Daily Martyrology for December 31

At Rome, in 335, St. Silvester I, pope. He was pope for twenty-two years during the reign of Constantine. He received his residence at the Lateran from Constantine.

About 440, in Palestine, Saints Melania the Younger and Pinian. Melania, the granddaughter of Melania the Elder, was married to Pinian. Melania had wished to remain celibate, but her father insisted on the marriage. The couple had two children, both of whom died. Along with her mother Albina, Melania and Pinian took up a monastic form of life on a country estate. They were generous to the poor, and gradually a community of single and married people grew up around them. They eventually sold off their very extensive properties, gave the money to charitable causes and freed their slaves. About 408, when Alaric’s Goths invaded Italy, they removed to their estate at Tagaste. In 417 they went to Jerusalem. By then they had given away their immense wealth and were paupers. After visiting the monks of Egypt, they settled in Jerusalem, where Melania became a close associate of St. Jerome. She established several monasteries, and lived in one.

In 1640, in southern France, St. John-Francis Régis. He joined the Jesuits when he was eighteen. He spent many years as a priest ministering with great effectiveness to peasant communities in the south of France. St. John Vianney (August 4) found his vocation while on a pilgrimage to St. John-Francis’ grave, and later wrote a life of him.

In 1876, in Paris, St. Catherine Labouré. She joined the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul and was sent to their convent on the rue du Bac in Paris. Soon after arriving, she had the first of several visions. In them, the Blessed Virgin Mary asked to have a medal struck depicting what Catherine saw. This became the “miraculous medal". On one side it shows Mary with shafts of light shining from her hands. On the other is an M with a cross above and two hearts below, one with a crown, the other pierced by a sword. Catherine spent the rest of her life in voluntary obscurity, serving her community as portress and poultry farmer, and caring for old people in a hospice.

Tomorrow is the name day of our confrere Br. Sylvester Sonnen. He is commended to our charitable prayers.

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Our daily martyrology was written by Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB. Copyright © 2008 by the Monastery of the Ascension, Jerome, ID 83338.