Category: Saints

The Miraculous Life Of St. Agnes Of Montepulciano.

The Miraculous Life Of St. Agnes Of Montepulciano.

St. Agnes of Montepulciano

Although St. Agnes of Montepulciano was not in any way a “child saint,” like her little Roman patroness, there is about her something of the same simplicity, which makes her name appropriate. Some of the best known legends about her concern her childhood.

Agnes was born in 1268, in a little village near Montepulciano, of the wealthy family of De Segni. Her birth was announced by great lights surrounding the house where she was born, and from her babyhood she was one specially marked out for dedication to God. By the time she was six years old she was already urging her parents to let her enter the convent. When they assured her that she was much too young to be admitted, she begged them to move to Montepulciano, where she could be near enough to the convent to make frequent visits. Since a state of armed truce existed between the cities near Montepulciano, her father was unwilling to move from his safe retreat, but he did allow the little girl to go occasionally to make visits in the convent of her choice.

On one of these visits an event occurred which all the chroniclers record as being prophetic. The little girl was traveling in Montepulciano with her mother and the women of the household, and, as they passed a hill on which stood a house of ill fame, a flock of crows swooped down on the little girl and attacked her with beak and claw. Screaming and plunging, they managed to scratch and frighten her badly before the women drove them away. Upset by the incident, but devoutly sure of themselves, the women said that the birds must have been devils, and that they resented the purity and goodness of little Agnes, who would one day drive them from that hilltop. Agnes did, in fact, build a convent there after years.

When she was nine years old, Agnes insisted that the time had come to let her enter the convent. She was allowed to go to a group of Franciscans in Montepulciano, whose dress was the ultimate in primitive Franciscanism; they were known, from the cut of the garment, as “Sisters of the Sack.” The high born daughter of the Segni was not at all appalled at the rude simplicity with which they followed their Father Francis; she rejoiced in it. For five years she enjoyed the only complete peace she would ever have; she was appointed bursar at the age of fourteen, and she never again was without some responsibility to others.

She reached a high degree of contemplative prayer and was favored with many visions. One of the loveliest is the one for which her legend is best known: the occasion of a visit from the Blessed Virgin. Our Lady came with the Holy Infant in her arms, and allowed Agnes to hold Him and caress Him. Unwilling to let Him go, Agnes hung on when Our Lady reached to take Him back from her. When she awakened from the ecstasy, Our Lady and her Holy Child were gone, but Agnes was still clutching tightly the little gold cross He had worn on a chain about His neck. She kept it as a precious treasure. Another time, Our Lady gave her three small stones and told her that she should use them to build a convent some day. Agnes was not at the moment even thinking about going elsewhere, and said so, but Our Lady told her to keep the stones three, in honor of the Blessed Trinity and one day she would need them.

Some time after this, Agnes was called upon to leave Montepulciano to help in the foundation of a new convent of the Franciscans in Proceno. Here, to her distress, she was appointed abbess. Since she was only fifteen, a special dispensation had been obtained to allow her to take the office. On the day when she was consecrated abbess, great showers of tiny white crosses fluttered down on the chapel and the people in it. It seemed to show the favor of heaven on this somewhat extraordinary situation.

For twenty years, Agnes lived in Proceno, happy in her retreat and privileged to penetrate the secrets of God in her prayer. She was a careful superior, as well as a mystic; several times she worked miracles to increase the house food supply when it was low. Once she was called back to Montepulciano for a short stay, and she went willingly enough, though she hated leaving the peace of her cloister for the confusion of traveling. She had just settled down, on her return, with the hope that she had made her last move and could now stay where she was, when obedience again called her back to Montepulciano this time to build a new convent. A revelation had told her that she was to leave the Franciscans, among whom she had been very happy, and that she and the sisters of the house she would found should become Dominicans.

In 1306, Agnes returned to Montepulciano to put the Lord’s request into action. All she had for the building of the convent were the three little stones given her by the Blessed Virgin, and Agnes who had been bursar, and knew something about money realized that she was going to have to rely heavily on the support of heaven in her building project. After a long quarrel with the inhabitants of the hilltop she wanted for her foundation, the land was finally secured, and the Servite prior laid the first stone, leaving her to worry about where the rest of the stones were coming from. Agnes laid hand to the project and guided it safely to completion. The church and convent of Santa Maria Novella were ready for dedication in record time, and a growing collection of aspirants pleaded with her to admit them to the new convent.

She explained that the rule was not to be Franciscan, but Dominican. All the necessary arrangements were made, and the new community settled down. They had barely established the regular life when one of the walls of the new building collapsed. It was discovered that the builders had cheated, and that the whole convent was in danger of falling on top of them. Agnes met the new problem with poise. She had many friends in Montepulciano by this time, and they rallied round to rebuild the house.

Then the convent was once again completed, and had become, as hoped, a dynamo of prayer and penance, Agnes decided to go to Rome on pilgrimage. It is interesting to note that Second Order convents of the fourteenth century were so flexible in the matter of enclosure. She made the trip to Rome and visited the shrines of the martyrs. The pope was in Avignon, so she did not have the happiness of talking to him. But she returned to Montepulciano full of happiness for having seen the holy places of Rome.

At the age of forty nine, Agnes’ health began to fail rapidly. She was taken for treatment to the baths at Chianciano – accompanied, as it says in the rule, by “two or three sisters” but the baths did her no good. She did perform a miracle while there, restoring to life a child who had fallen into the baths and drowned. But she returned to Montepulciano to die on the 20th of April, 1317.

She died in the night, and the children of the city wakened and cried out, “Holy Sister Agnes is dead!” She was buried in Montepulciano, and her tomb soon became a place of pilgrimage.

One of the most famous pilgrims to visit her tomb was St. Catherine of Siena, who went to venerate the saint and also, probably, to visit her niece, Eugenia, who was a nun in the convent there. As she bent over the body of St. Agnes to kiss the foot, she was amazed to see Agnes raise her foot so that she did not have to stoop so far. Agnes of Montepulciano was canonized in 1796.

St. Agnes of Montepulciano, Pray For Us!

St. Therese Of Lisieux And The Feast Of The Annunciation.  

St. Therese Of Lisieux And The Feast Of The Annunciation.  

ST. THERESE OF LISIEUX AND THE FEAST OF THE ANNUNCIATION.

St. Therese especially loved the mystery of the Annunciation, and celebrated it every year. At the first inquiry into Therese’s sanctity in 1910, her sister Celine testified:

“She had a particular devotion for the mystery of the Incarnation, which she would observe devotedly every 25th March. She loved to contemplate Jesus in his childhood. She once said, “I should like to die on 25th March, because it was on that day that Jesus was the smallest”.

In 1888, the feast of the Annunciation, transferred because of Lent, was celebrated on April 9, the day Therese entered the Lisieux Carmel. God must have understood that her “yes” to her Carmelite vocation would be a profound echo of Mary’s “yes.”

Therese’s understanding of what happened when the angel Gabriel came to Mary is remarkably realistic and down-to-earth.  In July 1915, her sister Pauline, Mother Agnes of Jesus, testified at the second process:

“She was very simple and had little experience of evil. Fearful of discovering it, as she acknowledges in her autobiography, she entrusted the protection of her purity to the Blessed Virgin and Saint Joseph. Later on, she came to understand that everything is pure for the pure of heart. Seeing that she knew about the realities of life, I asked her who had enlightened her. She said that she had discovered them without even looking, from observing nature, the flowers and birds”. She added, “The Blessed Virgin knew all these things. For she said to the angel, on the day of the Annunciation, “How will this be, since I know not a man?” Knowing things is not evil. All that God has made is very good and very noble. Marriage is a beautiful state for those whom God has called to it; it is sin which distorts and soils it.”

Therese emphasized that Mary, who was purity itself, knew the facts of life when the angel came to her, and that there was nothing wrong with her having that knowledge; Therese, the wise and innocent child of God’s mercy, understands with Mary that God has made nothing that is not very good.

St. Therese Of Lisieux, Pray For Us!

Source: 

Saint Therese of Lisieux: A Gateway.

Why The Feast Of St. Joseph Is On The 19th Of March. 

Why The Feast Of St. Joseph Is On The 19th Of March. 

Everything we know about the husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus comes from Scripture and that has seemed too little for those who made up legends about him.

We know he was a carpenter, a working man, for the skeptical Nazarenes ask about Jesus, “Is this not the carpenter’s son?” (Matthew 13:55). He wasn’t rich for when he took Jesus to the Temple to be circumcised and Mary to be purified he offered the sacrifice of two turtledoves or a pair of pigeons, allowed only for those who could not afford a lamb (Luke 2:24).

Despite his humble work and means, Joseph came from a royal lineage. Luke and Matthew disagree about the details of Joseph’s genealogy but they both mark his descent from David, the greatest king of Israel (Matthew 1:116 and Luke 3:23-38). Indeed the angel who first tells Joseph about Jesus greets him as “son of David,” a royal title used also for Jesus.

How The Devotion To St. Joseph Started, and Why The Feast Is on the 19th of March. 

Devotion to St. Joseph, husband of Mary, can be traced back to the beginning of the Church, with a local feast dedicated to St. Joseph confirmed in Egypt as early as the 4th century. One of the earliest dates for honoring St. Joseph was July 20.

However, a commemoration of St. Joseph was soon added to the Byzantine calendar on December 26. Many Eastern Churches continue this celebration, mentioning Joseph as “Holy Righteous Joseph the Betrothed.” According to the Orthodox Church:

“Saint Joseph is commemorated on the Sunday after the Nativity. If there is no Sunday between December 25 and January 1, his Feast is moved to December 26.” 

This celebration of Joseph puts him near the feast of Christ’s birth, December 25, an event he was present for, according to the Gospel accounts.

In the Western Church, the feast of St. Joseph wasn’t fixed until the 15th century. According to some traditions, March 19 was the day of Joseph’s death, though there is little evidence to support it, as it is unclear when Joseph died. It is certain that he was present when Jesus was 12 and “lost in the Temple” but there is no mention of him at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, say at the wedding in Cana, when Our Lord turned the water to wine.

The Bible is entirely silent about his death and as a result, the Church relies on oral traditions passed down over the centuries.

By 1621 Pope Gregory XV extended a feast of St. Joseph to the entire Church and it was elevated even more when Pope Pius IX declared Joseph the “Patron of the Universal Church” in 1870. For many decades March 19 was a holy day of obligation on par with other major feasts in the Catholic Church.

This placement of St. Joseph in March puts him in proximity to another biblical episode where he is directly mentioned. On March 25 the Church commemorates the Annunciation of the Lord, when the angel Gabriel visited the Blessed Virgin Mary. As the Gospel of Matthew narrates, “before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to send her away quietly” (Matthew 1:18-19).

While this biblical event happened after the Annunciation, other biblical characters associated with the Annunciation are similarly commemorated before March 25, such as St. Gabriel on March 24.

In any case, the primary focus of the feast on March 19 is revealed in the liturgical title, “Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary.” This solemnity — with the highest liturgical ranking accorded to saints — honors his commitment to Mary and dedication as a faithful and devoted husband.

St. Joseph’s Day is a beautiful feast, one that is beloved and cherished by Catholics around the world.

~St. Joseph, patron Saint of the dying, pray for us! 

The Spiritual Journey Of Saint Theresa Of Calcutta

The Spiritual Journey Of Saint Theresa Of Calcutta

Mother Theresa was baptized and named as Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu. Born on August 26, 1910, in Skopje, Today the current capital of the Republic of Macedonia. She received her First Communion at the age of five, she did her sacrament of confirmation in November 1916. She  took after St. Theresa of Lisieux by the name Sister Theresa.She took her First Profession of Vows in May 1931, in Calcutta. She made her Final Profession of Vows, On May 24, 1937, becoming, as she said, the “spouse of Jesus” for “all eternity.” From that time on she was called Mother Teresa.

In order to respond more effectively to both the physical and spiritual needs of the poor, Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity Brothers in 1963. Missionaries of Charity brothers is actually a Roman Catholic religious congregation which had above Four Thousand Five Hundred  (4,500) nuns and which was active in 133 countries in 2012.
The congregation manages homes for people dying of HIV/AIDS, leprosy, tuberculosis, Orphanages and schools. She is a controversial figure during her life and after her death, Teresa was admired by many for her charitable work. She was praised and criticized for her opposition to abortion and criticized for poor conditions in her houses for the dying.On the 6th of September, 2017, Mother Theresa was known as co-patron of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calcutta, alongside St.Francis Xavier.Mother Theresa’s inspiration wasn’t restricted to those with non secular vocations.She created the Co-Workers of Mother Theresa and also the Sick and Suffering Co-Workers, and nationalities with whom she shared her spirit of prayer, simplicity, sacrifice and her apostate of humble works of love.This spirit later impressed the Lay Missionaries of Charity.In answer to the requests of the many clergymen, in 1981 Mother Teresa also began the Corpus Christi Movement for Priests as a “little way of holiness” for those who desire to share in her charisma and spirit.

In spite of increasingly severe Health problems which she had towards the end of her life, Mother Teresa continued to govern her Society and respond to the needs of the poor and the Church.By 1997, Mother Teresa’s Sisters numbered nearly four thousand (4,000) members and were established in 610 foundations in 123 countries of the world.In March 1997 she blessed her newly-elected successor as head of the Missionaries of Charity.After her last meeting with Pope John Paul II , she went back to Calcutta and spent her final weeks receiving visitors and directing her Sisters.

On the 5th of September, 1997, Mother Teresa’s life on earth came to an end at the age of 87.She was given the honour of a state burial by the government of India and her body was buried within the Mother House of the Missionaries of Charity.Her vault (tomb)  quickly became a pilgrims area and prayer for people of all faiths, rich and poor alike.Mother Teresa left a testament of unshakable belief, invincible hope, and extraordinary charity.Her reply to Jesus’ plea, “Come be My light,” made her a Missionary of Charity, a “mother to the poor,” a symbol of compassion to the world, and a living witness to the thirsting love of God.Mother Teresa was beatified by Pope John Paul II on the 19th of October, 2003. As a testament to her most remarkable life, Pope John Paul II permitted the opening of her Cause of Canonization meanwhile, the process of canonization requires the documentation of a miracle ensuing from the intercession of the potential saint.On the 20th of December, 2002, he approved the decrees of her heroic.

December 2015, Pope Francis recognized a second miracle attributed to Mother Teresa and canonized her at a ceremony on 4 September 2016 in St. Peter Square in Vatican City. Tens of thousands of people witnessed the ceremony,
During her lifetime, it wasn’t proved that St. Theresa of Calcutta was perfect or never made a mistake but it was proved that her virtue was heroic. And her Feast day is 5th September.

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