Tuesday, August 31, 2010

St. Camillus de Lellis (May 25, 1550 to July 14, 1614)

When I awoke, I was wearing only a string bikini lying in the back of an ambulance with no identification on my way to a hospital in Islamorada, Florida.
The handsome EMT said that I had collapsed from dehydration as I was getting change for the soda machine in the lobby at the hotel in Key Largo. By the time the ride was finished, I learned we were the same age (26), he was married with two children, and that he liked my body (especially my stomach).
It was a Saturday morning and the emergency room nurses explained that the two iced teas I drank the night before weren't enough to keep me hydrated on a summer day in Florida.
I was on vacation alone, so I begged them not to call my family in Rhode Island. ER released me after four hours on the condition that I would stay out of the sun for three days. Of course I didn't listen and managed just fine.
The taxi ride back to the hotel made me feel a little uncomfortable, but the driver assured me that he picked up scantily clad women several times a day. Luckily, my wallet was still where I left it by the pool and I had money to pay him.
St. Camillus de Lellis is the patron saint of nurses and hospital workers. He was born in Abruzzi, Italy on May 25, 1550. Records show that he was 6'6" tall.
St. Camillus de Lellis, who was a soldier, lost all his money to gambling and took a job working on a building for the Capuchins. They converted him and he tried several times to join their order but couldn't because of a leg injury while at war.
He was taken to San Giacomo Hospital for the incurable in Rome for treatment. But, he is also said to have had supernatural healing powers that he used to help others.
St. Camillus de Lellis is the founder of the Order of Clerks Regular Ministers to the Sick better known as the Camillians.
He died on July 14, 1614 in Genoa and his feast day is July 14.

Monday, August 30, 2010

St. Jeanne Jugan (Oct. 25, 1792 to Aug. 29, 1879)

"It is a great grace that God has given you in calling you to serve the poor."
(St. Jeanne Jugan)

Today is the first feast day of St. Jeanne Jugan, since she was canonized on October 11, 2009. The more I learn about her the more I understand why the order which she founded, the Little Sisters of the Poor, continues to inspire people to live a life of simplicity and humility.
St. Jeanne Jugan was born in Brittany, France on Oct. 25, 1792. Her father was a fisherman who died at sea when she was three-years-old. Her mother struggled to raise the eight Jugan children.
At age 16, St. Jeanne Jugan was a kitchen maid to Viscountess de la Choue who took her along when she visited the sick and poor. A decade later, St. Jeanne Jugan worked at the town hospital of Saint Servan, which was physically demanding and draining.
In 1837, she formed a community of prayer with Francoise Aubert, 72, and Virginie Tredaniel, 17, an orphan. They taught religion and helped the poor.
In her acts of charity, St. Jeanne Jugan took a blind widow home and cared for her, even giving up her own bed. Around 1843, she founded the Little Sisters of the Poor to help abandoned elderly women and for the next forty years collected food, clothing, and money for those in her care.
St. Jeanne Jugan died on Aug. 29, 1879. She is the patron saint of the elderly poor and her feast day is Aug. 30.
I can't understand how anyone could abandon the elderly, but even though St. Jeanne Jugan died more than 130 years ago, the situation of the world hasn't changed much.
The Little Sisters of the Poor say that "to those who feel anxious in these tough economic times, she (St. Jeanne Jugan) offers an invitation to live the Beatitudes and God will provide."

(R.I.P. Grandpa Fred: May, 18, 1892 to Aug. 30, 1976)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

St. Fiacre (? to c.Aug. 18, 670)

If what Pope John Paul II said was true in that "the body, and it alone, is capable of making visible what is invisible: the spiritual and divine," then why do so many people disrespect their bodies and those of other people?
I like what Christopher West has to say about the Theology of the Body.
Then, I think about situations that I know of and total lack of regard for the beauty of human sexuality and the body.
We all know a married woman who, on the side, sleeps around with any guy who will pay attention to her. She strokes his ego and lies by saying she doesn't have a sexually transmitted disease. Then, they have unprotected sex and she infects him.
The relationship, then the guy takes up with a single woman and he infects her.
Maybe this is the reason why 25 percent of American adults have herpes (one in four woman and one in five men.)
St. George is the patron saint against herpes.
St. Fiacre is the patron saint against venereal disease. He was born in Ireland then moved to Meaux, France to be closer to God. He lived in the forest in solitude and prayer.
St. Fiacre built a chapel to the Blessed Virgin Mary and set up a hospice for sick or weary travellers. He performed miracles to restore visitors back to health.
St. Fiacre died c.Aug. 18, 670. His relics are in Meaux Cathedral. And even today, numerous miracles occur in his name.
His feast day is Sept. 1.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

St. Raymond Nonnatus (1204 to Aug. 31, 1240)

When I was 34-years-old, I found myself in the unfortunate situation of being unwed and pregnant. It happened either just before a breakup with a long-term boyfriend or at the beginning of a relationship with a new guy.
At the same time, out of nowhere, my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. So, my priority was taking care of my mother and coming to terms with her death.
Since I had no idea when I conceived, I had to make a choice. I'm not happy to write about this and it took a very long time before I could face the results of my decision. All I can say is that I could not have provided a child with a proper upbringing as a single mother.
After the procedure, I went to my gynecologist for a follow-up exam. He told me that I should be on the birth control pill.
I told him, "I'm never going to have sex again."
Dr. Fink said that because I was young and good looking, he guaranteed that I'd change my mind since I'd most naturally meet someone and fall in love.
Dr. Fink, was a few years younger than myself and I found it odd that whenever he examined me, he'd get embarrassed and his face would turn red. But, the strangest thing was that when he finished his residency at Brown and was going to set up a practice in Florida that he invited me to come along. Although he was physically attractive in an odd sort of way, I declined the offer.
St. Raymond Nonnatus (Raimundo Nonato) is the patron saint of obstetricians/gynecologists. He was born by Caesarean section in 1204 in Portella, Catalonia, Spain. His mother died during his birth, so his name is Latin for "not born."
St. Raymond Nonnatus's family was of Spanish nobility and he was ordained in 1222. He was a member of the Mercedarian Order.
According to legend, the Moors put a hole through his lips with a hot iron and padlocked his mouth shut so he could not preach.
Before and after he died, miracles happened in his name. St. Raymond Nonnatus died in Catalonia on Aug. 31, 1240. His feast day is Aug. 31.

Friday, August 27, 2010

St. Daniel of Padua (? to 168)

When I dropped off my passport renewal packet at the post office earlier this month, I calculated that by the time my new one would be mailed back to me, I'd be in between moves. That meant it might be forwarded to my summer address which would increase the chances of it being lost.
Of course, it was inevitable that I'd get the electronic e-mail this week saying that my passport had been shipped and to expect it on or around Saturday (exactly the time we'd be moving).
Yesterday, when I spoke with the post office manager, Sue, she said if I gave her the passport tracking number, she'd know if it had arrived yet. (My wish was that it hadn't, so that she'd be able to hold it for me).
Sure enough, it didn't go as planned, and I learned that the letter carrier realized it was a passport and took it upon herself to deliver it to my winter address.
"What business did she have doing that?" I asked the post office manager. "It is the one piece of mail that I needed to receive this summer!"
Because of what the letter carrier did, I now had to deal with my landlord and his wife (who live there during the summer) and the chance of them marking on it "not at this address" and have it being handled again by the post office.
Sue apologized profusely then agreed that more than likely the passport could literally be lost in the mail. Before slipping into panic mode, (both my new and old passports were in the envelope and the nightmare of having to reapply for another one would include more annoying paperwork) I called my landlord. He said he'd check the mailbox and call me if it was there.
In the interim, I remembered that St. Gabriel is the patron saint of mail delivery and all things postal and I just happened to be wearing his medal around my neck. Also, since St. Anthony of Padua is a patron saint of lost articles, I'd be safe if I asked for his intervention to prevent the loss. Since, I've been to his basilica in Padua, Italy, I like to think I'm given special and speedy preference.
No sooner had I thought of all this than my cell phone rang and the landlord said that he had good news. He was holding my passports.
Throughout the ordeal, I learned that St. Daniel of Padua, who was born a millennium before St. Anthony, is also a patron saint of lost articles. His job was deacon to St. Prosdocimus.
St. Daniel of Padua was of Jewish descent. He died a martyr in 168. He is also the patron saint of women whose husbands are at war.
St. Daniel of Padua's feast day is Jan. 3.
Oh, yes, I did call Sue back and thanked her for her help although I know it was divine intervention.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Blessed James Duckett (? to c.1601)

Why is it that "Under the Tuscan Sun" and "Eat Pray Love," both written by divorced women who embark on journeys of self discovery and empowerment, (partially set in Italy) are such successful books?
Could a book written by a single (annulled), hip, fun woman who has already "found herself" and travelled to Italy and other parts of Europe, and is hoping to help people enrich their lives with a spiritual connection to the Roman Catholic faith, be equally as entertaining? Stay tuned.
Blessed James Duckett, who was born in Westmoreland, England, spent much of his life in prison, as a Catholic bookseller and publisher. He was a layman raised as a Protestant and thrown in prison twice for failing to attend services.
One day, while working in London on an apprenticeship, a friend gave him a book about Catholicism. Blessed James Duckett was so impressed with it, that he converted.
He was married with children, but again, was imprisoned. Still, it didn't deter him from continuing to distribute materials about Catholicism to the other inmates.
The only way it could stop was to hang him. That happened c.1601.
Blessed James Duckett was beatified on Dec. 15, 1929. His feast day is April 19 and he is the patron of Catholic booksellers and publishers.

(Happy Birthday, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta!)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

St. Ursula (fifth century)

"These children are ungrateful little bastards," said Father Shea. "I've devoted my life to this and for what?"
Just out of college, I worked as a teacher at a Roman Catholic junior high school in Central Falls. Most of the children were from low income families. One student's father was killed in a drug deal.
I was young and had the energy to deal with teenage antics. But, on some afternoons, I'd go home upset and concerned for many of the children because I knew they didn't have food for dinner or a happy home life.
I was shocked by Father Shea's words since I was naive and never heard a priest speak that way. He warned me not to get too involved in what went on with the students outside of school. And I listened to him.
To compensate for what I felt was a lack of attention to the children, I took them on educational and fun field trips and devoted my time to teaching them. One parent in particular told me her daughter received the best grades in her life with me as her teacher.
Many years later, while I was walking down Thayer Street in Providence, I saw Father Shea. When I stopped to say hello I noticed he was drunk and holding a beer bottle. His speech was slurred.
Shortly thereafter, I read his obituary in the newspaper. He was only in his 40s when he died.
So much time has gone by, but Father Shea still comes to mind. I wish I had known he was troubled because maybe I could have gotten him help. Someone else might say that perhaps he wouldn't have wanted it and it was his fate to die the way he did.
St. Ursula is a patron saint of Catholic education. Her story is so much a legend that she was removed from the Calendar of Catholic saints in 1969. She remains in the Roman Martyrology.
St. Ursula was a princess who lived in the 5th century. Trying to avoid marriage to a pagan man, she stole away for what she thought would be several years with 11,000 maidens.
In 451, on their way through Cologne, France, the beautiful, young virgins were massacred by pagan Huns. The Basilica to St. Ursula in Cologne is believed to hold her relics and those of her companions.
St. Ursula's feast day is Oct. 21

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pope St. Gregory the Great (c.540 to March 12, 604)

"I like that you don't care that I'm famous. That you like me for who I really am," said an ex-lover, who is the lead singer of a internationally recognized Canadian rock band with numerous hits songs. "It also helps that you're good looking."
As a journalist, I was around rock musicians all the time and I saw starstruck fans throw themselves at these guys. Even today, in the local circuit, women seem to be turned on by any male with a guitar. He can be the most unkempt person around, but if he's a musician, women seem to go wild.
"Joe," (that's what I'll call him for privacy's sake) on the other hand, was a well-groomed neat freak who would have his nodes checked regularly and always ask me about my hair products. Knowing him gave me an insider's look at what the 80s hair band phenomenon was all about.
Surprisingly, he's not mentioned on any of the groupie websites where women talk about what it's like to have sex with a famous rock star, and even though this is "A Sinner's Guide to the Saints," I'm certainly not going to put that kind of information on here.
I met Joe, who I had interviewed for the newspaper, after being coaxed by my then on-again, off-again boyfriend, John, to see him in concert. He was a huge fan of the band's music and even brought along some memorabilia to have autographed.
John hung out with an ex-girlfriend and her boyfriend for part of the night, so I figured we were in the off-again stage as I watched the show alone.
Backstage, I told Joe that my cousin was crazy about him, to which he replied, "Is your cousin a guy or a girl?" Most of his fans, he said, were women or gay men.
A few days later, after the band was back home in Canada, I got a phone call from Joe while I was at my desk in the newsroom. We talked every day for a couple of weeks until I finally went to Ontario and nearly lost my job in the process for leaving a day earlier than expected and not finishing a major assignment.
Joe's parents were Italian immigrants, he graduated from a Roman Catholic all boys high school, and his oldest brother was killed in a car wreck when they were teenagers. He said that as soon as his mother heard rescue vehicles down the street, she knew that her son was dead.
Right before I met Joe, another brother's son, then a teenager, was paralyzed in an automobile accident.
What I found out about this rock musician was that wherever we went he was still recognized (although he claimed it was harder for him to go out in public when the band was at the peak of its career), but he tried to lived what I considered a normal life.
Joe was an entirely different person off stage. He visited his parents all the time, had a house in Crystal Beach, and restored sports cars. He drank beer, rode motorcycles, and owned several electric guitars.
Last time I spoke with him, another older brother had died unexpectedly from a heart attack after going through a horrible divorce. Although Joe was famous, he was just like everyone else, having his own share of heartache.
Joe comes to mind today not for nostaglic reasons. Simply because I remember looking at his Juno Award for Best Group of the Year and gold albums in frames on the walls and hearing him say that he would rather have had his brother survive the car wreck than have all the fame and success that was handed to him.
Pope St. Gregory the Great is the patron saint of singers. He was born in Rome, Italy c.540. His father was Gordianus, a rich senator, and his mother was St. Silvia. His great grandfather was Pope St. Felix III.
Pope St. Gregory the Great was a Benedictine monk and a Doctor of the Church. He was Pope from Sept. 3, 590 to his death on March 12, 604. His feast day is Sept. 3.

Monday, August 23, 2010

St. Amabilis of Auvergne (? to 475)

"Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them."

In addition to writing hard news and feature stories for the Kent County Daily Times in West Warwick, I created my own beat covering the national acts that performed at The Station, a nightclub in town.
Bands like The Fixx, Blue Oyster Cult, Honeymoon Suite, NRBQ, and Warrant played there, and I did the interviews in advance for the Thursday entertainment section and would often stop by the club after work to attend a show or drop off copies of the newspaper.
The owners seemed like average guys, often sponsoring fundraisers for families in need.
The place was so small (it was once an Italian restaurant) that many of the locals and, even some of the police officers, didn't know where it was. That is until the horrific night of Feb. 20, 2003 when a fire set off by pyrotechnic sparks during a performance by Great White killed 100 people. (Half of the 362 survivors were injured).
I was no longer working at the newspaper, but many friends, relatives, and musicians, went into a panic thinking that I was at the show being that I spent so much time there. I was actually stuck on the East Side of Providence waiting for hours for AAA to arrive and jump start my car on that freezing cold night.
It was so tragic and all I can say is to always remember the victims and their families in our prayers. Also, make a donation to the Station Family Fund, a non-profit organization.
St. Amabilis of Auvergne is a patron saint against fire. He lived in France and worked as a cantor in the church of St. Mary Clermont and a priest in Riom. He died 475 and his feast day is Nov. 1.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

St. Benno (1010 to June 16. 1106)

I snuck home from a neighborhood clambake today. The good thing is, I don't think anyone noticed just yet. The bad thing is, it cost $25 to attend.
It's a New England tradition and, at the two other clambakes I attended, the potatoes, sweet corn, and whatever else (in this case, sausages) were not cooked with the seafood. Today, however, everything was prepared together and tasted like fish.
So, I returned to my house for a lunch of garden salad, a baked potato, and pizza flavored goldfish crackers. I also had to wash my hair because the smell of fish was imbedded in it.
The hostess and guests were all very nice. And I got to see more than 10 hummingbirds flying from feeder to feeder which, the more I think of it, was probably worth the price of admission.
But, I have plans to go out tonight and I need time for myself. It seems that I've neglected my own interests which is easy to do when you get caught up in other things.
Since fish has consumed my afternoon, I will acknowledge, St. Benno a patron saint of fishermen. He was born in Hildesheim, Germany in 1010. He was educated in the Abbey of St. Michael. St. Benno was a canon at the Imperial Chapel of Gozlar, Hanover. He was also bishop of Meissen, Germany.
St. Benno died on June 16, 1106. Canonized: 1523. His feast day in June 16.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

St. Tarcisius (3rd century)

"Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne."
(Revelation 8:3)

The smell of incense brings me back to my childhood being at Mass and knowing that something serious was happening. Whether it was burning for the Easter Vigil or the Eucharist or a funeral, it was time to behave and pay attention as the priest swung the thurible back and forth.
Early on I liked the smell which includes frankincense and myrrh. And even today I will buy sticks of incense to light in the house.
For many years, my favorite necklace was a strand of myrrh beads from my mother. Its neutral color matched with everything and it was so unusual that I'd be asked about it all the time.
I always thought of myrrh the way it was presented at the the Epiphany, in some kind of fancy urn or box, so wearing it as a piece of jewelry was fun.
It's believed that the smoke of burning incense represents the prayer of the faithful rising in Heaven or the prayers of the saints. I think of it as a sign of purification and cleansing.
St. Tarcisius is the patron saint of altar servers who are allowed to carry the incense at Mass. He was a layman born in the third century. Unfortunately, he was attacked by pagans while bringing Communion to prisoners.
St. Tarcisius's feast day is the Assumption, August 15.

"After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; they fell to the ground and worshipped Him. Then opening their treasures, they presented to Him the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh."
(Matthew 2:11)

Friday, August 20, 2010

St. Raymond of Penyafort (c.1175 to Jan. 6, 1275)

I was a baby when the Roman Catholic Mass was in Latin, so I'm definitely mystified by the excitement surrounding today's announcement that the use of an English translation of the Roman Missal will begin on the first Sunday of Advent 2011.
It means that the language will reflect the distinction that the priest is celebrating Mass in the person of Jesus Christ. So, for example, the response to "The Lord be with you" will change from "And also with you" to "And with your spirit."
The Catholic News Service said that the order and the structure of the Mass will stay the same. And, much to my excitement, there will be new observances to the saints that were added to the liturgical calendar in the past couple of decades.
I don't go to church, so the new language certainly will not affect me. However, it's making me quite curious. And, who knows? When the changes finally come around, it might be a good time to start.
Apparently experts in canon law, liturgy, and scripture have pooled their knowledge.
Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of Providence said that, yes, it will be a lot of work to learn new responses and prayers, but if it helps people to think about what they're saying, grow spiritually, appreciate the Eucharist, and worship in spirit and truth, then it's worth the effort.
Today is the perfect time to remember St. Raymond of Penyafort (Penafort), the patron saint of canonists. He was born in Catalonia, Spain c.1175. He studied in his native country and at the University of Bologna in Italy, earning doctorates in civil and canon law.
St. Raymond of Penyafort had a deep love for Mary the Mother of God and helped found the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy.
He was a Dominican priest and died on Jan. 6, 1275. Canonized: 1601. St. Raymond of Penyafort's feast day is Jan. 7.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

St. Mary of Edessa (? to c.371)

"He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."
(John 8:7)

In my late 20s, several years after my annullment, I met a woman nicknamed Holy Mary. She had beautiful clothing, a gorgeous Victorian home, and a successful salon business. Upon first glance, she was someone who seemed to have it all.
Yet, the more I got know to Mary, the more she revealed things about herself that alluded to a dark past. Pregnant and unwed as a teenager, a second child with another guy, living on welfare, and two failed marriages.
By the time I met her, Mary was married for a third time and making close to a six figure salary. She was also in church every Sunday and carried a rosary wherever she went.
Mary wanted desperately to have a third child and told me that maybe the reason she couldn't conceive was that she had an abortion with another man years before and this was her punishment. She said she wasn't going to try in vitro fertilization because it was her fate. If she did have a child that way, then she might die from cancer, and it would grow up without a mother.
What I found to be the oddest thing was that when Mary wasn't at home, she'd leave her teenage daughter behind to keep an eye on her husband. I wondered how she married a person that she didn't trust.
But, I learned a lot from my friendship with Mary. She took me to a Roman Catholic retreat center for a girls weekend. Even though I didn't want to go, she assured me that it would be good to be with other people and release negative emotions (going through my divorce and several short-term relationships) and get a fresh outlook on life.
She provided guidance that only someone 10 years older than myself could.
Then one day, when America Online was the foremost way to communicate with someone on live chat, my younger brother asked if he could use my computer and logged in under my name.
Mary, thinking it was me, confessed to having a year-long affair with her next door neighbor, a much younger married man with small children. My brother was horrified that he had to tell her that it wasn't me that she was chatting with.
I remember being judgmental about the situation and basically writing her out of my life (especially since her sister's husband asked me out on a date and, of course, I refused). How could she do such a thing? She was married and hadn't she found God?
Over time, when I reached the age Mary was when she committed adultery (that sounds so medieval), I had done many similar things. And I could see exactly where she was coming from. Now, I think of her as one of my role models in my younger years.
There's another Mary who lived a somewhat equally promiscuous life. St. Mary of Edessa, a patron saint against sexual temptation, was born in the 4th century. When her father died she was sent to live near his brother, St. Abraham Kidunaia. Her uncle's home was a hermit cell and she was the anchoress nearby.
Two decades passed and after having sex with a monk, St. Mary Edessa moved away embarrassed for what she had done. She chose to live a wild life and had frequent sex with numerous men.
After hearing about it, St. Abraham Kidunaia, disguised himself as a soldier, and went to see his niece. St. Mary Edessa, took him home with her, as she did with every guy she met.
Her uncle revealed his identity and convinced her to return home and go back to being the anchoress. She lived the rest of her life religiously.
St. Mary Edessa died c.371 and her feast day is Oct. 29.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

St. Helena (c.248 to Aug. 18, 330)

In my junior year of college, I got the romantic notion that I would become an archaeologist. The fantasy began a few years earlier, in the July 1982, with the release of the movie "Summer Lovers."
I wasn't so much intrigued by the American couple (Peter Gallagher and Daryl Hannah) and their threesome-type relationship with a French girl, Lina, played by the late Valerie Quennessen. I was more impressed with the scenery on the Greek island of Santorini and the exciting work that Lina did as an archaeologist.
So, I began taking courses through the anthropology department at my college in addition to the requirements that I needed to earn a B.A. in English.
Finally, in my senior year, I decided that I would get married the week after college graduation, so it wouldn't be practical for me to pursue a career as an archaeologist. Although, when I look back now, it would have indeed been a wise choice.
Then, when I found myself divorced four years later, I did get to travel to Greece and many European countries. And, on one of several trips to St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, I saw the shrine to St. Helena, the patron saint of archaeologists (pictured above).
She was born in Asia Minor c. 248 and was the consort of Emperor Constantius and mother to Emperor Constantine I. After becoming empress, St. Helena converted to Christianity and built churches in Rome, Italy.
On a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, she found the relics of the True Cross. St. Helena died on Aug. 18, 330 and today is her feast day.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

St. Clare of Montefalco (1268 to Aug. 18, 1308)

“The human heart feels things the eyes cannot see, and knows what the mind cannot understand.” (Robert Valett)

So many times I've heard to "look for messages in your dreams."
We've all had vivid ones that seemed so real and yet have awoken to find it literally was just a dream.
The legendary dream of St. Clare of Montefalco, Italy, who was born in 1268, involves a vision of Jesus travelling as a beggar and carrying the Cross. When St. Clare asked where he was going, he told her he had searched the world over to find a strong person to leave his Cross with and he had found that person in her.
From that moment on, the Augustine nun felt pain, sickness, and suffering within her heart. It continued until the day she died on Aug. 18, 1308.
Then, St. Clare of Montefalco's heart was removed from her body and within it was found a small crucifix and a scourge, symbols of the Passion.
She was canonized in 1881 and her feast day is today, Aug. 17.

Monday, August 16, 2010

St. Bernardino of Siena (Sept. 8, 1380 to May 20, 1444)

A couple a weeks ago, I was in a speeding car that was going so fast, I saw the faces of my deceased relatives flash in front of me. My friend, Bill, who was driving, proceeded to act like he was doing nothing wrong, despite my telling him to slow down numerous times. The other two passengers never said a word.
When we got to Providence, and I stepped out of the car, I made the decision that even though Bill is a nice guy, I will never get in a vehicle with him again, unless I'm behind the wheel.
I got a phone call today that he was in a massive motorcycle accident and is in a hospital in Norwich, Conn. recovering from a punctured lung, broken ribs, and a broken pelvis.
Although he drives like a maniac, I never thought that something so serious would happen to him. As an intuitive female, I've noticed that Bill never quite got over a six-year relationship to a woman that he was engaged to marry. Sometimes I feel like he's given up. I'm not saying that he has a death wish. I'm thinking that maybe he's taking more risks.
St. Bernardino of Siena is the patron saint of the lungs. He was born in Massa Marittima, Italy on Sept. 8, 1380. He was orphaned at age six. He joined the Franciscan Order of the Observants and was ordained in 1404.
St. Bernardino of Siena worked as a missionary. He died on May 20, 1444 in Aquila, Italy and his feast day is May 20.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

St. Limbania (? to c.1294)

I find that in order for some people to make themselves feel good, they will insult someone else to divert the attention away from their faults.
Call me sensitive, but such was the case this evening when I had neighbors and friends over for an outdoor dinner. A last-minute guest celebrated her birthday two days earlier, so I thought it would be a kind gesture to put a few candles on a slice of cake and present it to her under the beautifully starlit sky.
No sooner had I done that, than two people called me Rain Man and a savant, just because I remembered someone's birthday.
Rather than keep my mouth shut, which is generally what I do when I'm with a group of elders, I asked if I had been an auto mechanic that did awesome precision work or an artist who could mimic a famous painter's masterpieces, would I have been called Rain Main or a savant? Of course not. But, because I have a knack for remembering things that are considered statistical, I was singled out.
Now, I've decided that I'll be a little more selective in remembering someone's birthday because as they say "no good deed goes unpunished."
In fact, today, I would like to acknowledge a very important death.
It is the Feast of the Assumption and also the feast day of St. Limbania.
She was born in Cypria and lived as a Benedictine nun in Genoa, Italy. St. Limbania Church in Genoa is also called Mary's Assumption Church.
She died in 1294.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

St. Jane Frances de Chantal (Jan. 28, 1572 to Dec. 13, 1641)

I often wonder what it's like to die alone. Maybe a person has no family to speak of and lives in a nursing home or by themselves. Are they frightened or do they want to spend their final moments with someone?
My paternal grandfather's last home was at an assisted living facility in Greenville. His three younger sisters also lived there, in separate apartments. I enjoyed spending time with them, when I was a kid, which was almost every weekend.
We'd played bingo and cards, and have snacks. I don't remember seeing any residents alone. Everyone always had visitors.
When it was time to leave, my grandfather would go out on his deck and he'd wait there until I got in the car with my dad and then we'd wave goodbye to each other.
As I was riding my bicycle today, I wondered where I might be in 35 or 40 years, if I'm still alive. And then I thought about what it would be like to die alone.
When I reached the usual spot on the road where I have to climb a very steep incline, I told myself that I could do it with no difficulty (the past several times it was a struggle because I have a single-speed bike). At that moment, I looked up and saw a red-tailed hawk flying right above me.
It followed overhead until I made it easily to Gravelly Hill Road, which is where the road levels out, and then the bird flew away as I continued on.
When I got home, I looked in my animal guide and read that the hawk represents guiding vision. It said to be patient and observant because I will see opportunities and clear signs.
And it is true. After all these years, I came to the realization that no one dies alone. Jesus will always be there for those who believe.
St. Jane Frances de Chantal is the patron saint of forgotten people. She was born in Dijon, Burgundy, France on Jan. 28, 1572. She had six children and was widowed at age 28.
St. Jane Frances de Chantal was the founder of the Order of the Visitation of Mary. She died in Moulins on Dec. 13, 1641. Canonized: 1767. Her feast day is Aug. 12.

Friday, August 13, 2010

St. Maria Magdalena de Pazzi (April 2, 1566 to May 25, 1607)

I was born on a Friday the 13th in the month of March, so today is exciting for me. It's a day of luck for those who were born on it and, to those who fear it, unfortunately, Friday the 13th can occur as many as three times a year (February, March, and November).
The family story goes, that five years before I was born, my cousin, Anthony, arrived on Thursday, March 12, sometime after 11:30 p.m. Since he was the first grandchild born on my mother's side of the family, everyone waited anxiously, praying that he wouldn't be born on Friday, March 13. By the time I came along, six grandchildren later, it was no big deal.
The main reason for the superstition is that there were 13 people at the Last Supper (to me, since Jesus is also the Holy Spirit, there were only 12 people in attendance) and Jesus was crucified on a Friday.
Also, the day of the week, named for Freya, the Norse goddess of love, beauty, and fertility was considered unlucky.
However, Freya is linked to sexual activity, divination, the full moon, and black cats, so she's okay in my book. But, she is not a saint.
Perhaps her polar opposite is St. Maria Magdalena de Pazzi, the patron saint against sexual temptation.
She was born with the name Catherine on April 2, 1566 in Florence, Italy. At age 12, she had her first mystical ecstacy and these continued throughout her life. As a teenager she joined the Carmelite of Ancient Observance and changed her name. to Maria Magdalena.
She died on May 25, 1607. Canonized: 1669. St. Maria Magdalena de Pazzi's feast day is May 25.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

St. Fortunato (? c.400)

   Almost every afternoon, when I get home from work, there is a delivery of fresh flounder and sweet corn to my house by Mr. Pitcher who runs the old-fashioned garage down the street. It's not something I order, but I live in a summer place that seems frozen in time.
   People still walk down the street carrying transistor radios, the automobiles like Mr. Pitcher's old pickup truck are from the the 1950s and 60s, and the neighbors invite you over for cocktails, music, or family game night.
   And there are no strange looks when I breeze by the trout hatchery, cow pastures, and, Hank, who sells hanging plants in his front yard, on my new classic Huffy bicycle. I fit right in. Except for one thing. I simply will not eat fish (for an explanation check out St. Neot). So, when the flounder arrives, I give it to
my friends.
  And they always question how I cannot love seafood, just like the locals that I met in Camogli, Italy. Because it is in that town, on the Italian Riviera, that they honor St. Fortunato, a patron saint of fishermen with Sagre del Pesce, the festival of fish.
  On the second weekend each May, the world's largest frying pan is used to cook tens of thousand of fish donated by the local fish cooperative. The meal is free to all who attend.
  There were many saints called Fortunato. And, the St. Fortunato in Camogli is one of legend, said to have been a martyr from Rome, as told in this translation. Please click here.
  St. Fortunato who was born in Spoleto, Italy. He devoted his life to helping the sick and poor. He was martyred c.400. St. Fortunato's feast day is on June 1.
  His bones are clearly visible under the altar at Convento di San Fortunato near Montefalco, Umbria.

(Happy Feast of St. Clare of Assisi!)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

St. Jeanne de Lestonnac (Dec. 27 1556 to Feb. 2, 1640)

"I am innocent of this man's blood. Look to it yourselves."
(In front of the crowd, Pontius Pilate washed his hands.
St. Matthew 27:24)

This morning, I sent a former co-worker, "Violet," a text message that said: "Happy Birthday!"
I got several responses back which included: "I'm a little banged up. The baby is okay. Warrant out on him. He forgot who was in control of the situation. Thought he was gonna cheat on me and smack me around when I got pissed about it. I don't think he'll come after me though. I think he's just as happy to wash his hands of me and another kid he won't have to take care of. A--hole."
"Violet" is 32, single, and pregnant. I haven't seen her in a year and a half since she was let go from her job at the company I'm employed at. We still keep in touch on birthdays and holidays, although I only saw her once outside of work when we went to see a Mexican mystic in Providence.
In this modern day of text messaging, "Violet" is using a term coined when Christ was still alive, and referred to in the quote above.
It's horrifying that this type of abuse exists and it involves an unborn child.
St. Jeanne de Lestonnac is one of the many patron saints of abuse victims.
She was born in Bordeaux, France on Dec. 27, 1556. She married Baron de Montferrand-Landiras and had a total of eight children. After her husband, father, uncle, and oldest son died, she felt a calling to God.
St. Jeanne de Lestonnac founded the order of the Company of Mary Our Lady. She died on Feb. 2, 1640. Canonized: 1949. Her feast day is May 15 and her body is still incorrupt.
Although, the saints are here to help, I hope that "Violet" seeks a more immediate and practical approach to her problem. When she finds out the sex of the baby in September, I offered to help her with clothes shopping and in general just be someone she can talk to.
We don't always make the best choices in life and in "Violet's" case I hope that she receives the help she needs so that she and her baby can have the abundant life they deserve.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

St. Hunna (? to 679)

"Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

I recently committed what I thought was a venial sin. I was at the laundromat (my summer house only has a clothesline) and while I was waiting for the washer to finish, I noticed some copies of sketches for sale that depicted views of the seaside town.
The facility caters to the tourists, most are from Connecticut and New York, so I felt that if I took one drawing, it really wouldn't matter. No one would even notice. Besides, I live in the town all year long.
The laundry woman wasn't there at the time and there were no other patrons, so I climbed on the washing machine and took one down. To be honest, I don't even remember what it was a drawing of. Furthermore, this is so unlike my normal behavior, and perhaps if the sketches were priced I would have left some money.
Now, since I've been more mindful of my religion lately, I thought back to when I was making my Confirmation which was the last time I studied sins. If my memory serves me correctly, a mortal sin would be murder and a venial sin is forgivable like cheating on a quiz or perhaps taking a drawing from a laundromat.
(Notice I didn't say steal. That's more like what a robber does at a convenience store).
So, rather than run off to the confessional on Saturday afternoon (that would be the easy way out), I did my own research.
The above quote from 1 Corinthians would constitute me a thief making it a mortal sin and, therefore, I would not go to Heaven (unless being a Roman Catholic, I go to Confession).
Yet, I've read that in order for something to be a mortal sin it must be a grave matter, committed with deliberate and complete consent, and committed with full knowledge. To me, what I did was not a grave matter, so I'm absolved.
When I mentioned it to a friend, he said that not only did I commit a sin, but I took another person's property thereby causing them the loss of a small amount of income.
So, I've decided I'm going to return the drawing and write about the patron saint of laundry workers and laundresses.
Her name is St. Hunna. She was the daughter of the duke of Alsace, France. After marrying Huno of Hunnwetyer, St. Hunna devoted her life to helping the poverty stricken in Strasbourg, France.
She would help them bathe and do their clothing. Her nickname was the Holy Washerwoman.
St. Hunna died in 679. Canonized: 1520. Her feast day is April 15.

Monday, August 9, 2010

St. Herve (521 to 556)

"We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep."
(Prospero in "The Tempest" by William Shakespeare)

At Shakespeare Under the Stars in New London last night, I was able to enjoy "The Tempest" without fear of my English professor giving an exam afterward. This time, I saw it in a different light, since I've been out of college for two decades.
My favorite line from the play, seen above, can mean many things. When Prospero realizes his own mortality, perhaps he is saying that what we do on earth really has no significance when we die. It's scary to think that life fades away like a dream.
Part of me would like to achieve something great. I'm an extroverted introvert who writes this blog, in part, because I want to give people hope. I've visited hundreds of churches and basilicas, and I've witnessed many things that cannot be explained which I attribute to the saints. And yet, you will not find me at weekend Mass.
I'm single with no children, so I'm not one of those people that can say they will live on in their son or daughter.
I'd like to believe that Shakespeare means that when we die, we will awaken from the dream of life into what is true reality.
He is called the Bard of Avon and the patron saint of bards was one himself.
St. Herve was born blind in 521. Accounts differ as to where he was from, but most say he was Welsh. His mother was a hermit and his father, Hyvernion, also a bard, died when he was young. St. Herve was raised by his uncles in Brittany, France.
Legend says that he was friends with a domesticated wolf and was a miracle worker known for curing animals. St. Herve was ordained an exorcist. He died in 556 and his feast day is June 17.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

St. Romuald (c.951 to June 19, c.1025/27)

Twice this weekend, I drove by Roman Catholic churches (St. Francis of Assisi Church iin Wakefield and St. Romuald Chapel in Matunuck) as people were walking in for Mass and, both times, I noticed that as far as clothing is concerned, anything goes. Shorts, bath suits, and mini sundresses. I saw it all.
Then I thought about the planning that goes into my wardrobe when I travel to places like Italy and France and want to go inside a church or basilica. Shorts, skirts above the knee, and tanks tops or sleeveless shirts are not allowed.
I just didn't get it at the time (maybe because I wanted my luggage to be lighter without the heavier clothing), but now I do. It's a sign of respect and it looks so much nicer to wear dressier clothing in a place of worship.
I only wear camisoles and tank tops rather than short sleeve tees, so it took me a while to get the hang of what would be appropriate for my European travels. However, now, in my everyday life in Rhode Island, I never leave the house without wearing high heels, skirts, or dresses for work and everything I mentioned plus jeans, for play.
And I still remember being a toddler in the late 1960s, and my mother going off to church wearing a hat with a veil and my dad calling her "Jacqueline." (I was born after the John F. Kennedy assassination, so had no idea what he was talking about).
St. Romuald Chapel caters primarily to the summer crowd. It's the first time I'd even seen the place although it's around the corner from Seaview Market, a grocery store I shop at several times a week.
St. Romuald was born in Ravenna, Italy c.951 to the royal Onesti family. He founded the Camaldolese Order which encompasses the way of life described in the Rule of St. Benedict.
Up until age 20, he lived a life filled with sin and pleasure which I take to mean plenty of sex and alcohol. Then, after seeing his father kill someone in a duel, St. Romuald checked himself into the Abbey of Sant'Appollinare.
He became a monk and later decided to live as a hermit on an island in the region of Emilia-Romagna. St. Romuald spend more than 30 years travelling throughout Italy and establishing monasteries and hermitages.
He said, "Watch your thoughts like a good fishermen watching for fish."
St. Romuald died on June 19, c.1025/27 at a monastery in Val di Castro and his feast day is June 19.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

St. Flannan of Killaloe (7th century)

For the past week, I've been thinking about buying a bicycle. Nothing fancy. Just a simple woman's bicycle that I can ride to the beach or down the country road that I live on in the summer.
So, this morning, when I was driving through Green Hill and Charlestown, to get an iced coffee and string beans at the farmstand not far from the ocean, I was excited to see my friend, Phil, from Providence, on his bike on a side road.
Because he was so far from home, I wasn't sure it was him at first so had to loop around onto the main road and back again to check, before stopping to say hello.
Phil had taken the bus from the city down to South County then pedaled around to several beaches before camping out in Charlestown for the night. It wasn't at a traditional campground. He put up his tent on Narragansett Indian land near a lake, cooked himself dinner, made some tea, and played his tin whistle before going to sleep to the sound of the katydids.
Phil was born in Killaloe, County Clare, Ireland and came to this country at age 14. Although he has many friends, interests, and plays in a band, Phil also seems to live a solitary life. He worked at Amos House (a nonprofit social services agency that helps the homeless and the poor) for many years. He doesn't own a car (or even have a driver's license), but manages to get along just fine. And Phil is not the type of person that brags about all the good things he does for people.
It's possible that saints walk among us. Phil lives a life driven by his beliefs: world peace (he accompanied a Buddhist monk on walk for peace), helping others, and living unselfishly. He doesn't appear to need any more material possessions that a bicycle, a button accordion, and a bag of tin whistles. He loves to dance, laugh, and play music.
Phil is from the same town as St. Flannan, the patron saint of Killaloe, who was born in the 7th century to an Irish chieftain. St. Flannan joined Molua's monastery and was a wonderful preacher.
He was consecrated by Pope John IV and was the first bishop of Killaloe. St. Flannan was such a convincing speaker that his father gave up a life of power and became a monk.
His feast day is Dec. 18.

Friday, August 6, 2010

St. Crispin and St. Crispinian (3rd century)

It's a hot Friday afternoon. I just got out of work and I'm sitting on my porch in Perryville in a string bikini with a glass of chilled Riesling. As my neighbors dress for cocktail parties, cars speed through the four-way stop sign across the street, and people hurry to the supermarket to buy groceries for tonight's cookouts, I'm off in a faraway land thinking about San Crispino, one of my favorite places in Rome, Italy for gelato.
Of course, nothing beats the food in the Eternal City, but for the first few days that I'm there, I have gelato for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I always get a cup and since it's kind of a tradition in Italy to have a couple of flavors at a time, I do try to mix and match. Plum, licorice, caramel, grapefruit: I'll take just about any flavor.
And even if the gelato weren't good, I'd still remember the place simply by the name.
San Crispino translates to St. Crispin who born a twin to St. Crispinian in the 3rd century. Together the brothers preached Christianity to the Gauls by day and worked as cobblers at night. Because of this, they were tortured and beheaded in Rome in 286.
And, no, St. Crispin and St. Crispinian are not the patron saints of my favorite dessert. They are the patron saints of cobblers, tanners, and leather workers and their feast day is Oct. 25.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Pope St. Celestine V (1210 to May 19, 1296)

"I saw and I knew the soul of him,
who cowardly made the great refusal."
(Canto III, lines 59-60, the Divine Comedy (the Inferno) on Pope Celestine V abdicating the Papacy which allowed Dante's enemy, Pope Boniface VIII, to gain power.)

After working long, hard days at the Rhode Island Historical Society Library (RIHSL), a place where I was employed as technical services assistant for 10 years, I would return home where my ex-husband, Brian, would greet me with, "You smell like books."
I was young (24-years-old), beautiful (so I was told), had exquisite hair (dirty blonde, glistening curls), and superb personal hygiene (I still am a fanatic about delicious smelling beauty products and brushing my teeth five times a day). So, I wondered why I was never met with "How was your day?" or "I missed you," although I was good enough to support Brian while he took one or two graduate school courses per semester.
Years later, when my long-term ex-boyfriend, John, called me late one night and said, "I can smell your hair on my pillow. It smells so good," all memories of being told I had the odor of ancient tomes and manuscripts in my hair and on my clothing disappeared (thanks to my natural scent, Aveda products, and a thoughtful guy).
I enjoyed working with books and special collections, helping people with their genealogy, cataloguing printed materials, overseeing the interlibrary loan department, assisting with the U.S. newspaper project in Rhode Island, and being responsible for serials billing and everything related to bookbinding (I received my training in this area at the New York State Library in Albany).
If I could not repair a book myself, I had the option to send it to bindery which I did mostly for one-of-a-kind items that would be copied onto archival paper, rebound, and I would retire the original to the library archives.
I continued in the same position at the Rhode Island School of Design Library, after my boss recommended me because it was higher paying and she was about to resign as library director at RIHS.
Although I no longer work in libraries, I can still be found at new and used bookstores, where I always feel at home.
Pope St. Celestine V (St. Peter Celestine) is the patron saint of bookbinders. He was born Pietro del Morrone in 1210 in Isernia, Abruzzi, Italy. When his mother told her 12 children that she wanted one of them to be a saint, Pope St. Celestine V announced that he would be one someday.
On my way to Capri, I went through Isernia and it is still very medieval. So, to think that someone would rise to Pope and saint who from there is remarkable to me!
Pope St. Celestine V lived as a hermit when he was 20-years-old under Benedictine rule.
He became the Pope on July 7, 1294 and held the position just five months before abdicating on Dec. 13, 1294. It was his desire to reform the clergy and introduce people to the original Gospel spirit.
He died on May 19, 1296. In recognition of the 800th anniversary of his birth, Pope Benedict XVI named the Celestine year Aug. 28, 2009 through Aug. 29, 2010.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

St. Tutilo of St. Gall (c.850 to c.915)

The term Renaissance man came about during the Italian Renaissance to describe an intelligent person who excels in a wide variety of subjects or professions. So what do you call a man who was a metalworker, mechanic, musician (who played several instruments), sculptor, poet, painter, and hymnist in the 9th century?
You call him St. Tutilo of St. Gall. Someone that I would have liked to hang out with. He was born in Ireland c.850.
St. Tutilo of St. Gall is described as being burly and powerful. He was also a Benedictine monk who was educated at and made his home at the Abbey of St. Gall in St. Gallen, Switzerland.
What I like most about St. Tutilo of St. Gall is that unlike people today that have many interests as a way of being the center of attention or having their egos stroked, he did not enjoy the limelight. Instead, in his downtime, he preferred solitude. And that is why he's definitely my kind of guy.
St. Tutilo of St. Gall died c.915 and his feast day is March 28.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

St. Monessa of Ireland (? to Sept. 4, 456)

"A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would be either a lunatic — on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse."
(C.S. Lewis)

I always think of C.S. Lewis as a masterful fantasy writer with the "Chronicles of Narnia," so I'm totally floored by his statement above. I couldn't have said it better: Jesus was either the Son of God or a madman.
If I had to choose, I'd go with the former only because St. Francis of Assisi wouldn't have given up his wild ways to follow Jesus's teachings.
One of the most disturbing saint stories to me is St. Monessa of Ireland, the daughter of a chieftain, who was a convert of St. Patrick. Not only did she die a virgin, but she died the second she was baptized on Sept. 4, 456.

Monday, August 2, 2010

St. Nicholas of Tolentino (c.1246 to Sept. 10, 1306)

Sometimes I wonder if there really is a purgatory. For the most part, I believe that people who suffer on Earth through illness and pain, are experiencing purgatory.
But, what confused me when I was younger was during Mass being told to pray for the souls in purtagory. What about people that die and have no family on Earth? Are we helping them in general prayer?
Throughout my mother's terminal illness she said she wasn't afraid to die. And I truly believe that. She told me she was afraid of the unknown.
Yet, when my mother was on her deathbed, she said "pray for me." It upset me because she suffered so much and may have been questioning if she would go to Heaven.
Today, on the eleventh anniversary of her death, I have vowed not to talk so openly about death ever again. Instead, I will look to the future and live life to the fullest as she would want me to.
Yes, I will continue to mention death to some extent in this blog because I often refer to St. Francis of Assisi saying "And that it is in dying that we our born to eternal life."
St. Nicholas of Tolentino is the patron saint of souls in purgatory and is often called the Patron of Holy Souls.
He was born in Sant'Angelo in Pontano, Marche, Italy c.1246. St. Nicholas of Tolentino was a mystic and a vegetarian.
During his life, he received visions of souls in purgatory. He died on Sept. 10, 1306 and when he was canonized on June 5, 1446, 300 miracles had already occurred in his name.
St. Nicholas of Tolentino is also responsible for three posthumous resurrections. His feast day is Sept. 10.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

St. Philomena (Jan 10, 291 to Aug. 10, 304)

"Let's dance in style, let's dance for a while
Heaven can wait, we're only watching the skies...
Forever young, I want to be forever young
Do you really want to live forever? Forever and ever."

When the song "Forever Young" by Alphaville was released, I was just 20-years-old, so the lyrics meant nothing to me. Now, two decades later, as I was leaning against the railing outside Hanson's Pub the other night, watching the 55 plus crowd drinking, grooving to the music, and checking each other out, I had my own thoughts.
I don't want to sound judgmental, but how can I not? Maybe the woman with the noticeably dyed red hair and sundried skin or the balding guy with the comb over and Wrangler jeans were once lookers.
Are we mere mortals often trying to regain our youth, which is impossible?
In my family,  people either die tragically at a young age or live to be 100. There's no in between.
This makes no sense to me. Yet, my dad always tells me that I will find out what it all means when I die.
There are many patron saints of youth. However, right now, I am most interested in St. Philomena, for two reasons. First, because all that is known about her is through information received by private revelation, and, secondly, she was born on the Greek island of Corfu, a place that I visited on my first trip to Europe.
St. Philomena was born on Jan. 10, 291. She was a princess who died a virgin martyr in Rome, Italy on Aug. 10, 304 at age 13. It wasn't until the 19th century that her bones were discovered in the St. Priscilla catacombs. They are now at the Church of Our Lady of Grace in Mugnano de Cardinale, Italy.
Technically, St. Philomena was never canonized. She was venerated in the Roman Catholic Church from Jan. 13, 1837 to Feb. 14, 1961. Her feast day was Aug. 11, but she has since been removed from the liturgical calendar.
And, this reminds me of St. Christopher (everyone's favorite patron saint of travel), who since 1969 is no longer listed on the Roman Catholic calendar of saints.