Here’s the saint’s calendar for April 16, 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/20060813114707/http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/day0416.htm
From Butler’s Lives of the Saints, St. EIGHTEEN MARTYRS OF SARAGOSSA, and ST. ENCRATIS, or ENGRATIA, Virgin, Martyr. “ST. OPTATUS and seventeen other holy men received the crown of martyrdom on the same day, at Saragossa, under the cruel Governor Dacian, in the persecution of Diocletian, in 304. Two others, Caius and Crementius, died of their torments after a second conflict.
The Church also celebrates on this day the triumph of St. Encratis, or Engratia, Virgin. She was a native of Portugal. Her father had promised her in marriage to a man of quality in Rousillon; but fearing the dangers and despising the vanities of the world, and resolving to preserve her virginity, in order to appear more agreeable to her heavenly Spouse and serve Him without hindrance, she stole from her father’s house and fled privately to Saragossa, where the persecution was hottest, under the eyes of Dacian. She even reproached him with his barbarities, upon which he ordered her to be long tormented in the most inhuman manner: her sides were torn with iron hooks, and one of her breasts was cut off, so that the inner parts of her chest were exposed to view, and part of her liver was pulled out. In this condition she was sent back to prison, being still alive, and died by the mortifying of her wounds, in 304. The relics of all these martyrs were found at Saragossa in 1389.” http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/lots/lots124.htm
From Franciscan Media, St. Bernadette Soubirous, (January 7, 1844 – April 16, 1879), “Bernadette Soubirous was born in 1844, the first child of an extremely poor miller in the town of Lourdes in southern France. The family was living in the basement of a dilapidated building when on February 11, 1858, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette in a cave above the banks of the Gave River near Lourdes. Bernadette, 14 years old, was known as a virtuous girl though a dull student who had not even made her first Holy Communion. In poor health, she had suffered from asthma from an early age.
“There were 18 appearances in all, the final one occurring on the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, July 16. Although Bernadette’s initial reports provoked skepticism, her daily visions of “the Lady” brought great crowds of the curious. The Lady, Bernadette explained, had instructed her to have a chapel built on the spot of the visions. There, the people were to come to wash in and drink of the water of the spring that had welled up from the very spot where Bernadette had been instructed to dig.
“According to Bernadette, the Lady of her visions was a girl of 16 or 17 who wore a white robe with a blue sash. Yellow roses covered her feet, a large rosary was on her right arm. In the vision on March 25 she told Bernadette, “I am the Immaculate Conception.” It was only when the words were explained to her that Bernadette came to realize who the Lady was.
“Few visions have ever undergone the scrutiny that these appearances of the Immaculate Virgin were subject to. Lourdes became one of the most popular Marian shrines in the world, attracting millions of visitors. Miracles were reported at the shrine and in the waters of the spring. After thorough investigation, Church authorities confirmed the authenticity of the apparitions in 1862.
“During her life, Bernadette suffered much. She was hounded by the public as well as by civic officials until at last she was protected in a convent of nuns. Five years later, she petitioned to enter the Sisters of Notre Dame of Nevers. After a period of illness she was able to make the journey from Lourdes and enter the novitiate. But within four months of her arrival she was given the last rites of the Church and allowed to profess her vows. She recovered enough to become infirmarian and then sacristan, but chronic health problems persisted. She died on April 16, 1879, at the age of 35.
“Bernadette Soubirous was canonized in 1933.” https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-bernadette-soubirous/
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. Bernadette Soubirous, “Bernadette, whose complete name is Marie Bernarde Soubirous, was a child like any other. Only her gaze was extraordinary, showing a great innocence. In the first apparition, she learned to make the sign of the Cross by following the gestures of Our Lady. From the fact that she learned it from Our Lady, witnesses used to say that during her whole life St. Bernadette always made a sign of Cross that was unforgettable and incomparable.
“In the Convent in Nevers that Bernadette later entered, some nuns were once insisting that she describe the cloth of the dress of Our Lady to resolve a quarrel. Some said it was a certain kind of material, others another. Bernadette responded:
“I never said that the material was of this or that kind. I only said that it was made from a material that I had never seen before. But if you are so interested in knowing this, why don’t you ask her to appear to you and then you can pay attention to it.”
“She was a very humble person. Once someone asked her to say a few words for the edification of the novices. She answered smiling: “I don’t know anything! No one can take anything good from a stone.”
“The Mother Superior asked her if she were not proud to be chosen as a confidante of Our Lady. She answered: “What idea do you have of me? The Holy Virgin only chose me because I was the most ignorant. If she could have found someone else more ignorant, she would have chosen her.”
“The continuous suffering and vomiting of blood she experienced slowly weakened Bernadette. Her physical appearance became pitiable. Once a postulant came to see her so that she might know the seer. As the saint passed by, a companion pointed her out and said with scorn: “Bernadette? It’s just this!” (Bernadette, c’est ça!)” https://traditioninaction.org/SOD/j068sdBernadette4-16.htm
Pope Emeritus Benedict’s Birthday
It is today and this article from Catholic World Report is a commemoration of it by celebrating the work of Romano Guardini, one of Benedict’s intellectual heroes; both are intelletual heroes for me.
In 1933 Romano Guardini published a small monograph consisting of three lectures around the subject of conscience. It was originally titled Das Gute, das Gewissen und die Sammlung – the good, conscience and inner composure. It was recently republished in Italian under the more simple title La coscienza.i
As a contribution to the celebration of the 92nd birthday of Joseph Ratzinger, born on April 16, 1927, who has described Guardini as one of the intellectual heroes of his youth, I have summarized the contents of La coscienza, including some translations of the most significant paragraphs.
Guardini begins his book by saying that he hopes to offer some aid to the Christian conscience in the struggle around the foundations of a moral life, especially as this struggle is conditioned by the spiritual situation in Germany. Rhetorically he asks: “fight: but who are our enemies”?ii
The first name on his list of enemies of the moral life is Immanuel Kant. To Kant he attributes the notion of the absolute autonomy of conscience. The second on his list is Friedrich Nietzsche according to whom Christianity is a form of slave morality that excludes believers from greatness. Thirdly he listed Bolshevism or what we would now more commonly call Marxism. Bolshevism ‘suffocates the living spirit, and destroys the free personality in the collective and in the process of history, diminishing it to a mere organ for the realization of super individual needs’.iii Other enemies, he noted, could be named, but these were his top three. In short, Kantians, Nietzscheans and Marxists are the enemies of the moral life!
With reference to the spiritual situation in Germany he remarked:
We live in a devastated age. The things of the spirit and the things of salvation no longer have their own seat. Everything is thrown on the road…
We have forgotten that what the spirit reflects is a very demanding nobility and that understanding it is only possible under certain conditions. [We have forgotten] that the different interests of the spiritual world from time to time cast a different way of speaking and listening; they require a different interior space, in which this speaking and listening can take place.
We live in a time, in which the degradation of the honor that belongs to the spirit has become a common practice, which no longer impresses in a particular way. To notice it, it is enough to take a careful look at public education, with its conferences, discussions, magazines and with its newspapers; it is enough to observe the bad habits followed in dealing with spiritual things, the language used in this.iv
Guardini goes on to speak of a ‘moral disorientation’. He suggests that ‘in the judgement of many, the moral act does not compensate for the serious effort it requires’, while for others, who would be ready for such an effort, they simply do not know where to start. They feel ‘lost in chaos’v.
Retrieved April 16, 2019 from https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2019/04/15/we-live-in-a-devastated-age-reflections-from-romano-guardini-on-being-lost-in-chaos/