Spiritual Bouquet: He who would save his life will lose it. St. Mark 8:35
SAINT KATERI TEKAKWITHA
Kateri Tekakwitha, known as “the Lily of the Mohawk”, was born in 1656 of a captive Algonquin mother and an Iroquois chieftain. Her mother was a Christian but dared not baptize Kateri or her younger brother. When an epidemic of smallpox broke out in 1660, the little girl lost her mother and brother, perhaps also her father at that time; she herself nearly succumbed to the malady.
Her uncle, who adopted her, later wanted her to marry a young Iroquois her own age, but she refused, having already experienced the horror of the Iroquois brutalities. When in 1675 Father Jacques de Lamberville, Jesuit missionary, discovered on the banks of the Mohawk River this “beautiful lily”, he transplanted her to the mission of St. Francis Xavier near Montreal, which had been founded a few years before. She received her first Communion there on Christmas day of 1676.
In 1679, on the feast of the Annunciation, with the authorization of one of the Fathers at the mission, Kateri privately pronounced a vow of perpetual chastity and consecrated herself to the Blessed Virgin. From that time on, she and her rosary were inseparable. Her health had never been strong, and her penances contributed to weakening it further. It was during Holy Week of 1680 that this young Indian maiden quietly expired, invoking the names of Jesus and Mary. Miracles and favors were attributed to her soon after her death.
In 1943, Pope Pius XII admitted the cause of beatification, approving the decree on the heroism of her virtues. Saint Kateri had appeared to some Polish prisoners during World War II, telling them she was named a patron of their country and brought about their release. They described to the Jesuits of their own country, the young Indian girl whom they had all seen in their vision, and learned who she was — Kateri, Lily of the Mohawk, the Canadian Indian girl who had attained sanctity very young and died at the age of 24 years. She was beatified in 1980, canonized in 1991.
Source: Nos Gloires de l’Église du Canada, by Brother G. Champagne, E.C., (F.E.C. Publications: Montreal, 1984).
Saint Anicetus, the eleventh successor of Saint Peter, succeeded to Saint Pius I and reigned for eleven years. During that time he had to combat in particular the dangerous errors of gnosticism, Christ’s ancient enemy, already rampant in the days when Saint John the Apostle wrote his letters to the churches of Asia. Saint Anicetus was visited in Rome by Saint Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, who desired to consult with him, and whom he in turn asked to celebrate the feast of Easter in the Church of Rome, as Saint Ireneus, Polycarp’s disciple, relates. They had not been able to find a solution to the question of a difference in the date of Easter in the Orient and the Occident, which Pope Saint Victor would later settle, but remained close friends. Saint Anicetus’ vigilance protected his flock from the wiles of the false preachers Valentine and Marcion, who were attempting to corrupt the faith in the capital of the empire.
Saint Anicetus established the tonsure for the clergy as a practice of ecclesiastical discipline; a letter to this purpose, which he wrote to the bishops of the churches of Gaul, is still extant.
The Roman Breviary tells us that he received the palm of martyrdom for the Christian faith, one month after the death of the Emperor Antoninus the Pious. Of the first fifty-four bishops of Rome, as they are seen portrayed in the Basilica of Saint Paul in Rome, fifty-three are honored among the Saints; and of two hundred and forty-eight popes, from Saint Peter to Clement XII (†1740), seventy-eight are named in the Roman martyrology. In the primitive ages the spirit of fervor and perfect sanctity was conspicuous in most of the faithful, and especially in their pastors. The whole tenor of their lives breathed it, in such wise as to render them living miracles, angels on earth, breathing copies of their Divine Redeemer, the odor of whose virtues and holy law and religion they spread on every side.
Reflection. We find an example of true friendship in the fashion Saint Anicet honored Saint Polycarp, in the absence of a complete understanding. Let us judge by this rule whether our love and our friendship for God is sovereign. Does inconstancy, manifested in our words or acts, never betray the insincerity of our heart? If, after making protestations of inviolable friendship and affection for a fellow-creature, we ceased to honor him when our reason and his did not perfectly concur, would not the whole world justly call our pretended friendship a mockery?
Sources: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 4; Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).