Friday, October 9, 2015


Blessed Bernard Scammacca,
Born 1430 in Catania, Sicily

Died 11 January 1487 of natural causes
fifteen years after his death he appeared in a vision to the prior in Catania and asked that his remains be moved to the house’s rosary chapel
during this movement a man was cured of paralysis by touching the relics

Beatified 1825 by Pope Leo XII (cultus confirmed)

Born of wealthy and pious parents, Bernard was given a good education. In spite of this good training, he spent a careless youth. Only after he was badly injured in a duel was he brought back to his senses. His long convalescence gave him plenty of time to think, and once he was able to go out of the house, he went to the Dominican convent of Catania and begged to be admitted to the order.

 Bernard, as a religious, was the exact opposite of what he had been as a young man. Now he made no effort to obtain the things he had valued all his life, but spent his time in prayer, solitude, and continual penance. There is little recorded of his life, except that he kept the rule meticulously, and that he was particularly kind to sinners in the confessional. Apparently, he did not attain fame as a preacher, but was content to spend his time in the work of the confessional and the private direction
of souls.

 One legend pictures Bernard as having great power over birds and animals. When he walked outside in the gardens, praying, the birds would flutter down around him, singing; but as soon as he went into ecstasy, they kept still, for fear they would disturb him. Once, the porter was sent to Bernard's room to call him, and saw a bright light shining under the door. Peeking through the keyhole, he saw a beautiful child shining with light and holding a book, from which Bernard was reading. He
hurried to get the prior to see the marvel.

 Bernard had the gift of prophecy, which he used on several occasions to try warning people to amend their lives. He prophesied his own death.

Blessed Bernard devoted himself with generous ardour to the relief of the bodily and spiritual needs of his neighbours. Whilst preaching to others he failed not to expiate the sins of his youth by the practice of severe austerities. He died A.D. 1486. Fifteen years later he appeared to the Prior of the Convent, and bade him remove his remains to a more honourable resting-place. This was accordingly done, and the body was found incorrupt. During the whole of the ceremony the church-bells, untouched by mortal hands, rang out with heavenly melody. Miracles of all kinds were worked at Blessed Bernard's tomb. A nobleman who had been cured through his intercession resolved to remove the sacred remains to his castle, and came by night to the Convent with a troop of armed men to carry out his design. But the servant of God would not allow his body to be removed from the Convent where he had lived and died. Appearing in the dormitory, he knocked at every door, telling the Friars that violent hands were being laid on his body in the church; and as they delayed obeying his summons, which they thought to be only a dream, he began to ring the great bell. Then the Brethren hurried to the church, where they found the tomb empty, and the sacred body lying at the door, surrounded by armed men who were vainly endeavouring to raise it from the ground. It had miraculously become so heavy that the robbers were unable to move it. They took to flight at the approach of the Friars, who had not the slightest difficulty in restoring the precious remains to their resting-place.


Bl. Joseph Allamano

Feast day: February 16

Birth: 1851

Death: 1926

Beatified By: Pope John Paul II

He was born on the 21st of January in 1851 at Castelnuovo d' Asti (now Castelnuovo Don Bosco) and died on the 16th of February 1926 in Turin (Italy).

He was a diocesan priest of the diocese of Turin and rector of the Shrine of Our Lady Consolata for forty years. Deeply in love with Mary under this title and open to the Spirit's promptings, he responded to the discerned will of God to form a group of priests and brothers called to share the Gospel in Africa.

As the Christian Community grew in number, it became evident that priests and brothers couldn't cater for the needs of women and children. From this realization the presence of Sisters in the Mission field was conceived. Joseph Allamano expressed this concern to the pope Pius X during a visit to the Vatican.


St. Pamphilus

Feast day: February 16

Death: 309

Biblical scholar and a devotee of the controversial theologian Origen. From Berytus, in Phoenicia, Pamphilus studied in his native city and then at the famed Catechetical School of Alexandria, where he was taught by Pierius, a student of Origen.
             Ordained at Caesarea, Pamphilus became the head of a catechetical school there, and soon acquired a reputation for learning, biblical study, and the size and brilliance of his library. One of the students of this school was the historian Eusebius of Caesarea who held him in such high regard that he adopted the name Eusebius of Pamphilus. Arrested in 308 for being a Christian by Urban, the governor of Palestine, Pamphilus spent two years in prison before being beheaded as part of the Roman persecution of the faith.
              A number of others died in connection with his martyrdom, including a student named Porphyrius and a Cappadocian, Seleucus, who was accused of applauding Porphyrius aplomb in enduring torture. Pamphilus collaborated with Eusebius perhaps a fellow prisoner at some point on an Apology of Origen. Originally five books, only one book of the Apology has survived, and even this portion is of doubtful authenticity, perhaps being a Latin version undertaken by Rufinus of Aquileia. Eusebius added a sixth book after Pamphilus' martyrdom, wrote a biography of his beloved mentor of which fragments are still available, and praised him extravagantly in his Ecclesiastical History. Pamphilus' library survived in Alexandria until destroyed by the Arabs in the seventh century.


St. Juliana of Cumae

Feast day: February 16

Patron of sickness

Death: 304

A Christian virgin of Cumae, Italy, martyred for the faith when she refused to marry a Roman prefect. She suffered terrible ordeals and was finally beheaded. One tradition reports that Juliana actually suffered martyrdom at Nicomedia and that her relics were transferred to Cumae. She is depicted in liturgical art as surrounded by flames, or binding the devil.


St. Honestus
Honestus of Nimes
Feast day: February 16

Death: 270

Martyr and disciple of St. Saturninus. A native of Nimes, France,

 Saint Honestus, an ordained priest, left his hometown of Nimes  under the sign of Jesus with Saint
Saturninus to preach the Good News in Spain. After a fruitful ministry, he appears to have been martyred at Pamplona, Spain.


St. Elias & Companions

Feast day: February 16

Death: 309

Egyptian martyr with Daniel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Samuel. They went to the mines in Cilicia, to comfort the Christians held there. They were arrested at the gate of the mine and martyred. The historian Eusebius was in Caesarea, in Israel, and gave a vivid account of their martyrdom by torture and beheading. Two others, St. Pamphilus and St. Seleucus, were also caught up in the martyrdom, sharing Elias' fate. Porphy, the servant of Pamphilus, demanded that the bodies of the martyrs be buried and was burned to death as a Christian.


St. Juliana of Nicomedia
Feast day: February 16

Died at Cumae or Naples, 305 or 304.
Patron of sickness

The veneration of the virgin martyr Juliana, a maiden of Nicomedia (Izmit, Turkey), is very ancient in the east and the west. The earliest extant account of her martyrdom was written less than three centuries after her death,  A Christian convert, Juliana refused to marry a pagan, thereby incurring the wrath of her pagan father and a pagan suitor. She was thereupon imprisoned, tortured, and beheaded. While in prison, she is said to have been subjected to a vision of a demon, pretending to be an angel of light, urging her to sacrifice to the pagan gods. Recognizing the deception, Juliana cried out, "Lord God of heaven and earth, do not desert me, nor permit your handmaid to perish." She vanquished the tempter, who admitted to her that the devils particularly suffer when Christians attend Mass. Saint Juliana has traditionally been invoked for the safe delivery of women in labor and for protection from fever and contagious diseases.

Juliana's struggle with the devil was one of the favorite stories of the medieval Church. What still fascinates is its deep psychological meaning: for the devil is said to have appeared to the saint as an angel of light. His aim was to persuade her that what she had renounced in this world was in fact good. On the face of it, the devil was right, for Juliana had turned against both her father and her suitor, a Roman prefect named Evilasius.

 Her father, Africanus, an ambitious functionary in the Roman legions, despised her simply because she had become a Christian. When her suitor realized that she would not become his wife, he decided that she should be no one's bride. Her calling left her without a family of her own. Both men, failing to get their own way with this determined saint, treated her brutally: Juliana's father scourged and tortured her. Evilasius flung her into jail where she was seen to be fighting with the disguised devil, finally binding him and throwing him to the ground.

 Juliana died a martyr's death. First she was partially burned in flames; then she was plunged into a boiling cauldron of oil; finally the long-suffering saint was freed from the torments of this world by the mercifully instantaneous act of beheading.

 The Roman Martyrology describes Juliana's suffering at Nicomedia in Asia Minor, but it is more probable that she died in Naples, perhaps Cumae, where her relics are said to be enshrined. Some of them are now in Brussels, Belgium, in the church of Our Lady of Sablon. Though her story was the source of many romantic tales, Juliana is clearly an historical figure as attested by Saint Gregory the Great, who requested relics of her from Bishop Fortunatus of Naples for an oratory that a lady had built on her estate in Juliana's honor, and others. Her cultus in England dates back to Bede's martyrology, and her feast was on the Sarum Calendar.

 In art, Saint Juliana is hung up naked by her hair. Sometimes she may be shown in a cauldron, leading the devil in chains, or crowned wearing a cross on her breast. She is invoked against infectious diseases.