Saint of the Day

Feastday:  April 1

Birth: 1053

Death: 1132

Benedictine bishop of Grenoble, France, patron of St. Bruno. He was born in the Dauphine region and became a canon of the cathedral in Valence. In 1080, while attending a synod in Avignon, Hugh was named bishop of Grenoble. He attempted a massive reform of the diocese, but, discouraged, retired to Chaise Dieu Abbey, and became a Benedictine. Pope St. Gregoiy VII ordered him back to Grenoble. Hugh gave St. Bruno the land on which the Grande Chartreuse was founded, thus starting the Carthusians. Hugh died on April 1 and was canonized by Pope Innocent II.

Saint Hugh of Châteauneuf (1053 – 1 April 1132) was the Bishop of Grenoble from 1080[1] to his death. He was a partisan of the Gregorian reform and opposed to Guy of Burgundy, Archbishop of Vienne, later Pope as Callistus II.

Born at Châteauneuf-sur-Isère, France, Hugh showed piety and theological facility from a young age. While still a layman, Hugh was made a canon of Valence. His piety was such that it was said of him that he only knew one woman by sight.

At the Council of Avignon in 1080, he was elected bishop of Grenoble, though he was not yet ordained. The See of Grenoble had fallen into a very poor state and Hugh was selected to be its Gregorianrenovator. Conducted by a papal legate to Rome, Hugh was ordained by Pope Gregory VII himself. Upon his return, he immediately set to the task of reforming the abuses in his new diocese. When he had succeeded in countering abuse and fostering devotion after two years, he tried to resign his bishopric and enter the Benedictine monastery at Cluny. However, the Pope ordered him to continue his episcopal work.[2]

For the rest of the 11th century, his episcopate was marked by strife with Count Guigues III of Albon over the possession of ecclesiastic lands in the Grésivaudan, a valley in the French Alps. Hugh alleged that the Count had usurped the lands from the bishopric of Grenoble with the help of Bishop Mallen of Grenoble. To reinforce what he judged to be his right, Hugh fabricated a story of the previous Bishop of Grenoble (Bishop Isarn) reconquering by arms the diocese of Grenoble from the hands of Muslim invaders (i.e., theSaracens). That allegation was the object of the preamble to a series of documents designed to establish the right of the diocese over those lands, documents known as the "Cartularies of Saint Hugh." An accord was finally reached between Hugh and Count Guigues only in 1099. The Count agreed to cede the disputed territories while Hugh admitted to the Count's temporal authority within the vicinity of Grenoble.[2]

Hugh was also instrumental in the foundation of the Carthusian Order. He received Bruno of Cologne, perhaps his own teacher, and six of his companions in 1084, after seeing them under a banner of seven stars in a dream. Hugh installed the seven in a snowy and rocky Alpine location called Chartreuse. They founded a monastery and devoted their lives to prayer and study, being oft visited by Hugh, who was reported to have adopted much of their way of life.[2] Hugh also founded the nearby Monastère de Chalais, which grew into an independent order.[3]

Hugh was canonised on 22 April 1134 by Pope Innocent II, only two years after his death. His feast day is on 1 April in the Roman Catholic Church.[a] During the French Wars of Religion (between Catholics and Protestants inspired by John Calvin, called "Huguenots"), the Huguenots burned his body.[2]

Feastday:  March 31

Death: 424

 

St. Benjamin, Martyr (Feast Day - March 31) The Christians in Persia had enjoyed twelve years of peace during the reign of Isdegerd, son of Sapor III, when in 420 it was disturbed by the indiscreet zeal of Abdas, a Christian Bishop who burned the Temple of Fire, the great sanctuary of the Persians. King Isdegerd threatened to destroy all the churches of the Christians unless the Bishop would rebuild it.

As Abdas refused to comply, the threat was executed; the churches were demolished, Abdas himself was put to death, and a general persecution began which lasted forty years. Isdegerd died in 421, but his son and successor, Varanes, carried on the persecution with great fury. The Christians were submitted to the most cruel tortures.

Among those who suffered was St. Benjamin, a Deacon, who had been imprisoned a year for his Faith. At the end of this period, an ambassador of the Emperor of Constantinople obtained his release on conditionthat he would never speak to any of the courtiers about religion.

St. Benjamin, however, declared it was his duty to preach Christ and that he could not be silent. Although he had been liberated on the agreement made with the ambassador and the Persian authorities, he would not acquiesce in it, and neglected no opportunity of preaching. He was again apprehended and brought before the king. The tyrant ordered that reeds should be thrust in between his nails and his flesh and into all the tenderest parts of his body and then withdrawn. After this torture had been repeated several times, a knotted stake was inserted into his bowels to rend and tear him. The martyr expired in the most terrible agony about the year 424.

 

 

Feastday: March 20

John Buralli, the seventh minister general of the Franciscans, was born at Parma in the year 1209, and he was already teaching logic there when at the age of twenty-five, he joined the Franciscans. He was sent to Paris to study and, after he had been ordained, to teach and preach in Bologna, Naplesand Rome. He preached so well that crowds of people came to hear his sermons, even very important persons flocked to hear him.  In the year 1247, John was chosen Minister General of the Order of Franciscans. He had a very difficult task because the members of his community were not living up to their duties, due to the poor leadership of Brother Elias. Brother Salimbene, a fellow townsman who worked closely with John, kept an accurate record of Johns activities. From this record, we learn that John was strong and robust, so that he was always kind and pleasant no matterhow tired he was. He was the first among the Ministers General to visit the whole Order, and he traveled always on foot. He was so humble that when he visited the different houses of the Order, he would often help the Brother wash vegetables in the kitchen. He loved silence so that he could think of God and he never spoke an idle word. When he began visiting the various houses of his Order, he went to England first. When King Henry III heard that John came to see him, the King went out to meet him and embraced the humble Friar. When John was in France, he was visited by St. Louis IXwho, on the eve of his departure for the Crusades, came to ask John's prayers and blessing on his journey. The next place John visited was Burgundy and Provence. At Arles, a friar from Parma, Johnof Ollis, came to ask a favor. He asked John if he and Brother Salimbene could be allowed to preach. John, however, did not want to make favorites of his Brothers. He said, "even if you were my blood brothers, I would not give you that permission without an examination." John of Ollis then said, "Then if we must be examined, will you call on Brother Hugh to examine us?" Hugh, the former provincialwas in the house, but since he was a friend of John of Ollis and Salimbene, he would not allow it. Instead, he called the lecturer and tutor of the house. Brother Salimbene passed the test, but John of Ollis was sent back to take more studies. Trouble broke out in Paris where John had sent St. Bonaventure who was one of the greatest scholars of the Friars Minor. Blessed John went to Parisand was so humble and persuasive that the University Doctor who had caused the trouble, could only reply, "Blessed are you, and blessed are your words". Then John went back to his work at restoring discipline to his Order. Measures were taken to make sure the Friars obeyed the Rules of the Order. In spite of all his efforts, Blessed John was bitterly opposed. He became convinced that he was not capable of carrying out the reforms that he felt was necessary. So he resigned his office and nominated St. Bonaventure as his successor. John retired to the hermitage of Greccio, the place where St. Francis had prepared the first Christmas crib. He spent the last thirty years of his life there in retirement. He died on March 19, 1289 and many miracles were soon reported at his tomb. Hisfeast day is March 20th.

 

Biography

John was born about 1209 in the medieval commune of Parma in the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna; his family name was probably Buralli. Educated by an uncle, chaplain of the Church of St. Lazarus at Parma, his progress in learning was such that he quickly became a teacher of philosophy (magister logicæ). When and where he entered the Order of Friars Minor (commonly called the "Franciscans"), the old sources do not say. Affò[1] assigns 1233 as the year, and Parma as the probable place. Ordained a priest, he taught theology at the University of Bologna and the University of Naples, and finally taught the Sentences of Peter Lombard at the University of Paris. He assisted at the First Council of Lyons in 1245, representing the current Minister General, Crescentius of Jesi, who was too ill to attend.[2]

At the General Chapter of the Order held at Lyons in July 1247, John was elected Minister General, at the suggestion of Pope Innocent IV, who had been impressed by him during his service at the Council of Lyons two years earlier.[3] He was elected with the support of the rigorist branch of the Order (known as the Fraticelli), which office he held till 2 February 1257. The desire for the original fervor of the Order animated the new Minister General and of his purposes for the full observance of the Rule of St. Francis, reflects from the joy recorded by Angelus Clarenus among the survivors of St. Francis's first companions at his election—though Brother Giles of Assisi's words sound somewhat pessimistic: "Welcome, Father, but you come late".[4]

John set to work immediately. Wishing to know personally the state of the Order, he began visiting every community of friars. His first visit was to England, where he was extremely satisfied, and where he was received by King Henry III of England (Anal. Franc., I, 252). At Sens in France, King Louis IX(later a member of the Third Order of St. Francis) honored with his presence the Provincial Chapter held by John.

Having visited the Provinces of Burgundy and of Provence, he set out in September 1248, for Spain, whence Pope Innocent recalled him to entrust him with an embassy to the East. Before departing, John appears to have held the General Chapter of Metz in 1249 (others put it after the embassy, 1251). It was at this Chapter that John refused to draw up new statutes to avoid overburdening the friars.[5] Only some new rubrics were promulgated, which in a later chapter in Genoa (1254) were included in the official ceremonial of the Order.[6] The object of John's embassy to the East was reunion with the Orthodox Church, whose representatives he met at Nice, and who saluted him as an "angel of peace". John's mission bore no immediate fruit, though it may have prepared the way for the union decreed at the Council of Lyons in 1274.

In his generalate occurred also the famous dispute between the mendicants and the Sorbonne University of Paris. According to Salimbene,[7] John went to Paris (probably in 1253), and, by his mild yet strenuous arguments, strove to secure peace. It was in connection with this attack on theDominicans and the Franciscans that John of Parma and Humbert of Romans, Master General of the Dominicans, published at Milan in 1255 a letter recommending peace and harmony between the two Orders (text in Wadding, 111, 380). In the "Introductorius in Evangelium Æternum" of Gerard of S. Donnino (1254), John's friend, Humbert, was denounced by the professors of Paris and condemned by a commission at Anagni in 1256;[8] John himself was in some way compromised—a circumstance which, combined with others, finally brought about the end of his generalate. He convened a General chapter at Rome on 2 February 1257. If Peregrinus of Bologna[9] is correct, Pope Alexander IVsecretly intimated to John that he should resign, and decline reelection should it be offered him, while Salimbene[10] insists that John resigned of his own free will. The Pope may have exerted some pressure on John, who was only too glad to resign, seeing himself unable to promote henceforth the good of the Order. Questioned as to the choice of a successor, he proposed St. Bonaventure, who had succeeded him as professor at Paris.

John retired to the hermitage at the famed village of Greccio, near Rieti, memorable for the Nativity scene first introduced there by St. Francis of Assisi. There he lived in voluntary exile and complete solitude; his cell near a rock is still shown. But another trial awaited him. Accused of Joachimism, he was submitted to a canonical process at Cittá della Pieve (in Umbria), reportedly presided over by St.Bonaventure and Cardinal Giovanni Gaetano Orsini, Cardinal protector of the Order. The mention of this cardinal as protector brings us to a chronological difficulty, overlooked by writers who assign the process against John to 1257; for Alexander IV (1254–61) retained the protectorship.[11]

Angelus Clarenus tells us that the concealed motive of this process was John's attachment to the literal observance of the Rule; the accusation of Joachimism, against which he professed his Catholic faith, being only a pretext. Other sources, however,[12] speak of retractation. Clarenus relates that John would have been condemned had it not been for the powerful intervention of Innocent IV's nephew, Cardinal Ottoboni Fioschi, later Pope Hadrian V.[13] John certainly did not profess thedogmatic errors of Joachimism, though he may have held some of its apocalyptic ideas.

Upon his acquittal, he returned to Greccio and continued his life of prayer and work. It was there, it is said, that an angel once served his Mass,[14] and that in 1285 he received the visit of Ubertin of Casale, who has left an account of this meeting.[15] Hearing that the Orthodox were abandoning the union agreed upon in 1274, John, now 80 years old, desired to use his last energies in the cause of Christian unity. He obtained the permission of Pope Nicolas IV to go to Greece, but reached only as far as Camerino, in the March of Ancona, where he died in the local friary on 19 March 1289.

He was beatified by Pope Pius VI in 1777; his feast day is celebrated by the Friars Minor on 20 March.

Works

With the exception of his letters, scarcely any literary work can, with surety, be attributed to John.

He is certainly not the author of the "Introductorius in Evangel. Æternum", nor of the "Visio Fratris Johannis de Parma

With more probability we can attribute to John the "Dialogus de vitia SS. Fratrum Minorum", partly edited by L. Lemmens, O.F.M. (Rome, 1902). The "Chronicle of the XXIV Generals"[17] ascribes to John the allegoric treatise on poverty: "Sacrum Commercium B. Francisci cum Domina Paupertate" (ed. Milan, 1539), edited by Ed. d'Alençon (Paris and Rome, 1900), who ascribes it (without sufficient reason) to John Parent. Carmichael has translated this edition: "The Lady Poverty, a thirteenth-century allegory" (London, 1901); another English translation is by Rawnsly (London, 1904); a good introduction and abridged version is given by Macdonell, "Sons of Francis", 189-213.

Other works are mentioned by Sbaralea, "Suppl. ad Script." (Rome, 1806), 398

Feastday: March 19

Patron of the Universal Church

Everything we know about the husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus comes from Scriptureand that has seemed too little for those who made up legends about him.

We know he was a carpenter, a working man, for the skeptical Nazarenes ask about Jesus, "Is this not the carpenter's son?" (Matthew 13:55). He wasn't rich for when he took Jesus to the Temple to be circumcised and Mary to be purified he offered the sacrifice of two turtledoves or a pair of pigeons, allowed only for those who could not afford a lamb (Luke 2:24).

Despite his humble work and means, Joseph came from a royal lineage. Luke and Matthew disagree some about the details of Joseph's genealogy but they both mark his descent from David, the greatest king of Israel (Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-38). Indeed the angel who first tells Josephabout Jesus greets him as "son of David," a royal title used also for Jesus.

We know Joseph was a compassionate, caring man. When he discovered Mary was pregnant after they had been betrothed, he knew the child was not his but was as yet unaware that she was carrying the Son of God. He planned to divorce Mary according to the law but he was concerned for her suffering and safety. He knew that women accused to adultery could be stoned to death, so he decided to divorce her quietly and not expose her to shame or cruelty (Matthew 1:19-25).

We know Joseph was man of faith, obedient to whatever God asked of him without knowing the outcome. When the angel came to Joseph in a dream and told him the truth about the child Mary was carrying, Joseph immediately and without question or concern for gossip, took Mary as his wife. When the angel came again to tell him that his family was in danger, he immediately left everything he owned, all his family and friends, and fled to a strange country with his young wife and the baby. He waited in Egypt without question until the angel told him it was safe to go back (Matthew 2:13-23).

We know Joseph loved Jesus. His one concern was for the safety of this child entrusted to him. Not only did he leave his home to protect Jesus, but upon his return settled in the obscure town ofNazareth out of fear for his life. When Jesus stayed in the Temple we are told Joseph (along with Mary) searched with great anxiety for three days for him (Luke 2:48). We also know that Josephtreated Jesus as his own son for over and over the people of Nazareth say of Jesus, "Is this not the son of Joseph?" (Luke 4:22)

We know Joseph respected God. He followed God's commands in handling the situation with Maryand going to Jerusalem to have Jesus circumcised and Mary purified after Jesus' birth. We are told that he took his family to Jerusalem every year for Passover, something that could not have been easy for a working man.

Since Joseph does not appear in Jesus' public life, at his death, or resurrection, many historians believe Joseph probably had died before Jesus entered public ministry.

Joseph is the patron of the dying because, assuming he died before Jesus' public life, he died withJesus and Mary close to him, the way we all would like to leave this earth.

Joseph is also patron of the universal Church, fathers, carpenters, and social justice.

We celebrate two feast days for Joseph: March 19 for Joseph the Husband of Mary and May 1 forJoseph the Worker.

There is much we wish we could know about Joseph -- where and when he was born, how he spent his days, when and how he died. But Scripture has left us with the most important knowledge: who he was -- "a righteous man" (Matthew 1:18).

In His Footsteps:

Joseph was foster father to Jesus. There are many children separated from families and parents who need foster parents. Please consider contacting your local Catholic Charities or Division of FamilyServices about becoming a foster parent.

Prayer:

Saint Joseph, patron of the universal Church, watch over the Church as carefully as you watched over Jesus, help protect it and guide it as you did with your adopted son. Amen

For other uses, see Saint Joseph (disambiguation).
"San Giuseppe" redirects here. For other uses, see San Giuseppe (disambiguation).

Joseph (Hebrew יוֹסֵף, Yosef; Greek: ἸωσήφIoseph) is a figure in the Gospels, the husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus and is venerated Saint Joseph in some Christian traditions. Christian tradition places Joseph as Jesus' foster father.[1] Some historians state that Joseph was Jesus' father.[2][3][4]Some differing views are due to theological interpretations versus historical views.[2]

The Pauline epistles make no reference to Jesus' father; nor does the Gospel of Mark.[5] The first appearance of Joseph is in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. Each contains a genealogy of Jesusshowing ancestry from king David, but through different sons; Matthew follows the major royal line from Solomon, while Luke traces another line back to Nathan, another son of David and Bathsheba. Consequently, all the names between David and Joseph are different. According to Matthew 1:16"Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary", while according to Luke 3:23, Joseph is said to be "[the son] of Heli". Some scholars reconcile the genealogies by viewing the Solomonic lineage in Matthew as Joseph's major royal line, and the Nathanic lineage in Luke to be Mary's minor line.[6][7]

Joseph is venerated as a saint in the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Anglican,Lutheran[8][9] and Methodist[10][11] faiths. In Catholic and other traditions, Joseph is the patron saint of workers and has several feast days. He was also declared to be the patron saint and protector of the Catholic Church by Pope Pius IX in 1870, and is the patron of several countries and regions. With the growth of Mariology, the theological field of Josephology has also grown and since the 1950s centres for studying it have been formed.[12][13]

 

Contents

  • 1 In the New Testament
    • 1.1 Gospel harmony
    • 1.2 As Jesus' father
    • 1.3 Professional life
    • 1.4 Modern appraisal
  • 2 Later apocryphal writings
  • 3 Veneration
    • 3.1 Feast days
  • 4 Patronage
    • 4.1 Places, churches and Institutions
    • 4.2 Prayers and devotions
  • 5 In art
  • 6 Chronology of Saint Joseph's life in art
  • 7 In music
  • 8 See also
  • 9 Notes
  • 10 References
  • 11 Further reading
  • 12 External links

 

In the New Testament

St. Joseph by Guido Reni

The epistles of Paul are generally regarded as the oldest extant Christian writings. These mention Jesus' mother (without naming her), but do not refer to his father – other than God (Romans 15:26 etc.). The gospel generally assumed to be the first written, that of Mark, also does not mention Jesus' father.[5] Joseph first appears in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, generally regarded as later than Mark. Luke names Joseph's father as Heli, and Matthew names his father as Jacob, which parallels the Old Testament Joseph (whose father was also named Jacob) and is in keeping with that gospel's depiction of Jesus as a secondMoses.[5] This theme is developed further in the infancy narratives, which, like the genealogies, have the function of establishing Jesus as the promised Messiah, the descendant of David, born in Bethlehem.

Like the two differing genealogies, the infancy narratives appear only in Matthew and Luke, and take different approaches to reconciling the requirement that the Messiah be born in Bethlehem with the tradition that Jesus came from Nazareth. In Matthew, Joseph was in Bethlehem, the city of David, and obeys the direction of an angel to marry Mary. Following the birth of Jesus, Joseph stays in Bethlehem for an unspecified period (perhaps two years)[14] until after the visit of the Three Magi, when Joseph is told by an angel in a dream to take the family to Egypt to escape the massacre of the children of Bethlehem planned by Herod the Great, who rules Judea. Once Herod has died, an angel tells him to return, but to avoid Herod's son he takes his wife and the child to Nazareth in Galilee and settles there. Thus in Matthew, the infant Jesus, like Moses, is in peril from a cruel king, like Moses he has a (fore)father named Joseph who goes down to Egypt, like the Old Testament Joseph this Joseph has a father named Jacob, and both Josephs receive important dreams foretelling their future.[5]

In Luke, Joseph already lives in Nazareth, and Jesus is born in Bethlehem because Joseph and Mary have to travel there to be counted in a census. Subsequently, Jesus was born there. Luke's account makes no mention of angels and dreams, the Massacre of the Innocents, or of a visit to Egypt.

The last time Joseph appears in person in any Gospel is the story of the Passover visit to the Templein Jerusalem when Jesus is 12 years old, found only in Luke. No mention is made of him thereafter.[15] The story emphasises Jesus' awareness of his coming mission: here Jesus speaks to his parents (both of them) of "my father," meaning God, but they fail to understand.(Luke 2:41-51).

Christian tradition represents Mary as a widow during the adult ministry of her son. Joseph is not mentioned as being present at the Wedding at Cana at the beginning of Jesus' mission, nor at thePassion at the end. If he had been present at the Crucifixion, he would under Jewish custom have been expected to take charge of Jesus' body, but this role is instead performed by Joseph of Arimathea. Nor would Jesus have entrusted his mother to the care of John the Apostle if her husband was alive.[1]

While none of the Gospels mentions Joseph as present at any event during Jesus' adult ministry, thesynoptic Gospels share a scene in which the people of Nazareth, Jesus' hometown, doubt Jesus' status as a prophet because they know his family. In Mark 6:3, they call Jesus "Mary's son" instead of naming his father. In Matthew, the townspeople call Jesus "the carpenter's son," again without naming his father. (Matthew 13:53-55) In Luke 3:23 "And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was [the son] of Heli."(Luke 4:16-30) In Luke the tone is positive, whereas in Mark and Matthew it is disparaging.[16] This incident does not appear at all in John, but in a parallel story the disbelieving neighbors refer to "Jesus the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know" (John 6:41-51).

Gospel harmony

Sample Gospel harmony of the episodes of the life of Saint Joseph in the four canonical Gospels, in summary form.[17][18][19]

As Jesus' father

Holy Family with the Holy Spirit byMurillo, 1675-1682.

Joseph as the father of Jesus appears in Luke and in a "variant reading in Matthew".[2] Matthew and Luke both contain a genealogy of Jesus showing ancestry from kingDavid, but through different sons; Matthew follows the major royal line from Solomon, while Luke traces another line back to Nathan, another son of David and Bathsheba. Consequently, all the names between David and Joseph are different. According to Matthew 1:16 "Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary", while according to Luke 3:23, Joseph is said to be "[the son] of Heli". Some scholars reconcile the genealogies by viewing the Solomonic lineage in Matthew as Joseph's major royal line, and the Nathanic lineage in Luke to be Mary's minor line.[6][7]

Professional life

St. Joseph the Carpenter, byGeorges de La Tour, 1640s.

The gospels describe Joseph as a "tekton" (τέκτων). Tekton has been traditionally translated into English as "carpenter", but is a rather general word (from the same root that gives us "technical" and "technology") that could cover makers of objects in various materials.[20] The Greek term evokes an artisan with wood in general, or an artisan in iron or stone.[21] But the specific association with woodworking is a constant in Early Christiantradition; Justin Martyr (died c. 165) wrote that Jesus madeyokes and ploughs, and there are similar early references.[22]

John Dominic Crossan puts tekton into a historical context more resembling an itinerant worker than an established artisan, emphasizing his marginality in a population in which a landowning peasant could become quite prosperous. Other scholars have argued that tekton could equally mean a highly skilled craftsman in wood or the more prestigious metal, perhaps running a workshop with several employees, and noted sources recording the shortage of skilled artisans at the time.[23] Geza Vermeshas stated that the terms 'carpenter' and 'son of a carpenter' are used in the Jewish Talmud to signify a very learned man, and he suggests that a description of Joseph as 'naggar' (a carpenter) could indicate that he was considered wise and highly literate in the Torah.[24]

At the time of Joseph, Nazareth was an obscure village in Galilee, about 65 kilometres (40 mi) from the Holy City of Jerusalem, which is barely mentioned in surviving non-Christian texts and documents.[25][26][27][28] Archaeology over most of the site is made impossible by subsequent building, but from what has been excavated and tombs in the area around the village, it is estimated that the population was at most about 400.[29] It was, however, only about 6 kilometres from the city ofTzippori (ancient "Sepphoris"), which was destroyed by the Romans in 4 BC, and thereafter was expensively rebuilt. Analysis of the landscape and other evidence suggest that in Joseph's lifetime Nazareth was "oriented towards" the nearby city,[30] which had an overwhelmingly Jewish population although with many signs of Hellenization,[31] and historians have speculated that Joseph and later Jesus too might have traveled daily to work on the rebuilding. Specifically the large theatre in the city has been suggested, although this has aroused much controversy over dating and other issues.[32]Other scholars see Joseph and Jesus as the general village craftsmen, working in wood, stone and metal on a wide variety of jobs.[33]

Modern appraisal

The name "Joseph" is found almost exclusively in the genealogies and the infancy narratives.[34][35]The variances between the genealogies given in Matthew and Luke are explained in a number of ways, although one possibility is that Matthew's genealogy traces his legal descent, according toJewish law, through St. Joseph; while Luke's genealogy traces his actual physical descent through Mary.[6][7]

Modern positions on the question of the relationship between Joseph and the Virgin Mary vary. TheEastern Orthodox Church, which names Joseph's first wife as Salome, holds that Joseph was a widower and merely betrothed, but never married, to Mary,[36] and that references to Jesus' "brothers" are to children of Joseph and Salome. The position of the Catholic Church, derived from the writings of Saint Jerome, is that Joseph was the husband of Mary, but that references to Jesus' "brothers" should be understood to mean cousins or step-brothers. In both cases, the church doctrine of the Perpetual Virginity means that Joseph and Mary never had sexual relations. The Protestant churches, following the tenet of Virgin Birth but not that of Perpetual Virginity, hold no strong views on the subject.[37]

Later apocryphal writings

Sagrada Familia del pajarito, by Murillo

The canonical gospels created a problem: they stated clearly that Mary was a virgin when she conceived Jesus, and that Joseph was not his father; yet Joseph's paternity was essential to establish Jesus' Davidic descent. The theological situation was complicated by the gospel references to Jesus' "brothers and sisters" (repeated in Paul, where James is called the "brother of Christ"), and by the fact that Jesus was described unambiguously by John and Mark as "Joseph's son" and "the carpenter's son."[38] From the 2nd century to the 5th writers tried to explain how Jesus could be simultaneously the "son of God" and the "son of Joseph".[38]

Christ in the House of his Parents, by John Everett Millais

The first to offer a solution was the apocryphalProtoevangelium of James, written about 150 AD. The original gospels never refer to Joseph's age, but the author presents him as an old man chosen by lot (i.e., by God) to watch over the Virgin. Jesus' brothers are presented as Joseph's children by an earlier marriage, and his years and righteousness explain why he has not yet had sex with his wife: "I received her by lot as my wife, and she is not yet my wife, but she has conceived by the Holy Spirit."[39]

The Protoevangelium was extremely popular, but it leaves open the possibility that Joseph might have had relations with Mary after the birth of Jesus ("she is not yet my wife..."). A few centuries later the developing doctrine that Mary was a virgin not only at the time of the conception and birth of Christ, but throughout her life, meant that this possibility had to be excluded. The apocryphal History of Joseph the Carpenter, written in the 5th century and framed as a biography of Joseph dictated by Jesus, describes how Joseph, aged 90 (the Protoevangelium had not given Joseph a specific age), a widower with four sons and two daughters, is given charge of the twelve-year-old Mary, who then lives in his household raising his youngest son James the Less (the supposed author of the Protoevangelium) until she is ready to be married at age 14½. Joseph's death at the age of 111, attended by angels and asserting the perpetual virginity of Mary, takes up approximately half the story.[40]

Veneration

Nativity by Martin Schongauer (1475–80)

The earliest records of a formal devotional following for Saint Joseph date to the year 800 and references to him asnutritor Domini (educator/guardian of the Lord) began to appear in the 9th century, and continued growing to the 14th century.[41][42][43] Saint Thomas Aquinas discussed the necessity of the presence of Saint Joseph in the plan of the Incarnation for if Mary had not been married, the Jews would have stoned her and that in his youth Jesus needed the care and protection of a human father.[44][45]

In the 15th century, major steps were taken by SaintBernardine of Siena, Pierre d'Ailly and Jean Gerson.[41]Gerson wrote Consideration sur Saint Joseph and preached sermons on Saint Joseph at the Council of Constance.[46] In 1889 Pope Leo XIII issued the encyclical Quamquam pluriesin which he urged Catholics to pray to Saint Joseph, as the patron of the Church in view of the challenges facing the Church.[47]

Josephology, the study of the theology of Saint Joseph, is one of the most recent theological disciplines.[48] In 1989, on the occasion of the centenary of Quamquam pluries Pope John Paul IIissued Redemptoris Custos, i.e. Guardian of the Redeemer which presented Saint Joseph's role in the plan of redemption, as part of the "redemption documents" issued by John Paul II such asRedemptoris Mater to which it refers.[49][50][51][52]

Together with the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Child Jesus, Joseph is one of the three members of the Holy Family; since he only appears in the birth narratives of the Gospels, Jesus is depicted as a child when with him. The formal veneration of the Holy Family began in the 17th century by François de Laval.

Pope John XXIII added the name of Joseph to the Canon of the Mass. Pope Francis had his name added to the three other Eucharistic Prayers.[53]

Feast days

Main article: Saint Joseph's Day
St Joseph by William Dyce (1806–1864)

March 19, Saint Joseph's Day, has been the principal feast day of Saint Joseph in Western Christianity[54][55] since the 10th century, and is celebrated by Catholics, Anglicans, many Lutherans and other denominations.[56] In Eastern Orthodoxy, the feast day of Saint Joseph is celebrated on the First Sunday after the Nativity of Christ. In the Roman Catholic church, the Feast of St. Joseph (19 March) is a Solemnity (first class if using the Tridentine calendar), and is transferred to another date if impeded. It would be impeded on 19 March if that day is a Sunday or in Holy Week.

In 1870, Pope Pius IX declared Joseph patron of the universal Church and instituted another feast, with an octave, to be held in his honour on Wednesday in the second week after Easter. This was abolished by Pope Pius XII, when in 1955 he established the Feast of "St. Joseph the Worker", to be celebrated on 1 May. This date counteracts May Day (International Workers' Day), a union, workers', and socialists' holiday commemorating theHaymarket affair in Chicago, and reflects Joseph's status as what many Catholics and other Christians consider the "patron of workers" and "model of workers." Catholic and other Christian teachings and stories about or relating to Joseph and the Holy Family frequently stress his patience, persistence, courage, and hard work.

The Feast of St. Joseph the Worker (1 May) is an Optional Memorial, and so is omitted if impeded, unless the day is raised to a higher rank because St. Joseph is the patron of the church, diocese, place, or institution. (However, the 1 May celebration is 1st class in the Tridentine calendar, so in it St. Joseph the Worker was celebrated on 2 May in 2008 because 1 May was Ascension Thursday and in 2011 because 1 May was in the Easter octave.)

Patronage

San Giuseppe

Pope Pius IX proclaimed Saint Joseph the patron of the Universal Church in 1870. Having died in the "arms of Jesus and Mary" according to Catholic tradition, he is considered the model of the pious believer who receives grace at the moment of death, in other words, the patron of a happy death.[57]

Saint Joseph is the patron saint of a number of cities, regions and countries, among them the Americas, Canada,China, Croatia, Mexico, Korea, Austria, Belgium, Peru, thePhilippines and Vietnam, as well as of families, fathers, expectant mothers (pregnant women), travelers, immigrants, house sellers and buyers, craftsmen, engineers, and working people in general.

Places, churches and Institutions

Main articles: St. Joseph's Cathedral, List of churches named after Saint Joseph and List of places named after Saint Joseph
See also: Saint Joseph's (disambiguation) and São José
Saint Joseph's Oratory,Montreal.

Many cities, towns, and locations are named after Saint Joseph. According to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, theSpanish form, San Jose, is the most common place name in the world. Probably the most-recognized San Joses are San José, Costa Rica, and San Jose, California, United States, given their name by Spanish colonists. Joseph is the patron saint of the New World; of the countries China, Canada, Korea, Mexico, Austria,Belgium, Croatia, Peru, Vietnam; of the regions Carinthia, Styria,Tyrol, Sicily; and of several main cities and dioceses.

Many churches, monasteries and other institutions are dedicated to Saint Joseph. Saint Joseph's Oratory is the largest church in Canada, with the largest dome of its kind in the world after that ofSaint Peter's Basilica in Rome. Elsewhere in the world churches named after the saint may be known as those of San Giuseppe, e.g. San Giuseppe dei Teatini, San José, e.g. Metropolitan Cathedral of San José or São José, e.g. inPorto Alegre, Brazil.

The Sisters of St. Joseph were founded as an order in 1650 and have about 14,013 members worldwide. In 1871, the Josephite Fathers of the Roman Catholic Church were created under the patronage of Joseph, intending to work with the poor. The first Josephites in America re-devoted their part of the Order to ministry within the newly emancipated African American community. The Oblates of St. Joseph were founded in 1878 by St. Joseph Marello. In 1999 their Shrine of Saint Joseph the Guardian of the Redeemer was named after the Apostolic exhortation Redemptoris Custos.[58]

Prayers and devotions

Altar of St. Joseph,Billafingen, Germany.

In the Eastern Orthodox Church, during the feast day of Saint Joseph the following hymn is chanted:

Verily, Joseph the betrothed, saw clearly in his old age that the foresayings of the Prophets had
been fulfilled openly; for he was given an odd earnest,
receiving inspiration from the angels,
who cried, Glory to God; for he hath bestowed peace on earth.

In the Catholic tradition, just as there are prayers for the Seven Joys of Mary and Seven Sorrows of Mary, so there are also prayers for the seven joys and seven sorrows of Saint Joseph; these include prayers for daily protection, vocation, happy marriage, happy death, and hopeless cases;[59] specific prayers,novenas and devotions include the Prayer to Saint Joseph and theNovena to Saint Joseph.[60] St. Francis de Sales included Saint Joseph along with Virgin Mary as saints to be invoked during prayers in his Introduction to the Devout Life,[61] Saint Teresa of Avila attributed her recovery of health to Saint Joseph and recommended him as an advocate,[62] and Saint Therese of Lisieux stated that for a period of time, every day she prayed to "Saint Joseph, Father and Protector of Virgins..." and felt safe and protected from danger as a result,[63] and Pius X composed a prayer to Saint Joseph which begins:[64]

Glorious St. Joseph, pattern of all who are devoted to toil,
obtain for me the grace to toil, in the spirit of penance,
in order to thereby atone for my many sins...

There is a belief that planting a statue of St. Joseph on a house will help sell the house.[65] This belief is held by some theists as well as atheists, but traditional Christian teachings view it as superstition and not a devotion.[66]

In art

Jusepe de RiberaSaint Joseph with the Flowering Rod. early 1630s. Ribera conveys the unexpected wonder of the moment with the lighting from above and the aged Joseph’s questioning hand gesture.Brooklyn Museum

Up to about the 17th century Joseph tends to be depicted as a man advanced in years, with grey hair, often balding, occasionally frail and with arthritic fingers, a comparatively marginal figure alongside Mary and Jesus if not entirely in the background, passive other than when leading them on their flight to Egypt. Joseph is shown mostly with a beard, not only in keeping with Jewish custom, but also because – although the Gospel accounts do not give his age – later literature tends to present him as an old man at the time of his wedding to Mary. This depiction arose to allay concerns about both the celibacy of the newly wedded couple,[67] the mention of brothers and sisters of Jesus in the canonical Gospels,[68] and Joseph's other children spoken of in apocryphal literature – concerns discussed very frankly byJean Gerson for example, who nonetheless favoured showing him as a younger man.[69]


In the Christian iconography, Joseph is depicted and identified in a number of ways. According to apocryphal sources, suitors for the Virgin Mary’s hand were to present rods to the high priest of the Temple. When Joseph’s rod bloomed, he was identified as her betrothed. In recent centuries – in step with a growing interest in Joseph's role in Gospel exegesis – he himself has become a focal figure in representations of the Holy Family. He is now often portrayed as a younger or even youthful man (perhaps especially inProtestant depictions), whether going about his work as a carpenter, or participating actively in the daily life of Mary and Jesus as an equal and openly affectionate member.[70] Art critic Waldemar Januszczak however emphasises the preponderance of Joseph's representation as an old man and sees this as the need, " to explain away his impotence: indeed to symbolise it. In Guido Reni's Nativity, Mary is about 15, and he is about 70 - for the real love affair - is the one between the Virgin Mary and us. She is young. She is perfect. She is virginal - it is Joseph's task to stand aside and let us desire her, religiously. It takes a particularly old, a particularly grey, a particularly kindly and a particularly feeble man to do that. It takes a Joseph. Banished in vast numbers to the backgrounds of all those gloomy stables in all those ersatz Bethlehems, his complex iconographic task is to stand aside and let his wife be worshipped by the rest of us. He is God's cuckold. And art has no choice but to point this out - while, of course, appearing not to." [71]

Full cycles of his life are rare in the Middle Ages, although the scenes from the Life of the Virgin orLife of Christ where he is present are far more often seen. The Mérode Altarpiece of about 1425, where he has a panel to himself, working as a carpenter, is an early example of what remained relatively rare depictions of him pursuing his métier. Some statues of Joseph depict his staff as topped with flowers, recalling the non-canonical Protoevangelion's account of how Mary's spouse was chosen by collecting walking sticks of widowers in Palestine, and Joseph's alone bursting into flower, thus identifying him as divinely chosen. Several Eastern Orthodox Nativity icons show Joseph tempted by the Devil (depicted as an old man with furled wings) to break off his betrothal, and how he resists that temptation. There are some paintings with him wearing a Jewish hat.

Chronology of Saint Joseph's life in art

St. Fina or Seraphina, Virgin A.D. 1253 The old town of San Geminiano in Tuscany treasures with special veneration the memory of Santa Fina, a young girl whose claim to be recognized as a saint lay in the perfect resignation with which she accepted bodily suffering. She was born of parents who had seen better days but had fallen into poverty. The child was pretty and attractive. Poor as she was she always kept half her food to give to those who were worse off than herself. As far as possible she lived the life of a recluse at home, sewing indeed and spinning during the day, ;but spending much of the night in prayer. Her father seems to have died when she was still young and about the same timeFina was attacked by a sudden complication of diseases. Her head, hands, eyes, feet and internal organs were affected and paralysis supervened. She lost her good looks and became a miserable object. Desiring to be like our Lord on the cross, for six years she lay on a plank in one position, unable to turn or to move. Her mother had to leave her for hours while she went to work or beg, but Fina never complained. Although in terrible pain she always maintained serenity and with her eyes fixed upon the crucifix she kept on repeating,"It is not my wounds but thine, O Christ, that hurt me".

Fresh trouble befell her. Her mother died suddenly and Fina was left utterly destitute. Except for one devoted friend Beldia she was now so neglected that it was clear she could not live long, dependent on the casual attentions of poor neighbors who shrank from contact with her loathsome sores. Someone had told her about St. Gregory the Great and his sufferings, and she had conceived a special veneration for him. She used to pray that he, who was so much tried by disease would intercede with God that she might have patience in her affliction. Eight days before her death as she lay alone and untended, Gregory appeared to her and said, "Dear child on my festival God will give you rest". And it came to pass when her body was removed from the board on which it had rested, the rotten wood was found to be covered with white violets. All the city attended the funeral and many miracles were reported as having been wrought through her intercession. In particular she is said as she lay dead, to have raised her hand and to have clasped and healed the injured arm of her friend Beldia. The peasants of San Geminiano still give the name of Santa Fina's flowers to the white violets which bloom about the season of her feast day of March 12th.

Feastday:  March 11

Constantine was king of Cornwall. Unreliable tradition has him married to the daughter of the king of Brittany who on her death ceded his throne to his son and became a monk at St. Mochuda monastery at Rahan, Ireland. He performed menial tasks at the monastery, then studied for the priesthood and was ordained. He went as a missionary to Scotland under St. Columba and then St. Kentigern, preached in Galloway, and became Abbot of a monastery at Govan. In old age, on his way to Kintyre, he was attacked by pirates who cut off his right arm, and he bled to death. He is regarded as Scotland's first martyr. His feast day is March 11th.

Saint Constantine is the name of one or many British or Pictish saints.

 

Contents

  • 1 Identification
    • 1.1 Veneration
  • 2 References
  • 3 Sources

 

Identification

South-west Britain

A Saint Constantine is revered in Devon and Cornwall. Based purely on similarity of a common name, some have identified him with the monarch Constantine of Dumnonia, despite the latter's condemnation for immoral behaviour by Gildas. If this is correct, he must have mended his ways.[1]He gives his name to the parish church of Milton Abbot in Devon and the villages of Constantine andConstantine Bay in Cornwall, also extinct chapels in Illogan and Dunterton. The saint at Constantine Bay was almost certainly the 'wealthy man' of this name mentioned in the Life of Saint Petroc. He was converted to Christianity by that holy man at nearby Little Petherick after the deer Constantine was hunting took shelter with him. A Constantine "King of the Cornishmen" also appears in the Life ofSaint David as having given up his crown in order to enter this saint's monastery at St David's.[2]

Scotland and Ireland

The conversion of a Constantine is recorded in the Annals of Ulster in 588 and a Constantine appears in the Breviary of Aberdeen as entering a monastery in Ireland incognito before joining Saint Mungo(alias Kentigern) and becoming a missionary to the Picts. He was martyred in Scotland about 576[2]and John of Fordun tells how he was buried at Govan (where his shrine can still be seen today). Although revered on the same day as the Cornishman, the date has probably been transferred from one to the other. The Life of Saint Kentigern names a Constantine as the son and successor Riderch Hael, king of Alt Clut, later known as Strathclyde.[3]

Veneration

Constantine, in Kerrier: the 15th century Church, dedicated to Saint Constantine
South-west Britain

The cult of Saint Constantine (of Dumnonia) centred on the two places bearing his name, both of which may have originally supportedmonastic establishments.[4] The ruined chapel at Constantine Bay also has a nearby holy well(uncovered in 1911). Taking the waters there was said to bring rain during dry weather. The chapel's splendid font is now in the parish church at St Merryn. The name of the village of Constantine is recorded as Sanctus Constantinus in the Domesday Book. However, the monasteries seem to have declined intoparish churches, after the Norman Conquest. The present Kerrier building is 15th century and bears no remnants of Constantinist iconography. The saint's day is generally celebrated on 9 March. An annual "Feast" is held in the village of Constantine, on the Sunday nearest to 9 March.

Feastday: March 9

Birth: 1384

Death: 1440

 

Frances was born in the city of Rome in 1384 to a wealthy, noble family. From her mother she inherited a quiet manner and a pious devotion to God. From her father, however, she inherited a strong will. She decided at eleven that she knew what God wanted for her -- she was going to be a nun.

And that's where her will ran right up against her father's. He told Frances she was far too young to know her mind -- but not too young to be married. He had already promised her in marriage to the son of another wealthy family. In Rome at that time a father's word was law; a father could even sell his children into slavery or order them killed.

Frances probably felt that's what he was doing by forcing her to marry. But just as he wouldn't listen to her, Frances wouldn't listen to him. She stubbornly prayed to God to prevent the marriage until her confessor pointed out, "Are you crying because you want to do God's will or because you want God to do your will?"

She gave in to the marriage -- reluctantly. It was difficult for people to understand her objection. Her future husband Lorenzo Ponziani was noble, wealthy, a good person and he really cared for her. An ideal match -- except for someone who was determined to be a bride of Christ.

Then her nightmare began. This quiet, shy thirteen year old was thrust into the whirl of parties and banquets that accompanied a wedding. Her mother-in-law Cecilia loved to entertain and expected her new daughter-in-law to enjoy the revelry of her social life too. Fasting and scourging were far easier than this torture God now asked her to face.

Frances collapsed from the strain. For months she lay close to death, unable to eat or move or speak.

At her worst, she had a vision of St. Alexis. The son of a noble family, Alexis had run away to beg rather than marry. After years of begging he was so unrecognizable that when he returned home his own father thought he was just another beggar and made him sleep under the stairs. In her own way, Frances must have felt unrecognized by her family -- they couldn't see how she wanted to give up everything for Jesus.St. Alexis told her God was giving her an important choice: Did she want to recover or not?

It's hard for us to understand why a thirteen-year-old would want to die but Frances was miserable. Finally, she whispered, "God's will is mine." The hardest words she could have said -- but the right words to set her on the road to sanctity.

St. Alexis replied, "Then you will live to glorify His Name." Her recovery was immediate and complete. Lorenzo became even more devoted to her after this -- he was even a little in awe of her because of what she'd been through.

But her problems did not disappear. Her mother-in-law still expected her to entertain and go on visits with her. Look at Frances' sister-in-law Vannozza --happily going through the rounds of parties, dressing up, playing cards. Why couldn't Frances be more like Vannozza?

In a house where she lived with her husband, his parents, his brother and his brother's family, she felt all alone. And that's why Vannozza found her crying bitterly in the garden one day. When Frances poured out her heart to Vannozza and it turned out that this sister-in-law had wanted to live a life devoted to theLord too. What Frances had written off as frivolity was just Vannozza's natural easy-going and joyful manner. They became close friends and worked out a program of devout practices and services to work together.

They decided their obligations to their family came first. For Frances that meant dressing up to her rank, making visits and receiving visits -- and most importantly doing it gladly. But the two spiritual friends went to mass together, visited prisons, served in hospitals and set up a secret chapel in an abandoned tower of their palace where they prayed together.

But it wasn't fashionable for noblewomen to help the poor and people gossiped about two girls out alone on the streets. Cecilia suffered under the laughter of her friends and yelled at her daughters-in-law to stop theirs spiritual practices. When that didn't work Cecilia then appealed to her sons, but Lorenzo refused to interfere with Frances' charity.

The beginning of the fifteenth century brought the birth of her first son, Battista, after John the Baptist. We might expect that the grief of losing her mother-in-law soon after might have been mixed with relief -- no more pressure to live in society. But a household as large as the Ponziani's needed someone to run it. Everyone thought that sixteen-year-old Frances was best qualified to take her mother-in-law's place. She was thrust even more deeply into society and worldly duties. Her family was right, though -- she was an excellent administrator and a fair and pleasant employer.

After two more children were born to her -- a boy, Giovanni Evangelista, and a girl, Agnes -- a flood brought disease and famine to Rome. Frances gave orders that no one asking for alms would be turned away and she and Vannozza went out to the poor with corn, wine, oil and clothing. Her father-in-law, furious that she was giving away their supplies during a famine, took the keys of the granary and wine cellar away from her.

Then just to make sure she wouldn't have a chance to give away more, he sold off their extra corn, leaving just enough for the family, and all but one cask of one. The two noblewomen went out to the streets to beg instead.

Finally Frances was so desperate for food to give to the poor she went to the now empty corn loft and sifted through the straw searching for a few leftover kernels of corn. After she left Lorenzo came in and was stunned to find the previously empty granary filled with yellow corn. Frances drew wine out of their one cask until one day her father in law went down and found it empty. Everyone screamed at Frances. After saying a prayer, she led them to cellar, turned the spigot on the empty cask, and out flowed the most wonderful wine. These incidents completely converted Lorenzo and her father-in-law.

Having her husband and father-in-law completely on her side meant she could do what she always wanted. She immediately sold her jewels and clothes and distributed money to needy. She started wearing a dress of coarse green cloth.

Civil war came to Rome -- this was a time of popes and antipopes and Rome became a battleground. At one point there were three men claiming to be pope. One of them sent a cruel governor, Count Troja, to conquer Rome. Lorenzo was seriously wounded and his brother was arrested. Troja sent word that Lorenzo's brother would be executed unless he had Battista, Frances's son and heir of the family, as a hostage. As long as Troja had Battista he knew the Ponzianis would stop fighting.

When Frances heard this she grabbed Battista by the hand and fled. On the street, she ran into her spiritual adviser Don Andrew who told her she was choosing the wrong way and ordered her to trust God. Slowly she turned around and made her way to Capitol Hill where Count Troja was waiting. As she and Battista walked the streets, crowds of people tried to block her way or grab Battista from her to save him. After giving him up, Frances ran to a church to weep and pray.

As soon as she left, Troja had put Battista on a soldier's horse -- but every horse they tried refused to move. Finally the governor gave in to God's wishes. Frances was still kneeling before the altar when she felt Battista's little arms around her.

But the troubles were not over. Frances was left alone against the attackers when she sent Lorenzo out ofRome to avoid capture. Drunken invaders broke into her house, tortured and killed the servants, demolished the palace, literally tore it apart and smashed everything. And this time God did not intervene -- Battista was taken to Naples. Yet this kidnapping probably saved Battista's life because soon a plague hit -- a plague that took the lives of many including Frances' nine-year-old son Evangelista.

At this point, her house in ruins, her husband gone, one son dead, one son a hostage, she could have given up. She looked around, cleared out the wreckage of the house and turned it into a makeshift hospital and a shelter for the homeless.

One year after his death Evangelista came to her in a vision and told her that Agnes was going to die too. In return God was granting her a special grace by sending an archangel to be her guardian angel for the rest of her life. She would always been able to see him. A constant companion and spiritual adviser, he once commanded her to stop her severe penances (eating only bread and water and wearing a hair shirt). "You should understand by now," the angel told her, "that the God who made your body and gave it to your soul as a servant never intended that the spirit should ruin the flesh and return it to him despoiled."

Finally the wars were over and Battista and her husband returned home. But though her son came back a charming young man her husband returned broken in mind and body. Probably the hardest work of healing Frances had to do in her life was to restore Lorenzo back to his old self.

When Battista married a pretty young woman named Mabilia Frances expected to find someone to share in the management of the household. But Mabilia wanted none of it. She was as opposite of Frances and Frances had been of her mother-in- law. Mabilia wanted to party and ridiculed Frances in public for her shabby green dress, her habits, and her standards. One day in the middle of yelling at her, Mabilia suddenly turned pale and fainted, crying, "Oh my pride, my dreadful pride." Frances nursed her back to health and healed their differences as well. A converted Mabilia did her best to imitate Frances after that.

With Lorenzo's support and respect, Frances started a lay order of women attached to the Benedictines called the Oblates of Mary. The women lived in the world but pledged to offer themselves to God and serve the poor. Eventually they bought a house where the widowed members could live in community.

Frances nursed Lorenzo until he died. His last words to her were, "I feel as if my whole life has been one beautiful dream of purest happiness. God has given me so much in your love." After his death, Frances moved into the house with the other Oblates and was made superior. At 52 she had the life she dreamed of when she was eleven. She had been right in discerning her original vocation -- she just had the timing wrong. God had had other plans for her in between.

Frances died four years later. Her last words were "The angel has finished his task -- he beckons me to follow him."

In Her Footsteps:

Do you have a spiritual friend who helps you on your journey, someone to pray with and serve with? If you don't have one now, ask God to send you such a companion. Then look around you. This friend, like Frances' Vannozza, may be near you already. Try sharing some of your spiritual hopes and desires with those closest to you. You may be surprised at their reaction. (But don't force your opinions on others or get discouraged by lack of interest. Just keep asking God to lead you.)

Prayer:

Saint Frances of Rome, help us to see the difference between what we want to do and what God wants us to do. Help us to discern what comes from our will and what comes from God's desire. Amen

Frances of Rome, Obl.S.B., (Italian: Santa Francesca Romana) (1384 – March 9, 1440) is an Italiansaint who was a wife, mother, mystic, organizer of charitable services and a Benedictine oblate who founded a religious community of oblates, who share a common life without religious vows.

 

Contents

  • 1 Life
  • 2 Veneration
    • 2.1 Patronage
  • 3 See also
  • 4 References
  • 5 External links

 

Life

Frances was born in 1384 in Rome to a wealthy and aristocratic couple, Paolo Bussa and Iacobella dei Roffredeschi, in the up-and-coming district of Parione and christened in the nearby Church of St. Agneson the famed Piazza Navona.[1] When she was eleven years old, she wanted to be a nun, but, at about the age of twelve, her parents forced her to marry Lorenzo Ponziani, commander of the papal troops of Rome and member of an extremely wealthy family. Although the marriage had been arranged, it was a happy one, lasting for forty years, partly because Lorenzo admired his wife, and partly because he was frequently away at war.

With her sister-in-law Vannozza, Frances visited the poor and took care of the sick, inspiring other wealthy women of the city to do the same. Soon after her marriage, Frances fell seriously ill. Her husband called a man in who dabbled in magic, but Frances drove him away, and later recounted to Vannozza that St. Alexis had appeared to her and cured her.[2]

When her mother-in-law died, Frances became mistress of the household. During a time of flood and famine, she turned part of the family's country estate into a hospital, [3] and distributed food and clothing to the poor. According to one account, her father-in-law was so angry that he took away from her the keys to the supply rooms; but gave them back when he saw that the corn bin and wine barrel were replenished after Frances finished praying.

St Francesca Romana Giving Alms, Baciccio

During the wars between the pope in Rome and various anti-popes in the Western Schism of the Catholic Church, Lorenzo served the former. According to one story, their son, Battista, was to be delivered as a hostage to the commander of the Neapolitan troops. Obeying this order on the command of herspiritual director, Frances brought the boy to the Campidoglio. On the way, she stopped in the Church of the Aracoeli located there and entrusted the life of her son to the Blessed Mother. When they arrived at the appointed site, the soldiers went to put her son on a horse to transport him off to captivity. The horse, however, refused to move, despite heavy whipping. The superstitious soldiers saw the hand of God in this and returned the boy to his mother.[4]

During a period of forced exile, much of Lorenzo's property and possessions were destroyed.[5] In the course of one occupation of Rome by Neapolitan forces in the early part of the century, he was wounded so severely that he never fully recovered. Frances nursed him throughout the rest of his life.

Frances experienced other sorrows in the course of her marriage with Lorenzo Ponziani. They lost two children to the plague. Chaos ruled the city in that period of neglect by the pope and the ongoing warfare between him and the various forces competing for power on the Italian peninsula devastated the city. The city of Rome was largely in ruins—wolves were known to enter the streets. Frances again opened her home as a hospital and drove her wagon through the countryside to collect wood for fire and herbs for medicine.[6] It is said she had the gift of healing, and more than sixty cases were attested to during the canonization proceedings.[4]

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, "With her husband's consent St. Frances practiced continence, and advanced in a life of contemplation. Her visions often assumed the form of drama enacted for her by heavenly personages. She had the gift of miracles and ecstasy, as well as the bodily vision of herguardian angel, had revelations concerning Purgatory and Hell, and foretold the ending of the Western Schism. She could read the secrets of consciences and detect plots of diabolical origin. She was remarkable for her humility and detachment, her obedience and patience".[5]

On August 15, 1425, the feast of the Assumption of Mary, she founded the Olivetan Oblates of Mary, aconfraternity of pious women, under the authority of the Olivetan monks of the Abbey of Santa Maria Nova in Rome, but neither cloistered nor bound by formal vows, so they could follow her pattern of combining a life of prayer with answering the needs of their society.[7]

In March 1433, she founded a monastery at Tor de' Specchi, near the Campidoglio, in order to allow for a common life by those members of the confraternity who felt so called.[4] This monastery remains the only house of the Institute. On July 4 of that same year, they received the approval of Pope Eugene IV as areligious congregation of oblates with private religious vows. The community later became known simply as the Oblates of St. Frances of Rome.

Frances herself remained in her own home, nursing her husband for the last seven years of his life from wounds he had received in battle. When he died in 1436, she moved into the monastery and became the superior.[5] She died in 1440 and was buried in Santa Maria Nova.

Frances of Rome Accompanied by her guardian angel

Veneration

On May 9, 1608, she was canonized by Pope Paul V,[2] and in the following decades a diligent search was made for her remains, which had been hidden due to the troubled times in which she lived. Her body was found incorrupt some months after her death. Her grave was identified on April 2, 1638, (but this time only the bones remained), and her remains were reburied in the Church of Santa Maria Nova on March 9, 1649, which since then has been her feast day. Again, in 1869, her body was exhumedand has since then been displayed in a glass coffin for theveneration of the faithful. The Church of Santa Maria Nova is now usually referred to as the Church of St. Frances.

Patronage

In 1925, Pope Pius XI declared her the patron saint of automobile drivers because of a legend that an angel used to light the road before her with a lantern when she traveled, keeping her safe from hazards. Within the Benedictine Order, she is also honored as a patron saint of all oblates. She is also a patron saint of widows.

See also

  • Oblates of St. Frances of Rome
  • Tor de' Specchi Monastery
  • Order of St. Benedict
  • Olivetans
 
 

Image of Sts. Perpetua and Felicity       Feastday:: March 7

With the lives of so many early martyrs shrouded in legend, we are fortunate to have the record of the courage of Perpetua and Felicity from the hand of Perpetua herself, her teacher Saturus, and others who knew them. This account, known as "The Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity," was so popular in the early centuries that it was read during liturgies.

In the year 203, Vibia Perpetua made the decision to become a Christian, although she knew it could mean her death during Septimus' persecution. Her surviving brother (another brother had died when he was seven) followed her leadership and became a catechumen as well.

Her father was frantic with worry and tried to talk her out of her decision. We can easily understand his concern. At 22 years old, this well-educated, high-spirited woman had every reason to want to live -- including a baby son who was still nursing. We know she was married, but since her husband is never mentioned, many historians assume she was a widow.

Perpetua's answer was simple and clear. Pointing to a water jug, she asked her father, "See that pot lyingthere? Can you call it by any other name than what it is?"

Her father answered, "Of course not." Perpetua responded, "Neither can I call myself by any other name than what I am -- a Christian."

This answer so upset her father that he attacked her. Perpetua reports that after that incident she was glad to be separated from him for a few days -- even though that separation was the result of her arrest and imprisonment.

Perpetua was arrested with four other catechumens including two slaves Felicity and Revocatus, and Saturninus and Secundulus. Their catechist, Saturus, had already been imprisoned before them.

She was baptized before taken to prison. Perpetua was known for her gift of "the Lord's speech" and receiving messages from God. She tells us that at the time of her baptism she was told to pray for nothing but endurance in the face of her trials.

The prison was so crowded with people that the heat was suffocating. There was no light anywhere and Perpetua "had never known such darkness." The soldiers who arrested and guarded them pushed and shoved them without any concern. Perpetua had no trouble admitting she was very afraid, but in the midst of all this horror her most excruciating pain came from being separated from her baby.

The young slave, Felicity was even worse off for Felicity suffered the stifling heat, overcrowding, and rough handling while being eight months pregnant.

Two deacons who ministered to the prisoners paid the guards so that the martyrs would be put in a better part of the prison. There her mother and brother were able to visit Perpetua and bring her baby to her. When she received permission for her baby to stay with her "my prison suddenly became a palace for me." Once more her father came to her, begging her to give in, kissing her hands, and throwing himself at her feet. She told him, "We lie not in our own power but in the power of God."

When she and the others were taken to be examined and sentenced, her father followed, pleading with her and the judge. The judge, out of pity, also tried to get Perpetua to change her mind, but when she stood fast, she was sentenced with the others to be thrown to the wild beasts in the arena. Her father was so furious that he refused to send her baby back to Perpetua. Perpetua considered it a miracle that her breasts did not become inflamed from lack of nursing.

While praying in prison, she suddenly felt "gifted with the Lord's speech" and called out the name of her brother Dinocrates who had died at seven of gangrene of the face, a disease so disfiguring that those who should have comforted him left him alone. Now she saw a vision that he was even more alone, in a dark place, hot and thirsty -- not in the eternal joy she hoped for him. She began to pray for Dinocrates and though she was put in stocks every day, her thoughts were not on her own suffering but on her prayers to help her brother. Finally she had another vision in which she saw Dinocrates healed and clean, drinking from a golden bowl that never emptied.

Meanwhile Felicity was also in torment. It was against the law for pregnant women to be executed. To kill a child in the womb was shedding innocent and sacred blood. Felicity was afraid that she would not give birth before the day set for their martyrdom and her companions would go on their journey without her. Her friends also didn't want to leave so "good a comrade" behind.

Two days before the execution, Felicity went into a painful labor. The guards made fun of her, insulting her by saying, "If you think you suffer now, how will stand it when you face the wild beasts?" Felicity answered them calmly, "Now I'm the one who is suffering, but in the arena Another will be in me suffering for me because I will be suffering for him." She gave birth to a healthy girl who was adopted and raised by one of the Christian women of Carthage.

The officers of the prison began to recognize the power of the Christians and the strength and leadership of Perpetua. In some cases this helped the Christians: the warden let them have visitors -- and later became a believer. But in other cases it caused superstitious terror, as when one officer refused to let them get cleaned up on the day they were going to die for fear they'd try some sort of spell. Perpetua immediately spoke up, "We're supposed to die in honor of Ceasar's birthday. Wouldn't it look better for you if we looked better?" The officer blushed with shame at her reproach and started to treat them better.

There was a feast the day before the games so that the crowd could see the martyrs and make fun of them. But the martyrs turned this all around by laughing at the crowd for not being Christians and exhorting them to follow their example.

The four new Christians and their teacher went to the arena (the fifth, Secundulus, had died in prison) with joy and calm. Perpetua in usual high spirits met the eyes of everyone along the way. We are told she walked with "shining steps as the true wife of Christ, the darling of God."

When those at the arena tried to force Perpetua and the rest to dress in robes dedicated to their gods, Perpetua challenged her executioners. "We came to die out of our own free will so we wouldn't lose our freedom to worship our God. We gave you our lives so that we wouldn't have to worship your gods." She and the others were allowed to keep their clothes.

The men were attacked by bears, leopards, and wild boars. The women were stripped to face a rabid heifer. When the crowd, however, saw the two young women, one of whom had obviously just given birth, they were horrified and the women were removed and clothed again. Perpetua and Felicity were thrown back into the arena so roughly that they were bruised and hurt. Perpetua, though confused and distracted, still was thinking of others and went to help Felicity up. The two of them stood side by side as all five martyrs had their throats cut.

Perpetua's last words were to her brother: "Stand fast in the faith and love one another."

In Their Footsteps:

Perpetua said that she couldn't call herself any other name but Christian. Write down a list of names and designations that people could call you. Is Christian high on that list? How can you help make your name as Christian be more important? Live today as if that was the only name you could be called by.

Prayer:

Saints Perpetua and Felicity, watch over all mothers and children who are separated from each other because of war or persecution. Show a special care to mothers who are imprisoned and guide them to follow your example of faith and courage. Amen

Feastday: March 6Image of St. Colette

Birth: 1380

Death: 1447

 

Colette was the daughter of a carpenter named DeBoilet at Corby Abbey in Picardy, France. She was born on January 13, christened Nicolette, and called Colette. Orphaned at seventeen, she distributed her inheritance to the poor. She became a Franciscan tertiary, and lived at Corby as a solitary. She soon became well known for her holiness and spiritual wisdom, but left her cell in 1406 in response to a dream directing her to reform the Poor Clares. She received the Poor Clares habit from Peter de Luna, whom the French recognized as Pope under the name of Benedict XIII, with orders to reform the Order and appointing her Superior of all convents she reformed. Despite great opposition, she persisted in her efforts. She founded seventeen convents with the reformed rule and reformed several older convents. She was reknowned for her sanctity, ecstacies, and visions of the Passion, and prophesied her own death in her convent at Ghent, Belgium. A branch of the Poor Clares is still known as the Collettines. She was canonized in 1807. Her feast day is March 6th.

Feastday: March 5

Patron of Ischia

Birth: 1654

Death: 1739

Image of St. John Joseph of the CrossSt. John Joseph of the Cross was born about the middle of the seventeenth century in the beautiful island of Ischia, near Naples. From his childhood he was the model of virtue, and in his sixteenth year he entered the Franciscan Order of the Strictest Observance, or Reform of St. Peter of Alcantara. Such was the edification he gave in his Order, that within three years after his profession he was sent to found a monastery in Piedmont. He became a priest out of obedience, and obtained, as it seems, an inspiredknowledge of moral theology. With his superiors' permission he built another convent and drew up rules for that community, which were confirmed by the Holy See. He afterward became Master of Novices. Sometimes later he was made provincial of the province of Naples, erected in the beginning of the eightheenth century by Clement XI. He labored hard to establish in Italy that branch of his Order which the sovereign Pontiff had separated from the one in Spain. In his work he suffered much, and became the victim of numerous calumnies. However, the saint succeeded in his labors, endeavoring to instill in the hearts of his subjects, the double spirit of contemplation and penance bequeathed to his Reform by St. Peter of Alcantara. St. John Joseph exemplified the most sublime virtues, especially humility and religious discipline. He also possessed numerous gifts in the supernatural order, such as those of prophesy and miracles. Finally,consumed by labors for the glory of God, he was called to his reward. Stricken with apoplexy, he died an octogenarian in his convent at Naples on March 5, 1734. His feast day is March 5th.

Feastday: March 4

Patron of Poland and Lithuania

Birth: 1461

Death: 1484

Casimir grew up in a world where his life was not his own. As a prince of Poland, the second son of King Casimir IV and Elizabeth of Austria, his life was scheduled to cement his father's authority and increase Poland's power.

Casimir realized from an early age that his life belonged to someone else, but to a much higher King than his father. Despite pressure, humiliation, and rejection, he stood by that loyalty through his whole life.

Born the third of thirteen children in 1461, Casimir was committed to God from childhood. Some of that commitment was the result of a tutor, John Dlugosz, whose holiness encouraged Casimir on his own journey.

It may be hard for us to imagine royal luxury as a pressure. But for Casimir, the riches around him were temptations to forget his true loyalties. Rebelling against the rich, fashionable clothes he was expected to enjoy, he wore the plainest of clothes.

Rejecting even ordinary comforts, he slept little, spending his nights in prayer. And when he did sleep, he lay on the floor not on a royal bed. Even though he was a prince, many of those around him must have laughed and joked at his choices. Yet, in the face of any pressure, Casimir was always friendly and calm.

Though his father must have wondered about him, he must have seen and admired Casimir's strength. He showed that he misunderstood this strength when he sent Casimir as head of an army to take over thethrone of Hungary at the request of some nobles there. Casimir felt the whole expedition was wrong but was convinced to go out of obedience to his father. He could not help but feel at every step that it was disobedient to his other Father. So when soldiers started deserting, he was only too glad to listen to the advice of his officers and turn back home. His feelings were confirmed when he discovered that PopeSixtus IV had opposed the move.

His father, however, was furious at being deterred from his plans and banished Casimir to a castle in Dobzki, hoping that imprisonment would change Casimir's mind. Casimir's commitment to what he believed was right only grew stronger in his exile and he refused to cooperate with his father's plans any more despite the pressure to give in. He even rejected a marriage alliance his father tried to form. He participated in his true King's plans wholeheartedly by praying, studying, and helping the poor.

He died at the age of 23 in 1484 from lung disease. He was buried with his favorite song, a Latin hymn toMary called "Omni die dic Mariae" which we know as "Daily, Daily Sing to Mary." Because of his love for the song, it is known as the Hymn of St. Casimir though he didn't write it.

Casimir is patron saint of Poland and Lithuania.

In His Footsteps:

Where do your loyalties lie? Is there a part of your life where you feel your loyalties divided and feel pressure to follow worldly commitment? Today choose the action that best serves Christ the King.

Prayer:

Saint Casimir, help us to remember that our true King is Jesus Christ and always serve him with joy and love. Help us to turn to our true Father for guidance and protection. Amen

More about St. Casimir from Wikipedia

For the village in Canada, see Saint-Casimir, Quebec.

Saint Casimir Jagiellon (Polish: Kazimierz, Lithuanian: Kazimieras; October 3, 1458 – March 4, 1484) was a crown prince of the Kingdom of Poland and of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania who became a patron saint of Lithuania, Poland, and the young. His feast day, the Saint Casimir's Day, is marked annually withKaziuko mugė (a trade fair) held on the Sunday nearest to March 4, the anniversary of his death, inVilnius.

 

Contents

  • 1 Biography
    • 1.1 Early life and education
    • 1.2 Hungarian campaign
    • 1.3 Heir apparent
  • 2 Cult
  • 3 Ancestry
  • 4 References
  • 5 External links

 

Biography

Early life and education

A member of the Jagiellon dynasty, Casimir was born at Wawel, the royal palace in Kraków.[1] Casimir was the third child and the second son of the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania Casimir IV and Queen Elisabeth Habsburg of Hungary. Elisabeth was a loving mother and took active interest in her children's upbringing.[2] The Queen and the children often accompanied the King in his annual trips to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

Długosz and Saint Casimir by Florian Cynk, National Museum in Warsaw

From the age of nine, Casimir and his brother Vladislaus II were educated by the Polish priest Jan Długosz. The boys were taught Latin and German, law, history, rhetoric, and classical literature.[2] Długosz was a strict and conservative teacher who emphasized ethics, morality, and religious devotion. According to Stanisław Orzechowski (1513–1566), the princes were subject to corporal punishment which was approved by their father.[3] Długosz noted Casimir's skills in oratory when he delivered speeches to greet his father returning to Poland in 1469 and Jakub Sienienski, the Bishop of Kujawy, in 1470.[3]

Hungarian campaign

Main articles: Bohemian War (1468–1478) and Black Army of Hungary

St. Casimir's uncle Ladislaus the Posthumous, King of Hungary and Bohemia, died in 1457 at the age of 17, without leaving an heir. St. Casimir's father, King Casimir IV, subsequently advanced his claims to Hungary and Bohemia, but could not enforce them due to the Thirteen Years' War (1454–66). Instead,Hungarian nobles elected Matthias Corvinus and Bohemian nobles selected George of Poděbrady as their kings. George of Poděbrady died in March 1471. In May 1471, Vladislaus II, eldest son of Casimir IV, was elected to the throne of Bohemia. However, a group of Catholic Bohemian nobles supported Matthias Corvinus instead of Vladislaus II. In turn, a group of Hungarian nobles conspired against Matthias Corvinus and invited the Polish king to overthrow him. King Casimir IV decided to install his son, future Saint Casimir, in Hungary.

Poland amassed an army of 12,000 men, commanded by Piotr Dunin and Dziersław of Rytwiany.[4] Both King Casimir and Prince Casimir participated in the campaign. In October 1471, the Polish army crossed the Hungarian border and slowly marched towards Buda. Matthias Corvinus managed to win over the majority of the Hungarian nobles, including the main conspirator Archbishop János Vitéz, and the Polish army did not receive the expected reinforcement. Only Deák, Perény and Rozgonyi families sent troops.[5]Upon hearing that Corvinus' army of 16,000 men camped outside of Pest, the Polish army decided to retreat from Hatvan to Nitra. There the soldiers battled food shortages, spreading infectious diseases, and the upcoming winter. The Polish King also lacked funds to pay the mercenaries. As a result, the Polish army decreased by about a third.[5] In December 1471, Prince Casimir, fearing for his safety, was sent toJihlava closer to the Polish border and further eroded their soldier's morale. Corvinus took Nitra and a one-year truce was completed in March 1472 in Buda.[5] Prince Casimir returned to Kraków to resume his studies with Długosz.

Saint Casimir's Chapel and silver sarcophagus at Vilnius Cathedral

Długosz remarked that Prince Casimir felt "great sorrow and shame" regarding the failure in Hungary.[3] Polish propaganda, however, portrayed him as a savior, sent by divine providence, to protect the people from a godless tyrant (i.e. Matthias Corvinus) and marauding pagans (i.e. Muslim Ottoman Turks). Prince Casimir was also exposed to the cult of his uncle King Władysław III of Poland who died in the 1444 Battle of Varna against the Ottomans. This led some researchers, including Jacob Caro, to conclude that the Hungarian campaign pushed Prince Casimir into religious life.[3]

Heir apparent

As his elder brother, Vladislaus II, ruled Bohemia, Prince Casimir became crown prince and heir apparent to the throne of Poland and Lithuania. Italian humanist writer Filippo Buonaccorsi (also known as Filip Callimachus) was hired to become Casimir's tutor in political matters, but his Renaissance views had less influence on Casimir than Długosz.[3] In 1474, the Italian merchant and traveler Ambrogio Contarini met with Prince Casimir and was impressed by his wisdom. Prince Casimir completed his formal education at age 16 and spent most of his time with his father.[3] In 1476, Prince Casimir accompanied his father to Royal Prussia where he tried to resolve the conflict with the Prince-Bishopric of Warmia (see War of the Priests). In 1478 Seimas of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania demanded that King Casimir IV leave either Prince Casimir or Prince John I Albert in Lithuania as a regent. King Casimir IV feared separatist moods and refused, but after settling the conflict in Prussia, moved to Vilnius.[6]

Between 1479 and 1484 his father spent most of his time in Vilnius attending to the affairs of Lithuania. In 1481, Mikhailo Olelkovich and his relatives planned to murder King Casimir and Prince Casimir during a hunt at a wedding of Feodor Ivanovich Belsky.[7] The plan was discovered and Prince Casimir, perhaps fearing for his safety, was sent to Poland to act as vice-regent. Around the same time his father tried to arrange a marriage with Kunigunde of Austria, daughter of Emperor Frederick III. It is often claimed that Prince Casimir refused the match, preferring to remain celibate and sensing his approaching death.[7]According to Maciej Miechowita, Prince Casimir developed tuberculosis. In May 1483, Prince Casimir joined his father in Vilnius. There, after the death of Andrzej Oporowski, Bishop and Vice-Chancellor of the Crown, Prince Casimir took over some of his duties in the chancellery.[8] However, his health deteriorated while rumors about his piousness and good deeds spread further. He was known for his charitable work and help to the needy. In February 1484, the Polish parliament (general sejm) in Lublinwas aborted as King Casimir IV rushed back to Lithuania to be with his ill son.[9] Prince Casimir died on March 4, 1484, in Grodno.[10] His remains were interred in Vilnius Cathedral, where a dedicated Saint Casimir's Chapel was built in 1636.

Cult

Lithuanian folk sculpture of Saint Casimir

Surviving contemporary accounts described Prince Casimir as a young man of exceptional intellect and education, humility and politeness, striving for justice and fairness.[11] Early sources do not attest to his piety or devotion to God, but his inclination to religious life increased towards the end of his life.[12] Later sources provide some stories of Casimir's religious life. Marcin Kromer (1512–1589) claimed that Casimir refused his physician's advice to have sexual relations with women in hopes to cure his illness.[12] Other accounts claimed that Casimir contracted his lung disease after a particularly hard fast or that he could be found pre-dawn, kneeling by the church gates, waiting for a priest to open them. The first miracle attributed to Casimir was his appearance before the Lithuanian army during the Siege of Polotsk in 1518. Casimir showed where Lithuanian troops could safely cross the Daugava River and relieve the city, besieged by the army of the Grand Duchy of Moscow.[12] After hearing about this miracle, Casimir's brother Sigismund I the Oldpetitioned the pope to canonize Casimir.

Saint Casimir's painting in Vilnius Cathedral is considered to be miraculous. The painting, probably completed around 1520, depicts the saint with two right hands. According to a legend, the painter attempted to redraw the hand in a different place and paint over the old hand, but the old hand miraculously reappeared. More conventional explanations claim that three-handed Casimir was the original intent of the painter to emphasize the exceptional generosity of Casimir ("But when you give to someone in need, don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing." Matthew 6:3) or that the old hand bled through a coat of new paint (similar to a palimpsest). Around 1636 the painting was covered in gilded silver clothing (riza).

Casimir's iconography usually follows the three-handed painting. He is usually depicted as a young man in long red robe lined with stoat fur. Sometimes he wears a red cap of the Grand Duke of Lithuania, but other times, to emphasize his devotion to spiritual life, the cap is placed near Casimir. Usually he holds a lily, a symbol of virginity, innocence, and purity. He might also hold a cross, a rosary, or a book with words from Omni die dic Mariae (Daily, Daily Sing to Mary). The towns of Kvėdarna and Nemunaitis in Lithuania have Saint Casimir depicted on their coat of arms.

He was canonized by Pope Clement VIII in 1602 and is the patron saint of Poland and Lithuania.[13] On June 11, 1948, Pope Pius XII named Saint Casimir the special patron of all yout