Bl. Marco d’AvianoFather Marco d’Aviano, an Italian mission preacher calling to repentance did not stint his zeal at this gloomy moment. For some time previously his reputation had attracted attention north of the Alps. Charles of Lorraine’s court at Innsbruck wished to invite him, but Pope Innocent at first refused permission. Then the Wittelsbach court in Munich, Philip William at Neuburg, and finally Leopold, joined the chorus…. In 1682 he came to Vienna and was blessed for Lorraine’s recovery from a second bout of illness. But more important, in the highest court circles the attitude of Pope Innocent XI towards Islam was then, and henceforward, to be strongly defended by this remarkable man, whose correspondence with the Emperor for a period of nearly twenty years (until 1699) is one of the most curious memorials of the age. It testifies as much to the piety of the layman as of the priest; and the priest assured the Emperor, insistently, by letter or in the course of occasional confidential interviews, that the overcoming of the Turk was necessary, possible, and the vocation of God’s servant Leopold.

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John Stoye, The Siege of Vienna: The Last Great Trial Between Cross & Crescent (New York: Pegasus Books, 2007), 34.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 416

 

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The Deception of Utopias

September 1, 2014

Someone might object that such concepts do not correspond to reality. Men often seek false “utopias,” only to be disillusioned, a fact which gives foundation to the popular notion that all dreams are illusions or even dangerous fantasies.

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We would not dispute such claims. Like all things linked to man’s fallen nature and fertile imagination, our dreams can lead to spectacular failures, nationalist incarnations, and horrific aberrations. Left to himself, man might achieve some great things, but his unrestrained dreams, more often than not, run the risk of being bitter utopias—literally paths to “nowhere.”

 

John Horvat, Return to Order: From a Frenzied Economy to an Organic Christian Society—Where We’ve Been, How We Got Here, and Where We Need to Go (York, Penn.: York Press, 2013), 326.

 

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Martyrs of September (Also known as: Martyrs of Paris or Martyrs of Carmes)

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In 1790, the revolutionary government of France enacted a law denying Papal authority over the Church in France. The French clergy were required to swear an oath to uphold this law and submit to the Republic. Many priests and religious took the oath but a sizable minority opposed it. The revolutionary leaders’ primary target was the aristocracy, but by 1792, their attention turned to the Church, especially the non-jurors within it.

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Pope St. Gregory I (“the Great”)

Window depicting St. Gregory the Great in Saints Peter and Paul Church, Bow Valley, Nebraska.

Window depicting St. Gregory the Great in Saints Peter and Paul Church, Bow Valley, Nebraska.

Doctor of the Church; born at Rome about 540; died 12 March 604. Pope Gregory is certainly one of the most notable figures in Ecclesiastical History. He has exercised in many respects a momentous influence on the doctrine, the organization, and the discipline of the Catholic Church. To him we must look for an explanation of the religious situation of the Middle Ages; indeed, if no account were taken of his work, the evolution of the form of medieval Christianity would be almost inexplicable. And further, in so far as the modern Catholic system is a legitimate development of medieval Catholicism, of this too Gregory may not unreasonably be termed the Father. Almost all the…

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September 3 – St. Hereswitha

September 1, 2014

St. Hereswitha

(HAERESVID, HERESWYDE).

Chelles Abbey

Chelles Abbey

Daughter of Hereric and Beorhtswith and sister of St. Hilda of Whitby. She was the wife of Aethelhere, King of East Anglia, to whom she bore two sons, Aldwulf and Alfwold. By the “Liber Eliensis” she is stated to have been the wife of King Anna, the leder brother of King Aethelhere, but this is certainly a mistake. Her husband having been killed in the battle of Winwaed (655), St. Hereswitha became a nun at the Abbey of Chelles, then in the Diocese of Paris, where she remained until the end of her life. Her feast is variously assigned — by Stanton to 3 September, by the second edition of the English Martyrology to 20 September, by the first edition and by Ferrari to 23 September. Bucelinus, however, assigns it to 1 December, and the Bollandists propose to discuss her cultus on that date.

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Acta SS., 20 Sept., VI, 106; BEDE, Historia Ecclesiastica, IV, xxiii, in Mon. Hist. Brit., 234; ECKENSTEIN, Woman under Monasticism (Cambridge, 1896), 82, 96-7; FLORENCE OF WORCESTER, Genaelogia and Ad Chron. Append. in Mon. Hist. Brit., 628, 636; HOLE in Dict. Christ. Biog., s. v.; Liber Eliensus, ed. STEWART (London, 1848); STANTON, Menology of England and Wales (London, 1887), 435.

LESLIE A. ST. L. TOKE (Catholic Encyclopedia)

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St. Rose of Viterbo

(also Rosalia, and in Sicily affectionately nicknamed La Santuzza)

Virgin, born at Viterbo, 1235; died 6 March, 1252. The chronology of her life must always remain uncertain, as the Acts of her canonization, the chief historical sources, record no dates. Those given above are accepted by the best authorities.

St. Rose of ViterboBorn of poor and pious parents, Rose was remarkable for holiness and for her miraculous powers from her earliest years. When but three years old, she raised to life her maternal aunt. At the age of seven, she had already lived the life of a recluse, devoting herself to penances. Her health succumbed…

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St. Bertha, Queen of Kent

September 1, 2014

St. Bertha, Queen of Kent

Died circa 612.

Stained glass window of St. Bertha at St Martin's Church, Canterbury. Photo taken by Clerk of Oxford.

Stained glass window of St. Bertha at St Martin’s Church, Canterbury. Photo taken by Clerk of Oxford.

She was a Frankish princess, daughter of Charibert and the pious Ingoberga. In marrying the pagan King Ethelbert of Kent, she brought her chaplain Liudhard with her, and restored a Christian church in Canterbury, which dated form the Roman occupation, dedicating it to St. Martin. The present St. Martin’s at Canterbury occupies the same site. St. Augustine, who was sent by Gregory the Great to preach the Gospel in England in 596, no doubt owed much of his favourable reception to the influence of Bertha. St. Gregory in 601 addressed to her a letter of thanks, which is still preserved. It is printed in Haddan and Stubbs, III, 17. Ethelbert himself was baptized on Whitsunday in 597, and Canterbury became the mother-church of England. Bertha was sometimes styled “Saint”, but there is no clear evidence of cultus. (See, on this point, the poems of Reginald of Canterbury in the “Neues Archiv”, xiii.) Fuller accounts of Bertha will be found in Lingard, “Anglo-Saxon Church;” “Dict. Nat. Biog.”, Plummer, “Bede”, and Routledge, “Church of St. Martin”.

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Dunbar, Dictionary of Saintly Women (London, 1904); Chevalier, Repertoire des sources historiques: Bio-Bibliographie (Paris, 1905).

HERBERT THURSTON (Catholic Encyclopedia)

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Photo of Joyeuse, the Sword of Charlemagne by P.poschadel. The sword was kept in the Saint Denis Basilica since at least 1505, and it was moved to the Louvre in 1793.

Photo of Joyeuse, the Sword of Charlemagne by P.poschadel. The sword was kept in the Saint Denis Basilica since at least 1505, and it was moved to the Louvre in 1793.

Charlemagne had his seal embossed in the pummel of his sword, and used it to seal his letters, which he would then hand over to a courier, saying, “These are my orders.”

He would then show his sword, and add, “And here is what makes my enemies respect them.”

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Edmond Guérard, Dictionnaire encyclopédique d’anécdotes (Paris: Firmin Didot, 1872), Vol. 2, p. 352 (Nobility.org translation).

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 415

 

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According to the Middle East Monitor:

A number of constitutional amendments passed by the Jordanian parliament recently are designed to make King Abdullah II immune from potential coups, analysts say. Welcomed by pro-monarchy MPs and opposed by Islamists, the amendments grant the king the power to appoint and dismiss senior army officers.

Abdelhady Al-Magaly MP justified the amendments by saying that Jordanians will not allow political parties to intervene in the security services and the army. “The link between the king, the army and security chiefs is a stabilising factor in light of the turmoil witnessed in the region,” he stressed.

To read the entire article in the Middle East Monitor, please click here.

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According to the Londonist:

Have you ever wondered who’s responsible for the Queen’s internet connection, or whom she might call if Buckingham Palace were suddenly overrun with rats?

It’s a tough job, but somebody needs to make sure Her Majesty has 24/7 access to the internet. BT stepped up to the mark in 2007, and…is the official Supplier of Communications, Broadband and Networked Services to HM The Queen.

From rodents to insects, birds and squirrels, Shield Pest Control has been keeping the royal residences pest-free since 2008. The company is based, almost somewhat appropriately, in Catford.

To read the entire article in the Londonist, please click here.

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If these terms sound too abstract and unattainable, historian Lewis Mumford clarifies the issue by emphasizing the extremely practical nature of our dreams and distinguishing them from idle fantasy.

a family might idealize a particular way of being charitable...

a family might idealize a particular way of being charitable…

He defines a dream very simply as an ideal vision whereby a social unit conceives “a reconstituted environment which is better adapted to the nature and aims of the human beings who dwell within it than the actual one.”(1)

...another of being prudent...

…another of being prudent…

That is to say, as soon as a family or social unit by consensus begins to conceive its own way of being or doing things that will hopefully make life better or more perfect, it is on its way towards creating its own myth or dream. In fact, Mumford claims with Anatole France that these dreams constitute the very principle of all progress, without which we might still be living as savages in caves.(2)

...another of being austere.

…another of being austere.

Thus, a family might idealize a particular way of being charitable, another of being prudent, still another of being austere. Each seeks to satisfy that deep psychological need to idealize its own dreams and organize its life accordingly, since “the things we dream of tend consciously or unconsciously to work themselves out in the pattern of our daily lives.”(3)

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We should not fear that our dreams will not always be completely attainable. Rather, they should serve to guide us in a general direction. Like the magnetic needle of the compass that points us towards an ideal and unreachable “north,” Mumford notes that our dreams serve as guides to help us navigate safely on our way.

A Navy Sailor taking a compass reading whilst the ship was in convoy, during the Second World War.

A Navy Sailor taking a compass reading whilst the ship was in convoy, during the Second World War.

If our age seems culturally impoverished, it is not the fault of our dreams but because we have not dreamed enough. We do not listen to our dreams.

 

(1) Lewis Mumford, The Story of Utopias (New York: Viking Press, 1962), 21.

(2) See ibid., 22.

(3) Ibid., 25.

 

John Horvat, Return to Order: From a Frenzied Economy to an Organic Christian Society—Where We’ve Been, How We Got Here, and Where We Need to Go (York, Penn.: York Press, 2013), 325.

 

 

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St. Augustine of Hippo

Statue of St. Augustine and the Angel in the Royal Monastery of the Incarnation in Madrid, Spain.

Statue of St. Augustine and the Angel in the Royal Monastery of the Incarnation in Madrid, Spain.

The great St. Augustine’s life is unfolded to us in documents of unrivaled richness, and of no great character of ancient times have we information comparable to that contained in the “Confessions,” which relate the touching story of his soul, the “Retractations,” which give the history of his mind, and the “Life of Augustine,” written by his friend Possidius, telling of the saint’s apostolate.

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We will confine ourselves to sketching the three periods of this great life: (1) the young wanderer’s gradual return to the Faith; (2) the doctrinal development of the Christian philosopher to the time of his episcopate; and (3) the full development of his…

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Pope Pius VI

(GIOVANNI ANGELICO BRASCHI).

Portrait of Pope Pius VI by Pompeo Batoni

Portrait of Pope Pius VI by Pompeo Batoni

Born at Cesena, 27 December, 1717; elected 15 February, 1775; died at Valence, France, 29 Aug., 1799. He was of a noble but impoverished family, and was educated at the Jesuit College of Cesena and studied law at Ferrara. After a diplomatic mission to Naples, he was appointed papal secretary and canon of St. Peter’s in 1755. Clement XIII appointed him treasurer of the Roman Church in 1766, and Clement XIV made him a cardinal in 1775. He then retired to the Abbey of Subiaco, of which he was commendatory abbot, until his election as Pius VI.

Pope Pius VISpain, Portugal, and France had at first combined to prevent his election, because he was believed to be a friend of the Jesuits; he was well disposed towards the order, but he dared not revoke the Bull of their suppression. Still he ordered the liberation of their general, Ricci, a prisoner in the Castle of Sant’ Angelo in Rome, but the general died before the decree of liberation arrived. Upon the request of Frederick II of Prussia he permitted the Jesuits to retain their schools in Prussia; while in Russia, he permitted an uninterrupted continuation of the order. Soon after his accession he took steps to root out the Gallican idea of papal supremacy which had been spread in Germany by Hontheim. Joseph II forbade the Austrian bishops to apply to Rome for faculties of any kind, and suppressed innumerable monasteries. Pius VI resolved to go to Vienna; he left Rome on 27 Feb., 1782, and arrived in Vienna on 22 March. The emperor received him respectfully, though the minister, Kaunitz, neglected even the ordinary rules of etiquette. The pope remained at Vienna until 22 April, 1782. All that he obtained from the emperor was the promise that his ecclesiastical reforms would not contain any violation of Catholic dogmas, or compromise the dignity of the pope. The emperor accompanied the pope on his return as far as the Monastery of Mariabrunn, and suppressed this monastery a few hours after the pope had left it. Scarcely had the pope reached Rome when he again saw himself compelled to protest against the emperor’s unjustifiable confiscation of ecclesiastical property. But when Joseph II filled the vacant See of Milan of his own authority, Pius solemnly protested, and it was probably at this occasion that he threatened the emperor with excommunication. On 23 Dec., 1783, the emperor unexpectedly came to Rome to return the papal visit. He was determined to continue his ecclesiastical reforms, and made known to the Spanish diplomat, Azara, his project of separating the German Church entirely from Rome. The latter, however, dissuaded him from taking this fatal step. To avoid worse things, the pope granted him the right of nominating the bishops in the Duchies of Milan and Mantua, in a concordat dated 20 Jan., 1784 (see Nussi, “Conventiones de rebus ecclesiasticis et civilibus inter S. Sedem et civilem potestatem”, Mainz, 1870, 138-9).

Death of Pope Pius VI

Death of Pope Pius VI

Joseph’s example was followed in Tuscany by his brother, the Grand Duke Leopold II and Bishop Scipio Ricci of Pistoia. Here the antipapal reforms culminated in the Synod of Pistoia in 1786, where the doctrines of Jansenius and Quesnel were sanctioned, and the papal supremacy was eliminated. In his Bull “Auctorem fidei” of 28 Aug., 1794, the pope condemned the acts, and in particular eighty-five propositions of this synod. In Germany the three ecclesiastical Electors of Mainz, Trier, and Cologne, and the Archbishop of Salzburg attempted to curtail the papal authority by convening a congress at Ems (q.v.). With Portugal the papal relations became very friendly after the accession of Maria I in 1777, and a satisfactory concordat was concluded in 1778 (Nussi, loc. cit., 138-39). In Spain, Sardinia, and Venice the Governments to a great extent followed in the footsteps of Joseph II. But the most sweeping anti-ecclesiastical reforms were carried out in the Two Sicilies. Ferdinand IV refused the exequatur to all papal briefs that were obtained without the royal permission, and claimed the right to nominate all ecclesiastical beneficiaries. Pius VI refused to accept the bishops that were nominated by the king and, as a result, there were in 1784 thirty vacant sees in the Kingdom of Naples alone, which number had increased to sixty in 1798. The king, moreover, refused to acknowledge the papal suzerainty which had existed for eight hundred years. The pope repeatedly made overtures, but the king persisted in nominating to all the vacant sees. In April, 1791, when more than half the sees in the Kingdom of Naples were vacant, a temporary compromise was reached and in that year sixty-two vacant sees were filled (Rinieri, loc. cit., infra).

Subscription9.2In response to the application of the clergy of the United States, the Bull of April, 1788, erected the See of Baltimore.

Pius VI put the papal finances on a firmer basis; drained the marshy lands near Città della Pieve, Perugia, Spoleto, and Trevi; deepened the harbours of Porto d’Anzio and Terracina; added a new sacristy to the Basilica of St. Peter; completed the Musee Pio-Clementino, and enriched it with many costly pieces of art; restored the Via Appia; and drained the greater part of the Pontine Marshes.

Tomb of Pius VI at St. Peter's Basilica.

Tomb of Pius VI at St. Peter’s Basilica.

After the French Revolution, Pius rejected the “Constitution civile du clergé” on 13 March, 1791, suspended the priests that accepted it, provided as well as he could for the banished clergy and protested against the execution of Louis XVI. France retaliated by annexing the small papal territories of Avignon and Venaissin. The pope’s co-operation with the Allies against the French Republic, and the murder of the French attaché, Basseville, at Rome, brought on by his own fault, led to Napoleon’s attack on the Papal States. At the Truce of Bologna (25 June, 1796) Napoleon dictated the terms: twenty-one million francs, the release of all political criminals, free access of French ships into the papal harbours, the occupation of the Romagna by French troops etc. At the Peace of Tolentino (19 Feb., 1797) Pius VI was compelled to surrender Avignon, Venaissin, Ferrara, Bologna, and the Romagna; and to pay fifteen million francs and give up numerous costly works of art and manuscripts. In an attempt to revolutionize Rome the French General Duphot was shot and killed, whereupon the French took Rome on 10 Feb., 1798, and proclaimed the Roman Republic on 15 Feb. Because the pope refused to submit, he was forcibly taken from Rome on the night of 20 Feb., and brought first to Siena and then to Florence. At the end of March, 1799, though seriously ill, he was hurried to Parma, Piacenza, Turin, then over the Alps to Briançon and Grenoble, and finally to Valence, where he succumbed to his sufferings before he could be brought further. He was first buried at Valence, but the remains were transferred to St. Peter’s in Rome on 17 Feb., 1802 (see I). His statue in a kneeling position by Canova was placed in the Basilica of St. Peter before the crypt of the Prince of the Apostles.

Bullarii Romani Continuatio, ed. BARBERI (Rome, 1842 sq.), V-X; Collectio Brevium atque Instructionem Pii Papæ VI quæ ad præsentes Gallicanarum ecclesiarum calamitates pertinent (2 vols., Augsburg, 1796); Acta Pii VI quibus ecclesia catholica calamitatibus in Gallia consultum est (2 vols., Rome, 1871); BOURGOING, Mémoires historiques et philosophiques sur Pie VI et son pontificat (2 vols., Paris, 1900); GENDRY, Pie VI. Sa vie, son pontificat 1777-99, d’après des archives vaticanes et de nombreux documents inédits (2 vols., Paris, 1907); WOLF, Gesch. der Kath. Kirche unter der Regierung Pius VI (Zürich, 1793- 1802), 7 vols. (Josephinistic); BECCATINI, Storia di Pio VI (4 vols., Venice, 1801-02); FERRARI, Vita Pii VI (Padua, 1802); BERTRAND, Le Pontificat de Pie VI et l’Athéisme Révolutionnaire (2 vols., Bar­le­Duc, 1879); SAMPSON, Pius VI and the French Revolution in Amer. Cath. Quarterly Review (New York, 1907), 220-40, 413-40, 601-31; Pius VI in Catholic World, XIX (New York, 1874), 755-64; TIEPOLI, Relazioni sul conclave per la elezioni di papa Pio VI (Venice, 1896); KÖNIG, Pius VI und die Säkularisation, Program (Kalksburg, 1900); SCHLITTER, Pius VI und Joseph II von der Rückkehr des Papstes nach Rom bis zum Abschluss des Konkordats, ibid. II (Vienna, 1894); CORDARA, De profectu Pii VI ad aulam Viennensem ejusque causis et exitu commentarii, ed. BOËRO (Rome, 1855); RINIERI, Della rovina di una Monarchia, Relazioni storiche tra inediti dell’ Archivo Vaticano (Turin, 1910); BALDASSARI, Histoire de l’enlèvement et de la captivité de Pie VI (Paris, 1839), Ger. tr. STECK (Tübingen, 1844); MADELIN, Pie VI et la première coalition in Revue des quest. hist., LXXXI (Paris, 1903), 1-32.

MICHAEL OTT (Catholic Encyclopedia)

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St. John the Baptist

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The principal sources of information concerning the life and ministry of St. John the Baptist are the canonical Gospels. Of these St. Luke is the most complete, giving as he does the wonderful circumstances accompanying the birth of the Precursor and items on his ministry and death. St. Matthew’s Gospel stands in close relation with that of St. Luke, as far as John’s public ministry is concerned, but contains nothing in reference to his early life. From St. Mark, whose account of the Precursor’s life is very meagre, no new detail can be gathered. Finally, the fourth Gospel has this special feature, that it…

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St. Sabina

The tomb of St. Sabina, which is in the church "Santi Pietro e Paolo" in Ascona.

The tomb of St. Sabina, which is in the church “Santi Pietro e Paolo” in Ascona.

Widow of Valentinus and daughter of Herod Metallarius, suffered martyrdom about 126. According to the Acts of the martyrdom, which however have no historic value, she lived at Rome and was converted to Christianity by her female slave Serapia. Serapia was put to death for her faith and later, in the same year, Sabina suffered martyrdom. In 430 her relics were brought to the Aventine, where a basilica, which is very interesting in the history of art, is called after St. Sabina. Originally the church was dedicated to both saints. The feast of St. Sabina is celebrated on 29 August.

Klemens Löffler (Catholic Encyclopedia)

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St. Sebbi, or Sebba

Map of Essex.

Map of Essex.

This prince was the son of Seward, and in the year 664, which was remarkable for a grievous pestilence, began to reign over the East Saxons, who inhabited the country which, now comprises Essex, Middlesex, and the greater part of Hertfordshire; he being the tenth king from Erkinwin, founder of that kingdom, in 527, and sixth from Sebert, the first Christian king, who founded St. Paul’s church, and Thorney abbey, about the year 604. Sebba was, by his wise and pious government, the father of his people, and a perfect model of all virtues, and on the throne sanctified his soul by the most heroic exercises of austere penance, profuse alms-deeds, and assiduous prayer. When he had reigned happily, and with great glory, during thirty years, he resigned his crown to his two sons, Sigeard and Senfrid, which he had long before desired to do, in order to be more at liberty to prepare himself for his last hour. His queen took the religious veil about the same time. Subscription7 St. Sebba received the monastic habit from the hands of Waldhere, successor of St. Erconwald in the bishopric of London, whom he charged with the distribution of all his personal estates among the poor. Our saint seemed to have death always present to his mind; and his grievous fears of that tremendous passage were at length converted into a longing joyful hope. After two years spent in great fervour in monastic retirement, he died at London, in holy joy, about the year 697, having been forewarned by God of his last hour three days before. Bede assures us that his death was accompanied with many miracles and heavenly favours. His body was interred in St. Paul’s church, and his tomb was to be seen there, adjoining the north wall, till the great fire in 1666. His Latin epitaph is extant in Weever’s Funeral Monuments, 1 as follows:—“Here lies Sebba, king of the East Saxons, who was converted to the faith by St. Erconwald, bishop of London, in 677. A man very devout to God, and fervent in acts of religion, constant prayer, and pious alms-deeds. He preferred a monastic life to the riches of a kingdom, and took the religious habit from Waldere, bishop of London, who had succeeded Erconwald.” His name occurs in the Roman Martyrology. See Bede Hist. l. 3, c. 30, l. 4, c. 11. Abo F. Alford’s Annals, (ad an. 693, t. 2, p. 413.) whose collection is a very valuable treasure of the ecclesiastical history of this nation, as our most learned antiquary Bishop Fleetwood observes, though the light of criticism must direct the reader in some parts of the work.

(from: The Lives of the Saints, by Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73).  Volume VIII: August, p. 559)

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August 30 – Gallant Lady

August 28, 2014

St. Margaret Ward

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Martyr, born at Congleton, Cheshire; executed at Tyburn, London, 30 Aug., 1588. Nothing is known of her early life except that she was of good family and for a time dwelt in the house of a lady of distinction named Whitall then residing in London. Knowing that William Watson, the priest who wrote the work known as the “Quodlibets”, was imprisoned, she obtained permission to visit him. After several visits she disarmed the vigilance of the gaoler and furnished him with a cord whereby he could make his escape. At the appointed time the boatman whom she had engaged to convey the priest down the…

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Blessed Bronislava (or Bronislawa) of Poland

Born in 1230 to an important Polish family, her grandfather had founded the Premonstratensian monastery at Zwierzyniec near Cracow where Bronislava’s aunt Gertrude had entered, later becoming prioress at Imbramowice.

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Bronislava was also a cousin of the Dominican Saint Hyacinth and related to Saint Jacek and Blessed Czeslaw. Bronislava entered the convent at Zwierzyniec at the age of sixteen where she was soon afterward elected prioress. The hallmarks of her spiritual life were her devotions to the Passion of Our Lord and His…

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St. Raymond Nonnatus (Not-Born)

(In Spanish SAN RAMON).

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Born 1200 or 1204 at Portello in the Diocese of Urgel in Catalonia; died at Cardona, 31 August, 1240.

His feast is celebrated on 31 August. He is pictured in the habit of his order surrounded by ransomed slaves, with a padlock on his lips. He was taken from the womb of his mother after her death, hence his name…

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Gideon or Gedeon (Hebrew “hewer”), also called JEROBAAL (Judges, vi, 32; vii, 1; etc.), and JERUBESHETH (II Kings, xi, 21, in the Hebrew text).

GideonGideon was one of the Greater Judges of Israel. He belonged to the tribe of Manasses, and to the family of Abiezer (Judges, vi, 34). Gideon’s father was Joas, and lived in Ephra (Judges, vi,11).

The following is in substance the account of Gideon’s judgeship as related in Judges, vi-viii: Israel, having forsaken Yahweh’s worship, had been for seven years exceedingly humbled by the incursions of the Madianites and of other Eastern tribes. At length, they turned to God who sent them a deliverer in the person of Gideon. In a first theophany, granted him by day while he was threshing wheat, Gideon received the difficult mission of freeing his people; whereupon he built an altar to the Lord (Judges, vi, 24). In a second theophany during the following night, he was directed to destroy the village-altar to Baal, and to erect one to Yahweh. This he did with the result that the people clamoured for his death to avenge his insult to their false god. Joas, however, saved his son’s life by the witty taunt, which secured for the latter the name of Jerobaal: “Let Baal revenge himself!” (vi, 25-32). Thus divinely commissioned, Gideon naturally took the lead against Madian, and Amalec, and other Eastern tribes who had crossed the Jordan, and encamped in the valley of Jezrael.

Gideon selects his army of 300 by observing their manner of drinking from a stream.

Gideon selects his army of 300 by observing their manner of drinking from a stream.

Comforted by the famous signs of the fleece (vi, 36-40), and accompanied by warriors from Manasses, Aser, Zabulon, and Nephthali, he took up his position not far from the enemy. But it was God’s intervention to show that it was His power which delivered Israel, and hence He reduced Gideon’s army from 32,000 to 300 (vii, 1-8). According to a divine direction, the Hebrew commander paid a night visit to the enemy’s camp and overheard the telling of a dream which prompted him to act at once, certain of victory (vii, 9-15). He then supplied his men with trumpets and with torches enclosed in jars, which, after his example, they broke, crying out: “The sword of Yahweh and Gideon.” Panic-stricken at the sudden attack, Israel’s enemies turned their arms against one another, and broke up in flight towards the fords of the Jordan (vii, 16-23). But, summoned by Gideon, the Ephraimites cut off the Madianites at the fords, and captured and slew two of their princes, Oreb and Zeb, whose heads they sent to the Hebrew leader, rebuking him at the same time for not having called earlier upon their assistance. Gideon appeased them by an Eastern proverb, and pursued the enemy beyond the Jordan river (vii, 24; viii, 3).

Gideon's cave in Maayan Harod National Garden in Israel.

Gideon’s cave in Maayan Harod National Garden in Israel.

Passing by Soccoth and Phanuel, he met with their refusal of provisions for his fainting soldiers, and threatened both places with vengeance on his return (viii, 4-9). At length, he overtook and defeated the enemies of Israel, captured their kings, Zebee and Salmana, returned in triumph, punishing the men of Soccoth and Phanuel on his way, and finally put to death Zebee and Salmana (viii, 10-21). Grateful for this glorious deliverance, Gideon’s countrymen offered him the dignity of an hereditary king, which he declined with these noble words: “I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you, but Yahweh shall rule over you” (viii, 22-23). He nevertheless asked and obtained from his soldiers the golden rings and other ornaments which they had taken from the enemy; and out of this spoil he made what seems to have soon become an object of idolatrous worship in Israel. Gideon’s peaceful judgeship lasted forty years. He had seventy sons, and “died in a good old age, and was buried in the sepulchre of his father in Ephra” (viii, 24-32). His victory is alluded to in Isaias, x, 26, and in Ps. lxxxii, 12 (Heb., lxxxiii, 11), where the four kings mentioned in Judges, vii, viii, are distinctly named- a fact which shows that, at the time when this psalm was composed, the narrative of Gideon’s exploits was commonly known in its present form.

Gideon and His Three Hundred Men are victorious.

Gideon and His Three Hundred Men are victorious.

The various literary features exhibited by the text of Judges, vi-viii, have been minutely examined and differently appreciated by recent scholars. Several commentators look upon these features- such for instance as the two names, Gideon and Jerobaal; the two theophanies bearing on Gideon’s call; the apparently twofold narrative of Gideon’s pursuit of the routed enemies, etc.- as proving conclusively the composite origin of the sacred record of Gideon’s judgeship. Others, on the contrary, see their way to reconcile all such features of the text with the literary unity of Judges, vi-viii. However this may be, one thing remains perfectly sure, to wit, that whatever may be the documents which have been utilized in framing the narrative of Gideon’s exploits, they agree substantially in their description of the words and deeds of this Greater Judge of Israel.

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Catholic commentaries on the book of Judges by CLAIR (Paris, 1880); VON HUMMELAUER (Paris, 1888); LAGRANGE (Paris, 1903); Non-Catholic by MOORE (New York, 1895); BUDDE (Freiburg im Breisgau, 1897); NOWACK (Göttingen, 1900).

FRANCIS E. GIGOT (Catholic Encyclopedia)

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September 1 – St. Giles

August 28, 2014

(Latin Ægidius.) An Abbot, said to have been born of illustrious Athenian parentage about the middle of the seventh century. Early in life he devoted himself exclusively to spiritual things, but, finding his noble birth and high repute for sanctity in his native land an obstacle to his perfection, he passed over to Gaul, where […]

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An infant King learns his manners

August 25, 2014

Upon being introduced to His Excellency, Most Rev. Henri Charles du Cambout de Coislin, bishop of Metz, Louis XV, a child at the time, exclaimed: “My, how ugly he is.” Upon leaving, the bishop said: “We have a very rude boy here.” Edmond Guérard, Dictionnaire encyclopédique d’anécdotes (Paris: Firmin Didot, 1872), Vol. 2, p. 42 […]

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Romanian presidential candidates unanimously pay tribute to King Mihai

August 25, 2014

According to Royalblog: The reason for the tribute is the 70th anniversary of the “coup” that King Mihai committed… The coup was daring because Romania could not expect the allies to come to its aid; and the USSR especially was not happy with the turnaround. Stalin wanted to control Romania and didn’t want it as […]

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Egalitarianism: The True Religious Battle of Our Days

August 25, 2014

For over five hundred years a terrible ideological battle has been waging throughout the world, especially the Christian West. It aims to create a culture and civilization that entirely subverts not only the order of God’s creation, but also the very idea of God Himself. According to the Marxist doctrine, this can only be accomplished […]

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August 25 – King, Crusader, Saint

August 25, 2014

Saint Louis IX King of France, son of Louis VIII and Blanche of Castile, born at Poissy, 25 April, 1215; died near Tunis, 25 August, 1270. He was eleven years of age when the death of Louis VIII made him king, and nineteen when he married Marguerite of Provence by whom he had eleven children. […]

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August 25 – How do you portray a saint?

August 25, 2014

August 25 is the feast of Saint Louis IX, king, confessor of the Faith, Crusader and model of a Catholic head of state. There are two different ways people picture Saint Louis IX. One is as he truly was, the other is a soft, effeminate distortion of his person. This dichotomy is similar to the […]

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August 26 – She survived the Terror and founded the Daughters of the Cross

August 25, 2014

Saint Elizabeth Bichier des Ages She was born of a rich, noble family on July 5, 1773, at the Château des Ages, France. Raised in a pious home, she developed at an early age a close relationship with God and a genuine love for the poor. She was twenty-five when she first met André Hubert […]

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August 27 – Never underestimate the prayers of a mother

August 25, 2014

St. Monica Widow; born of Christian parents at Tagaste, North Africa, in 333; died at Ostia, near Rome, in 387. We are told but little of her childhood. She was married early in life to Patritius who held an official position in Tagaste. He was a pagan, though like so many at that period, his […]

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August 27 – “Conform I would not, for it was against my conscience”

August 25, 2014

Saint David Lewis, alias Charles Baker (Recté, according to his own entry in the English College David Henry Lewis). An English Jesuit martyr, born in Monmouthshire in 1616; died at Usk, 27 August, 1679. His father, Morgan Lewis, was a lax Catholic, afterwards converted; his mother, Margaret Pritchard, was a very devout Catholic. David was […]

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St. Ferdinand is acclaimed King of Castile

August 21, 2014

The men with the most authority and wisdom in Valladolid then assembled to consider where the public proclamation the new King would take place. Not finding a place in town large enough, they decided to build a platform on the Mercado field, close to the walls of the city. It took only a few hours […]

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Forging a New Argument To Use in the Battle of Ideas Is Like Issuing a New Weapon to a Soldier

August 21, 2014

There is a famous moment in the life of St. Thomas Aquinas that illustrates well the importance of finding arguments. St. Thomas was having lunch with King St. Louis of France. During the conversation, forgetful of the fact that he was at the table of the king, St. Thomas began thinking about other matters. Suddenly […]

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August 21 – La Vallete

August 21, 2014

Jean Parisot de La Valette Forty-eighth Grand Master of the Order of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem; born in 1494; died in Malta, 21 Aug., 1568. He came from an old family of Southern France, several members of which had been capitouls (chief magistrates) in Toulouse. When still young he entered the Order […]

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August 21 – He was one of a network of aristocrat bishops

August 21, 2014

Saint Sidonius Apollinaris Gaius Sollius (Modestus) Apollinaris Sidonius or Saint Sidonius Apollinaris (November 5[1] of an unknown year, perhaps 430 – August, 489) was a poet, diplomat, and bishop. Sidonius is “the single most important surviving author from fifth-century Gaul” according to Eric Goldberg.[2] He was one of four fifth-to sixth-century Gallo-Roman aristocrats whose letters […]

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August 21 – What Saint Pius X says about equality

August 21, 2014

In the motu proprio Fin dalla prima, of December 18, 1903, Saint Pius X summarizes the doctrine of Leo XIII on social inequalities:   1. Human society, as God established it, is composed of unequal elements, just as the members of the human body are unequal. To make them all equal would be impossible, and […]

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August 22 – The Queenship of Mary

August 21, 2014

Pope Pius XII in the Papal Encyclical Ad Coeli Reginam proposed the traditional doctrine on the Queenship of Mary and established this feast for the Universal Church. Pope Pius IX said of Mary’s Queenship: “Turning her maternal Heart toward us and dealing with the affair of our salvation, she is concerned with the whole human […]

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August 22 – The pope who preached a Crusade against the German Emperor Frederick II

August 21, 2014

Pope Gregory IX (UGOLINO, Count of Segni). Born about 1145, at Anagni in the Campagna; died 22 August, 1241, at Rome. He received his education at the Universities of Paris and Bologna. After the accession of Innocent III to the papal throne, Ugolino, who was a nephew of Innocent III, was successively appointed papal chaplain, […]

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August 22 – Venerable John Wall

August 21, 2014

Venerable John Wall Martyr, born in Lancashire, 1620; suffered near Worcester, 22 August, 1679; known at Douay and Rome as John Marsh, and when on the Mission under the aliases of Francis Johnson, Webb, and Dormore. The son of wealthy and staunch Lancashire Catholics, he was sent when very young to Douai College. He entered […]

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August 23 – St. Rose of Lima

August 21, 2014

St. Rose of Lima Virgin, patroness of America, born at Lima, Peru 20 April, 1586; died there 30 August, 1617. Saint Rose was born Isabel Flores y de Oliva in the city of Lima, the Viceroyalty of Peru, then part of New Spain. She was one of the many children of Gaspar Flores, a harquebusier […]

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August 23: He brought peace to Italy’s war-torn city-states in the Middle Ages

August 21, 2014

Saint Philip Benizi Servite Priest (1233-1285) Saint Philip Benizi was born in Florence on the Feast of the Assumption, 1233. That same day the Order of Servites was founded by the Mother of God. As an infant one year old, Philip spoke when in the presence of these new religious, and announced the Servants of […]

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August 23 – St. Philip Benizi

August 21, 2014

St. Philip Benizi Propagator and fifth General of the Servite Order, born at Florence, Italy, August 15, 1233; died at Todi, in Umbria, August 23, 1285. His parents were scions of the renowned Benizi and Frescobaldi families. After many years of married life had left them childless, Philip was granted to them in answer to […]

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August 24 – Chancellor of the court

August 21, 2014

St. Ouen (OWEN; DADON, Latin Audaenus). Archbishop of Rouen, b. at Sancy, near Soissons about 609; d. at Clichy-la-Garenne, near Paris, 24 Aug., 683. His father, Autharius, and his mother, Aiga, belonged to the Gallo-Roman race. Shortly after Ouen’s birth they came to Ussy-sur-Marne, where he spent his childhood, with which tradition connects a series […]

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Swearing allegiance to the Queen is swearing allegiance to a form of government, court rules

August 18, 2014

According to The Globe and Mail: …three permanent residents who have refused citizenship over an oath…launched a constitutional challenge last year, arguing that forcing candidates for Canadian citizenship to swear allegiance to the Queen violates the protections for free speech and freedom of religion… But in a decision issued on Wednesday, Ontario’s top court dismissed […]

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Habsburg Affection Bound the Austro-Hungarian Empire Together

August 18, 2014

A few years ago an incident occurred which is so characteristic of the little Archduchess [Elizabeth] that it is worthy of being placed on record. There is a well-known young ladies’ school at Dresden, where a great many Viennese girls are sent, when they reach the age of ten, to finish their education under the […]

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The Grandeur of the King Dignifies the Cook

August 18, 2014

Written by Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira Consider the aerial view of Windsor Castle shown in the upper picture. The first impression one has is of a setting for a fairy tale — the immensity of the edifice, the marvelous variety of its parts, the delicacy and strength affirmed in all of them, everything suggests that […]

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August 18 – The Empress who found the True Cross

August 18, 2014

Saint Helena (also known as Saint Helen, Helena Augusta or Helena of Constantinople) The mother of Constantine the Great, born about the middle of the third century, possibly in Drepanum (later known as Helenopolis) on the Nicomedian Gulf; died about 330. She was of humble parentage; St. Ambrose, in his “Oratio de obitu Theodosii”, referred […]

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August 19 – Prince made bishop at age 22

August 18, 2014

St. Louis of Toulouse Bishop of Toulouse, generally represented vested in pontifical garments and holding a book and a crosier, b. at Brignoles, Provence, Feb., 1274; d. there, 19 Aug., 1297. He was the second son of Charles II of Anjou, called the Lame, King of Naples (1288- 1309), and nephew of St. Louis IX […]

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August 20 – The Knights Templar owe him

August 18, 2014

St. Bernard of Clairvaux Born in 1090, at Fontaines, near Dijon, France; died at Clairvaux, 21 August, 1153. His parents were Tescelin, lord of Fontaines, and Aleth of Montbard, both belonging to the highest nobility of Burgundy. Bernard, the third of a family of seven children, six of whom were sons, was educated with particular […]

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August 20 – Saint Philibert of Jumièges and Recipes for Hazelnuts Named in His Honor

August 18, 2014

Saint Philibert of Jumièges (c. 608–684) was the only son of a Frankish noble, a courtier of Dagobert I. He was educated at court by Saint Ouen and entered monastic life at Rebais and was elected abbot at the age of 20. In 654, St. Philibert received a gift of land from Clovis II on […]

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Saint Ferdinand and the Shy Knight who Challenged Seven Moors

August 14, 2014

A beautiful anecdote is narrated by the Chronicle that illustrates the chivalrous and noble, although at the same time, quite simple spirit with which Ferdinand had imbued his army. The King lived in the midst of his vassals like an ancient patriarch with his family. He did not need to isolate himself to inspire respect, […]

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Elites and Masses in the Counter-Revolutionary Tactics

August 14, 2014

To the extent possible, the Counter-Revolution should try to win over the multitudes. However, it should not make this its chief goal in the short run. The counter-revolutionary has no reason to be discouraged because of the fact that the great majority of men are not presently on his side. Indeed, an exact study of history shows us that it was not the masses who made the Revolution. […]

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August 14 – Founding Father

August 14, 2014

Pierre Chastellain Missionary among the Huron Indians, born at Senlis, France, in 1606; died at Quebec, 14 August, 1684. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1624 and at the age of thirty sailed from France with two future martyrs, Fathers Isaac Jogues and Charles Garnier, and the new Governor of Canada, Montmagny, the successor […]

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August 14 – St. Eusebius, Roman patrician and priest

August 14, 2014

St. Eusebius of Rome A presbyter at Rome; date of birth unknown; d. 357(?). He was a Roman patrician and priest, and is mentioned with distinction in Latin martyrologies. The ancient genuine martyrology of Usuard styles him confessor at Rome under the Arian emperor Constantius and adds that he was buried in the cemetery of […]

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August 15 – The Knights of St. John capture Rhodes and establish their sovereignty

August 14, 2014

On 15 August, 1310, under the leadership of Grand Master Foulques de Villaret, the Knights of St. John captured the island in spite of the Greek emperor, Andronicus II. The Knights of Rhodes, the successors of the Hospitallers of St. John, were distinguished from the latter in many ways. In the first place, the grand […]

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August 16 – His incorrupt right hand is treasured as the most sacred relic in Hungary

August 14, 2014

St. Stephen of Hungary First King of Hungary, born at Gran, 975; died 15 August, 1038. He was a son of the Hungarian chief Géza and was baptized, together with his father, by Archbishop St. Adalbert of Prague in 985, on which occasion he changed his heathen name Vaik (Vojk) into Stephen. In 995 he […]

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August 16 – Apostle of the North

August 14, 2014

St. Hyacinth Dominican, called the Apostle of the North, son of Eustachius Konski of the noble family of Odrowacz [or Odrowaz]; born 1185 at the castle of Lanka, at Kamin, in Silesia, Poland…; died 15 August, 1257, at Cracow. Feast, 16 Aug. A near relative of Saint Ceslaus, he made his studies at Cracow, Prague, […]

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August 17 – Her great beauty aroused the jealousy of the queen

August 14, 2014

St. Beatrix da Silva A Portuguese nun, died 1 September, 1490. In Portuguese she is known as Blessed Brites. She was a member of the house of Portalegre and descended from the royal family of Portugal. She accompanied the Portuguese Princess Isabel to Spain, when she married John II of Castile. There Beatrix seems to […]

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Richard III reburial date announced

August 11, 2014

According to Expatica: The remains of English king Richard III will be reburied at Leicester Cathedral in March 2015…the University of Leicester announced on Thursday. Richard will be reinterred on March 26 in one of three services to remember his life and death in 1485. Accompanied by a cortege, his remains will arrive at the […]

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Charles V goes to Confession

August 11, 2014

In making his confession, Charles V brought up personal sins, but said no word about those linked to his office of State. Noticing the omission, the confessor priest rebuked the sovereign, saying: “—Very well. You’ve told me about the sins of Charles. So tell me now about the sins of the Emperor.” Edmond Guérard, Dictionnaire […]

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Nothing Can Defeat a People That Truly Loves God

August 11, 2014

When men resolve to cooperate with the grace of God, the marvels of history are worked: the conversion of the Roman Empire; the formation of the Middle Ages; the reconquest of Spain, starting from Covadonga; all the events that result from the great resurrection of soul of which peoples are also capable. These resurrections are […]

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August 11 – János Hunyady

August 11, 2014

(JOHN) Governor of Hungary, born about 1400; died 11 August, 1456; the heroic defender of the Catholic Faith against the advance of the Osmanli; father of King Matthias I (Corvinus) of Hungary. The origin and parentage of his family was not ascertained until recently, when modern investigation cleared up the numerous legends which surrounded the […]

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