Religious Educatiuon

Educational: Blessed Ceslaus of Poland, O.P. (1180 - 1242)

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Blessed Ceslaus, O.P., (Polish: Czeslaw) was born in approxjmately 1180 in Kam.ien Slc1ski in Silesia, Poland, of the noble family of Odrowciz, and was a relative, possibly the brother, of Saint Hyacinth. Having studied philosophy at Prague, he pursued his theological and juridical stuilies at the Uruversity of Bologna, after which he returned to Cracow, where he held the office of canon and custoilian of the church of Sandorruerz.

About 1218 he accomparued his uncle Ivo, Bishop of Cracow, to Rome. Hearing of the great sanctity of Saint Domiruc, who had recently been attributed the miracle of resuscitating the nephew of Cardinal Stefano di Fossa Nova who had been killed in a fall from his horse, Ceslaus, together with St. Hyacinth, sought admission into the Order of Friars Preachers.

In 1219 Pope Honorius III invited Saint Dominic and his comparuons to take up residence at the ancient Roman basilica of Santa Sabina, which they did by early 1220. Hyacinth and Ceslaus along with their comparuons Herman and Henry were among the first to enter the studium of the Dominican Order at Rome out of which would grow the 16th-century College of Saint Thomas at Santa Maria sopra Minerva and the Pontifical Uruversity of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum in the 20th century. After an abbreviated novitiate Ceslaus, Hyacinth and their comparuons received the re(jgious habit of the Order from St. Domjnjc himself in 1220.

Their novitiate completed, St. Domjruc sent the young friars back as missionaries to their own country. Estab(jshing a friary at Friesach in Austria, they proceeded to Cracow whence Ceslaus was sent by St. Hyacinth to Prague, the metropolis of Bohemia. 

Labouring with much fruit throughout the Diocese of Prague, Ceslaus went to Wroclaw, where he founded a large priory, and then extended his apostolic labours over a vast territory, embracing Bohemia, Poland, Pomerarua, and Saxony. 

Sometime after the death of St. Hyacinth he was chosen the Provincial Superior for Poland. Whilst he was superior of the convent of Wroclaw all Poland was threatened by the Mongols. The city of Wroclaw being besieged, the people sought the aid of Blessed Ceslaus, who by hjs prayers miraculously averted the impending calamity. Four persons are said to have been raised to life by him. He died at Wroclaw on July 15, 1242. In 1963, Pope Paul VI recognized Bl. Ceslaus - next to St. John the Baptist - as the main patron saint of the city of Wroclaw.

-taken from: www.revolvy.com

 

Educational: Saint John of Cologne, O.P. (d. 1572)

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Night now is over, rising sun casts splendor over the triumph of those valiant soldiers fallen in battle on the field of Corkum; great in their courage! 

These words begin the Lauds hymn for the feast of St. John of Cologne, also known as St. John of Gorkum, and his 18 companions who were martyred in Holland by Calvinists. With the spread of Calvinism during the Reformation, the area of Gorkum had become overrun with Calvinists who would have nothing to do with the Catholic priests still living in the vicinity. So they imprisoned and tortured them in an attempt to get them to renounce the Church's teaching. These priests and religious, many of whom were Franciscans, remained steadfast in their faith. 

When St. John, who was serving in a parish in the nearby Hornar, heard of their plight, he obtained permission from his superiors to go and serve the priests in cognito and offer them the sacraments. Eventually, he was caught and was subjected to the same torments that his fellow priests suffered. Through various methods of torture, the Calvinists sought to get the priests to renounce the Eucharist and Papal supremacy. Yet, 19 of the 20 captured remained faithful. 

As time went on, the Calvinists continued to try to get the faithful priests and religious to proclaim heresy. U1timately, they would not, and so they were brought to Briel, and on the night of July 8th, they were taken to a barn outside the city. As they walked along, they heard one another's confessions, and upon arriving, they were hanged. One Dominican, eleven Franciscans, two Pr<"emonstratensians, one Canon Regular of St. Augustine, and four secular priests offered their lives as witnesses to the truth of the Church's teachings on the Eucharist and the Papacy. 

That night, a couple of the Catholics in Gorkum, some of whom even thought there was a chance for the release of the prisoners, had visions of a troop of martyrs. Moreover, a shrub bearing 19 white flowers is said to have sprw1g up at the site of their martyrdom. Many miracles have been attributed to their intercession, especially the curing of hernias. They are referred by the Roman Catholic Church as the Martyrs of Gorkum. The group was canonized by Pope Pius IX in 1867. Their remains are honored at a shrine built to their honor in Brielle.

-taken from: www.catholic.org & www.franciscanmedia.org

 

Educational: Saint Maria Goretti (1890 - 1902)

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Born on October 16 1890 in Corinaldo, in the Ancona Province in Italy, her farmworker father moved his family to Ferrier di Conca, near Anzio. When he died of malaria, Maria's mother had to struggle to feed her children. Maria's mother, brothers, and sisters worked in the fields while she cooked, sewed, kept the house clean, and watched her youngest sister Teresa. Though the family's circumstances were extremely difficult, they were very close and loved God.

On July 5, 1902, Maria was sitting outside the steps of her home sewing her 18-year-old brother or neighbor -it is unclear which - Alessandro's shirt while he threshed beans in the barnyard. As she concentrated on her sewing, Alessandro surprised her and grabbed her from her steps. When he tried to rape her, Maria cried that it was a mortal sin and warned he would go to hell.

When Alessandro persisted, she fought him and screamed, "No! It is a sin! God does not want it!" At her words, Alessandro began to choke her and she said she would rather die than submit. Upon hearing her words, Alessandro pulled out a knife and stabbed her eleven times. When she attempted to reach the door, he stabbed her three more times then fled.

Teresa woke to the sounds of her sister's cries and began to cry. Maria's family returned home and found her bleeding on the floor. They quickly took her to the nearest hospital in Nettuno, where she underwent surgery without anesthesia.

Unfortunately, her wounds were beyond the surgeon's ability to help. Halfway through the surgery, the man asked her, "Maria, think of me in Paradise." As she lay on the table, she looked up at him and said, "Well, who knows which of us is going to be there first?" She did not realize how terrible her situation was, and the surgeon replied, "You, Maria." She said, "Then I will think gladly of you." She also mentioned concerns for her mother. The next day, Maria forgave Alessandro and said she wanted to see him in Heaven with her. She died that day while looking upon an image of the Virgin Mary and holding a cross to her chest.

Shortly after Maria's family discovered her, Alexander was captured and questioned. He admitted Maria was a physical virgin as he was unable to assault her and he was sentenced to thirty years. One night he had a dream or vision of Maria gathering flowers and offering them to him. His life changed. When he was released after 27 years, his first act was to go to beg the forgiveness of Maria's mother.

Devotion to the young martyr grew, miracles were worked, and in less than half a century she was canonized. At her beatification in 1947, her 82-year-old mother, two sisters and a brother, appeared with Pope Pius XII on the balcony of St. Peter's. Three years later at Maria's canonization, a 66-year-old Alessandro Serenelli knelt among the quarter-million people and cried tears of joy.

-taken from: www.catholic.org & www.franciscanrnedia.org

Educational: Saint Cyril of Alexandria (367 - 444)

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St. Cyril of Alexandria, Bishop and Doctor of the Church was born atAlexandria, Egypt in 376. He was nephew of the patriarch of that city, Theophilus. Cyril received a classical and theological education at Alexandria and was ordained by his uncle. He accompanied Theophilus to Constantinople in 403 and was present at the Synod of the Oak that deposed John Chrysostom, whom he believed guilty of the charges against him.

He succeeded his uncle Theophilus as patriarch of Alexandria on Theophilus' death in 412, but only after a riot between Cyril's supporters and the followers of his rival Timotheus. Cyril at once began a series of attacks against the Novatians, whose churches he closed; the Jews, whom he drove from the city; and governor Orestes, with whom he disagreed about some of his actions.

In 430 Cyril became embroiled with Nestorius, patriarch of Constantinople, who was preaching that Mary was not the Mother of God since Christ was Divine and not human, and consequently she should not have the word theotokos (God-bearer) applied to her. He persuaded Pope Celestine I to convoke a synod at Rome, which condemned Nestorius, and then did the same at his own synod in Alexandria. Celestine directed Cyril to depose Nestorius, and in 431, Cyril presided over the third General Council at Ephesus, attended by some two hundred bishops, which condemned all the tenets of Nestorius and his followers before the arrival of Archbishop John of Antioch and forty-two followers who believed Nestorius was innocent. When they found what had been done, they held a council of their own and deposed Cyril.

Emperor Theodosius IT arrested both Cyril and Nestorius but released Cyril on the arrival of Papal Legates who confirmed the council's actions against Nestorius and declared Cyril innocent of all charges. Two years later, Archbishop John, representing the moderate Antiochene bishops, and Cyril reached an agreement and joined in the condemnation, and Nestorius was forced into exile.

During the rest of his life, Cyril wrote treatises that clarified the doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation and that helped prevent Nestorianism and Pelagianism from taking long-term deep root in the Christian community. He was the most brilliant theologian of the Alexandrian tradition. His writings are characterized by accurate thinking, precise exposition, and great reasoning skills. Among his writings are commentaries on John, Luke, and the Pentateuch, treatises on dogmatic theology, and Apologia against Julian the Apostate, and letters and sermons. He was declared a doctor of the Church by Pope Leo Xill in 1882. His feast day is June 27th. 

-taken from: www.catholic.org

Educational: Saint Paulin us of Nola ( 352 - 431)

 Saint Paulin us of Nola - Luis Borrassa 1414

Saint Paulin us of Nola - Luis Borrassa 1414

Pontius Meropius Paulinus was born c.352 at Bordeaux, in southwestern France. He was from a notable senatorial family with estates in the Aquitaine province of France, northern Spain, and southern Italy. Paulinus was a kinsman of Melania the Elder. He was educated in Bordeaux, where his teacher, the poet Ausonius, also became his friend. At some time during his boyhood he made a visit to the shrine of St Felix at Nola near Naples. His father was the praetorian prefect of Gaul who made certain that his son received a sound education. Paulinus studied rhetoric and poetry and learned from the famed poet Ausonius. He subsequently became a well known lawyer. He became the prefect of Rome, married a Spanish noble lady, Therasia, and led a luxury filled life. Following the death of his son a week after his birth in 390, Paulinus retreated from the world and came to be baptized a Christian by St. Delphinus in Aquitaine. With Therasia, he gave away their property and vast fortune to the poor and to the Church, and they pursued a life of deep austerity and mortifications. About 393, he was forcibly ordained a priest by the bishop of Barcelona.

Soon after, he moved to an estate near the tomb of St. Nola near Naples, Italy There, he and his wife practiced rigorous asceticism and helped to establish a community of monks. To the consternation of his other relatives, he sold all of their estates in Gaul and gave the money to the poor. He also helped to build a church at Fondi, a basilica near the tomb of St. Felix, a hospital for travelers, and an aqueduct. Many of the poor and sick he brought into his own house, and he lived as a hermit with several of his friends. In 409, he was elected bishop of Nola, serving in this office with great distinction until his death. He was a friend and correspondent of virtually all of the leading figures of his era, including Sts. Augustine, Jerome, Ambrose, Martin of Tours, and Pope Anastasius I. Paulinus was also a gifted poet, earning the distinction of being one of the foremost Christian Latin poets of the Patristic period, an honor he shares with Prudentius. Paulinus retained much of the style of the old classical poets, and composed most of the poems in honor of the feast of St. Felix. He is the author of a body of extant works including fifty-one letters, thirty-two poems, and several prose pieces.

-taken from: www.catholic.org

Educational: Saint Peter of Verona, O.P. (1205 - 1252)

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Peter of Verona was an inquisitor and martyr born in Verona, Italy, in 1205. His parents were adherents of the Manichrean heresy, which still survived in northern Italy in the thirteenth century. Sent to a Catholic school, and later to the University of Bologna, he there met St. Dominic, and entered the Order of the Friars Preachers. Such were his virtues, severity of life and doctrine, talent for preaching, and zeal £or the Faith, that Gregory IX made him general inquisitor, and his superiors destined him to combat the Manichrean errors. In that capacity he evangelized nearly the whole of Italy, preaching in Rome, Florence, Bologna, Genoa, and Como. Crowds came to meet him and followed him wherever he went; and conversions were numerous. He never failed to denounce the vices and errors of Catholics who confessed the Faith by words, but in deeds denied it. The Manichreans did all they could to compel the inquisitor to cease from preaching against their errors and propaganda. Persecutions, calumnies, threats, nothing was left untried.

When returning from Como to Milan, he met a certain Carino who with some other Manichreans had plotted to murder him. The assassin struck him with an axe on the head with such violence, that the holy man fell half dead. Rising to his knees he recited the first article of the Symbol of the Apostles, and offering his blood as a sacrifice to God he dipped his fingers in it and wrote on the ground the words: "Credo in Deum". The murderer then pierced his heart. The body was carried to Milan and laid in the church of St. Eustorgio, where a magnificent mausoleum, the work of Balduccio Pisano, was erected to his memory. He wrought many miracles when living, but they were even more numerous after his martyrdom, so that Innocent IV canonized him on March 25, 1253.

-taken from: www.newadvent.org

Educational: Saint Philip Neri (1515 - 1595)

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Saint Philip Neri (San Filippo Neri) was born on July 21, 1515, in Florence, Italy and died on May 26, 1595, in Rome. He was canonized in 1622 and his feast day is May 26. He was an Italian priest and one of the outstanding mystics during the Counter-Reformation and founder of the Congregation of the Oratory (now the Institute of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, also called Oratorians), a congregation of secular priests and clerics. He went to Rome c. 1533, where he tutored, studied, and undertook many charitable works. In 1548 he founded a society of laymen dedicated to the care of the poor, convalescents, and pilgrims. After ordination in 1551 he moved to the ecclesiastical community at San Girolamo della Carita in Rome. There he held religious conferences that became so popular that a large room was built over the church nave to accommodate his audiences. This room was called the Oratory, a name that subsequently referred to those who met there and to the devotional, charitable, and recreational activities that Philip instituted, including musical performances (hence "oratorio").

Philip was rector of the church of San Giovanni from 1564 to 1575, during which period he ordained his disciples. In 1575 Pope Gregory XIII granted him Sta. Maria in Vallicella, where he established the Institute of the Oratory. A house was built for the priests, and Philip, elected provost of the congregation in 1577, resided there after 1583.

Although Philip helped influence Pope Clement VIII to absolve (1595) King Henry IV of France from excommunication, he had little to do with contemporary political events. Noted for his personal spirituality, he underwent numerous ecstatic religious experiences, and many miracles were attributed to him.

-taken from www. britannica.com/biography/Saint-Philip-Neri

Educational: St. Matthias

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How does one qualify to be an apostle? The first act of the apostles after the Ascension of Jesus was to find a replacement for Judas. With all the questions, doubts, and dangers facing them, they chose to focus their attention on finding a twelfth apostle. Why was this important? Twelve was a very important number to the Chosen People: twelve was the number of the twelve tribes of Israel. If the new Israel was to come from the disciples of Jesus, a twelfth apostle was needed. But Jesus had chosen the original twelve. How could they know whom he would choose?

One hundred and twenty people were gathered for prayer and reflection in the upper room, when Peter stood up to propose the way to make the choice. Peter had one criterion, that, like Andrew, James, John, and himself, the new apostle be someone who had been a disciple from the very beginning, from his baptism by John until the Ascension. The reason for this was simple, the new apostle must be a witness to Jesus' resurrection. He must have followed Jesus before anyone knew him, stayed with him when he made enemies, and believed in him when he spoke of the cross and of eating his body-teachings that had made others melt away.

Two men fit this description-Matthias and Joseph called Barsabbas. They knew that both these men had been with them and with Jesus through his whole ministry. But which one had the heart to become a witness to his resurrection. The apostles knew that only the Lord could know what was in the heart of each. They cast lots in order to discover God's will and Matthias was chosen. He was the twelfth apostle and the group was whole again as they waited for the coming of the Holy Spirit.

That's the first we hear of Matthias in Scripture, and the last. Legends like the Acts of Andrew and Matthias testify to Matthias' enthusiastic embrace of all that being an apostle meant including evangelization, persecution, and death in the service of the Lord.

How does one qualify to be an apostle? Clement of Alexandria says that Matthias, like all the other apostles, was not chosen by Jesus for what he already was, but for what Jesus foresaw he would become. He was elected not because he was worthy but because he would become worthy. Jesus chooses all of us in the same way. What does Jesus want you to become?-a follower in His footsteps.

-taken from www.Catholic.org.

Educational: St. Agnes of Montepulciano, O.P.

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St. Agnes of Montepulciano may be best known for an incident that occurred many years after her death. About seventy years after Agnes died, St. Catherine of Siena made a pilgrimage to the shrine of this revered Dominican foundress. St. Catherine bowed to kiss Agnes' foot, the saint raised it up toward her. Catherine may not have been totally surprised, as miraculous characteristics had surrounded Agnes' life.

This "little lamb" was born not far from Montepulciano in 1268. She expressed a desire to give her life to God and practiced pious exercises from an early age. Now and then, her parents gave in to her requests to visit the various convents in town. On one such occasion, Agnes and her mother were passing a house of ill repute, when a flock of crows suddenly descended upon her, pecking and scratching the little girl. Her mother remarked that the crows represented demonic forces threatened by her purity. Indeed, years later, Agnes would be asked to found a convent on that very spot.

ln her teens, Agnes joined the Franciscans in Montepulciano and rose to become its Prioress. Small white flakes in the form of crosses fell gently from the heavens in celebration. It is said that the sisters have preserved some of these until today. In 1306, God inspired Agnes to found a Dominican convent with three stones given her by the Blessed Mother in honor of the Trinity. The Blessed Mother had visited Agnes many times. On one of these occasions she allowed Agnes to hold the Christ Child, but Agnes showed great reluctance in giving him back.

Toward the end of her life, Agnes sought healing from some famous springs. Although she did not receive healing herself, her prayers effected the resurrection of a child who had drowned in the springs. In 1317, Agnes died in Montepulciano and received her long-awaited reward. Her feast day is April 20.

-taken from www.nashvilledominican.org

Educational: Saint Margaret of Hungry, O.P. (1242-1271)

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Margaret was born in 1242, the daughter of Bela IV, King of Hungary, and Maria Lascaris, daughter of the emperor of Constantinople. Before her birth her parents had vowed to dedicate their child to God if Hungary would be victorious over the invading Tartars. Their prayers were answered and so when four years old was placed in the Dominican monastery of Veszprim. At the age of twelve she moved to a new monastery built by her father near Buda and their made profession into the hands of Humbert of Romans. Margaret lived a life totally dedicated to Christ crucified and inspired her sisters by her asceticism, her works of mercy, her pursuit of peace, and her humble service. She had a special love for the Eucharist and the Passion of Christ and showed a special devotion to the Holy Spirit and Our Lady.

-taken from the 'Supplement to the Liturgty of the Hours for the Order of Preachers'