|Feast of the Conversion of Paul, Apostle|
The great Apostle Paul, named Saul at his circumcision, was born at Tarsus, the capital of Cilicia, and was by privilege a Roman citizen, to which quality a great distinction and several exemptions were granted by the laws of the empire. He was early instructed in the strict observance of the Mosaic law, and lived up to it in the most scrupulous manner. In his zeal for the Jewish law, which he thought the cause of God, he became a violent persecutor of the Christians. He was one of those who combined to murder Saint Stephen, and in the violent persecution of the faithful, which followed the martyrdom of the holy deacon, Saul signalized himself above others. By virtue of the power he had received from the high priest, he dragged the Christians out of their houses, loaded them with chains and thrust them into prison. In the fury of his zeal he applied for a commission to take up all Jews at Damascus who confessed Jesus Christ, and bring them bound to Jerusalem, that they might serve as examples for the others. But God was pleased to show forth in him His patience and mercy. While on his way to Damascus, he and his party were surrounded by a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, and suddenly struck to the ground. And then a voice was heard saying, "Saul, Saul, why dost thou persecute me?" And Saul answered, "Who art thou, Lord?" and the voice replied, "I am Jesus whom thou dost persecute." This mild expostulation of our Redeemer, accompanied with a powerful interior grace, cured Saul's pride, assuaged his rage, and wrought at once a total change in him. Wherefore, trembling and astonished, he cried out, "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" Our Lord ordered him to arise and to proceed on his way to the city, where he should be informed of what was expected from him. Saul, arising from the ground, found that though his eyes were open, he saw nothing. He was led by hand into Damascus, where he was lodged in the house of a Jew named Judas. To this house came by divine appointment a holy man named Ananias, who, laying his hands on Saul, said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to thee on thy journey, hath sent me that thou mayest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost." Immediately something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he recovered his eyesight. Then he arose, and was baptized; he stayed some few days with the disciples at Damascus, and began immediately to preach in the synagogues that Jesus was the Son of God. Thus a blasphemer and a persecutor was made an apostle, and chosen as one of God's principal instruments in the conversion of the world.
Reflection - Listen to the words of the "Imitation of Christ," and let them sink into your heart: "He who would keep the grace of God, let him be grateful for grace when it is given, and patient when it is taken away. Let him pray that it may be given back to him, and be careful and humble, lest he lose it."
• Heinrich Seuse
• Heinrich von Berg
• Henrik Seuse
• Servant of the Eternal Wisdom
15 February (Dominicans)
Born to the German nobility. Joined the Dominicans at age 13. Known as a mystic. Served as prior at several houses. Theological student of Meister Eckhart in Cologne, Germany from 1322 to 1325. Taught in Constance, Switzerland. Spent years imprisoned in a dungeon due to slander and his association with Meister Eckhart, a controversial figure in his day. Great spiritual writer, using the pen name Amandus. Noted preacher in Switzerland and the area of the Upper Rhine. Spiritual advisor to Dominicans and the spiritual community called Gottesfreunde
Given to great austeries, Henry owned a half-length, tight-fitting, coarse undergarment equipped with 150 sharp brass nails, the points facing inward; he used it as his night shirt. After 16 years of this, an angel appeared to him on Pentecost Sunday and whispered that God wanted him to discontinue this practice; he threw his shirt into the Rhine.
21 March 1295 at Uberlingen, Germany as Heinrich von Berg
25 January 1366 at Ulm, Germany of natural cause
1831 by Pope Gregory XVI
God of wisdom, you called Blessed Henry to follow your Son and gave him the grace to mortify his body. May we follow the crucified Christ and so obtain his eternal consolation. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. - General Calendar of the Order of Preachers
Dominican with the Holy Name on his chest
29 January (Augustinians)
Son of Simpliciano Migliorati, a farmer whose family had little wealth but great faith. Inspired by the life and work of Saint Nicholas of Tolentino, Antonio joined the Augustinians. Priest. Sacristan of the Augustinian church in Tolentino, Italy, the church that housed the tomb of Saint Nicholas, for twelve years beginning c.1385; he lived in a nearby monastery. Pilgrim to the shrine of Saint Nicholas of Myra. Travelling preacher throughout southern Italy beginning c.1397. Noted for his zeal for the faith, his devotion to the poor, and as a miracle worker. In 1400 he returned to his hometown of Amandola, Ascoli Piceno, Italy where he worked to build an Augustinian monastery and church; originally named for Saint Augustine of Hippo, it was later renamed in honor of Blessed Antonio himself who led it for many of his remaining 50 years there.
17 January 1355 in Amandola, Ascoli Piceno, Italy of natural causes
• 25 January 1450 in the Saint Augustine monastery Amandola, Ascoli Piceno, Italy of natural causes
• buried in the monastery graveyard with his brother Augustinians
• enshrined in a wooden ark in the monastery church in 1453
• re-enshrined in a wooden sarcophagus in 1641
• shrine damaged and body desecrated in 1798 by anti–Christian forces in the French Revolution
• re-enshrined in a marble sacrophagus in 1897
• a gold crown was placed on his head in 1899
• his incorrupt body is still on display in the same church
• by 1460, his memorial was a civic holiday in Amandola, Italy
• 11 July 1759 by Pope Clement XIII (cultus confirmation)
• Pope Leo XIII granted a plenary indulgence to visitors to the shrine on 20 April 1890
Dwyn, Donwen, Donwenna, Dunwen
Beautiful, pious and virtuous daughter of the 5th century Welsh king, Brychan of Brecknock. A certain Maelon fell in love with her, and wished to marry her. Though Dwynwen returned his love, her heart was set on becoming a nun, and she rejected him. She dreamt she was given a sweet drink which saved her from his attentions, but which turned the poor young man to ice. Realising that Maelon couldn't help his love for her, she prayed that he be restored to life, that all lovers should find happiness, and that she never have the desire for marriage. Dwynwen became a nun and lived on Llanddwyn Island on the western coast of Ynys Mon (Anglesey), an area accessible only at low tide.
Her well, a fresh-water spring called Ffynnon Dwynwen, became a wishing well and place of pilgrimage, particularly for lovers because of the story above. The tradition grew that the eel in the well could foretell the future for lovers - ask questions and watch which way they turn. Women would scatter breadcrumbs on the surface, then lay her handkerchief on water's surface; if the eel disturbed it, her lover would be faithful. All this led to her connection with animals, which eventually led to the tradition that her intercession could heal injured animals.
There are churches dedicated to her in Wales and Cornwall. In recent years, her feast day has become increasingly popular among the Welsh with cards being sent just as on Valentine's Day, and her well continues to be a place of pilgrimage; there's a tradition that if the fish in the well are active when a couple visits, it's the sign of a faithful husband.
c.460 of natural causes
• lovers (especially Welsh)
• sick animals
Nothing wins hearts like cheerfulness. - Saint Dwynwen
• Maddalena Parvopassau
• Maria Antonia
Youngest of five children born to Giuseppe and Maria Antonietta Parvopassau. Her father was the head physician at the Civil Hospital of Alessandria, Italy, but died when the girl was still very small. Maddalena attended school in Turin, Italy, and then in a boarding school in Lodi, Italy run by the Ladies of Lorreto. At 18 she returned to Alessandria where she married Captain Giovanni Michel on 2 August 1877. In the next few years they lived in the Italian cities of Caserta, Acireale, Catania, Portici and Naples.
Captain Giovanni died of sunstroke during a parade in Naples in 1891, and Teresa sank into a deep depression. However, with the spiritual guidance of her cousin, Monsignor Prelli, she made a recovery and decided to devote herself to helping the poor. She first used her own home to shelter them, but the numbers soon out-stripped the house, and in 1893, with much opposition of her family, she sold it to buy an large old building which she rebult and renamed Little Shelter of Divine Providence. Other local women were attracted to her work, and on 8 January 1899 she and eight of her co-workers officially founded the Congregation of the Little Sisters of Divine Providence. She spent the rest of her life, 45 years, working to spread the Congregation and its mission to the poor. Today they have houses throughout Italy, Brazil and Argentina, running nurseries, orphanages, schools, hospitals, and homes for the elderly.
25 September 1855 in Spinetta Marengo, Alessandria, Italy as Maddalena Parvopassau
25 January 1944 in Alessandria, Italy of natural causes
24 May 1998 by Pope John Paul II
A Christian in Damascus, Syria, Ananias received a vision of Jesus in which he was ordered to find Saul (aka Paul the Apostle). Ananias found Saul, blind and staggering into the city after his encounter with Christ on the road. He cured Saul of the blindness, baptized him into the faith, supported him while he prepared, and helped him begin his missionary work. Ananias evangelized in Damascus, then went on his own mission to Eleutheropolis. Martyr.
1st century in Eleutheropolis, a now-ruined village in Palestine
There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias, and the Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias."
He answered, "Here I am, Lord."
The Lord said to him, "Get up and go to the street called Straight and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is there praying, and (in a vision) he has seen a man named Ananias come in and lay (his) hands on him, that he may regain his sight."
But Ananias replied, "Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man, what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to imprison all who call upon your name."
But the Lord said to him, "Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and Israelites, and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name."
So Ananias went and entered the house; laying his hands on him, he said, "Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me, Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came, that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. - Acts 9:10-18a
Born to the Belgian nobility, the son of Tizekinus and Adalwif. His was a pious family; when Poppo was grown, his mother became a nun. Career soldier. Pilgrim to the Holy Lands in 1000, and then to Rome, Italy. While on the road late one night, a flame suddenly lit over his head, and his lance radiated a brilliant light. Poppo took this as a sign of the Holy Spirit, and started considering a religious vocation. Monk at the Saint Theirry monastery at Rheims, France in 1005.
Beginning in 1008 he worked with Abbot Richard of Saint-Vanne to restore order and religious observance to several houses. Prior of the monastery of Saint Vaast in Arras, France in 1013. Prior at Vasloges, France in 1016. Abbot-general for a large group of houses in Lotharingia (in modern France, Germany and Switzerland) in 1020. Abbot of Stavelot-Malmédy in Belgium in 1021.
The monastic revival he led spread to other houses, including Hautmont, Marchiennes, Saint Maximinus of Trier in Germany, and Saint Vaast in Arras in France. He practiced severe personal asceticism, cared nothing for literature, and lacked organization, but managed to bring order and devotion to his houses, earning the love of his brothers and the laity. Unofficial counselor to emperor Saint Henry II on matters of faith, politics, and diplomacy.
978 at Flanders, Belgium
25 January 1048 at Marchiennes, France of natural causes
• Francesco Cirano
• Francesco Cyrano
Member of the Friars Minor Conventuals, making his profession in 1580. Priest, ordained in 1586. In 1599 he received authorization from Pope Clement VIII to collect funds to ransom Christians who were enslaved and held for ransom by Muslims in North Africa. On 20 August 1602 he arrived in Algiers, Algeria where anti-Christian sentiment was building due to an impending war between Algiers and the kingdom of Cuco; Cuco had the backing of Catholic Spain. On 1 January 1603, following a battle won by the king of Cuco, Father Francesco was dispatched to the Spanish court to take back news; he was betrayed to local Algerian soldiers who captured him and sent him to Algiers in chains. On the morning of 25 January 1603 he received notice that he was condemned to death for being a Christian, but could receive a pardon if he converted to Islam; he declined. Martyr.
c.1564 in Sassari, Italy
flayed alive on 25 January 1603 in Algiers, Algeria
• 12 October 2014 by Pope Francis
• beatification recognition celebrated at Sassari, Sardinia, Cardinal Angelo Amato presiding
Drawn to religious life from an early age, Eleanor planned to become a Benedictine nun. However, when she left for the convent her horse refused to move. She took this as a sign, and joined the Carmelites at Parma, Italy in 1478, taking the name Archangela. Prioress at Parma and at Mantua. Had a special devotion to the Holy Trinity, and the gifts of ecstasy, levitation, and miracles.
1460 at Trino, Italy as Eleanor Girlani
25 January 1495 at Mantua, Italy of natural causes
1 October 1864 by Pope Pius IX (cultus confirmed)
Father in heaven, you gave the virgin Blessed Archangela Girlani particular dedication to the mystery of the eternal Trinity. Through her prayers may we taste the delights of your glory already here on earth, and look upon you for ever in heaven. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. - from the Carmelite Proper of the Liturgy of the Hours, 1993
Preietto, Preils, Prejectus, Prest, Prie, Priest, Prix, Proietto, Projectus, Pry
Born to the nobility. Studied under Saint Genesius of Clermont. Priest. Bishop of Clermont, France from 666 to 676. Founded monasteries, hospitals, and churches. Worked with Saint Reol of Rheims, Saint Agilbert of Paris, Saint Amarinus of Clermont, and Saint Ouen of Rouen. Killed by a man named Agritius who held Praejectus responsible for the arrest and execution of Hector, lord of Marseilles (in modern France). Considered a martyr immediately after his death, but his murder does not seem to have been related to his faith.
625 in Auvergne, France
• stabbed to death on 25 January 676 at Volvic, France
• most relics enshrined in Flavigny Abbey, Flavigny-sur-Ozerain, France in 760
• some relics translated to Saint-Prix, France in 1278
12 June as one of the 108 Polish Martyrs of World War II
Priest in the archdiocese of Gniezno, Poland. Youth chaplain in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Arrested in July 1942 as part of the Nazi persecution of Christianity. Martyr.
27 March 1909 in Pobiedziska, Wielkopolskie, Poland
tortured to death on 25 January 1945 at the Dachau concentration camp, Oberbayern, Germany
13 June 1999 by Pope John Paul II at Warsaw, Poland
A furrier in Constantinople by trade. He joined the Turkish navy, but was forced to jump ship and return to Constantinople when he was accused of having been a Muslim who had renounced that faith. There he worked on a small fishing boat until the day he was spotted by some of the sailors from his old ship. He was arrested, and when he insisted that he was a Christian and would remain one, he was executed. Martyr.
1690 at Epirus, Greece
beheaded in 1720 in Constantinople (modern Istanbul, Turkey)
During the persecutions of Diocletian, he sought refuge in the deserts of Upper Egypt, and became one of the earliest Egyptian desert hermits. Friend and spiritual director of Saint Pachomius of Tabenna. Worked to develop the spiritual lives of other desert hermits by bringing them together; this was part of the foundation of Christian monasticism.
325 at Tabennisi, Egypt
• old hermit carding fleece
• with Saint Pachomius of Tabenna
Son of a fourth-century senator in Zeugma on the River Euphrates (in modern Turkey). When he came of age, Publius sold his estate and possessions, gave the proceeds to help the poor, and went to live as a hermit. He eventually attracted a number of would-be students and formed then into a community of monks. The diet and living conditions for he and his brother were extremely poor and harsh by choice, but they hated laziness and worked endlessly at their devotions and at charity to others.
• Apollo of Hermopol
• Apollo of Thebais
Hermit for 40 years in the desert around Thebes during which time his reputation for holiness attracted many disciples. At age 80 he founded a community of monks in Hermopol, Egypt, a house that eventually grew to 500, and he served as its first abbot. Noted miracle worker.
early 4th century Egypt
395 of natural causes
Priest in the diocese of Tortosa, Spain. Founded the Diocesan Laborer Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to help foster and support priestly vocations and seminarians.
1 April 1836 in Tortosa, Tarragona, Spain
25 January 1909 in Tortosa, Spain
29 March 1987 by Pope John Paul II
Bishop of Tomi, Scythia (modern Constanta, Romania). He opposed Arianism for which he was exiled by Emperor Valens; the people of Tomi forced the emperor to restore him to his see.
380 of natural causes
Member of the imperial guard of Julian the Apostate. When Julian issued orders prohibiting the veneration of the relics of saints, Maximinus and Saint Juventius protested; they were arrested, scourged, and martyred. Saint John Chrysostom wrote their eulogy.
beheaded in 363 at Antioch, Syria
Member of the imperial guard of Julian the Apostate. When Julian issued orders prohibiting the veneration of the relics of saints, Juventius and Saint Maximus protested; they were arrested, scourged, and martyred. Saint John Chrysostom wrote their eulogy.
beheaded in 363 at Antioch, Syria
Benedictine monk. Friend of Saint Praejectus of Clermont. Abbot of a monastery in the archdiocese of Clermont, France. The valley of Saint Amarian in Alsace, France, is named in his honor. Martyr.
Martyr. Saint Augustine preached a sermon in his honour.
• c.300 in Carthage in North Africa
• relics later translated to Rome, Italy
Spiritual student of Saint John of Matera. Benedictine monk. Helped found and eventual master-general of the Benedictine house of Saint Mary, Pulsano, Italy.
1185 of natural causes
• martyred at Pozzuoli, Italy
• tradition says he was stabbed to death by his pagan school classmates using their iron pens
Apostle of the Picts of Galloway, Scotland
Spiritual student of Saint Columba, and of the twelve chosen by him to evangelize northern Britain.
Ragnobert of Autun
First bishop of Autun, France.
660 of natural causes
• Eleanor of Aragon
• Guardato di Belforte Piceno
• Michael de Plagis
• Titus Maria Horten
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