A Catholic Monthly Magazine

February Saints

19 February

Saint Lucy Yi Zhen-mei (1815-1862)

Lucy Yi Zhen-mei was from Mianyang in Sichuan, China, born in 1815, the youngest member in her family. She was a very pious child, to the extent that she made a commitment to chastity at 12 years of age. 

She developed a love for reading and study but at age 20, in the midst of her higher education, she grew very ill. After her recovery Lucy took her spiritual life still more seriously. She devoted herself to the discipline of prayer with great devotion, assuming a way of life much like that of a religious while continuing to assist in the support her family. Her mother taught her how to spin, which also became part of her daily life. 

After her father died, she lived with her brother and mother, using part of her leisure time to teach the faith to children nearby. The parish priest, who asked her to teach at the school in Mianyang, noticed her devotion and reliable knowledge of her faith. After four years, her brother went to Chongqing to practice medicine, and Lucy and her mother moved with him. In Chongqing also, the priest asked her to help teach the women in the parish. Offered money for her work, she refused to take it and dedicated her work to God. 

A few years later, her brother moved back to Guiyang, during which time her mother died. Lucy continued doing missionary work, and for her own safety stayed at the convent of lay virgins. But her failing health forced her to move back home again. In 1861, Bishop Hu asked her to teach once more at the convent and despite opposition from relatives, she returned to work there. 

In 1862, she went with Father Wen Nair to open a mission in Jiashanlong, but the provincial administrator began to stir up hatred against Christians, supported by the local magistrate. As a result, Father Wen and three others were all imprisoned and sentenced to death without a formal trial. On the day of their execution, they met Lucy on the road. She also was jailed, put on trial that very day and sentenced to death because she refused to renounce her faith. The following day at noon she was beheaded. 

Saint Lucy, obtain for us the courage of our Christian convictions.

(Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucy_Yi_Zhenmei)

6 February

Saint Francesco Spinelli (1853-1913)

Francesco Spinelli was born in Milan on 14 April 1853; he was baptised on the following 15 April. With his parents and siblings, he moved from Milan to Cremona when he was still a child and would spend his summers at Vergo where, in 1871, he was cured of a severe spinal problem. In his childhood, he liked to hold puppet shows for other children while he visited the poor and ill with his mother on frequent occasions. 

His call to the religious life was fostered due to the support of his mother and his priest uncle, Pietro Cagliaroli. His friend Luigi Maria Palazzolo also encouraged him towards the path of the priesthood which he studied for in Bergamo. He was ordained to the priesthood in Bergamo on 14 August 1875 by Bishop Pietro Luigi Speranza and a short time later, travelled to Rome to take part in the Jubilee convoked by Pope Pius IX. 

He also went to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major where he spent brief moments in reflection at the crib of the Infant Jesus. This provided him with the inspiration he needed to found a religious congregation of his own after a vision in which he saw women worshiping Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration. On his return from Rome, Francesco taught at an evening school established by his friend Palazzolo and also assisted his priest uncle Pietro Cagliaroli with his parish activities. 

On 15 December 1882, with Geltrude Comensoli, he co-founded the Sacramentine Sisters in Bergamo. The Sisters devoted themselves to the Eucharist and to Eucharistic Adoration; the first convent opened on Via San Antonino. 

Francesco was forced to leave it on 4 March 1889 after it failed due to a range of calamities including financial difficulties -the bishop decided to sever his connection to the order as a result. He arrived in Rivolta d'Adda in Cremona penniless and pained because of this turn of events. It was the diocesan bishop there who offered him the opportunity to come to Cremona to exercise his pastoral duties. 

In 1892 he founded the Sisters Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament. The group received the diocesan approval of the Bishop of Cremona in 1897. 

Francesco died in 1913. He was canonised by Pope Francis in 2018.

Saint Francesco, obtain for us the grace to remain true to our faith until death.  

(Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/

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