Blessed Stephanie Quinzani
Name: Blessed Stephanie Quinzani
Date: 16 January
Blessed Stephanie was born near Brescia, Italy, in 1457, of fervent Christian parents. She wasbrought up in the village of Soncino, where there was a Dominican monastery well known for itspreachers, eminent in doctrine, eloquence and sanctity. One of them knew her family and taughttheir little daughter the Ave Maria and other prayers. He told her that when he died he wouldmake her his heir. A few years later, when Blessed Matthew Carreri died, she felt her heartpainfully wounded, and suddenly saw the deceased man, who told her this was the heritage he hadpromised her. Suffering was to be her lot, and her existence was one of those of which people say:“It is more admirable than imitable.”
Our Lord appeared to Stephanie when she was seven years old, accompanied by His holy Mother,Saint Dominic, Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Catherine of Siena, and told her He wanted herto be a Dominican like those great Saints. She promised she would enter a monastery, or at leastbe a member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic. Later in her life it was this latter path that sheadopted, and she was given the habit of the Third Order. When she was about eleven years old,on the feast of Saint Andrew she saw that Apostle with a large cross, and he said to her: “Mydaughter, this is the road to heaven. Love God, fear God, honor God, embrace the cross, and fleethe world.” She began then to practice great austerities; even while working in the fields with herparents she wore a hair shirt and a rope cincture full of knots. She fasted perpetually. At the ageof fifteen, on Good Friday, Our Lord told her she would endure in each of her members part ofwhat He Himself had suffered. Her head afterwards bore traces of a crowning with thorns, andmany persons saw her, every week on Fridays, suffering a kind of agony.
For forty years, she also endured the worst moral sufferings. She was in darkness, aridity,abandonment. This martyrdom of the soul was a worse torment for her than that of the body. AnAngel said to her: “There are several means which cause a reasonable creature to rise to perfectlove of God, but one of the principal ones is the life of suffering, a life steeped in sorrow andbitterness which must be accompanied and followed by thanksgiving and resignation to the divineWill. Affliction is the road to perfect love and perfect transformation.” She was given Saint Paulto be her guide and instruct her in the secrets of mystical theology, that is, of the interior lifeunder the immediate direction of God.
Blessed Stephanie could read in souls, and one day prevented a woman from poisoning fourteenpersons, as she had resolved to do. She warned her not to accomplish that crime; otherwise, sheherself would accuse her. She applied herself to the works of mercy and cared for the sick and thepoor. She had to earn her bread by manual work; she begged in addition for alms for the needy.She became known to the nobility of Italy, who wanted to give her residences and keep her intheir own regions; she remained nonetheless in Soncino, in a very poor dwelling. She was helpedby the wealthy when she established a monastery in Soncino. This monastery, where about thirtyyoung Sisters labored to attain religious perfection, and which she directed, was exempted fromall taxes. She fell ill towards the end of the year 1529 and died on January 2, 1530, at the age ofseventy-three years, saying, “Lord, into Thy hands I commend my spirit!” Many miracles at hertomb made known her sanctity. She was beatified in 1740 by Pope Benedict XIV.
Archbishop of Arles
Saint Honoratus was of a consular Roman family that had settled in Gaul. In his youth herenounced the worship of idols and gained his elder brother, Venantius, to Christ. The twobrothers, convinced of the hollowness of the things of this world, desired to renounce it with allits pleasures, but a fond pagan father put continual obstacles in their way. At length, taking withthem for their director Saint Caprais, a holy hermit, they sailed from Marseilles to Greece,intending to live there unknown in a desert. Venantius soon died happily at Methone, andHonoratus, who was ill, was obliged to return to Gaul with his guide.
He first led the life of a hermit in the mountains near Frejus. Two small islands lie in the sea nearthat coast; on the smaller, now known as Saint HonorÉ, the Saint settled, and when others cameto him there, he founded the famous monastery of Lerins, about the year 400. Some of hisfollowers he appointed to live in community; others, who seemed more perfect, in separated cellsas anchorites. His rule was borrowed in large part from that of Saint Pachomius.
Nothing can be more amiable than the description Saint Hilary has given of the excellent virtues ofthis company of saints, especially of the charity, concord, humility, compunction, and devotionwhich reigned among them under the conduct of their holy Abbot. Saint Honoratus was, bycompulsion, consecrated Archbishop of Arles in 426, and died, exhausted with austerities andapostolical labors, in 429.