Come, let us adore the Lord, for he is our God.
Year: A(II). Psalm week: 3. Liturgical Colour: Green.
St Peter Claver (1581 - 1654)
He was born in Catalonia and studied at the University of Barcelona. He became a Jesuit; and while he was studying philosophy in Mallorca, the door-keeper of the college, Alfonso Rodríguez, saw that his true vocation was to evangelize the New World, and encouraged him to fulfil that vocation. (Rodríguez was later canonized on the same day as Peter Claver himself).
He arrived in Cartagena, in what is now Colombia, in 1610, and after his ordination six years later he became ‘the slave of the Negroes forever’, labouring on their behalf for 33 years, attending to both their spiritual and material needs. The slave trade was repeatedly condemned by the Popes; but it was too profitable to be stopped and on the whole the local church hierarchy kept quiet about it, much as they did in North America in the 19th century.
He brought fresh food to the slave-ships as they arrived, instructed the slaves and baptized them in the faith, followed their progress and kept track of them even when they were sent to the mines and plantations, defending them as well as he could from oppressive slave-owners. He organized teams of catechists who spoke the many languages spoken by the slaves. He worked in hospitals also, looking after lepers among others, and in prisons.
Naturally he made himself unpopular by his work: as his superior said, ‘unfortunately for himself he is a Catalan, pig-headed and difficult’. Opposition came from both within the Church and outside it, but there were always exceptions. For instance, while many fashionable ladies refused to enter his city churches because they had been profaned by the presence of the blacks, a few, such as Doña Isabel de Urbina, became his strong and lifelong supporters.
At the end of his life he fell ill with a degenerative disease and for four years he was treated neglectfully and brutally by the servant whose task it was to look after him. He did not complain but accepted his sufferings as a penance for his sins.
Other saints: St Ambrose Barlow OSB (1585-1641)
Liverpool, Salford, Shrewsbury
Ambrose was born at Barlow Hall, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, near Manchester in 1585. He was the fourth son of the nobleman Sir Alexander Barlow and his wife Mary. Ambrose’s grandfather died in 1584 whilst imprisoned for his beliefs and Sir Alexander Barlow had two thirds of his estate confiscated as a result of his refusing to conform to the new established religion. In 1597, Ambrose was taken into the stewardship of a relative who would care for him whilst he served out his apprenticeship as a page. However, upon completing this service, Barlow realised that his true vocation was for the Catholic priesthood, so he travelled to Douai in France to study at the English College there before attending the College of St Alban in Valladolid, Spain. In 1615, he returned to Douai where he became a member of the Order of Saint Benedict and was ordained as a priest in 1617. He then returned to Morley’s Hall, Astley. From there he looked after the local Catholics, celebrating daily Mass and reciting his Office and Rosary. He would often visit his cousins, the Downes, at their residence of Wardley Hall (now the residence of the Bishop of Salford) and celebrate Mass for the gathered congregation. He was arrested several times during his travels. His parishioners implored him to flee or at least go into hiding but he refused. Their fears were compounded by a recent stroke which had resulted in the 56-year-old priest being partially paralysed. “Let them fear that have anything to lose which they are unwilling to part with” he told them.
On 25 April 1641, Easter Sunday, Ambrose and his congregation of around 100 people, were surrounded at Morley’s Hall, Astley by the Vicar of Leigh and his large (and armed) congregation. Ambrose surrendered, and his parishioners were released after their names had been recorded. The priest was then taken on horseback with a man behind him to prevent his falling, and escorted by a band of some sixty people to the Justice of the Peace at Winwick, before being transported to Lancaster Castle. Ambrose appeared before the presiding judge, Sir Robert Heath, on the 7 September when he professed his adherence to the Catholic faith and defended his actions. On the following day, the feast of the Nativity of Mary, Sir Robert Heath found Ambrose guilty, and sentenced him to be executed. Two days later, he was taken from Lancaster Castle, drawn on a hurdle to the place of execution, hanged, dismembered, quartered, and boiled in oil. His head was afterwards exposed on a pike. When the news of his death and martyrdom reached his Benedictine brothers at Douai Abbey, a Mass of Thanksgiving and the Te Deum were ordered to be sung.
Other saints: Saint Egwin, Bishop
The foundation of the abbey dedicated to Our Lady at Evesham is attributed to an early eighth-century Bishop of Worcester called Egwin. Very little is known about him, since the earliest account of his life, written in Latin c. 1020, is almost entirely composed of fables. However it does contain some local material which may reflect older traditions; among these is the account of the appearance of Our Lady to a swineherd at a place on the Avon where Egwin built the Church in her honour. This would be the earliest record of the appearance the Blessed Virgin Mary in England. Since 1952 Evesham has become the place of an annual pilgrimage to Our Lady; the Catholic Church there is dedicated to St Mary and St Egwin. In the Middle Ages St Egwin was commemorated on 30 December: September 10 is the day of the translation of his relics in 1039.
Other saints: Blessed Agnellus of Pisa, Priest
Agnellus was born at Pisa in northern Italy and was received into the Order of Friars in 1211, probably by St Francis himself. In 1224, S. Francis sent him and eight other friars to England where they made a great impression by their penury and simplicity. Agnellus was the first Minister Provincial in this country and founded friaries at Canterbury, London and Oxford. At Oxford, then in the period of the university’s first development, he established a school for the friars which rapidly grew into a major centre of theology, combining apostolic poverty with study based on scriptures. Agnellus died on 7 May 1236, aged 41, and was buried at Oxford. The cult of Blessed Agnellus of Pisa was approved in 1892; September 10 is the date of the arrival of the first Franciscans in Dover in 1224.
Other saints: Blessed Francis Gárate (1857-1929)
10 Sep (where celebrated)
Francis Gárate (1857-1929) was born in a farmhouse just a hundred yards from the Loyola Castle in Spain. After some elementary education, at the age of fourteen he began work as a domestic servant at the Jesuit College in Orduna, Spain. In 1874, he joined the Society as a Brother. From 1877 to 1888 he served as infirmarian and sacristan at the Jesuit College in La Guardian, near the Portuguese border. He went about his duty most meticulously, caring for the sick, often spending whole nights by their bedside. The strain was too much for him and he was transferred to the University college at Deusto, in Bilbao, Spain, as doorkeeper, remaining there for the next forty-one years. He was known for his holiness, piety, kindness and courtesy.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: St Bruno (c.1033 - 1101)
Bruno was born at Cologne and educated partly at Reims. He was head of the episcopal school there for almost 20 years. In 1075 he was appointed chancellor of the church of Reims and had to devote himself to the administration of the diocese. The bishop at that time, Manasses de Gournai, was impious, corrupt, and violent. Through the intervention of Bruno and others, the Council of Autun suspended Manasses, who retaliated by demolishing the houses of his accusers and confiscating their goods. In 1080 a final decision of the Pope, together with a popular uprising, deposed Manasses.
Bruno was the obvious candidate as his successor – nearly 50, known and trusted, and experienced in administration. But in 1077 he and two of his fellow-canons at Reims had made a vow to abandon the world and enter the religious life. It had not been possible to act on that vow at the time. Now it was. Bruno fled.
He went first to join St Robert, who had settled at Molesme and gathered followers round him, who were later to become the Cistercian Order. But this was not his vocation. In 1084, with six of his companions, he presented himself to St Hugh of Châteauneuf, Bishop of Grenoble, who installed them in a wild spot called Chartreuse, not far from Grenoble, among steep rocks and snow-covered mountains. They built a small monastery where they lived in deep retreat and poverty, entirely occupied in prayer and study.
In 1088 one of Bruno’s pupils from Reims became Pope Urban II and resolved to continue the work of reform begun by Gregory VII. In 1090 Urban summoned Bruno to Rome to help. Narrowly avoiding being elected bishop again – of Reggio in Calabria, this time, which he escaped by getting one of his former pupils to be elected instead – Bruno managed to persuade the Pope to let him resume the solitary life. He founded a new monastery in the diocese of Squillace in Calabria, and for the rest of his life led an amphibian existence, being called away from time to time to help the Pope in his project of reform, but always returning.
Bruno pioneered the “mixed” form of religious life, of hermits who live together in a community. He did not plan to found an Order, but the seed he had planted at Chartreuse grew into the Carthusian Order, which continues to this day, with some 24 houses spread across the world.
Liturgical colour: green
The theological virtue of hope is symbolized by the colour green, just as the burning fire of love is symbolized by red. Green is the colour of growing things, and hope, like them, is always new and always fresh. Liturgically, green is the colour of Ordinary Time, the orderly sequence of weeks through the year, a season in which we are being neither single-mindedly penitent (in purple) nor overwhelmingly joyful (in white).
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||Wisdom 19:22 ©|
Lord, in every way you have made your people great and glorious. You have never disdained them, but stood by them always and everywhere.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Deuteronomy 4:7 ©|
What great nation is there that has its gods so near as the Lord our God is to us whenever we call to him?
|Afternoon reading (None)||Esther 10:3 ©|
The single nation, mine, is Israel, those who cried out to God and were saved. Yes, the Lord has saved his people, the Lord has delivered us from all these evils, God has worked such signs and great wonders as have never happened among the nations.