Posted in Uncategorized

Saint of the Day – 6 July – Blessed Sr Nazaria of Saint Teresa of Jesus (Nazaria Ignacia March y Mesa) (1889-1943)

Saint of the Day – 6 July – Blessed Sr Nazaria of Saint Teresa of Jesus (Nazaria Ignacia March y Mesa) (1889-1943) Religious and Founder of the Missionaries of the Crusade (later renamed Congregation of the Missionary Crusaders of the Church) – born on 10 January 1889 at Arcos de Santa María N° 41 (Augusto Figueroa), Madrid, Spain and died on 6 July 1943 in the Rivadavia Hospital, Buenos Aires, Argentina of complications from pneumonia and tuberculosis.   Patronage – Missionaries of the Crusade.



Fourth of eighteen children born to José Alejandro March y Reus, a merchant, fisherman and industrial worker and Nazaria Mesa Ramos;  Nazairi had a twin sister, Ignazia, and ten brothers who survived infancy.   She and her sister were baptised on the day they were born, Nazaria made her First Communion on 21 November 1898 and made a personal vow of consecration to God.   Unlike many children who are drawn to religious life at an early age, her family was indifferent to the faith and grew so tired of her devotions that they once “grounded” her from going to Mass.   By the time she was confirmed on 15 March 1902, which was celebrated by Blessed Marcelo Spínola y Maestre, her family had grown used to her piety and allowed her to join the Franciscan Third Order and more actively practice her faith.   She succeeded in getting several of them to return to the Church.

In late 1904, business failures led the family to move to Mexico.   On the trip, Nazaria met sisters in the Instituto de Hermanitas de los Ancianos Desamparados (Institute of Sisters of the Abandoned Elders) and was so inspired by their charism that on 7 December 1908 she followed a calling to religious life and entered the Institute in Mexico City, Mexico; she made her perpetual vows on 1 January 1915 and took the name Sister Nazariade Sainte-Thérèse.   Her diaries of the time show a deep devotion to her calling but struggles with her vows of obedience to her superiors.

She was assigned to the Institute hospice in Oruro, Bolivia where she worked as a cook, housekeeper, nurse and occasional beggar to support the poor and neglected for twelve years.   The region around Oruro was not entirely Christian, many Protestant groups were establishing missions and the few priests in the area were often lax or lived scandalous lives.   Beginning in 1920 Sister  Nazaria began to feel a call to found a new congregation devoted to missionary work, evanglisation and religious education.   On 18 January 1925, the feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, Sister  made a special vow of obedience to the Pope and on Pentecost that year, she made a vow to work for the union and extension of the Holy Catholic Church.   On 16 June 1925, with six other sisters, she founded the Pontifical Crusade, later renamed the Congregation of the Missionary Crusaders of the Church and began service as their superior.   The mission of the Congregation was to catechise children and adults, support the work of priests, conduct missions and to print and distribute short religious tracts.

Mother Nazaria met with opposition to her work, much of it from within Church administration.   Her sisters in the Institute treated her as a traitor to her original vocation for turning away from their work;  her superiors considered her disobedient and some Claretian clergy considered her a glory-hound, ignoring all the help members of their order had given her.   But Nazaria clung to Christ and pressed on.

Monsignor Felipe Cortesi, while in Bolivia, had worked to help Mother Nazaria to found the Congregation.  When he was assigned to be the apostolic nuncio of Argentina in 1930, he asked had her open a Missionary Crusader house in Buenos Aires.   The Congregation received an early test under fire during the 1932 to 1935 war between Bolivia and Paraguay;   Mother  Nazaria and the sisters cared for and brought the sacraments to soldiers on both sides and helped establish homes for war orphans.   In 1934 she founded the first magazine in Bolivia for women in religious life, Al Adalid de Cristo Rey, and the first female trade union, Sociedad de Obrera Católicas

In early 1934, Monsignor Cortesi asked the Vatican Congregation of Religious to approve the rules for the Crusaders that Nazaria had written, based on Ignatian spirituality.   Later that year, Mother Nazaria travelled to Rome with an Argentinian pilgrimage group to work for the approval of her Rule.   She made pilgrimages to several sites and had a private audience with Pope Pius XI during which Nazaria said that she was willing to die for the Church;  the Pope told her that she must, instead, live and work for the Church.

Leaving Italy for her native Spain, Mother Nazaria founded a retreat centre for spiritual exercises in Madrid under the flag of Uruguay;  the sisters there survived the Spanish Civil War as Franco did not wish to risk the international incident killing them would cause.   With the help of the Bolivian government, Mother Nazaria was able to leave the persecutions in Spain and return to the Americas.   She summoned a general chapter of the Congregation in 1937 to strengthen the unity and zeal of her sisters.   She worked on the spiritual formation of new sisters and set an example by her pious, simple life.   To the superiors of the Congregation houses she always recommended a maternal approach to the sisters in their care, to remember their role as Mother of the house.   When the Spanish Civil War ended, Nazaria returned to Spain to check on the sisters she had left behind, then returned to the Americas for the final time.

Blessed Nazaria was buried in the Chacorita cemetery in Buenos Aires on 8 July 1943.   Her relics werere-interred at the Congregation house at Buenos Aires on 14 June 1957
and later relics enshrined in the crypt of the mother house of the Congregation in Oruro, Bolivia in 1972.

The Congregation spread throughout South America and began to work in Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and Camaroon.   Though  Nazaria did not live to see it, the Congregation received Vatican recognition on 9 June 1947 by Pope Pius XII.

She was Beatified on 27 September 1992 by Pope John Paul II in Saint Peter’s Basilica, Rome, Italy.   Her Canonisation was announced on 19 May 2018, when Pope Francis promulgated a decree of a miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed Nazaria and will take place on 14 October 2018.

Posted in FRANCISCAN, Lady POVERTY, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES on SANCTITY, The WORD, Uncategorized

Thought for the Day – 2 July – “The poverty that makes rich.”

Thought for the Day – 2 July – Monday of the Thirteenth Week, Year B – Today’s Gospel: Matthew 8:18-22

“The poverty that makes rich.”

Excerpt from the “Sacrum Commercium” – “The Sacred Exchange between St Francis and Lady Poverty”

“And when He had fulfilled all those
Things of which you have spoken,
and desired to return to the Father Who had sent Him,
He made me a Testament to His Elect
and confirmed it by irrefragable Decrees :

Lay not up Gold nor Silver, nor Money.
Carry neither Purse, nor Scrip, nor Bread, nor a Staff, nor Shoes, nor two Coats.
And if any Man will contend with thee and take away thy Coat,
let go thy Cloak also. And whoever shall compel thee to go a mile,
go with him other twain.
Lay not up unto yourselves Treasures upon Earth,
where Rust and Moth doth corrupt
and where Thieves break through and steal.
Take no thought, saying:
What shall we eat, or what shall we drink,
or wherewithal shall we be clothed?
And take no thought of the morrow,
for the morrow will take thought for itself.
Sufficient unto the Day is the Evil thereof.
Whosoever doth not renounce
all that he hath, cannot be my
disciple . . . And many the
like sayings, which are all to
be found in the Gospels.”st francis - sacrum commercium - lady poverty no 1- 2 july 2018

The Sacred Exchange between Saint Francis and Lady Poverty, is one of the richest texts of the early Franciscan movement, “the single most brilliant example of the simple but lapidary allegory which was to become a major mode of spiritual writing in the later Middle Ages.”   An allegory offering insights into Francis’s vision of poverty, the Sacred Exchange weaves a luxuriant tapestry of images held together by the strong threads of a biblical theology.   For all of its richness, however, no text of these first hundred and fifty years is more mysterious.   Like the weaver of an undated tapestry, the author of the Sacred Exchange is content to hide obscurely making sure that the ends and threads are in their proper place that the beauty and exactness of his work may be seen.   Although there are many names suggested, the author of the Sacred Exchange still remains unknown.   The same holds true for the date of its composition though it is believed by solid historical explorations, to date from late 13th century.

The allegory is an exhortation written to encourage Francis’s followers to live in the authentic way of the saint’s biblical vision of poverty.   The central figure of the work is Lady Poverty, the personification of biblical Wisdom and, at times, of the Church.
The Passage above is one of the most profound, as each word is taken from scripture and bound together into a poem of immense richness.
This is a lesson we now need to embrace, as difficult as it would seem in the world in which we live, the world led only by riches.   For this is a true desire for sanctity, with Christ alone as our riches!

St Francis, Pray for us!st francis pray for us - 2 july 2018

Posted in CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, SAINT of the DAY, Uncategorized

The Most Precious Blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ and Memorials of the Saints – 1 July

The Most Precious Blood of Our Lord, Jesus Christ:  The feast was removed from the General Roman Calendar in 1969, “because the Most Precious Blood of Christ the Redeemer is already venerated in the solemnities of the Passion, of Corpus Christi, of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and in the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.”   However, as this is the Month of the Most Precious Blood, this day, Sunday is most worthy of celebrating this Feast Day, this year (2018).

St Junipero Serra (1713-1784) (Optional Memorial, USA)

and my post last year:

St Aaron of Caerleon
St Aaron the Patriarch
Bl Antonio Rosmini-Serbati
St Arnulf of Mainz
Bl Assunta Marchetti
St Atilano Cruz Alvarado
St Calais of Anisole
St Carilephus
St Castus of Sinuessa
St Cewydd
St Concordius of Toledo
St Cuimmein of Nendrum
St Domitian of Lerins
Bl Elisabeth de Vans
St Eparchius of Perigord
St Eutychius of Umbria
St Esther the Queen
St Gall of Clermont
Bl George Beesley
St Golvinus of Leon
St Gwenyth of Cornwall
St Huailu Zhang
Bl Jan Nepomucen Chrzan
Bl Jean-Baptiste Duverneuil
St Julius of Caerleon
St Justino Orona Madrigal
St Juthware
St Leonorious of Brittany
St Leontius of Autun
Bl Luis Obdulio Navarro
St Martin of Vienne
Bl Montford Scott
Bl Nazju Falzon
St Nicasius of Jerusalem
St Oliver Plunkett (1629-1681) Martyr

Bl Pierre-Yrieix Labrouhe de Laborderie
St Secundinus of Sinuessa
St Servan of Culross
St Theobald of Vicenza
St Theodoric of Mont d’Or
Bl Thomas Maxfield
Bl Tullio Maruzzo
St Veep

Martyrs of Rome – 6 saints: Six Christians who were martyred together. No details have survived except their names – Esicius, Antonius, Processus, Marina, Serenus and Victor. They were martyred in Rome, Italy, date unknown.


Thought for the Day – 26 June – The Memorial of St Josemaria Escrivá (1902-1975)

Thought for the Day – 26 June – The Memorial of St Josemaria Escrivá (1902-1975)

Excerpt from St John Paul’s Homily

on the Canonisation of St Josemaria – 6 October 2002

“All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” (Rom 8,14).   These words of the Apostle Paul, … help us understand better the significant message of today’s canonisation of Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer.   With docility he allowed himself to be led by the Spirit, convinced that only in this way can one fully accomplish God’s will.

This fundamental Christian truth was a constant theme in his preaching.   Indeed, he never stopped inviting his spiritual children to invoke the Holy Spirit to ensure that their interior life, namely, their life of relationship with God and their family, professional and social life, totally made up of small earthly realities, would not be separated but would form only one life that was “holy and full of God”.   He wrote, “We find the invisible God in the most visible and material things” (Conversations with Josemaría Escrivá, n. 114).

This teaching of his is still timely and urgent today.   In virtue of the Baptism that incorporates him into Christ, the believer is called to establish with the Lord an uninterrupted and vital relationship.   He is called to be holy and to collaborate in the salvation of humanity.

To fulfil such a rigorous mission, one needs constant interior growth nourished by prayer.   St Josemaría was a master in the practice of prayer, which he considered to be an extraordinary “weapon” to redeem the world.   He always recommended: “in the first place prayer;  then expiation;  in the third place but very much in third place, action” (The Way, n. 82).   It is not a paradox but a perennial truth:  the fruitfulness of the apostolate lies above all in prayer and in intense and constant sacramental life.   This, in essence, is the secret of the holiness and the true success of the saints.

May the Lord help you, dear brothers and sisters, to accept this challenging ascetical and missionary instruction.   May Mary sustain you, whom the holy founder invoked as “Spes nostra, Sedes Sapientiae, Ancilla Domini!” (Our Hope, Seat of Wisdom, Handmaid of the Lord).

May Our Lady make everyone an authentic witness of the Gospel, ready everywhere to make a generous contribution to building the Kingdom of Christ!   May the example and teaching of St Josemaría be an incentive to us, so that at the end of the earthly pilgrimage, we too may be able to share in the blessed inheritance of heaven!   There, together with the angels and all the saints, we will contemplate the face of God and sing His glory for all eternity.”

Mary, Our Hope, Seat of Wisdom, Handmaid of the Lord, Pray for us!mary our hope handmaid of the lord - pray for us - 26 june 2018

St Josemaria, Pray for us!st-josemaria-pray-for-us-21- 26 june 2017


Feast of Our Lady of Miracles and Memorials of the Saints – 21 June

St Aloysius Gonzaga S.J. (1568-1591) (Memorial)

Madonna of Miracles – Our Lady of Miracles (or Madonna of Miracles) is the patron saint of the town of Alcamo, Italy.


St Agofredus of La-Croix
St Alban of Mainz
St Apollinaris of Africa
Bl Colagia
St Corbmac
St Cyriacus of Africa
St Demetria of Rome
St Dominic of Comacchio
St Engelmund
Bl Jacques-Morelle Dupas
St John Rigby
St José Isabel Flores Varela
Bl Juan of Jesus
St Lazarus
St Leutfridus
St Martia of Syracuse
St Martin of Tongres
Bl Melchiorre della Pace
St Mewan of Bretagne
Bl Nicholas Plutzer
St Ralph of Bourges
St Raymond of Barbastro
St Rufinus of Syracuse
St Suibhne the Sage
St Terence
St Ursicenus of Pavia

Martyrs of Taw – 3+ saints: Three Christians of different backgrounds who were martyred together – Moses, Paphnutius, Thomas. They were beheaded in Taw, Egypt, date unknown.

Posted in DOMINICAN, SAINT of the DAY, Uncategorized

Saint of the Day – 10 June – Blessed John Dominici O.P. (c 1355-1419)

Saint of the Day – 10 June – Blessed John Dominici O.P. (c 1355-1419) ArchBishop, Cardinal, Religious Friar, Theologian, Preacher, Confessor, Reformer, Papal Legate, Papal Counsellor and Confessor, Writer, Evangeliser – born on 1356 at Florence, Italy and died on 10 June 1419 of a fever at Buda, Hungary.  Bl-JohnDominic

Although John had little education and suffered from a speech impediment that caused him to stammer and stutter, he possessed a tremendous drive to improve himself, overcome his obstacles and serve our Lord.   He also had a great memory and later in life became a great theologian and preacher.   John Dominic met St Catherine of Siena when he was young, entered the Order of Preachers and was an integral part of a major reform movement.   This reform helped to revitalise the Order after its decimation by the plague and general laxity of observance.   Not only was he a major force in the Dominican Order but he became a cardinal in the Church and an official legate for the Pope.   Most importantly, he worked to resolve the Great Western Schism.   He also brought Fra Angelico, the world famous painter and St Antoninus, a brilliant theologian and reformer, into the Order.

Born in c 1355 at Florence, Italy, John spent a great deal of his youth in or around the Dominican church of Santa Maria Novella.   He joined the Order at the age of 17, despite his lack of education and his speech impediment, even while the Dominicans are scholars and preachers.   After entering the Order, Blessed John studied in Pisa and Florence and received a degree from the University of Paris.   As a priest, Blessed John once believed that his speech impediment would threaten his vocation but it was cured through the intervention of Saint Catherine of Siena.   Blessed John spent 12 years in Venice as a preacher.

In 1392, Blessed John found himself to be the Vicar provincial serving in Rome.   At the time, Blessed Raymond of Capua was the Master General of the Order and he helped rebuild the Order after the ravages of the Plague and helped return regular discipline to the Order’s members.

Blessed John founded Dominican convents in Venice, Fiesole, Chioggia, Citta de Castello, Cortona, Lucca and Fabriano and was a correspondent of Blessed Clara Gambacorta, advising her of how to restore discipline to Dominican nuns of the day.   For a time, he lost papal support because of support for the Dominican White Penitents in Venice but was later welcomed back and resumed his work in the Order.

Most importantly, Blessed John worked to provide a Christian education to young people. He opposed pagan ideas that were taking hold in the humanism of his day and was a confessor and adviser to Pope Gregory XII.   He was made Cardinal of San Sisto in 1407 and Archbishop of Ragusa in 1408.   In these roles, he helped to heal the Western Schism and convinced Pope Gregory XII to call the Council of Constance and to abdicate the papacy causing the anti-popes to also drop their claims to the papal throne.Blessed John Dominic

He was appointed the Papal legate to Milan, Genoa, Hungary and Bohemia for Pope Martin V and, in that role,  worked to settle the disputes caused by the death of Jon Hus and to heal the Hussite Schism.   However, while Blessed John was able to convert some, he was unable to resolve the Hussite Schism.

John is widely known for his scripture commentaries and hymns.   His portrait was painted by Fra Angelico and a his memoir was written by St Antonius of Florence, who joined the Order after hearing Blessed John preach.

Blessed John died on 10 June 1419 at Buda, Hungary, from a fever and he was buried in the Saint Paul the Hermit church there.   His tomb became a site of miracles and his remains were venerated and miracles reported, until the destruction of the church during a Turkish invasion.   His cultus was confirmed in 1832 and he was beatified by Pope Gregory XVI in 1837.


Our Morning Offering – 8 June – The Solemnity of The Most Sacred Heart

Our Morning Offering – 8 June – The Solemnity of The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Prayer of Consecration to The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
By Pope Leo XIII (1810-1903)

Most sweet Jesus,
Redeemer of the human race,
look down upon us,
humbly prostrate before Your altar.
We are Yours and Yours we wish to be
but to be more surely united with You,
behold, each one of us,
freely consecrates himself today
to Your most sacred heart.
Many, indeed, have never known You, many too,
despising your precepts, have rejected You.
Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus
and draw them to Your sacred heart.
Be You king, O Lord, not only of the faithful
who have never forsaken You
but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned You;
grant that they may quickly return to their father’s house,
lest they die of wretchedness and hunger.
Be You king, of those who are deceived
by erroneous opinions,
or whom discord keeps aloof
and call them back to the harbour of truth and unity of faith,
so that soon there may be but one flock and one shepherd.
Be you king also, of all those who sit
in the ancient superstition of the Gentiles
and refuse not You to deliver them out of darkness
into the light and kingdom of God.
Grant, O Lord, to Your Church,
assurance of freedom and immunity from harm;
give peace and order to all nations
and make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry:
Praise to the divine heart that wrought our salvation;
to it be glory and honour forever.


Daily Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Sacred Heart of Jesus,
filled with infinite love,
broken by my ingratitude,
pierced by my sins,
yet loving me still,
accept the consecration that I make to You,
of all that I am and all that I have.
Take every faculty of my soul and body,
and draw me, day by day,
nearer and nearer to Your Sacred Side,
and there, as I can bear the lesson,
teach me Your blessed ways.
Amendaily consecration to the sacred heart of jesus - 8 june 2018

Posted in SAINT of the DAY, Uncategorized, YouTube Videos

Memorials of the Saints – 7 June

Bl Anne of Saint Bartholomew
St Anthony Mary Gianelli (1789-1846)

St Aventinus of Larboust
Bl Basilissa Fernandez
St Colman of Dromore
Bl Demosthenes Ranzi
St Deochar
St Gotteschalk
St Justus of Condat
St Landulf of Yariglia
St Lycarion of Egypt
Venerable Matt Talbot (1856 – 1925)

St Meriadoc I of Vannes
St Meriadoc II of Vannes
St Odo of Massay
St Potamiaena of Alexandria the Younger
St Quirinus of Cluny
St Robert of Newminster
St Sergius of Cluny
St Vulflagius of Abbeville

Martyrs of Africa – 7 saints: A group of seven Christians who were martyred together. No details about them have survived except the names – Donata, Evasius, Guirillus, Januaria, Privata, Spisinna, Victurus. The precise location in Africa and date are unknown.

Martyred in Córdoba, Spain:
Habentius of Córdoba
Jeremiah of Córdoba
Peter of Córdoba
Sabinian of Córdoba
Wallabonsus of Córdoba
Wistremundus of Córdoba

Posted in QUOTES on SANCTITY, QUOTES on SUFFERING, Uncategorized

One Minute Reflection – 2 June – Martyrs – The Memorial of Sts Erasmus (martyred in c 303 and Marcellinus and Peter (martyred in 304).

One Minute Reflection – 2 June – Martyrs – The Memorial of Sts Erasmus (martyred in c 303 and Marcellinus and Peter – (martyred in 304).

My dear friends, do not be taken aback at the testing by fire which is taking place among you, as though something strange were happening to you; but in so far as you share in the sufferings of Christ, be glad, so that you may enjoy a much greater gladness when his glory is revealed….1 Peter 4:12-131-peter-4-12-13.16 Nov 2017. jpg

REFLECTION – “Bodily and spiritual affliction are the surest sign of Divine predilection. Gratitude for suffering is a precious jewel for our heavenly crown… Man should always firmly believe that God sends just that trial which is most beneficial for him.”…St Gertrude the Greatbodily-and-spiritual-affliction-st-gertrude-16-nov-2017 (1)

PRAYER – O GOD, who dost give us joy through the memory of Thy holy Martyrs, graciously grant that we may be inflamed by their example, in whose merits we rejoice. Sts Erasmus, Marcellinus and Peter, Pray for us! Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Posted in QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, THOMAS a KEMPIS, Uncategorized

Saint of the Day – 2 June – St Erasmus (Died c 303) Martyr

Saint of the Day – 2 June – St Erasmus (Died c 303) Martyr – also known as Saint Elmo (Telmo, Eramo, Erarmo, Ermo, Herasmus, Rasimus, Rasmus), Bishop of Formiae, Campagna, Italy.   St Erasmus or Elmo is also one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, saintly figures of Christian tradition who were venerated especially as intercessors.   Patronages – against appendicitis, against birth pains, against abdominal or stomach pains and diseases, against colic, against danger at sea, against seasickness, against storms, ammunition, explosives and ordnance workers, boatmen, mariners, sailors, watermen, childbirth and women in labour, navigators, Gaeta, Italy, Formia, cattle pest, Fort St. Elmo, Malta.erasmus

As with many martyrs of the early Church, we known little about their lives and upbringings but much about their pious and courageous deaths, accounts of which were recorded, believed to be more instructive to the faithful than complete biographies.

The childhood and birthplace of Saint Erasmus is lost to history.   In the late third century, we do know that he was appointed bishop of Antioch in Asia Minor, where he led the faithful.   When Emperor Diocletian ascended to the throne, widespread persecution of Christians began and Antioch was not overlooked.   Saint Erasmus fled into the mountains of Lebanon, where he undertook an austere life of prayer and fasting, going without food for days at a time.   Holy legend tells us that a raven brought him food when he deprived himself for too long.   Eventually, however, he was discovered by the soldiers of the emperor and dragged to judgement.saint-elmo

St Erasmus was urged to recant his faith and some respect was offered him.   However, when he adamantly stated his belief in Christ and could not be persuaded to make offerings to the gods.   He stated, “Almighty God, that made all things, hath wrought heaven and hell and all that is therein, Him will I not forsake for no thing that can or may be done to me, for His goodly grace hath given to me such grace and to other His chosen friends, that He was made man and hath tasted and suffered the bitter death for me and for all sinners.”   Saint Erasmus was viciously tortured.   He was at first scourged, had heated hooks jabbed into his intestines and stomach and was finally thrown into a caldron filled with boiling oil.   However, despite these horrific tortures, the Lord protected Saint Erasmus from death and many were converted to the faith—including the jailor and his family.

Unable to torture him physically into recanting his faith, the judge ordered him imprisoned in chains, thrown into a pit filled with vipers and worms and forbid the jailor to feed him, insisting that he die of starvation for his crime.   However, Erasmus was again delivered, with an angel appearing to him and leading him to freedom.  During his escape, the angel proclaimed, ”Erasmus, Follow me! Thou shalt convert a great many.”erasmus2

Erasmus fled to Europe, preaching the power of the Lord, performing miracles and converting the multitudes proclaimed by the angel.   Upon his arrival in Italy, however, he was again arrested—this time by Emperor Maximin, who also persecuted Christians. History tells us that the emperor, enraged by Erasmus’ success in conversion, ordered three hundred of the newly baptised Christians killed as incentive for Erasmus to recant his faith.   When he did not, he was cruelly tortured and again imprisoned.   During this torture, his intestines were slowly wound around a sailor’s capstan, which is why he is the patron saint of sailors today.   Eventually, Saint Erasmus dies a martyr’s death due to disembowelling and subsequent beheading, having been summoned by the voice of the Lord.THE MARTYRDOM OF ST ERASMUS

From the Golden Legend:  “And when the hour was come that this holy bishop and martyr of God should depart out of this world, then was preferred a loud voice perfectly, coming from heaven saying:  “Erasmus, my true servant, thou hast done me true service, wherefore come with me and go and enter into the bliss and joy of thy Lord and I promise thee and all people that think upon thy great pain and call upon thy holy name and thee sue and worship every Sunday, what that they ask of me in thy name for the weal of their souls, I shall grant it.   Now come, my true and chosen friend, be glad and comforted with mine ascension  . I will that thou arise with me and come sit upon the right hand of my Father.” Then was this holy man right glad and joyful and he cast his eyes upward to heaven, with lifting up his hands and there he saw, a clear shining crown come from heaven upon his blessed head.   Then gave he loving and thanking to Almighty God with bowing his head and kneeling, and both his hands upward to heaven, and meekly said:  “O Lord in thy hands yield my spirit and this Sunday receive my soul into thy peace and rest.”   And with saying these words he yielded up his ghost, which was seen with many men s eyes, shining clearer than the sun and how that he was received of the holy angels and was led through the height of heaven into the uppermost plan of heaven:  there he standeth with God, with all the holy company and is there a true helper to all them that call truly to Saint Erasmus for ghostly health, which joy and ghostly health let us pray that he for us all of our Lord God may obtain.”

Saint Erasmus is one of the 14 Holy Helpers, a group of saints invoked with special confidence because they have proven themselves efficacious helpers in adversity and difficulties  . Other saints identified as Holy Helpers are: Saints Blaise, Catherine of Alexandria, George, Christopher and others.   Saint Erasmus, due to the manner in which he was tortured, is the patron saint of those with stomach or intestinal disorders.

Saint Erasmus, under the name Saint Elmo, is also the patron saint of sailors and the shining lights observed upon his death, continue to be reported by sailors as “Saint Elmo’s fire.”   This electrostatic phenomenon has been reported throughout history, from Julius Caesar, to the journals of sailors on Magellan’s voyage around the globe, to the writings of Shakespeare, Melville and Charles Darwin.

A chronicler of Magellan’s voyage to circle the globe, observed:  “During those storms the holy body, that is, to say St. Elmo, appeared to us many times in light…on an exceedingly dark night on the maintop where he stayed for about two hours or more for our consolation.”   Darwin wrote that one night when the Beagle was anchored in the estuary of the Rio Plata:  “Everything was in flames, the sky with lightning, the water with luminous particles, and even the very masts were pointed with a blue flame.”   The appearance of St Elmo’s Fire is regarded as a good omen for sailors, as it tends to occur near the end of severe thunderstorms or weather systems, the answer to sailors’ prayers for heavenly intervention. In these moments, the guiding hand of Saint Elmo is present.

The endurance of Saint Erasmus in the face of cruel and horrific torture reminds us that the Lord is always with those who love Him.   It is difficult to imagine being in a position of profound physical torture, like that many of the early Church’s martyrs endured.   In our day to day lives, we often find it difficult to withstand the smallest inconveniences and hurts we experience, generally feeling lost and overwhelmed.   But the lives of the early martyrs are not that different from our own.   Terminal illnesses, significant financial and vocational struggles, victimisation and trauma fill our lives and the lives of those we love.   Our suffering is sometimes great, albeit different from the early martyrs. Our call is to join that suffering to Christ, to look to the Lord for support and succour, to rely on Our Blessed Mother for grace and intercession.   When we are able to do that—when we are able to look beyond our struggles and suffering to see the face of God present within us, we grow closer to the glorious saints and martyrs who reflected their faith for all to see, even in the midst of great pain!

St Erasmus, pray for us!