Monday, November 01, 2010

All Saint’s Day, 2010

All Saint’s Day comes on the heels of Halloween, and right before “All Soul’s Day”. All Saints Day is a holy day of obligation… it is a solemnity where Catholics pay homage to all the Saints in heaven. EWTN describes All Saints Day as:

“The church in this great festival honours all the saints reigning together in glory; first, to give thanks to God for the graces and crowns of all his elect: secondly, to excite ourselves to a fervent imitation of their virtues by considering the holy example of so many faithful servants of God of all ages, sexes, and conditions, and by contemplating the inexpressible and eternal bliss which they already enjoy, and to which we are invited: thirdly, to implore the divine mercy through this multitude of powerful intercessors: fourthly, to repair any failures or sloth in not having duly honoured God in his saints on their particular festivals, and to glorify him in the saints which are unknown to us, or for which no particular festivals are appointed. Therefore our fervour on this day ought to be such that it may be a reparation of our sloth in all the other feasts of the year; they being all comprised in this one solemn commemoration, which is an image of that eternal great feast which God himself continually celebrates in heaven with all his saints, whom we humbly join in praising his adorable goodness for all his mercies, particularly for all treasures of grace which he has most munificently heaped upon them. In this and all other festivals of the saints God is the only object of supreme worship, and the whole of that inferior veneration which is paid to the saints is directed to give sovereign honour to God alone, whose gifts their graces are: and our addresses to them are only petitions to holy fellow creatures for the assistance of their prayers to God for us. When, therefore, we honour the saints, in them and through them we honour God, and Christ, true God and true man, the Redeemer and Saviour of mankind, the King of the Saints, and the source of all their sanctity and glory.”

A prayer in praise of the saints:

How shining and splendid are your gifts, O Lord
which you give us for our eternal well-being
Your glory shines radiantly in your saints, O God
In the honour and noble victory of the martyrs.
The white-robed company follow you,
bright with their abundant faith;
They scorned the wicked words of those with this world's power.
For you they sustained fierce beatings, chains, and torments,
they were drained by cruel punishments.
They bore their holy witness to you
who were grounded deep within their hearts;
they were sustained by patience and constancy.
Endowed with your everlasting grace,
may we rejoice forever
with the martyrs in our bright fatherland.
O Christ, in your goodness,
grant to us the gracious heavenly realms of eternal life.

Unknown author, 10th century

My personal reflections:

In honor of All Saint’s Day, I thought that I would share a few Saints that I feel very close to.

St. Anthony of Padua:

I have a special affinity for Saint Anthony has bailed me out alot! I am forever losing things. Russell is forever losing things. As a small child, my Mother told me to always pray to St. Anthony whenever I was looking for something lost. And it always worked. About Saint Anthony (from

Anthony’s wealthy family wanted him to be a great nobleman, but for the sake of Christ he became a poor Franciscan. Priest.

When the remains of Saint Berard and his companions, the first Franciscan martyrs, were brought to be buried in his church, Anthony was moved to leave his order, enter the Friars Minor, and go to Morocco to evangelize. Shipwrecked at Sicily, he joined some other brothers who were going to the church in Portiuncula. Lived in a cave at San Paolo leaving only to attend Mass and sweep the nearby monastery. One day when a scheduled speaker failed to appear, the brothers pressed him into speaking. He impressed them so that he was thereafter constantly travelling, evangelizing, preaching, and teaching theology through Italy and France.

A gifted speaker, he attracted crowds everywhere he went, speaking in multiple tongues; legend says that even the fish loved to listen. Miracle worker. One of the most beloved of saints, his images and statues are found everywhere - though none of them portray him as a heavy-set man, which some reports claim he was. Proclaimed a Doctor of the Church on 16 January 1946.

One source of the well-known patronage for the recovery of lost objects comes from a legend that, long after Anthony’s death, his old prayer book was kept as a treasured relic, and one day it disappeared. People prayed for help in finding the lost item, a novice found it and returned it; he later admitted that he had “borrowed” the book and returned it after receiving a vision of an angry Anthony.

St. Dwynwen

In choosing a Saint for my confirmation name, I researched all sorts of wonderful Saints. I was drawn to St. Dwynwen because I feel like we have so much in common. We're both romantics.. passionate about our beliefs, and have a love for animals. It seemed fitting to take her name as my confirmation name. About St. Dwynwen (from

Beautiful, pious and virtuous daughter of the 5th century Welsh king, Brychan of Brecknock. A certain Maelon fell in love with her, and wished to marry her. Though Dwynwen returned his love, her heart was set on becoming a nun, and she rejected him. She dreamt she was given a sweet drink which saved her from his attentions, but which turned the poor young man to ice. Realising that Maelon couldn’t help his love for her, she prayed that he be restored to life, that all lovers should find happiness, and that she never have the desire for marriage. Dwynwen became a nun and lived on Llanddwyn Island on the western coast of Ynys Mon (Anglesey), an area accessible only at low tide.

Her well, a fresh-water spring called Ffynnon Dwynwen, became a wishing well and place of pilgrimage, particularly for lovers because of the story above. The tradition grew that the eel in the well could foretell the future for lovers - ask questions and watch which way they turn. Women would scatter breadcrumbs on the surface, then lay her handkerchief on water’s surface; if the eel disturbed it, her lover would be faithful. All this led to her connection with animals, which eventually led to the tradition that her intercession could heal injured animals.

St. Francis of Assisi

I've been an animal lover my entire life, and therefore have been aware of St. Francis of Assisi since I was a young girl. I'd pray to him whenever one of our pets was ill or lost. It was not until years later that I really learned about St. Francis. Knowing his story has made me ever more devoted to him. About St. Francis (from

Son of Pietro Bernadone, a rich cloth merchant. Though he had a good education and became part of his father’s business, he also had a somewhat misspent youth. Street brawler and some-time soldier. Captured during a conflict between Assisi and Perugia, Italy, he spent over a year as a prisoner of war. During this time he had a conversion experience, including a reported message from Christ calling him to leave this worldly life. Upon release, Francis began taking his faith seriously.

He took the Gospels as the rule of his life, Jesus Christ as his literal example. He dressed in rough clothes, begged for his sustenance, and preached purity and peace. His family disapproved, and his father disinherited him; Francis formally renounced his wealth and inheritance. He visited hospitals, served the sick, preached in the streets, and took all men and women as siblings. He began to attract followers in 1209, and with papal blessing, founded the Franciscans based on a simple statment by Jesus: “Leave all and follow me.” In 1212 Clare of Assisi became his spiritual student, which led to the founding of the Poor Clares. Visited and preached to the Saracens. Composed songs and hymns to God and nature. Lived with animals, worked with his hands, cared for lepers, cleaned churches, and sent food to thieves. In 1221 he resigned direction of the Franciscans.

While in meditation on Mount Alvernia in the Apennines in September 1224, Francis received the stigmata, which periodically bled during the remaining two years of his life. This miracle has a separate memorial on 17 September.

In the Middle Ages people who believed to be possessed by Beelzebub especially called upon the intercession of Saint Francis, the theory being that he was the demon’s opposite number in heaven.

St. John The Baptist

Before I even decided to become Catholic, I remember Russell expression is appreciation and affection for John The Baptist... the "wild man in the wilderness". As I learned more about him, I was drawn to him as well. His faith, his conviction and his devotion to Christ was dazzling. One of my favorite Gospels is the Baptism of our Lord, Jesus Christ, where John The Baptist baptized Jesus. About St. John the Baptist (from

Cousin of Jesus Christ. Son of Zachary, a priest of the order of Abia whose job in the temple was to burn incense; and of Elizabeth, a descendent of Aaron. As Zachary was ministering in the Temple, an angel brought him news that Elizabeth would bear a child filled with the Holy Spirit from the moment of his birth. Zachary doubted and was struck dumb until John’s birth.

Prophet. John began his ministry around age 27, wearing a leather belt and a tunic of camel hair, living off locusts and wild honey, and preaching a message of repentance to the people of Jerusalem. He converted many, and prepared the way for the coming of Jesus. He Baptized Christ, after which he stepped away and told his disciples to follow Jesus.

Imprisoned by King Herod. He died a victim of the vengeance of a jealous woman; he was beheaded, and his head brought to her on a platter. Saint Jerome says Herodias kept the head for a long time after, occasionally stabbing the tongue with his dagger because of what John had said in life.

St. Mary Magdalene

I adore Mary Magdalene. Her devotion to Christ was amazing. She is the patron saint of many, including women and converts. Her name was my second choice of confirmation names. About St. Mary Magdalene (from

We have very little solid information about Saint Mary, and both scholars and traditions differ on the interpretation of what we do know. She was a friend and follower of Jesus. Filled with sorrow over her sin, she anointed Christ, washed his feet with her hair. He exorcised seven demons from her. She was visited by the Risen Christ.

There are also arguments about her life after the Crucifixion. The Greek Church maintains that she retired to Ephesus with the Blessed Virgin Mary and lived there the rest of her life. A French tradition says that Mary, Lazarus, and some companions came to Marseilles, France, evangelized and converted the whole Provence region, and then retired to live 30 years as a penitent hermitess at La Sainte-Baume.

Oh, some things we do know for certain - Mary wasn’t Jesus’ wife or mistress, she wasn’t the mother of His child, she didn’t found a royal dynasty or separate branch of Christianity, et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseam.

In conclusion...

My source of information on these wonderful saints is Be sure to visit the site to learn about these saints and others.

There are so many Saints.. so many amazing stories of Christian men and women. I'm learning about them slowly, and I know so little. I do know that I am eager to learn more. So perhaps next year I will post about 5 more. God's Blessings to you all.

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