THOUGHTS FOR THE MONTH: FEBRUARY- 2019

“He who values all things according to what they are, and not what they are esteemed or said to be is truly wise, and taught by God rather than by men. He who knows how to walk interiorly, and to make little account of things exteriorly, does not look for opportune places or time to perform exercises of piety. An interior man quickly recollects himself, because he never pours himself out upon exterior things. Exterior work is no prejudice to him, nor any enjoyment necessary for the time; but as things happen, he adjusts himself to them.” Thomas A Kemphis: Imitations of Christ: Book II: Ch: 1: 7:

“It is from newness of attitudes, from self denial and unstinted love, that yearnings for unity take their rise and grow towards maturity. We should therefore pray to be genuinely self-denying, humble and gentle in the service of others and to have an attitude of brotherly generosity towards them.” (Thomas A Kempis: Imitations of Christ: Ch 15: Reflections)

THE SAINTS ARE SERIOUS PRAYER WARRIORS “The saints have a special place in the Body of Christ, which includes both the living and the dead. Through Christ we on earth remain in communion both with the saints in heaven and with the dead who are still in Purgatory. Love of the saints necessarily includes and leads to love of Christ and to love of the Holy Trinity. "For every genuine testimony of love shown by us to those in heaven, by its very nature tends toward and terminates in Christ who is the 'crown of all saints,' and through Him, in God Who is wonderful in his saints and is magnified in them." (From Catholic Online-Saints & Angels Resource Page).

SAINTS/ SAGES/ EVENTS: FEBRUARY- 2019:

Feb 01. St. Brigid of Ireland: (451-525): She is one of Ireland's patron saints along with saints, Patrick and Columba. Irish hagiography makes her an early Irish Christian nun, abbess, and founder of several monasteries of nuns, including that of Kildare in Ireland, which was considered legendary and was highly revered.

Feb 02. Today is the Feast of Presentation of the Lord at the temple in Jerusalem. According to the gospel, Mary and Joseph took the baby Jesus, forty days (inclusive) after his birth to complete Mary's ritual purification after childbirth, and to perform the redemption of the first born son in obedience to the Law of Moses. Upon bringing Jesus into the temple, they encountered Simeon. The Gospel records that Simeon had been promised that "he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ." Simeon prayed the prayer that would become known as the Canticle of Simeon, which prophesied the redemption of the world by Jesus.

Today is also the feast day of St. Joan de Lestonac: (1556-1640): She ts a Roman Catholic saint and the founder of the order The Company of Mary Our Lady. Her body still remains incorrupt.

Feb 03. St. Blasé: (Martyred in 316): was a physician, and bishop of Sebastea in historical Armenia (modern Sivas, Turkey). According to the Acta Sanctorum, he was martyred by being beaten, attacked with iron carding combs, and beheaded. According to the Acts, while Blasé was being taken into custody, a distraught mother, whose only child was choking on a fishbone, threw herself at his feet and implored his intercession. Touched at her grief, he offered up his prayers, and the child was cured. Consequently, Saint Blasé is invoked for protection against injuries and illnesses of the throat.

Feb 04. St. John de Britto: (1647-1693): He was a Portuguese Jesuit missionary and martyr. He joined the Jesuits in 1662, studying at the famous University of Coimbra. He traveled to the missions of Madurai, in Southern India, present-day Tamil Nadu, in 1673 and preached the Christian religion in the region of the Maravar country. St. John de Brito tried to teach the Catholic faith in categories and concepts that would make sense to the people he taught. This method, proposed and practiced by Roberto de Nobili, met with remarkable success. However this resulted in the opposition of upper caste Brahmins and culminated in his martyrdom in 1693. Brito was beatified by Pope Pius IX on August 21, 1853. He was canonized by Pope Pius XII on June 22, 1947.

Feb 05. St. Gonsalo Garcia: (1556-1597): He was a Roman Catholic Franciscan friar from India, who died as a martyr in Japan and is venerated as a saint; the first Indian to attain sainthood. On February 5, Garcia was crucified on Nagasaki Hills with twenty six of his companions. St. Garcia was the first to be extended on, and nailed to, the cross, which was then erected in the middle of those of his companions. While being nailed, Garcia sang praises of God, earning him the martyr's title. In 1627, Garcia and his fellow martyrs were declared as Venerable by Pope Urban VIII. On June 8, 1862 Garcia was declared a saint by Pope Pius IX.

Feb 06. St. Paul Miki: (Martyred in 1597): He was a Roman Catholic Japanese Jesuit seminarian, martyr and saint, one of the Twenty-six Martyrs of Japan. He preached his last sermon from the cross, and it is maintained that he forgave his executioners, stating that he himself was Japanese. Crucified alongside him were Joan Soan (de Gotó) and Santiago Kisai, also of the Society of Jesus; along with twenty-three other clergy and laity, all of whom were canonized by Pope Pius IX in 1862.

Feb 07. St. Moses: (Died in 372): Arab hermit and bishop who is called “the Apostle of the Saracens.” He lived in the desert regions of Syria and Egypt, caring for the local nomadic tribes. When the Romans imposed peace upon the Saracens, Queen Mavia, the Saracen ruler, demanded that Moses be consecrated a bishop. He accepted against his will and maintained the peace between the Saracens and Rome.

Feb 08. St. Josephine Bakhita: (1869-1947): She was a Sudanese-born former slave who became a Canossian Religious Sister in Italy, living and working there for 45 years. Bakhita's legacy is that transformation is possible through suffering. Her story of deliverance from physical slavery also symbolizes all those who find meaning and inspiration in her life for their own deliverance from spiritual slavery. In 2000 she was declared a saint by Pope John Paul II.

Feb 09. Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerick : (!774-1824): She was a Roman Catholic Augustinian Canoness Regular of Windesheim, stigmatic, mystic, visionary and experienced ecstatic visions, especially in her bed-ridden period of her life. The poet Clemens Brentano interviewed her at length and wrote two books based on his notes of her visions. Emmerich was beatified on October 3, 2004 by Pope John Paul II.

Feb 10. St. Scholastica. (480-542); Born in Italy, she was the twin sister of Benedict of Nursia. Scholastica was dedicated to God from a young age (some tellings of her story indicate that she preceded Benedict in godliness, and he came to holiness after she did). The most commonly told story about her is that she would, once a year, go and visit her brother at a place near his abbey, and they would spend the day worshiping together and discussing sacred texts and issues. She also is the founder of women's branch of Benedictine Monasticism.

Feb 11. St. Paschal: (Died in 824): He was the head of the Catholic Church from 25 January 817 to his death in 824. His mother was the renowned religious, the Lady Theodora. During his reign, he gave shelter to exiled monks from the Byzantine Empire who were persecuted for their opposition to iconoclasm. Paschal is credited with finding the body of Saint Cecilia in the Catacomb of Callixtus and building the basilica of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, and the church of Santa Maria in Domnica.

Today is also the Feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes, which is a venerated title of the Blessed Virgin Mary, invoked by Roman Catholics in honor of the Marian apparitions that had occurred on numerous occasions in 1858 in the vicinity of Lourdes, France.

Feb 12. St. Febronia: (284-304): She was a nun at Nisibis, Mesopotamia. She suffered persecution under Diocletian, who offered her freedom if she renounced her faith and married his nephew, Lysimachus, who had been leaning towards conversion to Christianity. Febronia refused and was tortured, suffered mutilation and death. Lysimachus, witnessing her suffering, converted.

Feb 13. St. Catherine de Ricci: (1522-1589): She was an Italian Dominican Tertiary Religious Sister, who is held to have been a mystic, and is honored as a saint by the Catholic Church. It is claimed that De' Ricci's meditation on the Passion of Christ was so deep that she spontaneously bled, as if scourged. She also bore the Stigmata. During times of deep prayer, like Catherine of Siena, her patron saint, a coral ring representing her marriage to Christ, appeared on her finger

Feb 14. Sts. Cyril & Methodius: They were Byzantine Greek brothers born in Thessalonica in the 9th century who became Christian missionaries among the Slavic peoples of the Great Moravia and Pannonia. Through their work they influenced the cultural development of all Slavs, for which they received the title "Apostles to the Slavs". They are credited with devising the Glagolitic alphabet, the first alphabet used to transcribe Old Church Slavonic. In 1980, Pope John Paul II declared them co-patron saints of Europe, together with Benedict of Nursia, Catherine of Sienna, Bridget of Sweden and Edith Stein.

Feb 15. Bl. Jordan: ( Died in 1237): A Saxon named Gordanus or Giordanus, he received his bachelor of divinity degree at Paris. He met St. Dominic there and in 1220, became a Dominican. He was a powerful preacher, and St. Albert the Great became a Dominican after hearing one of his sermons. He is the author of a life of St. Dominic that is one of the main sources of information about the founder of the Dominicans.

Feb 16. St. Daniel: (Died in 309): He and four companions, Elias, Isaias, Jeremy and Samuel were Egyptians who visited Christians condemned for working in the mines of Cilicia during Maximus persecution, to comfort them. Apprehended at the gates of Caesarea, Palestine, they were brought before the governor, Firmilian, and accused of being Christians. They were all tortured and then beheaded.

Feb 17. St. Finan of Lindisfarne: (Died in 661): He was an Irish monk, trained at Iona in Scotland, who became the second Bishop of Lindisfarne from 651 until 661.

Feb 18. St. Simon the Zealot: In St. Matthew's Gospel, we read of Simeon who is described as one of our Lord's brethren or kinsmen. His father was Cleophas, St. Joseph's brother, and his mother, according to some writers, was our Lady's sister. The most widespread tradition is that after evangelizing in Egypt, Simon joined Jude in Persia and Armenia or Beirut, Lebanon, where both were martyred in 65 AD. This version is the one found in the Golden Legend. He may have suffered crucifixion as the Bishop of Jerusalem.

Today is also the feast day of St. Bernadette, to whom St. Mary appeared in a grotto near Lourdes in France, identifying herself as the Immaculate Conception.

Feb 19. Bl. Alvarez of Cordova: (1350-1430): He was born at Zamora, Spain, towards the middle of the fourteenth century. Bl. Alvarez entered the Order of Preachers (the Dominican Order) in 1368. He preached throughout Spain and Italy and established the priory of Scala Caeli at Córdoba where he promoted the regular life. By his preaching and contemplation of the Lord’s Passion he spread the practice of the Way of the Cross throughout the West.

Feb 20. Bl. Fransisco: (1908-1919) & Jacintha Marto: (1910-1920): They were children from Aljustrel near Fátima, Portugal who said they witnessed three apparitions of an angel in 1916 and several apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1917. Mary was given the title Our Lady of Fátima as a result and Fátima became a major centre of world Christian pilgrimage.

Feb 21. St. Peter Damian: (1007-1072): He was a reforming monk in the circle of Pope Leo IX and a cardinal. In 1823, he was declared a Doctor of the Church. Dante placed him in one of the highest circles of Paradiso as a great predecessor of Saint Francis of Assisi.

Feb 22. St. Margret of Cortona: (1247-1297): She was an Italian penitent of the Third Order of St. Francis. She was born in Laviano, near Perugia, and died in Cortona. She was canonized in 1728. She is the patron saint of the falsely accused; hoboes; homeless; insane; orphaned; mentally ill; midwives; penitents; single mothers; reformed prostitutes; stepchildren; tramps.

Feb 23. St. Polycarp: (69-155): He was a 2nd-century Christian bishop of Smyrna. He died a martyr, bound and burned at the stake, then stabbed when the fire failed to touch him. It is recorded by Irenaeus, who heard him speak in his youth, and by Tertullian, that he had been a disciple of John the Apostle. Saint Jerome wrote that Polycarp was a disciple of John and that John had ordained him bishop of Smyrna. With Clement of Rome and Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp is regarded as one of three chief Apostolic Fathers.

Feb 24. Bl. Thomas Fisco: (1831-1891): During the harshest of trials, which he bore in silence, he would repeat: "May work and suffering for God always be your glory and in your work and suffering, may God be your consolation on this earth, and your recompense in heaven. Patience is the safeguard and pillar of all the virtues".

Feb 25. St. Walburga: (710-779): She was an English missionary to the Frankish Empire. She was canonized on 1 May ca. 870 by Pope Adrian II. Walpurga is the patroness of Eichstadt, Oudenarde, Furnes, Antwerp, Weilburg, and Zutphen, and is invoked as special patroness against hydrophobia, and in storms, and also by sailors.

Feb 26. St. Prophyry of Gaza: (347-420): Against his will, he was made bishop of Gaza in 396, proving a brilliant and energetic prelate. One of his chief challenges came from the pagans of the region, but by the end of his life he had extirpated virtually all of the remnants of the old religion. He erected a church on the site of the most prominent pagan temple in the area as a symbol of his victory. His deacon, Mark, authored a biography of the bishop, a genuinely valuable historical document.

Feb 27. St. Anne Line: (1563-1601): The daughter of William Hingham, she was disowned by him when she married a Catholic, Roger Line. Roger was imprisoned for being a Catholic and was exiled. He died in 1594 in Flanders, Belgium. Anne stayed in England where she hid Catholic priests in a London safe house. In this endeavor she aided Jesuit Father John Gerard until her arrest. Anne was hanged in Tyburn on February 27, 1601. Pope Paul VI canonized Anne Line in 1970 as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. Today is also the feast day of St. Leander of Seville: (534-600): He was instrumental in converting the Iberian Peninsula, comprising of Spain and Portugal to Christianity. Being born into a family of saints, his two brothers, Sts. Isidore, and Fulgentius along Sister St. Florentina were canonized by the Catholic Church.

Feb 28. Pope St. Hilary. (Died in 468): Pope from 461-468 and guardian of Church unity. He was born in Sardinia, Italy, and was a papal legate to the Robber Council of Ephesus in 449, barely escaping with his life from this affair. Hilary was used by Pope Leo the Great on many assignments. When Leo died, Hilary was elected pope and consecrated on November 19,461. He worked diligently to strengthen the Church in France and Spain. He sent a decree to the Eastern bishops validating the decisions of the General Councils of Nicaea, Ephesus, and Chalcedon. Hilary consolidated the Church in Sandi, Africa, and Gaul.

Today is also the feast day of Mar Dionysius Vattasseril, the first Malankara Metropolitan, who is venerated as a saint in the Malankara Orthodox Church. It was he who authorized the Servant of God, Mar Ivanios, who later headed the Malankara Catholic Church, to initiate the reunification movement with the Catholic Church, that was fructified in 1933.

Today we also celebrate the feast of St. Maxminus of Trier: (Died in 346): He was the fifth bishop of Trier, according to the list provided by the diocese's website, taking his seat in 341/342. Maximin was an opponent of Arianism and was supported by the courts of Constantine II and Constance, who harbored as an honored guest Athanasius twice during his exile from Alexandria, in 336-37, before he was bishop, and again in 343.