Saint of the day 20150203

03 February

SAINT BLASE
Bishop and Martyr
(+ 316)

St. Blase devoted the earlier years of his life to the study of philosophy, and afterwards became a physician. In the practice of his profession he saw so much of the miseries of life and the hollowness of worldly pleasures, that he resolved to spend the rest of his days in the service of God, and from being a healer of bodily ailments to be- come a physician of souls.

The Bishop of Sebaste, in Armenia, having died, our Saint, much to the gratification of the inhabitants of that city, was appointed to succeed him. St. Blase at once began to instruct his people as much by his example as by his words, and the great virtues and sanctity of this servant of God were attested by many miracles. From all parts the people came flocking to him for the cure of bodily and spiritual ills.

Agricolaus, Governor of Cappadocia and the Lesser Armenia, having begun a persecution by order of the Emperor Licinius, our Saint was seized and hurried off to prison. While on his way there, a distracted mother, whose only child was dying of a throat disease, threw herself at the feet of St. Blase and implored his intercession. Touched at her grief, the Saint offered up his prayers, and the child was cured; and since that time his aid has often been effectually solicited in cases of a similar disease.

Refusing to worship the false gods of the heathens, St. Blase was first scourged; his body was then torn with hooks, and finally he was beheaded in the year 316.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]

St Ansgar or Oscar (- 865)
He was born in Amiens at the start of the ninth century and educated at the monastery of Corbie in Picardy. He went as a missionary to Denmark in 826 but had little success; but in Sweden he did better. He was elected Bishop of Hamburg (this was at that time a missionary see dedicated to evangelizing the North) and appointed papal legate to Denmark and Sweden by Pope Gregory IV. He encountered huge difficulties in his work of evangelization but he overcame them. He died in Bremen on 3 February 865.
He is known as “the apostle of the North.” His diaries are an important documentary source for early Scandinavian history. See also the articles in Wikipedia and the Catholic Encyclopaedia.
St Blaise
He was bishop of Sebaste and was martyred, probably early in the fourth century. Devotion to him spread throughout the Church during the Middle Ages. He is particularly invoked for disorders of the throat. See the articles in the Catholic Encyclopaedia and Wikipedia.
Other saints: St Laurence of Canterbury (- 619)
He was one of the original missionaries who came from Rome with St Augustine in 597. He succeeded Augustine as Archbishop of Canterbury in about 604. He died at Canterbury on 3 February 619. See the articles in the Catholic Encyclopaedia and Wikipedia.
Other saints: St Dunstan of Canterbury (- 988)
His career began at Glastonbury, where he became abbot in 945. In 960 he became Archbishop of Canterbury, where he remained until his death on 19 May 988. He worked hard for the spiritual and temporal well-being of his people, restoring churches, judging lawsuits, defending the weak and friendless, reforming institutions and even promoting the draining of parts of the Somerset Levels so that they could be used for agriculture. In folklore he figures in many duels with the Devil, which he wins by ingenuity as much as by holiness. See the articles in the Catholic Encyclopaedia and Wikipedia.
Other saints: St Theodore of Canterbury (602 – 690)
He was born in Tarsus in about 602. In 667 he was living in Rome, still a layman, when the Pope chose him to be Archbishop of Canterbury. He was ordained priest, consecrated as Archbishop, and arrived in Canterbury in May 669. The English Church at this time was troubled and divided, and he travelled round the country filling vacant bishoprics and promoting peace and unity. He died at Canterbury on 19 September 690. See the article in the Catholic Encyclopaedia.
Other saints: Saint Werburg
Saint Werburgh belonged to the royal family of Mercia, the last kingdom of Anglo-Saxon England to accept Christianity. Her father, King Wulfhere, was the first Christian King of Mercia. Werburgh became a nun at Ely, but her uncle Etheldred, who had succeeded her father as King in 674, recalled her to Mercia and put her in charge of several monasteries: Weedon (Northants), Hanbury (Staffs) and Threckingham (Lincs). There are no other known facts about her life. Werburgh was venerated as a saint from the time of her death which occurred c. 700; she was buried at Hanbury. When the pagan Danes invaded England in the late 9th century, her relics were taken for safety to Chester. The Cathedral at Chester is dedicated to her.
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Other saints: St Anne Line, née Heigham (1565? – 1601)
She was born in Dunmow, in Essex. In her teens she became a Catholic and was disinherited by her family, and in 1585 she married another disinherited convert, Roger Line. Her husband was imprisoned for his faith and then sent into exile, leaving her destitute. She taught and embroidered and also kept house for priests. One day a large number of people were seen congregating at her house for Mass. She was arrested, tried, condemned to death, and hanged at Tyburn in London on 27 February 1601.
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