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Excerpt from Letter to the Faithful

‘Saint Francis of Assisi in His Tomb’ 1634 Francisco de Zurbarán

The Writings of Saint Francis of Assisi

And because He has suffered so much for us,  because He has given us so many blessings,  and will procure so many more for us in the future, let every creature in heaven and earth, in  the sea and in the depths, give honor, praise, blessing and glory to God: He is our might, He  alone is good, He alone most high, all-powerful  and worthy to be admired, holy and glorious,  He alone be blessed and praised from everlasting  to everlasting, world without end. Amen. 

But all those, alas! who do not live in penitence and who do not receive the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, who live in vice and sin, following the lead of their evil passions and their base desires, who do not keep their promises, who obey the world and matter, the desires of the flesh, the claims and demands of this world, serving in their heart the devil who deceives them, whose sons they are and whose works they do, all these are blind, they do not see the true light, our Lord Jesus Christ.   

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February 20 – Blessed Peter of Treja

Blessed Peter of Treja was the son of pious parents at Treja, formerly called Montecchio, not far from Ancona. He was born about the time that St Francis died. Even as a child he was so intent on perfection that when he was asked on a certain occasion, “Well, little on, what do you intend to be?” he answered, “I want to be a saint.”

Blessed Peter of Treja was no more than a young lad when he decided to escape the dangers of the world, and sought admission in the recently founded order of St Francis. Having stood his probation and made his religious vows, he went on to higher studies in which he made rapid progress.

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February 19, St Conrad de Plaisance

‘Saint Conrad Confalonieri’ 1618 Giovanni Lanfranco

St Conrad de Plaisance was born at Piacenza, Lombardy, in the year 1290, of a very noble family. He married Euphrosyne, the daughter of a nobleman of Lodi, while he was still quite young. He had a great fondness for chivalrous sports and was an eager hunter.

One time when out hunting, his quarry hid itself in dense underbrush. To force it into the open, Conrad directed his attendants to set fire to the brushwood. The wind, however, drove the flames upon a nearby grain field, where it continued to spread, destroying the entire crop and a large forest besides.

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February 18, St Bernadette Soubirous

Born at Lourdes, France, on January 7, 1844. She was the oldest child of a miller named Francis Soubirous and his wife, Louise. She went by Bernadette as a child, and lived in abject poverty with her parents. She suffered from asthma, and was a poor student, which kept her from making her first Holy Communion until she was 14.

On February 11, 1858, while collecting firewood with her sisters along the banks of the Gave River near Lourdes, she alone saw a vision of a beautiful woman inside a cave above the riverbank. She was dressed in white and blue with golden roses on her feet. St Bernadette’s report was not immediately accepted, even by her mother, but her visions of the Lady drew increasingly larger crowds. Despite great hostility on the part of the socialist civil authorities, St Bernadette Soubirous’ reports of the visions continued, and on February 25 Our Lady told St Bernadette to “Drink of the fountain,” and caused a spring to flow from the earth.

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February 17, Blessed Luke Belludi

When St Anthony in his apostolic zeal was occupied in reforming the inhabitants of Padua, a young man presented himself to him and humbly begged for the habit of the Friars Minor. This was in the year 1220.

Luke Belludi – such was the name of the young aspirant – belonging to one of the noblest families of Padua, had received a brilliant education. Far from imitating the usual conduct of his fellow students at the university, he kept to himself and employed his leisure hours in useful and holy occupations. St Anthony, who had discovered that Luke had a pure and humble soul, joined with a well-cultivated and talented mind, gladly recommended him to St Francis, who received him personally into the order.

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On Holy Humility

‘Christ washing the Feet of the Disciples’ 1575-80 Jacopo Tintoretto

The Golden Sayings of Brother Giles of Assisi, Chapter IV

No one can come to the knowledge of God except through humility. The way of going above is to go below.

All the perils and all the great disasters that have taken place in the world would not have happened save for holding the head high, as is clear in the case of him who was created in heaven, and of Adam, and of the pharisee in the Gospel, and many others. And all the great good that has taken place has been on account of inclining the head, as is clear in the case of the Blessed Virgin, of the publican, of the good thief, and of many others. Blessed Giles also said: “O! that we might have a great pack which would always make us bend our head!”

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February 16, Blessed Veridiana

Blessed Veridiana was born in the year 1182 at Castelfiorentino, near Florence, of the noble family of the Attavani. Her vocation to a higher life was discernible even in her youth; she loved seclusion, prayer, and works of penance. As she advanced in years, she grew in grace, and her innocence and virtue won for her the love and veneration of everyone with whom she came in contact.

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February 15, Transfer of the Body of St Anthony of Padua-Incorrupt Tongue

St Anthony of Padua was known as the Hammer of Heretics and the Evangelical Doctor, and is regarded as the first theologian of the Franciscan Order. He possessed all the qualities necessary to an eloquent preacher:

“a loud and clear voice, a winning countenance, wonderful memory, and profound learning, to which were added from on high the spirit of prophecy and an extraordinary gift of miracles.”

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February 14, Blessed Philippa Mareri

Blessed Philippa Mareri, who belonged to the illustrious family of the Mareri, saw the light of day at the castle of her parents near Rieti in Italy, toward the close of the twelfth century. At a very early age she was the favorite of all who knew her, not only because of her natural gifts, but principally because of her steady advancement in perfection. As a young woman she lived quietly at home, devoted to prayer and the cultivation of her high mental endowments. She took particular pleasure in reading the Holy Scriptures and studying the Latin language, in which she became very proficient.

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Admonitions of our Seraphic Father St Francis – Of the Body of Christ

‘The Last Supper’ 1555-1562 Juan de Juanes

From The Writings of St. Francis of Assisi

The Lord Jesus said to His disciples: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father but by Me. If you had known Me, you would without doubt have known My Father also ; and from henceforth you shall know Him, and you have seen Him. Philip saith to Him: Lord, shew us the Father, and it is enough for us. Jesus saith to him: So long a time have I been with you, and have you not known Me? Philip, he that seeth Me, seeth the Father also.” The Father “inhabiteth light inaccessible, ” and “God is spirit,” and “no man hath seen God at any time.”

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