A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
San Pedro Chrysologus (St Peter Chrysologus, Ἅγιος Πέτρος ὁ Χρυσολόγος, Petros Chrysologos, the golden-worded Doctor of Homilies) (c380-c450). Liturgical Feast Day for Franciscan Imolesi Bishop of Ravenna, Confessor and Doctor of the Church known for the concise but theologically rich reflections he delivered in simple and short but inspired sermons, as he was afraid of fatiguing the attention of his hearers. His piety and zeal won universal admiration and his sermons are historically significant in that they reveal Christian life in Fifth-Century Ravenna, the capital of the empire in the West but which still had vestiges of paganism that he overcame. He condemned Arianism and Monophysitism as heresies and explained the Apostles’ Creed, the mystery of the Incarnation, Saint John the Baptist and the Blessed Virgin Mary. His surviving works attest to the Church’s traditional beliefs about Mary’s perpetual virginity, the penitential value of Lent, Christ’s Eucharistic presence and the primacy of St Peter and his successors. He advocated daily reception of the Eucharist and urged his listeners to confide in the forgiveness offered through Christ. He was fiercely loyal to the Church, not only in its teaching but also in its authority. He looked upon learning not as a mere opportunity but as an obligation for all, both as a development of God-given faculties and as a solid support for the worship of God. He died during a visit to Imola, the town of his birth. Venerated in Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches. Franciscan General Roman Calendar commemoration 5 November. Patron of Imola, homilists; invoked against fever and mad dogs. Image: walmart.com.
Santa María de Jesús Sacramentado Venegas (Maria of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, María Natividad Venegas de la Torre) (1868-1959). Feast Day commemorating the death of the poor Mexican Roman Catholic nun who was a bookkeeper and pharmacist and served as a nurse throughout her life, spending fifty-four years tending the needs of the poor in small Mexican infirmary. She joined the Association of the Daughters of Mary at 30, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, and entered religious life in 1905, taking her vows in 1910. Venegas established the Daughters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Guadalajara and was elected Superior General of her new order in 1921, the Constitution being approved in 1930. She worked for donations to establish a residence for the order in 1922, in a period of widespread religious persecution during the Cristero Rebellion (La Cristiada), a widespread struggle in central and western Mexico in response to the imposition of the secularist and anticlerical articles of the 1917 Constitution of Mexico, which were perceived by opponents as anti-Catholic measures aimed at imposing state atheism. During this period, Venegas continued to operate her hospital and the persecution only served to strengthen her congregation, the needs of priests and seminarians being met whilst she cared for the sick. She died at 90 in Guadalajara, the miracle for her beatification being investigated locally in 1987 and ratified in 1990, the second miracle required for canonisation being ratified in 1995 for her to become the first female Mexican saint. Venerated in Roman Catholic Church. Patron of Daughters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Guadalajara, nurses. Image: aciprensa.com.
Abolitionist campaigners William Wilberforce (1759-1833), Olaudah Equiano (c1745-1797) and Thomas Clarkson (1760-1846). Commemoration of death of William Wilberforce and celebration of the lives of two other leaders of the movement to abolish the slave trade. Wilberforce was born into a wealthy family of wool merchants in Kingston upon Hull and, as the MP for the town, was the main figurehead in Parliament for the Abolitionist campaign. He was recruited by Thomas Clarkson, who recognised that, in order for Parliament to change the law, the anti-slavery cause needed a brilliant advocate inside Parliament itself. Wilberforce was very well-suited for this rôle. He was a great orator, well-connected, known for his integrity and particularly keen to improve society, especially from 1785 after his conversion to Evangelical Christianity. He made an impressive first speech against slavery in Parliament in 1789 but a 1791 slave rebellion in Haiti hardened public attitudes and his Abolition Bill was not passed by the House of Commons and a Bill proposed in 1792 was passed by MPs only after it was amended and conceded to a gradual abolition of the slave trade. From 1792 to 1805, England was at war with France and it was not until 1807 that the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act was finally passed, after a long, emotional debate. Olaudah Equiano was a black campaigner, an ex-slave who had converted to Christianity as Gustavus Vassa and by the 1780s lived as a freedman in London. He is mostly remembered for his 1789 autobiography, which tells of his kidnap in Nigeria, his being sold into slavery, his journey to the West Indies, his life as a slave and his struggle to buy his freedom. Between 1789 and 1794, there were nine editions of the book and it was translated into many languages. Although not the first account of slavery from an African point of view, his book became the most popular and widely-read. Thomas Clarkson was one of the most prominent Eighteenth Century anti-slavery campaigners. Described by one contemporary as a moral steam-engine, he was an Anglican clergyman who had had a passionate interest in the abolition of the slave trade since his time at Cambridge. In 1787, he helped form the first Abolitionist Committee and was crucial to the anti-slavery campaign because of his tireless energy, his hatred of injustice and his persuasiveness, although more conservative campaigners like William Wilberforce thought him a hothead. In 1808, he wrote The History, Rise, Progress and Accomplishment of the Abolition of the African Slave Trade by the British Parliament, chronicling what he saw as his rôle in the campaign. Image: prezi.com.