Forthcoming Saints Days
Monday 24th August St Bartholomew
He was born at Cana and brought by the Apostle Philip to meet Jesus. Nothing further is known for certain. The great historian of the early Church, Eusebius, speaks of him in India, but the Roman Martyrology has him martyred in Armenia, skinned alive according to the Persian custom. Because his relics were enshrined on the island in the Tiber that is principally used as a hospital, he has become a patron saint of the sick.
Tuesday 25th August St Louis (1214-1270)
He became King of France (as Louis IX) at the age of twelve. He was married and had eleven children, to whom he gave an excellent upbringing. He was noted for his spirit of prayer and penitence and for his love for the poor. He ran his kingdom not only to give peace to the people and economic stability but also for their spiritual good. He founded the University of the Sorbonne and was a friend of St Thomas Aquinas. He was trusted by his fellow-rulers in Europe and often asked to arbitrate in their disputes. He undertook two unsuccessful crusades to liberate Christ’s burial-place and on the second of these he died, near Carthage, in the year 1270. He is the patron saint of France.
Thursday 27th August St Monica (331-387)
She was born at Thagaste in Africa of a Christian family. She was married young, to Patricius, and among her children was Augustine. He had a brilliant intellect and uncertain morals and his wayward spiritual career saw him at one time a Manichee and then a Neoplatonist. With many tears she prayed unceasingly to God for his conversion and her prayers were answered shortly before she died. She had a deep faith and outstanding virtue and is a wonderful example of a Christian mother.
Friday 28th August St Augustine of Hippo (354-430)
Augustine was born in Thagaste in Africa of a Berber family. He was brought up a Christian but left the Church early and spent a great deal of time seriously seeking the truth, first in the Manichaean heresy, which he abandoned on seeing how nonsensical it was, and then in Neoplatonism, until at length, through the prayers of his mother (see above!) and the teaching of St Ambrose of Milan, he was converted back to Christianity and baptized in 387, shortly before his mother’s death. Augustine had a brilliant legal and academic career, but after his conversion he returned he returned home to Africa and led an ascetic life. He was elected Bishop of Hippo and spent thirty-four years looking after his flock, teaching them, strengthening them in the faith and protecting them strenuously against the errors of the time. He wrote an enormous amount and left a permanent mark on both philosophy and theology. His Confessions, as dazzling in style as they are deep in content, are a landmark of world literature, as is his great work, The City of God. The Second Readings in the daily Office of Readings contain extracts from many of his works. He was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Boniface VIII in 1308.
The image above is St Peter Preaching in the Presence of St Mark by Fra Angelico dated circa 1433 Creative Commons CC0 License