Feast of the day

Saint of the Day

4/29/2019 12:00:00 AM

SAINT CATHERINE OF SIENA 
Virgin and Doctor of the Church
Co patron of Europe - Feast in Europe
(1347-1380)

        Catherine, the daughter of a humble tradesman, was raised up to be the guide and guardian of the Church in one of the darkest periods of its history, the fourteenth century. As a child, prayer was her delight. She would say the "Hail Mary" on each step as she mounted the stairs, and was granted in reward a vision of Christ in glory. When but seven years old, she made a vow of virginity, and afterwards endured bitter persecution for refusing to marry. Our Lord gave her his heart in exchange for her own, communicated her with his own hands, and stamped on her body the print of his wounds.

        At the age of fifteen she entered the Third Order of St. Dominic, but continued to reside in her father's shop, where she united a life of active charity with the prayer of a contemplative Saint. From this obscure home the seraphic virgin was summoned to defend the Church's cause. Armed with Papal authority, and accompanied by three confessors, she travelled through Italy, reducing rebellious cities to the obedience of the Holy See, and winning hardened souls to God.

        In the face well-nigh of the whole world she sought out Gregory XI. at Avignon, brought him back to Rome, and by her letters to the kings and queens of Europe made good the Papal cause. She was the counsellor of Urban VI., and sternly rebuked the disloyal cardinals who had part in electing an antipope. Long had the holy virgin foretold the terrible schism which began ere she died.

        Day and night she wept and prayed for unity and peace. But the devil excited the Roman people against the Pope, so that some sought the life cf Christ's Vicar. With intense earnestness did St. Catherine beg our Lord to prevent this enormous crime. In spirit she saw the whole city full of demons tempting the people to resist and even slay the Pope. The seditious temper was subdued by Catherine's prayers; but the devils vented their malice by scourging the Saint herself, who gladly endured all for God and his Church.

        She died at Rome, in 1380, at the age of thirty-three.

 

SAINT HUGH 
Abbot of Cluny
(1024-1109)

        St. Hugh was a prince related to the sovereign house of the dukes of Burgundy, and had his education under the tuition of his pious Mother, and under the care of Hugh, Bishop of Auxerre, his great-uncle. From his infancy he was exceedingly given to prayer and meditation, and his life was remarkably innocent and holy.

        One day, hearing an account of the wonderful sanctity of the monks of Cluny, under St. Odilo, he was so moved that he set out that moment, and going thither, humbly begged the monastic habit. After a rigid novitiate, he made his profession in 1039, being sixteen years old.

        His extraordinary virtue, especially his admirable humility, obedience, charity, sweetness, prudence, and zeal, gained him the respect of the whole community; and upon the death of St. Odilo, in 1049, though only twenty-five years old, he succeeded to the government of that great abbey, which he held sixty-two years.

        He received to the religious profession Hugh, Duke of Burgundy, and died on the twenty-ninth of April, in 1109, aged eighty-five.

        He was canonized twelve years after his death by Pope Calixtus II.

 

Bl. Mary Magdalene of the Incarnation 
Foundress, Perpetual Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament 
(1770-1824)

        Caterina Sordini was born on 16 April 1770 at Grosseto, Italy, the fourth of nine children born into a deeply Catholic family. When she was 17 her father arranged for her to marry a maritime merchant. At first she was against it, but later complied with her father's wishes. The young man gave her a casket of jewels and, having adorned herself, turned to admire her reflection in the mirror but saw the image of the Crucified Christ who asked: "Do you want to leave me for another?".

        She took the question seriously and in February 1788 visited the Franciscan Tertiary Monastery in Ischia di Castro. Caterina entered then and there, thus shocking her father who had thought it was merely a visit. She was clothed six months later, taking the name of Sr Mary Magdalene of the Incarnation.

        On 19 February 1789, she fell into ecstasy and saw a vision of "Jesus seated on a throne of grace in the Blessed Sacrament, surrounded by virgins adoring him" and heard him telling her: "I have chosen you to establish the work of perpetual adorers who, day and night, will offer me their humble adoration...". Thus, she was called to become a foundress and to spend her life adoring Jesus in the Eucharist. In that turbulent period for the Church she set an example to all.

        She was elected Abbess on 20 April 1802. The period of her governance was accompanied by extraordinary phenomena and an increasingly fervent spiritual life, and the abbey thrived. With the consent of her spiritual director and the local Bishop she drafted the rules of the new Institute and set out for Rome on 31 May 1807.

        On 8 July that year, she and a few Sisters moved into Sts Joachim and Anne convent, near the Trevi Fountain. Under the French occupation it was confiscated and the Napoleonic laws suppressed her Order. She was exiled to Tuscany.

        There she formed a new group of Adorers. On 19 March 1814, when they could return to Rome they settled at Sant'Anna al Quirinale. On 13 February 1818, Pope Pius VII approved the Institute dedicated to perpetual, solemn, public exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

        Mother Mary Magdalene died in Rome on 29 April 1824. She was buried at Sant'Anna al Quirinale and in 1839 her remains were translated to the Church of Santa Maria Maddalena, the new generalate of the Perpetual Adorers in Rome.

        Pope John Paul II decreed her heroic virtues in 2001 and Pope Benedict XVI beatified her on May 3, 2008 at Rome.