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St. Felix of Cantalice

Name: St. Felix of Cantalice
Date: 18 May

It was in a small village at the foot of Mount Appenine named Cantalice, that Saint Felixwas born in 1513 of pious but poor parents, whose names were Saint and Sainte. It wasnot long before the little boy, when he approached the other children, was hailed by them:“Here comes Felix, the Saint!” He showed a predilection for solitary prayer from hisearliest youth, and as a little shepherd used to retire to a quiet place to kneel there andmeditate on the Passion of Jesus.

When he was a little older, he resolved to take the habit of the Capuchin Friars. The rigorof their rule could not deter him, but his obligations could; he was employed as a laborer. When his life was spared in an accident, during which two runaway bulls and a trailingplow should have killed him, the man for whom he was working saw the hand of God inhis preservation and permitted him to leave, to enter religion. He was at that time nearlythirty years old, but the Superiors, observing his fervor, placed no obstacles.

In 1545 he pronounced his vows and was sent to Rome, where for forty years he beggedfor the community. His characteristic words to his companion were: “Let us go, myBrother, with rosary in hand, our eyes to the ground and our spirit in heaven.” He was ofan exquisite politeness, extreme gentleness and great simplicity. The sick persons hevisited at night became attached to him, and for his part, he sought them out everywherein Rome, insofar as obedience permitted.

One day on the street he met two duelists with sword in hand. He begged them to repeatafter him, “Deo gratias!” which finally they did, and after taking him as arbiter of theirquarrel, they separated as good friends. Saint Felix met Saint Philip Neri in Rome, andthey became friends who wished one another all possible torments for the love of JesusChrist. They sometimes remained together without speaking for considerable periods,seemingly transported with joy.

Saint Felix had a great devotion to the most Blessed Virgin, reciting Her rosary with suchtenderness that he could not continue at times. He loved the Holy Name of Jesus, andinvited the children he would meet to say it with him. He slept only for about two hours,going afterwards to the church and remaining there in prayer until the office of Prime;then he would serve the first Mass and receive Communion every day.

When he was sick and was given the last Sacraments, he saw the Blessed Virgin and abeautiful troop of Angels coming to fortify him in this last journey. He cried out in joy,and gave up his soul peacefully to his Creator in 1587. He was canonized by PopeClement XI in 1712. His body is in the Capuchin Church of Rome; a plenary indulgenceis granted to those who, fulfilling the ordinary conditions, visit a church of his Order onhis feast day.

Sources: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral:

St. Venant of Camerino

Name: St. Venant of Camerino
Date: 18 May

Saint Venantius, born at Camerino in Italy, during the persecution of Decius was takeninto custody at the age of fifteen years as a Christian who was preaching Christ to others. His history is one of the most miraculous in the annals of the early martyrs.

Having learned that he was about to be arrested, he presented himself to the governor ofCamerino, Antiochus, at the city gates, and said to him that the lives of the gods werefilled with every kind of crime, that there was only one God, whose unique Son hadbecome a man to deliver his fellow humans from the tyranny of sin. When it was foundimpossible to shake his constancy either by threats or promises, he was condemned to bescourged, but was miraculously saved by an Angel. He was then burnt with torches andsuspended over a low fire that he might be suffocated by the smoke. The judge’ssecretary, while admiring the steadfastness of the Saint, saw an Angel robed in white,who stamped out the fire and again set free the youthful martyr. This man proclaimed hisfaith in Christ and was baptized with his whole family. Shortly afterwards he won themartyr’s crown.

Venantius was summoned to appear before Antiochus. Unable to make him renounce hisfaith, the governor cast him into prison with an apostate soldier, who strove in vain totempt him. Antiochus, furious, then ordered his teeth and jaws to be broken and had himthrown into a furnace, from which the Angel once more delivered him. The Saint wassent to a city magistrate to be condemned, but this judge after hearing his defense ofChristianity, fell headlong from his seat and expired, saying, “The God of Venantius isthe true God; let us destroy our idols.”

When this circumstance was told to Antiochus, he ordered Venantius to be thrown to thelions. These brutes, however, forgetting their natural ferocity, crouched at the feet of theSaint. Then, by order of the tyrant, the young martyr was dragged through a heap ofbrambles and thorns and retired half-dead, but the next day he was cured; God hadmanifested the glory of His servant once more. On behalf of soldiers who had draggedhim outside the city over stones and rocks, and were suffering from thirst, the Saint knelton a rock and signed it with a cross; immediately a jet of clear, cool water welled up fromthe spot. This miracle converted many of those who beheld it. The rock remainedimprinted by his knees and was placed in a church in Camerino, where it still remains.

The governor finally had Venantius and his converts beheaded on the same day, in theyear 250. The bodies of these martyrs are kept in the same church at Camerino. TheActs of Saint Venantius’ martyrdom have been carefully studied and declared authenticby the Church.

Sources: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral:

St. Peter Celestine

Name: St. Peter Celestine
Date: 19 May

Saint Peter Celestine was the eleventh of the twelve children of a poor Italian farmer. Asa child, Peter had visions of our Blessed Lady, Angels and Saints. His heavenly visitorsencouraged him in his prayers and chided him when he fell into any fault. His mother,though only a poor widow, sent him to school, feeling sure that he would one day be aSaint.

At the age of twenty, he left his home in Apulia to live in a mountain solitude. Here hepassed three years, assaulted by the evil spirits and beset with temptations of the flesh,but consoled by the visits of Angels. After this his seclusion was invaded by discipleswho refused to be sent away; and the rule of life which he gave them formed thefoundation of the Celestines, a branch of the Order of Saint Benedict. Angels assisted inthe church which Peter built; unseen bells rang peals of surpassing sweetness, andheavenly music filled the sanctuary when he offered the Holy Sacrifice; he had consentedto be ordained, to find in the Holy Eucharist assistance against temptation.

Suddenly the poor anchorite found himself torn from his loved solitude, having beennamed by acclamation to the Papal throne, which had remained vacant for twenty-sevenmonths. Resistance was of no avail. He took the name of Celestine, to remind him of theheaven he was leaving and for which he sighed. He was seventy-two years old. After areign of five months, Peter judged himself unfit for the office, and summoning thecardinals to his presence, he solemnly resigned his trust.

During the remaining three years of his life he worked many and great miracles. On theday after his abdication, his blessing after Mass healed a lame man. Saint Peter left thepalace, desiring seclusion, but was brought back by the papal guards, for his successorfeared a schism; crowds had followed Saint Peter. Lest he be prevailed upon to take backhis office, he was put under surveillance at Anagni. Content, he remarked: “I desirednothing but a cell, and a cell they have given me.” And there he enjoyed his formerloving intimacy with the Saints and Angels, and sang the Divine praises almostcontinually.

At length, on Pentecost Sunday he told his guards he would die within the week, andimmediately fell ill. He received the Last Sacraments, and the following Saturday, as hefinished the concluding verse of Lauds, “Let every spirit bless the Lord!” he closed hiseyes to this world and opened them to the vision of God.

Sources: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral:

St. Bernardine of Siena

Name: St. Bernardine of Siena
Date: 20 May

One day in the year 1408 the great apostle Saint Vincent Ferrer suddenly interrupted hissermon, to declare that there was among his hearers a young Franciscan who would beone day a greater preacher than himself, and who would be placed in honor by theChurch before himself. This unknown friar, who would be canonized only six years afterhis death, was Bernardine, then 28 years old. Of noble birth, he had spent his youth inworks of mercy, caring for the sick before he entered religion at the age of 24.

Owing to a speech defect, Bernardine’s success as a preacher at first seemed doubtful, butby the prayers of Our Lady, this obstacle was miraculously removed in 1417, and theFranciscan friar began an apostolate which lasted until he died. One day, preaching inpraise of the Blessed Virgin, he applied to Her the verse of the Apocalypse: “A great signappeared in heaven, a Woman clothed with the sun...” At once a brilliant star appearedover his head. He was understood, when he spoke in Italian, by listeners of the Greeklanguage who knew only their maternal tongue. He obtained miraculous conversions andreformed the greater part of Italy by his burning words and by the power of the HolyName of Jesus. He preached that devotion, displaying at the end of his sermons, the HolyName written on a tablet. He was also a zealous apostle of the cult of Saint Joseph. It issaid that during sixteen years, and some say eighteen, he did not pass a single day withoutpreaching.

But his success had to be purified by the cross. The Saint was denounced as a heretic,and his devotion as idolatrous. After many trials he lived to see his innocence proved. In1427 he refused the bishopric of Siena, and a few years later two others, in order tocontinue his preaching. He miraculously cured lepers and other sick persons, and raisedto life several deceased persons. The Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, established in1530, was extended to the entire Church in 1721 by Pope Innocent XIII.

Saint Bernardine was appointed Vicar General of his Order in 1438, which office he heldfor five years, then preached again for a time until his last illness forced his retreat in1444. He died on Ascension Eve of that year, while his brethren were chanting theantiphon, “Father, I have manifested Thy Name to men.” Already in 1450, a Jubilee year,he was canonized.

Sources: Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the

St. Andrew Bobola

Name: St. Andrew Bobola
Date: 21 May

Saint Andrew Bobola, born in Poland in 1592, was sent while still young to the Jesuitschool at Sandomir; his family had always protected the Jesuits and shown itself veryliberal towards them. God blessed both the family and the Jesuits in this future martyr,who would bring both of them great glory. He entered that Order in 1611.

As a student he showed great talent, and after studying philosophy for three years taughtit in their institutes. In 1622 he was ordained a priest. Three years later he was employedin preaching at the church of Saint Casimir at Wilna; in 1630 he became Superior of theresidence of Bobruisk. During a pestilence he spared himself no pains in caring for thesick, without contracting the malady.

Saint Andrew in 1636 resigned his post as Superior to preach for twenty-one years alongall the roads of Lithuania, which he was evangelizing. Poland and Lithuania, itsneighbor, were being ravaged in those days by the Cossacks, Russians and Tartars, andthe Jesuits suffered much from these invaders, who did not like them and their religion. The people were enduring great misery; Father Andrew sustained their courage andhelped to combat the invading religious errors.

At Pinsk the Jesuits were offered a refuge by a Catholic prince. When Saint Andrewwent there, he was already certain that he was going to martyrdom, as this was a centerfor the enemies of the Latin Church. Everywhere he was hooted and harassed, and theorganized bad treatment continued for several years. Even the children hounded him,instructed by their elders. The holy priest considered it a joy to resemble his Master, foris not that the happiness of every disciple?

One day his enemies decided to put an end to him. They waited for him after he had saidMass, pursued him and attached him to a tree, where they beat him, then led him to theirleader with a cord around his neck. The barbaric soldiers, at their chief’s orders, tore outone of his eyes, nearly severed his hand with a blow from a saber, then burnt him withtorches, telling him to renounce his faith. He was then strangled and the skin of his headand back hacked off. Like the great Canadian martyr John de Brebeuf, his nose and lipswere cut off, and he was thrown on a heap of rubble; but two hours later it was stillnecessary to end the life of the victim for Christ with a blow from a saber. He was buriedby the Catholics at the Jesuit College at Pinsk.

Forty-five years later, by a miracle, God revealed the whereabouts of his forgotten tombto the Jesuit Fathers, who had seen the continuing evils of war ruin many of their works. His tombstone, then buried underground, was found after the Saint appeared twice invision to the Rector of the College, saying he wished to protect his brethren and thestudents, and indicating to him the location of his grave. His mutilated body wasincorrupt, and a fine fragrance came from the open tomb. Saint Andrew was beatified byPope Pius IX in 1853, and canonized in April of 1938 by Pope Pius XI.

Source: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 5.

Other Highlights
»The Eternal Father
»The Circumcision of Our Lord
»St. William Berruyer
»St. Theodosius
»St. Alfred or Aelred
»St. Margaret Bourgeois
»St. Veronica of Milan
»The Baptism of Our Lord
»St. Hilary of Poitiers
»St. Paul the First Hermit
»St. Honoratus
»St. Marcellus, Pope
»Blessed Stephanie Quinzani
»St. Anthony Abbott
»St. Peters' Chair at Rome
»St. Canutus
»St. Fulgentius
»St. Macarius
»St. Fabien
»St. Sebastian
»St. Agnes
»St. Vincent, martyr
»St. Raymond of Pennafort
»St. Timothy
»St. Paul, The Conversion of
»St. Polycarp
»St. John Chrysostom
»St. Peter Nolasco
»St. Francis de Sales
»St. Genevieve
»St. Martina
»St. John Bosco
»St. Gregory, Bishop of Langres
»St. Angela of Foligno
»St. Simeon Stylites
»The Epiphany of Our Lord
»St. Lucian
»St. Claude Apollinaire
»St. Julian the Hospitalarian
»St. Basilissa
»St. Remi or Remigius
»St. Francis Borgia
»St. Tarachus
»The Divine Maternity of Mary
»St. Wilfrid
»Bl. Jane Leber
»St. Edward
»St. Callistus I
»St. Teresa of Avila
»St. Gall

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