A Catholic Monthly Magazine

December Saints

Feast: 27 December

Saint Fabiola of Rome
(d. circa 399)

Fabiola belonged to the patrician Roman family of the Fabia. She had been married to a man who led so vicious a life that she obtained a divorce from him according to Roman law, and, contrary to the ordinances of the Church, she entered upon a second union before the death of her first husband. On the day before Easter, following the death of her second consort, she appeared before the gates of the Lateran basilica, dressed in penitential garb, and did penance in public for her sin, whereupon the Pope formally received her again into full communion with the Church.

Fabiola now renounced all that the world had to offer her, and devoted her immense wealth to the needs of the poor and the sick, erecting a fine hospital in Rome. Besides this, she gave large sums to the churches and religious communities in Italy. All her interests were centred on the needs of the Church and the care of the poor and suffering. In 395, she went to Bethlehem, where she studied Scripture under the direction of St. Jerome.

Returning to Rome, she was involved in building a large hospice for pilgrims coming to Rome, and continued her usual work for the poor and sick until her death.

Saint Fabiola, fill us with a deep spirit of charity towards the poor and afflicted.

Source: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05743a.html

Feast: 4 May

Saint Florian
(d. 304)

St. Florian was born in about 250 in the ancient Roman city of Aelium Cetium. He joined the Roman army and advanced in the ranks, rising to commander of the imperial army. In addition to his military duties, he was also responsible for organising and training an elite group of soldiers whose sole duty was to fight fires.

During Diocletian’s persecution of Christians, reports reached Rome that Florian was not enforcing the proscriptions against Christians in his territory. Aquilinus, sent to investigate these reports, ordered him to offer sacrifice to the Roman gods. Florian refused and was sentenced to be burned at the stake. Standing on the funeral pyre, Florian is reputed to have challenged the Roman soldiers to light the fire, saying “If you do, I will climb to heaven on the flames”. Afraid of him, the soldiers executed him by drowning in the Enns River with a millstone tied around his neck.

Saint Florian, obtain for us the grace to persevere in the faith until death.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Florian

Feast: 15 December

Saint Virginia Centurione Bracelli

Virginia Centurione Bracelli was the daughter of the ruler of Genoa. She received her first religious and literary formation from her noble mother.

Despite her desire for the cloistered life, she succumbed to her father’s strong will and married Gaspare Grimaldi Bracelli in 1602, bearing him two daughters. Gaspare, a member of an illustrious and wealthy family, was a dissolute gambler, whose excesses shortened his life. He died in 1607.

At the age of 20, a widow, Virginia pronounced her perpetual vow of chastity, refusing the second marriage proposed by her father. She lived in her mother-in-law’s house, educating her children, administering her goods and dedicating herself to prayer and acts of charity. In 1610, she clearly felt the special vocation to serve God through the poor. Having settled her daughters in marriage, she offered herself totally to the needs of abandoned children, the aged, the sick, the marginalised.

In 1624-25, war increased unemployment and starvation in Genoa, which led Virginia to accommodate young people in her home. On the death of her mother-in-law in 1625, she set herself to scour the town for the needy in order to offer them shelter and care at the home called St Mary of Refuge. She attracted supporters, who lived a life of work and prayer, and who eventually became the Daughters of Mount Calvary.

While she sought always the lowest place and solitude, Virginia was a power for good in her community. She was blessed by the Lord with mystical gifts. She urged the institution of the Forty Hours’ devotion in Genoa, and the preaching of missions. She intervened to settle rivalries between the gentry, and achieved the reconciliation between the Archbishop and the Government of the Republic.

Virginia died in Genoa, mourned by nobles as well as commoners.

Saint Virginia, help us to be true to our personal vocation.  

Source: Internet – various

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