Lent: March 9th
Optional Memorial of St. Frances of Rome, religious; Feast of St. John Ogilvie, priest and martyr (Scotland)
Other Commemorations: St. Dominic Savio (RM)
"I give you a new commandment: Love one another as I have loved you, says the Lord (Jn 13:34)." In the fifteenth century St. Frances, among the noble ladies of Rome, showed herself an example of what a Christian wife should be. After the death of her husband she retired from the world and lived in a monastery of Oblates that she had founded under the Rule of St. Benedict. God favored her with the visible presence of her guardian angel with whom she conversed familiarly.Today Catholics in Scotland celebrate the Feast of Blessed John Ogilvie, who was educated as a Calvinist and was received into the Church at Louvain by Father Cornelius a Lapide. After becoming a Jesuit at the age of seventeen, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1613, and at his own request was sent on a perilous Scottish mission. He was eventually betrayed, but during a long imprisonment no tortures could force him to name any fellow Catholics. Though his courage was admired by the judges he was condemned as a traitor and hanged at Glasgow. The customary beheading and quartering were omitted owing to undisguised popular sympathy, and his body was hurriedly buried in the churchyard of Glasgow cathedral. Stational Church
St. Frances of Rome
St. Frances of Rome (1384-1440) founded the institute known as the "Oblati di Tor de Specchi" in the Holy City. She was a wealthy patrician and after her husband died, she gave up all her wealth to live a life of abject poverty. Her special privilege from heaven was familiar conversation with her guardian angel. Reading the life of St. Frances, one gains the impression that she moved and lived in the spiritual world more than on earth; in fact, that which gives her life its unique character is her intimate relationship with the blessed world of holy spirits.
—Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius ParschPatron: automobile drivers, automobilists, cab or taxi drivers, death of children, lay people, motorists, people ridiculed for their piety, Roman housewives, widows.Symbols: often depicted as a woman habited in black with a white veil, accompanied by her guardian angel, and sometimes carrying a basket of food; Nun with her guardian angel dressed as a deacon. Monstrance and arrow; book; angel with a branch of oranges; receiving the veil from the Christ Child in the arms of the Blessed Virgin.Things to Do:
- Today's Gospel is often used by Protestants to challenge the Catholic practice of calling our priests "Father." Learn how to defend this practice — begin by reading Art Kelly's apologetics article, Call No Man Father?. Discuss this custom and the reasoning behind it with your children.
- Invoke St. Frances' protection as you are getting in your car to drive somewhere today.
- St. Frances was certain that she had a vocation to the religious life from the age of eleven. However, her father forced her to marry, and so she instead joyfully loved and served her husband until his death enabled her to enter the religious life when she was fifty-two years old. Even when you may have certainty that God is calling you to walk a certain path, His timing may be different from your own. Reflect on your own vocation: regardless of any doubts you may have, or seemingly unfulfilled desires to do more for God, abandon yourself to His will of the present moment, and joyfully focus on fulfilling the small duties which your vocation asks of you. Read about sanctification through the present moment in Rev. Jean-Pierre de Caussade's excellent little work, Abandonment to Divine Providence.
The Forty Holy Martyrs of Sebaste
The Forty Martyrs were soldiers quartered at Sebaste in Armenia, about the year 320. When their legion was ordered to offer sacrifice to idols, they refused to betray the faith of their baptism, and replied to all persuasive efforts, “We are Christians!” When neither cajolings or threats could change them, after several days of imprisonment they were chained together and taken to the site of execution. It was a cruel winter, and they were condemned to lie without clothing on the icy surface of a pond in the open air until they froze to death.
—Excerpted from Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894); Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l’année, by Abbé L. Jaud (Mame: Tours, 1950).Things to Do:
St. Dominic Savio
Here was a boy-saint who died at the age of fifteen, was one of the great hopes of St. John Bosco for the future of his congregation, and was canonized in 1954.
Wednesday of the First Week of Lent
Station with Santa Maria Maggiore (St. Mary Major):
The spring Ember Week consecrated the new season to God and by prayer and fasting sought to obtain abundant graces for those who on Saturday were to receive Holy Orders. The Station was fittingly held in the church, which witnessed the first scrutinies for the coming ordinations, and which was dedicated to the mother of the great High Priest.
For further information on the Station Churches, see The Stational Church.