Tired of all the bad news

While we can't deny the difficulites for so many people at home and overseas, it's important to take account of the positives, and to spread the Good News. I don't know who said this but; "No-one ever injured their eyesight by looking on the bright side." Blessings..

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Capuchin Franciscan Saints and Blessed

Addressing some Capuchins in the early 1980’s, Pope John Paul II said ‘They say you Capuchin’s are poor, but you are actually very rich, rich in saints!’

And this is true, we are very lucky compared to many other religious orders and congregations, we have many saints and blessed to look up to and to try to imitate.  There are over 57 saints and blessed in the Capuchin Order and many more who’s causes are being looked into for sanctity.

Pope John Paul II, who has canonized more saints and blessed in his pontificate than any previous popes, would say that sanctity is not an impossible dream.  We are all called to be saints and in canonising and beatifying so many people, John Paul II would be saying that it is entirely possible for us all to be saints.  Saints are people that the church believes are in heaven with God and are willing and able to pray to God for us, and for the good of the church and humankind.  Saints were ordinary men and women from all different backgrounds who have never stopped trying to serve God to the best of their talents.  Mothers and Fathers, Professionals, the Marginalised, Workers, Children, Religious, Priests, Bishops, Hermits, Martyrs who suffered for their beliefs, all have become saints for their lives of heroic virtue.  Pope John Paul’s first canonization was Capuchin Saint, Crispin of Viterbo (1668-1750) in 1982.

It would be impossible to tell you about all our Capuchin- Franciscan saints and blessed in this blog, however, I will mention briefly a few of saints here. 

St. Lawrence of Brindisi (1559-1619)

Lawrence felt the call to the Capuchin life from an early age.  He joined the Order at the age of 16 taking the name Lorenzo.  He studied theology, the Bible, French, German, Spanish, Syriac, and Hebrew at the University of Padua and became renowned as a brilliant student known for his knowledge of languages.  He was a famous and effective preacher and scholar in any of his several languages. 

In 1956, the Capuchin Order compiled fifteen volumes of his sermons, letters and writings.  He was Canonized on December 8th 1881 by Pope Leo XIII, and proclaimed Apostolic Doctor of the Church by Pope John XXIII in 1959.

St. Felix of Nicosia (1715-1787)

Felix joined the Capuchin Order in 1743 at Mistretta and took the habit as a Novice.  He was sent to Nicosia the following year to assist the questing brother in his rounds of asking alms for the Order.  He was endowed with the gift of healing temporal and spiritual diseases and he was always ready to pray beside the sick bed of anyone.  “So be it for the love of God” were words that he often said to people.  He had a special gift of obedience to his superiors and he never did anything without permission first.

He died in 1787 and he was beatified by Pope Leo XIII in 1888, and he was one of Pope Benedict XVI’s first Canonisations on October 23rd 2005.

Blessed Marco of Aviano (1631-1699)

Marco of Aviano is best known for giving the famous name to Cappuccino Coffee.  He was a wandering Capuchin preacher and he is credited with rallying Catholics and Protestants on the eve of the Battle of Vienna in 1683, which was crucial in halting the advance of the invading Turkish soldiers in Europe.

Legend has it that following the victory, the Viennese reportedly found sacks of coffee abandoned by the enemy and finding it too strong for their taste, diluted it with cream and honey.  The drink being of a brown colour like that of the Capuchin habit, the Viennese named it “Cappuccino” in honour on Marco of Aviano’s Order.

St. Leopold Mandic (1866-1942)

Leopold was born Bogdan Mandic in Castelnuovo, Dalmatia.  He was physically frail but spiritually strong.  He joined the Capuchins at Udine and was received as a novice in 1884.  He was ordained priest in 1890.

Despite a big desire to go on the missions, his health and size possibly went against this ambition of his (He was 4 feet 5 inches tall).  Having worked in different ministries from 1890 to 1906, and in 1906 he was moved to the friary in Padua where he spent the greatest part of his life as a confessor, for which he is best known.  He often said ‘I can refuse no-one who comes to me in the confessional’ He was beatified by Pope Paul VI in 1976 and Canonised by Pope John Paul II in 1983.

St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Perhaps Padre Pio is the best known of all of the Capuchin Saints and Blessed.  He was born in Pietrelcina in 1887 and joined the Capuchins at 16.  He was ordained priest in 1910 and in 1918 he received the stigmata, the visible and bleeding wounds of Jesus Christ on his hands, feet, and side.  He lived the greater part of his life in the friary of San Giovanni Rotondo, in South Eastern Italy and people came from all over to go to confession to him.  He lived in great suffering and felt that this was his vocation.  He organised the building of a hospital in San Giovanni in the 1950’s called the Home for the Relief of Suffering which today is one of the finest hospitals in Italy.  He died on September 23rd 1968 and Pope John Paul II beatified him in 1999 and Canonised him in 2002.

Saints today.

In regard to Saints Leopold and Pio, they are saints who lived in our time and were photographed and even filmed, and have something to say to us about the closeness of God to us in our world of today.  They are saints who are accessible and show the accessibility of God.  It is also important to note that the miraculous gifts attributed to some of our saints, like St. Pio of Pietrelcina for example, are secondary to the fact that they all lived the Gospel and the Franciscan life well. 

Below is a list of their Feast-Days;

January 5
Blessed Didacus Joseph of Cadiz
January 12
Saint Bernard of Corleone
February 4
Saint Joseph of Leonessa
February 9
Blessed Leopold of Alpandeire
February 27
Blessed Jose Tous Y Soler
April 21
Saint Conrad of Parzham
April 24
Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen
April 30
Blessed Benedict of Urbino
May 8
Blessed Jeremiah of Valacchia
May 11
Saint Ignatius of Laconi
May 12
Saint Leopold Mandic of Castelnovo
May 18
Saint Felix of Cantalice
May 19
Saint Crispin of Viterbo
June 2
Saint Felix of Nicosia
June 8
Blessed Nicholas of Gesturi
June 16
Blessed Anizet Koplin and Companions
June 26
Blessed Andrea Giacinto Longhin

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