Saint of the Day for Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

St. Pius X

On June 2, 1835, Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto saw the light of earth at Riesi, Province of Treviso, in Venice; on August 20, 1914, he saw the light of heaven; and on May 29, 1954, he who had become the two hundred fifty-ninth pope was canonized St. Pius X.

Two of the most outstanding accomplishments of this saintly Pope were the inauguration of the liturgical renewal and the restoration of frequent communion from childhood. He also waged an unwavering war against the heresy and evils of Modernism, gave great impetus to biblical studies, and brought about the codification of Canon Law. His overriding concern was to renew all things in Christ.

Above all, his holiness shone forth conspicuously. From St. Pius X we learn again that "the folly of the Cross", simplicity of life, and humility of heart are still the highest wisdom and the indispensable conditions of a perfect Christian life, for they are the very source of all apostolic fruitfulness.

His last will and testament bears the striking sentence: "I was born poor, I have lived in poverty, and I wish to die poor." His feast day is August 21.

Saint of the Day for Tuesday, August 20th, 2019

St. Bernard of Clairvaux

St. Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church St. Bernard was born of noble parentage in Burgundy, France, in the castle of Fontaines near Dijon. Under the care of his pious parents he was sent at an early age to a college at Chatillon, where he was conspicuous for his remarkable piety and spirit of recollection. At the same place he entered upon the studies of theology and Holy Scripture. After the death of his mother, fearing the snares and temptations of the world, he resolved to embrace the newly established and very austere institute of the Cistercian Order, of which he was destined to become the greatest ornament. He also persuaded his brothers and several of his friends to follow his example. In 1113, St. Bernard, with thirty young noblemen, presented himself to the holy Abbot, St. Stephen, at Citeaux. After a novitiate spent in great fervor, he made his profession in the following year. His superior soon after, seeing the great progress he had made in the spiritual life, sent him with twelve monks to found a new monastery, which afterward became known as the celebrated Abbey of Clairvaux. St. Bernard was at once appointed Abbot and began that active life which has rendered him the most conspicuous figure in the history of the 12th century. He founded numerous other monasteries, composed a number of works and undertook many journeys for the honor of God. Several Bishoprics were offered him, but he refused them all. The reputation of St. Bernard spread far and wide; even the Popes were governed by his advice. He was commissioned by Pope Eugene III to preach the second Crusade. In obedience to the Sovereign Pontiff he traveled through France and Germany, and aroused the greatest enthusiasm for the holy war among the masses of the population. The failure of the expedition raised a great storm against the saint, but he attributed it to the sins of the Crusaders. St. Bernard was eminently endowed with the gift of miracles. He died on August 20, 1153. His feast day is August 20.

Saint of the Day for Sunday, August 18th, 2019

St. Helena

St. Helena was the mother of Emperor Constantine the Great and an Empress of the Roman Empire. Very little is known about Helena's early life, but it is believed she is from Drepanum (later known as Helenopolis) in Asia Minor and born into a poor family and lower class in the Roman culture of the day. St. Ambrose described Helena as a "good stable-maid."

Despite her background, Helena married Constantius Chlorus. With him she birthed her only son, Constantine. around the year 274. Nearly two decades later in 292, Constantius, now co-Regent of the West, got swept up in his rising stature and divorced Helena for Theodora, the step-daughter of Emperor Maximinianus Herculius. It is believed he did this to advance his own reputation and advance his standing in the Roman society.

Constantine was forever loyal to his dear mother, whom he loved very much. As he grew and became a member of the inner circle, he never left Helena's side. Following the death of Constantius in 308, Constantine became Emperor and summoned his mother back into inner circle and the imperial court. Helena received the title of Augusta.

Constantine ordered all to honor his mother. He even had coins minted, bearing her image. Through her son's influence, Helena began to embrace Christianity. With her title of Augusta Imperatrix, Helena was given free reign over the imperial treasury. She was tasked with locating relics of Christian tradition.

Between the years 326-328, Helena took a trip to the Holy Places in the Middle East. During her journey, Helena had many churches constructed, including the one at the site of Jesus Christ's birth - the Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem and another at the site of his ascension - Church of Eleona on the Mount of Olives.

During this time Jerusalem was still being rebuilt after Titus' destruction. Around the year 130, Emperor Hadrian had a temple built over the site of Jesus' death. This temple was believed to be dedicated to Venus. Helena had this temple destroyed and chose a site in this location to be excavated. This led to the discovery of three crosses.

Tradition says Helena brought a woman near death to the crosses. There she had the woman place a hand on all three crosses. Nothing happened when she touched the first two crosses, but when she placed her hand on the third cross she suddenly recovered. Helena declared the third cross to be the True Cross. At this site, Constantine ordered the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to be built.

Theodoret of Cyrus, an influential theologian, wrote that that during her search, Helena also discovered the nails of the crucifixion. She had one of the nails placed in Constantine's helmet and one in the bridle of his horse to aid him with their miraculous powers. Churches were built at these sites, as well.

Several of the relics believed to be found by St. Helena are located in Cyprus. Among these are parts of Jesus' tunic, pieces of the holy cross, and pieces of the rope used to tie Jesus to the cross. When Helena returned to Rome from Jerusalem in 327, she brought parts of the True Cross back with her. She stored these in her palace's chapel. They can still be seen to this day, though her palace has been converted to the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem.

St. Helena died around 330 with her dearly devoted son by her side. She was then buried in the Mausoleum of Helena outside of Rome. Her sarcophagus can be seen in the Pio-Clementine Vatican Museum.

St. Helena was renowned for helping not only individuals, but entire communities through her works of charity. She often sought out to help the poor and destitute. She would visit churches and leave them with rich donations. St. Helena was a very devout servant of God, so much so that one would easily believe her to have been a follower of Jesus Christ from birth. Through her influence and work, Christianity continued to spread throughout the known world.

Saint of the Day for Thursday, September 19th, 2019

St. Januarius

 

St. Januarius was born in Italy and was bishop of Benevento during the Emperor Diocletion persecution. Bishop Januarius went to visit two deacons and two laymen in prison. He was then also imprison along with his deacon and lector. They were thrown to the wild beasts, but when the animals did not attack them, they were beheaded. What is believed to be Januarius' blood is kept in Naples, as a relic. It liquefies and bubbles when exposed in the cathedral. Scientists have not been able to explain this miracle to date. St. Januarius lived and died around 305 A.D. and his feast day is September 19th.

Saint of the Day for Saturday, August 17th, 2019

St. Clare of Montefalco

Clare was born at Montefalco, Italy, around 1268. As a young woman she joined a convent of Franciscan tertiaries. This group established Holy Cross Convent at Montefalco in 1290, adopting the Rule of St. Augustine. Clare's sister Joan was the abbess of this community, but at her death Clare succeeded her. She led an austere life, being particularly devoted to the Passion of Christ and His Cross. When Clare died in 1308, an image of the Cross was found imprinted on her heart, and her body remained in corrupt. he was canonized in 1881 by Pope Leo XIII. Her feast day is August 17th. The life of St. Clare reminds us that we are all called to a life of prayer and dedication. Still, we must not expect or anticipate special favors. We are to be satisfied with the simple relationship we establish with God.