Friday, April 16, 2010

Saint Blaise

Feast  Day: February 3
Patron of Throat Illnesses

Only a few facts are known about Saint Blaise.

Saint Blaise was born in to a noble and affluent family who raised him to be a man of God. He spent time studying philosophy and later medicine.

Saint Blaise became the bishop of Sebastea in Armenia during the reign of Licinius in the early fourth century, when a series of persecution began again.  In one of his prayers, he got a message to set off to the mountains so as to escape persecution. He lived in a cave on Mount Argeus but as soon as people found out where he was, they came flocking to him from nearby countries and provinces for the cure of their ailments both spiritual and physical.

He was discovered by the huntsmen when they saw the myriads of people waiting outside the cave while Blaise was praying.  He was arrested, put in prison and was martyred. While in prison, a boy was brought to him who had a fishbone stuck in his throat -this led to the blessing of throats on February 3- Saint Blaise’s feast day.

The blessing of St. Blaise is done by consecrating two candles which are then held in a crossed position by a priest and pressed against the throat or over the head as the following blessing is said: "May God at the intercession of St. Blasius preserve you from throat troubles and every other evil."

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Saint Maria Goretti

Feast Day: July 6


Maria Teresa Goretti was born in Corinaldo, Ancona, Italy, on October 16 1890. She was the third out of six children of Luigi Goretti and Assunta Carlini. By the time she turned six, her family had become so poor that they were forced to give up their farm and moved to the Serenelli farm to survive. His father, a farmworker died of malaria and her mother had to struggle to feed her children. Her mother, sisters and brother worked in the fields while Maria stayed home to clean the house, sew and cook.


While alone in the house, sewing, Alessandro (Alexander) Serenelli came in and tried to rape her. Maria Goretti was 11. Not submitting to her assailant, she was stabbed several times with a knife.
As Maria Goretti lay in the hospital for two days, she prayed and forgave her attacker and died holding a crucifix and looking at the picture of the Blessed Virgin.

Alexander was captured and since he was a minor the sentence was commuted to 30 years in prison. He remained unrepentant until he had a dream that he was in a garden and Maria was there giving him lilies. This vision led to his conversion and later became a laybrother at the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin) where he worked as a receptionist and gardener.

Maria Goretti was canonized by Pope Pius XII in 1950 and Assunta attended the canonization of her child. Alexander too witnessed St. Maria Goretti's canonization.

Maria Goretti, one of the youngest canonized saints is represented as a young girl with a bouquet of lilies in her hands.


Reflection:

St. Maria Goretti prayed for Alexander - the first step and act in forgiveness as this let's you focus on God instead of the offender.

To forgive and be forgiven are two powerful, grace-filled experiences.

St Maria Goretti had extended to Alexander the love and forgiveness that God has extended to all of us through Our Lord Jesus Christ's crucifixion. Because of this St Maria Goretti was able to see her assailant as Jesus sees him. She loved as God loves.