Ordinary Time: October 8th
Thursday of the Twenty-Seventh Week of Ordinary Time
Other Commemorations: Our Lady of Good Remedy (Hist); St. Pelagia, Hermit (RM); St. Hugo of Canefro, Religious (RM)
According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. Bridget of Sweden, widow.It is also the feast of Sts. Sergius, Bacchus, Marcellus and Apuleius, Roman martyrs. In the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, these martyrs, plus many others, are honored on June 30 and St. Bridget is celebrated on July 23.Historically today is the feast of St. Demetrius of Sirmium who was both soldier and martyr; he suffered in the early 4th century under Maximian. He became immensely popular in the East, where he was called ‘The Great Martyr,’ and subsequently in the West.
St. Pelagia (Latin form Marina)
St. Pelagia lived in the 4th or 5th century, and was originally known as "Margarita." She was head of a dance troupe in Palestinian Antioch and lived a life of frivolity and prostitution. One day while she was still a dancer, Margarita was passing by a church dressed in her very elegant and provocative clothing. Bishop Nonnus of Edessa was preaching at that moment. Even though the parishioners turned their faces away from the sinner, the Bishop noticed her great outer beauty and spiritual greatness. Later that day, he prayed in his cell for the sinner and learned that as she took care of the adornment of her body to appear beautiful, he and his fellow priests should put more work into adorning their wretched souls.
The following day Pelagia went to hear St. Nonnus preach. He was talking about the Last Judgement and its consequences. She was so moved and impressed with the sermon, that with tears of repentance in her eyes, she asked the Bishop to baptize her. Seeing the sincerity of her wishes and repentance, he agreed. Nonnus took her confession and baptized "Margarita" under her birth name Pelagia.
That same night the devil appeared to Pelagia urging her to return to her former life. She started praying and signed herself with the Sign of the Cross, after which the devil vanished.
She gave all her wealth and valuables to St. Nonnus so that he could distribute them and give them to aid the poor. The bishop ordered their distribution and said: "Let this be wisely dispersed, so that these riches gained by sin may become a wealth of righteousness." She left Antioch dressed in man’s clothes.
After that, she journeyed to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, where she became a hermitess and lived in a cell disguised as the monk Pelagius. There she lived in great austerity, performing many penances in ascetic seclusion which helped her attain many spiritual gifts. At her death, she was buried in her cell. She was known as “the beardless monk” until her sex was discovered when she died.
- In some accounts it is said Pelagia wore men's clothing to disguise herself as a male hermit. She is sometimes referred to as The Beardless Hermit.
- See her statue at St. Peter's Basilica Colonnade.
- There are several different accounts and at times it can be difficult to sort through who is the real St. Pelagia. Read more at Catholic Ireland, Chrysostom Press, Orthodox Church of America and Catholicsaints.info.
- Pelagia's accounts are thought to come from Jacob the Deacon.
St. Hugh Canefro
Also known as Hugh of Genoa, Hugh of Canefri, Hugo, Ugo—Religious of the Order of Malta, Apostle of Charity, Miracle-Worker—born in 1148 at Alessandria, Italy and died on October 8, 1233 in Genoa, Italy of natural causes.
Our Lady of Good Remedy
In 1519 Cortez brought with him a famous little statue to participate in the conquest of Mexico. The statue was first set up in a temporary chapel in one of the rooms of Montezuma’s palace where the Spanish officers made their devotions. On the terrible night when the Indians rose against the Spanish conquerors, the Night of Sorrows, one of the officers rescued the statue before fighting his way out of the palace. He did not get far when he was cut down by Aztec arrows and died at the foot of a Maguey tree. The tiny statue was either pushed or fell into the roots of the tree where it was overlooked by the Indians.