Archive for September 19, 2017

Feast of Blessed Ceferino Jimenez Malla (May 4)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Ceferino Jimenez Malla

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED CEFERINO JIMENEZ MALLA (AUGUST 26, 1861-AUGUST 9, 1936)

Spanish Romani Martyr

Alternative feast day = August 2

Blessed Ceferino Jimenez Malla, also known as El Pele, or “the Strong One,” became the first venerated Gypsy in 1996 then the first beatified Romani the following year.

Our saint, born into a poor family at Fraga, Spain, on August 26, 1861, remained illiterate throughout his life yet became a prosperous businessman at Barbastro, Spain.  He, baptized as an adult, was a devout Roman Catholic.  He, a city councilman, a eucharistic minister, and a leader of rosary prayers, inspired (by his won piousness, such as efforts to improve relations between Romani and non-Gypsies) others to be on their best behavior around him.  Jimenez Malla married Teresa Jimenez Castro in 1912.  The couple had no children, but he adopted his niece, Pepita.  Teresa died in 1922.  Our saint, an advisor to his bishop, never remarried; he became a Dominican tertiary in 1926 instead.

Jimenez Malla, who favored reconciliation among diverse groups of people, refused to make peace with injustice.  In July 1936 the 74-year-old saint attempted to protect a local priest from anti-clerical Republican forces.  For this effort our saint became a prisoner at a converted Capuchin monastery.  His captors offered him an opportunity to go free; all he had to do was throw away his rosary and renounce his faith.  Jimenez Malla refused.  On August 9, 1936, a firing squad executed our saint, a bishop, and 11 others at the town cemetery.  Jimenez Malla’s first grave was an unmarked one.  Subsequently people exhumed his corpse and buried him next to his wife.

The life of the Blessed Ceferino Jimenez Malla speaks for itself.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 19, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS THOMAS JOHNSON, JOHN DAVY, AND THEIR COMPANIONS, MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM CHALMERS SMITH, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

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Almighty God, who gave to your servant Blessed Ceferino Jimenez Malla boldness to confess

the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ before the rulers of this world, and courage to die for this faith:

Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us,

and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

2 Esdras 2:42-48

Psalm 136 or 121

1 Peter 3:14-18, 22

Matthew 10:16-22

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 713

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Feast of Blessed Marie-Leonie Paradis (May 3)   Leave a comment

Above:  Sherbrooke, Quebec, 1889

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED MARIE-LÉONIE PARADIS (MAY 12, 1840-MAY 3, 1912)

Foundress of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family

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Our mission in the Church is to help the priest on the temporal and spiritual planes.  But what it really demands as a supreme witness is for us to love one another and to love all people, not with just any love, but with the love that God wants to give them.  We must therefore repeat without tiring that our principal work is to give love.

–Blessed Marie-Léonie Paradis

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Alodie-Virginie Paradis, also known informally as Élodie, came from a devout Roman Catholic family.  He, born at L’Acadie, Quebec, on May 12, 1840, was the only daughter and the third of six children, four of whom survived to adulthood.  Her parents, Joseph Paradis and Émilie Grégoire Paradis, were two of the rural working poor.

The Church educated our saint, who became an educator.  At the age of nine years she entered a boarding school (at Laprairie) of the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre-Dame.  Five years later Paradis became a novice in the Congregation of the Holy Cross.  The renamed Sister Marie of Sainte Léonie taught in Varennes, Ville Saint-Laurent, and Saint-Martin de Laval.  Then, in 1862, the order transferred her to New York City, where it had recently accepted responsibility for an orphanage.  Eight years later the order sent Paradis to its novitiate in Indiana.  There she taught French and needlework.  After a brief stay in Lake Linder, Michigan, our saint transferred to Memramcook College in New Brunswick in 1874.  The director of the college was Father Camille Lefebvre, an old family friend who had become a Holy Cross priest.  Our saint’s job was to direct novices and postulants.

On May 31, 1880, the Holy Cross Fathers recognized the new Little Sisters of the Holy Family, focused on the education and spiritual formation of impoverished and illiterate girls.  Paradis led the new order, which Paul LaRocque, Bishop of Sherbrooke, Quebec, approved as an autonomous religious community in 1896.  When Paradis died, not quite 72 years old, at Sherbrooke, on May 3, 1912, the order had 38 foundations in Canada and the United States.

Paradis was a warm-hearted woman who recognized God in everyone she met.  She helped the poor, visited the sick, and emphasized the importance of helping priests.

Pope John Paul II declared our saint a Venerable in 1981 then a Blessed in 1984.

Paradis is the patron saint of the Archdiocese of Sherbrooke.

To affirm the dignity of every human being as a bearer of the image of God verbally is easy.  To do so as fully as possible via deeds is challenging, however.  One complicating factor is the reality of disagreements about how best to live that principle; tactics are perhaps the most controversial matter once people have agreed on the purpose.  Sometimes one’s tactics defeat one’s noble intentions.  May we, by grace, have the proper words and deeds.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 19, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS THOMAS JOHNSON, JOHN DAVY, AND THEIR COMPANIONS, MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM CHALMERS SMITH, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

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O God, your Son came among us to serve and not to be served, and to give his life for the life of the world.

Lead us by his love to serve all those to whom the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless, love to the unloved, peace to the troubled, and rest to the weary,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

–Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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