A Catholic Monthly Magazine

December Saints

December Saints

Blessed Marcantonio Durando Blessed Marcantonio Durando (1801-1880)

Marcantonio Durando was born in Mondovi, Italy, in 1801. He took after his pious mother, not his liberal, agnostic father.

At age 15, he manifested a desire to go to China as a missionary and entered the Congregation of the Mission, making his perpetual vows in 1819 and being ordained a priest six years later. He never did get to China. Instead, in 1829, after five years in Casale Monferrato, he was stationed in the house at Turin, becoming superior two years later. His calling was to the popular missions, into which he infused his missionary passion of announcing Jesus Christ. He supported and diffused the newly-born work of the Propagation of the Faith and later inaugurated a school for the formation of priests for the foreign missions.

In his preaching of missions, Father Durando preached the mercy of God, avoiding both the extremes of laxity and the rigourism of Jansenism. During these missions, wherever he found situations of poverty, he and his confrères intervened in concrete ways. For example, at Locana, he had the entire legacy of the mission, consisting of 700 lire, converted into corn flour for the poor of the country.

Concern for the poor was the other face of his missionary passion. He introduced into northern Italy the Daughters of Charity who, after the apparitions of the Miraculous Medal in 1830 to St Catherine Labouré, were undergoing a new flowering following their dispersion during the French Revolution. Father Durando provided Turin with a network of charity centres from which the Sisters went out to serve the poor in their homes. He established nursery schools for poor children, workplaces for young girls, and orphanages.

In 1837, he was appointed major superior of the Province of North Italy of the Vincentian Fathers, a post he occupied until his death.  His time became occupied in preaching spiritual retreats, providing spiritual direction to priests and religious, and organising the Vincentian missionaries. He was instrumental in founding the Company of the Passion of Jesus the Nazorean, a congregation for girls who, though lacking some of the canonical requisites for entering religious communities, desired to consecrate themselves to God. He gave them the task of serving the sick in their homes, day and night.

Father Durando died in 1880.

Blessed Marcantonio, fill us with missionary zeal in our modern society.

(Source: Internet – various)

Saint Paola Elisabetta CeriolaSaint Paola Elisabetta Ceriola (1816-1865)

Saint Paola Elisabetta was born Costanza Cerioli in 1816 in Soncino, Italy, the last of 16 children born into a noble family. A frail child, she lived at home until she was 11 years old, when she was sent off to school in Bergamo, where she learned to depend on God and to find her comfort in him.

At age 19, she married a 59-year-old widower, Gaetano Busecchi. Her difficult marriage lasted 19 years. Three of her four children died prematurely. The fourth, Carlo, lived only to age 16, the same year her husband died.

Costanza, now 38, began to visit and assist the sick and to share her belongings with the poor and orphans. In 1856, she made vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Young women asked to join her, forming the Sisters of the Holy Family. Costanza took the name Sister Paola Elisabetta. In 1863, a male branch, the Religious of the Holy Family, was founded. Mother Paola’s her special care was to form her religious sons and daughters to love and educate the neglected and lost ones under their care. She died unexpectedly on 24 December 1865.

Saint Paola, inspire in us a great love for the poor and neglected.

(Source: http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/saints/ns_lit_doc_20040516_cerioli_en.html)

Saint John Alcober (1694-1748)

Saint John AlcoberBorn in Gerona, Spain, in 1694, John became a Dominican priest. He sailed to Manila in 1726, and reached China in 1728, working for sixteen years in the Fo-kien province.

Posing as a water seller so he could move around the city, he still had to work in secret; he once had to be smuggled into a house in a dying man’s coffin in order to administer Last Rites.

In 1746, one of his flock received a vision of Our Lady of the Rosary. She appeared so beatific in death that a crowd gathered to see her body; the press of visitors prevented John from making his usual quick escape, and he was arrested. He, Francis Serrano and Father Francis Diaz were tortured before being strangled to death on 28 October.

Saint John, give us some of your dedication to our faith.   

(Source: http://saints.sqpn.com/saintjal.htm)

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