Tag Archives: Catholic saints

St. Felix of Nola

St. Felix of Nola
Today the universal Church celebrates a most courageous early Christian, St. Felix of Nola.
He was born at Nola, a place near Naples, Italy, wherein he lived in the third century.  After his father died, he distributed his goods to others and was ordained a priest by the Bishop of Nola, Maximus.
In the year 250, the Emperor Decius began his persecution of the Christians.  This particular Emperor did not just want to eradicate the Christian people, but he desired to fully eradicate the Christian religion, wherein, of course, he failed.  Bishop Maximus was forced to flee this persecution, but the persecutors seized Felix.  He was brutally scourged, tortured. loaded with chains and cast into prison.  One night, an angel informed him to help the Bishop.  He was completely freed of his chains and the doors opened.  Consequently, Felix went to help the Bishop whom he found helpless, being cold and hungry.
The Decian persecution ended the next year and Felix returned to his priestly duties.  Bishop Maximus died, and Felix was earnestly desired to serve as their new Bishop; but, he declined, desiring that one of the more senior priests take this position.
Felix rented three acres of land, tilling it with his own hands, giving to the poor as needed, being generous with his possessions.
He died on January 14th, but the actual year of his death is uncertain.  Five churches were built in his honor outside Nola, where his remains are kept.  St. Paulinus, a porter to one of these churches, testified that there were numerous pilgrimages made in honor of St. Felix.  Indeed and in fact, the poems and letters of St. Paulinus on St. Felix are the actual source from which St. Gregory of Tours, Venerable Bede and the priest, Marcellus, have drafted their biographies of St. Felix.
Have you ever heard of the phrase, “Put your money where your mouth is. . .?”  This is what St. Felix did:  he lived his Christian Faith to the fullest, notwithstanding any and all consequences, including being put into prison and tortured for his Faith.  He lived his faith completely, with a generous spirit, remembering to give to others and standing for the Truth, Our Lord Jesus Christ.  Let us remember his example of true love, generosity and bravery.
Respectfully,
Joan
Sources:  Catholic Encyclopedia; Wikipedia

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St. Hilary of Poitiers, Father of the Church of the West, Doctor of the Church

St. Hilary of Poitiers
Today the universal Church celebrates a most illustrious and wonderful Father and Doctor of the Church, St. Hilary of Poitiers, a fierce and determined defender of the Holy Trinity.
According to ancient sources, Hilary was born in or about 310 A.D. in Poitiers (Gaul, now known as France) to a wealthy family, wherein he received an excellent classical education.  He tells us in his writings of his quest for truth which lead him to Christianity.  He was baptized in or around 345 and was elected the Bishop of Poitiers in or about 353-354.  Hilary wrote his first work, a Commentary on St. Matthew’s Gospel, which is known as the oldest extant commentary in Latin on this particular Gospel.
In or about 356, Hilary attended the Synod of Beziers in the South of France, which he called the Synod of False Apostles, since this congregation consisted mainly of Philo-Arian Bishops who denied the divinity of Jesus Christ Our Lord.  These Arians taught that Jesus was a magnificent human being,  but was not the Son of God.  Hilary defended Jesus’ divinity and the Holy Trinity, wherein angering these false apostles, they asked the Emperor Constantius to have Hilary exiled.  Accordingly, in the summer of 356, Hilary was forced to leave Gaul and was exiled to Phyrgia, which is present-day Turkey.
Hilary found in this jurisdiction that same allegiance to Arianism.  As a Pastor, he worked diligently and passionately to fight this heresy and to defend the Faith as defined by the Council of Nicea.  In that defense, he wrote his famous work, On the Trinity, or De Trinitate.  Hilary showed to these Arians and the populace that both in the Old and the New Testaments, Christ’s mystery appeared, and that the Scriptures set forth the divinity of the Son and the mystical Body of Christ.  Indeed and in fact, to the Arians he insisted on the truth of the names of the Father and Son, and developed the entire Trinitarian theology based upon the formula of the Sacrament of Baptism given to us by Jesus Himself, “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” indicating that the Father and the Son are the same nature. Jesus is both fully human, and fully divine, the hypostatic union.
In De Trinitate, Hilary writes:
Jesus has commanded us to baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (cf. Mt 28:19), that is, in the confession of the Author, of the Only-Begotten One and of the Gift.  The Author of all things is one alone, for one alone is God the Father, from whom all things proceed.  And one alone is Our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom all things exist (cf. I Cor 8:6), and one alone is the Spirit (cf. Eph 4:4), a gift in all. . .In nothing can be found to be lacking so great a fullness, in which the immensity in the Eternal One, the revelation in the Image,  joy in the Gift, converge in the Father, in the Son and in the Holy Spirit.  God the Father, being wholly love, is able to communicate his divinity to his Son in its fullness. . .God knows not how to be anything other than love, He knows not how to be anyone other than the Father.  Those who love are not envious and the one who is the Father is so in His totality.  This name admits no compromise, as if God were Father in some aspects and not in others.  Accordingly, because of this logic and reasoning, the Son is fully God without any diminishment.  The One who comes from the perfect is perfect because He has all, He has given all. . . He has become the flesh of us all. . .He took on himself the nature of all flesh and through it became true life; He has in Himself the root of every vine shoot. . .Through the relationship with His flesh, access to Christ is open to all, on condition that they divest themselves of their former self (cf. Eph. 4:22), nailing it to the Cross.
He wrote another work while exiled in Turkey called, The Book of Synods, for his brother Bishops of Gaul, reproducing confessions of faith and his commentaries upon them, as well writing about other documents of synods which met in the East in or about the middle of the fourth century.
In or about 360 or 361, Hilary returned home to Poitiers and resumed his pastoral duties there, wherein the influence of his magisterium went far and wide.  In 360 or 361, a Synod was held in Paris, and the language therefrom was like that of the Council of Nicea.  Some ancient authors believed that this happened because of the strength and determination of Bishop Hilary.
During his last years, he composed the Treatises on the Psalms, a commentary on the 58 Psalms.  St. Hilary stated:
There is no doubt that all the things that are said in the Psalms should be understood in accordance with Gospel proclamation, so that, whatever the voice with which the prophetic spirit has spoken, all may be referred nevertheless to the knowledge of the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Incarnation, Passion and Kingdom, and to the power and glory of our resurrection. 
Hilary died in 367 and his Memorial is celebrated today, January 13th.  In 1851, Blessed Pius IX proclaimed him a Doctor of the universal Church.
St. Hilary demanded fidelity to God and wrote this beautiful prayer:
Obtain O Lord, that I may keep ever faithful to which I have professed in the symbol of my regeneration, when I was baptized in the Father, in the Son and in the Holy Spirit.  That I may worship you, our Father, and with you, your Son, that I may deserve your Holy Spirit, who proceeds from you through your Only Begotten Son.  Amen. (De Trinitate)
Respectfully,
Joan
Source: Vatican website

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St. Marguerite Bourgeoys

St. Marguerite Bourgeoys
Today we celebrate St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, a very special Canadian saint.
She was born in 1620, the sixth of twelve children in Troyes, France.  That alone is an incredible challenge, growing up in such a large family.  At the age of 20, Marguerite believed she was called to the religious life and desired to be a member of the Carmelite and/or Poor Clares Orders.  Yet, she was not accepted into either Order, wherein she was most disappointed.  But a priest counseled Marguerite advising her that perhaps God had other plans for her which would be revealed to her in His timing.
In 1654, the Governor of the French settlement in Canada visited his sister, who happened to be an Augustinian canoness in Troyes, and coincidentally, Marguerite belonged to the Sodality connected with this particular convent. (A Sodality is an organization under the patronage of Our Blessed Mother.)  This Governor invited Marguerite to come to Canada and start a school there, wherein clearly, Marguerite could then see God’s plans for her, remembering what the priest had previously told her.  Consequently, she went to Ville-Marie (which eventually became Montreal), where there was a colony of approximately 200 people, containing a hospital and a chapel served by Jesuit priests.
Marguerite determined she needed more help and therefore, went back to Troyes, recruiting some of her friends and associates to come back with her to her new school.
In 1667, Marguerite developed classes for Indian children, which of course then required more help.  She went back to France, wherein three years had gone by, and she then brought back with her six more women and a letter from King Louis XIV authorizing the school.  This important development lead to her starting the Congregation of Notre Dame in 1676, with its members actually making their formal religious profession in 1698, upon approval of their constitution and Rule.
The bishop requested that Marguerite establish a community of her Sisters in Montreal; consequently, at the age of 69, she actually walked from Montreal to Quebec to begin to effect that request.  At the time of her death in 1700, Marguerite received the honor of being known as the “Mother of the Colony.”
Marguerite was canonized in 1982, and during her canonization Mass, Pope John Paul II said, “. . .in particular, Marguerite contributed to building up that new country of Canada, realizing the determining role of women, and she diligently strove toward their formation in a deeply Christian spirit.”  Pope John Paul then stressed that she was loving towards her students, believing in them and being confident in their talents, “in order to prepare them to become wives and worthy mothers, Christians, cultured, hardworking, radiant mothers.”
When I learned about this gutsy lady, I was absolutely amazed at her determination, her strength of will and love of God as reflected in her good works and spirit.  She did what needed to be done, when she was supposed to do it, and in the manner it was supposed to be done.  May we remember her example when we have goals that seem to be unattainable, situations that are daunting and difficult tasks that are laborious and unending.  May God be praised for giving us this remarkable saint!
Respectfully,
Joan
Source:  Saint of the Day, edited by Leonard Foley, O.F.M., Franciscan Media, 2009.

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