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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.

June 14
St. Albert Chmielowski
(1845-1916)


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Born in Igolomia near Kraków as the eldest of four children in a wealthy family, he was christened Adam. During the 1864 revolt against Czar Alexander III, Adam’s wounds forced the amputation of his left leg.

His great talent for painting led to studies in Warsaw, Munich and Paris. Adam returned to Kraków and became a Secular Franciscan. In 1888 he took the name Albert when he founded the Brothers of the Third Order of Saint Francis, Servants to the Poor. They worked primarily with the homeless, depending completely on alms while serving the needy, regardless of age, religion or politics. A community of Albertine sisters was established later.

Pope John Paul II beatified him in 1983 and canonized him six years later.



Comment:

Reflecting on his own priestly vocation, Pope John Paul II wrote in 1996 that Brother Albert had played a role in its formation "because I found in him a real spiritual support and example in leaving behind the world of art, literature and the theater, and in making the radical choice of a vocation to the priesthood" (Gift and Mystery: On the Fiftieth Anniversay of My Priestly Ordination, p. 33). As a young priest, Karol Wojtyla repaid his debt of gratitude by writing The Brother of Our God, a play about Brother Albert’s life.

Quote:

The first reading at the canonization included Isaiah 58:6 (“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?”). The pope referred to this passage and said: “This is the theology of messianic liberation, which contains what we are accustomed to calling today the ‘option for the poor’.... In this tireless, heroic service on behalf of the marginalized and the poor, he [Albert] ultimately found his path. He found Christ. He took upon himself Christ’s yoke and burden; he did not become merely ‘one of those who give alms,’ but became the brother to those he served...” (L'Osservatore Romano 1989, Vol. 49, No. 9).


Saturday, June 14, 2014
Saint of the Day for 6/13/2014 Saint of the Day for 6/15/2014

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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Jacopone da Todi: Jacomo, or James, was born a noble member of the Benedetti family in the northern Italian city of Todi. He became a successful lawyer and married a pious, generous lady named Vanna. 
<p>His young wife took it upon herself to do penance for the worldly excesses of her husband. One day Vanna, at the insistence of Jacomo, attended a public tournament. She was sitting in the stands with the other noble ladies when the stands collapsed. Vanna was killed. Her shaken husband was even more disturbed when he realized that the penitential girdle she wore was for his sinfulness. On the spot, he vowed to radically change his life. </p><p>He divided his possessions among the poor and entered the Secular Franciscan Order (once known as the Third Order). Often dressed in penitential rags, he was mocked as a fool and called Jacopone, or "Crazy Jim," by his former associates. The name became dear to him. </p><p>After 10 years of such humiliation, Jacopone asked to be a member of the Order of Friars Minor(First Order). Because of his reputation, his request was initially refused. He composed a beautiful poem on the vanities of the world, an act that eventually led to his admission into the Order in 1278. He continued to lead a life of strict penance, declining to be ordained a priest. Meanwhile he was writing popular hymns in the vernacular. </p><p>Jacopone suddenly found himself a leader in a disturbing religious movement among the Franciscans. The Spirituals, as they were called, wanted a return to the strict poverty of Francis. They had on their side two cardinals of the Church and Pope Celestine V. These two cardinals, though, opposed Celestine’s successor, Boniface VIII. At the age of 68, Jacopone was excommunicated and imprisoned. Although he acknowledged his mistake, Jacopone was not absolved and released until Benedict XI became pope five years later. He had accepted his imprisonment as penance. He spent the final three years of his life more spiritual than ever, weeping "because Love is not loved." During this time he wrote the famous Latin hymn, <i>Stabat Mater</i>. </p><p>On Christmas Eve in 1306 Jacopone felt that his end was near. He was in a convent of the Poor Clares with his friend, Blessed John of La Verna. Like Francis, Jacopone welcomed "Sister Death" with one of his favorite songs. It is said that he finished the song and died as the priest intoned the Gloria from the midnight Mass at Christmas. From the time of his death, Brother Jacopone has been venerated as a saint.</p> American Catholic Blog By immersing our lives in the rhythm of the season, charity can flood our souls and fill us with the happiness for which we were created. We awake Christmas morning prepared to celebrate the birth of our Savior not as a memory but as a profound experience of God’s redemptive love.

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