St. David was born towards the end of the fifth century, less than a hundred years after the last Roman legions had marched out of Wales. He was the son of Saint a scion of the royal house of Ceredigion, his mother was Non, daughter of Cynyr of Caio, remembered by numerous churches and holy wells in Wales, Cornwall and Brittany. Educated at Henfynyw (Old Menevia) in Ceredigion, where he ‘learned the alphabet, the psalms, the lessons for the whole year, the Masses and the Synaxis’, he founded a Celtic monastic community at Glyn Rhosin (The Vale of Roses) on the western headland of Sir Benfro, at the spot where St. David’s Cathedral stands today.
His foundation at Glyn Rhosin became one of the most important shrines of the Christian world, and the most important centre in Wales.
The date of Dewi Sant’s death is recorded as March 1st, but the year is uncertain – possibly 588. As his tearful monks prepared for his death St David uttered these words: ‘Brothers be ye constant. The yoke which with single mind ye have taken, bear ye to the end; and whatsoever ye have seen with me and heard, keep and fulfil’and as he died ‘Lords, brothers and sisters, be cheerful, keep the faith, and do those little things which ye have seen me do and heard me say.’
Saint David’s Day is the feast day of Saint David and falls on 1st of March each year. The date of March 1st was chosen in remembrance of the death of Saint David on that day in 589, and has been celebrated by followers since then. The date was declared a national day of celebration within Wales in the 18th century.
Every year parades are held in Wales to commemorate St. David. The largest of these is held in Cardiff.For centuries the first of March has been a national festival. St David was recognized as a national patron saint at the height of Welsh resistance to the Normans. In 2003 in the United States, St. David’s Day was recognized officially as the national day of the Welsh, and on 1 March the Empire State Building was floodlit in the national colours, red, green and white. It is invariably celebrated by Welsh societies throughout the world with dinners, parties, recitals and concerts.
St. Alphonsa Muttathupadathu (The Passion Flower) is the first Indian woman to be elevated to sainthood. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1986 and decided as a saint by the pope Benedict XVI onMarch 1, 2008. The official declaration will be done today October 12, 2008. On February 8, 1986, almost 40 years after her death, Pope John Paul II beatified her at Kottayam. On June 1, 2007 Pope Benedict XVI authorised her canonization. She will be the first female saint from India and the second saint from India.
Pictures of St Alphonsa
Born as Annakkutty (little Anna) in Kudamaloor, a rural village in Kottayam district,Kerala, India, to Joseph and Mary Muttathupadathu. She was baptized on August 27, 1910. Anna’s mother died when she was very young, so her maternal aunt raised her. Anna was educated by her great-uncle Father Joseph Muttathupadathu. When Anna was 3 years old, she contracted eczema and suffered from it for over a year.
She died on July 28, 1946, aged 35. She is buried at Bharananganam, South India in the Diocese of Pala.
Pope Benedict XVI will declare Sister Alphonsa a saint of the Roman Catholic Church at the sprawling St Peter’s Square today.
“This is the first time that India has a saint who was born, lived and died in this country,”said Mani. “It is an emotional and proud moment.” About 10,000 Indians will attend the canonization of Sister Alphonsa.
Pictures of St Alphonsa Museum
The Alphonsa Museum, which houses hundreds of exhibits associated with the life of blessed Alphonsa, is situated in the Chapel compound. The two storey structure in front of the chapel was originally the Papal podium at Kottayam during the beatification ceremony on 8th Feb.1986. A flight of steps leads to the stadium below and on either side of these steps one can see a beautifully laid out terraced garden, one of the very best of its kind in Kerala. See the video clip below for more details showing her physical remains.
St. Alphonsa Video :-
Churches named after St. Alphonsa even before Canonization:-
Three churches in the United States were named after St. Alphonsa even before her canonization by Pope Benedict XVI on October 12 in Vatican.
1) Parishioners at the Saint Alphonsa Church in San Fernando in Los Angles, claims that it is the first church in the whole world to be named after her. The church was started as a mission of the St Thomas Syro-Malabar Diocese of Chicago in 2001. Sr Alphonsa was still in the Blessed or beatified status and there was no indication when she would become a saint. Beatification is the last step before canonization.
“But we knew that now or later, she would be canonized. So we decided to name the mission after her,” Vicar Fr. Paul Kottackal said. The church allows to use the name of the beatified for new missions or churches. The mission bought a building used by the Jehova’s Witness members this year and a formal parish was inaugurated this July by Major Archbishop, Cardinal Varkey Vithyathil, head of the Kerala-based Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. Syro-Malabar Church is an independent church within the Catholic Church.
He and Bishop Jacob Angadiath of the Chicago diocese allowed them to use the name as Saint Alphonsa. The cardinal assured them that the canonization was an officially decided matter and only a formal ceremony by the pope was left. So the church was registered as Saint Alphonsa Church. The church conducted a two-day feast and special prayers on October 11 and 12 to coincide with the canonization ceremonies held in Vatican.
2) The Blessed Alphonsa Church in Atlanta, Georgia, will soon change its name to Saint Alphonsa Church. To celebrate the canonization, the church has scheduled a 21-day programme starting October 12, Abraham Augusty, chairman of the parish council, said.
The main celebrations are on November 1 and 2, when Bishop Agadiath will also come to participate. A committee under Vicar Fr Kurian Karickal and Augusty is also working to make the celebrations a success. They bought six-acre land to built the church. It was inaugurated in 2006, ahead of the Los Angeles church. But Alphonsa’s name was taken for the mission only in 2004. A mission is a congregation which will become a parish when it gets its own church.
3) The third church is in Dallas, Texas, still only a mission, as it has no church of its own. It is the second church for the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in Dallas. Fr. Saji Chakkittamuri, who just arrived from Kerala, has taken over as the vicar of the church.
Several people from the US have already gone to Vatican to witness the ceremony. Florida-based Joy Kuttiani, along with his family, is one among them. He is a native of Bharanganam in Kottayam district, where Alphonsa lived and the mortal remains were buried. It is the major pilgrimage centre of the Catholic community. Kuttiani is a devotee of Alphonsa. He was instrumental in releasing a postal stamp in the name of Alphonsa in the 90s. “It was K Karunakaran, former kerala chief minister, who made it possible. He forced the central ministers to bring out the stamp,’ he said. More than 900,000 stamps with her pictures were sold, which was a rare thing in the postal history in India, he said.
Prayer of Saint Alphonsa:-
O Lord Jesus,
Hide me in the wound of your sacred heart. Free me from my desire to be loved and esteemed. Guard me from my evil attempts to win fame and honor. Make me humble till I become a small spark in the flame of love in your Sacred Heart. Grant me the grace to forget myself and all worldly things. Jesus, sweet beyond words, convert all worldly consolations into bitterness for me. O my Jesus, Sun of Justice, enlighten my intellect and mind with your sacred rays. Purify my heart, consume me with burning love for you, and make me one with you. Amen
Novena of the Saint Alphonsa:
Prayer to Saint Alphonsa:-
Oh, Saint Alphonsa, you have been graciously chosen from our midst to be united with Jesus Christ, our savior, in the misery of his passion, death and resurrection. You have grown to the heights of holiness and have been crowned with heavenly glory.
Help us in our trials and tribulations. Oh! Daughter of sufferings, obtain for us the grace to lead a holy life, following your example, in total submission to the will of God. Be with us, transforming all our sorrows into a holy sacrifice in union with Christ Crucified, in reparation to our sins, for the sanctification and salvation of the whole world. Amen.
St. Joan of Arc is the patroness of soldiers and of France. On January 6, 1412, Joan of Arc was born to pious parents of the French peasant class, at the obscure village of Domremy, near the province of Lorraine. At a very early age, she heard voices: those of St. Michael, St. Catherine and St. Margaret.
At first the messages were personal and general. Then at last came the crowning order. In May, 1428, her voices “of St. Michael, St. Catherine, and St. Margaret” told Joan to go to the King of France and help him reconquer his kingdom. For at that time the English king was after the throne of France, and the Duke of Burgundy, the chief rival of the French king, was siding with him and gobbling up evermore French territory.
After overcoming opposition from churchmen and courtiers, the seventeen year old girl was given a small army with which she raised the seige of Orleans on May 8, 1429. She then enjoyed a series of spectacular military successes, during which the King was able to enter Rheims and be crowned with her at his side.
In May 1430, as she was attempting to relieve Compiegne, she was captured by the Burgundians and sold to the English when Charles and the French did nothing to save her. After months of imprisonment, she was tried at Rouen by a tribunal presided over by the infamous Peter Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais, who hoped that the English would help him to become archbishop.
Through her unfamiliarity with the technicalities of theology, Joan was trapped into making a few damaging statements. When she refused to retract the assertion that it was the saints of God who had commanded her to do what she had done, she was condemned to death as a heretic, sorceress, and adulteress, and burned at the stake on May 30, 1431.
She was nineteen years old. Some thirty years later, she was exonerated of all guilt and she was ultimately canonized in 1920, making official what the people had known for centuries.
Feast day of St. Joan of Arc is May 30. Joan was canonized in 1920 by Pope Benedict XV.