DAILY CATHOLIC     TUESDAY     November 16, 1999     vol. 10, no. 217


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Tuesday, November 16, 1998

    Tuesday November 16:
    Thirty-third Tuesday in Ordinary Time and
    Feast of Saint Margaret of Scotland, Wife, Mother and Queen and
    Feast of Saint Gertrude the Great, Virgin and Religious

    Green or white vestments

      First Reading: 2 Maccabees 6: 18-31
      Psalms: Psalm 3: 2-6, 8
      Gospel Reading: Luke 19: 1-10

Feast of Saint Margaret of Scotland, Wife, Mother and Queen

          The saint who would become Queen of Scotland Saint Margaret of Scotland was born in Hungary in 1045 while her family was in exile. There in the court of King Saint Stephen her father Prince Edward d'Outremer (the Exile) and her mother, a German princess named Agatha reared the young girl. At the age of 12, the Danish King Knute who had been on the English throne was deposed and King Edward the Confessor became ruler in England. The family returned to England but Margaret had to flee with her mother and siblings after the fierce Battle of Hastings in 1066. King Malcolm III of Scotland gave them refuge there in northern Britain and at the age of 25 she was married to Malcolm at Dunfermline Castle. Though Malcolm had been a ruthless king, her pious manner and example converted him to a man of great virtue. They sired eight children, two of which became saints: Saint David and Saint Edith who became Queen of England as Matilda. As Queen of Scotland, Margaret showed a great affinity to the poor and homeless by providing hospices as well as constructing churches and monasteries throughout Scotland. She also changed protocol within the court by eliminating many ecclesiastical irregularities which had seeped into the liturgy. In addition she reinstated important Latin customs that had been neglected, specifically the observance of Ash Wednesday to signify the beginning of Lent, as well as keeping Easter duty and maintaining the Sabbath as a day of rest. Margaret died on November 16, 1093 at Edinburgh Castle which was under attack after learning that Malcolm and one of her sons had been killed by rebels who had assaulted Alnwick Castle. Almost immediately following her death her followers venerated Margaret as a saint and she was canonized by Pope Innocent IV in 1250. In 1673 Pope Clement X proclaimed St. Margaret "Patroness of Scotland."

Feast of Saint Gertrude the Great, Virgin, Religious and Mystic

          In 1256, while St. Albert was the Dominican Provincial of Germany, a young girl was born in Germany who would go on to become a great Benedictine. She was Saint Gertrude, also sometimes called "the Great" as Albert was. In 1261 Gertrude, an orphan, was placed under the direct care of abbess Gertrude of Hackebornthe sister of Saint Mechtilde. Here the younger Gertrude was nourished and became a professed Benedictine nun. In 1282, two years after the death of St. Albert, Sister Gertrude received the first of many revelations of Christ Himself in visions. Through inspiration messages she became a scholar of Sacred Scripture and the writings of great saints and recorded her mystical experiences in her work the "Book of Extraordinary Grace - Revelation of St. Gertrude". Devoutly devoted to the mystery of the Incarnation and the the Holy Eucharist, she received countless messages from Jesus on His Most Sacred Heart which she spread throughout Europe two centuries before Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque. St. Gertrude received a very special prayer that, for some reason, has not been promulgated as it should. It is a very short, but powerful prayer which Jesus imparted to her that would release 1,000 souls from Purgatory each time it was said devoutly. This SPECIAL PRAYER FOR THE SOULS IN PURGATORY was also extended by Pope Clement X to include those sinners who are living today by which the person praying this prayer could alleviate the indebtedness accrued during their lives. St. Gertrude also wrote many other books, some of which were not discovered until 1536. In addition she penned the mystical experiences of St. Mechtilde called "Liber Specialis Gratiae". St. Gertrude died at the Benedictine monastery of Helfta in Germany on November 17, 1302 at only 46. Though she was never formally canonized, in 1676 Pope Clement X decreed that her feast be celebrated in the universal Church on November 16th.

Wednesday, November 17, 1999

      First Reading: 2 Machabees 7: 1, 20-31
      Psalms: Psalm 17: 1, 5-6, 8, 15
      Gospel Reading: Luke 19: 11-28

Feast of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, Wife, Mother and Religious

        The daughter of Saint Hedwig and King Andrew II, Catholic ruler of Hungary, Saint Elizabeth was born in 1207. At the age of four she was promised in marriage to Louis IV from Thuringia. Ten years later she was married to him in an elaborate royal ceremony. Early in their marriage her husband, who had become King, rebuked her because she was always serving people. "That's no work for a queen" he reprimanded her, demanding to know what she was carrying in her cloak. He pulled open her cloak and instead of finding provisions for the poor as he expected, out cascaded lovely red and white roses. He knew then that she was indeed a holy woman and from that point on he dedicated his life to sharing in her ministry. They lived their vows above reproach, conceiving three children. While in labor with her third child, word reached her that her husband Louis had been killed in battle during the Cursade led by Holy Roman Emperor King Frederick II. At twenty years of age Elizabeth, now Queen and widow, went into mourning. Rather than accepting the offers of several suitors, she opted to remain a widow and turned her attention to the poor and ill, vacating the luxurious castle at Wartburg to dedicate the rest of her life to helping others. She founded a hospital at Marburg, dedicating it to Saint Francis who had just been canonized and took up the gray habit of the Francican tertiaries to work in the hospital she had established. Her charitable works became well-known and the fruits of that love and charity spread far and wide after her death at the tender age of 24. Falling ill from the plague that had claimed many of the hospital patients, Elizabeth herself, not one to rest, contracted the disease and died in the hospital on November 16, 1231. Almost immediately miracles were attributed to her by those who touched her tomb. Four years later the clamor and evidence was so solid that Pope Gregory IX canonized her, three years after making Francis a saint. Since the thirteenth century she, along with Saint Louis IX have been the patron saints of Franciscan tertiaries. She is also patron saint of bakers.

November 16, 1999       volume 10, no. 217


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