Death rather than a Lie

March 5, 2015

Sare is a village in the Basque province of Labourd. Photo by Harrieta171.

Sare is a village in the Basque province of Labourd. Photo by Harrieta171.

During the great French Revolution, at the end of last century, the Catholic churches were pillaged throughout the country, and closed for public worship. The priests also were proscribed, and forced to conceal themselves in private houses, or even to seek shelter in the thickets of the forests or in the caves and fastnesses of the mountains. It happened about this time that a young girl, named Magdalen Larralde, of the village of Sare, on the borders of Spain, fearing to have recourse to her own parish priest in his place of concealment, was wont to cross the mountains whenever she desired to approach the Sacraments, in order to seek spiritual assistance from the Capuchin Fathers at Vera, on the Spanish side of the Pyrennees. One day, on returning from the convent, she fell in with an outpost of the French army, which was then stationed along the frontier, in consequence of the war which raged between the two countries. The soldiers immediately seized her as a spy, and dragged her before the general, who questioned her as to the object of her presence in Spain. Magdalen answered simply and without a moment’s hesitation that she had been to confession.

Landscape in Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Aquitaine. Pyrenees mountain range on the border with Spain. Photo by France64160.

Aquitaine, France and the Pyrenees mountain range on the border with Spain. Photo by France64160.

The officer, touched by her youth and innocent bearing, and anxious, if possible, to save her, quickly replied, “Unfortunate woman, do not say that, for it will be your sentence of death. Say, rather, that the advance of the French troops frightened you, and drove you to seek shelter on Spanish ground.” “But then I should say what would not be true,” answered the girl, “and I would rather die a thousand times than offend God by telling a lie.” In vain did the general urge and solicit her to yield; her firmness never gave way, and she was conducted before the tribunal at St. Jean de Luz. Before her judges, Magdalen again, with unflinching courage, refused to save her life by a lie. She was, therefore, condemned to the guillotine, and, as she walked to the place of execution, her step never faltered, and she ceased not to invoke the assistance of God, chanting aloud the Salve Regina in honor of the Queen of Heaven.

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Catechism Made Easy, A Familiar Explanation of the Catechism of Christian Doctrine by Henry Gibson, pg. 467-468.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 464

 

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Crusades….Part VIII

March 5, 2015

I. Origin of the Crusades;

II. Foundation of Christian states in the East;

III. First destruction of the Christian states (1144-87);

IV. Attempts to restore the Christian states and the crusade against Saint-Jean d’Acre (1192-98);

V. The crusade against Constantinople (1204);

VI. The thirteenth-century crusades (1217-52);

VII. Final loss of the Christian colonies of the East (1254-91);

VIII. THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY CRUSADE AND THE OTTOMAN INVASION

Grand master & senior Knight Hospitallers

Grand master & senior Knight Hospitallers

The loss of Saint-Jean d’Acre did not lead the princes of Europe to organize a new crusade. Men’s minds were indeed, as usual, directed towards the East, but in the first years of the fourteenth century the idea of a crusade inspired principally the works of theorists who saw in it the best means of reforming Christendom. The treatise by Pierre Dubois, law-officer of the crown at Coutances, “De Recuperatione Terræ Sanctæ” (Langlois, ed., Paris, 1891), seems like the work of a dreamer, yet some of its views are truly modern. The establishment of peace between Christian princes by means of a tribunal of arbitration, the idea of making a French prince hereditary emperor, the secularization of the Patrimony of St. Peter, the consolidation of the Orders of the Hospitallers and Templars, the creation of a disciplined army the different corps of which were to have a special uniform, the creation of schools for the study of Oriental languages, and the intermarriage of Christian maidens with Saracens were the principal ideas it propounded (1307).

Saint Francis of Assisi with the Sultan Al-Kamil

Saint Francis of Assisi with the Sultan Al-Kamil

On the other hand the writings of men of greater activity and wider experience suggested more practical methods for effecting the conquest of the East. Persuaded that Christian defeat in the Orient was largely due to the mercantile relations which the Italian cities Venice and Genoa continued to hold with the Mohammedans, these authors sought the establishment of a commercial blockade which, within a few years, would prove the ruin of Egypt and cause it to fall under Christian control. For this purpose it was recommended that a large fleet be fitted out at the expense of Christian princes and made to do police duty on the Mediterranean so as to prevent smuggling. These were the projects set forth in the memoirs of Fidentius of Padua, a Franciscan (about 1291, Bibliothèque Nationale, Latin MSS., 7247); in those of King Charles II of Naples (1293, Bib. Nat., Frankish MSS., 6049); Jacques de Molay (1307, Baluze, ed., Vitæ paparum Avenion., II, 176-185); Henry II, King of Cyprus (Mas-Latrie, ed., Histoire de Chypre, II, 118); Guillaume d’Adam, Archbishop of Sultanieh (1310, Kohler, ed., Collect. Hist. of the Crusades, Armenian Documents, II); and Marino Sanudo, the Venetian (Bongars, ed., Secreta fidelium Crucis, II). The consolidation of the military orders was also urged by Charles II. Many other memoirs, especially that of Hayton, King of Armenia (1307, ed. Armenian Documents, I), considered an alliance between the Christians and the Mongols of Persia indispensable to success. In fact, from the end of the thirteenth century many missionaries had penetrated into the Mongolian Empire; in Persia, as well as in China, their propaganda flourished. St. Francis of Assisi, and Raymond Lully had hoped to substitute for the warlike crusade a peaceable conversion of the Mohammedans to Christianity.

Blessed Raymond Lully, T.O.S.F.

Blessed Raymond Lully, T.O.S.F.

Raymond Lully, born at Palma, on the Island of Majorca, in 1235, began (1275) his “Great Art”, which, by means of a universal method for the study of Oriental languages, would equip missionaries to enter into controversies with the Mohammedan doctors. In the same year he prevailed upon the King of Majorca to found the College of the Blessed Trinity at Miramar, where the Friars Minor could learn the Oriental languages. He himself translated catechetical treatises into Arabic and, after spending his life travelling in Europe trying to win over to his ideas popes and kings, suffered martyrdom at Bougie, where he had begun his work of evangelization (1314). Among the Mohammedans this propaganda encountered insurmountable difficulties, whereas the Mongols, some of whom were still members of the Nestorian Church, received it willingly. During the pontificate of John XXII (1316-34) permanent Dominican and Franciscan missions were established in Persia, China, Tatary and Turkestan, and in 1318 the Archbishopric of Sultanieh was created in Persia. In China Giovanni de Monte Corvino, created Archbishop of Cambaluc (Peking), organized the religious hierarchy, founded monasteries, and converted to Christianity men of note, possibly the great khan himself. The account of the journey of Blessed Orderic de Pordenone (Cordier, ed.) across Asia, between 1304 and 1330, shows us that Christianity had gained a foothold in Persia, India, Central Asia, and Southern China.

Bl. Odoric of Pordenone, O.F.M. preaching in China. Drawing on silk.

Bl. Odoric of Pordenone, O.F.M. preaching in China. Drawing on silk.

By thus leading up to an alliance between Mongols and Christians against the Mohammedans, the crusade had produced the desired effect; early in the fourteenth century the future development of Christianity in the East seemed assured. Unfortunately, however, the internal changes which occurred in the West, the weakening of the political influence of the popes, the indifference of temporal princes to what did not directly affect their territorial interests rendered unavailing all efforts towards the re-establishment of Christian power in the East. The popes endeavoured to insure the blockade of Egypt by prohibiting commercial intercourse with the infidels and by organizing a squadron for the prevention of smuggling, but the Venetians and Genoese defiantly sent their vessels to Alexandria and sold slaves and military stores to the Mamelukes.

Philip IV of France

Philip IV of France

Moreover, the consolidation of the military orders could not be effected. By causing the suppression of the Templars at the Council of Vienne in 1311, King Philip the Fair dealt a cruel blow to the crusade; instead of giving to the Hospitallers the immense wealth of the Templars, he confiscated it. The Teutonic Order having established itself in Prussia in 1228, there remained in the East only the Hospitallers. After the capture of Saint-Jean d’Acre, Henry II, King of Cyprus, had offered them shelter at Limasol, but there they found themselves in very straitened circumstances. In 1310 they seized the Island of Rhodes, which had become a den of pirates, and took it as their permanent abode. Finally, the contemplated alliance with the Mongols was never fully realized. It was in vain that Argoun, Khan of Persia, sent the Nestorian monk, Raban Sauma, as ambassador to the pope and the princes of the West (1285-88); his offers elicited but vague replies. On 23 December, 1299, Cazan, successor to Argoun, inflicted a defeat upon the Christians at Hims, and captured Damascus, but he could not hold his conquests, and died in 1304 just as he was preparing for a new expedition. The princes of the West assumed the cross in order to appropriate to their own use the tithes which, for the defrayal of crusade expenses, they had levied upon the property of the clergy. For these sovereigns the crusade had no longer any but a fiscal interest. In 1336 King Philip VI of France, whom the pope had appointed leader of the crusade, collected a fleet at Marseilles and was preparing to go to the East when the news of the projects of Edward III caused him to return to Paris.

Orhan of the Ottoman Empire from 1327 ‒ 1359, son of Osman I.

Orhan of the Ottoman Empire from 1327 ‒ 1359, son of Osman I.

War then broke out between France and England, and proved an insurmountable obstacle to the success of any crusade just when the combined forces of all Christendom would have been none too powerful to resist the new storm gathering in the East. From the close of the thirteenth century a band of Ottoman Turks, driven out of Central Asia by Mongol invasions, had founded a military state in Asia Minor and now threatened to invade Europe. They captured Ephesus in 1308, and in 1326 Othman, their sultan, established his residence at Broussa (Prusa) in Bithynia under Ourkhan, moreover, they organized the regular foot-guards of janizaries against whom the undisciplined troops of Western knights could not hold out. The Turks entered Nicomedia in 1328 and Nicæa in 1330; when they threatened the Emperors of Constantinople, the latter renewed negotiations with the popes with a view towards the reconciliation of the Greek and Roman Churches, for which purpose Barlaam was sent as ambassador to Avignon, in 1339. At the same time the Egyptian Mamelukes destroyed the port of Lajazzo, commercial centre of the Kingdom of Armenia Minor, where the remnants of the Christian colonies had sought refuge after the taking of Saint-Jean d’Acre (1337). The commercial welfare of the Venetians themselves was threatened; with their support Pope Clement VI in 1344 succeeded in reorganizing the maritime league whose operations had been prevented by the war between France and England. Genoa, the Hospitallers, and the King of Cyprus all sent their contingents, and, on 28 October, 1344, the crusaders seized Smyrna, which was confided to the care of the Hospitallers. In 1345 reinforcements under Humbert, Dauphin of Viennois, appeared in the Archipelago, but the new leader of the crusade was utterly disqualified for the work assigned him; unable to withstand the piracy of the Turkish ameers, the Christians concluded a truce with them in 1348. In 1356 the Ottomans captured Gallipoli and intercepted the route to Constantinople.

A group of Janissaries, who were This was the enslaving of non-Muslim boys, notably Catholics, as Jews and children from Turkicish families were never subject to this slavery.

A group of Janissaries. This was the enslaving of non-Muslim boys, notably Catholics, as Jews and children from Turkish families were never subject to this slavery.

The cause of the crusade then found an unexpected defender in Peter I, King of Cyprus, who, called upon by the Armenians, succeeded in surprising and storming the city of Adalia on the Cilician coast in 1361. Urged by his chancellor, Philip de Méziéres, and Pierre Thomas, the papal legate, Peter I undertook a voyage to the West (1362-65) in the hope of reviving the enthusiasm of the Christian princes. Pope Urban V extended him a magnificent welcome, as did also John the Good, King of France, who took the cross at Avignon, 20 March, 1363; the latter’s example was followed by King Edward III, the Black Prince, Emperor Charles IV, and Casimir, King of Poland. Everywhere King Peter was tendered fair promises, but when, in June, 1365, he embarked at Venice he was accompanied by hardly any but his own forces. After rallying the fleet of the Hospitallers, he appeared unexpectedly before the Old Port of Alexandria, landed without resistance, and plundered the city for two days, but at the approach of an Egyptian army his soldiers forced him to retreat, 9-16 October, 1365. Again in 1367 he pillaged the ports of Syria, Tripoli, Tortosa, Laodicea, and Jaffa, thus destroying the commerce of Egypt. Later, in another voyage to the West, he made a supreme effort to interest the princes in the crusade, but on his return to Cyprus he was assassinated, as the result of a conspiracy.

Alexandrian Crusade, October 1365 and was led by Peter I of Cyprus against Alexandria.

Alexandrian Crusade, October 1365 and was led by Peter I of Cyprus against Alexandria.

Meanwhile the Ottomans continued their progress in Europe, taking Philippopolis in 1363 and, in 1365, capturing Adrianople, which became the capital of the sultans. At the solicitation of Pope Urban V, Amadeus VII, Count of Savoy, took the cross and on 15 August, 1366, his fleet seized Gallipoli; then, after rescuing the Greek emperor, John V, held captive by the Bulgarians, he returned to the West. In spite of the heroism displayed during these expeditions, the efforts made by the crusaders were too intermittent to be productive of enduring results. Philippe de Méziéres, a friend and admirer of Pierre de Lusignan, eager to seek a remedy for the ills of Christendom, dreamed of founding a new militia, the Order of the Passion, an organization whose character was to be at once clerical and military, and whose members, although married, were to lead an almost monastic life and consecrate themselves to the conquest of the Holy Land. Being well received by Charles V, Philippe de Méziéres established himself at Paris and propagated his ideas among the French nobility.

Mahdian Crusade 1390: The Crusade-fleet with her leader, the Duke of Bourbon, and the Oriflamme.

Mahdian Crusade 1390: The Crusade-fleet with her leader, the Duke of Bourbon, and the Oriflamme.

In 1390 Louis II, Duke of Bourbon, took the cross, and at the instigation of the Genoese went to besiege el-Mahadia, an African city on the coast of Tunis. In 1392 Charles VI, who had signed a treaty of peace with England, appeared to have been won over to the crusade project just before he became deranged. But the time for expeditions to the Holy Land was now passed, and henceforth Christian Europe was forced to defend itself against Ottoman invasions. In 1369 John V, Palæologus, went to Rome and abjured the schism; thereafter the popes worked valiantly for the preservation of the remnants of the Byzantine Empire and the Christian states in the Balkans.

King Sigismund of Hungary during the battle of Nicopolis in 1396. Painting by Ferenc Lohr. Main hall of the Castle of Vaja.

King Sigismund of Hungary during the battle of Nicopolis in 1396. Painting by Ferenc Lohr. Main hall of the Castle of Vaja.

Having become master of Servia at the battle of Kosovo in 1389, the Sultan Bajazet imposed his sovereignty upon John V and secured possession of Philadelphia, the last Greek city in Asia Minor. Sigismund, King of Hungary, alarmed at the progress of the Turks, sent an embassy to Charles VI, and a large number of French lords, among them the Count of Nevers, son of the Duke of Burgundy, enlisted under the standard of the cross and, in July 1396, were joined at Buda by English and German knights. The crusaders invaded Servia, but despite their prodigies of valeur Bajazet completely routed them before Nicopolis, 25 September, 1396.

Battle of Nicopol, Bayezid ordering the dismembering and massacre of the Christians.

Battle of Nicopol. Bayezid ordering the dismembering and massacre of the Christians.

The Count of Nevers and a great many lords became Bajazet’s prisoners and were released only on condition of enormous ransoms. Notwithstanding this defeat, due to the misguided ardour of the crusaders, a new expedition left Aiguesmortes in June, 1399, under the command of the Marshal Boucicault and succeeded in breaking the blockade which the Turks had established around Constantinople. Moreover, between 1400 and 1402, John Palæologus made another voyage to the West in quest of reinforcements.

LOUIS BRÉHIER (Catholic Encyclopedia)

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Saints Kyneburge, Kyneswide, and Tibba

The two first were daughters of Penda, the cruel pagan king of Mercia, and sisters to three successive Christian Kings, Peada, Wulfere, and Ethelred, and to the pious prince Merowald…

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St. Chrodegang

Stained glass window of St. Chrodegang of Metz, in the Sainte-Glossinde de Metz chapel.Bishop of Metz, born at the beginning of the eighth century at Hasbania, in what is now Belgian Limburg, of a noble Frankish family; died at Metz, 6 March, 766.

He was educated at the court of Charles Martel, became his private secretary, then chancellor, and in 737 prime minister. On 1 March, 742, he was…

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Saint Teresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart

Born July 15, 1747. Died March 7, 1770 in Florence. Portrait of St. Teresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart O.C.D. painted after her death by Anna Piattoli.She was born Anna Maria Redi to a large noble family in Arezzo, Italy. She was the daughter of Count Ignatius Redi and Camilla Billeti. After attending the boarding school of the Benedictine nuns of St. Apollonia’s in Florence, she… Read more here. Subscription9.2

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St. John of God

Born at Montemor o Novo, Portugal, 8 March, 1495, of devout Christian parents; died at Granada, 8 March, 1550.

St. John of GodThe wonders attending the saints birth heralded a life many-sided in its interests, but dominated throughout by implicit fidelity to the grace of God. A Spanish priest whom he followed to Oropeza, Spain, in his ninth year left him in…

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Bl. Vincent Kadlubek

(KADLUBO, KADLUBKO).

Bishop of Cracow, chronicler, born at Karnow, Duchy of Sandomir, Poland, 1160; died at Jedrzejow, 8 March, 1223.

Bl. Wincenty KadłubekThe son of a rich family in Poland, he made such progress in his studies that in 1189 he could sign his name as Magister Vincentius (Zeissberg, in “Archiv fur osterreichische Geschichte”, XLII, Vienna, 1870, 25), from which some conclude that he was then a canon of Cracow and principal of the cathedral school. Another document of 1212 (Zeissberg, 29) bears his signature as quondam Sandomirensis praepositus. At the death of Bishop Fulk of Cracow 11 Sept., 1207, the chapter voted for Vincent. Innocent III approved the election…

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St. Frances of Rome

St. Frances of Rome with her Guardian Angel, who was continually visible to her.One of the greatest mystics of the fifteenth century; born at Rome, of a noble family, in 1384; died there, 9 March, 1440.

Her youthful desire was to enter religion, but at her father’s wish she married, at the age of twelve, Lorenzo de’ Ponziani. Among her children we know of…

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March 9 – Incorrupt

March 5, 2015

St. Catherine of Bologna

St Catherine of BolognaPoor Clare and mystical writer, born at Bologna, 8 September, 1413; died there, 9 March, 1463.

When she was ten years old, her father sent her to the court of the Marquis of Ferrara, Nicolò d’Este, as a companion…

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Crusades… Part VII

March 2, 2015

I. Origin of the Crusades;

II. Foundation of Christian states in the East;

III. First destruction of the Christian states (1144-87);

IV. Attempts to restore the Christian states and the crusade against Saint-Jean d’Acre (1192-98);

V. The crusade against Constantinople (1204);

VI. The thirteenth-century crusades (1217-52);

VII. FINAL LOSS OF THE CHRISTIAN COLONIES OF THE EAST (1254-91)

Michael VIII Palaiologos

Michael VIII Palæologus, Emperor of Nicæa

No longer aided by funds from the West, and rent by internal disorders, the Christian colonies owed their temporary salvation to the changes in Mussulman policy and the intervention of the Mongols. The Venetians drove the Genoese from Saint-Jean d’Acre and treated the city as conquered territory; in a battle where Christians fought against Christians, and in which Hospitallers were pitted against Templars, 20,000 men perished. In revenge the Genoese allied themselves with Michael Palæologus, Emperor of Nicæa, whose general, Alexius Strategopulos, had now no trouble in entering Constantinople and overthrowing the Latin Emperor, Baldwin II, 25 July, 1261. The conquest of the Caliphate of Bagdad by the Mongols (1258) and their invasion of Syria, where they seized Aleppo and Damascus, terrified both Christians and Mohammedans; but the Mameluke ameer, Bibars the Arbelester, defeated the Mongols and wrested Syria from them in September, 1260. Proclaimed sultan in consequence of a conspiracy, in 1260, Bibars began a merciless war on the remaining Christian states. In 1263 he destroyed the church at Nazareth; in 1265 took Cæsarea and Jaffa, and finally captured Antioch (May, 1268). The question of a crusade was always being agitated in the West, but except among men of a religious turn of mind, like St. Louis, there was no longer any earnestness in the matter among European princes. They looked upon a crusade as a political instrument, to be used only when it served their own interests. To prevent the preaching of a crusade against Constantinople, Michael Palæologus promised the pope to work for the union of the Churches; but Charles of Anjou, brother of St. Louis, whom the conquest of the Two Sicilies had rendered one of the most powerful princes of Christendom, undertook to carry out for his own benefit the Eastern designs hitherto cherished by the Hohenstaufen.

Charles de France, comte d'Anjou, brother of King St. Louis IX of France.

Charles de France, comte d’Anjou, brother of King St. Louis IX of France.

While Mary of Antioch, granddaughter of Amaury II, bequeathed him the rights she claimed to have to the crown of Jerusalem, he signed the treaty of Viterbo with Baldwin II (27 May, 1267), which assured him eventually the inheritance of Constantinople. In no wise troubled by these diplomatic combinations, St. Louis thought only of the crusade. In a parliament held at Paris, 24 March, 1267, he and his three sons took the cross, but, despite his example, many knights resisted the exhortations of the preacher Humbert de Romans. On hearing the reports of the missionaries, Louis resolved to land at Tunis, whose prince he hoped to convert to Christianity. It has been asserted that St. Louis was led to Tunis by Charles of Anjou, but instead of encouraging his brother’s ambition the saint endeavoured to thwart it. Charles had tried to take advantage of the vacancy of the Holy See between 1268 and 1271 in order to attack Constantinople, the negotiations of the popes with Michael Palæologus for religious union having heretofore prevented him. St. Louis received the embassy of the Greek emperor very graciously and ordered Charles of Anjou to join him at Tunis. The crusaders, among whom was Prince Edward of England, landed at Carthage 17 July, 1270, but the plague broke out in their camp, and on 25 August, St. Louis himself was carried off by the scourge. Charles of Anjou then concluded a treaty with the Mohammedans, and the crusaders reimbarked. Prince Edward alone, determined to fulfil his vow, and set out for Saint-Jean d’Acre; however, after a few razzias on Saracenic territory, he concluded a truce with Bibars.

Death of King St. Louis IX during the siege of Tunis.

Death of King St. Louis IX during the siege of Tunis.

The field was now clear for Charles of Anjou, but the election of Gregory X, who was favourable to the crusade, again frustrated his plans. While the emissaries of the King of the Two Sicilies traversed the Balkan peninsula, the new pope was awaiting the union of the Western and Eastern Churches, which event was solemnly proclaimed at the Council of Lyons, 6 July, 1274; Michael Palæologus himself promised to take the cross. On 1 May, 1275, Gregory X effected a truce between this sovereign and Charles of Anjou. In the meantime Philip III, King of France, the King of England, and the King of Aragon made a vow to go to the Holy Land. Unfortunately the death of Gregory X brought these plans to nought, and Charles of Anjou resumed his scheming. In 1277 he sent into Syria Roger of San Severino, who succeeded in planting his banner on the castle of Acre and in 1278 took possession of the principality of Achaia in the name of his daughter-in-law Isabelle de Villehardouin. Michael Palæologus had not been able to effect the union of the Greek clergy with Rome, and in 1281 Pope Martin IV excommunicated him. Having signed an alliance with Venice, Charles of Anjou prepared to attack Constantinople, and his expedition was set for April, 1283.

Pope Martin IV

Pope Martin IV

On 30 March, 1282, however, the revolt known as the Sicilian Vespers occurred, and once more his projects were defeated. In order to subdue his own rebellious subjects and to wage war against the King of Aragon, Charles was at last compelled to abandon his designs on the East. Meanwhile Michael Palæologus remained master of Constantinople, and the Holy Land was left defenceless. In 1280 the Mongols attempted once more to invade Syria, but were repulsed by the Egyptians at the battle of Hims; in 1286 the inhabitants of Saint-Jean d’Acre expelled Charles of Anjou’s seneschal and called to their aid Henry II, King of Cyprus. Kelaoun, the successor of Bibars, now broke the truce which he had concluded with the Christians, and seized Margat, the stronghold of the Hospitallers. Tripoli surrendered in 1289, and on 5 April, 1291, Malek-Aschraf, son and successor of Kelaoun, appeared before Saint-Jean d’Acre with 120,000 men.

The Hospitaller grand master Guillaume de Clermont defending the walls at the Siege of Acre in 1291, by Dominique-Louis Papéty.

The Hospitaller grand master Guillaume de Clermont defending the walls at the Siege of Acre in 1291, by Dominique-Louis Papéty.

The 25,000 Christians who defended the city were not even under one supreme commander; nevertheless they resisted with heroic valour, filled breaches in the wall with stakes and bags of cotton and wool, and communicated by sea with King Henry II, who brought them help from Cyprus. However, 28 May, the Mohammedans made a general attack and penetrated into the town, and its defenders fled in their ships. The strongest opposition was offered by the Templars, the garrison of whose fortress held out ten days longer, only to be completely annihilated. In July, 1291, the last Christian towns in Syria capitulated, and the Kingdom of Jerusalem ceased to exist.

LOUIS BRÉHIER (Catholic Encyclopedia)

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St. Katharine DrexelSt. Katharine Drexel, the second America canonized saint, was born into a wealthy family in Philadelphia in 1858.

Her father was an international banker and philanthropist accustomed to spending each evening in a prayerful vigil. Although her…

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St. Cunegundes, Empress

(c. 975 – 3 March 1040 at Kaufungen), also called Cunegundes and Cunegonda

Statues of Saint Cunigunde of Luxembourg and her husband, St. Henry II, at the Cathedral of Bamberg, Germany.ST. CUNEGUNDES was the daughter of Sigefride, the first count of Luxemburgh, and Hadeswige his pious wife. They instilled into her from her cradle the most tender sentiments of piety, and married her to St. Henry, duke of Bavaria, who, upon the death of the emperor Otho III. was chosen king…

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Blessed Christopher Bales

(Or Bayles, alias Evers)

The Rack. Richard Topcliffe, a Member of Parliament during the reign of Elizabeth I of England, was a fanatical persecutor of Catholics and the Church. He became notorious as a priest-hunter and torturer and was often referred to as the Queen’s principal “interrogator”. He claimed that his own instruments and methods were better than the official ones and was authorized to create a torture chamber in his home in London.Priest and martyr, b. at Coniscliffe near Darlington, County Durham, England, about 1564; executed 4 March, 1590. He entered the English College at Rome, 1 October, 1583, but owing to ill-health was sent to the College at Reims, where he was ordained 28 March, 1587…

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St. Casimir

St CasimirThe three-handed painting of Saint Casimir is considered miraculous. According to a legend, the painter attempted to redraw the hand in a different place and paint over the old hand, but the old hand miraculously reappeared. The original painting was covered in gilded silver clothing in 1636 and is in Saint Casimir’s Chapel under his tomb .

Prince of Poland, born in the royal palace at Cracow, 3 October, 1458; died at the court of Grodno, 4 March, 1484. He was the grandson of…

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St. John Joseph of the Cross

Born on the Island of Ischia, Southern Italy, 1654; died 5 March, 1739.

St. John Joseph of the CrossFrom his earliest years he was given to prayer and virtue. So great was his love of poverty that he would always wear the dress of the poor, though he was of noble birth.

At the age of sixteen years he entered the Order of St. Francis at Naples, amongst the Friars of the Alcantarine Reform, being the first Italian to join this reform which had been instituted in Spain by St. Peter of…

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Ordination and First Mass of St. John of Matha, painted by Vicente Carducho.

Ordination and First Mass of St. John of Matha, painted by Vicente Carducho.

When St. John of Matha was saying his first mass, there appeared before him an angel clothed in white, with a blue and red cross on his breast, with his hands crossed and resting on the heads of two captives, one a Christian, the other a Moor, as though wishing to make an exchange. The Bishop and others who assisted at this first mass also saw the vision, and consulting together as to what it could mean, resolved to send the young priest to Rome, with full details of the occurrence. On his way, he fell in with St. Felix of Valois, and the two were kindly received by the Pontiff, Innocent III.

Pope Innocent III approving the Order of the Trinity for the Redemption of Captives for St. John Matha and St. Felix of Valois.

Pope Innocent III approving the Order of the Trinity for the Redemption of Captives for St. John Matha and St. Felix of Valois.

The Pope, celebrating the Holy Sacrifice to know God’s will, became witness of the same vision. He could no longer doubt his two visitors were inspired of God to work for the redemption of captives, and he gave them a habit like that seen in the vision: the white color of their robe represents the Father, as white is the principle of all the colors, and receives its perfection from none; the blue of the cross, being a livid color, represents the Son, all covered with wounds, in His Passion; while the red, the color of fire, recalls the Holy Ghost, who inflames the hearts of men with love. Hence Pope Innocent called the new Order by the name of the Trinity for the Redemption of Captives.

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Stories From The Catechist by Very Rev. Canon G.E. Howe, Pg. 26-27 # 97.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 463

 

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Part 1

by Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

Man of Sorrows

Just as a fruit exudes its sweetest nectar and displays its most beautiful color when it is ripe, so does Our Lord express His full grandeur in suffering.

Cristo de Medina Coli: This statue is located high above the main altar in Madrid, Spain. He has real hair. This statue was in the possession of the Moors, since they stole Him. The Catholics wanted Him back, so the Moors put the statue on a scale & said the Catholics could buy Him back in the statue's weight in gold. The friars put 30 pieces of gold on the scale & the scale balanced out. The Moors were furious (they wanted alot of gold, since the statue is very heavy), so they started fighting, but the Catholics won the battle & recovered the statue.

Cristo de Medina Coli: This statue is located high above the main altar in Madrid, Spain. This statue was in the possession of the Moors, since they stole Him. The Catholics wanted Him back, so the Moors put the statue on a scale & said the Catholics could buy Him back in the statue’s weight in gold. The friars put 30 pieces of gold on the scale & the scale balanced out. The Moors were furious (they wanted alot of gold, since the statue is very heavy), so they started fighting, but the Catholics won the battle & recovered the statue.

In suffering, we see human misery most clearly. Crushed by suffering, man groans, moans, cries, flees, weeps, protests, revolts, and is humbled. Suffering horrifies man, and he is terrified by its prospect, but a man who accepts and even embraces his suffering with courage, acquires a quality of soul that others will never attain.

When I look at faces that bear no evidence of having suffered, I say to myself, “Poor soul, he thinks he he’s lived so many years, but, in truth, he hasn’t lived a single day!” The days of a man’s life should be counted not by the days he has lived, but by the days he has suffered. Suffering tempers the soul of man like fire tempers steel. Only a man who has truly suffered has truly lived.

There are many kinds of suffering. The suffering of a crusader who battles the infidel is not the same as that of the king who sends him into combat. The suffering of a sick child differs from that of the mother who cares for him. Different crosses temper different souls.

Jesus did not endure only one form of suffering. He was the Man of Sorrows. Reflecting on His life, we see that He suffered every sorrow a man could possibly suffer. His soul shone brilliantly with all the facets of the jewel of life that is suffering.

Crucifix

Harmonizer of contrasts

As with the gifts of all the peoples of the earth, Our Lord possessed attributes that were in themselves irreconcilable. He was at the same time the most triumphant Man and the most defeated, the most glorified and the most reviled, the most beloved and the most hated.

In His Person Christ harmonized professions, peoples, and attributes that could not be reconciled in a mere mortal. These harmonic contrasts met perfectly in Him because of the fullness of His humanity and His human sanctity but, above all, because of the unfathomable, divine influx of graces that were His as the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.

Having drawn from our meditation on man’s gifts a faint idea of the Person of Our Lord Jesus Christ, we find that He is the perfect and sublime synthesis of all gifts. And that is precisely why our idea of His Person is so inadequate. Christ’s perfection is beyond our present comprehension. “Now we see as through a glass darkly, but then we shall see face to face” (1 Cor. 13:12).

Holy Face of Our Lord

Answer to envy

As I note in my book Revolution and Counter-Revolution, beginning around the fourteenth century, a negative and pernicious premise has been fostered by which all who are superior necessarily despise those who are below them. In this light, those who are not great should fear those who are. How can we combat this erroneous view?

Perhaps, in the course of our reflection the thought arose: “This is all well and good, but how could I hope to approach such a Person? One look from His eyes and I would feel like sinking into the ground. Much less would I dare to talk to Him. I would be struck dumb. What could I say that could possibly interest Him? After all, how would the philosophical reflections of Saint Thomas Aquinas, the Angelic Doctor, and the sermons of Saint John Chrysostom, “the golden mouth,” sound in the ears of One who knows everything and has heard all?

Surely when our dear Saint Peter said, “Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinner” (Luke 6:8), he shared our apprehension. He felt so unworthy of Christ’s presence that he wished to vanish from His sight.

Painting by Raphael when Our Lord told St. Peter to cast down the nets. The boats being filled with fish to the point of sinking..."When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord."

Painting by Raphael when Our Lord told St. Peter to cast down the nets. The boats being filled with fish to the point of sinking…”When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”

Yet, Our Lord affectionately appreciates everything that is virtuous, no matter how small, as a reflection of His Father’s perfect goodness. Thus Christ is the rebuttal to Satan’s lie that the great must despise the small. Our Lord hates evil, but all that is good, however modest, is a tiny spark and expression of the divine and therefore delights Him.

We love that which is great and that which is small precisely because one is great and the other small. We see a majestic eagle in lofty flight: “How magnificent! How beautiful.” We spy a tiny hummingbird hovering over a flower: “How delicate. What a jewel!” Would an eagle the size of a hummingbird delight us? Or a hummingbird the size of an eagle inspire us?

Confidence of sinners

It is true that Our Lord hates sin unconditionally and uncompromisingly. Since He is Virtue itself, He necessarily abhors every taint of evil. Were this not the case, He would not be worthy of our adoration, but while God hates sin, He loves any residue of virtue in the sinner and longs for his repentance and conversion. If Our Lord loves every form and measure of virtue, He loves even that which is but a shadow of virtue. Should He find a seedling of virtue threatened by the weeds of vice amid which it is sprouting, He will nurture and cultivate this fragile flower.

A Costa's hummingbird.

A Costa’s hummingbird.

When a soul is in a state of mortal sin, it is dead in the sense that it no longer produces good works. And yet it is the sinner’s faith that moves his heart to repentance and to seek God’s forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance. This faith is a true faith that the sinner has only because God sustains it. Otherwise he would have lost it, and his heart would have hardened and died.

Does God not love the faith that resides in the sinner’s soul? Did He not implant it? Does He not sustain it? Though this faith were the only bond joining the sinner to Christ’s Mystical Body, could Our Lord Jesus Christ, as Head of His Church, despise His own member?

Thus we may understand why great sinners have approached their Redeemer with confidence. Saint Mary Magdalene washed Jesus’ feet with perfume and dried them with her hair. From his cross, the good thief Saint Dismas begged his crucified Savior to remember him when he came into His kingdom.

Bald EagleTheir confidence was emboldened because Our Lord is Truth and Goodness, and when the the least vestige of truth and goodness comes in contact with Him it expands and is fulfilled. It is attracted to Him rather than repelled. Fear gives way to faith. It is capital that we understand this aspect of Our Lord.

Fear of the just

But how is it, you may ask, that Our Lord can inspire fear–at times even in the good? On Mount Tabor, where He appeared so covered in light that He frightened His own disciples? Or when He said, “Ego sum,” to the people who arrested Him and sent a wave of paralyzing terror through them?

It is because God is unfathomable, and while His existence can be known by reason, His nature cannot be fully comprehended by our unaided intellect. Were we to he behold Him without divine assistance, we would disintegrate.

Man’s eyes were made for the light of the sun. Without light we cannot see, but if we were to stare at the sun without protection, its rays would blind the very eyes they enable to see. Man himself was created to know, love, and serve God. The light of His Holy Spirit enkindles our primordial light and illumines our way. But were we to look on God’s face without His divine protection, we would surely die. Hence Moses’ encounter with God in the form of a burning bush (cf. Exod. 33:20).

God Appears to Moses in Burning Bush. Painting from Saint Isaac's Cathedral, Saint Petersburg.

God Appears to Moses in Burning Bush. Painting from Saint Isaac’s Cathedral, Saint Petersburg.

Our Lord did not manifest His qualities all at once during His earthly life. He revealed them little by little until after His crucifixion, His redemptive mission accomplished. Through His resurrection He manifested His unmistakable Divinity for all to see.

Alpha and Omega

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Ps. 110:10) but it is not the end. The fact that we yet live in this vale of tears and have not been consigned to the unquenchable flames of hell is reason enough to approach our Blessed Redeemer with complete confidence. Our continued presence in this world is a sign that He sees in us the seed of a good He loves, even if its fruit is far less sweet than we imagine.

May the light of Christ, born in our souls at Baptism, enlighten our path in the growing darkness of a world that has lost its way and lead us–like Dismas, our brother–safely home to Paradise.

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(Crusade, May-June 1998 . The text of this article was adapted from a talk given by Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira to members of the Brazilian TFP in September of 1971 in Sao Paulo, Brazil).

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The Crusades – Part VI

February 26, 2015

I. Origin of the Crusades;

II. Foundation of Christian states in the East;

III. First destruction of the Christian states (1144-87);

IV. Attempts to restore the Christian states and the crusade against Saint-Jean d’Acre (1192-98);

V. The crusade against Constantinople (1204);

VI. THE THIRTEENTH-CENTURY CRUSADES (1217-52)

Frisian crusaders attack the tower of Damietta in a painting by Cornelis Claesz van Wieringen.

Frisian crusaders attack the tower of Damietta in a painting by Cornelis Claesz van Wieringen.

In Europe, however, the preaching of the crusade met with great opposition. Temporal princes were strongly averse to losing jurisdiction over their subjects who took part in the crusades. Absorbed in political schemes, they were unwilling to send so far away the military forces on which they depended. As early as December, 1216, Frederick II was granted a first delay in the fulfilment of his vow. The crusade as preached in the thirteenth century was no longer the great enthusiastic movement of 1095, but rather a series of irregular and desultory enterprises. Andrew II, King of Hungary, and Casimir, Duke of Pomerania, set sail from Venice and Spalato, while an army of Scandinavians made a tour of Europe. The crusaders landed at Saint-Jean d’Acre in 1217, but confined themselves to incursions on Mussulman territory, whereupon Andrew of Hungary returned to Europe. Receiving reinforcements in the spring of 1218, John of Brienne, King of Jerusalem, resolved to make an attack on the Holy Land by way of Egypt.

Pope Gregory IX

Pope Gregory IX

The crusaders accordingly landed at Damietta in May, 1218, and, after a siege marked by many deeds of heroism, took the city by storm, 5 November, 1219. Instead of profiting by this victory, they spent over a year in idle quarrels, and it was not until May 1221, that they set out for Cairo. Surrounded by the Saracens at Mansurah, 24 July, the Christian army was routed. John of Brienne was compelled to purchase a retreat by the surrender of Damietta to the Saracens. Meanwhile Emperor Frederick II, who was to be the leader of the crusade, had remained in Europe and continued to importune the pope for new postponements of his departure. On 9 November, 1225, he married Isabelle of Brienne, heiress to the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the ceremony taking place at Brindisi. Completely ignoring his father-in-law, he assumed the title of King of Jerusalem.

Frederick II

Frederick II

In 1227, however, he had not yet left for Palestine. Gregory IX, elected pope 19 March, 1227, summoned Frederick to fulfil his vow. Finally, 8 September, the emperor embarked but soon turned back; therefore, on 29 September, the pope excommunicated him. Nevertheless, Frederick set sail again 18 June, 1228, but instead of leading a crusade he played a game of diplomacy. He won over Malek-el-Khamil, the Sultan of Egypt, who was at war with the Prince of Damascus, and concluded a treaty with him at Jaffa, February, 1229, according to the terms of which Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Nazareth were restored to the Christians. On 18 March, 1229, without any religious ceremony, Frederick assumed the royal crown of Jerusalem in the church of the Holy Sepulchre. Returning to Europe, he became reconciled to Gregory IX, August, 1230. The pontiff ratified the Treaty of Jaffa, and Frederick sent knights into Syria to take possession of the cities and compel all feudatories to do him homage. A struggle occurred between Richard Filangieri, the emperor’s marshal, and the barons of Palestine, whose leader was Jean d’Ibelin, Lord of Beirut. Filangieri vainly attempted to obtain possession of the Island of Cyprus. and, when Conrad, son of Frederick II and Isabelle of Brienne, came of age in 1243, the High Court, described above, named as regent Alix of Champagne, Queen of Cyprus. In this way German power was abolished in Palestine.

Béla IV, King of Hungary

Béla IV, King of Hungary

In the meantime Count Thibaud IV of Champagne had been leading a fruitless crusade in Syria (1239). Similarly the Duke of Burgundy and Richard of Cornwall, brother of the King of England, who had undertaken to recover Ascalon, concluded a truce with Egypt (1241). Europe was now threatened with a most grievous disaster. After conquering Russia, the Mongols under Jenghiz Khan appeared in 1241 on the frontiers of Poland, routed the army of the Duke of Silesia at Liegnitz, annihilated that of Bela, King of Hungary, and reached the Adriatic. Palestine felt the consequences of this invasion. The Mongols had destroyed the Mussulman Empire of Kharizm in Central Asia. Fleeing before their conquerors, 10,000 Kharizmians offered their services to the Sultan of Egypt, meanwhile seizing Jerusalem as they passed by, in September, 1244. The news of this catastrophe created a great stir in Europe, and at the Council of Lyons (June-July, 1245) Pope Innocent IV proclaimed a crusade, but the lack of harmony between him and the Emperor Frederick II foredoomed the pontiff to disappointment. Save for Louis IX, King of France, who took the cross in December, 1244, no one showed any willingness to lead an expedition to Palestine. On being informed that the Mongols were well-disposed towards Christianity, Innocent IV sent them Giovanni di Pianocarpini, a Franciscan, and Nicolas Ascelin, a Dominican, as ambassadors.

Ascelin of Cremone receiving a letter from Pope Innocent IV, and remitting it to the Mongol general Baiju.

Pope Innocent IV send Giovanni di Pianocarpini, a Franciscan, and Nicolas Ascelin, a Dominican to the Mongol general Baiju.

Pianocarpini was in Karakorum 8 April, 1246, the day of the election of the great khan, but nothing came of this first attempt at an alliance with the Mongols against the Mohammedans. However, when St. Louis, who left Paris 12 June, 1248, had reached the Island of Cyprus, he received there a friendly embassy from the great khan and, in return, sent him two Dominicans. Encouraged, perhaps, by this alliance, the King of France decided to attack Egypt. On 7 June, 1249, he took Damietta, but it was only six months later that he marched on Cairo. On 19 December, his advance-guard, commanded by his brother, Robert of Artois, began imprudently to fight in the streets of Mansurah and were destroyed. The king himself was cut off from communication with Damietta and made prisoner 5 April, 1250. At the same time, the Ajoubite dynasty founded by Saladin was overthrown by the Mameluke militia, whose ameers took possession of Egypt. St. Louis negotiated with the latter and was set at liberty on condition of surrendering Damietta and paying a ransom of a million gold bezants. He remained in Palestine until 1254; bargained with the Egyptian ameers for the deliverance of prisoners; improved the equipment of the strongholds of the kingdom, Saint-Jean d’Acre, Cæsarea, Jaffa, and Sidon; and sent Friar William of Rubruquis as ambassador to the great khan. Then, at the news of the death of his mother, Blanche of Castile, who had been acting as regent, he returned to France.

King St. Louis IX on a ship departing from Aigues-Mortes, for the Seventh Crusade.

King St. Louis IX on a ship departing from Aigues-Mortes, for the Seventh Crusade.

Since the crusade against Saint-Jean d’Acre, a new Frankish state, the Kingdom of Cyprus, had been formed in the Mediterranean opposite Syria and became a valuable point of support for the crusades. By lavish distribution of lands and franchises, Guy de Lusignan succeeded in attracting to the island colonists, knights, men-at-arms, and civilians; his successors established a government modeled after that of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. The king’s power was restricted by that of the High Court, composed of all the knights, vassals, or under-vassals, with its seat at Nicosia. However, the fiefs were less extensive than in Palestine, and the feudatories could inherit only in a direct line. The Island of Cyprus was soon populated with French colonists who succeeded in winning over the Greeks, upon whom they even imposed their language. Churches built in the French style and fortified castles appeared on all sides. The Cathedral of St. Sophia in Nicosia, erected between 1217 and 1251, was almost a copy of a church in Champagne. Finally, commercial activity became a pronounced characteristic of the cities of Cyprus, and Famagusta developed into one of the busiest of Mediterranean ports.

LOUIS BRÉHIER (Catholic Encyclopedia)

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St. Anne Line

English martyr, died 27 Feb., 1601.

She was the daughter of William Heigham of Dunmow, Essex, a gentleman of means and an ardent Calvinist, and when she and her brother announced their intention of becoming Catholics both were disowned and disinherited. Anne married Roger Line, a convert like herself, and shortly…

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February 28 – St. Oswald

February 26, 2015

St. Oswald

Archbishop of York, died on 29 February, 992.

St. Oswald and Abbot Eadnoth

St. Oswald and Abbot Eadnoth

Of Danish parentage, Oswald was brought up by his uncle Odo, Archbishop of Canterbury, and instructed by Fridegode. For some time he was dean of the house of the secular canons at Winchester, but led by the desire of a stricter life he entered the Benedictine Monastery of Fleury, where Odo himself had received the monastic habit. He was ordained there and in 959 returned to England betaking himself to his kinsman Oskytel, then Archbishop of York. He took an active part in ecclesiastical affairs at York until St. Dunstan procured his appointment to the See of Worcester. He was consecrated by St. Dunstan in 962. Oswald was an ardent supporter of Dunstan in his efforts to purify the Church from abuses, and aided by King Edgar he carried out his policy of replacing by communities the canons who held monastic possessions. Edgar gave the monasteries of St. Albans, Ely, and Benfleet to Oswald, who established monks at Westbury (983), Pershore (984), at Winchelcumbe (985), and at Worcester, and re-established Ripon. But his most famous foundation was that of Ramsey in Huntingdonshire, the church of which was dedicated in 974, and again after an accident in 991.

St. Oswald of WorcesterIn 972 by the joint action of St. Dunstan and Edgar, Oswald was made Archbishop of York, and journeyed to Rome to receive the pallium from John XIII. He retained, however, with the sanction of the pope, jurisdiction over the diocese of Worcester where he frequently resided in order to foster his monastic reforms (Eadmer, 203). On Edgar’s death in 975, his work, hitherto so successful, received a severe check at the hands of Elfhere, King of Mercia, who broke up many communities. Ramsey, however, was spared, owing to the powerful patronage of Ethelwin, Earl of East Anglia. Whilst Archbishop of York, Oswald collected from the ruins of Ripon the relics of the saints, some of which were conveyed to Worcester. He died in the act of washing the feet of the poor, as was his daily custom during Lent, and was buried in the Church of St. Mary at Worcester. Oswald used a gentler policy than his colleague Ethelwold and always refrained from violent measures. He greatly valued and promoted learning amongst the clergy and induced many scholars to come from Fleury. He wrote two treatises and some synodal decrees. His feast is celebrated on 28 February.

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Historians of York in Rolls Series, 3 vols.; see Introductions by RAINE. The anonymous and contemporary life of the monk of Ramsey, I, 399-475, and EADMER, Life and Miracles, II, 1-59 (also in P.L., CLIX) are the best authorities; the lives by SENATUS and two others in vol. II are of little value; Acta SS., Feb., III, 752; Acta O.S.B. (Venice, 1733), saec. v, 728; WRIGHT, Biog. Lit., I (London, 1846), 462; TYNEMOUTH and CAPGRAVE, ed. HORSTMAN, II (Oxford, 1901), 252; HUNT, Hist. of the English Church from 597-1066 (London, 1899); IDEM in Dict. of Nat. Biog., s.v.; LINGARD, Anglo-Saxon Church (London, 1845).

S. Anselm Parker (Catholic Encyclopedia)

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February 28 – One of the many men who spent their lives building a Christian Civilization

February 26, 2015

St. Romanus Abbot of Condat, now St. Claude in the French Jura, b. about 400; d. in 463 or 464. When thirty-five years old he went into the lonely region of Condat to live as a hermit, where after a while his younger brother Lupicinus followed him. A large number of scholars, among whom was […]

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February 28 – Pope Saint Hilarus

February 26, 2015

Pope Saint Hilarus [Also spelled HILARIUS, or HILARY] Elected 461; the date of his death is given as 28 Feb., 468. After the death of Leo I, an archdeacon named Hilarus, a native of Sardinia, according to the “Liber Pontificalis”, was chosen to succeed him, and in all probability received consecration on 19 November, 461. […]

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March 1 – St. David of Wales

February 26, 2015

St. David (DEGUI, DEWI). Bishop and Confessor, patron of Wales. He is usually represented standing on a little hill, with a dove on his shoulder. From time immemorial the Welsh have worn a leek on St. David’s day, in memory of a battle against the Saxons, at which it is said they wore leeks in […]

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March 2 – This Princess Refused to Marry the Emperor

February 26, 2015

St. Agnes of Bohemia (Also called Agnes of Prague). Born at Prague in the year 1200; died probably in 1281. She was the daughter of Ottocar, King of Bohemia and Constance of Hungary, a relative of St. Elizabeth… Read more here.

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March 2 – Warrior Bishop Prince

February 26, 2015

St. John Maron Origin of St. John Maron John Maron was born in Sarum, a prosperous town located south of the city of Antioch. His date of birth is not mentioned but many historians place it around the third decade of the seventh century. He descended from a Frankish royal family which governed Antioch, a […]

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The Crusades – Part V

February 23, 2015

I. Origin of the Crusades; II. Foundation of Christian states in the East; III. First destruction of the Christian states (1144-87); IV. Attempts to restore the Christian states and the crusade against Saint-Jean d’Acre (1192-98); V. THE CRUSADE AGAINST CONSTANTINOPLE (1204) In the many attempts made to establish the Christian states the efforts of the […]

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February 24 – First Christian King Among the English

February 23, 2015

St. Ethelbert, King of Kent Born, 552; died, 24 February, 616; son of Eormenric, through whom he was descended from Hengest. He succeeded his father, in 560, as King of Kent and made an unsuccessful attempt to win from Ceawlin of Wessex the overlordship of Britain. His political importance was doubtless advanced by his marriage […]

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February 24 – The Cup Is Sometimes Bitter

February 23, 2015

Blessed Thomas Mary Fusco The seventh of eight children, he was born on 1 December 1831 in Pagani, Salerno, in the Diocese of Nocera-Sarno, Italy, to Dr. Antonio, a pharmacist, and Stella Giordano, of noble descent. They were known for their upright moral and religious conduct, and taught their son Christian piety and charity to […]

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February 25 – Princess, Abbess, Miracle Worker

February 23, 2015

St. Walburga Born in Devonshire, about 710; died at Heidenheim, 25 Feb., 777. She is the patroness of Eichstadt, Oudenarde, Furnes, Antwerp, Gronigen, Weilburg, and Zutphen, and is invoked as special patroness against hydrophobia, and in storms, and also by sailors. She was the daughter of St. Richard, one of the under-kings of the West […]

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February 26 – St. Isabel of France

February 23, 2015

St. Isabel of France Daughter of Louis VIII and of his wife, Blanche of Castille, born in March, 1225; died at Longchamp, 23 February, 1270. St. Louis IX, King of France (1226-70), was her brother. When still a child at court, Isabel, or Elizabeth, showed an extraordinary devotion to exercises of piety, modesty, and other […]

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February 26 – Blessed Robert Drury

February 23, 2015

Blessed Robert Drury Martyr (1567-1607), was born of a good Buckinghamshire family and was received into the English College at Reims, 1 April, 1588. On 17 September, 1590, he was sent to the new College at Valladolid; here he finished his studies… Read more here.

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The Crown of Thorns, in Paris

February 19, 2015

Baldwin the Second, Emperor of Constantinople, having come to France to solicit the king’s aid against the Greeks, who were besieging that imperial city, thought he would gain the heart of King Louis by making him a present of the Holy Crown of Thorns. He was not mistaken: the king assisted with money and troops, […]

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State blocks changes to royal succession laws

February 19, 2015

According to the Royal Central blog: Four years ago, during the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Australia, an agreement was made between those 16 countries…that there would be changes to the royal succession laws. Ironically, the hold-up for these changes is down the very state from which they originated in Australia. …the Western Australia […]

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Contemplating Christ in the Perfection of His Person – Part 1

February 19, 2015

by Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira “If any man say, I love God, and hateth his brother; he is a liar. For he that loveth not his brother, whom he seeth, how can he love God whom he seeth not?” (John 4:20). I dare say that most of us have meditated, though no doubt insufficiently, on […]

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Luxembourg’s Crown Prince Guillaume and Princess Stéphanie mark 70th anniversary of the liberation of Vianden

February 19, 2015

According to the Luxemburger Wort: Vianden’s strategic location as an exit corridor for German troops caused it to be one of the last strongholds of the Wehrmacht in Luxembourg – that is until the arrival of the 1255th Engineer Combat Battalion on February 12. Prince Guillaume and Princess Stéphanie on Thursday evening led a commemorative […]

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The Crusades – Part IV

February 19, 2015

I. Origin of the Crusades; II. Foundation of Christian states in the East; III. First destruction of the Christian states (1144-87); IV. ATTEMPTS TO RESTORE THE CHRISTIAN STATES AND THE CRUSADE AGAINST SAINT-JEAN D’ACRE The news of these events caused great consternation in Christendom, and Pope Gregory VIII strove to put a stop to all […]

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February 20 – Repeatedly racked

February 19, 2015

Ven. Thomas Pormort English martyr, b. at Hull about 1559; d. at St. Paul’s Churchyard, 20 Feb., 1592. He was probably related to the family of Pormort of Great Grimsby and Saltfletby, Lincoln shire. George Pormort, Mayor of Grimsby in 1565, had a second son Thomas baptized, 7 February, 1566, but this can hardly be […]

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February 20 – Leaders and future nobility appear in times of desperate distress

February 19, 2015

Andreas Hofer A patriot and soldier, born at St. Leonhard in Passeyrthale, Tyrol, 22 Nov., 1767; executed at Mantua, 20 Feb., 1810. His father was known as the “Sandwirth” (i. e., landlord of the inn on the sandy spit of land formed by the Passeyr. The inn had been in the family for over one […]

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February 20 – Pope Martin V

February 19, 2015

Pope Martin V (Oddone Colonna) Born at Genazzano in the Campagna di Roma, 1368; died at Rome, 20 Feb., 1431. He studied at the University of Perugia, became prothonotary Apostolic under Urban VI, papal auditor and nuncio at various Italian courts under Boniface IX, and was administrator of the Diocese of Palestrina from 15 December […]

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February 21 – Shakespeare’s Inspiration

February 19, 2015

Saint Robert Southwell Poet, Jesuit, martyr; born at Horsham St. Faith’s, Norfolk, England, in 1561; hanged and quartered at Tyburn, 21 February, 1595. His grandfather, Sir Richard Southwell, had been a wealthy man and a prominent courtier in the reign of Henry VIII. It was Richard Southwell who in 1547 had brought the poet Henry […]

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February 21 – Terror of the Wicked, Supporter of the Weak

February 19, 2015

Blessed Pepin of Landen Mayor of the Palace to the Kings Clotaire II, Dagobert, and Sigebert. He was son of Carloman, the most powerful nobleman of Austrasia, who had been mayor to Clotaire I, son of Clovis I. He was grandfather to Pepin of Herstal, the most powerful mayor, whose son was Charles Martel, and […]

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February 21 – His mother almost allowed him to die

February 19, 2015

St. Peter Damian Doctor of the Church, Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia, born at Ravenna “five years after the death of the Emperor Otto III,” 1007; died at Faenza, 21 Feb., 1072. He was the youngest of a large family. His parents were noble, but poor. At his birth an elder brother protested against this new charge […]

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February 22 – The Cavalier’s Mistress Who Became a Saint

February 19, 2015

St. Margaret of Cortona A penitent of the Third Order of St. Francis, born at Laviano in Tuscany in 1247; died at Cortona, 22 February, 1297. At the age of seven years Margaret lost her mother and two years later her father married a second time. Between the daughter and her step-mother there seems to […]

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February 23 – The responsibilities of leadership are heavy

February 19, 2015

Pope Benedict XIII (PIETRO FRANCESCO ORSINI) Born 2 February, 1649; died 23 February, 1730. Being a son of Ferdinando Orsini and Giovanna Frangipani of Tolpha, he belonged to the archducal family of Orsini-Gravina. From early youth he exhibited a decided liking for the Order of St. Dominic, and at the age of sixteen during a […]

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February 23 – St. Polycarp’s martyrdom

February 19, 2015

St. Polycarp’s martyrdom Polycarp’s martyrdom is described in a letter from the Church of Smyrna, to the Church of Philomelium “and to all the brotherhoods of the holy and universal Church”, etc. The letter begins with an account of the persecution and the heroism of the martyrs. Conspicuous among them was one Germanicus, who encouraged […]

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The Crusades – Part III

February 16, 2015

I. Origin of the Crusades; II. Foundation of Christian states in the East; III. FIRST DESTRUCTION OF THE CHRISTIAN STATES (1144-87) Many dangers, unfortunately, threatened this prosperity. On the south were the Caliphs of Egypt, on the east the Seljuk Ameers of Damascus, Hamah and Aleppo, and on the north the Byzantine emperors, eager to […]

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February 17 – Marvelous Apparition of Our Lady To Seven Young Nobles

February 16, 2015

St. Alexis Falconieri Born in Florence, 1200; died 17 February, 1310, at Mount Senario, near Florence. He was the son of Bernard Falconieri, a merchant prince of Florence, and one of the leaders of the Republic. His family belonged to the Guelph party, and opposed the Imperialists whenever they could consistently with their political principles. […]

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February 18 – Charlemagne’s envoy to the pope

February 16, 2015

St. Angilbert Abbot of Saint-Riquier, died 18 February, 814. Angilbert seems to have been brought up at the court of Charlemagne, where he was the pupil and friend of the great English scholar Alcuin. He was intended for the ecclesiastical state and must have received minor orders early in life, but he accompanied the young […]

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February 18 – Confronted the Emperor and annulled the Robber Council of Ephesus

February 16, 2015

St. Flavian Bishop of Constantinople, date of birth unknown; died at Hypaepa in Lydia, August, 449. Nothing is known of him before his elevation to the episcopate save that he was a presbyter and skeuophylax or sacristan, of the Church of Constantinople, and noted for the holiness of his life. His succession to St. Proclus […]

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February 18 – Fra Angelico brought part of heaven to earth

February 16, 2015

Blessed Fra Angelico A famous painter of the Florentine school, born near Castello di Vicchio in the province of Mugello, Tuscany, 1387; died at Rome, 1455. He was christened Guido, and his father’s name being Pietro he was known as Guido, or Guidolino, di Pietro, but his full appellation today is that of “Blessed Fra […]

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February 19 – St. Conrad of Piacenza

February 16, 2015

St. Conrad of Piacenza Hermit of the Third Order of St. Francis, date of birth uncertain; died at Noto in Sicily, 19 February, 1351. He belonged to one of the noblest families of Piacenza, and having married when he was quite young, led a virtuous and God-fearing life. On one occasion, when he was engaged […]

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Queen Elizabeth prays for the repose of her father on 63rd anniversary of accession to throne

February 12, 2015

According to the Daily Express: It is always a bitter-sweet anniversary for the 88-year-old monarch, who usually spends the day at Sandringham House, where her father died in his sleep at the age of 56 after succumbing to lung cancer on February 6, 1952. The Queen, who always begins accession day with private prayers for […]

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Video: Britain marks 63 years of Queen Elizabeth as monarch

February 12, 2015

Courtesy of EuroNews:

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Newlyweds: the Dauphin of France and Marie Antoinette help the victims of a fire

February 12, 2015

The celebrations for the wedding of the future Louis XVI with Marie Antoinette of Austria came to a close in Paris with a fireworks display in the Place Louis XV (today’s Place de la Concorde). A fire broke out in the scaffolding and cannons around the king’s statue which induced panic in the crowd. 132 […]

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The Crusades – Part II

February 12, 2015

I. Origin of the Crusades; II. FOUNDATION OF CHRISTIAN STATES IN THE EAST After travelling through Burgundy and the south of France, Urban II convoked a council at Clermont-Ferrand, in Auvergne. It was attended by fourteen archbishops, 250 bishops, and 400 abbots; moreover a great number of knights and men of all conditions came and […]

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February 13 – Mystic and Counselor to Future Popes

February 12, 2015

St. Catherine de Ricci, Virgin (AD 1522 – 1589) The Ricci are an ancient family, which still subsists in a flourishing condition in Tuscany. Peter de Ricci, the father of our saint, was married to Catherine Bonza, a lady of suitable birth. The saint was born at Florence in 1522, and called at her baptism […]

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February 13 – St. Fulcran

February 12, 2015

St. Fulcran Bishop of Lodève; died 13 February, 1006. According to the biography which Bernard Guidonis, Bishop of Lodève (died 1331), has left us his saintly predecessor, Fulcran came of a distinguished family, consecrated himself at an early age to the service of the Church, became… Read more here.

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February 14 – Renounced Earthly Nobility To Obtain Heavenly Nobility

February 12, 2015

Sts. Cyril and Methodius These brothers, the Apostles of the Slavs, were born in Thessalonica, in 827 and 826 respectively. Though belonging to a senatorial family they renounced secular honors and became priests. They were living in a monastery on the Bosphorus, when the Khazars sent to Constantinople for a Christian teacher. Cyril was selected […]

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February 15 – St. Claude de la Colombière

February 12, 2015

St. Claude de la Colombière Missionary and ascetical writer, born of noble parentage at Saint-Symphorien-d’Ozon, between Lyons and Vienne, in 1641; died at Paray-le-Monial, 15 Feb., 1682. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1659. After fifteen years of religious life he made a vow, as a means of attaining the utmost possible perfection, to […]

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February 16 – Founded and ruled a religious order as his family Manorhouse, but only joined that order in his old age

February 12, 2015

St. Gilbert of Sempringham Founder of the Order of Gilbertines, born at Sempringham, on the border of the Lincolnshire fens, between Bourn and Heckington. The exact date of his birth is unknown, but it lies between 1083 and 1089; died at Sempringham, 1189. His father, Jocelin, was a wealthy Norman knight holding lands in Lincolnshire; […]

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