Saint Adrian of Nicodemia: The Experience That Made Him A Saint

Saint Adrian of Nicodemia was also known as Saint Hadrian. He was a pagan, as many of his time were, and he served as an officer at the imperial court of Nicodemia.  At the time of the Roman Empire, Christians were often ridiculed and persecuted for their belief in one God.  Pagan belief centered on faith in many gods.  Saint Adrian was originally a pagan but was not particularly religious in any way.
One might ask how a man of little if any faith at all went from pagan prison guard to Christian saint.  It was a meeting with a group of persecuted Christians that would change Saint Adrian and ultimately lead to his martyrdom.

As a prison guard, Adrian would be in charge of watching over a group of prisoners.  One day, a group of Christians that were being tortured and marked for execution came under his guard.  At first, he thought they were silly, devoting their lives to Christianity and sacrificing their lives for a belief in one God, that would get them nowhere.  He decided to ask them why they were so ready to sacrifice their lives for Christianity. They responded by saying, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). These words, and the courage that this group showed, so impressed Saint Adrian that he publicly declared himself a christian. His immediate imprisonment followed, and he was excruciatingly tortured along with the others.  He was then put to a horrible death, having his limbs cut off one by one, and he was eventually beheaded. As the Roman soldiers began to collect the remains for burning, a violent bolt of lightning came down and struck many of them, the rest went  fleeing.

Upon hearing this, Christians flocked to the site of Adrian and the other Christians remains and gave them Christian rites and a proper cremation.  They were so moved by these events that they made Adrian a saint pre-congregation, which simply means he was made a saint before the modern day system was set up.  Saint Adrian is known as the patron saint of prison guards and soldiers, as well as arms dealers, butchers and communications phenomena.  For many ages he was the chief military saint of Northern Europe.  He is especially revered in Flanders, Germany and in the north of France. He is often represented as being armed with and anvil in his hands or at his feet.

The feast of Saint Adrian is celebrated alone on September 8th in the Roman Catholic Church.  However, in the Eastern Orthodox Church he is celebrated on September 8th along with his wife, Natalia, who also converted to Christianity along with Adrian.

The events leading to Adrian becoming a saint are questioned historically.  It is believed that there may have been two Adrians that suffered martyrdom in Nicodemia around the same time, one under Diocletian, and one under Licinius. Whether or not the story is completely accurate it serves as a story of inspiration for all Catholics and Christians.  Saint Adrian was so moved by the courage of Christians and the love he felt from God when he opened his heart to Him.  He was not afraid to die, and proudly professed his faith.  He knew God would be there with open arms to welcome him into  the kingdom of Heaven.

Saint William of Rochester: Patron Saint of Adopted Children

Saint William of Rochester, also known as Saint William of Perth was born in Perth, a very well known town in Scotland at the time. He was a wild, and mischievous child but, as he grew he devoted himself to God and to the service of God. Some accounts say he was a fisherman, others say he was a baker who set aside every tenth loaf of bread for the poor. By either account he was a kind and generous man of God.

He was known to attend mass each and every day. One very early morning. while it was still quite dark outside, he found an abandoned child in the threshold of the church. Saint William adopted this child and taught him his trade and all that he knew. He named him “Cockermay Doucri,” which is Scots for “David the Foundling.” They took a vow and travelled to visit the Holy places together. They stopped at Rochester and stayed there for three days. They were planning on heading to Canterbury, and then possibly on to Jerusalem. It was then that events took a very sad turn. David, betraying his adopted father purposely misled William to take a short cut. David planned on robbing William and in the midst of the robbery he violently hit him over the head, and slit his throat. Saint William was dead, at the hand of his adopted son, to whom he had taught everything he knew.

Soon after William’s death, David had disappeared and left his body in the very spot he had murdered him for his money. William’s body was discovered by a woman who was known to many as being one stricken with madness. She collected honeysuckle and made a garland of it, first placing it on William’s head, then on her own. It it said that from this very moment her madness left her and she became free of her burden. When the monks learned of her tale, they carried the body of William to Rochester and buried him at the cathedral. They honored him as a martyr because he died while on a noble and holy journey. The people acclaimed William as a saint because of the miracle of the mad woman.

While some might look at Saint William’s story and see it as a cautionary tale to trust no one, it is actually quite the opposite. William took David under his wing and taught him well. He gave him a loving home, holy and practical training, and every tool to a successful happy life. As parents, we must all teach our children well and give them these tools. The only hope for mankind to stay on a path of God is through the future generations. We must also accept though, that no matter how good we are to our children, and how well they are taught, some still stray from God. It is our duty to give them the love and the tools, but it is up to them to maintain a relationship with God. David was tempted by evil and greed. He killed his father and with that sin his father became a martyr and a saint. In death William helped a madwoman shed her burden and he performed miracles that helped many. William did what was right, and though it cost him his life, in death he became a saint. He remains with God in Heaven.

The Life of Saint Wenceslaus: Patron Saint of Bohemia

It was uncommon for political people in history to stand up against the majority. There were many persecutors and the risk of death was too great. Saint Wenceslaus knew this but it didn’t keep him from infusing Christianity into the government of Bohemia.

The Life of Saint Wenceslaus

Saint Wenceslaus was the son of the Duke of Bohemia. His grandmother, Ludmilla, raised him as a Christian, despite his mother’s anti-Christian beliefs. Sadly, grandmother Ludmilla was later killed because of her Christian beliefs.

Most would think that Saint Wenceslaus would not be able to succeed his father’s role in the Bohemia government, but that was not what happened. Christian rivals made it possible for Wenceslaus to become the ruler of Bohemia.

In his ruling, he supported the Church. He also met with Germany to begin peace negotiations. This infuriated anti-Christians. His brother was anti-Christian like his mom. One day, his brother Boleslav invited Wenceslaus to the celebration of St. Cosmas and Damian. When Wenceslaus was on his way to Mass, his brother attacked him. In their struggle, Wenceslaus was killed by his brother’s supporters. Upon his death, Christians proclaimed him as a martyr for his faith despite opposition. He was buried and his grave is a shrine now. He is known as the patron or Saint of Bohemia.

What We Can Learn from St. Wenceslaus

Most politicians do not factor in God’s teachings in how they run the government. When they do, they usually meet opposition from anti-Christians, just as in the case of St. Wenceslaus.

What must be remembered about St. Wenceslaus is that he didn’t let that stand in his way. He knew there was a chance he would be killed for his beliefs, just as his grandmother was, but he didn’t let his faith falter. Many of us would live much closer to God if we adopted the faith St. Wenceslaus had. Many of us fear that if we stand against others, we will be punished by them. However, what happens when we stand up against God? Well, we end up turning away from Him. God has put us on Earth to help him not to go against Him. Being true to God means delivering the message He wants passed on to Earth.

How We Can Bring God Closer

Try to get involved in community activities to do good according to God. You can be of great influence to the community if you just take the time to deliver God’s message. Do things that please God. Helping the poor, encouraging peace, and helping others do the same can deliver God’s message in a way that helps people see your beliefs are for good, not for corruption. By taking an active role in your community, or local government, you can bring God closer to you and many others. If you do your part in delivering God’s message, and others do the same, our communities and life will continue to receive God’s good graces.

Saint Ambrose: Latin Doctor of the Church

Nowadays, there is a somewhat hazy division between the government and church. While some of the decisions of the government affect the church, not all of the decisions the government makes is affected by the church. Back in the 4th century, this was not the case. The government and church were intertwined. The ruler of the government religious beliefs were what framed the entire area that government ruled. This is how St. Ambrose influenced Milan with the Catholic Church’s teachings.

St. Ambrose was born somewhere in between 337 and 340, and he was raised in Trier. His father was a huge political figure, but he died at an early age. St. Ambrose went to school in Rome to learn literature, law and rhetoric.
He started his political career as a council member, and quickly became counsular prefect. Counsular prefect was another name for Governor. He was Governor of Liguria and Emilia.

This political status led him to be recommended for Bishop of Milan. St. Ambrose did not want to take this offer because he felt he was not right for it since he was not baptized. St. Ambrose hid from the emperor of the time, Emperor Gratian. He hid in a home, but the host uncovered him when a letter was sent from Emperor Gratian commending him of all he had done. After about a week, St. Ambrose was baptized, ordained, and became bishop of Milan. Unfortunately, he became bishop during a very frightening time in the diocese of Milan. There was a great conflict between Catholics and Arians.

He is known to have calmed down the conflict arising from the Arians, and integrating Catholicism into the area much more than it was. He also is known for being highly generous to the poor. He gave all of his money to the poor, and gave up all of his land. His sister, Marcellina was also religious and became a nun. He would care for her also with the money he made.
Due to St. Ambrose’s education and influence, he was named as a Doctor of the Church. This is quite an honor because it signifies his great contribution to the church in its formation.

What We Can Learn from Saint Ambrose

Saint Ambrose wanted peace in the land. While he did not reject Arians, he did want to calm the conflict between them and Catholics, which is what he did. In that, he was able to show Arians the power of God, and what He can do for them.
Through his example of generousity, St. Ambrose taught many people the importance of what it means to give to the poor. When we give to the poor, we do what God does all the time – we provide them comfort. Many people become poor not because of their own doing, but because of poor situations. It’s just like someone becoming ill. We should help them, and make their life less of a struggle because that is what God wants for them.

Even if people become poor because their own doing, it’s important to know that God forgives, and helps people get back on their feet. You can do God’s work by helping them.

St. Alphonsus: Yardstick for Moral Theology

When you commit a sin, how guilty do you feel? Do you often feel bad for a few minutes, hours or days, and then let it go? If you do, you are normal. This is what most people do. When they commit a sin, they ask God for forgiveness, and then accept they are not perfect. St. Alphonsus was not like that though. He suffered from a psychological disorder called scrupulosity. This disorder caused him to feel incredible guilt over moral and religious issues. He justified his disorder by saying this:

Scruples are useful in the beginning of conversion…they cleanse the soul, and at the same time make it careful.

There’s much more to know about St. Alphonsus, and especially the reasons why he felt so strongly about sin.

St. Alphonsus was born in 1696 into Neapolitan nobility. When he reached the age of sixteen, he went to law school to become a lawyer. He wasn’t happy being a lawyer though. He felt there was too much sin, and risk in it. After he lost a case, he left his legal career. He decided he was better suited for a career in religion.

He decided to attend the Oratory of St. Philip Neri to become a priest. Upon becoming a priest, he moved in with the homeless and marginalized youth providing comfort by preaching God’s Word. After some time, he decided to found the Evening Chapels. These were chapels managed by the youth to provide a place to pray, preach, play, and educate other youth.

St. Alphonsus had a great ability to preach to people in a way that converted them to the faith. For this reason, Sister Maria Celest Crostarosa came to him to reveal that God wanted him to found a congregation. This led St. Alphonsus to found the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer where the poor could come to receive God’s Word.

In 1762, St. Alphonsus received the great honor of becoming Bishop of Sant’Agata dei Goti. During his term, he decided to write many sermons, books, and articles about the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the importance of showing devotion to her.

A Closer Look at St. Alphonsus Morals

While many will say that St. Alphonsus had a psychological disorder, it might have been just an intense passion for religious order. Yes, it’s clear why he could not remain a lawyer. How could you when the legal system is full of sin and moral dilemmas?

St. Alphonsus took some time to get to his true mission in life, which was to serve God. He did something great for the youth of Naples by showing them right from wrong. He also showed them the power God could have on their life. These poor people were suffering, and he gave them a gift. He gave them the knowledge that God is with them even though they are poor. He showed them that they could depend on God to help them through life no matter if they are poor, sick, or any other of life difficulties.

The Life of St. Andrew the Apostle

Have you ever wondered how Christianity started, and how it lived through thousands of years? St. Andrew’s life answers both of those questions. He was one of the forefathers of our church, and his story is one that will give you great pride to be a Catholic.

The Apostles were the first founders of the church. They delivered God’s message all over trying to convert as many people to the Christian faith as possible. The problem was that many did not believe in Christianity at the time, and many killed Christians because of that disbelief. St. Andrew took great risks in his life to deliver the word of God to everyone, and that led him to a torturous death.

St. Andrew began his Christian life by preaching God to the people of Byzantium and Thrace. He then travelled to Danube, Epirus in Greece, Peloponnesos, and then to the Black Sea in Russia. While in Russia, he took a Cross and placed it on a mountain. He told the people that Russia would have a bright Christian future.

St. Andrew converted many people to Christianity in Russia. He even went as far as to try to convert the brother and wife of the Russian ruler at that time, Proconsul Aegeates. This is what led to his abomination. When the Proconsul Aegeates found out, he ordered him to torture and crucifixion.

St. Andrew was hung on a cross just like Christ was. While he was still alive on the cross, he continued to speak to the Christian people to tell them what to do to continue Christianity. The people were captivated by him, and wanted to take him down from the cross. However, St. Andrew accepted his fate and God’s will. He told them he would remain on the cross to die.

St. Andrew prayed to God while he was on the cross. While he did, a bright light appeared around him. This light lasted for a half hour. Once the light disappeared, the Apostle gave up his soul to God, and he took his last breath.

St. Andrew was one of the first 12 Apostles. He did what the Lord asked of him. He went around the countries delivering Christianity to those who did not know about it, or did not believe it. He converted many, and gave them the knowledge and faith they needed to convert others.

Why We Need to Remember St. Andrew

The reason why we have Christianity today is because of these first Apostles, like St. Andrew. They did whatever they had to do to make Christianity live and grow. If it weren’t for their strength, and their bravery to show that the Christian faith is deep enough to suffer through torture for it, Christianity might not have made it through thousands of years.

As you sit to pray today, remember St. Andrew and all of the other Apostles that gave their life for the Lord. The reason why you pray, and know of our great Lord is because of them, so they deserve appreciation for everything they did for you, and for everyone.

Saint Anastasia: Patron Saint of Widows

Many saints during the time of Christian persecution chose suffering over denying God. However, not many saints actually showed the signs of their sainthood during their persecution. St. Anastasia escaped torture and death many times before she was finally killed. She was a special saint with God by her side along the way, and many people saw the amazement of her.

When Saint Anastasia was born, her father was a pagan and her mother was secretly a Christian. She refused to let anyone know because at that time she would have been killed. Unfortunately, her mother died at a young age, and her father made her marry a fellow pagan – Pablius.

Even though Pablius believed he would have sex with his wife, St. Anastasia remained a virgin by telling him that she was sick all the time.

In disguise, St. Anastasia spent her time helping  prisoners. She would feed them, and care for them if they were ill. These prisoners were not ones who were being held due to horrible crimes, these were the ones who were captured because they believed in God.

Unfortunately, her good deeds in disguise did not remain hidden for long. Her husband found out. He had her beaten and locked up for what she was doing for the Christians.

While locked up, she started to communicate with St. Chrysogonus. He suggested that she be patient, turn to God in times of need, and accept His will. St. Chrysogonus also predicted her husband’s death by sea. Sure enough, soon after his prediction, St. Anastasia’s husband drowned.

When her husband died, she took their property and divided it among the poor. She then travelled all around the cities preaching to Christian prisoners. She also helped to care for them medically by healing their wounds. Since she helped so many people recover from poisons, she was named Deliverer from Potions.

After some time though, she was captured again. The pagan who captured her offered her riches or torturous tools. She chose the torturous tools because she would rather suffer than have to deny God. The pagan gave her three days to change her mind, and then tried to rape her. When he touched her though, he went blind. His head started to ache as well, and he screamed loudly, just like a madman. He hurried over to the pagan temple for help, but died before he could get there.

While she escaped death and torture many times, there came a time when she did end up being killed for her Christian beliefs. She was stretched between four pillars, and a fire was set beneath her. She was burned alive. What’s amazing is that her body was unscathed. A women by the name of Apollinaria buried St. Anastasia’s body in a garden, but her body was just as it was before the burning.

St. Anastasia’s story is one of strength, perseverance and the power of the Lord. Remember her story when you are going through a difficult time in your life. Anything is possible in life when you have faith in God.

St. Emilia: The Mother of Five Saints

As we get ready to celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Christ, lets take a look at another notable mother, St. Emilia.
Sometimes St. Emilia is also known as St. Amelia. St. Emilia was truly blessed. Not only was she able to have ten children, but five of them were considered saints of the church. You couldn’t ask for better children. While there isn’t much information about St. Emilia’s life, there’s enough to show how good her heart and soul was in the faith. Most notably, St. Emilia was the mother to Saint Basil the Great. She was also mother to St. Macrina, St. Peter of Sebaste, St. Gregory of Nyssa, and St. Theosebia. When she had her children, her first and only job was to instill the Holy Orthodox faith in them. She taught them how to pray to God. She also taught and showed them how they could live their life in service of Him.

In her life, she suffered one of the greatest heartaches as a mother; she lost one of her children. This was devastating to her, but her youngest daughter St. Macrina came to her aide by reminding her to take comfort in the Lord. When all of her children were grown, St. Emilia decided to leave her home to find a monastery in a secluded area. Her youngest daughter Macrina came with her. She lived a very meager life while at the monastery. She split up all of her land between her children, and only left enough for her to get by in the new living place While she didn’t plan for anyone else besides her daughter to join her at the monastery, a group of female slaves decided to move in. Due to this gathering, the monastery became a convent. The convent valued fasting and poverty. They found it to be what God truly wanted people to live in. Their community was untouched by negative emotions such as, anger, jealousy, and hatred. They had nothing but pride for their life in seclusion, and took delight in pleasing the Lord in this way.

What We Can Learn from St. Emilia

St. Emilia’s devoted her life to giving birth to the next generation of Christians. She instilled Christian faith in her children at a young age, and then when they were grown she showed them that she practiced what she preached. Most people would never think of dividing all their assets among their children before death, but that’s what St. Emilia did. She knew that God would provide her whatever she needed while in seclusion.

Her dedication to the Lord is admirable. This might be why the slaves came to join her. They must have heard about how she gave up everything she had to live for the Lord, and they were intrigued by this – they wanted to join her in the special way she was devoting herself to God.

By not only instilling God’s faith in her children, she also did for the slaves. This is pleasing to God, and something everyone should keep in mind as they live their life. Bringing your children before God to show them how important he is, and then doing what God wants you to do in your life is how you can follow St. Emilia’s example.

Pope Benedict Beatifies John Newman

“Around 50,000 Catholics gathered in Birmingham’s Crofton Park this morning to witness the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman by the Pope.

The beatification of the Victorian cardinal, who converted from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism, is the first to take place under Pope Benedict XVI and the first ever to be performed in Britain.

The cool temperatures and overcast sky gave the open-air Mass a more somber tone than those held in Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park on Thursday and London’s Hyde Park yesterday.

Addressing the crowds, the Pope acknowledged the sacrifice and bravery of Britons in the Battle of Britain, the seventieth anniversary of which is being marked today.

“For me as one who lived and suffered through the dark days of the Nazi regime in Germany, it is deeply moving to be here on this occasion, and to recall how many of your fellow citizens sacrificed their lives, courageously resisting the forces of that evil ideology,” he said.

“My thoughts go in particular to nearby Coventry, which suffered such heavy bombardment and massive loss of life in November 1940.

“Seventy years later, we recall with shame and horror the dreadful toll of death and destruction that war brings in its wake, and we renew our resolve to work for peace and reconciliation wherever the threat of conflict looms.”” – “Pope Beatifies John Newman before 50,000Faithful in Birmingham”, Christian Today

It was great to hear about the stellar turnout to see the beatification of John Newman this morning from this posting put up on Christian Today earlier today. To read a full version of the article, click here. This is the first beatification to take place in Britain, and it is really awesome to see so many people coming out for the important and monumental event. Pope Benedict also took time to remember the Battle of Britain, since today marks 70 years since the battle took place.

Saint of the Day

This is a great post that I read over at A Catholic View today. Everybody should say a quick prayer to Saint Joseph of Cupertino today because it is his feast day. The post below gets into some of the great things that Saint Joseph did while he was alive. His dream of becoming a priest never died despite tough financial issues, and everybody could learn a lesson from his persistence and great character.

“The Saint of the Day for September 18 is St. Joseph Of Cupertino,

Joseph of Cupertino was a mystic who was perhaps most famous for his ability to fly. His father, a poor carpenter, died before his birth and his mother, who was unable to pay the debts, lost her home and gave birth to Joseph in a stable at Cupertino, Italy on June 17, 1603.

Joseph began having mystical visions when he was seven, and was often so lost to the world around him that the other children made fun of him giving him the nickname, “open-mouthed” for his gaping manner.

He had an irascible temper and read very poorly, giving others the impression that he was dumb and good for nothing. Aside from that, he was so continually drawn into ecstasy that it was impossible for him to be attentive to the tasks at hand. Thus, when he secured a job, he lost it very quickly.

He finally managed to obtain a post taking care of a stable in a Franciscan convent near Cupertino. Upon realizing his holiness and aptitude for penance, humility, and obedience, it was decided that he could begin studying for the priesthood.

Joseph was a very poor student, however during his final examination, the examiner happened to ask him a question on the one topic he knew well. He passed and was admitted into the priesthood

It was also soon recognized that though he knew little by way of worldly knowledge and had little capacity to learn, Joseph was infused with a divine knowledge that made him capable of solving some of the most intricate theological quandaries.

For the last 35 years of his life as a priest he was unable to celebrate Mass in public because he would often, without being able to help it, be lifted up into the air when he went into an ecstatic state, which happened at nearly every Mass. It took only the slightest reference of anything having to do with God in order for this state to be induced in him.

Despite being moved from one friary to another, because of the disruption he caused by his ecstasies and the persecutions he endured from some of his brothers who were envious of his gifts, he remained profoundly inundated by the joy of abandoning himself to Divine Providence.

He died on September 18, 1663 and was canonized in 1767 by Pope Clement XIII. He is the patron of air travelers and students preparing for exams.” – “St. Joseph of Cupertino”, A Catholic View