Paula Frassinetti becomes a child of God on the same day she is born. She receives baptism in the Parish of Santo Stefano in Genoa, her native town. The third child after Giuseppe and Francesco, Paula grows in the peaceful atmosphere of her home which is later blessed by the birth of two other boys: Giovanni and Raffaele. Her mother is a model of virtue for her, and little Paula delicately opens herself to divine grace which works marvels in her according to God’s plan.
Young Paula led a happy life in Genoa, Italy, until she was 9. That was when her mother died, in 1818, leaving Paula to care for her father and four brothers and their household. At this young age, she made many sacrifices to give attention to her family.
Her older brother, Giuseppi, went on to study for the priesthood — as did all of her brothers — and his discussions with Paula about God and faith led her to believe she might have a vocation. But her father could not imagine how the family would manage without her, and she was forced to put her dreams aside.
Her first Holy Communion and her brother Giuseppe’s ordination are moments of deep reflection for her who already feels, in the depth of her heart, the divine call. Within the family circle she learns to read and write, and she also receives her basic formation.Read More »
St. Edmund, whose name means “blessed protection”, was probably born in 841. He lived during one of the most troubled periods of early English history, when hordes of Danish pirates were devastating English kingdoms one after another, burning churches and monasteries, ravaging them, murdering Christians and all inhabitants. According to tradition, Edmund was called to the throne of East Anglia by the kingdom’s people in this critical period. He landed from exile (according to one of the versions of his life) at St. Edmund’s Point near Hunstanton in Norfolk in 855, praying to God to give His blessing on him and his fellow countrymen. Then Edmund proceeded to the royal palace at Attleborough in Norfolk where he officially staked his claim to the throne.
For a year young Edmund was instructed in Attleborough by Bishop Humbert of Elmham (who would also be martyred by the Danes). It was said that within one year he then learned all the Psalms of David by heart, and this Psalter was kept as a relic until the Reformation. The people saw in him their only hope to preserve their small Christian state. On the day of Nativity of Christ, December 25, 855 (or 856), the 15-year-old Edmund was crowned and anointed King of East Anglia. The following years showed that the people’s choice was providential: not only did Edmund become an exemplary and devout king, but he came to be a true national hero and a holy man.
Edmund was tall, with fair hair, well-built and with a particular majesty of bearing. He was a wise and honest man, pious and chaste in all his deeds. In all things he always strove to please God and by his pure life and glorious works he won the respect of all his subjects. Edmund was very meek and humble: he knew that, becoming a king, he could never be conceited with his countrymen, but should only be on a par with everybody in the kingdom. Edmund was protector of the Church and a shelter for orphans, was generous to the poor and cared for widows like a loving father. All who pleaded to him for justice received help.Read More »
“Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own sin and not to judge my brother, for You are blessed from all ages to all ages. Amen” ~
Walpurga was born in the county of Devonshire, England, into a local aristocratic family. She was the daughter of St. Richard the Pilgrim, one of the underkings of the West Saxons, and of Winna, sister of St. Boniface, Apostle of Germany, and had two brothers, St. Willibald and St. Winibald.
St. Richard, when starting with his two sons on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, entrusted Walpurga, then 11 years old, to the abbess of Wimborne. Walpurga was educated by the nuns of Wimborne Abbey, Dorset, where she spent 26 years as a member of the community. She then travelled with her brothers, Willibald and Winibald, to Francia (now Württemberg and Franconia) to assist Saint Boniface, her mother’s brother, in evangelizing among the still-pagan Germans.
Because of her rigorous training, she was later able to write St. Winibald’s Life and an account in Latin of St. Willibald’s travels in Palestine. She is thus looked upon by many as the first female author of England and Germany. Scarcely a year after her arrival, Walpurga received tidings of her father’s death at Lucca.
During her schooling at St. Cuthberga, her uncle and Boniface (later martyred in Germany) and her two brothers were sent as missionaries to Germany to convert the heathen races of Europe. As Boniface began to establish churches, he appealed to the Abbess Tetta of the convent of St. Cuthberga to send him some nuns to assist in his work. The Abbess selected a party of ten to embark on a voyage to join him, two of whom were Walburga and Boniface’s cousin Lioba.Read More »
Saint Juliana, daughter of an illustrious pagan named Africanus, was born in Nicomedia; and as a child was betrothed to the Senator Eleusius, one of the emperor’s advisors. When she was young Juliana secretly accepted holy baptism.
Africanus was hostile to the Christians and has arranged for his daughter betrothal to a senator. When the time of her wedding approached, Juliana who has dedicated herself to virginity refused to be married. Her father urged her not to break her engagement, but when she refused to obey him, he handed her over to the Governor, her former fiancé. Elusius again asked Juliana to marry him, but she again refused. The infuriated governor ordered her to be imprisoned and tortured.
While imprisoned, Juliana was visited by the devil, disguised as a messenger from God and who told her to agree to offer sacrifice to pagan idols. Juliana is said to have seen through the deception, and she spat on the devil. Juliana was severely tortured; roasted in flames, then dipped into boiling oil before finally being beheaded in 304. She was martyred during the persecution of Maximilian.Read More »
Teilo (also known as Elios, Eliau, Teliarus, Teliau or Télo), was born at Penally near Tenby in South Pembrokeshire around 480-500AD. He went on to study under St Paulinus at the monastic school at Whitland, Carmarthenshire. Here he met and became firm friends with Dewi (St David), who may have been his cousin. Teilo subsequently travelled with him to Mynyw, now known as St David’s, where Dewi set up his religious community.
In about 518 AD the friends, along with St Padam, are said to have set out on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem where all three were consecrated bishops by John III, Patriarch of Jerusalem.
Bishop Teilo went on to found the episcopal church of Llandeilo Fawr (the Great Church or Abbey of St Teilo) in Dyfed, and may also have set up a centre at Llandeilo in Carmarthenshire. However the outbreak of Yellow Fever in Wales around 549 AD forced Teilo and his religious community to flee to Cornwall and from there, over to Dol in Brittany where they stayed for seven years.
Teilo and his followers would not have felt too out of place in northern France. Driven out of southern Britain by invading Germanic tribes, Celtic people had begun to settle there since the 5th and 6th centuries.Read More »
Leonard born to the Frankish nobility. Part of the court of the pagan King Clovis I. The Queen suggested to Leonard, possibly as a joke, that he invoke the help of his God to repel an invading army. Leonard prayed, the tide of battle turned, and Clovis was victorious. Archbishop Saint Remigius of Rheims used this miracle to convert the King, Leonard, and a thousand of followers to Christianity.
Leonard began a life of austerity, sanctification, and preaching. His desire to know God grew until he decided to enter the monastery at Orleans, France. His brother, Saint Lifiard, followed his example and left the royal court, built a monastery at Meun, and lived there. Leonard desired further seclusion, and so withdrew into the forest of Limousin, converting many on the way, and living on herbs, wild fruits, and spring water. He built himself an oratory, leaving it only for journeys to churches. Others begged to live with him and learn from him, and so a monastery formed around his hermitage.
However, Leonard desired further seclusion, so he withdrew into the forest of Limousin, converting many on the way, and living on herbs, wild fruits, and spring water. He built himself an oratory, leaving it only for journeys to churches. Others, recognizing his holiness, begged to live with him, and a monastery was formed. Leonard had a great compassion for prisoners, and converted many and obtaining their release.Read More »