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Wednesday 20 January |
Saint of the Day: St. Sebastian
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Saint of the Day: Bl. Antonia Messina

Martyr for Purity

COMMUNION OF SAINTS

© José Luiz Bernardes Ribeiro | CC BY-SA 4.0

Virgin and Martyr (1919-1935)

Her life

+ Antonia was born into a close-knit and pious family in Orgosolo, Sardinia, and her life was governed by the traditions and conventions of her small village.

+ Although she was able to attend school for a short time, she took over the care of the household and her nine brothers and sisters after her mother became bedridden because of a chronic heart condition.

+ Antonia joined the Catholic Action movement in 1929 and became an active member and recruiter.

+ On May 17, 1935, while gathering firewood in the countryside with a friend, the fifteen-year-old Antonia was attacked by a would-be rapist.

+ While her friend ran for help, Antonia tried to fight of her attacker, who killed her by stoning her to death. Antonia suffered 74 wounds and died in an attitude of self-defense.

+ Honored as a martyr for purity (that is, one who died in defensum castitatis), Blessed Antonia was beatified in 1987.

For prayer and reflection

Blessed is the virgin who by denying herself and taking up her cross imitated the Lord, the spouse of virgins and prince of martyrs, alleluia.”—Entrance Antiphon for the Mass for a Virgin-Martyr

Spiritual bonus

Today we also remember Saint Pascal Baylon. A Franciscan lay brother, Pascal spent several years serving as a cook or doorkeeper for his communities, but his charity to the poor and suffering made him widely loved. While traveling in France, he defended the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist against the objections of a Calvinist preacher and almost lost his life for defending the Church’s teachings on the Eucharist. Saint Pascal died in 1592 and was canonized in 1690. He is honored as a patron of cooks and of Eucharistic Congresses.

Prayer

O God, who gladden us today with the annual commemoration of blessed Antonia, graciously grant that we may be helped by her merits, just as our lives are lit up by the splendor of her example of chastity and fortitude. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

(from The Roman Missal: Common of Martyrs—For a Virgin-Marytr)

Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

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