How wonderful is God among his saints: come, let us adore him.
Year: B(I). Liturgical Colour: White.
All the Saints of Ireland
Ireland, especially in the early Christian centuries, was known as an isle of saints and scholars. More than once, when the rest of western Europe was submerged in ignorance and chaos, Ireland kept learning alive.
Many of the Irish saints combined pastoral care with an observance of the monastic life. The Irish also did much as missionaries, bringing the faith to other parts of Europe, and the story of St Brendan, whether authentic history or not, shows that they set their sights even further afield.
Other saints: All Saints of Africa
Kenya, Southern Africa
Today we celebrate the feast of all the Saints of Africa who, down through the ages, have followed the Lord with courage, love and dedication. Many of these saints are unknown to us, while others are remembered in various countries on account of their exemplary life of discipleship. Their example and teaching remind us of our call to holiness, while their intercession makes it possible for us to achieve it, thanks to God’s grace. The feast we celebrate today is a foretaste of the joy we shall experience one day in heaven.
Other saints: St Illtud or Illtyd
He was a Welsh abbot in the early 6th century, and founder of a monastery in Glamorgan that carried his name. He may have been a disciple of St Germanus of Auxerre. No reliable biographical details survive: the earliest Life that we have was written 500 years after his death.
Other saints: St Nuno Alvares Pereira (1360-1431)
6 Nov (where celebrated)
Nuno was born into a Portuguese noble family, a family noted for its history of distinguished religious and military service. He followed the path of a young nobleman becoming a royal page at thirteen, and marrying a wealthy noblewoman at sixteen. He and his wife had three children, but only their daughter Beatriz survived to adulthood.
At the age of twenty-three, Nuno was named the Constable (commander in chief) of the Portuguese loyalist forces who were formed to defend Portugal against the King of Castile’s plans to annex the country after the death of the Portuguese king. Between 1383 and 1411 Nuno led many battles, insisting that his soldiers remembered the holy cause for which they were fighting and that they acted as moral Christians who were ready to die, if necessary. He was strict on moral behaviour in camp, urged the soldiers to pray and receive the sacraments, and upheld respect and mercy toward enemies and civilians. Every victory Nuno attributed to the protection the the Virgin Mary offered to the Portuguese nation. After the fighting had ended and the stability of Portugal was re-established under King John I, Nuno had become a popular, powerful and wealthy man. His wife having died during his military career and with his daughter married to the King’s son, Nuno gave much of his wealth to his veterans and at his own expense built numerous churches and monasteries, one of which was the Carmelite church in Lisbon.
In 1423, Nuno decided to enter the convent of Carmelites he had founded in Lisbon, abandoning any remaining power and privilege he had gained as the glorified commander. He entered the convent as a serving brother and took the name Brother Nuno of Saint Mary. He did not seek any privileges but put himself at the service of Jesus in the poor and offered his work to the Virgin Mary his loyal patron. He died on Easter Sunday, 1 April 1431 after which the people acclaimed him as “O Santo Condestavel” – the Holy Constable. At Nuno’s canonisation in 2009, Pope Benedict XVI presented Nuno as one who having gained all wealth, power and acclaim, gave it all up in thanksgiving to a merciful God and to Mary who remained with him even in the darkest moments.
Other saints: Bl Josepha Girbes (1820-1893)
6 Nov (where celebrated)
Josepha Naval Girbés was born at Algemes in the Archdiocese of Valencia, Spain, on December 11, 1820. As a very young woman she consecrated herself to the Lord by a perpetual vow of chastity. Josepha’s life was simple. She stood out for her ardent love, and she made progress along the way of prayer and evangelical perfection, while dedicating herself generously to apostolic works in her parish community. In her own home she opened a school where she taught needlework, prayer, and the evangelical virtues. She formed many young girls and women and shared with them her wisdom and spiritual understanding. She was a member of the Third Order Secular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saint Teresa of Jesus, and had a special love for the Virgin Mother of God. Her holy death took place on February 24, 1893. She is buried in her parish church of Saint James in her native city.
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)||Ecclesiasticus 44:1-2 ©|
Let us now praise famous men, and our fathers in their generations. The Lord apportioned them great glory, his majesty from the beginning.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Ecclesiasticus 44:10-11 ©|
These were men of mercy, whose righteous deeds have not been forgotten; their prosperity will remain with their descendants, and their inheritance to their children’s children.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Ecclesiasticus 44:13-14 ©|
Their posterity will continue for ever, and their glory will not be blotted out. Their bodies were buried in peace, and their name lives to all generations.