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Ordinary Time: June 15th

Wednesday of the Eleventh Week of Ordinary Time

MASS READINGS

June 15, 2016 (Readings on USCCB website)

COLLECT PRAYER

O God, strength of those who hope in you, graciously hear our pleas, and, since without you mortal frailty can do nothing, grant us always the help of your grace, that in following your commands we may please you by our resolve and our deeds. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.

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Other Commemorations: St. Vitus, martyr (RM); St. Germaine Cousin (RM); St. Bernard of Montjoux (RM)

According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of Sts. Vitus, Modestus and Crescentia. Very little is known of these saints. St. Vitus was martyred in Lucania in South Italy. He is invoked for the cure of epilepsy (St. Vitus' dance).

Historically today is the feast of St. Germain Cousin who was born in Pibrac, France. She was abused as a child and spent her short life as a shepherdess.


Sts. Vitus, Modestus, and Crescentia
The relics of St. Vitus (also known as St. Guy) were transferred to various places -- an arm is in St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague. According to legendary Acts, the boy Vitus was baptized without the knowledge of his father. Having found out about it, his father had him beaten with rods by the magistrate. While his parent was considering more cruel punishments, Vitus, his teacher Modestus, and his nurse Crescentia fled to Sicily upon the command of an angel. But there, too, they were persecuted because of the faith. When thrown into a cauldron of burning oil, they, like the three youths, sang hymns of praise. And wild beasts would not harm them. It is related that they were then quartered. Vitus is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers (he is invoked against epilepsy and St. Vitus' dance).

—Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

Patron: actors; against animal attacks; against dog bites; against lightning; against oversleeping; against storms; against wild beasts; comedians; Czechoslovakia; dancers; dog bites; dogs; epilepsy; Forio, Italy; lightning; oversleeping; Prague, Czech Republic; rheumatic chorea; Saint Vitus Dance; snake bites; storms.

Symbols: Wolf or lion; cockatrice on a book; fire; cock; chained dog; cauldron of boiling oil; palm and cauldron; palm and dog; chalice and dog; sword and dog; sword and rooster;
Often Portrayed as: Boy with a rooster and a cauldron.

Things To Do:

  • Read more about Sts. Vitus, Modestus, and Crescentia at New Advent.

  • Read about the statue of St. Vitus at the St. Peter's Basilica Colonnade.

  • Read the biography by Dom Gueranger.

  • This medical excerpt explains the connection between St. Vitus and his dance and the disease of chorea.

    St. Germaine Cousin
    Saint Germaine Cousin was born in 1579 in Pibrac, a small village not far from Toulouse, France. From her earliest years she was a frail, sickly child, and throughout her life was afflicted with scrofula, a tubercular condition affecting particularly the glands of the neck. In addition, her right arm and hand were deformed and partially paralyzed. In spite of her many afflictions, the emaciated child possessed a charming, sweet disposition. Germaine endured not only bodily sufferings, but harsh, cruel treatment from her stepmother, who had a deep aversion for the little girl. The child was almost starved to death and obliged to sleep in the barn on a pile of leaves and twigs under the stairway. At break of day, summer and winter, she would drive the sheep into the fields to graze, then watch them until evening. She had to spin during this time, and if the allotted wool was not spun, she was severely punished.

    The village children, not sharing the hostility of the adults toward this forlorn child, loved to listen to her speak about the goodness and love of God while she guarded her flock. The only instruction Germaine ever received was the catechism taught after Sunday Mass in the village church, which she attended with joy. During the long hours of solitude she spent in the fields and in the stable at night, she remained in sweet communion with God, and never complained of her hard life.

    Every morning she was at Mass, and afterwards went to kneel before Our Lady’s shrine. To reach the church she had to cross what was ordinarily a small stream; but after a heavy rain it would become a raging torrent. Several times at those moments, the villagers were amazed to see the rushing waters separate when Germaine approached, and then to watch her cross on dry land. When she left her sheep to go to church, she would place her staff upright in the ground, and the sheep never went far from it. One day the stepmother was seen pursuing Germaine as she drove the sheep down the road. She was accusing the girl of having stolen some bread and concealing it in her apron. When Germaine unfolded her apron, fragrant flowers, foreign to that region, fell to the ground.

    Germaine died one night in the year 1601, at the age of twenty-one, and was buried as was the custom in those days, in the village church. Forty-three years later, when a relative was to be buried near her and the stones were removed, the grave-digger found to his amazement, the body of a beautiful young girl in a state of perfect preservation. His pick had struck her nose, and the wound was bleeding. Some of the older residents identified the girl as Germaine Cousin. Miracle after miracle occurred, and in 1867 the neglected little waif of Pibrac was inscribed in the list of Saints by Pope Pius IX. Annually thousands of pilgrims visit the church of Pibrac, where the relics of Saint Germaine are enshrined.

    —Excerpted from Heavenly Friends: a Saint for each Day, by Rosalie Marie Levy

    Patron: Victims of; abuse and child abuse, of abandoned people, people with disabilities, against poverty, illness and loss of parents. She is also the patron of girls from rural areas.

    Symbols: With a shepherd's crook or with a distaff; with a watchdog, or a sheep; or with flowers in her apron.

    Things to Do:

  • Read more about the life of St. Germaine Cousin CNA for a short biography.

  • Visit Anastpaul for another life of St. Germaine.

  • Read the book, "Germaine: Requiem of a Soul/The True Story of Cinderella," a historical novel about the life of saint Germaine Cousin who was likely the inspiration for the Cinderella fable. Germaine Cousin's life story is however, more wondrous than the fable.

  • St. Bernard of Montjoux
    Bernard may have been the son of Count Richard of Menthon. It seems more likely though that he was of Italian birth. Nothing is really known of his parentage and early life.

    Tradition reports that a marriage was being arranged for young Bernard and he fled so as to be free to give his life to God. We do know that he was ordained to the priesthood and that he was appointed Vicar General of the diocese of Aosta, Italy. For approximately forty-two years he traveled throughout the country, visiting the remotest Alpine villages. He would sometimes extend his missionary journeys into the neighboring dioceses of Geneva, Novara and Tarentaise. Bernard had the reputation for enforcing clerical discipline and he built several schools.

    He is probably most famous for the hospices he built on the summits of passes over the Alps. Many pilgrims from France and Germany would travel over the Alps on their way to Rome, but it was always a possibility that one would die from freezing along the way. In the 9th century a system of hospices had been attempted, but had lapsed long before Bernard's time. Bernard's hospices in the 11th century were placed under the care of clerics and laymen and were well equipped for the reception of all travelers. Eventually these caretakers became Augustinian a monastery was built close by, still exists today

    At some point in time Bernard traveled to Rome to receive formal recognition of the hospices and community and to obtain permission to accept novices. Bernard lived to the age of eighty-five and is believed to have died on May 28, 1081 at St. Lawrence Monastery in Novara, Italy.

    A now-famous breed of dogs, known for its endurance in high altitude and cold, was named in honor of this saint. Bernard's life has been the focus of many romantic plays and stories. Many of us may remember childhood stories of St. Bernard dogs coming to the rescue of stranded or injured victims on Alpine slopes. The dogs almost always seem to have a cask of Brandy attached to their collars and when the victims were revived by a good drink the dogs would lead them to safety.

    However romance was not what Bernard's life was about. He was strongly committed to the ideals taught by Christ in the Sermon on the Mount. Bernard dedicated his life to bring the message of Christ to all and to correct the abuses of clerical life which he saw. He was deeply concerned for the care of the poor and disadvantaged. Living his life in the Alps he knew the dangers present and did what he could to relieve them. He is a model, not of romance, but of deep love and compassion, in imitation of God whom he loved and served with all his heart reprimanded.

    —Excerpted from Christ in the Desert

    Patron: Alpinists; mountain climbers; mountaineers; skiers; travelers in the mountains.

    Symbols: Man in a mountain setting holding a bishop's crozier; white dog.

    Things to Do: