Total Pageviews

Saturday, 30 June 2012

A Baroque altar of St Cajetan from Seville

The altar of St Cajetan in the church of San Roman, Seville.
Sculpted in 1774 by Cristobal Ramos, it depicts the Holy Virgin
placing the Christ Child in the arms of St Cajetan.
Detail of the sculpture of the vision of St Cajetan

Sunday, 24 June 2012

An Agnus Dei depicting St Cajetan

An "Agnus Dei" depicting St Cajetan from the Pontificate of Benedict XIV (1740-1758)

A Miracle Worked by St Cajetan
When St. Cajetan sailed from Venice to Naples, a terrible storm arose, and all on board expected the boat to sink every moment. Cajetan took his Agnus Dei and threw it into the sea, which immediately became calm.

Agnus Deis

The name Agnus Dei has been given to certain discs of wax 
impressed with the figure of a lamb and blessed at stated seasons by the Pope. 
They are sometimes round, sometimes oval in diameter. 
The lamb usually bears a cross or flag, while figures of saints or the name and arms of the Pope are also commonly impressed on the reverse. 
These Agnus Deis may be worn suspended round the neck, or they may be preserved as objects of devotion. In virtue of the consecration they receive, they are regarded, 
like holy water, blessed palms, etc., as "Sacramentals".

The symbolism of the Agnus Deis is best gathered from the prayers used at various epochs in blessing them. As in the paschal candle, the wax typifies the virgin flesh of Christ, the cross associated with the lamb suggests the idea of a victim offered in sacrifice, and as the blood of the paschal lamb of old protected each household from the destroying angel, so the purpose of these consecrated medallions is to protect those who wear or possess them from all malign influences. In the prayers of blessing, special mention is made of the perils from storm and pestilence, from fire and flood, and also of the dangers to which women are exposed in childbirth. It was formerly the custom in Rome to accompany the gift of an Agnus Dei with a printed leaflet describing its many virtues. Miraculous effects have been believed to follow the use of these objects of piety. Fires are said to have been extinguished, and floods stayed.

Agnus Deis have not been produced since the Pontificate of Blessed John XXIII (1958 - 1963)

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Our Lady Of Perpetual Help

Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Feast Day 27th June

History Of The Image

The traditional picture of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is a Byzantine-style icon, dated to the 13th century. Some records say that the writer of the image (one "writes" an icon) used Saint Luke the Evangelist's portrait of Mary as inspiration. 
Painted on wood, it shows the Mother of God holding the Infant Jesus while the archangels Michael and Gabriel fly overhead, holding the instruments. of His Passion. His sandal dangles from one foot as if, startled and frightened by the glimpse of His future, the Child has fled to His Mother for comfort. The untied sandal also signifies that Mary alone is "fit to untie His sandal" (see Jn 1:27). 
Greek letters over the figures form abbreviated words, naming the Mother of God, Jesus Christ, Archangel Michael, and Archangel Gabriel, respectively. 
For many years, the icon was highly venerated on the island of Crete, until the island was conquered by the Turks in the 15th century. Fleeing from the invaders, a refugee from Crete took the holy picture, along with his belongings, and went to Rome. 
Another version of the icon's history relates that it was brought to Rome at the end of the 15th century by a merchant. It is unclear whether the merchant bought or stole the image. Either in piety or remorse, he requested in his will that the picture be placed in a church for public veneration. It was taken to the Augustinian church of San Matteo, on the Via Merulana, the pilgrims' route between Santa Maria Maggiore and San Giovanni Laterano. For nearly three hundred years, the image—called Madonna di San Matteo—was the subject of great devotion. 
When Napoleon's army invaded Rome In 1812, many churches were destroyed, including San Matteo on the Via Merulana. The icon mysteriously disappeared. 
Fifty years later, a monk's mysterious dreams and the explorations of an inquisitive little boy lead to the discovery of the icon, hidden away in the attic of an Augustinian oratory at Santa Maria in Posterula. 
Upon hearing of the rediscovery of the icon, Pope Pius IX, who remembered praying before the picture in San Matteo as a small boy, ordered that it should again be displayed on the Via Merulana pilgrims' route. This time, it was housed in the new Redemptorist church of San Alphonsus, built on the ruins of San Matteo. It can be seen there today. 

In imitation of St Cajetan who was very devoted to Our Lady, let us fly to her protection and shelter under her mantle. She offers her help freely and perpetually to all who would but ask for it and turns no one away!

Ex Voto to St Cajetan

A Mexican Ex-Voto of St Cajetan, 1884

This ex-voto was painted at the request of Maria Angelica Maciel to show her devotion to St Cajetan. It was probably commissioned to thank the saint for a prayer answered and a miracle received. St Cajetan is shown wearing a large gold chain around his neck, which points to his aristocratic upbringing and title of "Count of Thiene". The cross which appears behind him which refers to the mystical crucifixion which he suffered on his death bed when his Theatine brothers wished to move him from the hard wood floor where he habitually slept, to a proper bed to make him more comfortable. However St Cajetan, resigned to the Will of God, happy to suffer in offering a last act of penance for himself and the world, and eager for death to attain the heavenly crown he so longed for, protested and said, "if hard wood is good enough for my Saviour to die on then it is good enough for me".

Vows or promises are often a very good way to seek the intercession of the Saints, they bind us to do good works and spread devotion and make us mindful of the graces received since as much as we ask, we must also thank. Also it is our weak human nature to always need props and approval before we fully trust in something, so the fact that someone has said publicly "This works, St Cajetan really helped me", means that others will be strengthened in their faith and approach their prayer more trustingly.

So as you hunt for your next job or pray for the continuation and success of your present one, consider making a vow to promise to thank St Cajetan for the grace you will receive. And remember to spread devotion to St Cajetan, so that others may gain hope and grace by means of this Holy and Miraculous Saint.

A New Mexican "Retablo" painting of St Cajetan
by Jose Rafael Aragon, 19th century

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Monthly Day of St Cajetan

Grateful thanks to St Cajetan for his intercession for a friend who has just got a very good job after four months of searching. He suffered much anguish during his search which was often dispiriting but never lost hope in God's mercy and faith in his own qualities.
St Cajetan on his monthly day of commemoration asks us to have hope and to trust in God's bounty, to look to the future and not to surrender to our doubts and fears
St. Cajetan, pray for us!