An East Anglia saint, princess and abbess who was possibly a daughter of Anna of East Anglia, located in present-day England. She founded a monastery at Dereham in Norfolk. A traditional story says that the Virgin Mary sent a pair of female deer to provide milk for her workers during the monastery's construction. Withburga's body is supposed to have been uncorrupted when discovered half a century after her death: it was later stolen on the orders of the abbot of Ely. A spring appeared at the site of the saint's empty tomb at Dereham.
Wikipedia, 2 July 1021
Born in Co Meath, Ireland, in 1625, at a time when penal laws against Catholics were very severe, St Oliver studied with the Jesuits in Rome and became professor of theology at the Propaganda College. In 1669 he was made Bishop of Armagh at Ghent and returned to Ireland. The church had become very neglected because of years of persecution and the shortage of bishops. Within his first months of office, he confirmed more than 10,000 people and set about reorganising the clergy, liturgy and education. … St Oliver was canonised in 1975 - becoming the first new Irish saint for almost 700 years. He is Patron of Peace and Reconciliation in Ireland.
Watch a short film about St Oliver Plunkett from Sancta Familia Media: www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCQ6A8pyqd4
With permission, Independent Catholic News, https://www.indcatholicnews.com/
Spanish missionary in America: born on the island of Majorca, 24 Nov. 1713; died Monterey, California, 28 Aug. 1784. He became a member of the Franciscan order in 1729, in 1750 arrived In Mexico City as a missionary and in 1750-69 was active among the native tribes. In 1769 he went to the site of San Diego, Cal., where he founded a mission. He gathered about him a band of 16 of his order and these missionaries converted over 3,000 Indians, of whom Junipero himself is said to have baptized more than 1,000. He instructed the natives in the arts of civilization and the colonies which assembled about the mission stations constituted the first settlements in California. His headquarters were at Monterey, but he founded several other missions.
The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)
The Martyr Saints of China are 120 saints of the Catholic Church. The 87 Chinese Catholics and 33 Western missionaries from the mid-17th century to 1930 were martyred because of their ministry and, in some cases, for their refusal to apostatize. Many died in the Boxer Rebellion, in which anti-colonial peasant rebels slaughtered 30,000 Chinese converts to Christianity along with missionaries and other foreigners.
Wikipedia. - Commemorated on 9th July.
On October 14th, 2018, Blessed Oscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez (1917 – 1980) was canonised by Pope Francis. St Oscar lived almost all of his life in El Salvador. On 23 February 1977, he was appointed Archbishop of San Salvador. Welcomed by the government, many priests were disappointed, especially those openly supportive of liberation theology. Progressive priests feared that his conservative reputation would negatively affect commitment to the poor.
However, just 17 days after his appointment, something happened which had a profound effect on him. Fr. Rutilio Grande a personal friend who had been creating self-reliance groups among the poor, was assassinated. St Oscar later said: "When I looked at Rutilio lying there dead I thought, 'If they have killed him for doing what he did, then I too have to walk the same path.' Romero urged the government to investigate, but they ignored his request. Furthermore, the censored press remained silent.
He devoted the rest of his life to defending the vulnerable against the violence and cruelty of what became a Civil War. His sermons and broadcast speeches created many enemies in a country where assassination was commonplace. In March 1980 he urged soldiers who were Christians to keep to their faith and not follow orders to unjustly persecute and kill. The next day, saying mass at a hospital chapel, he was shot and killed. The revulsion and demands for justice raised by Salvadorans and the International Community have not yet led to the murderers being identified.
When he was beatified, Pope Francis said of him: "His ministry was distinguished by his particular attention to the most poor and marginalized.” Hailed as a hero by supporters of liberation theology, St Oscar, according to his biographer, Jesus Delgardo, "was not interested in liberation theology" but faithfully adhered to Catholic teachings on liberation and a preferential option for the poor, desiring a social revolution based on interior reform.
St Oscar agreed with the Catholic – and not the materialist - vision of liberation theology. A journalist once asked him: 'Do you agree with Liberation Theology' And Romero answered: "Yes, of course. However, there are two theologies of liberation. One is that which sees liberation only as material liberation. The other is that of Paul VI. I am with Paul VI… The most profound social revolution is the serious, supernatural, interior reform of a Christian. The liberation of Christ and of His Church is not reduced to the dimension of a purely temporal project. It does not reduce its objectives to … a material well-being or only to initiatives of a political or social, economic or cultural order. Much less can it be a liberation that supports or is supported by violence."
St. Oscar Romero is remembered on the 24th of March each year.
St Oscar Romero, pray for us that we too will model our lives on Christ and have the courage to face evil and work for justice.
They were men and women executed for treason during the English Reformation between 1534 and 1680, and recognised as martyrs by the Church. Nine were executed during Henry VII’s rule. The persecution of protestants under the rule of Queen Mary then served to solidify enmity between Catholics and Protestants.
Upon Elizabeth I's accession to the throne, an Act of Supremacy denied papal authority over the English church; but only a decade later, in February 1570, did Pope Pius V excommunicate Elizabeth and any who obeyed her, issuing the bull Regnans in Excelsis, which purported to "release [ Elizabeth I's] subjects from their allegiance to her". This fuelled discontent in the North of England, leading to rebellion and later fear that England would be invaded by an alien power. In turn these developments led to assumptions that all Catholics were – or were likely to be – traitors inimical to the English throne. Thus, although executions of Catholics had been few during the first year of Elizabeth’s rule, persecution, imprisonment and executions became common place.
Between 1534 and 1680, 311 Catholics were executed for their faith. Of these 40 have been canonised, 242 beatified and 29 declared venerable. More people than that suffered for the faith, through imprisonment or other forms of punishment.
As we pray for them, we should remember also the protestants who were similarly persecuted and executed for what they believed. Let us pray that Christ, with the prayers of his Mother, will bring all christians together to convert England and restore Mary’s Dowery.
St Matthias was elected to replace Judas, after the latter had betrayed Jesus, according to the Acts of the Apostles. Not much is known about him and a number of different names is associated with him. We don’t know when he was born, we do know he died on 80 AD.
The first act of the apostles after the Ascension of Jesus was to find a replacement for Judas. But Jesus had chosen the original twelve. How could they know whom he would choose?
One hundred and twenty people were gathered for prayer and reflection in the upper room, when Peter stood up to propose the way to make the choice.
Peter had one criterion, that, like Andrew, James, John, and himself, the new apostle should be someone who had been a disciple from the very beginning of Christ’s mission, from his baptism by John until the Ascension. The reason for this was simple, the new apostle must become a witness to Jesus' resurrection. He must have followed Jesus before anyone knew him, stayed with him when he made enemies, and believed in him when he spoke of the cross and of eating his body -- teachings that had made others melt away.
Following a period of preaching in Jerusalem, he is thought to have established the faith in Cappadocia and on the shores of the Caspian Sea in what is modern-day Georgia, and he is claimed to have been buried in what is now Sevastopol in 80 AD.
We celebrate St Matthias on May 14th.
TC Sources: Catholic Online. & Wikipedia
ST CATHERINE OF SIENA (25 March 1347 – 29 April 1380)
April 29th celebrates one of the most important women of the Church who played a significant role in the resolution of the Great Schism of the West, which had seen rivals for the papal throne supported by different parties within the Church. She died on 29 April 1380, exhausted by her rigorous fasting. Urban VI celebrated her funeral and burial in the Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome. The devotion around Catherine of Siena developed rapidly after her death. She was canonized in 1461, declared patron saint of Rome in 1866, and of Italy (together with Francis of Assisi) in 1939.      She was the first woman (along with Teresa of Ávila) to be declared a "doctor of the Church," on 4 October 1970 by Pope Paul VI. She was also proclaimed patron saint of Europe in 1999 by Pope John Paul II.
ST JOSEPH THE WORKER
On the 1st May we celebrate one whose role was to support the Virgin Mary and the early years of Jesus. To foster deep devotion to Saint Joseph among Catholics, and in response to the “May Day” celebrations for workers sponsored by Communists, Pope Pius XII instituted the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker in 1955. In his encyclical Laborem Exercens, Pope John Paul II stated: “the Church considers it her task always to call attention to the dignity and rights of those who work, to condemn situations in which that dignity and those rights are violated, and to help to guide [social] changes so as to ensure authentic progress by man and societyy. Pius XII emphasized this when he said, “The spirit flows to you and to all men from the heart of the God-man, Saviour of the world, but certainly, no worker was ever more completely and profoundly penetrated by it than the foster father of Jesus, who lived with Him in closest intimacy and community of family life and work.” Saint Joseph is held up as a model of such work, and reverence of him is relevant across the world today.
April 23rd is St George’s Day, an occasion which used to feature a variety of celebratory events, especially in villages and the countryside generally. Games and shows, entertainment from Morris dancing to point-to-point horse races. Such celebrations have dwindled in the last fifty years, and St George has become more and more the patron of nationalists rather than the nation. Doubt also continues as to his existence.
Whether he did or not, whether he was a Roman soldier or a Greek farmer, whether the dragon existed or not – none of this matters. The symbolism of St George’s story rises from his rescue of the Maiden in Distress. This points directly to the duty each of us has to care for others: if that means rescuing a girl from the jaws of a dragon or helping to organise a street party or checking that our nextdoor neighbour is safe and well or helping someone to pick up something they’ve dropped or stopping to chat and cheer up someone who’s down – from the trivial to the fantastic we can honour St George by even small gestures of care for others.
In all of these ways of helping, we imitate Christ and follow him, just as St George did. In his case the reality was torture and death in defence of the faith. We may never be called to make this sacrifice, we can still humbly use the saint as a guide and model for service to Our Lord.
O GOD, you gave Saint George strength and constancy in the various torments which he sustained for our holy faith; we beseech You to preserve, through St. George’s intercession, our faith from wavering and doubt, so that we may serve You with a sincere heart faithfully unto death.Through Christ our Lord. Amen
Augustine of Canterbury (early 6th century – probably 26 May 604) was a monk who became the first Archbishop of Canterbury in the year 597. He is considered the "Apostle to the English" and a founder of the English Church. We celebrate him on May 27th.
Augustine was the prior of a monastery in Rome when Pope Gregory the Great chose him in 595 to lead a mission to Britain to convert Æthelberht and his Kingdom of Kent from Anglo-Saxon paganism. Kent was probably chosen because Æthelberht had married a Christian princess, Bertha, daughter of Charibert I the King of Paris, who was expected to exert some influence over her husband. Before reaching Kent, the missionaries had considered turning back, but Gregory urged them on, and in 597, Augustine landed on the Isle of Thanet and proceeded to Æthelberht's main town of Canterbury.
King Æthelberht converted and allowed the missionaries to preach freely, giving them land to found a monastery outside the city walls. Augustine was consecrated as a bishop and converted many of the king's subjects, including thousands during a mass baptism on Christmas Day in 597. Pope Gregory sent more missionaries in 601, along with encouraging letters and gifts for the churches, although attempts to persuade the native British bishops to submit to Augustine's authority failed. Roman bishops were established at London, and Rochester in 604, and a school was founded to train Anglo-Saxon priests and missionaries. Augustine also arranged the consecration of his successor, Laurence of Canterbury He probably died in 604 and was soon revered as a saint. As well as his lasting memory, he left behind advice relevant still today: “He who would climb to a lofty height must go by steps, notleaps.”
TC Source: Wikipedia
Born in lands belonging to the twin monastery of Monkwearmouth-Jarrow in present-day Tyne and Wear, Bede was sent to Monkwearmouth at the age of seven and later joined Abbot Ceolfrith at Jarrow. Both survived a plague that struck in 686, an outbreak that killed a majority of the population there. While he spent most of his life in the monastery, St Bede travelled to several abbeys and monasteries across Britain.
He is known as “The Father of English History” for his book The Ecclesiastical History of the English People, although in his time he was known widely as an author, teacher and scholar. He was one of the greatest teachers and writers of the early Middle Ages. He helped popularize the practice of dating forward from the birth of Christ (Anno Domini) which became common practice across Europe until the mid-20 th century.
He is regarded by many historians as the most important scholar of antiquity for the period between 604 and 800 AD.
In 1899, Pope Leo XIII declared him a Doctor of the Church. He is the only native of Great Britain to achieve this designation; Anselm of Canterbury, also a Doctor of the Church, was originally from Italy. Bede was moreover a skilled linguist and translator, and his work made the Latin and Greek writings of the early Church Fathers much more accessible to his fellow Anglo-Saxons, which contributed significantly to English Christianity. Bede's monastery had access to an impressive library which included works by Eusebius, Orosius, and many others. He died in bed in 800, finishing his translation of St John’s Gospel.
TC Source: Wikipedia
St Barnabas born Joseph, was according to tradition an early Christian, one of the prominent Christian disciples in Jerusalem. According to Acts 4:36, Barnabas was a Cypriot Jew. Named an apostle in Acts 14:14, he and Paul the Apostle undertook missionary journeys together and defended Gentile converts against the Judaizers. They travelled together making more converts (c. 45–47), and participated in the Council of Jerusalem (c. 50). Barnabas and Paul successfully evangelized among the "God-fearing" Gentiles who attended synagogues in various Hellenized cities of Anatolia.
Barnabas' story appears in the Acts of the Apostles, and Paul mentions him in some of his epistles. Although the date, place, and circumstances of his death are historically unverifiable, Christian tradition holds that Barnabas was martyred at Salamis, Cyprus. He is traditionally identified as the founder of the Cypriot Orthodox Church. The feast day of Barnabas is celebrated on June 11.
Acts 11:24 describes Barnabas as "a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith". He certainly seems to be the right man to accompany Paul, especially during Paul’s persecutions. A saint for your prayers when one is down and feeling stressed by others or the responsibilities of one’s faith: e.g. St Barnabas will always get you to church when you feel more like staying in bed!
St. Catherine of Siena was born during the outbreak of the plague in Siena, Italy on March 25, 1347. She was the 25th child born to her mother, although half of her brothers and sisters did not survive childhood. Catherine herself was a twin, but her sister did not survive infancy. Her mother was 40 when she was born. Her father was a cloth dyer.
At the age of 16, Catherine's sister, Bonaventura, died, leaving her husband as a widower. Catherine's parents proposed that he marry Catherine as a replacement, but Catherine opposed this. She began fasting and cut her hair short to mar her appearance. Her parents attempted to resist this move to avoid marriage, but they were unsuccessful. Her fasting and her devotion to her family, convinced them to relent and allow her to live as she pleased. Despite Catherine's religious nature, she did not choose to enter a convent. Instead she joined the Third Order of St. Dominic, which allowed her to associate with a religious society while living at home.
Something changed her when she was 21. She described an experience she referred to as her "mystical marriage to Christ.” Such mystical experiences change people, and St. Catherine was no exception. In her vision, she was told to re-enter public life and to help the poor and sick. She immediately went into public to help people in need. She often visited hospitals and homes where the poor and sick were found. Her activities quickly attracted followers who helped her in her mission to serve the poor and sick. She was drawn further into the world as she worked, and eventually she began to travel, calling for reform of the Church and for people to confess and to love God totally. She became involved in politics, and was key in working to keep city states loyal to the Pope.
She died in 1380, aged 33. She is the patroness against fire, illness, and of the United States, Italy, miscarriages, people ridiculed for their faith, sexual temptation, and nurses.
The Forty Martyrs of England and Wales are a group of Catholic lay and religious, men and women, executed between 1535 and 1679 for treason and related offences under various laws enacted by Parliament during the English Reformation. Their names are listed below. They died for the Faith as did many Protestants under Queen Mary.
• Saint John Almond
• Saint Edmund Arrowsmith
• Saint Ambrose Barlow
• Saint John Boste
• Saint Alexander Briant
• Saint Edmund Campion
• Saint Margaret Clitherow
• Saint Philip Evans
• Saint Thomas Garnet
• Saint Edmund Gennings
• Saint Richard Gwyn
• Saint John Houghton
• Saint Philip Howard
• Saint John Jones
• Saint John Kemble
• Saint Luke Kirby
• Saint Robert Lawrence
• Saint David Lewis
• Saint Anne Line
• Saint John Lloyd
• Saint Cuthbert Mayne
• Saint Henry Morse
• Saint Nicholas Owen
• Saint John Payne
• Saint Polydore Plasden
• Saint John Plessington
• Saint Richard Reynolds
• Saint John Rigby
• Saint John Roberts
• Saint Alban Roe
• Saint Ralph Sherwin
• Saint Robert Southwell
• Saint John Southworth
• Saint John Stone
• Saint John Wall
• Saint Henry Walpole
• Saint Margaret Ward
• Saint Augustine Webster
• Saint Swithun Wells
• Saint Eustace White
You can go online in a search engine/web browser and find out more about them. Some are Welsh, when Wales was considered part of England.
22 June: SS John Fisher (1469 – 1535) & Thomas More (1478 – 1535)
Both were martyred for opposing Henry VIII’s decision to divorce his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, and pronouncing himself head of the Church of England. Both were very senior and important people in the government of England. St John was the Archbishop of Canterbury and St Thomas was Henry’s Chancellor. Their stories have been told and retold many times, sometimes with accuracy, at other times as unfounded attempts to prove that these saints were rogues.
23 June: Saint Etheldreda (636-679)
Also known as Æthelthryth or Audrey, Born in Exning, she was an East Anglian princess, a Fenland and Northumbrian queen and Abbess of Ely Her father was King Anna of East Anglia, and her sisters were SS Wendreda and Seaxburh both of whom eventually founded abbeys.
Etheldreda founded a double monastery in Ely. These were destroyed in 870 by invading Danes.
24 June: The Nativity of St John the Baptist
The Nativity of John the Baptist is one of the oldest festivals of the Christian church, being listed by the Council of Agde in 506 as one of that region's principal festivals, where it was a day of rest and, like Christmas, was celebrated with three Masses: a vigil, at dawn, and at midday.
The Nativity of John the Baptist on June 24 comes three months after the celebration on March 25 of the Annunciation, and six months before the Christmas celebration of the birth of Jesus. The purpose of these festivals is not to celebrate their exact dates, but simply to commemorate them in an interlinking way. The Nativity of John the Baptist anticipates the feast of Christmas.
Friar, Cardinal Bishop of Albano, Doctor of the Church, Teacher of the Faith
Bonaventure entered the Franciscan Order in 1243 and (later as head of the order) steered the Franciscans on a moderate and intellectual course that made them the most prominent order in the Catholic Church until the coming of the Jesuits. His theology was marked by an attempt completely to integrate faith and reason. He thought of Christ as the "one true master" who offers humans knowledge that begins in faith, is developed through rational understanding, and is perfected by mystical union with God.
Wikipedia. - Commemorated on 15th July.
Mary of Magdala traveled with Jesus as one of his followers and was a witness to his crucifixion and its aftermath. She was mentioned by name twelve times in the canonical gospels, more than most of the apostles and more than any other woman in the gospels, other than Jesus's family. The Gospel of Luke 8:2–3 lists Mary Magdalene as one of the women who travelled with Jesus and helped support his ministry "out of their resources", indicating that she was probably relatively wealthy. All the four gospels identified her, either alone or as a member of a larger group of women which includes Jesus's mother, as the first to witness the empty tomb, and the first to witness Jesus's resurrection. In 2016 Pope Francis raised the level of liturgical memory on July 22 from memorial to feast, and for her to be referred as the "Apostle of the apostles".
Wikipedia. - Commemorated on 22nd July.
Founder of the Bridgettines nuns and monks, she is one of the six patron saints of Europe, together with Benedict of Nursia, Saints Cyril and Methodius, Catherine of Siena and Edith Stein. She developed the idea of establishing a religious community which was to become the Order of the Most Holy Saviour, or the Brigittines. … One distinctive feature of the houses of the Order was that they were double monasteries, with both men and women forming a joint community (headed by an abbess), though with separate cloisters. They were to live in poor convents and to give all surplus income to the poor. However, they were allowed to have as many books as they pleased.
Wikipedia. - Commemorated on 23rd July.
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The Roman Catholic Parish of Brandon and Mildenhall is part of the Diocese of East Anglia covering Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and the Unitary Authority of Peterborough within the Province of Westminster, part of the Catholic Church of England and Wales in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.