A Catholic Monthly Magazine

April Saints

Pope Saint Martin I (d. 655)

When Martin became Pope in 649, Constantinople was the capital of the Byzantine empire and the struggles that existed within the Church were magnified by the close cooperation of Emperor and Patriarch.

A teaching, strongly supported in the East, held that Christ had no human will. Emperors had officially favoured this position. Shortly after becoming Pope, Martin held a council at the Lateran, in which the imperial documents were censured, and the Patriarch of Constantinople and his two predecessors were condemned. In response, Constans II sent troops to Rome to seize Martin and to bring him back to Constantinople.

Already in poor health, Martin offered no resistance and was submitted to various imprisonments, tortures and hardships. Although condemned to death, Martin was saved from execution by the pleas of a repentant Patriarch of Constantinople, himself gravely ill. Martin died shortly after.

Saint Martin, help us never to be afraid to stand up for the truth.

(Source: http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/saint.aspx?id=1352)

Our Lady of Good Counsel

In the Alban Hills lies the little town of Genazzano, where the miraculous image of Our Lady of Good Counsel is venerated.

The story of the picture dates back to 1467. Pilgrims assembled for the feast of St. Mark were startled by a mysterious rustling sound and strains of sweet music. Looking toward the sky, they beheld what seemed a soft cloud. Slowly it descended and rested in front of the unfinished wall of the church dedicated to the Mother of God under the title of Good Counsel. Although painted on a piece of plaster no thicker than an ordinary visiting card, the image has withstood the ravages of time. The artist is unknown.

It is said that the figures represent Mother and Child on their return from the temple where Mary heard the sad prophecies of Simeon. Mary’s eyes are half-veiled, as though lost in contemplation, taking counsel with her God. The Child does not return the gaze of the beholder, but draws our eyes upward to Mary as if to tell us to look for Counsel there, in the very Seat of Wisdom. Our Mother of Good Counsel has been called the Madonna of the Popes.

Our Lady of Good Counsel, guide us in our journey through life.

(Source: http://www.catholictradition.org/Mary/olgc.htm)

Saint Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort (1673-1716)

Louis was born in Montfort, Brittany, the eldest of eight children of poor, hard-working people. Normally, Louis would have learned a trade and helped to educate his siblings, but his pious mother recognised he was destined for the priesthood. Her pleadings and those of his teacher enabled him to begin his studies, sponsored by some charitable people.

When very young, Louis organised Rosary societies, preached sermons, told stories of the saints, and led the Rosary with groups of neighbourhood children. While a student in Rennes, he continued his devotions. After he had completed these studies, he left for Paris in 1693 to begin his studies for the priesthood. He walked the 130 miles in the rain, sleeping in haystacks and under bridges and, on arriving in Paris, he entered a poverty-stricken seminary in which the students had scarcely enough to eat, making him seriously ill. On the verge of ordination, his funds were withdrawn by his benefactor but a kindly priest intervened and took him under his wing.

Ordained in 1700, Louis was sent as chaplain to a Poitiers hospital where he set about endearing himself to the patients and organising a dysfunctional staff, an activity which had him sent away by angry management, but not before he had laid the foundation of what would become the institute of the Daughters of Divine Wisdom to nurse the sick poor and provide free schools.

All his life, Louis was to meet stubborn opposition and persecution in everything he tried to do. The Pope sent him to Brittany as missionary apostolic.

For the rest of his life, Louis gave flamboyant missions in country parishes, priest-less for generations. Ruined churches were repaired, marriages rectified, children baptised and instructed, and Catholicity rebuilt. The persecution continued, even to the point of his being poisoned. But while recuperating from the effects of this attack, he wrote True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, a manuscript which was hidden away and discovered nearly 200 years later. He founded a second religious congregation, the Missionaries of the Company of Mary, and died in 1716.

Saint Louis, inspire in us a deep devotion to Mary.

(Source: Internet – various)

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