Sunday, January 31, 2010

February, Month of the Sacred Passion

For the Year of Our Lord, 2010

February 2: Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Aka: Candlemas Day

February 3: St. Blase Bishop and Martyr.

February 4: St. Andrew Corsini Bishop and Confessor.

February 5: St. Agatha Virgin Martyr.

February 6: St. Titus Bishop and Confessor, Com. of St. Dorothy Virgin Martyr.

February 7: St. Romuald Abbot.
Sexagesima Sunday

February 8: St. John of Matha Confessor.

February 9: St. Cyril Bishop of Alexandria, Confessor, and Doctor of the Church, Com. of St. Apollonia Virgin Martyr.

February 10: St. Scholastica Virgin.

February 11: Apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Bernadette at Lourdes.

February 12: The Seven Holy Founders of the Order of Servants of the Blessed Virgin Mary Confessors.

February 13: Feria, St. Catherine of Ricci, V

February 14: St. Valentine Priest and Martyr.
Quinquagesima Sunday 

February 15: Ss. Faustinus and Jovita Martyrs.

February 16: Feria, St. Onesimus, BM
Shrove Tuesday

February 17: Flight into Egypt
Ash Wednesday  

February 18: St. Simeon Bishop and Martyr.

February 19: Feria, St. Gabinus, PM

February 20: Feria , St. Eucherius, B

February 21: Feria, St. Severian, B
First Sunday of Lent

February 22: Chair of St. Peter at Antioch, Com. of St. Paul.

February 23: St. Peter Damian Confessor, Com. of the Vigil.

February 24: St. Matthias Apostle 

February 25: Feria  St. Tarasius, BC

February 26: Feria, St. Mechtilde, V
Ember Friday

February 27: St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows.
Ember Saturday

February 28: Feria, St. Romanus, Ab
Second Sunday of Lent

St. Blaise, February 3rd

The Specifics:

Born: 3rd century AD, Armenia

Died: c. 316

Feast: February 3rd

Symbolism: Wool comb, candles, tending a choking boy or animals

Patronage: Animals, builders, choking, veterinarians, throats, infants, Maratea, Italy, Sicily, Dalmatia,
Dubrovnik, Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, Rubiera, stonecutters, carvers, wool workers

History: The scholarly description of the life of St. Blaise can be found here, at the Ca
tholic Encyclopedia (1917)

Miscellaneous: One of the Fourteen Holy Helpers

In A Nutshell: Though we know few details about the life of Saint Blaise, it is generally believed he was a bishop of Sebastea in Armenia, martyred under the reign of Licinius in the early fourth century.

The legend, going back to the eighth century tells us thatSt. Blaise was born in to a rich and noble family who raised him as a Christian. A new persecution of Christians began shortly after he became a bishop and it is related that he received a message from God to go into the hills to escape persecution. Men hunting in the mountains discovered St. Blaise in a cave curing the illnesses of wild animals. His place of refuge and his identity discvered, St. Blaise was captured and taken back for trial. On the way, the legend tells that he talked a wolf into releasing a pig that belonged to a poor woman and before his execution, he cured a child choking to death on a bone.

Blaise is the patron saint of wild animals and of those with throat maladies.

Throat Blessings
The tradition of having throats blessed on the Feast of St. Blaise goes back centuries.  After Mass on the Feast of St. Blaise (and oftentimes on the succeeding Sunday, as well), the priest will bless two candles in St. Blaise's honor, as follows:

V. Our help + is in the name of the Lord.

R. Who made heaven and earth.

V. The Lord be with you.

R. And with thy spirit. Let us pray.

Almighty and most gentle God, Who didst create the multiplicity of things through Thine only Word, and didst will that same Word through Whom all things were made to take flesh for the refashioning of man; Thou, Who art great and without measure, terrible and worthy of praise, a Worker of wonders: the glorious martyr and bishop Blaise, not fearing to suffer all sorts of diverse tortures because of his profession of faith in Thee, was suited happily to bear the palm of martyrdom: and Thou didst grant to him, among other graces, the favor that he should by Thy power cure all kinds of illnesses of the throat: we humbly beg Thy Majesty not to look upon our sins, but to be pleased by his merits and prayers and to deign in Thy venerable kindness to bless + and sanctify + this creature of wax by the outpouring of Thy grace; that all whose necks in good faith are touched by it may be freed by the merits of his sufferings from any illness of the throat, and that healthy and strong they may offer thanks to Thee within Thy Holy Church, and praise Thy glorious name, which is blessed forever and ever. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.

R. Amen.

Then, holding two crossed, candles against or near the throat of the Faithful kneeling at the Communion rail, the priest says the following prayer as he blesses each throat:  "Per intercessionem S. Blasii liberet to Deus a malo gutteris et a qouvis alio malo." ("May God at the intercession of St. Blaise preserve you from throat troubles and every other evil.")  As this blessing is not a "Sacrament," anyone can receive it, children, adults, Catholics, and nonCatholics.


Invocation of St. Blaise
St. BLASE, gracious benefactor of mankind and faithful servant of God, who for the love of our Savior did suffer so many tortures with patience and resignation; I invoke thy powerful intercession. Preserve me from all evils of soul and body. Because of thy great merits God endowed thee with the special grace to help those that suffer from ills of the throat; relieve and preserve me from them, so that I may always be able to fulfill my duties, and with the aid of God's grace perform good works. I invoke thy help as special physician of souls, that I may confess my sins sincerely in the holy sacrament of Penance and obtain their forgiveness. I recommend to thy merciful intercession also those who unfortunately concealed a sin in confession. Obtain for them the grace to accuse themselves sincerely and contritely of the sin they concealed, of the sacrilegious confessions and communions they made, and of all the sins they committed since then, so that they may receive pardon, the grace of God, and the remission of the eternal punishment. Amen.

Prayer in honor of St. Blaise
O GOD, deliver us through the intercession of Thy holy bishop and martyr Blaise, from all evil of soul and body, especially from all ills of the throat; and grant us the grace to make a good confession in the confident hope of obtaining Thy pardon, and ever to praise with worthy lips Thy most holy name. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Ways to Observe the Feast with Children
(other than going to Mass and having their throats blessed!)

* Since St. Blaise is the patron of throat ailments, you might study the throat and maladies of the throat.
(Of interest might be this article about the effectiveness of honey on throat ailments vs. OTC drugs)

* Since St. Blaise is also the patron of wild animals, you could study the wild animals that live in your area with this regional wildlife guide.

-- Learn how to garden with the wildlife of your neighborhood in mind.

-- Become a backyard naturalist.

* Copy, print, and color this coloring page:

One of the beautiful saints illustrations by Benjamin C. Boulter.

St. Agatha, February 5th

St Agatha, whose name appears in the Canon of the Mass, was one of the most highly venerated martyrs of Christian antiquity (she is listed in the earliest martyrologies from the fifth century), but many of  the details of her history have been lost to time.

It is generally accepted that Agatha was the daughter of a noble family well known for her beauty. A Roman Senator, a pagan named Quintianus, sought her hand in marriage but Agatha, a devout Christian, refused his advances. In an attempt to corrupt Agatha and therefore incline her mind toward him, Quintianus used his political power to put Agatha in the charge of an evil woman, but instead of turning Agatha to evil ways, the woman was, herself, converted to Christianity by her charge.

Enraged at the turn of events, Quintianus had Agatha arrested for her profession of Faith and subjected her to tortures designed to turn her heart and mind against Christianity. Among the tortures she underwent was the cutting off of her breasts. She is therefore often depicted in church art carrying her excised breasts on a platter.

Most legends account for her death due to these wounds, though one legend says she lived through the ordeal, but her scorned lover eventually sentenced her to death by being burnt at the stake. While some legends say she died in that fire, other legends say she was saved from this fate by a mysterious earthquake, and that she later died in prison. All, however, agree that Agatha martyrdom included great suffering.

She is the patron saint of Malta since her intercession is reported to have saved Malta from a Turkish invasion in 1551. In modern times, St. Agatha is invoked as the patroness against breast cancer.

Miscellaneous Interesting Facts
 About the Feastday

* The memory of St. Agatha is especially honored by the Order of the Collar of St. Agatha,
* "The Basques have a tradition of gathering on St. Agatha’s Eve and going round the village, stopping at houses along the route. Homeowners can choose to hear a song about her life, accompanied by the beats of their walking sticks or a prayer for those deceased in the house. After that, the homeowner donates food to the chorus." (
*  An annual festival to commemorate the life of St. Agatha takes place in Catania, Sicily, from Feb 3-5. The patron saint of Catania, St. Agatha's feast is celebrated with a 2-day procession, said to be the second largest religious procession in the world. During the procession, Saint Agatha's statue is carried in a 40,000 pound silver carriage.  Hundreds of thousands of the city’s residents turn out.


Prayer to Saint Agatha

O Heavenly Father,
Who raised Agatha
to the dignity of Sainthood,
we implore Your Divine Majesty
by her intercession
to give us health of mind,
body and soul.
Free us from all those things
which hold us bound to this earth,
and let our spirit, like hers,
rise to your heavenly courts.
Through Jesus Christ,Your Son, our Lord,
Who lives and reigns with You, forever. Amen.

Celebrating the Feastday
* Catholic Cuisine has a recipe for traditional St. Agatha rolls for this day.
* Click, Copy and print for a coloring page:

St. Catherine of Ricci, February 13th

Born: April 23, 1522(1522-04-23), Florence, Italy

Died: February 1, 1590 (aged 67)

Canonized: 1746, Rome by Pope Benedict XIV

Feast: February 13

* Biography from the Catholic Encyclopedia

 Miscellaneous Interesting Facts About St. Catherine

* St. Catherine of Ricci is an incorruptible; her body lies darkened but whole and incorrupt after more than five hundred years in the Basilica di Santa Maria de' Ricci in Prato, Italy. There is a list of other incorruptible saints here.

* St. Catherine had a special devotion for the Souls in Purgatory and offered many prayers and penances on their behalf.  It is recorded that she always wore a heavy chain around her neck as a sacrifice for the Poor Souls.

* One of the documented miracles that led to her canonization was bilocation.  Among her contemporaries were St. Charles Borromeo, St. Philip Neri, and St. M. Magdalen de Pazzi. With St. Philip Neri and St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi she is said to have participated in miraculous coversation, never having met them in real life.

* St. Catherine bore the stigmata, and in a miraculous way, relived Christ's journey through the Passion every week for many years in a mystical ecstasy that was thoroughly documented in her time.

* The Canticle of the Passion was revealed to Catherine after her first ecstasy of the Passion. It was Our Blessed Mother's desired that Catherine spread it as a form of prayer and contemplation pleasing to Our Lord.

Canticum de Passione Domini

More Videos & Games at

To Observe the Day

* Get a copy of Joan Carrol Cruz's book The Incorruptibles to learn about the amazing miracle God bestows upon some of His saints after their deaths.

* Study the miracle of the stigmata.  You can find a list of saints who were graced with the stigmata here.

* Discuss the value of sacrifice and penance.  Offer some penances for the Holy Souls in Purgatory today in honor of St. Catherine Ricci.

* Copy, save, and print the above black and white images of St. Catherine for your own personal use as coloring pages.

St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother, February 27th

Dying before the age of twenty-four, before he could even complete his training for the priesthood, it doesn't seem as if St. Gabriel would have had the time to make a mark on the world, and his life held so many tragic and sorrowful events, you might think he would have drowned in his own sorrow, but he left this vale of tears victorious, having left with us a legacy of Piety and Faith to last through eternity. 

The eleventh of thirteen children, St. Gabriel was born in Assisi on March 1, 1838 to Sante Possenti and Agnes Frisciotti Possenti. St. Gabriel, whose name in saecular life was Francisco, lost his baby brother, his nine-year-old sister and his mother within a year; he was only four years old at the time.  Five years later, he lost his brother, Paul, in the Italian War with Austria, and shortly thereafter, he lost another big brother to suicide.  But little Francisco (our St. Gabriel) never lost his hope or his cheerfulness.  He attended the school of the Christian brothers and then the Jesuit college in Spoleto as a teenager.  In his sixteenth year, he contracted a critical illness and promised to give himself to the Religious life if he were cured, but upon his miraculous recovery, he soon forgot his promise.  But, he was meant for God and could not ignore the Divine Calling.  Against his father's wishes, he joined the Congregation of the Passionists. He received the habit on September 21, 1856, which that year was the Feast of the Sorrowful Mother and received the name Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother

St. Gabriel led a quiet, monastic life preparing for the priesthood; we know by his writings and by the witnesses of his life that he nurtured a dear love for Christ Crucified and for His Sorrowful Mother.  He was always cheerful and filled with pious fortitude.  Because Italy was suffering from government upheaval during this time, the Passionist Order sent many of its Religious to the mountains for safety.  In 1860, Gabriel and the other novices of his order were sent to the remote abbey at Isola  in the Abruzzi Mountains in the kingdom of Naples, but safety from terrorizing Italian soldiers could not even be found there.  The story goes that a band of soldiers arriving in Isola, wreaked havoc in the village, robbing buildings and burning houses. Gabriel received permission to go into town in order to help the frightened villagers and happened chance upon a soldier who had apprehended a young girl. Thinking that the young, slightly-built monk would never stand up to a soldier, St. Gabriel was mocked to scorn.  But our saint never backed down, and through his persuasive words and pious demeanor saved the girl and eventually convinced the company to leave the village in peace. Loved by his people in his own short time on earth, he is held in highest honor in Isolda to this day, and he has come to be loved by the world.  Though he contracted tuberculosis and died at the age of only twenty-four, St. Gabriel had already achieved a high degree of sanctity by his mortifications, his faithfulness to prayer, and his always-joyful spirit.  Pope Benedict XV canonized Gabriel in 1920 and declared him a patron of Catholic youth. His  is also invoked by the Church for students, seminarians, novices and clerics. Thousands of divine favors are attributed to his intercession with Christ Crucified and the Sorrowful Mother Mary.

St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother, Pray for us!

* We have a particular devotion to this saint, because he is a special patron for young men -- and we have six of them.  He is also one of the patrons of our five-year-old son, Gabriel (who incidentally, favors him in looks).  But, we are also honored to have received a first class relic "ex corpore" of St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother as a gift from our son, Jon, when he visited Rome last year.  So St. Gabriel is very special to us.  We invoke him every day in our rosary and pray for his intercession  for all our children, asking for his prayers especially for all seminarians, and particularly our personal friends studying for the priesthood.

* The black and white image above may be used as a coloring page.  Just click and copy to your computer to print in a larger size.

St. Romanus, February 28th

Saint Romanus, born in the late fourth century, left his relatives and spent some time in the monastery of Ainay at Lyons, near a large church at the conflux of the Saône and Rhone. The faithful had built it in honor of the famous martyrs of that region, whose ashes were thrown into the Rhone. His purpose for this retreat was to study all the practices of monastic life, and he obtained from the Abbot of Ainay some recently written books on the lives of the Desert Fathers.

At the age of thirty-five, Romanus retired into the forests of Mount Jura, between France and Switzerland, and fixed his abode at a place called Condate, at the conflux of the rivers Bienne and Aliere, where he found a plot of ground fit for culture, and some trees which furnished him with wild fruit. Here he spent his time in praying, reading, and laboring for his subsistence. Lupicinus, his brother, came to him there, accompanied by several other disciples, who then were followed by still others, drawn by the fame of the virtue and miracles of these two Saints. Other monasteries became necessary. Saint Romanus, when he was 54 years old, was ordained a priest by Saint Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers; he remained simple in his conduct and never sought any privileges among his brethren.

As their numbers increased, the brothers built several monasteries as well as a convent for their sister and other women, called La Baume; before Saint Romanus died, there were already five hundred nuns cloistered there in prayer and sacrifice. They kept strict silence, and like their brothers, sons or relatives in the nearby monastery of Lauconne, considered themselves as persons dead to the present life.

The two brothers governed the monks jointly and in great harmony, though they were of different dispositions; the gentleness of the first was balanced by the severity of the other, according to need. When a group of rebellious monks departed, Saint Romanus, by his patience and prayer, won them back, and if they departed a second or even a third time, received them with the same kindness. When Lupicinus, whose habits were very mortified, reproached him for his leniency, he replied that God alone knew the depths of hearts, and that among those who never departed, there were some whose fervor had declined, whereas some of those who returned after leaving even three times, were serving God in exemplary piety; and finally, that among the brethren who remained outside the monastery, certain ones had religiously practiced the maxims they had learned in the monastery, even becoming priests and authorities for other religious functions or offices.

Saint Romanus died about the year 460, and Saint Lupicinus survived him for twenty years.

From Magnificat -- whose sources are: Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler's Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894); Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 3.

* The above picture can be copied and printed for a coloring page.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

First Sunday of Lent

On Temptation from Sermons of St. Francis deSales for the first Sunday of Lent.

Quotes of the Saints on Temptation

Do not grieve over the temptations you suffer. When the Lord intends to bestow a particular virtue on us, He often permits us first to be tempted by the opposite vice. Therefore, look upon every temptation as an invitation to grow in a particular virtue and a promise by God that you will be successful, if only you stand fast.
--St. Philip Neri

Virtue is nothing without the trial of temptation, for there is no conflict without an enemy, no victory without strife.
--Pope St. Leo the Great

The beginning of all temptation lies in a wavering mind and little trust in God, for as a rudderless ship is driven hither and yon by waves, so a careless and irresolute man is tempted in many ways. Fire tempers iron and temptation steels the just. Often we do not know what we can stand, but temptation shows us what we are.

Above all, we must be especially alert against the beginnings of temptation, for the enemy is more easily conquered if he is refused admittance to the mind and is met beyond the threshold when he knocks.
--St. Francis De Sales

Your first task is to be dissatisfied with yourself, fight sin, and transform yourself into something better. Your second task is to put up with the trials and temptations of this world that will be brought on by the change in your life and to persevere to the very end in the midst of these things.
--St. Augustine

Stop entertaining those vain fears. Remember it is not feeling which constitutes guilt but the consent to such feelings. Only the free will is capable of good or evil. But when the will sighs under the trial of the tempter and does not will what is presented to it, there is not only no fault but there is virtue.
--Padre Pio of Pietrelcina

Trials are nothing else but the forge that purifies the soul of all its imperfections.
--St Mary Magdalen de'Pazzi

When tempted, invoke your Angel. he is more eager to help you than you are to be helped! Ignore the devil and do not be afraid of him: He trembles and flees at the sight of your Guardian Angel.
--St. John Bosco

His Majesty [the Lord] . . . rewards great services with trials, and there can be no better reward, for out of trials springs love for God.
--St. Teresa of Avila

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Month of the Holy Name of Jesus

Month at a Glance

January 1st: Circumcision of the Lord and Octave of the Nativity, Double of the II Class.

January 2nd: Octave of St. Stephen Protomartyr.

First Full Week
January 3rd:  Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus; St. Genevieve,Virgin

January 4th: feria, St. Priscus, Martyr.

January  St. Telesphorus Pope and Martyr.

January 6th: Epiphany of the Lord

January 7th: Feria

January 8th: Feria.

January 9th: Feria, St. Julian, Martyr.

Second Week
January 10th: 1st Sunday after the Epiphany; Feast of the Holy Family 

January 11th: Feria, St. Hyginus Pope and Martyr.

January 12th: Feria, St. Aelred

January 13th: Commemoratin of the Baptism of Our Lord

January 14th: St. Hilary Bishop, Confessor, and Doctor of the Church, Com. of St. Felix Priest and Martyr.

January 15th: St. Paul first hermit, Confessor,  Com. of St. Maurus.

January 16th: St. Marcellus I Pope and Martyr.

Third Week

January 17th: 2nd Sunday after the Epiphany; St. Anthony, Abbot,

January 18th: Chair of St. Peter Apostle at Rome, Com. of St. Paul Apostle, and of St. Prisca Virgin and Martyr.

January 19th: Ss. Marius, Martha, Audifax, and Abachum Martyrs, Com. of St. Canute, Martyr.

January 20th: Ss. Fabian Pope and Sebastian Martyrs.

January 21st: St. Agnes, Roman Virgin and Martyr

January 22nd: Ss. Vincent and Anastasius Martyrs.

January 23rd: St. Raymund of Peñafort Confessor, Com. of St. Emerentiana Virgin and Martyr.

Fourth Week

January 24th: 3rd Sunday after the Epiphany; St. Timothy Bishop and Martyr

January 25th: Conversion of St. Paul Apostle, Com. of St. Peter.

January 26th: St. Polycarp Bishop and Martyr.

January 27th: St. John Chrysostom Bishop, Confessor, and Doctor of the Church.

January 28th: St. Peter Nolasco Confessor, Com. of St. Agnes Virgin and Martyr second.

January 29th: St. Francis de Sales Bishop, Confessor, and Doctor of the Church.

January 30th: St. Martina Virgin and Martyr.

January 31: Septuagesima Sunday; St. John Bosco Confessor.

The Feast of the Circumcision

Meditations on the Feast day:

From The Liturgical Year, by Abbot Gueranger, O.S.B.:

Our new-born King and Saviour is eight days old today; the star that guides the Magi is advancing towards Bethlehem, and five days hence will be standing over the Stable where our Jeus is being nursed by His Mother.  Today the Son of Man is to be circumcised; this first sacrific of His innocent Flesh must honor the eighth day of His mortal life.  Today also a Name is to be given him; the Name will be Jesus, and it means Saviour.  So that the mysteries abound on this day: let us not pass one of them over, but honor them with all possibe devotion and love.

But this day is not exclusively devoted to the Circumcision of Jesus.  The mytery of this Circumcision forms part of that other great mystery, the Incarnation and infancy of our Saviour -- a mystery on which the Church fixes the heart on not only during this Octave, but during the whole forty days of Christmastide.  Then, as regards our Lord's receiving the Name of Jesus, a special Feast, which we shall soon be keeing, is set apart in honour of it  There is another object that shares the love and devotion of the Faithful on this great Solemnity.  This object is Mary, the Mother of God.  The Church celebrates today the august prerogative of this divine Maternity which was conferred on a mere creature, and made her the co-operatrix with Jesus in the great work of man's salvation.

... Let us not be surprised, therfore, at the enthusiasm and profound respect wherewith the Church extols the Blessed Virgin and her prerogatives.  Let us on the contrary be convnced that all the praise the Church can give her, and all the dvotion she can ever bear towards her, are far below what is due to her as Mother of the Incarnate God.  No mortal will ever be able to describe, or even comprehend, how great a glory accrues to her from this sublime dignity.  For, as the glory of Mary cmes from her being the Mother of God, one would have first to comprehend God Himself in order to measure the greatness of her dignty.  It is to God that Mary gave our human nature; it is God whom she had as her Child; it is God who gloried in rendering Himself, inasmuch as He is Man, subject to her: hence, the true value of such a dgnity, possessed by a mere creature, can only be appreciated in proportion to our knowledge of the sovereign perfections of the great God, who thus deigns to make Himself dependent upon a favored creature.  Let us therefore bow down in deepest adoraion before the Majesty of our God; let us therefore acknowledge that we cannot repect as it deserves the extraordinary dignity of her whom He chose for His Mother.


* Posts from my own archives for the Feast of the Circumcision.
* Coloring pages from Charlotte, honoring the Holy Name.
*On this day, a plenary indulgence can be acquired, under the usual conditions, by reciting the Veni, Creator Spiritus .
* Recipes and customs for the New Year, not necessarily of Catholic origin, but, fun, nevertheless.

St. Anthony, Abbot

Painting of St. Anthony by Francisco de Zurburan

Also Known As: Anthony of Egypt; Anthony the Great; Father of Cenobites; Father of Western Monasticism
Born: ca.251, Herakleopolis Magna, Egypt

Died: 356, Mount Colzim, Egypt

Major shrine: Monastery of Saint Anthony, Vienna, Austria
His body was at Saint-Antoine l'Abbaye, Isère, France

Feast: January 17
Symbolism: bell; pig; book; crutch; hermit; Saint Anthony's cross; tau cross with a bell on the end. Iconographically, Anthony is depicted in a monastic habit with a long white beard. Sometimes he holds an abbot's crozier or a scroll

Patronage: against pestilence; amputees; animals; basket makers; basket weavers; brushmakers; Burgio, Sicily; butchers; Canas, Brazil; cemetery workers; domestic animals; eczema; epilepsy; epileptics; ergotism (Saint Anthony's fire); erysipelas; gravediggers; graveyards; hermits; hogs; Hospitallers; Lost items ; monks; Mook, Nederlands; pigs; relief from pestilence; shingles; skin diseases; skin rashes; swine; swineherds (See here for St. Anthony's connection to pigs.)

Five of the demons that tempted St. Anthony.

* For a coloring page (though perhaps a bit of a disturbing one), click on the above engraving  by Martin Schongauer for a larger image, then copy and print .  Go here to see a young Michelangelo's rendition of this engraving, and a number of links can be found here exploring the the theme of the "temptation of St. Anthony" in art.

* Tales of St. Anthony (from Wikipedia)

The Satyr and the Centaur

Saint Anthony was on a journey in the desert to find Saint Paul. Saint Anthony had been under the impression that he was the first person to ever dwell in the desert; however, due to a vision, Saint Anthony was called into the desert to find his predecessor, Saint Paul. On his way there he ran into two demons in the forms of a centaur and a satyr. Many works of art depict Saint Anthony meeting with this centaur and satyr. Western theology considers these demons to have been temptations. At any rate, he was stopped by these demons and asked, "Who are you?" To that the satyr replied, "I am a corpse, one of those whom the heathen calls satyrs, and by them were snared into idolatry." The satyr then tried to terrify the saint while the centaur acknowledged the overthrow of the gods. In the end, the centaur tried to show Saint Anthony the way to his destination while the satyr ended up asking for Saint Anthony's blessing.

Silver and Gold
Another time Saint Anthony was traveling in the desert he found a plate of silver coins in his path. He pondered for a moment as to why a plate of silver coins would be out in the desert where no one else travels. Then he realized the devil must have laid it out there to tempt him. To that he said, "Ha! Devil, thou weenest to tempt me and deceive me, but it shall not be in thy power." Once he said this, the plate of silver vanished. Saint Anthony continued walking along and saw a pile of gold in his way which the devil had laid there to deceive him. Saint Anthony cast the pile of gold into a fire, and it vanished just like the silver coins did. After these events, Saint Anthony had a vision where the whole world was full of snares and traps. He cried to the Lord, "Oh good Lord, who may escape from these snares?" A voice said back to him, "humility shall escape them without more."
Demons in the Cave
One time Saint Anthony tried hiding in a cave to escape the demons that plagued him. There were so many little demons in the cave though that Saint Anthony's servant had to carry him out because they had beaten him to death. When the hermits were gathered to Saint Anthony's corpse to mourn his death, Saint Anthony was revived. He demanded that his servants take him back to that cave where the demons had beaten him. When he got there he called out to the demons, and they came back as wild beasts to rip him to shreds. All of a sudden a bright light flashed, and the demons ran away. Saint Anthony knew that the light must have come from God, and he asked God where was he before when the demons attacked him. God replied, "I was here but I would see and abide to see thy battle, and because thou hast manly fought and well maintained thy battle, I shall make thy name to be spread through all the world."

* The complete life of St. Anthony, from the Catholic Encyclopedia.
* Recipes for the day:  St. Antony of the Desert, vegetable soup and, as a nod to our saint's association with pork, Potato and Porkchop Casserole. (Both from Catholic Cuisine)

St. John Chrysostom

A Doctor and early Father of the Church, St.  John Chrysostom, lived in Asia Minor during the middle of the fourth century. He became well known for his sermons duirng the dozen years he served as a priest and preacher in Syria, thus earning the title "Chrysostom" or "golden-mouthed."  He became the bishop of Constantinople in 398 against his will,  fighting for the rest of his life to reform the clergy, preventing the sale of ecclesiastical offices, and encouraging practices of justice and charity, as well as calling for fidelity in marriage and exhorting the rich to sharing their wealth.  The unwavering attitude of St. John's sermons caused him twice to be exiled from his diocese by the nobles and bishops of Constantinople.  He died on his way to banishment in Pythius in the  year 407.

Exerpts from some of his Sermons:

When you perceive that God is chastening you, fly not to his enemies...but to his friends, the martyrs, the saints, and those who were pleasing to him, and who have great power in God.

John Chrysostom, Orations, 396
Let us relieve the poverty of those that beg of us and let us not be over-exact about it.

-Saint John Chrysostom

It is simply impossible to lead, without the aid of prayer, a virtuous life.

-Saint John Chrysostom


What prayer could be more true before God the Father than that which the Son, who is Truth, uttered with His own lips?

-Saint John Chrysostom


God asks little, but He gives much.

-Saint John Chrysostom


When you are before the altar where Christ reposes, you ought no longer to think that you are amongst men; but believe that there are troops of angels and archangels standing by you, and trembling with respect before the sovereign Master of Heaven and earth. Therefore, when you are in church, be there in silence, fear, and veneration.

-Saint John Chrysostom


If the Lord should give you power to raise the dead, He would give much less than He does when he bestows suffering. By miracles you would make yourself debtor to Him, while by suffering He may become debtor to you. And even if sufferings had no other reward than being able to bear something for that God who loves you, is not this a great reward and a sufficient remuneration? Whoever loves, understands what I say.

-Saint John Chrysostom


It is clear through unlearned men that the cross was persuasive; in fact, it persuaded the whole world.

Paul had this in mind when he said, "The weakness of God is stronger than men." That the preaching of these men was indeed divine is brought home to us in the same way. For how otherwise could twelve uneducated men, who lived on lakes and rivers and wastelands, get the idea for such an immense enterprise? How could men who perhaps had never been in a city or public square think of setting out to do battle with the whole world? That they were fearful, timid men, the evangelist makes clear; he did not reject the fact or try to hide their weaknesses. Indeed he turned these into a proof of the truth. What did he say of them? That when Christ was arrested, the others fled, despite all the miracles they had seen, while he who was leader of the others denied him!

How then account for the fact that these men, who in Christ's lifetime did not stand up to the attacks by the Jews, set forth to do battle with the whole world once Christ was dead - if, as you claim, Christ did not rise and speak to them and rouse their courage? It is evident, then, that if they had not seen him risen and had proof of his power, they would not have risked so much.

-from a homily by Saint John Chrysostom on the first letter to the Corinthians


O envious one, you injure yourself more than he whom you would injure, and the sword with which you wound will recoil and wound yourself.

What harm did Cain do to Abel? Contrary to his intention he did him the greatest good, for he caused him to pass to a better and a blessed life, and he himself was plunged into an abyss of woe. In what did Esau injure Jacob? Did not his envy prevent him from being enriched in the place in which he lived; and, losing the inheritance and the blessing of his father, did he not die a miserable death? What harm did the brothers of Joseph do to Joseph, whose envy went so far as to wish to shed his blood? Were they not driven to the last extremity, and well-nigh perishing with hunger, whilst their brother reigned all through Egypt?

It is ever thus; the more you envy your brother, the greater good you confer upon him. God, who sees all, takes the cause of the innocent in hand, and, irritated by the injury you inflict, deigns to raise up him whom you wish to lower, and will punish you to the full extent of your crime.

If God usually punishes those who rejoice at the misfortunes of their enemies, how much more will He punish those who, excited by envy, seek to do an injury to those who have never injured them?

-Saint John Chrysostom


To commit a murder, besides the not having the person in your power, there are many measures and precautions to take. A favorable opportunity must be waited for, and a place must be selected before we can put so damnable a design into execution. More than this, the pistols may miss fire, blows may not be sufficient, and all wounds are not mortal. But to deprive a man of his reputation and honor, one word is sufficient. By finding out the most sensitive part of his honor, you may tarnish his reputation by telling it to all who know him, arid easily take away his character for honor and integrity. To do this, however, no time is required, for scarcely have you complacently cherished the wish to calumniate him, than the sin is effected.

-Saint John Chrysostom


I beseech you, my brothers, to be ever on your guard against the habit of swearing and blaspheming.

If a slave dare to pronounce the name of his master, he does it but seldom, and then only with respect; therefore is it not a shocking impiety to speak with contempt and irreverence of the name of the Master of angels and seraphim? People handle the book of the Gospel with a religious fear, and then only with clean hands, and yet your rash tongue would inconsiderately profane the name of the Divine Author of the Gospel.

Would you wish to know with what respect, fear, and wonder the choirs of the angels pronounce the adorable name? Listen to the prophet Isaiah: " I saw," says Isaiah, "the Lord sitting upon a throne high and elevated; upon it stood the seraphim, who cried one to another and said, Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God of hosts, all the earth is full of His glory."

See with what terror they are seized, even while they praise and glorify Him. As for you, my brethren, you know how cold and indifferent are the prayers you say, and you know how frequently you blaspheme a name so majestic, so sacred, and how you try to make excuses for the bad habit you have contracted. It is easy, yes, I say, it is easy, with a little care, attention, and reflection, to leave off this vicious habit.

Since we have fallen, my brethren, into this sin of blasphemy, I conjure you, in the name of our Lord, to rebuke openly these blasphemers. When you meet with such who publicly sin in this respect, correct them by word of mouth, and, if necessary, by your strong arm. Let these shameless swearers be covered with confusion. You could not employ your hand to a holier work. And if you are given into custody, go boldly before the magistrate, and say in your defense that you have avenged a blasphemy.

For if a person is punished for speaking contemptuously of a prince, is it not reasonable to suppose that a person who speaks irreverently of God should be sentenced to a severer punishment? It is a public crime, a common injury which all the world ought to condemn.

Let the Jews and infidels see that our magistrates are Christians, and that they will not allow those to go unpunished who insult and outrage their Master.

Do you remember that it was a false oath that overturned the houses, temples, and walls of Jerusalem, and from a superb city it became a mass of ruins? Neither the sacred vessels nor the sanctuary could stay the vengeance of a God justly angered against a violater of His word.

Sedecias did not receive a more favored treatment than Jerusalem. Flight did not save him from his enemies. This prince, escaping secretly, was pursued and taken by the Assyrians, who led him to their king. The king, after asking him the reason of his perfidy, not only caused his children to be killed, but deprived him of his sight, and sent him back to Babylon, loaded with iron chains.

Would you know the reason why? It was that the barbarians and Jews who inhabited the country adjoining Persia should know, by this terrible example, that the breach of an oath is punishable.

-Saint John Chrysostom, from the Seventh Homily