Tag: Catholic 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!

Blessed Herman Joseph And The Blessed Virgin Mary. 

Blessed Herman Joseph And The Blessed Virgin Mary. 

Day 34: Rosary Reflection

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Blessed Herman Joseph of Steinfeld and The Blessed Virgin Mary

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Blessed Herman Joseph was born and went to school in Cologne, Germany of Steinfeld. He attended school and very early he was known for devotion to the Blessed Virgin. At every available moment he could be found at the church of St. Mary on the Capitol where he sought out the altar of the Holy Virgin to recite the Rosary and to converse with Mary, and with childish simplicity, he would tell Her all of his wishes.

Living in Germany, it was frequently cold, and Herman’s family were very poor and could not even buy him a pair of shoes so he would walk barefoot to the Church to pray before the statue of Virgin Mary. On one such occasion, Our Blessed Mother spoke to Hermann through Her statue:

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Blessed Hermann’s family was quite poor in material goods, but rich in devotion and spirit. They taught their son to confide in Jesus and Mary.

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“Hermann,” said Our Lady, “why do you go barefoot when it is so cold?”

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“Because, my Mother, I have no shoes, for my parents are poor,” he replied.

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“Go to that stone,” said Our Lady “and you will find all the money you need for shoes.” Hermann went to where She directed him and found the price of his shoes as Our Lady had told him, and returned to thank her. “Whenever you are in need of anything,” Our Lady told him, “All you have to do is to go to that stone. But you must always go with full confidence.” Hermann returned to the stone, only in extreme need, and it never failed him.

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The next day Herman stopped at Church to thank Our Lady for his new shoes, and of course, he wanted to show them to Our Blessed Mother and the Child Jesus. He also wished to light a candle in gratitude, or bring flowers, but being too poor, had neither to give. Instead, he offered Our Blessed Mother the red apple his mother had given him for lunch.

Upon reaching the statue, he realized that it was too high for him to reach, given that he was still a child. Standing on his tip-toes, he reached up towards the image of Mary, and said “Here, Blessed Mother.” Miraculously, the statue’s arm and hand reached down to receive the gift, and thanked him. Those who later visited the Church saw the statue reaching down and holding an apple. To this day, the devout leave fresh apples at the foot of this statue in remembrance of this event.

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! 

Saints And Their Encounters With Souls In Purgatory. 

Saints And Their Encounters With Souls In Purgatory. 

St. Magdalen De Pazzi, in her celebrated vision, where the different prisons of Purgatory were shown to her, saw the soul of her brother, who had died after having led a most fervent Christian life.

Nevertheless, this soul was detained in suffering for certain faults, which it had not sufficiently expiated upon earth. These, says the saint, are the most intolerable sufferings, and yet they are endured with joy. Ah! why are they not understood by those who lack the courage to bear their cross here below? 

Struck with this frightful spectacle which she had just contemplated, she ran to her Prioress, and casting herself upon her knees, she cried out:

“O my dear Mother, how terrible are the Pains of Purgatory! Never could I have believed it, had not God manifested it to me. . . . And, nevertheless, I cannot call them cruel, rather are they advantageous, since they lead to the ineffable bliss of Paradise. To impress this more and more upon our minds, it has pleased God to give certain holy persons a small share in the pains of expiation, like a drop of the bitter cup which the poor souls have to drink, a spark of the fire which consumes them.”


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The historian Bzovius, in his History of Poland, under the date 1598, relates a miraculous event which happened to the Venerable Stanislaus Chocosca, one of the luminaries of the Order of St. Dominic in Poland. 

One day, whilst this Religious, full of charity for the departed, recited the rosary, he saw appear near him a soul all enveloped in flames. As she besought him to have pity on her, and to alleviate the intolerable sufferings which the fire of Divine Justice caused her to endure, the holy man asked her if this fire was more painful than that of earth? “Ah!” she cried, “all the fires of earth compared to that of Purgatory are like a refreshing breeze”. “I wish,” he said, “to have a proof, If God will permit, for your relief, and for the good of my soul, I consent to suffer a part of your pains.” “Alas! you could not do this. Know that no human being could endure such torment and live. However, God will permit you to feel it in a light degree. Stretch forth your hand.” Chocosca extended his hand, and the departed let fall a drop of sweat, or at least of a liquid which resembled it. At the same instant the Religious uttered a piercing cry and fell fainting to the ground, so frightfully intense was the pain that his brethren ran to the spot and hastened to give him the assistance which his condition required. When restored to consciousness, he related the terrible event which had occurred, and of which they had a visible proof. “Ah! my dear Fathers,” he continued, “if we knew the severity of the Divine chastisements, we should never commit sin, nor should we cease to do penance in this life, in order to avoid expiation in the next.”

Stanislaus was confined to his bed from that moment. He lived one year longer in the most cruel suffering caused by his terrible wound, then, for the last time, exhorting his brethren to remember the rigours of Divine Justice, he peacefully slept in the Lord. The historian adds that this example reanimated fervour in all the monasteries of that province.


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We read of a similar fact in the Life of Blessed Catherine de Racconigi.

One day, when suffering so intensely as to need the assistance of her sisters in religion, she thought of the souls in Purgatory, and, to temper the heat of their flames, she offered to God the burning heat of her fever. At that moment, being rapt in ecstasy, she was conducted in spirit into the place of expiation, where she saw the flames and braziers in which the souls are purified in great torture.

Whilst contemplating full of compassion, this piteous spectacle, she heard a voice which said to her, “Catherine, in order that you may procure most efficaciously the deliverance of these souls, you shall participate, in some manner, in their torments.” At that same moment a spark detached itself from the fire and settled upon her left cheek. The sisters present saw the spark distinctly, and saw also with horror that the face of the sick person was frightfully swollen. 

She lived several days in this state, and, as Blessed Catherine told her sisters, the suffering caused by that simple spark far surpassed all that she had previously endured in the most painful maladies. Until that time Catherine had always devoted herself with charity to the relief of the souls in Purgatory, but from thenceforward she redoubled her fervor and austerities to hasten their deliverance, because she knew by experience the great need in which they stood of her assistance.

~Source:


Purgatory By Rev. F.X. Schouppe.

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