Saint Bernadette of Lourdes. Feast Day. April 16th. Marie Bernade Soubirous was born in the vicinity in Lourdes in France in 1844. The first child of a poverty stricken family she suffered from terrible bouts of ill health especially chronic asthma. At the age of 14 in 1858 she experienced a vision of the Virgin Mary while collecting fire wood on the bank of the river Gave near Lourdes. Over the next six months she received a series of 18 visions, in which the Lady who appeared to her identified herself as ” The Immaculate Conception”. The visions she received were mainly concerned with prayer and penance. Our Lady dressed in blue and white with a golden Rosary instructed Bernadette to drink from a spring which miraculously sprang forth from the ground and to erect a chapel at the site of the grotto at Massabielle. Bernadette’s claims were at first subjected to enormous scepticism but the visions were finally approved by the Church. The Marian apparition is known as ” our Lady of Lourdes” and the site remains one of the most famous pilgrimage sites in the world. The waters are renown for their healing properties where numerous miracles have occurred. Bernadette herself retired to a convent of the Sisters of Charity at Nevers where she died in 1879 died 35 . she was canonised in 1933 by Pope Pius X1 and is a patron saint of France, Shepherds and all those suffering from bodily ills and poverty.
Saint Pope Leo X1. Feast Day April 19th. Pope Leo X1 was born Bruno of Egisheim in the province of Alsace, France in June 1002. He came from a German aristocratic well to do family . He was educated at one of the best schools in Toul where he successively became canon and in 1026 Bishop. After the death of Pope Damascus 11, Leo was appointed Pope by the German Emperor Henry 111. Seeking the approval of the clergy and the citizens he travelled to Rome where he gained the consent of the masses. He became Bishop of Rome on February 12th 1049 and assumed the name Leo X1.. He was well known for his strict moral reform in the Catholic Church regarding the clergy, especially on the stance of marriage, even a sub deacon was to remain celibate. He was a great defender of the supremacy of the Roman Papacy , his citing of the Donation of Constantine in a letter to the Patriarch of Constantinople and his military actions helped to set in to motion the Great Schism between the Catholic and orthodox Church in 1054, the Great Divide between the East and the West. The” Donatio ” Claimed that the Holy See of Rome held authority over the patriarch concerning the Church. Leo died in Rome in April 1054 and was canonised by Pope Gregory V11 in 1082.
Saint Anselm of Canterbury. Feast Day April 21st. Saint Anselm was a Benedictine monk. abbot, philosopher and theologian of the Catholic faith. He was born in Aosta in 1033 AD in upper Burgundy ,his father Gundulf was a noble Lord. At the young age of fifteen he desired to enter the religious life but was refused admittance by the local abbey due to his fathers lack of consent. After travelling around Europe and living a carefree existence at the age of twenty seven he was finally accepted as a novice at the abbey of Bec. In 1078 he was himself consecrated as abbot of Bec and visited England to inspect property belonging to the Bec abbey. In 1093 he was elected as Archbishop of Canterbury replacing Lanfranc. Despite his recognition in this field in his own time Anselm is now famed as the originator of the ontological argument for the existence of God. He composed many great theological works including ” Monlogian” The monologue on the reason of faith and “Proslogian “,faith seeking and understanding. He is also well renown for his famous treatise on the Incarnation, ” Cur Deus Homo”. Anselm has been called “the most luminous and penetrating intellect between Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas. “and is often referred to as “the father of Scholasticism.” He died on Holy Wednesday in 1109 and was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope Clement X1 in 1720.