July 20th - Sts. Saint Jerome Æmilian and Margaret of Antioch
July 20 – Saint Jerome Æmilian, Confessor
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Guéranger  (1841-1875)

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Sprung from the powerful aristocracy which won for Venice twelve centuries of splendor, Jerome came into the world when that city had reached the height of its glory. At fifteen years of age he became a soldier; and was one of the heroes in that formidable struggle wherein his country withstood the united powers of almost all Europe in the League of Cambrai. The golden city, crushed for a moment, but soon restored to her former condition, offered her honors to the defender of Castelnovo, who like herself had fallen bravely and risen again. But our Lady of Tarviso had delivered him from his German prison, only to make him her own captive; she brought him back to the city of St. Mark, there to fulfil a higher mission than the proud Republic could have entrusted to him. The descendant of the Æmiliani, captivated, as was Lawrence Justinian a century before, by Eternal Beauty, would now live only for the humility which leads to heaven, and for the lofty deeds of charity. His title of nobility will be derived from the obscure village of Somascha, where he will gather his newly recruited army; and his conquests will be the bringing of little children to God. He will no more frequent the palaces of his patrician friends, for he now belongs to a higher rank: they serve the world, he serves heaven; his rivals are the Angels, whose ambition, like his own, is to preserve unsullied for the Father the service of those innocent souls whom the greatest in heaven must resemble.

“The soul of the child,” as the Church tells us today by the golden mouth of St. John Chrysostom, “is free from all passions. He bears no ill will towards them that have done him harm, but goes to them as friends just as if they had done nothing. And though he be often beaten by his mother, yet he always seeks her and loves her more than any one else. If you show him a queen in her royal crown, he prefers his mother clad in rags, and would rather see her unadorned than the queen in magnificent attire; for he does not appreciate according to riches or poverty, but by love. He seeks not for more than is necessary, and as soon as he has had sufficient milk he quits the breast. He is not oppressed with the same sorrows as we, nor troubled with care for money and the like; neither is he rejoiced by our transitory pleasures, nor affected by corporal beauty. Therefore our Lord said, Of such is the kingdom of heaven, wishing us to do of our own free will what children do by nature.”

Their Guardian Angels, as our Lord himself said, gazing into those pure souls, are not distracted from the contemplation of their heavenly Father: for he rests in them as on the wings of Cherubim, since baptism has made them his children. Happy was our Saint to have been chosen by God to share the loving cares of the Angels here below, before partaking of their bliss in heaven. The following detailed account is given by Holy Church:

Quote:Jerome was born at Venice, of the patrician family of the Æmiliani, and from his boyhood embraced a military life. At a time when the Republic was in great difficulty, he was placed in command of Castelnovo, in the territory of Quero, in the mountains of Tarviso. The fortress was taken by the enemy, and Jerome was thrown, bound hand and foot, into a horrible dungeon. When he found himself thus destitute of all human aid, he prayed most earnestly to the Blessed Virgin, who mercifully came to his assistance. She loosed his bonds, and led him safely through the midst of his enemies, who had possession of every road, till he was within sight of Tarviso. He entered the town; and, in testimony of the favour he had received, he hung up at the altar of our Lady, to whose service he had vowed himself, the manacles, shackles, and chains which he had brought with hi. On his return to Venice he gave himself with the utmost zeal to exercises of piety. His charity towards the poor was wonderful; but he was particularly moved to pity for the orphan children who wandered poor and dirty about the town; he received them into houses which he hired, where he fed them at his own expense and trained them to lead Christian lives.

At this time Blessed Cajetan and Peter Caraffa, who was afterwards Paul IV, disembarked at Venice. They commended Jerome’s spirit and his new institution for gathering orphans together. They also introduced him into the hospital for incurables, where he would be able to devote himself with equal charity to the education of orphans, and to the service of the sick. Soon, at their suggestion, he crossed over to the Continent and founded orphanages, first at Brescia, then at Bergamo and Como. At Bergamo his zeal was specially prolific, for there, besides two orphanages, one for boys and one for girls, he opened a house, an unprecedented thing in those parts, for the reception of fallen women who had been converted. Finally he took up his abode at Somascha, a small village in the territory of Bergamo, near to the Venetian border, and this he made his headquarters; here, too, he definitely established his Congregation, which for this reason received the name of Somasques. In course of time it spread and increased, and for the greater benefit of the Christian republic it undertook, besides the ruling and guiding of orphans and the taking care of sacred buildings, the education both liberal and moral of young men in colleges, academies, and seminaries. Pius V enrolled it among religious Orders, and other Roman Pontiffs have honored it with privileges.

Entirely devoted to his work of rescuing orphans, Jerome journeyed to Milan and Pavia, and in both cities he collected numbers of children and provided them, through the assistance given him by noble personages, with a home, food, clothing, and education. He returned to Somascha, and, making himself all to all, he refused no labour which he saw might turn to the good of his neighbour. He associated himself with the peasants scattered over the fields, and while helping them with their work of harvesting, he would explain to them the mysteries of faith. He used to take care of children with the greatest patience, even going to far as to cleanse their heads, and he dressed the corrupt wounds of the village folk with such success that it was thought he had received the gift of healing. On the mountain which overhangs Somascha he found a cave in which he hid himself, and there scourging himself, spending whole days fasting, passing the greater part of the night in prayer, and snatching only a short sleep on the bare rock, he expiated his own sins and those of others. In the interior of this grotto, water trickles from the dry rock, obtained, as constant tradition says, by the prayers of the servant of God. It still flows, even to the present day, and being taken into different countries, it often gives health to the sick. At length, when a contagious distemper was spreading over the whole valley, and he was serving the sick and carrying the dead to the grave on his own shoulders, he caught the infection, and died at the age of fifty-six. His precious death, which he had foretold a short time before, occurred in the year 1537. He was illustrious both in life and death for many miracles. Benedict XIV enrolled him among the Blessed, and Clement XIII solemnly inscribed his name on the catalogue of the Saints.

With Vincent de Paul and Camillus of Lellis, thou, O Jerome Æmilian, completest the triumvirate of charity. Thus does the Holy Spirit mark his reign with traces of the Blessed Trinity; moreover, he would show that the love of God, which he kindles on earth, can never be without the love of our neighbor. At the very time when he gave thee to the world as a demonstration of this truth, the spirit of evil made it evident that true love of our neighbor cannot exist without love of God and that this latter soon disappears in its turn when faith is extinct. Thus, between the ruins of the pretended reform and the ever-new fecundity of the Spirit of holiness, mankind was free to choose. The choice made was, alas! far from being always conformable to man’s interest, either temporal or eternal. With what good reason may we repeat the prayer thou didst teach thy little orphans: “Lord Jesus Christ, our loving Father, we beseech Thee, by Thine infinite goodness, raise up Christendom once more, and bring it back to that upright holiness which flourished in the Apostolic age.”

Thou didst labor strenuously at this great work of restoration. The Mother of Divine Grace, when she broke thy prison chains, set thy soul free from a more cruel captivity, to continue the flight begun at baptism and in thy early years. Thy youth was renewed as the eagle’s; and the valor which won thee thy spurs in earthly battles, being now strengthened tenfold in the service of the all-powerful Prince, carried the day over death and hell. Who could count thy victories in this new militia? Jesus, the King of the warfare of salvation, inspired thee with his own predilection for little children: countless numbers saved by thee from perishing, and brought in their innocence to his Divine caresses, owe to thee their crown in heaven. From thy throne, where thou art surrounded by this lovely company, multiply thy sons; uphold those who continue thy work on earth; may thy spirit spread more and more in these days, when Satan’s jealousy strives more than ever to snatch the little ones from our Lord. Happy shall they be in their last hour who have accomplished the work of mercy pre-eminent in our days: saved the faith of children, and preserved their baptismal innocence! Should they have formerly merited God’s anger, they may with all confidence repeat the words thou didst love so well: “O sweetest Jesus, be not unto me a Judge, but a Savior!”
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
July 20 – St Margaret, Virgin and Martyr
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Guéranger  (1841-1875)

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This same day brings before us a rival of the warrior martyr, St. George: Margaret, like him victorious over the dragon, and like him called in the Menæa of the Greeks, the Great Martyr. The cross was her weapon; and like the soldier, the virgin, too, consummated her trial in her blood. They were equally renowned also in those chivalrous times when valor and faith fought hand in hand for Christ beneath the standard of the Saints. So early as the seventh century England rivalled the East in honoring the pearl drawn from the abyss of infidelity. Before the disastrous schism brought about by Henry VIII, the Island of Saints celebrated this feast as a double of the Second Class; women alone were obliged to rest from servile work, in gratitude for the protection afforded them by St. Margaret at the moment of childbirth—a favor which ranked her among the Saints called in the middle ages auxiliatores or helpers. But it was not in England alone that Margaret was invoked, as history proves by the many and illustrious persons of all countries who have borne her blessed name. In heaven, too, there is great festivity around the throne of Margaret; we learn this from such trustworthy witnesses as St. Gertrude the Great and St. Frances of Rome, who, though divided by a century of time, were both, by a special favor of their Divine Spouse, allowed, while still on earth, to assist at this heavenly spectacle.

The ancient legend in the Roman Breviary was suppressed in the sixteenth century by St. Pius V as not being sufficiently authentic. We therefore give instead some Responsories and Antiphons and a Collect, taken from what appears to be the very Office said by St. Gertrude; for in the vision mentioned above, allusion is made to one of these Responsories, Virgo veneranda.


Felix igitur Margarita sacrilego sanguine progenita: * Fidem quam Spiritu Sancto percepit vitiorum maculis minus infecit.
Blessed Margaret, though born of pagan blood: * Receiving the faith by the Holy Spirit, preserved it free from stain.

℣. Ibat de virtute in virtutem, ardenter sitiens animæ salutem. * Fidem.
℣. She went from virtue to virtue, ardently desiring the salvation of her soul. * Receiving the faith.

℟. Hæc modica quidem in malitia, sed mire vigens pudicitia, præventa gratia Redemptoris: * Oviculas pascebat nutricis.
℟. Knowing no evil, she blossomed in purity, being prevented by the grace of our Savior. * She tended the sheep for her foster-mother.

℣. Simplex fuit ut columba, quemadmodum serpens astuta. * Oviculas.
℣. Simple as the dove and prudent as the serpent. * She tended.

℟. Quadam die Odibrius, molestus Deo et hominibus, transiens visum in illam sparsit: * Mox in concupiscentiam ejus exarsit.
℟. Odibrius, hateful to God and men, passing one day, cast his glance upon her. * And he burned with desire of her.

℣. Erat enim nimium formosa: in vultu scilicet ut rosa. * Mox.
℣. For she was exceeding lovely; her face like a beautiful rose. * And he burned.

℟. Misit protinus clientes, ad inquirendos ejus parentes; * Ut si libera probaretur, in conjugium sibi copularetur.
℟. Forthwith he sent his men to in quire as to her parentage, * For that if she were of gentle blood, he fain would take her to wife.

℣. Sed hanc qui desponsaverat, non ita Christus præordinaverat. * Ut si.
℣. But Jesus Christ whose bride she was, had otherwise ordained. * For that she were.

℟. Dum tyrannus intellexit quod eum virgo despexit: * Jussit eamdem iratus suis præsentari tribunalibus.
℟. When the tyrant heard that the virgin despised him, * Enraged he caused her to be brought to his tribunal.

℣. Quam sperans puellarum more minis flecti subjuncto terrore. * Jussit.
℣. For he hoped that, as maidens are wont, she would yield through fear of his threats. * Enraged.

℟. Virgi veneranda, in magna stans constantia, verba contempsit judicis: * Nil cogitans de rebus lubricis.
℟. The worshipful virgin stood firm in her constancy, setting at nought the words of the judge. * For she thought not of vile pleasures.

℣. Cœlestis præmii spe gaudens, in tribulatione erat patiens. * Nil cogitans.
℣. Rejoicing in the hope of a heavenly reward, she was patient under the trial. * For she thought not.

℟. Post carceris squalorem carnisque macerationem Christi dilecta: * Tenebrosis denuo recluditur in locis.
℟. The beloved of Christ, after enduring the horrors of a dungeon, and the torturing of her flesh, * Is closed once more in a darksome prison.

℣. Nomen Domini laudare non desinens et glorificare. * Tenebrosis.
℣. She ceases not to praise and glorify the name of the Lord. * Is closed.

℟. Sancta martyre precatibus instante, draco fœtere plenus apparuit: * Qui hanc invadens totam absorbuit.
℟. While the holy martyr was instant in prayer, a foul dragon appeared; * And rushing upon her, he devoured her.

℣. Quem per medium signo crucis discidit, et de utero ejus illæsa exivit. * Qui.
℣. With the sign of the cross she rent him asunder, and came forth again unhurt. * And rushing.


Ministri statim tenellæ corpus comburebant puellæ; sed hæc, oratione facta, igne permansit intacta.
The executioners burn the limbs of the tender maiden: but making her prayer she feels nought of the flame.

Vas immensum aqua plenum præses imperavit afferri: et in illud virginem ligatam demergi.
A great vessel full of water is brought by the judge’s command: and the virgin is cast in bound.

Laudabilis Dominus in suis virtutibus, vincula manuum relaxavit, suamque famulam de morte liberavit.
The Lord, who is worthy of praise in his mighty deeds, loosened the fetters of his handmaid, and delivered her from death.

Videntes hæc mirabilia baptizati sunt quinque millia: quos capite plecti censuit ira præfecti: quibus est addicta Christi testis invicta, benedicens Deum deorum in sæcula sæculorum.
At the sight of these wonders five thousand are baptized: the prefect in anger commands them all to be beheaded, and after them the unconquerable witness of Christ, blessing the God of gods for ever and ever.


Deus qui beatam Margaritam virginem tuam ad cœlos per martyrii palmam venire fecisti: concede nobis, quæsumus, ut ejus exempla sequentes, ad te venire mereamur. Per Dominum.
O God, who didst lead thy blessed virgin Margaret to heaven, with the palm of martyrdom, grant, we beseech thee, that by following her example, we may merit to come even unto thee. Through our Lord.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre

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