CATHERINE, the daughter of a humble tradesman, was raised up to be the guide and guardian of the Church in one of the darkest periods of its history, the fourteenth century. As a child, prayer was her delight. She would say the “Hail Mary” on each step as she mounted the stairs, and was granted in reward a vision of Christ in glory. When but seven years old, she made a vow of virginity, and afterwards endured bitter persecution for refusing to marry. Our Lord gave her His Heart in exchange for her own, communicated her with His own hands, and stamped on her body the print of His wounds. Continue reading
St. Peter the martyr was born at Verona, in 1205, of parents infected with the heresy of the Cathari, a sort of Manichees, who had insensibly made their way into the northern parts of Italy during the quarrel between the emperor Frederick Barbarossa and the holy see. God preserved him from the danger which attended his birth, of being infected with heretical sentiments.
His father being desirous of giving him an early tincture of learning, sent him, while very young, to a Catholic schoolmaster, not questioning but by his own instruction afterwards, and by the child”s conversing with his heretical relations, he should be able to efface whatever impressions he might receive at school to the contrary. Continue reading
ST. VITALIS was a citizen of Milan, and is said to have been the father of Sts. Gervasius and Protasius. The divine providence conducted him to Ravenna, where he saw a Christian named Ursicinus, who was condemned to lose his head for his faith, standing aghast at the sight of death, and seeming ready to yield. Vitalis was extremely moved at this spectacle. He knew his double obligation of preferring the glory of God and the eternal salvation of his neighbor to his own corporal life: he therefore boldly and successfully encouraged Ursicinus to triumph over death, and after his martyrdom carried off his body, and respectfully interred it. Continue reading