Category Archives: Saints

Nov 28 – St. James of the March

James was born in the March of Ancona. His parents raised him in the fear and love of God, and in due time he was sent to the University of Perugia, where he studied civil and canon law with such remarkable success that he received a doctor’s degree in both subjects. Despite the fact that brilliant positions were already open to him, he soon recognized the vanity of the world and felt a singular attraction for the religious life. At first he thought of joining the contemplative Carthusians, but almighty God, who had destined him to labor for the salvation of thousands of souls in the active life, led him to the Order of St. Francis.

During his novitiate James distinguished himself by the practice of all virtues, so that he became a model of religious perfection. In order to preserve angelic purity, which he had kept unsullied from his youth, he led a most austere life. He never slept more than three hours, and that on the bare floor; the remainder of the night he spent meditating on the sufferings of Christ. He constantly wore a coat of mail having sharp points. and scourged himself daily; Like our holy Father St/ Francis, he observed a 40-day fast 7 times a year. Bread and water were his regular fare, although he sometimes added uncooked beans or vegetables. Some years later, St. Bernardin of Siena prevailed upon him to mitigate these austerities somewhat in order to conserve his strength.

Soon after his ordination, when he was 30 years old, he was sent out as a missionary. He undertook this high calling with untiring zeal. For more than 50 years he traveled through Italy, Dalmatia, Croatia, Albania, Bosnia, Austria, Bohemia, Saxony, Prussia, Poland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Russia. During the years 1427 and 1428 he preached in Vienna, Augsburg, Ratisbon, Ulm, Limburg, Brandenburg, and Leipzig. Inspired by his apostolic example, more than 200 of the noblest young men of Germany were impelled to enter the Franciscan Order. The crowds who came to hear him were so great that the churches were no large enough to accommodate them, and it became imperative for him to preach in the public squares.

At Milan he was instrumental in converting 36 women of bad repute by a single sermon on St. Mary Magdalen. It is said that he brought 50,000 heretics into the bosom of the Church, and led 200,000 unbelievers to baptism. In addition, God granted St. James such wisdom, that popes and princes availed themselves of his services, seeking counsel from him. He possessed the gifts or miracles and of prophesy in great measure, yet his humility surpassed all those distinctions. He was offered the archepiscopal dignity of the see of Milan, but he declined with these words, “I have no other desire upon earth than to do penance and to preach penance as a poor Franciscan.”

Worn out by his many labors as well as advanced age, he died at Naples, November 28, 1476, in the 85th year of his life, 60 years of which were consecrated to God in the religious state. He was entombed in the Franciscan church at Naples, where his body can still be seen in a crystal coffin, incorrupt, flexible, and emitting a fragrant perfume. Pope Benedict XIII canonized St. James in 1726.

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH
O God, who in order to save souls and to call back sinners from the abyss of vice and the path of virtue, didst make Thy confessor St. James a distinguished preacher of the Gospel, mercifully grant that through his intercession we may repent of all our sins and attain to eternal life. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
 
from THE FRANCISCAN BOOK OF SAINTS

edited by Marion Habig, ofm

Prayer to St. Anthony of Padua

June 13th, is the Feast Day of St. Anthony of Padua of Lisbon
Among our Portuguese brothers and sisters, he is often called the “Big Brother” of the Franciscan Order.

Prayer to St. Anthony for lost items

St. Anthony, perfect imitator of Jesus, who received from God the special power of restoring lost things, grant that I may find (name the lost item) which has been lost.
At least restore to me peace and tranquility of mind, the loss of which has afflicted me even more than my material loss. To this favor, I ask another of you: that I may always remain in possession of the true good that is God. Let me rather lose all things than lose God, my supreme good. Let me never suffer the loss of my greatest treasure, eternal life with God. Amen.

How St. Clare was carried to Mass

    At one time the most devout spouse of Christ, St. Clare, while staying at San Damiano, was so seriously ill, that she was unable to go and say the office in church with the other nuns.
    Now when the Feast of the Nativity of Our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ came, the Sisters used to recite matins and devoutly receive Holy Communion at the Mass of the Nativity. While all the others went to matins, St. Clare remained alone in bed, seriously ill and very sad because she could not go with the others to attend the holy ceremony and have the spiritual consolation.
    But Our Lord Jesus Christ wished to give this most faithful spouse of His a consolation, and He miraculously let her attend in spirit both the matins and the Mass as well as the whole celebration of the Feast by the friars in the Church of St. Francis. She was able to clearly hear the organ and the friars’ chanting to the end of the Mass. Moreover, she received Holy Communion and was fully consoled. Then He had her carried back to bed.
    Now when the Sisters had finished the office in San Damiano, they came back to St. Clare and said to her: “Oh, dear Mother, Sister Clare what great consolations we have had in this holy Feast of the Saviors Nativity–if only you could have been with us!”
But she answered: My dear little sisters and daughters, I give thanks and praise to God, my Blessed Lord Jesus Christ, because my soul had the consolation of attending all the ceremonies of this most holy night — but still greater and more solemn and beautiful ones than yours. For by the grace of my Lord Jesus Christ and through the intercession of my most blessed Father St. Francis, I was present in the Church of my Father St, Francis, and with my bodily and spiritual ears I heard all the chanting and the organ, and moreover I received Holy Communion there. So rejoice and praise Our Blessed Jesus Christ with all your hearts for the great grace which He gave me, since while I was lying here sick as I said, I was present at the whole ceremony in the church of St. Francis. Whether it was in the body or outside the body, I don’t know; only God who took me there to attend His ceremony knows.”
    To the glory of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen
                                                                        (From the book: Little Flowers of St. Francis)

Pope Proposes St. Clare as Model

Pope Proposes St. Clare as Model for Today’s Youth

Writes Message to the Bishops of Assisi for Claretian Year
VATICAN CITY, APRIL 2, 2012 (Zenit.org).- On the occasion of the Claretian Year, Pope Benedict XVI sent a special message to Bishop Domenico Sorrentino of Assisi, Nocera Umbria and Gualdo Tadino, to celebrate the first female disciple of Saint Francis.
Saint Clare’s monastic consecration happened in all probability in 1211 or 1212: hence it is the 8th centenary of the event, for which the Diocese of Assisi has declared a Jubilee Year. The choice of Clare, in certain ways, completes “in a feminine way,” the “grace that a few years earlier the community of Assisi attained with the conversion of the son of Pietro di Bernardone,” wrote the Pope in his message for the Claretian Year.
Again today the Claretian Order, having “become a robust tree, in the fruitful silence of the cloisters, continues to spread the good seed of the Gospel and to serve the cause of the Kingdom of God.”
Clare’s and Francis’ charism “speaks also to our generation, and has a fascination especially for young people,” added Benedict XVI, referring to the 27th World Youth Day being celebrated on Palm Sunday.
It is no coincidence that the Holy Father’s letter was published precisely at the beginning of Holy Week: in fact, the story of Chiara’s (Clare’s) conversion “revolves around the liturgical feast of Palm Sunday,” explained the Pope. It was precisely on the Vigil of this Solemnity that Clare went to Francis to share her choice with him.
The Legenda Sanctae Clarae virginis, quoted by the Holy Father, states that, for Palm Sunday the Saint of Assisi ordered his disciple to go “elegant and adorned” in the midst of the crowd of the people, to then go out of the city the next day, converting “worldly joy into the mourning of Passion Sunday.”
It was thus that, while the other faithful rushed to receive their palm, Chiara “out of modesty, stayed still and then the bishop, coming down the steps reached her and put the first palm in her hands.”
Francis’ new life divided Assisi, between those who harshly criticized Bernardone’s son and those, instead, who admired him. Among the latter was, in fact, Clare, an adolescent of a noble family who, having met the Saint, “allowed herself to be overwhelmed by his ardor for Christ.”
Francis taught his disciple “contempt for the world,” showing her that “hope in this world is arid and bears disappointment,” and transmitted to her “the sweet union of Christ.”
According to Saint Clare’s Testament, it was Francis himself who received the prophecy of the vocation of his first spiritual daughter: the Crucifix spoke to him in the church of San Damiano, announcing that “that place would be inhabited by women who would glorify God with their holy tenor of life.”
Clare was quite a beautiful girl. However, the Poverello of Assisi “showed her a higher beauty, which is not measured with the mirror of vanity, but is developed in a life of genuine love, in the footsteps of the crucified Christ. God is the true beauty!,” continued Benedict XVI.
After Chiara cut her hair to begin her life of a penitent, the ire of her father and other relatives began. However, her mother Ortolana and two of her sisters followed her in her monastic choice. Constrained to flee from home during the night of Pam Sunday and Holy Monday, Chiara went to the refuge that Francis had prepared for her: attempts were made to dissuade her, but the young girl remained firm in her decision.
The Pope then stressed that Saint Clare’s vocation would not have been possible without the blessing of Bishop Guido, with the symbolic gesture of handing her the palm. The event of Francis and Clare, explained Benedict XVI, “shows a particular ecclesial feature.”
In their story, “an enlightened pastor met two children of the Church who entrusted themselves to his discernment. Institution and charism interacted wonderfully, to the point that love and obedience of the Church remain an integral part of Franciscan-Claretian spirituality.
Hence, Saint Clare’s monastic life is profoundly linked to Assisi and it was precisely her prayer and that of her Sisters that saved the city from “violence and devastation” in some difficult circumstances.
Chiara’s, explained the Pope, is the “conversion of love” of a young woman who gives up the “fine clothes of the nobility of Assisi” but keeps “the elegance of a soul that spends itself in praise of God and in giving itself.”
The Saint of Assisi, no less than her mentor and patron of Italy, is the champion of the “privilege” of poverty, which “left the Supreme Pontiff perplexed for a long time, who in the end smiled on the heroism of her holiness.”
Francis’ and Chiara’s example is proposed “to the attention of today’s young people,” wrote Benedict XVI. The Medieval context of their earthly event “has not diminish their fascination,” even at this time when illusions and disappointments abound, “with the thousands attractions of a life in which everything seems possible and licit.”
In fact, examples are not lacking also today of young people who “who take up the invitation to entrust themselves to Christ and to face with courage, responsibility and hope the journey of life, also making the choice of leaving everything to follow him in total service to Him and to brothers,” wrote the Pontiff, before imparting the Apostolic Blessing upon the whole diocese of Assisi, “with a particular thought for the daughters of Saint Clare of the Proto-monastery.”

St. James of the Marches

Nov. 28 – Franciscan St. James of the Marches

From Bret Thoman, SFO
On pilgrimages, we often journey to Monteprandone, the birthplace of St. James of the Marches. Although he lived a remarkable life and accomplished many great things, he is not very well known. Katia and I were fortunate to have discovered him because of the O.F.M. provincial minister of the Marches region, Fr. Ferdinando Campana. In the summer of 2004, he took us on a pilgrimage throughout his region, where we saw the incorrupt body of this saint and learned about his life.
Saint James of the Marches was born in 1393 in the hill town of Monteprandone, in the lower part of the Marches region overlooking the Adriatic Sea. His parents were poor, but they loved him very much. They baptized him with the name, Domenico, meaning ‘of the Lord’ (from Latin, Dominus). As a boy, they placed him under the care of his uncle, a priest, who provided for his education. Domenico studied in nearby Offida and Ascoli Piceno and later graduated from the University of Perugia in 1412 with a as a Doctor of civil law…St. James of the Marches (1391-1476) Feast Day: November 28

“Try always to advance more in charity; enlarge your heart with confidence for the divine gifts which the Holy Spirit is anxious to pour into it.” Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina

St. James of the Marches was born in Monteprandone in 1393 and died in Naples in 1476. As a youth, he studied law in Perugia (near Assisi) and worked as a judge in Bibbiena (Tuscany). Around 20 years of age, on Good Friday, he felt the desire to give his life to God. He left everything and became a Franciscan friar. For more than 20 years, he preached throughout Italy, Bosnia, and Hungary. He worked tirelessly: he negotiated peace within cities at war; he created Monti di Pietà, a lending institution to poor people to combat usury; he converted many prostitutes; he fought against sorcery, superstition and against dangerous cults that were spreading among uneducated people; with the power of his word and example, he brought thousands of people back to the joy of true faith and love of God. From 2001, his incorrupt body has been conserved in the sanctuary of Monteprandone in a chapel dedicated to him. It was frescoed by A. Cicchi and M. Pesarini, with scenes that depict the virtues of the saint and the vow of the people of Monteprandone during the last war. The stone arch is from 1500. A new bronze urn that conserves the remains of the saint is the work of P. Casentini.

St. James of the Marches is venerated particularly as a strong protector of children. Among the hundreds of miracles done in life and after death, through today, many involve children. The most famous is the one that took place in Brescia where he resuscitated a child who had been dead for three days.

Next to the friary of Monteprandone is a splendid 16th century cloister and cistern. Around the cloister, are 25 frescoes representing episodes from the life of St. James, painted in 1848. Next to the cloister is a museum, which conserves relics of St. James.