland, born about the year 1125. His birth caused such great joy to his father, that in thanksgiving, to honor Christ, he pardoned a vassal who was an enemy and even chose him for sponsor of the child. They were stopped on the way to church by a man who was regarded as a prophet, and who told them in verse that the child would be magnificent on earth and glorious in heaven, and that his name must be Laurence. Though the king had decided otherwise, the infant was indeed given that name of predilection.

When only ten years old, his father delivered him up as a hostage to a rival prince who required this gage of his sincerity when there was a question of a treaty of peace, but who treated the child with great inhumanity, leaving him to suffer hunger and cold and other incommodities until his health was nearly ruined. His father, hearing of this, by menaces obliged the tyrant to put him temporarily in the hands of the Bishop of Glendenoch in the county of Wicklow. The holy youth was soon cured and, by his fidelity in corresponding with the divine grace, he grew to be a model of virtues. When his father came for him, he declared he desired to enter into the service of the Church and remain with the good bishop. To this his father willingly agreed.

On the death of the bishop, who was also Abbot of a monastery of the same city, Saint Laurence was chosen Abbot in 1150, though only twenty years old, and doubting his competence. Nonetheless he governed with a paternal spirit, employing all his revenues during a famine in the province, to procure food for the needy, remedies for the sick, and aid of all kinds for the unfortunate. Never did he use his revenues, even when prosperity returned, for anything but care of the poor, repairs for ruined or decrepit churches or the construction of new ones, and the foundation of hospitals. When the see of Glendenoch became vacant once more in 1161, it was Saint Laurence who was chosen to fill it; and although he could not resolve to accept that new dignity, he was obliged soon afterwards to become Archbishop of Dublin, and he was told that to refuse would be to resist the Will of God.

He established a regular life for the Canons of his cathedral, according to the example of Saint Augustine, and he himself followed all the rules with exactitude, sharing their table, their prayer and their silence. Each year he made a retreat of forty days in a cavern a few miles from the city, fasting on bread, water and vegetables. When he came forth afterwards he preached with so much zeal against the disorders of the province, that even hardened hearts could not resist the force of his words.

About the year 1171 Saint Laurence was obliged, for the affairs of his diocese, to go to England to see the king, Henry II, who was then at Canterbury. He was received by the Benedictine monks of Christ Church with the greatest honor and respect. On the following day, as the holy Archbishop was advancing to the altar to officiate, a maniac, who had heard much of his sanctity and who thought it would be a gift to the Church to make of him another martyr in the likeness of Saint Thomas Becket, struck him a violent blow on the head. All present concluded that he was mortally wounded; but the Saint recovered his senses and asked for some water, which he blessed. He then requested that the wound be washed with it, and the blood was immediately stanched; and the archbishop celebrated Mass. He obtained the offender’s pardon from the king. His prayers brought about many miracles, including the return to their senses for those who had become alienated, a miracle rare in the history of religion. After he attended a General Council in Rome in 1179, the Pope made him his legate for all of Ireland, and he visited all its provinces to re-establish ecclesiastical discipline everywhere.

In 1175 Henry II of England became offended with Roderick, the monarch of Ireland, and Saint Laurence undertook another journey to England to negotiate a reconciliation between them. Henry was so moved by his piety, charity and prudence that he granted him everything he asked, and left the whole negotiation to his discretion. Saint Laurence died while still in France, in the city of Eu on the border of Normandy and Picardy. He was unable to make a testament, as this perfect Archbishop had given all he had, and literally had nothing to leave to others. He ended his journey here below on the 14th of November, 1180, and was buried in the church of the abbey at Eu.

Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 13

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The Tridentine Profession of Faith

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Professio fidei Tridentina
The Tridentine Profession of Faith

One of the great works of the Council of Trent was to produce the Tridentine Profession of Faith, a statement of the Creed that clearly articulates the perennial Faith in the face of the heretical revolutionary doctrines of the Protestant so-called “Reformers.”

The “Professio fidei Tridentina”, also known as the “Creed of Pope Pius IV”, is one of the four authoritative Creeds of the Catholic Church. It was issued on November 13, 1565 by Pope Pius IV in his bull “Iniunctum nobis” under the auspices of the Council of Trent (1545 – 1563). It was subsequently modified slightly after the First Vatican Council (1869 – 1870) to bring it inline with the dogmatic definitions of the Council. The major intent of the Creed was to clearly define the Catholic faith against Protestantism. At one time it was used by Theologians as an oath of loyalty to the Church and to reconcile converts to the Church, but it is rarely used these days.

Find below the complete Tridentine Profession of Faith

I, ——-, with a firm faith believe and profess all and every one of the things contained in that Creed which the holy Roman Church makes use of: “I believe in one God, the Father Almighty,” etc. [The Nicene Creed]

I most steadfastly admit and embrace apostolic and ecclesiastical traditions, and all other observance and constitutions of the same Church.

I also admit the holy Scriptures, according to that sense which our holy mother Church has held and does hold, to which it belongs to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the Scriptures; neither will I ever take and interpret them otherwise than according to the unanimous consent of the Fathers.

I also profess that there are truly and properly seven sacraments of the new law, instituted by Jesus Christ our Lord, and necessary for the salvation of mankind, though not all for ever one, to wit: baptism, confirmation, the eucharist, penance, extreme unction, holy orders, and matrimony; and that they confer grace; and that these, baptism, confirmation, and ordination can not be reiterated without sacrilege. I also receive and admit the received and approved ceremonies of the Catholic Church, used in the solemn administration of the aforesaid sacraments.

I embrace and receive all and every one of the things which have been defined and declared in the holy Council of Trent concerning original sin and justification.

I profess, likewise, that in the mass there is offered to God a true, proper, and propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead; and that in the most holy sacrament of the eucharist there is truly, really and substantially, the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ; and that there is made a change of the whole essence of the bread into the body, and of the whole essence of the wine into the blood; which change the Catholic Church calls transubstantiation.

I also confess that under either kind alone [either the bread or the cup] Christ is received whole and entire, and a true sacrament.

I firmly hold that there is a purgatory, and that the souls therein detained are helped by the suffrages of the faithful. Likewise, that the saints reigning with Christ are to be honoured and invoked, and that they offer up prayers to God for us, and that their relics are to be had in veneration.

I most firmly assert that the images of Christ, and of the perpetual Virgin the Mother of God, and also of other saints, ought to be had and retained, and that due honor and veneration are to be given them. I also affirm that the power of indulgences was left by Christ in the Church, and that the use of them is most wholesome to Christian people.

I acknowledge the holy Catholic Apostolic Roman Church for the mother and mistress of all churches; and I promise and swear true obedience to the Bishop of Rome, successor to St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles, and Vicar of Jesus Christ.

I likewise undoubtingly receive and profess all other things delivered, defined, and declared by the Sacred Canons and General Councils, particularly by the holy Council of Trent; and I condemn, reject, and anathematize all things contrary thereto, and all heresies which the Church has condemned, rejected, and anathematized.

I do, at this present, freely profess and truly hold this true Catholic faith, without which no one can be saved; and I promise most constantly to retain and confess the same entire and inviolate, with God’s assistance, to the end of my life. And I will take care, as far as in me lies, that it shall be held, taught, and preached by my subjects, or by those the care of whom shall appertain to me in my office. This, I promise, vow, and swear – so help me God, and these holy Gospels of God.

Saint Stanislaus Kostka

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Saint Stanislaus Kostka

Jesuit, Patron of Youth
(1550-1568)

Saint Stanislaus Kostka was born in Poland in 1550, of a noble Polish family. At the age of fourteen he was sent with his older brother Paul to study at the Jesuit College in Vienna. Twice a day he would pray at length in the chapel, and he never failed to recite a crown of the Rosary. He avoided the company of students too free in their speech and behavior, and often fasted and inflicted on himself a rude discipline. His love for God did not cease to augment with these practices, and he decided to make a vow to enter the Company of Jesus. He told his confessor of it only six months later, as he wanted it to remain unknown until he would be in a position to carry it out.

He fell ill, and the demon appeared in his room under the form of a black dog which lunged at his throat. The young Saint drove him away with the sign of the Cross; but his illness was growing worse. He was lodged in the residence of a Protestant who would not permit the Blessed Sacrament to be brought to him. Saint Stanislaus remembered having read that those who invoked Saint Barbara never died without the Sacraments, and he begged that she would assist him in his danger and not permit that he die without the Viaticum. His prayer was answered; one night, when his life was despaired of, he saw this beautiful virgin-martyr, accompanied by two Angels, enter his room with the Blessed Sacrament. He was greatly consoled by this favor and another which immediately followed it; the Blessed Virgin also appeared and assured him that God wanted him to enter the Jesuit Society. Soon he felt better and was restored to complete health.

He was still too young to enter the Order in Vienna without his parents’ permission; he therefore determined to go to another province where it might be possible. Stanislaus had always been gentle and cheerful, and his sanctity was felt as a reproach by his brother Paul, who had been surveying him constantly and often spoke rudely to him, even going so far as to strike him. Stanislaus nonetheless succeeded in evading him when he left for Augsbourg, dressed as a beggar, to go to Father Peter Canisius, Provincial of Upper Germany, with letters of recommendation he had received from a Father of the Company. His brother, when he realized he had left, pursued him, but even though Stanislaus was on foot, passed him by without recognizing him. A little farther on, Paul’s horses refused to advance and he was obliged to return to Vienna.

Saint Peter sent Stanislaus to Rome, a very long distance in those days, over a rugged and dangerous road, where rocks, mountains and rivers made the journey very difficult. Saint Francis of Borgia received him in Rome as a treasure sent by God, and he was clothed in the Jesuit habit in October 1567. His father was very irritated, but the son answered his letters with modesty and firmness, and continued to apply himself to every practice that might lead him closer to God and religious perfection. In ten months it is said that he advanced more than many do over a period of fifty or sixty years. During those ten short months he always had Our Lady in his mind, in his heart and on his lips. A custom was introduced for the novices during his sojourn in Rome; they would turn toward Her church of Saint Mary Major and ask, kneeling, for Her benediction; this practice has been conserved in the Roman novitiate ever since that time.

The fervent novice ardently desired to be in heaven on the feast of Her Assumption; he fell ill of a fever on the 9th of August, and it was revealed to him that his desire would be fulfilled. In effect, his holy soul departed to rejoin His Heavenly Mother, when She came to claim him at a little after 3 o’clock on the morning of the 15th of August, 1568. He was eighteen years old. We often see him with the Infant Jesus in his arms, because when Our Lady came to cure him in Vienna with Her Divine Treasure in Her arms, She had placed the Infant Saviour on his bed. Many illnesses were cured at his tomb, and his body was found incorrupt three years after his death. He was soon considered as a Saint in Italy and Poland; in 1604 he was declared Blessed and was canonized in 1726. Paul Kostka wept for long years over his mistreatment of his younger brother, and was about to enter the Society of Jesus himself in 1607, when he died suddenly on November 13th, anniversary of the discovery of the incorrupt remains of Saint Stanislaus.

Reflection: Saint Stanislaus teaches us in every trial of life, and above all at the hour of death, to have recourse to Our Lady and our patron Saint, and to trust without fear in their aid.

Petite vie illustrée de Saint Stanislas Kostka (Éditions F. Paillart: Abbéville, 1925); Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 13

Saint Martin I

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Saint Martin I

Pope and Martyr
(† 655)

Saint Martin, who occupied the Roman See from 649 to 655, was a native of Toscany, and became celebrated amid the clergy of Rome for his learning and his sanctity. When he was elected Pope, Rome echoed with cries of joy; the clergy, the Senate and the people gave witness to their great satisfaction, and the emperor approved this happy choice. He did not disappoint the hopes of the Church; piety towards God and charity to the poor were his two rules of life. He repaired churches falling into ruin and restored peace between divergent factions, but his greatest concern was to maintain in the Church the precious heritage of the true faith.

For this purpose he assembled in the Lateran Church a Council of a hundred bishops, which condemned the principal heads of the eastern Monothelite heresy, again raising its head. Saint Martin himself sent out an encyclical letter to all prelates, showing that a spurious Credo circulating in the east was erroneous, and excommunicating all who followed it. He incurred the enmity of the Byzantine court and even of two patriarchs, by his energetic opposition to their errors, and the Exarch of Ravenna, representing the oriental Emperor Constant II in Italy, went so far as to endeavor to procure the assassination of the Pope while he stood at the altar in the Church of Saint Mary Major. The would-be murderer, a page of the Exarch, was miraculously struck blind, however, and his lord refused to have any further role in the matter. But the eastern Emperor’s successor had no such scruples. After having the holy Pontiff accused of many fabricated misdeeds, he seized Saint Martin — who did not resist or permit resistance, for fear of bloodshed in Rome — then had him conveyed to Constantinople on board a vessel bound for that port. None of his clergy were permitted to accompany him; he was boarded at night in secret.

After a three month’s voyage the ship anchored at the island of Naxos in the Aegean Sea, where the Pope was kept in confinement for a year, then finally brought in chains to the imperial city in 654, where he was imprisoned for three months. When he appeared before his judge he was unable to stand without support; but the pitiless magistrate heard his accusers and sentenced him to be chained and dragged through the streets of the city. He bade farewell to his companions in captivity before he left, banished to the present-day Crimea (the Chersonese in those days), saying to them when they wept: Rejoice with me that I have been found worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus Christ. There, where a famine prevailed, he lingered on for four months, abandoned to sickness and starvation but maintaining perfect serenity, until God released him by death from his tribulations on the 12th of November, 655. In a letter he sent from there, which has been conserved, the Pope wrote: For this miserable body, the Lord will have care; He is near. What is there to alarm me? I hope in His mercy, it will not be long before it terminates my career.

Reflection: There have been times in the history of Christianity when its truths have seemed on the verge of extinction. But there is a Church whose testimony has never failed — it is the Church of Saint Peter. Where Peter is, there also is the Church! When the Pope is unable to speak, his deeds speak more eloquently still.

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).

Saint Martin of Tours

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Saint Martin of Tours

Missionary Bishop
(† 397)

Saint Martin, born in Pannonia (Hungary), followed his father, a military tribune in the service of Rome, to Italy. Although he was raised in paganism, he felt nothing but contempt for its cult, and as though he were Christian by nature, he took pleasure only in the assemblies of the faithful, which he attended despite his family’s opposition. When he was fifteen years old, he was forcibly enrolled in the Roman armies and went to serve in Gaul, the land he was predestined to evangelize one day. What would become of this young boy, when exposed to the libertinage of the camps? Would his faith not be obliterated? No, for God was watching over His vessel of election.

The most famous episode of this period in his life is his meeting with a poor man almost naked in the dead of winter, and trembling with cold. Martin did not have a penny to give him, but he remembered the text of the Gospel: I was naked, and you clothed Me. My friend, he said, I have nothing but my weapons and my garments. And taking up his sword, he divided his cloak into two parts and gave one to the beggar. The following night he saw Jesus Christ in a dream, clothed with this half-cloak and saying to His Angels: It is Martin, still a catechumen, who covered Me. Soon afterwards he received Baptism.

Disinterested charity, purity, and bravery distinguished the life of the young soldier. He obtained his discharge at the age of about twenty. Martin succeeded in converting his mother, but was driven from his home by the Arians. He took refuge with Saint Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers. After having given striking proofs of his attachment to the faith of Nicea, he founded near Poitiers the celebrated monastery of Ligugé, the first in Gaul. The brilliance of his sanctity and his miracles raised him in 372 to the episcopal throne of Tours, despite his lively resistance. His life thereafter was but a continual succession of prodigies and apostolic labors. His flock, though Christian in name, was still pagan at heart. Unarmed and attended only by his monks, Martin destroyed the heathen temples and groves, and completed by his preaching and miracles the conversion of the people. His power over demons was extraordinary. Idolatry never recovered from the blows given it by Saint Martin.

After having visited and renewed his diocese, the servant of God felt pressed to extend his journeyings and labors beyond its confines. Clothed in a poor tunic and a rude cloak, and seated on an ass, accompanied only by a few religious, he left like a poor missionary to evangelize the countryside. He passed through virtually all the provinces of Gaul, and neither mountains, nor rivers, nor dangers of any description stopped him. Everywhere his undertakings were victorious, and he more than earned his title of the Light and the Apostle of Gaul.

Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l’a