Here’s the saint’s calendar for April 17, 2019, and some versions, each focusing on individual saints, all wonderful; for they are the Church Triumphant.
The Catholic Church has many saints and reading about their lives has been a spiritual journey Catholics have been on since the publication of the Golden Legend, http://sourcebooks.web.fordham.edu/basis/goldenlegend/
From Butler’s Calendar of the Saints listing all of the saints of today. https://web.archive.org/web/20060812043440/http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/day0417.htm
From Butler’s Lives of the Saints, St. ANICETUS, Pope, Martyr. “ST. ANICETUS succeeded St. Pius, and sat about eight years, from 165 to 173. If he did not shed his blood for the Faith, he at least purchased the title of martyr by great sufferings and dangers. He received a visit from St. Polycarp, and tolerated the custom of the Asiatics in celebrating Easter on the 14th day of the first moon after the vernal equinox, with the Jews. His vigilance protected his flock from the wiles of the heretics Valentine and Marcion, who sought to corrupt the faith in the capital of the world.
“The first thirty-six bishops at Rome, down to Liberius, and, this one excepted, all the popes to Symmachus, the fifty-second, in 498, are honored among the Saints; and out of two hundred and forty-eight popes, from St. Peter to Clement XIII. seventy-eight are named in the Roman Martyrology. In the primitive ages, the spirit of fervor and perfect sanctity, which is nowadays so rarely to be found, was conspicuous in most of the faithful, and especially in their pastors. The whole tenor of their lives breathed it in such a manner as to render them the miracles of the world, angels on earth, living copies of their divine Redeemer, the odor of whose virtues and holy law and religion they spread on every side.” http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/lots/lots125.htm
From Franciscan Media, St. Benedict Joseph Labre, (March 25, 1748 – April 17, 1783), “Benedict Joseph Labre was truly eccentric, one of God’s special little ones. Born in France and the eldest of 18 children, he studied under his uncle, a parish priest. Because of poor health and a lack of suitable academic preparation he was unsuccessful in his attempts to enter the religious life. Then, at age 16, a profound change took place. Benedict lost his desire to study and gave up all thoughts of the priesthood, much to the consternation of his relatives.
“He became a pilgrim, traveling from one great shrine to another, living off alms. He wore the rags of a beggar and shared his food with the poor. Filled with the love of God and neighbor, Benedict had special devotion to the Blessed Mother and to the Blessed Sacrament. In Rome, where he lived in the Colosseum for a time, he was called “the poor man of the Forty Hours devotion” and “the beggar of Rome.” The people accepted his ragged appearance better than he did. His excuse to himself was that “our comfort is not in this world.”
“On April 16, 1783, the last day of his life, Benedict dragged himself to a church in Rome and prayed there for two hours before he collapsed, dying peacefully in a nearby house. Immediately after his death, the people proclaimed him a saint.
“Benedict Joseph Labre was canonized by Pope Leo XIII in 1881.” https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-benedict-joseph-labre/
Here is a wonderful daily devotional site offering much to reflect on, including their version of saint of the day, Anastpaul https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/
From Tradition in Action, St. Stephen Harding, “Stephen Harding, son of an English noble, consecrated himself very early to the monastic life in the Abbey of Sherbonne in Dorsetshire. He was sent to France and pursued a brilliant course in humanities, philosophy and theology.
“After a pilgrimage to Rome, he returned to France to the Abbey of Molesme, under the direction of the Abbot St. Robert and Blessed Alberic. Notwithstanding the influence of these saints, the monastery declined. The two saints determined to leave the community and together with St. Stephen and 18 other monks, they instituted a reformed new abbey in Cîteaux (Cister) with the support of Duke Eudes of Bourgogne. This was the origin of the famous Cistercians. On Alberic’s death in 1110, St. Stephen was elected Abbot of the monastery and wrote its statutes, which were approved by Pope Paschal II.
“During his term as Abbot, St. Stephen fought to maintain the strict observance. Since the monastery received very few novices, he began to have doubts that the new institution was pleasing to God. He prayed for enlightenment and received a response that encouraged him and his small community. From Bourgogne a noble youth arrived with 30 companions, asking to be admitted to the abbey. This noble was the future St. Bernard. In 1115 St. Stephen built the abbey of Clairvaux, and installed St. Bernard as its Abbot. From it 800 abbeys were born.
“St. Stephen died in 1134, saying that he would appear before God as a useless servant who had made poor use of the gifts God had given him.” https://traditioninaction.org/SOD/j123sdStephenHarding_3-17.htm
Here is what the 1962 Roman Missal says about St. Anicetus, Pope, Martyr, “This Pope governed the Church under Marcus Aurelius from 155 to 166. He suffered so much for the faith that, although he did not shed his blood he was given the title of martyr.” (p. 1236) The Daily Missal and Liturgical Manual. (2004). To purchase this Missal for your library go to the publisher, Baronius Press: London: https://www.baroniuspress.com/book.php?wid=56&bid=4#tab=tab-1
Excellent article from Catholic World Report.
Through the intercession of the Mother of God, may this tragedy remind us of Notre-Dame’s true purpose.
First commissioned by King Louis VII in 1163, the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris took nearly 200 years to build. Since its completion in 1345, it has stood as a monument to the glory of French, European, and Western civilizations. Twelve million visitors or more are drawn to the Cathedral every year to admire its Gothic architecture, flying buttresses, and majestic rose windows.
But, in just a few shocking hours, the shrine was almost completely destroyed. Its near obliteration in a fire yesterday is front page news the world over. It was devastating to watch the live video of the billowing smoke, searing flames, and collapsing spire. Though the worst has been avoided, as it now appears the stone vault and interior remain largely intact (along with the two bell towers of the Cathedral’s iconic facade), the world still mourns the damage done, the full measure of which is yet to be determined.
As the eyes of the world turned to Paris yesterday in concern for the survival of a monument of unique importance in the history of art and architecture, what did they see? As Sohrab Ahmari noted yesterday on Twitter, the world was looking at a cross. A burning cross at the center of Paris for the Notre-Dame Cathedral is cruciform in shape. Let us pray that what rises from the ashes of this tragedy is a recognition that the heritage of France, Europe and the West is cruciform, for Notre-Dame is a monument in stone to the Christian Faith that built these civilizations.
One can readily see in the fire a metaphor for the state of the Faith in Europe in this increasingly secular age. But after the Cross comes Resurrection—and yesterday provided signs of hope.
The first sign came in the immediate concern expressed for the Blessed Sacrament. That the tabernacle was emptied and Our Lord’s Real Presence in the Eucharist was saved from harm is a consolation. The priests and firefighters who facilitated this reminded the world that the whole purpose for the construction of Notre-Dame in the first place was to be a worthy dwelling place for God. I am reminded of Cordelia’s conversation with Charles in Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited. She tells him about the closing of the chapel at their family estate after the funeral of her mother and explains having to watch the priest empty the tabernacle, leaving its golden door ajar. “I suppose none of this makes sense to you, Charles, poor agnostic.” she said. “I stayed there till he was gone, and then, suddenly, there wasn’t any chapel any more, just an oddly decorated room.”
Indeed, without the Blessed Sacrament the Notre-Dame Cathedral would be just an odd-looking building in the heart of a cosmopolitan city. It is the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist that makes it a church. It was to provide a worthy dwelling place for the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist that inspired our ancestors in the Faith to spend their lives building such a glorious edifice. That same faith was on display yesterday when the Blessed Sacrament was rescued.
The second sign of hope was the concern given to also saving one of Christendom’s most cherished relics—the Crown of Thorns. When King Saint Louis IX acquired this instrument of Our Lord’s Passion and brought it to Paris in 1239, he removed his own crown and royal robes to walk barefoot behind the relic as it was carried in procession through the city streets. That same faith was on display yesterday when the Crown of Thorns was saved amid and through the flames.
Finally, the “living stones” of the Church took to the streets of Paris to remind us that the Church is more than just stones but is Christ’s Mystical Body on Earth. It was deeply moving to see the crowds kneeling in prayer in the shadow of Notre-Dame singing the Ave Maria. Why were their tears in the eyes of so many Parisians? Were they crying simply over damage done to a building of grand art and architecture? Or were they crying over something more? Perhaps it was over the lost Catholic identity of their nation symbolized in the flames engulfing Notre-Dame.
And when the French President, Emmanuel Macron, made a solemn promise to rebuild the Cathedral, it should be asked, why? Why bother with such an investment of time, money, and effort? It only makes sense if it is for the same reason it was built in the first place. It must be rebuilt for the glory of Jesus Christ and His Mother. The beauty and meaning of Notre-Dame lies in the religious beliefs, principles, and culture that inspired its construction. The same faith that inspired its builders 800 years ago was on full display yesterday in the uplifting sounds of the Ave Maria being sung by the crowds on the streets of Paris.
Retrieved April 16, 2019 from https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2019/04/16/signs-of-hope-amid-the-flames/