Post by Elizabeth on Nov 4, 2019 0:54:32 GMT
Saint Martin de Porres
Dominican Coadjutor Brother
Dominican Coadjutor Brother
Saint Martin de Porres was born in Lima, Peru in 1579, during the days when Spanish noblemen and many adventurers were still in the land, fascinated by the lure of the gold and silver which abounded there. He was the natural son of one of these and a young Indian woman. It was not long before his dark complexion caused his father to be ashamed of him and his mother, and to abandon them. Later the father would regret his too rapid decision, and take Martin under his protection.
The young boy often heard himself referred to as a half-breed, and all his life long, his profound humility saw in himself only the magnanimity of God amid the inadequacy of his origins. When his mother could not support him and his sister, Martin was confided to a primary school for two years, then placed with a surgeon to learn the medical arts. This caused him great joy, though he was only ten years old, for he could exercise charity to his neighbor while earning his living. Already he was spending hours of the night in prayer, a practice which increased rather than diminished as he grew older. Until his death he would flagellate himself three times every night, for his own failings and for the conversion of pagans and sinners.
He asked for admission to the Dominican Convent of the Rosary in Lima and was received first as a tertiary. When he was 24, he was given the habit of a Coadjutor Brother and assigned to the infirmary of that convent, where he would remain in service until his death at the age of sixty. His superiors saw in him the virtues necessary to exercise unfailing patience in this difficult role, and he never disappointed them. On the contrary, it was not long before miracles began to happen, and Saint Martin was working also with the sick outside his convent, often bringing them healing with only a simple glass of water. He begged for alms to procure for them necessities the Convent could not provide, and Providence always supplied what he sought.
One day an aged beggar, covered with ulcers and almost naked, stretched out his hand, and Saint Martin, seeing the Divine Mendicant in him, took him to his own bed, paying no heed to the fact that he was not perfectly neat and clean. One of his brethren, considering he had gone too far in his charity, reproved him. Saint Martin replied: Compassion, my dear Brother, is preferable to cleanliness. Reflect that with a little soap I can easily clean my bed covers, but even with a torrent of tears I would never wash from my soul the stain that my harshness toward the unfortunate would create.
When an epidemic struck Lima, there were in this single convent of the Rosary sixty religious who were sick, many of them novices in a distant and locked section of the convent, separated from the professed. Saint Martin is known to have passed through the locked doors to care for them, a phenomenon which was observed in the residence more than once. The professed, too, saw him suddenly beside them without the doors having been opened; and these facts were duly verified by the surprised Superiors. Martin continued to transport the sick to the convent until the provincial Superior, alarmed by the contagion threatening the religious, forbid him to continue to do so. His sister, who lived in the country, offered her house to lodge those whom the residence of the religious could not hold. One day he found on the street a poor Indian, bleeding to death from a dagger wound, and took him to his own room until he could transport him to his sister's hospice. The Superior, when he heard of this, reprimanded his subject for disobedience. He was extremely edified by his reply: Forgive my error, and please instruct me, for I did not know that the precept of obedience took precedence over that of charity. In effect, there are situations where charity must prevail; and instruction is very necessary. The Superior gave him liberty thereafter to follow his inspirations in the exercise of mercy.
In normal times Saint Martin succeeded with his alms to feed 160 poor persons every day, and distributed a remarkable sum of money every week to the indigent — the latter phenomenon hard to explain by ordinary calculations. To Saint Martin the city of Lima owed a famous residence founded for orphans and abandoned children, where they were formed in piety for a creative Christian life. This lay Brother had always wanted to be a missionary, but never left his native city; yet even during his lifetime he was seen elsewhere, in regions as far distant as Africa, China, Algeria, Japan. An African slave who had been in irons said he had known Martin when he came to relieve and console many like himself, telling them of heaven. When later the same slave saw him in Peru, he was very happy to meet him again and asked him if he had had a good voyage; only later did he learn that Saint Martin had never left Lima. A merchant from Lima was in Mexico and fell ill; he said aloud: Oh, Brother Martin, if only you were here to care for me..! and immediately saw him enter his room. And again, this man did not know until later that he had never been in Mexico.
When he died in 1639, Saint Martin was known to the entire city of Lima; word of his miracles had made him known as a Saint to every resident of the region. After his death, the miracles and graces received when he was invoked multiplied in such profusion that his body was exhumed after 25 years and found intact, and exhaling a fine fragrance. Letters to Rome pleaded for his beatification; the decree affirming the heroism of his virtues was issued in 1763 by Clement XIII; Gregory XVI beatified him in 1836, and in 1962 Pope John XXIII canonized him. The poor and the sick will never fail to find in him a friend having great power over the Heart of God.
Saint Malachy O'More
Primate of Armagh, Ireland
Born in the late eleventh century of a princely family, in the archiepiscopal city of Armagh, Saint Malachy was raised in the fear and love of God. He seemed to have the virtues of maturity hidden under the appearances of childhood. Praises did not inflate him, and reproaches did not sadden him. He had a horror of idleness, and a command from his preceptors was always like a law for him. He would often separate from his companions to converse in prayer with God. When he was still a young man, he made himself the disciple of a holy hermit who had established a little cell near the cathedral church of Armagh. The archbishop of Armagh made him a deacon of his church, and when at the age of twenty-five he was ordained a priest, commanded him to preach the Gospel and catechize his people. He uprooted vices and corrected abuses, and the archdiocese derived great profit from his ministry.
An episode from the life of Saint Malachy teaches us several truths concerning purgatory. He had a sister who was very worldly, and whom he found indifferent to his efforts to lead her to reflect on the reason for her existence and her last ends. He learned one day that she had died after having manifested regret for her sins, and he offered a Mass for her soul; but he did not think of continuing this practice. After thirty days he heard in a dream that she was standing outside the church and had not eaten for one month. He began again to pray for her, and then in a dream beheld her clothed in a black robe, near the door of the church but unable to enter. He continued his suffrages, and on a third occasion saw her in a robe which was more or less white, having entered the church but unable to approach the altar. The last time he saw her she was within the church, clothed in white and near the altar, in the company of the just. We learn from this how serious our indifference and lack of love for God are; that our prayers are efficacious in relieving our dear ones; and that it is ordinarily a little at a time that souls are delivered from the bonds of their sins and negligence.
Saint Malachy brought about several miracles, and manifested great devotion and zeal in the reconstruction and re-establishment of a monastery whose nine hundred religious had been massacred by pirates; these facts led to his being consecrated Bishop of Connor, a small see whose inhabitants were Christian in name but pagan in practice. The venerable pastor taught the people with patience and warned them with gentleness. He endured many insults and outrages, but finally the hardened hearts were softened and began to listen to his voice and instructions. He remained in this see until a hostile king and his army decimated the city of Connor. At that time, the Archbishop of Armagh was nearing death and named him to succeed him in this metropolitan see, overriding his humility and protestations of insufficient virtue and competence.
Again he had a great deal to suffer in the exercise of his new charge. The see of Armagh, by a longstanding abuse, had been held somewhat like a throne by one single family, and it required on the part of the Saint no little tact and firmness to calm the dissensions caused by his election. Ecclesiastical discipline had been forgotten, and depraved morals everywhere had virtually annihilated faith and piety. The good bishop who had named Saint Malachy had labored to correct the abuses, and hoped his virtuous successor might better succeed in the same post. Nonetheless, two years passed before Malachy could even enter into the city as its archbishop; troops were levied against his entry by the pretender to the same title. Saint Malachy had accepted the office on the condition that he assume the charge only after the death or flight of the false bishop, for he did not want to cause a war and the death of those whose salvation he desired to procure. The pretender and his cousin, with several others of the same lineage, were struck down soon afterwards by the hand of God, and their exemplary chastisements gave great credit to the Saint, and enabled him to make ordinances to countermand the disorders. He divided the diocese and left the larger portion, that of Connor, to a colleague, a very holy man worthy of the charge. He retired to the other part, the new see of Down. There he convoked synods, renewed ancient ordinances and made appropriate ones; everywhere he intimidated sinners and implanted religion and piety.
We must not neglect to mention the famous prophecy of Saint Malachy, in which he assigns to every Pope of the future a motto describing each pontificate, from his own day until the last Pope he mentions, whom he calls Petrus Romanus — Peter the Roman. After the motto attributed to the present Vicar of Jesus Christ (in the year 2000), De Labore Solis, only one, De Gloria Olivae — From the glory of the Olive Tree — separates us from Peter II. The prophecy, which begins with Celestine II (1143-1144), was discovered in 1590 and includes one hundred and eleven mottos. Many a motto has been shown to have a striking exactitude in the description of its subject and his pontificate. Many interpreters have labored to prove the prophecy's accuracy.
Saint Malachy twice made a pilgrimage to Rome to consult Christ's Vicar, the first time returning as a Papal Legate for all of Ireland, amid the joy of his people. The second time, however, he was bound for a happier home; he was taken ill in France at the monastery of Clairvaux, where his great friend and biographer, Saint Bernard, was Abbot. He died there in the monastery where he would gladly have lived, at the age of fifty-four, on the 2nd of November, 1148. Saint Bernard, in his Life of Saint Malachy, narrates many of his miracles, one of which he himself brought about, when he touched the paralyzed arm of a young boy to that of the mortal remains of the bishop, while he was laid out in his coffin at Clairvaux. It was instantly cured.