In the fifth century, an army of barbarians from Germany, ravaging part of Gaul, plundered the city of Rheims. Nicasius, the holy bishop, had foretold this calamity to his flock. When he saw the enemy at the gates and in the streets, forgetting himself, and solicitous only for his dear spiritual children, he went from door to door encouraging all to patience and constancy, and awaking in every one”s breast the most heroic sentiments of piety and religion. In endeavoring to save the lives of some of his flock, he exposed himself to the swords of the infidels, who, after a thousand insults and indignities, (which he endured with the meekness and fortitude of a true disciple of God crucified for us,) cut off his head. Florens his deacon, and Jocond his rector, were massacred by his side. His sister Eutrophia, a virtuous virgin, seeing herself spared in order to be reserved for wicked purposes, boldly cried out to the infidels, that it was her unalterable resolution rather to sacrifice her life, than her faith or her integrity and virtue. Upon which they dispatched her with their cutlasses. St. Nicasius and St. Eutropia were buried in the churchyard of St. Agricola. Many miracles rendered their tombs illustrious, and this church was converted into a famous abbey, which bears the name of St. Nicasius, and is now a member of the congregation of St. Maur. The archbishop Fulco, in 893, translated the body of St. Nicasius into the cathedral, which the martyr himself had built, and dedicated to God in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary. His head is kept in the abbey of St. Vedast at Arras.
(From Butler”s Lives of the Saints)
St. Lucy, a native of Syracuse, Sicily, consecrated herself to God from her childhood. Her mother did not know of her bow and wished her to marry a young pagan. At the tomb of St. Agatha, she prayed for the cure of her mother from a serious disease. When this prayer was granted she informed her mother of her vow, to which her mother then consented.
When the young pagan saw her distributing her goods among the poor, his anger knew no bounds. He accused her before Paschasius the governor, of being a Christian. She was brought before a judge who commanded her to be exposed to temptation in an evil house. But God watched over her and made her absolutely immovable so that no number of guards could carry her to that place. In a similar way He preserved her from the pains of fire and other dreadful torments. Finally she died in prison of wounds she had received (304). Her name is in the Cannon of the Mass.
(Source: The New Roman Missal, Rev. F. X. Lasance)
The oldest and most venerable shrine of the Blessed Virgin in North America is in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. This was the scene of several appearances of the Virgin to an Indian peasant, Juan Diego. A miracle occurred in 1531 when a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared on the tilma of Juan Diego. The image of the beautiful lady had the dark complexion of the natives and they interpreted this as a sign from God. Over the next few years eight million Indians were converted. So eager were they to become Catholics that they ran out from their villages to greet and welcome the Catholic missionaries. While the Church lost many to the Protestant Reformation in Europe, she gained many more in the new world. The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is still on display in Mexico City today.