St. Lucy

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St. Lucy, Virgin and Martyr

St. Lucy, one of the most renowned Christian heroines, first saw the light of the world at Syracuse, in Sicily. Her parents were of high rank and very rich; but Lucy cared not for temporal goods, and had already when quite young, vowed herself to the Lord. As her father had died early, her mother desired that she should marry a youth, her equal in rank and fortune, but still a heathen. Lucy was horrified at this proposal; but not to displease her mother by a refusal, she endeavored to delay giving a decisive answer, praying meanwhile to God to aid her. Her prayer was answered in an unexpected manner. Her mother became sick and needed her daughter’s assistance. Already four years had passed, and there was yet no hope of a recovery, when the mother, persuaded by Lucy, allowed herself to be carried to the tomb of St. Agatha, at Catania, which was celebrated for many miracles. On arriving there, Lucy, after long prayers, was overcome by sleep, in which St. Agatha, accompanied by many Angels, appeared to her and said: “What do you request of me, dear sister? Behold your mother is cured! Your faith has worked this miracle. Know then, that as God, for my sake, made Catania glorious, so will He, for your sake, make Syracuse famous; for, you have prepared for Him an agreeable dwelling by vowing your virginity to Him.”  Continue reading

Historical Account of the Apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe

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Historical Account of the Apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe

by Sister Gabriel, O.P., 1900

The story of the Apparition of our Lady can not be too often repeated, and it will be better appreciated in the faithful translation of the original Indian narrative by that zealous and devoted client of our Lady of Guadalupe, Rev. Andrew Garriga, who for some years was rector of the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, San Francisco.

In the year of our Lord 1531, ten years after the Conquest, and four months after the end of the war (Clement VI. being Pope, and Charles V. King of Spain), one Saturday morning, before dawn, it being the 9th of December, an Indian–low and poor, humble and candid (one of the newly converted to the Catholic Faith), named Juan Diego, a native of Quatitlan, a town north of and distant from the capital of Mexico four leagues, who was married to another convert, Maria Lucia, then resident in a town nearer to the city, called Tolpetlac–was going to the Church of S. James, in the Barrio of Tlatelolco, to hear Mass and the catechetical instruction that the religious of S. Francis used to impart every morning to the Indians. Continue reading

ST. DAMASUS

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ST. DAMASUS, Pope.

ST. DAMASUS was born at Rome at the beginning of the fourth century. He was archdeacon of the Roman Church in 355, when Pope Liberius was banished to Berda, and followed him into exile, but afterward returned to Rome. On the death of Liberius our Saint was chosen to succeed him. Ursinus, a competitor for the high office, incited a revolt, but the holy Pope took only such action as was becoming to the common father of the faithful. Having freed the Church of this new schism, he turned his attention to the extirpation of Arianism in the West and of Apollinarianism in the East, and for this purpose he convened several councils. He rebuilt the church of St. Laurence, which to this day is known as St. Laurence in Damaso; he made many valuable presents to this church, and settled upon it houses and lands in its vicinity. He likewise drained all the springs of the Vatican, which ran over the bodies that were buried there, and decorated the sepulchres of a great number of martyrs in the cemeteries, and adorned them with epitaphs in verse. Having sat eighteen years and two months, he died on the 10th of December, in 384, being near fourscore years of age.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894] December 11.

St. Melchiades

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St. Melchiades, Pope

From Eus. l. 9, c. 9. St. Optat. l. 1. St. Aug. See Tillemont.

A.D. 314.

MELCHIADES, or MILTIADES, succeeded Eusebius in the see of Rome, being chosen on the 2d of July, 311, in the reign of Maxentius. Constantine vanquished that tyrant on the 28th of October in 312, and soon after issued edicts, by which he allowed Christians the free exercise of their religion, and the liberty of building churches. To pacify the minds of the pagans, who were uneasy at this innovation, when he arrived at Milan in the beginning of the year 313, he, by a second edict, ensured to all religions except heresies, liberty of conscience. Among the first laws which he enacted in favour of Christians, he passed one to exempt the clergy from the burden of civil offices. He obliged all his soldiers to repeat on Sundays a prayer addressed to the one only God; and no idolater could scruple at such a practice. He abolished the pagan festivals and mysteries in which lewdness had a share. Unnatural impurity being almost unrestrained among the heathens, the Romans, when luxury and debauchery were arrived at the highest pitch among them, began to shun marriage, that they might be more at liberty to follow their passions. Whereupon Augustus was obliged by laws to encourage and to command all men to marry, inflicting heavy penalties on the disobedient. 1 The abuses being restrained by the Christian religion more effectually than they could have been by human laws, Constantine, in favour of celibacy, repealed the Poppæan law. This emperor also made a law to punish adultery with death. 2 The good pope rejoiced exceedingly at the prosperity of God’s house, and, by his zealous labours, very much extended its pale; but he had the affliction to see it torn by an intestine division, in the Donatist schism, which blazed with great fury in Africa. Mensurius, bishop of Carthage, being falsely accused of having delivered up the sacred scriptures to be burnt in the time of the persecution, Donatus, bishop of Cassa-nigra in Numidia, most unreasonably separated himself from his communion, and continued his schism when Cecilian had succeeded Mensurius in the see of Carthage, and was joined by many jealous enemies of that good prelate, especially by the powerful lady Lucilla, who was personally piqued against Cecilian whilst he was deacon of that church. The chismatics appealed to Constantine, who was then in Gaul, and entreated him to commission three Gaulish bishops, whom they specified, to judge their cause against Cecilian. The emperor granted them these judges they demanded, but ordered the aforesaid bishops to repair to Rome, by letter, entreating Pope Melchiades to examine into the controversy, together with these Gaulish bishops, and to decide it according to justice and equity. The emperor left to the bishops the decision of this affair, because it regarded a bishop. 3 Pope Melchiades opened a council in the Lateran palace on the 2d of October, 313, at which both Cecilian and Donatus of Cassa-nigra were present; and the former was pronounced by the pope and his council innocent of the whole charge that was brought against him. Donatus of Cassa-nigra was the only person who was condemned on that occasion; the other bishops who had adhered to him were allowed to keep their sees upon their renouncing the schism. St. Austin, speaking of the moderation which the pope used, calls him an excellent man, a true son of peace, and a true father of Christians. Yet the Donatists, after his death, had recourse to their usual arms of slander to asperse his character, and pretended that this pope had delivered the scriptures into the hands of the persecutors; which St. Austin calls a groundless and malicious calumny. St. Melchiades died on the 10th of January, 314, having sat two years, six months, and eight days, and was buried on the Appian road, in the cemetery of Calixtus; is named in the Roman Martyrology, and in those of Bede, Ado, Usuard, &c. In some calendars he is styled a martyr, doubtless on account of his sufferings in preceding persecutions. 1


This holy pope saw a door opened by the peace of the church to the conversion of many, and he rejoiced at the triumph of the cross of Christ. But with worldly prosperity a worldly spirit too often broke into the sanctuary itself; insomuch that the zealous pastor had sometimes reason to complain, with Isaiah, “Thou hast multiplied the nation, and hast not increased my joy.” 4 Under the pressures of severe persecution, the true spirit of our holy religion was maintained in many among its professors during the first ages; yet, amidst the most holy examples, and under the influence of the strongest motives and helps, avarice and ambition insinuated themselves into the hearts of some, who, by the abuse of the greatest graces, became of all others the most abandoned to wickedness; witness Judas the apostate in the college of the apostles; also several amongst the disciples of the primitive saints, as Simon Magus, Paul of Samosata, and others. But with temporal honours and affluence, the love of the world, though most severely condemned by Christ, as the capital enemy to his grace and holy love, and the source of all vicious passions, crept into the hearts of many, to the utter extinction of the Christian spirit in their souls. This, indeed, reigns, and always will reign, in a great number of chosen souls, whose lives are often hidden from the world, but in whom God will always provide for his honour faithful servants on earth, who will praise him in spirit and truth. But so deplorable are the overflowings of sensuality, avarice, and ambition, and such the lukewarmness and spiritual insensibility which have taken root in the hearts of many Christians, that the torrent of evil example and a worldly spirit ought to fill every one with alarms, and oblige every one to hold fast, and be infinitely upon his guard that he be not carried away by it. It is not the crowd that we are to follow, but the gospel: and though temporal goods and prosperity are a blessing, they ought extremely to rouse our attention, excite our watchfulness, and inspire us with fear, being fraught with snares, and by the abuse which is frequently made of them, the ruin of virtue. 2

Note 1. See his Lex Julia, and Lex Poppæa.
Note 2. See Gothofred, ad Cod. Theod. l. xi. tit. 36.
Note 3. S. Aug. ep. 105, p. 299, et ep. 43, p. 94, et in Brevic. Collat. die 3, c. 12, et 17. Eus. l. 10, c. 5. S. Optat. l. 1, p. 44.
Note 4. Isa. ix. 3.

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume XII: December. The Lives of the Saints. 1866. December 10.

St. Leocadia

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St. Leocadia, Virgin and Martyr

A.D. 304.

THE NAME of St. Leocadia is highly reverenced in Spain. This holy virgin was a native of Toledo, and was apprehended by an order of Dacian, the cruel governor under Dioclesian, in 304. Her constancy was tried by torments, and she died in prison. For, hearing of the martyrdom of St. Eulalia, she prayed that God would not prolong her exile, but unite herspeedily with her holy friend in his glory; in which prayer she happily expired in prison. Three famous churches in Toledo bear her name, and she is honoured as principal patroness of that city. In one of those churches most of the councils of Toledo were held; in the fourth of these she is honourably mentioned. Her relics were kept in that church with great respect, till, in the incursions of the Moors, they were conveyed to Oviedo, and some years afterwards to the abbey of St. Guislain, near Mons in Haynault. By the procurement of King Philip II. they were translated back to Toledo with great pomp, that king, his son Prince Philip, his daughter Elizabeth, and the empress Mary his sister, being present at their solemn reception in the great church there on the 26th of April, 1589. 1


St. Leocadia, being called to the trial, exerted all heroic Christian virtues, because she had made her whole life an apprenticeship of them, and their practice had been familiar to her. Some people say it was easy for Christians to be totally disengaged from the world, and to give themselves up to prayer and penance when they daily and hourly expected to be called upon to lay down their lives for Christ. But were we not blinded by the world, and if the enchantment of its follies, the near prospect of eternity, the uncertainty of the hour of our death, and the repeated precepts of Christ were equally the subjects of our meditation, these motives would produce in us the same fervent dispositions which they did in the primitive Christians. How much soever men now-a-days are strangers to these gospel truths, for want of giving themselves leisure to consider them, Christians are bound to be totally disentangled from worldly affections in order to unite their hearts closely to God, that they may receive the abundant graces and favours which He communicates to souls which open themselves to him. They are bound to renounce sensuality, and the disorders and vanities of the world, and to be animated with a spirit of meekness, peace, patience, charity, and affectionate good-will towards all men, zeal, piety, and devotion. They are bound to be prepared in the disposition of their hearts to leave all things, and to suffer all things for his love.