Our Saints.

   

Saint Marcellina.

Saint Marcellina was born in Rome about 327. She was the older sister of Saint Ambrose of Milan and Saint Satyrus.

She lived Trier , where her father resided as prefect of Gaul. After her father’s death she went to Rome. Once there Marcellina was entrusted by her pious mother with the education of her brothers, whom she inspired by word and example to thirst for Christian virtue.

She received the veil of a consecrated virgin from the hands of Pope Liberius on Christmas Day, 353, in Saint Peter's Basilica. During his homily on that occasion he exhorted her to embrace the evangelical virtues and to behave in church with the utmost respect. The advice, which the pope addressed to her on this occasion, has been preserved by St. Ambrose (De virginibus III), which emphasized especially the obligations of christian virgins to preserve virginal purity.

After Ambrose became Bishop of Milan (374), Marcellina and her brother Satyrus went to live with him in Milan. She lived a life of great austerity, which St. Ambrose tried to persuade her to mitigate.

Ambrose fell sick and died april 4,397; he was 57; Marcellina survived her brother and died in 398 or shortly afterwards.

She also was buried in the crypt under the altar of the Ambrosian Basilica, and was honoured as a saint. Her feast is celebrated on 17 July.

   

Saint Ambrose

Bishop of Milan and Doctor of the Church, Ambrose was born about 340 at Trier (modern Germany), of christian parents.

Educated at Rome, he became (c.372) governor of Liguria and Aemilia with the capital at Milan. He was highly regarded as governor and popular pressure resulted in his appointment (374) as bishop, although he was reluctant and lacked religious training.

After much study he became the chief catholic opponent of Arianism in the West. He was adviser to Emperor Gratian whom he persuaded to outlaw (379) all heresy in the West. He firmly refused the demands of Justina and the young Emperor Valentinian II to surrender a church of his diocese to the Arians. “The Emperor,” he preached, “is in the Church, not above it.”

He excommunicated Theodosius I for the massacre at Salonica (390) and imposed a heavy public penance on him before reinstating him.

Ambrose’s eloquent preaching spurred the conversion of St. Augustine. His writings have come down to us largely from his hearers. They reveal wide classical learning, knowledge of patristic literature, and a Roman bent toward the ethical and practical. Of his formal works, On the Duties of the Clergy (De officiis ministrorum) shows the influence of Cicero; On the Christian Faith (De fide) was written at Gratian’s request.

Ambrose’s method of biblical interpretation was allegorical, following Philo and Origen.

About 386 he arranged hymns and psalms for the congregation to sing antiphonally. A plainsong called Ambrosian chant is attached to his name.

His hymns, written in the iambic dimeter that became standard in Western hymnody, were widely imitated. Only a few are extant. The Ambrosian Rite used in Milan today is probably a development of a liturgy Ambrose introduced.

When Ambrose fell sick he foretold his death, but said he should live until Easter. On the day of his death he laid with his hands extended in the form of a cross for several hours, in constant prayer. The last thing he said was, "Arise! Make haste! He is going" and soon after he died. It was Good Friday, April 4, 397, and he was 57 years old. He was buried on Easter Day.

Feast 7 December.

   

Saint Satiro

Satyrus was born in Trier in 337.

After the untimely death of his father, Satyrus went to Rome with his family.  He was then eighteen years old and attending the rhetoric school in order to become a lawyer.

In 363, having completed his literary and legal studies, he enrolled, despite the persecutions inflicted on the Christians by the emperor Julian, in the role of lawyers. After leaving Rome for the necessary training in the province, Satyrus began his travels in the provinces of the Empire, until the election of Ambrose as bishop, who summoned him to Milan with his sister Marcellina. Here, sacrificing his career, he put himself at the disposal of his brother bishop, becoming a wise and generous administrator of ecclesiastical substances, a kind of lay deacon devoted to helping the most needy.

Returning from a perilous journey to Africa,where he had gone for the sake of justice and the poor. He was shipwrecked and was forced to stop in Rome, seriously ill. It was during this terrible journey back that Satyrus received baptism and the Eucharist. Eager then to rejoin his brothers, he died piously in Milan assisted by Marcellina and Ambrose, on 17 September in the year 379.

   

Blessed Maria Anna Sala

Daughter of Giovanni and Giovannina Sala; fifth of eight children in a pious family. Maria Anna Sala was born in Brivio ( Lecco- Italy) on April 21st, 1829.

She was educated in the convent school by the Sisters of Saint Marcellina in Vimercate, where she stood out for her piety, purity and zeal.

Maria Anna wanted to join the Sisters, but her family needed her help, and she returned home. In 1848, her family obligations fulfilled, she returned to the Sisters, and made her profession on 13 September 1852; for her perfect observance she was named the “living rule”.

Over the next four decades she taught at the Marcellina schools in Cernusco, Chambery, Genoa, and Milan. As teacher she was totally dedicated to the young people whom she led  towards God through a solid cultural and religious education.

Moved by divine love, mild, caring, maternal and with a heroic spirit of sacrifice she persevered in her holy mission till the end of her life.

Diagnosed with throat cancer in 1883, she kept the matter to herself and continued to work for another eight years. She died on 24 November 1891 in Milan, Italy of throat cancer.

Throughout the beatification investigation and recognition everyone involved stressed her quiet dignity and her unwavering devotion to Christ no matter how severe the pain or trying her circumstances.

Her Cause of beatification was introduced in 1920.

Maria Anna Sala was beatified on 26 October 1980 by Pope John Paul II.

Memorial: 24 November.

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