Archive for February 2011

Feast of St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen (April 24)   Leave a comment

Sigmaringen, Germany, 1890-1905

SAINT FIDELIS OF SIGMARINGEN (1577-1622)

Roman Catholic Martyr

His feast transferred from April 24

Religion can bring out the best or the worst in people.  Consider the era of the Reformations in Western Christianity, for example:  Some relied on words to persuade, but others preferred violence.  St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen was one of the former group, and he fell victim to members of the latter.

Switzerland was a hotbed of Protestantism, especially Calvinism, in the 1500s and 1600s.  Into this  mix came the former Mark Roy, formerly a philosophy professor then lawyer who became a Capuchin in 1612.  He had taken the name Fidelis (Latin for “faithful”) upon entering the order.  Even before 1612 he was famous for giving to the poor, living simply, being devoted to the Blessed Sacrament, attending Mass often, and avoiding invective.

St. Fidelis was convinced that Protestantism (in general) and Calvinism (in particular) were heresies, and he proceeded to work toward converting many Swiss Protestants to Roman Catholicism.  He brought his piety and positive attitude to this work, which began in January 1622, on the Feast of the Epiphany.  His efforts yielded results and inspired ire among some Calvinists.  He preached in churches and on streets, met with town officials, and received many insults and threats along the way.

At Grusch, on April 24, at a church, a group of twenty Calvinist soldiers demanded that St. Fidelis renounce Catholicism.  He refused, and they murdered him gruesomely.

Theological disagreements will occur, but they do not justify murder.  Regardless of one’s religious opinions, anyone of good faith ought to admire the sincere and good-natured faith of St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen and shun the violence and hatred of those who martyred him.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 17, 2011 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARIE ADOLPHINE DIERKS, ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN, MISSIONARY, AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT FINAN OF LINDISFARNE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINT FRANCIS SERRANO, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MISSIONARY

THE FEAST OF SAINT SIGRID OF SWEDEN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Collect and Lections for a Martyr from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), the hymnal and service book of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:

Gracious God, in every age you have sent men and women who have given their lives in witness to your love and truth.  Inspire us with the memory of St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen, whose faithfulness led to the way of the cross, and give us courage to bear full witness with our lives to your Son’s victory over sin and death, for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 20:40-42

Psalm 5

Revelation 6:9-11

Mark 8:34-38

Advertisements

Feast of St. Julie Billiart (April 8)   Leave a comment

SAINT JULIE BILLIART, A.K.A. SAINT JULIA BILLIART (1751-1816)

Founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur

Born into a farming family in France, St. Julie Billiart dedicated her life to teaching and serving the poor when she was fourteen years old.  “The Saint of Cuvilly” lost the use of her lower limbs for twenty-two years.  The apparent cause of this paralysis was delayed nervous shock after someone fired a shot at her father when she was twenty-two years old.  While confined to her bed, the saint received communion daily, prepared children for first communion, made altar linens, and devoted herself to contemplative prayer.

It is true that the French Roman Catholic establishment supported the oppressive, Absolutist monarchy, hence the Revolutionary hostility toward Holy Mother Church.  Yet two wrongs do not make a right, and the persecution and martyrdom of many faithful Catholics was unjustified.  Thus, in 1790, St. Julie Billiart rallied faithful Catholics at Cuvilly to oppose the local priest, who supported the new regime.  She also helped fugitive priests find safe harbors.  Thus, for the sake of her own safety, she relocated to Compiegne then Amiens then Bettencourt then Amiens again.  All along the way the saint continued her prayers and good works.  At Bettencourt she met Father Joseph Varin, who helped her establish the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, devoted to teaching girls, poor children, and religious educators, in 1803-1804, at Amiens.

In 1804, after saying a novena to the Sacred Heart, St. Julie Billiart was healed of her paralysis.  Restored to physical wholeness, the saint spent the remainder of her years building up her nascent religious order.  A subsequent Bishop of Amiens was hostile to her work, but the saint relocated to Namur, Belgium (hence Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur), where the bishop was supportive.  So the good work continued.

St. Julia Billiart died in 1816, while repeating the Magnificat.  Pope Piux X beatified her in 1906 and Pope Pius VI canonized her in 1969.  Her deeds confirmed her frequently repeated words, “How good is the good God.”

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 7, 2011 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GREGORIO ALLEGRI, COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF SAINT APOLLONIA, MARTYR AT ALEXANDRIA

THE FEAST OF SAINT BLAISE OF SEBASTE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

My Collect and Lections:

Blessed Lord of compassion, we thank you for the love of you that St. Julie Billiart demonstrated by her life of prayer and service, of good words and works.  May her example, shining brightly these many years after her death, enkindle in us the flame of love and devotion to you and service to our fellow human beings, for your glory and the benefit of other.  In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 116

1 Corinthians 13

Luke 1:46-56

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Novena Prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Jesus, Savior of the world,

in your Holy Gospel you tell us:

“Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you” (Matthew 7:7).

Moved by your divine promises,

I come before you to ask

(Here we state our needs.)

I address you as my Savior,

Whose heart is an inexhaustible source of grace and mercy.

Sacred Heart of Jesus,

friend of the human race,

consoler of the afflicted,

strength of those overwhelmed by their trials,

light of those who walk in darkness

or in the shadow of death,

I put my whole trust in you.

Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man.

AMEN.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have (cross yourself) mercy on me and mine.

AMEN.

From Novenas:  Prayers of Intercession and Devotion, edited by William G. Storey (Chicago, IL:  Loyola Press, 2005), page 35

Feast of Nokter Balbulus (April 6)   2 comments

Abbey of St. Gall, St. Gallen, Switzerland

Image Source = picswiss

BLESSED NOKTER OF ST. GALL, A.K.A. NOKTER THE STAMMERER, NOKTER OF ST. GALL, NOKTER THE POET, NOTKER, AND NOTKAR (CIRCA 840-912)

Roman Catholic Monk

His Feast Transferred from April 6

Blessed Nokter possessed a brilliant and trained mind, as well as a deep love of God and great spiritual wisdom.  Eloquent speech was not one of his gifts, but profundity was.

Born to a prominent Swiss family, Nokter studied under St. Tutilo (Feast Day = March 28) at the Abbey of St. Gall.  The Blessed became a monk at that monastery, where he served as a librarian, a teacher, a chronicler of martyrs, an author of chant sequences, and a poet.  According to  his biographer, Ekkehard IV, Nokter was “delicate of body, but not of mind, stuttering of tongue but not of intellect, pushing boldly forward in things Divine, a vessel of the Holy Spirit without equal in his time.”

Partition of the Carolingian Empire, 843 C.E.

During Blessed Nokter’s lifetime the political map shifted around St. Gallen.  Keeping up with all these changes and several ephemeral kingdoms requires great patience, and more than one king named Charles reigned in the region.  One of these Charleses visited the Abbey of St. Gall from time to time to seek Nokter’s advice.  (The king chose not to follow much of this counsel, so why did he make the trips?)  One piece of Nokter’s advice was this:  “Take care of your garden as I am taking care of mine.”  In other words, take care of your kingdom and your spiritual life.  The royal chaplain objected to Nokter’s counsel.  One day he challenged the monk, saying, “Since you are so intelligent, tell me what God is doing right now.”  The Blessed replied, “God is doing right now what he has always done.  He is pushing down those who are proud and raising up the lowly.”

The Roman Catholic Church beatified Nokter Balbulus in 1512.

Blessed Nokter was able to achieve his potential and compensate for his deficiencies because of the combination of his efforts and the support of his faith community, which benefited from his spiritual gifts.  May you, O reader, help others do their best for God and their fellow human beings, including you.  And may others do the same for you.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Loving God, we thank you for the example of the holy life of your servant, Blessed Nokter Balbulus.  May we, supported by each other, likewise fulfill our vocations, to your glory and the benefit of many.  In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Exodus 6:26-7:7

Psalm 98

1 Corinthians 12:12-26

Luke 1:46-56

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 6, 2011 COMMON ERA

THE FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY, YEAR A

THE FEAST OF MARCUS AURELIUS CLEMENS PRUDENTIUS, POET AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF GEORGE VI, KING OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND (Another Stammerer)