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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.

July 9
St. Nicholas Pick and Companions
(d. 1572)


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It is not always possible to choose when and how we will witness to our faith.

In 1568 the Low Countries revolted against Spain. In the northern part (now the Netherlands), the revolt was also directed against Catholicism. This rebellion ultimately led to the recognition in 1648 of an independent Republic of United Provinces (Netherlands).

Nicholas and his companions (11 Franciscans and eight diocesan priests) are also known as "the martyrs of Gorcum," where they were arrested by Calvinist soldiers. They were taken to Briel and urged to renounce the Roman Catholic teaching on Christ’s presence in the Eucharist and on the pope’s primacy. They refused and were hung from crossbeams. The execution was clumsily handled; it took two hours for some of them to strangle. They were canonized in 1867.



Comment:

Notice which teachings were presented to these martyrs. Turning the Eucharist into some vague remembrance of Christ and denying the leadership of the successor of Peter might have seemed easy. Nicholas and his companions knew these teachings were part of God’s plan for his people, and so they would not deny their faith. Both the Eucharist and the successor of Peter will eventually be instrumental in restoring unity among Christians.

Quote:

"'The hour is now at hand,' Father Nicholas said, 'to receive from the hand of the Lord the long desired reward of the struggle, the crown of eternal happiness.' He encouraged them [his companions] not to fear death nor to lose through cowardice the crown prepared for them and soon to be placed on their brows. Finally he prayed that they would joyfully follow the path on which they saw him leading the way. With these and similar words he joyfully mounted the ladder without ceasing to exhort his companions until strangulation deprived him of the use of his voice" (contemporary account of the martyrdom).


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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Exaltation of the Holy Cross: Early in the fourth century St. Helena, mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, went to Jerusalem in search of the holy places of Christ's life. She razed the second-century Temple of Aphrodite, which tradition held was built over the Savior's tomb, and her son built the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher over the tomb. During the excavation, workers found three crosses. Legend has it that the one on which Jesus died was identified when its touch healed a dying woman. 
<p>The cross immediately became an object of veneration. At a Good Friday celebration in Jerusalem toward the end of the fourth century, according to an eyewitness, the wood was taken out of its silver container and placed on a table together with the inscription Pilate ordered placed above Jesus' head: Then "all the people pass through one by one; all of them bow down, touching the cross and the inscription, first with their foreheads, then with their eyes; and, after kissing the cross, they move on." </p><p>To this day the Eastern Churches, Catholic and Orthodox alike, celebrate the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on the September anniversary of the basilica's dedication. The feast entered the Western calendar in the seventh century after Emperor Heraclius recovered the cross from the Persians, who had carried it off in 614, 15 years earlier. According to the story, the emperor intended to carry the cross back into Jerusalem himself, but was unable to move forward until he took off his imperial garb and became a barefoot pilgrim.</p> American Catholic Blog Just as sin came into the world through Eve’s no to God, salvation came into the world through Mary’s yes. She is “blessed” not just among women but among all of humanity. We see in Mary the perfect disciple, the perfect humility, the perfect obedience.

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