St. Joseph Calasanctius, Confessor

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St. Joseph Calasanctius, Confessor

FOUNDER of the poor regular clergy of the pious schools of the Mother of God, a native of Petralta in Arragon, of a noble family. He sanctified his youth by all virtues from his infancy, particularly by charity and prayer. At school it was his custom zealously to instruct his companions in mysteries of faith and in the most perfect methods of prayer. He consecrated himself to God by a vow of virginity, and distinguished himself in his studies first of humanity and philosophy, and afterwards of divinity at Valencia. New Castile, Arragon, and Catalonia were successively edified by the sanctity of his life, and his apostolic labours. Going to Rome, he was enrolled in the confraternity of the Christian doctrine, in which zealous employment he soon saw the infinite importance of instructing children early in the knowledge and spirit of religion. Hereupon he particularly devoted himself to this part of the pastoral charge, though he gave also much time to visit, relieve, and exhort to perfect virtue all the sick, and all the poor and destitute: in which, by his courage and patience, he seemed a perpetual miracle of fortitude, and another Job. He had laboured thus twenty years, when Paul V. in 1617, allowed him and his companions to form themselves into a congregation under simple vows, which, in 1621, Gregory XV. changed into solemn religious vows, and gave them the name which they still bear. In 1656 Alexander VII. brought them back to their former state of simple vows. But Clement IX. in 1669, raised them again into a religious order by solemn vows, which Innocent XI. confirmed, with a grant of new privileges, in 1689. They teach philosophy, divinity, mathematics, the learned languages in all the classes, and the first elements of reading, writing. They have houses in most cities in Italy, several in Austria, Moravia, Poland, Hungary, and Spain. St. Joseph Calasanctius, or Casalanz, died at Rome on the 25th of August, in 1648, being ninety-two years old. An office in his honour was inserted in the Roman Breviary in 1769, on the 27th of August.

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At that time: Came the disciples unto Jesus, saying: Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And so on, and that which followeth. Matthew Chap. 18, 1-5
A Homily by St. John Chrysostom

Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones, for I say unto you, that in heaven their Angels do always behold the face of my Father, and that for their sake I am come, and this is the will of my Father. Hereby the Lord stirreth us up to guard and save these little ones. Thou seest how mighty are the walls which he raiseth to protect little children, and how great thought and care he hath lest they should be lost, threatening on the one hand the uttermost punishment against whosoever shall offend one of these little ones which believe in him, and promising on the other hand, the highest reward to whosoever shall receive one such little child in his Name, and this his teaching he giveth both in his own, and in his Father's Name.

Let us therefore take ensample by the Lord, and let us leave nothing undone for the good of any of our brethren, even for such as seem to us the least and lowliest, but if there be any need that we should serve any, low and outcast though he be, let us serve him; though the thing look hard to us and calling for a great deal of work, let such things, I pray, be looked on as light and easy if they be required for our neighbour's salvation, for of such price and such care did God count his soul to be worth, that he spared not to purchase it, even by his own Son.

If it be not enough for our salvation that we should ourselves live well, but we must also seek the salvation of others, what shall we answer, if we neither live well ourselves, nor exhort others? What hope that we shall be saved is then left to us? What more important task is there than to train up minds, and teach to the young how to live? He that is skilled to mould well the minds of children I reckon a nobler workman than any painter or sculptor, or such like artist.

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