Universalis
Saturday 1 February 2020    (other days)
Saint Brigid, Abbess, Secondary Patron of Ireland 
Feast

The Lord is the king of virgins: come, let us adore him.

Year: A(II). Psalm week: 3. Liturgical Colour: White.

St Brigid (451? - 525)

She was born in 451 or 452 at Faughart, near Dundalk, in Ireland. Her name is that of the pagan goddess of fire. She converted to Christanity, inspired by the preaching of St Patrick. She founded a double monastery, of monks and nuns, at Kildare, the first women’s monastic community in Ireland, and she died there in 525. See the articles in Wikipedia and the Catholic Encyclopaedia.

Other saints: St Henry Morse (1595-1645)

1 Feb (where celebrated)
Henry Morse was born into a Church of England family in 1595 at Brome, Suffolk. He converted to Catholicism, studied for the priesthood in Rome and was sent on the English mission in 1620. He was almost immediately arrested and imprisoned in York Castle. He had already declared that he wished to become a Jesuit, and spent the three years he was then in prison as his novitiate. On his release he was banished and went to Flanders for a while before returning to England. He worked as a covert priest in London, and among plague victims in 1636, when he caught the plague himself though soon recovered. He was again arrested and exiled but within two years had returned to England. For a time he ministered in the south of the country, then after a brief ministry in the north he was arrested in Cumberland and although he escaped he was soon rearrested and taken to London, where he was convicted for practising as a Catholic priest and condemned to death. He was hanged, drawn, and quartered on 1 February 1645 at Tyburn, London.
DK

Other saints: Blessed Benedict Daswa (1946-1990)

Southern Africa
Tshimangadzo Samuel Benedict Daswa was born on 16th June 1946 in the village of Mbahe near Thohoyandou in the province of Limpopo, South Africa. He belonged to the small Lemba tribe who claim Jewish ancestry and observe some Jewish customs, mainly around diet. They live mostly among the Venda people and speak the Venda language. Tshimangadzo was the eldest in a family of four sons and one daughter. They grew up in the traditional animism (ancestor veneration) religion of their parents, and at the age of seventeen Benedict was baptized and received into the Catholic Church.
  He was strongly influenced by Benedict Risimati, a local teacher who instructed him in preparation for baptism. This voluntary catechist was a very committed member of the Church and spoke to his catechumens about St. Benedict and other Saints as role models. This led Tshimangadzo to choose Benedict as his baptismal name. He also took the Saint’s motto, ora et labora (“pray and work”) as his own, in living out his baptismal promises. Inspired by this great Saint, Blessed Benedict led an exemplary Christian life with an intense love for the Lord and His Blessed Mother. He grew steadily in the faith nourished by daily prayer, the reading of the bible, the Eucharist, frequent confession and helping the poor by charitable deeds.
  As a devoted husband and loving father, Bl. Benedict Daswa is a real role model for Christian families. He built up his family as a little domestic church where the bible was read and where they all prayed together with a special devotion to the Bl. Virgin Mary our spiritual mother. There in the heart of a loving family Benedict made sure that the basic truths of the faith, as well as the commandments of God and the sacraments of the Church, were taught and explained to the children. Blessed Benedict knew that this was the way for Christian families to initiate the next generation into the Christian way of life and give them a strong Catholic identity. Blessed Benedict was an active member of the local Catholic community, as a voluntary catechist and an effective youth leader. When no priest was available for Sunday mass, he frequently conducted the Sunday service for his own community and also for other Catholic communities in the district.
  Blessed Benedict was a dedicated school principal and was also active in promoting the welfare of his local village community. On becoming a Catholic he realized he had to make a complete break with the prevailing practices of witchcraft and sorcery in his traditional African culture. He was well aware of all the fear and violence leading at times to the death of innocent people, which were associated with these practices. He took a public stand against them and this was resented by some members of the community. He was fully aware that this public witness involved risks for himself and for his family.
  On the 2nd of February 1990 as he was driving home in the evening, he was ambushed and attacked by a mob of young people who stoned and clubbed him to death. He was survived by his wife and seven young children – his eighth child was born a few months after his death. He was beatified as a martyr for the faith on 13 September 2015. Blessed Benedict Daswa, a humble son of Africa, is good role model for all believers as a courageous witness to the faith and a true apostle of life and family.
Bishop-Emeritus Hugh Slattery msc

Other saints: Bl Candelaria of St Joseph (1863-1940)

1 Feb (where celebrated)
Blessed Candelaria was born Susanna Paz Castillo Ramirez in 1863 at Altagracia de Orituco, south-east of Caracas, Venuzuela. Susanna learnt from her parents that the good things that she had were a blessing from God and should be shared with others, as Jesus had done. When Susanna was twenty-four her mother died and she quickly took up the care of the household and her extended family.
  In 1899, Venezuela was thrust into a regime of cruelty and corruption when General Cipriano Castro seized power. An ensuing rebellion in Altagracia, left many dead and wounded which caused a rapid spread of disease. With no relief agencies or medical services Susanna saw a clear duty to aid the suffering. She took many wounded into her own home, as well as setting up a makeshift hospital in an unused building next to her home. In the midst of the devastation of the war, Susanna provided love and care for the suffering. Her work expanded and in 1910 Susanna and five other women took religious vows and established a congregation, supported by the local bishop, called the “Little Sisters of the Poor of Altagracia”. Susanna took the religious name Candelaria of St Joseph because of her particular personal devotion to the feast of the Presentation (Candlemas).
  Word and reputation of Madre Candelaria’s work spread to surrounding towns, particularly the reputation of the sisters’ love and concern toward the sick and the poor. Other towns pleaded for their help and four more communities and hospitals were established between 1915 and 1922. Much of the work was financially supported by Candelaria’s own extended begging excursions, who travelled the length and breadth of Venezuela asking people directly for their support. She insisted that she wasn’t ashamed to beg for money, since helping the poorest of the poor was a beautiful thing, and everyone should be welcomed to help, even if only a little. Her solution to even the most difficult patients was: to love them back to health, as Jesus had done.
  In 1922, Mother Candelaria approached the Carmelites friars who were founding missions in Venezuela and with the approval of the local Bishop, the congregation became the Third Order Regular Carmelite Sisters of Venezuela.
  When Candelaria could no longer travel or work actively, she remained an inspiration to her sisters, encouraging them in an awareness of God’s ever present healing kindness. After a full life of prayerful service she died in 1940 and was beatified in 2008.
MT

About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:

Second Reading: St Cyprian (210 - 258)

Cyprian was born in Carthage and spent most of his life in the practice of the law. He was converted to Christianity, and was made bishop of Carthage in 249. He steered the church through troubled times, including the persecution of the emperor Decius, when he went into hiding so as to be able to continue looking after the church. In 258 the persecution of the emperor Valerian began. Cyprian was first exiled and then, on the 14th of September, executed, after a trial notable for the calm and courtesy shown by both sides.
  Cyprian’s many letters and treatises shed much light on a formative period in the Church’s history, and are valuable both for their doctrine and for the picture they paint of a group of people in constant peril of their lives but still determined to keep the faith.

Liturgical colour: white

White is the colour of heaven. Liturgically, it is used to celebrate feasts of the Lord; Christmas and Easter, the great seasons of the Lord; and the saints. Not that you will always see white in church, because if something more splendid, such as gold, is available, that can and should be used instead. We are, after all, celebrating.
  In the earliest centuries all vestments were white – the white of baptismal purity and of the robes worn by the armies of the redeemed in the Apocalypse, washed white in the blood of the Lamb. As the Church grew secure enough to be able to plan her liturgy, she began to use colour so that our sense of sight could deepen our experience of the mysteries of salvation, just as incense recruits our sense of smell and music that of hearing. Over the centuries various schemes of colour for feasts and seasons were worked out, and it is only as late as the 19th century that they were harmonized into their present form.

Mid-morning reading (Terce)Wisdom 8:21 ©
I knew I could not master Wisdom but by the gift of God – a mark itself of understanding, to know whose the bounty was.

Noon reading (Sext)1 Corinthians 7:25 ©
About remaining celibate, I have no directions from the Lord but give my own opinion as one who, by the Lord’s mercy, has stayed faithful.

Afternoon reading (None)Apocalypse 19:6,7 ©
The reign of the Lord our God Almighty has begun; let us be glad and joyful and give praise to God, because this is the time for the marriage of the Lamb.
Scripture readings taken from The Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. For on-line information about other Random House, Inc. books and authors, see the Internet web site at http://www.randomhouse.com.
 
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