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St. Peter's Chains


Name: St. Peter's Chains
Date: 1 August

In the year 44 King Herod Agrippa, after putting to death Saint James, son of Zebedee, was still avid for popular approval by the Jews. He had Saint Peter cast into prison, intending to put himto death publicly after the Passover; but the entire Church of Jerusalem was offering up prayers toGod “without ceasing” (Acts 12:5) for the deliverance of the Chief Pastor of His flock, and God heard them favorably.

The king had taken all possible precautions to prevent the escape of his prisoner. He was guarded day and night by sixteen soldiers, four of whom kept sentry duty in turn — two in the samedungeon with him, and two at the gate. Saint Peter was fastened to the ground by two chains,and a soldier watched on either side of him. He lay fast asleep on the very night before the dayfixed for his execution, when it pleased God to deliver him out of the hands of his enemies. In themiddle of the night, a bright light shone in the prison, and an Angel appeared beside him. Hewoke him from his sleep and bade him instantly rise, fasten his cincture, put on his sandals andcloak, and follow him. The Apostle did so, for the chains had fallen off his wrists. Following hisheavenly guide, he passed after him through the first and second watches, and when they arrivedat the iron gate which led into the city, that gate opened before them of its own accord. TheAngel conducted him through one street, then, suddenly disappearing, left him to seek refuge.

The Apostle went directly to the house of Mary, mother of John Mark, where several discipleswere assembled and sending up their prayers to heaven for his deliverance. As he stood knocking,a young woman who had been sent to the door, hearing Peter’s voice, ran back in joy andinformed the group that their Pastor was at the door. They paid no attention to her, saying shewas beside herself, or that it was probably his Guardian Angel. But the knocking continued untilthey opened the door, and Saint Peter, entering, told them of his miraculous escape. Havingenjoined them to notify the rest of the brethren, he departed to regions of greater security,carrying wherever he went the divine blessing and life.


Sources: New Testament, Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 12; Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger


St. Lawrence, martyr


Name: St. Lawrence, martyr
Date: 10 August

Saint Lawrence was Chief of the seven deacons of Rome. In the year 258 Pope Sixtus was ledout to die, and Saint Lawrence followed beside him, weeping because unable to share his fate. “Where are you going, my father, without your son? Where are you going, holy pontiff, withoutyour deacon? Never did you offer a sacrifice without my serving you at the altar. In what wayhave I displeased you?” The holy Pope comforted him with the words, “I am not abandoningyou, my son; a more difficult trial and a more glorious victory are reserved for you; in three daysyou will follow me.”

This prophecy was fulfilled. After the Pope’s martyrdom the prefect of the city, knowing the rich offerings which the Christians put into the hands of the clergy, demanded the treasures of the Roman Church from Lawrence, their guardian. The Saint promised to show him, at the end ofthree days, riches exceeding all the wealth of the empire. He was granted the time of delay. TheArchdeacon of Rome went about assembling the poor, the infirm, and the religious who lived bythe alms of the faithful, and he brought them to the prefect on the appointed day. “Behold thetreasures I promised you; I add pearls and precious stones — these virgins and widowsconsecrated to God; the Church has no other riches.” The prefect replied: “How dare you playgames with me, miserable one? Is this how you show your contempt for the imperial power?”

Christ, whom Lawrence had served in His poor, gave him strength in the conflict which ensued. After being placed on the rack, he was stretched on a grill over a slow fire. He joked about hispains. “I am roasted enough on this side,” he said, “perhaps you should turn me over.” Soon, his gaze towards heaven, he gave up his soul to God. He was buried in the catacomb near the Tiburtine Way, called the Verano Field, a little over a mile from the city walls. The faithfulwatched there for three days to mourn their holy Archdeacon who had been so good to them. God, by the glory of this holy martyr, demonstrates the value He sets upon love for the poor. Innumerable prayers were offered at his tomb. Saint Lawrence continued from his throne inheaven his charity to those in need, granting them, as Saint Augustine says, “the smaller graceswhich they sought, and leading them to the desire of better gifts.”


Sources: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 9; Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compila


St. Tiburtius


Name: St. Tiburtius
Date: 11 August

A certain pagan prefect of Rome, by the name of Agrestius Chromatius, saw arrive before histribunal a holy man named Tranquillinus. The prefect had already condemned a number ofChristians to martyrdom, among them the twin brothers, Marcus and Marcellianus; but when Saint Tranquillinus, who was their father, told him how he had recovered from the gout through his baptism, Chromatius listened to him. He himself had the same malady. He sent for a priest,and he too was freed from his infirmity when baptized. He then liberated 400 slaves and retired toa country home, where he sheltered many Christians who feared they could not resist torturesduring the persecutions.

Saint Tiburtius, whom the Church honors today, was the son of Chromatius, and was baptizedwith him. He was later ordained a subdeacon, and one day raised to life a man whom he found onthe ground, his body broken by a fall from the upper story of a residence. Under Diocletian, Tiburtius was betrayed to the persecutors by an unfaithful Christian. He courageously confessedhis ardent faith, saying, “I sacrifice only to one God, the Creator of the world, who reigns overheaven and earth, and my greatest desire is to be immolated and sacrificed myself for thisconfession.” After being condemned to walk on hot coals, which he did without suffering anypain, he was beheaded at a site three miles from Rome. A church was afterward built at this siteand named for him.


SAINT SUSANNA
Martyr

Saint Susanna was nobly born in Rome, the daughter of a certain Gabinius, who after hisconversion became a priest; she was also the niece of Pope Saint Caius, her father’s brother. Thisfamily was also related to the emperor Diocletian. Susanna’s father had raised her with great carein the fear of God and love of Jesus Christ, and she had made a private vow of virginity. Diocletian, wishing to obtain the consent of this very beautiful maiden to marry his favorite,Maximian, sent a certain Claudius, another member of her family, to propose the espousals. Sherefused to consent, making known to her father and Saint Caius her vow, and saying that even ifshe had not resolved to conserve her chastity, she would not wish to marry a man responsible forthe massacre of an infinite number of Christians. The Emperor’s messenger was converted by herconfession of faith, and became a fervent penitent.

When Diocletian received no answer from his messenger concerning the results of thecommission, and then learned of the conversion of Claudius, he was very irritated; then withClaudius he arrested Suzanne, Gabinius her father, and several other Christians. He had Suzannebeaten in her residence, then decapitated secretly. The emperor’s wife, Prisca, who was also aChristian in secret, buried her body clandestinely and prayed to her as a holy martyr. Later thehouse of Gabinius was transformed by Pope Saint Caius into a church; it eventually became aconvent for Cistercian nuns. Saint Susanna suffered towards the beginning of Diocletian’s reign,about the year 295.


Sources: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 9; Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the <


St. Philomena


Name: St. Philomena
Date: 11 August

The tomb of this virgin and martyr, unknown until the first years of the 19th century, was providentially discovered in 1802 in the catacombs. God by many miracles made the discovery of Saint Philomena’s body famous, and the cult of the young Saint spread everywhere with an extraordinary rapidity. She received such exceptional homage that she deserves to be placed in the first ranks of the virgin martyrs whom the Church venerates. The Holy Curé of Ars called her his dear little Saint and performed wonders, invoking her.

Certain revelations having the character of authenticity say that Saint Philomena was the daughter of a Greek prince, who accompanied her parents to Rome on a journey, and that her gloriousmartyrdom occurred there under Diocletian in the third century. The two arrows engraved on hertombstone in opposite directions referred to the efforts of the persecutor to slay her with a volleyof arrows, after Angels preserved her from death by drowning; the arrows turned against thearchers. Finally she was beheaded, like so many other miraculously protected heroes and heroinesof Christ. This opinion, which certain circumstances attending the translation of her relics in 1812to the city of Mugnano appeared to verify, has prevailed. In that city devotion to her has beenextraordinary and remains so to this day; miracles have multiplied both there and elsewhere forthose who invoke her.

Other very serious studies maintain that she was a child of the Roman people, immolated in the first century for Jesus Christ, at the age of twelve or thirteen years. An examination of her bonespermitted her age to be estimated, and the vial of dried blood in her tomb clearly indicated hermartyrdom. The instruments of torture painted on the terra cotta plaque which closed her tomb— an arrow, an anchor, a torch — show us what sort of tortures she bore, all of which are knownto us through other martyrdoms of the same early centuries. The inscription: “Peace be with you,Philomena,” reveals her name.

What is beyond doubt is that this Saint responds unfailingly to the faith of those who invoke her. Invoked everywhere with wonderful success, she was entitled “the wonder-worker of the 19th century”. She has shown herself to be the protectress, in particular, of small children. A mother whose young son died despite her prayers, placed a picture of the Saint on his corpse,begging that he be returned to her. And the child rose as though from sleep, stood up besidehis bed and had no more symptoms of any sickness whatsoever. A little girl who had put out hereye playing with a pair of scissors, which injury was declared irreparable by physicians, had hereye restored when she washed her face in oil taken from the Saint’s lamp; and this eye seemed toeveryone more vivid and bright than the other.


Source: Lives of the Saints for Every Day of the Year. (Reprint of the work of John Gilmary Shea, with Appendix including recently canonized Saints) (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1955).


St. Susanna


Name: St. Susanna
Date: 11 August

Martyr

Saint Susanna was nobly born in Rome, the daughter of a certain Gabinius, who after hisconversion became a priest; she was also the niece of Pope Saint Caius, her father’s brother. Thisfamily was also related to the emperor Diocletian. Susanna’s father had raised her with great carein the fear of God and love of Jesus Christ, and she had made a private vow of virginity. Diocletian, wishing to obtain the consent of this very beautiful maiden to marry his favorite,Maximian, sent a certain Claudius, another member of her family, to propose the espousals. Sherefused to consent, making known to her father and Saint Caius her vow, and saying that even ifshe had not resolved to conserve her chastity, she would not wish to marry a man responsible forthe massacre of an infinite number of Christians. The Emperor’s messenger was converted by herconfession of faith, and became a fervent penitent.

When Diocletian received no answer from his messenger concerning the results of thecommission, and then learned of the conversion of Claudius, he was very irritated; then withClaudius he arrested Suzanne, Gabinius her father, and several other Christians. He had Suzannebeaten in her residence, then decapitated secretly. The emperor’s wife, Prisca, who was also aChristian in secret, buried her body clandestinely and prayed to her as a holy martyr. Later thehouse of Gabinius was transformed by Pope Saint Caius into a church; it eventually became aconvent for Cistercian nuns. Saint Susanna suffered towards the beginning of Diocletian’s reign,about the year 295.


Sources: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 9; Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the <


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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