A Catholic Monthly Magazine

February Saints

Blessed Alfonso Maria Fusco

Alfonso Maria Fusco, the oldest of five children, was born to pious, peasant stock on March 23, 1839. The little boy quickly revealed a mild, gentle, lovable character, responsive to prayer and to the poor. He received his First Holy Communion and Confirmation at age seven. At age eleven, Alfonso entered the episcopal Seminary of Nocera dei Pagani and in 1863, was ordained by the Archbishop of Salerno.

Quickly he distinguished himself for his zeal, his regular attendance at liturgical services and his diligence in the administration of the sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Reconciliation. He devoted himself to the evangelisation of the people through his simple and incisive style of preaching.

The zealous priest carried in his heart an old dream to found an institute of Sisters and an orphanage for boys and girls. With Maddalena Caputo and three other young women desiring to dedicate themselves to God through poverty, union with God and charity in the care and instruction of poor orphans, he founded the Congregation of the Baptistine Sisters of the Nazarene.

Other postulants and the first orphans began to arrive, and with them the first problems. Father Alfonso accepted these trials, at times very difficult ones, demonstrating an absolute conformity to the will of God, an heroic obedience to his superiors, and an unbounded trust in Divine Providence.

Father Alfonso did not leave many writings. He loved to speak with the witness of his life. He would often repeat to his Sisters: ‘Let us become saints, following Jesus closely... Daughters, if you live in poverty, in chastity and in obedience, you will shine like the stars up in the heavens.’

He directed the Institute wisely and prudently. During the night of February 5, 1910, he felt unwell. He requested and then received the sacraments on the morning of February 6 and then slept peacefully in the Lord.

Blessed Alfonso, obtain for us a practical love of the poor.

Source: Vatican News Service

St John Francis Regis (1597-1640)

Born into a family of some wealth, John Francis was so impressed by his Jesuit educators that he himself wished to enter the Society of Jesus. He did so at age 18. Following his ordination to the priesthood, he undertook missionary work in various French towns. While his discourses were plain, they revealed the fervour within him and attracted people of all classes. Father Regis especially made himself available to the poor.

Many mornings were spent in the confessional or at the altar celebrating Mass; afternoons were reserved for visits to prisons and hospitals. Though he longed to work as a missionary among the North American Indians in Canada, he was to live out his days working for the Lord in the wildest and most desolate part of his native France. The last four years of his life were spent preaching and in organising social services, especially for prisoners, the sick and the poor. In the autumn of 1640, Father Regis sensed it was time to settle some of his affairs and prepare for the end. He died on December 31. His final words were: ‘Into thy hands I commend my spirit.’ Saint John Francis, teach us to serve God to the best of our ability where we are.

Source: American Catholic.org

Saint Valentine (c.278)

On February 14 in about 278 AD, Valentine, a holy priest in Rome in the days of Emperor Claudius II, was executed. Under the rule of Claudius the Cruel, Rome was involved in many unpopular and bloody campaigns. The emperor had to maintain a strong army, but was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. Claudius believed that Roman men were unwilling to join the army because of their strong attachment to their wives and families.

To get rid of the problem, Claudius banned all marriages and engagements in Rome. Valentine, realising the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Valentine was arrested and dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off. Saint Valentine, inspire all married couples with fidelity to their vocation.

Source: History.com

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