Is there someone to pray to if your garden plants need help? Pray to St. Fiacre!
Who is Saint Monica?
Sr. Mary Ignatia Gavin was a music teacher for 21 years. But at age 39, she suffered a nervous breakdown, and decided to leave teaching.
In 1928, she was assigned as a registration clerk in the admissions office of the Sisters of Charity’s new hospital in Akron, Ohio. Here at St. Thomas Hospital she met Dr. Bob Smith, a recovering alcoholic, who co-founded Alcoholics Anonymous. The two soon became friends.
Dr. Smith and Bill Wilson (another recovering alcoholic) had just published a book, outlining the 12 steps of spiritual healing for alcoholics. But in order for this healing to occur, Dr. Smith needed to find a hospital willing to provide care for the alcoholic’s medical needs. In the summer of 1939, he asked Sr. Ignatia for help in finding a hospital where alcoholics could detox as they learned to live without alcohol. It was a risky request, because alcoholism was seen as a character defect rather than a disease requiring treatment.
But Sr. Ignatia wouldn’t be deterred. She admitted alcogolic men into the hospital during shift changes and before nursing supervisors could object. Eventually Dr. Smith and the nun convinced hospital officials to change their policy.
When alcoholic patients left the hospital, Sr, Ignatia would give them a Sacred Heart medallion, representing their commitment to God. If they were going to drink, she’d say they should return the medal first.
Sr. Mary Ignatia died April 1, 1966, in Cleveland, Ohio, and her funeral was celebrated on this day.
Courtesy of “The Little Black Book”
Mount Tabor, rising dome-like from the Plain of Jezreel, is the mountain where Christian tradition places the Transfiguration of Jesus.
Mount Tabor with Franciscan monastery on top (Seetheholyland.net)
Mount Tabor with Franciscan monastery on top (Seetheholyland.net)
Scholars disagree on whether Mount Tabor was the scene of that event (described in Matthew 17:1-9; Mark 9: 2-8 and Luke 9:28-36). However, it has throughout history been a place of mystique and atmosphere, where humanity has sought contact with the divine.
Its unique contours — variously described as “breast-shaped”, “hump-backed” and “resembling an upside down tea cup” — captured the imagination of ancient peoples who attached to it supernatural qualities.
Mount Tabor stands some 420 metres above the plain in lower Galilee, 7km east of Nazareth. It held a strategic position at the junction of trade routes. Many battles have been fought at its foot.
In the Old Testament, Mount Tabor is described as a sacred mountain and a place for worship. It is not mentioned by name in the New Testament.
Location of Transfiguration is questioned
Church buildings on Mount Tabor (Wikimedia)
The Gospel accounts of the Transfiguration — a momentous event in which Peter, James and John were introduced to the divine incarnation of Christ, the God-Man — do not specify the place. They simply say it was a “high mountain” in Galilee.
Christian tradition in the early centuries named the mountain as Tabor. This location is cited in early apocryphal writings and was accepted by the Syriac and Byzantine churches.
Many biblical scholars now question this tradition. Mount Tabor’s location does not fit well into events before and after the Transfiguration. At the time, a Hasmonean fortress stood on the summit.
And would Tabor be considered a “high mountain”, especially compared to other mountains in the vicinity? (It’s actually more than 200 metres lower than Jerusalem.)
These scholars see the much higher Mount Hermon as a more likely location.
Nevertheless, a succession of churches and a monastery were built on Mount Tabor from the fourth century.
Courtest of seetheholyland.net
St. Fiacre (Fiachra) is not mentioned in the earlier Irish calendars, but it is said that he was born in Ireland and that he sailed over into France in quest of closer solitude, in which he might devote himself to God, unknown to the world. He arrived at Meaux, where Saint Faro, who was the bishop of that city, gave him a solitary dwelling in a forest which was his own patrimony, called Breuil, in the province of Brie. There is a legend that St. Faro offered him as much land as he could turn up in a day, and that St. Fiacre, instead of driving his furrow with a plough, turned the top of the soil with the point of his staff. The anchorite cleared the ground of trees and briers, made himself a cell with a garden, built an oratory in honor of the Blessed Virgin, and made a hospice for travelers which developed into the village of Saint-Fiacre in Seine-et-Marne. Many resorted to him for advice, and the poor, for relief. His charity moved him to attend cheerfully those that came to consult him; and in his hospice he entertained all comers, serving them with his own hands, and sometimes miraculously restored to health those that were sick. He never allowed any woman to enter the enclosure of his hermitage, and Saint Fiacre extended the prohibition even to his chapel; several rather ill-natured legends profess to account for it. Others tell us that those who attempted to transgress, were punished by visible judgements, and that, for example, in 1620 a lady of Paris, who claimed to be above this rule, going into the oratory, became distracted upon the spot and never recovered her senses; whereas Anne of Austria, Queen of France, was content to offer up her prayers outside the door, amongst the other pilgrims.
Courtesy of Catholic Online
Image of St. Monica
Saint Monica, also known as Monica of Hippo, is St. Augustine of Hippo’s mother. She was born in 331 A.D. in Tagaste, which is present-day Algeria.
When she was very young, she was married off to the Roman pagan Patricius, who shared his mother’s violent temper. Patricius’ mother lived with the couple and the duo’s temper flares proved to be a constant challenge to young Monica.
While Monica’s prayers and Christian deeds bothered Patricius, he is said to have respected her beliefs.
Three children were born to Monica and Patricius: Augustine, Navigius, and Perpetua. Unfortunately, Monica was unable to baptize her children and when Augustine fell ill, Monica pleaded with Patricius to allow their son to be baptized.
Patricius allowed it, but when Augustine was healthy again, he withrew his permission.
For years Monica prayed for her husband and mother-in-law, until finally, one year before Patricius’ death, she successfully converted them.
As time passed, Perpetua and Navigius entered the religious life, but unfortunately Augustine became lazy and uncouth. This greatly worried Monica, so when Patricius died, she sent the 17-year-old Augustine to Carthage for schooling.
While in Carthage, Augustine became a Manichaean, which was a major religion that saw the world as light and darkness, and when one died, they were removed from the world of matter and returned to the world of light, which is where life comes from.
After Augustine got his education and returned home, he shared his views with Monica, who drove him from her table. Though it is not recorded how much time passed, Monica had a vision that convinced her to reconcile with her wayward son.
Monica went to a bishop, who told her, “the child of those tears shall never perish.”
Inspired, Monica followed Augustine to Rome, where she learned he had left for Milan. She continued her persual and eventually came upon St. Ambrose, who helped her convert Augustine to Christianity following his seventeen-year resistance.
Augustine later wrote a book called Confessions, in which he wrote of Monica’s habit of bringing “to certain oratories, erected in the memory of the saints, offerings of porridge, bread, water and wine.”
When Monica moved to Milan, a bishop named Ambrose told her wine “might be an occasion of gluttony for those who were already given to drink,” so she stopped preparing wine as offerings for the saints.
Augustine wrote: “In place of a basket filled with fruits of the earth, she had learned to bring to the oratories of the martyrs a heart full of purer petitions, and to give all that she could to the poor – so that the communion of the Lord’s body might be rightly celebrated in those places where, after the example of his passion, the martyrs had been sacrificed and crowned.”
After a period of six months, Augustine was baptized in the church of St. John the Baptist at Milan. The pair were led to believe they should spread the Word of God to Africa, but it the Roman city of Civitavecchia, Monica passed away.
Augustine recorded the words she imparted upon him when she realized death was near. “Son, nothing in this world now affords me delight. I do not know what there is now left for me to do or why I am still here, all my hopes in this world being now fulfilled.”
She was buried at Ostia, and her body was removed during the 6th century to a hidden crypt in the church of Santa Aurea in Osta, near the tomb of St. Aurea of Ostia.
In 1430, Pope Martin V ordered her relics to be brought to Rome and many miracles were reported to have occurred along the way. Later, Cardinal d’Estouteville built a church to honor St. Augustine called the Basilica di Sant’Agostino, where her relics were placed in a chapel to the left of the high altar.
Courtesy of Catholic Online