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July 2019

Blessed Emmanuel Ruiz and Companions

Jul 7
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Blessed Emmanuel Ruiz and Companions’ Story (1804 – 1860) Not much is known of the early life of Emmanuel Ruiz but details of his heroic death in defense of the faith have come down to us. Born of humble parents in Santander, Spain, he became a Franciscan priest and served as a missionary in Damascus. This was at a time when anti-Christian riots shook Syria and thousands lost their lives in just a short time. Among these were Emmanuel, superior…

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Saint Gregory Grassi

Jul 8
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Gregory Grassi and Companions’ Story (d. July 9, 1900) Christian missionaries have often gotten caught in the crossfire of wars against their own countries. When the governments of Britain, Germany, Russia and France forced substantial territorial concessions from the Chinese in 1898, anti-foreign sentiment grew very strong among many Chinese people. Gregory Grassi was born in Italy in 1833, ordained in 1856 and sent to China five years later. Gregory was later ordained Bishop of North Shanxi. With 14 other…

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Saint Augustine Zhao Rong and Companions

Jul 9
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Augustine Zhao Rong and Companions’ Story (d. 1648 – 1930) Christianity arrived in China by way of Syria in the 600s. Depending on China’s relations with the outside world, Christianity over the centuries was free to grow or was forced to operate secretly. The 120 martyrs in this group died between 1648 and 1930. Most of them (87) were born in China and were children, parents, catechists, or laborers, ranging from nine years of age to 72. This group…

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Saint Veronica Giuliani

Jul 10
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Veronica Giuliani’s Story (December 27, 1660 – July 9, 1727) Veronica’s desire to be like Christ crucified was answered with the stigmata. Veronica was born in Mercatelli, Italy. It is said that when her mother Benedetta was dying she called her five daughters to her bedside and entrusted each of them to one of the five wounds of Jesus. Veronica was entrusted to the wound below Christ’s heart. At the age of 17, Veronica joined the Poor Clares directed…

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Saint Benedict

Jul 11
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Benedict’s Story (c. 480 – c. 547) It is unfortunate that no contemporary biography was written of a man who has exercised the greatest influence on monasticism in the West. Benedict is well recognized in the later Dialogues of Saint Gregory, but these are sketches to illustrate miraculous elements of his career. Benedict was born into a distinguished family in central Italy, studied at Rome and early in life was drawn to the monastic life. At first he became a…

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Saints John Jones and John Wall

Jul 12
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saints John Jones and John Wall’s story These two friars were martyred in England in the 16th and 17th centuries for refusing to deny their faith. John Jones was Welsh. He was ordained a diocesan priest and was twice imprisoned for administering the sacraments before leaving England in 1590. He joined the Franciscans at the age of 60 and returned to England three years later while Queen Elizabeth I was at the height of her power. John ministered to Catholics…

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Saint Henry

Jul 13
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Henry’s Story (May 6, 972 – July 13, 1024) As German king and Holy Roman Emperor, Henry was a practical man of affairs. He was energetic in consolidating his rule. He crushed rebellions and feuds. On all sides he had to deal with drawn-out disputes so as to protect his frontiers. This involved him in a number of battles, especially in the south in Italy; he also helped Pope Benedict VIII quell disturbances in Rome. Always his ultimate purpose…

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Saint Kateri Tekakwitha

Jul 14
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha’s Story (1656 – April 17, 1680) The blood of martyrs is the seed of saints. Nine years after the Jesuits Isaac Jogues and John de Brébeuf were tomahawked by Iroquois warriors, a baby girl was born near the place of their martyrdom, Auriesville, New York. Her mother was a Christian Algonquin, taken captive by the Iroquois and given as wife to the chief of the Mohawk clan, the boldest and fiercest of the Five Nations. When she…

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Saint Bonaventure

Jul 15
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Bonaventure’s Story (1221 – July 15, 1274) Bonaventure: Franciscan, theologian, doctor of the Church, was both learned and holy. Because of the spirit that filled him and his writings, he was at first called the Devout Doctor; but in more recent centuries he has been known as the Seraphic Doctor after the “Seraphic Father” Francis, because of the truly Franciscan spirit he possessed. Born in Bagnoregio, a town in central Italy, as a boy he was cured of a…

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Saint Swithun -Our Parish Patron Saint

Jul 15
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Swithun’s Story (c. 800 to 2 July 862) The life of St Swithun, an Anglo-Saxon bishop, is rich in legend. A century after his death in 863, he was chosen as patron saint for the Cathedral’s Benedictine monastery. His bones, housed in a splendid reliquary, became famed for their healing powers. His cult lasted until the Reformation, when all traces of his shrine were swept away. The story of St Swithun, our parish’s much-loved Saxon patron saint, combines a…

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