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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  March 2000

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION March 2000

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Subject:

Re: Any takers? interim saints for March 23

From:

"J. Michael Walker" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Thu, 23 Mar 2000 11:37:56 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (89 lines)

The other day Oriens wrote:
>It might be of interest if list-members were to contribute articles on
>the patron saints of their own towns, particularly if those saints are
>little-known outside those towns.  I had never heard of St Alkmund, but
>presumably he is a big man in Derby;  Frideswide is not hugely known
>outside Oxford;  here in York, St William is a local saint little-known
>outside the ring road.  Any takers?
>
>Oriens.

Well, Venerable is a few rungs below Saint, but the stories have poetry and
charm, and may even be edifying.  So, on March 23rd, may we honor the
notarized tale of:

The Venerable Brother Juan Bautista de Jesus, of the Third Order of Our
Father San Francis, son of the convent of Tlaxcala … an orphan, took passage
to New Spain the year 1621 and, on the occasion of a great torment, promised
God to serve him in solitude.  With his salary he bought from Ludovico
Blosio some Hours of the Virgin and a bit of cloth, and with a little corn
and a little jar he went to the Sierra foothills (which are called the
Pines), where he wore a sackcloth and ate wild thistles and toasted corn,
begging Our Lord God for the strength to struggle against hell and his
enemies.  On the third night a Lion attacked him with a loud voice
threatening harm; he responded, Do that which God demands; and the beast
left. After six months, for the comfort of hearing Mass, he passed over to
the Sierra of Tlaxcala, where he lived two years …in continuous battle with
the enemy, sometimes visible, sometimes invisible … sometimes dragging him
downhill by the hair. … To this was added the frightful moan of wild
animals, the loud flash of thunder, the bewitching sounds of the rocks, and
the noisy rustling of the trees.  None of this frightened him, nor did the
lack of sustenance, or the great snows (although he was doubled over with
cold), nor waking up with snakes rolled up against his person. … One day
when the great snows prevented his going in search of food, the Creator sent
an Angel who brought him bread; another time a crow rushed to his cave and,
recognizing him, offered his corncob; the Brother took half, satisfying his
needs, and returned the rest to the crow. … In 1639 he went to the hill of
Atlahuitec and, finding his old hermitage occupied by Brother Diego Liegero
[Don’t hermits just hate it when that happens]… passed on to a pleasing land
where, in a grotto, he placed his home: a sepulchre which he filled with
twelve skulls and a few bones, topping this with a tablet on which he
slept. … He built a Chapel wherein he placed a small Image of Our Lady of
the Immaculate Conception… in whom he experienced great miracles … which in
summary are the following:
He noticed that every day birds entered to escape the hawks, which thereupon
left them, in recognition of which the birds offered him music at all hours;
and rabbits entered the hermitage to escape dogs and wildcats, which also
left without entering.  On one occasion a wildcat caught a dove which had
rushed there and had him in his mouth.  The Venerable Bautista said to him,
“Leave her for the Most Holy Virgin,” upon which it departed leaving no
lesions whatever.  Every night Angels played music for him; and opening the
door sometimes he saw the Angels as choruses of gentlemen, with a light as
of day.  Once, returning from the City, he missed his Holy Image, and
judging that he must have offended her he prayed, at which point he saw her
come in a little cloud, and he asked, “My Lady, where did you go? What did
you do?”  She responded, “I went to see a servant of mine in need.”  On
another occasion the Venerable Bautista went to visit a sick donor, only to
find the Image already at the bedside…
[When Venerable Brother Bautista replaced the Holy Image with a new one]
birds and rabbits came to celebrate the new guest, which is nowadays found
in the Parochial Church of Tlaxcala… Once a fawn, injured by a hunter,
entered the Chapel and left healed, for which she never neglected to return
and give thanks to the Holy Image.
(Of these and many other miracles wrote the Venerable Priest Francisco de
Christo, Doctor of Religion; and giving thought not to write more, because
it might not be believed, he heard a sensible voice issuing from the lips of
the Image, before whom he wrote: “Put it on paper, for it is the will of my
Son, and mine as well.” Finishing writing, the Enemy bit his right hand with
which he wrote and, calling upon the Virgin, the Enemy let go, leaving
behind bruises which, though small, burned like fire and left the hand
somewhat useless.) …
Approaching the end of his life’s pilgrimage, and knowing of his urinary
affliction, the Vicariate Priest Antonio Gonzalez Lazo carried him to his
home and alleviated his fleshly sufferings, removing a four-finger-thick
scraping plate of brass, and four more from his arms and muscles, as well as
a rough horsehair shirt, gave him the Holy Sacraments, finding him fatigued
by his battles with the Enemy …suffering his pains with patience, he
received Extreme Unction on the 23rd of March the year 1660, and passed from
this painful life to the eternal rest.  Being four days without being
buried, in all this time it was admirable to see him as incorrupt and
fragrant as when alive.
- - from “Menologio Franciscano”, by Fr. Agustin de Vetancurt, 1698
- - (with apologies for any infelicities of translation)
jmichael.




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