അനുദിന വിശുദ്ധർ (Saint of the Day) May 10th – St. Antoninus of Florence & St. Damien of Molokai
St. Antoninus of Florence
He was born Antonio Pierozzi (also called de Forciglioni) on 1 March 1389 in the city of Florence, then capital of an independent Republic, to Niccolò and Tomasina Pierozzi, prominent citizens of the city, Niccolò being a notary.The young Anthony was received into the Dominican Order in 1405 at the age of sixteen at the new priory of the Order in Fiesole and given the religious habit by the Blessed John Dominici, founder of the community, becoming its first candidate. Soon, in spite of his youth, he was tasked with the administration of various houses of his Order at Cortona, Rome, Naples, as well as Florence, which he labored zealously to reform. These communities had become part of a new Dominican Congregation of Tuscany, established by John Dominici in order to promote a stricter form of life within the Order, which had been devastated through its division in the Western Schism of the preceding century.From 1433-1446 Antoninus served as vicar of the Congregation. In this office, he was involved in the establishment of the Priory of St Mark in Florence. The priory’s cells, including one for Cosimo de’ Medici, were painted in frescos by Fra Angelico and his assistants.Antoninus was consecrated Archbishop of Florence on 13 March 1446, at the Dominican priory in Fiesole, on the initiative of Pope Eugene IV, who had come to admire him through his participation in the major church councils of the period. He came to win the esteem and love of his people, especially by his energy and resource in combating the effects of the plague and earthquake in 1448 and 1453. It was they who began the use of the diminutive form of his name which has come to prevail. Antoninus lived a life of austerity as archbishop, continuing to follow the Dominican Rule. His relations with the Medici regime were close but not always harmonious, with his serving several times as an ambassador for the Republic to the Holy See during the 1450s.
Antoninus died on 2 May 1459, and Pope Pius II conducted his funeral. The pope happened to be on his way to the Council of Mantua when he heard of the archbishop’s death. The archbishop’s wish was that he be buried at the priory which he had founded in the city.
St. Damien of Molokai
The man who would become St. Damien of Molokai, was born in rural Belgium, on January 3, 1840. His name was Jozef De Veuster, and he was the youngest of seven children. Growing up on the farm, Jozef was prepared to take over for his family, but he did not want the responsibility. Instead, he wanted to follow his older brother and two sisters who took religious vows.Jozef attended school until the age of 13 when his help was needed on the family farm full-time. He aided his family until he was old enough to enter the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. He took the name Damien, after a sixth century martyr.In 1864, Damien’s brother who was also in the same order of religious, was ordered to Hawaii. But his brother became ill, so Br. Damien offered to go in his place.The brothers worried that Br. Damien was too uneducated to become a priest, although he was not considered unintelligent. Br. Damien demonstrated his ability by quickly learning Latin from his brother. He was also devoted in prayer, Br. Damien prayed each day before an icon of Saint Francis Xavier to be sent on a mission.Eventually, his religious brothers agreed to send him and have him ordained.Br. Damien arrived in Hawaii in March 1864, and was ordained as a priest on the island of Hawaii two months later. For nine years, he worked on the island as a priest, leading an important, yet undistinguished life.In 1866, Hawaii established a leper colony on the Kalaupapa Peninsula. It was still mistakenly believed that leprosy was highly contagious. This belief resulted in the forced quarantine of leprosy patients.These people still needed spiritual and medical care, so to Fr. Damien discerned his call to serve them. In 1873, Fr. Damien made the trip to be with these people in their colony.Upon arrival, he found the colony was poorly maintained. Anarchy reigned among the people living there. Many patients required treatment but had nobody to care for them. Other patients took to drinking and became severe alcoholics. Every kind of immorality and misbehaviour was on display in the lawless colony. There was no law or order.Fr. Damien realized the people needed leadership, so he provided it. He asked people to come together to build houses and schools and eventually the parish church, St. Philomena. The church still stands today.The sick were cared for and the dead buried. Order and routine made the colony livable. Fr. Damien personally provided much of the care the people needed.
Categories: Daily Saints