Blessed John De Britto, Martyr

blessed-john-de-brittoDON PEDRO II. of Portugal, when a child, had among his little pages a modest boy of rich and princely parents. Much had John de Britto—for so was he called—to bear from his careless-living companions, to whom his holy life was a reproach. A terrible illness made him turn for aid to St. Francis Xavier, a Saint so well loved by the Portuguese; and when, in answer to his prayers, he recovered, his mother vested

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Sts. Faustinus and Jovita, Martyr

faustinus-jovitaFaustinus  and Jovita were brothers, nobly born, and zealous professors of the Christian religion, which they preached without fear in their city of Brescia, while, the bishop of that place lay concealed during the persecution. Their remarkable zeal excited the fury of the heathens against them, and procured them a glorious death for their faith at Brescia in Lombardy, under the Emperor Adrian. Julian, a heathen lord, apprehended them: and the emperor himself, passing through Brescia, when neither threats nor torments could shake their constancy, commanded them to be beheaded. They seem to have suffered about the year 121. The city of Brescia honors them as its chief patrons, possesses their relics, and a very ancient church in that city bears their names.

Reflection.—The spirit of Christ is a spirit of martyrdom—at least of mortification and penance. It is always the spirit of the cross. The more we share in the suffering life of Christ, the greater share we inherit in His spirit, and in the fruit of His death. To souls mortified to their senses and disengaged from earthly things, God gives frequent foretastes of the sweetness of eternal life, and the most ardent desires of possessing Him in His glory. This is the spirit of martyrdom, which entitles a Christian to a happy resurrection and to the bliss of the life to come.

(Source: Butler’s Lives of the Saints)

St. Valentine

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VALENTINE was a holy priest in Rome, who, with St.  Marius and his family, assisted the martyrs in the persecution under Claudius II. He was apprehended, and sent by the emperor to the prefect of Rome, who, on finding all his promises to make him renounce his faith ineffectual, commanded him to be beaten with clubs, and afterward to be beheaded, which was executed on the 14th of February, about the year 270. Pope Julius I, is said to have built a church near Ponte Mole to his memory, which for a long time gave name to the gate now called Porta del Popolo, formerly Porta Valentini. The greater part of his relics are now in the Church of St. Praxedes. To abolish the heathens’ lewd superstitious custom of boys ‘ drawing the names of girls, in honor of their goddess Februata Juno, on the 15th of this month, several zealous pastors substituted the names of Saints in billets given on this day.

(Source: Butler’s Lives of the Saints)