Ordinary Time: July 6th
Optional Memorial of St. Maria Goretti, virgin and martyr
Old Calendar: Bl. Maria Theresa Ledochowska SSPC (Poland); St. Godelieva, martyr (Hist); St. Palladius (Hist)
St. Maria Goretti was born near Ancona (Italy). The daughter of a poor peasant family, Maria was well known to her neighbors for her cheerfulness and piety. When she was twelve she was a victim of assault. She preferred to die rather than to lose her virginity. She died in 1902, and her mother was present at her canonization in 1950, the first time a parent was present for a child's canonization.Historically today is the feast of St. Godelieva, martyred wife, strangled by her husband Bertulf of Ghistelles, a Flemish lord. It is also the feast of St. Palladius, Bishop and Apostle of the Scots.
St. Maria Goretti
St. Maria Goretti was born of a poor family in Corinaldi, Italy, in 1890. Near Nettuno she spent a difficult childhood assisting her mother in domestic duties. She was of a pious nature and often at prayer. In 1902 she was stabbed to death, preferring to die rather than be raped. (Office of Readings)
- Please visit this The Pilgrimage of Mercy: Tour of St. Maria Goretti's Major Relics for more information on St. Maria, in particular this article for a more detailed account of St. Maria Goretti's life and Alessandro Serenelli's conversion.
- This saint's feast day is a wonderful launching point to teach our children about purity, chastity and modesty. Sex education should be taught by the parents with a Catholic approach. Young girls can use St. Maria as a model.
- A highly recommended book is St. Maria Goretti: In Garments All Red by Rev. Godfrey Poage. Young teens to adult will enjoy this account of her life.
- See more about St. Maria Goretti here and here
- Watch this Vatican film about St. Maria Goretti
St. Godelieva suffered much from her marriage. When she was 18, she married a Flemish lord, Bertulf of Ghistelles, but before the wedding celebrations were even over, he abandoned her, leaving her with his mother, who despised Godelieva and treated her brutally. Godelieva ran away to the home of her parents, and the matter was reported to the Bishop of Tournai and the Count of Flanders. Tjue ruled that her husband must return and take Godelieva back. At first Bertulf feigned remorse for his wrongdoing but then schemed to have Godelieva killed. While he as away, he had two servants tie a thong about her neck and hold her head underwater in a pond. Afterward, they brought her body back to her bed to make it look as though she had died there, though the truth was obvious. Bertulf soon remarried, but eventually, he repented sincerely and entered a monastery to do penance for the rest of his life. Miracles were reported at the place where Godelieva had died, including the restoration of sight to Bertulf's blind daughter by his second marriage. In the Middle Ages, St. Godelieva was invoked against sore throats.
- Read this account of the life of St. Godelieva.
- Read The Life of Godlieve by Drogo of Sin-Winoksbergen
The first Christian mission to Ireland, for which we have definite and reliable data, was that of St. Palladius. St. Prosper, who held a high position in the Roman Church, published a chronicle in the year 433, in which we find the following register: "Palladius was consecrated by Pope Celestine, and sent as the first Bishop to the Irish believing in Christ." This mission was unsuccessful. Palladius was repulsed by the inhabitants of Wicklow, where he landed. He then sailed northward, and was at last driven by stress of weather towards the Orkneys, finding harbour, eventually, on the shores of Kincardineshire. Several ancient tracts give the details of his mission, its failure, and his subsequent career. The first of those authorities is the Life of St. Patrick in the Book of Armagh; and in this it is stated that he died in the "land of the Britons." The second Life of St. Patrick, in Colgan's collection, has changed Britons into "Picts." In the "Annotations of Tierchan," also preserved in the Book of Armagh, it is said that Palladius was also called Patricius, and that he suffered martyrdom among the Scots, " as ancient saints relate."
- Read an account of St. Palladius from Butler's Lives of the Saints here
- Visit New Advent and Regina Magazine for more information about St. Palladius
- Read the Mission of St. Palladius at Library Ireland
Bl. Maria Theresa Ledochowska SSPC
The eldest of seven children, Mary Theresa Ledochowska was born in Austria on April 29, 1863, to a Polish noble, Count Anthony, and his wife, Josephine. From her parents Maria Theresa inherited not only their noble blood, but also a heart sensitive for the needy.
~Bl. Mary Theresa LedochowskaThis spark of interest in missions was fueled to a full flame when Mary Theresa read a pamphlet on Cardinal Lavigerie’s anti-slavery campaign. The prelate of Africa called for the women of Europe to support his crusade against slavery. His call bore fruit in Mary Theresa, who would one day say, “I myself would not be here before you today, and I wouldprobably still be a lady-in-waiting at a court in Austria, if by chance I had not seen a pamphlet by Cardinal Lavigerie, which gave me the incentive to devote myself to the missions.”As Mary Theresa’s involvement with the missions grew, she began a mission page in a Catholic periodical. These mission features, called Echo From Africa, were based on correspondence from African missionaries. The page of letters evolved into a monthly magazine, which made its debut in 1889, even though the nineteenth century was not ready for a woman publisher.“It is a grace to understand the essence of the missionary ideal and to work for it.”
~Bl. Mary Theresa LedochowskaThe magazine soon became a full-time job, and Emperor Franz Joseph personally released Mary Theresa from her court duties in 1891 so that she could devote all of her time and energy to the missions. Soon the work of promoting and supporting the needs of missionaries in Africa could no longer be considered one’s woman effort.Mary Theresa, led by the Holy Spirit, enlisted “auxiliary missionaries” and placed her work under the patronage of the Spanish Jesuit missionary, St. Peter Claver, whose life ministry earned him the title of Apostle to the Slaves.Mary Theresa’s vision took shape gradually, emerging in wonderful form. First, on April 29, 1894, Pope Leo XVIII formally blessed Mary Theresa’s enterprise, deeming the St. Peter Claver Sodality a pious association, which gradually developed into a religious community. On September 8, 1897, Mary Theresa and her first companion professed their final vows as Missionary Sisters of St. Peter Claver.For the next twenty-five years, the Foundress roamed Europe, enlisting people of all walks of life to help her congregation’s support for evangelization in Africa. Realizing that the missionaries were in urgent need of books in local languages, she expanded her work, producing everything from Bibles and hymnals to dictionaries in local languages.Pope St. Pius X gave his final approval to the constitutions in 1910. The lady-in-waiting’s dream blossomed into an international mission aid network. Her reward came when the recipients of her generous support offered gratitude for the assistance, calling Mary Theresa “Mother of the Africans.”The grueling schedule of appearances and editing took its toll on Mary Theresa. Despite suffering from tuberculosis, she worked to the very end, passing away on July 6, 1922. The thousands of missionaries she had supported through prayers, encouragement, and material help felt as though they had lost a mother.Mary Theresa Ledochowska was beatified by Pope Paul VI, on October 19, 1975, Mission Sunday. The Holy Father cited her self-less, creative response to Jesus’ command to “go and teach all nations.”In advance of Vatican II, Mary Theresa proclaimed that every Christian is a missionary by means of Baptism. She left her spiritual daughters with the responsibility of informing all Catholics of their duty to bring the Good News of God’s love to the whole world.“God must reign everywhere and His Gospel must be proclaimed to the ends of the earth.”Excerpted from the Missionary Sisters of St Peter Claver of North AmericaThings to Do: