Today in the year of Our Lord 2016 is Memorial of St. Monica and St. Joseph Calasanctius (Calasanz), confessor; Seven Joys of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Hist)
St. Monica is an example of those holy matrons of the ancient Church who proved very influential in their own quiet way. Through prayer and tears she gave the great Augustine to the Church of God, and thereby earned for herself a place of honor in the history of God’s kingdom on earth.
The Confessions of St. Augustine provide certain biographical details. Born of Christian parents about the year 331 at Tagaste in Africa, Monica was reared under the strict supervision of an elderly nurse who had likewise reared her father. In the course of time she was given in marriage to a pagan named Patricius. Besides other faults, he possessed a very irascible nature; it was in this school of suffering that Monica learned patience. It was her custom to wait until his anger had cooled; only then did she give a kindly remonstrance. Evil-minded servants had prejudiced her mother-in-law against her, but Monica mastered the situation by kindness and sympathy.
Her marriage was blessed with three children: Navigius, Perpetua, who later became a nun, and Augustine, her problem child. According to the custom of the day, baptism was not administered to infants soon after birth. It was as an adolescent that Augustine became a catechumen, but possibly through a premonition of his future sinful life, Monica postponed his baptism even when her son desired it during a severe illness.
When Augustine was nineteen years old, his father Patricius died; by patience and prayer Monica had obtained the conversion of her husband.
The youthful Augustine caused his mother untold worry by indulging in every type of sin and dissipation. As a last resort after all her tears and entreaties had proved fruitless, she forbade him entrance to her home; but after a vision she received him back again. In her sorrow a certain bishop consoled her: “Don’t worry, it is impossible that a son of so many tears should be lost.”
When Augustine was planning his journey to Rome, Monica wished to accompany him. He outwitted her, however, and had already embarked when she arrived at the docks. Later she followed him to Milan, ever growing in her attachment to God. St. Ambrose held her in high esteem, and congratulated Augustine on having such a mother. At Milan she prepared the way for her son’s conversion. Finally the moment came when her tears of sorrow changed to tears of joy. Augustine was baptized. And her lifework was completed. She died in her fifty-sixth year, as she was returning to Africa. The description of her death is one of the most beautiful passages in her son’s famousConfessions.
Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch
St. Joseph Calasanctius (Calasanz), confessor
From Aragon, where he was born in 1556, to Rome, where he died 92 years later, fortune alternately smiled and frowned on the work of Joseph Calasanz. A priest with university training in canon law and theology, respected for his wisdom and administrative expertise, he put aside his career because he was deeply concerned with the need for education of poor children.
When he was unable to get other institutes to undertake this apostolate at Rome, he and several companions personally provided a free school for deprived children. So overwhelming was the response that there was a constant need for larger facilities to house their effort. Soon Pope Clement VIII gave support to the school, and this aid continued under Pope Paul V. Other schools were opened; other men were attracted to the work and in 1621 the community (for so the teachers lived) was recognized as a religious community, the Clerks Regular of Religious Schools (Piarists or Scolopi). Not long after, Joseph was appointed superior for life.
A combination of various prejudices and political ambition and maneuvering caused the institute much turmoil. Some did not favor educating the poor, for education would leave the poor dissatisfied with their lowly tasks for society! Others were shocked that some of the Piarists were sent for instruction to Galileo (a friend of Joseph) as superior, thus dividing the members into opposite camps. Repeatedly investigated by papal commissions, Joseph was demoted; when the struggle within the institute persisted, the Piarists were suppressed. Only after Joseph’s death were they formally recognized as a religious community.
Source : American Catholic
Seven Joys of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Hist)
(Also known as The Franciscan Crown Rosary)
The Franciscan Crown Rosary, properly known as “The Franciscan Crown of Our Lady’s Joys” dates back to approximately the year 1422. According to tradition, as related by the famous Franciscan historian Father Luke Wadding, a very pious young man who had been admitted to the Franciscan Order in that year was saddened and had decided to return to the world and quit the cloister. Before his entry into the Order, it was his custom to adorn a statue of the Blessed Virgin with a wreath of fresh and beautiful flowers. Now, he was unable to continue his act of piety and devotion to the Blessed Virgin.
Our Lady appeared to him and prevented him from taking such a step as he had planned. “Do not be sad and cast down, my son,” she said, “because you are no longer permitted to place wreaths of flowers on my statue. I shall teach you to change this pious practice into one that will be far more pleasing to me and more meritorious to your soul. In place of the flowers that soon wither and cannot always be found, you can weave for me a crown from the flowers of your prayers that will always remain fresh and can always be had.” When Our Lady had disappeared, the overjoyed Novice at once began to recite the prayers in honor of her Seven Joys, as she had directed. While he was deeply engrossed in this devotion, the Novice Master happened to pass by and saw an angel weaving a marvelous wreath of roses. After every tenth rose, he inserted a golden lily. When the wreath was finished, the angel placed it on the head of the praying Novice. The Novice Master demanded the Novice tell him the meaning of this vision. The joyful Novice complied. The good priest was so impressed that he immediately made it known to his brethren. Thus, the practice of reciting the Franciscan Crown of Our Lady’s Joys soon spread as a favorite devotion of the Friars.
The Joys of Mary remembered in the devotion are these:
- The Annunciation of the Angel to Mary
- The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth
- The Nativity of Our Lord
- The Adoration of the Magi
- The Finding of Jesus in the Temple
- The Resurrection of Our Lord
- and The Crowning of Our Lady, Mary, in Heaven as Queen
Excerpted from The Franciscan Order of the Divine Compassion
In an effort to include all Catholics, those who go to the EF & OF of the Latin Rite, you may notice some Saints not mentioned in your Missal or Liturgical Calendar – this is because we are including all Saints from both Calendars. Because of this some Feast days will be repeated throughout the year
Today in Catholic History
Today in 410 – The sacking of Rome by the Visigoths ends after three days.
This was the first time in 800 years that the city of Rome was sacked and marked the beginning of the end for the Roman Empire.
Today in 542 – Caesarius of Arles, French bishop and saint receives his eternal reward (b. 470)
Caesarius is considered to be of the last generation of church leaders of Gaul that worked to promote large-scale ascetic elements into the Western Christian tradition.
Today in 827 – Pope Eugene II receives his eternal reward
Eugene is described by his biographer as simple and humble, learned and eloquent, handsome and generous, a lover of peace, and wholly occupied with the thought of doing what was pleasing to God.
In 826 Eugene held an important council at Rome of 62 bishops, in which 38 disciplinary decrees were issued. One or two of its decrees are noteworthy as showing that Eugene had at heart the advancement of learning. Not only were ignorant bishops and priests to be suspended till they had acquired sufficient learning to perform their sacred duties, but it was decreed that, as in some localities there were neither masters nor zeal for learning, masters were to be attached to the episcopal palaces, cathedral churches and other places to give instruction in sacred and polite literature. To help in the work of the conversion of the North, Eugene wrote commending St. Ansgar, the Apostle of the Scandinavians, and his companions “to all the sons of the Catholic Church”. Coins of this pope are extant bearing his name and that of Emperor Louis. It is supposed that he was buried in St. Peter’s in accordance with the custom of the time, even though there is no documentary record to confirm it.
Today in 1590 – Pope Sixtus V receives his eternal reward (b. 1521)
He energetically rooted out corruption and lawlessness across Rome, and launched a far-sighted rebuilding program that continues to provoke controversy, as it involved the destruction of antiquities. The cost of these works was met by heavy taxation that caused much suffering. His foreign policy was regarded as over-ambitious, and he excommunicated both Elizabeth I of England and Henry IV of France. He is recognized as a significant figure of the Counter-Reformation.