Franciscan Saints & Blessed
BL. JOLENTA (about 1235-1298)
Poor Clare. Widow.
Jolenta (Yolande or Helena), born in Hungary, was a daughter of Bela IV, King of Hungary and Croatia, and of Mary, whose father was Emperor of Constantinople. She was educated in the home of her sister, Bl. Cunegunda, Queen of Poland. Both were nieces of St. Elizabeth of Hungary. After Jolenta was married to Duke Boleslas VI of Kalisz, they gave much of their time to the care of the needy, and also founded a convent for Poor Clares at Gniezo (Poland) about 1260. Following the death of her husband in 1279, Jolenta entered the Poor Clares in Stary Sacz (Poland) with her youngest daughter. She later moved to Gniezo where she became abbess, dying there in 1299. Her cult as Blessed was confirmed in 1827 by Leo XII.
First Reading: Gal. 2: 19-20; Gospel: Mk. 10: 17-30
ST. ANTHONY OF PADUA (1195-1231)
Friar Minor. Doctor of the Church
Ferdinand de Bulloês y Taveira, born in Lisbon, entered the Canons Regular of St. Augustine there in 1210. Sent two years later to the monastery of Holy Cross, Coimbra where he was ordained, he saw the remains of the first Franciscan martyrs of Morocco in 1220 and joined the Franciscans that year taking the name, Anthony. After a very short period as missionary in Morocco, he went to Sicily, and then to Italy. Drawing on his deep knowledge of Sacred Scripture, he preached in northern Italy and southern France (1222-1224) against the Albigensians. His sermons in Italy during 1227-1230 dealt with social problems of the time. Anthony died on 13th June 1231 at Arcella near Padua. His burial on a Tuesday (17th June) gave rise to Tuesday devotions in his honour. He was canonised a year after his death by Gregory IX and declared Doctor of the Church by Pius XII in 1946 with the title of Evangelical Doctor.
First Reading: Wis. 7: 7-14; Second Reading: Eph. 4: 7, 11-15; Gospel: Mk. 16: 15-20
BL. JOHN OF PARMA (1208-1289)
The man who was to become the 7th Minister General of the Franciscan Order was born into the noble family of Buralli. He was professor of philosophy in Parma when at the age of 25, he felt drawn by the love of God to join the Franciscans. He completed his theology in Paris. After ordination, he was appointed professor of theology with remarkable success at Bologna, Naples and Rome. In 1245, Innocent IV convened the First Council of Lyons, and John was deputed by the Minister General to represent him at it. He won the admiration of all with his wisdom, knowledge and virtue. Two years later when the Pope presided at the General Chapter of the Order, he was elected Minister General. John visited practically all the friaries of the Order in various countries. The Pope sent him as his legate to Istanbul (then Constantinople) to try to restore the schismatic Greeks to Catholic unity. On his return in 1257 he decided to get someone else to govern the Order and nominated St Bonaventure as his successor. John then withdrew to a hermitage at Greccio where he lived for some 30 years. Aware that problems had arisen again in Istanbul, John, now 80 years old, offered his services to Nicholas IV. However, he fell ill on the way and died at Camerino. Pius VI beatified him in 1777.
First Reading: Col. 3: 12-17; Gospel: Mt. 19: 27-29
BLS. PATRICK O’HEALY, CONRAD O’ROURKE, CONOR O’DEVANY & JOHN KEARNEY
Friars Minor. Irish Martyrs
Patrick O’Healy (about 1543-1579) was probably born in Co. Sligo or Co. Leitrim. He was a Franciscan novice in 1561. He was trained and educated for the priesthood in Spain. Sent to Rome in 1575, he impressed the Minister General and the Pope and the following year was appointed Bishop of Mayo. Some years later he reached Ireland. In the persecutions there, he was betrayed and captured and found guilty of lèse-majesté. He was hanged at Kilmallock, Co Limerick. Conrad (Con) O’Rourke (about 1549-1579) probably joined the Franciscans at Creevelea friary, Dromahaire, Co Leitrim. He was probably ordained on the continent and returned to Ireland with Bishop O’Healy in 1579. He was captured and hanged with the bishop at Kilmallock. Conor O’Devany (about 1532-1612) was born in Raphoe, Co Donegal and became a Franciscan in the friary of Donegal about 1550. He studied on the continent and after ordination was appointed Bishop of Down and Connor in 1582, being consecrated in the Church of S. Maria dell’Anima in Rome. Shortly afterwards he returned to Ireland. He was arrested in 1588 and imprisoned in Dublin Castle. He was soon released and continued his pastoral work in his diocese under the patronage and protection of the O’Neills. He was arrested in 1611, found guilty of treason and hanged in Dublin. John Kearney (1619-1653) was born in Cashel, Co Tipperary. He joined the Franciscans at their friary in Kilkenny. After his novitiate, he went to Leuven in Belgium and was ordained in Brussels in 1642. He returned to Ireland and taught in Cashel and Waterford. He was much admired for his preaching. In 1650 he became guardian of Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary. In the Cromwellian persecutions, he was arrested for exercising his priesthood and was hanged in Clonmel, Co Tipperary. He was buried in the chapter hall of the suppressed friary of Cashel. These four Irish Franciscan martyrs together with 13 other Irish martyrs were beatified by John Paul II in 1992.
First Reading: 2 Cor. 6: 4-10; Gospel: John 12: 24-26
BL. RAYMOND LULL (1235-1316)
Secular Franciscan. Martyr
A native of Palma de Majorca, Raymond left the court of King James of Aragon at thirty years of age to become a hermit, and then a Secular Franciscan. Competent in Arabic through his Moorish neighbours, he had a major interest in finding common ground between Christians, Jews and Muslims. He helped to found a school for languages and philosophy of the Middle East. After teaching in Paris, he went to Tunis (c.1291) to preach and dialogue. In Europe again (1311-1315), he developed plans for the conversion of the Moors. He returned to Tunis where he was put to death by stoning in 1316. Poet, mystic and missionary, his dialogue with other religions led him to propose that the highest revealed truths could be proved by reason alone but this theory was in fact condemned in 1376. Raymond's cult as Blessed was approved in 1858 by Bl. Pius IX.
First Reading: 2 Cor. 6: 4-10; Gospel: John 12: 24-26
SS. GREGORY GRASSI, HERMINE GRIVOT (virgin), AND COMPANIONS (+1900)
Friars Minor & Secular Franciscans. Martyrs in China
The Boxer Rebellion in the northern provinces of China took its toll of the Catholic population, some 35,000 being killed in the year 1900 alone. Among them in July were three Franciscan bishops (Gregory Grassi, Francis Fogollo and Antonine Fantosati), four priests and one lay friar. In addition, there were seven Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (Superioress, M. Hermine Grivot), seven Chinese seminarians (all Secular Franciscans) and seven Chinese laymen (four of them Secular Franciscans). Twenty-six of them were cruelly slashed to death on 9th July 1900, the others on the 4th & 7th July. All were canonised with 91 other martyrs in China by John Paul II in 2000.
First Reading: Apoc. 7: 9-17; Gospel: John 15: 18-21
SS. NICHOLAS PIECK, WILLEHAD OF DENMARK AND COMPANIONS (+ 1572)
Friars Minor. Martyrs
During the religious wars in the Netherlands, one of the Calvinist bands known as the “Sea Beggars” seized the town of Gorkum (Holland) on 26th June 1572, and as well as four other priests, they imprisoned Nicholas Pieck who was guardian of the local friary and ten of his Franciscan community. They were treated with great cruelty by the soldiers, then marched to Brielle on 7th July where they were hanged two days later for not renouncing faith in the Real Presence and the primacy of the pope. All nineteen, known as the Martyrs of Gorkum, were canonised in 1867 by Bl. Pius IX.
First Reading: Eph. 6: 10-18; Gospel: Luke 6: 22-23, 27-28
ST. VERONICA GIULIANI (1660-1727)
Poor Clare. Virgin
Ursula was seventh and last daughter to Francis Guiliani and Benedetta Mancini on 27th December 1660. She left her native Mercatello at seventeen years of age to join the Capuchin Poor Clares in Città di Castello. Her religious name, Veronica, had obvious reference to the Passion. Sufferings, both physical and mental, marked her life. Elected novice mistress in 1682, she was deposed within a few years by the Holy Office because of false accusations. She was elected abbess in 1717, an office she held until her death. It is held that Veronica experienced the crowning with thorns in 1694 and the stigmata in 1697. The Eucharist and the Passion where the main centres of her life, as well as the efficacy of suffering for others. She was canonised in 1839 by Gregory XVI.
First Reading: 2Cor. 4: 6-11, 16-17; Gospel: Mt. 16: 24-27
SS. JOHN JONES (1559-1598) AND JOHN WALL (1620-1679)
Friars Minor. Martyrs
John Jones (1559-1598) was born in Wales. After ordination as a Franciscan priest in France, he spent a short period in Rome, and returned in 1592 to work in England, particularly in London. Arrested in 1597, he was put on trial in June 1598 for exercising the priesthood. The notorious priest hunter, Topcliffe brought evidence against him, and he was hanged on 12th July in Southwark outside London. John Wall (1620-1679) was born in Lancashire. Ordained as a secular priest in Rome in 1645, he became a Franciscan in 1651 taking the name Joachim. He worked in England from 1656 onwards, especially in Warwickshire under the assumed name of Mr. Webb. Arrested in 1679, he was condemned to death for exercising the priesthood, and executed on 22nd August 1679. Both he and John Jones were canonised in 1970 by Paul VI.
First Reading: 2 Cor. 4: 7-15; Gospel: Mt. 10: 28-33
Bls. EMMANUEL RUIZ AND COMPANIONS (+1860)
Friars Minor. Martyrs of Damascus in Syria
Born in 1804 in the province of Santander in Spain, Emmanuel joined the Franciscans with the hope of becoming a missionary. Ordained in 1831, following his request, he was sent to the Holy Land. There he had two spells of service. During the second, he was appointed guardian of Damascus in 1858 with a community of eight friars, six of whom were priests. A quarrel between a Maronite and a Druse in 1860 sparked atrocious rioting in which the Druses pillaged towns and massacred some 3,000 people, among them the Franciscan community at Damascus. The other Franciscan martyrs were priests - Carmel Volta (aged 57), Engelbert Kolland (33), Nicanor Ascanio (46), Peter Soler (33), Nicholas Alberga (30) - and lay friars, Francis Pinazzo (58) and John James Fernandez (58). All were Spanish except Engelbert who was from the diocese of Salzburg in Austria. They were all beatified with three Maronite laymen by Pius XI in 1926, the seventh centenary year of the death of St Francis.
First Reading: Rom. 5: 1-5; Gospel: Luke 9: 23-26
ST. FRANCIS SOLANO (1549-1610)
Francis was the second of three sons born to Matthew Sanchez Solano and Anna Jimenez on 10th March 1549 in Montilla, Spain. He joined the Friars Minor in 1569, was ordained in 1576, and spent thirteen years preaching and ministering to the sick. He sailed for South America in 1589, spending the rest of his life in Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Paraquay. A violinist, he composed and sang many songs in honour of the Divine Child and the Blessed Virgin Mary as a means of instructing in the faith. Francis died in Lima, Peru in 1610. He was canonised in 1726 by Benedict XIII and is known as the “Apostle of South America”.
First Reading: Rom. 10: 10-18; Gospel: Luke 10: 1-9
ST. BONAVENTURE (1217-1274)
Friar Minor. Doctor of the Church
Son of John Fidanza and Maria di Ritello, and born in Bagnoregio (Viterbo, Italy), the young John was cured of an illness by St. Francis of Assisi. He studied and later taught theology in Paris (1234-1257). It was here that he entered the Franciscan Order (1243), taking the name, Bonaventure. Elected Minister General of the Order in 1257, he kept to the early ideals and governed with great wisdom and reconciliation. He helped in writing a rule for the Isabellan Poor Clares (1259). Elected Cardinal Bishop of Albano (1273), he worked successfully for union between Greeks and Latins at the second Council of Lyons (1274). He died and was buried here in 1274. Canonised by Sixtus IV in 1482, he was declared a Doctor of the Church by Sixtus V in 1588 with the title of Seraphic Doctor.
First Reading: Wis. 8: 2-7, 16-18; Second Reading: 1 Cor. 2: 6-13; Gospel: Mt. 5: 13-19
ST. SIMON OF LIPNICA (1440-1482)
Simon came from the small town of Lipnica, not far from Kraków in Poland. Moved by the preaching of St John Capistran, he joined the Franciscans and was ordained. His eloquence had a profound effect on many and his motto of “Pray, work and hope” inspired his friars as well. He had the title of official preacher in the Wawel Cathedral in Kraków. In 1482, an epidemic broke out in Poland. Simon ministered assiduously to the sick, contracted the disease himself and died. He was canonised by Benedict XVI in 2007.
First Reading: Eccles. 2: 7-13; Gospel: Mt. 11: 25-30
ST. JOHN OF DUKLA (1414-1484)
John was born at Dukla in Poland and became a follower of St Francis at an early age. His humility and charity were most admired and after ordination he frequently exercised the office of guardian and administered the custody of Lviv (Ukraine) with high praise. At 40 years of age, he joined the reformed group in the order in stricter observance of the rule of St Francis. He was a popular spiritual director with great devotion to the Mother of God. He had the special gift of reconciling people who disliked each other. He worked hard to bring the schismatic Ruthenians and Armenians back to unity with the Catholic Church. In his final years he lost his sight but continued to work until his death. He is numbered among the principal patrons of the Poles and Lithuanians. He was canonised by John Paul II during a visit to Poland in 1997.
First Reading: Eccles. 3: 17-24; Gospel: Mt. 5: 13-19
ST. LAWRENCE OF BRINDISI (1559-1619)
Friar Minor. Doctor of the Church
Born in Brindisi to William Russo and Elizabeth Masella, he was baptised Julius Caesar but took the name Lawrence on entering the Capuchins in 1575. After his ordination in 1502, he proved to be an effective preacher, well versed in Sacred Scripture and competent in seven languages. Lawrence spread the Capuchin Order in Germanic countries, and was engaged in several diplomatic peace missions. Minister Provincial several times, he became Minister General of the Order in 1602-1605, maintaining a balance between the hermit-style life and the needs of the apostolate. He died on a peace mission in Lisbon in 1619, and was canonised by Leo XIII in 1881 and declared a Doctor of the Church by John XXIII in 1959 with the title of Doctor of Conversions and Missions.
First Reading: Wis. 8: 9-16; Second Reading: 2 Cor. 5: 14-21; Gospel: Luke 9: 1-6
ST. CUNEGUNDA (1224-1292)
Poor Clare. Virgin
Cunegunda (or Kinga) was daughter of King Bela IV of Hungary and Mary Lascaris, and sister of St. Margaret of Hungary and Bl. Jolenta. Reluctantly married to Boleslas II of Krakow, who was subsequently King of Poland, they both made a commitment of personal continence. Their special concern was for the poor and the sick. After her husband's death in 1279, Cunegunda sold her personal possessions and entered the Poor Clare convent which her husband had founded at Stary Sazc. She was abbess here and died in 1292. Having been proclaimed special patron of the Poles and Lithuanians by Clement XI in 1715, she was canonised by John Paul II in 1999.
First Reading: Phil. 3: 8-14; Gospel: Mt. 13: 44-46
BL. LOUISE OF SAVOY (1462-1503)
Poor Clare. Widow
Daughter of Bl. Amadeus of Savoy and Yolanda of France, Louise was born on 28th December 1462. In obedience to her parents, she married Hugh of Orleans in 1479. Both led exemplary Christian lives. Following Hugh's death in 1490, Louise distributed all her wealth and entered the Colettine Poor Clare convent of Orbe in 1492, founded by her mother-in-law in 1427. Louise was abbess in Orbe and was noted for her close links with the friars. Her cult as Blessed was confirmed in 1839 by Gregory XVI.
First Reading: Rom. 8: 26-30; Gospel: Luke 12: 32-34
Bl. MARY MAGDALENE MARTINENGO (1687-1737)
Poor Clare. Virgin
Mary Magdalene was born in Brescia (Italy), the third and last child of Francis Leopold Martinengo and Margaret Secci d'Aragona, being given her mother's name in baptism. She entered the Capuchin Poor Clares convent of Our Lady of the Snows in Brescia on 8th September 1705. In 1709, she made a vow to tend to the greatest possible perfection. Her life was marked by humility and very severe penance. Yet as mistress of novices (1723), and later as abbess, she showed extraordinary prudence in the direction of others. She died on 27th July 1737 and was beatified in 1900 by Leo XIII. Her writings, mostly unpublished, are numerous.
First Reading: Eph. 3: 14-19; Gospel: Mt. 25: 1-13
OUR LADY OF THE ANGELS OF THE PORTIUNCULA
Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Around 1208, the Abbot of the Benedictine monastery of Monte Subasio gave the little chapel of St Mary of the Angels at the Portiuncula to St Francis of Assisi. It was falling down abandoned in a wood of oak trees, and Francis restored it with his own hands. This became the home of St Francis and that of his first followers and indeed, his favourite abode. It was to here that St Clare hastened when she left home to found her Order (1212). On his death bed Francis recommended the chapel to the faithful protection and care of his friars. He died close to the chapel at sunset on Saturday October 3, 1226. A tradition going back to the 13th century says that St Francis meeting Pope Honorius III at Perugia in 1216 requested and was granted the Great Pardon of Assisi or the Portiuncula Indulgence associated with this church. The early followers of Francis, Br Leo and Br Masseo, are cited as witnesses to its origins. Because of lack of written confirmation, some historians dispute its beginnings but there are records that the indulgence was being availed of by the end of the 13th century.
First Reading: Sir. 24: 1-4, 16, 22-24; Second Reading: Gal. 4: 3-7; Gospel: Lk. 1: 26-32
BL. FRÉDÉRIC JANSOONE (1838-1916)
Frédéric Jansoone was born of Flemish parents in a little French village in the diocese of Lille. In 1864, he received the Franciscan habit at Amiens and was ordained in 1870. The Franco-Prussian war was on and immediately he was made military chaplain at a local hospital where he ministered to bodies and spirits of those injured and ill. After the war he became guardian of Bordeaux and editor of the Révue Franciscaine. Long desiring to serve in the Holy Land, it was 1876 before he was permitted to travel. He was assigned to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem from where he reestablished the Via Crucis and set out on a series of retreats in Egypt. He was elected vicar custodian of the Holy Places and served two six-year terms. In response to a dire need to meet the most necessary expenses, he went to Canada where he set up and directed until his death a Holy Land commissariat. He revitalised the Secular Franciscan Order in Canada, travelling far and wide especially in the diocese of Trois Rivières, never turning a deaf ear to suffering or any request and promoting devotion to the Mother of God. Suffering from stomach cancer, he passed away peacefully in Montreal with his friars around him. In 1988, he was beatified by John Paul II.
First Reading: Eccles. 2: 7-13; Gospel: Mt. 25: 14-23
ST. DOMINIC (about 1170-1221)
Founder of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans). Priest
Dominic de Guzman, born in Caleruega, Spain, became a member of the Cathedral Chapter in Osma about 1196. Personal experience of the inroads of heresy in northern Europe in 1203 and 1205 decided his future apostolate as an itinerant preacher in southern France and northern Italy. By 1215, he had gathered his followers into a community, approved as the Order of Preachers (O.P.) in 1216. Zeal, maturity of mind, penance, prayer and concern for his neighbour characterised him. He is said to have been present at a Franciscan General Chapter in 1218. Dominic died in Bologna (Italy) on 6th August 1221, and was canonised in 1234 by Gregory IX.
First Reading: 2 Tim. 4: 1-5; Gospel: Mt. 5: 13-16
ST. CLARE OF ASSISI (1194-1253)
Foundress of the Order Poor Clares (OSC). Virgin
Praise God by your life!
The third of five children born to Favarone di Offreduccio and Ortolana Fiumi, Clare left home at the age of eighteen (1212), and, inspired by St. Francis of Assisi, she consecrated herself to live the gospel life, following the poverty and humility of Jesus Christ and his Mother. The Privilege of Poverty, which recognised the special charism of St. Clare and her Sisters in their way of following the poor and humble Christ, was authorised by the pope in 1228 and again in 1253. Her contemplative prayer centred on Christ in His Infancy and Passion. She was also noted for her devotion to the Eucharist. Before her death, some 110 communities of Sisters claimed her as their foundress. Clare died in 1253 and was canonised in 1255 by Alexander IV and chosen as universal patroness of television in 1958 by Pius XII.
First Reading: Hos. 2: 16, 17, 21-22; Second Reading: 2 Cor. 4: 6-10, 16-18; Gospel: John 15: 4-10
ST. MAXIMILIAN MARY KOLBE (1894-1941)
Friar Minor. Martyr
Raymond, son of Julius Kolbe and Marianna Dabrowska was born on 7th January 1894 in Zdunska Wola, Poland. He entered the Conventual Franciscans in 1910 taking the name, Maximilian. Following his ordination in 1918, he worked in Poland and later in Japan (1930-1936), spreading devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary (B.V.M.). Imprisoned in Oswiecim (Auschwitz) on 28th May 1941, he took the place of another prisoner condemned to death. Surviving starvation, Maximilian was eventually killed through lethal injection administered to him on 14th August 1941. He was canonised as a martyr in 1982 by John Paul II.
First Reading: 1 John 3: 13-18; Gospel: John 15: 12-17
ST. BEATRICE DA SILVA (1426-1492)
Poor Clare. Foundress of Conceptionist Poor Clares. Virgin
One of eleven children born to Ruy Gomes da Silva and Isabel de Meneses, Beatrice was born in Ceuta, Morocco. When assisting at the royal court of Castille, she suffered much persecution arising out of jealousy. She retired to live with Dominican sisters in Toledo (1454-1484). Out of devotion to Mary's Immaculate Conception, she formed a community known as the Order of the Immaculate Conception. At first, it was based on the Cistercian Rule, then in 1494, on the Rule of St. Clare, and finally in 1511, on its own Rule. Beatrice received the habit and veil of her Order on her death-bed, 9th August 1492, in the presence of six friars. She was canonised in 1976 by Paul VI. There are 150 communities of Conceptionists, all of them contemplative, in the world.
First Reading: 2 Cor. 4: 7-15; Gospel: Luke 12: 32-34
ST. LOUIS (1274-1297)
Louis was born in Brignoles in Provence (France), the son of King Charles II, Count of Anjou, and of Mary, daughter of King Stephen V of Hungary. His short life was remarkable for its virginal innocence, prayerfulness, and care of the poor. He renounced his right of succession to the throne, was ordained priest in 1294, and became a Friar Minor before accepting the bishopric of Toulouse in 1295. He died in Brignoles on 19th August 1297, and was canonised in 1317 at Avignon by John XXII in the presence of his mother and brother.
First Reading: Ezek. 34: 11-16; Gospel: John 10: 11-16
ST. LOUIS IX (1214-1270)
Louis was born in Poissy (France), the son of King Louis VIII and Blanche of Castille. In 1233 he married Margaret of Provence, by whom he had ten children. As king of France (1226-1270), he is the ideal of a sovereign who lives his faith. Louis promoted justice and peace within his realm and among other nations. His first crusade for the Holy Places (1248-1254) ended in failure. He died of the plague during a second crusade near Tunis on 25th August 1270, and was canonised in 1297 by Boniface VIII. Louis is Patron of the Secular Franciscan Order of which he is said to have been a member.
First Reading: Wis. 10: 10-14; Gospel: Luke 19: 12-19
BL. JUNÍPERO SERRA (1713-1784)
Miguel José Serra was born on the Spanish island of Majorca. He was educated at a Franciscan school from which he joined the Order, receiving the name of Junípero, and was ordained in 1738. He taught philosophy and won great fame as a pulpit orator. Turning his back on this, he joined a missionary band and reached Mexico City on New Year’s Day 1750. He criss-crossed Mexico for Christ and at the age of 56, he founded missions in California, confirming thousands of Indian converts. Combining deep spirituality and joy in the service of God with a down-to-earth practicality, he laid the foundations of California’s agriculture and stock-raising. Despite an ulcerated leg, he covered huge distances walking. He died at the Carmel mission in Monterey and was beatified in 1988 by John Paul II. In 1931, a bronze statue of Junípero by Ettore Cadorin representing California was placed in the National Statuary Hall in the Capitol Building in Washington D.C.
First Reading: 1 John 4: 7-16; Gospel: Mt. 22: 35-40
BL. BONAVENTURE OF BARCELONA (1620-1684)
Miguel Battista Gran was born in Terragona (Spain). After the death of his wife, he joined the Franciscans receiving the name of Bonaventure and was sent to Barcelona. He served as cook, porter, questor and infirmarian in a number of friaries. In 1658 he was sent to Rome to promote the strict observance of the Rule. He served in Aracaeli, St Isidore’s College (as porter) and Capranica in Sutri. He was held in high esteem by the noble Barberini family and gave advice and consolation to many. He went on to found the friary of St Bonaventure on the Palatine (Rome). It was there that he died and was buried. He was beatified by St Pius X in 1906.
First Reading: Zeph. 2: 3 & 3: 12-13; Gospel: Mt. 13: 44-46
STIGMATA OF ST FRANCIS
On the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, 1224, Francis was mysteriously marked with the wounds of the Passion as he prayed on Mount La Verna in Tuscany (Italy). His biographer Celano wrote: “Right from the beginning, when true love for Christ had changed this lover into the very image of Christ, Francis began to conceal and hide his treasure with such care that for a considerable time not even those closest to him knew of it.” Benedict XI instituted a special feast for this event.
First Reading: Gal. 6: 14-18; Gospel: Luke 9: 23-26
ST. JOSEPH OF COPERTINO (1603-1663)
Joseph was born in a stable, for his father, Felix Desa, was already dead, and his mother, Francis Parnara, had been evicted from her home in Copertino in Apulia (Italy). Poor and uneducated, Joseph failed to be accepted by the Capuchins in 1620, but soon joined the Conventuals, and despite problems of learning, he was ordained priest in 1628. Joyfulness, humility, rigid penance, and an uncontrollable mystical gift of levitation marked his life. Because of his levitations, he was not allowed to say Mass in public. Joseph lived in seclusion in Osimo (Marche region, Italy) for the last six years of his life. He was canonised in 1767 by Clement XIII and, somewhat humorously, is regarded as patron of those who travel by air.
First Reading: 1 Cor. 12: 31 & 13: 1-10, 13; Gospel: Mt. 11: 25-30
ST. PIO OF PIETRELCINA (1887-1968)
Francesco Forgione was born into a hard-working farming family in Pietrelcina, near Benevento in southern Italy. He joined the Capuchins, receiving the name of Pio, and in 1910 was ordained a priest. In 1916 he was assigned to San Giovanni Rotondo where with the exception of a few brief interruptions he was to spend the rest of his life. Padre Pio was making his thanksgiving after Mass one day in 1918 when he received the stigmata. From then on, thousands of people flocked to see him offer Mass (which would take about 90 minutes) and to confess their sins to him. On two occasions, the Church authorities forbade him to say Mass publicly or hear confessions. He submitted obediently without a word of complaint. He founded many prayer groups as well as a modern hospital to alleviate suffering. The fame of his miracles, before and after his death, spread all over the world. Three years after his beatification, he was canonised in 2002 by John Paul II.
First Reading: Gal. 6: 14-18; Gospel: Mt. 11: 25-30
ST. PACIFICUS OF SAN SEVERINO (1653-1721)
Carlo Antonio Divini was born in San Severino in the Marche region of central Italy. He joined the Franciscan Order, receiving the name of Pacificus, and was ordained in 1678. After a few years he became ill and never again recovered full health. From 1705 until his death he served in his native San Severino, offering up his sickness for the conversion of sinners. He was often favoured with ecstasies while offering Mass. He was canonised in 1839 by Gregory XVI.
First Reading: Rom. 8: 26-30; Gospel: Mt. 11: 25-30
ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI (1182-1226)
Friar Minor. Founder of the Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans)
The Lord revealed a greeting to me that we should say: “May the Lord give you peace.” (St. Francis)
Son of Peter and Pica Bernardone, Francis (christened John after St. John the Baptist) took the Gospel in literal fashion after spending a carefree youth in his native Assisi (Umbria, Italy). In 1208, he gathered some few followers into a fraternity, and in 1209, got approval for his Gospel way of life from Innocent III. Radical poverty, fraternity, prayer and itinerant preaching of the Gospel characterised his Rule of life. He was instrumental in initiating St. Clare of Assisi into a fully contemplative form of life. His inner dedication to the crucified Christ resulted in his bearing the marks of the Passion in his body (1224). Simplicity, joyfulness, fidelity to the Church, love of all creation singled him out in his own time. Gradually accepting death, Francis died in 1226, and was canonised in 1228 by Gregory IX (formerly Cardinal Ugolino di Segni).
First Reading: Sir. 50: 1, 3-4, 6-7; Second Reading: Gal. 6: 14-18; Gospel: Mt.11: 25-30
SS. DANIEL AND COMPANIONS (+1227)
Friars Minor. Martyrs in Morocco
Daniel, provincial of Calabria, and six companions from Tuscany (Samuel, Agnellus, Domnus, Leo, Nicholas and Hugoline) went as missionaries to Morocco, arriving there on 20th September 1227. They entered the town of Ceuta early on Sunday, 3rd October, and preached the Gospel publicly. They were quickly arrested, and having refused to renounce the faith, they were beheaded on 10th October. They were canonised in 1516 by Leo X.
First Reading: 1 Cor. 4: 9-13; Gospel: Mt. 10: 16-22
BL. JOHN XXIII (1881-1963)
Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli was the son of a farmer, born in Sotto il Monte (northern Italy). In 1896 he joined the Secular Franciscan Order. He was ordained a priest in the diocese of Bergamo in 1904. In 1921 he went to Rome to work for the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith. Four years later he became a titular archbishop and represented the Holy See for 29 years in Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece and as nuncio in France. In 1953 he was made a Cardinal and Patriarch of Venice. To the surprise of many, at the age of 77, he was elected Pope in the 1958 Conclave following the death of Pius XII. In the 4½ years of his pontificate, he exercised a profound influence for good on the Church and the world. He was known for his personal warmth, good humour and kindness. He announced Vatican II Ecumenical Council in January 1959 and convoked its first session in 1962. He internationalised and expanded the numbers in the College of Cardinals. Of the ten saints canonised by him, five were of the Franciscan family. Good Pope John died on 3rd June, 1963, mourned by the whole world. He was beatified by John Paul II in 2000 with the celebration of his feast fixed for the date he opened Vatican II.
First Reading: 1 Cor. 9: 16-19, 22-23; Gospel: Mt. 16: 13-19
ST. PETER OF ALCÁNTARA (1499-1562)
Peter was born in Alcantara, Spain, to Peter Garavita and Maria Villela de Sanabria. He became a Franciscan in 1515 in Manjarez, and was ordained a priest in 1524. A man of great penance and prayer, he was the first spiritual guide to St. Theresa of Avila in her reform of Carmel. Elected Provincial in 1538, he headed a Franciscans reform later known as the “Alcantarines.” One of his best known writings is the “Treatise on Prayer and Meditation.” Peter died at Arenas on 18th October, 1562, and was canonised in 1669 by Clement IX. He was declared Patron of Brazil in 1862, and joint Patron of Estremadura in 1962.
First Reading: Phil. 3: 8-14; Gospel: Luke 12: 22-31
BL. JOSEPHINE LEROUX (1747-1794)
Poor Clare. Martyr
Anne Leroux was born in Cambrai in northern France and entered the Urbanist Poor Clare convent at Valenciennes also in the north of France in 1769, taking the name of Josephine. When the community was suppressed by decree of 17th August 1792, she fled to Mons in Belgium along with a group of Ursulines, and returned under cover to Valenciennes in 1794. Arrested in September with five other sisters and four priests for teaching the Catholic religion, all were sent to the guillotine on 23rd October 1794. Thet went to the scaffold singing the Te Deum and the Litany of the B.V.M. Josephine and her companions were beatified in 1920 by Benedict XV.
First Reading: Sir. 51: 1-8; Gospel: John 12: 24-26
ST. JOHN OF CAPISTRANO (1386-1456)
John was born at Capistrano in the province of Abruzzi, son of a German soldier-baron who settled in Italy. His father and brothers were killed in a war on behalf of the king of Naples. He studied law in Perugia (1406-1411), became governor of Perugia in 1412, but after being cast into prison while on a peace mission, he joined the Observant Franciscans (1415), and was ordained a priest in 1418. A noted preacher and confessor, he worked with St. Bernardine of Siena. He subsequently preached in Austria, Germany, Holland, the Czech Republic, and in Hungary where he led a crusade against invading Turks. For this he has been called the “apostle of Europe”. John died at Ilok in Croatia in 1456 and was canonised by Alexander VIII in 1690.
First Reading: Wis. 10: 10-14; Gospel: Luke 9: 1-6
ST. ANTHONY OF SANT’ANNA GALVÃO (1739-1822)
Antônio Galvão de França came from the state of São Paolo in Brazil. First wishing to join the Jesuits, he was persuaded by his father to become a Franciscan and was ordained in 1762. In São Paolo he served as preacher, confessor and porter. He drew his spiritual strength from his constant adoration of the Eucharist. He brought peace to souls and families and dispensed charity to the poor and the sick. He was zealous, wise and prudent in the confessional. Anthony of Sant’Anna collaborated in the foundation of an order of sisters known as the Recollects of Our Lady of the Conception of Divine Providence. He served as guardian of St Francis Friary in São Paolo. In his old age he obtained permission to stay at the Recolhimento da Luz where he died. He was canonised in 2007 in São Paolo by Benedict XVI during a meeting of the Latin American Episcopal Conference, becoming the first Brazilian-born saint to be canonised.
First Reading: 1 Cor. 13: 4-13; Gospel: Mt. 19: 27-29
DEDICATION OF CONSECRATED FRANCISCAN CHURCHES
The dedication of a church is a feast of our Risen Lord since He is head of the Church. Through His Word, His anointed ministers & the whole assembly, He speaks to his people, feeds them with his Body and Blood, and prays with them in churches. The structure of modern churches can express still other things: the people of God as a community around the altar of self-giving love; a pilgrim people expressed in a more mobile style of architecture. Either way, the church expresses God-with-us.
First Reading: Apoc. 21: 1-5; Gospel: John 4: 19-24
BL. JOHN DUNS SCOTUS (1265-1308)
Born in Scotland of an Irish family that had settled there, John Duns received his early education in Dumfries. Joining the Franciscans, he was ordained on St Patrick’s Day, 1291 in Northampton (England). He continued his studies in Paris and Oxford, lectured in Cambridge in 1301 and taught at the Sorbonne, Paris the following year where he became known as Scotus because of his country of origin. The fame of his genius and learning spread rapidly. In 1306 in Paris, he championed Mary’s Immaculate Conception, refuting all objections against this prerogative, though it was not until 1854 that the dogma was solemnly defined. The Church’s approval of his Christocentric teaching (the primacy of Christ) was given by the institution of the feast of Christ the King in 1925. In 1307 Scotus moved to a teaching post in Cologne and soon afterwards he died there. Known as the Subtle and Marian Doctor, his immemorial cult was confirmed in 1993 by John Paul II.
First Reading: 2 Tim. 1: 13-14 & 2: 1-3; Gospel: Mt. 5: 13-16
ST. DIDACUS OF ALCALÁ (about 1400-1463)
Didacus was born near Seville (Spain) about 1400. After living as a hermit for a period, he entered the Franciscans as a lay friar. He was sent as a missionary to the Canary Islands (1441-1449), where he was guardian of the community and won many converts to the faith. Returning to Europe, he spent his life in Alcalá from 1456 until his death. He was known for his humility, simplicity, and a knowledge of theology that seemed to be infused. Didacus was canonised in 1588 by Sixtus V.
First Reading: 1 Cor. 1: 26-31; Gospel: Luke 22: 24-29
SS. NICHOLAS TAVELIÇ AND COMPANIONS (+1391)
Friars Minor. Martyrs in Jerusalem
These four ordained Franciscans of different nationalities, died together for the faith in the Holy Land: a Croatian, Nicholas Tavelić, born in Sibenik in Dalmatia, two Frenchmen, Deodatus Aribert and Peter of Narbonne, and an Italian, Stephen de' Prunelli of Cuneo. After preaching the Gospel publicly in Jerusalem, they were cruelly beaten and thrown into prison on 11th November 1391. On 14th November, they were put on trial and, having refused to renounce their faith, they were beheaded. All four were canonised in 1970 by Paul VI.
First Reading: Rom. 8: 31-39; Gospel: Mt. 10: 28-33
ST. ELIZABETH OF HUNGARY (1207-1231)
Elizabeth was daughter of Andrew II of Hungary and Gertrude Andechs-Meran. In 1221 she married Ludwig (not Louis!) IV of Thuringia (central Germany) by whom she had three children. After his death (1227), she had to leave her home in Wartburg with her children, suffering much deprivation. After a settlement, she resigned her official position, and with her resources, built a hospital for the sick and outcasts. Elizabeth was received into the Secular Franciscans in 1228, and died in Marburg in 1231. Canonised in 1235 by Gregory IX, she is patroness of the Secular Franciscan Order.
First Reading: Sir. 26: 1-3, 15-18, 24; Second Reading: 1 Tim. 5: 3-10;
Gospel: Mt. 25: 31-40
BL. SALOME OF KRAKOW (1211-1268)
Poor Clare. Virgin
Salome, daughter of Prince Lesko V, was born in Krakow, Poland. She married Coloman of Hungary, later to be king of Halicz. By mutual pact, they lived in continence. After his death in 1241, Salome entered the Poor Clare convent in Zawichost, founded previously by herself and the first such foundation in Poland. She died in 1268, and her cult as Blessed was approved in 1673 by Clement X.
First Reading: Phil. 3: 8-14; Gospel: Mt. 16: 24-27
ST. AGNES OF ASSISI (1197-1253)
Poor Clare. Virgin
Early in April 1212, Agnes left home to follow her sister St. Clare sixteen days after the latter's departure. Family opposition was extremely strong but unavailing, as Agnes settled first in San Angelo di Panzo, and then in San Damiano next to Assisi (Italy). She was sent as abbess to the Poor Clare convent in Monticelli, Florence in 1228/29. It was from here, about 1232, that Agnes wrote to Clare lamenting her separation from the community in San Damiano. She returned to Assisi in 1253 and was present at Clare's death. She died in the same year. Her cult as saint was approved in 1753 by Benedict XIV.
First Reading: Phil. 3: 8-14; Gospel: Luke 14: 25-33
Bls. PASCHAL FORTUÑO ALMELA AND COMPANIONS (+1936)
Friars Minor. Martyrs in Valencia, Spain
233 people from Spain were beatified in 2001 by John Paul II. 226 of these were from the province of Valencia, among them four Franciscans, two of whom were priests. Paschal Fortuño Almela, born in 1886, was ordained a Franciscan priest in 1913. Famed as a teacher, he spent 5 years in Argentina before returning home to an apostolic life of preaching and devotion to the Eucharist. Caught up in the violence of the Spanish Civil War, he was assassinated while travelling on the road. Placido García Gilabert was born in 1895 and baptised Miguel. Joining the Franciscans, he became Br Placido and was ordained in 1918. His principal role in the Province was in formation. He spent some years as Rector of the Seraphic College. For three years, he lectured in Law and Moral Theology at the Athenaeum of S. Antonio in Rome. Returning to Spain, he was arrested and martyred. Alfredo Pellicer Muñoz was born and christened Jaime in 1914. On joining the Franciscans in 1930 he assumed the name Alfredo. His theology studies were disrupted by the civil unrest. Identified as a Franciscan, he was arrested on the feast of St Francis 1936 and invited to leave the Order and marry. Refusing, he said he would prefer death to renouncing his faith and his vocation. That night he was killed, the youngest friar to give his life in Valencia. Salvator Mollar Ventura was born in 1896 and christened Juan Bautista. He entered the Franciscans in 1921 with the name of Salvator. He served as an able and dedicated sacristan, impressing everyone with his enthusiasm and serenity. Forced to flee from his friary with the spread of violence on the streets and seeking refuge with relatives, he was arrested and killed by a group of fanatical soldiers in October 1936.
First Reading: Jas. 1: 2-4, 12; Gospel: Luke 9: 23-26
BLS. SALVATORE LILLI AND COMPANIONS (+1895)
Friar Minor. Martyrs in Armenia
Salvatore Lilli was born in 1853 in Cappadocia (Italy). Retaining his baptismal name, he entered the Franciscans in 1870 in Rome. New Italian laws forced the closure of many religious foundations and Salvatore had to go to the Holy Land to complete his theological studies and he was ordained in Jerusalem in 1878. After some service in the Holy Land, he went to a mission in the city of Kahramanmaras in Armenia (Turkey). For 14 years he laboured there, learning Arabic, Turkish and Armenian languages. He promoted social services, opening his doors to Catholics, Orthodox and Muslim with preference to the sick, the poor and the young. During a cholera epidemic in 1890, he worked heroically, serving as priest and doctor. In 1895, an incident involving a local Turkish politician started a massacre of Christians in the area. Salvatore was stabbed and asked to renounce his faith. When he refused, he was set upon and burned to death with John Balži and six other Armenian Christians. They were beatified by John Paul II in 1982.
First Reading: 2 Tim. 2: 8-13 & 3: 10-12; Gospel: John 12: 24-26
ALL DECEASED OF THE SERAPHIC ORDER
In the pilgrim state there is a unity of faith, of baptism, and of special Franciscan calling. Solidarity in life demands a like solidarity after death. The mystery of death is not one of annihilation. Souls are created by God and for God. Apart from the saints, there can be a period of waiting before this union with God is completed. The period of purification is shortened through our communion with them and with Christ in the Eucharistic Sacifice.
First Reading: Wis. 3: 1-9; Gospel: John 6: 37-40
ST. HUMILIS OF BISIGNANO (1582-1637)
Luca Antonio Pirozzo was born at Bisignano (southern Italy) and joined the Franciscan Order at the age of 27, receiving the name that suited him so well, that of Humilis. He was a model for the friars who knew him. Fervent in prayer, he was blessed by the Lord with extraordinary gifts of supernatural insight. Gregory XV had him come to Rome and always received him with special kindness. Urban VIII also appreciated him and sought his advice. While in Rome, he lived at the friary of San Francesco a Ripa and for a short time at St Isidore’s College. Returning to the south of Italy, he moved to many friaries, always willing to help those in need and neglected by society and at the service of other friars. He suffered severe pain in his final illness but bore it all with admirable patience. He was canonised by John Paul II in 2002.
First Reading: Eccles. 3: 17-24; Gospel: Mt. 25: 31-40
ST. LEONARD OF PORT MAURICE (1676-1751)
Paolo Girolamo Casanova was born in Port Maurice (now Imperia) in the Italian Riviera, and took the name, Leonard on entering the Friars Minor in 1697. Ordained priest in 1703, Leonard lived an eremitical life for some years, before embarking on a life-long apostolate of preaching missions and retreats throughout Italy and Corsica, popularising particularly the Way of the Cross. Leonard died in Rome in 1751 and was canonised in 1867 by Bl. Pius IX. He is patron of parish missionaries.
First Reading: Eph. 1: 3-14; Gospel: Mt. 16: 24-27
ST. FRANCIS ANTHONY FASANI (1681-1742)
Born to Joseph and Isabel La Monaca on 6th August 1681 in Lucera, southern Italy, Donatus Fasani entered the Conventional(??) Franciscans in 1695, taking the religious name Francis Anthony. Ordained in 1707, he continued his early simplicity of life as lecturer in philosophy, preacher of missions and confessor. He was elected Provincial in 1721-1723. His inner life centred on the Eucharist and the B.V.M. He died in Lucera in 1742 and was canonised by John Paul II in 1986.
First Reading: Is. 61: 1-3; Gospel: Mt. 5: 13-16
ST. JAMES OF LA MARCA (PICENO) (1394-1476)
Dominic Gangala, born of a poor family at Monteprandone (Marche), Italy, succeeded in obtaining a degree in law at Perugia University, and then joined the Franciscan Order in 1416, taking the name, James. Ordained a priest in 1420, he cooperated with St. Bernardine of Siena and St. John Capistran in the reform of the Order. Missions on behalf of the Order and of the Holy See brought him throughout Italy and many European countries. He succeeded John Capistran as legate in Hungary in 1456. James's last three years of life were spent in Naples where he died. He was canonised in 1726 by Benedict XIII.
First Reading: Sir. 45: 1-5; Gospel: Luke 10: 1-9
ALL SAINTS OF THE SERAPHIC ORDER
Just as dioceses or regions celebrate all the Saints associated with the local church or churches, the Seraphic Order also commemorates all the Saints and Blesseds of the Friars Minor, Poor Clares and Secular Franciscans (only a few of whom feature in this proper calendar). They have a common tie since they all drew their inspiration from St. Francis of Assisi. The date chosen for the celebration is a reminder that the Rule of St. Francis was confirmed by Honorius III on 29th November 1223.
First Reading: Sir. 44: 1, 10-15; Gospel: Mark 10: 17-21