Would you know the true thought of the Church? Open the official book where it is carefully formulated—open the Pontifical and read:—

“Receive this sword in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost; use it for your own defense, for that of the holy Church of God, and for the confusion of the enemies of the Cross of Christ. Go, and remember that the Saints did not conquer kingdoms by the sword but by faith.”

To sum up in a few words, chivalry has never been, is not, and never will be anything but armed force in the service of unarmed truth. And I am not aware that anyone has ever given a higher or more exact definition of it.

León Gautier, Chivalry, trans. Henry Frith (London: George Routledge and Sons, Ltd., 1891), 38.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 688

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St. Maximus presents to the people of Turin the Icon of the Madonna Consolata.

During the centuries which separated those two giants of the Christian ages, St. Augustine and St. Thomas, one is witness of acts which may appear strange to an impartial observer. The Church, in its canons issued by its councils, continued to manifest at intervals its profound horror of war, while in the writings of its teachers it encourages soldiers who are really Christians. Nothing is more logical nor more consistent than this, and no one has ever known how better to reconcile the interests of the absolute and those of the relative. “War is bad, but since it is inevitable, one must justify those who make war honestly, and simply for the advancement of the right.” In the fifth century St. Maximus, of Turin, did not hesitate to break away from his former hesitancy, and declare that there was nothing blamable in military service. A deacon who was an ornament to the Church at Carthage in the sixth century, Fulentius Ferrandus, permits himself to lay down this rule for a Christian general: “Love the Commonwealth as thyself, and let thy life be as a mirror in which thy soldiers can see their duty clearly.”

Pope St. Nicholas I

St. Gregory the Great, who died at the commencement of the seventh century, addressed one of his beautiful epistles to the soldiers at Naples, and told them their principal virtue should be obedience. It was to the most military and most manly nation of its age—to the Franks—that St. Leo IV addressed in the ninth century, this most manly and military language directed against the enemies of the Christian faith: “Have no fear. Think of your fathers. Whatever the number of their enemies, those warriors were always victorious.” And the Pope added, “To him who dies in such a battle God will open the gates of Heaven.” Does not one seem to hear in advance a couplet of Roland? Some years later, in 865, the Bulgarians consulted St. Nicholas I on the disputed question, “Is it lawful to make war during Lent?” And the Sovereign Pontiff replied in words which might serve as the motto of our book, “War is always devilish in its origin, and we should always abstain from it. But if we cannot avoid it, we must wage it in self-defense, in defense of our country and of our laws, no doubt we may make preparations for it, even in Lent.” Pierre Damien is scarcely less decided in his language, for about the time when an unknown poet was dedicating our most ancient epic poem to the memory of the glorious disaster of Roncevaux, he branded with infamy all refugees and deserters. At the Lateran council in 1189, the Church, which still detests war and endeavors to mitigate it, forbade the too murderous use of the bow and the arbalest in all battle between Christians. But she cannot kill war itself, and so endeavors in every way to impart to the combatants a high and proper spirit.

Battle of Roncevaux Pass

“In the eyes of a soldier,” says Hildebert, “it is not death which is terrible, but dishonor!” Observe that the Christian theory of war becomes more precise from day to day, and calculate, if you can, the progress it has made since the Council of Arles. The features of chivalry are becoming more distinct. The outline has become a drawing with accentuated lines, and this will in time become a richly colored picture. In fact, the day is breaking in which we shall see suddenly founded those grand orders, at once religious and military. And to whom do they go for advise regarding the management of the most celebrated of these orders? To a monk, to a cenobite, to a saint who has left his name upon the age in which he lived, St. Bernard! The great Cistercian, the White Friar, at once set to work and wrote his famous letter to the Knights of the Temple, which may pass for the most daring contribution to the subject:

“They can fight the battles of the Lord, and can be of a surety the soldiers of Christ. Let them kill the enemy or die. They need have no fear! To submit to die for Christ or to cause His enemies to submit to death, is nought but glory, it is no crime! Besides it is not without a reason that the soldier of Christ carries a sword. It is for the chastisement of the wicked, and for the glory of the good. If it bring death to the malefactor, the soldier is not a homicide, but—excuse the word—a malicide! And we must recognize in him the avenger who is in the service of Christ, and the liberator of the Christian people.”

One can scarcely go beyond this, and Joseph de Maistre himself does not appear more audacious if we compare him to the preacher of the first crusade. But John of Salisbury, about the same time, condenses this doctrine into a typical sentence which has often been repeated—sometimes exaggerated: “The military profession, as praiseworthy as it is necessary, was instituted by God himself.” This is the end of our journey across the centuries, and we may believe that John of Salisbury has overshot the mark. “Instituted” may seem to be too strong a term, and war is after all only an evil, an evil which the Church is forced to tolerate, and which God ordains shall swell the triumph of the good.

Joseph-Marie de Maistre, comte de Maistre

If one wishes to reduce it to the proportions which Saint Augustine gave it, such a doctrine is a truly wise one. For, as a mater of fact, from the termination of the persecution to the epoch of the Crusades, the Church has never believed in its right to cry halt to war. During those Iron Ages she was not able to, and she did not, condemn any but intestine struggles and private wars. Could she—ought she—to have prevented Clovis from founding, by his heroic struggles against the Alemanni and the Goths, that grand Frankish unity which was to be so favorable to the great Christian unity? Could she—ought she—to have detained Charles Martel when he was hurrying to Poitiers to preserve not only France, but all the Christian Western world from the Eastern barbarian? Could she—ought she—to have strangled the ardor of Pepin, who so energetically prepared all his son’s wars; and should she have stopped him on the road to Italy, whither he was proceeding to give to the throne of St. Peter the temporal support of which it had need? Could she—ought she—to have bound down the two powerful arms of Charlemagne, who with one hand hurled back the Mussulmans across the Ebro, and with the other strangled German paganism? Could she—ought she—in face of the incessant menaces of Islam, advocate the insensate doctrine of those Albigenses, who declared that they would consider as homicides all preachers of the Crusade against the Saracens?

Charlemagne

I appeal to the most determined advocates of peace, and I beg them to reply honestly to these questions. Is it not true that without all the wars favored by the Church, we would be today Mussulmans, pagans, barbarians? Is it not true that, without them, France would not even have had the liberty to gain its existence?

Battle of Tours with a triumphant Charles Martel (mounted) facing Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi (right).

Not being able to prevent war, the Church has Christianized the soldier. And so we are logically  led to elucidate the origin of this chivalry, which on a former page we have termed “a German custom idealized by the Church.”

 

León Gautier, Chivalry, trans. Henry Frith (London: George Routledge and Sons, Ltd., 1891), 8–11.

 

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Saint Philip Benizi, Servite Priest
(1233-1285)

Saint Philip Benizi was born in Florence on the Feast of the Assumption, 1233. That same day the Order of Servites was founded by the Mother of God. As an infant one year old, Philip spoke when in the presence of these new religious, and announced the Servants of the Virgin. Amid all the temptations of his youth, he longed to become a Servant of Mary, and it was only the fear of his own unworthiness which made him yield to his father’s wish and begin to study medicine. He received the bonnet of a doctor of medicine at Padua…

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St. Rose of Lima

Virgin, patroness of America, born at Lima, Peru 20 April, 1586; died there 30 August, 1617.

Painting of Saint Rose of Lima with Child Jesus by Cusco School.

Painting of Saint Rose of Lima with Child Jesus by Cusco School.

Saint Rose was born Isabel Flores y de Oliva in the city of Lima, the Viceroyalty of Peru, then part of New Spain. She was one of the many children of Gaspar Flores, a harquebusier in the Imperial Spanish army, born in San Germán on the island of San Juan Bautista (now Puerto Rico), and his wife, María de Oliva, a native of Lima…

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St. Philip Benizi

Propagator and fifth General of the Servite Order, born at Florence, Italy, August 15, 1233; died at Todi, in Umbria, August 23, 1285.

His parents were scions of the renowned Benizi and Frescobaldi families. After many years of married life had left them childless, Philip was granted to them in answer to their prayers. When but five months old, on beholding St. Alexis and St. Buonagiunta approaching in quest of alms, he exclaimed: “Mother, here come our Lady’s Servants; give them an alms for the love of God”. At thirteen years of age, in view of his precocious genius, he was sent to the University of Paris. Here he led a life of study and edification, and after a brilliant career, completed his course in medicine at the University of Padua. He practiced medicine at Florence for one year, chiefly for the benefit of the poor…

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Alvarez Carillo Gil de Albornoz

A renowned cardinal, general, and statesman; born about 1310 at Cuenca in New Castile; died 23 Aug., 1367, at the Castle of Bonriposo, near Viterbo, in Italy.

His father, Don Garcia, was a descendant of King Alfonso V of Leon, and his mother, Teresa de Luna, belonged to the royal house of Aragon. After studying law at Toulouse, he became royal almoner, soon after Archdeacon of Calatrava, and, finally, on 13 May, 1338, Archbishop of Toledo. In 1340 he accompanied King Alfonso XI on his campaign against the Moors, saved the life of the king in the battle of Rio Salado on 30 Oct., 1340, and took part in the siege of Algeciras in 1344…

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St. Ouen

(OWEN; DADON, Latin Audaenus).

Archbishop of Rouen, b. at Sancy, near Soissons about 609; d. at Clichy-la-Garenne, near Paris, 24 Aug., 683. His father, Autharius, and his mother, Aiga, belonged to the Gallo-Roman race. Shortly after Ouen’s birth they came to Ussy-sur-Marne, where he spent his childhood, with which tradition connects a series of marvelous events. Being afterwards sent to the Abbey of St. Medard he received an education which caused him to be welcomed at the court of Clothaire II a short time previous to the death of that prince. The latter’s successor, Dagobert I, made him his referendary or chancellor and profited greatly by his talents and learning. He charged him with important missions and, it is believed, with compiling the Salic Law. St. Ouen found at the royal court Eloi (Eligius), another holy person, whose life was very similar to his own. Both of them, despite the disorders of the Frankish king, served him faithfully. But when Dagobert was dead…

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Saint Bartholomew’s Day

This massacre of which Protestants were the victims occurred in Paris on 24 August, 1572 (the feast of St. Bartholomew), and in the provinces of France during the ensuing weeks, and it has been the subject of knotty historical disputes.

Admiral Gaspard II de Coligny

Admiral Gaspard II de Coligny

The first point argued was whether or not the massacre had been premeditated by the French Court – Sismondi, Sir James Mackintosh, and Henri Bordier maintaining that it had, and Ranke, Henri Martin, Henry White, Loiseleur, H. de la Ferrière, and the Abbé Vacandard, that it had not. The second question debated was the extent to which the court of Rome was responsible for this outrage. At present only a few over-zealous Protestant historians claim that the Holy See was the accomplice of the French Court: this view implies their belief in the premeditation of the massacre, which is now denied by the majority of historians. For the satisfactory solution of the question it is necessary to distinguish carefully between the attempted murder of Coligny on 22 August and his assassination on the night of 23-24 August, and the general massacre of Protestants…

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Every child comes into the world with the message that God still loves the world.

Emilie De Vialar, Saint and Foundress, was born on September 12, 1797 in a family of noble descent.
Her father, Antoine Auguste Jacques, was the son of a renowned High Court Judge. Her mother, Antoinette Emilie de Portal, was the daughter of Monsieur De Portal, physician to King Charles and Louis XVIII. The small town of Gaillac is situated South-West of France, on the river Tarn. The daughter of Monsieur et Madame De Vialar was baptized as Anne Marguerite Adelaide Emilie De Vialar…

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Micaela Desmaisières López de Dicastillo was born in 1809 in Madrid during the War of Independence to Miguel Desmaisières Flores and Bernarda López de Dicastillo Olmeda; her brother was Diego (1806-55). Her father was a high-ranking officer in the armed forces and her mother was an attendant to Queen Maria Luisa de Parma. Her mother died in her childhood. Her brother’s daughter – her niece – was Maria Diega.

The Ursulines oversaw her education. Her social connections led her to having cordial relationships with the French and Spanish monarchs as well as Belgian monarchs. She spent most of her childhood with her brother Diego – the Spanish ambassador to the monarchs. Dances and all sorts of social gatherings and horse riding were the norms for her. She received the title of “Viscountess of Jorbalán. She tended to ill people during a cholera epidemic in 1834…

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Saint Louis IX

King of France, son of Louis VIII and Blanche of Castile, born at Poissy, 25 April, 1215; died near Tunis, 25 August, 1270.

Marguerite of Provence, wife of St. Louis IX

Marguerite of Provence, wife of St. Louis IX

He was eleven years of age when the death of Louis VIII made him king, and nineteen when he married Marguerite of Provence by whom he had eleven children. The regency of Blanche of Castile (1226-1234) was marked by the victorious struggle of the Crown against Raymond VII in Languedoc, against Pierre Mauclerc in Brittany, against Philip Hurepel in the Ile de France, and by indecisive combats against Henry III of England. In this period of disturbances the queen was powerfully supported by the legate Frangipani. Accredited to Louis VIII by Honorius III as early as 1225, Frangipani won over to the French cause the sympathies of Gregory IX, who was inclined to listen to Henry III, and through his intervention it was decreed that all the chapters of the dioceses should pay to Blanche of Castile tithes for the southern crusade. It was the legate who received the submission of Raymond VII, Count of Languedoc, at Paris, in front of Notre-Dame, and this submission put an end to the Albigensian war and prepared the union of the southern provinces to France by the Treaty of Paris (April 1229). The influence of Blanche de Castile over the government extended far beyond St. Louis’s minority. Even later, in public business and when ambassadors were officially received, she appeared at his side. She died in 1253…

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August 25 is the feast of Saint Louis IX, king, confessor of the Faith, Crusader and model of a Catholic head of state. There are two different ways people picture Saint Louis IX. One is as he truly was, the other is a soft, effeminate distortion of his person.

This dichotomy is similar to the one that exists between many artists’ renditions of Saint Pius X and pictures of him. On the one hand, the photographs portray a giant of a man, strong soul and spiritual king, conscious of his dignity.

On the other hand, many artists depict a feeble old grandfather, whose face begs pardon for being pope and regrets that he is not a simple priest. There is an abyss between this limp-wristed portrayal and the historic Saint Pius X, who was the hero against Modernism…

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St. Joseph Calasanctius

(Calasanz)

Called in religion “a Matre Dei”, founder of the Piarists, born 11 Sept., 1556, at the castle of Calasanza near Petralta de la Sal in Aragon; died 25 Aug., 1648, at Rome; feast 27 Aug.

His parents, Don Pedro Calasanza and Donna Maria Gastonia, gave Joseph, the youngest of five children, a good education at home and then at the school of Petralta. After his classical studies at Estadilla he took up philosophy and jurisprudence at Lerida and merited the degree of Doctor of Laws, and then with honours completed his theological course at Valencia and Alcalá de Henares. His mother and brother having died, Don Pedro want…

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Saint Elizabeth Bichier des Ages

Jeanne-Élisabeth_Bichier_des_AgesShe was born of a rich, noble family on July 5, 1773, at the Château des Ages, France. Raised in a pious home, she developed at an early age a close relationship with God and a genuine love for the poor.

St. André-Hubert Fournet

St. André-Hubert Fournet

She was twenty-five when she first met André Hubert Fournet at one of his clandestine masses at Les Marsillys. He soon enlisted her help in teaching the faith and caring for the sick and needy. Her magnetic personality and her cause soon attracted other young women to join her. After a few years, the group became a religious congregation known as Les Filles de la Croix (The Daughters of the Cross). Sister Jeanne Elisabeth, commonly known as “la Bonne Soeur” (the Good Sister), died at La Puye, France on August 26th, 1838, at the age of sixty-five. At the time, there were 600 sisters working in 99 different parts of France. On July 6, 1947, the Church officially proclaimed Jeanne Elisabeth Bichier des Ages a saint.

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St. Oswin

King and martyr, murdered at Gilling, near Richmond, Yorkshire, England, on 20 August, 651, son of Osric, King of Deira in Britain.

Saint OswinOn the murder of his father by Cadwalla in 634, Oswin still quite young was carried away for safety into Wessex, but returned on the death of his kinsman St. Oswald, in 642, either because Oswy had bestowed upon him Deira, one portion of the Kingdom of Northumbria, himself ruling Bernicia, or, as is more probable, because the people of Deira chose him for king in preference to Oswy. Under his sway of seven years, peace, order, and happiness reigned throughout the kingdom. But in the relations between Oswy and Oswin there was apparent peace only, the former was employing every subtlety to bring about his rival’s death…

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Saint Philibert of Jumièges (c. 608–684) was the only son of a Frankish noble, a courtier of Dagobert I. He was educated at court by Saint Ouen and entered monastic life at Rebais and was elected abbot at the age of 20.

In 654, St. Philibert received a gift of land from Clovis II on which he founded Jumièges Abbey. He drew up a Rule for this abbey which he used for the religious institutions he later came to govern or founded. He founded the monastery of Noirmoutier, was made superior of Luçon Abbey by the bishop of Poitiers, founded the monastery of Cunaut and the nunnery at Pavilly…

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St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Born in 1090, at Fontaines, near Dijon, France; died at Clairvaux, 21 August, 1153.

His parents were Tescelin, lord of Fontaines, and Aleth of Montbard, both belonging to the highest nobility of Burgundy. Bernard, the third of a family of seven children, six of whom were sons, was educated with particular care, because, while yet unborn, a devout man had foretold his great destiny. At the age of nine years, Bernard was sent to a much renowned school at Chatillon-sur-Seine, kept by the secular canons of Saint-Vorles. He had a great taste for literature and devoted himself for some time to poetry. His success in his studies won the admiration of his masters, and his growth in virtue was no less marked. Bernard’s great desire was to excel in literature in order to take up the study of Sacred Scripture, which later on became, as it were, his own tongue. “Piety was his all,” says Bossuet. He had a special devotion to the Blessed Virgin, and there is no one who speaks more sublimely of the Queen of Heaven. Bernard was scarcely nineteen years of age when his mother died. During his youth, he did not escape trying temptations, but his virtue triumphed over them, in many instances in a heroic manner, and from this time he thought of retiring from the world and living a life of solitude and prayer…

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(1805 – 1866)

Maria De Mattias was born on 4 February 1805 at Vallecorsa, the southernmost town of the Papal States, in the geographical province of Frosinone. Her family was not without wealth and learning—even if women were forbidden to study—nor did it lack a deep Christian faith.

Through dialog with her father, Maria learned and internalized not only the truths of the faith, but also, and especially, episodes and persons of the Sacred Scriptures. Her father read the Scriptures to her when she was still very young, and she developed a great love for Jesus, the Lamb sacrificed for the salvation of humanity. All of this happened while Vallecorsa and surrounding areas were experiencing the tragic period of banditry, 1810-1825. In Maria’s soul, in fact, there was a comparison being made between the human blood poured out in hatred and revenge and the blood of Christ poured out for love, a Blood which saves…

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By Plinio Correa de Oliveira

When I received the exciting biography of Lithuanian Bishop Matulionis, opportunely translated into Brazilian Portuguese by the zealous initiative of my friend, Father Francisco Gavenas, I went through it in a different way than I usually do when looking at a new book.

Indeed –except for very special circumstances – it always seemed a bit disorderly to first look at the pictures illustrating a work and only then go on to read it. But that was precisely what I did as soon as I had in my hands El hombre de Dios [The Man of God], authored by Fr. Pranas Gaida, postulator of the cause of beatification of Bishop Matulionis. Looking at the cover, I came across a photograph of the great Lithuanian bishop. And his face immediately caused such a profound impression on me that I went on flipping through the book looking for other photographs of his. Since they were copious, and each was more expressive than the next, I analyzed them one by one. This is tantamount to saying that I went on collecting successive impressions of respect and, dare I say, of profound empathy, analyzing them closely, all the way to the last…

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In the motu proprio Fin dalla prima, of December 18, 1903, Saint Pius X summarizes the doctrine of Leo XIII on social inequalities:

1. Human society, as God established it, is composed of unequal elements, just as the members of the human body are unequal. To make them all equal would be impossible, and would result in the destruction of society itself (encyclical Quod Apostolici muneris).

2. The equality of the various members of society is only in that all men originate from God the Creator; that they were redeemed by Jesus Christ, and that they must be judged by God and rewarded or punished in strict accordance with their merits and demerits (encyclical Quod Apostolici muneris)…

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August 21 – He was one of a network of aristocrat bishops

August 19, 2019

Saint Sidonius Apollinaris Gaius Sollius (Modestus) Apollinaris Sidonius or Saint Sidonius Apollinaris (November 5[1] of an unknown year, perhaps 430 – August, 489) was a poet, diplomat, and bishop. Sidonius is “the single most important surviving author from fifth-century Gaul” according to Eric Goldberg.[2] He was one of four fifth-to sixth-century Gallo-Roman aristocrats whose letters […]

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August 21 – La Vallete

August 19, 2019

Jean Parisot de La Valette Forty-eighth Grand Master of the Order of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem; born in 1494; died in Malta, 21 Aug., 1568. He came from an old family of Southern France, several members of which had been capitouls (chief magistrates) in Toulouse. When still young he entered the Order […]

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August 22 – The Queenship of Mary

August 19, 2019

Pope Pius XII in the Papal Encyclical Ad Coeli Reginam proposed the traditional doctrine on the Queenship of Mary and established this feast for the Universal Church. Pope Pius IX said of Mary’s Queenship: “Turning her maternal Heart toward us and dealing with the affair of our salvation, she is concerned with the whole human […]

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August 22 – Blessed John Wall

August 19, 2019

Blessed John Wall Martyr, born in Lancashire, 1620; suffered near Worcester, 22 August, 1679; known at Douay and Rome as John Marsh, and when on the Mission under the aliases of Francis Johnson, Webb, and Dormore. The son of wealthy and staunch Lancashire Catholics, he was sent when very young to Douai College. He entered […]

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August 22 – The pope who preached a Crusade against the German Emperor Frederick II

August 19, 2019

Pope Gregory IX (UGOLINO, Count of Segni). Born about 1145, at Anagni in the Campagna; died 22 August, 1241, at Rome. He received his education at the Universities of Paris and Bologna. After the accession of Innocent III to the papal throne, Ugolino, who was a nephew of Innocent III, was successively appointed papal chaplain, […]

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The Legend of the Master Builder

August 15, 2019

At the height of the Middle Ages, in a century known as the Golden Age, when “the philosophy of the Gospels governed the States,” a marvelous prodigy occurred. The precious relic of the Crown of Thorns, worn by Our Divine Savior during His Passion, had come to France. [St.] King Louis IX, who reigned on […]

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Saint Augustine and Just War

August 15, 2019

The Church tolerates war, but it only authorizes righteous war. “It is righteous war,” says Saint Augustine, “when one proposes to punish a violation of law; when it has become necessary to chastise a people who refuse to repair a wrong, or who refuse to restore property unjustly acquired.” We may add, with Raban Maur, […]

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August 16 – Did he inspire the tales of King Arthur?

August 15, 2019

Saint Armel (Welsh: Arthfael, lit. “Bear-Prince”; Latin: Armagilus) He was an early 6th-century holy man in Brittany. Armel is said to have been a Breton prince, born to the wife of King Hoel while they were living in Glamorgan in Wales in the late 5th century. He founded the abbey of Plouarzel in Brittany and […]

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August 16 – Apostle of the North

August 15, 2019

St. Hyacinth Dominican, called the Apostle of the North, son of Eustachius Konski of the noble family of Odrowacz [or Odrowaz]; born 1185 at the castle of Lanka, at Kamin, in Silesia, Poland…; died 15 August, 1257, at Cracow. Feast, 16 Aug. A near relative of Saint Ceslaus, he made his studies at Cracow, Prague, […]

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August 16 – His incorrupt right hand is treasured as the most sacred relic in Hungary

August 15, 2019

St. Stephen of Hungary First King of Hungary, born at Gran, 975; died 15 August, 1038. He was a son of the Hungarian chief Géza and was baptized, together with his father, by Archbishop St. Adalbert of Prague in 985, on which occasion he changed his heathen name Vaik (Vojk) into Stephen… Read more here.

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August 17 – Her great beauty aroused the jealousy of the queen

August 15, 2019

St. Beatrix da Silva A Portuguese nun, died 1 September, 1490. In Portuguese she is known as Blessed Brites. She was a member of the house of Portalegre and descended from the royal family of Portugal. She accompanied the Portuguese Princess Isabel to Spain, when she married John II of Castile. There Beatrix seems to […]

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August 17 – St. Clare of Montefalco

August 15, 2019

Born at Montefalco about 1268; died there, 18 August, 1308. Much dispute has existed as to whether St. Clare of Montefalco was a Franciscan or an Augustinian; and while Wadding, with Franciscan biographers of the saint, contends that she was a member of the Third Order of St. Francis, Augustinian writers, whom the Bollandists seem […]

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August 18 – Soldier in every battlefield

August 15, 2019

Théophile-Louis-Henri Wyart (In religion DOM SEBASTIAN). Abbot of Cîteaux and Abbot-General of the Order of Reformed Cistercians, b. at Bouchain, Department of Nord, France, 12 Oct., 1839; d. in Rome, 18 Aug., 1904. Of a pious and studious disposition, he made rapid progress in the usual branches of learning, under private tutors and at both […]

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August 18 – The Empress who found the True Cross

August 15, 2019

Saint Helena (also known as Saint Helen, Helena Augusta or Helena of Constantinople) The mother of Constantine the Great, born about the middle of the third century, possibly in Drepanum (later known as Helenopolis) on the Nicomedian Gulf; died about 330. She was of humble parentage; St. Ambrose, in his “Oratio de obitu Theodosii”, referred […]

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August 19 – St. John Eudes

August 15, 2019

French missionary and founder of the Eudists and of the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity; author of the liturgical worship of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary; born at Ri, France, 14 Nov., 1601; died at Caen, 19 Aug., 1680. He was a brother of the French historian, François Eudes de Nézeray. At […]

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August 19 – The prince who was made bishop at age 22

August 15, 2019

St. Louis of Toulouse Bishop of Toulouse, generally represented vested in pontifical garments and holding a book and a crosier, b. at Brignoles, Provence, Feb., 1274; d. there, 19 Aug., 1297. He was the second son of Charles II of Anjou, called the Lame, King of Naples (1288- 1309), and nephew of St. Louis IX […]

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How the “Mother of Kansas City” earned her name

August 12, 2019

According to The Martin City Telegraph: A major cholera outbreak in 1827 slowed [Francois] Chouteau’s progress. [His wife] Berenice baptized 75 dying Indian children, lost two of her own children, sewed shrouds for those that died (including using her own wedding gown as fabric), and established relationships with the Kanza, Seminole and Osage tribes. Most […]

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August 13 – The Pope Who Resigned

August 12, 2019

Pope St. Pontian Dates of birth and death unknown. The “Liber Pontificalis” (ed. Duchesne, I, 145) gives Rome as his native city and calls his father Calpurnius. With him begins the brief chronicle of the Roman bishops of the third century, of which the author of the Liberian Catalogue of the popes made use in […]

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August 13 – The antipope who became a saint

August 12, 2019

Hippolytus, Saint, Martyr. St. Hippolytus of Rome, presbyter and antipope; date of birth unknown; died about 236. Until the publication in 1851 of the recently discovered “Philosophumena”, it was impossible to obtain any definite authentic facts concerning Hippolytus of Rome and his life from the conflicting statements about him, as follows: Eusebius says that he […]

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August 13 – Crusader nun

August 12, 2019

Bl. Gertrude of Aldenberg Abbess of the Premonstratensian convent of Aldenberg, near Wetzlar, in the Diocese of Trier; born about 1227, died 13 August, 1297. She was the youngest of three children of Louis VI, margrave of Thuringia, and his wife St. Elizabeth of Hungary. Gertrude’s father died on his way to the Holy Land […]

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August 13 – The Ottomans lived in fear of this Capuchin

August 12, 2019

Blessed Mark of Aviano (1631–1699) Capuchin friar. His baptismal name was Carlo Domenico Cristofori, his birthplace Aviano, a small community in the Republic of Venice (Italy). From an early age, he felt attracted to a life of devotion and martyrdom. Educated at the Jesuit College in Gorizia, at 16 he tried to reach the island […]

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August 13 – St. Maximus of Constantinople

August 12, 2019

St. Maximus of Constantinople Known as the Theologian and as Maximus Confessor, born at Constantinople about 580; died in exile 13 August, 662. He is one of the chief names in the Monothelite controversy one of the chief doctors of the theology of the Incarnation and of ascetic mysticism, and remarkable as a witness to […]

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August 14 – Founding Father

August 12, 2019

Pierre Chastellain Missionary among the Huron Indians, born at Senlis, France, in 1606; died at Quebec, 14 August, 1684. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1624 and at the age of thirty sailed from France with two future martyrs, Fathers Isaac Jogues and Charles Garnier, and the new Governor of Canada, Montmagny, the successor […]

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August 14 – St. Eusebius, Roman patrician and priest

August 12, 2019

St. Eusebius of Rome A presbyter at Rome; date of birth unknown; d. 357(?). He was a Roman patrician and priest, and is mentioned with distinction in Latin martyrologies. The ancient genuine martyrology of Usuard styles him confessor at Rome under the Arian emperor Constantius and adds that he was buried in the cemetery of […]

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August 15 – The Knights of St. John capture Rhodes and establish their sovereignty

August 12, 2019

On 15 August, 1310, under the leadership of Grand Master Foulques de Villaret, the Knights of St. John captured the island in spite of the Greek emperor, Andronicus II. The Knights of Rhodes, the successors of the Hospitallers of St. John, were distinguished from the latter in many ways. In the first place, the grand […]

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August 15 – Prester John

August 12, 2019

Prester John Name of a legendary Eastern priest and king. FIRST STAGE The mythical journey to Rome of a certain Patriarch John of India in 1122, and his visit to Callistus II, cannot have been the origin of the legend. Not until much later, in a manuscript dating from the latter part of the fifteenth-century […]

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King of Belgium reintroduces Saxe-Coburg-Gotha lineage

August 8, 2019

According to The Guardian: A century after emulating the British royals by removing vestiges of its German lineage in the wake of the first world war, the Belgian monarchy has reintroduced the shield of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, a former surname, to its coat of arms. The family name was changed in 1920 to van België, de Belgique […]

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“Let Me Die, But for the Love of God, the Son of Saint Mary, Do Not Surrender the Town.”

August 8, 2019

It was in obedience to the voice of duty solely, that in another of our poems (one little known) the aged Ameri of Narbonne, who had lived a hundred years, spotless and fearless, stood boldly up before the Muslim and refused to acknowledge Muhammad. They beat the aged man with briars and rods, they cut […]

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The Phantasmagorias Of The Night

August 8, 2019

Phantasmagoria is an ensemble of sensible and coherent impressions which gives a unique central notion, resulting from the conjugation of all impressions. The phantasmagoria of the day is a result of primarily objective impressions. The [principal?] note is one of truth, good-sense, and human proportion. The phantasmagoria of the night results from a great number […]

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August 9 – Pope St. Victor I

August 8, 2019

Pope St. Victor I (189-198 or 199), date of birth unknown. The “Liber Pontificalis” makes him a native of Africa and gives his father the name of Felix. This authority, taking the “Liberian Catalogue” as its basis, gives the years 186-197 as the period of Victor’s episcopate. The Armenian text of the “Chronicle” of Eusebius […]

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August 10 – His sister founded the Conceptionists

August 8, 2019

Blessed João Mendes de Silva Blessed Amadeu da Silva, also called Amadeus of Portugal. Better known as Amadeus of Portugal, O.F.M., (1420–1482), was a Portuguese nobleman who became first a monk, then left that life to become a friar of the Franciscan Order. Later he became a reformer of that Order, which led to his […]

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August 10 – Defiant under torture, he inspires noble souls until today

August 8, 2019

St. Lawrence Martyr; died 10 August, 258. St. Lawrence, one of the deacons of the Roman Church, was one of the victims of the persecution of Valerian in 258, like Pope Sixtus II and many other members of the Roman clergy. At the beginning of the month of August, 258, the emperor issued an edict, […]

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August 11 – As soldiers scaled the walls of the convent, she met them with ciborium in hand and put them to flight

August 8, 2019

St. Clare of Assisi Cofoundress of the Order of Poor Ladies, or Clares, and first Abbess of San Damiano; born at Assisi, 16 July, 1194; died there 11 August, 1253. She was the eldest daughter of Favorino Scifi, Count of Sasso-Rosso, the wealthy representative of an ancient Roman family, who owned a large palace in […]

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August 11 – János Hunyady

August 8, 2019

(JOHN) Governor of Hungary, born about 1400; died 11 August, 1456; the heroic defender of the Catholic Faith against the advance of the Osmanli; father of King Matthias I (Corvinus) of Hungary. The origin and parentage of his family was not ascertained until recently, when modern investigation cleared up the numerous legends which surrounded the […]

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August 11 – St. Attracta

August 8, 2019

St. Attracta (Or ST. ARAGHT). A contemporary of St. Patrick from whom she received the veil. She is known as the foundress of several churches in the Counties of Galway and Sligo, Ireland. Colgan’s account of her life is based on that written by Augustine Magraidin in the last years of fourteenth century, and abounds […]

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August 12 – His pontificate was spent in opposing royal absolutism

August 8, 2019

Pope Blessed Innocent XI (Benedetto Odescalchi) Born at Como, 16 May, 1611; died at Rome, 11 August, 1689. He was educated by the Jesuits at Como, and studied jurisprudence at Rome and Naples. Urban VIII appointed him successively prothonotary, president of the Apostolic Camera, commissary at Ancona, administrator of Macerata, and Governor of Picena. Innocent […]

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August 12 – St. Jane Frances de Chantal

August 8, 2019

Born at Dijon, France, 28 January, 1572; died at the Visitation Convent Moulins, 13 December, 1641. Her father was president of the Parliament of Burgundy, and leader of the royalist party during the League that brought about the triumph of the cause of Henry IV. In 1592 she married Baron de Chantal, and lived in […]

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August 6 – He told his assassins “God does not die!”

August 5, 2019

Garcia Moreno Ecuadorean patriot and statesman; born at Guayaquil, 24 December, 1821; assassinated at Quito, 6 August, 1875. His father, Gabriel García Gomez, a native of Villaverde, in Old Castile, had been engaged in commerce at Callao before removing to Guayaquil, where he married Dona Mercedes Moreno, the mother of the future Ecuadorean martyr president. […]

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August 6 – Garcia Moreno: Heroic President of Ecuador

August 5, 2019

by José Maria dos SantosGabriel Garcia Moreno, heroic President of Ecuador, assassinated for his Faith and Christian Charity. Manly Catholic of intransigent principles, slain by the enemies of the Faith because of his consistency and courage in defense of the Church and Papacy Gabriel Garcia Moreno was born in Guayaquil, in southern Ecuador on December […]

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August 6 – Noble widower made pope

August 5, 2019

Pope St. Hormisdas Date of birth unknown, elected to the Holy See, 514; died at Rome, 6 August, 523. This able and sagacious pontiff belonged to a wealthy and honourable family of Frosinone (Frusino) in the Campagna di Roma (Latium). Before receiving higher orders he had been married; his son became pope under the name […]

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