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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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Gregory VII: The 10th century and the first half of the 11th were dark days for the Church, partly because the papacy was the pawn of various Roman families. In 1049, things began to change when Pope Leo IX, a reformer, was elected. He brought a young monk named Hildebrand to Rome as his counselor and special representative on important missions. He was to become Gregory VII. 
<p>Three evils plagued the Church then: simony (the buying and selling of sacred offices and things), the unlawful marriage of the clergy and lay investiture (kings and nobles controlling the appointment of Church officials). To all of these Hildebrand directed his reformer’s attention, first as counselor to the popes and later (1073-1085) as pope himself. </p><p>Gregory’s papal letters stress the role of bishop of Rome as the vicar of Christ and the visible center of unity in the Church. He is well known for his long dispute with Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV over who should control the selection of bishops and abbots. </p><p>Gregory fiercely resisted any attack on the liberty of the Church. For this he suffered and finally died in exile. He said, “I have loved justice and hated iniquity; therefore I die in exile.” Thirty years later the Church finally won its struggle against lay investiture.</p> American Catholic Blog In Christ, true God and true man, our humanity was taken to God. Christ opened the path to us. If we entrust our life to him, if we let ourselves be guided by him, we are certain to be in safe hands, in the hands of our Savior.

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