Feast Day: August 10th
When Pope St. Sixtus became Bishop of Rome in 257, Lawrence (also spelled Laurence) was ordained a deacon and was placed in charge of the administration of Church goods and care for the poor.
According to tradition, the Relic of the Holy Grail was sent by St. Lawrence to his parents in Spain. He entrusted this sacred chalice to a friend whom he knew would travel back to Spain, his home country. While the Holy Chalice’s exact journey through the centuries is disputed, it is generally accepted by Catholics that the Chalice was sent by his family to a monastery for preservation and veneration. Historical records indicate that this chalice has been venerated and preserved by a number of monks and monasteries through the ages. Today the Holy Grail is venerated in a special chapel in the Catholic Cathedral of Valencia, Spain, in the region of St Lawrence’s birth and early life.
“For in that Church, you see, as you have regularly been told, he performed the office of deacon; it was there that he administered the sacred chalice of Christ’s blood”.”
In the persecutions under Valerian in 258 A.D., numerous priests and deacons were put to death, while Christians belonging to the nobility or the Roman Senate were deprived of their goods and exiled. Pope St Sixtus II was one of the first victims of this persecution, being beheaded on August 6th . As cited by St Ambrose of Milan says that Lawrence met the Pope on his way to his execution, where he is reported to have said, “"Where are you going, my father, without your son? Where are you going, holy pontiff, without your deacon? Never did you offer a sacrifice without my serving you at the altar. In what way have I displeased you?" The holy Pope comforted him with the words, "I am not abandoning you, my son; a more difficult trial and a more glorious victory are reserved for you; in three days you will follow me."
After the death of Pope Sixtus, the prefect of Rome demanded that Lawrence turn over the riches of the Church. Ambrose is the earliest source for and states that Lawrence asked for three days to gather together the wealth. Lawrence worked swiftly to distribute as much Church property to the poor as possible, so as to prevent its being seized by the prefect. On the third day, at the head of a small delegation, he presented himself to the prefect, and when ordered to give up the treasures of the Church, he presented the poor, the crippled, the blind and the suffering, and said that these were the true treasures of the Church. One account records him declaring to the prefect, “The Church is truly rich, far richer than your emperor.” This act of defiance led directly to his martyrdom. Lawrence is said to have been martyred on a gridiron. During his torture Lawrence famously cried out “This side’s done, turn me over and have a bite.”
"Once the mother of false gods, but now the bride of Christ, O Rome, it is through Laurence thou art victorious! Thou hast conquered haughty monarchs and subjected nations to thine empire; but though thou hadst overcome barbarism, thy glory was incomplete till thou hadst vanquished the unclean idols. This was Laurence's victory, a combat bloody yet not tumultuous like those of Camillus or of Caesar; it was the contest of faith, wherein self is immolated, and death is overcome by death. What words, what praises suffice to celebrate such a death? How can I worthily sign so great a martyrdom?"
Thus opens the sublime poem of Prudentius, composed little more than a century after the Saint's martyrdom. In this work the poet has preserved to us the traditions existing in his own day, whereby the name of the Roman Deacon was rendered so illustrious. About the same time St. Ambrose, with his irresistible eloquence, described the meeting of St. Sixtus and his Deacon on the way to martyrdom. But before both Ambrose and Prudentius, Pope St. Damasus chronicled the victory of St. Laurence's faith, in his majestic monumental inscriptions, which have such a ring of the days of triumph.
Rome was lavish in her demonstrations of honor towards the champion who had prayed for her deliverance upon his red-hot gridiron. She inserted his name in the Canon of the Mass, and moreover celebrated the anniversary of his birth to Heaven with as much solemnity as those of the glorious Apostles, and with the same privileges of a Vigil and an Octave (the Vigil is still commemorated in modern times). She has been dyed with the blood of many other witnesses of Christ, yet as though St. Laurence had a special claim upon her gratitude, every spot connected with him has been honored with a church. Amongst all those sanctuaries dedicated to him, the one which contains the martyr's body ranks next after the churches of St. John Lateran, St. Mary Major on the Esquiline, St. Peter's on the Vatican, and St. Paul outside the Walls. St. Laurence outside the Walls completes the number of the five great basilicas that formed the appanage and exclusive possession of the Roman Pontiff. They represent the Patriarchates of Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople, and Jerusalem, which divide the world between them, and express the universal and immediate jurisdiction of the Bishops of Rome over all the churches. Thus through St. Laurence, the Eternal City is completed, and is shown to be the center of the world and the source of every grace.
Just as Sts. Peter and Paul are the riches, not of Rome alone, but of the whole world, so St. Laurence is called the honor of the world, for he, as it were, personified the courage of martyrdom. At the beginning of this month we saw St. Stephen himself come to blend his dignity of Protomartyr with the glory of St. Sixtus II's Deacon, by sharing his tomb. In St. Laurence, it seemed that both the struggle and the victory of martyrdom reached their highest point; persecution, it is true, was renewed during the next half-century, and made many victims, yet his triumph was considered as the death-blow to paganism.
"The devil," says Prudentius, "struggled fiercely with God's witness, but he was himself wounded and prostrated forever. The death of Christ's martyr gave the death-blow to the worship of idols, and from that day Vesta was powerless to prevent her temple from being deserted. All these Roman citizens, brought up in the superstitions taught by Numa, hasten, O Christ, to Thy courts, singing hymns to Thy martyr. Illustrious senators, flamens and priests of Lupercus, venerate the tombs of Apostles and Saints. We see patricians and matrons of the noblest families vowing to God the children in whom their hopes are centered. The pontiff of the idols, whose brow but yesterday was bound with the sacred fillet, now signs himself with the Cross, and the vestal virgin Claudia visits thy sanctuary, O Laurence."
It need not surprise us that this day's solemnity carries its triumphant joy from the city of the seven hills to the entire universe. "As it is impossible for Rome to be concealed," says St. Augustine, "so it is equally impossible to hide St. Laurence's crown." Everywhere, in both East and West, churches were built in his honor; and in return, as the Bishop of Hippo testifies, "the favors he conferred were innumerable, and prove the greatness of his power with God; who has ever prayed to him and has not been graciously heard?"
Let us, then, conclude with St. Maximus of Turin that "in the devotion wherewith the triumph of St. Laurence is being celebrated throughout the entire world, we must recognize that it is both holy and pleasing to God to honor, with all the fervor of our souls, the birth to Heaven of the martyr who by his radiant flames has spread the glory of his victory over the whole Church. Because of the spotless purity of soul which made him a true Levite, and because of that fullness of faith which earned him the martyr's palm, it is fitting that we should honor him almost equally with the Apostles."
Laurence has entered the lists as a martyr, and has confessed the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Such is the antiphon wherewith the Church opens the First Vespers of the Feast; and in fact, by this hour he has already entered the arena; with noble irony he has challenged the authorities, and has even shed his blood.
On the very day of the martyrdom of St. Sixtus II, Cornelius Secularis, prefect of Rome, summoned St. Laurence before his tribunal, but granted him the delay necessary for gathering together the riches required by the imperial treasury. Valerian did not include the obscure members of the Church in his edicts of persecution; he aimed at ruining the Christians by prohibiting their assemblies, putting their chief men to death, and confiscating their property. This accounts for the fact that, on August 6, the faithful assembled in the cemetery of Pretextatus were dispersed, the Pontiff executed, and the chief Deacon arrested and ordered to deliver up the treasures which the Government knew to be in his keeping. "Acknowledge my just and peaceable claims," said the prefect. "It is said that at assemblies your priests are accustomed, according to the laws of your worship, to make libations in cups of gold; that silver vessels smoke with the blood of the victims, and that the torches that give light to your nocturnal mysteries are fixed in golden candlesticks. And then you have such love and care for the brotherhood: reports say you sell your lands in order to devote to their service thousands of sesterces (ancient Roman coins); so that while a son is disinherited by his holy parents and groans in poverty, his patrimony is piously hidden away in the secrecy of your temples. Bring forth these immense treasures, the shameful spoils you have won by deceiving the credulous; the public good demands them; render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, that he may have wherewith to fill his treasuries and pay his armies."
St. Laurence, untroubled by these words, and as if quite willing to obey, gently answered: "I confess you speak the truth; our Church is indeed wealthy; no one in the world, not even Augustus himself, possesses such riches. I will disclose them all to you, and I will show you the treasures of Christ. All I ask for is a short delay, which will enable me the better to perform what I have promised. For I must make an inventory of all, count them up, and value each article."
The prefect's heart swelled with joy, and gloating over the gold he hoped soon to possess, he granted him a delay of three days. Meanwhile St. Laurence hastened all over the town and assembled the legions of poor whom their Mother the Church supported; lame and blind, cripple and beggars, he called them all. None knew them better than the Archdeacon. Next he counted them, wrote down their names, and arranged them in long lines. On the appointed day he returned to the judge and thus addressed him: "Come with me and admire the incomparable riches of the sanctuary of our God." They went together to the spot where the crowds of poor were standing, clothed in rags and filling the air with their supplications. "Why do you shudder?" said St. Laurence to the prefect. "Do you call that a vile and contemptible spectacle? If you seek after wealth, know that the brightest gold is Christ, Who is the Light, and the human race redeemed by Him; for they are the sons of the Light, all these are shielded by their bodily weaknesses from the assault of pride and evil passion; soon they will lay aside their ulcers in the palace of eternal life, and will shine in marvelous glory, clothed in purple and bearing golden crowns upon their heads. See, here is the gold which I promised you—gold of a kind that fire cannot touch or thief steal from you. Think not, then, that Christ is poor: behold these choice pearls, these sparkling gems that adorn the temple, these sacred virgins, I mean, and these widows who refuse second marriage; they form the priceless necklace of the Church, they deck Her ears, they are Her bridal ornaments, and win for Her Christ's love. Behold, then, all our riches; take them: they will beautify the city of Romulus, they will increase the Emperor's treasures and enrich you yourself."
From a letter of Pope St. Cornelius, written a few years after these events, we learn that the number of widows and poor persons that the Church of Rome supported exceeded 1,500. By thus exhibiting them before the magistrate, St. Laurence knew that he endangered no one but himself, for the persecution of Valerian, as we have already observed, overlooked the inferior classes and attacked the leading members of the Church. Divine Wisdom thus confronted Caesarism and its brutality with Christianity which it so despised, but which was destined to overcome and subdue it.
This happened on August 9, 258. The first answer the furious prefect made was to order St. Laurence to be scourged and tortured upon the rack. But these tortures were only a prelude to the great ordeal he was preparing for the noble-hearted Deacon. We learn this tradition from St. Damasus, for he says that, besides the flames, St. Laurence triumphed over "blows, tortures, torments, and chains."
St. Laurence was taken down from the rack about midday. In his prison, however, he took no rest, but wounded and bleeding as he was, he baptized the converts won to Christ by the sight of his courageous suffering. He confirmed their faith, and fired their souls with a martyr's intrepidity. When the evening hour summoned Rome to its pleasures, the prefect recalled the executioners to their work, for a few hours' rest had sufficiently restored their energy to enable them to satisfy his cruelty.
Surrounded by this ill-favored company, the prefect thus addressed the valiant Deacon: "Sacrifice to the gods, or else the whole night long shall be witness of your torments." "My night has no darkness," answered St. Laurence, "and all things are full of light to me." They struck him on the mouth with stones, but he smiled and said: "I give Thee thanks, O Christ."
Then an iron bed or gridiron with three bars was brought in and the Saint was stripped of his garments and extended upon it while burning coals were placed beneath it. As they were holding him down with iron forks, St. Laurence said: "I offer myself as a sacrifice to God for an odor of sweetness." The executioners continually stirred up the fire and brought fresh coals, while they still held him down with their forks. Then the Saint said: "Learn, unhappy man, how great is the power of my God; for your burning coals give me refreshment, but they will be your eternal punishment. I call Thee, O Lord, to witness: when I was accused, I did not deny Thee; when I was questioned, I confessed Thee, O Christ; on the red-hot coals I gave Thee thanks." And with his countenance radiant with heavenly beauty, he continued: "Yea, I give Thee thanks, O Lord Jesus Christ, for that Thou hast deigned to strengthen me." He then raised his eyes to his judge, and said: "See, this side is well roasted; turn me on the other and eat." Then continuing his canticle of praise to God: "I give Thee thanks, O Lord, that I have merited to enter into Thy dwelling-place." As he was on the point of death, he remembered the Church. The thought of the eternal Rome gave him fresh strength, and he breathed forth this ecstatic prayer: "O Christ, only God, O Splendor, O Power of the Father, O Maker of Heaven and earth and builder of this city's walls! Thou hast placed Rome's scepter high over all; Thou hast willed to subject the world to it, in order to unite under one law the nations which differ in manners, customs, language, genius, and sacrifice. Behold the whole human race has submitted to its empire, and all discord and dissensions disappear in its unity. Remember Thy purpose: Thou didst will to bind the immense universe together into one Christian Kingdom. O Christ, for the sake of Thy Romans, make this city Christian; for to it Thou gavest the charge of leading all the rest to sacred unity. All its members in every place are united—a very type of Thy Kingdom; the conquered universe has bowed before it. Oh! may its royal head be bowed in turn! Send Thy Gabriel and bid him heal the blindness of the sons of Iulus that they may know the true God. I see a prince who is to come—an Emperor who is a servant of God. He will not suffer Rome to remain a slave; he will close the temples and fasten them with bolts forever."
Thus he prayed, and with these last words he breathed forth his soul. Some noble Romans who had been conquered to Christ by the Martyr's admirable boldness, removed his body: the love of the Most High God had suddenly filled their hearts and dispelled their former errors. From that day the worship of the infamous gods grew cold; few people went now to the temples, but hastened to the altars of Christ. Thus St. Laurence, going unarmed to the battle, had wounded the enemy with his own sword.
The Church, which is always grateful in proportion to the service rendered Her, could not forget this glorious night. At the period when Her children's piety vied with Her own, She used to summon them together at sunset on the evening of August 9 for a first Night Office. At midnight the second Matins began, followed by the first Mass called 'de nocte, in primo mane'. Thus the Christians watched around the Holy Deacon during the hours of his glorious combat. "O God, Thou hast proved my heart, and visited it by night; Thou hast tried me by fire, and iniquity hath not been found in me. Hear, O Lord, my justice; attend to my supplication." Such is the grand Introit which, immediately after the night Vigils, hallowed the dawn of August 10, at the very moment when St. Laurence entered the eternal sanctuary to fulfill his office at the heavenly altar.
This morning, as soon as St. Laurence had given up his brave soul to his Creator, his body was taken, like precious gold from the crucible, and wrapped in linen cloths with sweet spices. As in the case of St. Stephen the Proto-martyr, and of Jesus the King of Martyrs, so now, too, noble persons vied with each other in paying honor to the sacred remains. In the evening of August 10, the noble converts mentioned by Prudentius bowed their heads beneath the venerable burden; and followed by a great company of mourners, they carried him along the Tiburtian Way, and buried him in the cemetery of Cyriacus. The Church on earth mourned for Her illustrious son; but the Church in Heaven was already overflowing with joy, and each anniversary of the glorious triumph was to give fresh gladness to the world.
Our forefathers were greatly struck by the contrast between the endurance of the Holy Deacon under his cruel tortures and his tender-hearted, tearful parting with St. Sixtus II three days before. On this account, they gave to the periodical showers of falling stars, which occur around August 10, the graceful name of St. Laurence's tears: a touching instance of that popular piety which delights in raising the heart to God through the medium of natural phenomena.
Prayer in honor of St. Lawrence
The deacon of the Word, adorned with the beauty of the Word, freely lays done his life for love of the Word, and justly now he reigneth with the Word, inebriated with his joy and glory.
Strengthened with the armor of truth and of piety against the wicked contradiction of the erring, thou by thy faith and thy wise words hast destroyed forever the stronghold of falsehood.
With thine eyes fixed O' Lawrence, on the beauty of God, thou dist contemn alike the flatteries of the world and its torments, O hero worthy of admiration!
Christ, the true Deacon who dispenses to us the gifts of the Father, had revealed Himself to thee; and thou, longing to be His own deacon, didst go to Him by the path of love, O Thou who art truly to be envied!
Like in auspicious sun rising in the West by a prodigy exceeding wonderful, thou hast enlightened the whole Church with thy brilliant light , O admirable martyr, and all mankind have receive warmth from the ardour of thy faith: therefore do we all glorify thee. Amen.
Feast Day: November 26th
On October 2, 1697, he received the habit, and after making his novitiate at Ponticelli in the Sabine mountains, he completed his studies at the principal house of the Riformella, S. Bonaventura on the Palatine at Rome. After his ordination he remained there as lector (professor), and expected to be sent on the Chinese missions. But he was soon afterwards seized with severe gastric hemorrhage, and became so ill that he was sent to his native climate of Porto Maurizio, where there was a monastery of the Franciscan Observants (1704).
After four years he was restored to health, and began to preach in Porto Maurizio and the vicinity. When Cosimo III de' Medici handed over the monastery del Monte (that on San Miniato near Florence, also called Monte alle Croci) to the members of the Riformella, St. Leonard was sent hither under the auspices and by desire of Cosimo III, and began shortly to give missions to the people in Tuscany, which were marked by many extraordinary conversions and great results. His colleagues and he always practiced the greatest austerities and most severe penances during these missions.......
Noah's Offering to God after the Deluge
In the time of Noah, the entire human race was submerged by the Deluge, and only eight people were saved in the Ark. Saint Peter says, "This ark was the figure of the Church," while Saint Augustine adds, "And these eight people who were saved signify that very few Christians are saved, because there are very few who sincerely renounce the world, and those who renounce it only in words do not belong to the mystery represented by that ark."
The Little Number of Those Who Are Saved
by St. Leonard of Port Maurice, (1676 - 1751)
"And a certain man said to Him: Lord, are they few that are saved? But He said to them: Strive to enter by the narrow gate; for many, I say to you, shall seek to enter, and shall not be able. But when the master of the house shall be gone in, and shall shut the door, you shall begin to stand without, and knock at the door, saying: Lord, open to us. And he answering, shall say to you: I know you not, whence you are."--Luke 13: 23-25
The Teaching of the Fathers of the Church
The Words of Holy Scripture
Salvation in the Various States of Life
The Goodness of God
God Desires All Men to be Saved
From the Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913
"In this world I have but one enemy, and that is sin, and from the first I have sworn
to wage war against it all my days to the end of my life."--St. Leonard of Port Maurice
Saint Louis Marie de Montfort
Feast Day: April 28th
Saint Louis Marie de Montfort
Missionary in Brittany and Vendee; born at Montfort, January 31, 1673; died at Saint Laurent sur Sevre, 28 April, 1716.
From his childhood, he was indefatigably devoted to prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, and, when from his twelfth year he was sent as a day pupil to the Jesuit college at Rennes, he never failed to visit the church before and after class. He joined a society of young men who during holidays ministered to the poor and to the incurables in the hospitals, and read for them edifying books during their meals. At the age of nineteen, he went on foot to Paris to follow the course in theology, gave away on the journey all his money to the poor, exchanged clothing with them, and made a vow to subsist thenceforth only on alms. He was ordained priest at the age of twenty-seven, and for some time fulfilled the duties of chaplain in a hospital. In 1705, when he was thirty-two, he found his true vocation, and thereafter devoted himself to preaching to the people. During seventeen years he preached the Gospel in countless towns and villages. As an orator he was highly gifted, his language being simple but replete with fire and divine love. His whole life was conspicuous for virtues difficult for modern degeneracy to comprehend: constant prayer, love of the poor, poverty carried to an unheard-of degree, joy in humiliations and persecutions.
The following two instances will illustrate his success. He once gave a mission for the soldiers of the garrison at La Rochelle, and moved by his words, the men wept, and cried aloud for the forgiveness of their sins. In the procession which terminated this mission, an officer walked at the head, barefooted and carrying a banner, and the soldiers, also barefooted, followed, carrying in one hand a crucifix, in the other a rosary, and singing hymns.
Grignion's extraordinary influence was especially apparent in the matter of the Calvary at Pontchateau. When he announced his determination of building a monumental Calvary on a neighboring hill, the idea was enthusiastically received by the inhabitants. For fifteen months between two and four hundred peasants worked daily without recompense, and the task had just been completed, when the king commanded that the whole should be demolished, and the land restored to its former condition. The Jansenists had convinced the Governor of Brittany that a fortress capable of affording aid to persons in revolt was being erected, and for several months five hundred peasants, watched by a company of soldiers, were compelled to carry out the work of destruction. Father de Montfort was not disturbed on receiving this humiliating news, exclaiming only: "Blessed be God!"
This was by no means the only trial to which Grignion was subjected. It often happened that the Jansenists, irritated by his success, secure by their intrigues his banishment form the district, in which he was giving a mission. At La Rochelle some wretches put poison into his cup of broth, and, despite the antidote which he swallowed, his health was always impaired. On another occasion, some malefactors hid in a narrow street with the intention of assassinating him, but he had a presentiment of danger and escaped by going by another street. A year before his death, Father de Montfort founded two congregations -- the Sisters of Wisdom, who were to devote themselves to hospital work and the instruction of poor girls, and the Company of Mary, composed of missionaries. He had long cherished these projects but circumstances had hindered their execution, and, humanly speaking, the work appeared to have failed at his death, since these congregations numbered respectively only four sisters and two priests with a few brothers. But the blessed founder, who had on several occasions shown himself possessed of the gift of prophecy, knew that the tree would grow. At the beginning of the twentieth century the Sisters of Wisdom numbered five thousand, and were spread throughout every country; they possessed forty-four houses, and gave instruction to 60,000 children. After the death of its founder, the Company of Mary was governed for 39 years by Father Mulot. He had at first refused to join de Montfort in his missionary labors. "I cannot become a missionary", said he, "for I have been paralyzed on one side for years; I have an affection of the lungs which scarcely allows me to breathe, and am indeed so ill that I have no rest day or night." But the holy man, impelled by a sudden inspiration, replied, "As soon as you begin to preach you will be completely cured." And the event justified the prediction. Grignion de Montfort was beatified by Leo XIII in 1888.
True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary
by St. Louis de Montfort
CRUIKSHANK, Blessed Grignion, etc. (London, 1892); JAC, Vie, etc. (Paris, 1903); LAVEILLE, Vic, etc. (Paris, 1907).
The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IX
Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1910, Remy Lafort, Censor
Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York
Prayer to St. Louis De Montfort
Great Apostle and Lover of our Blessed Lady, St. Louis De Montfort, whose one desire is to set the world aflame with love for Jesus through Mary, we entreat you to obtain for us childlike, persevering, perfect devotion to Mary, so as to share in Mary's faith, hope and charity, and to to receive the favor we beseech you to obtain for us.
St. Louis De Montfort, pray for us.
Martinus I. Healy, S.T.D.
Thomas Edmundus Molloy, S.T.D.
Litany to St. Louis de Montfort
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven,
Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost,
Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God,
Have mercy on us.
pray for us!
Saint Louis-Marie de Montfort
pray for us!
Ardent disciple of Jesus Christ the Incarnate Wisdom,
pray for us!
Eloquent preacher of the Cross,
pray for us!
Singer of the praises of the Sacred Heart,
pray for us!
Loving slave of Jesus in Mary,
pray for us!
Faithful son of the handmaid of the Lord,
pray for us!
Apostle of the Most Holy Rosary,
pray for us!
Preacher of the Mother of the Redeemer,
pray for us!
Servant of the poor and the afflicted,
pray for us!
Man of solitude and prayer,
pray for us!
Wonder of mortification,
pray for us!
Model of priests and missionaries,
pray for us!
Fervent minister of the Holy Eucharist,
pray for us!
Fearless champion of truth,
pray for us!
Restorer of devotion to the Blessed Sacrament,
pray for us!
Marvel of poverty and abandonment to Divine Providence,
pray for us!
Teacher of the people of God,
pray for us!
Founder of Religious congregations,
pray for us!
Apostle of the end times,
pray for us!
Obedient collaborator with the Pope and Bishops,
pray for us!
Thou seest the Face of God:
obtain for us perseverance in the faith.
Thou shinest within Infinite Charity:
obtain for us the gift of pure love.
Thou livest in the New Jerusalem:
obtain for us the spirit of prayer.
Thou standst before the throne of the Lamb:
obtain for us the wisdom of the Cross.
Thou contemplate the Mother of the Lord:
obtain for us true devotion to Mary.
Thou dwellst with the Apostles of Christ:
obtain for us missionary zeal.
Thou sharest in the communion of Saints:
obtain for us love for the Church.
Thou art seated at the Table of the Kingdom:
obtain for us the crown of glory.
Thou art a powerful intercessor before the Throne of God:
hear our prayers.
(Here make your intentions in silence).
Let us pray.
O God, Who in the power of the Holy Spirit hast made Saint Louis-Marie an ardent apostle of Christ Crucified and a faithful son of the Virgin Mary; Grant that through his example and intercession we may be renewed in the spirit of our baptism and be always faithful to Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Spirit. One God, forever and ever. Amen.
King Saint Louis IX
Feast Day: August 25th
King Saint Louis IX
Louis, the quintessential Christian Prince, was born in Poissy, France on 25 April 1215 to King Louis VIII and Blanche of Castile. His father died when he was just eleven years old, and he was crowned -- at Rheims, like almost all French Kings -- on the First Sunday of Advent in 1226. His very strong and pious mother acted as his regent, supressing various revolts to secure her son's place. She acted as regent even after he reached the age of majority, and guided his career with strong Christian advice, forming his character in holiness. She would say to him, "Never forget that sin is the only great evil in the world. No mother could love her son more than I love you. But I would rather see you lying dead at my feet than know that you had offended God by one mortal sin" -- sentiments that he took to heart and would later pass on to his own successor (see below).
In 1230, he outlawed all forms of usury and compelled usurers to contribute toward the Crusades when their debtors could not be found to be compensated (later under his reign, in 1240, would come the famous disputation of the Talmud in Paris, after rulers and churchmen discovered what blasphemies the Talmud taught. Copies of the Talmud were burned in great fires in the streets of Paris).
Louis married at age nineteen, in 1234, taking to wife Marguerite of Provence, with whom he had eleven children -- five sons and six daughters. He went on a Crusade in 1248, and fought nobly and with great honor, forbidding his men to kill prisoners and always expecting them to act as Christians. But he lost the battle and, weakened by dystentery, was captured in Mansoura, Egypt. During his captivity, he sang the Divine Office every day with two chaplains and conducted himself with such honor as to impress his captors. When the Sultan was killed by his own emirs, he was set free, but didn't immediately return to Europe; instead, he went to the Holy Land, and remained there in order to help fortify the Christian colonies, not returning until 1254, during which time his mother died.
Very dedicated to the cause of peace, he not only arbitrated and made treaties with Henry VIII and James I of Aragon, but did much to curb a lot of the petty, feudal warfare that caused so much harm. He was a great patron of learning, the arts, and architecture, and under his patronage, the Sorbonne was founded; abbeys built; the choir, apse, and nave of St. Denis Basilica -- which contains the tombs of almost all French Kings -- were refurbished, etc. His crowning architectural glory, though, is Ste. Chapelle, the beautiful chapel with the walls of stained glass that sits on the tiny Ile de la Cité right in the middle of Paris, in the Seine River (the same island where Notre Dame Cathedral is found). This chapel was built to house a part of the Crown of Thorns and a piece of the True Cross which he purchased from Emperor Baldwin II in Constantinople, and it became St. Louis's personal royal chapel. To stand in it is to seem to stand inside a luminous jewel box:
Glorious and fruitful was his reign! Indeed, having dealt with economic woes by expelling the usurers from France, King St. Louis ruled over a time that became known as "the golden century of Saint Louis." He was most famous, though, for his charity, humility, and concern for the poor. He built many hospitals, among them the hospital known as "Quinze-vingt" ("Fifteen-Twenty") -- a hospital for the blind and whose name comes from the fact that it could care for 300 patients. He built homes for reformed prostitutes. Every day, he met with the poor personally and saw to it that they were fed, inviting them to dine with him, and washing their feet in imitation of Christ at the Last Supper. He gave special attention to the indigent during Advent and Lent. All who knew him admired him; no one spoke ill of him and he spoke ill of no one else. His biographer, Joinville, wrote, "I was a good twenty-two years in the King's company and never once did I hear him swear, either by God, or His Mother, or His saints. I did not even hear him name the Devil, except if he met the word when reading aloud, or when discussing what had been read."
He was also very devoted to the cause of Justice, and eliminated the feudal method of conflict resolution through combat, replacing it with arbitration and judicial process. He eradicated his ancestors' "King's Court" and established popular courts in which he, himself, would hear his subjects' grievances.
In 1270, he went off on another Crusade, this time in an attempt to convert the Emir of Tunis after being inspired by acting as godfather to a Jewish convert. Again, his Crusade failed, and again he became sick with dysentery. This time, though, he did not recover. He died at three in the afternoon on 25 August 1270. His last words were those of Christ: "Into Thy hands I commend my spirit." He was canonized in 1297, 27 years after his death, and was succeeded by his son, Philip III (see Louis's letter to him below). His line continued after him until the French Revolution, when King Louis XVI was guillotined on 21 January 1703. At this act of regicide, the Abbe Edgeworth said, "Son of St. Louis, ascend to Heaven!"
King Louis's remains were laid to rest, like those of almost all French Kings, in the Basilica of St. Denis (now a northern suburb of Paris). The Basilica was sacked during the infamous Revolution and its royal tombs were emptied into a mass grave -- with some of the tombs themselves being destroyed, including that of St. Louis (the tomb-smashing was stopped when an archaeologist of the time urged the revolutionaries to consider them "works of art"). In 1817, the mass grave was opened and all of the bones were placed in a single ossuary, with the names of the monarchs recorded.
St. Louis is the patron of builders, kings, large families, and Crusaders (and, of course, St. Louis, Missouri). He is represented in art by the Crown of Thorns, crown, scepter, and the fleur-de-lis (the symbol of French monarchy, most likely a stylized depiction of the Yellow Flag Iris -- Iris pseudocorus. See picture at right).
St. Louis, King of France
by Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876
To holy relics he showed great honor: hence, when the Emperor Constantine presented to him the crown of thorns of our Saviour, he went, with his whole court and all the clergy, five miles to meet it, and then accompanied it with great devotion to Paris. He carried the holy treasure, barefoot and with uncovered head, to the Cathedral of Notre Dame, and thence into the chapel of St. Nicholas, where it was deposited with all due reverence. Towards himself he showed an austerity hardly surpassed in the convents. He wore, almost constantly, a rough hair-shirt, fasted every Friday and during the whole of Advent. He never permitted himself a dispensation in Lent. Before his fifteenth year, he was very fond of hunting, fishing, and other harmless amusements, but afterwards he renounced them all, in order to give all his time to prayer and the care of his government. His love for the poor was so great, that he not only gave them large alms, but also visited them in their sickness, washed the feet of some every Saturday, fed daily 120 in his palace, and always entertained three of them at his own table, serving them with his own hands. Some of his courtiers maintained that this was not suitable for a king; but he replied: "I recognize and honor in the poor, Christ Himself, Who has said: 'What you do to the least of them you have done to Me.'"
On another occasion, he said: "The poor must gain heaven by their patience, the rich, by giving alms." He built many asylums and other houses for the maintenance of the poor, and erected a still larger number of churches and convents for the honor of God and the salvation of souls. But as St. Louis thus proved himself a pious king, so also he showed himself a worthy ruler, by being indefatigable where the welfare of his people, or where justice and the protection of the church were concerned. He made laws and ordinances commanding all officials of the State to deal justice without any delay and to take all possible care of his subjects. Those who disobeyed these laws were severely punished. He appointed two days in the week on which everybody, even the lowest and poorest had free admittance to him and could bring him his complaints. He labored especially to uproot those vices which prevent the blessing of God, and call down the Divine wrath upon a land. Hence he ordained by law that blasphemers should be branded by the public executioner, and when, one day, his pardon was asked for a nobleman who had been guilty of this crime, the holy king refused it, saying: "I would let my own lips be pierced with a red hot iron, if, by this means, I could prevent all blasphemy in my domains."
His valor in war was as great as his zeal for justice and his endeavors to destroy all vice. The whole world had, in this pious and heroic king, a proof that piety and valor can well be united in the human heart. Over the Albigenses, the most bitter enemies of the State and Church, he gained a decisive victory, completely vanquishing them. Some rebellious subjects, who had made war against him when he first ascended the throne, and who were aided by a foreign power, were conquered and brought again under his sceptre. These and many other victories made him greatly esteemed and respected by all foreign monarchs.
But nothing more effectually proves the great zeal of this holy king for the true church, than the crusades which he undertook to recover the Holy Land and to assist the oppressed Christians who lived in it. His first expedition, at the outset, promised great success, but in the course of time, by the inscrutable decrees of Providence, the greater part of his army fell victims to disease, and the holy king himself was taken prisoner. In this misfortune, his patience was so great and heroic, that even his enemies admired it. He submitted, without any complaint, to the Divine will, and continued his prayers, fasts and pious exercises, as if he were in his palace at Paris. He was at length released on payment of a ransom of 800,000 ducats, and the surrender of the cities he had taken. He thus concluded a truce of ten years with the Saracens. Having, under these conditions obtained his liberty, he remained some time longer in the Holy Land, visited with great devotion, the places made sacred by the presence of our Saviour, ransomed many prisoners, gave abundant alms, and fortified the few cities that remained in the hands of the Christians. Meanwhile the holy queen, Blanche, his mother, died at Paris, and when the news reached the Saint, he returned at once to France.
Some years later, when it was reported that the Christians in the East were more oppressed than ever by the infidels, he resolved to undertake a second crusade to assist them. At first, success followed the king's army, but the great heat of the climate, the want of wholesome water and provisions, infected the whole army with an epidemic, so that a large number died, among whom was a son of the king. At last, St. Louis himself was seized with the disease, and without being disturbed by it, he prepared himself for his last hour by prayer and by devoutly receiving the holy Sacraments. After this he gave to the Crown Prince, who was with him, instructions, partly verbal, partly in writing, which were dictated by Christian and royal wisdom, and which will be given below. After this he desired to dispense with all worldly affairs, and to occupy himself only with God, to whose holy will he had entirely submitted.
When his last hour had come, he desired to be robed in a penitential garment, and to be laid on a bed strewn with ashes. When this had been done, he took the Crucifix, kissed it most devoutly, and continued in prayer and acts of devotion, until he calmly expired, in the year of our Lord 1270, in the fifty-sixth year of his age. His last words were those of the Psalmist: "Lord, I will enter into Thy house: I will adore Thee in Thy holy temple, and will give glory to Thy name." Thus did St. Louis pass from a temporal into an eternal kingdom. Truly, he had been a great and holy king; great, on account of his valor in war; still greater, for his Christian magnanimity in adversity, but greatest, for the many exalted virtues by which he shone before the whole world from his childhood to the last hour of his life, and which prevented him from ever committing a mortal sin.
1. To his dear first-born son, Philip, greeting, and his father's love.
2. Dear son, since I desire with all my heart that you be well "instructed in all things, it is in my thought to give you some advice this writing. For I have heard you say, several times, that you remember my words better than those of any one else.
3. Therefore, dear son, the first thing I advise is that you fix your whole heart upon God, and love Him with all your strength, for without this no one can be saved or be of any worth.
4. You should, with all your strength, shun everything which you believe to be displeasing to Him. And you ought especially to be resolved not to commit mortal sin, no matter what may happen and should permit all your limbs to be hewn off, and suffer every manner of torment, rather than fall knowingly into mortal sin.
5. If our Lord send you any adversity, whether illness or other in good patience, and thank Him for it, thing, you should receive it in good patience and be thankful for it, for you ought to believe that He will cause everthing to turn out for your good; and likewise you should think that you have well merited it, and more also, should He will it, because you have loved Him but little, and served Him but little, and have done many things contrary to His will.
6. If our Lord send you any prosperity, either health of body or other thing you ought to thank Him humbly for it, and you ought to be careful that you are not the worse for it, either through pride or anything else, for it is a very great sin to fight against our Lord with His gifts.
7. Dear son, I advise you that you accustom yourself to frequent confession, and that you choose always, as your confessors, men who are upright and sufficiently learned, and who can teach you what you should do and what you should avoid. You should so carry yourself that your confessors and other friends may dare confidently to reprove you and show you your faults.
8. Dear son, I advise you that you listen willingly and devoutly the services of Holy Church, and, when you are in church, avoid to frivolity and trifling, and do not look here and there; but pray to God with lips and heart alike, while entertaining sweet thoughts about Him, and especially at the mass, when the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ are consecrated, and for a little time before.
9. Dear son, have a tender pitiful heart for the poor, and for all those whom you believe to be in misery of heart or body, and, according to your ability, comfort and aid them with some alms.
10. Maintain the good customs of your realm, and put down the bad ones. Do not oppress your people and do not burden them with tolls or tailles, except under very great necessity.
11. If you have any unrest of heart, of such a nature that it may be told, tell it to your confessor, or to some upright man who can keep your secret; you will be able to carry more easily the thought of your heart.
12. See to it that those of your household are upright and loyal, and remember the Scripture, which says: "Elige viros timentes Deum in quibus sit justicia et qui oderint avariciam"; that is to say, "Love those who serve God and who render strict justice and hate covetousness"; and you will profit, and will govern your kingdom well.
13. Dear son, see to it that all your associates are upright, whether clerics or laymen, and have frequent good converse with them; and flee the society of the bad. And listen willingly to the word of God, both in open and in secret; and purchase freely prayers and pardons.
14. Love all good, and hate all evil, in whomsoever it may be.
15. Let no one be so bold as to say, in your presence, words which attract and lead to sin, and do not permit words of detraction to be spoken of another behind his back.
!6. Suffer it not that any ill be spoken of God or His saints in your presence, without taking prompt vengeance. But if the offender be a clerk or so great a person that you ought not to try him, report the matter to him who is entitled to judge it.
17. Dear son, give thanks to God often for all the good things He has done for you, so that you may be worthy to receive more, in such a manner that if it please the Lord that you come to the burden and honor of governing the kingdom, you may be worthy to receive the sacred unction wherewith the kings of France are consecrated.
18. Dear son, if you come to the throne, strive to have that which befits a king, that is to say, that in justice and rectitude you hold yourself steadfast and loyal toward your subjects and your vassals, without turning either to the right or to the left, but always straight, whatever may happen. And if a poor man have a quarrel with a rich man, sustain the poor rather than the rich, until the truth is made clear, and when you know the truth, do justice to them.
19. If any one have entered into a suit against you (for any injury or wrong which he may believe that you have done to him), be always for him and against yourself in the presence of your council, without showing that you think much of your case (until the truth be made known concerning it); for those of your council might be backward in speaking against you, and this you should not wish; and command your judges that you be not in any way upheld more than any others, for thus will your councillors judge more boldly according to right and truth.
20. If you have anything belonging to another, either of yourself or through your predecessors, if the matter is certain, give it up without delay, however great it may be, either in land or money or otherwise. If the matter is doubtful, have it inquired into by wise men, promptly and diligently. And if the affair is so obscure that you cannot know the truth, make such a settlement, by the counsel of s of upright men, that your soul, and the soul your predecessors, may be wholly freed from the affair. And even if you hear some one say that your predecessors made restitution, make diligent inquiry to learn if anything remains to be restored; and if you find that such is the case, cause it to be delivered over at once, for the liberation of your soul and the souls of your predecessors.
21. You should seek earnestly how your vassals and your subjects may live in peace and rectitude beneath your sway; likewise, the good towns and the good cities of your kingdom. And preserve them in the estate and the liberty in which your predecessors kept them, redress it, and if there be anything to amend, amend and preserve their favor and their love. For it is by the strength and the riches of your good cities and your good towns that the native and the foreigner, especially your peers and your barons, are deterred from doing ill to you. I will remember that Paris and the good towns of my kingdom aided me against the barons, when I was newly crowned.
22. Honor and love all the people of Holy Church, and be careful that no violence be done to them, and that their gifts and alms, which your predecessors have bestowed upon them, be not taken away or diminished. And I wish here to tell you what is related concerning King Philip, my ancestor, as one of his council, who said he heard it, told it to me. The king, one day, was with his privy council, and he was there who told me these words. And one of the king's councillors said to him how much wrong and loss he suffered from those of Holy Church, in that they took away his rights and lessened the jurisdiction of his court; and they marveled greatly how he endured it. And the good king answered: "I am quite certain that they do me much wrong, but when I consider the goodnesses and kindnesses which God has done me, I had rather that my rights should go, than have a contention or awaken a quarrel with Holy Church." And this I tell to you that you may not lightly believe anything against the people of Holy Church; so love them and honor them and watch over them that they may in peace do the service of our Lord.
23. Moreover, I advise you to love dearly the clergy, and, so far as you are able, do good to them in their necessities, and likewise love those by whom God is most honored and served, and by whom the Faith is preached and exalted.
24. Dear son, I advise that you love and reverence your father and your mother, willingly remember and keep their commandments, and be inclined to believe their good counsels.
25. Love your brothers, and always wish their well-being and their good advancement, and also be to them in the place of a father, to instruct them in all good. But be watchful lest, for the love which you bear to one, you turn aside from right doing, and do to the others that which is not meet.
26. Dear son, I advise you to bestow the benefices of Holy Church which you have to give, upon good persons, of good and clean life, and that you bestow them with the high counsel of upright men. And I am of the opinion that it is preferable to give them to those who hold nothing of Holy Church, rather than to others. For, if you inquire diligently, you will find enough of those who have nothing who will use wisely that entrusted to them.
27. Dear son, I advise you that you try with all your strength to avoid warring against any Christian man, unless he have done you too much ill. And if wrong be done you, try several ways to see if you can find how you can secure your rights, before you make war; and act thus in order to avoid the sins which are committed in warfare.
28. And if it fall out that it is needful that you should make war (either because some one of your vassals has failed to plead his case in your court, or because he has done wrong to some church or to some poor person, or to any other person whatsoever, and is unwilling to make amends out of regard for you, or for any other reasonable cause), whatever the reason for which it is necessary for you to make war, give diligent command that the poor folk who have done no wrong or crime be protected from damage to their vines, either through fire or otherwise, for it were more fitting that you should constrain the wrongdoer by taking his own property (either towns or castles, by force of siege), than that you should devastate the property of poor people. And be careful not to start the war before you have good counsel that the cause is most reasonable, and before you have summoned the offender to make amends, and have waited as long as you should. And if he ask mercy, you ought to pardon him, and accept his amende, so that God may be pleased with you.
29. Dear son, I advise you to appease wars and contentions, whether they be yours or those of your subjects, just as quickly as may be, for it is a thing most pleasing to our Lord. And Monsignore Martin gave us a very great example of this. For, one time, when our Lord made it known to him that he was about to die, he set out to make peace between certain clerks of his archbishopric, and he was of the opinion that in so doing he was giving a good end to life.
30. Seek diligently, most sweet son, to have good baillis and good prevots in your land, and inquire frequently concerning their doings, and how they conduct themselves, and if they administer justice well, and do no wrong to any one, nor anything which they ought not do. Inquire more often concerning those of your household if they be too covetous or too arrogant; for it is natural that the members should seek to imitate their chief; that is, when the master is wise and well-behaved, all those of his household follow his example and prefer it. For however much you ought to hate evil in others, you shoud have more hatred for the evil which comes from those who derive their power from you, than you bear to the evil of others; and the more ought you to be on your guard and prevent this from happening.
31. Dear son, I advise you always to be devoted to the Church of Rome, and to the sovereign pontiff, our father, and to bear him the the reverence and honor which you owe to your spiritual father.
32. Dear son, freely give power to persons of good character, who know how to use it well, and strive to have wickednesses expelled from your land, that is to say, nasty oaths, and everything said or done against God or our Lady or the saints. In a wise and proper manner put a stop, in your land, to bodily sins, dicing, taverns, and other sins. Put down heresy so far as you can, and hold in especial abhorrence Jews, and all sorts of people who are hostile to the Faith, so that your land may be well purged of them, in such manner as, by the sage counsel of good people, may appear to you advisable.
33. Further the right with all your strength. Moreover I admonish you you that you strive most earnestly to show your gratitude for the benefits which our Lord has bestowed upon you, and that you may know how to give Him thanks therefore
34. Dear son, take care that the expenses of your household are reasonable and moderate, and that its moneys are justly obtained. And there is one opinion that I deeply wish you to entertain, that is to say, that you keep yourself free from foolish expenses and evil exactions, and that your money should be well expended and well acquired. And this opinion, together with other opinions which are suitable and profitable, I pray that our Lord may teach you.
35. Finally, most sweet son, I conjure and require you that, if it please our Lord that I should die before you, you have my soul succored with masses and orisons, and that you send through the congregations of the kingdom of France, and demand their prayers for my soul, and that you grant me a special and full part in all the good deeds which you perform.
36. In conclusion, dear son, I give you all the blessings which a good and tender father can give to a son, and I pray our Lord Jesus Christ, by His mercy, by the prayers and merits of His blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary, and of angels and archangels and of all the saints, to guard and protect you from doing anything contrary to His will, and to give you grace to do it always, so that He may be honored and served by you. And this may He do to me as to you, by His great bounty, so that after this mortal life we may be able to be together with Him in the eternal life, and see Him, love Him, and praise Him without end. Amen. And glory, honor, and praise be to Him who is one God with the Father and the Holy Spirit; without beginning and without end. Amen.
St. Louis, the Third Order Dominican
The Third Order of St. Dominic has quite a list of famous members but at the head of this goodly company may be placed, according to our histories, St. Louis IX, King of France. He may be considered as belonging to the Third Order of St. Dominic in its first state, when it was still called the Militia of Jesus Christ. It is asserted by Richer, a monk of the Order of St. Benedict, that this blessed saint wished to become a religious of the First Order of St. Dominic, but was turned from his pious design by the opposition made to it by all the estates of his realm; but this did not in any way diminish his esteem for the order, to which he felt himself called by Almighty God. He is thereafter believed to have embraced our Third Order, the exercises of which in every way were compatible with his duties as a king. And this is the more probable since he lived on the most familiar terms with our religious of our order, choosing his confessors from among them*. Also, the Dominican Rite celebrates the event called "The Crown of Thorns". This day recalls the gift of a thorn from Christ's crown made to the Dominican Order by St. Louis IX in 1239. Moreover, had it not been for this engagement, it is not probable that the religious from our order would have solicited and obtained his canonization with so much trouble and expense, or have composed that noble office for his feast, which is used by the canons of the Sainte Chapelle.
Prayer in for the intercession King Saint Louis IX
Oh holy St. Louis IX, model of Catholic upbringing,
and tireless defender of the Kingship of Christ,
Despite your royal surroundings you were raised to love God and hate sin,
Your kingdom on earth was always ruled by the kingdom of heaven.
Glorious St. Louis IX, who did not hesitate to bring the poor to your own table,
Intercede for us that we may always strive to imitate our Savior as you so wisely did.
Keep us from the snares and allurements of the world, and help us to live truly Catholic lives at every moment. We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen
Litany of Saint Louis of France
Lord have mercy on us. Christ have mercy on us.
Lord have mercy on us. Christ hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven, Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, Have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, Pray for us*
Holy Mother of God, *
Holy Virgin of virgins, *
Saint Louis of France, *
St. Louis, scion of devout parents, *
St. Louis, constant protector of the children of God, *
St. Louis, steadfast teacher of piety, *
St. Louis, true model of Christian virtue, *
St. Louis, faithful confessor of the living Christ, *
St. Louis, kingly bearer of humiliations, *
St. Louis, staunch defender of the glorified Christ, *
St. Louis, true martyr of the flesh by mortification, *
St. Louis, detester of worldly pride and honor, *
St. Louis, saviour of souls, *
St. Louis, ardent lover of God, *
St. Louis, kind friend of enemies, *
St. Louis, rapt in prayer to God, *
St. Louis, hope of sinners, *
St. Louis, giver of gifts, *
St. Louis, founder of charitable institutions for the afflicted, *
St. Louis, generous giver of alms, *
St. Louis, lavish dispenser of riches, *
St. Louis, guard of the holy places of pilgrimage, *
St. Louis, detester of immoderate people, *
St Louis, protector of widows and orphans, *
St. Louis, defender of the sepulchre of Our Lord Jesus Christ, *
St. Louis, victor over the Saracens, *
St. Louis, protector of those in pagan slavery, *
St. Louis, converter of unbelievers to the Christian faith, *
St. Louis, visitor of hospitals and dispenser of favors to the infirm, *
St. Louis, healer of the sick, *
St. Louis, intercessor and patron of the French King, *
St. Louis, from whom those who flee to thee obtain the infallible help God, *
St. Louis, at whose request divers diseases are miraculously cured, *
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world:
Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world:
Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world:
Have mercy on us.
Christ hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
Lord have mercy on us.
Christ have mercy on us.
Lord have mercy on us.
Our Father (secretly). Hail, Mary (secretly).
V. Pray for us, Saint Louis:
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray:
O Lord, King of kings, Jesus Christ, Who didst love Saint Louis and didst lead him into the heavenly Kingdom: grant that by his intercession and good works, we may participate in his glory for all eternity. Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.
“Let God arise, and let His enemies be scattered.”
Union of prayers from July 16th to August 25th inclusive,
for the needs of the Church and of the State.
Pater, Ave, Gloria Patri to be repeated three times.
St. Michael and all ye holy Angels, pray and fight for us.
St. Peter and all ye holy Apostles, intercede for us.
St. Martin of Tours, pray for us.
St. Louis King of France, pray for us.
St. Ignatius, St. Teresa, and all ye inhabitants of the
heavenly Jerusalem, pray for us.
Ven. Leo Dupont, pray for us.*
Sr. Mary of St. Peter, pray for us.*
May Thy Name, O Lord, be known and blessed at all times and in all places. Most holy Mary, reign over us, thou and thy Divine Son. Amen.
* The above invocations were added in honor of these holy persons’ devotion to Our Lord’s Holy Face.
The Quarantine of St. Louis was originated in Rome by Pope Gregory XVI and was re-introduced by Ven. leo Dupont and the work of Sr. Mary of St. Peter and the Carmelite Order once located in Tours, France. Here is a brief history of the beginning of this powerful work against blasphemy and the need of reparation that led to the Quarantine of St. Louis and the Golden Arrow prayer.
Initially the work of reparation began in 1819, by Abbe Soyer, then vicar general of Poitiers, who became bishop of Lucan. To the first title of Appeal to the People of France, there was added a second, Reparation, inspired to appease the Anger of God. Therein it was stated openly that blasphemy drew down anger of God on France; to avert which, prayers and supplications, similar to those proposed by Sr. Mary St Peter, were specified. "In her surprise," continues the latter, "our good mother said, smilingly, 'Well, sister, if I did not know you, I would think you were a sorceress.' I replied: 'Mother, I am confident that the holy Angels have brought this to light; for I remembered having invoked them before going to our Mother's office; undoubtedly it was they who caused this book to be taken from the library at the proper moment."
The mother prioress sought further information on the subject, and wrote to Abbe Soyer for an explanation. The prelate replied that it was he who had published the "Appeal" at the solicitation of a Carmelite, of Poitiers, named Sister Adelaide, a soul of predilection, with whom the Lord had held the most intimate communications." That admirable Carmelite, "said he, 'was the most mortified, the most humble, and the most saintly soul I have ever met.' It would greatly contribute to the edification of the members of your order if her life were written." Mother Adelaide died on 31st of July, of the same year, 1843 ; and just twenty-six days after her death, Sr. Mary of St. Peter, religious of the same order, was inspired to demand the work of Reparation for blasphemy; as though God had awaited the death of one prophet before raising up another.
"Another remarkable coincidence happened on the same day, the 26th of August. A pious gentleman had distributed among several of the communities of Tours, a prayer in honor of the Holy Name of God, to obtain through the intercession of St. Louis, king of France, the dispersion of the enemies of that divine Name. This prayer had been recited before the feast of St. Louis, and what was more admirable still in the dispensations of Divine Providence, was that the prayers had been circulated among all the religious houses of the city, as was afterward learned, the Carmelites alone being forgotten. On the very next day, the Lord communicated to the most unworthy of his servants, the fruit of the prayers of these holy souls."
The very pious gentlemen in question, is no other than M. Leo Dupont, the holy man of Tours. He was on the most friendly terms with the Carmelites, and this occurrence, as may be supposed, only the more strongly cemented the bonds of friendship existing between them. For years he had burned with an ardent zeal for the reparation of blasphemy, and as a natural consequence, with a great devotion to St. Louis, king of France. This fervent Christian, as the sister relates, had received with great joy the formula of prayers called the "Quarantine of St. Louis," which had come to Tours by post, one knew from whence, in the early part of July, 1843. Madam Deshayes, religious of the Sacred Heart, considered as one of the foundresses of the Institution, was the first to receive thirty copies; she gave one to M. Leo Dupont who lost no time in having more printed. The prayer was in honor of the Holy Name of God, and in reparation for blasphemy. On the copy distributed among the faithful, there was the following :
"From the 16th of July to the 25th of August, inclusively, the faithful are called upon to unite in prayer for the necessities of the Church and State. "May thy Name, Lord! be known and blessed, in all times, and in all places!"
This prayer had been recited during the forty days prescribed, in all the communities of the city. But what was most astonishing, was thatÂ notwithstanding the intimacy existing between M. Leo Dupont and the Carmelites, (besides the circumstance that the Quarantine seems to have been put under the protection of our Lady of Mount Carmel), the mother prioress and her daughters, as the sister remarked, had not the slightest knowledge of the event. The day after the feast of St. Louis, 26th of August, immediately after the last day of the Quarantine, the pious sister received the divine communication, of which we have spoken. We cannot but be forcibly struck with the coincidence, as well as with the affinity existing between the words of the quarantine: May Thy Name be known, blessed, and those of the "Golden Dagger (arrow)" inspired to Sr. Mary of St. Peter, the same day: "May the holy Name of God be forever praised and blessed."
M. Leo Dupont, especially, attached so much the more importance to this, as he was then preoccupied with the idea of reparation for blasphemy. He naturally concluded that the prayers, offered in 1843 by a great number of holy souls, had been heard. "If faith does not oblige us," said he, "it at least allows us to believe that God has heard our prayers, according to his promise: 'Where several are united in My Name, there am I in the midst.' It was only one year after the revelations made to the venerable sister, that we were informed of the very mysterious coincidence existing between the prayers of the quarantine and the invocation dictated her by Our Lord. It seemed as though Heaven had heard the supplication of earth, and planted the seeds of Reparation, which would ere long spring forth and blossom."
From the general aspect, it seems as if this year was predestined by Divine Providence for the work of Reparation. It was on the 8th of August, 1843, that the Pope Gregory XVI, promulgated a brief for the erection of a pious confraternity under the patronage of St. Louis, king of France, for the Reparation of blasphemy against the Holy Name of God. "We find that at the same epoch, a Jesuit labored for some time in vain in a small country village of the diocese of Nantes, whose inhabitants were strangely addicted to blasphemy. But after his bishop had approved of an association in reparation for blasphemy, to which an indulgence of forty days was attached, he obtained the most salutary and abundant fruits. These events had the effect of causing the superiors of Sr. Mary of St. Peter, to relax some what in their severity toward her.
The Roman association, to which here alludes, is that established by a decree of Gregory XVI. on the 8th of August, 1843. The headquarters of this association was at Rome, under the invocation of Peter Caravitay and was placed under the protection of St. Louis, king of France. Each member proposed to himself never to utter a blasphemy or an imprecation. Those invested with authority, should try to encourage their dependents to avoid this odious sin. If they cannot prevent its commission, they must, at least, offer an aspiration of praise, such as, "May God be praised!," "May his Holy Name be Blessed!" and so on. This association would recite daily "Pater and Ave " for the conversion of blasphemers. His Holiness has granted many spiritual favors, notably a plenary indulgence once a month, on any day at option, provided the ordinary conditions be fulfilled; and at the hour of death, another plenary indulgence on the invocation of the Holy Name of Jesus; many other special indulgences are also attached thereto.
An association for the Reparation of blasphemy was not a new institution in the Church ; thus we see that Sr. Mary St. Peter was greatly consoled on learning of the existence of a similar association at Rome, and she with good reason inferred from this fact, that the communications, made to her on the Â subject, were of divine origin. Yet, as it was a question of repairing and extirpating this evil, peculiar to our times, which was propagating itself with alarming rapidity, reparation for blasphemy, the only object proposed by the association of Rome, was not sufficient for that of France, where it was necessary to add reparation for the profanation of Sunday.
This Quarantine of prayer plays a great part in M. Dupont's life, and he looked upon it as the foundation- stone of his work of reparation. A few words must therefore be said about it. The formula of prayers was sent early in July, 1843, to the Mere Deshayes, third foundress of the Sacre Coeur, then residing at Tours. Several copies arrived by post, and no one ever knew whence they came. Their object was the glorification of the Holy Name of God and reparation for blasphemy. The leaflets distributed to the faithful had on them a little cross surrounded by a large crown of thorns, with this motto : " Let God arise, and let His enemies be scattered." Then, written on separate lines, followed, "Union of prayers from the 16th July to the 25th August inclusive, for the needs of the Church and of the State. Pater, Ave, and Gloria Patri be repeated three times. '
St. Michael and all ye holy Angels, pray and fight for us.
St. Peter and all ye Apostles, intercede for us,
St. Ignatius, St. Teresa, and all ye inhabitants of the heavenly Jerusalem, pray for us.'
Aspiration during the day:
May Thy Name, O Lord, be known and blessed at all times and in all places. Most holy Mary, reign over us, thou and thy Divine Son. Amen.'"
Text: provided by the Life of Sr. Mary of St. Peter & Ven. Leo Dupont