Lesser known…

Crispin and Crispinian (circa Third Century)
Most of us have heard of Saint Crispin, there’s that famous speech from Shakespeare, but who exactly is Crispin. They, Crispin and Crispinian, are twin brothers who were born to a noble Roman family. They fled to Soissons to get away from persecution. In France they preached to the Gauls and made shoes at night. From their shoes they earned enough to live comfortably and aid the poor. The governor heard of them and had them tortured and thrown into a river with millstones around their necks. They both survived but were eventually beheaded by Diocletian. Or Crispin and Crispinian could have been from Kent somewhere near Canterbury, but after their father died for displeasing the Roman Emperor their mother persuaded that they flee to London. The brothers made their way but stumbled upon a shoemaker’s workshop in Faversham and decided to stay there.  The English version of the story has no information about how they were martyred.

Pope Evaristus (died c. 107)
Evaristus was the Fifth bishop of Rome. Evaristus was originally a Hellenistic Jew on his father’s side from Bethlehem.  He divided Rome up into titles, or parishes these have grown to the Titular Church that Cardinals are given when they become Cardinals. Evaristus also appointed priest to these Churches and appointed seven deacons for the city.

Chiara Badano (29 October 1971 – 7 October 1990)
Chiara is a member of Generation X and is proof that regular people can still become saints. I felt compelled to mention Chiara Luce, her nickname given by Chiara Lubich,  even though she is only a blessed since a couple weeks ago I read about her and felt that her words are something that we need to hear in the world today. Chiara was born in a small village in Italy and her parents had waited and prayed for her to come for eleven years. Chiara got involved in the Focolare Movement in Italy at nine. The Focolare Movement was started by Chiara Lubich in 1943. In 1988 her life was changed dramatically as Chiara felt a twinge in her shoulder while playing tennis and it turned out to be osteogenic sarcoma, a rare and painful bone cancer.  When Chiara heard this she simply declared, “It’s for you, Jesus; if you want it, I want it, too.” This is remarkable as all that Chiara wanted was to be married to Jesus, and at her funeral she got her wish. Before Chiara died she told her mother “the young people…young people…they are the future. You see, I can’t run anymore, but how I would like to pass on to them the torch, like in the Olympics! Young people have only one life and it’s worthwhile to spend it well.” I hope that many young people take up the torch of Chiara and live always with a light that radiated from within from a heart full of the love of God.

Lesser Known Saints

Abbán moccu Corbmaic also known as Eibbán or Moabba, (d. 520?)
Abban is the Irish Saint of the week. Most of the information we have about Abban comes from the three different versions, two in latin and one in Irish (although this one is incomplete), however these are not the best sources as one indicates that Abban lives 300 years. Not much is known about his early life the hagiographies indicate that he was expected to follow his father and become King of Leinster, but Abban’s devotion to God and miracles associated with him pointed his life towards the Church. It then says that he was sent to Íbar, his uncle who was a bishop. He might have also been connected to Patrick, but there isn’t much evidence of this.  Throughout the text Abbán is seen demonstrating his powers and exercising authority over rivers and seas. Abban might be the brother of Gobnait and he might have given her church\nunnery in Ballyvourney it is said that his grave was to be found near here. Although there is another account of his later life which indicates that Abban became a missionary and founded the Abingdon which mean either “house of Aben” (Irish) or “hill of Aben” (English) then it says that he was reposed in Abingdon. So who really knows.

Alexius or Alexis of Rome or Edessa (early 5th century)
According to the legend Alexius was born to a wealthy Christian Roman senator and Alexius fled from an arranged marriage to follow his holy vocation. He fled dressed as a beggar eventually ending up in Edessa where still dressed as a beggar he began accepting alms, Alexius it is said even servants from his own household who were sent out to find him didn’t recognize him until BV Mary revealed him as a “Man of God”. Alexius eventually returned home where his parents didn’t even recognize him, but they brought him in being good Christians and sheltered him for seventeen years. He taught catechism and prayed. fter his death, his family found writings on his body which told them who he was and how he had lived his life of penance from the day of his wedding, for the love of God. It wasn’t until his death that his family discovered who he was, as they found writings on him which indicated who he was and how he lived a life of penance since his wedding. The Catholic Church has removed his offical feast day like Valentine as the legend associated with the saint may not be totally true the Catholic Encyclopedia says that  “Perhaps the only basis for the story is the fact that a certain pious ascetic at Edessa lived the life of a beggar and was later venerated as a saint. If Alexius is a legend or not he is still an interesting figure.

John of Nepomuk better known as John Nepomucene (c. 1345 – March 20, 1393)
John is a martyr and is the patron saint of Bohemia. He is best known as being the first martyr  who refused to break the seal of confession. The story goes that he was the confessor of the Queen of Bohemia and the King wanted to know what she said, and for refusing to tell he was tossed from the Charles Bridge and into the Vltva, where he died. Although reading a bit more on the subject it is more likely that John was murdered for not supporting the right Pope, in his time there were two Popes one in Avignon  and the other in Rome, as Pope Gregory XI moved the papacy back to Rome, but died and two Pope rose one in Avignon, Antipope Clement VII, who the King favored and the other in Rome Ubran VI, who the archbishop of Prague supported  (if you ever have some free time it’s an interesting period to read about). John went against the King’s wishes and appointed the archbishop’s choice for Abbot.

The week we also celebrate the feasts of Patrick and Joseph.

Paul VI

Finally the moment has arrived Pope Paul VI is going to be beautified, with all the talk about the other Vatican II popes (John 23 and JPII) and all the news coming out about the recent gathering of bishops. Paul VI has gotten lost in the middle of all of this.  Paul VI will be Beatified on Sunday at the Vatican as one miracle has been confirmed. Perhaps someday there will be another one and Paul VI will join John 23 and JPII as saints.

For most people of my generation we spent a majority of our lives living with John Paul II as Pope but it is Paul VI that has had the largest impact on our lives. As Paul VI basically fostered Vatican II and symbolically placed the Papal Tiara upon the altar at St. Peter’s as a sign of the renunciation of human glory and power in keeping with the renewed spirit of Vatican II. His Tiara was then donated to The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC where it is kept on display as a gift to all American Catholics. The papacy of Paul VI is when most of the Vatican II Documents came out, and is perhaps best known for a couple of ground breaking Encyclicals Humanae Vitae and Populorum progressio.

Paul VI was born Giovanni Montini in 1897. He was raised in a nice family and went to a Jesuit school, in 1916 Giovanni entered Seminary and by 1922 he was working under Pizzardo in the Roman Curia. in 1939 his friend Eugenio Pacelli became Pope Pius XII and Montini and Tardini were two of his closest allies. As the years went by Montini, Tardini and Pius XII were side by side during WWII and they tried to help as many people as possible. Montini was named Archbishop of Milan in 1954. Montini like working in a parish and interacting with people.  Montini told his congregations to love all people  including the schismatics, Protestants, Anglicans, the indifferent, Muslims, pagans, atheists. He even wrote friendly letters to the Archbishop of Canterbury after a group of Anglican clergy visited Milan.

While archbishop he became friends with Angelo Roncalli,  and it was a lasting one. Roncalli became John XXIII and eventually opened up a Council of which Montini said “This old boy does not know what a hornets nest he is stirring up.” John XXIII wanted the Council to end to coincide with the ending of the Council of Trent, although some believe this was more to do with John 23’s declining health. Montini was am important part of John 23’s Vatican, he was became a cardinal and would travel the world even coming to the US in 1960.

When John XXIII died many people thought that Montini would become the next Pope and that is just what happened Montini became Paul VI. As Pope, Paul VI continued the Council and firmly established what they were going to focus on. Paul VI also did a lot to reform the Church as a whole modifying the Curia as well as the Liturgy significantly. Paul VI was Pope during many years of chaos in the world, but he got a lot done as Pope.