Saint Stanislaus of Szczepanow Feast Day . April 11th. Stanislaus was born in to a wealthy noble family at Szczepanow near Krakow Poland in 1030 AD. He was educated at Gniezno in the Cathedral school and was ordained there. He was given a Canonry by Bishop Lampert Zula of Krakow who made him his preacher and he was renown for his eloquent preaching. He became a sought after spiritual adviser and was very successful in his reforming efforts. In 1072 he was appointed Bishop of Krakow but only accepted the office at the explicit command of Pope Alexander 11. Stanislaus encouraged King Boleslaw 11 of Poland to establish Benedictine monasteries to aid in the Christianisation of his country.. However when he denounced the King of Poland’s cruelties and injustices including the kidnapping of the beautiful wife of a nobleman, the king was greatly angered. Finally Stanislaus excommunicated the King from the Church which in turn gave fuel to the Kings enemies.Stanislaus was saying Mass in a chapel outside the walls of Krakow when King Boleslaw 11 entered and killed him, accusing him of treason. Stanislaus major accomplishments included bringing papal letters , and reestablishment of a metropolitan see in Gniezno. This Saint died in 1079 aged 48 , he was canonised by Pope Innocent 1V in 1253 and is the principle patron of Krakow. His major shrine is at Wawel , he was one of the first native Polish bishops.
Saint Gemma Galgani. Feast Day.April 12th. Gemma was born in 1878 in the hamlet of Camigliano in the provincial town of Caponnori in Italy,one of eight children her father was a prosperous pharmacist.Eventually the family relocated to Tuscany to futher the education of the children. Gemma was an exceedingly bright student and took her first Holy Communion at the age of 9. Unfortunately her constitution was very delicate and she suffered terribly from bouts of ill health and a variety of ilnesses incluiding spinal meningitis of which she attributed her miraculous healing to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to the intercession of St Gabriel of our Lady of Sorrows. Gemma longed to join the Passionist convent but due to her frail condition was refused admittance. Although she remained a lay person , undeterred Gemma offered up all her pain and suffering to Jesus, gaining strength from her strong identification with His Passion. For this reason she became known as , ” The Daughter of Passion”, and her heart was on fire for the love of Christ. In 1899 during the feast of the Sacred Heart she began to display signs of stigmata corresponding to the five Holy wounds of Jesus on the Cross. Continuously she encountered visions of various saints , Mother Mary and our Lord Himself and at times was found levitating in a state of ecstasy. Her spiritual director Reverend Ruoppolo was completely convinced that she was an authentic mystic. Gemma died of tuberculosis in 1903 and was canonised by pope Pius X11 in 1940.
The feast of Saints. Tiburtius, Valerian and Maximus . April14th. These three men were third century noble Roman martyrs ,they are best known by their inclusion in the Acts of Saint Cecelia, according to the Acts Valerian was Cecelia’s husband. Cecelia was a devout beautiful young girl from Rome ,her parents decided to give her in marriage to a young nobleman called Valerian who was a pagan. Cecelia wanted to preserve her chastity and devotion to God and she prayed fervently in her heart that Valerian would come to know Christ. Consequently she told him that her virginity was protected by an angel and that he could not visibly see this angel until he underwent conversion to Christianity. Desperate to see the angel, he was instructed and baptised by Pope Urban who was hiding in a cave on the Appian way near Rome due to the constant persecution towards Christians at the time. Valerian converted persuading his brother Tiburtius to follow suit. Both brothers devoted their lives to God surrendering their wealth to the poor and needy, caring for the sick and burying fellow Christians who had been executed for their faith. However word got out to the Roman authorities and they were brought to trial. The head of the Roman unit charged with carrying out their execution was a young soldier called Maximus. Maximus however was impressed by their strength and lack of fear towards death and urged them to teach him about Christ. Not long after he and his whole family underwent holy Baptism. During the execution of Valerian and Turburtius , Maximus openly declared his faith proclaiming that he had seen the souls of the two brothers rise to heaven. For this announcement, he too suffered martyrdom and was beaten to death. All three saints are buried in the cemetery of Praetextatus on the Via Appia.