Thought for the Day – 22 September – The Memorial of St Thomas of Villanova (1488-1555)
As Bishop but choosing to live in absolute simplicity, St Thomas became a dynamo of activity in his archdiocese.
The see was immensely wealthy and he used the wealth for the benefit of the poor and his many charities.
Each day several hundred poor came to his door and each one was fed and given alms.
He took destitute orphans under his care and set up dowries for poor girls.
He paid his servants to find abandoned infants and took care of them.
When a nearby town was plundered by bandits, he sent money to rebuild and ransom the captives.
He tried to resign several times, to retire to a life of prayer but his requests were refused.
In August 1855, he had a heart attack and prepared for the end.
He ordered that all he owned be given to the poor and that after he died his bed be given to the local prison.
Whilst he was dying, Mass was offered in his presence and he died peacefully at the Altar of his Lord.
He was known as “the model of bishops”, “the almsgiver” and “the father of the poor.”
What overwhelming generosity our saints present! St Thomas of Villanova earned even derisive laughs with his determined shabbiness and his willingness to let the poor who flocked to his door take advantage of him. He embarrassed his peers but Jesus was enormously pleased with him.
Their trust in Divine Providence is so great that they give away anything and everything, never counting the cost.
They know in total trust, that they will be provided for.
This is our “mark” – this generosity to the poor, this utter self-giving and mercy. This total trust in Divine Providence. We are often tempted to tend our image in others’ eyes without paying sufficient attention to how we look to Christ. St Thomas still urges us to rethink our priorities.
We will be known by our fruits!
Quote/s of the Day – 22 September – The Memorial of St Thomas of Villanova
“What great profit you gain from God when you are generous! You give a coin and receive a kingdom; you give bread from wheat and receive the Bread of Life; you give a transitory good and receive an everlasting one. You will receive it back, a hundred times more than you offered.”
“I am, notwithstanding, inexcusable, if I do not love You; for You grant Your love to all who desire or ask it. I cannot see without light: yet if I shut my eyes in the midst of the noon-day light, the fault is in me, not in the sun.”
One Minute Reflection – 22 September – The Memorial of St Thomas of Villanova
“Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger and give no opportunity to the devil.”…Ephesians 4:26-27
REFLECTION – “Dismiss all anger and look into yourself a little.
Remember that he of whom you are speaking is your brother
and as he is, in the way of salvation,
God can make him a saint, in spite of his present weakness.”….St Thomas of Villnova (1488-1555)
PRAYER – Heavenly Father, grant us the grace to withold our anger, to always put a guard on our tongues and to speak with charity. St Thomas of Villanova, you preached temperance in all things and lived a life of charity in word and deed, please pray for us, amen.
Saint of the Day – 22 September – St Thomas of Villanova O.S.A. Religious, Bishop, Confessor, Writer, Preacher, Teacher, Apostle of Charity, Mystic, Miracle-Worker often called “the Almsgiver” and “the Father of the Poor”, Reformer. Born Tomás García y Martínez (1488 in Villanueva de los Infantes, Ciudad Real, Spain – September 8, 1555 in Valencia, Spain of natural causes). Canonised on 1 November 1658 by Pope Alexander VII. Patronages – Villanova University and various cities. Attributes – A bishop distributing alms to the poor.
St Thomas’ father was a miller, who regularly distributed food and provisions to the poor, as did his mother. He grew up and was educated in Villanueva de los Infantes, in the Province of Ciudad Real, Spain, therefore the name Thomas of Villanueva. Part of the original house still stands, with a coat of arms in the corner, beside a family chapel. In spite of his family’s wealth, as a young boy he often went about naked because he had given his clothing to the poor.
At the age of sixteen years, Thomas entered the University of Alcalá de Henares to study Arts and Theology. He became a professor there, teaching arts, logic, and philosophy, despite a continuing absentmindedness and poor memory. In 1516, he decided to join the Augustinian friars in Salamanca and in 1518 was ordained a priest.
He became renowned for his eloquent and effective preaching in the churches of Salamanca. Thomas composed beautiful sermons, among which stands out the Sermon on the Love of God, one of the great examples of sacred oratory of the 16th century. Charles V, upon hearing him preach, exclaimed, “This monsignor can move even the stones!”. Charles named Thomas one of his councilors of state and court preacher in Valladolid, the residence of the Emperor when on his visits to the Low Countries.
His scathing attacks on his fellow bishops earned him the title of reformer. Some of his sermons attacked the cruelty of bullfighting. He also had a great devotion to the Virgin Mary, whose heart he compared to the burning bush of Moses that is never consumed.
Within the Order, he successively held the positions of prior of his local monastery, Visitor General and Prior Provincial for Andalusia and Castile. In 1533, Thomas sent out the first Augustinian friars to arrive in Mexico. Charles V offered him the post of Archbishop of Granada but he would not accept it.
In 1544 he was nominated as Archbishop of Valencia and he continued to refuse the position until ordered to accept by his superior. Given a donation to decorate his residence, he sent the money to a hospital in need of repair. He began his episcopacy by visiting every parish in the Archdiocese to discover what were the needs of the people. Aided by his assistant bishop, Juan Segriá, he put in order an archdiocese that for a century had not had direct pastoral government. He organised a special college for Moorish converts and in particular an effective plan for social assistance, welfare and charity. In 1547 he ordained as a priest the future Saint Luis Beltrán, O.P., a noted missionary in South America. Thomas started the Presentation Seminary in 1550.
He was well known for his great personal austerity (he sold the straw mattress on which he slept in order to give money to the poor) and wore the same habit that he had received in the novitiate, mending it himself. Thomas was known as “father of the poor.” His continual charitable efforts were untiring, especially towards orphans, poor women without a dowry and the sick. He possessed, however, an intelligent notion of charity, so that while he was very charitable, he sought to obtain definitive and structural solutions to the problem of poverty; for example, giving work to the poor, thereby making his charity bear fruit. “Charity is not just giving, rather removing the need of those who receive charity and liberating them from it when possible,” he wrote. He established boarding schools and high schools.
Thomas died in Valencia on September 8, 1555 of angina at the age of 67. His remains are preserved at the Cathedral there. St Thomas is the author of various Tracts, among which is included the Soliloquy between God and the soul, on the topic of communion. Francisco de Quevedo wrote his biography. His complete writings were published in six volumes as Opera omnia, in Manila in 1881.
Our Morning Offering – 22 September – The Memorial of St Thomas of Villanova
I Will Love You, Lord By St Thomas of Villanova (1488-1555)
I will love You, Lord,
in every way
and without setting limits to my love.
You set no limits
to what You have done for me;
You have not measured out Your gifts.
I will not measure out my love.
I will love You, Lord,
with all my strength,
with all my powers,
as much as I am able.
St Augustinus Yu Chin-Kil
St Digna of Rome
St Emerita of Rome
St Florentius the Venerable
St Ignatius of Santhia
Bl Joseph Marchandon
St Lauto of Coutances
St Lindru of Partois
Bl Otto of Freising
St Sanctinus of Meaux
St Silvanus of Levroux
St Thomas of Villanueva/Villanova – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpINeCGZZ3o
Martyrs of the Theban Legion: A Roman imperial legion of 6,600 soldiers, all of whom were Christians; they had been recruited from the area around Thebes in Upper Egypt, were led by Saint Maurice and served under Emperor Maximian Herculeus. Around the year 287, Maximian led the army across the Alps to Agaunum, an area in modern Switzerland, in order to suppress a revolt by the Bagandre in Gaul. In connection with battle, the army offered public sacrifices to the Roman gods; the Theban Legion refused to participate. For refusing orders, the Legion was decimated – one tenth of them were executed. When the remainder refused to sacrifice to the gods, they were decimated again. When the survivors still refused to sacrifice, Maximinian ordered them all killed. Martyrs.
Known members of the Legion include:
• Alexander of Bergamo
• Candidus the Theban
• Chiaffredo of Saluzzo
• Innocent of Agaunum
• Secundus the Theban
• Ursus the Theban
• Victor of Agaunum
• Victor of Xanten
• Victor the Theban
• Vitalis of Agaunum
Other profiled saints associated with the Legion include:
• Antoninus of Piacenza (martyred soldier; associated by later story tellers)
• Adventor of Turin (not a member; associated by later story tellers)
• Cassius (may have been a member)
• Florentius the Martyr (may have been a member)
• George of San Giorio (not a member; associated by later story tellers)
• Gereon (not a member, but another soldier who was martyred for refusing to make a sacrifice to Roman gods)
• Octavius of Turin (not a member; associated by later story tellers)
• Pons of Pradleves (escaped the massacre to become an evangelists in northern Italy)
• Secundus of Asti (not a member but linked due to art work)
• Solutor of Turin (not a member; associated by later story tellers)
• Tiberio of Pinerolo (may have been a member)
• Verena (wife of a member of the Legion)
They were martyred c 287 in Agaunum (modern Saint-Maurice-en-Valais, Switzerland. A basilica was built in Agaunum to enshrine the relics of the Legion.
Martyrs of Valencia, Spain – Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• Blessed Alfonso Lopez
• Blessed Antonio Gil-Monforte
• Blessed Antonio Sáez de Ibarra López
• Blessed Carlos Navarro Miquel
• Blessed Esteban Cobo-Sanz
• Blessed Federico Cobo-Sanz
• Blessed Félix Echevarría Gorostiaga
• Blessed Francisco Carlés González
• Blessed Francisco Vicente Edo
• Blessed Germán Gozalvo Andreu
• Blessed Josefina Moscardó Montalvá
• Blessed Luis Echevarría Gorostiaga
• Blessed María Purificación Vidal Pastor
• Blessed Miguel Zarragua Iturrízaga
• Blessed Simón Miguel Rodríguez
• Blessed Vicente Sicluna Hernández
NOVENA to St Padre Pio/St Pius of Pietrelcina – DAY EIGHT – 21 September
St Padre Pio you have said:
Is it possible that you are never satisfied with yourself? Jesus loves you with a loving partiality in spite of all your unworthiness. He sends down a torrent of graces upon you and yet you complain. It is about time this ended and you convinced yourself that you are greatly in the Lord’s debt. Hence, less complaints, more gratitude and a great deal of thanksgiving. You ought to ask Our Lord for just one thing – to love Him. All the rest should be thanksgiving.
Let us Pray:
You generously blessed Your servant, Padre Pio, with the gifts of the Spirit.
You marked his body with the five wounds of Christ Crucified,
as a powerful witness to the saving Passion and Death of Your Son
and as a stirring inspiration to many people,
of Your infinite mercy, forgiveness and love.
In the confessional, Padre Pio laboured endlessly for the salvation of souls.
Through his powerful intercession,
many who suffered were healed of sickness and disease.
Endowed with the gift of discernment, he could read people’s hearts.
With dignity and intense devotion, he celebrated daily Mass,
inviting countless men and women to a greater union with Jesus Christ,
in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.
His life was a celebration of love for You
and an oblation of himself in gratitude to You.
We pray that You will bless us too
with total love and thanksgiving.
Through the intercession of Saint Pio,
we confidently beseech You to to grant us the grace of
………………… (state your petition here).
Help us to imitate his example of prayerful holiness and compassion,
so that we, too, may faithfully follow the Risen Lord
and one day rejoice in the Kingdom,
where You live and reign forever and ever. Amen