According to tradition, St. Peter sent Apollinaris to Ravenna, Italy, as its first bishop. His preaching of the Good News was so successful that the pagans there beat him and drove him from the city. He returned, however, and was exiled a second time. After preaching in the area surrounding Ravenna, he entered the city again. After being cruelly tortured, he was put on a ship heading to Greece. Pagans there caused him to be expelled to Italy, where he went to Ravenna for a fourth time. He died from wounds received during a savage beating at Classis, a suburb of Ravenna. A beautiful basilica honoring him was built there in the sixth century.
Following Jesus involves risks—sometimes the supreme risk of life itself. Martyrs are people who would rather accept the risk of death than deny the cornerstone of their whole life: faith in Jesus Christ. Everyone will die eventually—the persecutors and those persecuted. The question is what kind of a conscience people will bring before the Lord for judgment. Remembering the witness of past and present martyrs can help us make the often-small sacrifices that following Jesus today may require.
During his remarks prior to the Regina Caeli on May 7, 2000, Blessed John Paul II noted that later that day at Rome's Colosseum he would participate in an ecumenical service honoring 20th-century martyrs. He said, “It is the same paschal light that shines in them. Indeed, it is from Christ's resurrection that the disciples receive the strength to follow the Master in their hour of trial.” What the pope said of those martyrs is true of all martyrs for Christ, including today's saint.
Today we also commemorate in the Latin Calendar S. Liborius, Bishop. A story about this commemoration can be found by Clicking Here.
St. Liborius, Bishop of Mans, Confessor
HE was descended of a noble Gaulish family, and by his innocence and sanctity of life was recommended to the priesthood in the church of Mans. He loved retirement and prayer, never conversed with seculars but on spiritual accounts, and linked himself only with those among the clergy whose actions and words were such as might inspire him more and more with the spirit of his state. His distinguished learning and virtue fixed all eyes upon him, and in 348 he was chosen fourth bishop of Mans. Indefatigable in all the functions of his charge, he prayed and fasted much, and was most attentive in succouring the necessities of the poor, by that means to draw down the blessing of God upon himself and his flock. He built and endowed many new churches in his diocess, and having governed it forty-nine years, died about the year 397. His remains were translated to Paderborn in 836, and he is honoured as patron of that city. See Tillemont, t. 10, p. 307. Fleury, l. 28, n. 61, p. 495.
From age seven on, Bridget had visions of Christ crucified. Her visions formed the basis for her activity—always with the emphasis on charity rather than spiritual favors.
She lived her married life in the court of the Swedish king Magnus II. Mother of eight children (the second eldest was St. Catherine of Sweden), she lived the strict life of a penitent after her husband’s death.
Bridget constantly strove to exert her good influence over Magnus; while never fully reforming, he did give her land and buildings to found a monastery for men and women. This group eventually expanded into an Order known as the Bridgetines (still in existence).
In 1350, a year of jubilee, Bridget braved a plague-stricken Europe to make a pilgrimage to Rome. Although she never returned to Sweden, her years in Rome were far from happy, being hounded by debts and by opposition to her work against Church abuses.
A final pilgrimage to the Holy Land, marred by shipwreck and the death of her son, Charles, eventually led to her death in 1373. In 1999, she, Saints Catherine of Siena (April 29) and Teresa Benedicts of the Cross (Edith Stein, August 9) were named co-patronesses of Europe.
Bridget’s visions, rather than isolating her from the affairs of the world, involved her in many contemporary issues, whether they be royal policy or the years that the legitimate Bishop of Rome lived in Avignon, France. She saw no contradiction between mystical experience and secular activity, and her life is a testimony to the possibility of a holy life in the marketplace.
Despite the hardships of life and wayward children (not all became saints), Margery Kempe of Lynn says Bridget was “kind and meek to every creature” and “she had a laughing face.”
Patron Saint of:
Humility in Service:
It is easy for some of us to become so concerned with others that we jeopardize our physical and emotional health. We need to take appropriate care of ourselves in order to be able to give to others. Being self-giving to a fault can be as harmful as being self-centered. There is a danger of losing humility.
Quote by S. Padre Pio:
My trust in God increased more and more and I felt increasingly attracted towards Jesus... I would like to shout, to cry out to everyone at the top of my voice: love Jesus ...
Confidence in My Mercy
(Jesus speaks to St. Faustina)
"My daughter, if I demand through you that people revere My mercy, you should be the first to distinguish yourself by this confidence in My mercy. I demand from you deeds of mercy, which are to arise out of love for Me. You are to show mercy to your neighbours always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to excuse or absolve yourself from it". - (Diary No. 742)