Traditional Mass

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Nov. 6th Ferial Day; Within the Octave; Saint Leonard; Saint Theophane Venard

(Mass of preceding Sunday)
[Requiem or Votive Mass allowed]


[Nobleman, 559 A.D. Historical]

Hermit, Patron of prisoners
(† Second half of the Sixth Century)
Saint Leonard was born towards the end of the fifth century of illustrious parents, residing in the part of the province of Gaul which was then beginning to be called France. Several historians believe that with his brother Saint Lifard, his origins can be traced to the castle of Vendome in the region of Orleans. He belonged to the nation of the Franks, and at the court of Clovis his relatives were dignitaries, baptized at the same time as the king by Saint Remi. That monarch himself stood as sponsor in Baptism for this child of predilection.
As Leonard grew he was so moved by the holy examples of the bishop of Rheims that he renounced the world in order to lead a more perfect life. When Saint Remi had trained Leonard in virtue and conferred on him the tonsure, he began to exercise his charity on behalf of prisoners. Clovis, in response to a prayer of Saint Remi, had already issued an edict that prisoners in Rheims might be freed whenever his royal highness would pass through that city. Leonard asked the kind monarch to grant him personally the right to liberate prisoners whom he would find worthy of it, any time at all.
The reputation of Saint Leonard’s goodness and sanctity soon spread, and the sick came to him for healing and alms. He did not fail to teach them also the value of Christian patience and to console them by the divine doctrine. The king desired to attach him permanently to his court, but Saint Leonard, in a discourse brilliant by its humility, replied that he preferred to live in the obscurity Christ had chosen for Himself for so many years, and he retired to a monastery. Saint Maximin, its abbot, saw to it that he was ordained a deacon, which office he accepted out of obedience, but he did not aspire to any additional ecclesiastical dignities. He recognized that his role was not to remain always in the monastery, and departed to preach to the pagans of the province of Limoges. He found on a nearby mountain a forested solitude where he decided to remain, and there he built a cell of branches and considered himself rich in the possession of God, joyous in his freedom to devote himself to meditation, prayer and mortification.
He continued to obtain miracles when solicited by the suffering members of Jesus Christ. The spouse of a king living nearby had a successful delivery of a child by his prayers, when her very life was despaired of; and the king in gratitude gave him a part of the forest to dispose of as he wished. He then built an oratory to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Two disciples joined him in this sanctuary, continuing to pray without interruption when their master went on pilgrimage to the tombs of the Saints.
Soon the sick came to Saint Leonard here also, and prisoners who invoked him from their cells saw their chains break before their eyes. Many came to him afterwards, bringing their heavy chains and irons to offer them in homage. A considerable number wished to remain with him, and he often gave them part of his vast forest to clear and make ready for the labors of the fields, that they might have the means to live an honest life. He continued to be their guardian and father and preached the religion of our Saviour to them; and those who had once been malefactors were transformed by prayer and labor.
Seven families of persons who were his relatives in the north heard of his reputation and decided to come to him and remain with him. He was surprised but encouraged their good resolutions, saying: “A fare of dry bread, eaten in the joy of a pure conscience, is of more worth than a house abundantly furnished, where quarrels and divisions prevail.” After increasing in holiness until his last days, he died on the 6th of November in the oratory he had dedicated to Our Lady, after having himself transported there, sometime during the second half of the sixth century. Miracles on behalf of prisoners and the sick followed, as they had preceded, his death. The cult of Saint Leonard has remained extremely popular in France ever since; and throughout all of Europe churches and monasteries have been placed under his invocation.
Source: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 13.

Martyr 1829-1861

Martyr 1829-1861
Also known as: Jean-Théophane Vénard

Raised in a pious family; one brother became a priest, and was later curator for Theophane's writings, and another was the bishop of Poitiers, France. Studied at the College of Doue-la-Fontaine, Montmorillon, Poitiers, and the Paris Seminary for Foreign Missions. Ordained on 5 June 1852. Missionary to southeast Asia, leaving on 19 September 1852. Worked fifteen months at Hong Kong, then transferred to West Tonkin, Vietnam.

Christians in the area were being persecuted by order of the ruler Minh-Menh. Just before Theophan's arrival, new anti-Christian orders had forced priests and bishops to go into hiding in forests and caves. Father Venard, whose health had never been good, suffered terribly, ministering to his flock by night and, when he could find a secure location, by day for nearly four years. Betrayed by an ostensible parishioner, he was arrested on 30 November 1860. Tried for his faith, he was given ample opportunity to save himself by denying Christ; he declined. He was kept in a cage for several weeks prior to his execution, during which he wrote a series of joyful, consoling letters to his family. One of the Martyrs of Vietnam.
Born: 1829 at Saint-Loup, diocese of Poitiers, France
Died: beheaded on 2 February 1861 at Tonkin, Vietnam; his head was stuck on a pole as a warning to other, but was later recovered and preserved as a relic in Tonkin; the rest of his body was sent back to his family, and is interred in the crypt of the Missions Etrangères in Paris
Beatified: 2 May 1909
Canonized: 19 June 1988 by Pope John Paul II

A slight saber-cut will separate my head from my body, like the spring flower which the Master of the garden gathers for His pleasure. We are all flowers planted on this earth, which God plucks in His own good time: some a little sooner, some a little later . . . Father and son may we meet in Paradise. I, poor little moth, go first. Adieu.

- Saint Theophane in a letter to his father just before his martyrdom

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