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Saint of the Day—available on the iPhone!

Saint of the Day
Catholic saints are holy people and human people who lived extraordinary lives. Each saint the Church honors responded to God's invitation to use his or her unique gifts. God calls each one of us to be a saint. Click here to receive Saint of the Day in your email.

February 8
Servant of God Jacoba of Settesoli
(d. 1239)


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Jacoba, the Roman noblewoman, was a young widow when she heard of the holy man, Francis of Assisi. Desiring to meet the penitent in order to seek his spiritual advice, she got her wish when Francis and his small band came to Rome to obtain papal approval of the Franciscan Rule of life.

Jacoba was so moved by the sermons and talks that Francis gave that she joined the Franciscan Third Order, turned the administration of her possessions over to her two sons and spent the rest of her life in the practice of good works. She furnished a house for the friars in Rome and provided for their needs, acting as a mother to the sick friars.

When Francis neared the time of his death, he sent for her as he had promised, writing to his beloved sister in Christ: "If you wish to find me still alive, make haste so that you will be at St. Mary of the Angels by next Sunday. Bring with you some ash-gray cloth to be used as a shroud for my body, and wax candles for my burial."

But Jacoba and her two sons had already left Rome with the necessary items, having been summoned by a voice that spoke to her while she was in prayer. During the final four days of Francis' life she remained at St. Mary of the Angels ministering to him. With tears she helped the friars to arrange his funeral. Francis was buried in her shroud.

Jacoba returned to Rome to put her affairs in order and then went back to Assisi, where she spent the remaining days of her life watching and praying at the tomb of her spiritual father. She is buried in the church near St. Francis.

Comment:

Many modern women complain about exclusive language when the Scriptures address them as “brothers.” Jacoba had no such complaint when Francis dubbed her Fra [Brother] Jacoba, for she knew he meant it to express her inclusion among the friars to whom she ministered so generously and lovingly. Words often fail to convey reality adequately enough to suit us, but one thing is sure: God’s love, like Francis’, is always inclusive, embracing each and every one of us.


Sunday, February 8, 2015
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Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.



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First Martyrs of the Church of Rome: There were Christians in Rome within a dozen or so years after the death of Jesus, though they were not the converts of the “Apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 15:20). Paul had not yet visited them at the time he wrote his great letter in 57-58 A.D.. 
<p>There was a large Jewish population in Rome. Probably as a result of controversy between Jews and Jewish Christians, the Emperor Claudius expelled all Jews from Rome in 49-50 A.D. Suetonius the historian says that the expulsion was due to disturbances in the city “caused by the certain Chrestus” [Christ]. Perhaps many came back after Claudius’s death in 54 A.D. Paul’s letter was addressed to a Church with members from Jewish and Gentile backgrounds. </p><p>In July of 64 A.D., more than half of Rome was destroyed by fire. Rumor blamed the tragedy on Nero, who wanted to enlarge his palace. He shifted the blame by accusing the Christians. According to the historian Tacitus, many Christians were put to death because of their “hatred of the human race.” Peter and Paul were probably among the victims. </p><p>Threatened by an army revolt and condemned to death by the senate, Nero committed suicide in 68 A.D. at the age of 31.</p> American Catholic Blog While the future may be uncertain to us, we can rest comfortably in the loving control and sovereignty of our Heavenly Father. We can trust his plan, and we can rely upon his fatherly design and control.

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