Old Calendar: St. Louise de Marillac, widow (France); St. Longinus (RM)
According to the 1962 Missal of Bl. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. Louise de Marillac. She was born in 1592, and married in 1613. When her husband died she made a vow of widowhood and devoted herself entirely to works of charity. St. Vincent de Paul, who became her spiritual director, gradually initiated her into his own charitable works for the poor and afflicted, and in 1639 they founded the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity to which St. Louise dedicated the rest of her life. She was canonized by Pope Pius XI on March 11, 1934.Today is an Ember Day in the Tridentine Rite. There are two principal objects for the Ember Days of this period of the year: the first is to offer to God the season of Spring, and, by fasting and prayer, to draw down His blessing upon it; the second is to ask Him to enrich with His choicest graces the priests and sacred ministers who are to receive their Ordination on Saturday. Stational Church
St. Louise de Marillac
St. Louise de Marrillac married an official of the royal court, Antony Le Gras, and after his death in 1625 was an active supporter of the charitable work of St Vincent de Paul, who came to put more and more reliance on her. Mademoiselle Le Gras, as she was known, became the co-founder with him of the Daughters of Charity, whose 'convent is the sick-room, their chapel the parish church, their cloister the city streets'; it was she who drew up the first draft of their rule of life. Her clear intelligence and wide sympathy played a big part in the beginnings of the congregation, whose aspirants she trained and whose rapid growth involved responsibilities which largely fell on her. At the time of her death there were already over forty houses of the sisters in France, the sick poor were looked after at home in twenty-six Parisian parishes, hundreds of women were given shelter, and there were other undertakings as well. St Louise was not physically robust, but she had great powers of endurance, and her selfless devotion was a source of incalculable help and encouragement to Monsieur Vincent.
- Teach your children this simple morning aspiration by St. Louise: "Grant me the grace to spend this day without offending You and without failing my neighbor."
- Begin planning a family Passion presentation or play in which all can participate. You may want to plan this for the end of Lent — Spy Wednesday or Holy Thursday would be particularly appropriate days for this.
St. Longinus was the Roman centurion who pierced the side of Christ with a lance. He is said to have converted to Christianity after experiencing the darkness after Christ's death.
- Read more about the statue of St. Longinus at St. Peter's Basilica.
- Read The Life of Saint Longinus from the Golden Legend.
Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent, Station with Santi Quattro Coronati (Four Crowned Saints):
Approaching the medieval gateway of this ancient church, dedicated to the Four Crowned Saints, one immediately gathers that this is a unique place. Indeed it is, for though it stands only a few blocks from some of the busiest areas of the city, this oft-forgotten church holds centuries of tradition within its scarred walls. The title of this church is actually in reference to two groups of martyrs from the Roman persecutions. The first group were four soldiers, Severus, Victorinus, Carpophorus, and Severinus, who refused to take part in pagan worship, and were killed for this in the persecutions of Diocletian. The name of this church may be derived from a military decoration of a small crown, which the four soldier saints may have earned during their service. The second group were a group of five stonemasons, Claudius, Nicostratus, Sempronianus, Castor, and Simplicius, who were put to death for their refusal to carve a statue of Asclepius which would be used for pagan worship. (See PNAC for more details.)